Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

First after the post elections enforce two party system

News Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Recommended Books Recommended Links US Presidential Elections of 2016 Donald Trump Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Bernie Sanders
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite The Deep State Myth about intelligent voter  American Exceptionalism Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Pluralism as a myth
Principal-agent problem Corporatist Corruption Predator state Media-Military-Industrial Complex Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Ethno-lingustic Nationalism Corporatism National Security State Neocons
Neoliberalism Media-Military-Industrial Complex "Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place US Presidential Elections of 2012 Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Mayberry Machiavellians Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Most people are not getting that they are duped.  "Lesser evil" is a story told to herd the masses. If there are two neoliberal politicians, both are corrupt. Neither intends to deliver anything to you on net; they are competing to deliver you on the plate to their corporate masters. You can chose only the sauce under which you will delivered.  

I am not enthusiastic about this proposed distinction between "hard" and "soft" neoliberalism. Ideologically, conservative libertarians have been locked in a dialectic with the Clintonite / Blairite neoliberals - that's an old story, maybe an obsolete story, but apparently not one those insist on seeing neoliberalism as a monolithic lump fixed in time can quite grasp, but never mind.

Good cop, bad cop. Only, the electorate is carefully divided so that one side's good cop is the other side's bad cop, and vice versa.

bruce wilder 09.01.16 at 7:09 pm
Hillary Clinton is engaging in politics and she's teh most librul librul evah! Why isn't that enough? It is not her fault, surely, that the devil makes her do unlibrul things - you have to be practical and practically, there is no alternative. We have to clap louder. That's the ticket!

 

Superdelegate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In American politics, a "superdelegate" is a delegate to the Democratic National Convention that is seated automatically and chooses for whom they want to vote. These Democratic Party superdelegates include distinguished party leaders and elected officials, including all Democratic members of the House and Senate and sitting Democratic governors. Other superdelegates are chosen during the primary season. Democratic superdelegates are free to support any candidate for the nomination.

This contrasts with convention "pledged" delegates that are selected based on the party primaries and caucuses in each U.S. state, in which voters choose among candidates for the party's presidential nomination. Because they are free to support anyone they want, superdelegates could potentially swing the results to nominate a presidential candidate that did not receive the majority of votes during the primaries.

At least in name, superdelegates are not involved in the Republican Party nomination process. There are delegates to the Republican National Convention that are seated automatically, but they are limited to three per state, consisting of the state chairsperson and two district-level committee members. Republican Party superdelegates are obliged to vote for their state's popular vote winner under the rules of the party branch to which they belong.[1]

Although the term superdelegate was originally coined and created to describe a type of Democratic delegate, the term has become widely used to describe these delegates in both parties,[2] even though it is not an official term used by either party.

... ... ...

For Democrats, superdelegates fall into two categories:

For Republicans, there are delegates in each state, consisting of the state chairman and two RNC committee members. However, according to the RNC communications director Sean Spicer, convention rules obligate those RNC members to vote according to the result of primary elections held in their states.

... ... ...

Democratic Party rules distinguish pledged and unpledged delegates. Pledged delegates are selected based on their announced preferences in the contest for the presidential nomination. In the party primary elections and caucuses in each U.S. state, voters express their preference among the contenders for the party's nomination for President of the United States. Pledged delegates supporting each candidate are chosen in approximate ratio to their candidate’s share of the vote. They fall into three categories: district-level pledged delegates (usually by congressional districts);[4] at-large pledged delegates; and pledged PLEO (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) delegates.

In a minority of the states, delegates are legally required to support the candidate to whom they are pledged.[5] In addition to the states' requirements, the party rules state (Rule 12.J): "Delegates elected to the national convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them."[3]

By contrast, the unpledged PLEO delegates (Rule 9.A) are seated without regard to their presidential preferences, solely by virtue of being current or former elected officeholders and party officials. Many of them have chosen to announce endorsements, but they are not bound in any way. They may support any candidate they wish, including one who has dropped out of the presidential race.[6] The other superdelegates, the unpledged add-on delegates (Rule 9.B), who need not be PLEOs, are selected by the state parties after some of the pledged delegates are chosen,[3] but they resemble the unpledged PLEO delegates in being free to vote as they wish.

... ... ...

At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, superdelegates cast approximately 823.5 votes, with fractions arising because superdelegates from Michigan, Florida, and Democrats Abroad are entitled to half a vote each. Of the superdelegates' votes, 745 are from unpledged PLEO delegates and 78.5 are from unpledged add-on delegates, although the exact number in each category is subject to events.


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Aug 15, 2019] We're just going to vote in two corrupt, out of touch and mentally declining frauds to throw hot garbage at each other, and what is the left supposed to do?

Aug 15, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com


Grant , , , August 15, 2019 at 3:50 pm

"they = the voters in the Dem primaries?"

Isn't it interesting that the Democrats are only about a third of the country now, but because they and the other rotten party have rigged our political system so no other parties can emerge, that they essentially will determine who will go up against Trump? The Democratic voters are just as lost as the politicians they vote for. Turnout is often low for primaries within that party, in a party that only a third of the country identifies with, and there is little chance that anyone will get a majority of voters. So, it is entirely possible that the person chosen to go against Trump will have support of, what, 4-5% of the US electorate? And if they are stupid enough to choose Biden, and they are, the general election will be Biden vs Trump. The USSR at least ended in interesting ways. We're just going to vote in two corrupt, out of touch and mentally declining frauds to throw hot garbage at each other, and what is the left supposed to do? There will never be a better argument for a third party if those two are the options given to us by the duds in the two major parties. I can't even contemplate who Biden would choose as his VP, and possibly lock us into a decade of hell, and then the environmental crisis hits.

notabanker , , August 15, 2019 at 4:28 pm

If the US electorate allows 4-5% to decide, then they deserve who they get. It’s not difficult to vote in a primary.

Grant , , August 15, 2019 at 5:07 pm

It is not an issue in regards to difficulty, generally, it is the options people are given and how often it is that the options people are given are net negatives regardless as to who wins, and people realizing that what the general public wants is not reflected in policy. Bernie is an exceptuon, and look at all the nonsense thrown at him, and all the undemocratic means those in power use to maintain their power. I am not saying that justifies inactivity, but it does help to explain it. But, lets say Biden or someone similar is chosen by Democrats in the primaries. What percentage of the electorate, given all I mentioned, will have chosen him?

edmondo , , August 15, 2019 at 5:29 pm

If the US electorate allows 4-5% to decide, then they deserve who they get. It’s not difficult to vote in a primary.

Depends where you live. If you live in most states and you want to vote in a Democratic Party presidential primary, you have to be registered as a Democrat. Here in AZ I can vote for every office except president by being a No Party Preference voter registrant. If I want to vote against Joe Biden, I have to change my voter registration to “D”. Not gonna happen.

https://eus.rubiconproject.com/usync.html

https://acdn.adnxs.com/ib/static/usersync/v3/async_usersync.html

https://c.deployads.com/sync?f=html&s=2343&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nakedcapitalism.com%2F2019%2F08%2F200pm-water-cooler-8-15-2019.html <img src="http://b.scorecardresearch.com/p?c1=2&c2=16807273&cv=2.0&cj=1" />

Grant , August 15, 2019 at 8:07 pm

“Here in California, owned and operated by the Democratic Party, voting for someone other than the approved candidate could quickly get your vote “lost” or “disqualified” and that is not mentioning the rigging of convention delegates.”

This ultimately why Bernie is up against it. I think he has a real shot to win and am not very concerned about the polls, he is doing well despite all that is aligned against him. Palast showed what that rotten party did in 2016 in the primaries (it is entirely possible that Bernie won the state or at least came even closer to winning), and you could include tons since. My favorite was how they used superdelegates at the state level in California to get Bauman to lead the state party, and he had to resign in shame. He was previously a pharma lobbyist that was paid to lobby the state against bargaining down the price of drugs. Then there is stuff like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWi6HS9Wfgw

As the DNC has argued in court though, they don’t have to run a fair primary and can pick whoever those at the top of the party want, right? It would be amazing if someone within the DNC and the state party here (I live in Southern California) would leak what they are doing. Not expecting it, but it would be great.

https://eus.rubiconproject.com/usync.html

https://acdn.adnxs.com/ib/static/usersync/v3/async_usersync.html

https://c.deployads.com/sync?f=html&s=2343&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nakedcapitalism.com%2F2019%2F08%2F200pm-water-cooler-8-15-2019.html <img src="http://b.scorecardresearch.com/p?c1=2&c2=16807273&cv=2.0&cj=1" />

Carey , August 15, 2019 at 6:33 pm

“It’s not difficult to vote in a primary.”

True. However, if one is voting™ for
a non-corporatist candidate, getting
that vote counted has been problematic,
and I expect it to be more so in 2020:

https://hooktube.com/watch?v=D5ugmNoanx8

Reply

Off The Street , August 15, 2019 at 4:06 pm

Once people spoke of TINA. Biden’s campaign now gives rise to VANITY.
Viabile
Alternatives
Not
Indicated
This
Year

[Aug 02, 2019] Brutus questions whether "democracy" is sensible in a nation of three million!

Aug 02, 2019 | www.unz.com

Jacques Sheete , says: August 2, 2019 at 12:16 pm GMT

@Bert

Democracy was the next step, but it only works in small polities.

And for very short periods of time.

Anyway, yours is a key concept that most 'Merkins are completely ignorant of, yet some of the anti-federalists were aware of it. Here, Brutus questions whether "democracy" is sensible in a nation of three million !

Now, in a large extended country, it is impossible to have a representation, possessing the sentiments, and of integrity, to declare the minds of the people, without having it so numerous and unwieldly, as to be subject in great measure to the inconveniency of a democratic government.

The territory of the United States is of vast extent; it now contains near three millions of souls, and is capable of containing much more than ten times that number. Is it practicable for a country, so large and so numerous as they will soon become, to elect a representation, that will speak their sentiments, without their becoming so numerous as to be incapable of transacting public business?

It certainly is not.

Brutus, (Robert Yates), To the Citizens of the State of New-York, October 18, 1787

[Aug 01, 2019] The two party system institutionalizes the capture of the political process by special interests, dichotomized into two differently armed powers of equal importance.

Aug 01, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to Paine ... , July 27, 2019 at 04:41 AM

Not all prayers are answered. The two party system intervened in the US political process to elect its representation and leadership a long time ago. The two party system is not constitutional, but it is not unconstitutional either. It just is. The two party system takes all the air out of the political room. The two party system institutionalizes the capture of the political process by special interests, dichotomized into two differently armed powers of equal importance. The first is the moneyed interests of corporate wealth and power which provide media access and control. The second is the social interests of large voting blocks that are not in certain conflict with corporate money. To get elected politicians must then pander for cheap votes and the money to buy them with. How could Russians possibly compete with that?
ilsm -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , July 27, 2019 at 04:49 AM
Two party system!

if you have to ask the FBI who you can talk to (what the democrats call election security).....

you end up with a two sided coin with one face.

fortunately both parties have

the best interest of the Saudi

royal family and the war machine

covered.

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to ilsm... , July 27, 2019 at 05:27 AM
Remember that the Bill of Rights was just an afterthought to the US Constitution that was deemed necessary to obtain ratification without further insurrection by the people. The US Constitution itself had not blatantly encompassed the creation of the two party system, but such division of special interests was evident from the participants division of economic interests. First and foremost, the US Constitution was about the preservation of property rights despite the division between what was considered valuable property in the North and what was considered valuable property in the South. A stable, yet plutocratic, republic was necessary for the preservation of all property rights. The US was founded as an ownership state, "for the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People," ( John Wycliffe in 1384 subsequently quote by Abe Lincoln) just not for and by all the people.
Joe -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , July 27, 2019 at 10:09 AM
Why do I have the larger view here? Well, the Constitution is fairly simple when the two other branches do their job. The other two branches cannot do their job. Obama couldn't do his job without losing four elections. The current Congress cannot do its job, for a variety of reasons. We are in that period when legislation is not working, the money is tied up in interest payments, and the new generation refuses to pay for all the rolled over losses from past Congressional failures. We are sort of stuck with an inoperable Constitution.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to Joe... , July 28, 2019 at 06:27 AM
"Why do I have the larger view here?..."

[ROTFLMAO!

Having some diced chicken in your scrambled eggs? It certainly must be an appealing way to answer the age old question of which came first.]

JohnH -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , July 27, 2019 at 06:49 AM
A two party system is just one step from a one party system. Tight oligopoly instead of monopoly.

The wealthy have to spread their largesse around a little bit more, but not as much as they would if they had to buy 4-5 parties. Plus, in a two party system, there are always stooges in waiting, eager to serve, in case the incumbent stooges go too far off the rails.

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to JohnH... , July 27, 2019 at 07:25 AM
Exactly.

[Aug 01, 2019] One advantage of the two party system

Aug 01, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Plp -> Plp... , July 31, 2019 at 01:48 PM

Even a compulsory choice between two poisons is preferred to being forced to take the designated poison

likbez -> Plp... , August 01, 2019 at 09:40 AM

> Even a compulsory choice between two poisons is preferred to being forced to take the designated poison

Wrong.

It's two batches of the same poison. One is artificially sweetened.

[Jul 06, 2019] Brave Congressman Blasts 2-Party System as 'Existential Threat to America' then Quits His Party

Notable quotes:
"... In an inspiring op-ed on the 4th of July, the now-former Republican Congressman Justin Amash took to destroying the idea of identity politics, notably the two-party system, which he says is destroying the country. ..."
"... Amash declared that he is no longer going to identify with a party and declared himself an independent. ..."
Jul 04, 2019 | thefreethoughtproject.com

Brian James July 5, 2019 at 11:24

July 4, 2019 Brave Congressman Blasts 2-Party System as 'Existential Threat to America' then Quits His Party

In an inspiring op-ed on the 4th of July, the now-former Republican Congressman Justin Amash took to destroying the idea of identity politics, notably the two-party system, which he says is destroying the country.

Amash declared that he is no longer going to identify with a party and declared himself an independent.

https://thefreethoughtproject.com/congressman-declares-independence-america

[Jul 02, 2019] A lot of wanderers in the US political desert recognize that all the two party duopoly can offer is a choice of mirages

Jan 02, 2019 | caucus99percent.co

--

A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages.

Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.

-- lotlizard

[Feb 27, 2019] Their votes mean absolutely nothing, and that the entire American electoral system is just a simulation of democracy

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "That might have left people with the false impression that their votes mean absolutely nothing, and that the entire American electoral system is just a simulation of democracy, and in reality they are living in a neo-feudalist, de facto global capitalist empire administrated by omnicidal money-worshipping human parasites that won't be satisfied until they've remade the whole of creation in their nihilistic image." ..."
Feb 27, 2019 | www.unz.com

Jake , says: February 26, 2019 at 12:04 pm GMT

"That might have left people with the false impression that their votes mean absolutely nothing, and that the entire American electoral system is just a simulation of democracy, and in reality they are living in a neo-feudalist, de facto global capitalist empire administrated by omnicidal money-worshipping human parasites that won't be satisfied until they've remade the whole of creation in their nihilistic image."

Now that's writing worth reading. If the Nobel committee did not serve the Global Empire, it would give the Literature Prize to Hopkins.

The late 19th and 20th century Russians had the horror of dealing with Nihilists running amuck in their country. Now the Nihilists rule the world as multi-billionaire Globalists.

[Feb 26, 2019] That might have left people with the false impression that their votes mean absolutely nothing, and that the entire American electoral system is just a simulation of democracy, and in reality they are living in a neo-feudalist, de facto global capitalist empire administrated by omnicidal money-worshipping human parasites that won't be satisfied until they've remade the whole of creation in their nihilistic image

Feb 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

Jake , says: February 26, 2019 at 12:04 pm GMT

"That might have left people with the false impression that their votes mean absolutely nothing, and that the entire American electoral system is just a simulation of democracy, and in reality they are living in a neo-feudalist, de facto global capitalist empire administrated by omnicidal money-worshipping human parasites that won't be satisfied until they've remade the whole of creation in their nihilistic image."

Now that's writing worth reading. If the Nobel committee did not serve the Global Empire, it would give the Literature Prize to Hopkins.

The late 19th and 20th century Russians had the horror of dealing with Nihilists running amuck in their country. Now the Nihilists rule the world as multi-billionaire Globalists.

[Dec 09, 2018] Proportional representation is definitely the way to go. I am sick to death of the born-to-rule mentality of the major parties, and how they change the rules to benefit themselves and to exclude others

Notable quotes:
"... Yes, its far better than the "first past the post" systems of the UK and the US where the number of votes split between two almost identical candidates can lead to a far different candidate winning with only a little over a third of the total vote. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MikeSw , 30 Oct 2018 22:36

Proportional representation is definitely the way to go. I am sick to death of the born-to-rule mentality of the major parties, and how they change the rules to benefit themselves and to exclude others.

Minority government? There is no such thing - there is only 'government', and it is supposed to involve all members of parliament in the decision-making process. 'Majority' governments are an anathema to good governance. Every time I hear the likes of Tony Abbott claim they have a mandate to implement ALL their policies, even though they only receive around 35% of the primary vote, I want to throw something at the TV.

Bugger them! Make them work for a living - and make them consider ALL views, not just the ones from their own party.

Bradtheunveiler -> BrianLC , 30 Oct 2018 22:36
Win the ALP will next election. By a huge majority too. Looking forward to neg gearing and CGT discount reform in particular.
Onesimus_Tim -> StuartJJ , 30 Oct 2018 22:35

Preferences are an extremely good feature of our voting system

Yes, its far better than the "first past the post" systems of the UK and the US where the number of votes split between two almost identical candidates can lead to a far different candidate winning with only a little over a third of the total vote.

Preferential voting also makes it more possible for the major party duopoly being overturned, allowing people to vote for a good independent without taking the risk of helping a despised major party candidate from winning by default.

[Dec 09, 2018] The problem with representative democracy is that it represents the special interest groups far more than it represents the citizenry

Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Territorian -> Hoskins50 , 30 Oct 2018 23:49

"The problem with representative democracy is that it represents the special interest groups far more than it represents the citizenry." You are spot on.

Nigel Scullion: Minister for Handing out buckets of money to NT Country Liberal Party supporters. Scullion just happened to be a professional fisher before entering parliament.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/31/indigenous-advancement-funding-redirected-to-cattlemen-and-fishing-groups

Barnaby Joyce: Minister for Agriculture while his Department was too scared to report disgusting conditions in the live sheep export trade.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/31/agriculture-minister-promises-to-fix-live-export-regulation-after-damning-report

DukeofWoyWoy , 30 Oct 2018 23:48
What a logical and stirring argument you put forward Richard Denniss, and a large majority of the electorate would have to agree.
However there is also a large number of people in the electorate that cannot appear to rise from their nightly slumber without wearing their Blue, Red, Green or Orange tinted glasses before facing the new day.
And because of this, and preferential voting, sneaking in the background is a plethora of the wild mindless sub creatures called politicians who demand their rights to sit in the big white building on Canberra;s Capital Hill, just waiting to spoil not only the electorate's party but also known to prostitute the country's governance to their own advantage.
Richard, we desperately need a follow up stirring article on how to overcome this black menace to our country, for the sake of our country.
Hoskins50 , 30 Oct 2018 23:38
If you think the public has an appetite for more bureaucrats, more rules and regulations to micromanage people's lives and even more political wheeling and dealing in Canberra, you should get out more.

That the coalition government is on the slide is of no long term consequence. We'll get a Labor government next year and in a few years another coalition government and so on.

What is of long term significance is the loss of public trust in pretty much all of the institutions - including goverment and the various government agencies that would be more powerful under your scenario.

The problem with representative democracy is that it represents the special interest groups far more than it represents the citizenry. Perhaps the solution lies in more direct democracy.

The same sex marriage plebiscite demonstrated that we commoners can deliberate on a sensitive issue, and in doing so behave far better than our elected representatives in Parliament. And can make a sensible and progressive decision that our elected representatives could not - both coalition and Labor MPs had opposed same sex marriage when it was raised in th e Parliament.

The internet provides a platform for direct decision making by the citizenry. Perhaps we should try that instead of what you are suggesting.

diggerdigger , 30 Oct 2018 22:12
It's been clear for years that proportional representation has progressively meant death to effective government, and that it forces major parties policy development further to the political fringes to appeal to the fruit loops on the periphery of their respective demographics. Time for a return to simple preferential voting (a-la-house of Reps) in the senate, and an overhaul of what's considered a valid ballot - if you want to only rank 1, 2, 3 or all candidates it should be entirely your choice.

Hung parliaments, with diametrically opposed clumps of "independents" jointly holding the balance of power can only ever deliver legislative stasis and constant political turmoil (as we have experienced since 2010 and Europe and the US have suffered for the last decade).

Oh for the good old days when one or the other of the major parties held a working majority in both houses, and policy was targeted at the 'sensible centre" of the Australian electorate. At worst, they only had to deal with a couple of sensible Democrats, and the odd lunatic fringe-ist like Harradine.

[Dec 09, 2018] People who vote but really don't get represented. All those votes just get mopped up by two major parties who represent thatsame neooliberal sharks who want to devour the voters

Notable quotes:
"... I find the Australian electoral system very mediocre. All those people who vote but really don't get represented. All those votes that just get mopped up by the major parties. I really can't understand why Australians have put up with such a poor system for so long. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

RonGlaeston , 31 Oct 2018 04:56

Yes, yes! MMP!!

Having spent many years in a New Zealand under a First Past the Post system and then Mixed Member Proportional, I am an enthusiastic supporter of proportional systems.

I find the Australian electoral system very mediocre. All those people who vote but really don't get represented. All those votes that just get mopped up by the major parties. I really can't understand why Australians have put up with such a poor system for so long.

Hettie7-> melbournesam 31 Oct 2018 00:45

Proportional representation makes the most sense. Each party gets the same percentage of seats in the parliament as it received votes in the election. That really is fair.

[Jun 06, 2018] The other great con is convincing the public that voting for anyone but the two major parties is "wasting your vote".

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Purge, 3 Jun 2018 17:46

The other great con is convincing the public that voting for anyone but the two major parties is "wasting your vote". This political duopoly means only those interests are ever represented and that has also led to Australia's systematic decline. Yes it's true that the majors hold majority in parliament but we've already seen that voting below the line can work- Labour had to take notes from the Greens last time they held power. Despite how hopeless it all seems we do still have the power to affect change as long as we- all of us- stop swallowing the lies.
BobsWorth2 , 3 Jun 2018 17:35
The current two party system is like a coin. On one side we have the head of Malcolm Turnbull and on the other Bill Shorten. When it comes to the toss up the corporations and wealthy get to call heads.
BelindaJonas -> Tom Dalyell , 3 Jun 2018 17:30
There is perhaps more honour amongst thieves? Hard to imagine there being less.
B.J.

[Dec 16, 2017] The U.S. Is Not A Democracy, It Never Was by Gabriel Rockhill

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history. ..."
"... Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called "founding fathers," the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the "subordination" so necessary for politics. ..."
"... When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than "the filth of the common sewers" by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett. The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves -- meaning the overwhelming majority of the population -- were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President. ..."
"... It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: "it is not a democracy." George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as "a despotic aristocracy." ..."
"... When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a "democracy," there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name. In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term "democracy" to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. ..."
"... Slowly but surely, the term "democracy" came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos . Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare. ..."
"... In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary "democratic" publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a "democracy" because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives. ..."
"... To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected. ..."
"... It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America's Deadliest Export: Democracy , grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Gabriel Rockhill via Counterpunch.org,

One of the most steadfast beliefs regarding the United States is that it is a democracy. Whenever this conviction waivers slightly, it is almost always to point out detrimental exceptions to core American values or foundational principles. For instance, aspiring critics frequently bemoan a "loss of democracy" due to the election of clownish autocrats, draconian measures on the part of the state, the revelation of extraordinary malfeasance or corruption, deadly foreign interventions, or other such activities that are considered undemocratic exceptions . The same is true for those whose critical framework consists in always juxtaposing the actions of the U.S. government to its founding principles, highlighting the contradiction between the two and clearly placing hope in its potential resolution.

The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history.

What will be seen, however, if this record is soberly and methodically inspected, is that a country founded on elite, colonial rule based on the power of wealth -- a plutocratic colonial oligarchy, in short -- has succeeded not only in buying the label of "democracy" to market itself to the masses, but in having its citizenry, and many others, so socially and psychologically invested in its nationalist origin myth that they refuse to hear lucid and well-documented arguments to the contrary.

To begin to peel the scales from our eyes, let us outline in the restricted space of this article, five patent reasons why the United States has never been a democracy (a more sustained and developed argument is available in my book, Counter-History of the Present ).

To begin with, British colonial expansion into the Americas did not occur in the name of the freedom and equality of the general population, or the conferral of power to the people. Those who settled on the shores of the "new world," with few exceptions, did not respect the fact that it was a very old world indeed, and that a vast indigenous population had been living there for centuries. As soon as Columbus set foot, Europeans began robbing, enslaving and killing the native inhabitants. The trans-Atlantic slave trade commenced almost immediately thereafter, adding a countless number of Africans to the ongoing genocidal assault against the indigenous population. Moreover, it is estimated that over half of the colonists who came to North America from Europe during the colonial period were poor indentured servants, and women were generally trapped in roles of domestic servitude. Rather than the land of the free and equal, then, European colonial expansion to the Americas imposed a land of the colonizer and the colonized, the master and the slave, the rich and the poor, the free and the un-free. The former constituted, moreover, an infinitesimally small minority of the population, whereas the overwhelming majority, meaning "the people," was subjected to death, slavery, servitude, and unremitting socio-economic oppression.

Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called "founding fathers," the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the "subordination" so necessary for politics.

When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than "the filth of the common sewers" by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett. The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves -- meaning the overwhelming majority of the population -- were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President.

It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: "it is not a democracy." George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as "a despotic aristocracy."

When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a "democracy," there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name. In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term "democracy" to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. This began around the time of "Indian killer" Andrew Jackson's presidential campaign in the 1830s. Presenting himself as a 'democrat,' he put forth an image of himself as an average man of the people who was going to put a halt to the long reign of patricians from Virginia and Massachusetts. Slowly but surely, the term "democracy" came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos . Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare.

In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary "democratic" publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a "democracy" because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives.

However, even this hollow definition dissimulates the extent to which, to begin with, the supposed equality before the law in the United States presupposes an inequality before the law by excluding major sectors of the population: those judged not to have the right to rights, and those considered to have lost their right to rights (Native Americans, African-Americans and women for most of the country's history, and still today in certain aspects, as well as immigrants, "criminals," minors, the "clinically insane," political dissidents, and so forth). Regarding elections, they are run in the United States as long, multi-million dollar advertising campaigns in which the candidates and issues are pre-selected by the corporate and party elite. The general population, the majority of whom do not have the right to vote or decide not to exercise it, are given the "choice" -- overseen by an undemocratic electoral college and embedded in a non-proportional representation scheme -- regarding which member of the aristocratic elite they would like to have rule over and oppress them for the next four years. "Multivariate analysis indicates," according to an important recent study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, "that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination [ ], but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy."

To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected.

It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America's Deadliest Export: Democracy , grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. The record on the home front is just as brutal. To take but one significant parallel example, there is ample evidence that the FBI has been invested in a covert war against democracy. Beginning at least in the 1960s, and likely continuing up to the present, the Bureau "extended its earlier clandestine operations against the Communist party, committing its resources to undermining the Puerto Rico independence movement, the Socialist Workers party, the civil rights movement, Black nationalist movements, the Ku Klux Klan, segments of the peace movement, the student movement, and the 'New Left' in general" ( Cointelpro: The FBI's Secret War on Political Freedom , p. 22-23).

Consider, for instance, Judi Bari's summary of its assault on the Socialist Workers Party: "From 1943-63, the federal civil rights case Socialist Workers Party v. Attorney General documents decades of illegal FBI break-ins and 10 million pages of surveillance records. The FBI paid an estimated 1,600 informants $1,680,592 and used 20,000 days of wiretaps to undermine legitimate political organizing."

... ... ...

[Jul 28, 2017] Reply

Jul 28, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

cartman , July 23, 2017 at 11:38 am

G7 Ambassadors Support Cutting of Pensions in the Ukraine
marknesop , July 23, 2017 at 12:13 pm
So when you cut through all the steam and the boilerplate, how do they plan to do it so it's fairer to poor Ukrainians, but the state spends less?

Ah. They plan to raise the age at which you qualify for a pension , doubtless among other money-savers. If the state plays its cards right, the target demographic wil work all its adult life and then die before reaching pensionable age. But as usual, we must be subjected to the usual western sermonizing about how the whole initiative is all about helping people and doing good.

This is borne out in one of the other 'critical reforms' the IMF insisted upon before releasing its next tranche of 'aid' – a land reform act which would allow Ukraine to sell off its agricultural land in the interests of 'creating a market'. Sure: as if. Land-hungry western agricultural giants like Monsanto are drooling at the thought of getting their hands on Ukraine's rich black earth plus a chink in Europe's armor against GMO crops. Another possible weapon to use against Russia would be the growing of huge volumes of GMO grain so as to weaken the market for Russian grains.

Cortes , July 23, 2017 at 4:18 pm
And pollution of areas of Russian soil from blown in GMO seeds. Creating facts on the ground.
Patient Observer , July 24, 2017 at 4:18 am
Another element of the plan to reduce pension obligations is the dismantling of whatever health care system that remain in the Ukraine. That is a twofer – save money on providing medical services and shortening the life span. This would be another optimization of wealth generation for the oligarchs and for those holding Ukraine debt.
Jen , July 24, 2017 at 5:03 am
I can just see Ukrainian health authorities giving away free cigarettes to patients and their families next!

That remark was partly facetious and partly serious: life these days in the Ukraine sounds so surreal that I wouldn't put it past the Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine to come up with the most hare-brained "reform" initiatives.

yalensis , July 24, 2017 at 2:30 pm
Nine out of ten doctors recommend Camels.
The other one doctor is a woman, who smokes Virginia Slims.

Patient Observer , July 24, 2017 at 6:09 pm
I recall a news story about the adverse effects of a reduction in smoking on the US Social Security Trust Fund. Those actuaries make those calculations for a living. The trouble with shortening life spans via cancer is that end-of-life treatment tends to be very expensive unless people do not have or have very basic health insurance, then there is a likely net gain. Alcohol, murder and suicides are generally much more efficient economically. I just depressed myself.
kirill , July 24, 2017 at 8:09 pm
Something does not add up. Any government expenditure is an economic stimulus. The only potentially negative aspect is taxation. Since taxation is not excessive and in fact too small on key layers (e.g. companies and the rich), there is no negative aspect to government spending on pensions. So we have here narrow-definition accounting BS.
Jen , July 25, 2017 at 4:56 am
Agree that in a world where the people, represented by their governments, are in charge of money creation and governments ran their financial systems independently of Wall Street and Washington, any government spending would be welcomed as stimulating economic production and development. The money later recirculates back to the government when the people who have jobs created by government spending pay the money back through purchases of various other government goods and services or through their taxes.

But in capitalist societies where increasingly banks are becoming the sole creators and suppliers of money, government spending incurs debts that have to be paid back with interest. In the past governments also raised money for major public projects by issuing treasury bonds and securities but that doesn't seem to happen much these days.

Unfortunately also Ukraine is surviving mainly on IMF loans and the IMF certainly doesn't want the money to go towards social welfare spending.

marknesop , July 25, 2017 at 9:18 am
In fact, the IMF specifically intervenes to prevent spending loan money on social welfare, as a condition of extending the loan. That might have been true since time out of mind for all I know, but it certainly was true after the first Greek bailout, when leaders blew the whole wad on pensions and social spending so as to ensure their re-election. They then went sheepishly back to the IMF for a second bailout. So there are good and substantial reasons for insisting the loan money not be wasted in this fashion, as that kind of spending customarily does not generate any meaningful follow-on spending by the recipients, and is usually absorbed by the cost of living.

But as we are all aware, such IMF interventions have a definite political agenda as well. In Ukraine's case, the IMF with all its political inveigling is matched against a crafty oligarch who will lift the whole lot if he is not watched. Alternatively, he might well blow it all on social spending to ensure his re-election, thus presenting the IMF with a dilemma in which it must either continue to support him, or cause him to fall.

Patient Observer , July 25, 2017 at 7:07 pm
In an economy based on looting, it makes perfect sense. Money flows only one way until its all gone.

[Mar 26, 2017] The operatives of what Gore Vidal called the Property Party, (which has two right wings,) co-opted each successive movement. Lower middle class and working class people had the Koch brothers funded Tea Party pushed on them. The DNC sponsored identity groups quickly sucked all oxigen from the protest movement they represented

Notable quotes:
"... As Mr. Hudson explained in the piece, the operatives of what Gore Vidal called the Property Party, (which has two right wings,) co-opted each successive movement. Lower middle class and working class people had the Koch brothers funded Tea Party pushed on them. The DNC sponsored "identity groups" quickly sucked all originality out of the various specious "identities" so represented. On the war front, the Pentagon imposed "embedment" upon journalists. In each case, the viewpoints of the "average" person so involved were restricted to vistas guaranteed to promote the "sponsored" agenda. Thus, the present assault upon "alternative" media makes sense from a status quo perspective. It is all about control of the dialogue. ..."
"... Perez only got 235 votes; Sanders' candidate Ellison got 200. The Democratic Party establishment did not "ignore" Sanders by running Perez. They were semi-desperately trying to block him (and his cohort) from advancing on a low rung on the ladder to power. ..."
"... Wikileaks made it plain what the Democrats do to mavericks who win races without a party bit in their mouths. The corruption is institutional, it is their operatives' identity. ..."
"... The "masses of people who have dropped out of the workforce" are old, overweight, have multiple physical deficits and are hooked on at least 2 types of prescription dope. They will not be manning your nostalgia-draped barricades. Not ever. ..."
"... I agree with Hudson's critique of FIRE and the problem of debt in our society. But it is not easy to explain to the general public - which would not recognize the acronym. ..."
"... "Also, while I agree Dems are dominated by Blue Dogs who want to use Wall Street money to run Repub lite candidates in purple states, and that their appeal to identity politics is manipulative and a way to deflect from economic issues," ..."
"... " it does not logically follow that voters do not often think of themselves and their goals in terms of racism or religion or guns. Their are cultural "us v them" identities that have a powerful effect on politics." ..."
"... "We can beat them if we find common sense solutions to our problems and articulate those ideas to our neighbors. We need energy and hard work, but it is not clear that a third party is needed." ..."
"... I also agree that there is no solution, certainly not an evolutionary solution via EITHER of the two parties. ..."
"... The big changes in the USA occurred during the Great Depression as financial reform was introduced, the idea of government infrastructure could provide employment and what I believe is little mentioned, an increased awareness on the part of many that their success was not achieved solely by their own efforts. ..."
"... Many of the USA's post war corporate executives should have remembered that their families struggled during the thirties, and this may have made them more connected with their employees and communities. ..."
"... People are not sheep. We've been psyop'd senseless. "Public relations" began around the turn of the 20th century. It was ramped up by orders of magnitude after WWII. ..."
"... Gore Vidal quotes JFK as saying to him, we've entered an era in which "it is the *appearance of things that matters" ..."
"... Psychology and other social sciences have been weaponized and turned against us. With a facile understanding of the human mind (as if it were nothing but a mere mechanism), immense effort has gone into controlling the inputs in order to control the outputs (behavior). ..."
"... Newly declassified documents from the Reagan presidential library help explain how the U.S. government developed its sophisticated psychological operations capabilities that – over the past three decades – have created an alternative reality both for people in targeted countries and for American citizens, a structure that expanded U.S. influence abroad and quieted dissent at home. ..."
"... Today, "public opinion" is a Frankenstein's monster. Most of my fellow Americans believe in a world that never existed and doesn't exist right now. We can't even agree on what happened to JFK, or MLK, or what happened on 9/11/01. ..."
"... Contra UF, it's not that people are incapable of rational thought; rather, the information we have is hopelessly corrupted. People are acting rationally, but the numerators and denominators have been faked. On purpose. Or did the Russians really do it? ..."
"... It's far more simpler. Charter schools are about following the money. Public schools have seemingly huge revenue streams. Why can't GE get a cut is the thought process? For profit Healthcare was forbidden until 1973 (thanks to Teddy), why not public schools? ..."
"... The HMO Act of 1973 (thanks Teddy and Tricky Dick; bipartisanship at its finest) made it easier to start and run HMOs which faced regulatory hurdles mostly due to financing. Non profits had an easier time of it hence Hospitals named "St X" or "X General." Since the hospital were non profits and employers made deals with the hospitals, health insurance was effectively non-profit. There were gaps, mostly in rural areas. Other changes from the HMO Act of 1973 encouraged profit seeking from denial of coverage to pushing unnecessary procedures or prescriptions. ..."
"... The US Left has been controlled opposition since 1950. There was never a chance it could provide a reasonable and effective alternative. FBI/CIA moles make sure they never will. The Democrats have never been true Left FDR didn't really betray his class, he saved them from their own stupidity. ..."
"... "As Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere quipped in the 1960s, when he was accused by the US of running a one-party state, 'The United States is also a one-party state but, with typical American extravagance, they have two of them'." ..."
"... The identity politics of today lack in solidarity, too. What with Hillary Clinton running the most ageist campaign in memory, Obama breaking the record on deportations, Bill Clinton blowing racist dogwhistles as hard he can and also helping to shepherd a police state that puts Thailand to shame, and the whole of the Democratic Party stoking Russophobia and neoconservative. ..."
"... The diagnosis is mostly correct. But omits the role class bigotry and affluenza with attendant celebrity culture and pursuit of prestige plays. Thus the prognosis and protocol go astray. ..."
"... The wealthy and the politicians don't care about you/us. They care about maintaining any fiction that allows them to keep acquiring. Trump is not the problem; Mercer"s values are The Problem. Trump is the PERFECT reality TV/celebrity fantasy creature to keep the twisted Mercer chariot's wheels turning. ..."
"... Bernie was NOT The Answer. Putting on a mask of concern does not take away the sorrows of empire. As long as the blatant US militarism and imperialism continues we cannot unite the working class. Everything it needs to flourish continues - mass incarceration, join the military or stay in the ghetto, graft and corruption of military/industrial/media complex, no respect for other cultures being swarmed, consumerism. ..."
"... The jobs plan: more prison guards, border agents, munitions makers, soldiers, cops, various bodyguards for the rich and the other useful mandarins to the affluenza-stricken is set in stone. ..."
"... Michael Hudson makes great points but I am still wrestling with his (and others) push back against so-called identity politics as it pertains to this perception of it splintering or at least limiting the Democratic party. The Dems are most certainly a party committed to the ideals of neoliberalism and corporatism. They did not lose this election based on "Russian hacking/emails" and other trite nonsense. ..."
"... The Obama part of maintaining the looting of society status quo. ..."
"... The point about Trump being the US Yeltsin is one very much worth considering, if only because Russia, after much degradation and also suffering, has managed to begin to overcome those shameful and depressing times. May we do so also. ..."
"... Excellent piece. Americans have forgotten that the things they took for granted (40 hour week, humane working conditions, employer provided benefits etc.) were gained by the blood, sweat and tears of their forebears. ..."
"... The Clintons, the Obamas, the Blairs, possibly the Macrons, the Ruttes, even the Merkels of this world are wolves in sheep's clothing. They have come to represent, for increasing numbers, little better than managed decline in apparently safe hands, conducted in plain sight, in the ever narrower interests of the few. ..."
"... Regarding the subject line of the article. I'd say that the Democratic Party has been the "paid loyal opposition" for quite a while. . . meaning they are paid to loose. Given the party's ties to Wall Street and Big Pharma it's pretty clear they mostly work for the same folks that own "mainstream" Republicans so their apparent fecklessness and inability to mount ANY sort of effective opposition, even when they are in the majority, shouldn't be any surprise. ..."
Mar 26, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
ambrit, March 26, 2017 at 5:29 am

As long as the people of America had a reasonable expectation of gaining a better life, or, the next best thing, that their children would gain that better life, the Social Contract remained strong. Aspiration was both a spur to striving within the existing system, and a palliative for most discontents encountered. Where the status quo did not offer any real hope, the Civil Rights for minorities being an example, more "robust" methods were necessary, and were employed. What else is civil disobedience but counter violence against the State? Naturally, the State ramps up it's 'violence' in an attempt to quash the disaffected masses.

In this struggle, optics and expectations are crucial. As Gil Scott-Heron famously invoked; "The revolution will not be televised." Paradoxically, by ensuring the wide dissemination of images of the nascent "Revolution," activists ensured that whatever came out of the Days of Rage would not be a true revolution. The newsreels of colored people bravely enduring police oppression in the American South guaranteed that that particular issue would not be dumped down Orwell's "Memory Hole." Television footage of young American men fighting and dying in Vietnam spurred the families of those who could even potentially be drafted to go overseas to die for their country to take to the streets and vote against the war and the warmongers. Gay rights is generally considered to have begun to take form and substance after the "Stonewall Riots" in New York in 1969. See: https://www.socialistalternative.org/stonewall-riots-1969/ By "going postal," the New York gays declared loud and proud that the old way of doing business was no longer acceptable to them.

As Mr. Hudson explained in the piece, the operatives of what Gore Vidal called the Property Party, (which has two right wings,) co-opted each successive movement. Lower middle class and working class people had the Koch brothers funded Tea Party pushed on them. The DNC sponsored "identity groups" quickly sucked all originality out of the various specious "identities" so represented. On the war front, the Pentagon imposed "embedment" upon journalists. In each case, the viewpoints of the "average" person so involved were restricted to vistas guaranteed to promote the "sponsored" agenda. Thus, the present assault upon "alternative" media makes sense from a status quo perspective. It is all about control of the dialogue.

The main strength of the old style identity politics is it's ability to focus the energies of participants toward a particular goal. To that end, the concept of the "United Front" is useful. You watch my back, I'll show up at your demonstration is the operative concept. Thus, the development and widespread dissemination of images of a uniting "struggle" are needed. All of this is actually self evident. What is needed are "leaders" ready to stand up and shout it out over the rooftops.

When Paul Revere made his famous ride, he was actually stopped by British troops before he could reach either Concord or Lexington, Massachusetts. A companion, a Dr. Prescott made the actual warnings to the American rebels. Revere and Prescott were members of an extensive Patriot organization. A Doctor and an Artisan, two usually distinct social classes at the time were collaborating towards a common goal. A "United Front" made the American Revolution. See: http://www.biography.com/news/paul-reveres-ride-facts Today's struggle can proceed no differently.

Jagger , March 26, 2017 at 9:45 am

A Doctor and an Artisan, two usually distinct social classes at the time were collaborating towards a common goal

"We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." A bit of wisdom from the mind of Ben Franklin in the early days of the revolution.

ambrit , March 26, 2017 at 11:26 am

Wonderful! Dr. Franklin would be considered a "radical" even by today's standards. "The more things change .."

steelhead23 , March 26, 2017 at 11:38 am

Let us remember, when a college student asked Rep. Nancy Pelosi whether the party might move toward a more socialistic economic system, she answered, " We're capitalists. That's just the way it is. ", and went on to support a return to noblesse oblige, completely failing to grasp the contradiction between modern neoliberal theology (maximizing shareholder return/profits) and such niceties as paying a living wage. We the left have a problem we need to attack head-on – our semantics have been demonized. Socialism is widely disparaged as subordinating individual will to the state – as tyranny – and the MSM often portrays economic downturns in social democracies (Venezuela, Argentina) as caused by foolish socialist policies, not broadscale economic issues (oil glut), or financial stupidity of prior governments (Argentina). I applaud Senator Sanders for continuing to use the moniker "social democrat" as he has done much to legitimize the word. We need more. Ich bin ein social democrat.

ambrit , March 26, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Oh yes, and I remember wondering when I first read about that "interaction," just what did Pelosi really mean by Capitalist? As someone else here remarked, she might have been confusing capitalist with corporatist in her mind.

polecat , March 26, 2017 at 6:14 pm

'Crony' capitalists is what she really meant ..

Ah the Crony California Quotient Always looking out for them and theirs' --

Gman , March 26, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Doctrinaire [adj]

seeking to impose a doctrine in all circumstances without regard to practical considerations:

1. 'Nancy Pelosi asked whether the party might move toward a more socialistic economic system, she answered, "We're capitalists. That's just the way it is."

pissed younger baby boomer , March 26, 2017 at 7:23 pm

That's why I am changing my party status to one of the socialist parties in Oregon .

DJG , March 26, 2017 at 12:35 pm

ambrit: Excellent comment. What I would add, though, is that all three of the movements that you cite had equality as a main goal: Black people wanted equality in civil rights and civil liberties. The antiwar movement drew strength from the draft, which affected people of all classes (men most directly) and led to various unequal uses of deferments that are causes of political problems to this very day. Gay folk also wanted civil rights and civil liberties (although marriage equality may not be the proper culmination–identity politics gone divergent).

A while back, I read Norberto Bobbio's influential little book, Right and Left. He states that the main motivators of leftist politics are liberty, equality, and fraternité (let's call it solidarity). And he points out that leftists usually place equality first. So to animate a new movement, we have to get back to issues of political and economic equality. The metaphor of The One Percent is a hint. That hint has to be expanded.

ambrit , March 26, 2017 at 1:35 pm

Good point. The American Revolt had it's "Committees of Correspondence." They operated outside of the MSM of the day. The Civil Rights movement early on had the black churches as sanctuaries and disseminators of the message. The anti-war movement had both the Underground press and, unwittingly, later, the MSM of the day proclaiming the problem. In general, each information spreading system used was not a part of the "Official Version" apparatus.

The point about equality is important. The unmentioned basis of Capitalism is competition. Competition implies inequality as the outcome. This is not true aspiration, but aspiration's evil twin, ambition. So, the Left's real uphill slog is going to be to frame the debate about social policy in an anti-competitive form.

Bashing the .01% is always good fun, but, as many have remarked, and the recent failed Democrat Party campaigns have demonstrated, a positive goal is needed to really motivate and engage those of us "on the ground." As earlier remarked, a "Single Payer" healthcare campaign, framed as an "equality" measure would do the trick. There are doubtless many other issues that would lend themselves to a similar treatment. Meld these issues into a "Progressive United Front" campaign and we will begin to see some movement.

In essence, as the earlier socialist and communist thinkers proclaimed, the ownership of the means of production are a good place to start. Given the unequal distribution of such ownership however, the next best thing would be the control of the distribution of the fruits of production; especially germaine with the rise of automation.

It's time to make "We the People" great.

DJG , March 26, 2017 at 3:06 pm

ambrit: Agreed, again. And time for some poetry, too:

Langston Hughes

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/let-america-be-america-again

Note "equality" front and center in his prophetic vision.

ambrit , March 26, 2017 at 3:19 pm

I also see the dream ahead of him, beckoning, beguiling, beatifying despite the false realities around him.
Something to believe in will generally trump something to be fearful of, in the hearts of men.

marym , March 26, 2017 at 2:07 pm

Great comment and resulting discussion.

IMO there's not a practical electoral solution, in the sense of electing a bunch of candidates at multiple levels of government to unwind or replace all the laws, regulations/lack of regulations, court decisions, and algorithms that misgovern our lives and misappropriate our wealth.

Building on your comment ambrit@5:29 and Ulysses@8:38:

A – No more than 3 universal issues (Medicare for All; publicly funded tuition for post-secondary education, training, and apprenticeships; end the wars, for example). Medicare for All is part of the discussion now and should have a prominent place.

B – Activism continues, as it must and will, in other areas: issues of survival (police violence, incarceration, homelessness and hunger; minimum wage ); support for activism across issues (Food not Bombs, ACLU and NLG, Light Brigades, local jail and bail support ); and forward-looking activism (local sustainable food and energy solutions, workplace and community coops ).

C – Electoral politics that functions as the political arm of the movement for "A" and locally appropriate subsets of "B" issues. In practical term, this may need to be an insurgency in the Dem ranks, or more organized Greens, plus coordination with other "third" parties that have a presence and ballot access in some places.

Then we work on ambrit's:

"You watch my back, I'll show up at your demonstration"

Adding: "We recruit candidates who understand your issues and have policy proposals to address them, you show up to vote".

DJG , March 26, 2017 at 3:10 pm

marym: Excellent comment.

I can't find much on the Light Brigades. Who are they?

And my issues at the universal level would be health care for all (with minimal fees and premiums), free education for all, an end to the endless wars, and, if I may have a fourth, expansion of Social Security with some big raises to recipients to give people a base income that they can retire on (or safely go into disability retirement). The money is there for all of these, but the political will consists of the likes of Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi.

Yes: You watch my back, and I'll watch your back. But "back" is defined broadly–we are all in this together.

Ancient 1 , March 26, 2017 at 10:25 pm

Good Comment. What bothers me is there is a lot of conversation about all our issues and proposed solutions, but I see no actions taking place. There are no leaders on the national level, other than Senator Sanders. We need a Socialist Huey Long with a big horn and perhaps a little action like, Act Up" to get things moving. There is going to be a revolt sooner or later. It will get to a point where ordinary people, especially our young, who will not take it anymore.

PH , March 26, 2017 at 5:58 am

Love Hudson, but no one is right about everything.

He accepts as an article of faith that it would be easier to start a new party than win primaries in Dem party. Not clear at all.

Also, while I agree Dems are dominated by Blue Dogs who want to use Wall Street money to run Repub lite candidates in purple states, and that their appeal to identity politics is manipulative and a way to deflect from economic issues, it does not logically follow that voters do not often think of themselves and their goals in terms of racism or religion or guns. Their are cultural "us v them" identities that have a powerful effect on politics.

I agree with Hudson's critique of FIRE and the problem of debt in our society. But it is not easy to explain to the general public - which would not recognize the acronym. And what exactly is the Hudson platform to address debt or FIRE now? I understand the argument (as I understand it) that 2009 was an opportunity to use bankruptcy of Wall Street to break up economic olarchy and write down debt for homeowners. I agree. I am angry and frustrated by the lost opportunity. I also understand the sly reference to having to wait for the next crisis to get another chance. Why do we have to wait? This is Hudson's concession that there is no general understanding of the debt problem or support for Willy-Nilly support for dismantling Wall Street or existing debt relationships.

I am convinced by Hudson that rising housing prices are a scam for loading debt on people and raising the burden of a rentier class. But most people who own houses are excited when you tell them housing prices are going up. What exactly should be our political message.

