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Two Party System as Polyarchy

News Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Recommended Books Recommended Links Neoliberalism Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" The Deep State The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Media-Military-Industrial Complex Predator state American Exceptionalism Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Nation under attack meme Big Uncle is Watching You Pluralism as a myth
Principal-agent problem Corporatist Corruption Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Myth about intelligent voter Harvard Mafia Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Corporatism National Security State
Libertarian Philosophy Ethno-lingustic Nationalism Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton US Presidential Elections of 2015 US Presidential Elections of 2012 Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
"There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man."

-- Gore Vidal

“The Democrats are the foxes, and the Republicans are the wolves – and they both want to devour you.” So what does that make Libertarians? Avian flu viruses?”

-- Leonard Pinkney

The race is no contest when you own both horses. That is why no matter which political party is in power nothing really changes other than the packaging. The puppets who drink at the champagne fountains of the powerful do the bidding of their masters. The people are superfluous to the process.

-- Daniel Estulin


Introduction

Two party system invented by elite of Great Britain proved to be perfect for inverted totalitarism type of regimes, including the US neoliberalism.  Conversion of system of governance to "deep state" essentially make elections optional, but they still continue to exist in an emasculated "two parties system" form.

The term “Deep State” was coined in Turkey and is said to be a system composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services, military, security, judiciary and organized crime. In British author John le Carré’s latest novel, A Delicate Truth, a character describes the Deep State as

“… the ever-expanding circle of non-governmental insiders from banking, industry and commerce who were cleared for highly classified information denied to large swathes of Whitehall and Westminster.” 

The term means an association of elements of government. security services, parts of top-level figures of financial oligarchy and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process.

In other words this is a hidden set of political actors and powerful institutions that are concealed within the wider, “visible” state which, essentially, took over the functions of traditional state, leaving such organization of Executive brach, President, congress and courts mainly ceremonial role. Such transformation is well explained by the The Iron Law of Oligarchy and in various forms happened in Third Reigh, the USSR, Turkey, China and many other countries.

Two party system is a very elegant trick that conceals and project a single party of oligarchy as two distinct parties and distract voters from any serious issues with meaningless cat fight between two during elections. In Lifting the Veil they mention one of the meaning of the term polyarchy is the system where voters are limited to voting between two pre-selected representatives of the oligarchy:

polyarchy: A system where the participation of masses of people is limited to voting among one or another representatives of the elite in periodic elections. Between elections the masses are now expected to keep quiet, to go back to life as usual while the elite make decisions and run the world until they can choose between one or another elite another four years later.

So polyarchy is a system of elite rule, and a system of elite rule that is little bit more soft-core than the elite rule that we would see under a military dictatorship. But what we see is that under a polyarchy the basic socio-economic system does not change, it does not become democratized.

▬William I. Robinson, Behind the Veil, Minute 1:29:15

That is the essence of two party system as implemented in the USA, Great Britain, Canada and several other countries. When, in the 1940s, Joseph Schumpeter argued that ordinary citizens should limit their participation in a democracy to electing its leaders, he was effectively arguing for polyarchy. Here is how Wikipedia defined the term (polyarchy):

In a discussion of contemporary British foreign policy, Mark Curtis stated that "polyarchy is generally what British leaders mean when they speak of promoting 'democracy' abroad.

This is a system in which a small group actually rules and mass participation is confined to choosing leaders in elections managed by competing elites." [8]

The whole idea (the rotation of the pre-selected representative of elite at the top) is somewhat similar to an intro marketing course on how to sell bogus products to gullible consumers forcing them to make adverse selection.

There is also related issue of information asymmetry between voters and elite (represented by Party functionaries). In reality, Democratic Party in not a separate party, but an integral part of the two prong bait-and-switch system with a special function of preventing meaningful reform. In other words in two party system both parties are essentially are two branches of a single party, the party of oligarchy.

But each branch in two party system (let's call them for simplicity Democrats and Republican parties as in the USA) has it's own "hidden" political function.

If the selection of candidates is performed strictly by the party machine (and according to the The Iron Law of Oligarchy, the party machine has innate tendency to self-organize into oligarchy), then subsequent elections is a pure formality, much like in the USSR. Or, more precisely, a political farce because the real voters are limited to top 1% who decide what candidates are selected within each party political machine (or, more correctly, the top 0.01%). In no way elections can be called democratic is public is completely disenfranchised in selection of the candidate. In this sense calling the US election democratic is pure hypocrisy of the ruling elite, who controls the MSM, and by extension the political discourse. This is a perfect trap, out of which there is no escape.

"Surface state" vs "deep state"

The USA political system does not have a single government. It actually has two distinct governments. They are called "surface state" or Madisonians and "deep state" or Trumanites (national security establishment in alliance with selected members of financial oligarchy, media owners and technocrats). It was Truman who signed National Security Act of 1947  which created major three letter agencies (CIA, DOD, FBI and NSA).

Simplifying the complex relation between those two US governments (sometimes Madisonians fight back and have Trumanites to make a temporary retreat) we can say that:

Conversion of system of governance to "deep state" which happened in the USA almost immediately after 1947 essentially made elections optional, but they still continue to exist as a ceremonial function for the sake of providing the legitimacy in an emasculated "two parties system" form.  While relationship is more complex then simple dominance, in essence "deep state" is the tail that wag the dog. And JFK assassination meant first of all the triumph of "deep state" over "surface state". In this sense 9/11 was just the last nail in the coffin of democracy.

The term “Deep State” was coined in Turkey (and actually Wikipedia discusses only it) but it is widespread modern phenomenon which can also be found in most other states. The term means a shadow alliance of elements of government. security services, selected top-level figures of financial oligarchy, media and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process. As any elite dominance project it is deeply anti-democratic although it uses fig leaf of democracy for foreign expansion via color revolutions and wars. 

Like in Third Reich this dominance is supported by relentless propaganda and brainwashing with mechanisms polished since Reagan to perfection. There is now no problem to create an "enemy of the people" when the elite wants and it does not matter which country or individual is selected as an enemy. The essence of elite politics in this area was best formulated by Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

In other words this is a hidden set of political actors and powerful institutions that are concealed within the wider, “visible” state which, essentially, took over the functions of traditional state, leaving such organization of Executive branch, President, congress and courts mainly ceremonial role. Such transformation is well explained by the The Iron Law of Oligarchy and in various forms happened in Third Reich, the USSR, Turkey, China and many other countries.

Here is how The American Conservative covers this topic:

Steve Sailer links to this unsettling essay by former career Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren, who says the “deep state” — the Washington-Wall-Street-Silicon-Valley Establishment — is a far greater threat to liberty than you think. The partisan rancor and gridlock in Washington conceals a more fundamental and pervasive agreement.

Excerpts:

These are not isolated instances of a contradiction; they have been so pervasive that they tend to be disregarded as background noise. During the time in 2011 when political warfare over the debt ceiling was beginning to paralyze the business of governance in Washington, the United States government somehow summoned the resources to overthrow Muammar Ghaddafi’s regime in Libya, and, when the instability created by that coup spilled over into Mali, provide overt and covert assistance to French intervention there. At a time when there was heated debate about continuing meat inspections and civilian air traffic control because of the budget crisis, our government was somehow able to commit $115 million to keeping a civil war going in Syria and to pay at least £100m to the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters to buy influence over and access to that country’s intelligence. Since 2007, two bridges carrying interstate highways have collapsed due to inadequate maintenance of infrastructure, one killing 13 people. During that same period of time, the government spent $1.7 billion constructing a building in Utah that is the size of 17 football fields. This mammoth structure is intended to allow the National Security Agency to store a yottabyte of information, the largest numerical designator computer scientists have coined. A yottabyte is equal to 500 quintillion pages of text. They need that much storage to archive every single trace of your electronic life.

Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose. My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an “establishment.” All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. In terms of its scope, financial resources and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude.
 

More:

Washington is the most important node of the Deep State that has taken over America, but it is not the only one. Invisible threads of money and ambition connect the town to other nodes. One is Wall Street, which supplies the cash that keeps the political machine quiescent and operating as a diversionary marionette theater. Should the politicians forget their lines and threaten the status quo, Wall Street floods the town with cash and lawyers to help the hired hands remember their own best interests. The executives of the financial giants even have de facto criminal immunity. On March 6, 2013, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder stated the following: “I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.” This, from the chief law enforcement officer of a justice system that has practically abolished the constitutional right to trial for poorer defendants charged with certain crimes. It is not too much to say that Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State and its strategies, if for no other reason than that it has the money to reward government operatives with a second career that is lucrative beyond the dreams of avarice — certainly beyond the dreams of a salaried government employee. [3]

The corridor between Manhattan and Washington is a well trodden highway for the personalities we have all gotten to know in the period since the massive deregulation of Wall Street: Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner and many others. Not all the traffic involves persons connected with the purely financial operations of the government: In 2013, General David Petraeus joined KKR (formerly Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) of 9 West 57th Street, New York, a private equity firm with $62.3 billion in assets. KKR specializes in management buyouts and leveraged finance. General Petraeus’ expertise in these areas is unclear. His ability to peddle influence, however, is a known and valued commodity. Unlike Cincinnatus, the military commanders of the Deep State do not take up the plow once they lay down the sword. Petraeus also obtained a sinecure as a non-resident senior fellow at theBelfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. The Ivy League is, of course, the preferred bleaching tub and charm school of the American oligarchy.

Lofgren goes on to say that Silicon Valley is a node of the Deep State too, and that despite the protestations of its chieftains against NSA spying, it’s a vital part of the Deep State’s apparatus. More:

The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction. Washington is the headquarters of the Deep State, and its time in the sun as a rival to Rome, Constantinople or London may be term-limited by its overweening sense of self-importance and its habit, as Winwood Reade said of Rome, to “live upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face.”

Read the whole thing.  Steve Sailer says that the Shallow State is a complement to the Deep State. The Shallow State is, I think, another name for what the Neoreactionaries call “The Cathedral,” defined thus:

The Cathedral — The self-organizing consensus of Progressives and Progressive ideology represented by the universities, the media, and the civil service. A term coined by blogger Mencius Moldbug. The Cathedral has no central administrator, but represents a consensus acting as a coherent group that condemns other ideologies as evil. Community writers have enumerated the platform of Progressivism as women’s suffrage, prohibition, abolition, federal income tax, democratic election of senators, labor laws, desegregation, popularization of drugs, destruction of traditional sexual norms, ethnic studies courses in colleges, decolonization, and gay marriage. A defining feature of Progressivism is that “you believe that morality has been essentially solved, and all that’s left is to work out the details.” Reactionaries see Republicans as Progressives, just lagging 10-20 years behind Democrats in their adoption of Progressive norms.

You don’t have to agree with the Neoreactionaries on what they condemn — women’s suffrage? desegregation? labor laws? really?? — to acknowledge that they’re onto something about the sacred consensus that all Right-Thinking People share. I would love to see a study comparing the press coverage from 9/11 leading up to the Iraq War with press coverage of the gay marriage issue from about 2006 till today. Specifically, I’d be curious to know about how thoroughly the media covered the cases against the policies that the Deep State and the Shallow State decided should prevail. I’m not suggesting a conspiracy here, not at all. I’m only thinking back to how it seemed so obvious to me in 2002 that we should go to war with Iraq, so perfectly clear that the only people who opposed it were fools or villains. The same consensus has emerged around same-sex marriage. I know how overwhelmingly the news media have believed this for some time, such that many American journalists simply cannot conceive that anyone against same-sex marriage is anything other than a fool or a villain. Again, this isn’t a conspiracy; it’s in the nature of the thing. Lofgren:

Cultural assimilation is partly a matter of what psychologist Irving L. Janis called “groupthink,” the chameleon-like ability of people to adopt the views of their superiors and peers. This syndrome is endemic to Washington: The town is characterized by sudden fads, be it negotiating biennial budgeting, making grand bargains or invading countries. Then, after a while, all the town’s cool kids drop those ideas as if they were radioactive. As in the military, everybody has to get on board with the mission, and questioning it is not a career-enhancing move. The universe of people who will critically examine the goings-on at the institutions they work for is always going to be a small one. As Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

A more elusive aspect of cultural assimilation is the sheer dead weight of the ordinariness of it all once you have planted yourself in your office chair for the 10,000th time. Government life is typically not some vignette from an Allen Drury novel about intrigue under the Capitol dome. Sitting and staring at the clock on the off-white office wall when it’s 11:00 in the evening and you are vowing never, ever to eat another piece of takeout pizza in your life is not an experience that summons the higher literary instincts of a would-be memoirist. After a while, a functionary of the state begins to hear things that, in another context, would be quite remarkable, or at least noteworthy, and yet that simply bounce off one’s consciousness like pebbles off steel plate: “You mean the number of terrorist groups we are fighting is classified?” No wonder so few people are whistle-blowers, quite apart from the vicious retaliation whistle-blowing often provokes: Unless one is blessed with imagination and a fine sense of irony, growing immune to the curiousness of one’s surroundings is easy. To paraphrase the inimitable Donald Rumsfeld, I didn’t know all that I knew, at least until I had had a couple of years away from the government to reflect upon it.

When all you know is the people who surround you in your professional class bubble and your social circles, you can think the whole world agrees with you, or should. It’s probably not a coincidence that the American media elite live, work, and socialize in New York and Washington, the two cities that were attacked on 9/11, and whose elites — political, military, financial — were so genuinely traumatized by the events.

Anyway, that’s just a small part of it, about how the elite media manufacture consent. Here’s a final quote, one from the Moyers interview with Lofgren:

BILL MOYERS: If, as you write, the ideology of the Deep State is not democrat or republican, not left or right, what is it?

MIKE LOFGREN: It’s an ideology. I just don’t think we’ve named it. It’s a kind of corporatism. Now, the actors in this drama tend to steer clear of social issues. They pretend to be merrily neutral servants of the state, giving the best advice possible on national security or financial matters. But they hold a very deep ideology of the Washington consensus at home, which is deregulation, outsourcing, de-industrialization and financialization. And they believe in American exceptionalism abroad, which is boots on the ground everywhere, it’s our right to meddle everywhere in the world. And the result of that is perpetual war.

This can’t last. We’d better hope it can’t last. And we’d better hope it unwinds peacefully.

I, for one, remain glad that so many of us Americans are armed. When the Deep State collapses — and it will one day — it’s not going to be a happy time.

Questions to the room: Is a Gorbachev for the Deep State conceivable? That is, could you foresee a political leader emerging who could unwind the ideology and apparatus of the Deep State, and not only survive, but succeed? Or is it impossible for the Deep State to allow such a figure to thrive? Or is the Deep State, like the Soviet system Gorbachev failed to reform, too entrenched and too far gone to reform itself? If so, what then?

The second important thinker in this area is  Professor Michael J. Glennon who wrote the book  “National Security and Double Government.”

Here is how Amazon reviewer Mal Warwick summarized the book in his review written on December 22, 2014

Who makes national security decisions? Not who you think!

Why does Barack Obama's performance on national security issues in the White House contrast so strongly with his announced intentions as a candidate in 2008? After all, not only has Obama continued most of the Bush policies he decried when he ran for the presidency, he has doubled down on government surveillance, drone strikes, and other critical programs.

Michael J. Glennon set out to answer this question in his unsettling new book, National Security and Double Government. And he clearly dislikes what he found.

The answer, Glennon discovered, is that the US government is divided between the three official branches of the government, on the one hand — the "Madisonian" institutions incorporated into the Constitution — and the several hundred unelected officials who do the real work of a constellation of military and intelligence agencies, on the other hand. These officials, called "Trumanites" in Glennon's parlance for having grown out of the national security infrastructure established under Harry Truman, make the real decisions in the area of national security. (To wage the Cold War, Truman created the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of Defense, the CIA, the NSA, and the National Security Council.) "The United States has, in short," Glennon writes, "moved beyond a mere imperial presidency to a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of U.S. national security policy. . . . The perception of threat, crisis, and emergency has been the seminal phenomenon that has created and nurtures America's double government." If Al Qaeda hadn't existed, the Trumanite network would have had to create it — and, Glennon seems to imply, might well have done so.

The Trumanites wield their power with practiced efficiency, using secrecy, exaggerated threats, peer pressure to conform, and the ability to mask the identity of the key decision-maker as their principal tools.

Michael J. Glennon comes to this task with unexcelled credentials. A professor of international law at Tufts and former legal counsel for the Senate Armed Services Committee, he came face to face on a daily basis with the "Trumanites" he writes about. National Security and Double Government is exhaustively researched and documented: notes constitute two-thirds of this deeply disturbing little book.

The more I learn about how politics and government actually work — and I've learned a fair amount in my 73 years — the more pessimistic I become about the prospects for democracy in America. In some ways, this book is the most worrisome I've read over the years, because it implies that there is no reason whatsoever to think that things can ever get better. In other words, to borrow a phrase from the Borg on Star Trek, "resistance is futile." That's a helluva takeaway, isn't it?

On reflection, what comes most vividly to mind is a comment from the late Chalmers Johnson on a conference call in which I participated several years ago. Johnson, formerly a consultant to the CIA and a professor at two campuses of the University of California (Berkeley and later San Diego), was the author of many books, including three that awakened me to many of the issues Michael Glennon examines: Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis. Johnson, who was then nearly 80 and in declining health, was asked by a student what he would recommend for young Americans who want to combat the menace of the military-industrial complex. "Move to Vancouver," he said.

Here is how Christopher Bellavita in Homeland Security Watch summarize an interesting discussion at Cato think tank which I highly recommend to watch:

Why has American national security policy changed so little from the Bush administration to the Obama

That’s the question Michael J. Glennon asks in his book “National Security and Double Government.”

His answer: national security policy is determined largely by “the several hundred managers of the military, intelligence, diplomatic, and law enforcement agencies who are responsible for protecting the nation and who have come to operate largely immune from constitutional and electoral restraints.” The president, congress and the courts play largely a symbolic role in national security policy, Glennon claims.

You can read a Harvard National Security Journal article that outlines Glennon’s argument at this link: http://harvardnsj.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Glennon-Final.pdf.  The paper is not an especially easy read, but I found it to be well researched and – for  me – persuasive.

His book adds more analysis to the argument, using (from Graham Allison’s Essence of Decision) the rational actor model, the government politics model, and the organizational behavior model. Glennon extends that framework by discussing culture, networks, and the myth of alternative competing hypotheses.  The book is richer, in my opinion.  But the core of Glennon’s position is in the paper.

This link takes you to a video of Glennon talking about his book at the Cato Institute: http://www.cato.org/events/national-security-double-government (the talk starts at the 5:20 mark).

From the Cato site:

In National Security and Double Government, Michael Glennon examines the continuity in U.S. national security policy from the Bush administration to the Obama administration. Glennon explains the lack of change by pointing to the enervation of America’s “Madisonian institutions,” namely, the Congress, the presidency, and the courts. In Glennon’s view, these institutions have been supplanted by a “Trumanite network” of bureaucrats who make up the permanent national security state. National security policymaking has been removed from public view and largely insulated from law and politics. Glennon warns that leaving security policy in the hands of the Trumanite network threatens Americans’ liberties and the republican form of government.

Some blurb reviews:

“If constitutional government is to endure in the United States, Americans must confront the fundamental challenges presented by this chilling analysis of the national security state.”
Bruce Ackerman

“Glennon shows how the underlying national security bureaucracy in Washington – what might be called the deep state – ensures that presidents and their successors act on the world stage like Tweedledee and Tweedledum.”
John J. Mearsheimer

“National Security and Double Government is brilliant, deep, sad, and vastly learned across multiple fields–a work of Weberian power and stature. It deserves to be read and discussed. The book raises philosophical questions in the public sphere in a way not seen at least since Fukuyama’s end of history.”
David A. Westbrook

“In our faux democracy, those we elect to govern serve largely ornamental purposes, while those who actually wield power, especially in the realm of national security, do so chiefly with an eye toward preserving their status and prerogatives. Read this incisive and richly documented book, and you’ll understand why.”
Andrew J. Bacevich

“…Michael Glennon provides a compelling argument that America’s national security policy is growing outside the bounds of existing government institutions. This is at once a constitutional challenge, but is also a case study in how national security can change government institutions, create new ones, and, in effect, stand-up a parallel state….”
Vali Nasr

“Instead of being responsive to citizens or subject to effective checks and balances, U.S. national security policy is in fact conducted by a shadow government of bureaucrats and a supporting network of think tanks, media insiders, and ambitious policy wonks. Presidents may come and go, but the permanent national security establishment inevitably defeats their efforts to chart a new course….”
Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renee Belfer

I’ve spoken to three people I consider to be members of the “shadow national security state.”   One person said Glennon’s argument is nothing new.  The second told me he’s got it exactly right.  The third said it’s even worse.

You are irrelevant: Instead of Trump's "you are fired", party apparatchiks create the situation in which regular members are really irrelevant

In this sense "regular" voters are irrelevant and play role of extras in the game of the elite (which might include power struggle between various factions). They will always face an adverse selection between between bad for their interests candidate and even worse, often disastrous candidate.

For example, between Obama (who in reality is closer to Bush III then many people think) and close to the Tea Party candidate. The choice is clear and wrong as neither candidate represents interests of the voters. So majority of "regular" voters is automatically disenfranchised by party machine in a very fundamental way. Exectly like in should be according to the The Iron Law of Oligarchy

Moreover, in this situation the vote for any third candidate automatically became a vote for Tea Party (remembers the role supporters of Ralph Nader played in the election if Bush II in Florida). So electorate is in not only held hostage by two (pre-selected by oligarchy) candidates and is allowed only to chose between them. They are royally punished for disobedience.

Again, the classic example of this mechanism in action was the role of Nader in Gore vs. Bush election. This is the key mechanism of “managed democracy” or, as it is also called, the “inverted totalitarianism”.

All mechanisms discussed about that "winner takes all" election system profoundly and fundamentally is nothing but a subtle and elegant way of enforcement of the rule of oligarchy in the form of polyarchy, with the only difference from military dictatorship (which represents the extreme form of the elite rule) that there is no dictator for life. But it's the same iron fist (in a velvet glove). Which is a definite improvement over military dictatorship, but this is not that big an improvement. You are still tightly controlled, but instead of brute force financial or other indirect methods are used. It is not an improvement even in comparison with Soviet Politburo election of the General Secretary of CPSU, although it definitely more entertaining and has better PR potential.

i would like to stress that in a very deep sense, so called "government by the people" in case of two party system is not that different than heredity monarchal or autocratic rule, or, for a change, rule of the Soviet Politburo. This also means that Constitution became just a peace fo paper, document which is optional and redundant for ruling elite as George Bush aptly demonstrated.

Constitutional provisions can't be controlled in any meaningful way if rulers are completely detached from the voters. So voters and their interests can be abused in whatever way oligarchy wishes. To lessen the pain they can be distracted by throwing them like a bone for the dog artificial issues like homosexual marriage and deciding key economic and political issues in private. Selection of the agenda is the privilege of ruling class and always was.

Ordinary people had no say then or now. and with two part system this is by design. According to John Jay, America’s first Supreme Court chief justice, the nation should be governed by people who owned it.

Illusion of democracy

The simple plurality voting system is a single-winner voting system also called winner-takes-all or first-past-the-post. The latter term is an analogy to horse racing, where the winner of the race is the first to pass a particular point (the "post") on the track, after which all other runners automatically lose.

Elections in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada belong to this category. In this type of voting there is no requirement that the winner gain an absolute majority of votes. And as we demonstrated above such system automatically means the rule of oligarchy. On the current stage of development of the USA political system this is financial oligarchy because the social system that exists in the USA now is neoliberalism. The latter automatically makes the whole social system prone to deep and devastating crises. And that increases demand for guard labor and militarization of police. In a very fundamental way rulers are much more afraid of proles in neoliberal regime then under New Deal regime.

Duverger's law is a principle which asserts that any plurality voting system elections naturally impose a two-party system That means that single-winner voting system essentially hand all the power to the elite as it is elite that controls the electability of candidates from both parties. The discovery of this tendency is attributed to Maurice Duverger, a French sociologist who observed the effect and recorded it in several papers published in the 1950s and 1960s.

In the course of further research, other political scientists began calling the effect a "law" or principle. Duverger's law suggests a nexus or synthesis between a party system and an electoral system: only a proportional representation (PR) system creates the electoral conditions necessary to foster to foster smaller parties development while a plurality system marginalizes smaller political parties, resulting in what is known as a two-party system.

only a proportional representation (PR) system creates the electoral conditions necessary to foster smaller parties development while a plurality system marginalizes smaller political parties, resulting in what is known as a two-party system.

At the same time, a two party system provides a pretty realistic illusion of democracy and is actually remarkably effective both in enforcing the rule of oligarchy and preserving this illusion. A perfect system for a small group to rule, as all “mass participation” is confined to choosing between two preselected by party brass candidates. In other word elections are just a puppet show controlled by oligarchy much like elections controlled by party nomenklatura of the USSR when only a single candidate existed, but still elections were called and votes were counted. Actually the fact that they did not adopt a two party system this is a testament of the ideological rigidity of the USSR nomenklatura, as such a system is perfectly compatible with a totalitarian society and is essence is a small, insignificant (but very elegant and deceptive) variation of the one party rule.

In addition “Winner takes all” system automatically, by design, co-opts small parties into either Democratic Party or Republican Party camp, before they can get any level of maturity. That means that, unfortunately, within the “winner takes all” framework emergence of third party is temporal as they are quickly co-opted into one of two wings of the establishment party. The latter can well be "the War Party" as jingoism is the credo of both Democrats and Republicans, and in many cases it is difficult to understand who is more jingoistic.

A two party system as a mediator between conflicting interests of factions of the elite

In Golden Rule Thomas Ferguson argues the US two party system functions as a mediator between conflicting business interests. Between two parts of the ruling elite.

Rodolfo Lazo de la Vega

Democracy, Capitalism & the State, December 27, 2010

This review is from: Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems (American Politics and Political Economy Series) (Paperback)

The central foundational principle of the capitalist nation-state is that it is a reflection of its economic constituencies. Those who own and control the means of production shape the state in the form that they desire. This truism - that money runs politics - is the central argument of Thomas Ferguson's "Golden Rule." He begins by asking what are political parties? They are organizations composed of blocs of major investors who come together to advance favored candidates in order to control the state. They do this through direct cash contributions and by providing organizational support through the making available of sources of contacts, fundraisers and institutional legitimation. Candidates are invested in like stocks. For them electoral success is dependent on establishing the broadest base of elite support. Candidates whom have best *internalized* investor values see their "portfolios" grow exponentially at the expense of candidates who have not internalized these values. So what you have is a filtering system in which only the most indoctrinated and business friendly of the intellectual class advance to state power. The higher you go up the ladder the more you've appealed to elite interests. Representatives of the major investors are also often chosen to fill political appointments after a favored candidate has achieved office. This political-economic model helps explain why the state largely functions to serve elite business interests on the domestic and international stages.

Of course, corporate interests vary and evolve. Capital-intensive corporations tend to invest in Democratic politicians. Labor-intensive corporations tend to invest in Republicans. That's because capital-intensive corporations can afford to sit in a party which also represent organized labor. The AFL-CIO rarely poses a threat to Wall Street; and vice-versa. So what would we expect from a system like this? One thing we would expect is that on issues which the public cares about but on which there is cross-party investor agreement no party competition will take place. That means that the issues the public is most interested in will not appear on the agenda. The polls have been pretty consistent on this point. Major public interest revolves around issues having to do with trade agreements, in favor of a single-payer health care system, increased spending for education, slashing the Pentagon budget and many other issues. At times the population has been able to organize successfully and force popular issues onto the agenda despite business opposition.

Ferguson details how the growth, development and fall of major industries correspond to the growth, development, and fall of their political parties. He examines the rise and fall of five major investment bloc party systems - the Federalist vs. Jeffersonian, the Jacksonian, the Civil War party system, the system of 1896 and the New Deal. The latter is dealt with in much detail.

The book, while highly informative, is not without its flaws. Ferguson's prose is obtuse and very, very dry. The charts are helpful but the ideas could have been presented in a more compact form. Regardless of these reservations, this book is very important for an understanding of how our political system functions and deserves a large audience, discussion and action.

One of early proponents of "elite [dominance] theory" James Burnham in his book, The Machiavellians, argued and developed his theory that the emerging new élite would better serve its own interests if it retained some democratic trappings — two party system, illusion of "free press" and a controlled "circulation of the elites."

Notes on Republican Party

As Anatol Leiven noted:

...the Republican Party is really like an old style European nationalist party. Broadly serving the interests of the moneyed elite but spouting a form of populist gobbledygook, which paints America as being in a life and death, struggle with anti-American forces at home and abroad.

It is the reason for Anne Coulter, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. That is the rhetoric of struggle acts as a cover for political policies that benefit a few and lay the blame for the problems of ordinary Americans on fictitious entities.

The main side effects of the nationalism are the current policies which shackles America to Israel uncritically despite what that country might and how its actions may isolate America from the rest of the world. It also justifies America on foreign policy adventures such as the invasion of Iraq.

In terms of the two-party system, Republicans are avid, pitiless, intolerant, unbending, predatory, anti-democratic, iron-willed ideologues who’ve sold out to big business while courting big religion. Democrats ape them, thus creating a one-party climate that fulfills the wishes of corporate "citizens" and transnational elite (becoming this way just another neoliberal party), systematically neglecting the needs of the middle class (lower classes never have any meaningful political representation, so nothing changed for them). That combination produces an apathetic electorate which completely lost hope in the political process. This is the essence of "inverted totalitarism".

Note on Democratic Party

Democratic Party after Clinton became Republican Party light, the party of Wall Street, that has nothing to do with labor movement, which previously was its base. The reasoning is that labor is nowhere to go in any case, so it is safe for democratic establishment to serve financial oligarchy.

The current democratic president would be viewed as a moderate republican just 30-50 years ago, as politically he is positioned to the right in comparison with Dwight D. Eisenhower. Just compare his famous warning about Military-Industrial Complex and Obama behavior during Snowden revelations of NSA total surveillance regime. Even Nixon, who finished Vietnam war is in some major aspects to the left of Clinton and Obama. Note how unceremoniously Obama dumped labor immediately after being reelected for the second term.

Essentially under Obama the USA two party system became undistinguishable in its major features from the USSR one party system, as behind the façade of two parties there is a single party, the party of oligarchy, the party of top 0.01% much like CPSU was the party of Soviet nomenklatura, which was hostile to the interests of middle class of the USSR (which is perfectly provable by the very low standard living of the middle class in the USSR).

Democracy promotion as used by the USA foreign policy
is actually a promotion of polyarchy

This oligarchy system was actively promoted in third world countries via so called color revolutions. Democracy promotion term in the US foreign policy is nothing but promotion of polyarchy. It is the policy that strives to put pro-Western elite groups and large international companies in power using variety of "grey area" methods which come short of armed apprising against the demonized "evil" regime. That was very successful policy in post USSR space with Ukraine and Georgia as two prominent examples.

After such a revolution a new, more pro-Western part of the elite (lumpenelite) comes to power and exercise often brutal monopoly power in the interests of the USA and transnational corporations. Typically privatization of the county is in the cards. Which regimes of Boris Yeltsin, Viktor Yushchenko and Mikheil Saakashvili demonstrated all too well. Also important that as 1965 CIA report about Philippines stresses that "The similarity of the parties, nevertheless encourages moderation, readiness to compromise, and lack of dogmatism in the political elite". Philippines were a key client regime in 1950th and 1960th with Clark Air Base and Subtic Naval Base to be the largest military facilities outside US mainland (Promoting polyarchy globalization ... - William I. Robinson (p. 120))

Here is one Amazon review of the book:

Brilliant exposition of US policy and the global order June 12, 2001

By Geoff Johnson

Format:Paperback

In this difficult but extremely provocative and scholarly work, William I. Robinson presents a new model for understanding US foreign policy and the emergent global society as a whole. The crux of his thesis is this: US foreign policy has changed in the last twenty years or so from open support of authoritarian regimes in countries where the US has economic and/or strategic interests to a program of "democracy promotion" that strives to place minority elite groups who are responsive to the interests of the United States and transnational capital at the head of the political, economic, and civic structures of "third world" countries.

Contrary to popular opinion (and that of much of academia), the real goal of democracy promotion, or what Robinson refers to as "promoting polyarchy", is not the promotion of democracy at all, but rather the promotion of the interests of an increasingly transnational elite headed by the US who seek open markets for goods and an increase in the free flow of capital. This marks a conscious shift in foreign policy in which the US now favors "consensual domination" by democratically elected governments rather than authoritarian leaders and the type of "crony capitalism" made famous by the likes of Ferdinand Marcos and Anastacio Somoza.

The first sections of the book introduce numerous theoretical concepts (drawing heavily on the theories of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, in particular his theory of hegemony) that are crucial to the understanding of the text. I personally found these sections extremely difficult but well worth the time it takes to read certain parts several times. Robinson then goes on to document four case studies-- the Phillipines, Chile, Nicaragua, and Haiti-- each of which fleshes out his conceptual framework in much more concrete terms. The result is a disturbing picture of US foreign policy and the current direction of "globalization." I would highly recommend this to anyone with a strong interest in foreign affairs and/or the future of humanity.

Here is an interesting review of Wolin's book: Inverted Totalitarianism in the US

The US is a self-declared empire that scholars have labeled a “superpower” since it achieved military and cultural hegemony in a “unipolar moment” at the “end of history” while seeking “full-spectrum dominance” of land, sea, air, cyberspace and outer space, as stated in the Department of Defense’s Joint Vision 2020.

In order to impede the Soviet Union’s imperial projects, the US likewise slung itself astride the globe using multilateral institutions, spy networks and covert operations which produced a “Cold War” that eliminated the idea of peacetime and demanded permanent military mobilization bolstered by the military-industrial-congressional complex while placing citizens on high alert against nuclear threats and a domestic infestation of “reds” that excused the government’s surveillance of citizens.

The Constitution, which limits power, and a democracy, which requires local control and citizen empowerment, are both profaned by superpower, which defies limits in its quest for global supremacy, overshadowing localities and overpowering citizens while projecting power outward and inward simultaneously.

To describe this configuration, the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin coined the term “inverted totalitarianism.”

In old totalitarianism, the state dominated the economy while iconic demagogues who permanently held office mobilized citizens and openly flaunted the blanketing power of the new order they were imposing. With inverted totalitarianism, the economy dominates the state wherein temporary “representatives” serve a permanent corporate regime that demobilizes citizens while claiming to protect individual liberty by reducing state power, thus concealing the totalitarian character.

In terms of the two-party system, Republicans are avid, pitiless, intolerant, unbending, predatory, anti-democratic, iron-willed ideologues who’ve sold out to big business while courting big religion, and Democrats ape them, thus creating a one-party climate that fulfills the wishes of corporate “citizens” while systematically neglecting the needs of regular citizens, producing an apathetic electorate that’s lost hope in the political process.

State power is legitimated by media events called “elections” that elites have learned to control through finance, marketing and media ownership, while politicians accept bribes called “contributions” that are considered “speech” – as defined by the Supreme Court, effectively using “free speech” to silence the citizenry while replacing constituents with lobbyists.

Citizens fear job loss and benefit loss due to downsizing and outsourcing, which maximize “efficiency,” while the government shreds social safety nets for the sake of “efficiency,” leaving citizens vulnerable and yet unable to protect themselves when states outlaw collective bargaining, thus criminalizing worker self-defense.

Contrary to popular belief, slashing federal programs enhances state power by making government less unwieldy and easier to control since it dilutes public involvement, thus depleting public power and solidifying executive power.

The idea of democracy is emptied of substance and used as a slogan to justify military invasion, occupation and torture while the doctrine of “preemptive war” renders all acts of aggression as defensive and undertaken for the sake of insuring “stability.” For example, deference to US demands and the protection of corporate assets – in a war against terrorism that lacks a specific geographic location and thus requires the globe-girdling ability to strike anywhere anytime.

Instead of a Politburo circulating state propaganda that touts one political ideology, the corporate media feigns democratic debate that features “both sides” who are portrayed as extreme opposites but actually reflect a slim range of political discourse, thus giving the appearance of freedom while relying on White House, State Department and Pentagon spokespeople to supply the “official” version of political affairs, which are broadcast into every home through television, thus manipulating the public rather than including them.

Democracy functions as a useful myth that obscures the totalitarian atmosphere in which citizens feel politically impotent and fearful as they are dwarfed by giant, rigid, top-heavy bureaucracies that respond to the protocols of a corporate state that collaborates with telecommunications companies to monitor the population and develop detailed digital profiles of citizens while local police forces cooperate with federal law enforcement agencies, augmenting the burgeoning prison industry as the state loosens laws that forbid army soldiers from patrolling US streets.

The corporate state defunds public programs and forces everything into the market, including health, education, social security, pensions, public broadcasting, prisons, water, soldiers, surveillance and national intelligence, while businesses commodify the environment and patent DNA.

Two Party System as an enabler of the Quiet Coup:
privatization by the elite of the whole country

In the “democracy” that America has evolved to, money counts more than people. In past elections, the votes were counted, now they are going to start weighing them.

America The Counter-Revolution - Salem-News.Com

“(T)he rich elites of (the USA) have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens … the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot. Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it.”

-- Mike Lofgren

Two party system also makes possible a very interesting recent phenomenon, which started under Reagan (or may be Nixon) and first fully demonstrated itself after the dissolution of the USSR: a deep split between the elite and the rest of population to the extent that the country because a hostage of the elite which now behave like a brutal occupiers, not as compatriots. In other work the self-serving(aka greedy) elite with its neoliberal ideology emerged as much more formidable threat to democracy then communist ideology of the past. Neoliberalism not only defeated Marxism, it also decimated the US labor movement. Neoliberalism is in essence transnational, so Marxist slogan "proletarians of all countries unite" materialized in a form "elite of all countries unite" ;-). and that spells deep troubles for the 99% of the USA population as labor arbitrage is used to lower their living standard.

Being transnational they treat their "host" country as occupiers. Their allegiance is with transnational elite not with old ("national") bourgeoisie. In some countries like Russia under Putin national bourgeoisie (and imprisonment of Khodorkovky was a watershed invent in this respect as it prevented sell-out of Russian oil reserves to the US corporations) managed partially displace transnational elite form command hights but it remain to be seen how stable this regime is.

They now crave for "materialization" of their status in a form of great wealth and reject moral and cultural values of the past. This was first noticed by Christopher Lasch in 1994 when he published his groundbreaking book The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy. This was partly due to the book prophetic recognition that the elites of this country (and indeed the developed world) -- the professionals, top managers (upper-middle class and higher) -- were pulling away from the rest of the pack, tacitly renouncing their stake in and responsibility to society social contract, and slowly changing the rules of the game to increate economic inequality and appropriate the large share of society wealth. Tyler Durden writes Zero Hedge on Feb. 15, 2013, that 1% of Americans control over 40% of the United States’ wealth. But those making $10 million or more a year pay an average income tax rate of only 19%, less then people who are making 60K a year. As an old-school conservative, Lasch considered excessive economic inequality to be intrinsically undesirable: the difficulty of limiting the influence of wealth suggests that wealth itself needs to be limited.

Since the Reagan administration the USA has indeed accomplished a successful transformation to an effective One Party State with the financial oligarchy instead of Soviet nomenklarura and Wall Street instead of the Communist Party of the USSR. As Soviet nomenklatura had shown to the surprised world at one moment the elite can just privatize the whole country (with active participation of KGB which in theory should protect the regime). In other words the objective of the elite and their political handmaidens became to discredit and destroy the traditional nation state and auction its resources to themselves. This new ruling caste, schooled separately, brought up to believe in fairytales, lives in a world of its own, from which it can project power without understanding or even noticing the consequences. A removal from the life of the rest of the nation is no barrier to the desire to dominate it. In fact it appears to be associated with a powerful, almost psychopathic sense of entitlement. This transition of elite (which now is first and foremost financial elite) into brutal occupiers of their own country was recently popularized by Professor Simon Johnson under then name of "Quiet Coup":

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government -- a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. ...

…the American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital -- a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. The banking-and-securities industry has become one of the top contributors to political campaigns, but at the peak of its influence, it did not have to buy favors the way, for example, the tobacco companies or military contractors might have to. Instead, it benefited from the fact that Washington insiders already believed that large financial institutions and free-flowing capital markets were crucial to America’s position in the world.

At least since Reagan years we’ve been witnessing a quiet, slow-motion coup d’etat whose purpose is to repeal every bit of progressive legislation since the New Deal and entrench the privileged positions of the wealthy and powerful — who haven’t been as wealthy or as powerful since the Gilded Age of the late 19th century. As professor Reich noted:

Its techique is to inundate America with a few big lies, told over and over (for example, the debt is Obama’s fault and it’s out of control; corporations and the very rich are the “job creators” that need tax cuts; government is the enemy, and its regulations are strangling the private sector; unions are bad; and so on), and tell them so often they’re taken as fact.

Then having convinced enough Americans that these lies are true, take over the White House, Congress, and remaining states that haven’t yet succumbed to the regressive right (witness Tuesday’s recall election in Wisconsin).

Preventing meaningful reform

Two party system proved to be ideal instrument for preventing any meaningful social and political reform as recent political history of the USA aptly demonstrates. Here are some relevant comments from Naked Capitalism forums:

kievite

I am pretty pessimistic about the current situation. There are some tectonic forces at work and politicians can do only so much to try to prevent an earthquake.

One aspect of the problem is that the society became way too complex.

Tainter in his book suggested that as societies become more complex, the costs of meeting new challenges increase, until there comes a point where extra resources devoted to meeting new challenges produce diminishing and then negative returns.

The USA has an interesting twist in this regard which make some form of drastic change more plausible: Republican Party. The current Republican Party (aka wrecking crew) is a textbook demonstration of the forces that prevent any meaningful reform. Democratic Party is another part of the same bait-and-switch system.

The amount of resources diverted to military industrial complex and financial companies probably serve as another severe limitation on what can be done to prevent new crisis.

And with 40% of population believing that Saddam was instrumental in 9/11 the chances of political change are slim. Looks like country is pretty evenly divided and multi-year brainwashing can’t be reverted until the current generation pass away.

Rampant unemployment and absence of meaningful jobs creation are two features that make the current situation unsustainable.

Simple solutions like some form of fascism are definitely becoming more attractive in this atmosphere. So we can be sure that attempts to explore this opportunity will be made. Clerical fascism is one possibility.

High unemployment is a powerful catalyst of mass support of any radical ideology.

Actually the beginning of this century looks in many ways similar to the beginning of the previous century. And we know how things developed in the previous century. We just do not know the form “change we can believe in” will take.

kievite:

Actually splitting UR into two parties which are just replica of the USA structure with Democratic/Republican parties is a fascinating idea. As the USA experience proved it can be pretty stable politically as one branch of the same “united oligarchy party” would marginalise left and the other can marginalise extreme right.

As Gore Vidal said

“There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man.”

This might be an interesting political innovation for Russia: substituting single party regime with the “dualism without choice” (or “choice we can believe in” if we use politically correct language ;-) . This dual party structure can serve as a powerful force for marginalising opposition both on left and right. reform. In this case both parties are the necessary and vital parts of the same bait-and-switch system.

As for Medvedev actions I think that few people either in mass population or elite forgot economical and political rape of Russia under Yeltsin.

As unforgettable George W. Bush said: “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

A popular mock word for “democrats” — “der’mokcats” and for “liberals” — “liberasts” reflects the common attitude after Yeltsin reforms.

Among interesting attempt to explain the current electoral situation provided in "American Revolution Today- First Principles and Basic Precepts " have some merits:

What does the prospect of Revolution mean today in The United States? Well, the very fact that today we are a nation, whereas in the late eighteenth century our forefathers were simply a collection of subject farmers and tradesmen inhabiting a colonial outpost of The British Empire, puts us in a very different set of circumstances than our predecessors. And yet some of the very same intolerable conditions that impelled our colonial ancestors to revolt against an arbitrary and unresponsive British crown exist today.

In fact, if anything, the tax burden you and I face now is greater by a substantial sum than what existed at the outset of The American Revolution when the cry "Taxation Without Representation" was the clarion call for defiance against The British Crown. More troubling perhaps is that those individuals that stand today at the head of our leading institutions of public life, whether they be the Treasury Secretary, Federal Reserve Bank Chairman, Senior Congressmen and women, and even The President, seem every bit as disinterested in honestly addressing our legitimate concerns, and in answering our probing questions, as any eighteenth century British Parliamentarian or exhalted royal head of state were in addressing the complaints of the colonialists.

Some might offer that the answer to such a lamentable state of affairs is to simply replace, via the ballot box, recalcitrant and unresponsive leaders. Regrettably, it is the opinion of American Revolution Today that the mechanisms of government are now so deeply flawed, so intractably corrupt, that no such simple remedy is possible were it even allowed. In truth, it is the view of American Revolution Today that:

  1. The United States Federal Government, functioning primarily on behalf of monied interests, particularly big banking and Wall Street, has become a nemesis of "We The People."
  2. The entrenched two party system comprised of Democrats and Republicans is, in the main, obstructive of reform, and, by definition, utterly opposed to anything resembling revolutionary change.
  3. At this juncture, traditional means of political self determination may not be the way forward, but in any case, we at American Revolution Today are convinced that no candidate from either the Democratic or Republican parties should receive support; any affiliation with the two party system almost assures that such a candidacy would ultimately be antithetical to government benefiting "We The People."

Following on from that, no candidate who runs for Federal public office that does not feature the following planks in their campaign platform will be deemed suitable for election.

A.) Term limits
B.) Campaign Finance Reform
C.) Shortened Election Cycles
D.) Cessation of "Redistricting"
E.) Full Audit of The Federal Reserve
F.) The restoration of constitutional mandate for congressional control of U.S. currency.
G.) An end to further raising of the debt ceiling
H.) Immediate removal of all troops, personnel, and material from Iran and Afghanistan
I.) Replacement of income tax and estate taxes with new levies on consumption, and amended levies on capital gains by individuals and corporations.
J.) Health care reform that is first and foremost free market based with no governmental bias towards "Big Pharma" or the insurance industry.
K.) A multi-generational program designed to return some "reasonable sum" of manufacture back to the United States
L.) The complete overhaul of such government agencies as the SEC, The Bureau of Labor and Statistics, and Homeland Security, to name but a few.
M.) Full investigations of those individuals in and out of government who are alleged to have engaged in criminal activity associated with the collapse of various large banking concerns and quasi government agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
N.) An end to the entire "alphabet soup" of programs funneling money to too big to be allowed to exist parasitic institutions such as AIG, BOA, GS, Citicorp, and JPM.
O.) A restoration of mark to market accounting standards, and the cessation of the writing of any more "standard performance contracts" aka OTC derivatives, until such time as a regulated exchange is instituted for their trade.
P.) A complete rollback of all cap and trade legislation.

If you are in agreement with the ideas and political initiatives expressed here, and feel as we do, join us in making the Second American Revolution a reality. Join us in reestablishing a nation where The Constitution is fully respected, and where good government is defined as one that governs least and always on behalf of the greater good.

Honest Elections Myth

Here is characterization by the USA MSM of the particular foreign election

They have the right to have an honest elections... We will have to disagree on the scale of the electoral fraud – from what I can see , the “elections”: were a total , crudely executed sham

In fact this characterization if perfectly applicable to the US elections as well. In fact elections are always stolen from people by oligarchy. There was an excellent observation here:

There’s no real skill in convincing people that they’re unhappy with the current state of affairs, and to set visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads (if I may be seasonal for a moment).

Everybody feels they’re entitled to something better, and the only thing left to do is identify the person or persons standing in the way of their getting it.

But everybody who isn’t a dolt usually says at some point, “Uhhh….how’s that going to work?”

I would add my two cents.

  1. When we face critic of elections who claim they are dishonest that classic Russian question arise " Who are the judges?" (Griboedov) .

    Judges are representatives of several political forces:

    Typically none of them is better then "current corrupt regime". That supports that statement that means that taking into account the alternative, the word democracy here is used as a Trojan force for regime change with the hope that the next regime will more suitable for geo-political security interests of the USA and Western Europe.

  2. Absolutization of the idea of "honest election" is nothing but dirty PR trick. I would remind here old, but still relvant work of Robert Michels who became famous for his formuation of "Iron law of oligarchies": He demostrated (in 1911 !) that the idea of "honest election" is a myth the covers the universal trend of democratic organizations towards oligarchy. And that elections are form of civilised struggle of different oligarchic groups represented by party functionaries for power. Which in turn represent so called "leading families". The latter is one (a) that develops, retains and renews its wealth over a number of generations; (b) in which some children in each generation secure good positions in the various elites of society; and (c) where the family holds together as a network for information on and influence over the development of a local community or ─ in certain cases ─ the country as a whole. More than one thinks, the history of Europe and America in the past century has consisted of the history of the leading families.

  3. It's natural that like after any dirty football game the fans of the winning team call it brutal but honest and fans of the losing team "dirty and dishonest". As there are some objective criteria of the level of "dirty tricks" played in election people who try to absolutize the idea of "honest election" are crooks who want to "rock the boat". .

Credibility trap of two party system

Credibility trap of one party system is well known. Two party system is more resilient in this respect but is not totally immune to credibility trap.

A credibility trap [in two party sytem] is a situation in which the regulatory, political and/or the informational functions of a society have been thoroughly taken in by a corrupting influence and a fraud, so that one cannot address the situation without implicating, at least incidentally, a broad swath of the power structure and the status quo who at least tolerated it, if not profited directly from it, and most likely continue to do so.

This lead to an interesting situation when voting became a special type of entertainment aptly described in John Chuckman Nov 6, 2013 essay HOW AMERICA LEARNED TO PLAY GOD

Just as there is a natural cycle in the life of great industries – the scores of early American car manufacturers are now reduced to a few functioning as an oligopoly, an historical pattern repeated in industry after industry – there appears to be a life cycle for a government organized like that of the United States. The duopoly which runs the American government consists of two parties which differ in almost no particulars except some social issues, but even that difference is rather a sham because the American government no longer has any interest in social issues. It is concerned overwhelmingly with representing and furthering the interests of the nation’s three great power centers of the military-industrial-intelligence complex. Social issues now are soap-box stuff for street-corner politicians and members of NGOs.

But in any case, all players in this political duopoly, no matter to which office they may be elected, know they can never challenge the immense authority and virtual omnipresence of America’s military, intelligence, corporate hierarchies and special interests like the Israel Lobby, powerful anti-democratic institutions which literally shape the space America’s politicians must inhabit.

Americans today quite simply could not vote in an informed manner if they wanted to do so (and many are not interested in voting at all, as we shall see): they are completely in the dark as to what happens inside their government, both its operations within the country and in international affairs. No one knows the full extent of spending on intelligence, nor do they know what dark programs are underway. No one knows the full extent of spending on the military, nor do they know to what questionable tasks it is being put around the world. No one knows the immense extent and complexity of lobbying and special interests in the American government. And of course no one is privy to the planning and operations of the great corporations, nor do they know anything of the dealings and financing arrangements between those corporations (or the wealthy individuals who own and run them) and the people’s supposed representatives, who all must spend a substantial part of their time just raising money for the next election (the average American Senator is said to spend two-thirds of his or her time doing just that).

Americans’ votes in elections have become to a remarkable extent meaningless, although an elaborate political stage play keeps the appearance of meaning and keeps those interested in politics involved and entertained. Almost certainly as a result of sensing how little their votes count, Americans often simply do not vote and do so in increasing numbers. The further down the political totem pole you go from the presidential elections which generate the most noise owing to the obscene amounts of money spent on marketing and advertising, the greater is this truth. Maybe 60% vote for president, a minority vote in other national elections, and a tiny fraction vote in state and local elections.

This vacuum is filled with Big Intelligence which become one of the "king makers":

The record of arrogance and abuse by security organizations, such as CIA or the FBI, is long and costly, filled with errors in judgment, abuse of power, incompetence, and immense dishonesty. Owing to the black magic of classified secrecy, much of the record involves projects about which we will never know, but even what we do know about is distressing enough. And I’m not sure that it can be any other way so long as you have Big Intelligence. Apart from Big Intelligence’s own propensity towards criminal or psychopathic behavior, one of the great ironies of Big Intelligence is that it will always agree to bend, to provide whatever suppressions and fabrications are requested by political leaders working towards the aims of the other great anti-democratic institutions, the military and the corporations. This became blindingly clear in the invasion of Iraq and, even before that, in the first Gulf War.

Among other things they provide powerful filtering system so that none undesirable slips into important office:

America’s political system, honed and shaped over many decades, fits comfortably with these institutions. National elections are dominated by a two-party duopoly (being kept that way through countless institutional barriers deliberately created to maintain the status quo) , both these parties are dominated by huge flows of campaign contributions (contributions which form what economists call an effective barrier to entry against any third party seriously being able to compete), both parties embrace much the same policies except for some social issues of little interest to the establishment, and election campaigns are reduced to nothing more than gigantic advertising and marketing operations no different in nature to campaigns for two national brands of fast food or pop. It takes an extremely long time for a candidate to rise and be tested before being trusted with the huge amounts of money invested in an important campaign, and by that time he or she is a well-read book with no surprising chapters.

If for any reason this political filtering system fails, and someone slips through to an important office without having spent enough time to make them perfectly predictable, there still remains little chance of serious change on any important matter. The military-industrial-intelligence complex provides a molded space into which any newcomer absolutely must fit. Just imagine the immense pressures exerted by the mere presence of senior Pentagon brass gathered around a long polished oak table or a table surrounded by top corporate figures representing hundreds of billions in sales or representatives or a major lobbying group (and multi-million dollar financing source for the party). We see the recent example of popular hopes being crushed after the election of Obama, a man everyone on the planet hoped to see mend some of the ravages of George Bush and Dick Cheney. But the man who once sometimes wore sandals and bravely avoided a superfluous and rather silly flag pin on his lapel quickly was made to feel the crushing weight of institutional power, and he bent to every demand made on him, becoming indistinguishable from Bush. Of course, the last president who genuinely did challenge at least some of the great institutional powers, even to a modest extent, died in an ambush in Dallas.

 

 

Disenfranchised Voters

Here are pretty typical comments about the recent Congress election in The Guardian (Oct 30, 2014):

UNOINO

It makes no difference to our Handlers whether we vote for Tweedledee or Tweedledum. None whatsoever because our Handlers own them both. Now, back to work.

jeni popa

All parties aside, the right hand still has to work with the left hand. Try using just one hand, not much gets done, right ? Now try together, thank you.

Stephen_Sean -> jeni popa

Sometimes one hand is all that is required, but I see your point.

UNOINO -> jeni popa

At the moment one force is controlling both hands. They are essentially both doing the same thing. What we need is a third hand, so to speak. A third party.

Wiscot -> UNOINO

If there is one thing that will always unite Republicans and Democrats at all levels of government, it is the desire to keep it a two-party system. Any third party will be marginalized by whatever means possible. They know that people hate Congress so much that any reasonable alternative would get votes. The Establishment will always protect itself.

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[May 21, 2015] Militarization Is More Than Tanks Rifles It's a Cultural Disease, Acclimating Citizens To Life In A Police State

May 21, 2015 | Zero Hedge
Submitted by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

"If we're training cops as soldiers, giving them equipment like soldiers, dressing them up as soldiers, when are they going to pick up the mentality of soldiers? If you look at the police department, their creed is to protect and to serve. A soldier's mission is to engage his enemy in close combat and kill him. Do we want police officers to have that mentality? Of course not."

— Arthur Rizer, former civilian police officer and member of the military

Talk about poor timing. Then again, perhaps it's brilliant timing.

Only nowafter the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security (DHS) and Defense have passed off billions of dollars worth of military equipment to local police forces, after police agencies have been trained in the fine art of war, after SWAT team raids have swelled in number to more than 80,000 a year, after it has become second nature for local police to look and act like soldiers, after communities have become acclimated to the presence of militarized police patrolling their streets, after Americans have been taught compliance at the end of a police gun or taser, after lower income neighborhoods have been transformed into war zones, after hundreds if not thousands of unarmed Americans have lost their lives at the hands of police who shoot first and ask questions later, after a whole generation of young Americans has learned to march in lockstep with the government's dictatesonly now does President Obama lift a hand to limit the number of military weapons being passed along to local police departments.

Not all, mind you, just some.

Talk about too little, too late.

Months after the White House defended a federal program that distributed $18 billion worth of military equipment to local police, Obama has announced that he will ban the federal government from providing local police departments with tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, camouflage uniforms and large-caliber firearms.

Obama also indicated that less heavy-duty equipment (armored vehicles, tactical vehicles, riot gear and specialized firearms and ammunition) will reportedly be subject to more regulations such as local government approval, and police being required to undergo more training and collect data on the equipment's use. Perhaps hoping to sweeten the deal, the Obama administration is also offering $163 million in taxpayer-funded grants to "incentivize police departments to adopt the report's recommendations."

While this is a grossly overdue first step of sorts, it is nevertheless a first step from an administration that has been utterly complicit in accelerating the transformation of America's police forces into extensions of the military. Indeed, as investigative journalist Radley Balko points out, while the Obama administration has said all the right things about the need to scale back on a battlefield mindset, it has done all the wrong things to perpetuate the problem:

It remains to be seen whether this overture on Obama's part, coming in the midst of heightened tensions between the nation's police forces and the populace they're supposed to protect, opens the door to actual reform or is merely a political gambit to appease the masses all the while further acclimating the populace to life in a police state.

Certainly, on its face, it does nothing to ease the misery of the police state that has been foisted upon us. In fact, Obama's belated gesture of concern does little to roll back the deadly menace of overzealous police agencies corrupted by money, power and institutional immunity. And it certainly fails to recognize the terrible toll that has been inflicted on our communities, our fragile ecosystem of a democracy, and our freedoms as a result of the government's determination to bring the war home.

Will the young black man guilty of nothing more than running away from brutish police officers be any safer in the wake of Obama's edict? It's unlikely.

Will the old man reaching for his cane have a lesser chance of being shot? It's doubtful.

Will the little girl asleep under her princess blanket live to see adulthood when a SWAT team crashes through her door? I wouldn't count on it.

It's a safe bet that our little worlds will be no safer following Obama's pronouncement and the release of his "Task Force on 21st Century Policing" report. In fact, there is a very good chance that life in the American police state will become even more perilous.

Among the report's 50-page list of recommendations is a call for more police officer boots on the ground, training for police "on the importance of de-escalation of force," and "positive non-enforcement activities" in high-crime communities to promote trust in the police such as sending an ice cream truck across the city.

Curiously, nowhere in the entire 120-page report is there a mention of the Fourth Amendment, which demands that the government respect citizen privacy and bodily integrity. The Constitution is referenced once, in the Appendix, in relation to Obama's authority as president. And while the word "constitutional" is used 15 times within the body of the report, its use provides little assurance that the Obama administration actually understands the clear prohibitions against government overreach as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

For instance, in the section of the report on the use of technology and social media, the report notes: "Though all constitutional guidelines must be maintained in the performance of law enforcement duties, the legal framework (warrants, etc.) should continue to protect law enforcement access to data obtained from cell phones, social media, GPS, and other sources, allowing officers to detect, prevent, or respond to crime."

Translation: as I document in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the new face of policing in America is about to shift from waging its war on the American people using primarily the weapons of the battlefield to the evermore-sophisticated technology of the battlefield where government surveillance of our everyday activities will be even more invasive.

This emphasis on technology, surveillance and social media is nothing new. In much the same way the federal government used taxpayer-funded grants to "gift" local police agencies with military weapons and equipment, it is also funding the distribution of technology aimed at making it easier for police to monitor, track and spy on Americans. For instance, license plate readers, stingray devices and fusion centers are all funded by grants from the DHS. Funding for drones at the state and local levels also comes from the federal government, which in turn accesses the data acquired by the drones for its own uses.

If you're noticing a pattern here, it is one in which the federal government is not merely transforming local police agencies into extensions of itself but is in fact federalizing them, turning them into a national police force that answers not to "we the people" but to the Commander in Chief. Yet the American police force is not supposed to be a branch of the military, nor is it a private security force for the reigning political faction. It is supposed to be an aggregation of the countless local civilian units that exist for a sole purpose: to serve and protect the citizens of each and every American community.

So where does that leave us?

There's certainly no harm in embarking on a national dialogue on the dangers of militarized police, but if that's all it amounts to—words that sound good on paper and in the press but do little to actually respect our rights and restore our freedoms—then we're just playing at politics with no intention of actually bringing about reform.