Some districts have strong evangelical communities and find abortion to be the top issue year in andvyear out. Some evangelicals stuck with Trump in the hope of a Supreme Court that will outlaw abortion. How to Dems or a new Hudson party win in those districts?

Politics is a fluid business. Forget coalition building (extremely tough), even finding a message for one voter (who may be of 2 or 3. Or 4 minds about the world, and change views daily, is tough.

In my view, a Progressive majority must be put together piece by piece, place by place, from the ground up. Bernie articulated a place to start. The Schumer crowd own the Dems now, but it is a fragile hold. We can beat them if we find common sense solutions to our problems and articulate those ideas to our neighbors. We need energy and hard work, but it is not clear that a third party is needed.

Carolinian , March 26, 2017 at 9:44 am

Why do we have to wait?

Because we have a political system–from the Fed to the Congress to the media–that is designed to keep current arrangements in place. Public complacency has allowed this to happen and now only another systemic breakdown is likely to force change on an entrenched elite and confused electorate. One might hope that the Democratic party would be the necessary force for reform but it's surely clear by now that its leadership intends to go down with the ship. Time for the rest of us to pile into the lifeboats (a third party). And even if one believes there is hope for the Dems, it's unlikely they will change without some serious threat to their power and that would be a viable third party. For much of the country's history there were lots of third parties and splinter movements which is what one would expect from such a diverse population. The duopoly is a very artificial arrangement.

Sanders should never have taken this third party threat off the table and it is why the Dem leadership doesn't take him seriously. It's also a reason for some of the rest of us to question his seriousness. "Don't want to be the Nader" isn't the sort of call to arms that has one putting up the Che posters.

Carolinian , March 26, 2017 at 11:40 am

Did Bernie have a big impact? The mainstream media mostly ignore him and the Dems go out of their way to ignore him by running Perez. And didn't the Bernie endorsed primary challengers in the last cycle do poorly?

You will only get the elites' attention by threatening their power, not their message. Obviously establishing a viable third party is extremely difficult which is why I agree with Hudson that it will take the next crisis to change things. Incrementalism has been shown not to work.

FluffytheObeseCat , March 26, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Perez only got 235 votes; Sanders' candidate Ellison got 200. The Democratic Party establishment did not "ignore" Sanders by running Perez. They were semi-desperately trying to block him (and his cohort) from advancing on a low rung on the ladder to power.

Primary challenges across the nation, in every city council and state assembly race. Again and again. Then on to the governorships and federal offices. This is the swiftest, least expensive and least damaging way to power for Sanders partisan. We could take over the party in under ten years if this tactic were widely deployed.

barefoot charley , March 26, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Wikileaks made it plain what the Democrats do to mavericks who win races without a party bit in their mouths. The corruption is institutional, it is their operatives' identity. A successful third party will be very difficult to achieve, but is perhaps possible. A useful Democratic party is not possible until every careerist is unemployed–ie until their employers run out of money. That can't come about, as long as there are empowered Democrats and Republicans.

Jeff W , March 26, 2017 at 4:16 pm

FluffytheObeseCat

Primary challenges across the nation, in every city council and state assembly race. Again and again. Then on to the governorships and federal offices. This is the swiftest, least expensive and least damaging way to power for Sanders partisan. We could take over the party in under ten years if this tactic were widely deployed.

I agree with this statement.

And it's happening: various groups (Our Revolution, Brand New Congress, Justice Democrats, and probably others) are planning primary challengers in just that way. And it's already happened at the local and district level in California. It's a different political environment than even just a few years ago and it will be even still more different when some (or, let's hope, many) of these candidates start winning.

Norb , March 26, 2017 at 9:48 am

The real problem is corporatism. The power to make decisions on public policy has been transferred from democratic government to corporations, run by oligarchs. Both political parties in the US are committed to this political arrangement. The thin veneer of democracy is used to check public dissatisfaction. In short order, even this facade will be deemed unnecessary and discarded. This consolidation of power was enabled by masking class consciousness. Worker aspirations mirror their corporate masters. Life consists of maximizing personal wealth in the form of money and possessions. Mass media provides the conduit to achieve this conditioning.

Trying to rebuild the Democratic party form within is a waste of energy and time that most citizens don't have. If anything, the existing political establishment has perfected the techniques and tools needed to make dissent impotent. This is largely accomplished by perpetuating the myth that change can occur by working within the existing system, and then undermining effective policy that would focus on worker interests. The chumps get scraps.

In the end, oligarchy is the cost that must be paid for our modern life of convenience and endless entertainment. Moving forward must be about rejection. Rejection of the current social and cultural order. A new party, a true workers party, is needed to restore equilibrium to the existing power imbalance. The mass of people who have dropped out of the workforce and electoral system are waiting for leadership to offer a better vision for the future. This vision is not forthcoming because the human imagination must turn outside the existing failed norms and seek new horizons removed from capitalist ideology. Political power follows or grows naturally from a social order, not the other way around. Imposed social orders are always unstable and need violence to maintain. A way of life determines the political possibilities. This is why those wanting change must always work outside the existing system, both mentally and physically.

Just as crony capitalist ideology turned the notion of individual freedom on its head to justify the greatest inequality known to human societies, the remedy centers on the rejection of exploitive violence. It is based on preservation, regeneration, and a spiritual awareness that one must give back to the world and not only take from it. To my mind, coalitions built on these principles stretch across all social groups. Spending time, money, and energy building these networks and infrastructure will be productive and longer lasting. Strikes, boycotts, and dropping out of the existing system sends a much more powerful message to the oligarchs. They will respond with violence, but then their true nature is open for all to see, making it easier for others to reject their ideology.

Capitalism was born of Feudalism. Individual rights superseding the rights of Kings. Nothing lasts forever. A post- capitalist world must be first envisioned and then articulated. Capitalism maintained the inequality and hierarchical use of violence of the previous system. This relationship forms most of the underlying root causes of intractable problems faced today. Egalitarianism provides a way and an alternative. Socialist ideas can be suppressed but never eradicated. Human social evolution points in this direction. Slavery will never return. The human spirt will not allow it.

two beers , March 26, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Your note has a 1930s sound to me. Spain, maybe.

What a cavalier and condescending dismissal. With an arrogant wave of the hand, history goes *poof*. And though you "agree" (how generous of you!) )with some of the symptoms Hudson identifies, you categorically deny what he identifies as the root systemic cause of those ills. Instead, a little modest, cautious, sensible, "piece by piece", "place by place" reform around the edges, and everything will work out just fine in its own time, because abortion.

You are an exemplary and model Democrat, and Exhibit A why left politics will never emerge from within the Democrat Party.

jrs , March 26, 2017 at 2:28 pm

although it may be an uphill climb now, striking and unionizing still sounds infinitely less pie in the sky and far more brass tacks and addressing some of the actual problems, than creating a 3rd party in the U.S.. If that is one's solution they have no right to criticize anyone on their proposals not being practical. At least striking has some history of actually working.

Norb , March 26, 2017 at 3:37 pm

It is the participation in our own destruction that I am trying to express and get my head around. Engagement by all means, but somehow the rules need to be changed.

The amount of time, energy, and resources needed to engage in effective politics today is prohibitive to most citizens. What Hudson is saying is that the two party system in America is broken and the only way forward is to start anew. I would tend to agree. In my lifetime, the Democratic party has been reforming for close to 40 years now. That is a long time to be ineffectual concerning worker's interests. The long dissent of the American workforce is reaching critical mass and some radical thinking and action is needed.

The left needs to develop some productive alternatives, which again Hudson points out. An egalitarian alternative needs to be articulated. Candidates running for office as socialists, espousing actual socialist ideals. Win or loose, speaking in public about socialist ideals can only help. Government sponsorship of small business and cooperatives over monopolistic corporations. Actually running and building sustainable communities. As was stated in comments, Sanders raised upwards of 240 million dollars during the last campaign. What is there to show for all that effort and resource depletion?

An actual show of distain for the elite ruling class for their crass barbarism and masked cruelty is a start. Followed by actually building something of lasting value.

FluffytheObeseCat , March 26, 2017 at 12:39 pm

The "masses of people who have dropped out of the workforce" are old, overweight, have multiple physical deficits and are hooked on at least 2 types of prescription dope. They will not be manning your nostalgia-draped barricades. Not ever.

jrs , March 26, 2017 at 2:34 pm

alrighty, everyone who can't get a job is overweight and a drug addict and unhealthy etc.. Get real. Old sometimes has something to do with it, just because companies do age discriminate in hiring.

tegnost , March 26, 2017 at 10:04 am

I agree with Hudson's critique of FIRE and the problem of debt in our society. But it is not easy to explain to the general public - which would not recognize the acronym.

People are not a miniscule fraction as stupid as you think they are, and I will posit that this is one of, if not the main problem with democrat loyalists such as yourself.

first you say this

"Also, while I agree Dems are dominated by Blue Dogs who want to use Wall Street money to run Repub lite candidates in purple states, and that their appeal to identity politics is manipulative and a way to deflect from economic issues,"

shorter, I realize democrats don't represent you, and that's too bad but you have no other option and PH doesn't want you to have another option.
followed by

" it does not logically follow that voters do not often think of themselves and their goals in terms of racism or religion or guns. Their are cultural "us v them" identities that have a powerful effect on politics."

Is this unmoored jab at rural identity not a double negative that can be rephrased "it logically follows that voters think of themselves in terms of racism or religion or guns"? and isn't that just another way of saying people are stupid and you are not because you can hide your class and race bias behind a double negative, and people being stupider than you will never know it because clever, but clever ain't working anymore, and isn't likely to start working any time soon.

You close with a call for incrementalism yeah that's worked really great for all of us in the hoi polloi, and you don't fail to mention abortion, the only democrat platform, and schumer et al's "fragile grip" is in reality an "iron law of institutions" grip and they and you are not going to let go.

"We can beat them if we find common sense solutions to our problems and articulate those ideas to our neighbors. We need energy and hard work, but it is not clear that a third party is needed."

so who is this "we" kemo sabe? I am in the veal pen. Come into the veal pen with me. We will be in the veal pen thanks but no thanks. I've had plenty of common sense discussions with my neighbors, and it's depressing as we all know none of those sensible policies will be enacted by the useless to the common citizen and enabler to the criminals on wall street democrat party, rotten to it's core.

Paul Greenwood , March 26, 2017 at 6:20 am

Федеральное агентство по управлению государственным имуществом (Росимущество) was what created Oligarchs under Yeltsin. It was headed by Chubais who helped make Khordorovsky and the rest of the Oligarchs incredibly rich. He then headed the 1996 Re-Election Campaign for Unpopular Yeltsin and bought victory and sold off State assets for nugatory worth.

Khordorovsky was to deliver Yukos to Exxon and let US interests control Russia's natural resources. Berezhovsky needed a "roof" – he had Chechens protecting his outside interests but once Yeltsin's liver gave out the KGB Siloviki would put The Family on trial so he found Putin as a Lieut-Col. with a background in St Petersburg where Chubais had been active for Sobchak also. Putin was the "roof" to keep the KGB from executing the looters for treason.

Like a new Tsar with Boyars, Putin had to find which were his "Oligarchs" and Berezhovsky turned his assets over to Abramovich who is Putin's man. Chubais now sits on CFR and JP Morgan Board for his good works.

jackiebass , March 26, 2017 at 6:56 am

Trump won on the slogan Make America Great. I live in upstate NY which is strong republican. These people thought the slogan meant great for them. That coupled with a bitter hate of Clinton made it easy for Trump to get their vote. A sad thing is that these voters are very uninformed and depend on what they know from corporate media especially FOX news. None of them know what Neoliberal means and that the root of their problems lie with neoliberal policies.

When I tell them that Obama and Cuomo aren't really democrats but moderate republicans they think I'm out of my mind. I tend to look at thing objectively based on verifiable facts.Most of these voters look at issues in an emotional way. They will say Obamacare is bad and need to be repealed. When you ask them how it's bad the best they can come up with is it forces you to buy insurance and you can't keep your own doctor. I guess what I'm saying is that the average voter is too lazy to get informed and relies on the political propaganda fed to them.

At 75 years old I don't see that the immediate future will change much. The only hope I see is in the young of our country. Unless someone or a movement can educate them about the evils that are destroying their future, democracy is dead. Because of how the economy is structured the economic future for most of the population is grim. They will not be able to afford to retire and will live in poverty. Perhaps this will wake them up. Unfortunately it will be too late for them.

UserFriendly , March 26, 2017 at 8:03 am

People are all sheep. No one thinks, they just vote based on emotions. I have never seen that more blatantly laid bare then in this one article.

HOW HIGH-END STUDENT COMPLEXES CREATED THE MOST GOP PRECINCT IN LEON COUNTY

Which ties in nicely with the slate star codex piece from yesterday.
GUIDED BY THE BEAUTY OF OUR WEAPONS

At best we can work at the margin on the handful of people that are capable of rational thought. Which is why nothing ever changes, appeals to emotion are always more potent than appeals to reason. There is no solution.

John Wright , March 26, 2017 at 9:45 am

I also agree that there is no solution, certainly not an evolutionary solution via EITHER of the two parties.

The big changes in the USA occurred during the Great Depression as financial reform was introduced, the idea of government infrastructure could provide employment and what I believe is little mentioned, an increased awareness on the part of many that their success was not achieved solely by their own efforts.

Many of the USA's post war corporate executives should have remembered that their families struggled during the thirties, and this may have made them more connected with their employees and communities.

Now we have a government of the internally connected top 10%, with the bottom 90% detached and watching from outside.

And CEO's and the executive class have loyalty only to their company's stock price.

The recent rehabilitation of serial screw-up George W. Bush and attempted elevation of serial screw-up Hillary Clinton is direct evidence that the political class does not care how much harm they do to the "deplorable" voters they appeal to every 2/4/6 years.

With the money sloshing around DC and the media control of content, how does one replace the leadership of both parties with more progressive people in any reasonable time frame?

Per Mark Blyth, Global Trump_vs_deep_state is the current response, but what will this morph into after Global Trump_vs_deep_state hangover manifests?.

sundayafternoon , March 26, 2017 at 10:57 am

I think although it may seem that only a small percent of the population is capable of rational thought I think this is actually not the case and its more productive (and optomistic) to think of this issue in terms of a behaviour rather than a fixed capability, like how some ancient Greek philosophers thought about moral behaviour or how some modern phychologists think about psychopathy. Almost everyone is capable of rational thought (or moral or psychopathitic behaviour) but its how often or more precisly in what situations an individual decides to engage in or deploy rational thought.

jrs , March 26, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Capable of rational thought really doesn't do much good for all the things one has no exposure to. Ok in this case they may have little real understanding of say leftists ideas. And I really think they don't. That may not be the case for the political junkies here for political ideas, but we all have our areas of things (not politics) we may have a similar stupidity about.

Katharine , March 26, 2017 at 11:23 am

Sorry, but I think that's way too disrespectful of other people and not realistic. All, save those with extreme mental disabilities, are capable of some degree of rational thought. That doesn't mean they can be quickly or easily convinced, but they will be more amenable to persuasion if you approach them as equals and open your mind to their reality in order to find the right terms with which to present your ideas. Bernie has shown himself to be very good at that, as are all good teachers. Those who insist on framing everything in their own terms without adapting their communication to another's experience will always get blank stares.

knowbuddhau , March 26, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Well said, Katharine.

Dehumanizing ("people are sheep") and dismissing our neighbors as incapable of rational (good?) thinking will get us nowhere. Like I've said, the propaganda is working when we're dividing and conquering ourselves. That horrid little word often seen in this context, "sheeple," is just another word for "deplorables."

People are not sheep. We've been psyop'd senseless. "Public relations" began around the turn of the 20th century. It was ramped up by orders of magnitude after WWII.

Gore Vidal quotes JFK as saying to him, we've entered an era in which "it is the *appearance of things that matters" (emphasis original in the TRNN video, The National Security State with Gore Vidal ). Psychology and other social sciences have been weaponized and turned against us. With a facile understanding of the human mind (as if it were nothing but a mere mechanism), immense effort has gone into controlling the inputs in order to control the outputs (behavior).

From How US Flooded the World with Psyops

Newly declassified documents from the Reagan presidential library help explain how the U.S. government developed its sophisticated psychological operations capabilities that – over the past three decades – have created an alternative reality both for people in targeted countries and for American citizens, a structure that expanded U.S. influence abroad and quieted dissent at home.

Today, "public opinion" is a Frankenstein's monster. Most of my fellow Americans believe in a world that never existed and doesn't exist right now. We can't even agree on what happened to JFK, or MLK, or what happened on 9/11/01.

Contra UF, it's not that people are incapable of rational thought; rather, the information we have is hopelessly corrupted. People are acting rationally, but the numerators and denominators have been faked. On purpose. Or did the Russians really do it?

Once again, TPTB thought they had found a magic method of machining people into permanent compliance. But they neglected the fact that relying on psyops drives people crazy. You just can't keep rejecting real reality and substituting a manufactured Narrative (looking at you, NYT) forever.

ISTM we're acting without sufficient contact with reality. The effort to control the population, the better to exploit us, has driven many of us mad. Neglecting the century or so of effort that's gone into manufacturing consent leads to blaming the victims.

Propagandists and PSYOPeratives have put out the people's eyes, and you berate them for their blindness?

sundayafternoon , March 26, 2017 at 7:23 pm

While I would absolutely agree with everything you've just said and believe the facts you've cited are the main reason for the bleak outlook for our species, how the myriad of lies fed to the population is received is a more complex process than just plain deception. People are incredibly complex and operate on a number of levels simultaneously. For instance the notion that universal health care or a strong union would be personally beneficial, or that the banking system is corrupt and that all the wars since 1945 have been unnecessary must be known to anyone with functioning eyes and ears on a relatively conscious level, but the majority have chosen to effectively overlook this reality I believe for reasons that ultimately feed in to human predispositions for conformity. It's ironic that our evolutionary highly successful nature of collectivism is now working against us as a species and leading to a destructive subservience that is almost sadomasochistic. If the population were to be unequivocally presented with reality I doubt many would tolerate the state we have now but conversely this would mean that the elite in our society had sanctioned truthfulness, so we would not really be going against the wishes of the powerful. Basically the fact that the powerful in our society have presented us with lies means lies are what they want us to believe, so dutifully most will oblige, however obviously at odds with reality those lies are.

Why such an overwhelming percent of the population do not vote in their own economic interest is because political affiliations seem to be a complex expression of self-identity, something which includes attitudes, social prejudices and 'beliefs' that are dependent on complex emotional interactions between internal and external events, and can include for instance a desire for status within your tribe, family loyalty, even sadistic impulses. I;m probably wrong about most of this but part of me cant help feeling some of the victims share a little of the blame

knowbuddhau , March 26, 2017 at 9:23 pm

>> For instance the notion that universal health care or a strong union would be personally beneficial, or that the banking system is corrupt and that all the wars since 1945 have been unnecessary must be known to anyone with functioning eyes and ears on a relatively conscious level, but the majority have chosen to effectively overlook this reality I believe for reasons that ultimately feed in to human predispositions for conformity.

You're projecting your knowledge and views, and then blaming people who don't see things your way. A majority supports single payer, yes, but the rest is wishful thinking.

If you read Zinn's A People's History of the US, you'll see that even WWII was a manufactured war. I'm willing to bet a majority still thinks we were attacked out of the blue on Pearl Harbor Day, despite FDR's plan to provoke Japan. Or that incinerating Nagasaki and Hiroshima ended the war and saved tens of thousands of US lives. There was an almost perfectly complete news blackout on the aftermath specifically so that opposition to the bombings couldn't form. There are endless examples like this.

We're not told what we need to know to govern ourselves. What we are told amounts to propaganda, sometimes explicitly so.

Yes, a lot of people have drunk the koolaid, some with gusto. Who's pouring it? You can blame the victims all you like. I blame the people who've deliberately set out to deceive us.

What our deluded brothers and sisters need is our compassion. It's hard to have compassion for someone trying to run you over for exercising your rights (been there, done that), but no one ever said it would be easy.

Kokuanani , March 26, 2017 at 7:55 am

The only hope I see is in the young of our country.

I think Trump, the Repubs and most of the Dems see that too. That's why they've promoted DeVos, Arnie Duncan, and all the other advocates of "charter schools," strangled public education, and attacked teachers.

UserFriendly , March 26, 2017 at 8:05 am

and decided college was a great opportunity to make debt slaves ...

Deadl E Cheese , March 26, 2017 at 8:56 am

The problem with this approach is that all this does is kill off liberal cosmopolitanism, not Marxism. Marxism doesn't need a widespread secondarily-educated population to spread. And it definitely does not need liberal cosmopolitanism as a stepping stone; quite the opposite, really. Just in the US, when the wobblies and Black Panthers started turning red, how many of their rank and file went to college or even finished high school?

Considering that the elites are using liberal cosmopolitanism to strangle Marxism (class-only Marxists want to throw women and nonwhites under the bus to get their single-payer and you, the woke liberal identitarian, must support capitalism to protect the marginalized), this strategy is not only pointless but it's also self-defeating.

NotTimothyGeithner , March 26, 2017 at 9:35 am

It's far more simpler. Charter schools are about following the money. Public schools have seemingly huge revenue streams. Why can't GE get a cut is the thought process? For profit Healthcare was forbidden until 1973 (thanks to Teddy), why not public schools?

NotTimothyGeithner , March 26, 2017 at 11:45 am

The HMO Act of 1973 (thanks Teddy and Tricky Dick; bipartisanship at its finest) made it easier to start and run HMOs which faced regulatory hurdles mostly due to financing. Non profits had an easier time of it hence Hospitals named "St X" or "X General." Since the hospital were non profits and employers made deals with the hospitals, health insurance was effectively non-profit. There were gaps, mostly in rural areas. Other changes from the HMO Act of 1973 encouraged profit seeking from denial of coverage to pushing unnecessary procedures or prescriptions.

There is a noticeable correlation between this act and the explosion of Healthcare costs. The Miller Center had a series on Nixon expressing doubts to the Kaiser about HMOs. The arguments played out just like charter schools today.

philnc , March 26, 2017 at 4:14 pm

I recall hearing the tape of a conversation among Nixon and his aides regarding HMOs. The audio, like most of the Johnson & Nixon tapes, was poor, but what did come through was Nixon's support for Kaiser's business model, summed up by Erlichman as, "the less care they give them, the more money they make."

https://millercenter.org/the-presidency/educational-resources/all-the-incentives-are-toward-less-medical-care

Huey Long , March 26, 2017 at 11:49 am

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_Maintenance_Organization_Act_of_1973

Disturbed Voter , March 26, 2017 at 8:39 am

The US Left has been controlled opposition since 1950. There was never a chance it could provide a reasonable and effective alternative. FBI/CIA moles make sure they never will. The Democrats have never been true Left FDR didn't really betray his class, he saved them from their own stupidity.

Randall Stephens , March 26, 2017 at 9:42 am

"As Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere quipped in the 1960s, when he was accused by the US of running a one-party state, 'The United States is also a one-party state but, with typical American extravagance, they have two of them'."

OK, that made me laugh out loud.

Arizona Slim , March 26, 2017 at 10:07 am

I seem to recall that the identity politics of yore were lacking in solidarity. The antiwar protestors, some of whom were hippies, were beaten up by working class union members. Remember the hard hat riots? And the African American leadership of the Civil Rights era? Well, they were from the black churches​, and they thought that the hippies were uncouth.

Deadl E Cheese , March 26, 2017 at 10:13 am

The identity politics of today lack in solidarity, too. What with Hillary Clinton running the most ageist campaign in memory, Obama breaking the record on deportations, Bill Clinton blowing racist dogwhistles as hard he can and also helping to shepherd a police state that puts Thailand to shame, and the whole of the Democratic Party stoking Russophobia and neoconservative.

A cynic might say that liberal identity politics (as opposed to post-Frankfurt/Focault Marxist identity politics) was intentionally designed to do these things both in the 60-70s and now.

And I am that cynic.

Kukulkan , March 26, 2017 at 10:30 am

I don't see how antiwar protestors qualify as identity politics, since the group is defined by a policy concern, not by some quasi-biological tag. Same with working class union members; policy and economic interests, not tags.

I'd say the same about the African American leadership of the Civil Rights era, even though they did generally share the tag of being "black". They focused on a policy goal and welcomed those who didn't share the tag to participate in the struggle.

Identity politics are not the same thing as left-wing or progressive or liberal (or whatever you want to call it) politics. In very real sense, Identity politics are a form of anti-politics since they don't address interests, policy or allow any form of accommodation or reconciliation of different points of view.

Identity politics is about tags. Non-identity politics is about interests and policies.

Kukulkan , March 26, 2017 at 4:25 pm

But the focus is on the policy issues. The campaign for gay marriage was about getting gay marriage, not about being gay. And anyone who supported gay marriage was a part of that campaign - gay, straight, black, white, male, female; all the tags. It may have started with those who were gay, but it wasn't exclusive to the tag.

By contrast, Hillary's campaign was just about the tags. Not doing anything for those with the tags, or changing any policies, no matter how they affected various tags, or even addressing any issues that are important to one or more of the tags, just acknowledging the tags and verbally supporting pride in them. That's why even a bunch of people possessing the tags didn't support her: there was nothing there for them, or, indeed, anyone else outside the financial and imperial elite.

NotTimothyGeithner , March 26, 2017 at 12:12 pm

Abernathy and King were from black churches. The rest of the leadership came from the street or universities. King's lament about the "white moderate" was code for the "black church." Ministers were glorified house slaves and liked the big houses. Jim Crow worked for black ministers. If better of blacks moved to white neighborhoods and more importantly white churches, who would put money in the collection plate?

With the exception of Jackson when he showed up (he was young), those young black men who were always around King were Communists and atheists. They didn't broadcast it for obvious reasons, but a guy like Malcolm X was skeptical of King for real reasons.

Jackson was important because he forced the black churches to get with the program. If there was a minister successor to King, the congregants might ask questions about their own ministers.

The black church hated hippies, but the real civil rights leadership didn't.

SumiDreamer , March 26, 2017 at 10:10 am

The diagnosis is mostly correct. But omits the role class bigotry and affluenza with attendant celebrity culture and pursuit of prestige plays. Thus the prognosis and protocol go astray.

The wealthy and the politicians don't care about you/us. They care about maintaining any fiction that allows them to keep acquiring. Trump is not the problem; Mercer"s values are The Problem. Trump is the PERFECT reality TV/celebrity fantasy creature to keep the twisted Mercer chariot's wheels turning.

Bernie was NOT The Answer. Putting on a mask of concern does not take away the sorrows of empire. As long as the blatant US militarism and imperialism continues we cannot unite the working class. Everything it needs to flourish continues - mass incarceration, join the military or stay in the ghetto, graft and corruption of military/industrial/media complex, no respect for other cultures being swarmed, consumerism.

Bernie picked up Occupy"s talking points (good plagarist!) but left the hurdle of recognizing plutocracy the same as Occupy did. Plutocracy is democratic as well it just usnt!

What is there to show for 200 million in donations to overcome the Third Way? A new minuet with the crushing DemocRATic "party".

The war has come home. First step is to admit it. Consistency in VALUES is the left"s primary directive. There needs to be funerals for both parties not more illusion.

The tax break "fight" will be hilarious. Another example of how our rulers cannot solve a single problem .

The jobs plan: more prison guards, border agents, munitions makers, soldiers, cops, various bodyguards for the rich and the other useful mandarins to the affluenza-stricken is set in stone.

You cannot heal a chronic disease without seeing the entirety of its degenerative properties. We're fighting a nasty virus.

Mac na Michomhairle , March 26, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Bernie did not plagiarize Occupy. He had been saying the same things in Vermont for 25 years, but saying them in ways that lots of very various people connected with.

20 years ago, Bernie lawn signs used to be run over by irate people who knew he was a no-good dirty Socialist. But because he has consistently framed issues in terms of ordinary people's lives and because he has always been absolutely honest and forthright, most of those people who flattened the signs now like and respect him and vote for him. They also pay attention to issues that only no-good dirty Socialists do in most other states.

Denis Drew , March 26, 2017 at 10:20 am

"a revived protection of labor's right to unionize"

Do this and everything else will follow - don't do this and nothing will ever follow.

"It seems that only a new party can achieve these aims."

Don't depend on right or left parties. Depend on yourselves: rebuild American union density (6% unions in private economy analogous to 20/10 BP - starves every other healthy process). Both parties will come begging to your door.

Here's how to "do this":

[snip]
80 years ago Congress forgot to put criminal enforcement in the NLRA(a). Had union busting been a felony all along we would be like Germany today. Maybe at some point our progressives might note that collective bargaining is the T-Rex in the room - or the missing T-Rex .

The money is there for $20 jobs. 49 years - and half the per capita income ago - the fed min wage was $11. Since then the bottom 45% went from 20% overall income share to 10% - while the top 1% went from 10% to 20%.

How to get it - how to get collective bargaining set up? States can make union busting a felony without worrying about so-called federal preemption:

+ a state law sanctioning wholesalers, for instance, using market power to block small retail establishments from combining their bargaining power could be the same one that makes union busting a felony - overlap like min wage laws - especially since on crim penalties the fed has left nothing to overlap since 1935;

+ First Amendment right to collectively bargain cannot be forced by the fed down (the current) impassable road. Double ditto for FedEx employees who have to hurdle the whole-nation-at-once certification election barrier;

+ for contrast, examples of state infringement on federal preemption might be a state finding of union busting leading to a mandate for an election under the fed setup - or any state certification setup for labor already covered by NLRA(a) or RLA(a). (Okay for excluded farm workers.)
[snip]

PhilipL , March 26, 2017 at 11:14 am

Michael Hudson makes great points but I am still wrestling with his (and others) push back against so-called identity politics as it pertains to this perception of it splintering or at least limiting the Democratic party. The Dems are most certainly a party committed to the ideals of neoliberalism and corporatism. They did not lose this election based on "Russian hacking/emails" and other trite nonsense.

Nor did they lose it by appealing to so-called identity politics or tribalism. If the Left is going to move forward effectively it can't pretend we are merely having class and by extension economic arguments. Race is the thru line and has consistently been since the countries inception. Many things cited i.e. the New Deal, pro-Union policy, etc are standard bearers on the Left but have also been rife with racist treatment of potential Black and Latino allies. Why would that be ignored if we are only having conversations of class? Class does not explain redlining which has economic and social implications.

Access to universal healthcare is great and should be a goal but what does one do when the practice of medicine is still effected by race based/racial administration –> https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/aug/10/black-patients-bias-prescriptions-pain-management-medicine-opioids

Acces to higher education and supposedly higher paying job with more opportunities is also great but that access is still shielded by exclusion that again is race based –> https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/05/african-americans-with-college-degrees-are-twice-as-likely-to-be-unemployed-as-other-graduates/430971/

These are complex issues, but they are not as class focused (solely) as many on the Left would like to believe. Our failure to speak honestly and openly about it and critique capitalism and its most malevolent (and seductive form neoliberalism) as being tied to the practice and idea of white supremacy is why we ultimately will find it more and more challenging to wage a successful countermovement against it.

Scylla , March 26, 2017 at 5:19 pm

Wow. Ok, so since racial bias was written into past economic policy that was intended to address class issues, addressing class based inequality should just be abandoned?

How about just demanding policy that addresses class based inequality simply be written without the racial bias? Why is this so difficult to get into the minds of liberals? This is not that hard.

Jason Boxman , March 26, 2017 at 11:21 am

The refusal to recognize is a nice idea. I've often thought of late that Democrats, or at least the Left, should refuse to recognize Trump's horrible cabinet appointments, even if the delegitimizing effect is minimal. Just referring to these people at citizen or whatever rather than secretary would be some small repudiation, at least.

Mel , March 26, 2017 at 12:22 pm

There's a very long and comprehensive musing on politics and public dialog at slatestarcodex. My takeaway: if your dialog is weaponized, if you consider your mission to be "How do I force these people to admit that I'm right?" then you'll keep seeing the same results we see now.

Tim , March 26, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Been saying #TrumpIsObamaLegacy since early morning in November. Yves was WAAAAY ahead of the curve back in late 08 calling that out. The Obama part of maintaining the looting of society status quo.

juliania , March 26, 2017 at 1:14 pm

The point about Trump being the US Yeltsin is one very much worth considering, if only because Russia, after much degradation and also suffering, has managed to begin to overcome those shameful and depressing times. May we do so also.

Blue Pilgrim , March 26, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Actually, his latest book is J is For Junk Economics
http://michael-hudson.com/2017/02/j-is-for-junk-economics-a-guide-to-reality-in-an-age-of-deception/

John k , March 26, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Great summary, forwarding to friends.
As commented above, progressive candidates that Bernie backed did not do well. Neolib always willing to boost funding for any candidate of any party if primary challenged by a progressive. Takeover of state party machinery e.g. Ca did have some success, but pretty slow.

Third party seems both the only way and imo more doable than many think unlike in the past, electorate is now desperate for real change. Third party impossible until probable. IMO we are now at just such a point.

But neolib will fight tooth and nail to keep a progressive party off the ballot....

Vatch , March 26, 2017 at 6:35 pm

progressive candidates that Bernie backed did not do well.

I'm not so sure about that. Here's the list of candidates backed by Our Revolution (not precisely the same as Sanders, but close). I didn't bother to do an exact count, but it appears that the winners exceed the losers by about 6 to 5.

https://ourrevolution.com/election-2016/

The Republicans control a majority of the state legislatures, governorships, and both houses of Congress. Compared to the establishment Democratic Party as a whole, the Sanders people in Our Revolution are doing pretty well. A new party isn't required; we just need some new people in charge of the Democratic Party. Heck, a lot of the same people could remain in charge, so long as they change their attitudes and stop obeying Wall Street and the billionaires.

Temporarily Sane , March 26, 2017 at 3:59 pm

Excellent piece. Americans have forgotten that the things they took for granted (40 hour week, humane working conditions, employer provided benefits etc.) were gained by the blood, sweat and tears of their forebears.

Today, as the attack on what's left of employee protections and benefits is ramped up, people are alienated from one another and encouraged to channel their despair and anger into blaming scapegoats or invest their energy stoking paranoid delusions about the illuminati and Russian agents. If that gets boring there's always alcohol and heroin to take the edge off.

The left has a momentous job – it has to convince people to give a shit and think of their fate as intertwined with others in a similar position. After decades of neoliberal economics empathy and giving a shit are associated with weakness and losers in many people's minds. Nobody wants to give a shit about anyone outside their preferred identity group or groups but everyone wants, demands , others give a shit about them.

It's almost comical how self-defeating and illogical people can be.

Gman , March 26, 2017 at 6:52 pm

Almost.

My belief is that Trump (and his kin) is likely the 'apotheosis' of neoliberalism or, as is far less likely, he (or they) might pleasantly surprise us.

Like Brexit in the UK, I for one, hopefully not mistakenly, mark this anti establishment ascendency as the beginning of the end of neoliberal economics rather than a further ringing endorsement ie I fully accept things may have to get worse before they get better.

People mostly vote to maintain a status quo they believe serves or may serve their interests in the future or, increasingly in the case of ever plausible (to the trusting and naïve) neoliberalism, out of misplaced hope, desperation, exasperation or understandable fear of the unknown.

The Clintons, the Obamas, the Blairs, possibly the Macrons, the Ruttes, even the Merkels of this world are wolves in sheep's clothing. They have come to represent, for increasing numbers, little better than managed decline in apparently safe hands, conducted in plain sight, in the ever narrower interests of the few.

Unfortunately events are conspiring to demand the once virtuous, now vicious, circle be broken by fair means or foul.

habenicht , March 26, 2017 at 8:57 pm

It seems that only a new party can achieve these aims. At the time these essays are going to press, Sanders has committed himself to working within the Democratic Party. But that stance is based on his assumption that somehow he can recruit enough activists to take over the party from Its Donor Class.

I suspect he will fail. In any case, it is easier to begin afresh than to try to re-design a party (or any institution) dominated by resistance to change, and whose idea of economic growth is a pastiche of tax cuts and deregulation. Both U.S. parties are committed to this neoliberal program – and seek to blame foreign enemies for the fact that its effect is to continue squeezing living standards and bloating the financial sector.

I couldn't have said it better myself. Its encouraging to know that minds like Hudson's are thinking in these terms.

Kirk , March 26, 2017 at 9:31 pm

Regarding the subject line of the article. I'd say that the Democratic Party has been the "paid loyal opposition" for quite a while. . . meaning they are paid to loose. Given the party's ties to Wall Street and Big Pharma it's pretty clear they mostly work for the same folks that own "mainstream" Republicans so their apparent fecklessness and inability to mount ANY sort of effective opposition, even when they are in the majority, shouldn't be any surprise.

The question might more appropriately be can EITHER party survive Trump? Frankly, one can only HOPE that the current version of the Democratic Party DOES go the way of the Whig Party. I can only hope that the Republicans stay as gridlocked as they currently are by the stupid faction of their party.

[Feb 27, 2017] For all practical purposes two party system behaves as an improved version of one party system. Iron law of oligarchy essentially guarantees the upper hand for the leadership within the interparty struggle for power.

Feb 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
nobody , February 26, 2017 at 5:38 am

I was just looking for stuff that explains how the institutional architecture has been designed so as to preclude any meaningful third party challenges, and I happened upon a document by Bill Domhoff (the "Who Rules America?" guy) where he explains: " Third Parties Don't Work: Why and How Egalitarians Should Transform the Democratic Party ." What he says:

So what should egalitarian activists do in terms of future elections if and when the issues, circumstances, and candidates seem right? First, they should form Egalitarian Democratic Clubs. That gives them an organizational base as well as a distinctive new social identity within the structural pathway to government that is labeled "the Democratic Party." Forming such clubs makes it possible for activists to maintain their sense of separatism and purity while at the same time allowing them to compete within the Democratic Party. There are numerous precedents for such clubs within the party, including liberal and reform clubs in the past, and the conservative Democratic Leadership Council at the present time.

This strategy of forging a separate social identity is also followed by members of the right wing within the Republican Party. By joining organizations like the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition, they can define themselves as Christians who have to work out of necessity within the debased confines of the Republican Party. That is, they think of themselves as Christians first and Republicans second, and that is what egalitarians should do: identify themselves primarily as egalitarians and only secondarily as Democrats.

After forming Egalitarian Democrat Clubs, egalitarian activists should find people to run in selected Democratic primaries from precinct to president. They should not simply support eager candidates who come to them with the hope of turning them into campaign workers. They have to create candidates of their own who already are committed to the egalitarian movement and to its alternative economic vision of planning through the market. The candidates have to be responsible to the clubs, or else the candidates naturally will look out for their own self interest and careers.

PH , February 26, 2017 at 8:56 am

This is wise.

Steve H. , February 26, 2017 at 10:24 am

Yes it is. Your excerpt zeroes in on the mechanism of How.

"clubs within the party" : Turchin writing on the Price Equation makes something clear. If the within-group co-operators can be successful and reproduce, and then sequester non-co-operators into a separate group, the chances of co-operator success increase. Put 'em on a committee.

That mechanism is what makes Zuck's presidential bid dangerous. As groups use Fcbk to organize, a malevolent administrator can introduce FBU 's that disrupt social cohesion within the group. An advanced form of voter suppression.

Steve H. , February 26, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Sorry, PH, by 'Your' I meant nobody.

likbez , February 26, 2017 at 4:55 pm
Clubs within the Party was how the Communist Party of the USSR operated. They were called factions. They were unable to challenge the ruling elite and if they became too strong they were simply purged from the Party.

Nothing new here. Cooptation of those who deviate left or right from the party platform and party oligarchy can be effectively used within "game of clubs" framework due to the iron law of oligarchy. Those who can't be coopted can be purged or excommunicated.

For all practical purposes two party system behaves as an improved version of one party system. Iron law of oligarchy essentially guarantees the upper hand for the leadership within the interparty struggle for power. And provides for the leadership the opportunity to pursue their own agenda, different from the wishes of rank and file members. Like was the case with Bill Clinton selling Democratic Party to Wall Street and turning it into yet another neoliberal party - soft neoliberals, like sometime Clinton's "third way" neoliberalism is called.

Only parliamentary system when parties are allocated seats due to votes they got with some "passing" threshold can provide the opportunity of the third party to emerge as the major political force outside a single election cycle or two.

It is important to understand that the "first after the post" system virtually guarantees the elimination of any contenders to both major parties. Unless there is a revolutionary situation when the ruling elite is so discredited that can't rule "as usual". Then winners are usually incorporated into the party framework and partially emasculated somewhat later, when they face the challenges of governing the system which is totally against them. Like now the situation developed in case of Trump.

You can say anything about British elite but this was pretty ingenious political invention.

In other words, the main task to two party system in to prevent any possibility for the challengers of status quo to obtain political power via elections. Reforms should be approved by party oligarchy to be viable. And there are powerful internal mechanisms like DNC which help to block advances of anybody who want to challenge the status quo.

Also the emerging leaders can be simply bought. This is another way how the iron law of oligarchy operates.

likbez , February 26, 2017 at 5:09 pm
Forgot to mention.

Lesse evilism is the mechanism by which voters are coopted to vote for one of two dismal choices in two party system.

See http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/03/27/the-logic-of-lesser-evilism/

== quote ==

From a rhetorical point of view, however, lesser evilism involves more than just the logical principle behind it. The reason is plain: except in a trivial sense, better choices are less bad only when the alternatives are bad or, more precisely, regarded as bad. Less bad choices are less evil only when the alternatives are or are thought to be bad indeed.

This is all that the "evil" in "lesser evilism" implies. Strictly speaking, evil is a religious, not a political, notion. But lesser evilism in politics is a secular phenomenon, and the force of the word is rhetorical only. Its religious origins and connotations are useful for giving the word a resonance that "bad" and even "very bad" lack; not for making any theological or otherwise portentous point.

Although the logic behind lesser evilism is impeccable, the principle seldom applies directly in real world circumstances. In political contexts especially, there are too many complicating factors, and there is too much indeterminacy.

This is why lesser evilism in politics – especially, electoral politics - can be, and often is, a bad idea.

Myopia is a chronic problem in electoral contests because voters tend to focus on candidates' personalities or on what they believe they are likely to do if elected, neglecting other pertinent considerations.

Suppose, for instance, that Obama truly was less disposed than McCain in 2008 or Romney in 2012 to expand the wars he inherited from George Bush and Dick Cheney or to extend the range and intensity of the Bush-Cheney "Global War on Terror."

Of course, war making is not the only thing Presidents do, but even if we focus only on that, we can still wonder whether voters favoring peace who voted for Obama served their cause well.

Unofficially, but most assuredly, America has a duopoly party system – in consequence of deeply entrenched practices and traditions, and thanks to laws that make ballot access difficult for candidates who are neither Democrats nor Republicans.

Therefore, in Presidential elections and most others as well, Americans face straightforward X versus Y choices. Independent or third party candidates have no chance of winning. They seldom even have a chance of affecting the outcomes in more than negligible ways.

Some of the problems this raises have nothing to do with the comparative merits and shortcomings of the candidates themselves; they are problems with lesser evil voting itself.

This is because elections in the present affect elections in the future; among other things, they can and often do initiate or continue trends.

As a general rule, but especially when the choices voters face remain above the threshold beneath which talk of lesser evil voting becomes rhetorically appropriate, choosing the better candidate is no guarantee that the choices will be better still the next time around or the time after that.

But once the lesser evil threshold is crossed, it does seem that the choices keep getting worse. There is no inherent reason why this must be so, but there is ample anecdotal evidence that bears out the suggestion that, in our time and place, lesser evil voting encourages a downward spiral, "a race to the bottom."

To be sure, America's deteriorating political culture cannot be blamed entirely, or even mainly, on the pervasiveness of this practice. The corruptions of money undoubtedly play a larger role.

Still, lesser evil voting does seem to feed upon itself – hastening a downward trend.

The consequences are especially damaging in a duopoly party system like ours, where choosing the lesser evil means choosing a Democrat or (in very rare instances) a Republican, further diminishing the already meager prospects of breaking free from the duopoly's stranglehold.

[Feb 27, 2017] The Logic of Lesser Evilism

Notable quotes:
"... der Hass sieht scharf ..."
"... demos ..."
"... ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). ..."
Feb 27, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org
March 27, 2015 The Logic of Lesser Evilism

by Andrew Levine

by

From a logical point of view, the case is unassailable: when, for any reason, choosing between X and Y, anyone who, again for any reason, believes that X is better than Y, ought to choose X.

The argument is perfectly general: X and Y can stand for anything, and because "better than" means better all things considered, it always applies; contextual and other pertinent considerations are already taken into account. The availability of other alternatives, if any, does not alter the calculation.

The reasoning that supports lesser evil voting – and lesser evil politics generally – boils down to this argument.

From a rhetorical point of view, however, lesser evilism involves more than just the logical principle behind it. The reason is plain: except in a trivial sense, better choices are less bad only when the alternatives are bad or, more precisely, regarded as bad. Less bad choices are less evil only when the alternatives are or are thought to be bad indeed.

This is all that the "evil" in "lesser evilism" implies. Strictly speaking, evil is a religious, not a political, notion. But lesser evilism in politics is a secular phenomenon, and the force of the word is rhetorical only. Its religious origins and connotations are useful for giving the word a resonance that "bad" and even "very bad" lack; not for making any theological or otherwise portentous point.

Although the logic behind lesser evilism is impeccable, the principle seldom applies directly in real world circumstances. In political contexts especially, there are too many complicating factors, and there is too much indeterminacy.

This is why lesser evilism in politics – especially, electoral politics - can be, and often is, a bad idea.

* * *

An American example, still fresh in the mind, illustrates some of these points:

It is intuitively obvious to anyone to the left of, say, Rachel Maddow that, on the face of it, Barack Obama was a better choice for President than John McCain in 2008 or Mitt Romney in 2012. Anyone to the left of Cokie Roberts would probably agree as well.

Maddow, the star of the evening lineup at the cable news channel MSNBC, is a liberal idol and a Democratic Party – or "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" - cheerleader. Roberts is the doyenne of conventional wisdom, representing the dead center on network television and National Public Radio.

The 2008 and 2012 election results show that quite a few Americans, including some whose views are surely to the right even of Roberts', also thought Obama the better choice. After all, he won handily both times – even in 2012, after a miserable first term.

In 2008, many of those voters saw candidate Obama as a Rorschach figure upon whom they projected their hopes. To them, he was not a lesser evil; just the better choice.

This view of Obama is now nearly extinct - except perhaps on weekday evenings at MSNBC.

By 2012, the blinders had already been off for a while. Hardly anyone still harbored illusions about Obama.

Therefore the people who voted for him, the vast majority of them, were opting for the lesser of two evils.

Were they right? Was Obama truly the lesser evil? Perhaps; but the answer is not as obvious as it seemed to Obama voters back then, or as many people still believe.

For one thing, lesser evil Obama voters may have been looking at their X versus Y choice near-sightedly.

Myopia is a chronic problem in electoral contests because voters tend to focus on candidates' personalities or on what they believe they are likely to do if elected, neglecting other pertinent considerations.

Suppose, for instance, that Obama truly was less disposed than McCain in 2008 or Romney in 2012 to expand the wars he inherited from George Bush and Dick Cheney or to extend the range and intensity of the Bush-Cheney "Global War on Terror."

Of course, war making is not the only thing Presidents do, but even if we focus only on that, we can still wonder whether voters favoring peace who voted for Obama served their cause well.

With Obama in the White House, Congressional Democrats have felt obliged to back continuations of the Bush-Cheney wars, and the additional under-the-radar wars that America is now waging throughout the Muslim world. Were a President McCain or a President Romney in charge of the empire, they would likely now be more oppositional.

Democratic acquiescence in the Age of Obama was predictable; Democrats may not be good for much, but when one of their own is in the White House, they, like Hillary Clinton, stand by their man.

How many lesser evil voters for Obama factored this likely consequence of an Obama victory into their calculations? There is no way to know for sure, but a good bet would be – not many at all.

By 2012 especially, the evidence was plain: between 2006 and 2008, Congressional Democrats offered at least milquetoast resistance to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars; they would have offered yet more had not the Pelosiite leadership of the Party reined them in. When Obama took office, they became meeker than lambs.

Obama was seemingly the lesser evil in matters of war and peace but, even confining attention only to that, he may not have been the lesser evil all things considered. This, of course, is what matters in the end.

The kind of problem lesser evil voters in the United States faced in 2008 and 2012 is hardly unique, to the United States. But it is especially salient in American elections where there are effectively only two candidates with any chance of winning.

Unofficially, but most assuredly, America has a duopoly party system – in consequence of deeply entrenched practices and traditions, and thanks to laws that make ballot access difficult for candidates who are neither Democrats nor Republicans.

Therefore, in Presidential elections and most others as well, Americans face straightforward X versus Y choices. Independent or third party candidates have no chance of winning. They seldom even have a chance of affecting the outcomes in more than negligible ways.

However the logic behind lesser evilism applies even in the more democratic (less undemocratic) electoral systems of other so-called democracies, where easy ballot access is assured and where not all electoral contests are decided on a first-past-the post, winner-take-all basis.

Strategic voting is usually a more front-and-center issue in those circumstances, but the principle – if X is better than Y, choose X – is compelling everywhere.

* * *

Even so, its applications are often problematic – thanks to the level of abstraction from real world voting situations at which it is pitched. Voter myopia is not the only complication.

Myopic voters focus narrowly on personalities and policies, and therefore fail to take all pertinent considerations into account. Another danger is not looking far enough ahead.

Some of the problems this raises have nothing to do with the comparative merits and shortcomings of the candidates themselves; they are problems with lesser evil voting itself.

This is because elections in the present affect elections in the future; among other things, they can and often do initiate or continue trends.

As a general rule, but especially when the choices voters face remain above the threshold beneath which talk of lesser evil voting becomes rhetorically appropriate, choosing the better candidate is no guarantee that the choices will be better still the next time around or the time after that.

But once the lesser evil threshold is crossed, it does seem that the choices keep getting worse. There is no inherent reason why this must be so, but there is ample anecdotal evidence that bears out the suggestion that, in our time and place, lesser evil voting encourages a downward spiral, "a race to the bottom."

To be sure, America's deteriorating political culture cannot be blamed entirely, or even mainly, on the pervasiveness of this practice. The corruptions of money undoubtedly play a larger role.