Despite the Obama Administration's lofty claims of wanting to "ensure that public safety becomes more than the absence of crime, that it must also include the presence of justice," this is the reality we must contend with right now:

Americans still have no real protection against police abuse. Americans still have no right to self-defense in the face of SWAT teams mistakenly crashing through our doors, or police officers who shoot faster than they can reason. Americans are still no longer innocent until proven guilty. Americans still don't have a right to private property. Americans are still powerless in the face of militarized police. Americans still don't have a right to bodily integrity. Americans still don't have a right to the expectation of privacy. Americans are still being acclimated to a police state through the steady use and sight of military drills domestically, a heavy militarized police presence in public places and in the schools, and a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign aimed at reassuring the public that the police are our "friends." And to top it all off, Americans still can't rely on the courts, Congress or the White House to mete out justice when our rights are violated by police.

To sum it all up: the problems we're grappling with have been building for more than 40 years. They're not going to go away overnight, and they certainly will not be resolved by a report that instructs the police to simply adopt different tactics to accomplish the same results—i.e., maintain the government's power, control and wealth at all costs.

This is the sad reality of life in the American police state.

[May 17, 2015]Opinion: A Layman's Early Guide to the Presidential Election

All candidates are iether neocons or neocon stooges: "Most revealing are their policies concerning war and peace. Despite minor differences, all three (and those to come) want more military spending. Each thinks the United States can and should manage stability in the Middle East, on Russia's border, etc. All three demonize Russia and Iran, countries that do not threaten us. Thus they would risk war, which would bolster government power while harming the American people and others."
May 15, 2015 | NASDAQ.com
May 01, 2015 | http://www.insidesources.com/laymans-early-guide-presidential-election/

Posted to Politics As you may have heard, the 2016 presidential campaign is underway. Let's not miss the forest for the trees. While the candidates will make promises to help the middle class or this or that subgroup, remember this: each aspirant wants to govern, that is, rule, you – even those whose rhetoric might suggest otherwise.

George Washington supposedly said:

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence—it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master."

Although no evidence links the quotation to the first president, its truth is indisputable. Like it or not, government's distinguishing feature, beginning with its power to tax, is its legal authority to use force against even peaceful individuals minding their own business. Ultimately, that's what rule means, even in a democratic republic, where each adult gets a vote in choosing who will rule.

As that keen observer of the American political scene, H. L. Mencken, put it years ago,

"The state — or, to make matters more concrete, the government — consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get, and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting 'A' to satisfy 'B'. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advanced auction on stolen goods."

If you keep that perspective during the coming campaign, you'll be in a much better position to judge the candidates than if you take their solemn pronouncements at face value.

Do the four declared candidates really fit this picture? You can judge for yourself. Hillary Clinton, the sole Democrat so far, is long associated with activist government across the range of issues domestic and foreign. Her newfound rhetorical populism can't obscure her association with elitist social engineering.

In The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), Adam Smith described such a politician as

"the man of system [who] seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might choose to impress upon it."

Has Clinton ever considered that we're not chess pieces in her grand schemes? We might like to make our own decisions.

What about Republicans Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio? Are they "men of system"? Despite their talk about reining in government, I think the answer is yes. At best they propose only to tinker with the welfare-regulatory-warfare state without challenging the institutional privileges that enrich the well-connected or the institutional barriers that impede the marginalized in improving their lives.

One can see their obeisance toward government power in their support for the "war on drugs," the presumption that government should monitor what we ingest and punish us for violating its prohibitions. Another sign is the candidates' views on immigration. If people have natural rights, why do they need the government's permission to live and work here? A third indicator is their position on world trade. Can you imagine any of them advocating a laissez-faire trade policy with no role for government?

Most revealing are their policies concerning war and peace. Despite minor differences, all three (and those to come) want more military spending. Each thinks the United States can and should manage stability in the Middle East, on Russia's border, etc. All three demonize Russia and Iran, countries that do not threaten us. Thus they would risk war, which would bolster government power while harming the American people and others.

Appearances can deceive: they're persons of system all.

[May 16, 2015]The Making of Hillary Clinton " CounterPunch Tells the Facts, Names the Names

First in a three-part series.

Hillary Clinton has always been an old-style Midwestern Republican in the Illinois style; one severely infected with Methodism, unlike the more populist variants from Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Her first known political enterprise was in the 1960 presidential election, the squeaker where the state of Illinois notoriously put Kennedy over the top, courtesy of Mayor Daley, Sam Giancana and Judith Exner. Hillary was a Nixon supporter. She took it on herself to probe allegations of vote fraud. From the leafy middle-class suburbs of Chicago's west side, she journeyed to the tenements of the south side, a voter list in her hand. She went to an address recorded as the domicile of hundreds of Democratic voters and duly found an empty lot. She rushed back to campaign headquarters, agog with her discovery, only to be told that Nixon was throwing in the towel.

The way Hillary Clinton tells it in her Living History (an autobiography convincingly demolished by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta in their Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton, an interesting and well researched account ) she went straight from the Nixon camp to the cause of Martin Luther King Jr., and never swerved from that commitment. Not so. Like many Illinois Republicans, she did have a fascination for the Civil Rights movement and spent some time on the south side, mainly in African Methodist churches under the guidance of Don Jones, a teacher at her high school. It was Jones who took her to hear King speak at Chicago's Orchestra Hall and later introduced her to the Civil Rights leader.

Gerth and Van Natta eschew psychological theorizing, but it seems clear that the dominant influence in Hillary life was her father, a fairly successful, albeit tightwad Welsh draper, supplying Hilton hotels and other chains. From this irritable patriarch Hillary kept secret ­ a marked penchant throughout her life ­ her outings with Jones and her encounter with King. Her public persona was that of a Goldwater Girl. She battled for Goldwater through the 1964 debacle and arrived at Wellesley in the fall of 1965 with enough Goldwaterite ambition to become president of the Young Republicans as a freshman.

The setting of Hillary's political compass came in the late Sixties. The fraught year of 1968 saw the Goldwater girl getting a high-level internship in the House Republican Conference with Gerald Ford and Melvin Laird, without an ounce of the Goldwater libertarian pizzazz. Hillary says the assassinations of King and Robert Kennedy, plus the war in Vietnam, hit her hard. The impact was not of the intensity that prompted many of her generation to become radicals. She left the suburb of Park Ridge and rushed to Miami to the Republican Convention where she fulfilled a lifelong dream of meeting Frank Sinatra and John Wayne and devoted her energies to saving the Party from her former icon, Nixon, by working for Nelson Rockefeller.

Nixon triumphed, and Hillary returned to Chicago in time for the Democratic Convention where she paid an afternoon's visit to Grant Park. By now a proclaimed supporter of Gene McCarthy, she was appalled, not by the spectacle of McCarthy's young supporters being beaten senseless by Daley's cops, but by the protesters' tactics, which she concluded were not viable. Like her future husband, Hillary was always concerned with maintaining viability within the system.

After the convention Hillary embarked on her yearlong senior thesis, on the topic of the Chicago community organizer Saul Alinsky. She has successfully persuaded Wellesley to keep this under lock and key, but Gerth and Van Natta got hold of a copy. So far from being an exaltation of radical organizing, Hillary's assessment of Alinsky was hostile, charging him with excessive radicalism. Her preferential option was to
KillingTrayvons1seek minor advances within the terms of the system. She did not share these conclusions with Alinsky who had given her generous access during the preparation of her thesis and a job offer thereafter, which she declined.

What first set Hillary in the national spotlight was her commencement address at Wellesley, the first time any student had been given this opportunity. Dean Acheson's granddaughter insisted to the president of Wellesley that youth be given its say, and the president picked Hillary as youth's tribune. Her somewhat incoherent speech included some flicks at the official commencement speaker, Senator Edward Brooke, the black Massachusetts senator, for failing to mention the Civil Rights movement or the war. Wellesley's president, still fuming at this discourtesy, saw Hillary skinny-dipping in Lake Waban that evening and told a security guard to steal her clothes.

The militant summer of 1969 saw Hillary cleaning fish in Valdez, Alaska, and in the fall she was at Yale being stalked by Bill Clinton in the library. The first real anti-war protests at Yale came with the shooting of the students at Kent State. Hillary saw the ensuing national student upheaval as, once again, a culpable failure to work within the system. "I advocated engagement, not disruption."

She finally consented to go on a date with Bill Clinton, and they agreed to visit a Rothko exhibit at the Yale art gallery. At the time of their scheduled rendez-vous with art, the gallery was closed because the museum's workers were on strike. The two had no inhibitions about crossing a picket line. Bill worked as a scab in the museum, doing janitorial work for the morning, getting as reward a free tour with Hillary in the afternoon.

In the meantime, Hillary was forging long-term alliances with such future stars of the Clinton age as Marian Wright Edelman and her husband Peter, and also with one of the prime political fixers of the Nineties, Vernon Jordan. It was Hillary who introduced Bill to these people, as well as to Senator Fritz Mondale and his staffers.

If any one person gave Hillary her start in liberal Democratic politics, it was Marian Wright Edelman who took Hillary with her when she started the Children's Defense Fund. The two were inseparable for the next twenty-five years. In her autobiography, published in 2003, Hillary lists the 400 people who have most influenced her. Marion Wright Edelman doesn't make the cut. Neither to forget nor to forgive. Peter Edelman was one of three Clinton appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services who quit when Clinton signed the Welfare reform bill, which was about as far from any "defense" of children as one could possibly imagine.

Hillary was on Mondale's staff for the summer of '71, investigating worker abuses in the sugarcane plantations of southern Florida, as close to slavery as anywhere in the U.S.A. Life's ironies: Hillary raised not a cheep of protest when one of the prime plantation families, the Fanjuls, called in their chips (laid down in the form of big campaign contributions to Clinton) and insisted that Clinton tell Vice President Gore to abandon his calls for the Everglades to be restored, thus taking water Fanjul was appropriating for his operation.

From 1971 on, Bill and Hillary were a political couple. In 1972, they went down to Texas and spent some months working for the McGovern campaign, swiftly becoming disillusioned with what they regarded as an exercise in futile ultraliberalism. They planned to rescue the Democratic Party from this fate by the strategy they have followed ever since: the pro-corporate, hawkish neoliberal recipes that have become institutionalized in the Democratic Leadership Council, of which Bill Clinton and Al Gore were founding members.

In 1973, Bill and Hillary went off on a European vacation, during which they laid out their 20-year project designed to culminate with Bill's election as president. Inflamed with this vision, Bill proposed marriage in front of Wordsworth's cottage in the Lake District. Hillary declined, the first of twelve similar refusals over the next year. Bill went off to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to seek political office. Hillary, for whom Arkansas remained an unappetizing prospect, eagerly accepted, in December '73, majority counsel John Doar's invitation to work for the House committee preparing the impeachment of Richard Nixon. She spent the next months listening to Nixon's tapes. Her main assignment was to prepare an organizational chart of the Nixon White House. It bore an eerie resemblance to the twilit labyrinth of the Clinton White House 18 years later.

Hillary had an offer to become the in-house counsel of the Children's Defense Fund and seemed set to become a high-flying public interest Washington lawyer. There was one impediment. She failed the D.C. bar exam. She passed the Arkansas bar exam. In August of 1974, she finally moved to Little Rock and married Bill in 1975 at a ceremony presided over by the Rev. Vic Nixon. They honeymooned in Acapulco with her entire family, including her two brothers' girlfriends, all staying in the same suite.

After Bill was elected governor of Arkansas in 1976, Hillary joined the Rose Law Firm, the first woman partner in an outfit almost as old as the Republic. It was all corporate business, and the firm's prime clients were the state's business heavyweights ­ Tyson Foods, Wal-Mart, Jackson Stevens Investments, Worthen Bank and the timber company Weyerhaeuser, the state's largest landowner.

Two early cases (of a total of five that Hillary actually tried) charted her course. The first concerned the successful effort of Acorn ­ a public interest group doing community organizing ­ to force the utilities to lower electric rates on residential consumers and raise on industrial users. Hillary represented the utilities in a challenge to this progressive law, the classic right-wing claim, arguing that the measure represented an unconstitutional "taking" of property rights. She carried the day for the utilities.

The second case found Hillary representing the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Arkansas in a lawsuit filed by a disabled former employee who had been denied full retirement benefits by the company. In earlier years, Hillary had worked at the Children's Defense Fund on behalf of abused employees and disabled children. Only months earlier, while still a member of the Washington, D.C., public interest community, she had publicly ripped Joseph Califano for becoming the Coca Cola company's public counsel. "You sold us out, you, you sold us out!" she screamed publicly at Califano. Working now for Coca Cola, Hillary prevailed

[May 14, 2015]Jeb Bush Reverses Himself: I Would Not Have Gone Into Iraq

TIME

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush sought to turn the page on a week of terrible press coverage Thursday, telling a group of Arizona voters that knowing what is known now, he would not have launched the 2003 Iraq War.

"Knowing what we know now I would not have engaged—I would not have gone into Iraq," Bush said, in reference to his greatest liability—the unpopular war launched by his brother, former President George W. Bush.

It was the latest turn in a tumultuous week that began with an interview with Fox News host Megyn Kelly on Saturday in which he said he would have supported going to war, even knowing that the Iraqi government did not possess weapons of mass destruction. "My mind kind of calculated it differently," Bush later explained, saying he misheard Kelly's question.

On Wednesday, Bush dodged the same question Kelly asked him days earlier, saying he wouldn't answer "hypotheticals" and that the question did a "disservice" to the memories of the 4,491 American war dead.

But that didn't put the questions to rest, Bush's Republican opponents lined up to criticize him for the comments, while Democrats gleefully used the opportunity to tie him to his brother.

"If we knew then what we know now and I were the President of the United States, I wouldn't have gone to war," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told CNN Tuesday. Sen. Rand Paul told the Associated Press that Bush's comments represent "a real problem if he can't articulate what he would have done differently."

"Knowing what we know now, of course we wouldn't go into Iraq," Sen. Ted Cruz told The Hill.

Sen. Marco Rubio went even further in an interview Wednesday at the Council on Foreign Relations. "Not only would I have not been in favor of it, President Bush would not have been in favor of it. He said so," he said.

[May 14, 2015] Will "Vagina Voters" Devour Democracy by James Bovard

See also Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton and US Presidential Elections of 2015
May 14, 2015 | CounterPunch
...Spiked Online editor Brendan O'Neill scoffed at the would-be vagina stampede for Hillary at Reason.com:

"This embrace of the gender card by Clinton and her cronies, this move from thinking with their heads to voting with their vaginas, is being celebrated as a great leap forward.

It's nothing of the sort. It merely confirms the speedy and terrifying shrinking of the political sphere in recent years, with the abstract being elbowed aside by the emotional, and the old focus on ideas and values now playing a very quiet second fiddle to an obsession with identity."

Would a female leader likely be less bellicose than recent male presidents? After the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, Hillary Clinton only resumed talking to her husband when she phoned him and urged him in the strongest terms to begin bombing Serbia; the next day, Bill Clinton announced that the United States had a "moral imperative" to stop Serbia's Milosevic. Counterpunch co-founder Alexander Cockburn observed in 1999 in the Los Angeles Times: "It's scarcely surprising that Hillary would have urged President Clinton to drop cluster bombs on the Serbs to defend 'our way of life.' The first lady is a social engineer. She believes in therapeutic policing and the duty of the state to impose such policing. War is more social engineering, 'fixitry' via high explosive, social therapy via cruise missile… As a tough therapeutic cop, she does not shy away from the most abrupt expression of the therapy: the death penalty." In the Obama administration, Hillary, Samantha Powers, and Susan Rice have been among the biggest warmongers – with an unquenchable thirst to bomb Libya, Syria, and other nations.

What is the male equivalent of "vagina voters"? Dickheads? On the bright side, maybe one of Hillary's zealots will coin a catchy vagina-oriented version of the "hope and change" campaign promise.

Perhaps the greatest folly of "vagina voting" is the presumption that a candidate's gender is more important than the fact that they are a politician. Politicians have been renowned for deceit for hundreds of years. Hillary, like most of the Republican males in the race, has a long record of brazen deceit. Politicians as a class conspire against the rights and liberties of citizens. And there is no evidence that certain genitalia immunizes a person against Powerlust.

James Bovard is the author of Public Policy Hooligan, Attention Deficit Democracy, The Bush Betrayal, Terrorism and Tyranny, and other books. More info at www.jimbovard.com; on Twitter @jimbovard

[May 14, 2015] To Those Who Believe in Voting by NOEL IGNATIEV

The key problem here is that candidates are pre-selected and does not represnt people in any sense. they represent two factions of elite and, if elected, will fight for privileges of those faction that they represent.
May 12, 2015 | CounterPunch

Thoughts on the Least Important Decision People Make Every Four Years

One morning years ago, as I entered the classroom for a course I taught on U.S. history, I found the students engaged in a discussion of elections. One of them, whom I knew to be a supporter of "progressive" causes and who had previously complained about student apathy, asked me in a despairing tone, "Why don't people vote?"

"I don't know," I replied. "To me, the more interesting question is, Why do they?"

Why do people vote? The individual voter does not choose the winner of the election; she chooses which lever to pull or which box to check on a piece of paper. Yet some people get angry at me and call me a shirker when I tell them I don't vote. If you don't vote, they tell me, you have no right to complain.

Why not, I ask. Where is that written?

Some point out that in the past people died for the right to vote.

That is true, I respond, but beside the point: people also died for the right to terminate unwanted pregnancies, but no one calls abortion a public duty.

Clearly, something is operating here besides logic.

The only explanation I can come up with is that people vote for the same reason they cheer or do the wave at an athletic competition—it makes them feel part of a community. Now, I respect the desire for community. In the good old Hew Hess of Hay, "citizens" choose people to represent them. To vote is to participate in a community ritual. It begins in grade school, when children elect who among them will get to clean the blackboards.

Rituals reinforce the society that gives rise to them. By reenacting the voting ritual people reinforce a system that ensures their powerlessness. This is true regardless of whom they vote for.

The New Society is based on people acting in concert to shape their lives. Representative versus direct democracy. The Paris Commune. The Flint Sitdown Strike. The Montgomery Bus Boycott. Tahrir Square.

... ... ....

Noel Ignatiev is the author of How the Irish Became White (Routledge, 1995), and co-editor, with John Garvey, of the anthology Race Traitor (Routledge, 1996). He blogs here. He can be reached at noelignatiev@gmail.com.

[May 10, 2015] 'Winner takes all' vote system exaggerates Britain's divisions

May 10, 2015 | Reuters

David Cameron can thank Britain's winner-takes-all voting system for handing him an outright majority in parliament on just 37 percent of the vote. But by boosting the power of Scottish nationalists, it has also intensified one of his biggest headaches.

... ... ...

Those complaining loudest are the anti-European Union UK Independence Party and the Greens. Nationwide, they took 12.6 percent and 3.8 percent of the vote respectively, but their support was too thinly spread to win more than one member of parliament each.

"The fact that over 5 million people between them have voted UKIP and Green, and they have two MPs, strikes us as utterly absurd and a tragic denial of people's democratic wishes," said Will Brett, head of campaigns for the Electoral Reform Society which advocates a switch to proportional representation (PR).

... ... ...

LONG BATTLE

Complaints about the fairness of the system are not new. For decades it was the centrist Liberals, and their successors the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems), who led the calls for change.

As part of the price for supporting Cameron in a coalition after the previous 2010 election, the Lib Dems were granted a referendum in 2011 on adopting a modified version of first-past-the-post (FPP), in which voters would rank candidates in order. The change was rejected, on a low voter turnout.

Advocates of FPP say it is a tried and tested system that for the most part has delivered clear election outcomes and stable governments. But opponents say the Scottish question, the fragmentation of the old two-party-dominated political structure and the emergence of movements such as UKIP and the Greens have all bolstered the case for reform.

Under a system of PR like the one used in Germany and New Zealand, Cameron's Conservatives would still have been the biggest party in the House of Commons after Thursday's election but would have needed to rely on UKIP, with more than 80 seats, to scrape a majority.

In Scotland, the SNP would be reduced to half the seats, with the others split between Labour, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. In that more balanced landscape, the political chasm between England and Scotland would be greatly narrowed.

Even before the election, that point was forcefully argued by Vernon Bogdanor, a constitutional expert who was Cameron's politics tutor at Oxford University.

"Distorted representation makes the UK appear more divided than in fact it is," he wrote in Prospect magazine in February. "Proportional representation, therefore, would alter the dynamics of the conflict between England and Scotland and make it far more manageable."

No one expects Cameron to change the system that has swept him back to power. But in the long term, some argue, there are compelling reasons to re-draw electoral rules that divide much of Britain into fortresses held for decades by one party or the other.

That means that millions of people are effectively disenfranchised and elections are decided in a relatively small number of close-fought marginal seats.

While the current system gives Cameron a mandate for a majority government, "it's not such a strong mandate that he can ignore the rest of the country," Brett said.

"It's going to be hard to ignore electoral reform indefinitely

[May 10, 2015]Republican presidential hopefuls focus fire on Obama foreign policy

Pot calling cattle black...
May 09, 2015 | The Guardian

libbyliberal -> libbyliberal 9 May 2015 20:01

Obama/Hillary/Dem apologists, like the corporate media, can't admit that anyone exists to the real liberal left of these tools of the "empire of chaos" -- disaster capitalism is okay with them, profits uber alles.

So so much of the citizenry -- the voting majority which really is a pathetic minority -- stay penned up as the US sinks into quicksand, and the reins of the country keep getting passed back and forth between the supposed good cop and bad cop parties, and the citizenry is CON-FUSED, which according to Latin origin is "fused with". Obama is a Republican, a far right one in sensibility. Yet crazy Repubs call him liberal. How confusing is that??? How stupid to believe they are right.

Obama apologists call those more liberal than Obama (so not hard) to be non-liberal and demonize them since they are so ego-desperate to not admit just how betrayed we all have been not only since the highly lying Obama campaign days but when Clinton and his cabal of Ruben and Summers and Hillary and others destroyed consumer protections and handed over control to the corporate class.

We are hypnotized to think we have only two voting options, and the media underlines this never giving the microphone to those outside of the authoritarians of the two pens. We are hypnotized to think we have to go with the media-beloved sure-winners, when the corruption is so over the top the bewildered herd keeps contributing to the problem and never finding a solution.

So many non-hypnotized have stopped voting in disgust and despair.

Jill Stein of Green Party once said that with either Repubs or Dems we are on the Titanic. It may sink a tad faster with the Repubs in charge but it is sinking with the craven Dems as well.

Bill Ehrhorn Ozymandia 9 May 2015 20:01

It gives the chickenhawks a chance to act manly. Sitting from away from the battlefield they like to pretend that they're tough

tupacalypse7 babymamaboy 9 May 2015 20:00

Religious freedom means calling yourself Christian and practising Islam.

oh that's a good one!


sour_mash TheWholeNineYards 9 May 2015 19:55

A mantle that murdered 4,486 Americans with +30,000 wounded and an untold number of Iraqis dead. $4-$6 trillion spent destabilizing Iraq which was no threat, never attacked America is the GOP calling card.

(I agree with you, just fine tuned a bit.)


sour_mash babymamaboy 9 May 2015 19:50

"We will look for you, we will find you, and we will kill you."

Religious freedom means calling yourself Christian and practising hypocrisy.


Michael Q 9 May 2015 19:07

The republicans are irrelevant. Americans need to stop watching Fox News and not elect these crazy lunatics who will create more wars, more inequality, more neoliberalism, more deregulation, and completely screw the working and middle classes, just like they did under Bush snr and jnr, and Reagan.

We live in a multi polar world. Latin America is more independent than it has ever been, and IMO Obama has done a good job negotiating with Iran.

Treat people the way you would like to be treated and there will be peace in the world,

t bone Michael Q 9 May 2015 19:46

There's nothing worse than a secret war - the one that your Obama is committed to. He's set the Mideast on fire because he's just as much as a war devil as anyone else.

He's messed up Egypt, Syria, Libya and Iraq, there's all kinds of heinous murdering and uprisings going on there now. Now he's trying to start a race war here in the United States!

Congratulations - because you're the only one living in your utopian dream world. Obama (and his minions) has destroyed our U.S. Constitution - irreparably! He's an sobmfr! GD him!

cromwell2015 9 May 2015 18:43

listen to the war talk once again. Their talk, their glory, your blood, your death, your dreams .when will they lead like the kings of old and put the uniform on. In your dreams, when will "normal" people wake up and send these people to where they belong. We including Iran all belong to a same race ,its called the human race.

To add insult to any one with a brain knows your not so lily white when you have gone into and interfered with so many other country's including bombing Iraq back into the stone age. I would finish with you the USA's politicians, you are the people who are the real danger to the world,


MiniApolis 9 May 2015 17:56

"Conservatives howled and hooted as Walker, who was criticized by Obama for his lack of foreign policy expertise, went after the administration's nuclear deal with Iran, its handling of terrorism and its relationship with Israel."

Well.

And Obama's expertise on foreign policy when he was elected was exactly what? Having a Kenyan father?

The Republicans are a truly miserable bunch - worse this time around than even before, with the stunning exception of Sarah Palin, who can out-worse anyone.

But they are absolutely right on Iran, and Obama is absolutely wrong.

A plague on all of them.


tupacalypse7 9 May 2015 17:53

ISIS will be the biggest campaigner for the rightwing in 2016. republicans will paint anyone who doesn't support full-throttled blind aggression against IS as weak and unpatriotic. there will be frothing talk of smashing IS to pieces and bringin 'MERICAN justice to Iraq once again. and once again, no one will talk about what comes after IS because that would require vision, foresight, finesse, community organizing, LISTENING to the native population, listening to women and owning up to true motivations. there is no doubt the US and its allies are fully capable of blowing that part of the earth off the map. congratulations, you are all badasses.

however, the vicious cycle of self-perpetuating war will continue until the focus is put on the humanitarian endgame of any military aggression and not solely on military aggression. the question that needs to be answered and addressed by any war committee is why did WWI set the perfect stage for WWII? and why did Iraq 2 cause the potential Iraq 3 and IS? the answer to me is a complete lack of finesse and vision centered around an all-male war party with a complete conflict of interest because a world without war is a world without weapons sales.


ExcaliburDefender ACTANE 9 May 2015 17:50

Always good to bring up the Obama/Hitler, the nra have been milking that one for decades now too. Who could forget 'ninja Nazi jack booted thugs Fourth Reich' of 1994/1995. After the bombing of Oklahoma City federal building, which killed 168, Bush 41 publicly withdrew from the NRA and trashed La Pierre specifically.

All your talk is just part of fear mongering, only believed by the bunker dwellers.

No one believes this any more. ISIS is not coming to the parking lot of Walmart, you don't need an AR15 that hold 100 rounds of ammo.

The greatest threat to the Tea Party faithful is Type II Diabetes, and they really need to keep their Medicare and ACA coverage. Too many super sized happy meals.

Profhambone ACTANE 9 May 2015 17:43

How little you know.....one aspect of Chamberlain signing is that it bought time for GB to begin to re-arm and prepare the industrial base for war making. Germany had a large lead and GB was not prepared to go to war then. Today, it is used as "appeasement" which has a negative connotation.

An example of appeasement for those who slept through history is the Republican hopefuls for Emperor who pledge any and all things to Israel in order to keep Shelton Adelson happy here in Las Vegas and giving millions and tens of millions of dollars to PAC's friendly to them. "Elect me!!" is the name of the game. It is all about "me", the whole country, it seems these days....


illegitimato -> Tony Wise 9 May 2015 17:43

Disingenuous dick -- this isn't about Republican versus Democrat. It's about failed leadership across the board.

Besides, count the casualties. Dubya killed more people.

How much does the GOP pay you for this drivel, 50 cents a post? Or do you carry their water for free?


illegitimato -> Boredwiththeusa 9 May 2015 17:38

Great, another round of chicken-hawk "leaders" with no combat background, ready to send others' sons and daughters into the carnage. How did that work out last time with Dubya, Cheney, Rummie, et al?

The new outrage this latest clutch manifests tops even those "Iraqi Freedom" incompetents -- bowing on bended knee to the owner of a Macau casino which uses underage sex slaves, all for his cash.

Those Predator drones have the wrong targets.

Robert Greene 9 May 2015 17:23

"Blackburn instead summed up the general argument candidates have been making at conservative gatherings: if voters do not elect a Republican in 2016, America could very well cease to exist as a global superpower."
So what we do not need to be a global superpower anymore. What has is got us just MORE FUCKIN' WAR!!


Tony Dearwester -> saltyandtheman 9 May 2015 17:22

Oh, like when Hillary says "We have to stop the 1% from running things" as she begs them for money, I mean... "What difference does it make"?


Steve Troxel -> seehowtheyrun 9 May 2015 17:07

What will they do when Obama is out of office? Apparently the only ideas they have is the opposite of what Obama is doing. The GOP field this election is a vacuous collection clowns each trying to out noObama the next.

Steve Troxel -> Pete Street 9 May 2015 17:02

Well said... I wonder if they guys or their constituency ever read the news. All you have to do get a red meat roar from this crowd is to flap you jaws about bombing someone.

When asked for specifics they usually reply with something that is already being done... and are evidently unaware of it.


sour_mash Tony Wise 9 May 2015 16:54

"your explanation is NOT the historical explanation"

Damn, I must have missed Bill Clinton calling for a Crusade against an Axis of Evil. And claiming that Saddam Hussein was going to attack the US with WMD'S.


libbyliberal 9 May 2015 16:23

Obama is a disgusting warmonger, but not warmonger enuf for the crazy Republicans.

Here comes the fodder to build Dem "lesser evilism" which means both evil parties get to mass murder.

A frightened and very low-information and/or conscience-possessing American citizenry has learned from the authoritarians that the only tool in America's tool box for global co-existence is a HAMMER. As well as colossal lies about reality. We live in a spiritually profoundly dark age.

The US (and cronies) are arming ISIS, using ISIS in some of its wars like in Syria. Israel is covertly helping ISIS. The bullying nations are helping bomb the shit out of the poorest country in the ME. US is providing anti-international law cluster bombs to SA as one of their big helps. Why? Because the big sharks must devour the little fish. Proxy wars against nuclear allies or potential allies of that country, or they pretend they are, all leading to the big nuclear WWIII these insane monsters at the helms of our countries seem committed to.

The Republican hypocrit neocons who speak of God and war in the same sentences. The Dem hypocrit neolibs who pretend war is humanitarian. Disaster capitalism requires lots of bloodbaths and lemming Americans, especially bloodthirsty and stupid lemming Americans are willing to kill anyone that isn't them.

The world is a big video wargame to America, and you pick Blue Team or Red Team and then kill, kill, kill.


Tony Wise Pete Street 9 May 2015 16:06

"Evidently, these faces have neglected to keep current with the ongoing, successful U.S. project using armed aerial drones and other weapons to find and snuff the Islamic terrorist leadership from the top down the ladder."

except its not been sucessful, we are still fighting the same war, and are fighting increased numbers, because we keep creating more terrorists then we kill. we are ctually bombing targets without even knowing whos inside (signature strikes) then labeling anyone in the blast radius a terrorist. pakistan, PAKISTAN for goodness sakes, is working with the UN human rights commission to STOP the bombs with new laws governing drone warfare. this war has been going on for over a decade, and is predicted to go on decades longer, with NO tangible results. how do you call it "successful" when the main target of the war on terror wasnt even eliminated with it?


Pete Street 9 May 2015 16:01

Thanks for presenting the Chicken Little view of the Republican Party wannabes. Evidently, these faces have neglected to keep current with the ongoing, successful U.S. project using armed aerial drones and other weapons to find and snuff the Islamic terrorist leadership from the top down the ladder.

Even a news media worker has a better grasp of the activity of this project:

"Strikes began against Isis fighters in Iraq on 8 August and in Syria on 23 September. Such strikes have now run into the thousands; on Saturday the US military said 28 more had been carried out since Friday."

The RP faces put themselves in a vulnerable position here when an ordinary voter can easily do enough fact-checking to explode the false view of these faces.

Thereby, they make themselves easy picking by HRC who would eat their lunch anyhow.

Meanwhile, cheers and applause from a couple thousand RP right-wingers does not a viable candidacy make.

If this numbskull approach to vote-seeking continues, then little doubt exists that the RP will remain a rump party controlling state houses and gerrymandered voting districts for political power, but excluded from the White House again for lacking a sensible, moderate platform to appeal to more voters in the middle of the political spectrum.

From that position of course the RP will have a big target for its political asininity and hostility in the form of HRC as president for 8 years beginning in 2017.

Tony Wise Ozymandia 9 May 2015 16:00

obamas more of a warmonger then republicans, and the economy is only better if you are rich.


Tony Wise Milo Bendech 9 May 2015 15:54

if the republicans need help,

"Tanden: '95 percent of the income gains in the last few years have gone to the top 1 percent'"

Neera Tanden, head of the Center for American Progress, a liberal-leaning group, argued that the issue not only would work well among the party faithful but beyond.

"95 percent of the income gains in the last few years have gone to the top 1 percent, That's a fact in the country," Tanden said. "I think this is going to be an issue on both the right and the left."

source: politifact


Tony Wise LostintheUS 9 May 2015 15:48

"There are no worse sources for money than the Koch Bros."

sachs, jpmporgan, BP, citibank, need i go on?


Tony Wise -> Zepp 9 May 2015 15:47

oh, and pakistan, because those bombings are actually illegal in spirit. they are actually working on making it illegal in the letter. the drones are new technology and pakistan is working on legislation governing their use with the UN human rights commission, because we are slaughtering too many innocents.

you wonder why I keep saying that? its not because im the one supporting the warmongering, bro. end it all, today. imo.


Tony Wise -> Zepp 9 May 2015 15:44

so tell us, Tony: which of those countries do YOU think Obama should not have bombed?

  • libya: because the terrorists we left in charge are worse then kadaffy
  • syria, because it was a civil war we had no business getting involved in.
  • iraq, because it should have been over when it was over. obamas own incompetence required us to return and go to war again. when we left, ISIS was a minor, defunct, disbarred, offshoot of al-quida, then they started getting the weapons we were sending to so called "vetted moderates" who turned out to be no such thing. with those, they were able to march back into iraq picking up allies along the way, and take an entire city, and all the war toys left behind when obama withdrew. why would you leave such weapons in the hands of an obviously incompetent, corrupt, army? why would you keep sending them MORE after the pullout?
  • yemen, because we are not world police
  • and afghanstan, because we got bin laden already.

I didnt know rush limbaugh was antiwar? if hes for war, then your comparison of me to him is just vastly...ridiculous and childish.

Milo Bendech 9 May 2015 15:43

Did you ever wonder why Republicans have decided NOT to challenge Obama on the state of the US economy???

Because any references to the economy under Obama will automatically conjure up comparisons between the current President and the last REPUBLICAN president.
Just 6 years ago, the US economy was in tatters.

As the last Republican president prepared to leave the White House...
6 years ago....As the Last REPUBLICAN was preparing to leave office in early 2009....

1. the DOW had fallen to 7,949 and
2. the NASDAQ had plunged to 1500.
3. The average American with a 401K lost about half of their retirement savings.

4. Banks and financial institutions many over 100 years old that had survived the Great Depression went belly up: Bear Stearns, Countrywide, Merrill Lynch . AIG. Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, Wachovia, Indymac

5. Housing prices were falling like a rock as the bubble burst.

6.The unemployment rate was 7.8%...and heading up. In the same month that Bush left office a staggering 818,000 workers lost their
jobs. . The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits rose to a 26-year high for the week ended Dec. 20.,2008

7. The US auto industry was on it's knees. A month before he turned over the The White House to Obama, Bush announced a $17.4 billion taxpayer bailout for GM and Chrysler. "If we were to allow the free market to take its course now, it would almost certainly lead to disorderly bankruptcy," Bush admitted.

8. The Bush administration had to borrow 700 billion dollars from the taxpayers to bail out the banks. ""This is a big package because it was a big problem." Bush said ""People are beginning to doubt our system, people were losing confidence ."

9. In the 4th quarter of 2008...3 weeks before the flickering torch was passed from Republican to Democrat the US economy contracted a whopping 8.9%...the worst in postwar history.

10. Two months before Obama took office The Conference Board said that its Consumer Confidence Index fell to 38 in October, 2008. The decline marked the index's lowest level since its inception in 1967.

11. By the end of Republican Bush's stewardship his job approval ratings had plummeted to 25%

12. In the final month of Bush's term only 7% of Americans were happy with the direction the country was headed, the lowest reading ever measured by Gallup

How different things are today.

Elizabeth Thorne 9 May 2015 15:42

"Iran: enemy. Israel: friend."

I can't imagine why people compare him to a Neanderthal.

I have to admit though that giving the loony right a free hand in foreign policy would bring the date the world grows a pair and takes care of the US' anti-social antics much closer. They would destroy the county and most our "allies". Not ENTIRELY bad if you compare that with "liberals" having not one complaint about expanded illegal use of drones by their guy. Look at the choices. The US will continue to maim destroy and kill in the name of short-range interests and goals with disproportionate effect on developing nations until it destroys itself. Look how long it took Rome to fall and look at what happened in the meanwhile. Like a useless structure. Better an implosion than to slowly burn.


Tony Wise ExcaliburDefender 9 May 2015 15:34

why are democrats such hypocrites about the kochs? democrats had no problem taking money from the kochs, when it was being offered.

they did take it, its documented history, as well as their offer to the kochs of special privileges in return for more cash. the kochs said no, and the war was on. your party still takes money from FAR worse sources, like Bp, that wrecked our shore, and banks like sachs and jpmorgan hat wrecked our economy. the kochs, even if you disagree with their political philosophies, at least create jobs here in America, manufacturing things we ALL use. how many jobs does warren buffets unregulated derivatives create?

I suppose his rail lines, transporting that dirty tar sands oil, creates jobs. this koch stuff just seems so ridiculous given your own parties donors. kochs are what, 56th in political giving? something like that?


Tony Wise sour_mash 9 May 2015 15:27

we know why bush bombed iraq"

Yes, we do. He lied. Iraq and Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. Al Qaeda was not in Iraq.

your explanation is NOT the historical explanation, see 1998 iraq liberation act. signed by bill clinton.


Michael Miller 9 May 2015 15:20

The MIC needs to be fed.


Boredwiththeusa Tony Wise 9 May 2015 15:09

Bernie Sanders has always acted in accordance with his conscience. He is no sell out. That he made one decision you dislike doesn't affect my admiration for the man in the least, but paints you as a leftist purist who is never satisfied with anything.


Tony Wise -> Milo Bendech 9 May 2015 15:08

TARP Vote: Obama Wins, Senate Effectively Approves $350 Billion

Six Republicans joined with 45 Democrats and one Joe Lieberman to defeat a resolution that would have blocked the release of $350 billion in financial-industry bailout funds Thursday. The Senate action -- or lack of it -- paves the way for the dispersal of the money regardless of any action taken by the House of Representatives.

The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) is structured so that the president has access to the money unless Congress actively prevents its release. Only 42 senators -- seven Democrats, 34 Republicans and one Bernie Sanders -- voted to block the money.


Taku2 9 May 2015 14:58

""We need a commander in chief who will once and for all call it what it is, and that is radical Islamic terrorism," Walker said. "We need a president who will affirm that Israel is our ally and start acting like it."

These pathetic Republicans shameless has nothing to offer the American people, especially as they do not give a damn about the American poor. So, what do these bourgeois parasites focus on; 'making America Great.'

And how do these parasites try to achieve this; making war on other nations. For them, America 'being great' means military might. It means spending more on the military, which makes more money for these parasites. It does not mean spending more on maintaining and improving the nation's infrastructure, because the Republicans are only interested in enterprises which makes them lots of money.

If Walker and Santorum are intellectually deficient and talking shit, what does that make their Republican colleagues who support them?

[May 09, 2015]David Cameron and Conservatives Get Majority in British Election

Looks like neoliberalism is still alive and kicking the opponents.
May 09, 2015 | NYTimes.com

American in London

I read in these comments about how this is a harbinger for the next American election - a wave of conservatives all the way to the White House. Let's remember, the British Conservative Party is left of the US Democratic Party in many instances, and could not even begin to run as a conservative party in the US.

The British Conservative Party is:

  • Pro Choice
  • Pro gay marriage
  • A staunch defender of national health care.

Any one of these positions would immediately dismiss them for consideration in the US Republican Party.

GabbyTalks

The strongest bastion of Canadian conservative politics - the province of Alberta- where the Torys have been in power 44 years consecutively, have just thrown the bums out and voted for the socialist, left wing, tree hugging, New Democratic Party! The candidates were yoga teachers and college students, knitters guild, and so on. People voted for CHANGE more than anything.

They just got sick of the 1%ers running the joint, and their entitlement attitude, and kow-towing to the corporations and never raising business taxes, just piling it all on the backs of the great unwashed, the middle class. Apparently Britain hasn't reached the breaking point yet. But they will.\

Lynda, Gulfport, FL 22 hours ago

The BBC coverage of the election results provided a glimpse of the real contrasts between the US stuck in the two party mold and the British parliamentary system with multiple parties and very old traditions. The "always in campaign mode, overwhelmed by money, carefully handled candidates" system in the US contrasts with the limited in time and money campaigning of the British elections.

I loved the hand-counting of ballots, the "looney" parties whose candidates wore tall hats and costumes and especially the public line-up of all candidates for the announcement of results that the British system employs. No hiding in hotel rooms and behind spokespeople for British candidates. They lined up with all their opponents and heard the voting results in public. Most candidates then were vigorously questioned by journalists. Party leaders of the losing parties had to overcome their shock and speak up about what they did wrong, why the voters rejected their messages and what they would do to change. The leaders of the losing parties faced the consequences and resigned from party leadership.

The current mode of US elections is producing dysfunctional government at local, state and national levels. The detailed coverage of the British elections offers a primer on ways our elections could be improved--starting with vigorous questioning of all candidates by actual journalists, limits on campaign money and including the piercing of the PR images of the candidates.

Ashley, Wayzata, MN 21 hours ago

It's funny how a lot of US Republicans view this as an overall victory for conservative values. What these individuals fail to understand is that in the UK, the Conservative Party actually consists of sane people with ideas on how to improve their country (whether you agree with them or not is another issue entirely).

Across the pond, conservatives do not push policy based on personal religious beliefs. As Alistair Campbell, adviser to Tony Blair once stated, "Brits don't do God."

Can you imagine a conservative not mentioning religion in the US? It would ruin his/her entire campaign. The leader debate in the UK and the overall campaign structures focus on the ISSUES facing the country, rather than frivolous items like a candidate's birth certificate and college records. Each party releases manifesto's with ideas on how to improve living standards, education policy, foreign affairs, etc.

To any American conservative who thinks that this is truly a victory for US conservative values, I would encourage you to read the Tory Party manifesto; which pushes for 15 additional hours of FREE childcare, an increase in state pension funding , and an additional 8 billion pounds made available to the NHS (what Republicans would refer to as boogeyman socialized medicine).

Each of these values are inconsistent with the basic tenets of today's US conservatism; which raises the question as to how in the world did our conservatives get so crazy?

Nick Metrowsky, is a trusted commenter Longmont, Colorado Yesterday

A great day for the conservative movement, the wealthy, the well connected, business, Ayn Rand and for making war. A bad day for the middle class, the poor, the elderly, eco-friendly, labor unions, workers and those who toil to survive and not have it handed to them.

At least we know, the Unites States is not the only country which votes against their own interests. See Canada, Australia and New Zealand which all now have conservative governments. With legislatures that are akin to the current US Congress; though not the same gridlock or the extremes.

If the UK election was sending a message to this side of the pond, then it could be a clean sweep for the GOP next year; unfortunately. The Democrats, if they want to win, better quickly come up with new ideas and candidates that would put a wrench in the GOP works. Else, we will see Paul Ryan's budget plans, and Tea Party plans, be put into full implementation; which will complete this nation's advance to the Industrial Revolution years of the late 19th century. Well, on the bright side, your income taxes will be a flat 15% to pay for US empire building.

Also, the wealthy won't have an estate tax or capital gains to pay; so wealthy will flood to the masses (sarcasm). As for Medicare, Social Security, Veterans Benefits, Food Stamps, Child Care Credits, mortgage deductions, etc.; you're on your own. Just the way Ayn Rand advocated.

I hope I can retire without adverse affects, but woe to those under 55.

Walter Rhett, is a trusted commenter Charleston, SC Yesterday

Britian's unemployment numbers, its job creation, its double-dipped GNP growth (increasing only after austerity was relaxed) simply don't bear out the narrative, in which the details are overweighed in order to overwhelm the basic principle of economics that Krugman asserts: austerity, in times of depression, has no capacity to act as a stimulus.

Regarding "printing" money, it's spending money -- increasing demand -- that works to reinvigorate depressed economies, as Europe's individual and collective slow recoveries continuously affirm, as the facts are ignored.

Putting less gas/petrol in your car will not increase its gas mileage, whether paid by cash or credit.

Un, PRK Yesterday

Reading the New York Times explanation of the expected results should remind everyone why nothing you read in this paper is reliable. They got it all wrong. Their analysis was wrong. Their facts were wrong. Their polling was wrong. Their opinions were way off base. It was an example of how opinion driven reporting is not reporting at all.

[May 09, 2015] Election Dysfunction The Nation by John Nichols

September 19, 2006 | The Nation

The Sunday Washington Post headline said it all. Echoing a theme that is finally being picked up by print and broadcast media that for too long has neglected the dramatic problems with this country's systems for casting and counting votes, the newspaper's front page announced: "Major Problems At Polls Feared: Some Officials Say Voting Law Changes And New Technology Will Cause Trouble."

Following a disastrous election day in Maryland that was defined by human blunders, technical glitches, long lines and long delays in vote counting so severe that some contests remain unresolved almost a week after the balloting, the Post declared that, "An overhaul in how states and localities record votes and administer elections since the Florida recount battle six years ago has created conditions that could trigger a repeat -- this time on a national scale -- of last week's Election Day debacle in the Maryland suburbs, election experts said."

No fooling!

Some of us have been writing and talking about this country's almost fully dysfunctional electoral systems for the better part of a decade. And the one thing that every serious observer of the electoral meltdown recognizes is that the people who have managed the mess ought not to be trusted to clean it up.

That's the message that underpins the candidacy of John Bonifaz for the Democratic nomination for Massachusetts Secretary of State.

Bonifaz, the founder of the National Voting Rights Institute, is one of a number of activists and advocates who are running in races for secretary of state positions around the country this year. They have recognized that these posts, which in most states are responsible for conducting elections, can no longer be trusted to Republican partisans -- such as Florida's Katherine Harris and Ohio's Ken Blackwell -- or Democratic hacks. They have to be occupied by champions of democracy who believe that protecting and the promoting the right to vote must be the central function of local and state election officials.

Some of these champions have already secured secretary of state nominations, including Minnesota Democrat Mark Ritchie and California Democrat Debra Bowen. But in Massachusetts, where the primary is Tuesday, Bonifaz faces a tough challenge. He must overcome an entrenched incumbent, William Galvin, who at one point was considered a serious contender for governor but dropped back to seek reelection as secretary of state.

That decision by Galvin made Bonifaz's job much harder. But he has persevered with a primary campaign that has spoken well and wisely of the need to fix our broken election systems. His small "d" democratic commitment has earned Bonifaz enthusiastic endorsements from newspapers such as the Boston Phoenix, one of the nation's premier alternative weeklies, and the New Bedford Standard-Times, which declared last week that, "Mr. Galvin has not used his office enough to push through voting reforms that make Massachusetts a shining example and a leader in reviving democracy at the local level. Mr. Bonifaz will be that champion for the voter."

Bonifaz has also won the backing of national figures who have been active on behalf of voting rights, including U.S. Representatives John Conyers, D-Michigan, and Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Illinois., along with the support of the state's many Progressive Democrats of America chapters.

What appeals about Bonifaz is the seriousness of his uphill campaign, a seriousness that is highlighted by the candidate's commitment to a Voters' Bill of Rights that ought to be the platform on which progressives stand as they address this country's democracy shortfall.

Bonifaz's Voters Bill of Rights promises to:

1. Count every vote

The right to vote includes the right to have our votes properly counted.

We must ensure that every citizen's vote will be counted. This includes a guarantee of open and transparent elections with verified voting, paper trails, hand-recorded paper ballots, and access to the source codes for, and random audits of, electronic voting machines. It also includes a guarantee that we the people, through our government, will control our voting machines -- not private companies.

2. Make voting easier

We should enact election day registration here in Massachusetts, removing the barrier of registration prior to Election Day. Seven states have election day registration. They have a higher voter turnout in their elections and have no evidence of voter fraud. We should be encouraging greater participation in the political process, starting with election day registration.

We should also ensure absentee voting for all, allow for early voting, and remove other barriers that make it difficult for people to vote.

3. End the big money dominance of our electoral process

In a democracy, public elections should be publicly financed. In Maine and Arizona, publicly financed elections have enabled people to run for office who would never have dreamed of running under a system dominated by big money interests. We, as voters, need to own our elections, rather than allow the process to be controlled by the wealthy few.

We also need to enact mandatory limits on campaign spending. In 1976, the Supreme Court wrongly struck down mandatory campaign spending limits for congressional elections. Massachusetts should help lead the way with campaign spending limits for our elections.

4. Expand voter choice

Instant run-off voting: Voters should be able to rank their choices of candidates, ensuring majority support for those elected and allowing greater voter choice and wider voter participation.

Cross Endorsement Voting (Fusion voting): Voters should be able to cast their ballots for major party candidates on a minor party's ballot line, placing power in the hands of the people and broadening public debate on the issues of the day.

Proportional Representation: Voters should be allowed their fair share of representation, ensuring that majority rule does not prevent minority voices from being heard.

5. Ensure access for new citizens and language minorities

The right to vote does not speak one specific language. It is universal. No one should be denied the right to vote because of a language barrier.

6. Level the playing field for challengers

Redistricting reform -- Incumbent legislators should not have the power to draw their own district lines. We must transfer this power to independent non-partisan commissions and create fair standards for redistricting, thereby promoting competition in our electoral process and improving representation for the people.

7. Ensure non-partisan election administration

The Secretary of the Commonwealth must be a Secretary for all of us, regardless of party affiliation. The Secretary should not be allowed to serve as a co-chair of campaigns of candidates. To ensure the people's trust in the integrity of our elections, the Secretary must conduct the administration of elections in a non-partisan manner.

8. Make government more accessible to all of us

Democracy is not just about our participation on Election Day. We need to participate every day and our government needs to be accessible to us every day. This means a government that is open and transparent, that encourages people to make their voices heard, and that enlists citizen participation in addressing the major issues of our time.

9. Amend the US Constitution to ensure an affirmative right to vote

One hundred and eight democratic nations in the world have explicit language guaranteeing the right to vote in their constitutions, and the United States -- along with only ten other such nations -- does not. As a result, the way we administer elections in this country changes from state to state, from county to county, from locality to locality. The Secretary of the Commonwealth must fight for a constitutional amendment that affirmatively guarantees the right to vote in the US Constitution.

John Nichols is the author of Jews for Buchanan (The New Press), an account of the Florida recount fight following the 2000 presidential election, and numerous articles on America's dysfunctional electoral systems.

The Inner Circle Large Corporations and the Rise of Business Political Activity in the U.S. and U.K. (978019504033

This is the essence of neoliberalism" Businessmen Unite! instead of "Proletarians of all countries unite"...
July 7, 2005 | Amazon.com

Luc REYNAERT on July 7, 2005

Businessmen Unite!

In the US and Great-Britain top officers of large corporations formed in the 1970s a semi-autonomous network which Michael Useem calls the 'Inner Circle'. It is a sort of institutionalized capitalism with a classwide alongside a corporate logic and permits a centralized mobilization of corporate resources.

This select group of business leaders assume a leading role in the support of political candidates, in consultations with the highest levels of the national administrations, in public defense of the free enterprise system and in the governance of foundations and universities.

One of its main goals is the promotion of a better political climate for big business through philanthropy (image building via generous support of cultural programs), issue (not product) advertising and political financing.

The reasons behind the constitution of this 'Inner Circle' were the declining power of the individual companies and declining profitability together with, more specifically in GB, the threat of labor socialism (nationalizations and worker participation in corporate governance) and in the US, government intervention.

A main issue was also the desire to control the power of the media, which in the US were considered far too liberal.

The interventions of this 'Inner Circle' were (and are) extremely successful. President R. Reagan and Prime Minister M. Thatcher were partly products of business mobilizations. They lowered taxation, reduced government (except military) spending, lifted controls on business and installed cutbacks on unemployment benefits and welfare.

On the media front, the influence of corporate America is highly enhanced, directly through media mergers, and indirectly through the high corporate advertising budgets.

This is an eminent study based on excellent research.

Highly recommended.

[May 04, 2015]UK election Who really governs Britain

But those politicians lucky enough to win discover -- if they did not know already -- that their capacity to affect even their own domestic environment is constrained by forces beyond their control.
May 04, 2015 | CNN.com

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ItsJustTim

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

[May 03, 2015] Whichever party takes power does its best to govern just like the other party would have done while shouting about how different they are

marknesop.wordpress.com
Warren , May 1, 2015 at 8:12 am
The woman who shredded Red Ed: How marketing company boss used laser-like precision to lead audience attack on Labour leader
Marketing boss Catherine Shuttleworth leads charge against Labour leader
Miliband had the roughest ride from special Question Time audience
Dismissed Labour's 2010 note admitting 'there is no money' as a Tory prop
He also faced the wrath of voters after denying Labour spent too much
Leaving stage after difficult 30 minutes, Miliband tripped and almost fell

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3063559/Woman-shredded-Red-Ed-laser-like-precision-leads-audience-attacks-economy.html#ixzz3YtrjMeLV
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

marknesop, May 1, 2015 at 8:52 am
I am suspicious of any PR moment that leaves that smug prick Dave coming out best. He is a disaster as leader and any election campaign that sees him get another term has to be rigged, since he is so clearly a privileged, cocky, full-of-himself jerk who projects an image of a Britain that is just like him, which it isn't.

All the western democracies suffer from the same malaise – there are two parties which dominate the nation's leadership; Labour and Conservative, Democrat and Republican, Conservative and Liberal, and whichever party takes power does its best to govern just like the other party would have done while shouting about how different they are. This is particularly noticeable in the case of the United States, but merely because of its global influence and size and its impact on the world. Britain is pretty small potatoes these days in terms of global influence, Canada smaller yet, but both the preceding suffer from the same disease to varying degrees. There is simply no choice – you take this bastard or that bastard. And whichever wins, even when the result is clearly one in which the electorate "chose" the least horrible by its own estimation, the winner claims a mandate and says "the people have spoken". Mmm….fewer and fewer of them all the time, as eligible voters continue to lose interest completely in the democratic electoral process. I wonder why?

Warren, May 1, 2015 at 11:42 am

The lady in question has been revealed as a Conservative/Tory supporter and not an independent undecided person as she purported to be.

Regarding, the UK General Election it seems inevitable there will be another hung Parliament. The Conservatives/Tories look like they will become the largest party in England, however they won't have an overall majority in Parliament. Whereas, Labour is facing annihilation in Scotland, with the Scottish National Party (SNP) routing the "Red Tories" north of the border. Labour could conceivably govern the UK with the SNP in a coalition government. Nicola Sturgeon the leader of the SNP has expressed her desire to see another independence referendum within a few years. However, the Labour leader Edward "Ed" Miliband has ruled that out in the debate last night.

UK politics has fragmented and become so unpredictable. This was always going to happen because the economic crisis, new radical parties and policies were always going to emerge.

marknesop, May 1, 2015 at 2:33 pm

Ha, ha – just like the phenomenon of Katie Abram in the U.S. Here she is, supposedly just a concerned young mother who is at pains to explain she has never before been even interested in politics, but now, by God and Sonny Jesus, she is fired up, so look out. She was an overnight sensation, and Republicans started talking right away in that mindless way they have of her maybe running for office, even though they just heard she was a young mother who had no previous interest – translates to zero experience – in politics. Here she is the next day, getting her ass handed to her by Lawrence O'Donnell on "Hardball". Watch her pretend not to know how much her family income is, although she just said the Obama government wants her to pay more taxes.

Nobody should have been surprised, then, when it was revealed she was a neoconservative organizer with failed rodeo clown Glenn Beck's "9-12 Project", and knee-deep in politics since at least the GOP's congressional-elections rout in 2006.

Neocons the Echo of German Fascism By Todd E. Pierce

March 27, 2015 | Consortiumnews

Exclusive: The "f-word" for "fascist" keeps cropping up in discussing aggressive U.S. and Israeli "exceptionalism," but there's a distinction from the "n-word" for "Nazi." This new form of ignoring international law fits more with an older form of German authoritarianism favored by neocon icon Leo Strauss, says retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce.

With the Likud Party electoral victory in Israel, the Republican Party is on a roll, having won two major elections in a row. The first was winning control of the U.S. Congress last fall. The second is the victory by the Republicans' de facto party leader Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel's recent election. As the Israeli Prime Minister puts together a coalition with other parties "in the national camp," as he describes them, meaning the ultra-nationalist parties of Israel, it will be a coalition that today's Republicans would feel right at home in.

The common thread linking Republicans and Netanyahu's "national camp" is a belief of each in their own country's "exceptionalism," with a consequent right of military intervention wherever and whenever their "Commander in Chief" orders it, as well as the need for oppressive laws to suppress dissent.

Leo Strauss, an intellectual bridge between Germany's inter-war Conservative Revolutionaries and today's American neoconservatives.

Leo Strauss, an intellectual bridge between Germany's inter-war Conservative Revolutionaries and today's American neoconservatives.

William Kristol, neoconservative editor of the Weekly Standard, would agree. Celebrating Netanyahu's victory, Kristol told the New York Times, "It will strengthen the hawkish types in the Republican Party." Kristol added that Netanyahu would win the GOP's nomination, if he could run, because "Republican primary voters are at least as hawkish as the Israeli public."

The loser in both the Israeli and U.S. elections was the rule of law and real democracy, not the sham democracy presented for public relations purposes in both counties. In both countries today, money controls elections, and as Michael Glennon has written in National Security and Double Government, real power is in the hands of the national security apparatus.

Benjamin Netanyahu's leadership role in the U.S. Congress was on full display to the world when he accepted House Speaker John Boehner's invitation to address Congress. Showing their eagerness to be part of any political coalition being formed under Netanyahu's leadership, many Congressional Democrats also showed their support by attending the speech.

It was left to Israeli Uri Avnery to best capture the spirit of Netanyahu's enthusiastic ideological supporters in Congress. Avnery wrote that he was reminded of something when seeing "Row upon row of men in suits (and the occasional woman), jumping up and down, up and down, applauding wildly, shouting approval."

Where had he heard that type of shouting before? Then it came to him: "It was another parliament in the mid-1930s. The Leader was speaking. Rows upon rows of Reichstag members were listening raptly. Every few minutes they jumped up and shouted their approval."

He added, "the Congress of the United States of America is no Reichstag. Members wear dark suits, not brown shirts. They do not shout 'Heil' but something unintelligible." Nevertheless, "the sound of the shouting had the same effect. Rather shocking."

Right-wing Politics in Pre-Nazi Germany

While Avnery's analogy of how Congress responded to its de facto leader was apt, it isn't necessary to go to the extreme example that he uses to analogize today's right-wing U.S. and Israeli parties and policy to an earlier German precedent. Instead, it is sufficient to note how similar the right-wing parties of Israel and the U.S. of today are to what was known in 1920s Weimar Germany as the Conservative Revolutionary Movement.

This "movement" did not include the Nazis but instead the Nazis were political competitors with the party which largely represented Conservative Revolutionary ideas: the German National People's Party (DNVP).

The institution to which the Conservative Revolutionaries saw as best representing German "values," the Reichswehr, the German Army, was also opposed by the Nazis as "competitors" to Ernst Rohm's Brownshirts. But the Conservative Revolutionary Movement, the DNVP, and the German Army could all be characterized as "proto-fascist," if not Fascist. In fact, when the Nazis took over Germany, it was with the support of many of the proto-fascists making up the Conservative Revolutionary Movement, as well as those with the DNVP and the Reichswehr.