Still, lesser evil voting does seem to feed upon itself – hastening a downward trend.

The consequences are especially damaging in a duopoly party system like ours, where choosing the lesser evil means choosing a Democrat or (in very rare instances) a Republican, further diminishing the already meager prospects of breaking free from the duopoly's stranglehold.

* * *

Is lesser evil voting itself an evil?

To say Yes would be to overstate the point – not just because the principle behind the practice is sound but, more importantly, because sometimes worse really is worse.

The problem, though, is that there is often no way to tell. There is too much indeterminacy.

Let's concede, for the sake of argument, that, all things considered, there has been less peace under the rule of Nobel laureate Obama than there would have been had the war-mongering McCain or the War Party pandering Romney defeated him in 2008 and 2012, respectively. Lets suppose, in other words, that the increased pusillanimity of Democrats in Congress swamped the advantages of electing a less bellicose leader.

It might still be the case that Obama's nominations for the Supreme Court and for other seats on the federal judiciary have been better, less retrograde, than McCain's or Romney's would have been. We can never know, of course, but there are no plausible grounds for doubting that this is the case.

Then how are we to apply the lesser evil principle, taking both considerations into account? How can voters make considered judgments that involve comparing apparently incomparable considerations?

And if the problem seems disabling with only two factors taken into account, what can we do when all the many respects in which X can be better or worse than Y must also be factored in?

Yet voters take the lesser evil route apparently without anguish or effort. How is this possible? How can they ignore so many complexities?

For those who voted for Obama, the answer is plain: it reduces to one word – Republicans.

As the 2016 election takes shape, it is looking like this will happen again, notwithstanding the effects of the race to the bottom. Once again, Republicans will be the reason why liberals will turn out in droves to vote for – God forbid! – Hillary Clinton.

However awful Democrats become, however Clinton-like, and however plain it may be that, where Democrats and Republicans are involved, worse can be and often is better, Republicans are there to make voting for the Democrat seem the clear lesser evil choice.

It is as if the Republican motto were: we will not be out-eviled. Bring on your Clintons and Bidens and, yes, your Obamas – and we will raise the ante a hundred, a thousand, fold.

This may have more to do with appearance than reality. But where Republicans are concerned, appearances tend to overwhelm. Even voters who expect the worst cannot help but be amazed at how awful Republicans sometimes are.

In just the past week, for example, there was the unmitigated, oh so Christian, nonsense pouring forth out of the mouth of Texas Senator and declared candidate for the GOP nomination, Ted Cruz.

His audience of evangelicals at Liberty University reportedly loved it; so, it seems, did a gaggle of viciously Zionist donors in New York. One would think that nothing could make Hillary Clinton look good – but they do.

And then there is Scott Walker, and others even more risible. As Al Jolson, used to say: "you ain't heard nothin' yet."

Tea Party Republicans – are there any other kind? – probably think about Democrats in much the way that sane people think about the Tea Party.

Some of their reasons are even worth listening to because, as the Germans say, der Hass sieht scharf (hatred sees sharply).

But, in the end, when dealing with whack jobs or worse (like those Zionist donors falling in behind Cruz), the wisest course is to ignore them, as best one can. It is either that or stack up on blood pressure meds.

Unfortunately, ignoring them isn't always possible – because of the power they wield.

This is where Democratic Party cheerleaders like Rachel Maddow have a use. They are good for spreading the word when Republicans embarrass themselves – in other words, when they do anything at all.

What a dreary prospect the impending lesser evil election will be, what, as Chester A. Riley would say, a revolting development!

But we can always hope for a silver lining: we can hope that, with Hillary Clinton for the lesser evil, the American electorate may finally wake up from its acquiescent slumber.

The downward spiral is bound to bottom out eventually. If not with Clinton, who? And if not now, when?

* * *

Incomparability is not the only source of indeterminacy; sometimes it is hard to get a purchase on just how bad or good an alternative is.

Obama voters in 2008 and 2012 could be reasonably confident that McCain's or Romney's judicial appointments would be worse than their candidate's, but by how much? Who knows!

Yet the lesser evil voters who fell in behind Obama must have had some idea. Otherwise, how could they factor this consideration in with all the others?

Of course, they weren't exactly weighing plusses and minuses; they were making choices based on informed intuitions, as voters characteristically do.

Therefore, at least to some extent, their vote for Obama reflected a considered judgment. But with all the indeterminacies involved, it was a judgment made in conditions of uncertainty – and it may well have been wrong.

Indeterminacy is an even more disabling problem the more remote one is from the scene.

What, for instance, are Americans (or anyone living far away from the quotidian politics of the Promised Land), who care about peace and justice, to make of the recent election in Israel?

Was it best, all things considered, that Benjamin Netanyahu won? His victory does make the true face of Israeli intransigence harder to deny; and this, in turn, makes it harder for the leaders of the countries that make Israel's colonial project possible – the United States, especially - to justify enabling Israel's continuing predations.

Many Palestinians and a few Israelis on the scene, along with informed observers from abroad, have argued – seemingly cogently – that, Netanyahu's sheer awfulness notwithstanding, his victory was a good thing.

Some have even argued that the daily lives of Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories would be no better under Isaac Herzog than under Netanyahu. If they are right about that, then, at least from a Palestinian perspective, there is no doubt that it is better that Netanyahu won.

Of course, there are also cogent arguments on the other side.

And if we take other relevant perspectives into account – among others, those of Israeli Arabs and Jews - the situation becomes murkier still.

What then is the lesser evil conclusion?

Especially from the outside looking in, it is difficult to say. It is difficult from within as well. There is just too much indeterminacy involved.

* * *

One final point: we should be careful not to confuse lesser evil thinking with the kind of strategic maneuvering that is the heart and soul of politics, or with a political line based on what Lenin called "the concrete analysis of concrete situations."

Greek voters in last January's election, the ones whose highest priority was to end, or at least mitigate, the effects of, the brutal austerity regime that the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund had imposed on Greece, had two choices.

They could vote, as many did, for Syriza, the party now in power; or they could vote for Antarsya, a party to its left. Both parties seek an end to austerity politics. But Syriza is pledged to try to keep Greece in the Eurozone – at least until it becomes clear that the situation is hopeless. Antarsya favors immediate withdrawal.

Most anti-austerity voters chose Syriza. For some, this may have been a strategic choice; they may have thought that the more "moderate" of the two anti-austerity parties had a better chance of scoring enough votes to form the next government; or they may have thought that, were it to come to power, Syriza's chances were better than Antarsya's for winning over necessary public support in Greece and throughout Europe.

Others may have agreed with Syriza's analysis of the situation: that because fascism is a live threat in Greece today, and in other parts of Europe as well, that now is not a good time to risk causing increased financial instability in Greece and throughout Europe or otherwise to put the fragile economies of the continent in jeopardy.

Some of those Syriza voters might, under different circumstances, have preferred Antarsya's program. But in the circumstances they faced, they opted for Syriza instead.

These voters were not choosing the lesser evil or even the less good choice among acceptable alternatives. It might look like they were, but the similarities are superficial.

They were engaging in real politics.

This is what is supposed to happen in democracies, where, in theory, the demos , the people (in contrast to social and economic elites) rule. Elections are one way democratic politics gets done.

In actually existing democracies – our own and, until recently, Greece's – the opposite is the case. Social and economic elites do the politics, and then, when election time comes, they sell the voting public on the results they want – calling on the people to legitimize the outcomes with their votes.

Elites do not always get the candidates or parties they favor – indeed, they disagree among themselves - but they always win.

This is what our elections are about; and this is not about to change between now and November 2016.

At this point, it seems clear – let's say 85% likely - that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic candidate. If she is, then it is maybe 90% likely that she will be the lesser evil candidate with the most votes. What is 100% likely is that the demos will lose again.

If we do indeed have another President Clinton in our future, then it is also extremely likely that, this time, the true lesser evil will be the one who has the honor of doing the demos in.

In retrospect, Obama may not have been the lesser evil all things considered. But Clinton, if she runs, surely will be - not because voters now are less myopic than they used to be or because she is a better choice than Obama was. In fact, she is a worse choice – by far.

But she will be the real lesser evil because the Republican candidate, whether Jeb Bush or somebody even more ludicrous, is sure to seem utterly vile – even from the most far-sighted vantage point available.

And she will win because that Republican will scare even right-wing voters away – either because he will be so retrograde that even voters far to the right of Cokie Roberts' dead center will not be able to abide him, or because, like Mitt Romney in 2012, he will be so phony that Tea Partiers will refuse to jump on board.

Plutocrats will fuss – and spend – to keep that from happening, but their efforts will be in vain.

And so, one likely election result will be that there will be less evil than there might otherwise have been. But the downward trend of our politics will not change; quite the contrary, it will continue unabated.

And, needless to say, the election will have nothing to do with changing the world for the better.

For that, what is needed is the kind of politics that is now taking shape in the land where the idea of democracy first emerged – and in other countries on Europe's periphery, where finance capitalism's predations have been more than usually intense.

If it can happen in those places, under those conditions, it can happen anywhere.

It can certainly happen here. The indignation that gave rise to the Occupy movement cannot remain repressed forever. And it is surely not beyond our capacity to find ways to seize that energy, and use it to transform the economic and political conditions that make it both possible and necessary.

The Greeks are on to something, the Spaniards too – and the Portuguese, the Irish, the Italians and more. Even in Germany and other redoubts of finance capitalism, the idea is dawning that the same old, same old cannot go on much longer.

There must be a way for us too to ride the wave– even with a more than usually dreary electoral distraction looming in the months ahead.

ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

[Feb 19, 2017] The 2016 election was part Mad Magazine What, me Worry?

Feb 19, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
JohnH -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 18, 2017 at 07:41 AM
'Obama and others have handed him (Trump) a pretty well functioning economy'...not the only way that Obama set the table for Trump. We also have a terrifying NSA to thank Obama for. With SCOTUS in hand, all the pieces are in place for a police state.
RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> JohnH... , February 18, 2017 at 07:56 AM
I am not that worried yet. The 2016 election was part Mad Magazine "What, me Worry?" And the other part was "What Hillary? You got to be kidding me!"

It was also a backlash reaction to globalization and persistently low wages, both accumulating over a long time now. There are a lot of kinds of backlash and we have the potential for all of them in our American diversity. Which one will be next?

ilsm -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 18, 2017 at 12:27 PM
I am less worried now we got Trump and not apparatchik (experienced in deep state and catering to Jihadis) Clinton.
ilsm -> JohnH... , February 18, 2017 at 12:25 PM
The faux librul side is all Joe McCarthy phony red scaring and surveillance of the opposition activists sort of like what Army Intell did to hippies protesting the liberals' debacle in Southeast Asia.

Deep state surveillance and trashing the Bill of Rights is a legacy of the past 8 years.

Peter K. -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 18, 2017 at 07:58 AM
There was also the unprecedented austerity forced on the economy by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.

The Obama years were worse for some people than the Bush years even if the numbers look pretty good today. That's partly why Trump won.

8 years of 1.7 averaged annual growth? I think Rosser is suffering from the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , February 18, 2017 at 07:59 AM
But the stock market is up, so, hey all good!
Barkley Rosser -> Peter K.... , February 18, 2017 at 09:53 AM
There is no question that at least some policies Trump is proposing will boost corporate profits at least in the short run. Not irrational at all for stock market to be up, especially backed up for now by steadily growing non-inflationary economy that Trump has inherited.

And you thought you were being ironic, didn't you, Peter K.? :-)

Peter K. -> Barkley Rosser ... , February 18, 2017 at 10:32 AM
lol well I agree with Larry Summers that it's mostly a "sugar high."

:>)

ilsm -> Peter K.... , February 18, 2017 at 12:29 PM
As a predictor the Dow and S&P are up til they are down.......

[Feb 18, 2017] what's your solution to the lesser evil dilemma?

Feb 18, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Chris Lowery -> Peter K.... , February 16, 2017 at 07:22 AM
Peter, what's your solution to the "lesser evil" dilemma? I sympathize with your frustration, and I'm on board with your complaint over how Bernie was treated. But when it actually comes time vote in the general election, what's the solution? I keep thinking that if progressive voters had held their noses in 2000 and voted for Gore, we'd almost certainly have never gratuitously invaded Iraq, avoided squandering hundreds of thousands of lives and saved trillions of dollars.
RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> Chris Lowery ... , February 16, 2017 at 08:25 AM
You pose a very tough question. If we stick with the lesser evil then lacking any competition they will stick it to us. That is what happens when you have no choice. We have seen it already. One can hardly consider the Republican Party a choice if one works for a living and is well informed.

The only thing that I have ever come up with is an anti-incumbency solidarity movement that holds re-election of all politicians at both the state and Federal level hostage until they deliver on ratified constitutional amendments that provide real campaign finance reform, an absolute end to gerrymandering, a ranked/preferential/instant-runoff style replacement for first past the post voting, legislative term limits of reasonably long but well short of lifetime duration, and popular election petition and referendum power to overturn select SCOTUS decisions (notable citizens unite - but who knows what would be next).

Peter K. -> Chris Lowery ... , February 16, 2017 at 08:27 AM
The solution is to have an open and honest debate.

I agree that we shouldn't hold Democrats to impossible standards but we should hold them accountable.

There are too many economists who just give Democrats a pass and don't present an unvarnished history of what happened policy-wise. They spin and present alternative facts.

Look, I voted for Hillary in the general. Sanders campaigned hard for her and he was easy on her during the primary. He didn't go after her e-mails, etc. I think that was the proper approach, even if Hillary supporters treated Bernie unfairly.

Because of 9/11 I think Bush turned out a lot worse than people expected. Still, now with President Trump people look back fondly on Bush.

Chris Lowery -> Peter K.... , February 16, 2017 at 09:23 AM

All good points.

Chris Lowery

RGC -> Chris Lowery ... , February 16, 2017 at 09:22 AM
When the plutocrats found themselves losing the political battle back in the 60s, Lewis Powell suggested a plan of action:

" Businessmen of the World, Unite!

The organizational counterattack of business in the 1970s was swift and sweeping - a domestic version of Shock and Awe. The number of corporations with public affairs offices in Washington grew from 100 in 1968 to over 500 in 1978. In 1971, only 175 firms had registered lobbyists in Washington, but by 1982, nearly 2,500 did. The number of corporate PACs increased from under 300 in 1976 to over 1,200 by the middle of 1980.[5] On every dimension of corporate political activity, the numbers reveal a dramatic, rapid mobilization of business resources in the mid-1970s.

What the numbers alone cannot show is something of potentially even greater significance: Employers learned how to work together to achieve shared political goals. As members of coalitions, firms could mobilize more proactively and on a much broader front. Corporate leaders became advocates not just for the narrow interests of their firms but also for the shared interests of business as a whole.
.....................
http://billmoyers.com/content/the-powell-memo-a-call-to-arms-for-corporations/
.......................................

Bernie Sanders showed that a populist message could resonate with a yuuuge number of people. And those people would respond via the internet.

Unfortunately the DNC quashed that movement in the primaries and Sanders has not followed through since.

I would guess that Bernies's message is still valid but isn't being broadcast effectively. A focusing organization is needed to marshall the anger and upset among the populace. Our Revolution was supposed to do that but hasn't taken off. An effective focusing organization is needed and progressives need to get behind it.

Chris Lowery -> RGC... , February 16, 2017 at 12:15 PM
People should absolutely read and understand Powell's memo - it's the clear game plan that the pro-business/anti-government crowd has faithfully followed to reverse the progressive tide of the '60's. Where we are now is no accident, nor the result of unintended consequences of policies.

What progressives lack is such a clear strategy - and an organizational framework - for taking back the initiative from these reactionary forces. There are multiple polls and studies that document the fact that the majority of Americans back progressive policies, whether they be progressive taxation, preservation and enhancement of entitlement programs, humane immigration policies, and non-discriminatory employment and law enforcement policies, among others. What progressives generally lack is crisp and coherent messaging that shows their commitment to these policies, demonstrates the right's opposition to them, and doesn't get lost in the minutiae of a plethora of policy proposals.

Sanjait -> Chris Lowery ... , February 16, 2017 at 10:13 AM
Fight it out in the primaries and then quit your bitching in the general.

That is how you will get the best policy outcome you can get.

If Bernie had won the primary and Hillary PUMAs came out in force, they would be as worthy of derision as are the Busters and the cynical More Progressive Than Thous are currently.

Chris Lowery -> Sanjait... , February 16, 2017 at 11:17 AM
Hmmm... I get, and agree with, the recommendation embedded in your first two sentences - though I think the force of the language is a bit over the top. It's a bit naive to expect that people who hold strong opinions will simply fall into line with a choice that they're not necessarily enthusiastic about. This is consistent with the solution suggested by Peter K, and largely consistent I suspect with RC AKA Darryl, Ron's views, as well (if I can speak for both of them).

However, I have no idea what you mean in your last paragraph. If you're suggesting that Bernie backers, as a group, are worthy of derision then I strongly disagree. I was a strong Bernie backer during the primaries, and campaigned and contributed to his effort. Then, when he lost I held my nose and did the same for Hillary. I'm pretty sure a majority of Bernie voters did the same, while acknowledging many did not. However, the evidence supports the view that the DNC skewed the process to favor Hillary - and I think progressives have a legitimate complaint over that. Would Bernie have won in an open, democratically run primary process? We'll never know - and that's the point. What we do know is that a enough otherwise Democratic voters were sufficiently unenthusiastic over the anointed choice to stay home (and enough others voted for the opposition) to allow a disastrously unqualified and deranged individual to win the election. I think those who did will share a major part of the blame for what this will cause; but that certainly doesn't absolve the Democratic leadership for their share of the blame - and since they're supposed to be the "grown ups" in the room, with charged with managing a process to produce a result that best advances the interests and views of Democratic voters, I think they bear the major share of blame...

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> Chris Lowery ... , February 16, 2017 at 02:02 PM
THANKS!

[Feb 15, 2017] Americans arent as attached to democracy as you might think

Notable quotes:
"... Statistics can be made to slant any way you intend. ..."
"... Stupid survey leads to dumber article and fucking ridiculous headline. Standard Guardian opinion I guess. ..."
"... Seriously can you perhaps stop being so clickbaity? I've already lost the Independent because it went full on lefty Buzzfeed listical "you won't believe what they did to Trump when the lights went out". Don't follow them downwards. ..."
"... On both side of the Atlantic, we don't have a 'democracy', we have an elected monarchy. The trouble is, this monarchy gets itself elected on the basis of lies, money and suppression. For a few brief years after WWII, there was an attempt to hold executives to account, but neoliberals put paid to all that. Nowadays, it's just as if nothing had changed since Henry VIII's time. ..."
"... What we gave the ordinary Russian was neo-liberalism and they got screwed by it. Capitalisms greatest trick was to convince the many that it & democracy are the same thing. When actually, on many levels, they are totally at odds with each other. ..."
Feb 15, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
Statistics can be made to slant any way you intend. Essentially can be be used as another form of lie and propganada

Lawrence Douglas

But, the result changed when the data were narrowed to those who identified themselves as Trump supporters: 51% agreed that Trump should be able to overturn court decisions. 33% disagreed. 16% were not sure.

It is tempting to attribute this difference between Trump supporters and others simply to the fact that the president's supporters prefer a more authoritarian style of government, prioritize social order, like strong rulers, and worry about maintaining control in a world they perceive to be filled with threats and on the verge of chaos.


As the PPP's survey reveals, Trump is appealing to a remarkably receptive audience in his attempts to rule by decree – and many are no longer attached to the rule of law and/or democracy. Other studies confirm these findings. One such study found a dramatic decline in the percentage of people who say it is "essential" to live in a democracy.

When asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how "essential" it is for them "to live in a democracy," 72% of Americans born before World War II check "10," the highest value. But, the millennial generation (those born since 1980) "has grown much more indifferent." Less than 1 in 3 hold a similar belief about the importance of democracy.

And, the New York Times reports that while 43% of older Americans thought it would be illegitimate for the military to take power if civilian government was incompetent, only 19% of millennials agreed.

While millennials may be politically liberal in their policy preferences, they have come of age in a time of political paralysis in democratic institutions, declining civility in democratic dialogue, and dramatically increased anxiety about economic security.

These findings suggest that we can no longer take for granted that our fellow citizens will stand up for the rule of law and democracy. That's why, while President Trump's behavior has riveted the media and the public, our eyes should not only be focused on him but on this larger – and troubling - trend.

If the rule of law and democracy are to survive in America we will need to address the decline in the public's understanding of, and support for both. While we celebrate the Ninth Circuit's decision on Trump's ban, we also must initiate a national conversation about democracy and the rule of law. Civics education, long derided, needs to be revived.

Schools, civic groups, and the media must to go back to fundamentals and explain what basic American political values entail and why they are desirable. Defenders of democracy and the rule of law must take their case to the American people and remind them of the Founders' admonition that: "If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself."

We need to remember that our freedom from an arbitrary or intrusive government depends on the rule of law and a functioning democracy. We need to rehabilitate both – before this crisis of faith worsens.

Austin Sarat is a professor of jurisprudence and political science at Amherst College

, greatapedescendant , 11 Feb 2017 11:29

"There is much to celebrate in the court decision against President Trump's immigration ban. It was a stirring victory for the rule of law and reaffirmation of the independence of the judiciary."

A stirring victory of the rule of law? Hardly. More like an extraordinary act of politicised justice. And an orchestrated one at that. In my opinion that is, and as I see it at this point in time and from what I am able to discern.

No. I do not see not see any stirring victories for the rule of law here here. Certainly no courage of truth or justice. Nor, as it happens, do I like this travel ban. Nevertheless, the court's ruling seems to me to be wrong since the constitution gives the president the power to enforce blanket bans against countries believed to pose a threat.

I cannot see how the ban could justifiably be said to be aimed specifically at Muslims since it does not concern some 90 percent of the world's Muslim population. So it looks very much like a political decision from the 9th Circuit Court – and now San Francisco - in a tug of war between Democrats and Republicans.

I am somehow reminded of the final "Yes we can" in Obama's farewell speech and of a sore loser – the vindictive Mrs Clinton. Some smooth transfer of power.

The very fact that expert analysts are already sizing up what will be the Supreme Court's decision in terms of breaking the stalemate between 4 Republicans and 4 Democrats provides a perfect illustration of the politicisation of the judiciary at the highest level. Compatibly with this, Democrats are continuing to block Gorsuch's nomination.

And compatibly with this the illusion of salutary Rawlsian** apolitical amnesiacs on the part of the judiciary disperses like Scotch mist.

Somehow I have a clear mental picture of a newspaper editor, no one in particular, sitting back in his chair with a smug smile 'Look how we managed to swing that one', I hear him say. The principal protagonists here, overshadowing the US lawcourts, are the mainstream media. A power never to be underestimated, especially when the choir is singing in full maledictory and mephitic unison.

**The reference is to A Theory of Justice, the monumental work on philosophy of law by John Rawls. It casts damning light on judicial impartiality by focusing on distorting criteria affecting juries. Worth reading in the context of attacks on the impartiality of the judiciary in US lawcourts taking place right now. And also in the wake of recent attacks on the judiciary in Britain over Brexit.

, sam0412 imperium3 , 11 Feb 2017 11:53
This,

Interesting that Clinton's 52% is regarded as a God-given mandate where as the 52% for Leave is unfair as the voters were "too old/uneducated/outside London"

In both campaigns if more people my age (26) had actually bothered to vote then the results would probably be very different.

, Bluthner , 11 Feb 2017 11:34

Only 53% of those surveyed said that they "trust judges more than President Trump to make the right decisions for the United States."

But that is an utterly assinine question to ask anyone!

"Making decisions for the United States" suggests setting policy. The judges Trump is so angry with aren't making policy decisions, they are interpreting the laws that already exist.

Laws without and independent judiciary are not laws at all, they are just whims of whoever or whatever is in power. Might as well ask people do you prefer to live in a country that follows its laws or do you want to live at the whim of an irrational despot with irresponsible power who can do whatever the hell he pleases.

This survey is clearly a case of garbage in garbage out. Which is a pity, because the subject is an important one.

, LithophaneFurcifera Bluthner , 11 Feb 2017 12:03
In a common law system, like those of Britain and the US, judges do make law. If there is no relevant legislation and no precedent, the judge is required to make new law in order to rule on the case, which will then be cited as precedent by future courts. In a civil law system, like those of continental Europe, judges merely interpret (and generalise, where necessary) the rules set out in statutes and codes, and have less scope to innovate.

Of course, the recent case over Trump's immigration plans has been based on interpretations of the constitution though, but even interpretations are political (hence why the balance of power between liberals and conservatives on the Supreme Court is considered such a big issue).

, Veryumble , 11 Feb 2017 11:35
After nearly 40 years of corporate, lobbyist controlled politics, it's little surprise the younger generation have no faith in democracy. What on earth is the point in voting for two shades of the same shit?
, YoungMrP , 11 Feb 2017 11:36
You could argue that the US has never been a democracy. It is a strange democracy that allowed slavery, or the later segregation in the south, or that has systematically overlooked the rust belt taking all the gold for the liberal coasts.

It seems democracy is simply a way of deciding who the dictator should be. Not unlike the U.K. Either.

, YoungMrP therebythegrace , 11 Feb 2017 14:15
If you were black in Alabama in the early 60s I don't think you would have enjoyed any more freedom, respect or control than your Russian counterpart at that time
, jan oskar Hansen , 11 Feb 2017 11:38
democracy is, of course, the best form of governance but in practice we see it benefit the wealthy who unhindered can rob
the poor, only a socialist government can
usher in a true government to do so it may
be needed to have an authoritarian regime
, Cape7441 jan oskar Hansen , 11 Feb 2017 11:55
True socialism is a form of government which sounds wonderful in theory. In practice it has never successfully worked anywhere in the world. It does not take account of human nature.
, Captain_Smartypants jan oskar Hansen , 11 Feb 2017 12:00
Sorry but in the authoritarian nominatively socialist governments of the past the poor were as robbed off the fruit of their labour and their dignity as they are today.
, BonzoFerret , 11 Feb 2017 11:39
It's effectively a FPTP system that means you have a choice from only two parties. Even if someone could challenge they'd need to be a billionaire to do so. America is no democracy.
, Andy Wong Ming Jun therebythegrace , 11 Feb 2017 14:22
Germany under Adolf Hitler before he started WWII was not a zillion times worse than any of the contemporary powers in Western Europe. Neither was Franco's Spain. Looking in other areas of the globe and further away from the West, what about South Korea under Park Chung Hee? Would you call his dictatorship bad when he brought South Korea up to become one of the Asian 5 Tigers?
, therebythegrace Andy Wong Ming Jun , 11 Feb 2017 15:14

Germany under Adolf Hitler before he started WWII was not a zillion times worse than any of the contemporary powers in Western Europe

Is that supposed to be a joke? If so, it's in very poor taste.

My parents grew up in Nazi Germany. Yes, it was a zillion times worse. Political opponents were routinely murdered. There was no rule of law. Minorities, gay people etc were imprisoned, tortured, murdered, expelled.

WTF are on you on about?

, Metreemewall Andy Wong Ming Jun , 11 Feb 2017 15:50
Clueless.

Germany was broke, following their defeat in WWI; people were poor, humiliated,insecure and frightened for the future. In other words, the classic breeding ground for demagogues and extremists.

After WWII, the Allies had learned their lesson and made sure that Germany should, for everyone's security, be helped to prosper.

, Wehadonebutitbroke Andy Wong Ming Jun , 11 Feb 2017 16:05
what about South Korea under Park Chung Hee? Would you call his dictatorship bad when he brought South Korea up to become one of the Asian 5 Tigers?

The Friemanite right adored him and many of his equally repressive and dictatorial successors (just as they did Pinochet, Suharto (deemed by Transparency International to be the most corrupt leader in modern history to boot) and endless South American juntas etc).

Every one else saw him for what he was - an authoritarian who had political opponents tortured and killed and who banned any form of protest.

, John Favre praxismakesperfec , 11 Feb 2017 16:11

And is it particularly surprising that Trump voters tend towards anti democratic authoritarianism?

My dad and two of my brothers voted for Trump. Like most Americans, they detest authoritarian governments. I sincerely doubt you know any Trump voters - let alone ones who favor authoritarianism.

, fauteuilpolitique , 11 Feb 2017 11:42
How to misdirect readers with a BUT :

In a cross-section of Americans, only 53% of those surveyed said that they "trust judges more than President Trump to make the right decisions for the United States." 38% said they trusted Donald Trump more than our country's judges, and 9% were undecided.

But , the result changed when the data were narrowed to those who identified themselves as Trump supporters: 51% agreed that Trump should be able to overturn court decisions. 33% disagreed. 16% were not sure.

The results are significantly the same, the But implies something different.

, Paul B tenthenemy , 11 Feb 2017 13:32
besides, the results are *not* significantly the same. Fauteuil's first sentence suggests that 53% (more than a Brexit majority, hence Will of the People) of Americans support the judiciary over the presidency. In contrast, a majority of Trump supporters, not unnaturally, take the opposite view.
, sewollef , 11 Feb 2017 11:45
Statistics can be made to slant any way you intend.

So let's break this down: 51% of Trump supporters think he can do what he pleases. 51% means one quarter of those who voted in the US general election.

If we estimate that only two-thirds of the electorate voted, that means in reality, probably less than 16% of total potential voters think this way.

Not so dramatic now is it?

, bananacannon , 11 Feb 2017 11:45
Stupid survey leads to dumber article and fucking ridiculous headline. Standard Guardian opinion I guess.

Seriously can you perhaps stop being so clickbaity? I've already lost the Independent because it went full on lefty Buzzfeed listical "you won't believe what they did to Trump when the lights went out". Don't follow them downwards.

, Jympton , 11 Feb 2017 11:45
On both side of the Atlantic, we don't have a 'democracy', we have an elected monarchy. The trouble is, this monarchy gets itself elected on the basis of lies, money and suppression. For a few brief years after WWII, there was an attempt to hold executives to account, but neoliberals put paid to all that. Nowadays, it's just as if nothing had changed since Henry VIII's time.
, therebythegrace , 11 Feb 2017 11:46
Sad that a new, stupid generation have to learn the truth of Churchill's dictum that 'Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others'.

Sincerely hope for all of us that they don't have to learn this the hard way.

I say this speaking as someone whose parents fled Nazi Germany, and who also spent time with relatives in the former East Germany prior to the wall coming down. Life under a dictatorship, whether of the right or left, is no picnic.

, wikiwakiwik olderiamthelessiknow , 11 Feb 2017 12:32
'Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others'.

But is it democracy's fault when the option as to which kind of government we can choose is so narrow? Scary as it may sound, I think that the majority of young people would swap democracy just for some stability & safety. But what they fail to realize is that it's not democracy that's at the fault - but our form of capitalism. Look what happened in Russian when the wall came down & the free market rushed in & totally screwed over the ordinary Russian. Putin was, to some extent, a reaction to this. His strong man image was something they thought would help them. What we gave the ordinary Russian was neo-liberalism and they got screwed by it. Capitalisms greatest trick was to convince the many that it & democracy are the same thing. When actually, on many levels, they are totally at odds with each other.

, NadaZero , 11 Feb 2017 11:47
"Democracy is a great word, whose history, I suppose, remains unwritten, because that history has yet to be enacted." --Walt Whitman
, EpicHawk , 11 Feb 2017 11:47
Laws aren't final, they evolve with the needs of society. While I support this decidion I find all of this a bit silly and typical of that strange world.. "this is the law, therefor blabla.." I don't get why people even decide to study it in university. Most law students are like : "Yeah I don't know what to pick. Lets do Law, it'll give me a good job". Empty stuff really..
, Brexit_to_Democracy , 11 Feb 2017 11:47
Can someone please explain how the court has over ruled the executive order? From what I understand it's because it would harm some Americans - but does that mean using the same logic courts can undo tax increases, spending cuts, changes in abortion law? Or if the travel ban was instead passed by congress it would then be beyond the remit of judges?
, Brexit_to_Democracy Brexit_to_Democracy , 11 Feb 2017 11:51
And guns!! Surely judges could determine the second amendment can lead to a lot of harm?!
, referendum Brexit_to_Democracy , 11 Feb 2017 12:21
One example given was schools. Banning students from state universities, or professors, by preventing them from entering the country, was damaging to the schools capacity to earn money ( in tuition fees) and provide state education. Then there was the example of forcibly separating families.

But this part of the ruling does not exist on it's own, it goes together with another part of the ruling, which was that there was no good reason for this action, since the Government had failed to provide that any person from any of these countries was a threat - which was the reason given in the executive order. For this and other reasons the Executive order was deemed to be not legally enforceable.

Another problem is that this was an executive order, just a piece of paper signed by Trump, and the President does not have sole authority to make laws, there is also the judiciary and legislative branches - the courts and congress. If the travel ban had been passed by congress then the courts would probably have not been able to overturn it. In this game of stone scissors paper, the executive doesn't beat the other two - it needs one of them to rubber-stamp the decision if challenged. The argument that a presidential order should be all powerful and must be obeyed regardless of whether it was legal or not, was deemed by the judges to be anti constutional and thrown out of court.

The other examples you give of tax increases or spending cuts or abortion might indeed cause harm, but providing they are not anti-constitutional, and they get through congress, and are not illegal, the harm wouldn't be taken into account.

, Treflesg , 11 Feb 2017 11:48
I would not have voted for Trump. I would not have voted for quite a few American Presidents before him either.
But the hyperbole about Trump is being overdone.
The USA is one of the oldest democracies on earth, and, one of only ten nations that have lasted as democracies for more than a century.
By overstating Trump's impact, you are not helping.
, mondopinion Treflesg , 11 Feb 2017 12:12
It is actually a kind of hysteria. I remember Senator McCarthy's communist hysteria, and also the marijuana hysteria which swept through schools when I was a child in the 1950s.
, Tongariro1 , 11 Feb 2017 11:48
I'm a little surprised that there seems to be less debate in the USA about the electoral college for the presidency than I thought likely. Of course, the electoral college is a completely redundant if it never leads to a different result from a straightforward popular vote. As I understand it, the electoral college is designed to ensure that smaller states have a voice greater than their population size alone would deliver.

But in a nationwide poll, on a binary issue, such as the election of the president or Brexit, I would have thought that each vote should count equally. SNP supporters might differ in this view, as would presumably US Democratic Party supporters.

, unclestinky , 11 Feb 2017 11:48
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.- H. L. Mencken.

Working so far.

, MightyBuccaneer , 11 Feb 2017 11:49

Public support for the rule of law and democracy can no longer be taken for granted.


"no longer"?

There was a mysterious absence of support for the rule of law when Obama used drones to extrajudicially assassinate American citizens.

, MightyBuccaneer , 11 Feb 2017 11:51

Only 53% of those surveyed said that they "trust judges more than President Trump to make the right decisions for the United States." In this cross-section of Americans, 38% said they trusted Donald Trump more than our country's judges. 9% were undecided.

This means absolutely nothing regarding whether people support democracy and the rule of law.

Were the results about Obama, the very same result would probably be interpreted as racism by the liberal media.

, innnn , 11 Feb 2017 11:51
Another poll from Public Polling Policy says that by a margin of 51/23 Trump supporters agree that the Bowling Green massacre shows that Trump's travel ban is a good idea.

That's shows what you're up against and also why both Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer 'misspeak' so often.

, cidcid , 11 Feb 2017 11:51

A new national survey suggests that we can no longer take for granted that our fellow citizens will stand up for the rule of law and democracy

Dear Austin, let me educate you a bit about the basics. The rule of law and democracy cannot both exist simultaneously in one society. The former has never been an American tradition. Read Tocqueville.

The rule of law is characteristic of a totalitarian state where it is enforced by civil servant. The basic principle of such a state were described by Shang Yang 2400 years ago: a civil servant obeys the law, regardless of the will of his superior. Everyone obeys the law from top to bottom.

In democracy people are judged by courts of jury. Which rule as they like, representing the public opinion, not the written law. Constitution doesn't exist either. Teddy Roosevelt explained when asked if his orders are constitutional: "The constitution was created for the people, not the people for the constitution".

One nice example: the famous "Affirmative Action". It is obviously inconsistent with the most basic constitutional principle, that people are born equal. But it existed because the public didn't mind.

, MathiasWeitz , 11 Feb 2017 11:52
It makes me really wonder if americans (and other nations) are feeling something like a 'weimar' moment, when the germans in 1933 lost trust in their very young democracy after living for years under economic hardship and political pariah.
There is so much that resembles the nazi-era, this xenophobia, that started with a slow decay of civil rights, the erosion of check and balances without the need to change the constitution.
When we are heading for the similar kind of fascism like germany eighty years ago, at what point people should be held responsible for making a stand ?
, MightyBuccaneer , 11 Feb 2017 11:54

Schools, civic groups, and the media must to go back to fundamentals and explain what basic American political values entail and why they are desirable.

Agreed. Special emphasis should be placed on accepting the results of elections, there appears to have been a recent surge in undemocratic sentiment on that front.

, MrHubris MightyBuccaneer , 11 Feb 2017 11:57
How about special emphasis on debunking lies from people like the cowardly, liar Trump? Share Facebook Twitter
, therebythegrace MightyBuccaneer , 11 Feb 2017 12:48
Are you confusing "accepting the results of elections' with 'denying people the right to peacefully protest'?

If so, I think you are the one who could do with going back to the fundamentals and learning about what democracy entails.

Share Facebook Twitter
, eltonbraces MrHubris , 11 Feb 2017 12:50
Perhaps sweet, caring, sharing Hillary could visit and put them straight.
, CortoL , 11 Feb 2017 11:54
Democracy? What democracy? Share Facebook Twitter
, Streona25 , 11 Feb 2017 11:55
Can you have a democratic plutocracy?
, michaelmichael , 11 Feb 2017 11:56
"Americans aren't as attached to democracy as you might think"

you only just realised?? Wow

'Democracy' is just a handy label for when the US wants to bomb another sovereign state

, ErikFBerger , 11 Feb 2017 11:56
"... trust judges more than President Trump to make the right decisions for the United States."

This question is badly worded. It is not judges role to lead the country. The question should have been:

"Should judges uphold the law to the best of their understanding, even if that means nullifying an order by president Trump?"

, UnashamedPedant , 11 Feb 2017 11:59
That link to the Federalist of 1788 on Checks & Balances is wrong. Here is the correct version:
http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa51.htm
, ayupmeduck2 , 11 Feb 2017 11:59
I suspect that it's a change in what the word democracy means to people. Even the older generation are starting to understand that the 'democracies' that we live under in the western world are horribly distorted. Big corporations, even foreign ones, have far more access to the elected executive than the actual voters. Governments dance to the tune of powerful media. Votes don't often count for much at all.

With this background it's no wonder that the Brexit voters feel drunk with power. For once they voted on something and believe that they will get exactly what they voted for. The final irony is that for most of them they don't realise that they were turkeys voting for Christmas. Brexit could have possibly bought them some benefits, but the Tories seem determined to deny them even that. Once the realise they have been swindled, what then for democracy?

, sd0001 ayupmeduck2 , 11 Feb 2017 13:31
People have lost faith in democracy, politics, the judicial system and, yes, economics.

Voting to remain in the EU, is a vote for the status quo...if you're lucky. They want more government, not less. It is not a 20-50 year project. It is forever, and they will not stay still. It will evolve, and not regress politically.

The UK government will have to change, and they have the chance. They may not succeed, but I believe they will try, and the pressure from the people will be more direct.

The EU don't want to change. If it was an economic union and not a political one, then it would be a great organisation.

Forget the garbage about wars and instability. That comes from economic success, with NATO providing any security until that comes to fruition to the developing countries.

, FCBarca , 11 Feb 2017 12:00
No surveys needed to arrive at these conclusions I am afraid, apathy and mistrust of govt has been eroding for decades. US government is a cesspool of corruption and in no small way is aided by the fact that its citizens have given tacit approval for the erosion of their own civil liberties and rights while celebrating the war machine that has increasingly rolled on for more than 3 decades

The abyss looming for the US, and by extension the world, can be traced back to a populace that abandoned democracy and freely gifted the cronies the mandate to accelerate the erosion.

Solution? Kill apathy and not only get back involved but remain vigilant to preserve checks & balances

, Knapping , 11 Feb 2017 12:00
Forty years ago, democracy was more or less synonymous with prosperity. Given it's now wider spread to many poorer states across the world, as well as the incredible increase in the standard of living in non-democratic countries, principally China, this is no longer the case. I suspect we have not made the case for democracy as an end in itself, nor as a route to distributing prosperity more widely, or as a corollary of 'The Free Market'.
, J092939 Knapping , 11 Feb 2017 12:13
This (democracy relates to prosperity) is insightful. Will we all be able to operate democratically when climate issues and exhaustion of resources vs. population force us to manage the decline?
, timiengels , 11 Feb 2017 12:02
A thought provoking article. Like many things it comes down to terminology .what, for example is democracy? Are the US or UK systems really democracies when it is clear that laws are enacted in the interests of a narrow group of citizens and corporations who have the power to lobby, especially in the US where bribery has been legalized with respect to lobbying.

Beyond this, look at US attempts to come up with some sort of climate change plan. All of these flounder on the twin rocks of democracy with its lobbying (we'll never get voted in again) or economic cost to the tax payer (we'll get voted out next time).

Democracy is always presented in our schools, TVs, books and newspapers as a universal good, when in reality there are good democracies and bad democracies with the US and UK versions actually being on the bad side what with an unelected second chamber of grandees in the UK and the US in a state of perpetual wars of choice.

Countries are what they do. The US starts wars. The UK follows the US into wars. Most countries whether democratic or not, don't start many wars (Germany hasn't started too many wars since 1939). Many countries that don't start wars are actually controlled by non democratic governments or military juntas .and personally I would prefer non democracies that don't start wars. It's not a difficult concept to grasp.

The main problems with all forms of government is abuse of power and it goes on in democracies as much as any other type of government. Look at Tony Blair astride the globe hoover-ing up millions instead of being sitting next the Bush in a 6X8 feet cell. When Britain and America fell asleep and accepted total state surveillance as the price they had to pay to stop a handful of terrorist deaths each year, they set themselves up for this power to be abused in the future and badly abused.
What's the answer? Really it begins at home with lessons in honesty, modesty, selflessness and the like. The reality and the kids are plonked down in front of the TV watching the avarice of the Kardashians there is little hope.

, uuuuuuu , 11 Feb 2017 12:02
After the horrors of WWII most people in the developed world understood both, the dangers and merits of democracy. In fact there is a conventional wisdom that it is totalitarian regimes which start wars, never democracies. By and large that may be true, but I don't think it is true in every instance.

But the major motivation for people is to press their own advantage, even it is to the detriment of somebody else. Even if it is quite evident that it is to the fatal detriment of somebody else. I guess religion describes this as our original sin. If that goal of personal advantage is better secured by a dictatorship then people (e.g. in 1930s Germany) will support that. Democracy is not a value in itself for the majority, but just a means to an end. After all, I suspect many would prefer to be rich in a totalitarian state, rather than poor in a democracy (especially those people who have never lived under a totalitarian regime).

What people like Trump do is to legitimise this drive/desire/greed as something positive (greed is good, greed works), when all of our upbringing has told us otherwise. Otherwise we could just take to killing our siblings to acquire their larger bedrooms.

I suspect the horrors of WWII have to be repeated to re-learn that lesson.

, Peter55 , 11 Feb 2017 12:03
oh well who cares. let the US rip itself apart from the inside, we all knew it was gonna happen sooner or later.

there will be no need for a terrorist attack to destroy the US ,they manage that fine on their own. a 50/50 split in the population over values and believes? Regardless of who's right and who's wrong. Its so damaging that by the end of Trump Pax America will be history.

US cant even keep control in their own backyard atm, thousands are killed within their own boarders every year by their own people, most average people will never get enough paid to sustain a adequate living condition, they struggle heavily with race and race related problems. They struggle heavily with females and female right.
But most importantly they are not united, americans hate americans now. Many americans hate their fellow americans more than they hate outside enemies. And thats a fact. How can a society like that survive?

The US will eat itself and Trump will probably earn a billion on it, he is after all a business man. He does what suits him best. But did anyone actually expect something els?

, baxterb , 11 Feb 2017 12:03
Make them afraid, then exploit that fear like there's no tomorrow. Heartening that people don't fall for it though.
, Bluejil , 11 Feb 2017 12:04
It does correlate with research that says one third of US residents believe you must be Christian to be American ( http://www.pewglobal.org/2017/02/01/what-it-takes-to-truly-be-one-of-us /). Jesus makes the laws.

Take it a step further and apparently the word of Jesus is that you pull the ladder up after you and you look to the demagogue giving false praise to fantastical notions and mocking democracy.

, Fred Ducleaux Bluejil , 11 Feb 2017 12:17
There is much confusion between "Christian" America and America's Judeo-Christian Heritage. Books have been written.

The heritage is what gave America, and Europe, Liberal Democracy and freedoms understood as "self-evident." That is, embedded and safe from lawyers and politicians. You do not need to be a "Christian" to enjoy the freedomos the heritage gives to all.

, nottaken Fred Ducleaux , 11 Feb 2017 15:57
"self-evident" is a strong clue that the constitution was informed more by man-centred Enlightenment than by residual Judeo-Christian Heritage.
The majority of the framers were Atheists or Deists; any reference to God was part of the necessary legitimizing and marketing process. Since then it has been a process of Christianity (read: Protestantism) being merged with the civic religion, to the point where they are indistinguishable. Both have been mightily degraded in the process.

More recently, corporate America's propaganda campaign to merge Christianity with Capitalism, fronted by Rev. J Fifield, was hugely successful, and has brought us to the present pass.

, mikedow , 11 Feb 2017 12:04
Sitting politicians create the laws the judges interpret.

That seems to be a necessary reminder.

Share Facebook Twitter
, AgainstDarkness , 11 Feb 2017 12:05
"While millennials may be politically liberal in their policy preferences... "

They are not politically liberal. They might be vaguely called "socially liberal", supporting the causes prescribed to them by a new "progressivism" in the name of ill-defined tolerance, diversity etc.

None of the above implies an understanding of liberal democracy.

There have been many strains of the "left" in the past that would be classified as "liberal" under current American terminology but were totally undemocratic. That was why the term "democratic left" was invented to separate left-wing people that really believe in democracy.

The modern "progressive identarian" is not a liberal.

, Fred Ducleaux , 11 Feb 2017 12:08
If you are a Green Card holder and leave the US you can incure tax liability for up to 10 years. Taxation without representation.

But........the most flagrant departure from Democracy is giving the lawyers the final say on what is, or is not, the law. The legislature can pass whatever bills they may like but if the lawyers say it is offensive or phobic it will be struck down. The "Supreme" Court is the ultimate power in the USA and none are elected by the people and none can be removed by the people. The only way they go is in a box.

Sad to say, Tony Blair (surprise surprise!) created the same undemocratic monster in our country and even labelled it the same way: "Supreme." Unelected, unaccountable and as politically motivated as its US counterpart.

, Jack Taylor Fred Ducleaux , 11 Feb 2017 12:20
By lawyers I guess you mean judges?
, snavep Fred Ducleaux , 11 Feb 2017 12:22
No the SC in the US can decide a law is contrary to the constitution.
Can you give a single example where the UK SC has 'struck down' any legislation? They have declared govt decisions contrary to existing law including common law. You do seem to have a habit of coming on here making stuff up.
, lochinverboy , 11 Feb 2017 12:08
In the context of first past the post, democracy is a total con. If you examine those democracies with FPTP you wintness the most right wing governments on the planet that use this system. PR as is used across Europe prevents these extremes and all votes count. Do you think the Tories OR Labour will rush to change to this? No chance. Lastly, here and in the US, you have a choice of two broadly similar parties who serve the rich and powerful who have engineered democracy largely by contolling the press, to suit their own ends. By definition therefore, democracy here and in the US is a caricature of what was originally intended for the people and not fit for purpose.
, Graz100 lochinverboy , 11 Feb 2017 12:20
I support the introduction of PR, but it is a mistake to assume that any kind of voting system or institution will stop the collapse of democracy/ democratic institutions Economic and social strife will tend to overcome all safeguards when the public starts to feel desperate. A good example and warning from history is the rise of the Nazi party in pre WW2 Germany. Trump and the republicans have yet to destroy democracy and I see no suggestion that T will refuse to stand fro reelection.
, Zojo lochinverboy , 11 Feb 2017 12:32
I agree that the reason democracy has lost its lustre is because both her and in the US we are offered no real choice. In terms of economic policy, the "There is No Alternative" party always wins. Unsurprisingly, people start to believe that there IS no alternative, and therefore the choice on offer is not genuine. They then either lose interest in voting altogether, or look for more extreme offerings which seem to be truly different.
, brightheart , 11 Feb 2017 12:14
Bringing up the 'law and order' issues combined with blaming it on immigrants is typical of far right regimes that want to undermine democratic values and move towards dictatorship.
, IanPitch , 11 Feb 2017 12:19 Guardian Pick
By casting aspersions on the judiciary, Trump is echoing past dictators. First, he questions their independence and then, when another terrorist incident occurs (whether white or non-white) he can say 'I told you so, this atrocity is all the judge's fault'. America has truly entered a new dark age. Let's pray that good men and women will continue to uphold and defend the Constitution and the rule of law... Share
, politicsblogsuk IanPitch , 11 Feb 2017 12:33
An independent judiciary and a free press are considered the pillars or cornerstones of a properly functioning democracy.

Once you undermine them or the public's trust in them, it is much easier to move the political centre of gravity towards fascism.

So, why is Trump attacking the judiciary and fee press?

, mondopinion politicsblogsuk , 11 Feb 2017 13:08
I for one no longer think the mainstream 'free press' is balanced or impartial.
, AgeingAlbion , 11 Feb 2017 12:23
Democracy has been in decline in the west for some time now, and it isn't just the right or the left which has abandoned it. Nearly every western country has a bill of rights (either a strong version eg the US which can strike down legislation or a weaker one eg the U.K. where the courts award damages for breaches and make declarations of incompatibility). The EU has pros and cons but no one could pretend it is democratic. The UK still has the House of Lords. The Canadian academic James Allen has written a good book on it - how elites have now decided they know best.

We need to be wary of this endless erosion of majority rule. Tin pot dictators the world over have always had an excuse for ignoring the majority. Latin American military Juntas always explained that they had to have power to ensure security. Human rights lawyers say they are needdd to uphold the ever evolving concept of human rights. The Church used to insist it should have power to enforce God's rule. The Fijian army in 1987 made an openly racist coup (attracting minimal opprobrium and next to no action from the international community). Even those who think there are sound reasons to ignore the majority have to admit they're not in great historical company

, Philip J Sparrow AgeingAlbion , 11 Feb 2017 12:40
"those who think there are sound reasons to ignore the majority"

People like Socrates/Plato, John Stuart Mill, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, James Madison, Alexis de Tocqueville...

, emmasdad AgeingAlbion , 11 Feb 2017 12:49

The EU has pros and cons but no one could pretend it is democratic.

The EU is not a state; it is 28 member states acting collaboratively in a number of specified policy areas. As such, the appropriate comparison is not between the EU and a state but between the EU and other collective bodies through which states cooperate with one-another such as the UN or NATO. In terms of giving representation to ordinary citizens of its member states, I would say the EU compares extremely favourably.

Moreover, the only two bodies in the EU that are able to enact legislation (and can only do so through the agreement of both bodies) are the EU Parliament, which is directly elected by the citizens of the member states and the Council, which consists of members of the Governments of the member states, which, in turn, have been put in place by the citizens of the member states through whichever electoral system is employed in each member state. We don't need to 'pretend' that the EU is democratic; it's system of governance IS democratic in the same way that the governance structures of western democracies are democratic.

, Vintage59 emmasdad , 11 Feb 2017 15:01
To put that more succinctly, no one can pretend the EU is democratic but many will still argue that it is if it fits their purposes.

Amusing.

, Gilbert3 , 11 Feb 2017 12:23
Fewer people believe in the importance of democracy because we're several generations on from almost having lost it. In the same vein we're more likely to have a major war than we were 40/50 years ago because none of the major world leaders have experience of one. It's cyclic. We become complacent and smug until it happens again.
, Gilbert3 , 11 Feb 2017 12:23
Fewer people believe in the importance of democracy because we're several generations on from almost having lost it. In the same vein we're more likely to have a major war than we were 40/50 years ago because none of the major world leaders have experience of one. It's cyclic. We become complacent and smug until it happens again.
, Andy Wong Ming Jun Gilbert3 , 11 Feb 2017 14:28
History is a cycle. In this respect I agree with Steve Bannon. He's not nuts, he's just someone who knows how to read the winds very well like a wolf.
, theshining , 11 Feb 2017 12:35
"It was a stirring victory for the rule of law and reaffirmation of the independence of the judiciary."
It most certainly was NOT anything of the kind. It was an act of judicial arrogance and a deliberate attempt to undermine the long upheld power of the President to take actions that HE considers required for the safety of the nation. What the ruling basically did was substitute judicial preferences for Presidential preferences no matter that the Constitution was clearly not supportive of this usurpation of power. you can review LOTS of legal opinions that state precisely this. An horrendously POLITICAL decision that will come back to haunt the courts.
A defense of 'democracy' that begins with a defense of an arbitrary and demonstrably BAD court ruling is pretty much fatally flawed from the jump.
Democracy works for as long as the fracture points in society are papered over with a commonality of basic interests. When that is not the case, democracy cannot endure. The US (and others will follow) is fracturing into pieces that simply don't like each other for VERY fundamental reasons, including the definition of a Nation State and what it means.
Democracy works when things go well. It cannot work when it all falls apart. Oh and it also of course fails when the majority have a vested interest in getting stuff 'free', and can vote to have their demands enacted no matter the consequences.
LOTS of places are not democracies. It really isn't the future. Too many fault lines coming up.
, kristinezkochanski , 11 Feb 2017 12:35
Only 53% of those surveyed said that they "trust judges more than President Trump to make the right decisions for the United States."

One of the reasons why I am very sceptical of opinion polls or surveys is that they often ask the wrong questions. It is not for judges to make decisions about what is best for the country which this question clearly implies. Their job is to judge what complies with the law.

Judges do not make political decisions about what is right for the United States any more than they do about what is right for the UK. It is this lack of understanding which leads to them being called enemies of the people.

, ennCarey , 11 Feb 2017 12:38
Here is the great George Carlin summing it all up in just 3 minutes and 14 seconds.

It's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it - George Carlin

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

, dv420uk , 11 Feb 2017 12:38
It all boils down to education. Democracy can't work when you have so many people prepared to believe and base their vote on 'fake news' (a nicer way to say lie).

Governments in a democracy need to make having a well educated public a priority. Provide a high standard education for all the population up to secondary school level for free (or at a rate affordable to everyone) and you greatly diminish the chances of another Trump/Brexit.

, therebythegrace dv420uk , 11 Feb 2017 12:52
And that's why both the Tories and the Republicans have placed so much effort in undermining our education systems.

They do not want an educated populace who are capable of critical thinking.

, CyrusA dv420uk , 11 Feb 2017 12:59
And hopefully diminish the chances of more "moderate" alternatives bringing the Population to its knees? Was Thatcher more "moderate" than Trump or did the Me Generation that she created usher in May and Trump.
, Budanevey , 11 Feb 2017 12:39
One person's victory is another's defeat. Politicians and voters are divided on judicial appointments to the Supreme Court, and the 4-4 split in the current court illustrates that the rule of law is simply another reflection of politics.

I think the Ninth Court made a big mistake. Why? Because playing politics with the law can have serious unintended consequences. American Presidents have been resorting to shock and awe against Muslims because they can't use tough domestic security measures to protect Americans at home for fear of US judges taking an uncompromising view of constitutional rights. Trump's predecessors have not only resorted to foreign military action, but they have taken risks with extra-legal measures like Rendition, Secret Prisons, Torture and Drone attacks.

The Ninth Court may uphold the constitutional rights of people coming from war zones to attend universities in Washington State, but the real world consequence of their hostility to domestic security measures will be to corner existing and future presidents in to bombing suspected terrorists abroad, making the world infinitely less safe with regime-changing wars.

, SkiSpy Budanevey , 11 Feb 2017 12:45
They have a hostility to unlawful, unconstitutional presidential edicts. That's a good thing. Share Facebook Twitter
, Budanevey SkiSpy , 11 Feb 2017 12:55
Congress gave the President the power to exclude people from the US on national security grounds. The University of Maryland maintains the Global Terrorism Database which lists more than 150,000 attacks since it began.

96% of current terrorism killing more than 7000 people each year is claimed by jihadis. President Trump first mentioned his proposed temporary ban after the murders in San Bernardino.

I don't think its unreasonable to restrict people coming from these war zones when they've been murdering people elsewhere, including Paris, Brussels, Berlin etc. It seems that US judges can't be persuaded that the right to life is more important than the temporary inconvenience of not being able to attend universities in Washington State unless and until such people murder Americans on American soil. I wouldn't call that 'constitutional'. It's offensive stupidity and irresponsible.

How man

, Joe Soap Budanevey , 11 Feb 2017 13:17
If Americans were so concerned about the right to life they would do something about their almost non-existent gun laws. Terrorists don't have to kill Americans since Americans are doing such a good job of it on their own.
, brap123 , 11 Feb 2017 12:40
Americans are waking up to the fact that the elite and establishment don't care about the them. The media lies, the courts are trying to let in terrorists. TRump is the only one who is fighting for the people. Trump is fighting for truth, Trump is fighting for our safety, even though the establishment is desperate to make us less safe (my guesss do the 1% can profit somehow). Fake news by the media is only continue to push this

Trump is fighting for Americans, we need to unite behind him. He will never let us down, and never lie to us.

, c23e , 11 Feb 2017 12:40
It's funny how Americans use Christianity as a weapon and are always quoting an eye for an eye etc instead of love your neighbour. If you are a Christian then surely you should realise that the old testament which is The Torah is all about revenge and anger whereas the New Testament is all about forgiveness and love and if the two come from the same God then that God has a spilt personality!

Also looking at history if you remember that Islam is 600 years younger than Christianity ask yourself what were Christians doing 600 years ago and you will see a lot of it was the same as what Jihardis are doing today - torture, beheadings and killing of those seen as apostates in the name of religion.

And remember American was founded by those seeking religious freedom despite the fact they oppressed the religions of the Native Americans and then went on to break more than 400 treaties with the Native Americans over the years.

Even the declaration of independence was signed mainly by slave owners ( which is surely anti-christian) and apartheid reigned in the US until Martin Luther King.

Land of the free and home of the brave is some king of joke played on the people but only noted by historians.

, PureReason2017 , 11 Feb 2017 12:44
To an important degree extensive, well-understood and articulately defended democracy only "matters" if you ascribe a large role to the [nation/federal] state - if you think it should spend very large amounts of money, address all manner of social problems, and regulate everything people do to reduce risk and enforce equality/diversity. If you believe in a minimal state (as most of the US founders did) then a much clearer and less pressing kind of democracy for national affairs is fully adequate. It is at the local level - in the states and counties, the towns and cities - that regular and engaged democracy is essential. And this report does not look at that at all. It is only bothered about who gets to drive forward the all-powerful state. If Pres Trump - and it is a very big if - wants to reduce the role of the state, then the significance of his actions through that state become clearer and more capable of control.
, Paul B PureReason2017 , 11 Feb 2017 13:00
surely the problem is that so much of what happens in a modern democracy cannot be carried out at a local level. You cannot have a local level internet. You cannot decide where your highways and trains are going to go purely at the local level. You cannot, in most cases, feed and clothe and support your population at the local level and any form of trade requires agreements that take place at a much higher level.
, Junkets , 11 Feb 2017 12:46
It's a very interesting phenomenon. The 'attraction' of Trump is that he's a loose cannon and doesn't seem to have that much control over a lot of what he says. The remarks about Putin and America's own predilection for killing people - which caused him to be called anti-American for actually speaking the truth - is a case in point. He is the precise opposite of your usual buttoned up on-message politician and that, quite frankly, is refreshing. He is precisely where our democracy itself has led to. Because of its reliance on professional politicians who say one thing and mean another, his tendency to blabber and say just what's on his mind, must be perceived as a virtue. Where this will lead, I have no idea, but he is definitely opening up new unexplored territory and what we might find in it is anyone's guess. As the old Chinese curse goes, "May you live in interesting times."
, Junkets Junkets , 11 Feb 2017 12:57
For those thinking of impeaching Trump, think what the alternative will be. Pence. Now that guy really is scary - scarier even than Bannon.

[Feb 12, 2017] The neocon godfather Leo Strauss would be proud as king of bait and switch Obama promoting lying to people telling them what they want to hear, then doing whatever the hell you want after getting elected as an official Democratic Party policy

Notable quotes:
"... Obama: "[O]ne of the issues that Democrats have to be clear on is that given population distribution across the country, we have to compete everywhere, we have to show up everywhere." Throwing Clinton under the bus ..."
"... I yelled at the radio after hearing this, because he means just showing up, telling people what they want to hear, then doing whatever the hell you want after getting elected. Not one word about actually meeting peoples needs. EFF OBAMA and the DEMOCRATIC PARTY!! ..."
"... If you didn't read this (linked yesterday), you should consider both reading and sharing far and wide. The entire system is designed to be anti-representative. Don't just get/stay mad, quit expecting a bunch of gangsters to function democratically. Get out of their box. ..."
Feb 12, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
mk , November 16, 2016 at 7:55 am

Where the Democrats went wrong CNBC.

Obama: "[O]ne of the issues that Democrats have to be clear on is that given population distribution across the country, we have to compete everywhere, we have to show up everywhere." Throwing Clinton under the bus
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I yelled at the radio after hearing this, because he means just showing up, telling people what they want to hear, then doing whatever the hell you want after getting elected. Not one word about actually meeting peoples needs. EFF OBAMA and the DEMOCRATIC PARTY!!

Eureka Springs , November 16, 2016 at 8:21 am

If you didn't read this (linked yesterday), you should consider both reading and sharing far and wide. The entire system is designed to be anti-representative. Don't just get/stay mad, quit expecting a bunch of gangsters to function democratically. Get out of their box.

[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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Dec 17, 2016] Paul Krugman Useful Idiots Galore

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Useful Idiots Galore," terrifying.

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

One thought....

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

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

Seems a bit of a double standard.

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

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

the looking glass you all went through.

Trump has more convictions than any democrat

... ... ...

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

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

September 22, 2014

Snap Out of It
By David Brooks

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

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

October 21, 2014

Putin and the Pope
By Thomas L. Friedman

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

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

December 20, 2014

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

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

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

December 21, 2014

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

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

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

January 27, 2015

Czar Putin's Next Moves
By Thomas L. Friedman

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

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

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

September 15, 2015

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

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

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

September 20, 2015

Mr. Putin's Mixed Messages on Syria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RUSSIA'S UNFREE PRESS

The Boston Globe - Marshall Goldman - January 29, 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(No link; from their archives.)

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

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

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

February 7, 2001

Russia's Unfree Press
By Marshall I. Goldman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And there is outrage fatigue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Nov 23, 2016] A crisis of legitimacy -- recommended links

Nov 23, 2016 | www.economist.com

Legitimation crisis - Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legitimation_ crisis

Jump to International crises of legitimacy - Legitimation crisis refers to a decline in the confidence of administrative functions, institutions, or leadership. The term was first introduced in 1973 by Jürgen Habermas, a German sociologist and philosopher. ‎ Legitimacy · ‎ Theories of legitimacy · ‎ Legitimation crisis origin · ‎ Historical examples A crisis of legitimacy | The Economist www.economist.com/node/796097

A crisis of legitimacy . People are fed up with politics. Do not blame globalisation for that. Sep 27th 2001 | From the print edition. Timekeeper. Add this article to ... Legitimacy: Legitimation Crises and Its Causes - Political Science Notes www.politicalsciencenotes.com/ legitimacy / legitimacy -legitimation- crises -and-its.../797

Causes of Legitimation Crisis : There are several causes or aspects of legitimation crisis . Habermas and several other neo-Marxists, after studying all the aspects of capitalist societies, have concluded that a number of factors are responsible for the legitimation crisis

The Global Crisis of Legitimacy | Stratfor https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20100503_global_ crisis _ legitimacy

The Global Crisis of Legitimacy . Geopolitical Weekly. May 4, 2010 | 08:56 GMT. Print. Text Size. By George Friedman. Financial panics are an integral part of ...

The Legitimacy Crisis in the United States: A Conceptual Analysis - JStor https://www.jstor.org/stable/800195 by DO Friedrichs - ‎1980 - ‎ Cited by 52 - ‎ Related articles A " legitimacy crisis " is widely perceived to exist on the basis of polls of public at- ... causes of a legitimacy crisis may be identified, it has been associated with the ...

[PDF] THEORETICAL BASIS OF CRISIS OF LEGITIMACY AND ... - Dialnet https://dialnet.unirioja.es/descarga/articulo/3640420.pdf

by GE Reyes - ‎2010 - ‎ Cited by 1 - ‎ Related articles Theoretical basis of crisis of legitimacy and implications for less developed countries: Guatemala as a case of study. TENDENCIAS. Revista de la Facultad de ...

[PDF] A Crisis of Democratic Legitimacy? It's about Legitimation, Stupid! aei.pitt.edu/63549/1/EPB21-def.pdf

by A Mattelaer - ‎2014 - ‎ Related articles Mar 21, 2014 - generalised crisis in legitimacy , our democracies face a crisis of legitimation: political choices are in dire need of an explanatory narrative that. The Legitimacy Crisis | RealClearPolitics www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/05/08/the_ legitimacy _ crisis _126530.html

May 8, 2015 - American government - at all levels - is losing the legitimacy it needs to function. Or, perhaps, some segments of the government have ...

The Global Crisis of Legitimacy of Liberal Democracy - Global ... https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/211/44824.html

The third dimension of the crisis that I identify is the crisis of legitimacy of US hegemony. This, I think, is as serious as the other two crises, since, as an admirer of ...

The Crisis of Legitimacy in Africa | Dissent Magazine https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/the- crisis-of-legitimacy -in-africa

The Crisis of Legitimacy in Africa. Abiola Irele ▫ Summer 1992. A bleak picture emerges from today's Africa. One glaring aspect is the material deprivation ...

[Nov 18, 2016] Ellison is a dud, Bernie tweets support for Schumer theres nobody I know better prepared and more capable of leading our caucus than Chuck Schumer -- Well theres a good

Nov 18, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
chunder maker in that statement eh? Hope dashed! jo6pac November 17, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Lambert you were on to something when you mention his twitter account.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/11/17/the-skeletons-in-keith-ellisons-display-case/

I know my Muslim friends would never want to hurt anyone but this guy is as crazy as hillabillie.

cocomaan November 17, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Support for Syria and Libya interventions? Gross. No thanks.

Who else do we got? Wait this is it? WHAT?!!

uncle tungsten November 18, 2016 at 7:25 am

Ellison is a dud, Bernie tweets support for Schumer "there's nobody I know better prepared and more capable of leading our caucus than Chuck Schumer"!
Well there's a good chunder maker in that statement eh? Hope dashed!

There are no doubt many who are better informed, more progressive and principled, more remote from Wall Street and oligarchic capture than Chuck Schumer and Ellison. So there you have it – this is reform in the Democrats after a crushing defeat.

Vale democrats, and now the journey becomes arduous with these voices to smother hope. A new party is urgently needed (I know how difficult that is) and these voices of the old machine need to be ignored for the sake of sanity.

[Nov 18, 2016] The statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes by Bruce Wilder

Notable quotes:
"... The New Deal did not seek to overthrow the plutocracy, but it did seek to side-step and disable their dominance. ..."
"... It seems to me that while neoliberalism on the right was much the same old same old, the neoliberal turn on the left was marked by a measured abandonment of this struggle over the distribution of income between the classes. In the U.S., the Democrats gradually abandoned their populist commitments. In Europe, the labour and socialist parties gradually abandoned class struggle. ..."
"... When Obama came in, in 2008 amid the unfolding GFC, one of the most remarkable features of his economic team was the extent to which it conceded control of policy entirely to the leading money center banks. Geithner and Bernanke continued in power with Geithner moving from the New York Federal Reserve (where he served as I recall under a Chair from Goldman Sachs) to Treasury in the Obama Administration, but Geithner's Treasury was staffed from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank. The crisis served to concentrate banking assets in the hands of the top five banks, but it seemed also to transfer political power entirely into their hands as well. Simon Johnson called it a coup. ..."
"... Here's the thing: the globalization and financialization of the economy from roughly 1980 drove both increasingly extreme distribution of income and de-industrialization. ..."
"... It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability. Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, in a meteorological economics. ..."
"... This was not your grandfather's Democratic Party and it was a Democratic Party that could aid the working class and the Rust Belt only within fairly severe and sometimes sharply conflicting constraints. ..."
"... No one in the Democratic Party had much institutional incentive to connect the dots, and draw attention to the acute conflicts over the distribution of income and wealth involved in financialization of the economy (including financialization as a driver of health care costs). And, that makes the political problem that much harder, because there are no resources for rhetorical and informational clarity or coherence. ..."
"... If Obama could not get a very big stimulus indeed thru a Democratic Congress long out of power, Obama wasn't really trying. And, well-chosen spending on pork barrel projects is popular and gets Congressional critters re-elected. So, again, if the stimulus is small and the Democratic Congress doesn't get re-elected, Obama isn't really trying. ..."
"... Again, it comes down to: by 2008, the Democratic Party is not a fit vehicle for populism, because it has become a neoliberal vehicle for giant banks. Turns out that makes a policy difference. ..."
Nov 18, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30

At the center of Great Depression politics was a political struggle over the distribution of income, a struggle that was only decisively resolved during the War, by the Great Compression. It was at center of farm policy where policymakers struggled to find ways to support farm incomes. It was at the center of industrial relations politics, where rapidly expanding unions were seeking higher industrial wages. It was at the center of banking policy, where predatory financial practices were under attack. It was at the center of efforts to regulate electric utility rates and establish public power projects. And, everywhere, the clear subtext was a struggle between rich and poor, the economic royalists as FDR once called them and everyone else.

FDR, an unmistakeable patrician in manner and pedigree, was leading a not-quite-revolutionary politics, which was nevertheless hostile to and suspicious of business elites, as a source of economic pathology. The New Deal did not seek to overthrow the plutocracy, but it did seek to side-step and disable their dominance.

It seems to me that while neoliberalism on the right was much the same old same old, the neoliberal turn on the left was marked by a measured abandonment of this struggle over the distribution of income between the classes. In the U.S., the Democrats gradually abandoned their populist commitments. In Europe, the labour and socialist parties gradually abandoned class struggle.

In retrospect, though the New Deal did use direct employment as a means of relief to good effect economically and politically, it never undertook anything like a Keynesian stimulus on a Keynesian scale - at least until the War.

Where the New Deal witnessed the institution of an elaborate system of financial repression, accomplished in large part by imposing on the financial sector an explicitly mandated structure, with types of firms and effective limits on firm size and scope, a series of regulatory reforms and financial crises beginning with Carter and Reagan served to wipe this structure away.

When Obama came in, in 2008 amid the unfolding GFC, one of the most remarkable features of his economic team was the extent to which it conceded control of policy entirely to the leading money center banks. Geithner and Bernanke continued in power with Geithner moving from the New York Federal Reserve (where he served as I recall under a Chair from Goldman Sachs) to Treasury in the Obama Administration, but Geithner's Treasury was staffed from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank. The crisis served to concentrate banking assets in the hands of the top five banks, but it seemed also to transfer political power entirely into their hands as well. Simon Johnson called it a coup.

I don't know what considerations guided Obama in choosing the size of the stimulus or its composition (as spending and tax cuts). Larry Summers was identified at the time as a voice of caution, not "gambling", but not much is known about his detailed reasoning in severely trimming Christina Romer's entirely conventional calculations. (One consideration might well have been worldwide resource shortages, which had made themselves felt in 2007-8 as an inflationary spike in commodity prices.) I do not see a case for connecting stimulus size policy to the health care reform. At the time the stimulus was proposed, the Administration had also been considering whether various big banks and other financial institutions should be nationalized, forced to insolvency or otherwise restructured as part of a regulatory reform.

Here's the thing: the globalization and financialization of the economy from roughly 1980 drove both increasingly extreme distribution of income and de-industrialization. Accelerating the financialization of the economy from 1999 on made New York and Washington rich, but the same economic policies and process were devastating the Rust Belt as de-industrialization. They were two aspects of the same complex of economic trends and policies. The rise of China as a manufacturing center was, in critical respects, a financial operation within the context of globalized trade that made investment in new manufacturing plant in China, as part of globalized supply chains and global brand management, (arguably artificially) low-risk and high-profit, while reinvestment in manufacturing in the American mid-west became unattractive, except as a game of extracting tax subsidies or ripping off workers.

It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability. Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, in a meteorological economics.

It is conceding too many good intentions to the Obama Administration to tie an inadequate stimulus to a Rube Goldberg health care reform as the origin story for the final debacle of Democratic neoliberal politics. There was a delicate balancing act going on, but they were not balancing the recovery of the economy in general so much as they were balancing the recovery from insolvency of a highly inefficient and arguably predatory financial sector, which was also not incidentally financing the institutional core of the Democratic Party and staffing many key positions in the Administration and in the regulatory apparatus.

This was not your grandfather's Democratic Party and it was a Democratic Party that could aid the working class and the Rust Belt only within fairly severe and sometimes sharply conflicting constraints.

No one in the Democratic Party had much institutional incentive to connect the dots, and draw attention to the acute conflicts over the distribution of income and wealth involved in financialization of the economy (including financialization as a driver of health care costs). And, that makes the political problem that much harder, because there are no resources for rhetorical and informational clarity or coherence.

bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:33 pm ( 31 )

The short version of my thinking on the Obama stimulus is this: Keynesian stimulus spending is a free lunch; it doesn't really matter what you spend money on up to a very generous point, so it seems ready-made for legislative log-rolling. If Obama could not get a very big stimulus indeed thru a Democratic Congress long out of power, Obama wasn't really trying. And, well-chosen spending on pork barrel projects is popular and gets Congressional critters re-elected. So, again, if the stimulus is small and the Democratic Congress doesn't get re-elected, Obama isn't really trying.

Again, it comes down to: by 2008, the Democratic Party is not a fit vehicle for populism, because it has become a neoliberal vehicle for giant banks. Turns out that makes a policy difference.

likbez 11.18.16 at 4:48 pm 121

bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30

Great comment. Simply great. Hat tip to the author !

Notable quotes:

"… The New Deal did not seek to overthrow the plutocracy, but it did seek to side-step and disable their dominance. …"

"… It seems to me that while neoliberalism on the right was much the same old same old, the neoliberal turn on the left was marked by a measured abandonment of this struggle over the distribution of income between the classes. In the U.S., the Democrats gradually abandoned their populist commitments. In Europe, the labour and socialist parties gradually abandoned class struggle. …"

"… When Obama came in, in 2008 amid the unfolding GFC, one of the most remarkable features of his economic team was the extent to which it conceded control of policy entirely to the leading money center banks. Geithner and Bernanke continued in power with Geithner moving from the New York Federal Reserve (where he served as I recall under a Chair from Goldman Sachs) to Treasury in the Obama Administration, but Geithner's Treasury was staffed from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank. The crisis served to concentrate banking assets in the hands of the top five banks, but it seemed also to transfer political power entirely into their hands as well. Simon Johnson called it a coup. … "

"… Here's the thing: the globalization and financialization of the economy from roughly 1980 drove both increasingly extreme distribution of income and de-industrialization. …"

"… It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability. Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, in a meteorological economics. …"

"… This was not your grandfather's Democratic Party and it was a Democratic Party that could aid the working class and the Rust Belt only within fairly severe and sometimes sharply conflicting constraints. …"

"… No one in the Democratic Party had much institutional incentive to connect the dots, and draw attention to the acute conflicts over the distribution of income and wealth involved in financialization of the economy (including financialization as a driver of health care costs). And, that makes the political problem that much harder, because there are no resources for rhetorical and informational clarity or coherence. …"

"… If Obama could not get a very big stimulus indeed thru a Democratic Congress long out of power, Obama wasn't really trying. And, well-chosen spending on pork barrel projects is popular and gets Congressional critters re-elected. So, again, if the stimulus is small and the Democratic Congress doesn't get re-elected, Obama isn't really trying. …"

"… Again, it comes down to: by 2008, the Democratic Party is not a fit vehicle for populism, because it has become a neoliberal vehicle for giant banks. Turns out that makes a policy difference. …"

[Nov 16, 2016] President Obama Deserves an Oscar by Robert Weissberg

Pretty biting assessment ...
Notable quotes:
"... I can recall tales of insecure Eastern European Jewish immigrants pretending to be WASPS. ..."
"... To be blunt, Barack Obama was less "a president" than a talented actor playing at being presidential. ..."
"... Those of us who have encountered this deception are usually aware of its tell-tale signs, though, to be fair, it may have been diligently practiced for so long that it has become a "real" element of the perpetrator's core personality. For those unfamiliar with this deception, let me now offer a brief catalogue of these tactics. ..."
"... Central is the careful management of outward physical appearances. In theatrical terms, these are props and depending on circumstances, this might be a finely tailored suit, wingtip shoes, a crisp white shirt, a smart silk tie and all the rest that announce business-like competence. ..."
"... Mastering "white" language is equally critical and in the academy this includes everything from tossing around trendy terms, for example, "paradigmatic," to displaying what appears to be a mastering of disciplinary jargon. Recall how the Black Panthers seduced gullible whites with just a sprinkling of Marxist terminology. ..."
"... I recall one (white) colleague who gave a little speech praising a deeply flawed dissertation written by a black assistant professor up for tenure. He told the assembled committee that her dissertation reminded him of Newton's Principia Mathematica (can't make that stuff up). ..."
"... Obama as President repeatedly exhibits these characteristics. It is thus hardly accidental that he relies extensively on canned Teleprompter speeches. According to one compilation published in January 2013, Obama has used Teleprompters in 699 speeches during his first term in office. There is also his aversion to informal off-the-cuff discussions with the press and open mike who-knows-what-will-happen "Town Hall" meetings. Obama is also the first president I've ever seen who often favors a casual blue jacket monogrammed "President of the United States." ..."
"... I suspect that deep down Obama recognizes that almost everything is an act not unlike Eddy Murphy playing Professor Sherman Klump in The Nutty Professor . It is no wonder, then, that his academic records (particularly his SAT scores) are sealed and, perhaps even more important, many of his fellow college students and colleagues at the University of Chicago where he briefly taught constitutional law cannot recall him. It is hard to imagine Obama relishing the prospect of going head-to-head with his sharp-witted Chicago colleagues. ..."
"... As a mulatto raised by white grandparents in Hawaii, Obama is not a black American, with no cultural ties to black Americans and slavery, yet he later learned to throw out a black accent to fool the fools. As Stephen Colbert once observed, white Americans love Obama because he was raised the right way, by white people. That was intended as humor, but ..."
"... Obama has leased an ultra-expensive house in an exclusive neighborhood in DC just like the corrupt Bill Clinton prior to his multi-million dollar speaking and influence peddling efforts. Obama will not return to Chicago to help poor blacks, like Jimmy Carter did elsewhere after he left office. Obama doesn't need an Oscar, he got a Nobel Peace Prize for the same act. ..."
"... Congratulations on noticing what it takes to be a successful politician in ANY "Western" democracy. It doesn't matter if you are black, white, aquamarine or candy-striped, or whether you are a college professor, an "economist", or a "businessman". It's all bluff and acting. ..."
"... The single most critical element of a successful con is not the hucksters appearance, or mannerisms, or even the spiel, it is simply making the con something that the sucker wants to believe. ..."
"... I recognized Obama's type not from academia, but from corporate America. He was the token black higher up. He's smart enough not to obviously do something requiring termination (get drunk and harass a colleague at an office party, shred important document, etc.), and his mistakes can be blamed on team failures, so he gets "black guy's tenure"-a middle or upper management position after only a few years. ..."
"... This critique applies to almost every Presidential candidate, regardless of ethnicity. ..."
"... The most successful recent President was a former professional actor and thus well suited for the position. The latest President-elect is also a savvy media figure, and yet mocked for his obvious lack of intellectual heft. But in his case, he's not acting, it's reality TV. ..."
"... PS. Maybe some Jews around Trump are beginning to feel that China is the real danger to US power in the long run. So, what US should really do is patch things up with Russia for the time being, drive a wedge between China and Russia, and use Russia against China and then go after Russia. ..."
"... Really! Go after Russia? And how would you do that and why? What would "going after Russia" look like? What about the "horrific Rape of Russia" you spoke of? China and Russia have business to conduct, they're quite through with us, our dollar and our Fed. We'll be lucky if they allow us a piece of the action. Instead of Russia>China>Russia machinations, we might want to figure out strategies for doing some other business than patronizing our arms manufacturers. Hey, cap Jewish influence in the courts and business if you wish, but keeping the U.S. in an endless state of war, economic and otherwise is zero sum and worse for the little people. ..."
"... I've called him that for years. And Dubya was possibly our first "legacy" president: chosen entirely based on whom he's related to not on any individual qualities that would suit him for such a high office. Had Dubya been raised by regular people, he would have probably ended up as a hardware store manager. ..."
"... Amen to all. The whole deal is a fraud. All successful politicians are imposters, people who've mastered the art of deception. I'd go even further and say that the majority of "authority figures" are probably parasites and frauds to one degree or another. ..."
"... Overall, the current president has been a deception, a trivial self-absorbed person whose main concern has been himself turned outward onto issues of race and sexual orientation ..."
"... American politics at this level is fake. Everything is orchestrated, attire is handpicked, speeches are written by professionals and read off the teleprompter, questions from the public are actually from plants and rehearsed prior, armies of PR people are at work everywhere, journalists are just flunky propagandists, ..."
"... He will be the subject of future dissertations about the failure of the American political process and the influence of media and third parties like Soros. ..."
Nov 16, 2016 | www.unz.com
As the troubled Obama presidency winds down, the inevitable question is why so many people, including a few smart ones were so easily fooled. How did a man with such a fine pedigree-Columbia, Harvard-who sounded so brilliant pursue such political capital wasting and foolish policies as forcing schools to discipline students by racial quotas? Or obsessing over allowing the transgendered to choose any bathroom? And, of the utmost importance, how can we prevent another Obama?

I'll begin simply: Obama is an imposter, a man who has mastered the art of deception as a skilled actor deceives an audience though in the case of Obama, most of the audience refused to accept that this was all play-acting. Even after almost eight years of ineptitude, millions still want to believe that he's the genuine article-an authentically super-bright guy able to fix a flawed America. Far more is involved than awarding blacks the intellectual equivalent of diplomatic immunity.

When Obama first appeared on the political scene I immediately recognized him as an example of the "successful" black academic who rapidly advances up the university ladder despite minimal accomplishment. Tellingly, when I noted the paucity of accomplishment of these black academic over-achievers to trusted professorial colleagues, they agreed with my analysis adding that they themselves had seen several instances of this phenomenon, but admittedly failed to connect the dots.

Here's the academic version of an Obama. You encounter this black student who appears a liberal's affirmative action dream come true -- exceptionally articulate with no trace of a ghetto accent, well-dressed, personable (no angry "tude"), and at least superficially sufficient brain power to succeed even in demanding subjects. Matters begin splendidly, but not for long. Almost invariably, his or her performance on the first test or paper falls far below expectations. A research paper, for example was only "C" work (though you generously awarded it a "B") and to make matters worse, it exhibited a convoluted writing style, a disregard for logic, ineptly constructed references and similar defects. Nevertheless, you accepted the usual litany of student excuses -- his claim of over-commitment, the material was unfamiliar, and this was his first research paper and so on. A reprieve was granted.

But the unease grows stronger with the second exam or paper, often despite your helpful advice on how to do better. Reality grows depressing -- what you see is not what you get and lacks any reasonable feel-good explanation. The outwardly accomplished black student is not an Asian struggling with English or a clear-cut affirmation action admittee in over his head. That this student may have actually studied diligently and followed your advice only exacerbates the discomfort.

To repeat, the way to make sense out this troubling situation is to think of this disappointing black student as a talented actor who has mastered the role of "smart college student." He has the gift of mimicry, conceivably a talent rooted in evolutionary development among a people who often had to survive by their wits (adaptive behavior captured by the phrase "acting white" or "passing"). This gift is hardly limited to blacks. I can recall tales of insecure Eastern European Jewish immigrants pretending to be WASPS.

But what if the observer was unaware of it being only a theatrical performance and took the competence at face value? Disaster. Russell Crowe as the Nobel Prize winning John Nash in A Beautiful Mind might give a stunning performance as a brilliant economist, but he would not last a minute if he tried to pass himself off as the real thing at a Princeton economic department seminar. To be blunt, Barack Obama was less "a president" than a talented actor playing at being presidential.

Those of us who have encountered this deception are usually aware of its tell-tale signs, though, to be fair, it may have been diligently practiced for so long that it has become a "real" element of the perpetrator's core personality. For those unfamiliar with this deception, let me now offer a brief catalogue of these tactics.

Central is the careful management of outward physical appearances. In theatrical terms, these are props and depending on circumstances, this might be a finely tailored suit, wingtip shoes, a crisp white shirt, a smart silk tie and all the rest that announce business-like competence. Future college or foundation president here we come (Obama has clearly mastered this sartorial ploy). But for those seeking an appointment as a professor, this camouflage must be more casual but, whatever the choice, there cannot be any hint of "ghetto" style, i.e., no flashy jewelry, gold chains, purple "pimpish" suits, or anything else that even slightly hints of what blacks might consider authentic black attire.

Mastering "white" language is equally critical and in the academy this includes everything from tossing around trendy terms, for example, "paradigmatic," to displaying what appears to be a mastering of disciplinary jargon. Recall how the Black Panthers seduced gullible whites with just a sprinkling of Marxist terminology. Precisely citing a few obscure court cases or administrative directives can also do the trick. Further add certain verbal styles common among professors or peppering a presentation with correctly pronounced non-English words. I recall a talk by one black professor from the University of Chicago who wowed my colleagues by just using-and correctly so-a few Yiddish expressions.

Ironically, self-defined conservatives are especially vulnerable to these well-crafted performances. No doubt, like all good thinking liberals, they desperately want to believe that blacks are just as talented as whites so an Obama-like figure is merely the first installment of coming racial equality. The arrival of this long-awaited black also provides a great opportunity to demonstrate that being "conservative" does not certify one as a racist. Alas, this can be embarrassing and comical if over-done. I recall one (white) colleague who gave a little speech praising a deeply flawed dissertation written by a black assistant professor up for tenure. He told the assembled committee that her dissertation reminded him of Newton's Principia Mathematica (can't make that stuff up).

Alas, the deception usually unravels when the imposter confronts a complicated unstructured situation lacking a well-defined script, hardly surprising given the IQ test data indicate that blacks usually perform better on items reflecting social norms, less well on abstract, highly "g" loaded items. In academic job presentations, for example, a job candidate's intellectual limits often become apparent during the Q and A when pressed to wrestle with technical or logical abstractions that go beyond the initial well-rehearsed talk. Picture a job candidate who just finished reading a paper being asked whether the argument is falsifiable or how causality might be established? These can be killer questions that require ample quick footed intellectual dexterity and often bring an awkward silence as the candidate struggles to think on his feet (these responses may rightly be judged far more important than what is read from a paper). I recall one genuinely bewildered black job candidate who explained a complicated measurement choice with "my Ph.D. advisor, a past president of the American Political Science Association told me to do it this way."

Obama as President repeatedly exhibits these characteristics. It is thus hardly accidental that he relies extensively on canned Teleprompter speeches. According to one compilation published in January 2013, Obama has used Teleprompters in 699 speeches during his first term in office. There is also his aversion to informal off-the-cuff discussions with the press and open mike who-knows-what-will-happen "Town Hall" meetings. Obama is also the first president I've ever seen who often favors a casual blue jacket monogrammed "President of the United States."

Perhaps the best illustration of these confused, often rambling moments occurs when he offers impromptu commentary on highly charged, fast-breaking race-related incidents such as the Louis Henry Gates dustup in Cambridge , Mass ("the police acted stupidly") and the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown shootings. You could see his pained look as he struggles with being a "good race man" while simultaneously struggling to sort out murky legal issues. This is not the usual instances of politicians speaking evasively to avoid controversy; he was genuinely befuddled.

Similar signs of confused thinking can also be seen in other spontaneous remarks, the most famous example might be his comment about those Americans clinging to their guns and Bibles. What was he thinking? Did he forget that both gun and Bible ownership are constitutionally protected and the word "cling" in this context suggests mental illness? Woes to some impertinent reporter who challenged the President to clarify his oft-repeated "the wrong side of history" quip or explain the precise meaning of, "That's not who were are"? "Mr. President, can you enlighten us on how you know you are on the Right Side of History"?

I suspect that deep down Obama recognizes that almost everything is an act not unlike Eddy Murphy playing Professor Sherman Klump in The Nutty Professor . It is no wonder, then, that his academic records (particularly his SAT scores) are sealed and, perhaps even more important, many of his fellow college students and colleagues at the University of Chicago where he briefly taught constitutional law cannot recall him. It is hard to imagine Obama relishing the prospect of going head-to-head with his sharp-witted Chicago colleagues.

Further add his lack of a publication in the Harvard Law Review, a perk as the President of the Law Review (not Editor) and the credible evidence that his two autobiographies where ghost written after their initial rejection as unsuitable for publication. All and all, a picture emerges of an individual who knows he must fake it to convince others of his intellectual talents, and like a skilled actor he has spent years studying the role of "President." President Obama deserves an Academy award (which, of course would also be a step toward diversity, to boot) for his efforts.


Carlton Meyer says: • Website

November 16, 2016 at 5:31 am GMT • 300 Words

This is why I often referred to Obama as a "Pentagon spokesman." Did you know his proposed military budgets each year were on average higher than Bush or Reagan? People forget that is first objective as President was to close our torture camp in Cuba. He could have issued an Executive Order and have it closed in one day. DOJ aircraft could fly all the inmates away within two hours before any court could challenge that, if they dared. It remains open.

Yet when Congress refused to act to open borders wider, he issued an Executive Order to grant residency to five million illegals. And under Soros direction, he sent DoJ attack dogs after any state or city that questioned the right of men who want to use a ladies room.

As a mulatto raised by white grandparents in Hawaii, Obama is not a black American, with no cultural ties to black Americans and slavery, yet he later learned to throw out a black accent to fool the fools. As Stephen Colbert once observed, white Americans love Obama because he was raised the right way, by white people. That was intended as humor, but

Obama has leased an ultra-expensive house in an exclusive neighborhood in DC just like the corrupt Bill Clinton prior to his multi-million dollar speaking and influence peddling efforts. Obama will not return to Chicago to help poor blacks, like Jimmy Carter did elsewhere after he left office. Obama doesn't need an Oscar, he got a Nobel Peace Prize for the same act.


3.anon says:

November 16, 2016 at 5:34 am GMT • 100 Words

What to make of the Michael Eric Dysons and the Cornell Wests of the world ??
How do they rise up the ranks of academia , become darlings of talk shows and news panels , all the while dressed and speaking ghetto with zero talent or interest in appearing white . And zero academic competency ??


6.CCZ, November 16, 2016 at 6:08 am GMT

Our first affirmative action President? I have yet to hear that exact description, even in a nation with 60 million deplorable "racist" voters.

8.Tom Welsh, November 16, 2016 at 7:00 am GMT • 100 Words

Congratulations on noticing what it takes to be a successful politician in ANY "Western" democracy. It doesn't matter if you are black, white, aquamarine or candy-striped, or whether you are a college professor, an "economist", or a "businessman". It's all bluff and acting.

Why does anyone still find this surprising?

11.Alfa158, November 16, 2016 at 7:56 am GMT • 100 Words

The single most critical element of a successful con is not the hucksters appearance, or mannerisms, or even the spiel, it is simply making the con something that the sucker wants to believe. White people were desperate for a Magic Negro and they got one. Black people ended up suffering from deteriorating economics and exploding intramural murder rates.

12.whorefinder, November 16, 2016 at 8:02 am GMT • 300 Words

Strikes a chord with me, and with Clint Eastwood (recall the 2012 RNC, where Eastwood mocked Obama as an "empty chair").

I recognized Obama's type not from academia, but from corporate America. He was the token black higher up. He's smart enough not to obviously do something requiring termination (get drunk and harass a colleague at an office party, shred important document, etc.), and his mistakes can be blamed on team failures, so he gets "black guy's tenure"-a middle or upper management position after only a few years.

He then makes sure he shows up every weekday at 9am, but he's out the door at 5pm-and no weekends for him. He's there for "diversity" drives and is prominently featured on the company brochures, and might even be given an award or honorary title every few years to cover him, but he never brings in clients or moves business positively in anyway. But he's quick to take the boss up on the golfing trips. In short, he's realized he's there to be the black corporate shield, and that's all he does. He's a lazy token and fine with being lazy.

It's why Obama had little problem letting Pelosi/Reid/Bill Clinton do all the heavy lifting on Obamacare–not only was Obama out of his depth, he was just plain ol' fine with being out of his depth, because someone else would do it for him. So he went golfing instead.

This is also why that White House press conference where Bill Clinton took over for him halfway speaks volumes. Obama literally had no problem simply walking away from his presidential duties to go party-because someone else would do it for him, as they always had.

It's also why he seems so annoyed when asked about the race rioting going on as a result of his administration's actions. Hey, why do you think I gotta do anything? I just show up and people tell me I did a great job!

13.Ramona, November 16, 2016 at 8:04 am GMT

It's been said for years that Obama amounts to no more than a dignified talk show host. The observation has merit. Oscar-wise, though, only for ironic value.


15.Realist, November 16, 2016 at 9:50 am GMT • 100 Words

@Anon

"I think Obama is pretty smart if not genius. His mother was no dummy, and his father seems to have been pretty bright too, and there are smart blacks."

Ann Dunham had a PhD in anthropology from a run of the mill university where she literally studied women textile weaving in third world countries. Pure genius .right.


16.Fran Macadam, November 16, 2016 at 9:54 am GMT • 100 Words

This critique applies to almost every Presidential candidate, regardless of ethnicity. So few of them have been other than those playing a role assigned by their donors. The most successful recent President was a former professional actor and thus well suited for the position. The latest President-elect is also a savvy media figure, and yet mocked for his obvious lack of intellectual heft. But in his case, he's not acting, it's reality TV.


17.Jim Christian says:

November 16, 2016 at 9:59 am GMT • 200 Words
@Anon

PS. Maybe some Jews around Trump are beginning to feel that China is the real danger to US power in the long run. So, what US should really do is patch things up with Russia for the time being, drive a wedge between China and Russia, and use Russia against China and then go after Russia.

Really! Go after Russia? And how would you do that and why? What would "going after Russia" look like? What about the "horrific Rape of Russia" you spoke of? China and Russia have business to conduct, they're quite through with us, our dollar and our Fed. We'll be lucky if they allow us a piece of the action. Instead of Russia>China>Russia machinations, we might want to figure out strategies for doing some other business than patronizing our arms manufacturers. Hey, cap Jewish influence in the courts and business if you wish, but keeping the U.S. in an endless state of war, economic and otherwise is zero sum and worse for the little people.


20.timalex, November 16, 2016 at 11:58 am GMT

Americans voted for and elected Obama because it made them feel virtuous in their mind and in the eyes of the world. Obama has always been a psychopath. Psychopaths are good at lying and hiding things,even when Presidents.

21.The Alarmist , November 16, 2016 at 12:03 pm GMT

So, you're saying he was an affirmative action hire.


22.Anon, November 16, 2016 at 12:28 pm GMT

Yeah and every white person in a position of power and privilege is "authentically intelligent". America is a society run by and for phonies.

23.War for Blair Mountain, November 16, 2016 at 12:32 pm GMT • 100 Words

Barack Obama is a creation of the Cold War. His father was imported into the US through an anti-commie Cold War foreign student program for young Africans. Barack Obama's nonwhite Democratic Party Voting Bloc would not exist if the 1965 Immigration Reform Act had not been passed. The 1965 Immigration Reform Act was another creation of the anti-commie Cold War Crusade.

The anti-commie Cold War Crusade has been a Death sentence for The Historic Native Born White American Majority.

It is now time to rethink the Cold War .very long overdue..

24.AndrewR, November 16, 2016 at 12:55 pm GMT • 100 Words

@CCZ

I've called him that for years. And Dubya was possibly our first "legacy" president: chosen entirely based on whom he's related to not on any individual qualities that would suit him for such a high office. Had Dubya been raised by regular people, he would have probably ended up as a hardware store manager.

25.Rehmat, November 16, 2016 at 1:36 pm GMT • 100 Words

I think after wining Nobel Peace Award without achieving peace anywhere in the world – Obama deserve Oscar more than Nobel Prize for equating Holocaust as a religion with Christianity and Islam in his speech at the UNGA in September 2012.

Oscar has a long tradition to award top slot for every Holocaust movie produced so far.

"There's no business like Shoah business," says YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, established by Max Weinreich in Lithuania in 1925.

More than 70 movies and documentary on Jewish Holocaust have been produced so far to keep Whiteman's guild alive. Holocaust Industry's main purpose is to suck trillions of dollars and moral support for the Zionist entity. Since 1959 movie, The Diary of Anne Frank, 22 Holocaust movies have won at least one Oscar ..

https://rehmat1.com/2012/10/26/barack-obama-holocaust-is-a-religion/

27.jacques sheete says: November 16, 2016 at 2:20 pm GMT • 200 Words

@Tom Welsh

Amen to all. The whole deal is a fraud. All successful politicians are imposters, people who've mastered the art of deception. I'd go even further and say that the majority of "authority figures" are probably parasites and frauds to one degree or another.

I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. Does it exalt dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, cads? Then the pain of seeing them go up is balanced and obliterated by the joy of seeing them come down. Is it inordinately wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: all alike are enemies to laborious and virtuous men. Is rascality at the very heart of it? Well, we have borne that rascality since 1776, and continue to survive. In the long run, it may turn out that rascality is necessary to human government, and even to civilization itself – that civilization, at bottom, is nothing but a colossal swindle.

- H. L. Mencken, Last Words (1926)

28.anonymous, November 16, 2016 at 2:34 pm GMT • 200 Words

The bar was set ridiculously low by his predecessor the village idiot Bush who could barely put together a coherent sentence. After eight years of disaster people were hoping for something different. Having a deranged person like McCain as his opposition certainly helped. What choice did the American people have?

He received a Nobel Peace prize for absolutely nothing although I admit his reluctance to barge into Syria was quite welcome. How many wars would we be in had the war-crazed McCain gotten into office?

Overall, the current president has been a deception, a trivial self-absorbed person whose main concern has been himself turned outward onto issues of race and sexual orientation.

American politics at this level is fake. Everything is orchestrated, attire is handpicked, speeches are written by professionals and read off the teleprompter, questions from the public are actually from plants and rehearsed prior, armies of PR people are at work everywhere, journalists are just flunky propagandists, expressions of emotion are calculated, the mass media is the property of the billionaire and corporate class and reflects their interests, and so on down the line. The masses of Americans are just there to be managed and milked. Look back at the history of the US: When haven't they been lying to us?

29.nsa, November 16, 2016 at 2:44 pm GMT • 100 Words

President is a very easy job. Almost anyone could fake it even actors, peanut farmers, mulatto community organizers, illegitimate offspring of trailer park whores, haberdashers, developers, soldiers, irish playboys, bicycle riding dry drunks, low rent CA shysters, daft professors.

Play lots of golf. Hot willing young pussy available for the asking. Anyone call you a name, have them audited. Invite pals onto the gravy train. Everyone kissing your ass and begging for favors. Media nitwits hanging on every word. Afterwards, get filthy rich making speeches and appearances. Tough job .

30.Anonymous, November 16, 2016 at 3:03 pm GMT • 100 Words

Manchurian Candidate, or Kenyan Candidate? Whatever he may be called, our current White House resident is a colossal joke perpetrated on the world. Whoever covered all his tracks did a masterful task. He will be the subject of future dissertations about the failure of the American political process and the influence of media and third parties like Soros.

32.Lorax, November 16, 2016 at 3:17 pm GMT

Obama's grandfather, Stanley Armour Dunham, was a "furniture salesman," for which role he deserved an Oscar as well. It takes real acting ability to pull off a lifetime career in Intelligence Service: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/08/07/obama's-cia-pedigree/

34.JoeFour, November 16, 2016 at 3:56 pm GMT

@AndrewR

"Had Dubya been raised by regular people, he would have probably ended up as a hardware store manager."