Consequently, many of the Reichstag members that Uri Avnery refers to above as listening raptly and jumping up and shouting their approval of "The Leader" were not Nazis. The Nazis had failed to obtain an absolute majority on their own and needed the votes of the "national camp," primarily the German National People's Party (DNVP), for a Reichstag majority.

The DNVP members would have been cheering The Leader right alongside Nazi members of the Reichstag. DNVP members also voted along with Nazi members in passing the Enabling Act of 1933, which abolished constitutional liberties and dissolved the Reichstag.

Not enough has been written on the German Conservative Revolutionary Movement , the DNVP and the Reichswehr because they have too often been seen as victims of the Nazis themselves or, at worst, mere precursors.

The DNVP was the political party which best represented the viewpoint of the German Conservative Revolutionary Movement. The Reichswehr itself, as described in The Nemesis of Power by John W. Wheeler-Bennett, has been called a "state within a state," much like the intelligence and security services of the U.S. and Israel are today, wielding extraordinary powers.

The Reichswehr was militaristic and anti-democratic in its purest form and indeed was "fascist" in the term's classic definition of "an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization." Mussolini merely modeled much of his hyper-militaristic political movement on the martial values of the Reichswehr.

German Army officers even had authority to punish civilians for failing to show "proper respect." In its essence, the viewpoint of the DNVP and the Conservative Revolutionaries was virtually identical to today's Republican Party along with those Democrats who align with them on national security issues.

These groups have in common a worshipful attitude toward the military as best embodying those martial virtues that are central to fascism. Sister parties, though they may all prefer to be seen as "brothers in arms," would be Netanyahu's "national camp" parties.

German Conservative Revolutionary Movement

The Conservative Revolutionary Movement began within the German Right after World War I with a number of writers advocating a nationalist ideology but one in keeping with modern times and not restricted by traditional Prussian conservatism.

It must be noted that Prussian conservatism, standing for militaristic ideas traditional to Prussia, was the antithesis of traditional American conservatism, which professed to stand for upholding the classical liberal ideas of government embedded in the U.S. Constitution.

Inherent to those U.S. constitutional ideas was antipathy toward militarism and militaristic rule of any sort, though Native Americans have good cause to disagree. (In fact, stories of the American conquest of Native Americans with its solution of placing them on reservations were particularly popular in Germany early in the Twentieth Century including with Adolf Hitler).

Historians have noted that when the German Army went to war in World War I, the soldiers and officers carried with them "a shared sense of German superiority and the imagined bestiality of the enemy." This was manifested particularly harshly upon the citizens of Belgium in 1914 with the German occupation. Later, after their experience in the trenches, the Reichswehr was nearly as harsh in suppressing domestic dissent in Germany after the war.

According to Richard Wolin, in The Seduction of Unreason, Ernst Troeltsch, a German Protestant theologian, "realized that in the course of World War I the ethos of Germanocentrism, as embodied in the 'ideas of 1914,' had assumed a heightened stridency." Under the peace of the Versailles Treaty, "instead of muting the idiom of German exceptionalism that Troeltsch viewed with such mistrust, it seemed only to fan its flames."

This belief in German "exceptionalism" was the common belief of German Conservative Revolutionaries, the DNVP and the Reichswehr. For Republicans of today and those who share their ideological belief, substitute "American" for "German" Exceptionalism and you have the identical ideology.

"Exceptionalism" in the sense of a nation can be understood in two ways. One is a belief in the nation's superiority to others. The other way is the belief that the "exceptional" nation stands above the law, similar to the claim made by dictators in declaring martial law or a state of emergency. The U.S. and Israel exhibit both forms of this belief.

German Exceptionalism

The belief in German Exceptionalism was the starting point, not the ending point, for the Conservative Revolutionaries just as it is with today's Republicans such as Sen. Tom Cotton or Sen. Lindsey Graham. This Exceptionalist ideology gives the nation the right to interfere in other country's internal affairs for whatever reason the "exceptional" country deems necessary, such as desiring more living space for their population, fearing the potential of some future security threat, or even just by denying the "exceptional" country access within its borders — or a "denial of access threat" as the U.S. government terms it.

The fundamental ideas of the Conservative Revolutionaries have been described as vehement opposition to the Weimar Republic (identifying it with the lost war and the Versailles Treaty) and political "liberalism" (as opposed to Prussia's traditional authoritarianism).

This "liberalism," which offended the Conservative Revolutionaries, was democracy and individual rights against state power. Instead, the Conservative Revolutionaries envisaged a new reich of enormous strength and unity. They rejected the view that political action should be guided by rational criteria. They idealized violence for its own sake.

That idealization of violence would have meant "state" violence in the form of military expansionism and suppression of "enemies," domestic and foreign, by right-thinking Germans.

The Conservative Revolutionaries called for a "primacy of politics" which was to be "a reassertion of an expansion in foreign policy and repression against the trade unions at home." This "primacy of politics" for the Conservative Revolutionaries meant the erasure of a distinction between war and politics.

Citing Hannah Arendt, Jeffrey Herf, a professor of modern European history, wrote: "The explicit implications of the primacy of politics in the conservative revolution were totalitarian. From now on there were to be no limits to ideological politics. The utilitarian and humanistic considerations of nineteenth-century liberalism were to be abandoned in order to establish a state of constant dynamism and movement." That sounds a lot like the "creative destruction" that neoconservative theorist Michael Ledeen is so fond of.

Herf wrote in 1984 that Conservative Revolutionaries were characterized as "the intellectual advance guard of the rightist revolution that was to be effected in 1933," which, although contemptuous of Hitler, "did much to pave his road to power."

Unlike the Nazis, their belief in German superiority was based in historical traditions and ideas, not biological racism. Nevertheless, some saw German Jews as the "enemy" of Germany for being "incompatible with a united nation."

It is one of the bitterest of ironies that Israel as a "Jewish nation" has adopted similar attitudes toward its Arab citizens. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman recently proclaimed: "Those who are with us deserve everything, but those who are against us deserve to have their heads chopped off with an axe."

Within Israel, these "Conservative Revolutionary" ideas were manifested in one of their founding political parties, Herut, whose founders came out of the same central European political milieu of interwar Europe and from which Netanyahu's Likud party is descended.

Ernst Junger

Author Ernst Junger was the most important contributor to the celebration of war by the Conservative Revolutionaries and was an influence and an enabler of the Nazis coming to power. He serialized his celebration of war and his belief in its "redeeming" qualities in a number of popular books with "war porn" titles such as, in English, The Storm of Steel, The Battle as an Inner Experience, and Fire and Blood.

The title of a collection of Junger essays in 1930, Krieg und Krieger (War and the Warriors) captures the spirit of America in the Twenty-first Century as much as it did the German spirit in 1930. While members of the U.S. military once went by terms such as soldier, sailor and marine, now they are routinely generically called "Warriors," especially by the highest ranks, a term never before used to describe what were once "citizen soldiers."

Putting a book with a "Warrior" title out on the shelf in a Barnes and Noble would almost guarantee a best-seller, even when competing with all the U.S. SEALS' reminiscences and American sniper stories. But German philosopher Walter Benjamin understood the meaning of Junger's Krieg und Krieger, explaining it in the appropriately titled Theories of German Fascism.

Fundamental to Junger's celebration of war was a metaphysical belief in "totale Mobilmachung" or total mobilization to describe the functioning of a society that fully grasps the meaning of war. With World War I, Junger saw the battlefield as the scene of struggle "for life and death," pushing all historical and political considerations aside. But he saw in the war the fact that "in it the genius of war permeated the spirit of progress."

According to Jeffrey Herf in Reactionary Modernism, Junger saw total mobilization as "a worldwide trend toward state-directed mobilization in which individual freedom would be sacrificed to the demands of authoritarian planning." Welcoming this, Junger believed "that different currents of energy were coalescing into one powerful torrent. The era of total mobilization would bring about an 'unleashing' (Entfesselung) of a nevertheless disciplined life."

In practical terms, Junger's metaphysical view of war meant that Germany had lost World War I because its economic and technological mobilization had only been partial and not total. He lamented that Germany had been unable to place the "spirit of the age" in the service of nationalism. Consequently, he believed that "bourgeois legality," which placed restrictions on the powers of the authoritarian state, "must be abolished in order to liberate technological advance."

Today, total mobilization for the U.S. begins with the Republicans' budgeting efforts to strip away funding for domestic civilian uses and shifting it to military and intelligence spending. Army veteran, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, exemplifies this belief in "total mobilization" of society with his calls for dramatically increased military spending and his belief that "We must again show the U.S. is willing and prepared to [get into] a war in the first place" by making clear that potential "aggressors will pay an unspeakable price if they challenge the United States."

That is the true purpose of Twenty-first Century Republican economics: total mobilization of the economy for war. Just as defeated German generals and the Conservative Revolutionaries believed that Germany lost World War I because their economy and nation was only "partially mobilized," so too did many American Vietnam War-era generals and right-wing politicians believe the same of the Vietnam War. Retired Gen. David Petraeus and today's neoconservatives have made similar arguments about President Barack Obama's failure to sustain the Iraq War. [See, for instance, this fawning Washington Post interview with Petraeus.]

What all these militarists failed to understand is that, according to Clausewitz, when a war's costs exceed its benefits, the sound strategy is to end the costly war. The Germans failed to understand this in World War II and the Soviet Union in their Afghan War.

Paradoxically in the Vietnam War, it was the anti-war movement that enhanced U.S. strength by bringing that wasteful war to an end, not the American militarists who would have continued it to a bitter end of economic collapse. We are now seeing a similar debate about whether to continue and expand U.S. military operations across the Middle East.

Carl Schmitt

While Ernst Junger was the celebrant and the publicist for total mobilization of society for endless war, including the need for authoritarian government, Carl Schmitt was the ideological theoretician, both legally and politically, who helped bring about the totalitarian and militaristic society. Except when it happened, it came under different ownership than what they had hoped and planned for.

Contrary to Schmitt's latter-day apologists and/or advocates, who include prominent law professors teaching at Harvard and the University of Chicago, his legal writings weren't about preserving the Weimar Republic against its totalitarian enemies, the Communists and Nazis. Rather, he worked on behalf of a rival fascist faction, members of the German Army General Staff. He acted as a legal adviser to General Kurt von Schleicher, who in turn advised President Paul von Hindenburg, former Chief of the German General Staff during World War I.

German historian Eberhard Kolb observed, "from the mid-1920s onwards the Army leaders had developed and propagated new social conceptions of a militarist kind, tending towards a fusion of the military and civilian sectors and ultimately a totalitarian military state (Wehrstaat)."

When General Schleicher helped bring about the political fall of Reichswehr Commander in Chief, General von Seekt, it was a "triumph of the 'modern' faction within the Reichswehr who favored a total war ideology and wanted Germany to become a dictatorship that would wage total war upon the other nations of Europe," according to Kolb.

When Hitler and the Nazis outmaneuvered the Army politically, Schmitt, as well as most other Conservative Revolutionaries, went over to the Nazis.

Reading Schmitt gives one a greater understanding of the Conservative Revolutionary's call for a "primacy of politics," explained previously as "a reassertion of an expansion in foreign policy."

Schmitt said: "A world in which the possibility of war is utterly eliminated, a completely pacified globe, would be a world without the distinction of friend and enemy and hence a world without politics. It is conceivable that such a world might contain many very interesting antitheses and contrasts, competitions and intrigues of every kind, but there would not be a meaningful antithesis whereby men could be required to sacrifice life, authorized to shed blood, and kill other human beings. For the definition of the political, it is here even irrelevant whether such a world without politics is desirable as an ideal situation."

As evident in this statement, to Schmitt, the norm isn't peace, nor is peace even desirable, but rather perpetual war is the natural and preferable condition.

This dream of a Martial State is not isolated to German history. A Republican aligned neoconservative, Thomas Sowell, expressed the same longing in 2007 in a National Review article, "Don't Get Weak." Sowell wrote; "When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can't help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup."

Leo Strauss, Conservative Revolutionaries and Republicans

Political philosopher Leo Strauss had yearned for the glorious German Conservative Revolution but was despondent when it took the form of the Nazi Third Reich, from which he was excluded because he was Jewish regardless of his fascist ideology.

He wrote to a German Jewish friend, Karl Loewith: "the fact that the new right-wing Germany does not tolerate us says nothing against the principles of the right. To the contrary: only from the principles of the right, that is from fascist, authoritarian and imperial principles, is it possible with seemliness, that is, without resort to the ludicrous and despicable appeal to the droits imprescriptibles de l'homme [inalienable rights of man] to protest against the shabby abomination."

Strauss was in agreement politically with Schmitt, and they were close friends.

Professor Alan Gilbert of Denver University has written: "As a Jew, Strauss was forbidden from following Schmitt and [German philosopher Martin] Heidegger into the Nazi party. 'But he was a man of the Right. Like some other Zionists, those who admired Mussolini for instance, Strauss' principles, as the 1933 letter relates, were 'fascist, authoritarian, imperial.'"

Strauss was intelligent enough when he arrived in the U.S. to disguise and channel his fascist thought by going back to like-minded "ancient" philosophers and thereby presenting fascism as part of our "western heritage," just as the current neocon classicist Victor Davis Hanson does.

Needless to say, fascism is built on the belief in a dictator, as was Sparta and the Roman Empire and as propounded by Socrates and Plato, so turning to the thought of ancient philosophers and historians makes a good "cover" for fascist thought.

Leo Strauss must be seen as the Godfather of the modern Republican Party's political ideology. His legacy continues now through the innumerable "Neoconservative Revolutionary" front groups with cover names frequently invoking "democracy" or "security," such as Sen. Lindsey Graham's "Security Through Strength."

Typifying the Straussian neoconservative revolutionary whose hunger for military aggression can never be satiated would be former Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame and practitioner of the "big lie," who returned to government under President George W. Bush to push the Iraq War and is currently promoting a U.S. war against Iran.

In a classic example of "projection," Abrams writes that "Ideology is the raison d'etre of Iran's regime, legitimating its rule and inspiring its leaders and their supporters. In this sense, it is akin to communist, fascist and Nazi regimes that set out to transform the world." That can as truthfully be said of his own Neoconservative Revolutionary ideology and its adherents.

That ideology explains Bill Kristol's crowing over Netanyahu's victory and claiming Netanyahu as the Republicans' de facto leader. For years, the U.S. and Israel under Netanyahu have had nearly identical foreign policy approaches though they are at the moment in some disagreement because President Obama has resisted war with Iran while Netanyahu is essentially demanding it.

But at a deeper level the two countries share a common outlook, calling for continuous military interventionism outside each country's borders with increased exercise of authority by the military and other security services within their borders. This is no accident. It can be traced back to joint right-wing extremist efforts in both countries with American neoconservatives playing key roles.

The best example of this joint effort was when U.S. neocons joined with the right-wing, Likud-connected Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies in 1996 to publish their joint plan for continuous military interventionism in the Mideast in "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," which envisioned "regime change" instead of negotiations. [See Consortiumnews.com's "How Israel Outfoxed U.S. Presidents."]

While ostensibly written for Netanyahu's political campaign, "A Clean Break" became the blueprint for subsequent war policies advocated by the Project for the New American Century, founded by neocons William Kristol and Robert Kagan. The chief contribution of the American neocons in this strategy was to marshal U.S. military resources to do the heavy lifting in attacking Israel's neighbors beginning with Iraq.

With these policy preferences goes a belief inside each country's political parties, across the spectrum but particularly on the Right, that Israel and the United States each stand apart from all other nations as "Exceptional." This is continuously repeated to ensure imprinting it in the population's consciousness in the tradition of fascist states through history.

It is believed today in both the U.S. and Israel, just as the German Conservative Revolutionaries believed it in the 1920s and 1930s of their homeland, Germany, and then carried on by the Nazis until 1945.

Israeli Herut Party

The Knesset website describes the original Herut party (1948-1988) as the main opposition party (against the early domination by the Labor Party). Herut was the most right-wing party in the years before the Likud party came into being and absorbed Herut into a coalition. Its expansionist slogan was "To the banks to the Jordan River" and it refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Kingdom of Jordan. Economically, Herut supported private enterprise and a reduction of government intervention.

In "A Clean Break," the authors were advising Netanyahu to reclaim the belligerent and expansionist principles of the Herut party.

Herut was founded in 1948 by Menachem Begin, the leader of the right-wing militant group Irgun, which was widely regarded as a terrorist organization responsible for killing Palestinians and cleansing them from land claimed by Israel, including the infamous Deir Yassin massacre.

Herut's nature as a party and movement was best explained in a critical letter to the New York Times on Dec. 4, 1948, signed by over two dozen prominent Jewish intellectuals including Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt.

The letter read: "Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the 'Freedom Party' (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties.

"It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine. (…) It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin's political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents. …

"Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future."

According to author Joseph Heller, Herut was a one-issue party intent on expanding Israel's borders. That Netanyahu has never set aside Herut's ideology can be gleaned from his book last revised in 2000, A Durable Peace. There, Netanyahu praises Herut's predecessors – the Irgun paramilitary and Lehi, also known as the Stern Gang, a self-declared "terrorist" group. He also marginalizes their Israeli adversary of the time, the Hagana under Israel's primary founder and first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

Regardless of methods used, the Stern Gang was indisputably "fascist," even receiving military training from Fascist Italy. One does not need to speculate as to its ideological influences.

According to Colin Shindler, writing in Triumph of Military Zionism: Nationalism and the Origins of the Israeli Right, "Stern devotedly believed that 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' so he approached Nazi Germany. With German armies at the gates of Palestine, he offered co-operation and an alliance with a new totalitarian Hebrew republic."

Netanyahu in his recent election campaign would seem to have re-embraced his fascist origins, both with its racism and his declaration that as long as he was prime minister he would block a Palestinian state and would continue building Jewish settlements on what international law recognizes as Palestinian land.

In other words, maintaining a state of war on the Palestinian people with a military occupation and governing by military rule, while continuing to make further territorial gains with the IDF acting as shock troops for the settlers.

Why Does This Matter?

Sun-Tzu famously wrote "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."

When we allow our "Conservative Revolutionaries" (or neoconservative militarists or proto-fascists or whatever term best describes them) to make foreign policy, the United States loses legitimacy in the world as a "rule of law" state. Instead, we present a "fascist" justification for our wars which is blatantly illicit.

As the American political establishment has become so enamored with war and the "warriors" who fight them, it has become child's play for our militarists to manipulate the U.S. into wars or foreign aggression through promiscuous economic sanctions or inciting and arming foreign groups to destabilize the countries that we target.

No better example for this can be shown than the role that America's First Family of Militarism, the Kagans, plays in pushing total war mobilization of the U.S. economy and inciting war, at the expense of civilian and domestic needs, as Robert Parry wrote.

This can be seen with Robert Kagan invoking the martial virtue of "courage" in demanding greater military spending by our elected officials and a greater wealth transfer to the Military Industrial Complex which funds the various war advocacy projects that he and his family are involved with.

Kagan recently wrote: "Those who propose to lead the United States in the coming years, Republicans and Democrats, need to show what kind of political courage they have, right now, when the crucial budget decisions are being made."

But as Parry pointed out, showing "courage," "in Kagan's view – is to ladle ever more billions into the Military-Industrial Complex, thus putting money where the Republican mouths are regarding the need to 'defend Ukraine' and resist 'a bad nuclear deal with Iran.'" But Parry noted that if it weren't for Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, Kagan's spouse, the Ukraine crisis might not exist.

What must certainly be seen as neo-fascist under any system of government but especially under a nominal "constitutional republic" as the U.S. claims to be, is Sen. Lindsey Graham's threat that the first thing he would do if elected President of the United States would be to use the military to detain members of Congress, keeping them in session in Washington, until all so-called "defense cuts" are restored to the budget.

In Graham's words, "I wouldn't let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to. We're not leaving town until we restore these defense cuts."

And he would have that power according to former Vice President Dick Cheney's "unitary executive theory" of Presidential power, originally formulated by Carl Schmitt and adopted by Republican attorneys and incorporated into government under the Bush-Cheney administration. Sen. Tom Cotton and other Republicans would no doubt support such an abuse of power if it meant increasing military spending.

But even more dangerous for the U.S. as well as other nations in the world is that one day, our militarists' constant incitement and provocation to war is going to "payoff," and the U.S. will be in a real war with an enemy with nuclear weapons, like the one Victoria Nuland is creating on Russia's border.

Today's American "Conservative Revolutionary" lust for war was summed up by prominent neoconservative Richard Perle, a co-author of "A Clean Break." Echoing the views on war from Ernst Junger and Carl Schmitt, Perle once explained U.S. strategy in the neoconservative view, according to John Pilger:

"There will be no stages," he said. "This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there . . . If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy but just wage a total war, our children will sing great songs about us years from now."

That goal was the same fantasy professed by German Conservative Revolutionaries and it led directly to a wartime defeat never imagined by Germany before, with all the "collateral damage" along the way that always results from "total war."

Rather than continuing with this "strategy," driven by our own modern Conservative Revolutionaries and entailing the eventual bankrupting or destruction of the nation, it might be more prudent for Americans to demand that we go back to the original national security strategy of the United States, as expressed by early presidents as avoiding "foreign entanglements" and start abiding by the republican goals expressed by the Preamble to the Constitution:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Todd E. Pierce retired as a Major in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in November 2012. His most recent assignment was defense counsel in the Office of Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions. In the course of that assignment, he researched and reviewed the complete records of military commissions held during the Civil War and stored at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

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45 comments for "Neocons: the Echo of German Fascism"

  1. tateishi

    March 27, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Good article. Often people forget that Germany is a very aggressive war mongers, sending soldiers to many areas, and actually it started Yugoslavian war together with the US. It also has many people who believe that they are Aryans, Hitler's imaginary race, though there are real Aryans peaceful one in the mountains of Iran, etc.

    • Lutz Barz

      March 28, 2015 at 5:23 am

      The Brits and French were far more militarily aggressive than the late comers Germany. The sun never set in British bayonets imposed on peaceful people globally. Over 3 million died in Bengal in the early 40s thanks to British indifference on feeding her own first [though she could source wheat from Canada and Bengal from Australia-this was not done]. Post WW1 into 1919 600+ Germans esp the young and old were dying of starvation courtesy of a British blockade still in place after the armistice. As for terrible Germany invading Belgium the Kaiser never protested about the British occupation of Ireland and it's bloody suppression. Then there is/was Palestine. One could go on. Every country has it's neanderthal conservatives. And Prussia was far more progressive during the early 19th century schooling its citizens and being part of the German Enlightenment. But as we know history is written by those who dominate militarily.

    • Lutz Barz

      March 28, 2015 at 5:24 am

      The Brits and French were far more militarily aggressive than the late comers Germany. The sun never set in British bayonets imposed on peaceful people globally. Over 3 million died in Bengal in the early 40s thanks to British indifference on feeding her own first [though she could source wheat from Canada and Bengal from Australia-this was not done]. Post WW1 into 1919 600+ Germans esp the young and old were dying of starvation courtesy of a British blockade still in place after the armistice. As for terrible Germany invading Belgium the Kaiser never protested about the British occupation of Ireland and it's bloody suppression. Then there is/was Palestine. One could go on. Every country has it's neanderthal conservatives. And Prussia was far more progressive during the early 19th century schooling its citizens and being part of the German Enlightenment. But as we know history is written by those who dominate militarily.

    • Lutz Barz

      March 28, 2015 at 5:24 am

      The Brits and French were far more militarily aggressive than the late comers Germany. The sun never set in British bayonets imposed on peaceful people globally. Over 3 million died in Bengal in the early 40s thanks to British indifference on feeding her own first [though she could source wheat from Canada and Bengal from Australia-this was not done]. Post WW1 into 1919 600+ Germans esp the young and old were dying of starvation courtesy of a British blockade still in place after the armistice. As for terrible Germany invading Belgium the Kaiser never protested about the British occupation of Ireland and it's bloody suppression. Then there is/was Palestine. One could go on. Every country has it's neanderthal conservatives. And Prussia was far more progressive during the early 19th century schooling its citizens and being part of the German Enlightenment. But as we know history is written by those who dominate militarily.

    • Lutz Barz

      March 28, 2015 at 5:25 am

      The Brits and French were far more militarily aggressive than the late comers Germany. The sun never set in British bayonets imposed on peaceful people globally. Over 3 million died in Bengal in the early 40s thanks to British indifference on feeding her own first [though she could source wheat from Canada and Bengal from Australia-this was not done]. Post WW1 into 1919 600+ Germans esp the young and old were dying of starvation courtesy of a British blockade still in place after the armistice. As for terrible Germany invading Belgium the Kaiser never protested about the British occupation of Ireland and it's bloody suppression. Then there is/was Palestine. One could go on. Every country has it's neanderthal conservatives. And Prussia was far more progressive during the early 19th century schooling its citizens and being part of the German Enlightenment. But as we know history is written by those who dominate militarily.

    • Lutz Barz

      March 28, 2015 at 5:25 am

      The Brits and French were far more militarily aggressive than the late comers Germany. The sun never set in British bayonets imposed on peaceful people globally. Over 3 million died in Bengal in the early 40s thanks to British indifference on feeding her own first [though she could source wheat from Canada and Bengal from Australia-this was not done]. Post WW1 into 1919 600+ Germans esp the young and old were dying of starvation courtesy of a British blockade still in place after the armistice. As for terrible Germany invading Belgium the Kaiser never protested about the British occupation of Ireland and it's bloody suppression. Then there is/was Palestine. One could go on. Every country has it's neanderthal conservatives. And Prussia was far more progressive during the early 19th century schooling its citizens and being part of the German Enlightenment. But as we know history is written by those who dominate militarily.

    • Steve

      March 29, 2015 at 11:07 am

      A very strange comment from a presumed Iranian especially. Germany is not aggressive at all since WW2, which was a result of much aggression by several nations starting with Japan and Italy. German soldiers have gone almost nowhere since then, a limited deployment in Afghanistan being the main case. Germany did not start the "Yugoslavian war" at all, which was begun by Serbia attacking Slovenia and Croatia after they voted and declared independence. Aryanism is very rare in Germany today, and far more belligerent language comes out of Iran than Germany, Iran having swapped Aryanism for Islamism to little if any benefit.

      As for the article itself, it makes the common error of imputing excessive influence to a limited era of German militarism, whilst ignoring the far more globally influential records of Western colonial and Communist militaristic imperialism, as well as Italian Fascism which was the more influential model for many amenable to such ideas, with its aggressive colonial and corporatist notions, and successful attainment of power a decade before Hitler's.

    • msc15@ymail.com

      March 29, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      Yea, but lesson is that USA is the continuation and revival of nazi ideology carrying its propound ideology of "exceptionalism". The neo conservative hawkish holding the belief that USA has the right to interfere in others countries internal affairs, that USA is above the law, that USA is predestinated by providence to spread its civilization and more others imperialists beliefs.

  2. F. G. Sanford

    March 27, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Concur. A common slogan of the political opposition in the 1930's was, "Fascism Means War!" It was true then, and it's still true today. The Major speaks the truth. I hope someone is listening.

  3. bobzz

    March 27, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    This piece tracks well with Charles Derber's, Morality Wars: How Empires, the Born Again, and the Politically Correct Do Evil in the Name of Good. Hitler was rabid on the subject of morality (i.e., favored it). He was well received by many professional theologians, and the church generally swung in line. Not enough of the Barmen's Confession. This is another parallel with America and Israel and a major contributor to exceptionalism.

  4. John

    March 27, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Very true. The relationship of fascism and warmongering was described by Aristotle as the tactics of the tyrant over a democracy: fascist leaders must promote war and internal policing because it is the sole basis of their demand for power: they must create, provoke, or invent foreign enemies to demand power as "protectors" and accuse their opponents of disloyalty. They must appeal to the bully-boys as their militant wing, so they produce pseudo-philosophies of dominance.

    Fascism must at times be clarified in meaning to avoid limitation to specific historical instances, and it should be understood in those instances, but in is actually a very simple and universal attitude. It is nothing but the behavior and propaganda of bully boys. They are selfish, ignorant, hypocritical and malicious youths and abusive husbands and fathers, who glory in their small circle of the intimidated and push everyone around as a principal life skill. Those who extend that circle by operating small businesses, or as military or police officers, create and approve rationalizations of special rights. There is no real "exceptionalism" belief or philosophy of national/religious/ethnic superiority, it is just outright propaganda for bullying. They are quite stupid, and yet quickly pick up the methods of fascism, so it is not worth much analysis.

  5. John

    March 27, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    I should add that the resurgence of fascism and its strength in the US and Israel is due to its association with economic concentrations. In business, the spoils go not to the inventor or ingenious professional as claimed in business propaganda: the spoils go to the bully-boy. Those who rise to the top in the corporate world are not the brilliant professionals or the effective managers who shine at lower levels. The path upwards is limited to those who come out on top wars between groups in collusion, who are without exception scheming bully-boys. There is no other way to the top. Only the methods are different from politics. So only bully-boys have great economic power.

    In the US, economic concentrations did not exist when the Constitution was written, so it provides no protection at all for the institutions of democracy from economic power. Economic powers controlled elections and the press in the 19th century, so there has been no way to even debate the issue, and now that control is almost absolute. Those are the powers obtainable only by bully-boys, the predominant fascists of Nazi Germany and the US, and no doubt Israel. So the US has been loosely controlled by fascism for a long time, and that control is nearly total now. Only the propaganda to rationalize this changes to sell the policies to the intimidated.

  6. Randy

    March 27, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    War is inevitable.. You simply cannot deny this and anyone who does is just dreaming… The world cannot live in some perpetual peace forever, what will happen when oil, water, and even living space runs out? Will you watch your family starve to death while the people over in the next town are eating to their hearts content?

    As much as you want to deny it, Hitler had it right. Peace is only attainable through war, and can only be won for your own people. There cannot be world peace, and the events of today proves it. Hitler and Japan was defeated more than 50 years ago, where is the peace? There will come a day where money will be worthless, the only currency will be strength, only those rich in this currency will survive. How nature intended it to be.

    Hitler knew this, and was preparing his own country, the rest of the world took the Banker path, and look where that led us.

    • Zachary Smith

      March 27, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      The world cannot live in some perpetual peace forever, what will happen when oil, water, and even living space runs out?

      Has it occurred to you that oil is only one of the many energy sources, and that the amount of water on Earth is basically a fixed quantity? Living space? Consider contraception combined with incentives, and disincentives for having babies galore.