AndrewR, I know you didn't mean it, but you have just insulted all of the thousands of hardware store managers in this country.

[Nov 16, 2016] The neocon godfather Leo Strauss would be proud as king of bait and switch Obama promotes lying to people telling them what they want to hear, then doing whatever you want after getting elected as an official Democratic Party policy

Notable quotes:
"... Where the Democrats went wrong CNBC. Obama: "[O]ne of the issues that Democrats have to be clear on is that given population distribution across the country, we have to compete everywhere, we have to show up everywhere." Throwing Clinton under the bus… ..."
"... he means just showing up, telling people what they want to hear, then doing whatever the hell you want after getting elected. Not one word about actually meeting peoples needs. EFF OBAMA and the DEMOCRATIC PARTY!! ..."
"... If you didn't read this (linked yesterday), you should consider both reading and sharing far and wide. The entire system is designed to be anti-representative. ..."
"... Don't just get/stay mad, quit expecting a bunch of gangsters to function democratically. ..."
Nov 16, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

mk November 16, 2016 at 7:55 am

Where the Democrats went wrong CNBC. Obama: "[O]ne of the issues that Democrats have to be clear on is that given population distribution across the country, we have to compete everywhere, we have to show up everywhere." Throwing Clinton under the bus…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I yelled at the radio after hearing this, because he means just showing up, telling people what they want to hear, then doing whatever the hell you want after getting elected. Not one word about actually meeting peoples needs. EFF OBAMA and the DEMOCRATIC PARTY!!

Eureka Springs November 16, 2016 at 8:21 am

If you didn't read this (linked yesterday), you should consider both reading and sharing far and wide. The entire system is designed to be anti-representative.

Don't just get/stay mad, quit expecting a bunch of gangsters to function democratically. Get out of their box.

[Nov 15, 2016] The Trump Ploy

Notable quotes:
"... Knowing how angry the working class has become, the deep state could not install Hillary, for that would have been a tiresome rehash of another Clinton presidency. With NAFTA, Bill launched the job offshoring that has wrecked this country, and those most affected by it, working class whites, know damn well who's responsible. The Clinton brand has become anathema to middle America. ..."
"... On the foreign front, America's belligerence will not ease up under a Trump presidency, for without a hyper kinetic military to browbeat and bomb, the world will stop lending us money. The US doesn't just wage wars to fatten the military banking complex, but to prop up the US Dollar and prevent our economy from collapsing. The empire yields tangible benefits for even the lowliest Americans. ..."
Nov 15, 2016 | www.unz.com
Michele Paccione / Shutterstock.com Universally, Trump was depicted as an anti-establishment candidate. Washington and Wall Street hated him, and the media were deployed to vilify him endlessly. If they could not discredit Trump enough, surely they would steal the election from him. Some even suggested Trump would be assassinated.

Acting the part, Trump charged repeatedly that the election was rigged, and he was right, of course. During the primaries, Hillary Clinton received debate questions in advance from CNN. More seriously, 30 states used voting machines that could easily be hacked.

A leaked tape of Trump making obscene comments about groping women became further proof that the establishment was out to get him. In spite of all this, Trump managed to win by a landslide, so what happened?

To steal an American election, one only needs to tamper with votes in two or three critical states, and since Hillary didn't win, we must conclude that she was never the establishment's chosen puppet. As Trump claimed, the fix was in, all right, except that it was rigged in his favor, as born out by the fact.

While everybody else yelped that Trump would never be allowed to win, I begged to differ. After the Orlando false flag shooting on June 12th, 2016, I wrote:

In 2008, Obama was touted as a political outsider who will hose away all of the rot and bloody criminality of the Bush years. He turned out to be a deft move by our ruling class. Though fools still refuse to see it, Obama is a perfect servant of our military banking complex. Now, Trump is being trumpeted as another political outsider.

A Trump presidency will temporarily appease restless, lower class whites, while serving as a magnet for liberal anger. This will buy our ruling class time as they continue to wage war abroad while impoverishing Americans back home. Like Obama, Trump won't fulfill any of his election promises, and this, too, will be blamed on bipartisan politics.

On September 24th, I doubled down:

Mind-fucked, most Americans can't even see that an American president's only task is to disguise the deep state's intentions. Chosen by the deep state to explain away its crimes, our president's pronouncements are nearly always contradicted by the deep state's actions. While the president talks of peace, democracy, racial harmony, prosperity for Main Street and going after banksters, etc., the deep state wages endless war, stages meaningless elections, stokes racial hatred, bankrupts nearly all Americans and enables massive Wall Street crimes, etc.

Only the infantile will imagine the president as any kind of savior or, even more hilariously, anti-establishment. Since the deep state won't even tolerate a renegade reporter at, say, the San Jose Mercury News, how can you expect a deep state's enemy to land in the White House?! It cannot happen.

A presidential candidate will promise to fix all that's wrong with our government, and this stance, this appearance, is actually very useful for the deep state, for it gives Americans hope. Promising everything, Obama delivered nothing. So who do you think is being primed by the deep state to be our next false savior?

Who benefits from false flag terrorist attacks blamed on Muslims? Who gains when blacks riot? Why is the Democratic Party propping up a deeply-despised and terminally ill war criminal? More personable Bernie Sanders was nixed by the deep state since it had another jester in mind.

The first presidential debate is Monday. Under stress, Hillary's eyes will dart in separate directions. Coughing nonstop for 90 minutes, her highness will hack up a gazillion unsecured emails. Her head will jerk spasmodically, plop onto the floor and, though decapitated, continue to gush platitudes and lies. "A Very Impressive Performance," CNBC and CNN will announce. Come November, though, Trump will be installed because his constituency needs to be temporarily pacified. The deep state knows that white people are pissed.

The media were out to get Trump, pundits from across the political spectrum kept repeating, but the truth is that the media made Trump. Long before the election, Trump became a household name, thanks to the media.

Your average American can't name any other real estate developer, casino owner or even his own senators, but he has known Trump since forever. For more than a decade, Trump was a reality TV star, with two of his children also featured regularly on The Apprentice. Trump's "You're fired" and his hair became iconic. Trump appeared on talk shows, had cameo roles in movies and owned the Miss Universe pageant. In 2011, Obama joked that Trump as president would deck out the White House in garish fashion, with his own name huge on the façade. The suave, slick prez roasted Trump again in 2016. Trump has constantly been in the limelight.

It's true that during the presidential campaign, Trump received mostly negative press, but this only ramped up support among his core constituency. Joe Sixpacks had long seen the media as not just against everything they cherished, but against them as people, so the more the media attacked Trump, the more popular he became among the white working class.

Like politicians, casinos specialize in empty promises. Trump, then, is a master hustler, just like Obama, and with help from the media, this New York billionaire became a darling of the flyover states. Before his sudden transformation, Trump was certainly an insider. He donated $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation, and Bill and Hillary attended his third wedding. Golf buddies, The Donald and Bill were also friends with one Jeffrey Epstein, owner of the infamous Lolita Express and a sex orgy, sex slave island in the Caribbean.

In 2002, New York Magazine published "Jeffrey Epstein: International Money of Mystery." This asskissing piece begins, "He comes with cash to burn, a fleet of airplanes, and a keen eye for the ladies-to say nothing of a relentless brain that challenges Nobel Prize-winning scientists across the country-and for financial markets around the world."

Trump is quoted, "I've known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it-Jeffrey enjoys his social life."

Bill Clinton shouts out, "Jeffrey is both a highly successful financier and a committed philanthropist with a keen sense of global markets and an in-depth knowledge of twenty-first-century science. I especially appreciated his insights and generosity during the recent trip to Africa to work on democratization, empowering the poor, citizen service, and combating HIV/AIDS."

Epstein gushes back, "If you were a boxer at the downtown gymnasium at 14th Street and Mike Tyson walked in, your face would have the same look as these foreign leaders had when Clinton entered the room. He is the world's greatest politician."

Even during a very nasty election campaign, Trump stayed clear of Clinton's association with Epstein because he himself had been chummy with the convicted pervert. Trump also never brought up the Clintons' drug running in Mena or the many mysterious deaths of those whose existence inconvenienced their hold on power.

With eight years in the White House, plus stints as a senator then secretary of state, Clinton is considered the ultimate insider. Though a novice politician, Trump is also an insider, and it's a grand joke of the establishment that they've managed to convince Joe Sixpacks everywhere that Trump will save them.

Knowing how angry the working class has become, the deep state could not install Hillary, for that would have been a tiresome rehash of another Clinton presidency. With NAFTA, Bill launched the job offshoring that has wrecked this country, and those most affected by it, working class whites, know damn well who's responsible. The Clinton brand has become anathema to middle America.

While Clinton says America is already great, Trump promises to make America great again, but the decline of the US will only accelerate. Our manufacturing base is handicapped because American workers will not put up with Chinese wages, insanely long hours or living in cramped factory dormitories. In a global economy, those who can suck it up best get the jobs.

On the foreign front, America's belligerence will not ease up under a Trump presidency, for without a hyper kinetic military to browbeat and bomb, the world will stop lending us money. The US doesn't just wage wars to fatten the military banking complex, but to prop up the US Dollar and prevent our economy from collapsing. The empire yields tangible benefits for even the lowliest Americans.

With his livelihood vaporized, the poor man does not care for LGBT rights, the glass ceiling or climate change. Supplementing his wretched income with frequent treks to the church pantry, if not blood bank, he needs immediate relief. It's a shame he's staking his hopes on an imposter.

The deep state ushered in Trump because he's clearly their most useful decoy. As the country hopes in vain, the crooked men behind the curtain will go on with business as usual. Trump is simply an Obama for a different demographic. Nothing will change for the better.

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate . He's tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, Postcards from the End of America .

[Nov 11, 2016] Chalabi on US elections: another reasonable article from Guardian

Nov 11, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

... this commentary is fairly good:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/10/third-party-candidate-gary-johnson-jill-stein-clinton-loss

The headline is "Did third-party candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson lose Clinton the election?" and the short answer is no, but Chalabi takes the time to point out the reasoning behind the answer.

makedoanmend November 10, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Thanks for the link. Don't get me wrong, there are 1 or 2 writers still worth reading and some articles that actually provide content.

It's just that, overall, the jist the of paper seems to have established a deliberate policy of contradictory messaging to cloud important issues, or momentarily providing balance to only later use the apparent balance a to push a one-sided agenda.

The Blairite faction's attack on Corbyn and the guardian's coverage comes to mind. It was pure hack journalism. The political careerists were so obviously in league with the hack journalist careerists.

Life is just too short.

best

Katharine November 10, 2016 at 4:47 pm

I hear you! You do what you need to do to be sane.

JustAnObserver November 10, 2016 at 5:14 pm

Apart from the Science & Tech stuff I've really only been reading the Graun recently (esp since its utterly scandalous treatment of Corbyn (*)) for the Thomas Frank pieces. Is he publishing these anywhere else on-line ?

(*) They're probably kicking themselves for not labeling them as `deplorables' & letting the Clinton team get to this phrase first.

pretzelattack November 10, 2016 at 5:35 pm

i'm looking forward to their climate change articles sans references to how we must vote for clinton.

[Nov 08, 2016] The US elections are a staged political farce with NO MATERIAL IMPACT on the US imperial policies, domestic or international

Notable quotes:
"... It is shockingly disappointing that MOA, this otherwise intelligent incisive, a deeply intellectual and factual blog's readership exhibit a trait common to overall American anti-intellectual sheeple constituency as Gore Vidal posited decades ago, having no shame expressing their utter confusion and ignorance about one fundamental fact of reality they are facing. ..."
"... Those political puppets, stooges of oligarchy are no alternatives to the calcified imperial system itself, they never have been and they never will. They are new/old faces of the same old 240 y.o. Anglo-American imperial regime based on ancient and modern slavery and they already declared it by submitting to it via pledging to run in this farcical rigged electoral fallacy. ..."
Nov 08, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kalen | Nov 8, 2016 3:21:04 AM | 73

It is shockingly disappointing that MOA, this otherwise intelligent incisive, a deeply intellectual and factual blog's readership exhibit a trait common to overall American anti-intellectual sheeple constituency as Gore Vidal posited decades ago, having no shame expressing their utter confusion and ignorance about one fundamental fact of reality they are facing.

THE FACT: The US elections are a staged political farce with NO MATERIAL IMPACT on the US imperial policies, domestic or international WHATSOEVER. And that's the fact based on rock solid empirical evidences also MOA proliferates that only a mental patient can deny.

SO WHAT THE F.U.CK ALL OF YOU PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT? "Voting" for this or that? NONSENSE;

Those political puppets, stooges of oligarchy are no alternatives to the calcified imperial system itself, they never have been and they never will. They are new/old faces of the same old 240 y.o. Anglo-American imperial regime based on ancient and modern slavery and they already declared it by submitting to it via pledging to run in this farcical rigged electoral fallacy.

All at the end will openly pledge unwavering support for the regime and their rotten deeply corrupted parties while abandoning their gullible voters.

Supporters of any of these plastic puppets of oligarchy not unlike a cargo cult, are impatient, nervous, excited and scared sitting and waiting before an impregnable curtain of political deceit, lies and manipulation by the ruling elite in front of their wide shut eyes , turning to magic, superstition, appeasement, making up stories, poems out of their incoherent utterances filed with tautologies, innuendos and absurd, begging for mercy or praying for a caprice of good will to save them ultimately in a form of fake, meaningless political turds passing as empty "political" platform promises while blatantly abandoning their unalienable rights to independence, self-determination and democratic system of people's rule, based on equality in the law, and one voter one vote principle, for a role of a meddlesome spectators to their own execution.

THE FACT: The democratic electoral system worth participating does not exist in the US but none of the candidates would utter this truth as long as they can benefit from the fraud and that includes third parties. If this was a true change or revolution, that we desperately need, honest leaders would not run their campaign within the corrupted system set up by and for two oligarchic parties but they would decry and utterly reject it.

Think people, all the so-called candidates even third party candidates are just nibbling on the behemoth of abhorrent and brutal US imperial power mostly with utterances that they never intended to follow if they wanted to survive terror of the US security apparatus, while peddling the lies about small incremental changes and stealing ours and our children future by asking us to wait, be patient, and begging ruling elite for mercy and may be for some crumbs from an oligarchs' table after they are not able to gorge themselves anymore with our blood sweat and tears.

Unfortunately, this time as well, millions of irrational, desperate and helpless in their daily lives electoral zombies such as those, under a spell of exciting political masquerade, regrettably also on this blog, will be aligning themselves with one or the other anointed by establishment winner [whoever it will be] of a meaningless popularity/beauty contest, in a delusional feat of transference of a fraction of elite's power to themselves just for a second of a thrill of illusion of power, illusion of feelings that something depends on me, that I can make a difference, a delusion of holding skies from falling and by that saving the world common among paranoid mental patients.

And they will continue to authorize their own suicide mission, since even baseless, continually disproved hope of Sisyphus, of any chance of influencing of the political realm via means of begging is the last thing that dies.

THE LOUD POLITICAL BOYCOTT OF THIS FARCE, UTTER REJECTION OF THIS FACADE OF DEMOCRATIC CHOICE, REJECTION OF ANY POLITICAL LEGITIMACY OF THIS SORRY SPECTACLE IS THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE AVAILABLE TO ANY DECENT PERSON, INDEPENDENT, SOVEREIGN CITIZEN WHO TAKES A MORAL STAND REJECTING ENSLAVEMENT RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW.

THE REST WILL JUST PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THEIR OWN CHAINS.

MAKE YOU CHOICE.

Posted by: Kalen | Nov 8, 2016 3:21:04 AM | 73

[Nov 08, 2016] The real danger of serious election-rigging: electronic voting machines. How do we know the machine *really* recorded everyones votes correctly? Insrtead we have anti-russian hysteria fed to us 24 x 7

Notable quotes:
"... "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." ... ..."
"... poor pk a leader of the Stalinist press ..."
"... the surprising success of Bernie Sanders -- a Brooklyn-born, Jewish socialist -- in the primaries is solid proof that the electorate was open to a coherent argument for genuine progressive change, and that a substantial portion of that electorate is not acting on purely racist and sexist impulses, as so many progressive commentators say. ..."
"... "I will live my life calmly and my children will be just fine. I will live my life calmly and my children will be just fine." That assumes you're about 85 years old...and don't have long to live! ..."
"... Laid out by whom? By the commercial "media" hype machine that has 12-16 hours of airtime to fill every day with the as sensationalized as possible gossip (to justify the price for the paid advertisements filling the remaining hours). ..."
"... Killary Clinton got no closer than Ann Arbor this weekend, a message! ..."
"... Mr. Krugman forgot to list the collusion of the DNC and the Clinton campaign to work against Sanders. ..."
"... putting crooked in the same sentence as Clinton or DNC is duplicative wording. This mortification is brought to US by the crooked and the stalinist press that calls crooked virtue. ..."
"... Krugman did so much to help create the mass of white working class discontent that is electing Trump. Krugman and co cheering on NAFTA/PNTR/WTO etc, US deindustrialization, collapse of middle class... ..."
"... Hopefully the working class masses will convince our rulers to abandon free trade before every last factory is sold off or dismantled and the US falls to the depths of a Chad or an Armenia. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

anne -> anne... , November 07, 2016 at 01:47 PM

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/05/23/the-truth-about-the-sanders-movement/

May 23, 2016

The Truth About the Sanders Movement
By Paul Krugman

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." ...

[ Yes, I do find defaming people by speculation or stereotype to be beyond saddening. ]

ilsm -> anne... , November 07, 2016 at 03:53 PM
poor pk a leader of the Stalinist press
anne -> Chris Lowery ... , November 07, 2016 at 10:28 AM
The fact that Obama either won, or did so much better than Hillary appears to be doing with, the white working-class vote in so many key battleground states, as well as the surprising success of Bernie Sanders -- a Brooklyn-born, Jewish socialist -- in the primaries is solid proof that the electorate was open to a coherent argument for genuine progressive change, and that a substantial portion of that electorate is not acting on purely racist and sexist impulses, as so many progressive commentators say.

And her opponent was/is incapable of debating on substance, as there was/is neither coherence nor consistency in any part of his platform -- nor that of his party....

[ Compelling argument. ]

JohnH : , November 07, 2016 at 10:26 AM
Question is, will Krugman be able to move on after the election...and talk about something useful? Like how to get Hillary to recognize and deal with inequality...
JohnH : , November 07, 2016 at 10:29 AM
Barbara Ehrenreich: "Forget fear and loathing. The US election inspires projectile vomiting. The most sordid side of our democracy has been laid out for all to see. But that's only the beginning: whoever wins, the mutual revulsion will only intensify... With either Clinton or Trump, we will be left to choke on our mutual revulsion."
JohnH -> JohnH... , November 07, 2016 at 10:29 AM
Link: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/03/us-election-projectile-vomiting-barbara-ehrenreich
JohnH -> Bloix... , November 07, 2016 at 04:59 PM
"I will live my life calmly and my children will be just fine. I will live my life calmly and my children will be just fine." That assumes you're about 85 years old...and don't have long to live!
ilsm -> JohnH... , November 07, 2016 at 03:54 PM
the great mortification, these two.
cm -> JohnH... , November 07, 2016 at 11:11 PM
Laid out by whom? By the commercial "media" hype machine that has 12-16 hours of airtime to fill every day with the as sensationalized as possible gossip (to justify the price for the paid advertisements filling the remaining hours).
Tom aka Rusty : , November 07, 2016 at 11:17 AM
Something interesting today.... President Obama came to Michigan. I fully expected him to speak in Detroit with a get out the vote message. Instead he is in Ann Arbor, speaking to an overwhelmingly white and white-collar audience. On a related note, the Dems have apparently written off the white blue collar vote in Michigan, even much of the union vote. the union leaders are pro Clinton, but the workers not so much. Strange year.
ilsm -> Tom aka Rusty... , November 07, 2016 at 03:55 PM
Killary Clinton got no closer than Ann Arbor this weekend, a message!
John M : , November 07, 2016 at 11:26 AM
The real danger of serious election-rigging: electronic voting machines. How do we know the machine *really* recorded everyone's votes correctly? (Did any Florida county ever give Al Gore negative something votes?)
Julio -> John M ... , November 08, 2016 at 06:42 AM
That's a big subject but you are right, that is the biggest risk of significant fraud. Not just the voting machines, but the automatic counting systems. Other forms of possible election fraud are tiny by comparison.
Enquiring Mind : , November 07, 2016 at 11:48 AM
Here is the transcript from 60 Minutes about the Luntz focus group rancor. Instructive to read about the depth of feeling in case you didn't see the angry, disgusted faces of citizens.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-american-voters-on-trump-clinton/

ScottB : , November 07, 2016 at 12:08 PM
Mr. Krugman forgot to list the collusion of the DNC and the Clinton campaign to work against Sanders.
ilsm -> ScottB... , November 07, 2016 at 03:57 PM
putting crooked in the same sentence as Clinton or DNC is duplicative wording. This mortification is brought to US by the crooked and the stalinist press that calls crooked virtue.
Before the 1970s the US was both rich and protectionist - no look at our horrible roads and hopeless people - the miracle of free trade! : , November 07, 2016 at 07:13 PM
Krugman did so much to help create the mass of white working class discontent that is electing Trump. Krugman and co cheering on NAFTA/PNTR/WTO etc, US deindustrialization, collapse of middle class...

Hopefully the working class masses will convince our rulers to abandon free trade before every last factory is sold off or dismantled and the US falls to the depths of a Chad or an Armenia.

[Nov 08, 2016] We don't want World War 3 with Russia. We want our factories and jobs back, we would like to spend $1 trillion a year on infrastructure instead of blowing up yet another Middle Eastern nation.

Notable quotes:
"... We don't want World War 3 with Russia. We want our factories and jobs back, we would like to spend $1 trillion a year on infrastructure instead of blowing up yet another Middle Eastern nation. ..."
"... Fuck Hillary, Fuck the neolibcons, Fuck al-CIAda, Fuck the fascist banksters who eat our children for breakfast. ..."
"... Vote Trump in swing states. Vote Jill everywhere else. ..."
Nov 08, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org
Perimetr | Nov 8, 2016 4:34:49 AM | 77

The heartland of the US is RED, solid RED.
The neolibcons are printing up their Newsweek mags with Madam President on the cover.

They don't have a clue about how pissed off the people in the "flyover states" are.

Fuck their rigged polls and lying news.

Sure Trump is behind or neck-and-neck . . . Just like we have 5% unemployment.

As long as you don't count the 1/3 of working age people who DON"T HAVE A JOB.

The deplorables can think of 650,000 reasons why Hillary should be in PRISON, even if the FBI can't.

We don't want World War 3 with Russia. We want our factories and jobs back, we would like to spend $1 trillion a year on infrastructure instead of blowing up yet another Middle Eastern nation.

Fuck Hillary, Fuck the neolibcons, Fuck al-CIAda, Fuck the fascist banksters who eat our children for breakfast.

ProPeace | Nov 8, 2016 7:02:55 AM | 80
@RayB | Nov 8, 2016 12:18:53 AM | 62 "The only real issue here is either war or peace."

Yes, especially that the US has war-based, or "blood economy" (like diamonds).

Interesting tidbits:

... ... ...

rufus magister | Nov 8, 2016 7:26:46 AM | 81
fairleft at 43 --

Do not blow shit up, like the political system, without a clear idea where the pieces will land and how you will put them back together. Crisis would benefit the right, not the left, given the current correlation of class and political forces.

The best result. sadly, would be a resounding win for Mrs. Clinton. As the comment at 11 shows, anything less than a crushing defeat will enable the alt-right and embolden the most reactionary and nativist elements in society.

The notion that worsening conditions will automatically produce progressive revolution is a pipe-dream. Beaten-down folks struggling to survive don't have the time or energy to organize.

Vote your conscience, your hopes. Takingg the long view, I am again voting, as I have for years, for the Socialist Workers Party.

Jackrabbit | Nov 8, 2016 8:03:07 AM | 82
rufus @81:
Do not blow shit up ...
The corrupt 'Third Way' Democrats blew up U.S. democracy years ago. "Do not blow shit up" = BOHICA.
The best result. sadly, would be a resounding win for Mrs. Clinton.... I am again voting, as I have for years, for the Socialist Workers Party.
Shameless, unadulterated bullshit.

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

Vote Trump in swing states. Vote Jill everywhere else.

[Nov 07, 2016] No, Hillary Clinton is not less Evil than Trump One has Funny Hair, the Other Wears Trouser-suits Global Research - Centre

Nov 07, 2016 | www.globalresearch.ca
After all, Clinton is not going to make it into the Oval Office unless she can secure the votes of those who backed the far-more progressive Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries.

Clinton's camp have wielded various sticks to beat these voters into submission. Not least they have claimed that a refusal to vote for Clinton is an indication of one's misogyny . But it has not been an easy task. Actor Susan Sarandon, for example, has stated that she is not going to "vote with my vagina". As she notes, if the issue is simply about proving one is not anti-women, there is a much worthier candidate for president who also happens to be female: Jill Stein, of the Green Party.

Sarandon, who supported Sanders in the primaries, spoke for a vast swath of voters excluded by the two-party system when she told BBC Newsnight:

I am worried about the wars, I am worried about Syria, I am worried about all of these things that actually exist. TTP [Trans-Pacific Partnership] and I'm worried about fracking. I'm worrying about the environment. No matter who gets in they don't address these things because money has taken over our system.

Given that both Donald Trump and Clinton represent big money – and big money only – Clinton's supporters have been forced to find another stick. And that has been the "lesser evil" argument. Clinton may be bad, but Trump would be far worse. Voting for a non-evil candidate like Jill Stein – who has no hope of winning – would split the progressive camp and ensure Trump, the more evil candidate, triumphs. Therefore, there is a moral obligation on progressive voters to back Clinton, however bad her track record as a senator and as secretary of state.

There is nothing new about this argument. It had been around for decades, and has been corralling progressives into voting for Democratic presidents who have still advanced US neoconservative policy goals abroad and neoliberal ones at home.

America's pseudo-democracy

So is it true that Clinton is the lesser-evil candidate? To answer that question, we need to examine those "policy differences" with Trump.

On the negative side, Trump's platform poses a genuine threat to civil liberties. His bigoted, "blame the immigrants" style of politics will harm many families in the US in very tangible ways. Even if the inertia of the political system reins in his worst excesses, as is almost certain, his inflammatory rhetoric is sure to damage the façade of democratic discourse in the US – a development not to be dismissed lightly. Americans may be living in a pseudo-democracy, one run more like a plutocracy, but destroying the politics of respect, and civil discourse, could quickly result in the normalisation of political violence and intimidation.

On the plus side, Trump is an isolationist, with little appetite for foreign entanglements. Again, the Washington policy elites may force him to engage abroad in ways he would prefer not to, but his instincts to limit the projection of US military power on the international stage are likely to be an overall good for the world's population outside the US. Any diminishment of US imperialism is going to have real practical benefits for billions of people around the globe. His refusal to demonise Vladimir Putin, for example, may be significant enough to halt the gradual slide towards a nuclear confrontation with Russia, either in Ukraine or in the Middle East.

Clinton is the mirror image of Trump. Domestically, she largely abides by the rules of civil politics – not least because respectful discourse benefits her as the candidate with plenty of political experience. The US is likely to be a more stable, more predictable place under a Clinton presidency, even as the plutocratic elite entrenches its power and the wealth gap grows relentlessly.

Abroad, however, the picture looks worse under Clinton. She has been an enthusiastic supporter of all the many recent wars of aggression launched by the US, some declared and some covert. Personally, as secretary of state, she helped engineer the overthrow of Col Muammar Gaddafi. That policy led to an outcome – one that was entirely foreseeable – of Libya's reinvention as a failed state, with jihadists of every stripe sucked into the resulting vacuum. Large parts of Gadaffi's arsenal followed the jihadists as they exported their struggles across the Middle East, creating more bloodshed and heightening the refugee crisis. Now Clinton wants to intensify US involvement in Syria, including by imposing a no-fly zone – or rather, a US and allies-only fly zone – that would thrust the US into a direct confrontation with another nuclear-armed power, Russia.

In the cost-benefit calculus of who to vote for in a two-party contest, the answer seems to be: vote for Clinton if you are interested only in what happens in the narrow sphere of US domestic politics (assuming Clinton does not push the US into a nuclear war); while if you are a global citizen worried about the future of the planet, Trump may be the marginally better of two terribly evil choices. (Neither, of course, cares a jot about the most pressing problem facing mankind: runaway climate change.)

So even on the extremely blinkered logic of Clinton's supporters, Clinton might not be the winner in a lesser-evil presidential contest.

Mounting disillusion

But there is a second, more important reason to reject the lesser-evil argument as grounds for voting for Clinton.

Trump's popularity is a direct consequence of several decades of American progressives voting for the lesser-evil candidate. Most Americans have never heard of Jill Stein, or the other three candidates who are not running on behalf of the Republican and Democratic parties. These candidates have received no mainstream media coverage – or the chance to appear in the candidate debates – because their share of the vote is so minuscule. It remains minuscule precisely because progressives have spent decades voting for the lesser-evil candidate. And nothing is going to change so long as progressives keep responding to the electoral dog-whistle that they have to keep the Republican candidate out at all costs, even at the price of their own consciences.

Growing numbers of Americans understand that their country was "stolen from them", to use a popular slogan. They sense that the US no longer even aspires to its founding ideals, that it has become a society run for the exclusive benefit of a tiny wealthy elite. Many are looking for someone to articulate their frustration, their powerlessness, their hopelessness.

Two opposed antidotes for the mounting disillusionment with "normal politics" emerged during the presidential race: a progressive one, in the form of Sanders, who suggested he was ready to hold the plutocrats to account; and a populist one, in the form of Trump, determined to deflect anger away from the plutocrats towards easy targets like immigrants. As we now know from Wikileaks' release of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta's emails, the Democats worked hard to rig their own primaries to make sure the progressive option, Sanders, was eliminated. The Republicans, by contrast, were overwhelmed by the insurrection within their own party.

The wave of disaffection Sanders and Trump have been riding is not going away. In fact, a President Clinton, the embodiment of the self-serving, self-aggrandising politics of the plutocrats, will only fuel the disenchantment. The fixing of the Democratic primaries did not strengthen Clinton's moral authority, it fuelled the kind of doubts about the system that bolster Trump. Trump's accusations of a corrupt elite and a rigged political and media system are not merely figments of his imagination; they are rooted in the realities of US politics.

Trump, however, is not the man to offer solutions. His interests are too close aligned to those of the plutocrats for him to make meaningful changes.

Trump may lose this time, but someone like him will do better next time – unless ordinary Americans are exposed to a different kind of politician, one who can articulate progressive, rather regressive, remedies for the necrosis that is rotting the US body politic. Sanders began that process, but a progressive challenge to "politics as normal" has to be sustained and extended if Trump and his ilk are not to triumph eventually.

The battle cannot be delayed another few years, on the basis that one day a genuinely non-evil candidate will emerge from nowhere to fix this rotten system. It won't happen of its own. Unless progressive Americans show they are prepared to vote out of conviction, not out of necessity, the Democratic party will never have to take account of their views. It will keep throwing up leaders – in different colours and different sexes – to front the tiny elite that runs the US and seeks to rule the world.

It is time to say no – loudly – to Clinton, whether she is the slightly lesser-evil candidate or not. The original source of this article is Jonathan Cook Blog Copyright © Jonathan Cook , Jonathan Cook Blog , 2016

[Nov 04, 2016] Can The Oligarchy Still Steal The Presidential Election

Notable quotes:
"... With the reopening of the FBI investigation of Hillary and related scandals exploding all around her, election theft is not only more risky but also less likely to serve the Oligarchy's own interests. ..."
"... A Hillary presidency could put our country into chaos. I doubt the oligarchs are sufficiently stupid to think that once she is sworn in, Hillary can fire FBI Director Comey and shut down the investigation. The last president that tried that was Richard Nixon, and look where that got him. ..."
"... If you were an oligarch, would you want your agent under this kind of scrutiny? If you were Hillary, would you want to be under this kind of pressure? ..."
"... "Clinton's presence aboard Jeffrey Epstein's Boeing 727 on 11 occasions has been reported, but flight logs show the number is more than double that, and trips between 2001 and 2003 included extended junkets around the world with Epstein and fellow passengers identified on manifests by their initials or first names, including "Tatiana." The tricked-out jet earned its Nabakov-inspired nickname because it was reportedly outfitted with a bed where passengers had group sex with young girls." ..."
Nov 04, 2016 | www.unz.com
Yes they can ;-). that's how two party system is functioning by default. Rank-and-file are typically screwed. the only exception is so called "revolutionary situation", when the elite lost legitimacy and can't dictate its will on the people below.

November 4, 2016

The election was set up to be stolen from Trump. That was the purpose of the polls rigged by overweighting Hillary supporters in the samples. After weeks of hearing poll results that Hillary was in the lead, the public would discount a theft claim. Electronic voting makes elections easy to steal, and I have posted explanations by election fraud experts of how it is done.

Clearly the Oligarchy does not want Donald Trump in the White House as they are unsure that they could control him, and Hillary is their agent.

With the reopening of the FBI investigation of Hillary and related scandals exploding all around her, election theft is not only more risky but also less likely to serve the Oligarchy's own interests.

Image as well as money is part of Oligarchic power. The image of America takes a big hit if the American people elect a president who is currently under felony investigation.

Moreover, a President Hillary would be under investigation for years. With so much spotlight on her, she would not be able to serve the Oligarchy's interests. She would be worthless to them, and, indeed, investigations that unearthed various connections between Hillary and oligarchs could damage the oligarchs.

In other words, for the Oligarchy Hillary has moved from an asset to a liability.

A Hillary presidency could put our country into chaos. I doubt the oligarchs are sufficiently stupid to think that once she is sworn in, Hillary can fire FBI Director Comey and shut down the investigation. The last president that tried that was Richard Nixon, and look where that got him.

Moreover, the Republicans in the House and Senate would not stand for it. House Committee on oversight and Government Reform chairman Jason Chaffetz has already declared Hillary to be "a target-rich environment. Even before we get to day one, we've got two years worth of material already lined up." House Speaker Paul Ryan said investigation will follow the evidence.

If you were an oligarch, would you want your agent under this kind of scrutiny? If you were Hillary, would you want to be under this kind of pressure?

What happens if the FBI recommends the indictment of the president? Even insouciant Americans would see the cover-up if the attorney general refused to prosecute the case. Americans would lose all confidence in the government. Chaos would rule. Chaos can be revolutionary, and that is not good for oligarchs.

Moreover, if reports can be believed, salacious scandals appear to be waiting their time on stage. For example, last May Fox News reported:

"Former President Bill Clinton was a much more frequent flyer on a registered sex offender's infamous jet than previously reported, with flight logs showing the former president taking at least 26 trips aboard the "Lolita Express" - even apparently ditching his Secret Service detail for at least five of the flights, according to records obtained by FoxNews.com.

"Clinton's presence aboard Jeffrey Epstein's Boeing 727 on 11 occasions has been reported, but flight logs show the number is more than double that, and trips between 2001 and 2003 included extended junkets around the world with Epstein and fellow passengers identified on manifests by their initials or first names, including "Tatiana." The tricked-out jet earned its Nabakov-inspired nickname because it was reportedly outfitted with a bed where passengers had group sex with young girls."

Fox News reports that Epstein served time in prison for "solicitation and procurement of minors for prostitution. He allegedly had a team of traffickers who procured girls as young as 12 to service his friends on 'Orgy Island,' an estate on Epstein's 72-acre island, called Little St. James, in the U.S. Virgin Islands." http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/05/13/flight-logs-show-bill-clinton-flew-on-sex-offenders-jet-much-more-than-previously-known.html
Some Internet sites, the credibility of which is unknown to me, have linked Hillary to these flights. http

[Nov 04, 2016] The Guardian WikiLeaks Reveals How Globalist Elites Run America for Their Own Interests

Notable quotes:
"... From The Guardian : ..."
"... Read the rest here . ..."
www.breitbart.com
Thomas Frank writes in The Guardian that the WikiLeaks emails to and from Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta "offer an unprecedented view into the workings of the elite, and how it looks after itself." They provide "a window into the soul of the Democratic party and into the dreams and thoughts of the class to whom the party answers."

From The Guardian:

This genre of Podesta email, in which people try to arrange jobs for themselves or their kids, points us toward the most fundamental thing we know about the people at the top of this class: their loyalty to one another and the way it overrides everything else. Of course Hillary Clinton staffed her state department with investment bankers and then did speaking engagements for investment banks as soon as she was done at the state department. Of course she appears to think that any kind of bank reform should "come from the industry itself". And of course no elite bankers were ever prosecuted by the Obama administration. Read these emails and you understand, with a start, that the people at the top tier of American life all know each other. They are all engaged in promoting one another's careers, constantly.

Everything blurs into everything else in this world. The state department, the banks, Silicon Valley, the nonprofits, the "Global CEO Advisory Firm" that appears to have solicited donations for the Clinton Foundation. Executives here go from foundation to government to thinktank to startup. There are honors. Venture capital. Foundation grants. Endowed chairs. Advanced degrees. For them the door revolves. The friends all succeed. They break every boundary.But the One Big Boundary remains. Yes, it's all supposed to be a meritocracy. But if you aren't part of this happy, prosperous in-group – if you don't have John Podesta's email address – you're out.

Read the rest here.

[Nov 04, 2016] Forget the FBI cache; the Podesta emails show how America is run

Notable quotes:
"... The emails currently roiling the US presidential campaign are part of some unknown digital collection amassed by the troublesome Anthony Weiner, but if your purpose is to understand the clique of people who dominate Washington today, the emails that really matter are the ones being slowly released by WikiLeaks from the hacked account of Hillary Clinton's campaign chair John Podesta. ..."
"... "What is remarkable is that, in the party of Jackson and Bryan and Roosevelt, smiling financiers now seem to stand on every corner, constantly proffering advice about this and that". ..."
"... Do they want more of the same + the Clinton's insatiable appetite for self-enrichmentand that permanent insincere smile? If not, why not give Trump a chance. If they don't like him, kick him out in four years' time. ..."
"... My feeling is this sort of behaviour has its equivalents throughout history and that when it peaks we have upheaval and decline. ..."
"... "Yes, it's all supposed to be a meritocracy. But if you aren't part of this happy, prosperous in-group – if you don't have John Podesta's email address – you're out." ..."
"... Of course you are quite correct, the Democratic Party is a fraud for working people and a collection of self serving elitist. If you have a solution to solve why people keep voting for them I would love to hear it. ..."
"... I am sure the people of Syria and Libya are grateful to these amazing people for destroying their countries and stealing their resources. ..."
"... What's left is a pretty ugly, self-righteous and corrupt crowd. Their attacks on Comey have been despicable, beneath contempt and absurd. I think they're going to lose and they will deserve to. ..."
"... "Former National Endowment for the Arts chairman Bill Ivey says a leaked e-mail to Clinton deputy John Podesta did not reveal a 'master plan' for maintaining political power via 'an unaware and compliant citizenry.'" ..."
"... I use work in these circles and the soul crushing thing is that elites look out for themselves and their careers and have no real personality, morals, values, character, backbone and certainly no interest in the people. They have personalities of wet fish and are generally cowardice and an embarrassment to mankind. In sort a waste of space ..."
Nov 04, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

The emails currently roiling the US presidential campaign are part of some unknown digital collection amassed by the troublesome Anthony Weiner, but if your purpose is to understand the clique of people who dominate Washington today, the emails that really matter are the ones being slowly released by WikiLeaks from the hacked account of Hillary Clinton's campaign chair John Podesta. They are last week's scandal in a year running over with scandals, but in truth their significance goes far beyond mere scandal: they are a window into the soul of the Democratic party and into the dreams and thoughts of the class to whom the party answers.

The class to which I refer is not rising in angry protest; they are by and large pretty satisfied, pretty contented. Nobody takes road trips to exotic West Virginia to see what the members of this class looks like or how they live; on the contrary, they are the ones for whom such stories are written. This bunch doesn't have to make do with a comb-over TV mountebank for a leader; for this class, the choices are always pretty good, and this year they happen to be excellent.

They are the comfortable and well-educated mainstay of our modern Democratic party. They are also the grandees of our national media; the architects of our software; the designers of our streets; the high officials of our banking system; the authors of just about every plan to fix social security or fine-tune the Middle East with precision droning. They are, they think, not a class at all but rather the enlightened ones, the people who must be answered to but who need never explain themselves.

...I think the WikiLeaks releases furnish us with an opportunity to observe the upper reaches of the American status hierarchy in all its righteousness and majesty.

The dramatis personae of the liberal class are all present in this amazing body of work: financial innovators. High-achieving colleagues attempting to get jobs for their high-achieving children. Foundation executives doing fine and noble things. Prizes, of course, and high academic achievement.

...Hillary's ingratiating speeches to Wall Street are well known of course, but what is remarkable is that, in the party of Jackson and Bryan and Roosevelt, smiling financiers now seem to stand on every corner, constantly proffering advice about this and that. In one now-famous email chain, for example, the reader can watch current US trade representative Michael Froman, writing from a Citibank email address in 2008, appear to name President Obama's cabinet even before the great hope-and-change election was decided (incidentally, an important clue to understanding why that greatest of zombie banks was never put out of its misery).

The far-sighted innovators of Silicon Valley are also here in force, interacting all the time with the leaders of the party of the people. We watch as Podesta appears to email Sheryl Sandberg. He makes plans to visit Mark Zuckerberg (who, according to one missive, wants to "learn more about next steps for his philanthropy and social action"). Podesta exchanges emails with an entrepreneur about an ugly race now unfolding for Silicon Valley's seat in Congress; this man, in turn, appears to forward to Podesta the remarks of yet another Silicon Valley grandee, who complains that one of the Democratic combatants in that fight was criticizing billionaires who give to Democrats. Specifically, the miscreant Dem in question was said to be:

"… spinning (and attacking) donors who have supported Democrats. John Arnold and Marc Leder have both given to Cory Booker, Joe Kennedy, and others. He is also attacking every billionaire that donates to [Congressional candidate] Ro [Khanna], many whom support other Democrats as well."

Attacking billionaires! In the year 2015! It was, one of the correspondents appears to write, "madness and political malpractice of the party to allow this to continue".

There are wonderful things to be found in this treasure trove when you search the gilded words "Davos" or "Tahoe".

... ... ...

Then there is the apparent nepotism, the dozens if not hundreds of mundane emails in which petitioners for this or that plum Washington job or high-profile academic appointment politely appeal to Podesta – the ward-heeler of the meritocratic elite – for a solicitous word whispered in the ear of a powerful crony.

This genre of Podesta email, in which people try to arrange jobs for themselves or their kids, points us toward the most fundamental thing we know about the people at the top of this class: their loyalty to one another and the way it overrides everything else. Of course Hillary Clinton staffed her state department with investment bankers and then did speaking engagements for investment banks as soon as she was done at the state department. Of course she appears to think that any kind of bank reform should "come from the industry itself". And of course no elite bankers were ever prosecuted by the Obama administration. Read these emails and you understand, with a start, that the people at the top tier of American life all know each other. They are all engaged in promoting one another's careers, constantly.

Everything blurs into everything else in this world. The state department, the banks, Silicon Valley, the nonprofits, the "Global CEO Advisory Firm" that appears to have solicited donations for the Clinton Foundation. Executives here go from foundation to government to thinktank to startup. There are honors. Venture capital. Foundation grants. Endowed chairs. Advanced degrees. For them the door revolves. The friends all succeed. They break every boundary.

But the One Big Boundary remains. Yes, it's all supposed to be a meritocracy. But if you aren't part of this happy, prosperous in-group – if you don't have John Podesta's email address – you're out.

greatapedescendant 5d ago

It's all polyarchy,plutocracy and powerful lobbyists for the arms and finance industries. The average US citizen counts for nothing. The higher up on the socio-economic scale you are, the more you count. Except for a brainwashed vote once every 4 years.

From today's Guardian…

"US politics tends to be portrayed as driven by geopolitical interests rather than personalities, and so most ordinary Russians assume that little will change, whoever wins."

"And nothing will change for the average US citizen, just like in Britain. Looks like most ordinary Russians have got it spot on.

greatapedescendant -> greatapedescendant 5d ago

And as if that were not enough, the elections are 'rigged' in various ways.

Americans have a great responsibility not only to their country but to other so-called advanced western democracies which follow they US model. A radical change in US politics to bring it in line with genuine concern for the interests of the average citizen would greatly assist efforts here on the other side of the Atlantic to do the same.

SergeantPave 5d ago

Astonishing that registered Democrats rejected one of the cleanest politicians in modern US history in order to nominate the Queen of Wall St. What do they hope to gain from expanded corporate globalism and entrenchment of the corporate coup d'etat at home?

Matthew McNeany -> SergeantPave 5d ago

Except that it was the same party grandees (Super-delegates - the very word sticks in your throat no?) who all but confirmed Clinton's appointment before a single ballot was cast by the party rank and file.

djhurley , 31 Oct 2016 11:2
"What is remarkable is that, in the party of Jackson and Bryan and Roosevelt, smiling financiers now seem to stand on every corner, constantly proffering advice about this and that".

Spot on. There's amnesia today about where the Democratic party historically stood in regard to Wall Street and its interests.

Watchman80 -> djhurley , 31 Oct 2016 13:0
Yep - very good article.

I am surprised to find it in the Guardian.

democratista -> Watchman80 , 31 Oct 2016 13:1
This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards . Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs .
Beckow -> djhurley , 31 Oct 2016 15:1
Real issues - like economic well-being for all - have been replaced by Democrats with mindless identity politics. Clinton is literally running on "I will spend half a billion to reduce bullying", on unisex bathrooms, and more women of color everywhere.

Is that what democracy should be all about? FDR and other real Democrats would die laughing if they would see these current "progressive liberals" - they stand for nothing, they are a total waste of time, as Obama so amply demonstrated.

ga gamba , 31 Oct 2016 11:2
The warning signals were screaming months ago and the mass media concocted a smear campaign against Sanders because he wasn't owned and he was the wrong gender.

Sanders would have destroyed Trump in this election.

Oliver Elkington -> ga gamba , 31 Oct 2016 11:3
See, Trump is right when he says that the US media is corrupt
DaveTheFirst -> ga gamba , 31 Oct 2016 11:4
Then Bernie endorsed Clinton... :\
callaspodeaspode -> DaveTheFirst , 31 Oct 2016 11:5
Yes he did endorse her. Because it is customary for the losing candidate(s) in the nomination race to do so. He said he would endorse her if she won, right from the start of the process. For the patently obvious reason, which he repeated again and again, that even a compromised HRC is far better than Donald Trump.

And he kept his word, but not before he did his level best during the convention to get some decent policies jammed into the Democratic Party platform.

unclestinky , 31 Oct 2016 11:2
And if the same sort of leakage had come from the Republicans you'd see exactly the same patronage and influence peddling. If there's one area of politics that remains truly bipartisan it's the gravitational pull of large sums of money.
Chris Davison -> unclestinky , 31 Oct 2016 11:3
Which only goes to show that ALL of them are unfit for any position of Public Office, let alone any Public employment.
gandrew -> unclestinky , 31 Oct 2016 15:1
Except Citizens United failed because Republicans opposed it in the form of their Supreme Court judges.
OhSuitsYouSir -> Chris Davison , 31 Oct 2016 17:1
yawn yawn - what a profound comment
callaspodeaspode , 31 Oct 2016 11:2
We even read the pleadings of a man who wants to be invited to a state dinner at the White House and who offers, as one of several exhibits in his favor, the fact that he "joined the DSCC Majority Trust in Martha's Vineyard (contributing over $32,400 to Democratic senators) in July 2014".

Then there is the apparent nepotism, the dozens if not hundreds of mundane emails in which petitioners for this or that plum Washington job or high-profile academic appointment politely appeal to Podesta – the ward-heeler of the meritocratic elite – for a solicitous word whispered in the ear of a powerful crony.

Something timeless about it all, isn't there? Like reading an account of court life in the era of Charles II.

Mark Taylor -> callaspodeaspode , 31 Oct 2016 12:1
And to think that they had a revolution to get rid of all that nonsense.
AIRrrww , 31 Oct 2016 11:2
This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards . Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs .
gully_foyle , 31 Oct 2016 11:2
There's nothing revelatory in the fact that this is happening among the Democrats, there is surely a carbon copy going on with the Republicans! But somehow I don't think Wikileaks will be releasing anything about that, until the GoP happens to do something that steps on Putin's toes...
Banditolobster -> gully_foyle , 31 Oct 2016 11:4
Weak, the truth is the truth, ranting about reds under the beds is bollocks.
sbmfc -> gully_foyle , 31 Oct 2016 13:1
The Russian link is something made up by the Dems to take the heat off Clinton.

Podesta was caught out by a simple phishing trick which could be carried out by anyone.

gully_foyle -> Banditolobster , 31 Oct 2016 14:4
We'll find out the truth about how Wikileaks operates one day. The alignment between Wikileaks releases and interests of Russian foreign policy became suspicious a long time before you read on Breitbart that Clinton made it up. And I wasn't in any way denying or diminishing the activities described in the article. There are just better articles out there, which consider corruption in "the system" from all sides - which is exactly how it should be viewed, not more of this divide and conquer bullshit.
Oliver Elkington , 31 Oct 2016 11:3
It is clear that rigging had taken place in the Democrat primaries, Bernie Sanders was more popular with a big chunk of the electorate including the young, here in the Guardian few people had a bad word to say about him, compare that to Hillary who's only strong point seems to be that she is a safer choice than Trump.
jianhan q -> Oliver Elkington , 31 Oct 2016 13:0
She's not.
js1919 -> jianhan q , 31 Oct 2016 14:0
I'm not so sure anymore either. For the world, maybe Trump is better in the end (ofc Clinton is by far better for the US). I knew what a hawk Clinton is but seeing her "obliterate Iran" comments made me think she might be even more dangerous than I thought.
HotTomales -> Oliver Elkington , 31 Oct 2016 17:1
The corollary is, Trump is the only candidate that Hillary can beat. That bares some thinking over, I believe, especially in the light of the way we know the political system and the Democrats in particular work. Oh well . . .
greenwichite , 31 Oct 2016 11:3
It didn't matter so much when the right-wing parties were puppets of billionaires.

The political crisis arrived when the supposedly "left-wing" parties sold out to them too.

At which point, democratic choice evaporated.

Financial interests have today captured the entire body-politic of Britain and America, and it really doesn't matter which party you vote for - Goldman Sachs will call the shots regardless.

And they see you as simply a cash-cow to be milked for the benefit of the very rich, themselves included.

ID904765 -> greenwichite , 31 Oct 2016 11:4
Your general point is broadly accurate - however I would have second thoughts before singling out Goldman Sachs any more than say Morgan Stanley , Citigroup or Bank of America.
Fred Bloggs -> ID904765 , 31 Oct 2016 12:1
Goldman Sachs are the leader of the gang?
BurgermaS -> ID904765 , 31 Oct 2016 14:1
I think he meant Goldman Sachs as a term for the larger banking group of interests (as you listed). Some call them the 'white shoe boys'. Everyone knows the banks control everything now.
KateShade , 31 Oct 2016 11:3
Let me make sure I've got this right:

you would prefer politicians who never speak to the people running businesses, finance, universities, hospitals etc etc.?

Marjallche -> KateShade , 31 Oct 2016 11:4
I would prefer politicians who don't get paid by those whose power they are supposed to rein in.
stormsinteacups -> KateShade , 31 Oct 2016 11:5
you've got it the wrong way round....it's the groups you mention that plead NOT speak with politicians. Please don't include those running hospitals and universities with the worldwide business and finance mafia.
KateShade -> Marjallche , 31 Oct 2016 12:3
paying politicians is definitely not the way to go... campaign funding rules are what is crippling the US....

other countries have much better systems...

or are you thinking of other forms of 'payment'?

JennM , 31 Oct 2016 11:3
I see no way out of this mess
ralphrooney -> JennM , 31 Oct 2016 11:3
hopefully it ends with hillary in jail
LabourMess -> JennM , 31 Oct 2016 12:1
So you don't think that Trump will try to drain the swamp.
Mates Braas -> ralphrooney , 31 Oct 2016 12:2
Hoping to see Clinton end up in jail is no different than hoping to see Bush at the ICC.
Brownbread , 31 Oct 2016 11:3
"This genre of Podesta email, in which people try to arrange jobs for themselves or their kids, points us toward the most fundamental thing we know about the people at the top of this class: their loyalty to one another and the way it overrides everything else."

This is quite a mundane observation. To which social group does a tendency for in-group loyalty NOT apply? I think what it actually shows is that high status people mix together and are more confident in using such forms of communication with powerful people (with whom they assume a connection) for personal gain. Hardly surprising. And also only applies to the sample - those who emailed - rather than the general class. That is, it's a bad sample because it is self selecting, and therefore says something more about people who are willing to communicate in this way, rather than their broader class.

MacCosham -> Brownbread , 31 Oct 2016 12:0
A tendency for in-group loyalty and loyalty overriding everything else are two very, very, very different things.
Brownbread -> MacCosham , 31 Oct 2016 12:2
Okay, read as, 'a tendency for an in-group loyalty that, when acted out, overrides everything else' (as implied by the definition of 'loyalty').
Brownbread -> MacCosham , 31 Oct 2016 12:2
So to be clear, I don't think the two are mutually exclusive. One is about how often you are loyal to your group, and the other is about the nature of loyalty itself.
soixantehuitard , 31 Oct 2016 11:3
This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards . Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs .
waldoh , 31 Oct 2016 11:3
This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards . Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs .
kelso77 , 31 Oct 2016 11:3
What has seemingly slipped under the radar is Podesta's emails withDr Edgar Mitchell, Tom Delonge and a couple of Generals.

The truth is out there...

PaulGButler -> kelso77 , 31 Oct 2016 12:2

What has seemingly slipped under the radar is Podesta's emails withDr Edgar Mitchell, Tom Delonge and a couple of Generals.

Looks like it's going to stay there as well, at least as far as you are concerned ...

JustinNimmo , 31 Oct 2016 11:3
That the people at the very top of their industry and professions know each other and communicate with each other is hardly a surprise. Nor is it bad - it helps the world to function. Nor is it necessarily corrupt provided they operate within the law. What is important is that getting to the top of these professions is an opportunity open to everyone with the ability and the drive. That, sadly, is not the case. Nepotism does not help either.
greenwichite -> JustinNimmo , 31 Oct 2016 11:4
These people at the top of their professions have a track-record of abysmal failure. Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and the other banks should have been allowed to collapse in 2008, as fitting punishment for their greed and incompetence. Instead, they used their paid-for access to the Bush White House to demand and acquire a trillion-dollar bailout.

That's not networking. It's corruption.

infamy72 -> JustinNimmo , 31 Oct 2016 11:4
Who's laws , oh the ruling classes laws.
z8000736 , 31 Oct 2016 11:3
[neo]Liberal may be a dirty word to call someone in America but the author of this piece seems unaware it doesn't work quite the same way the other side of the Atlantic. May I suggest panty-waisted pointy-head instead?
1iJack -> z8000736 , 31 Oct 2016 12:1
Better yet: Globalist. Its an underlying theme that we have seen unite the Clintons and Bush/Romney families in this election cycle...we now know who the enemy is, and they have infiltrated both the Democrats and the Republicans. They have a secret badge they wear pledging an allegiance to a higher power: the Clinton/Bush/Romney families are the jack-booted thugs of the American globalists.
Brownbread -> 1iJack , 31 Oct 2016 15:2
Yeah, they are so much nastier than those cuddly protectionists.
Ted_Pikul -> Brownbread , 31 Oct 2016 16:5
The more the administrative class' borderless "humanism" aligns with the oligarchy's desire for cheap labor, the less objectionable those cuddly persons become.
BobSlater , 31 Oct 2016 11:4
It's very easy to make a case that HRC is unfit for the presidency... Except for the fact the alternative is Trump. A clique arranges matters for themselves and the electorate is basically told to go to hell.

What is over there is on it's way over here if it hasn't happened already. You can build big corporations with a flourishing financial sector or you can build a nation. I would say choose but you don't get a choice.

kodicek , 31 Oct 2016 11:4
Good job in presenting Hillary as the poor victim, when she has the whole weight of the neo-liberal media-banking system behind her... Next up in Orwell land...
flybow , 31 Oct 2016 11:4
here's a link to them. https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/3774
themandibleclaw , 31 Oct 2016 11:4
As George Carlin said "It's a big club and you ain't in it".
Brownbread -> themandibleclaw , 31 Oct 2016 15:3
He also said, "be excellent to each other."
MitchellParker , 31 Oct 2016 11:4
"Along with the concept of American Dream runs the notion that every man and woman is entitled to an opinion and to one vote, no matter how ridiculous that opinion might be or how uninformed the vote. It could be that the Borderer Presbyterian tradition of "stand up and say your rightful piece" contributed to the American notion that our gut-level but uninformed opinions are some sort of unvarnished foundational political truths.

I have been told that this is because we redneck working-class Scots Irish suffer from what psychiatrists call "no insight".

Consequently, we will never agree with anyone outside our zone of ignorance because our belligerent Borderer pride insists on the right to be dangerously wrong about everything while telling those who are more educated to "bite my ass!"

― Joe Bageant, Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War

Longerenong , 31 Oct 2016 11:4
There is still a week to go.

The way this election has been going you'd have to be a fool not to expect yet another twist in the plot.

HonourableMember , 31 Oct 2016 11:4
A meritocracy always crashes and crushes its actors and puppet masters whenever merit is neither exhibited nor warranted ...... for then is it too much alike a fraudulent ponzi to be anything else.
noteasilyfooled , 31 Oct 2016 11:4
What Americans need to ask themselves is: Are they happy with things as they are after 8 years of Obama? Do they want more of the same + the Clinton's insatiable appetite for self-enrichmentand that permanent insincere smile? If not, why not give Trump a chance. If they don't like him, kick him out in four years' time.
Elephantmoth -> noteasilyfooled , 31 Oct 2016 12:0
Are Americans happy with things as they are after 8 years of a Republican Congress stonewalling every attempt to improve things for ordinary people, even shutting down the whole government in pursuit of their partisan agenda? The childish antics of our 'democratic representatives' have diminished the ideals of democracy and would sink even further with Trump, who could do a lot of damage in four years.
ID1906465 -> noteasilyfooled , 31 Oct 2016 12:0
four years is a very long time! Took less than that for the Nazis to get into power after having got into parliament.
PaulGButler -> noteasilyfooled , 31 Oct 2016 12:1

why not give Trump a chance.

Bit ironic, given your user name "noteasilyfooled". You are aware that Donald Trump (in spite of several attempts to lose his fortune) is a billionaire?

Bluejil , 31 Oct 2016 11:4
It has been ongoing through out history, ancient Greece and the beginning of democracy, Romans, Kings, Queens, courts and courtiers. Is it really a surprise that if you do not have a Harvard MBA, you won't rise through the ranks of Goldman's and McKinsey? It's no different here in England, £50,000 and up to dine with Dave and George last year.

Most of the population trusts who they elect to do the jobs they themselves would not do or could not do, it's steeped in history that the well educated take the helm. Politics is nepotism and money has always played a very large part, for every party, not just the democrats. Let's not pretend the republicans are innocent saints in all of this, if Wikileaks were to delve into their actions there would be a shit storm, remember the NRA is part and parcel of the Republican party.

Blenheim -> Bluejil , 31 Oct 2016 12:0
Most of the population trusts who they elect to do the jobs they themselves would not do or could not do

Not sure we do .. We're totally apathetic and cynical in regards to politics, and certainly those who put themselves forward mostly aren't up to the job but are seemingly unemployable elsewhere; look no further than the last PM and his idiot chum, and now the current PM and her front bench. Would you employ 'em?..

MacCosham -> Bluejil , 31 Oct 2016 12:0
Ehm, sorry, no. Remember there is a word, democracy , which is taken to mean that governments act according to the wishes of the people who elected them. Your petty partisanship is blinding you.
haribol , 31 Oct 2016 11:4

They are the comfortable and well-educated mainstay of our modern Democratic party. They are also the grandees of our national media; the architects of our software; the designers of our streets; the high officials of our banking system; the authors of just about every plan to fix social security or fine-tune the Middle East with precision droning. They are, they think, not a class at all but rather the enlightened ones, the people who must be answered to but who need never explain themselves.

This is across the WHOLE of the West no matter whether right leaning or left leaning.

moria50 -> elliot2511 , 31 Oct 2016 11:5
Also cousins albeit 19th cousins. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3210778/Donald-Trump-Hillary-Clinton-revealed-distant-cousins-family-trees-share-set-royal-ancestors.html
WhitesandsOjibwe , 31 Oct 2016 11:5
"Keep the American public compliant and unaware."

Clinton's private and public face. Says it all.

missuswatanabe , 31 Oct 2016 11:5
The really interesting question is whether it has always been like this (and we just don't have the emails to prove it) or whether this is a fairly new phenomenon. My feeling is this sort of behaviour has its equivalents throughout history and that when it peaks we have upheaval and decline.

The current malaise goes back a long way but was catalysed by the end of the Cold War. Because the West 'won' with a system of liberal capitalist democracy, politics took a back seat to business interests. The Clintonian and Blairite 'third way' was billed as a practical compromise but the reality was an abdication of politics. Into this vacuum stepped the kind of self-serving elite the Podesta emails reveal. Arrangements are starting to break down and Michael Gove's much derided statement that people have 'had enough of experts' is actually the most insightful thing that has been said about 21st Century politics so far.

dedalus77uk , 31 Oct 2016 11:5
Yes, yes, Thomas. But one click on your name reveals an approach to these elections which about as unbiased against Clinton as Comley's - it's pretty clear who you want to win.

Among other things, if Trump wins, though, there will be war in Europe within 2 years, as Putin grabs the Baltic states and the USA sits back, arms folded - you heard it here first.

1iJack -> dedalus77uk , 31 Oct 2016 12:0
Europe hates the U.S. and hasn't wanted us in NATO for decades. Goodbye.
jean2121 -> dedalus77uk , 31 Oct 2016 12:0
You are delusional. It isn quite the contrary that will happen. the war monger is Hillary. what proof do you need?
caseball -> dedalus77uk , 31 Oct 2016 12:1
If Clinton is elected itll be First Strike using nukes by the US. You heard it here first.
1iJack , 31 Oct 2016 11:5
And by electing Trump, we are trying to fuck up all of the people you mention in your article above. We can't completely, but through things like term limits we can make Washington a city full of strangers to them. It is much more difficult to deal with strangers in the "back room" as you can't trust them.

We need to make Washington as inaccessible to those folks as it is to Main Street America.

We have to break America for these globalist elites before America will work for Main Street again.

Because the American oligarchy has now turned globalist, their goals are now contrary to those of the American people, and that's why all Hillary has is empty slogans like "I'll fight for you" while Trump is saying tangible things like "I'll build a wall" and "I'll renegotiate or tear up NAFTA."

We are done with them, and this is just getting started.

TonyBlunt -> Raismail , 31 Oct 2016 12:0
Putin runs the only government that puts billionaires in jail. We put them in the House of Lords or let them run our media.
AlfaBeta73 , 31 Oct 2016 12:0
fantastic ending to a great article:

"Yes, it's all supposed to be a meritocracy. But if you aren't part of this happy, prosperous in-group – if you don't have John Podesta's email address – you're out."

traversecity , 31 Oct 2016 12:0
What's particularly interesting is to contrast the main-chance sleaziness of their internal jockeying with the overwhelming self-righteousness of their pronouncements on public issues. No wonder the voters want revenge.
martinusher , 31 Oct 2016 12:0
This is just the class system in action. Or did everyone think that the US was a classless society?
David Dougherty , 31 Oct 2016 12:0
Of course you are quite correct, the Democratic Party is a fraud for working people and a collection of self serving elitist. If you have a solution to solve why people keep voting for them I would love to hear it.
mattblack81 -> David Dougherty , 31 Oct 2016 12:3
I think the point is that all politics is the same, democrat or republican. These people are self serving leeches on the rest of society and they have us thanking them for it......well in the USA they have you mindlessly chanting USA USA USA over and over again but you get my drift.
hammond , 31 Oct 2016 12:1
It's called globalisation and it's exactly the same in the Uk . neoliberal asset stripping while the citizenry get shafted
WhitesandsOjibwe -> Longerenong , 31 Oct 2016 12:2
Wikileaks doesn't get 'directed'. It's very likely the leaks are from the inside of the Clinton campaign. They've been very sloppy and not very tech savvy by all accounts.
Peter Kelly , 31 Oct 2016 12:1
That such a state of affairs exists is no surprise at all, especially as the whole proclaimed basis of society in America is designed to produce it exactly.

They may couch it in different terms and dress it up to look like 'democracy and freedom', but it is a selfish, greedy stampede where only the lucky or the nasty succeed.

We are forever told that anyone can achieve the 'American dream', but it is a complete myth. The idea that if everyone just puts in the effort they could all live in limitless luxury is such a false illusion you wonder why it hasn't been buried along with believing the world is flat and the sun is a god.

Stechris Willgil , 31 Oct 2016 12:1
If you want to understand how American politics works then watch House of Cards on Netflix with Kevin Spacey . A brilliant series .
Mates Braas , 31 Oct 2016 12:1
The best democracy money can buy indeed, and they want to export this sham to other countries using bombs.
BurgermaS -> Mates Braas , 31 Oct 2016 14:1
no they don't! The freedom and democracy is just bullshot that cons the populace to not see that it's really "nick all your stuff under the threat of violence". They're gangsters. That's all they do.
unedited , 31 Oct 2016 12:2
The state and big business are corruptly entangled.
reluctanttorontonian , 31 Oct 2016 12:2
http://usuncut.com/politics/leaked-emails-confirm-clinton-campaign-worked-bloggers-smear-bernie-sanders /
Freemoneyforeveryone , 31 Oct 2016 12:2
Seriously? Your story is powerful people associate with each other and do each other favours? Absent a pure dictatorship, that's how power works. Even then, I happen to know you're inferring too much design in some of the events you describe.
Mates Braas -> Freemoneyforeveryone , 31 Oct 2016 12:4
Don't you find it strange for corporations to be selecting a cabinet?
FattMatt , 31 Oct 2016 12:2

This genre of Podesta email, in which people try to arrange jobs for themselves or their kids, points us toward the most fundamental thing we know about the people at the top of this class: their loyalty to one another and the way it overrides everything else.

All classes use nepotism to some degree.

Elephantmoth , 31 Oct 2016 12:2
We all know how people in power act in their own interests and that goes for both Parties, not only the one singled out in this article.
What is less clear is how all this hysteria about personalities makes any difference to ordinary people whose interests have been entirely sidelined in this election circus. Where is the discussion about how Americans can get affordable healthcare, or a job that pays more than the minimum, or how to respond to climate change, for instance?
Nada89 , 31 Oct 2016 12:2
The US presidential race signifies the way the political process has become irrevocably debased.
The e-mails merely highlight the cynicism of politicians who long ago ceded power to the financial and corporate world.

Politicians don't really understand the complexities of finance, in the same way they are unable to fathom the Middle east, or even what life has become like for huge swathes of the American population. At the same time politicians have long ceased to be the engine of social progress, in fact more often than not their policies are more likely to do great harm rather than good.

If anybody is surprised by the general tenor of these e-mails I assume they must have been the sort of children who were heartbroken when one day their parents gently sat them down to break it to them that Santa was actually Daddy in an oversized red suit.

TheFireRises , 31 Oct 2016 12:2
And they wonder why Trump is doing so well, Dirty Media, Dirty Government.
antipodes , 31 Oct 2016 12:3
" The dramatis personae of the liberal class are all present in this amazing body of work: financial innovators. High-achieving colleagues attempting to get jobs for their high-achieving children. Foundation executives doing fine and noble things. Prizes, of course, and high academic achievement."

I am sure the people of Syria and Libya are grateful to these amazing people for destroying their countries and stealing their resources.

keynsean , 31 Oct 2016 12:3
Just look over here as former politicians get on the gravy train as they lose their seats or retire. As for the Eton alumni - closer than the mafia ....
pleasevotegordonout , 31 Oct 2016 12:3
Yes ...just look at thsi stunning revent incisive Guardian journam=lism that has helped break this open

"But if she wins, what an added bonus that, as the first woman to enter the White House, she will also step through the door as by far the most qualified and experienced arrival there for generations."

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/09/demonise-hillary-clinton-careful-us-president


"This may shock you: Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest"

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/28/hillary-clinton-honest-transparency-jill-abramson


"The Guardian view on the FBI's Clinton probe: exactly the wrong thing to do"

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/30/the-guardian-view-on-the-fbis-clinton-probe-exactly-the-wrong-thing-to-do

Chuckman , 31 Oct 2016 12:3
"Forget the FBI cache; the Podesta emails show how America is run"

First, no, no one in his right mind should forget the FBI cache which very likely contains evidence of serious crimes by Clinton.

At the very least, they can prove she did not comply with subpoenas and destroyed evidence and lied to the FBI.

Second, yes, the Podesta e-mails do show us something of how America is run, but the picture is far from complete.

We've not had a enough look into the Clinton Foundation and its intertwining with the affairs of a very senior official and the President himself.

One very much suspects Hillary of playing "pay for play" with foreign governments, much the kind of corruption the US loves to accuse less-developed countries of.

After all, when the Clintons were in the White House, fund-raising gimmicks reached unprecedented levels. President Bill came up with the offer of a sleep-over in the Lincoln Bedroom for rich supporters who coughed up a $250,000 campaign contribution.

There are many indications, but no hard proof, of just how corrupt this foundation is. One analyst who has spent some time studying it has called it a huge criminal scheme.

Let's not forget that Julian Assange, the man who gave us the Podesta material, has promised revelations "which could put Hillary in jail" before the election.

Frogdoofus -> FattMatt , 31 Oct 2016 12:5
It's more a country club. If you're in, you're in. If you're out, you're out. Most people are out and will stay that way forever.
Wolly74 -> Chelli , 31 Oct 2016 12:5

The cost of democracy is corruption.

And that's different from autocracy or dictatorship how exactly?

Williamthewriter -> Chelli , 31 Oct 2016 13:0
You're right of course. All of politics is about doing favors for people high and low, you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. In the entire article the one real scandalous thing is that it quotes from hacked personal emails that no on but those who wrote them have a right to see.
LeCochon -> Chelli , 31 Oct 2016 13:0
It depends. Hardcore technical knowledge can put you above the technically illiterate lawyers, economists and journalists of the political class.
keepithuman , 31 Oct 2016 12:4
If anyone thinks that the immediate solution to not backing this type of behavior from one of the major political parties is to elect a huckster riding the wave of righteous revulsion to all of this, then they deserve everything that they will get when said huckster gets to the pinnacle of power.

The solution does not lie with the other major political party either, boy would I love to see a release of emails detailing how that organization is run. It is already in collapse due to the eroding corruption resulting in downright robbery of the people, and on-going bigotry and constant war-mongering to rob the world of its assets.

Nothing will happen to change any of this unless a realistic third party based on true service to the people of this country gains national acceptance. The best thing that could come from these emails and the fracturing of the Republican party would be that all disillusioned and disgruntled citizens unite to form this third party. This will take the emergence of some genuine, selfless leadership, but I have hopes that this can and will happen.

Otherwise, the future is not rosy, and one day we may look back at this hateful campaign with nostalgia.

Flagella , 31 Oct 2016 12:4
We have our own elite clubs in this country some of which have been here for centuries. All members regardless of Party are connected through elite school networks and by of course the class system which is copper fastened to keep the great unwashed out. Corruption, nepotism and cronyism are all present here too even if concealed by the veil of respectability and having the right postcode. From the comfort of their clubs, their marble homes and granite banks they rob the people of Britain and the world.
Isaac_Blunt -> Flagella , 31 Oct 2016 12:4
LOL. Not at all paranoid then...
QuebecCityOliver -> Flagella , 31 Oct 2016 12:5
Yes. I am sure that explains John Major very well.

Gordon Brown does not fit the mould , either.

Talent can make it through more easily in the UK than the USA. That is simply a fact.

Wolly74 -> Isaac_Blunt , 31 Oct 2016 12:5
As they say 'Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean etc. etc.....'
DoctorWibble , 31 Oct 2016 12:4
I'd recommend reading "The Unwinding - An Inner History of the new America" by George Packer who dissects this very well via potted biographies of several real people. The book also covers it's opposite - the rising unemployment, de-industrialisation, repossessions and other themes. A very useful background for understanding this election and whatever comes after. And a good read too which can't always be said about such books.
jazzfan19605 , 31 Oct 2016 12:4
Trump supporters say that Trump is not a politician or part of the Washington "establishment" but he has built his empire by buying politicians for years. His flock is so fooled.
ThaddeusTheBold , 31 Oct 2016 12:4
As someone who started in poverty and rose to do well through lots of hard work and lots of good luck, the "revelation" that this country is controlled by a smug elite is not news. I may be liberal but I have no illusions about the elitism and exclusionism that ruling cadres always exhibit. And if I could achieve one thing, politically, in this lifetime it would be to break the back of privilege in this country and on this planet forever, and make true meritocracy -- not cronyism, not nepotism, not herdeitary wealth and power -- the ONLY determinant of success.
LeCochon -> ThaddeusTheBold , 31 Oct 2016 13:1
Then setup/ join a grassroots party.
I would like to see a pan-European, non-ideological party which will focus on getting people out of the debt economy into economic and financial freedom. The price of housing and transportation and education needs to be addressed. There needs to be less government, fewer MPs and more room for people who create value and employment. There is a lot of innovation out there online for example, but the mass of people are not being exposed to these options. A
gjjwatson , 31 Oct 2016 12:4
This is how the rich, powerful and landed interest in all societies work. Constitutional democracy was supposed to counter it`s worst excesses.
Voters everywhere understand how their governments have been subverted and that is why politicians are mistrusted.
QuebecCityOliver -> LesterUK , 31 Oct 2016 13:0
I was confused by your spelling for a second - David Icke.

One theory states that society would have had to crate a similar model if Icke hadn't provided us with one. It is also, probably, better to blame alien overlords to human ones.

Rainsborow , 31 Oct 2016 12:4
This is a pretty tame assessment. The more I see about HRC (who I once respected, not that long ago) the more angry and saddened I feel. The Dems have lost their connection with the people they were meant to represent. What's left is a pretty ugly, self-righteous and corrupt crowd. Their attacks on Comey have been despicable, beneath contempt and absurd. I think they're going to lose and they will deserve to.
Andrius Ledas , 31 Oct 2016 12:4
The funniest thing about the comments of this article is the people who claim that electing Trump will be different somehow. Trump will demolish the system, Trump will shake things up! Please! Trump IS a part of this system, a system that has two clubs, A and B. Each club has its interests and each club wants to elect a figure that would represent its interests. Moreover, clubs A and B really work together, they are two groups of shareholders that are sometimes in disagreement in the distribution of profit, but at the bottom line they are working for the same goal, the enrichment of themselves and their associates. You have to be very naive to believe that POTUS, a mere public relations figure, would be allowed to make any significiant executive decisions in this company. That's not what a public relations officer does. The real decisions are with the executives of the club, and they are not elected, they are admitted into the club. The real question, however, is if it can be otherwise, if it has ever been otherwise, can we conceive of a system that would be different. This should be the concern of all political experts, scientists and journalists.
CanWeNotKnockIt -> Andrius Ledas , 31 Oct 2016 12:5
Yeah but he's going to build a wall, lock her up, tear up trade agreements with the neighbours, bar Muslims from coming to the USA, create millions of well-paid jobs, open up loads of coal mines, have a trade war with China, end lobbying, establish limited terms (if only a president could have a third term) and sue umpteen women for alleging sexual assault.
Vidarr -> tobyjosh , 31 Oct 2016 13:3
"Just a bunch of expensive suits deciding on what's best for the world (and themselves)"

That's the wrong emphasis based on the points made in this article; surely it is "Just a bunch of expensive suits deciding on what's best for the themselves (and the world)".

Alun Jones , 31 Oct 2016 13:1
Time to Drain the Swamp
hadeze242 , 31 Oct 2016 13:1
sanders said it and trump, an insider of independent means, are both right about the Clinton duo's sleazy corruption. thank you Wikileaks, thank you perv Weiner, thank you Huma for sharing (one of your) computers with your sex-fiend husband. thank you for sharing your total honesty and high morality, all deserving that we citizens pay your pensions and salaries.
Akkarrin , 31 Oct 2016 13:1
Its taken a while but i think I've decided. I genuinely want Clinton to lose, i think Trump will be a disastrous president and the worst in history by far, and worse then Clinton.

That said Clinton and the DNC deserve to lose for the horrific way they treated Sanders in the nomination to see Clinton crowned the candidate... she does not deserve to win and i cannot face that smug arrogant speech which will come if she does much less the next 4-8 years.

supercool , 31 Oct 2016 13:2
Lobbying, influence then a thin line to break into corruption and the system being run for the selfish interest of the tiny few against the majority. The US is no exception to this, it is just done more subtly with a smokescreen and sleight of hand.
AkwaIbom999 , 31 Oct 2016 13:2
I'm not sure where the "news" is in this piece. The same rules of engagement apply during Republican administrations. The same rules of engagement apply in every administration in every country in every part of our benighted World .... and, sadly, always have done. The only response to the article that I can think of is that eternally useful Americanism ... "No s**t Sherlock."
stevecammack , 31 Oct 2016 13:2
it is the elite - both right and left wing who have accumulated all the power, know each other very well and have one aim in life - to retain the power and priviledge for themselves, their families and their peers - whether that is by social class, university, religion and yes race. Bitter - you bet people are bitter - ignorant people who don't see they are all much of the same. It's all about the power and the money that they have, you don't and you don't seem to care. Actually you probably do have right power, money, class and race hence the pathetically flippant comment.
HarryArs -> stevecammack , 31 Oct 2016 13:5
There is no left wing in power in DC. It would be apt to say "the right wing and the far right wing".
gondwanaboy -> CanWeNotKnockIt , 31 Oct 2016 13:3
Well he's already aware of media bias and that a Deep State exists quietly in the background so it will be interesting to see what happens after the election.
mattb1 , 31 Oct 2016 13:2
This is old news. Anyone who knows The Golden Rule can tell you those with the gold make the rules.
Phil Butler , 31 Oct 2016 13:2
Brilliant. Absolutely and positively the best piece on the subject I have read. As an American, once a cable installer who visited all the cliche homes of social-strata USA, I find a ray of hope ij what you write. It is a hope that Americans will just admit the unbelievable folly of Hillary Clinton as a choice for dog catcher, much less Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces. For God's sake, or the sake of Howard Hughes even, this group would nuke Idaho for not approving of a transexual-animal wedding ceremony, let along disagreeing on healthcare. You have framed and illuminated a portrait of the macabre aristocracy now in charge. I hope more people read this.
smaguidhir , 31 Oct 2016 13:3
Ok, new line, US Military coup 2017!!

Neither of the two main political parties have a candidate worth anyone's time. The choice is between a sexual predator and a serial liar to see who will lead the richest most powerful country on the face of the earth and these two are what the parties have puked up for us to choose between. I cant imagine a general or admiral sitting in front of either of these two specimens and thinking themselves proud to be led by them.

This entire cycle is a disgrace, vote for Hillary, impeach her in a year stick Kaine in as a caretaker and then have a proper election in 2020, its the only sane way out of this disaster.

Phil429 -> smaguidhir , 31 Oct 2016 13:3
There's no such thing as a military solution. A coup to dethrone the power, sure, but let's hope for one that's effective.
Orr George -> smaguidhir , 31 Oct 2016 13:5
"Sexual predator", really? You mean like Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton, 2 men with RAPE accusations following them around for decades? All Trump did was kiss women in show biz and beauty contests, and they LET him. I guess you never saw Richard Dawson on Family Feud?
SlumVictim , 31 Oct 2016 13:3
You know damn well, people who get to the top in so called western capitalist representative democracy, only represent themselves. The very idea they care about the people in general is totally demolished by observing the evidence, how countries function and where the money flows to and where from.

The people are no better than domesticated cattle being led out to graze and brought back in the evening to be milked. Marx was right when he talked about wage slavery. The slavers are those in the legislatures of the west.

MereMortal , 31 Oct 2016 13:3
I really like Thomas Frank, author of the brilliant Pity the Billionaire.
I can't help feeling here that he's really softballed the the US elite (the Democrats in this case) by only mildly calling them on their epic corruption.
If seen from Main street, is it any wonder the US electorate have in their millions turned aournd and said "no, you're not going to ensnare us again with your bullshit promises because you want our vote, you are the problem and we're going to kick YOU out"
I mean how many times can they hope to fool the electorate with bought and paid for contestants, all the while with the media having their back. When the media is as corrupt and 'owned' as the US mainstream media, people look elsewhere and there they find voices that are far far more critical of what their awful rulers get up to.
Embracist -> MereMortal , 31 Oct 2016 13:4
Trump and Clinton have been friends for years. So the electorate is fooled once again. Every time the public start to get wind of what's going on, the establishment just adds another layer to the onion. By the time the hoi polloi catch up, they've siphoned tens of billions, hundreds of billions for themselves, and created all new distractions and onion layers for the next election. People are undeniably stupid.
Mauryan , 31 Oct 2016 13:3
This confirms the existence of a shadow government, made up of rich and powerful industrialists and bankers who control the way elections results turn out, so that they can help themselves. From their standpoint, Trump will be a wart in their rear end, because he basically lacks the sophistication needed to hide excretion under the carpet and walk over it smiling. He is already full of it and therefore is of no use to them. They did not expect him to come this far. There is a first time surprise for everything. They did not expect Sanders to gain momentum either. But they managed to contain it, phew! Now with Clinton, they can continue with their merry ways, earning billions more, settings fires across the globe and making more profits out them. It is not just the Democratic party that is full of stench. It includes the other party as well. Right wing and left wing belong to the same bird. All the campaign for voting, right to vote, participate etc. are just window wash. American democracy is buried deep in the Arlington cemetery. What runs now is Plutocracy, whose roots have cracked through the foundations and pillars of this country. Either a bloody revolution will happen one day soon or America will go the way of Brazil.
pretendname , 31 Oct 2016 13:3
It's puzzling really

The US public are pretty happy generally with extra-judicial killing (we call that murder in the UK, remember this for later on in the post), seems little concern about the on-record comments of Clinton regarding Libya.

In fact the on-record comments of Clinton generally, that doesn't even involve hacked email accounts, are absolutely damning to most Europeans.

However.. here in the UK what passes for satire comedy TV shows have rigorously stuck to the line Trump is an idiot, Clinton is a democrat.
I can understand their fascination with Trump.. he's an easy target.. but nobody in the UK media seems to have the balls to call out the fact that Clinton is neck deep in 'extra judicial killing', which I find odd.. More importantly I find this to be an absolutely damning indictment of British media. This organ not withstanding.

David Prince , 31 Oct 2016 13:4
Interesting, but this just tells of the usual cronyism and nepotism; unedifying as it is. We see very little here though of her true masters; i.e. Goldman Sachs; or more specifically the people who own GS who are Hiliary's puppet masters. I would be more worried about Hiliarys ambition apparently to push for a conflict with Russia; a conflict that serves the Military industrial complex and the bankers that own it. DT may be a Narcicist but as Michael Moore says; "the enemy of my enemy....."
BillFromBoston , 31 Oct 2016 14:0
To be more precise these emails show how the US is run under the DEMOCRAT Party.
Murdoch Mactaggart -> BillFromBoston , 31 Oct 2016 14:2
These particular emails do, yes. You'd find exactly the same models were an equivalent lot released involving Reince Priebus or his ilk.
seanwiddowson -> BillFromBoston , 31 Oct 2016 14:2
As a Brit, I'd like to ask if the Republican Party is any different. I very much doubt it.
ID9552055 , 31 Oct 2016 14:1

It's all supposed to be a meritocracy. But if you aren't part of this happy, prosperous in-group – if you don't have XYZ's email address – you're out.

Great article that makes you think as a reader. For instance, though more ethical, it makes you wonder how things are different in the BBC or The Guardian, or NYT, or other powerful organisations. How far does merit count, how far does having the right background, how far not rocking the boat?
Hopefully the article will inspire others to look into the leaderships of American politics where "everything blurs into everything in this world'.

W.R. Garvey , 31 Oct 2016 14:1
The most shocking emails to me were the ones that revealed the Democratic Party had a substantial role in creating and organizing groups like Catholics United, with the intent of using them to try to liberalize the Catholic Church on issues like abortion and same sex marriage.

The same people who (rightly) cried foul over GW Bush crossing the church/state divide apparently had no problem doing the same thing when it suited their agenda. I tend to vote Democratic, but I don't know if I can continue to do that in the future. This kind of thing should not be happening in America.

SuSucat , 31 Oct 2016 14:1
Sounds a bit like Italy to me or nearer to home Blair's cool Britannia.
deFigueira , 31 Oct 2016 14:1
With a constitution like that of the US, with its establishment parties sharing a bought and sold executive evey few years, and in the absence of representative parliamentary democracy, the psuedo macarthyist insinuations of this article are as civilized as it can get.
KendoNagasaki , 31 Oct 2016 14:1
An interesting article, offering snippets of the emails that have been released, all of which confirms two things, it seems to me:

First, that the world operates as we might have suspected it to. In the control of, and in the interests of rich cliques.

Second, that we are on the whole apathetic to our predicament.

Mark Sutcliffe , 31 Oct 2016 14:1
https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/3599
"And as I've mentioned, we've all been quite content to demean government, drop civics and in general conspire to produce an unaware and compliant citizenry. The unawareness remains strong but compliance is obviously fading rapidly. This problem demands some serious, serious thinking - and not just poll driven, demographically-inspired messaging."

And there is the thinking of the elite rolled into a few sentences.

ImaHack -> Mark Sutcliffe , 31 Oct 2016 14:3
http://www.snopes.com/clinton-compliant-citizenry /

"Former National Endowment for the Arts chairman Bill Ivey says a leaked e-mail to Clinton deputy John Podesta did not reveal a 'master plan' for maintaining political power via 'an unaware and compliant citizenry.'"

BoomerLefty , 31 Oct 2016 14:2
One might think that after reading this article, that a liberal/progressive like me would hate the Democratic Party and all of the elites in it. Well, you would be right (no pun intended), but the folks that I really despise are on the GOP side of the equation.

My animosity begins with Eisenhower, who turned the Dulles brother lose on the world to start so many of the fires that still rage today. Then came Nixon, with his "southern strategy", to turn the hate and racism that existed in America since its founding into a political philosophy that only an ignorant, half-assed Hollywood actor could fully weaponize. Then there was GWB who threw jet fuel onto the still smoldering ashes left from the Dulles boys.

(And if you think you can throw LBJ back at me, consider that he saw no way out of Vietnam simply because he knew the right was accuse him of being soft on communism - and so the big fool pushed ever deeper into the Big Muddy.)

And the toxic fumes from those blazes then drifted over Donald J Trump and his fellow 16 clown car occupants - all trying to out-hate each other.

There is simply no alternative to the Democratic Party because the GOP represents hate, misogyny, racism, and the zombie legions that catered to the corporatocracy and the Christian right. It was such a winning strategy that the Democratic Party created the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) - led by the likes of the Clinton's who out-repug'd the Repugnants, and stole their corporate lunches. And this is what we have left (no pun intended).

It sucks!

pierrependre , 31 Oct 2016 14:2
First, Frank misunderstood Kansas. Now he says he was blind to the reality of the Democratic party until the Podesta emails enlightened him. He's right though that the Democrats are never out of power whether they win or lose elections (although it's always more convenient to win them, even with a Clinton and the knowledge that he or she means nasty baggage to come). Republicans have a lock on country clubs; Dems have a lock on government.
Nobby Barnes -> pierrependre , 31 Oct 2016 15:2
i understand that the republicans make up most of the governor positions as well as state houses plus the fed. senate and congress...that is why america is now a banana republic [re: see the fbi interference] and is why america is now an embarassment...run as it is by the republican duck dynasty intellectual class. stay tuned as fascism follows. please don't stand close to me...you're an american and embarrassing....
guardiansek , 31 Oct 2016 14:2
Trust me, middle and lower-class people also try to let eachother know that their kids need a job, and can you help out. And I don't mind the bank exec promoting the dinner of locally grown/caught produce with the tastesful wine pairing. Certainly pretty twee, but otherwise pretty normal.

What should be concentrated on is the amount of "OMG, they are complaining about billionaires!" whining in these emails, and the amount of manipulative news cycle management and duplicitous skullduggery that takes place.

And how about a law that prevents the Clintons from even stepping on Martha's Vineyard for at least 4-5 years?

In all, a somewhat depressing but predictable confirmation that the Democratic party has embraced the donor class to the extent that the donors are now the party's true constituents.

RichWoods -> guardiansek , 31 Oct 2016 14:5
Just like New Labour. It's not very cheering.
SmartestRs , 31 Oct 2016 14:2
A self-interested, self-promoting, self-protecting "Elite" seeks to control and dominate. Clinton is clearly integral to this abhorrent system. The USA is in desperate need of change yet the political system is the antidote to any change. Trump is not the answer. Americans should be very worried.
TinTininAmerica -> SmartestRs , 31 Oct 2016 14:3
The only benefit to Trump winning is that both parties will be blown up and recreated with new, fresh faces - and Trump will be impeached within months.
David Von Steiner -> SmartestRs , 31 Oct 2016 14:5
Why isn't Trump the answer? No one can give me a valid rational reason. He is one of the few who has shone light on the Swamp and is bringing the woke corrupt world down.
Nobby Barnes -> SmartestRs , 31 Oct 2016 15:0
that elite you speak of happen to be your fellow americans and live on your street..unless of course you live in a trailer park..in which case stop your whining and get yourself an education and a better job instead of spending all your time watching wrestling and celebrity apprentice and moaning about the elite...i notice trump hired his stupid kids instead of cracker jack executives...i guess thats some of the nepotism you're crying about....ya rube.
David Von Steiner -> John Star , 31 Oct 2016 14:5
Trump is different though. He socialized in these environments...the politicians...use hit him up for donations....gossip too him about the goings on even try and sleep with him .
Trump does not drink so at these events he probably heard unlimited stories maybe even Bill Clinton bragged to him.
For what ever reason he wants to bring
This scum down. Maybe they disgust him like they disgust us?
Dean Alexander , 31 Oct 2016 14:3
If the current rumours are true, HC is in it up to her neck.
helenamcg , 31 Oct 2016 14:3
'This genre of Podesta email, in which people try to arrange jobs for themselves or their kids, ' I ss written as evidence of nepotism. But there is no mention of whether or not these requests were successful. Nepotism requires that the person requesting the favour is granted it.
WallyWombat , 31 Oct 2016 14:3
Indeed, how could the Clintons go from "effectively broke" in 2001 to $140 million in 2007, and $200 million in 2015?
pretzelattack -> MontyJohnston , 31 Oct 2016 14:5
lol no she doesn't. she doesnt want single payer, neither did obama. she doesnt want a liberal supreme court. she doesn't want the minimum wage raised to 15. she may support race gender lbgt "fairness" as long as it is to her political advantage. but when it isn't, she will throw anybody under the bus.
makeinstall , 31 Oct 2016 14:3

"Read these emails and you understand, with a start, that the people at the top tier of American life all know each other. They are all engaged in promoting one another's careers, constantly."

As long as that class division exists, nothing will ever change, and that class will never relinquish that division of their own accord.

hush632 , 31 Oct 2016 14:3
There appears to be an illusion to influencing the events that unfold, rather than responding to events. Conspiracy theorists may go knuts.
Mafevema , 31 Oct 2016 14:3
How different is this from anywhere else on the planet? There will always be " elites" composed of well connected and/or powerful and/ or wealthy and/or famous people.

I have a good job in a good firm and i am inundated by emails from clients or their friends trying to place their offspring. I decline politely, blame HR and PC, express my sincerest regrets and delete.

As for wealthy and powerful people enjoying holidays in the company of other wealthy and powerful people, so what? I spend my holiday with my friends and my friends tend to have the same professional middle class background and outlook.

What's new?

uponthehill -> LuckyBob , 31 Oct 2016 14:4
She should have said ."You guys are a bunch of cowardly, greedy, malformed humans. You are the cream of everything wrong with society today.. And the worse of it all is,. you know it too. I can smell it in this very room."
That's what!
whiteblob -> LuckyBob , 31 Oct 2016 14:4

Democratic government can save us from Hell.

democracy should be about voting for the candidate you want to win, not who don't want to win!

judyblue -> LuckyBob , 31 Oct 2016 15:1

If we followed the likes of Frank Democrats would be out of power for ever.

No, these Democrats would merely be members of the Republican Party, honestly declaring that the people with money make the rules to benefit themselves. What's the moral point of being in power if you have to be just as bad as the opposing party in order to stay in power?
David Von Steiner , 31 Oct 2016 14:4
I use work in these circles and the soul crushing thing is that elites look out for themselves and their careers and have no real personality, morals, values, character, backbone and certainly no interest in the people. They have personalities of wet fish and are generally cowardice and an embarrassment to mankind. In sort a waste of space
judyblue -> David Von Steiner , 31 Oct 2016 15:1
You used to work in these circles? Not proof-reading their correspondence, I hope.
Shane Johns , 31 Oct 2016 14:4
A meritocracy wouldn't have such hob-nobbing going on for positions of power. There'd be no reason to ask for special consideration for 'Johnny' -- since he would already have risen to the top based on his own MERIT. So I don't understand why this author keeps insisting that this is a meritocracy when the evidence is so clearly and so obviously the opposite.
judyblue -> Shane Johns , 31 Oct 2016 15:1

So I don't understand why this author keeps insisting that this is a meritocracy when the evidence is so clearly and so obviously the opposite.

I think you missed the author's irony.
SeanThorp , 31 Oct 2016 14:4
Once upon a time these emails would have been front and centre of Guardian reporting, headline news and leader columns, now a single opinion article tucked away from the front page. Truly the gatekeepers have lost just as much credibility as the political class that they shill for.
Ambricourt , 31 Oct 2016 14:4
A secret "deep state" operated by a cabal of families? -Lizards on Martha's Vineyard? Is David Icke right, after all?
muttley79 -> Ambricourt , 31 Oct 2016 16:2
It is well known that there is a deep state operating in America, if you want to learn something instead of sneering and being ignorant, you could do worse than reading books such as these:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/American-Deep-State-Democracy-Library/dp/1442214244/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1477931018&sr=1-1&keywords=the+american+deep+state

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deep-State-Mike-Lofgren/dp/0143109936/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1477931051&sr=1-3&keywords=the+american+deep+state

MacSpeaker , 31 Oct 2016 14:4
Shocking. And nothing like the bonhomie shared betwen Oxbridge, The City and No. 10, I suppose?
judyblue -> MacSpeaker , 31 Oct 2016 15:0
This is happening in America, which has always claimed that there are no classes here and everything is done according to merit. So, yes, it's exactly like the triad you mention and it is the more offensive for occurring in a country that expressly repudiates it.
DavidTheDude -> judyblue , 31 Oct 2016 15:1
No classes in America? In a country that was built on the back of slavery and segregation?

Please give your head a shake.

DrChris , 31 Oct 2016 14:4
That article adds up to zero, it does not tell us anything. There are people with networks, and people promote other people they know. Nothing peculiar about this, it works like this in every walk of life. By and large people with high stakes will choose other people who they know can get very hard jobs done, otherwise their project becomes a failure. Can other talented people break into these networks? They can and they do.
pretzelattack -> DrChris , 31 Oct 2016 14:5
they're so talented, it only took 9 emails for huma to explain to clinton how a fax machine worked.
pretzelattack -> Nobby Barnes , 31 Oct 2016 14:5
he's pretty powerful yes. he just runs interference for clinton controlled foundations as far as i know, but i'm sure he will help out the big banks if called upon. your comment reeks of dishonesty.
meggo56 -> SterlingPound , 31 Oct 2016 15:5
It's called a "capitalist republic" for a reason.
KissTheMoai -> meggo56 , 31 Oct 2016 15:5
Plutocracy is a more fitting term.
Paul Ryan , 31 Oct 2016 14:5
The Democrats are as bad if not worse than the Republicans at deceit, manipulation of the media, leaking false information, feeding out a narrative etc..

Its basically become like an arms race between the 2 parties to win by any means necessary because they are so polarized.

The system needs to be overhauled and changed because its not fit for the 21st century. The UK political system too needs to modernise because its creaking as well.

matvox , 31 Oct 2016 15:0
Frank (What's the matter with Frank? Frank) misses the point. completely. The amazing thing about all these emails is how absolutely squeaky clean Podesta is. How many of us could say the same if our personal emails from the last 10 years were blasted all over the internet?!? Not one -- not one! -- example of intemperate language, of bias, of unchained passions, of immaturity. I'm proud to be his fellow citizen and would gladly let him serve as Chief of Staff again if he so chose. Go Italian-Americans!
tweenthetropics -> matvox , 31 Oct 2016 15:2
Do you think he has just one email account?

It seems that his emails expose 10 years of bias ... don't you get it?

And why the hyphenated American thing?

dig4victory , 31 Oct 2016 16:0
The Democratic Party faces exactly the same problem as the Labour Party in the UK.

They are both parties which are supposed to represent the interests of the working class and middle class but they have been infiltrated by corrupt right wing groups lining their own pockets and representing the interests of the oligarchy.

The Labour and Democratic parties need to work together to get these poisonous people out of their organisations before they destroy they destroy them from within.

shoey000 , 31 Oct 2016 16:1
This is all fascinating, and disturbing, but sadly, not a surprise.
It also isn't restricted to the upper echelons of political parties either.

It is no coincidence we hear the same comedians/pundits/writers on Radio Four every week.
It is no coincidence we see the same people on tv.
It is no coincidence the sons and daughters of sons and daughters of the people who went to certain universities go the same universities.
It is no coincidence certain arts grants go to a certain group of people a lot more than they go to others.
It is no coincidence that European grants go to the same small groups of people running organisations.
I'll wager it is no coincidence at the Guardian certain people get work experience and internships.
Its the way the world works, and it stinks.

ACloud , 31 Oct 2016 16:1
Great essay. It is hard to get all the thoughts about the elite into words when so much anger and confusion exist now that all lines have blurred. No longer left and right, but top to bottom. Whereas the world is mostly very grey for the bulk of us, these emails shed a light very clearly on what is black and white and green all over for a few who are really in control. This election has certainly pulled back the curtain and left everyone exposed. For so long Americans could pretend there was virtue and dignity in the "democratic" foundation of our politics, but now with absolute certainly we can see that it is not so and likely never was. No pretending anymore.
muttley79 , 31 Oct 2016 16:1
The class to which I refer is not rising in angry protest; they are by and large pretty satisfied, pretty contented. Nobody takes road trips to exotic West Virginia to see what the members of this class looks like or how they live; on the contrary, they are the ones for whom such stories are written. This bunch doesn't have to make do with a comb-over TV mountebank for a leader; for this class, the choices are always pretty good, and this year they happen to be excellent.

They are the comfortable and well-educated mainstay of our modern Democratic party. They are also the grandees of our national media; the architects of our software; the designers of our streets; the high officials of our banking system; the authors of just about every plan to fix social security or fine-tune the Middle East with precision droning. They are, they think, not a class at all but rather the enlightened ones, the people who must be answered to but who need never explain themselves.

This is a good point. A lot of people who torpedoed Bernie Sanders' campaign against Hillary Clinton in the primaries seem to be comfortable with little or no political change. They do not seem willing to admit that the political and economic system in the US (and elsewhere) is fundamentally broken, and effectively is in ruins.

B

JimHarrison -> redwhine , 31 Oct 2016 17:1

You' re saying that one bad effect of hacks is that email security will be improved and it will be harder to have secure communications. In effect, you hate the idea that the NSA can read our emails, but you're worried that the Russians won't be able to. Personally, I don't want either the government or Wikileaks to invade my privacy. You apparently think that data theft is OK as long as Julian Assange does it.
julianps , 31 Oct 2016 16:1

Yes, it's all supposed to be a meritocracy.

As in, there's a merit to being in the clique.
akacentimetre -> Kevin Skilling , 31 Oct 2016 17:1
That's an ahistorical understanding of the party. Yes, in the runup to the Civil War, the 'Democratic' party was the party of proto-white supremacists, slave owners, and agriculturalists. But the party system as it exists today with its alignment of Dems = liberal and Republicans = conservative came into being around/after 1968. Claiming that today's 'Democrats' voted against slavery is like claiming that today's 'Republicans' are worthy of being lauded for being abolitionists - which would be high hypocrisy given their habits of racism and black voter suppression.
sblejo , 31 Oct 2016 16:2
Righteousness and majesty...They are, they think, not a class at all but rather the enlightened ones, the people who must be answered to but who need never explain themselves.