      Can't help but notice you didn't mention Global Warming as a gnawing problem. Why?

      Finally, WHY is this site a magnet for the Hitler Fan Club?

      • Randy

        March 27, 2015 at 3:52 pm

        The idea is that resources run out, right? I wasn't going to list everything. There is not a infinite amount of resources in this world, you can continue living in your fairy tale world if you'd like but I will not.

        Even the soil that we grow food in will one day become unusable if it is abused like it is today. Global warming is a result of your delusion of world peace. Nature hits back when you delay and ignore up its rule for to long.. There would be no Global Warming problem i

        • Zachary Smith

          March 27, 2015 at 4:00 pm

          Global warming is a result of your delusion of world peace.

          As I suspected.

          No doubt wind turbines kill the cute birdies.

          And contraception is some sort of sin.

    • John

      March 27, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      Randy, be careful to avoid traps here:
      1. Wars will continue in history, but that is not a justification for doing wrong.
      2. When groups are in conflict, good leadership avoids war because it causes great wrongs. Sometimes it cannot be avoided, usually due to bad leadership. But of course that does not justify unnecessary war.
      3. Peace is not obtained by war. Sometimes it results from a successful defense against wrongful war, sometimes it is only the peace after a wrongful war succeeds. Those who prefer peace want to avoid unnecessary war. They are not afraid of necessary defense.
      4. Those who want to keep the US from unnecessary wars know more about the world's cultures and problems and solutions than those who always think of war as a solution. They know that our security depends upon making friends among a wild variety of cultures at different stages of development. That is done by helping the unfortunate even when we disagree with them, and we can't expect much from them in return. Wars mainly make us enemies, and those who promote wars conceal those failures. That's what this site is about.

    • holycowimeanzebra

      March 27, 2015 at 10:53 pm

      Gee, we couldn't just talk like adults about the importance of having fewer children? War and killing is the only method of human population control?

    • holycowimeanzebra

      March 27, 2015 at 10:54 pm

      Gee, we couldn't just talk like adults about the importance of having fewer children? War and killing is the only method of human population control?

    • zhu bajie

      March 30, 2015 at 1:03 am

      Nonsense. War is caused by fighting.

    • frank scott

      March 30, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      war, slavery and general ignorance are "inevitable" so long as people are mentally enslaved enough to tolerate them…the only thing inevitable about life is death…the rest is all subject to at least some measure of control, whether those are called political, religious or scientific..belief in such nonsense as above guarantees the continued master race-self chosen people-ism the article's writer is trying to contend with, call attention to and end..hitler was right about some things and wrong about most, like obama, bush, clinton, reagan and all other "leaders" of the status quo.

    • frank scott

      March 30, 2015 at 11:17 pm

      death is inevitable but the rest of life is subject to control by concerned, thoughtful and informed humans..war is inevitable only if the opposite type of humans continue and if they do it may be that all of us will lose continuity, fulfilling their dreadfully negative religious belief..the article seems to be at least trying to locate sources for some of the diseased madness that prevails but talk of "inevitable" war is an example of the disease.

  7. Gregory Kruse

    March 27, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Mr. Pierce appears to be a good example of a person who "knows himself, and knows his enemy", for indeed the Kagans and Cheneys of these times are enemies of the people. Unfortunately, most of the people don't know it yet, and in fact don't know themselves. It is absolutely dumbfounding to hear strains of Fox News coming from the mouths of otherwise seemingly decent and intelligent people who have the facility to think for themselves, but find it easier to parrot a TV station. I rue the fact that history and what served for political education in my youth led me to believe that there were no real enemies of democracy anymore. Reading back now through the history of Europe after the War of 1812 in Russia until WWI, I have come to appreciate the strength of fascist sentiment and passion, and I fairly tremble at the thought of the possible rise of another Otto von Bismark or Adolph Hitler in what we think of as "modern" times. There is only one ray of hope for me and that is the writing of such as Pierce, Parry, and some others scattered about the internet. It isn't clear to me that people will wake up and perceive the path we are on and in dreadful fear force a change of direction, but if not, we will learn again what it is to suffer unimaginable horror.

    • Zachary Smith

      March 27, 2015 at 7:21 pm

      It is absolutely dumbfounding to hear strains of Fox News coming from the mouths of otherwise seemingly decent and intelligent people who have the facility to think for themselves, but find it easier to parrot a TV station.

      Dumbfounding is right!

      Sometime back I was astonished to hear a relative at least as bright as myself (and educated at the same University) tell me that Fox was the ONLY news source which could be trusted. She'd moved from Indiana to the deep South years ago and sort-of "gone native". It was an ordeal to remain calm and use lip-glue.

  8. Theodora Crawford

    March 27, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Excellent discussion and worth the challenge of a thought-provoking and complex argument about governance and war. Today's environment is frightening with so much negative opinion, an absurd sense of US "exceptionalism" and unthinking faith in the power of war (clinched by a nuclear option as last resort).

    Alas, we have the government we deserve.

  9. Abe

    March 27, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    In 1926, German political theorist Carl Schmitt wrote his most famous paper, "Der Begriff des Politischen" ("The Concept of the Political"), in which he developed his theory of "the political".

    For Schmitt, "the political" is not equal to any other domain, such as the economic, but instead is the most essential to identity. As the essence of politics, "the political" is distinct from party politics.

    According to Schmitt, while churches are predominant in religion or society is predominant in economics, the state is predominant in politics. Yet for Schmitt the political was not an autonomous domain equivalent to the other domains, but rather the existential basis that would determine any other domain should it reach the point of politics (e.g. religion ceases to be merely theological when it makes a clear distinction between the "friend" and the "enemy").

    Schmitt, in perhaps his best-known formulation, bases his conceptual realm of state sovereignty and autonomy upon the distinction between friend and enemy. This distinction is to be determined "existentially," which is to say that the enemy is whoever is "in a specially intense way, existentially something different and alien, so that in the extreme case conflicts with him are possible." (Schmitt, 1996, p. 27)

    For Schmitt, such an enemy need not even be based on nationality: so long as the conflict is potentially intense enough to become a violent one between political entities, the actual substance of enmity may be anything.

    Although there have been divergent interpretations concerning Schmitt's work, there is broad agreement that "The Concept of the Political" is an attempt to achieve state unity by defining the content of politics as opposition to the "other" (that is to say, an enemy, a stranger. This applies to any person or entity that represents a serious threat or conflict to one's own interests.) In addition, the prominence of the state stands as a neutral force over potentially fractious civil society, whose various antagonisms must not be allowed to reach the level of the political, lest civil war result.

    Leo Strauss, a political Zionist and follower of Vladimir Jabotinsky, had a position at the Academy of Jewish Research in Berlin. Strauss wrote to Schmitt in 1932 and summarized Schmitt's political theology thus: "[B]ecause man is by nature evil, he therefore needs dominion. But dominion can be established, that is, men can be unified only in a unity against – against other men. Every association of men is necessarily a separation from other men… the political thus understood is not the constitutive principle of the state, of order, but a condition of the state."

    With a letter of recommendation from Schmitt, Strauss received a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation to begin work, in France, on a study of Hobbes. Schmitt went on to become a figure of influence in the new Nazi government of Adolf Hitler.

    On 30 January 1933, Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. The SA and SS led torchlight parades throughout Berlin. Germans who opposed Nazism failed to unite against it, and Hitler soon moved to consolidate absolute power.

    Following the 27 February Reichstag fire, the Nazis began to suspend civil liberties and eliminate political opposition. The Communists were excluded from the Reichstag. At the March 1933 elections, again no single party secured a majority. Hitler required the vote of the Centre Party and Conservatives in the Reichstag to obtain the powers he desired. He called on Reichstag members to vote for the Enabling Act on 24 March 1933.

    Hitler was granted plenary powers "temporarily" by the passage of the Enabling Act. The law gave him the freedom to act without parliamentary consent and even without constitutional limitations.

    Schmitt joined the Nazi Party on 1 May 1933. Within days of joining the party, Schmitt was party to the burning of books by Jewish authors, rejoicing in the burning of "un-German" and "anti-German" material, and calling for a much more extensive purge, to include works by authors influenced by Jewish ideas.[

    In July 1933, Schmitt was appointed State Councillor for Prussia (Preußischer Staatsrat) by Hermann Göring and became the president of the Vereinigung nationalsozialistischer Juristen ("Union of National-Socialist Jurists") in November. He also replaced Hermann Heller as professor at the University of Berlin (a position he held until the end of World War II).

    Schmitt presented his theories as an ideological foundation of the Nazi dictatorship, and a justification of the Führer state with regard to legal philosophy, in particular through the concept of auctoritas. Half a year later, in June 1934, Schmitt was appointed editor-in-chief of the Nazi news organ for lawyers, the Deutsche Juristen-Zeitung ("German Jurists' Journal").

    In July 1934, he published "The Leader Protects the Law (Der Führer schützt das Recht)", a justification of the political murders of the Night of the Long Knives with the authority of Hitler as the "highest form of administrative justice (höchste Form administrativer Justiz)".

    Schmitt presented himself as a radical anti-semite and also was the chairman of a law teachers' convention in Berlin in October 1936, where he demanded that German law be cleansed of the "Jewish spirit (jüdischem Geist)", going so far as to demand that all publications by Jewish scientists should henceforth be marked with a small symbol.

    Nevertheless, in December 1936, the SS publication Das schwarze Korps accused Schmitt of being an opportunist, and called his anti-semitism a mere pretense, citing earlier statements in which he criticized the Nazis' racial theories. After this, Schmitt resigned from his position as "Reichsfachgruppenleiter" (Reich Professional Group Leader), although he retained his post as a professor in Berlin, and his post as "Preußischer Staatsrat".

    After World War II, Schmitt refused every attempt at de-nazification, which effectively barred him from positions in academia. Despite being isolated from the mainstream of the scholarly and political community, he continued his studies especially of international law from the 1950s on.

    In 1962, Schmitt gave lectures in Francoist Spain, two of them giving rise to the publication, the following year, of Theory of the Partisan, in which he qualified the Spanish civil war as a "war of national liberation" against "international Communism."

    Schmitt regarded the partisan as a specific and significant phenomenon that, in the latter half of the twentieth century, indicated the emergence of a new theory of warfare.

    At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the most simple formulation of Schmitt's friend-enemy distinction was enunciated by this intellectual giant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sfNROmn7bc

    In that Schmittian fulmination known as the Bush Doctrine, the "partisan" is transformed into the "terrorist," no longer "internal" but a truly "global" enemy to be destroyed wherever found.

    As further codified by the Obama Doctrine: the decider has the right.

    The world-ordering, planet-appropriating doctrine of American exceptionalism has no space in its Grossraum (great space) concept for a "Eurasia."

    The very enunciation of a "Eurasian" political sphere is a "terrorist" act, and all those associated with such "lunacy" are "enemies" to be annihilated.

  10. John

    March 28, 2015 at 12:50 am

    Junger was not so pro-war when he lost his son in WW11.

  11. John

    March 28, 2015 at 12:50 am

    Junger was not so pro-war when he lost his son in WW11.

  12. Dato

    March 28, 2015 at 6:28 am

    Just as defeated German generals and the Conservative Revolutionaries believed that Germany lost World War I because their economy and nation was only "partially mobilized

    One would like to know wherein lay the premises of such a belief. Indeed, the general staff of the Reich laid out plans and performed actions for a "total war", and the effects, once the war ended, were hard to oversee: Not only were there scant resources and only barely functioning capital infrastructure left after the war, people were actually dying of hunger in the streets (made worse by the entente's continuing blockade even into 1915). Maybe all the information was hard to come back then.

    From "Hindenburg: Icon of German Militarism" by Astore and Showalter, p 40ff:

    The war, Hindenburg noted, had become a colossal Materialschlacht, or material struggle, waged by modern industrial juggernauts. The western front in particular witnessed organized destruction on a scale theretofore thought impossible. Staggered by the sheer wastage of modern war, all combatants sought with varying degrees of success to mobilize their economies. The so-called Hindenburg Program was Germany's concerted attempt to mobilize fully, if somewhat belatedly, for total war. Improving the efficiency of economic mobilization was certainly a worthwhile goal. Hindenburg's, and especially Ludendorff's, key mistake was to presume that an economy could be commanded like an army. The end result was a conflict of effciencies. What was best for the army in the short term was not necessarily best for the long-term health of the economy. Furthermore, as economic means were mobilized to the fullest, the sacrifices required and incurred by modern warfare's destructive industrialism drove Germany, as well as the Entente powers, to inflate strategic goals to justify national sacrifice. Extreme economic mobilization encouraged grandiose political and territorial demands, ruling out opportunities for a compromise peace, which Hindenburg and Ludendorff rejected anyway. Under their leadership, imperial Germany became a machine for waging war and little else. And Hindenburg and Ludendorff emerged as Germany's most committed merchants of death.

    Nothing in Hindenburg's background prepared him for the task of overseeing an economic mobilization. Thus, he left details to the technocrat Ludendorff. Aided by Lieutenant Colonel Max Bauer, Ludendorff embarked on a crash program to centralize and streamline the economy. Fifteen separate district commands in Germany needed centralizing if economic mobilization was to be rationalized; rivalries among federal, state, and local agencies needed to be curtailed. As enacted, the Hindenburg Program sought to maximize war-related production by transforming Germany into a garrison state with a command economy. Coordinating the massive effort was the Kriegsamt, or War Office, headed by General Wilhelm Groener.

    Yet, Ludendorff's insistence on setting unachievable production goals led to serious dislocations in the national economy. Shell production was to be doubled, artillery and machine gun production trebled, all in a matter of months. The German economy, relying largely on its own internal resources, could not bear the strain of striving for production goals unconstrained by economic, material, and manpower realities. The release of hundreds of thousands of skilled workers from military duty back to the factories, which led to short-term increases in the production of armaments, did not solve critical and systemic shortages of labor. Large-scale deportation and impressment of Belgian workers was a stopgap that only further alienated world opinion, notably in the United States. In the aggregate, the high level of autonomy enjoyed by the military contributed to wasteful duplications of effort and patterns of bureaucratization that eventually defied even the Germans' gift for paperwork.

  13. Brad Owen

    March 28, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Excellent article. I still think the Financial Oligarchy, which currently holds the "Imperium" in City-of-London/Wall Street jointly, are the financial enablers of these "Conservative Revolutionaries". One of the main tasks of an Empire is to PREVENT any rival power structure (such as a legitimate Republic taking root within a colony, becoming a powerful nation-state, and becoming most attractive to the other subjugated colonies…the ONLY basis for U.S. "exceptionalism", and our one unforgivable "sin" in the, now covert, British Empire) from arising within its' Realm. The witless conservative revolutionaries are enabled by the Financier/Emperors (think of Grand daddy Prescott; bagman for the NAZIs) PRECISELY because they will lead to "the eventual bankrupting and destruction of the Nation", as Major Pierce says, thus being rid of a dangerous Republic within their Empire. These policies and wars are meant to destroy US, here, in America, and lead us, and the World, FAR AWAY from the wisdom of our Preamble. BTW, Kaiser's Germany, and Dr. Sun Yat Sen, were influenced by "Lincoln's economists" Henry Carey and Friedrich Liszt…the "republican infection" was spread far and wide, after Lincoln's victory in his proxy war with the British and French empires (The Russian Empire, as always, was USA's quiet ally in that war).

  14. Peter Loeb

    March 28, 2015 at 6:45 am

    NAMING NAMES…

    The history of fascism is helpful, It remains that it is a common tendency of liberals/
    progressives to believe in the illusion that one person, one party exchanged for another
    will transform a society (any society).

    As Naseer Aruri documents in his incisive book, DISHONEST BROKER, that the US has collaborated with Zionism for decades, Both US political parties have been complicit. This
    has been the case for 35 years prior to the current Administration and certainly was the
    case going back as far as Harry Truman.(Aruri's brief book was written just prior to
    the election of Obama.)

    Netanyahu's supposed "shock" to Washington is that his blatant racism and opposition to
    the "peaceful negotiations" of two so-called "sovereign" nations made such good PR. One commenter observed that it was like asking the lamb to "negotiate" with the wolf. Aruri
    repeats that the US, which has always supported the oppressor(Israel), could act as"mediator" thus excluding international law altogether. (Aruri blames in equal measure PLO's Arafat who agreed to "occupation by consent" (Aruri).

    Netanyahu blew the US "cover" for just a second. The next Democratic leadership if it is
    Hillary Clinton as President or Chuck Schumer as Democratic leader has never been
    noted for any sympathy for Palestinians aka "the inferior race" (Israelis). Both Clinton and
    Schumer have represented New York State in the US Senate. Both want to elect more members of their party (Democratic) and to use the dollars of wealthy US Jews in accomplishing this.

    The voices of the hundreds of thousands who lose their jobs as disposeable (except in
    campaign rehetoric) have less and less meaning. The very rich are the beneficiaries and they lay off thousands of workers and managers to move to low wage and more compliant
    location with high tech ease.

    From my perspective, the only means to delay this is economic. On the one hand it is
    BDS but on a larger field it is the weakness of the US economy and others of the West.

    Recalling that it was WW II that "solved" the Great Depression and not the ineffective programs of FDR's "New Deal" (See Gabriel Kolko, MAIN CURRENTS IN MODERN AMERICAN
    HISTORY). Todd E. Pierce does not mention the so-called global "revolution" but as the
    French have phrased it "La revolution se mange" (" The revolution eats itself") Everyone
    wants someone else to fight their battles for them at no cost to themselves.

    Pierce does not evaluate the power relationships weakening virtually all governments
    today. Inequality has eaten us up (we have eaten ouselves!).

    —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA USA

  15. muggles

    March 28, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Extremely good essay today by Todd Pierce. Very impressive scholarship and insight, particularly in the light of his impressive military career.

    Many good comments posted also, despite the inevitable odor of anti Semitism found in some, always the case when "Germany" is part of the topic. "Bankers", etc. Much easier to stereotype than to think.

    Yes, France and Britain were also hyper militaristic in the 19th century, far more than Germany, which of course wasn't united until the very end of that century, which meant that while some German states were quite active militarily in the period (Prussia) it didn't act as a "nation" as it did later in the 20th century.

    France lost most of the militarist ideology after two crushing defeats in the World Wars and post colonial failures. Britain maintained that outlook despite the World Wars but the wars devastated the economic ability and imperial reach which had sustained that view, despite the persistent Churchill worship. Thatcher's defense of the tiny Falklands was merely an almost comic echo of times past. Still, today in many British intellectual circles (if not in actually participating in the armed forces) military worship continues.

    Germany today has now lost most of its taste for war. Instead it leads Europe economically. Butter rather than guns.

    Pierce's essay highlights the sinister influence of Leo Strauss, something that libertarian historian-economist Murray Rothbard warned about several decades ago as well. As Godfather of the neocons, Strauss is the intellectual architect of today's bloodlust American political establishment. His being Jewish was the only thing which kept him from being a full fledged Hitlerite.

    So neocons, many themselves Jewish (though many not) are mere slightly less crazy fascists as were the interwar German nationalists who easily jumped into the Nazi bed when the cult of personality overwhelmed the German rightwing.

    There has long been a cult of war worship, going back to ancient times. The fact that warfare brings death and disease and horrible injury doesn't matter. The fact that it destroys wealth and human prosperity and harmony is ignored. Individuals are crushed to the greater "good" of arms against whatever enemy can be found. Sociopaths and psychopaths use militarism as the path to "greatness."

    That much of the American "right" is in the thrall of the pseudo fascist neocon ideology of Straussian war worship as the path to "security" and "national greatness" should be the red blinking "danger-danger!" light for every thinking American.

    Thanks Mr. Pierce.

  16. Steve Naidamast

    March 28, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    I have not thoroughly read this article but will do so after I print it out.

    However I would like to add that though there were quite a few people in 190s Germany that were proponents of warfare there is a slow but increasing amount of research that is beginning to show that Adolph Hitler was not the war-monger western historians have made him out to be. In addition, after the advent of war in 1939, up through 1941, Hitler was making peace overtures to the west, which Britain continuously ignored and rejected.

    This too was done up through 1915 by Germany in World War I, which Britain also
    ignored.

    As recent research is beginning to show, it was not Germany who was itching for
    war in 1939 but in fact Britain and Poland. And war is what they eventually got and
    very much to Britain's and Poland's demise as the former lost her empire and the latter was
    swallowed up by Soviet Russia.

  17. Coleen Rowley

    March 28, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Great article showing how history repeats! But most of your points, with the exception of Boehner's invitation to Netanyahu to speak to Congress and more Democrats than Republicans backing Obama's negotiation strategy with Iran, apply as much to the Democrat as Republican Party leadership. I think I even read where Robert Kagan may back Hillary Clinton whilst his fellow PNAC founder William Kristol will back Bush or whatever Republican wins the nomination. The neocon ideology seems to be fully in control of both parties.

    • Bob Van Noy

      March 29, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      Thank you Coleen for your comment. I share your concern that a Clinton/Bush race will be one in the same. I'm desperately hoping we get neither as candidates because it will mean "business as usual".

  18. hisoricus

    March 28, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    One of the most startling things I've found in reading "Nazi propaganda" is their dead-on accurate prediction of America's coming role as a primary threat to world peace, in its rulers' quest for total global domination. The United States was routinely mocked in the German press as the phony "democracy of dollars" controlled by the plutocrats of Wall Street – gosh, how'd they ever get a wacky idea like that, huh?

    Hitler clearly stated in Mein Kampf "we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions."

    Hitler attempted to rapidly build Germany into a global power that would be capable of fending off the twin threats of capitalist imperialism from the west and totalitarian communism from the east – but these forces were too strong: the "new Germany" never had a chance of survival. Eighty million Germans faced a billion-strong British empire that was determined to destroy all economic rivals, and had centuries of experience in mass murder and destruction in the Third World. Add to this the 320 million people of a communist USSR and a capitalist USA whose elites could agree on only one thing, that Germany's astoundingly successful experiment in national socialism must first be annihilated and then its true character erased from history.

    Today the German government's cruel treatment of Jews – who made up one half of one percent of Germany's population, by the way – is all that most people know of National Socialism, which is rather like remembering America's Founders only as the brutal slaveholders and Indian killers that they were.

    Ask yourself: how is it evenly remotely possible that the second German war could be the only time in our history that our leaders did not lie to us about why we were supposed to hate and butcher a people who had done us no harm?

    • Monster from the Id

      March 28, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Hoooo boy, the delusion is strong in this one…

  19. richard vajs

    March 29, 2015 at 8:54 am

    One good thing about the "coming together" of the fascist Republican Party and the fascist Israeli Likud Party – it will make for a unified target. As I've heard military drill instructors advise, "You people need to spread out – one hand grenade would get you all!". I look forward to no separation between the two and the tossing of that grenade.

    • Coleen Rowley

      March 29, 2015 at 10:34 am

      First I need to make clear I'm against bombing. Anyone. I'm in the "war is not the answer; war is a crime; war is waste; war is a lie; war is hell camp. I think individuals are justified in valid "self defense" but not the nation-state or ethnic-religious type tribalism that Carl Schmitt apparently referred to as the "political" groupings that justify and benefit from "pre-emptive" wars of aggression. It IS a slippery slope but still we must stick to principles.

      But with that said, the Likud-inspired AIPAC and other Israeli fronts were very much aware of your drill sergeant's advice, Richard. The Israel lobbyists were highly effective in the past, in contrast to other political lobbies (who generally favored one party or the other), simply because they did "spread out" and were able to infiltrate both Republican and Democratic parties (as well as their corresponding "think tanks") so as to better control the whole US government.

      The Boehner invite of Netanyahu, Republican Militarist Senator Cotton's letter and the exposing of AIPAC's forcing of Democratic congresspersons to now oppose their own Party Leader, Obama, in order to launch war on Iran, could be significant in ending that control of both parties by splitting the parties. Bush's former UN Ambassador and top neocon John Bolton's outright and explicit call for bombing Iran in the NYT helps pull off the mask and expose what the neocons are after. Middle of the road Democratic congresspeople, almost all of whom are normally are hard-pressed to not vote and give AIPAC anything it wants, may find it easier to publically explain how they cannot in good conscience vote this one time, for the Israel Lobby and what the terrible new war it wants.

      And my guess is the reason Kristol and Kagan would be splitting their support, if that does materialize, Kristol for Bush and Kagan for Clinton, would be exactly in line with your old drill sergeant's advice.

  20. Solon

    March 29, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    re: "Avnery's analogy of how Congress responded to its de facto leader was apt"

    The analogy could not be less apt.

    The German leaders were in their own nation, addressing the concerns of their own people, concerns including the debasement of their culture, the debasement of their money, high unemployment, challenges in finding food, riots and mob violence incited by Communist and Bolshevic subversives, and chaos in their political system. Promises were made to the German people by their leaders to solve their problems, a plan was laid out and most of the promises were kept: within 4 years, Germans were employed, the economy was revitalized with public works spending, and the people's morale was unified around German cultural values. Several of their international problems were settled without violence, as the people demanded and the NSDAP government promised.

    On the other hand, the leader of a foreign state stood before a representative body in which only 16% of the people have any confidence. He told this body that their leader should not be trusted, and they cheered.
    The representatives of the people pledged their fealty to this leader of a foreign state and promised to send him more taxpayer money to kill more of the people whose lands and homes the foreign state is stealing. None of the concerns of the American people — for jobs, for relief from high food prices, for adequate treatment of 50,000 military persons wounded in wars fought at the behest of the same foreign leader — none of those concerns were addressed by the cheering crowd.

    This author suffers from Hitler Derangement Syndrome: his thinking is so suffused with the relentlessly propagandized notion that Hitler and NSDAP are the embodiment of evil that his analysis is forced and his judgments flawed.

    An assessment of the full panoply of facts and evidence will reveal that it was not Hitler and NSDAP but the forebears of the same man who sought to — and came pretty close to succeeding in subverting the US political system.

    The German people under NSDAP leadership were reclaiming their government and culture, and for that they cheered.

    Their resistance to the ideology that Strauss and his cohort sought to impose on Germans was an affront to the pro to-neocons, and so they organized with warmongering British and manipulative American leaders to destroy Germany and incinerate the German people in what C E Hughes called the first use of weapons of mass destruction as a means of terror against a civilian population.

  21. zhu bajie

    March 30, 2015 at 1:23 am

    The comparison is interesting, but it a comparison between Japanese Militarism and the US permanent war regime would also be enlightening. Neither the US nor Japan have or had a charismatic orator, a Mussolini or a Hitler.

  22. zhu bajie

    March 30, 2015 at 1:58 am

    Re "exceptiohnalism," Lewis' _The American Adam_ should be read. The idea that Americans can do no wrong has been around since the early days of the Republic.

  23. Paul E. "Marbux" Merrell, J.D.

    March 30, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Re: "It was left to Israeli Uri Avnery to best capture the spirit of Netanyahu's enthusiastic ideological supporters in Congress."

    I disagree with that sentence, albeit it's a judgment call. But I don't think Avnery is even in the running. The best capture of that I've seen is Noy Alooshe's masterful video remix of the event itself. .

  24. hbm

    March 31, 2015 at 3:06 am

    You don't get Nazis without Ashkenazis.

    Why should Neocons be at all surprising?

  25. Rob

    April 2, 2015 at 10:58 am

    I enjoyed the article, but I cannot agree that Netanyahu is the de facto leader of the Republican Party. Rather, he is a prop in the ongoing drama known as "Republicans doing everything in their power to oppose and embarrass President Obama and the Democrats."

    I have long advocated that those public figures who agitate for war should be sent into the battlefield along with all able bodied members of their families. That would quickly put an end to chicken hawk warmongers. The exception would be Charles Krauthammer, who is paralyzed in his lower extremities. That man should be sent into battle in his wheelchair.

[Apr 10, 2015] Shadow Government By Bruce Morgan

October 28, 2014 | Tufts Now

Elected officials are no longer in charge of our national security—and that is undermining our democracy, says the Fletcher School's Michael Glennon

"We are clearly on the path to autocracy," says Michael Glennon. "There's no question that if we continue on that path, [the] Congress, the courts and the presidency will ultimately end up . . . as institutional museum pieces." Photo: Kelvin Ma

Michael Glennon knew of the book, and had cited it in his classes many times, but he had never gotten around to reading the thing from cover to cover. Last year he did, jolted page after page with its illuminating message for our time.

The book was The English Constitution, an analysis by 19th-century journalist Walter Bagehot that laid bare the dual nature of British governance. It suggested that one part of government was for popular consumption, and another more hidden part was for real, consumed with getting things done in the world. As he read, Glennon, a professor of international law at the Fletcher School, where he also teaches constitutional law, saw distinct parallels with the current American political scene.

He decided to explore the similarities in a 30-page paper that he sent around to a number of his friends, asking them to validate or refute his argument. As it happens, Glennon's friends were an extraordinarily well-informed bunch, mostly seasoned operatives in the CIA, the U.S. State Department and the military. "Look," he told them. "I'm thinking of writing a book. Tell me if this is wrong." Every single one responded, "What you have here is exactly right."

Expanded from that original brief paper, Glennon's book National Security and Double Government (Oxford University Press) takes our political system to task, arguing that the people running our government are not our visible elected officials but high-level—and unaccountable—bureaucrats nestled atop government agencies.

Glennon's informed critique of the American political system comes from a place of deep regard. Glennon says he can remember driving into Washington, D.C., in the late spring of 1973, at the time of the Senate Watergate hearings, straight from law school at the University of Minnesota, to take his first job as assistant legislative counsel to the U.S. Senate. Throughout his 20s, he worked in government, culminating in his position as legal counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under Sen. Frank Church from 1977 to 1980. Since entering academic life in the early 1980s, Glennon has been a frequent consultant to government agencies of all stripes, as well as a regular commentator on media outlets such as NPR's All Things Considered, the Today show and Nightline.

In his new book, an inescapable sadness underlies the narrative. "I feel a great sense of loss," Glennon admits. "I devoted my life to these [democratic] institutions, and it's not easy to see how to throw the current trends into reverse." Tufts Now spoke with Glennon recently to learn more of his perspective.

Tufts Now: You've been both an insider and an outsider with regard to government affairs. What led you to write this book?