Exactly what Bernie Sanders was against, just think what 'could' have happened if he were the nominee. The question is when will the email explicitly showing Clinton undermining him come out? Hillary deserves every bit of what is coming out against her, she asked for it, she wants the power and celebrity, but it comes with some pretty ugly stuff. As Mr. Sanders said, she is very 'ambitious', an understatement. If nothing comes out to prove her malice against Mr. Sanders, I will always be convinced it is there somewhere. Now because of what the Democrats did against him that was proven and oh by the way 'the Russians did it', we have her running neck and neck with Trump. They asked for it, they got it.

MarkusKraut , 31 Oct 2016 16:3
This is so depressing.

Why is it that literally all Western democracies have developed totally incapable and immoral political elites at the same time who seem to be lacking any kind of ethical compass?

It is blatantly obvious in the USA where both candidates are almost equally abysmal, but for different reasons. But the same is also true in Germany, Great Britain, France and most other Western countries I can judge on. How did that happen? Where are the politicians who are doing the job for other reasons than self-fulfillment and ideology?

Trump, Clinton, May, Johnson, Farage, Hollande, Sarkozy, Le Pen, Merkel, Gabriel, Petry ... and the rest are all product of a political system that is in a deep crisis. And this comes from someone who has always and will always believe in democracy as such. But how can we finally get better representatives of our political system again?

cyrilnorth -> MarkusKraut , 31 Oct 2016 16:4
"all western democracies" are NOT democracies, but plutocracies
Fitzoid -> MarkusKraut , 31 Oct 2016 16:4
You can't put Corbyn in that group but look at the stick he gets. How dare he try and represent people when he's not part of the elite!
Kevin Skilling -> MarkusKraut , 31 Oct 2016 17:0
Start holding them to account for the lies they tell in a court of law, if they are running campaigns on bullshit, make them own it...
gloriousrevolution , 31 Oct 2016 16:3
What the writer is describing and what the e-mails reveal, is, for anyone with half a brain not too dumbed down by partisanship; is the structure of a system that isn't democracy at all, but clearly an oligarchy. The super-rich rule and the rest are occasionaly alowed to vote for a candidate chosen by the rich, giving the illusion of democracy.
NarniScalo -> gloriousrevolution , 31 Oct 2016 16:5
Yup, that about sums it up. Yet in the case the choice is truly awful.

And whilst we are here let's remember that the European Parliament is very democratic. The US system or the UK System would never allow so many nut jobs from UKIP, FN, Lega Nord and various other facists have a voice. The EU parliament is very representative.

ID8737013 , 31 Oct 2016 16:4
Good read. Money is like manure and if you spread it around it does a lot of good. But if you pile it up in one place, like Silicon Valley or the banks, eventually it will smell pretty bad and attract a lot of flies, like the one that seems attracted to Hillary.
Ubermensch1 , 31 Oct 2016 16:4
You get some idea of just how batty the US electoral campaign system is when you consider that John Podesta is the guy who has hinted at 'exposing' the US government 'cover up' of UFOs...and even got Hillary Clinton making statements about looking into Area 51. Well, that's the vote of all the multitude of conspiracy loons nicely in the bag -- It only shows just how desperate the campaigns are.
ev2rob , 31 Oct 2016 17:1
world history has always provided that the wealthy look after themselves. What's new? Here, both American candidates are wealthy. But Clinton appears to want to look after others and other will look at and after her. I'm not sure what Trump can look after, perhaps his business dealings and bankruptcy triumphs, and lawsuits. Perhaps America is going through a new type of revolution, generational and the massive entry of the post-industrial age in America. How many Americans are screaming for the past, while at least one U.S. automakers shifts some of their factories to Mexico - e.g., Chrysler.
occamslaser , 31 Oct 2016 17:2
We get the candidates we deserve, in any so-called democracy. The west worships money and glitz and celebrity, willingly watches "reality" TV, and in general can aspire to nothing better than material superiority over the neighbours. The U.S., with its pathetic "American Dream," is the most egregious victim of its own obsessions. Bernie Sanders, who in Canada, Britain, or western Europe would be considered centrist, is vilified as a raving socialist. Genuinely well-disposed people with a more humane alternative political vision lack the necessary millions to gain public attention. And so one is left with Business-as-Usual Hillary Clinton (mendacious elitist one-percenter) or the duplicitous demagogue Donald Trump (mendacious vulgar one-percenter).

The internet should be a democratic forum for intelligent discussion of alternatives but has become largely the province of trolls and wingnuts. We should be able to do better.

ID1726608 , 31 Oct 2016 17:2
I'm with MarkusKraut; not because of what the e-mails have discovered - I suspect we all suspected this kind of machinery from BOTH parties - but because their discovery is entirely one-sided.
What does it prove? That the Republicans are any better? Or that Don is any more qualified to be president than he was two weeks ago?

No. It proves one thing, and one thing only - that Republicans keep secrets better than Dems do. At least the important ones.

And I say that as someone who was a security administrator for ten years. And I can guarantee you one thing (and one thing only): The Russians would NOT have got past any e-mail server that I built.

My worry is now not who gets elected - this was always a ship of fools - or who's to blame (although I'm sure we'll be told in the first "hundred days"), but what it means for democracy.
And don't worry, I'm not going to try to equate democracy with Hillary (although I still support her); but about secrecy .

E-mail has always been the most likely medium to be cracked (the correct term for illegal hacking), and secrecy is anathema to democracy - always was, and always will be.
And having been caught with their pants down, I'd like to see the Democratic party, win or lose this election, to say that ALL future e-mails will be a matter of public record. And challenge the GOP to do the same.

Unfortunately, it'll simply be viewed as a failure of security that any administrator like me could tell you is almost impossible, and they'll simply buy better servers for 2020.

oldworldwisdom , 31 Oct 2016 17:2
How America is run? More like how the world has been hijacked by the oligarchs.
Matt Wood , 31 Oct 2016 17:2
For the 1% by the 1%?
Soleprop , 31 Oct 2016 17:2
I've never felt any of the mail to be particularly surprising, but merely a demonstration of what a NeoLiberal society, run by money, looks like at a more granular level. I won't vote for a Trump, but living in California I can vote Green without having to pull the lever for a Clinton. If California goes Trump, then every other state in the nation will have swirled down the drain with him.
ElyFrog , 31 Oct 2016 17:3
In the book 'Who Rules America" written by William Domhoff, first published in 1967, it laid out how the ruling class sits on each others boards of directors, (which he called 'interlocking directorates", inhabits certain think tanks and organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations or political parties, goes to the same clubs, intermarries, and knows one another. I.E. the ruling class is a coherent group of HUMAN BEINGS. People think they are some abstract, nameless wonder. They are not. Podesta's e-mails, as Frank rightly notices, show the Democratic Party elite. Another set will show the Republican Party elite, and how BOTH link to each other.
piebeansMontrachet , 31 Oct 2016 17:3
We are talking about the biggest war mongering outfit on the planet. An election. This ship is being driven by assholes no one elected...and as per, walk away with money and knighthoods while the fabric of our society is unravelling. Store water and tinned goods...or good luck on the help line
MistaSyms , 31 Oct 2016 17:4
Good comment except for the needless hand-wringing about reading "private" e-mails. The freak show that is the 2016 US general election is yet another clear sign that neo-liberalism is a scam run for and by bankers, corporate CEOs, kooky tech billionaires, corrupt politicians and other wealthy and amoral sociopaths.

The media has become their propaganda arm and the divide between what people experience and see and what the media tells them is happening grows ever wider. Alternative media outlets (although some of these, such as VICE, are neo-lib shills also) and organisations like WikiLeaks are more important than ever as they still speak truth to power. Even some dissidents and media 'agitators' are coming down on the side of the establishment - I am thinking Snowden, Greenwald and Naomi Klein all of whom have wagged their fingers at Julian Assange for doing a job the media used to do.

A good rule of thumb that tells you who the establishment worries about is looking at who is repeatedly denounced in the media. Trump, Assange and Putin currently have the powers that be worried because they are giving them the proverbial two fingers (or one finger, depending on which side of the Atlantic you are on) and exposing the rotten framework of lies and corruption that hold the rickety system together. Media darlings like Snowden present no real threat and are tolerated, even celebrated.

[Nov 04, 2016] Julian Assange Says Trump Wont Be Allowed To Win, Clinton And ISIS Are Funded By The Same Money Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... In my opinion, the biggest thing to come out of these emails is the complete manipulation of the "news". ..."
Nov 04, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com
My analysis is that Trump would not be permitted to win. Why do I say that? Because he has had every establishment off his side. Trump does not have one establishment, maybe with the exception of the Evangelicals, if you can call them an establishment," said Assange. "Banks, intelligence, arms companies, foreign money, etc. are all united behind Hillary Clinton. And the media as well. Media owners, and the journalists themselves."

He is right, but the same was said about Brexit.

Cognitive Dissonance -> 1980XLS •Nov 4, 2016 8:10 AM

It seems the Shadow Government has decided to go full banana republic.

The sad fact is the vast majority of people simply don't believe this could happen 'here'.

Joe Davola -> two hoots •Nov 4, 2016 9:09 AM

In my opinion, the biggest thing to come out of these emails is the complete manipulation of the "news". The only thing I can attribute it to is that the media are just another form of the free-stuff crowd, because it's not as if Hillary offers a shining beacon of ideology. It's easy to write stories when they're written for you, and it appears that you're really smart because you "got the scoop".

Sure the Saudi angle is quite damning, but for most that's just too deep and difficult to piece together - unless the news breaks it down to simple sound bytes (or an emoji). Heck, without Tyler combing these dumps and lining them up with the overall picture of what was going down at the time, it would be easy to just get swamped in the sheer volume. Much like the "we've printed out 50,000 emails" wasn't intended to help the investigation, it was intended to bog the process down.

Mike in GA -> I am a Man I am Forty •Nov 4, 2016 8:28 AM

Trump has pushed back on every issue that the establishment has thrown at him. Wikileaks has helped with their steady drip of revealing emails giving us all a behind-the-scenes look at the everyday thoughts of our "Leaders". The corruption, collusion and outright criminality thus exposed could only have been accomplished by Trump - certainly no establishment Uniparty candidate would so fearlessly take on the daily goring of everyone else's ox.

Now exposed, this corruption and criminality HAS to be addressed and can only be addressed by an outsider, change-agent president. The opportunity to clean house so substantially does not present itself often and may never again. If properly executed, the halls of power could largely be purged of the criminal class so endemic in the wikileaked emails.

This is where it gets pretty hairy for Trump, and for America. These criminals, living large, very large, on the taxpayer, will not go silently into the night. They will pull out every stop to stop Trump or at least limit the damage. People will start dying a little faster in DC now.

Can anyone explain why that 55 y/o Major General, about to get the promotion of his lifetime into the Air Force Missile Command would commit suicide? And why it took 2 months for the AF to rule it a "suicide"? Rumor says he became privy to domestic EMP contingency plans and was unwilling to comply.

When assassination becomes a tool of the ruling party, the Party has come to town.

[Nov 03, 2016] What Trump represents is not crazy and it is not going away. Peter Thiel defends support for Donald Trump

Notable quotes:
"... The support Trump has enjoyed is directly tied to the frustration many across the country feel toward Washington and its entrenched leaders, and they shouldn't expect that sentiment to dissipate regardless of whether Trump or Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wins at the ballot box on Nov. 8, he said. ..."
The Washington Post

Billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel reiterated his support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump Monday morning, telling a room of journalists that a Washington outsider in the White House would recalibrate lawmakers who have lost touch with the struggles of most Americans.

Thiel said it was "both insane and somehow inevitable" that political leaders would expect this presidential election to be a contest between "political dynasties" that have shepherded the country into two major financial crises: the tech bubble burst in the early 2000s, and the housing crisis and economic recession later that decade.

The support Trump has enjoyed is directly tied to the frustration many across the country feel toward Washington and its entrenched leaders, and they shouldn't expect that sentiment to dissipate regardless of whether Trump or Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wins at the ballot box on Nov. 8, he said.

"What Trump represents isn't crazy and it's not going away," he said.

[Nov 03, 2016] Thousands of people eill vote for Trump as a cynical form of rebellion agaisnt neoliberal establishemnt which is hell-bent on globalization

Nov 03, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

redwhine zitan

10h ago
I'd actually argue the opposite. Thousands of people are turning to Trump as a cynical form of rebellion. They think that voting for him will be interesting/fun. If you were to ask them how a Hillary Clinton presidency would seriously make their lives worse, they'd have nothing serious to answer. At best they might say that they'll be fine, but that the rest of the country would suffer, and then spout of a bunch of nonsense as to why that would be. It's a luxury to be so reckless, which is where America is right now. If millions of lives literally depended on the outcome of this election, people would be much more careful about how they plan to vote.

[Nov 02, 2016] Donald Trump is no outsider: he mirrors our political culture by George Monbiot

Trump mirrors resentment with the current political culture. Unfortunately very few readers in this forum understand that the emergence of Trump as a viable candidate in the current race, the candidate who withstand 24x7 air bombarment by corrupt neoliberabl MSM (like Guardian ;-) signify deep crisis of neoliberalsm and neoliberal globalization.
Notable quotes:
"... "What Madison could not have foreseen was the extent to which unconstrained campaign finance and a sophisticated lobbying industry would come to dominate an entire nation, regardless of its size." ..."
"... That's it – finance and sophisticated lobbying. And you can add to that mass brainwashing at election campaigns by means of choice language and orchestration as advised by cognitive scientists who are expressly recruited for this purpose. Voters remain largely unaware of the mind control they are undergoing. And of course the essential prerequisite for all of this is financial power. ..."
"... Now read again in this light Gore Vidal's famous pronouncement… "Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically by definition be disqualified from ever doing so." ..."
"... Worse still, the political spectrum runs from right to right. To all intents and purposes, one single party, the US Neoliberal party, with 2 factions catering for power and privilege. Anything to the left of that is simply not an available choice for voters. ..."
"... Americans have wakened up to the fact that they badly need a government which caters for the needs of the average citizen. In their desperation some will still vote for Trump warts and all. This for the same sorts of reasons that Italians voted for Berlusconi, whose winning slogan was basically 'I am not a politician'. ..."
"... The right choice was Bernie Sanders. Sadly, not powerful enough. So Americans missed the boat there. But at least there was a boat to miss this time around. You can be sure that similar future boats will be sunk well in advance. Corporate power has learnt its lesson and the art of election rigging has now become an exact science. ..."
"... Donald Trump, Brexit and Le Pen are all in their separate ways rejections of the dogma of liberalism, social and economic, that has dominated the West for the past three decades. ..."
"... In 2010, Chomsky wrote : ..."
"... The United States is extremely lucky.....if somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response. ..."
"... Dangerous times. The beauty of democracy is we get what we deserve ..."
"... The worst thing about Donald Trump is that he's the man in the mirror. ..."
"... He is the distillation of all that we have been induced to desire and admire. ..."
"... I thought that he is the mirror image, the reverse, of the current liberal consensus. A consensus driven by worthy ideals but driven too far, gradually losing acceptance and with no self correcting awareness. ..."
"... Trump is awful - but by speaking freely he challenges the excesses of those who would limit free speech. Trump is awful - but by demonising minorities he challenges those who would excuse minorities of all responsibility. Trump is awful - but by flaunting his wealth he challenges those who keep their connections and wealth hidden for the sake of appearances. ..."
"... Trump is awful because the system is out of balance. He is a consequence, not a cause. ..."
"... Voting for Trump is voting for peace. Voting for Clinton is voting for WW3. ..."
"... It's quite clearly because Hillary as President is an utterly terrifying prospect. When half the population would rather have Trump than her, it must be conceded that she has some serious reputational issues. ..."
"... Personally, I'd take Trump over Hillary if I was a US citizen. He may be a buffoon but she is profoundly dangerous, probably a genuine psychopath and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the Presidency. Sanders is the man America needs now, though, barring one of Hillary's many crimes finally toppling her, it's not going to happen... ..."
"... The true constitution is plutocracy tempered by scandal ..."
"... And the shame is we seem to be becoming desensitized to scandal. We cannot be said to live in democracies when our political class are so obviously bought by the vastly rich. ..."
"... One of the things it says is that people are so sick of Identity Politics from the Left and believe the Left are not very true to the ideals of what should be the Left. ..."
"... When the people who are supposed to care about the poor and working joes and janes prefer to care about the minorities whose vote they can rely on, the poor and the working joes and janes will show their frustration by supporting someone who will come along and tell it as it is, even if he is part of how it got that way. ..."
"... People throughout the world have awoken to the Left being Right Light but with a more nauseating moral superiority complex. ..."
"... he is not an outsider but the perfect representation of his caste, the caste that runs the global economy and governs our politics ..."
"... 'Encouraged by the corporate media, the Republicans have been waging a full-spectrum assault on empathy, altruism and the decencies we owe to other people. Their gleeful stoving in of faces, their cackling destruction of political safeguards and democratic norms, their stomping on all that is generous and caring and cooperative in human nature, have turned the party into a game of Mortal Kombat scripted by Breitbart News.' ..."
"... Many years ago in the British Military, those with the right connections and enough money could buy an officer's commission and rise up the system to be an incompetent General. As a result, many battles were mismanaged and many lives wasted due to the incompetent (wealthy privileged few) buying their way to the top. American politics today works on exactly the same system of wealthy patronage and privilege for the incompetent, read Clinton and Trump. Until the best candidates are able to rise up through the political system without buying their way there then the whole corrupt farce will continue and we will be no different to the all the other tin pot republics of the world. ..."
"... There's the "culture wars" aspect. Many people don't like being told they are "deplorable" for opposing illegal (or even legal) immigration. They don't like being called "racist" for disagreeing with an ideology. ..."
"... I like the phrase Monbiot ends with - "He is our system, stripped of its pretences" - it reminds me of a phrase in the Communist Manifesto - but I don't think it's true. "Our" system is more than capitalism, it's culture. And Clinton is a far more "perfect representation" of the increasingly censorious, narrow [neo]liberal culture which dominates the Western world. ..."
"... Finally, Monbiot misses the chance to contrast Clinton's and Trump's apparent differences with regard to confronting nuclear-armed Russia over the skies of Syria. It could be like 1964 all over again - except in this election, the Democrat is the nearest thing to Barry Goldwater. ..."
"... As a life-long despiser of all things Trump, I cannot believe that I am saying this: Trump is good for world peace. ..."
"... I fully agree with Monbiot, American democracy is a sham - the lobby system has embedded corruption right in the heart of its body politic. Lets be clear here though, whatever is the problem with American democracy can in theory at least be fixed, but Trump simply can not and moreover he is not the answer ..."
"... His opponent, war child and Wall Street darling can count her lucky stars that the media leaves her alone (with husband Bill, hands firmly in his pockets, nodding approvingly) and concentrates on their feeding frenzy attacking Trump on sexual allegations of abusing women, giving Hillery, Yes, likely to tell lies, ( mendacious, remember when she claimed to be under enemy fire in Bosnia? remember how evasive she was on the Benghazi attack on the embassy) Yes Trump is a dangerous man running against an also extremely dangerous woman. ..."
"... Extremely interesting reference to the Madison paper, but the issue is less about the size of the electorate, and more about the power that the election provides to the victor. ..."
"... Democracy in the US is so corrupted by money that it is no longer recognisable as democracy. You can kick individual politicians out of office, but what do you do when the entire structure of politics is corrupt? ..."
"... When you look at speeches and conversations and debates with the so-called bogeyman, Putin, he is not at all in a league as low and vile as portrayed and says many more sensible things than anybody cares to listen to, because we're all brainwashed. We are complicit in wars (now in Syria) and cannot see why we have to connive with terrorists, tens of thousands of them, and they get supported by the war machine and friends like Saudis and Turkey which traded for years with ISIS. ..."
"... Clinton the war hawk, and shows us we are only capable of seeing one side and project all nastiness outward while we can feel good about ourselves by hating the other. ..."
"... It fits the Decline of an Empire image as it did in other Falls of Civilizations. ..."
"... Trump spoke to the executives at Ford like no one before ever has. He told them if they moved production to Mexico (as they plan to do) that he would slap huge tariffs on their cars in America and no one would buy them. ..."
"... What happens in Syria could be important to us all. Clinton doesn't hide her ambition to drive Assad from power and give Russia a kicking. It's actually very unpopular although the media doesn't like to say so; it prefers to lambast Spain for re-fueling Russian war ships off to fight the crazed Jihadists as if we supported the religious fanatics that want to slaughter all Infidels! There is an enormous gulf between what ordinary people want and the power crazy Generals in the Pentagon and NATO. ..."
"... USA has got itself in an unholy mess . It's politicians no longer work for the people . Their paymasters care not if life in Idaho resembles Dantes inferno . Trump has many faults but being "not Hilary" is not one of them. The very fact he is disliked by all the vested interests should make you take another look. And remember , the American constitution has many checks and balances , a President has a lot less power than most people imagine. ..."
"... Like many on the right, the left have unthinkingly accepted a narrative of an organized, conspiratorial system run by an elite of politicians and plutocrats. The problem with this narrative is it suggests politics and politicians are inherently nefarious, in turn suggesting there are no political solutions to be sought to problems, or anything people can do to challenge a global system of power. As Monbiot asks: "You can kick individual politicians out of office, but what do you do when the entire structure of politics is corrupt?" Well, what indeed? ..."
"... I don't think you need to believe in an organised conspiracy and I don't see any real evidence that George Monbiot does. The trouble is that the corporate and political interests align in a way that absorbs any attempt to challenge them and the narrative has been written that of course politics is all about economics and of course we need mighty corporations to sustain us. ..."
"... Not long after the start of the presidential campaign I began to reflect that in Trump we are seeing materializing before us the logical result of the neoliberal project ..."
"... The Republican party essentially offered their base nothing – that was the problem. ..."
"... They couldn't offer all the things that ordinary Americans want – better and wider Medicaid, better and wider social security, tax increases on the rich, an end to pointless foreign wars and the American empire. ..."
"... The Democrats have largely the same funding base, but they at least deliver crumbs – at least a nod to the needs of ordinary people through half-hearted social programmes. ..."
"... Trump is imperfect because he wants normal relations rather than war with Russia. No, Hillary Clinton is the ultimate representation of the system that is abusing us. What will occur when Goldman Sachs and the military-industrial complex coalition get their, what is it, 5th term in office would be a great subject of many Guardian opinion pieces, actually. But that will have to wait till after November 8. ..."
"... And, of course, we also have Hillary's Wall Street speeches -- thanks to Wikileaks we have the complete transcripts, in case Guardian readers are unaware. They expose the real thinking and 'private positions' of the central character in the next episode of 'Rule by Plutocracy'. ..."
"... The democrats is the party practicing hypocrisy, pretending that they somehow representing the interest of the working class. They are the ones spreading lies and hypocrisy and manipulating the working class everyday through their power over the media. Their function is to appease the working class. The real obstacle for improving conditions for the working class historically has always been the Democratic party, not the Republican party. ..."
"... In what concerns foreign politics, Trump some times seems more reasonable than Clinton and the establishment. Clinton is the best coached politician of all times. She doesn't know that she's coached. She just followed the most radical groups and isn't able to question anything at all. The only thing that the coaches didn't fix until now is her laughing which is considered even by her coaches as a sign of weirdness. ..."
"... Western economies are now so beholden to the patronage of the essentially stateless multinational, it has become a political imperative to appease their interests - it's difficult to see a future in which an administration might resist this force, because at its whim, national economies face ruination. In light of such helplessness our political representatives face an easier path in simply accepting their lot as mere administrators who will tinker at the margins [and potentially reap the rewards of a good servant], rather than hold to principle and resist an overwhelming force. ..."
"... "Trump personifies the traits promoted by the media and corporate worlds he affects to revile; the worlds that created him. He is the fetishisation of wealth, power and image in a nation where extrinsic values are championed throughout public discourse. His conspicuous consumption, self-amplification and towering (if fragile) ego are in tune with the dominant narratives of our age." ..."
"... Yes, they don't care any more if we see the full extent of their corruption as we've given up our power to do anything about it. ..."
"... It was once very common to see Democratic politicians as neighbors attending every community event. They were Teamsters, pipe fitters, and electricians. And they were coaches and ushers and pallbearers. Now they are academics and lawyers and NGO employees and managers who pop up during campaigns. The typical income of the elected Democrats outside their government check is north of $100,000. They don't live in, or even wander through, the poorer neighborhoods. So they are essentially clueless that government services like busses are run to suit government and not actual customers. ..."
"... Yea, 15 years of constant wars of empire with no end in sight has pretty much ran this country in the ground. ..."
"... We all talk about how much money is wasted by the federal government on unimportant endeavors like human services and education, but don't even bat an eye about the sieve of money that is the Pentagon. ..."
"... Half a trillion dollars for aircraft carriers we don't need and are already obsolete. China is on the verge of developing wickedly effective anti-ship missiles designed specifically to target these Gerald R. Ford-class vessels. You might as well paint a huge bull's-eye on these ships' 4-1/2 acre flight deck. ..."
"... There are plenty more examples of this crap and this doesn't even include the nearly TWO trillion dollars we've spent this past decade-and-a-half on stomping flat the Middle East and large swaths of the Indian subcontinent. ..."
"... And all this time, our nation's infrastructure is crumbling literally right out from underneath us and millions upon millions of children and their families experience a daily struggle just to eat. Eat?! In the "greatest," wealthiest nation on earth and we prefer to kill people at weddings with drones than feed our own children. ..."
"... I'd like to read an unbiased piece about why the media narrative doesn't match the reality of the Trump phenomenon. He is getting enormous crowds attend his rallies but hardly any coverage of that in the filtered news outlets. Hillary, is struggling to get anyone turn up without paying them. There is no real enthusiasm. ..."
"... The buzzwords and tired old catch phrases and cliches used by the left to suppress any alternative discussion, and divert from their own misdemeanors are fooling no one but themselves. Trump supporters simply don't care any more how Hillary supporters explain that she lied about dodging sniper fire. Or the numerous other times she and her cohorts have been caught out telling fibs. ..."
"... Very true. Throughout history the rich, the powerful, the landed, ennobled interest and their friends in the Law and money changing houses have sought to control governments and have usually succeeded. ..."
"... In the Media today the rich are fawned over by sycophantic journalists and programme makers. These are the people who make the political weather and create the prevailing narratives. ..."
"... Working class people fancied themselves to above the common herd and thought themselves part of some elite. ..."
"... It's quite disturbing the lengths this paper will go to in order to slur and discredit Trump, labelling him dangerous and alluding to the sexual assault allegations. This even goes so far to a very lengthy article regarding Trumps lack of knowledge on the Rumbelows Cup 25 years ago. ..."
"... Whereas very little examination is made into Hillary Clinton's background which includes serious allegation of fraud and involvement in assisting in covering up her husband's alleged series of rapes. There are also issues in the wikileaks emails that merit analysis as well as undercover tapes of seioau issues with her campaign team. ..."
"... One of the most important characteristics of the so-called neoliberalism is its negative selection. While mostly successfully camouflaged, that negative selection is more than obvious this time, in two US presidential candidates. It's hard to imagine lower than those two. ..."
"... Well, OK George. Tell me: if Trump's such an establishment candidate, then why does the whole of the establishment unanimously reject him? Is it normal for Republicans (such as the Bushes and the neocons) to endorse Democrats? Why does even the Speaker of the House (a Republican) and even, on occasion, Trump's own Vice-Presidential nominee seem to be trying to undermine his campaign? If Trump is really just more of the same as all that came before, why is he being treated different by the MSM and the political establishment? ..."
"... Obviously, there's something flawed about your assumption. ..."
"... Trump has exposed the corruption of the political system and the media and has promised to put a stop to it. By contrast, Clinton is financed by the very banks, corporates and financial elites who are responsible for the corruption. This Trump speech is explicit on what we all suspected is going on. Everybody should watch it, irrespective of whether they support him or not! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tab5vvo0TJw ..."
"... "I know a lot of people in Michigan that are planning to vote for Trump and they don't necessarily agree with him. They're not racist or redneck, they're actually pretty decent people and so after talking to a number of them I wanted to write this. ..."
"... Donald Trump came to the Detroit Economic Club and stood there in front of Ford Motor executives and said "if you close these factories as you're planning to do in Detroit and build them in Mexico, I'm going to put a 35% tariff on those cars when you send them back and nobody's going to buy them." It was an amazing thing to see. No politician, Republican or Democrat, had ever said anything like that to these executives, and it was music to the ears of people in Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - the "Brexit" states. ..."
"... Mrs Clinton is also the product of our political culture. A feminist who owes everything to her husband and men in the Democratic Party. A Democrat who started her political career as a Republican; a civil right activist who worked for Gerry Goldwater, one of last openly racist/segregationist politicians. A Secretary of State who has no clue about, or training in, foreign policy, and who received her position as compensation for losing the election. A pacifist, who has never had a gun in her hands, but supported every war in the last twenty years. A humanist who rejoiced over Qaddafi's death ("we came, we won, he is dead!") like a sadist. ..."
"... One thing that far right politics offers the ordinary white disaffected voter is 'pay back', it is a promised revenge-fest, putting up walls, getting rid of foreigners, punishing employers of foreigners, etc., etc. All the stuff that far right groups have wet dreams about. ..."
"... Because neoliberal politics has left a hell of a lot of people feeling pissed off, the far right capitalizes on this, whilst belonging to the same neoliberal dystopia so ultimately not being able to make good on their promises. Their promises address a lot of people's anger, which of course isn't really about foreigners at all, that is simply the decoy, but cutting through all the crap to make that clear is no easy task, not really sure how it can be done, certainly no political leader in the western hemisphere has the ability to do so. ..."
"... Wrong as always. Trump *is* an outsider. He's an unabashed nationalist who's set him up against the *actual* caste that governs our politics: Neo-liberal internationalists with socially trendy left-liberal politics (but not so left that they don't hire good tax lawyers to avoid paying a fraction of what they are legally obliged to). ..."
"... Best represented in the Goldman Sachs executives who are donating millions to Hillary Clinton because they are worried about Trump's opposition to free trade, and they know she will give them *everything* they want. ..."
"... Trumps the closest thing we're gotten to a genuine threat to the system in a long, long time, so of course George Monbiot and the rest of the Guardian writers has set themselves against him, because if you're gonna be wrong about the EU, wrong about New Labour, wrong about social liberalism, wrong about immigration, why change the habit of a lifetime? ..."
"... Lies: Emails, policy changes based on polls showing a complete lack of conviction, corporate collusion, Bosnia, Clinton Foundation, war mongering, etc. Racist stereotypes: Super predators. Misogyny: Aside from her laughing away her pedophile case and allegedly threatening the women who came out against Bill, you've also got this sexist gem "Women are the primary victims of war". ..."
"... Alleged gropings: Well she's killed people by texting. So unless your moral compass is so out of whack that somehow a man JOKING about his player status in private is worse than Clinton's actions throughout her political career, then I guess you could make the case that Clinton at least doesn't have this skeleton in her closet. ..."
"... Refusal to accept democratic outcomes: No. He's speaking out against the media's collusion with the democratic party favoring Clinton over every other nominee, including Bernie Sanders. He's talking about what was revealed in the DNC leaks and the O'Keefe tapes that show how dirty the tactics have been in order to legally persuade the voting public into electing one person or the other. ..."
"... When do the conspiracy theories about the criminality of his opponent no longer count as conspiracies? When we have a plethora of emails confirming there is indeed fire next to that smoke, corruption fire, collusion fire, fire of contempt for the electorate. When we have emails confirming the Saudi Arabians are actually funding terrorist schools across the globe, emails where Hilary herself admits it, but will not say anything publicly about terrorism and Saudi Arabia, what's conspiracy and what's reality? ..."
"... Is it because Saudi Arabia funded her foundation with $23 million, or because it doesn't fit with her great 'internationalists' global agenda? ..."
"... Yep trump is a buffoon, but the failure of all media to deliver serious debate means the US is about to elect someone probably more dangerous than trump, how the hell can that be ..."
"... Nothing wrong with a liberal internationalist utopia, it sounds rather good and worth striving for. It's just that what they've been pushing is actually a neoliberal globalist nirvana for the 1 per cent ..."
"... The problem is the left this paper represents were bought off with the small change by neoliberalism, and they expect the rest of us to suck it up so the elites from both sides can continue the game ..."
"... we near the end of the neoliberal model. That the USA has a choice between two 'demopublicans' is no choice at all. ..."
"... This is the culmination of living in a post-truth political world. Lies and smears, ably supported by the corporate media and Murdoch in particular means that the average person who doesn't closely follow politics is being misinformed. ..."
"... The complete failure of right wing economic 'theories' means they only have lies, smears and the old 'divide and conquer' left in their arsenal. 'Free speech' is their attempt to get lies and smears equal billing with the truth. All truth on the other hand must be suppressed. All experts and scientists who don't regurgitate the meaningless slogans of the right will be ignored, traduced, defunded, disbanded or silenced by law. ..."
"... Not so much an article about Trump as much as a rant. George Monbiot writes with the utter conviction of one who mistakenly believes that his readers share his bigotry. When he talks about the 'alleged gropings' or the 'alleged refusal to accept democratic outcomes', that is exactly what they are 'alleged'. ..."
"... The Democratic Party has been dredging up porn-stars and wannabe models who now make claims that Trump tried to 'kiss them without asking'. ..."
"... The press also ignored the tapes of the DNC paying thugs to cause violence at Trump rallies, the bribes paid to the Clintons for political favours and the stealing of the election from Bernie Sanders. Trump is quite right to think the 'democratic outcome' is being fixed. Not only were the votes for Sanders manipulated, but Al Gore's votes were also altered and manipulated to ensure a win for Bush in the 2000 presidential election. The same interests who engineered the 2000 election have switched from supporting the Republican Party to supporting Clinton. ..."
"... Great article. The neoliberals have been able to control the narrative and in doing so have managed to scapegoat all manner of minority groups, building anger among those disaffected with modern politics. Easy targets - minorities, immigrants, the poor, the disadvantaged and the low-paid workers. ..."
"... The real enemy here are those sitting atop the corporate tree, but with the media controlled by them, the truth is never revealed. ..."
www.theguardian.com

America's fourth president, James Madison, envisaged the United States constitution as representation tempered by competition between factions. In the 10th federalist paper, written in 1787, he argued that large republics were better insulated from corruption than small, or "pure" democracies, as the greater number of citizens would make it "more difficult for unworthy candidates to practise with success the vicious arts by which elections are too often carried". A large electorate would protect the system against oppressive interest groups. Politics practised on a grand scale would be more likely to select people of "enlightened views and virtuous sentiments".

Instead, the US – in common with many other nations – now suffers the worst of both worlds: a large electorate dominated by a tiny faction. Instead of republics being governed, as Madison feared, by "the secret wishes of an unjust and interested majority", they are beholden to the not-so-secret wishes of an unjust and interested minority. What Madison could not have foreseen was the extent to which unconstrained campaign finance and a sophisticated lobbying industry would come to dominate an entire nation, regardless of its size.

For every representative, Republican or Democrat, who retains a trace element of independence, there are three sitting in the breast pocket of corporate capital. Since the supreme court decided that there should be no effective limits on campaign finance, and, to a lesser extent, long before, candidates have been reduced to tongue-tied automata, incapable of responding to those in need of help, incapable of regulating those in need of restraint, for fear of upsetting their funders.

Democracy in the US is so corrupted by money that it is no longer recognisable as democracy. You can kick individual politicians out of office, but what do you do when the entire structure of politics is corrupt? Turn to the demagogue who rages into this political vacuum, denouncing the forces he exemplifies. The problem is not, as Trump claims, that the election will be stolen by ballot rigging. It is that the entire electoral process is stolen from the American people before they get anywhere near casting their votes. When Trump claims that the little guy is being screwed by the system, he's right. The only problem is that he is the system.

The political constitution of the United States is not, as Madison envisaged, representation tempered by competition between factions. The true constitution is plutocracy tempered by scandal. In other words, all that impedes the absolute power of money is the occasional exposure of the excesses of the wealthy.

greatapedescendant 26 Oct 2016 4:11

A good read thanks. Nothing I really disagree with there. Just a few things to add and restate.

"What Madison could not have foreseen was the extent to which unconstrained campaign finance and a sophisticated lobbying industry would come to dominate an entire nation, regardless of its size."

That's it – finance and sophisticated lobbying. And you can add to that mass brainwashing at election campaigns by means of choice language and orchestration as advised by cognitive scientists who are expressly recruited for this purpose. Voters remain largely unaware of the mind control they are undergoing. And of course the essential prerequisite for all of this is financial power.

Now read again in this light Gore Vidal's famous pronouncement… "Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically by definition be disqualified from ever doing so."

Which recalls Madison over 200 years before… "The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted."

What the US has is in effect is not a democracy but a plutocracy run by a polyarchy. Which conserves some democratic elements. To which the US president is largely an obedient and subservient puppet. And which openly fails to consider the needs of the average US citizen.

Worse still, the political spectrum runs from right to right. To all intents and purposes, one single party, the US Neoliberal party, with 2 factions catering for power and privilege. Anything to the left of that is simply not an available choice for voters.

Americans have wakened up to the fact that they badly need a government which caters for the needs of the average citizen. In their desperation some will still vote for Trump warts and all. This for the same sorts of reasons that Italians voted for Berlusconi, whose winning slogan was basically 'I am not a politician'. Though that didn't work out too well. No longer able to stomach more of the same, voters reach the stage of being willing to back anyone who might bring about a break with the status quo. Even Trump.

The right choice was Bernie Sanders. Sadly, not powerful enough. So Americans missed the boat there. But at least there was a boat to miss this time around. You can be sure that similar future boats will be sunk well in advance. Corporate power has learnt its lesson and the art of election rigging has now become an exact science.

UltraLightBeam 26 Oct 2016 4:11

Donald Trump, Brexit and Le Pen are all in their separate ways rejections of the dogma of liberalism, social and economic, that has dominated the West for the past three decades.

The Guardian, among others, laments the loss of 'tolerance' and 'openness' as defining qualities of our societies. But what's always left unsaid is: tolerance of what? Openness to what? Anything? Everything?

Is it beyond the pale to critically assess some of the values brought by immigration, and to reject them? Will only limitless, unthinking 'tolerance' and 'openness' do?

Once self-described 'progressives' engage with this topic, then maybe we'll see a reversal in the momentum that Trump and the rest of the right wing demagogues have built up.

petercookwithahook 26 Oct 2016 4:14

In 2010, Chomsky wrote:

The United States is extremely lucky.....if somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response.

Dangerous times. The beauty of democracy is we get what we deserve.

DiscoveredJoys -> morelightlessheat 26 Oct 2016 6:11

The most telling part for me was:

The worst thing about Donald Trump is that he's the man in the mirror.

Except that instead of

He is the distillation of all that we have been induced to desire and admire.

I thought that he is the mirror image, the reverse, of the current liberal consensus. A consensus driven by worthy ideals but driven too far, gradually losing acceptance and with no self correcting awareness.

Trump is awful - but by speaking freely he challenges the excesses of those who would limit free speech. Trump is awful - but by demonising minorities he challenges those who would excuse minorities of all responsibility. Trump is awful - but by flaunting his wealth he challenges those who keep their connections and wealth hidden for the sake of appearances.

Trump is awful because the system is out of balance. He is a consequence, not a cause.


Gman13 26 Oct 2016 4:25

Voting for Trump is voting for peace. Voting for Clinton is voting for WW3.

These events will unfold if Hillary wins:

1. No fly zone imposed in Syria to help "moderate opposition" on pretence of protecting civilians.

2. Syrian government nonetheless continues defending their country as terrorists shell Western Aleppo.

3. Hillary's planes attack Syrian government planes and the Russians.

4. Russia and Syria respond as the war escalates. America intensifies arming of "moderate opposition" and Saudis.

5. America arms "rebels" in various Russian regions who "fight for democracy" but this struggle is somehow hijacked by terrorists, only they are not called terrorists but "opposition"

6. Ukranian government is encouraged to restart the war.

7. Iran enters the war openly against Saudi Arabia

8. Israel bombs Iran

9. Cornered Russia targets mainland US with nuclear weapons

10. Etc.


snakebrain -> Andthenandthen 26 Oct 2016 6:54

It's quite clearly because Hillary as President is an utterly terrifying prospect. When half the population would rather have Trump than her, it must be conceded that she has some serious reputational issues.

If Hillary and the DNC hadn't fixed the primaries, we'd now be looking at a Sanders-Trump race, and a certain Democrat victory. As it is, it's on a knife edge as to whether we get Trump or Hillary.

Personally, I'd take Trump over Hillary if I was a US citizen. He may be a buffoon but she is profoundly dangerous, probably a genuine psychopath and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the Presidency. Sanders is the man America needs now, though, barring one of Hillary's many crimes finally toppling her, it's not going to happen...

jessthecrip 26 Oct 2016 4:29

Well said George.

The true constitution is plutocracy tempered by scandal

And the shame is we seem to be becoming desensitized to scandal. We cannot be said to live in democracies when our political class are so obviously bought by the vastly rich.

Remko1 -> UnevenSurface 26 Oct 2016 7:43

You're mixing up your powers. legislative, executive and judicial are the powers of law. Money and business are some of the keys to stay in command of a country. (there's also military, electorate, bureaucracy etc.)

And if money is not on your side, it's against you, which gets quite nasty if your main tv-stations are not state-run.

For example if the EU would (theoretically of course) set rules that make corruption more difficult you would see that commercial media all over the EU and notoriously corrupted politicians would start making propaganda to leave the EU. ;)

yamialwaysright chilledoutbeardie 26 Oct 2016 4:38

One of the things it says is that people are so sick of Identity Politics from the Left and believe the Left are not very true to the ideals of what should be the Left.

When the people who are supposed to care about the poor and working joes and janes prefer to care about the minorities whose vote they can rely on, the poor and the working joes and janes will show their frustration by supporting someone who will come along and tell it as it is, even if he is part of how it got that way.

People throughout the world have awoken to the Left being Right Light but with a more nauseating moral superiority complex.

Danny Sheahan -> chilledoutbeardie 26 Oct 2016 5:25
That many people are so desperate for change that even being a billionaire but someone outside the political elite is going to appeal to them.

Tom1Wright 26 Oct 2016 4:32

I find this line of thinking unjust and repulsive: the implication that Trump is a product of the political establishment, and not an outsider, is to tar the entire Republican party and its supporters with a great big flag marked 'racist'. That is a gross over simplification and a total distortion.

UnevenSurface -> Tom1Wright 26 Oct 2016 5:05

But that's not what the article said at all: I quote:

he is not an outsider but the perfect representation of his caste, the caste that runs the global economy and governs our politics

No mention of the GOP.

Tom1Wright -> UnevenSurface 26 Oct 2016 5:14

and I quote

'Encouraged by the corporate media, the Republicans have been waging a full-spectrum assault on empathy, altruism and the decencies we owe to other people. Their gleeful stoving in of faces, their cackling destruction of political safeguards and democratic norms, their stomping on all that is generous and caring and cooperative in human nature, have turned the party into a game of Mortal Kombat scripted by Breitbart News.'

HindsightMe 26 Oct 2016 4:33
the truth is there is an anti establishment movement and trump just got caught up in the ride. He didnt start the movement but latched on to it. While we are still fixated on character flaws the undercurrent of dissatisfaction by the public is still there. Hillary is going to have a tough time in trying to bring together a divided nation
leadale 26 Oct 2016 4:37
Many years ago in the British Military, those with the right connections and enough money could buy an officer's commission and rise up the system to be an incompetent General. As a result, many battles were mismanaged and many lives wasted due to the incompetent (wealthy privileged few) buying their way to the top. American politics today works on exactly the same system of wealthy patronage and privilege for the incompetent, read Clinton and Trump. Until the best candidates are able to rise up through the political system without buying their way there then the whole corrupt farce will continue and we will be no different to the all the other tin pot republics of the world.
arkley leadale 26 Oct 2016 5:48
As Wellington once said on reading the list of officers being sent out to him,
"My hope is that when the enemy reads these names he trembles as I do"
Some would argue however that the British system of bought commissions actually made the army more effective in part because many competent officers had to stay in the field roles of platoon and company commanders rather than get staff jobs and through the fact that promotion on merit did exist for non-commissioned officers but there was a block on rising above sergeant.

Some would argue that the British class system ensured that during the Industrial Revolution charge hands and foremen were appointed from the best workers but there was no way forward from that, the result being that the best practices were applied through having the best practitioners in charge at the sharp end.

rodmclaughlin 26 Oct 2016 4:37
"he is not an outsider but the perfect representation of his caste, the caste that runs the global economy and governs our politics."

Obviously, Donald Trump is not an "outsider" in the economic sense. Trump definitely belongs to the ruling "caste", or rather, "class". But he is by no means the perfect representative of it. "The global economy", or rather, "capitalism", thrives better with the free movement of (cheap) labour than without it. Economically, poor Americans would be better off with more immigration control.

And there's more too it than economics. There's the "culture wars" aspect. Many people don't like being told they are "deplorable" for opposing illegal (or even legal) immigration. They don't like being called "racist" for disagreeing with an ideology.

I like the phrase Monbiot ends with - "He is our system, stripped of its pretences" - it reminds me of a phrase in the Communist Manifesto - but I don't think it's true. "Our" system is more than capitalism, it's culture. And Clinton is a far more "perfect representation" of the increasingly censorious, narrow [neo]liberal culture which dominates the Western world.

Finally, Monbiot misses the chance to contrast Clinton's and Trump's apparent differences with regard to confronting nuclear-armed Russia over the skies of Syria. It could be like 1964 all over again - except in this election, the Democrat is the nearest thing to Barry Goldwater.

nishville 26 Oct 2016 4:40
As a life-long despiser of all things Trump, I cannot believe that I am saying this: Trump is good for world peace. He might be crap for everything else but I for one will sleep much better if he is elected POTUS.
dylan37 26 Oct 2016 4:40
Agree, for once, with a piece by George. Trump is nothing new - we've seen his kind of faux-outsider thing before, but he's amplifying it with the skills of a carnival barker and the "what me?" shrug of the everyman - when we all know he's not. The election result can't be rigged because the game is fixed from the start. A potential president needs millions of dollars behind them to even think about running, and then needs to repay those bought favours once in office. Trump may just win this one though - despite the polls, poor human qualities and negative press - simply because he's possibly tapped into a rich seam of anti-politics and a growing desire for anything different, even if it's distasteful and deplorable. It's that difference that might make the difference, even when it's actually just more of the same. It's all in the packaging.
greenwichite 26 Oct 2016 4:41
Donald Trump is a clumsy, nasty opportunist who has got one thing right - people don't want globalisation.

What people want, is clean, high-tech industries in their own countries, that automate the processes we are currently offshoring. They would rather their clothes were made by robots in Rochdale than a sweat-shop in India.

Same goes for energy imports: we want clean, local renewables.

What people don't want is large, unpleasant multinational corporations negotiating themselves tax cuts and "free trade" with corrupt politicians like Hillary Clinton.

Just my opinion, of course...

TheSandbag -> greenwichite 26 Oct 2016 4:50
Your right about globalisation, but I think wrong about the automation bit. People want Jobs because its the only way to survive currently and they see them being shipped to the country with the easiest to exploit workforce. I don't think many of them realize that those jobs are never coming back. The socioeconomic system we exist in doesn't work for 90% of the population who are surplus to requirements for sustaining the other 10%.
Shadenfraude 26 Oct 2016 4:43
I fully agree with Monbiot, American democracy is a sham - the lobby system has embedded corruption right in the heart of its body politic. Lets be clear here though, whatever is the problem with American democracy can in theory at least be fixed, but Trump simply can not and moreover he is not the answer.

... ... ...


oddballs 26 Oct 2016 5:24

Trump threatened Ford that if they closed down US car plants and moved them to Mexico he would put huge import tariffs on their products making them to expensive.

Export of jobs to low wage countries, how do you think Americans feel when they buy 'sports wear, sweater, t-shirts shoes that cost say 3 $ to import into the US and then get sold for20 or 50 times as much, by the same US companies that moved production out of the country.

The anger many Americans feel how their lively-hoods have been outsourced, is the lake of discontent Trump is fishing for votes.

His opponent, war child and Wall Street darling can count her lucky stars that the media leaves her alone (with husband Bill, hands firmly in his pockets, nodding approvingly) and concentrates on their feeding frenzy attacking Trump on sexual allegations of abusing women, giving Hillery, Yes, likely to tell lies, ( mendacious, remember when she claimed to be under enemy fire in Bosnia? remember how evasive she was on the Benghazi attack on the embassy)
Yes Trump is a dangerous man running against an also extremely dangerous woman.

onepieceman 26 Oct 2016 5:31

Extremely interesting reference to the Madison paper, but the issue is less about the size of the electorate, and more about the power that the election provides to the victor.

One positive outcome that I hope will come of all of this is that people might think a little more carefully about how much power an incoming president (or any politician) should be given. The complacent assumption about a permanently benign government is overdue for a shakeup.

peccadillo -> Dean Alexander 26 Oct 2016 5:43

Democracy in the US is so corrupted by money that it is no longer recognisable as democracy. You can kick individual politicians out of office, but what do you do when the entire structure of politics is corrupt?

Having missed that bit, I wonder if you actually read the article.

tater 26 Oct 2016 5:46
The sad thing is that the victims of the corrupt economic and political processes are the small town folk who try to see Trump as their saviour. The globalisation that the US promoted to expand its hegemony had no safeguards to protect local economies from mega retail and finance corporations that were left at liberty to strip wealth from localities. The Federal transfer payments that might have helped compensate have been too small and were either corrupted pork barrel payments or shameful social security payments. For a culture that prides itself on independent initiative and self sufficiency this was always painful and that has made it all the easier for the lobbyists to argue against increased transfer payments and the federal taxes they require. So more money for the Trumps of this world.

And to the future. The US is facing the serious risk of a military take over. Already its foreign policy emanates from the military and the corruption brings it ever closer to the corporations. If the people don't demand better the coup will come.