Michael Glennon: I was struck by the strange continuity in national security policy between the Bush administration and the Obama administration. Obama, as a candidate, had been eloquent and forceful in criticizing many aspects of the Bush administration's national security policies, from drone strikes to Guantanamo to surveillance by the National Security Agency—the NSA—to covert operations. Yet as president, it turned out that he made very, very few changes in these policies. So I thought it was useful to explain the reason for that.

Were you surprised by the continuity?

I was surprised by the extent of it. I knew fundamentally from my own experience that changing national policies is like trying to change the course of an aircraft carrier. These policies in many ways were set long ago, and the national security bureaucracy tends to favor the status quo. Still, I thought that a president like Obama would, with the political wind in his sails and with so much public and congressional support for what he was criticizing, be more successful in fulfilling his promises.

You use the phrase "double government," coined by Walter Bagehot in the 1860s. What did he mean by that?

Walter Bagehot was one of the founders of the Economist magazine. He developed the theory of "double government," which in a nutshell is this. He said Britain had developed two sets of institutions. First came "dignified" institutions, the monarchy and the House of Lords, which were for show and which the public believed ran the government. But in fact, he suggested, this was an illusion.

These dignified institutions generate legitimacy, but it was a second set of institutions, which he called Britain's "efficient" institutions, that actually ran the government behind the scenes. These institutions were the House of Commons, the Cabinet and the prime minister. This split allowed Britain to move quietly from a monarchy to what Bagehot called a "concealed republic."

The thesis of my book is that the United States has also drifted into a form of double government, and that we have our own set of "dignified" institutions—Congress, the presidency and the courts. But when it comes to national security policy, these entities have become largely for show. National security policy is now formulated primarily by a second group of officials, namely the several hundred individuals who manage the agencies of the military, intelligence and law enforcement bureaucracy responsible for protecting the nation's security.

What are some components of this arrangement?

The NSA, the FBI, the Pentagon and elements of the State Department, certainly; generally speaking, law enforcement, intelligence and the military entities of the government. It's a diverse group, an amorphous group, with no leader and no formal structure, that has come to dominate the formation of American national security policy to the point that Congress, the presidency and the courts all defer to it.

You call this group the "Trumanite network" in your book. What's the link to Harry Truman?

It was in Truman's administration that the National Security Act of 1947 was enacted. This established the CIA and the National Security Council and centralized the command of the U.S. military. It was during the Truman administration as well that the National Security Agency [NSA] was set up, in 1952, although that was a secret and didn't come to light for many years thereafter.

In contrast to the Trumanites you set the "Madisonians." How would you describe them?

The Madisonian institutions are the three constitutionally established branches of the federal government: Congress, the judiciary and the president. They are perceived by the public as the entities responsible for the formulation of national security policy, but that belief is largely mistaken.

The idea is driven by regular exceptions. You can always point to specific instances in which, say, the president personally ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden or Congress enacted the War Powers Resolution. But these are exceptions. The norm is that as a general matter, these three branches defer to the Trumanite network, and that's truer all the time.

So the trend is toward increased power on the Trumanite side of the ledger.

Correct.

If that's true, why has there not been a greater outcry from the public, the media—all the observers we have?

I think the principal reason is that even sophisticated students of government operate under a very serious misunderstanding. They believe that the political system is self-correcting. They believe the framers set up a system of government setting power against power, and ambition against ambition, and that an equilibrium would be reached, and that any abuse of power would be checked, and arbitrary power would be prevented.

That is correct as far as it goes, but the reality is that's only half the picture. The other half is that Madison and his colleagues believed that for equilibrium to occur, we would have an informed and engaged citizenry. Lacking that, the entire system corrupts, because individuals are elected to office who do not resist encroachments on the power of their branches of government, and the whole equilibrium breaks down.

What role, if any, have the media played?

The media have pretty much been enablers. Although there are a handful of investigative journalists who have done a heroic job of uncovering many of the abuses, they are the exception, for a number of reasons. Number one, the media are a business and have a bottom line. It takes a huge amount of money to fund an investigative journalist who goes about finding sources over a period of years. Very few newspapers or television concerns have those sorts of deep pockets.

Second, access for the press is everything. There is huge incentive to pull punches, and you don't get interviews with top-ranking officials at the NSA or CIA if you're going to offer hard-hitting questions. Look, for example, at the infamous 60 Minutes puff piece on the NSA, a really tragic example of how an otherwise respectable institution can sell its soul and act like an annex of the NSA in order to get some people it wants on the TV screen.

What is the role of terror in this environment?

The whole transfer of power from the Madisonian institutions to the Trumanite network has been fueled by a sense of emergency deriving from crisis, deriving from fear. It's fear of terrorism more than anything else that causes the American people to increasingly be willing to dispense with constitutional safeguards to ensure their safety.

Madison believed that government has two great objects. One object of a constitution is to enable the government to protect the people, specifically from external attacks. The other great object of a constitution is to protect the people from the government. The better able the government is to protect the people from external threats, the greater the threat posed by the government to the people.

You've been involved with the U.S. government for 40 years. How has your view of government changed?

Double government was certainly a factor in the 1970s, but it was challenged for the first time thanks to the activism stemming from the civil rights movement, Vietnam and Watergate. As a result, there were individuals in Congress—Democrats and Republicans like William Fulbright, Frank Church, Jacob Javits, Charles Mathias and many others—who were willing to stand up and insist upon adherence to constitutionally ordained principles. That led to a wave of activism and to the enactment of a number of pieces of reform legislation.

But there is no final victory in Washington. Those reforms have gradually been eaten away and turned aside. I think today we are in many ways right back where we were in the early 1970s. NSA surveillance is an example of that. The Church Committee uncovered something called Operation Shamrock, in which the NSA had assembled a watch list of antiwar and civil rights activists based upon domestic surveillance. Church warned at the time that NSA capabilities were so awesome that if they were ever turned inward on the American people, this nation would cross an abyss from which there is no return. The question is whether we have recently crossed that abyss.

To what degree are we still a functioning democracy? I'm sure you know that President Jimmy Carter told a German reporter last year that he thought we no longer qualified as a democracy because of our domestic surveillance.

We are clearly on the path to autocracy, and you can argue about how far we are down that path. But there's no question that if we continue on that path, America's constitutionally established institutions—Congress, the courts and the presidency—will ultimately end up like Britain's House of Lords and monarchy, namely as institutional museum pieces.

Bruce Morgan can be reached at bruce.morgan@tufts.edu.

Michael Glennon on who REALLY runs the government by Tom Jackson

Dec 2, 2014 | anduskyregister.com

My favorite nonfiction book this year is "National Security and Double Government" by Michael J. Glennon, which argues that the president and Congress are largely figureheads in setting U.S. national security policy.

Glennon's book suggests that U.S. foreign and security policy is formed by "Trumanites," a network of several hundred top bureaucrats. They're named after Harry S. Truman, whose administration saw the passage of the National Security Act of 1947 and the creation of the National Security Agency. The elected officials who are supposed to make the decisions are dubbed "Madisonians," after President James Madison.

The Madisonians do have power, and they make important decisions. President Barack Obama made the decision to carry out the raid that killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, Glennon notes. No one will know whether Al Gore would have invaded Iraq. But Glennon argues that very little in American foreign policy actually changed when Barack Obama replaced George W. Bush at the White House.

As an example, Glennon's book is quite devastating in describing how prominent Madisonians reacted when James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, was caught lying to Congress about whether it collects data on "millions" of Americans. (Leaks from Edward Snowden revealed that the National Security Agency in fact attempts to collect the phone records of all Americans.) Sen. Dianne Feinstein knew the statement was false and said nothing, Glennon writes. Obama knew or should have known the statement was false and also was silent, "allowing the falsehood to stand for months until leaks publicly revealed the testimony to be false," he writes. "Obama, finally caught by surprise, insisted that he 'welcomed' the debate that ensued, and his administration commenced active efforts to arrest the NSA employee whose disclosures had triggered it." Glennon's heavily-footnoted book then documents the misleading statements Obama made about the matter.

Glennon is not a campus radical or a conspiracy theorist blogging in his parents' basement. He's professor of international law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. Before he entered academia, he had a legal career that included a stint as legal counsel for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has written several books, and his opinion pieces have appeared in "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post," among other newspapers. He kindly agreed to take our questions about his new book:

Sandusky Register: Did the election of President Barack Obama, and the subsequent disappointment of many who thought he would change U.S. national security policy, spur your book, or had you already had it in mind for years?

Glennon: Both. I had noticed for years that U.S. national security changed little from one administration to the next, but the continuity was so striking mid-way into the Obama administration that I thought it was time to address the question directly. Hence the book.

Sandusky Register: Your book suggests that elections in the U.S. have little effect on national security policy — most of the decisions are made by a network of several hundred national security bureaucrats, regardless of who occupies the Oval Office or the seats in Congress. Do politicians in Washington privately admit that this is true?

Glennon: I've spoken with many members of what I call the "Trumanite network" who do acknowledge that reality — it's hard to deny, really, though few will say so publicly — but members of Congress and federal judges have too much at stake to pull back the curtains. As I describe in the book, public deference depends upon the illusion that the public institutions of our government are actually in charge, and their legitimacy would suffer if they were brutally honest about how much power they have transferred to the Trumanites.

Sandusky Register: Drawing upon "The English Constitution" by Walter Bagehot, you refer to the politicians who are supposed to be in charge as "the Madisonians" (after James Madison) and the national security bureaucrats who actually govern as "the Trumanites" (after Harry Truman's National Security Act of 1947). Is it a misnomer to refer to the Trumanites as a "secret government," as some do?

Glennon: The Trumanites surely operate in secrecy; most of their work is highly classified because the security threats have to be addressed out of the public eye, for the most part. But the Trumanite network itself exists in plain view, and has been readily visible for some time. So it's a mistake to think of it as a "deep state" or "shadow government" to the extent that those terms imply some nefarious conspiracy. There has been no such thing.

Sandusky Register: The U.S. Senate just defeated an NSA reform bill, and even supporters admitted it would not have brought major change. Does this fit your book's suggestion that reform from the "Madisonians" is going to be a difficult enterprise?

Glennon: The bill was mostly cosmetic and would not have addressed the deeper sources of double government. Its defeat can be attributed to a number of factors, one of which surely is the power of the Trumanite network. But in the interest of complete accuracy, it's useful to think of the phenomenon of double government as something like climate change: not every bad storm or hot day is caused directly and exclusively by the dynamic of global warming. The theory of double government merely predicts that, over time, national security policy as a whole will be largely continuous. Individual elements of that policy could change.

Sandusky Register: I've noticed you haven't been invited to appear on national TV yet, or on NPR's "Fresh Air," although your thesis would seem to be controversial and interesting. Are there institutional reasons why your book isn't getting a huge amount of publicity, or is it just hard to get an academic press book out there?

Glennon: Some good books never get reviewed and some bad books do. Lots of it just seems to be luck and happenstance. I tried to write it for informed lay readers; time will tell whether they pick it up.

My other author interviews are archived. Professor Glennon also was interviewed by the Boston Globe. He also appeared on the Scott Horton Show.

Sandusky Register reporter Tom Jackson reviews and recommends local and national reading opportunities. You can read the other blog posts and follow this blog on Twitter.

Email him at tomjackson@sanduskyregister.com

Comments

AJ Oliver

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 12:40pm

Tom, thanks. That will go on my reading list - right now I'm into "Why We Lost (in Iraq and Afghanistan)" by Gen. Dan Bolger.
And for influence on security policy, don't forget the Neo-cons and their Israeli partners.
We're spending trillions on the military and becoming ever less secure - they are bankrupting the country.

[Apr 10, 2015] Professor Michael Glennon on the Rise of the American System of Double Government by Michael Glennon

November 7, 2014 | fletcherforum.org

Professor Michael Glennon on the Rise of the American System of Double Government

In his latest book, National Security and Double Government, Professor Michael Glennon challenges common understandings of American government institutions and provides daunting insights into the nature of the U.S. national security apparatus. Glennon claims that the "Trumanite network," consisting of managers of the military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies, guides and often makes key decisions on U.S. national security policy. He highlights the lack of oversight, accountability, and the mutually beneficial relationship between the public-facing "Madisonian" actors, such as the President and Congress, and this classified "Trumanite" network. The Fletcher Forum Editorial team sat down with Michael Glennon, Professor of International Law at the Fletcher School, to talk about his book and discuss the future of American democracy.

FLETCHER FORUM: How did your experience on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and your continued work with the government inform your book?

GLENNON: When I worked for the Committee I was struck by the large number of Ford administration officials who continued on into the Carter administration. Many of these officials held significant policy-making roles in the realm of national security. I was also struck by the many programs and policies that also carried over from the earlier administration. Most of these related to classified intelligence and law enforcement activities. As a result the public believed that in many areas, things had changed much more than they actually had. What I was observing in closed meetings and in classified documents was not the civics-book model that the public had internalized. The courts, Congress, and even presidential appointees exercised much less influence over national security policy-making than people commonly believed. And the 1976 presidential election had had much less impact than people had expected. So it was pretty clear the data didn't fit the conventional tri-partite, separation-of-powers paradigm, but I wasn't sure what a more accurate paradigm would look like, or even whether there was one.

FLETCHER FORUM: When did you start thinking about this topic? How did you formulate this thesis and how did we get to this point?

GLENNON: Two years ago, I was struck again by the strange inalterability of U.S. national security policy. Before winning the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama had campaigned forcefully and eloquently against many elements of the Bush administration's national security policy. Yet rendition, military detention without trial or counsel, drone strikes, NSA surveillance, whistleblower prosecutions, non-prosecution of water-boarders, reliance on the state secrets privilege, covert operations, Guantanamo—you name it, virtually nothing changed. Obviously something more was going on than what the defenders of those policies claimed—which was that all those policies somehow happened to be the most rational response among all competing alternatives. The fact is that each of these policies presents questions on which reasonable people can differ—as indeed Obama himself had, as a Senator and as a candidate for the presidency. The epiphany occurred when I pulled a little book off the shelf and read it in amazement one rainy Sunday afternoon—Walter Bagehot's The English Constitution.

FLETCHER FORUM: What are some components of this double government in the U.S. today? What are the key institutions and players?

GLENNON: Bagehot's objective was to explain how the British government operated in the 1860s. He suggested that it had in effect split into two separate sets of institutions. The "dignified" institutions consisted of the monarchy and House of Lords. The British people believed that the dignified institutions ran the government. This belief was essential to foster the legitimacy needed for public deference and obedience. But that belief was an illusion. In fact, the government was run by the "efficient" institutions—the House of Commons, the prime minister, and the cabinet—which operated behind-the-scenes, largely removed from public view. Gradually and quietly, these efficient institutions had moved Britain away from a monarchy to become what Bagehot described as a "concealed republic." My book's thesis is that in the realm of national security, the United States also has unwittingly drifted into a system of double government—but that it is moving in the opposite direction, away from democracy, toward autocracy. With occasional exceptions, the dignified institutions of the judiciary, Congress, and the presidency are all on the road to becoming hollowed-out museum pieces, while the managers of the military, law enforcement, and intelligence community more and more come to dominate national security policy-making.

FLETCHER FORUM: You identify the pervasive political ignorance on the part of the American public as the root problem, and argue that reform must come from the people. How can this actually work in practice? Is there any hope that change is possible?

GLENNON: It's a bit simplistic to focus exclusively upon the public's "pervasive civic ignorance" (a term used by former Supreme Court Justice David Souter). As I point out in the book, the American people are anything but stupid. And while it's true that they're not terribly engaged or informed on national security policy, their ignorance is in many ways rational. Americans are very busy people and it doesn't make much sense to expend a lot of effort learning about policies you can't change. So we're in a dilemma: because the dignified institutions can't empower themselves by drawing upon powers that they lack, energy must come from the outside, from the people—yet as the electorate becomes increasingly uninformed and disengaged, the efficient institutions have all the more incentive to go off on their own. It's telling and rather sad that the American public has become so reliant upon the government to come up with solutions to its problems that the public is utterly at loose ends to know where or how to begin to devise its own remedy. Learned Hand was right: liberty "lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it."

FLETCHER FORUM: Does a lame duck President have a different relationship with the Trumanite Network? If President Obama were to read your book and ask for advice on changing the system, what would you tell him?

GLENNON: I'd suggest that he demonstrate to the American people that the book's thesis is wrong. He could do that by changing the national security policies that he led the American people to believe would be changed. Among other things: (1) fire officials who lie to Congress and the American people, beginning with John Brennan and James Clapper, (2) appoint a special prosecutor to deal with the CIA's spying on the Senate intelligence committee and Clapper's false statements to it, (3) stop blocking publication of the Senate intelligence committee's torture report, (4) stop invoking the state secrets privilege to obstruct judicial challenges to abusive counter-terrorism activities, (5) halt the bombing of Syria until Congress authorizes it, and (6) stop prosecuting and humiliating whistleblowers who spark public debates he claims to welcome.

FLETCHER FORUM: Are there any potential 2016 Presidential candidates that could challenge the Trumanite Network?

GLENNON: No.

FLETCHER FORUM: Do you have any other recommended reading on this subject?

GLENNON: The English Constitution, by Walter Bagehot; President Eisenhower's farewell address; The Power Elite, by C. Wright Mills; Why Leaders Lie, by John J. Mearsheimer; The Arrogance of Power, by J. William Fulbright; Top Secret America, by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin; the final report of the Church committee (S. Rep. No. 94-755, 1976); On Democracy, by Robert A. Dahl; The New American Militarism, by Andrew Bacevich; Groupthink, by Irving Janus

[Apr 09, 2015] National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon

Amazon.com

Mal Warwick on December 22, 2014

Who makes national security decisions? Not who you think!

Why does Barack Obama's performance on national security issues in the White House contrast so strongly with his announced intentions as a candidate in 2008? After all, not only has Obama continued most of the Bush policies he decried when he ran for the presidency, he has doubled down on government surveillance, drone strikes, and other critical programs.

Michael J. Glennon set out to answer this question in his unsettling new book, National Security and Double Government. And he clearly dislikes what he found.

The answer, Glennon discovered, is that the US government is divided between the three official branches of the government, on the one hand — the "Madisonian" institutions incorporated into the Constitution — and the several hundred unelected officials who do the real work of a constellation of military and intelligence agencies, on the other hand. These officials, called "Trumanites" in Glennon's parlance for having grown out of the national security infrastructure established under Harry Truman, make the real decisions in the area of national security. (To wage the Cold War, Truman created the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of Defense, the CIA, the NSA, and the National Security Council.) "The United States has, in short," Glennon writes, "moved beyond a mere imperial presidency to a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of U.S. national security policy. . . . The perception of threat, crisis, and emergency has been the seminal phenomenon that has created and nurtures America's double government." If Al Qaeda hadn't existed, the Trumanite network would have had to create it — and, Glennon seems to imply, might well have done so.

The Trumanites wield their power with practiced efficiency, using secrecy, exaggerated threats, peer pressure to conform, and the ability to mask the identity of the key decision-maker as their principal tools.

Michael J. Glennon comes to this task with unexcelled credentials. A professor of international law at Tufts and former legal counsel for the Senate Armed Services Committee, he came face to face on a daily basis with the "Trumanites" he writes about. National Security and Double Government is exhaustively researched and documented: notes constitute two-thirds of this deeply disturbing little book.

The more I learn about how politics and government actually work — and I've learned a fair amount in my 73 years — the more pessimistic I become about the prospects for democracy in America. In some ways, this book is the most worrisome I've read over the years, because it implies that there is no reason whatsoever to think that things can ever get better. In other words, to borrow a phrase from the Borg on Star Trek, "resistance is futile." That's a helluva takeaway, isn't it?

On reflection, what comes most vividly to mind is a comment from the late Chalmers Johnson on a conference call in which I participated several years ago. Johnson, formerly a consultant to the CIA and a professor at two campuses of the University of California (Berkeley and later San Diego), was the author of many books, including three that awakened me to many of the issues Michael Glennon examines: Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis. Johnson, who was then nearly 80 and in declining health, was asked by a student what he would recommend for young Americans who want to combat the menace of the military-industrial complex. "Move to Vancouver," he said.

The mounting evidence notwithstanding, I just hope it hasn't come to that.

Tom Hunter on November 22, 2014

Incredible Rosetta Stone book that Explains Why the US Government is Impervious to Change

This work is of huge importance. It explains the phenomenon that myself and many other informed voters have seen--namely--how the policies of the United States government seem impervious to change no matter the flavor of administration. I found myself baffled and chagrined that President Obama, who I cheerfully voted for twice (and still would prefer over the alternatives) failed to end many of the practices that I abhor, such as the free reign of the NSA, the continual increase in defense budgets and the willingness to keep laws that are clearly against the wishes of the vast majority of Americans, be they Progressives or otherwise.

This incredible book acts as a Rosetta Stone that explains why nothing ever changes. Highly recommended.

[Apr 07, 2015] How America Became An Oligarchy by Ellen Brown

Zero Hedge/The Web of Debt blog

"The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. . . . You have owners."

- George Carlin, The American Dream

According to a new study from Princeton University, American democracy no longer exists. Using data from over 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page concluded that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of – or even against – the will of the majority of voters. America's political system has transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where power is wielded by wealthy elites.

"Making the world safe for democracy" was President Woodrow Wilson's rationale for World War I, and it has been used to justify American military intervention ever since. Can we justify sending troops into other countries to spread a political system we cannot maintain at home?

The Magna Carta, considered the first Bill of Rights in the Western world, established the rights of nobles as against the king. But the doctrine that "all men are created equal" – that all people have "certain inalienable rights," including "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" – is an American original. And those rights, supposedly insured by the Bill of Rights, have the right to vote at their core. We have the right to vote but the voters' collective will no longer prevails.

In Greece, the left-wing populist Syriza Party came out of nowhere to take the presidential election by storm; and in Spain, the populist Podemos Party appears poised to do the same. But for over a century, no third-party candidate has had any chance of winning a US presidential election. We have a two-party winner-take-all system, in which our choice is between two candidates, both of whom necessarily cater to big money. It takes big money just to put on the mass media campaigns required to win an election involving 240 million people of voting age.

In state and local elections, third party candidates have sometimes won. In a modest-sized city, candidates can actually influence the vote by going door to door, passing out flyers and bumper stickers, giving local presentations, and getting on local radio and TV. But in a national election, those efforts are easily trumped by the mass media. And local governments too are beholden to big money.

When governments of any size need to borrow money, the megabanks in a position to supply it can generally dictate the terms. Even in Greece, where the populist Syriza Party managed to prevail in January, the anti-austerity platform of the new government is being throttled by the moneylenders who have the government in a chokehold.

How did we lose our democracy? Were the Founding Fathers remiss in leaving something out of the Constitution? Or have we simply gotten too big to be governed by majority vote?

Democracy's Rise and Fall

The stages of the capture of democracy by big money are traced in a paper called "The Collapse of Democratic Nation States" by theologian and environmentalist Dr. John Cobb. Going back several centuries, he points to the rise of private banking, which usurped the power to create money from governments:

The influence of money was greatly enhanced by the emergence of private banking. The banks are able to create money and so to lend amounts far in excess of their actual wealth. This control of money-creation . . . has given banks overwhelming control over human affairs. In the United States, Wall Street makes most of the truly important decisions that are directly attributed to Washington.

Today the vast majority of the money supply in Western countries is created by private bankers. That tradition goes back to the 17th century, when the privately-owned Bank of England, the mother of all central banks, negotiated the right to print England's money after Parliament stripped that power from the Crown. When King William needed money to fight a war, he had to borrow. The government as borrower then became servant of the lender.

In America, however, the colonists defied the Bank of England and issued their own paper scrip; and they thrived. When King George forbade that practice, the colonists rebelled.

They won the Revolution but lost the power to create their own money supply, when they opted for gold rather than paper money as their official means of exchange. Gold was in limited supply and was controlled by the bankers, who surreptitiously expanded the money supply by issuing multiple banknotes against a limited supply of gold.

This was the system euphemistically called "fractional reserve" banking, meaning only a fraction of the gold necessary to back the banks' privately-issued notes was actually held in their vaults. These notes were lent at interest, putting citizens and the government in debt to bankers who created the notes with a printing press. It was something the government could have done itself debt-free, and the American colonies had done with great success until England went to war to stop them.

President Abraham Lincoln revived the colonists' paper money system when he issued the Treasury notes called "Greenbacks" that helped the Union win the Civil War. But Lincoln was assassinated, and the Greenback issues were discontinued.

In every presidential election between 1872 and 1896, there was a third national party running on a platform of financial reform. Typically organized under the auspices of labor or farmer organizations, these were parties of the people rather than the banks. They included the Populist Party, the Greenback and Greenback Labor Parties, the Labor Reform Party, the Antimonopolist Party, and the Union Labor Party. They advocated expanding the national currency to meet the needs of trade, reform of the banking system, and democratic control of the financial system.

The Populist movement of the 1890s represented the last serious challenge to the bankers' monopoly over the right to create the nation's money. According to monetary historian Murray Rothbard, politics after the turn of the century became a struggle between two competing banking giants, the Morgans and the Rockefellers. The parties sometimes changed hands, but the puppeteers pulling the strings were always one of these two big-money players.

In All the Presidents' Bankers, Nomi Prins names six banking giants and associated banking families that have dominated politics for over a century. No popular third party candidates have a real chance of prevailing, because they have to compete with two entrenched parties funded by these massively powerful Wall Street banks.

Democracy Succumbs to Globalization

In an earlier era, notes Dr. Cobb, wealthy landowners were able to control democracies by restricting government participation to the propertied class. When those restrictions were removed, big money controlled elections by other means:

First, running for office became expensive, so that those who seek office require wealthy sponsors to whom they are then beholden. Second, the great majority of voters have little independent knowledge of those for whom they vote or of the issues to be dealt with. Their judgments are, accordingly, dependent on what they learn from the mass media. These media, in turn, are controlled by moneyed interests.

Control of the media and financial leverage over elected officials then enabled those other curbs on democracy we know today, including high barriers to ballot placement for third parties and their elimination from presidential debates, vote suppression, registration restrictions, identification laws, voter roll purges, gerrymandering, computer voting, and secrecy in government.

The final blow to democracy, says Dr. Cobb, was "globalization" – an expanding global market that overrides national interests:

[T]oday's global economy is fully transnational. The money power is not much interested in boundaries between states and generally works to reduce their influence on markets and investments. . . . Thus transnational corporations inherently work to undermine nation states, whether they are democratic or not.

The most glaring example today is the secret twelve-country trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If it goes through, the TPP will dramatically expand the power of multinational corporations to use closed-door tribunals to challenge and supersede domestic laws, including environmental, labor, health and other protections.

Looking at Alternatives

Some critics ask whether our system of making decisions by a mass popular vote easily manipulated by the paid-for media is the most effective way of governing on behalf of the people. In an interesting Ted Talk, political scientist Eric Li makes a compelling case for the system of "meritocracy" that has been quite successful in China.

In America Beyond Capitalism, Prof. Gar Alperovitz argues that the US is simply too big to operate as a democracy at the national level. Excluding Canada and Australia, which have large empty landmasses, the United States is larger geographically than all the other advanced industrial countries of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) combined. He proposes what he calls "The Pluralist Commonwealth": a system anchored in the reconstruction of communities and the democratization of wealth. It involves plural forms of cooperative and common ownership beginning with decentralization and moving to higher levels of regional and national coordination when necessary. He is co-chair along with James Gustav Speth of an initiative called The Next System Project, which seeks to help open a far-ranging discussion of how to move beyond the failing traditional political-economic systems of both left and Right..

Dr. Alperovitz quotes Prof. Donald Livingston, who asked in 2002:

What value is there in continuing to prop up a union of this monstrous size? . . . [T]here are ample resources in the American federal tradition to justify states' and local communities' recalling, out of their own sovereignty, powers they have allowed the central government to usurp.

Taking Back Our Power

If governments are recalling their sovereign powers, they might start with the power to create money, which was usurped by private interests while the people were asleep at the wheel. State and local governments are not allowed to print their own currencies; but they can own banks, and all depository banks create money when they make loans, as the Bank of England recently acknowledged.

The federal government could take back the power to create the national money supply by issuing its own Treasury notes as Abraham Lincoln did. Alternatively, it could issue some very large denomination coins as authorized in the Constitution; or it could nationalize the central bank and use quantitative easing to fund infrastructure, education, job creation, and social services, responding to the needs of the people rather than the banks.

The freedom to vote carries little weight without economic freedom – the freedom to work and to have food, shelter, education, medical care and a decent retirement. President Franklin Roosevelt maintained that we need an Economic Bill of Rights. If our elected representatives were not beholden to the moneylenders, they might be able both to pass such a bill and to come up with the money to fund it.

[Apr 04, 2015] Plutocracy 1.0

naked capitalism

By Steve Fraser, co-founder of the American Empire Project and Editor-at-Large of the journal New Labor Forum. He is the author of Every Man a Speculator, A History of Wall Street in American Life, and most recently co-editor of Ruling America: A History of Wealth and Power in a Democracy. This article is excerpted and slightly adapted from The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power. Originally published at TomDispatch

The American upper classes did not constitute a seasoned aristocracy, but could only mimic one. They lacked the former's sense of social obligation, of noblesse oblige, of what in the Old World emerged as a politically coherent "Tory socialism" that worked to quiet class antagonisms. But neither did they absorb the democratic ethos that today allows the country's gilded elite to act as if they were just plain folks: a credible enough charade of plutocratic populism. Instead, faced with mass social disaffection, they turned to the "tramp terror" and other innovations in machine-gun technology, to private corporate armies and government militias, to suffrage restrictions, judicial injunctions, and lynchings. Why behave otherwise in dealing with working-class "scum" a community of "mongrel firebugs"?

One historian has described what went on during the Great Uprising as an "interlocking directorate of railroad executives, military officers, and political officials which constituted the apex of the country's new power elite." After Haymarket, the haute bourgeoisie went into the fort­ building business; Fort Sheridan in Chicago, for example, was erected to defend against "internal insurrection." New York City's armories, which have long since been turned into sites for indoor tennis, concerts, and theatergoing, were originally erected after the 1877 insurrection to deal with the working-class canaille.