MrMopp 26 Oct 2016 6:12


There's a reason turnout for presidential elections is barely above 50%.

Wised up, fed up Americans have long known their only choice is between a Coke or Pepsi President.

Well, this time they've got a Dr. Pepper candidate but they still know their democracy is just a commodity to be bought and sold, traded and paraded; their elections an almost perpetual presidential circus.

That a grotesque like Trump can emerge and still be within touching distance of the Whitehouse isn't entirely down to the Democrats disastrous decision to market New Clinton Coke. Although that's helped.

The unpalatable truth is, like Brexit, many Americans simply want to shake things up and shake them up bigly, even if it means a very messy, sticky outcome.

Anyone with Netflix can watch the classic film, "Network" at the moment. And it is a film of the moment.

"I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be.

We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.'

Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get MAD! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman, because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. [shouting] You've got to say: 'I'm a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!'

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

I want you to get up right now. Sit up. Go to your windows. Open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!...You've got to say, I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE! Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first, get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

And that was in 1976. A whole lot of shit has happened since then but essentially, Coke is still Coke and Pepsi is still Pepsi.

Forty years later, millions are going to get out of their chairs. They are going to vote. For millions of Americans of every stripe, Trump is the "I'M AS MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE", candidate.

And he's in with a shout.


André De Koning 26 Oct 2016 6:13

Trump is indeed the embodiment of our collective Shadow (As Jung called this unconscious side of our Self). It does reflect the degeneration of the culture we live in where politics has turned into a travesty; where all projections of this side are on the Other, the usual other who we can collectively dislike. All the wars initiated by the US have started with a huge propaganda programme to hate and project our own Shadow on to this other. Often these were first friends, whether in Iran or Iraq, Libya: as soon as the oil was not for ""us" , they were depicted as monsters who needed action: regime change through direct invasion and enormous numbers of war crimes or through CIA programmed regime change, it all went according to shady plans and manipulation and lies lapped up by the masses.

When you look at speeches and conversations and debates with the so-called bogeyman, Putin, he is not at all in a league as low and vile as portrayed and says many more sensible things than anybody cares to listen to, because we're all brainwashed. We are complicit in wars (now in Syria) and cannot see why we have to connive with terrorists, tens of thousands of them, and they get supported by the war machine and friends like Saudis and Turkey which traded for years with ISIS.

The Western culture has become more vile than we could have imagined and slowly, like the frog in increasingly hot water, we have become used to neglecting most of the population of Syria and focusing on the rebel held areas, totally unaware of what has happened to the many thousands who have lived under the occupation by terrorists who come from abroad ad fight the proxy war for the US (and Saudi and the EU). Trump dares to embody all this, as does Clinton the war hawk, and shows us we are only capable of seeing one side and project all nastiness outward while we can feel good about ourselves by hating the other.

It fits the Decline of an Empire image as it did in other Falls of Civilizations.


tashe222 26 Oct 2016 6:28

Lots of virtue signalling from Mr. M.

Trump spoke to the executives at Ford like no one before ever has. He told them if they moved production to Mexico (as they plan to do) that he would slap huge tariffs on their cars in America and no one would buy them.

Trump has said many stupid things in this campaign, but he has some independence and is not totally beholden to vested interests, and so there is at least a 'glimmer' of hope for the future with him as Potus.


DomesticExtremist 26 Oct 2016 6:28

I never tire of posting this link:

Donald Trump and the Politics of Resentment

Lindsay Went DomesticExtremist 26 Oct 2016 6:58

Yes, when the Archdruid first posted that it helped me understand some of the forces that were driving Trump's successes. I disagree with the idea that voting for Trump is a good idea because it will bring change to a moribund system. Change is not a panacea and the type of change he is likely to bring is not going to be pleasant.


Hanwell123 -> ArseButter 26 Oct 2016 6:59

What happens in Syria could be important to us all. Clinton doesn't hide her ambition to drive Assad from power and give Russia a kicking. It's actually very unpopular although the media doesn't like to say so; it prefers to lambast Spain for re-fueling Russian war ships off to fight the crazed Jihadists as if we supported the religious fanatics that want to slaughter all Infidels! There is an enormous gulf between what ordinary people want and the power crazy Generals in the Pentagon and NATO.

unsubscriber 26 Oct 2016 6:43
George always writes so beautifully and so tellingly. My favourite sentence from this column is:
Their gleeful stoving in of faces, their cackling destruction of political safeguards and democratic norms, their stomping on all that is generous and caring and cooperative in human nature, have turned the party into a game of Mortal Kombat scripted by Breitbart News.
Cadmium 26 Oct 2016 6:51
Trump is not a misogynist, look the word up. He may be crude but that's not the same thing. He also represents a lot more people than a tiny faction. He is also advocating coming down on lobbying, which is good. He may be a climate change denier but that's because a lot of his supporters are, he'd probably change if they did. The way to deal with it is with rational argument, character assassination is counterproductive even if he himself does it. Although he seems to do it as a reaction rather than as an attack. He probably has a lot higher chance of winning than most people think since a lot of people outside the polls will feel represented by him and a lot of those included in the polls may not vote for Hilary.
ID4755061 26 Oct 2016 6:52
George Monbiot is right. Trump is a conduit for primal stuff that has always been there and never gone away. All the work that has been done to try to change values and attitudes, to make societies more tolerant and accepting and sharing, to get rid of xenophobia and racism and the rest, has merely supressed all these things. Also, while times were good (that hasn't been so for a long time) most of this subterranean stuff got glossed over most of the time by some kind of feel good factor and hope for a better future.

But once the protections have gone, if there is nothing to feel good about or there is little hope left, the primitive fear of other and strange and different kicks back in. It's a basic survival instinct from a time when everything around the human species was a threat and it is a fundamental part of us and Trump and Palin at al before him have got this, even if they don't articulate it this way, and it works and it will always work. It's a pure emotional response to threat that we can't avoid, the only way out of it, whihc many of use use, is to use our intellects to challenge the kick of emotion and see it for what it is and to understand the consequences of giving it free reign. It's this last bit that Trump, Palin, Farage and their ilk just don't get and never will, we aill always be fighting this fight.

PotholeKid 26 Oct 2016 6:56
Political culture includes the Clintons and Bushes, the Democratic party and Republican party. exploring that culture using the DNC and Podesta leaks as reference, paints a much better picture of the depth of depravity this culture represents..Trump is a symptom and no matter how much the press focuses on maligning his character. The Clintons share a huge responsibility for the corruption of the system. Mr. Monbiot would serve us well by looking at solutions for cleaning up the mess, what Trumps likes to call "Draining the swamp"
lonelysoul72 26 Oct 2016 6:59
Trump for me , he is horrendous but Clinton is worse.

nooriginalthought 26 Oct 2016 7:06

"Democracy in the U.S. is so corrupted by money it is no longer recognisable as democracy." Sounds like a quote from Frank Underwood. To catch a thief sometimes you need the services of a thief. With a fair degree of certainty we can be sure a Clinton administration will offer us continuity .

Your probably going to vote Trump. Looking forward to a long list of articles here in November prophecies of Armageddon a la brexit. You liberal lefties , you'll never learn. If you want to know what people are thinking , you got to get out of the echochamber.


nooriginalthought -> aurlius 26 Oct 2016 7:45

Sorry , hate having to explain myself to the dim witted.

USA has got itself in an unholy mess . It's politicians no longer work for the people . Their paymasters care not if life in Idaho resembles Dantes inferno .
Trump has many faults but being "not Hilary" is not one of them. The very fact he is disliked by all the vested interests should make you take another look.
And remember , the American constitution has many checks and balances , a President has a lot less power than most people imagine.

Pinkie123 26 Oct 2016 7:21

While it is impossible to credibly disagree with the general thrust of this, some of Monbiot's assumptions exemplify problems with left-wing thinking at the moment.

But those traits ensure that he is not an outsider but the perfect representation of his caste, the caste that runs the global economy and governs our politics. He is our system, stripped of its pretences.

Like many on the right, the left have unthinkingly accepted a narrative of an organized, conspiratorial system run by an elite of politicians and plutocrats. The problem with this narrative is it suggests politics and politicians are inherently nefarious, in turn suggesting there are no political solutions to be sought to problems, or anything people can do to challenge a global system of power. As Monbiot asks: "You can kick individual politicians out of office, but what do you do when the entire structure of politics is corrupt?" Well, what indeed?

I think Monbiot a principled, intelligent left-wing commentator, but at the same time he epitomises a left-wing retreat into pessimism in the face of a putatively global network of power and inevitable environmental catastrophe. In reality, while there is no shortage of perfidious, corrupt corporate interests dominating global economies, there is no organized system or shadowy establishment - only a chaotic mess rooted in complex political problems. Once you accept that reality, then it becomes possible to imagine political solutions to the quandaries confronting us. Rather than just railing against realities, you can envision a new world to replace them. And a new kind of world is something you very rarely get from the left these days. Unlike the utopian socialists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there is little optimism or imagination - just anger, pessimism and online echo chambers of 'clictivists'.

Like the documentarian Adam Curtis says, once you conclude that all politics is corrupt then all you can do is sit there impotently and say: 'Oh dear'.

deltajones -> Pinkie123 26 Oct 2016 8:12

I don't think you need to believe in an organised conspiracy and I don't see any real evidence that George Monbiot does. The trouble is that the corporate and political interests align in a way that absorbs any attempt to challenge them and the narrative has been written that of course politics is all about economics and of course we need mighty corporations to sustain us.

Even the left has largely taken on that narrative and it's seen as common sense. Challenging this belief system is the toughest job that there is and we see that in the howling indignation hurled at Jeremy Corbyn if he makes the slightest suggestion of nationalisation of the railways, for instance.

ianfraser3 26 Oct 2016 7:29

Not long after the start of the presidential campaign I began to reflect that in Trump we are seeing materializing before us the logical result of the neoliberal project, the ultimate shopping spree, buy an election.

furiouspurpose -> IllusionOfFairness 26 Oct 2016 8:08

The Republican party essentially offered their base nothing – that was the problem.

They couldn't offer all the things that ordinary Americans want – better and wider Medicaid, better and wider social security, tax increases on the rich, an end to pointless foreign wars and the American empire. None of these things were acceptable to their funders so that only left emotional issues – anti-abortion, anti-gay, pro-god, pro-gun. And all of the emotional issues are on the wrong side of history as the US naturally grows more politically progressive. So the Republican party couldn't even deliver on the emotionally driven agenda. I think their base realised that they were being offered nothing – and that's why they turned to Trump. Perhaps a fascist blowhard could bulldoze the system to deliver on the emotional side of the offer. That's why Trump broke through

The Democrats have largely the same funding base, but they at least deliver crumbs – at least a nod to the needs of ordinary people through half-hearted social programmes. In the end the African Americans decided that Hillary could be relied upon to deliver some crumbs – so they settled for that. That's why Sanders couldn't break through.

fairleft 26 Oct 2016 7:55

Trump is imperfect because he wants normal relations rather than war with Russia. No, Hillary Clinton is the ultimate representation of the system that is abusing us. What will occur when Goldman Sachs and the military-industrial complex coalition get their, what is it, 5th term in office would be a great subject of many Guardian opinion pieces, actually. But that will have to wait till after November 8.

Such commentary would be greatly aided the Podesta emails, which enlighten us as to the mind and 'zeitgeist' of the HIllary team. And, of course, we also have Hillary's Wall Street speeches -- thanks to Wikileaks we have the complete transcripts, in case Guardian readers are unaware. They expose the real thinking and 'private positions' of the central character in the next episode of 'Rule by Plutocracy'.

But, of course, opinion columns and think pieces on the Real Hillary and the Podesta emails will have to wait ... forever.

toffee1 26 Oct 2016 7:58

Trump shows the true face of the ruling class with no hypocrisy. He is telling us the truth. If we have a democracy, we should have a party representing the interests of the business class, why not. The democrats is the party practicing hypocrisy, pretending that they somehow representing the interest of the working class. They are the ones spreading lies and hypocrisy and manipulating the working class everyday through their power over the media. Their function is to appease the working class. The real obstacle for improving conditions for the working class historically has always been the Democratic party, not the Republican party.

Kikinaskald Cadmium 26 Oct 2016 8:39
In fact presidents don't usually have much affect, they're prey to their advisors. Generally true. But Obama was able to show that he was able to distance himself up to a certain point from what was around him. He was aware of the power of the establishment and of their bias. So, when the wave against Iran was as strong as never before, he made a deal with Iran. He also didn't want to intervene more actively in Syria and even in what concerns Russia, he seems to have moderate positions.

In what concerns foreign politics, Trump some times seems more reasonable than Clinton and the establishment. Clinton is the best coached politician of all times. She doesn't know that she's coached. She just followed the most radical groups and isn't able to question anything at all. The only thing that the coaches didn't fix until now is her laughing which is considered even by her coaches as a sign of weirdness.


Kikinaskald -> J.K. Stevens 26 Oct 2016 9:09

She is considered to be highly aggressive, she pushed for the bombing of a few countries and intervening everywhere..

Chris Williams 26 Oct 2016 8:20

Unfortunately all politics in the west is based on a similar model with our own domestic landscape perhaps most closely resembling that in the US. We've always been peddled convenient lies of course, but perhaps as society itself becomes more polarised [in terms of distribution of wealth and the social consequences of that], the dissonance with the manufactured version of reality becomes ever sharper. It is deeply problematic because traditional popular media is dominated by the wealthy elite and the reality it depicts is as much a reflection of the consensual outlook of that elite as it is deliberate, organised mendacity [although there's plenty of that too].

Western economies are now so beholden to the patronage of the essentially stateless multinational, it has become a political imperative to appease their interests - it's difficult to see a future in which an administration might resist this force, because at its whim, national economies face ruination. In light of such helplessness our political representatives face an easier path in simply accepting their lot as mere administrators who will tinker at the margins [and potentially reap the rewards of a good servant], rather than hold to principle and resist an overwhelming force.

Meanwhile the electorate is become increasingly disaffected by this mainstream of politics who they [rightly] sense is no longer truly representative of their interests in any substantive way. To this backdrop the media has made notable blunders in securing the status quo. It has revealed the corruption and self-seeking of many in politics and promoted the widespread distrust of mainstream politicians for a variety of reasons. While the corruption is real and endemic, howls of protest against political 'outsiders' from this same press is met with with the view that the political establishment cannot be trusted engendered by the same sources.

The narrative for Brexit is somewhat similar. For many years the EU was the whipping boy for all our ills and the idea that it is fundamentally undemocratic in contrast to our own system, so unchallenged that it is taken for fact, even by the reasonably educated. Whilst I'm personally deflated and not a little worried by our exit, it comes as little surprise that a distorted perspective on the EU has led to a revolt against it.

There are of course now very many alternative narratives to those which are the preserve of monied media magnates, but they're disparate, fractured and unfocused.

Only the malaise has any sort of consistency about it and it is bitterly ironic that figures like Trump and Farage can so effectively plug into that in the guise of outsiders, to offer spurious alternatives to that which is so desperately needed. It's gloomy stuff.

Winstons1 Chris Williams 26 Oct 2016 9:27

Very well written .

Western economies are now so beholden to the patronage of the essentially stateless multinational, it has become a political imperative to appease their interests - it's difficult to see a future in which an administration might resist this force, because at its whim, national economies face ruination. In light of such helplessness our political representatives face an easier path in simply accepting their lot as mere administrators who will tinker at the margins [and potentially reap the rewards of a good servant], rather than hold to principle and resist an overwhelming force.

I have been an advocate of this point for a long time.There is a saying in politics in America that'' the only difference between a Democrat and a Republican is the speed at which they drop to their knees when big business walks into the room''.

How it is going to be stopped or indeed if there is the will to do so,I do not know. The proponents and those who have most to lose have been incredibly successful in propagating the myth that 'you to can have what I have'and have convinced a sizeable minority that there is no alternative.
Until that changes and is exposed for the illusion that it is ,we are I fear heading for something far worse than we have now.

trp981 26 Oct 2016 8:20 2 3

"Trump personifies the traits promoted by the media and corporate worlds he affects to revile; the worlds that created him. He is the fetishisation of wealth, power and image in a nation where extrinsic values are championed throughout public discourse. His conspicuous consumption, self-amplification and towering (if fragile) ego are in tune with the dominant narratives of our age."

Because this is who we are and this is how we role. We got on rickety ships and braved the cowardly waters to reach these shores, with tremendous realworld uncertainty and absolute religious zeal. We are the manly men and womanly women who manifested our destiny, endured the cruel nature naturing, and civilized the wild wild west, at the same time preserving our own wildness and rugged individualism. Why should we go all soft and namby-pamby with this social safety nonsense? Let the roadkills expire with dignified indignity on the margins of the social order. We will bequeath a glorious legacy to the Randian ubermenschen who will inherit this land from us. They will live in Thielian compounds wearing the trendiest Lululemons. They will regularly admonish their worses with chants of: "Do you want to live? Pay, pal". If we go soft, if we falter, how will we ever be able to look in the eye the ghosts of John Wayne, Marion Morrison, Curtis LeMay, Chuck Heston, Chuck Norris, and the Great Great Ronnie Himself? Gut-check time folks, suck it up and get on with the program.

"The political constitution of the United States is not, as Madison envisaged, representation tempered by competition between factions. The true constitution is plutocracy tempered by scandal."

The Founders had a wicked sense of humor. They set up the structure of various branches so as to allow for the possibility of a future take-over by the Funders. That leaves room for the exorbitant influence of corporations and wealthy individuals and the rise of the Trumps, leading to the eventual fall into a Mad Max world.

"Yes, [Trump] is a shallow, mendacious, boorish and extremely dangerous man. But those traits ensure that he is not an outsider but the perfect representation of his caste, the caste that runs the global economy and governs our politics. He is our system, stripped of its pretences."

It is irrelevant if everyone sees the emperor/system has no clothes, it quite enjoys walking around naked now that it has absolute power.

Lopedeloslobos -> trp981 26 Oct 2016 9:02

'It is irrelevant if everyone sees the emperor/system has no clothes, it quite enjoys walking around naked now that it has absolute power.'

Yes, they don't care any more if we see the full extent of their corruption as we've given up our power to do anything about it.


chiefwiley -> Luftwaffe 26 Oct 2016 9:31

It was once very common to see Democratic politicians as neighbors attending every community event. They were Teamsters, pipe fitters, and electricians. And they were coaches and ushers and pallbearers. Now they are academics and lawyers and NGO employees and managers who pop up during campaigns.
The typical income of the elected Democrats outside their government check is north of $100,000. They don't live in, or even wander through, the poorer neighborhoods. So they are essentially clueless that government services like busses are run to suit government and not actual customers.

It's sort of nice to have somebody looking after our interests in theory, but it would be at least polite if they deemed to ask us what we think our best interests are. Notice the nasty names and attributes being hurled at political "dissidents," especially around here, and there should be little wonder why many think the benevolent and somewhat single minded and authoritarian left is at least part of their problems.


ghstwrtrx7 -> allblues 26 Oct 2016 14:02

Yea, 15 years of constant wars of empire with no end in sight has pretty much ran this country in the ground.

We all talk about how much money is wasted by the federal government on unimportant endeavors like human services and education, but don't even bat an eye about the sieve of money that is the Pentagon.

Half a trillion dollars for aircraft carriers we don't need and are already obsolete. China is on the verge of developing wickedly effective anti-ship missiles designed specifically to target these Gerald R. Ford-class vessels. You might as well paint a huge bull's-eye on these ships' 4-1/2 acre flight deck.

And then there there's the most egregious waste of money our historically over-bloated defense budget has ever seen: The Lockheed-Martin F-35 Lightening II Joint Strike Fighter. Quite a mouthful, isn't? When you hear how much this boondoggle costs the American taxpayer, you'll choke: $1.5 Trillion, with a t. What's even more retching is that aside from already being obsolete, it doesn't even work.

There are plenty more examples of this crap and this doesn't even include the nearly TWO trillion dollars we've spent this past decade-and-a-half on stomping flat the Middle East and large swaths of the Indian subcontinent.
And all this time, our nation's infrastructure is crumbling literally right out from underneath us and millions upon millions of children and their families experience a daily struggle just to eat. Eat?! In the "greatest," wealthiest nation on earth and we prefer to kill people at weddings with drones than feed our own children.

I can't speak for anyone else other than myself, but that, boys and girls, has a decided miasma of evil about it.

transplendent 26 Oct 2016 9:49

I'd like to read an unbiased piece about why the media narrative doesn't match the reality of the Trump phenomenon. He is getting enormous crowds attend his rallies but hardly any coverage of that in the filtered news outlets. Hillary, is struggling to get anyone turn up without paying them. There is no real enthusiasm.

If Hillary doesn't win by a major landslide (and I mean BIGLY) as the MSM would lead us to believe she is going to, it could be curtains for the media, as what little credibility that is not already swirling around the plughole will disappear down it once and for all.

The buzzwords and tired old catch phrases and cliches used by the left to suppress any alternative discussion, and divert from their own misdemeanors are fooling no one but themselves. Trump supporters simply don't care any more how Hillary supporters explain that she lied about dodging sniper fire. Or the numerous other times she and her cohorts have been caught out telling fibs.

leftofstalin 26 Oct 2016 10:06

Sorry George YOU and the chattering classes you represent are the reason for the rise of the far right blinded by the false promises of new labour and it's ilk the working classes have been demonized as striking troublemakers benefit frauds racists uneducated bigots etc etc and going by the comments on these threads from remainders you STILL don't understand the psyche of the working class

Gary Ruddock 26 Oct 2016 10:07

When Obama humiliated Trump at that dinner back in 2011 he may have set a course for his own destruction. Lately, Obama does not appear anywhere near as confident as he once did.

Perhaps Trump has seen the light, seen the error of his ways, maybe he realizes if he doesn't stand up against the system, then no one will.


transplendent 26 Oct 2016 10:38

Trump's only crime, is he buys into the idea of national identity and statehood (along with every other nation state in the world mind you), and Hillary wants to kick down the doors and hand over the US to Saudi Arabia and any international vested interest who can drop a few dollars into the foundation coffers. I can't see Saudi Arabia throwing open the doors any day soon, unless it is onto a one way street.

N.B. The Russians are not behind it.

gjjwatson 26 Oct 2016 11:10

Very true. Throughout history the rich, the powerful, the landed, ennobled interest and their friends in the Law and money changing houses have sought to control governments and have usually succeeded.

In the Media today the rich are fawned over by sycophantic journalists and programme makers. These are the people who make the political weather and create the prevailing narratives.

I remember when President Reagan railed against government whilst he was in office, he said the worst words a citizen could hear were "I`m from the government, I`m here to help you".

Working class people fancied themselves to above the common herd and thought themselves part of some elite.

All of this chimes of course with American history and it`s constitution written by slave owning colonists who proclaimed that "all men are created equal".

bonhiver 26 Oct 2016 12:10

It's quite disturbing the lengths this paper will go to in order to slur and discredit Trump, labelling him dangerous and alluding to the sexual assault allegations. This even goes so far to a very lengthy article regarding Trumps lack of knowledge on the Rumbelows Cup 25 years ago.

Whereas very little examination is made into Hillary Clinton's background which includes serious allegation of fraud and involvement in assisting in covering up her husband's alleged series of rapes. There are also issues in the wikileaks emails that merit analysis as well as undercover tapes of seioau issues with her campaign team.

Whereas it is fair to criticise Trump for a lot of stuff it does appear that there is no attempt at balance as Clinton's faults appear to get covered up om this paper.

Whereas I can not vote in the US elections and therefore the partisan reporting has no substantive effect on how I may vote or act it is troubling that a UK newspaper does not provide the reader with an objective as possible reporting on the presidential race.

It suggests biased reporting elsewhere.

thevisitor2015 26 Oct 2016 12:46

One of the most important characteristics of the so-called neoliberalism is its negative selection. While mostly successfully camouflaged, that negative selection is more than obvious this time, in two US presidential candidates. It's hard to imagine lower than those two.

seamuspadraig 26 Oct 2016 13:37

Well, OK George. Tell me: if Trump's such an establishment candidate, then why does the whole of the establishment unanimously reject him? Is it normal for Republicans (such as the Bushes and the neocons) to endorse Democrats? Why does even the Speaker of the House (a Republican) and even, on occasion, Trump's own Vice-Presidential nominee seem to be trying to undermine his campaign? If Trump is really just more of the same as all that came before, why is he being treated different by the MSM and the political establishment?

Obviously, there's something flawed about your assumption.


CharlesPDXOr -> seamuspadraig 26 Oct 2016 13:58

I think the answer to your question is in the article: because Trump has brought the truth of the monied class into the open. He is a perfect example of all that class is and tries to pretend it is not. And when the commoners see this in front of them, a whole lot of them are disgusted by it. That doesn't sit well back in the country club and the boardroom, where they work so hard to keep all of that behind closed doors. They hate him because he is one of them and is spilling the beans on all of them.

bill9651 26 Oct 2016 13:01

Trump has exposed the corruption of the political system and the media and has promised to put a stop to it. By contrast, Clinton is financed by the very banks, corporates and financial elites who are responsible for the corruption. This Trump speech is explicit on what we all suspected is going on. Everybody should watch it, irrespective of whether they support him or not!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tab5vvo0TJw


Frances56 26 Oct 2016 13:54

Michael Moore explaining why a lot of people like him


"I know a lot of people in Michigan that are planning to vote for Trump and they don't necessarily agree with him. They're not racist or redneck, they're actually pretty decent people and so after talking to a number of them I wanted to write this.

Donald Trump came to the Detroit Economic Club and stood there in front of Ford Motor executives and said "if you close these factories as you're planning to do in Detroit and build them in Mexico, I'm going to put a 35% tariff on those cars when you send them back and nobody's going to buy them." It was an amazing thing to see. No politician, Republican or Democrat, had ever said anything like that to these executives, and it was music to the ears of people in Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - the "Brexit" states.

You live here in Ohio, you know what I'm talking about. Whether Trump means it or not, is kind of irrelevant because he's saying the things to people who are hurting, and that's why every beaten-down, nameless, forgotten working stiff who used to be part of what was called the middle class loves Trump. He is the human Molotov Cocktail that they've been waiting for; the human hand grande that they can legally throw into the system that stole their lives from them. And on November 8, although they lost their jobs, although they've been foreclose on by the bank, next came the divorce and now the wife and kids are gone, the car's been repoed, they haven't had a real vacation in years, they're stuck with the shitty Obamacare bronze plan where you can't even get a fucking percocet, they've essentially lost everything they had except one thing - the one thing that doesn't cost them a cent and is guaranteed to them by the American constitution: the right to vote.
They might be penniless, they might be homeless, they might be fucked over and fucked up it doesn't matter, because it's equalized on that day - a millionaire has the same number of votes as the person without a job: one. And there's more of the former middle class than there are in the millionaire class. So on November 8 the dispossessed will walk into the voting booth, be handed a ballot, close the curtain, and take that lever or felt pen or touchscreen and put a big fucking X in the box by the name of the man who has threatened to upend and overturn the very system that has ruined their lives: Donald J Trump.

They see that the elite who ruined their lives hate Trump. Corporate America hates Trump. Wall Street hates Trump. The career politicians hate Trump. The media hates Trump, after they loved him and created him, and now hate. Thank you media: the enemy of my enemy is who I'm voting for on November 8.

Yes, on November 8, you Joe Blow, Steve Blow, Bob Blow, Billy Blow, all the Blows get to go and blow up the whole goddamn system because it's your right. Trump's election is going to be the biggest fuck you ever recorded in human history and it will feel good."

Michael Moore


Debreceni 26 Oct 2016 14:15

Mrs Clinton is also the product of our political culture. A feminist who owes everything to her husband and men in the Democratic Party. A Democrat who started her political career as a Republican; a civil right activist who worked for Gerry Goldwater, one of last openly racist/segregationist politicians. A Secretary of State who has no clue about, or training in, foreign policy, and who received her position as compensation for losing the election. A pacifist, who has never had a gun in her hands, but supported every war in the last twenty years. A humanist who rejoiced over Qaddafi's death ("we came, we won, he is dead!") like a sadist.

Both candidates have serious weaknesses. Yet Trump is very much an American character, his vices and weaknesses are either overlooked, or widely shared, secretively respected and even admired (even by those who vote against him). Clinton's arrogance, elitism and hypocrisy, coupled with her lack of talent, charisma and personality, make her an aberration in American politics.


BabylonianSheDevil03 26 Oct 2016 15:26

One thing that far right politics offers the ordinary white disaffected voter is 'pay back', it is a promised revenge-fest, putting up walls, getting rid of foreigners, punishing employers of foreigners, etc., etc. All the stuff that far right groups have wet dreams about.

Farage used the same tactics in the UK. Le Pen is the same.

Because neoliberal politics has left a hell of a lot of people feeling pissed off, the far right capitalizes on this, whilst belonging to the same neoliberal dystopia so ultimately not being able to make good on their promises. Their promises address a lot of people's anger, which of course isn't really about foreigners at all, that is simply the decoy, but cutting through all the crap to make that clear is no easy task, not really sure how it can be done, certainly no political leader in the western hemisphere has the ability to do so.

ProseBeforeHos 26 Oct 2016 15:45

"But those traits ensure that he is not an outsider but the perfect representation of his caste, the caste that runs the global economy and governs our politics."

Wrong as always. Trump *is* an outsider. He's an unabashed nationalist who's set him up against the *actual* caste that governs our politics: Neo-liberal internationalists with socially trendy left-liberal politics (but not so left that they don't hire good tax lawyers to avoid paying a fraction of what they are legally obliged to).

Best represented in the Goldman Sachs executives who are donating millions to Hillary Clinton because they are worried about Trump's opposition to free trade, and they know she will give them *everything* they want.

Trumps the closest thing we're gotten to a genuine threat to the system in a long, long time, so of course George Monbiot and the rest of the Guardian writers has set themselves against him, because if you're gonna be wrong about the EU, wrong about New Labour, wrong about social liberalism, wrong about immigration, why change the habit of a lifetime?

aofeia1224 26 Oct 2016 16:09

"What is the worst thing about Donald Trump? The lies? The racist stereotypes? The misogyny? The alleged gropings? The apparent refusal to accept democratic outcomes?"

Lies: Emails, policy changes based on polls showing a complete lack of conviction, corporate collusion, Bosnia, Clinton Foundation, war mongering, etc.
Racist stereotypes: Super predators. Misogyny: Aside from her laughing away her pedophile case and allegedly threatening the women who came out against Bill, you've also got this sexist gem "Women are the primary victims of war".

Alleged gropings: Well she's killed people by texting. So unless your moral compass is so out of whack that somehow a man JOKING about his player status in private is worse than Clinton's actions throughout her political career, then I guess you could make the case that Clinton at least doesn't have this skeleton in her closet.

Refusal to accept democratic outcomes: No. He's speaking out against the media's collusion with the democratic party favoring Clinton over every other nominee, including Bernie Sanders. He's talking about what was revealed in the DNC leaks and the O'Keefe tapes that show how dirty the tactics have been in order to legally persuade the voting public into electing one person or the other.

Besides that, who cares about his "refusal" to accept the outcome? The American people protested when Bush won in 2000 saying it was rigged. Same goes with Obama saying the same "anti democratic" shit back in 2008 in regards to the Bush Administration.

Pot call kettle black

caravanserai 26 Oct 2016 16:16

Republicans are crazy and their policies make little sense. Neo-conservatism? Trickle down economics? Getting the poor to pay for the mess created by the bankers in 2008? Trump knows what sells to his party's base. He throws them red meat. However, the Democrats are not much better. They started to sell out when Bill Clinton was president. They pretend to still be the party of the New Deal, but they don't want to offend Wall Street. US democracy is in trouble.

rooolf 26 Oct 2016 16:24

When do the conspiracy theories about the criminality of his opponent no longer count as conspiracies? When we have a plethora of emails confirming there is indeed fire next to that smoke, corruption fire, collusion fire, fire of contempt for the electorate. When we have emails confirming the Saudi Arabians are actually funding terrorist schools across the globe, emails where Hilary herself admits it, but will not say anything publicly about terrorism and Saudi Arabia, what's conspiracy and what's reality?

Is it because Saudi Arabia funded her foundation with $23 million, or because it doesn't fit with her great 'internationalists' global agenda?

Either way there seems to be some conspiring of some sort

When is it no longer theory? And where does the guardian fit into this corrupted corporate media idea?

Yep trump is a buffoon, but the failure of all media to deliver serious debate means the US is about to elect someone probably more dangerous than trump, how the hell can that be

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-26/the-election-of-hillary-clinton-promises-a-more-dangerous-world/7966336

rooolf 26 Oct 2016 16:35

What the author overlooks is the media's own complicity in allowing this to develop

Unfortunately the corruption of the system is so entrenched it takes an abnormality like trump to challenge it

Hard to believe, but trump is a once in a lifetime opportunity to shake shit up, not a pleasant one, in fact a damn ugly opportunity, but the media shut him down, got all caught up in self preservation and missed the opportunity

it what comes next that is scary


BScHons -> rooolf 26 Oct 2016 17:09

Nothing wrong with a liberal internationalist utopia, it sounds rather good and worth striving for. It's just that what they've been pushing is actually a neoliberal globalist nirvana for the 1 per cent

rooolf BScHons 26 Oct 2016 17:17

Totally agree

The problem is the left this paper represents were bought off with the small change by neoliberalism, and they expect the rest of us to suck it up so the elites from both sides can continue the game

Talking about the environment and diversity doesn't cut it

mrjonno 26 Oct 2016 17:02

Well said as ever George. Humanity is in a total mess as we near the end of the neoliberal model. That the USA has a choice between two 'demopublicans' is no choice at all.

I would go further in your analysis - media controlled by these sociopaths has ensured that our society shares the same values - we are a bankrupt species as is.

As long as you are here to provide sensible analysis, along with Peter Joseph, I have hope that we can pull out of the nosedive that we are currently on a trajectory for.

Thank you for your sane input into an otherwise insane world. Thank you Mr Monbiot.


annedemontmorency 26 Oct 2016 19:08

We'll ignore the part about the inability to accept democratic outcomes since that afflicts so many people and organisations - Brexit , anyone?

More to the point is how the summit of US politics produces candidates like Trump and Clinton.

Clinton is suffering the same damage the LibDems received during their coalition with the Tories .Proximity to power exposed their inadequacies and hypocrisy in both cases.

Trump - unbelievably - remains a viable candidate but only because Hillary Clinton reeks of graft and self interest.
The obvious media campaign against Trump could also backfire - voters know a hatchet job when they see one - they watch House of Cards.

But politics is odd around the whole world.
The Guardian is running a piece about the Pirate party in Iceland.

Why go so far? - the most remarkable coup in recent politics was UKIP forcing a vote on the EU which it not only won it did so in spite of only ever having ONE MP out of 630.

Trump may be America's UKIP - he resembles them in so many ways.

ID6209069 26 Oct 2016 20:35

It's possible that something like this was inevitable, in a nation which is populated by "consumers" rather than as citizens. There are "valuable demographics" versus those that aren't worthy of the attention of the constant bombardment of advertising. I jokingly said last year that as I was turning 55 last year, I am no longer in the 'coveted 29-54 demo'. My worth as a consumer has been changed merely by reaching a certain age, so I now see fewer ads about cars and electronics and more about prescription medicines. The product of our media is eyeballs, not programs or articles. The advertising is the money maker, the content merely a means of luring people in for a sales pitch, not to educate or inform. If that structure sells us a hideous caricature of a successful person and gives him political power, as long as the ad dollars keep rolling in.

GreyBags 26 Oct 2016 21:19

This is the culmination of living in a post-truth political world. Lies and smears, ably supported by the corporate media and Murdoch in particular means that the average person who doesn't closely follow politics is being misinformed.

The complete failure of right wing economic 'theories' means they only have lies, smears and the old 'divide and conquer' left in their arsenal. 'Free speech' is their attempt to get lies and smears equal billing with the truth. All truth on the other hand must be suppressed. All experts and scientists who don't regurgitate the meaningless slogans of the right will be ignored, traduced, defunded, disbanded or silenced by law.

We see the same corrupted philosophy in Australia as well.


JamesCameron 7d ago

Yet Trump, the "misogynist, racist and bigot"' has more women in executive and managerial positions than any comparable company, pays these women the same or more than their male counterparts and fought the West Palm Beach City Council to be allowed to open his newly purchased club to blacks and Jews who had been banned until then. I suspect his views do chime with Americans fed up with political correctness gone mad as well as the venality of the administration of Barak Obama, a machine politician with dodgy bagmen from Chicago – the historically corrupt city in Illinois, the most corrupt state in the Union. Finally, unlike The Hilary, he has actually held down a job, worked hard and achieved success and perhaps they are more offended by what she does than what he says.

aucourant 7d ago

Not so much an article about Trump as much as a rant. George Monbiot writes with the utter conviction of one who mistakenly believes that his readers share his bigotry. When he talks about the 'alleged gropings' or the 'alleged refusal to accept democratic outcomes', that is exactly what they are 'alleged'.

The Democratic Party has been dredging up porn-stars and wannabe models who now make claims that Trump tried to 'kiss them without asking'. This has become the nightly fare of the mainstream media in the USA. At the same time the media ignores the destruction of Clinton's emails, the bribing of top FBI officials who are investigating the destroyed tapes and the giving of immunity to all those who aided Clinton in hiding and destroying subpoenaed evidence.

The press also ignored the tapes of the DNC paying thugs to cause violence at Trump rallies, the bribes paid to the Clintons for political favours and the stealing of the election from Bernie Sanders. Trump is quite right to think the 'democratic outcome' is being fixed. Not only were the votes for Sanders manipulated, but Al Gore's votes were also altered and manipulated to ensure a win for Bush in the 2000 presidential election. The same interests who engineered the 2000 election have switched from supporting the Republican Party to supporting Clinton.

Anomander64 6d ago

Great article. The neoliberals have been able to control the narrative and in doing so have managed to scapegoat all manner of minority groups, building anger among those disaffected with modern politics. Easy targets - minorities, immigrants, the poor, the disadvantaged and the low-paid workers.

The real enemy here are those sitting atop the corporate tree, but with the media controlled by them, the truth is never revealed.

mochilero7687 5d ago

Perhaps next week George will write in detail about all the scandals Hildabeast has caused and been involved in over the past 40 years - which have cost the US govt tens of millions of dollars and millions of man hours - but I won't be holding my breath.

[Nov 01, 2016] Conspiracy Vs. Government Is Elite Propaganda Justifying Violent Repression Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... With US belief in "conspiracy theory" over 50 percent (see our previous article here ) elites are showing increasingly concern that they have lost control of their narrative. ..."
"... The article explains that if people grow paranoid about government, then the "norms" of government will collapse. ..."
"... The article also has parallels to an article we analyzed recently here by Cass Sunstein. His Bloomberg editorial suggested that nothing was more important from a political standpoint than returning "civility" to Congress and politics generally. ..."
"... The NeoCons will take the United States in the same direction it is going until its' bust. Endless war, run down infrastructure and poverty is the future. Tax receipts are falling fast and government can't pay the big bills with service sector jobs. ..."
"... Decommissioning the plethora of foreign airbases and dismantling NATO would see the Bankster/MIC die a death. Gotta starve those beasts pronto. ..."
"... "Conspiracy theory is called "paranoid politics" in this article but it amounts to the same thing." ..."
"... "conspiracy theory" ..."
"... "paranoid" ..."
"... "we should" ..."
"... "paranoid politics" ..."
"... "good" ..."
"... necessarily controlled ..."
"... "The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost invariably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And if he is not romantic personally, he is apt to spread discontent among those who are." ..."
"... "dishonest, insane and intolerable," ..."
"... "paranoid politics," ..."
"... "We need" ..."
"... justifiably paranoid ..."
Nov 01, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com

With US belief in "conspiracy theory" over 50 percent (see our previous article here ) elites are showing increasingly concern that they have lost control of their narrative.

This article again illustrates elite push back. The article explains that if people grow paranoid about government, then the "norms" of government will collapse.

Conspiracy theory is called "paranoid politics" in this article but it amounts to the same thing.

The article also has parallels to an article we analyzed recently here by Cass Sunstein. His Bloomberg editorial suggested that nothing was more important from a political standpoint than returning "civility" to Congress and politics generally.

This article runs along the same lines: Negative perceptions of the US government can make the process of "governing" dysfunctional.

Herdee •Nov 1, 2016 12:13 AM

The NeoCons will take the United States in the same direction it is going until its' bust. Endless war, run down infrastructure and poverty is the future. Tax receipts are falling fast and government can't pay the big bills with service sector jobs.

WTFUD •Oct 31, 2016 11:14 PM

Major Civil Unrest is required in the USSofA to alleviate the pressure on Russia, the Elites' would be bogeyman. The rest of the world would benefit too.

Decommissioning the plethora of foreign airbases and dismantling NATO would see the Bankster/MIC die a death. Gotta starve those beasts pronto.

PoasterToaster •Oct 31, 2016 10:30 PM

Bankers hiding behind "government" and using the moral authority it carries in people's heads to carry out their dirty deeds. But now the people have seen behind the curtain and the dope at the controls has been found wanting. Writing is on the wall for them and they know it.

"The rise of paranoid politics could make America ungovernable"

We in America aren't supposed to be "governed". And our state of mind is none of your goddamned business.

medium giraffe Oct 31, 2016 9:55 PM
"Conspiracy theory is called "paranoid politics" in this article but it amounts to the same thing."

There is a huge difference between critical thought and lack of education.

The Telegraph author's unwillingness to seperate the two is telling.

Radical Marijuana -> medium giraffe Oct 31, 2016 11:45 PM
One of the most delightful ironies (to those with a sufficiently macabre sense of humour) is that declassified CIA documents from the 1960s have proven that the mass media promotion of the "conspiracy theory" meme was deliberately developed by the CIA, using their media assets.

Many people have developed ways to discuss the relatively slim differences between being "paranoid" versus being realistic. After several decades of enjoying the luxury to spend most of my time attempting to understand the political processes, my conclusion has always been that THE MORE I LEARNED, THE WORSE IT GOT.

It is barely possible to exaggerate the degree to which "we should" seriously consider "paranoid politics" as being the most realistic. Governments are only "good" in the sense that they are the biggest forms of organized crime, dominated by the best organized gangs of criminals. In my view, that conclusion can both be derived from the basic principles of the ways that general energy systems operate, as well as empirically confirmed by an overwhelming abundance of well-documented evidence. Indeed, more rational evidence and logical arguments result in that any deeper analysis of politics ALWAYS discovers and demonstrates the ways that civilization is necessarily controlled by applications of the methods of organized crime, whose excessive successfulness are more and more spinning out of control.

As H.L. Menchen stated:

"The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost invariably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And if he is not romantic personally, he is apt to spread discontent among those who are."

The important things which most governments DO,

that are "dishonest, insane and intolerable,"

are ENFORCE FRAUDS by private banks.

Given those social FACTS, it is barely possible to develop a sufficiently "paranoid politics," to encompass the degree to which the existing political economy, based upon enforcing frauds, is being driven by advancing technologies towards becoming exponentially more fraudulent. The problem is NOT that some people are becoming too critical, but that the majority of them have not yet become critical enough ... "We need" to go beyond being merely superficially cynical, in order to become profoundly cynical enough to perhaps cope with how and why governments ARE the biggest forms of organized crime, dominated by the best organized gangs of criminals.

In my view, most of the content published on Zero Hedge, which engages in various superficially correct analyses of those problems, tends to never engage in deeper levels of analysis, due to the degree to which the resulting conclusions are way worse than anything which could be adequately admitted and addressed. Rather, it is barely possible to exaggerate the degree to which one is justifiably paranoid about the ways that the ruling classes in Globalized Neolithic Civilization are becoming increasingly psychotic psychopaths:

THE EXCESSIVE SUCCESSFULNESS OF CONTROLLING CIVILIZATION

BY APPLICATIONS OF THE VARIOUS METHODS OF ORGANIZED CRIME

HAS RESULTED IN CIVILIZATION MANIFESTING CRIMINAL INSANITY!

Radical Marijuana -> medium giraffe •Nov 1, 2016 12:25 AM

Yes, mg, the CIA, in ways which were, of course, ILLEGAL, attempted to discredit those who did not believe the official story regarding the assination of President Kennedy.

You may well already be familiar with this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1Qt6a-vaNM

JFK to 911 Everything Is A Rich Man's Trick

The most relevant conclusion of that documentary was that, at the highest levels, there is no difference, because they blend together, between organized crime and government agencies such as the CIA, which was effectively the American branch of the secret police employed by the international bankers.

jeff montanye Oct 31, 2016 9:08 PM
i believe i've said it before but bust 9-11 and these fucks shut up for eternity, many of them incarcerated eventually.

http://www.whale.to/b/israel_did_911.html

https://sites.google.com/site/onedemocraticstatesite/archives/-solving-9...

http://www.amazon.com/Solving-9-11-Deception-Changed-World/dp/0985322586

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP_Ezjm7xDg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DOnAn_PX6M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsoY3AIRUGA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW6mJOqRDI4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhROd7Jt3-w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgM6hjNedE0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rj_AL4OlmHc&feature=iv&src_vid=rnbMjAN7B...

http://www.luogocomune.net/site/modules/sections/index.php?op=viewarticl...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVHstSrC1CQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gORu-68SHpE.

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/everything-rich-man-trick/

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/098213150X/sr=1-1/qid=1467687982/ref=olp_pro...

http://www.europhysicsnews.org/articles/epn/pdf/2016/04/epn2016474p21.pdf

[Oct 23, 2016] The USA now is in the political position that in chess is called Zugzwang

Notable quotes:
"... I would agree that Trump is horrible candidate. The candidate who (like Hillary) suggests complete degeneration of the US neoliberal elite. ..."
"... But the problem is that Hillary is even worse. Much worse and more dangerous because in addition to being a closet Republican she is also a warmonger. In foreign policy area she is John McCain in pantsuit. And if you believe that after one hour in White House she does not abandon all her election promises and start behaving like a far-right republican in foreign policy and a moderate republican in domestic policy, it's you who drunk too much Cool Aid. ..."
"... In other words, the USA [workers and middle class] now is in the political position that in chess is called Zugzwang: we face a choice between the compulsive liar, unrepentant, extremely dangerous and unstable warmonger with failing health vs. a bombastic, completely unprepared to governance of such a huge country crook. ..."
Oct 23, 2016 | angrybearblog.com
likbez October 22, 2016 11:20 pm

The key problems with Democratic Party and Hillary is that they lost working class and middle class voters, becoming another party of highly paid professionals and Wall Street speculators (let's say top 10%, not just 1%), the party of neoliberal elite.

It will be interesting to see if yet another attempt to "bait and switch" working class and lower middle class works this time. I think it will not. Even upper middle class is very resentful of Democrats and Hillary. So many votes will be not "for" but "against". This is the scenario Democratic strategists fear the most, but they can do nothing about it.

She overplayed "identity politics" card. Her "identity politics" and her fake feminism are completely insincere. She is completely numb to human suffering and interests of females and minorities. Looks like she has a total lack of empathy for other people.

Here is one interesting quote ( http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/10/how-trump-and-clinton-gave-bad-answers-on-us-nuclear-policy-and-why-you-should-be-worried.html#comment-2680036 ):

"What scares me is my knowledge of her career-long investment in trying to convince the generals and the admirals that she is a 'tough bitch', ala Margaret Thatcher, who will not hesitate to pull the trigger. An illuminating article in the NY Times ( http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/24/magazine/how-hillary-clinton-became-a-hawk.html ) revealed that she always advocates the most muscular and reckless dispositions of U.S. military forces whenever her opinion is solicited. "

Usually people are resentful about Party which betrayed them so many times. It would be interesting to see how this will play this time.

Beverly Mann October 23, 2016 12:00 pm

It will be interesting to see if yet another attempt to "bait and switch" working class and lower middle class works this time?

Yup. The Republicans definitely have the interests of the working class and lower middle class at heart when they give, and propose, ever deeper tax cuts for the wealthy, the repeal of the estate tax that by now applies only to estates of more than $5 million, complete deregulation of the finance industry, industry capture of every federal regulatory agency and cabinet department and commission or board, from the SEC, to the EPA, to the Interior Dept. (in order to hand over to the oil, gas and timber industries vast parts of federal lands), the FDA, the FTC, the FCC, the NLRB, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Justice Dept. (including the Antitrust Division)-to name only some.

And OF COURSE it's to serve the interests of the working class and lower middle class that they concertedly appoint Supreme Court justices and lower federal court judges that are unabashed proxies of big business.

And then there's the incessant push to privatize Social Security and Medicare. It ain't the Dems that are pushing that.

You're drinking wayyy too much Kool Aid, likbez. Or maybe just reading too much Ayn Rand, at Paul Ryan's recommendation.

beene October 23, 2016 10:31 am

I would suggest despite most of the elite in both parties supporting Hillary, and saying she has the election in the bag is premature. In my opinion the fact that Trump rallies still has large attendance; where Hillary's rallies would have trouble filling up a large room is a better indication that Trump will win.

Even democrats are not voting democratic this time to be ignored till election again.

likbez October 23, 2016 12:56 pm

Beverly,

=== quote ===
Yup. The Republicans definitely have the interests of the working class and lower middle class at heart when they give, and propose, ever deeper tax cuts for the wealthy, the repeal of the estate tax that by now applies only to estates of more than $5 million, complete deregulation of the finance industry, industry capture of every federal regulatory agency and cabinet department and commission or board, from the SEC, to the EPA, to the Interior Dept. (in order to hand over to the oil, gas and timber industries vast parts of federal lands), the FDA, the FTC, the FCC, the NLRB, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Justice Dept. (including the Antitrust Division) -- to name only some.

And OF COURSE it's to serve the interests of the working class and lower middle class that they concertedly appoint Supreme Court justices and lower federal court judges that are unabashed proxies of big business.
=== end of quote ===

This is all true. But Trump essentially running not as a Republican but as an independent on (mostly) populist platform (with elements of nativism). That's why a large part of Republican brass explicitly abandoned him. That does not exclude that he easily will be co-opted after the election, if he wins.

And I would not be surprised one bit if Dick Cheney, Victoria Nuland, Paul Wolfowitz and Perle vote for Hillary. Robert Kagan and papa Bush already declared such an intention. She is a neocon. A wolf in sheep clothing, if we are talking about real anti-war democrats, not the USA brand of DemoRats. She is c