During the anthracite coal strike of 1902, George Baer, president of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad and leader of the mine owners, sent a letter to the press: "The rights and interests of the laboring man will be protected and cared for… not by the labor agitators, but by the Christian men of property to whom God has given control of the property rights of the country." To the Anthracite Coal Commission investigating the uproar, Baer proclaimed, "These men don't suffer. Why hell, half of them don't even speak English."

Ironically, it was thanks in part to its immersion in bloodshed that the first rudimentary forms of a more sophisticated class consciousness began to appear among this new elite. These would range from Pullman-like Potemkin villages to more practical-minded attempts to reach a modus vivendi with elements of the trade union movement readier to accept the wages system.

efschumacher April 4, 2015 at 8:25 am

The nuggets of actual history are useful but Thorstein Veblen skewered them far more deftly.

MartyH April 4, 2015 at 4:38 pm

As did Frederic Lundberg in America's 60 Families (1938) somewhat later. Still protected by the "Protect Mickey Mouse Act" (copyright extension to perpetuity) as best I can figure but there are copies around in those subversive Public Libraries and such.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef April 4, 2015 at 9:57 am

But neither did they absorb the democratic ethos that today allows the country's gilded elite to act as if they were just plain folks: a credible enough charade of plutocratic populism. Instead, faced with mass social disaffection, they turned to the "tramp terror" and other innovations in machine-gun technology, to private corporate armies and government militias, to suffrage restrictions, judicial injunctions, and lynchings….

We still see that in play today across the globe.

Some security states are clumsy and some suave.

The suave ones say to their ruled, 'Behold them savages. Thou are truly blessed to have me."

MyLessThanPrimeBeef April 4, 2015 at 10:04 am

But an opposed instinct, native to capitalism in its purest form, wanted the state kept weak and poor so as not to intrude where it wasn't wanted. Due to this ambivalence, the American state was notoriously undernourished, its bureaucracy kept skimpy, amateurish, and machine-controlled, its executive and administrative reach stunted.

Thanks to its capture, after the tragic Sack of New Rome by a roaming band of billionaires, the state can now be safely allowed to expand, to be given unlimited money to spend. No more undernourishment, no more skimpiness. Amateurish maybe, as the debate rages eternally whether it's evil intent or just incompetence.

One word – Peopleism.

human April 4, 2015 at 10:11 am

Thank you for this post, Yves. I found it cathartic and rejuvenating, especially with May Day right around the corner.

As the grandson of an emigrated Menshevik pamphlateer, I have for two generations now understood his reluctance with small government.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL April 4, 2015 at 6:30 pm

What a sad fact to learn in this post, that May Day originated in the US and is now expunged like some unwelcome Kommissar airbrushed out of a Kremlin lineup. Oh the mere thought of the actual people who do all of the actual work, not the financial leeches, the tax-free corporo-fascist bosses, or the millionaires per capita of Maryland, that those actual people who do *work* should have some kind of identity and voice and actual claim to the social fabric…perish the thought!

Turning point in my mind was Reagan's stamping out the air traffic controller strike, in the Capital versus Labor battle of course Capital could buy every last possible advantage. Only with the consent of the governed of course…so the very idea that workers have rights needed to be demonized, and how completely successful they have been at that.

The very word "union" is spat with contempt by the widest possible swath of the populace, with holdover associations from the Red Scare. Mayor Bloomberg knew what to do: arrest 243 people for loitering in the Occupy Park…because he knew everybody was behind him. At the same time Jamie and Lloyd were flying to St. Barts for a really nice confab…when they should have been the ones getting the ankle bracelets.

Steve H. April 4, 2015 at 11:06 am

Many things of interest in this post. Let me highlight one of the milder juxtapositions:

"Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest
Eight hours for what we will."

and

"Work hard, but never work after dinner."

hemeantwell April 4, 2015 at 11:43 am

This is particularly useful for the references to alliances between working class and "petty bourgeois" shopkeepers, e.g. the Pittsburgh strike. I'm fairly familiar with the strike history lit and hadn't seen that before.

In a related vein, Yves has usefully pointed out that the resistance to the TPP has been drawing together sections of the left and right. In my contacts with our Congresscritter, Gwen Graham, I've stressed this point strongly. I think she's basically a hack looking to run for higher office asap but, for someone trying to maintain a seat in a district that went Tea Party in 2010, an anti-TPP position should be a no-brainer.

susan the other April 4, 2015 at 2:26 pm
'The Gilded Age' is such an apt moniker. Under its veneer of wealth there was no there there. My all time favorite book on the subject of the struggle for democracy is "Framing America" by Frances Pohl. The first plate is the memorial statue dedicated to those who died in the Haymarket riot. It is extremely beautiful. No need for gilding. There was another horrendous incident in 1913, a mining incident where miners and their families were massacred by the owners of the mines (Colorado I think) which became a rallying cry for NY artists and they produced an exhibit of abstract art in protest at the NY Armory. And then, of course, WW1.

When civility breaks down in one country it usually spreads. And the threat of socialism was on the horizon. Which is why it is so unbelievable to see the encroachment (really a takeover) of what is yet another gilded age trying to keep power. It's crazy.

participant-observer-observed April 4, 2015 at 4:00 pm

While plutocracy puts on its show, its fascism face is taking over-it is not enough to consider the economic elements of plutocracy isolated from its political implications:

http://www.democracynow.org/2015/4/2/20_years_in_prison_for_miscarrying

This report shows not only this one case, but the loss of personal sovereignty of pregnant women, and the abusive police state power.

(Same like Ferguson: going after minorities, women…..who's next?)

participant-observer-observed April 4, 2015 at 4:13 pm

There is also a hidden plutocracy-internecine war theme to the misogyny police state story:

A misogynist police state will never elect Hillary Clinton!

John April 4, 2015 at 9:10 pm

Why would any American worker want Hillary the Globalist to be president?

montanamaven April 4, 2015 at 4:03 pm

A month ago there was a discussion on Ian Welsh's site about the lack of non-fiction books of depth and original thought. Commenter Jessica had a list of good books that I decided to follow. I read Graeber's "Utopia of Rules" and am now tackling "Karl Marx: A Nineteenth Century Life" by Jonathan Sperber. I am totally taken with it. (And mind you, I've never read or studied Marx. As a theater/film major the closest I got was studying Bertolt Brecht.) Sperber's book puts Marx in the context of his times not through a 20th Century lens. Marx lived in an exciting but turbulent time; the mid-nineteenth century. It was a time of heady ideas and deep philosophical thought. Did God exist? What should replace him? Should nations or "the state" exist? Are "united" states a good idea or bad? Why should Marx's region of the Rhineland be either French or German?

Well heeled "shop keepers" put money into radical newspapers as share holders or gave great writers like Marx, Engels and Hess "grants" to publish their ideas. Shoe makers and other tradesmen moved from Germany to cities like Paris, Brussels, and London to take up revolutionary causes that had started with the French revolution and spread out. There were cafes, reading rooms, and back of the bar discussions that included factory workers, skilled craftsmen and scholars. Marx committed his life to action although as a scholar and writer not a professional agitator like a Karl Schapper or Giuseppe Mazzini. He did not want to just "interpret the world" as philosophers had done before him, he wanted to change it.

We did have some heady days in the late Sixties and early Seventies. Revolution was in the air in 1968 like it was in 1848. The anti-globalists have soldiered on and created a great event in 1999. Occupy gave a brief but heady time. It is good to be reminded of the labor clashes and solidarity that existed in the 19th Century amongst workers, farmers, and shop keepers. I am grateful to Yves for pointing out yet another book worth reading. Here at NC, we have a virtual cafe where we can hone our ideas and bicker in true Hegelian style. But after reading this book on Marx, I am determined to get back to the city for more meet ups of NC readers. The Most Holy Order of the Knights and Dames of Capitalism Most Naked dedicated to as much leisure time as we can get our hands on. In an age of acquiescence, drinking does help.

participant-observer-observed April 4, 2015 at 5:15 pm

You might enjoy a new book out by a scholar of process studies, called "Organic Marxism"
http://philipclayton.net/books/organic-marxism/

[Apr 03, 2015] Jeb is more interested in undermining Democratic constituencies than in financial gain

Apr 02, 2015 | naked capitalism

shinola, April 2, 2015 at 12:11 pm

I may not be remembering correctly, but doesn't Jeb Bush have some sort of financial interest in a company that benefits from the charter school movement?

NotTimothyGeithner, April 2, 2015 at 12:41 pm

I thought it was Neil off the top of my head, but it is the Bush crime family after all.

washunate, April 3, 2015 at 8:04 am

Jeb Bush has been involved with education for a long time, and certainly has some financial interests, but he's actually more of a true believer. The people in it for the money are more around him than Jeb himself.

If anything, Jeb is more interested in undermining Democratic constituencies (unions, impoverished communities, etc.) than in financial gain.

Which is a great example of how the Democrats have bean so unbelievably weird on areas like education policy. They have helped create the environment in which traditional Democratic constituents are now abandoning the party in droves. Rahm Emanuel and teachers unions are fighting each other in Chicago instead of fighting together against GOP policies.

Almost as if that's how national Democrats want things to work…

[Apr 02, 2015] Hillary Clinton: foreign policy is her strong suit – but it could be her undoing by Tom McCarthy

Apr 02, 2015 | The Guardian

someoneionceknew 2 Apr 2015 20:51

Hillary Clinton: war mongering is her strong suit – according to media hacks.


BradBenson Ashok Choudhury 2 Apr 2015 19:04


Nonsense. Who are the wise? Hillary is a war criminal. She should not be elected for any reason. She should be shipped off to the Hague with Obama, Bush and Cheney.

BradBenson yesfuture 2 Apr 2015 18:57

Libya, for one. It's always been about light crude that is used for airplane fuel. Regaining control of Libya's Oil is BP Petroleum's prime project and Hillary supported it.

BradBenson Elton Johnson 2 Apr 2015 18:52

Congratulations, you are both wrong. We were occupiers in Iraq and were always going to incite bigger and more violent opposition groups. We should not have gone in. We should have gotten out sooner. We should not be there now.

BradBenson Michael Seymour 2 Apr 2015 18:49

This kid is a living, typing example of the way that Americans have been dumbed down over the years. He has no fucking clue as to what we are doing in the world and believes everything he hears on CNN and MSNBC (our so-called 'liberal' media outlets). He can no longer be reeducated.

He will live in fear that ISIS or some other phony terrorist group will plant a bomb in his toilet and thus suffer from constipation for the rest of his life.


Paul Moore Alchemist 2 Apr 2015 18:45

Bush vs. Clinton
Been there. Done that.


BradBenson Whitt 2 Apr 2015 18:42

Well, actually that is no longer possible. Still, should we continue to accept that status quo? We can't overthrow the government, but we could all vote third party. I'll not vote for a Bush or a Clinton in the coming election. If my vote is wasted, so be it. My conscience will be clear and I will no longer vote for a known War Criminal as I did when I voted for Obama the second time around.

BradBenson Batters56 2 Apr 2015 18:40

Boy have you got it bass ackwards. We wanted Obama to do the things he promised. Instead, he became a neo-con War Criminal on his first day in office and rejected everything for which he once claimed to have stood.

Here's the links. Read 'em and weep.

More information on Obama's Embrace of war, murder, torture and mayhem can be found at the following link.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/19622-empire-under-obama-americas-secret-wars-in-over-100-countries-around-the-world

More information of the influence of the neocons upon Obama can be found at the following link.

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/06/23/obamas-true-foreign-policy-weakness/

BradBenson Whitt 2 Apr 2015 18:42

Well, actually that is no longer possible. Still, should we continue to accept that status quo? We can't overthrow the government, but we could all vote third party. I'll not vote for a Bush or a Clinton in the coming election. If my vote is wasted, so be it. My conscience will be clear and I will no longer vote for a known War Criminal as I did when I voted for Obama the second time around.

BradBenson Batters56 2 Apr 2015 18:40

Boy have you got it bass ackwards. We wanted Obama to do the things he promised. Instead, he became a neo-con War Criminal on his first day in office and rejected everything for which he once claimed to have stood.

Here's the links. Read 'em and weep.

More information on Obama's Embrace of war, murder, torture and mayhem can be found at the following link.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/19622-empire-under-obama-americas-secret-wars-in-over-100-countries-around-the-world

More information of the influence of the neocons upon Obama can be found at the following link.

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/06/23/obamas-true-foreign-policy-weakness/

BradBenson lightstroke 2 Apr 2015 18:36

Nobody, including Obama. Where have you been for the past six years. Obama makes Bush look like a beginner. Bush started two wars. We now have seven that we know about and are militarily engaged in more than 100 countries.

The blind eye that you faux lefties turn toward Obama and Hillary is absolutely disgusting and hypocritical. Obama and Hillary are fucking WAR CRIMINALS--just like Bush and Cheney--in fact worse!

BradBenson diddoit 2 Apr 2015 18:34

Yes...in the wrong direction. He's beginning to reverse some of his earlier anti-interventionist statements and was one of 47 idiots that signed that letter to Ayatollah Khamenei. I like Rand for a while, strictly because of his 'opposition' to our wars and the domestic spying. Lately, he's back to trying to appeal to Evangelical Nutcases.

BradBenson Natasha2009 2 Apr 2015 18:30

Well Natasha, you are correct that US Foreign Policy should be about protecting US Interests--to a point. Where we may disagree is in how that policy has truly not served our best interests and certainly could not be said to have served in the best interests of the US or the Globe in any single respect--not one. When your only foreign policy is war and murder by drone, you are not serving anyone's interests but the arms dealers.

BradBenson Samuel Burns 2 Apr 2015 18:22

Our leaders have brought war, torture, murder and mayhem to the planet since the early 90's and have doubled down since 9/11. They are war criminals and the blame is correctly place upon the US. Wake up.

BradBenson fredimeyer 2 Apr 2015 18:19

Well I wish you were right, but it's not shaping up that way right now. That being said, she cannot win and we will all be stuck with another fucking Bush.

I'll be voting third party this year as will every other anti-war progressive.

BradBenson sour_mash 2 Apr 2015 18:17

Those ills are now the ills of the Obama Administration and I have pointed this out to you way too often in the past for you not to have gotten it. Obama embraced Bush's War Crimes and made them his own. Quit apologizing and making excuses for this murderous SOB. Here again are the links. Educate yourself.

More information on Obama's Embrace of war, murder, torture and mayhem can be found at the following link.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/19622-empire-under-obama-americas-secret-wars-in-over-100-countries-around-the-world

More information of the influence of the neocons upon Obama can be found at the following link.

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/06/23/obamas-true-foreign-policy-weakness/

macmarco 2 Apr 2015 18:14

She like Obama are militarists. Obama astounded his progressive supporters with his praise for militarism at Nobel. Hillary lost the primaries by hanging onto the 'Iraq was a just and good intervention'. Even if it was imposed by Bill it was idiotic when even some in the GOP were jumping ship.

BradBenson Mikhail Lykhin 2 Apr 2015 18:14

That's just sexist bullshit. She's a well-qualified war criminal and will wage our wars with the same audacity, ferocity and veracity of any man. In fact, she will be more brutal just to prove that women should be allowed to be the War-Criminal-in-Chief more often.

BradBenson Expatdownunder1 2 Apr 2015 18:11

Yep, I remember that too. That should have been a wake up call for any faux Democrats that hated Bush's Policies, but loved those same policies under Obama. Now these neo-con converts can't wait for Hillary to break the glass ceiling and become the greatest US War Criminal of all-time. She will never be President. Real lefties will stay home.

BradBenson toadwarrior 2 Apr 2015 18:07

It's not a matter of age. It's a matter of faulty policies and a total lack of any morality. I'm 64 and I'd match my intellectual acuity against anyone, young or old. I might not always win, but it wouldn't be because of my age if I lost.

Hillary is not qualified because she is a war criminal. Period.

Kikinaskald voxusa 2 Apr 2015 18:03

It was easier for Clinton to coordinate his politics with Europeans at that time. The US was the measure of everything.

But yes, I think you are right, Hillary may be moved by an excessive ambition rather than pure ideology. What I fear is that this ambition makes her prone to hard ideological positions and to alliaces with the worst currents of American politics. On the other hand, you are right, as a whole the Democrats may seem to be more reasonable and I, in Europe, probably underestimate the political climate in the country.

BradBenson Kikinaskald 2 Apr 2015 17:59

People with money back them and most of the American People have been dumbed down to believe that we are a beacon of freedom and democracy around the world.

Despite the fact that realistic Americans recognize the truth, we can no longer unseat the shadow government and will just have to wait for the inevitable collapse of the evil empire under its own weight. It will be tough, but the education will be good for the survivors--however difficult.

voxusa Kikinaskald 2 Apr 2015 17:48

Point taken.

But interestingly, there was much less "go-it-alone" foreign policy by Bill Clinton. He coordinated with European allies, for one--for which he was castigated by the Republicans. That sort of foreign policy really took off under Bush--the right-wing is contemptuous of Europe, the UN, and pretty much any other nation.

I agree with you that she's too hawkish--and that she has made a number of serious mistakes. But I think she's less ideologically driven that driven by her (maybe "pragmatic") ambition.

But the climate in the US is such that the Republican alternatives are *much* more extreme and aggressive -- they talk about waging war on a daily basis. It's truly terrifying.

But anyone more "moderate" that Clinton really doesn't stand a chance for the Democrats. The political climate is too extreme and money has totally corrupted our political process--big money is generally (*but not exclusively) interested in "advancing their interests" and "the rest of the world be damned." There really are no good alternatives--it's Clinton or someone like Bush, or even worse someone like Cruz, Christie, or Paul.

NomChompsky Natasha2009 2 Apr 2015 17:45

The world is in much worse shape and the U.S. held in much lower esteem since she was Secretary of State.

Hey.


BradBenson 2 Apr 2015 17:32

The people are not dissatisfied with Obama's Foreign Policy because it has somehow been too tepid. They are sick of his embrace of the worst war crimes of the neo-con right as his own and his failure to implement hope and change from the abuses of the Bush/Cheney Administration. To say that Hillary's experience as Secretary of State has given her anything more than experience in WAR CRIMES is an exaggeration if not outright mendacity.

Obama started with two wars and we now have at least seven. During Obama's Tenure, both he and Hillary were involved in: illegal drone murders; CIA Black Sites (Benghazi was actually about the freeing of illegally held Libyan Nationals from a CIA Black Site Prison); an illegal Coup d'état in the Ukraine, which nearly brought Europe to the brink of war; the overthrow of the Libyan Government, which resulted in a civil war and the rise of ISIS there; the failure of our policies in Syria and Yemen, resulting in major wars throughout the Middle East; the failure of the Arab Spring and the reestablishment of US-backed dictatorial strongmen in numerous Arab Countries. Hillary has promised to be "more aggressive" than her predecessor.

There is no basis for this woman to be elected and her candidacy will result in the US being saddled with Bush III. Anti-war Progressives WILL NOT vote for another war criminal and will either vote for a third party candidate or stay home.

More information on Hillary's War Crimes can be found at the following sites.

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14401-hillary-clintons-legacy-as-secretary-of-state
http://radio.foxnews.com/2014/10/29/cornel-west-calls-president-obama-and-hillary-clinton-war-criminals/
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/11/18/hillary-the-warmonger/

More information on Obama's Aggressive Foreign Policies and War Crimes can be found here.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/19622-empire-under-obama-americas-secret-wars-in-over-100-countries-around-the-world
http://consortiumnews.com/2014/06/23/obamas-true-foreign-policy-weakness/

Matt062 2 Apr 2015 17:28

We don't call her Killary over here for nothing. There is no need to speculate about the future. We can already see her foreign policy in action in Yemen, where the USA is once again directing another lawless war of aggression.

Ask the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate how his targeted bombing of what little civilian infrastructure Yemen has? You know, dairy processing, electrical power installations, the usual list of war criminality we have all come to know so well and hate.

Ana ask how long will it take for mass starvation to kick in with a total naval blockade on a country that must import 100% of its grain?

normankirk 2 Apr 2015 17:02

Please, not Hillary. I'm not eligible to vote in American elections, but I do have a stake in staying alive. Hillary has to be a nutcase with her warmongering rhetoric.

And I'm not encouraged by Ukrainian oligarchs bloating the Clinton foundation with looted money


Kikinaskald voxusa 2 Apr 2015 16:56

I meant internationally. At that time nobody dared to oppose the US. Nowadys it's different. China challenges the US, in South America there are left governments and others that claim some independence. In Europe there is skepticism and critic of the American government. Iran made now an agreement on better terms than they had offered in 2003. Russia showed that they would act according to what they think it's their interest against American opposition. The US lost wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq. We have to consider all those failures and mistakes. Hillary Clinton is not the right person for that.


voxusa Kikinaskald 2 Apr 2015 16:38

"Bill Clinton could do whatever he wanted without much opposition."?

You must have missed the government shut-down by the right-wing and the mendacious obstructionism of Newtie Gingrich and his pals


Kikinaskald 2 Apr 2015 16:21

I wonder why the electorate keeps people in politics who are clearly unsuitable to be politicians. Many are crazy, are ignorant, are politically corrupt, have no common sense, have no scruples of any kind, are greedy. Why can't people have better choices? Why don't they send such people in retirement and vote for better politicians? Why do such politicians remain eternally in the political arena? Why do people take them seriously?


CroatianRoger 2 Apr 2015 16:14

If Clinton or Bush win we are in for more war, only Rand Paul will pull the troops back.
Apparently this election will cost about $5 billion, disgusting.


Kikinaskald 2 Apr 2015 16:12

but who may be guided by a preference for alliance-based negotiations of the kind that informed her husband's presidency

This doesn't mean very much. Times were completely different. The Soviet Union had just fallen when Bill Clinton was the president and the leadership of the US was not disputed. Today opposition to intervention is much stronger and an agressive politics which didn't function before when conditions were more favourable will not function now.

Bill Clinton could do whatever he wanted without much opposition. But he didn't seem to be very ideologically guided. He used military and diplomatic power because he had the power to do that, he was moved by custom, and for personal reasons (because of the scandals involving him).

Obama doesn't seem to be a very determined person, to have very strong convictions. He noticed that his power was limited and decided to take the easiest way. That means that he made mistakes, that he simply followed what Bush had begun without much questioning. But he tried to correct the course in some moments, to repair some mistakes, he took some positive initiatives.

Hilary Clinton on the other hand lacks some of the few qualities of past presidents while combining their bad qualities. She doesn't seem to be careful like Obama, she isn't so pragmatic as Bill Clinton, she's as ideological as some of the worse politicians in the US, she's as naive as Bush, she's as ignorant as McCain, she doesn't show any kind of moral and intellectual independence and autonomy: she sides with the worst tendencies of politics. The results cannot be good.

Speculation and discussions about all those cases (Ukraine, Syria and so on) show how insane political talk has become. It's funny, because they are exactly the result of long term faillures, political mistakes and so on. Obama often spoke wrong, but did the right thing in the end. H. Clinton would do the wrong thing in the end. I think that politis is too serious to be in the hand of people like her.

Expatdownunder1 2 Apr 2015 14:59

On the 22nd April 2008 Hillary Clinton made the following astonishing comment:"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the President, we will attack Iran," she replied adding, "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them". From that time on, I began to see her as a liability and was confirmed by innumerable speeches made as Secretary of State: speeches which displayed arrogance towards and ignorance of other cultures, together with a contempt for the political process.


Natasha2009 2 Apr 2015 14:41

How exactly is foreign policy her strong suit? The world is in much worse shape and the U.S. held in much lower esteem since she was Secretary of State. There is not one area of the world better off now due to her efforts.


Phil429 lightstroke 2 Apr 2015 13:55

Obama's strategy of forcing the regional players to sort things out themselves

This would be the same Obama who started the war on Libya and showered his Al-Qaeda buddies with weapons to terrorise the whole region, would it? The same Obama who tried to support Hosni Mubarak only until his defeat became undeniable, then worked to make sure his replacement would be as close to identical as possible? Whose State Department funded and enabled the Nazis who overthrew the government of Ukraine? Who's been devoted to indefinitely continuing the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq from his first day in office? Whose murder-by-drone campaign has caused vastly more devastation in Yemen and Pakistan than under Gov Bush? Who's turned Honduras into a living hell, tried to sanction the life out of Iran on fraudulent grounds with no authority and faithfully continued enabling every war crime Israel commits on its way to national suicide?
Anyone who considers that 'leaving others to sort things out' has lost all touch with reality.


Whitt brighterday 2 Apr 2015 12:48

"If some nutter like Jeb Bush wins, a major war is just a matter of time." - brighterday
*
Actually, in the current crop of Republicans making noises about running, Jeb Bush is the moderate one. Moderate being in a completely relative sense here.


TONY C 2 Apr 2015 12:08

A vote for Hillary is a vote for her undying support of the Iraq war. I hope this woman becomes undone at the seams for whatever can be made to stick. She is the same old pedigree of war mongers that both democrats and republicans push to the forefront of amerikkkan politics.


LowlyPeruser 2 Apr 2015 12:06

Hillary Clinton supported just about every military aggression in the Middle East (invading Iraq, bombing Syria and Lybia) that was on offer, and when the crap hit the fan (as in Benghazi) she was stupid enough to try to cover it up. Some strong diplomatic skills and wisdom she has, indeed....


sparafucile2 2 Apr 2015 11:24

Rand Paul is the only candidate on the horizon who could conceivably end America's disastrous love-affair with the neo-cons and neo-liberals. The thought of Hillary Clinton returning to the White House would be a bit like Cherie Blair returning to No 10.


DynamicDitherer 2 Apr 2015 11:24

Americans are being fed the idea that it is time a woman was in charge, like the first black president it is a con.

Anyone want to know what Hillary Clinton is about simply google "Hilary Clinton on Gadaffi" and it just about sums up US foreign policy REGARDLESS who is in the big chair.

If people in the UK really want to end the murders and mayhem our? foreign policies wreak around the globe then the only way to stop it is to vote green and be brave enough to usher in a brand new dawn in British politics as this shit has to stop, its only a matter of when, vote for the main parties and we are sending more of our own sons and daughters to go fight the banksters wars which in turn will unleash hell on the civillian populations of whatever country it is.. last time it was Libya, almost Syria... lets not let it happen again and perhaps bring foreign policy to the front of elections... no more war.


nonfiction 2 Apr 2015 11:02

She is an old fraud. She's told the world she was the one who brought peace to Northern Ireland, though it was certainly not anything she did that helped there. She told the world how brave she was, when she landed in a supposed danger zone, when in fact she and her daughter had landed to a peaceful welcome by a children's band. She showed no understanding of Palestine or of Israel. Internationally, she hasn't a clue. She's nothing but a grabby property developer. t can't believe even Americans are so easily hood-winked that they'd vote for her.


wimberlin 2 Apr 2015 10:42

She is obviously a bellicose bag - there is no doubt about that. However the irony is that this bellicose bag may be better than any wing-nut the Republicans decide to come up with in the next year.

American politics is all about money anyways - if she can get the really rich behind her, then she will get in.


Continent 2 Apr 2015 10:39

Foreign donations to foundation raise major ethical questions for Hillary Clinton ......

... Hillary, give the money back. Or don't run. You can't keep the money and run.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2015/02/18/foreign-donations-to-hillary-clintons-foundation-raise-major-ethical-questions/


DNAin1953 2 Apr 2015 10:28

In politics you do not need to be good, you just need to be better than the other choices and win a plurality of the electorate. Discussing someones merits or failings as a leader without contrasting that with the competition is a tiresome waste of time. Clinton is not impressive except in comparison with the lunatics from which her opponent will be choosen. It is this contrast that is the relevant one that should be discussed. Despote her many failings, she is the least bad choice among thoae on offer, by a country mile.


Continent 2 Apr 2015 10:28

Hillary Clinton: foreign policy is her strong suit

25 Mar 2008 ........ Hillary Clinton has conceded that she "did misspeak" about landing in Bosnia under sniper fire, blaming tiredness for a dramatic description that was shown to have been significantly exaggerated. .....

..... News footage of the event however showed her claims to have been wide of the mark, and reporters who accompanied her stated that there was no sniper fire. Her account was ridiculed by ABC News as "like a scene from Saving Private Ryan".

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1582795/Hillary-Clintons-Bosnia-sniper-story-exposed.html


Seanymoon 2 Apr 2015 09:56

Madame is a war hawk's war hawk; and few major political figures belong more completely to Wall Street.

No thanks.

moncur 2 Apr 2015 09:48

Family dynasties are a disturbing, newish trend in Western democracies, particularly in USA. The Bushes, the Clintons...
There is no need to copy North Korea.

[Mar 25, 2015] Oh Lord, Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

There have been some suggestions that the Treaty of Moscow notwithstanding, there may well be another hidden agreement between the USA and Germany that exists apart from an agreement between the former WWII allies, a secret agreement that infringes upon German sovereignty and blocks the possibility of adopting a Verfassung.

Moscow Exile, March 24, 2015 at 2:25 am

The German system is better as there one votes for a party and for a candidate that one prefers. However, the system is complex – with good reason: they do not want a repeat performance of the 1930s.

See: Germany's Voting System Explained

A little sleight of hand there, though, in the above linked Der Spiegel article:

It only recently became completely fair. Germany's Constitutional Court ruled in 2009 that the voting system used up through the 2009 general election was actually unconstitutional. Then the first fix offered up by the Bundestag was thrown out as well. It was only in February of this year that the country finally got a new system that conforms with the country's constitution, the Basic Law.

Ever wondered why the German "constitution" is called "The Basic Law" (Grundgesetz)?

No?

Never entered your mind, or just not bothered?

Well, I shall tell you anyway:

You see, independent sovereign states have constitutions, do they not? – apart from the UK and three other sovereign states, or so I have been led to believe.

The UK has a constitution, they say, but if you ask to see a copy of it, they say there isn't one, because it is an unwritten constitution – which sounds like a bit of a swizz to me – whilst here, in the Police State that everyone knows as Russia, I can go to any news kiosk or bookshop and buy a copy of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

But I digress: the Federal Republic of Germany has no constitution (Verfassung) because some maintain that it is an occupied country and has been so since 1945.

The German "Basic Law" was imposed on the Germans by the victorious allied occupying forces in 1949 and differs from a constitution that has been created by a sovereign people.

In the day to day functioning of the German state, the Grundgesetz functions, of course, as a Verfassung, so every Fritz and Freda is happy – I think.

The fact remains, however, that the allied forces imposed the original Grundgesetz on the Germans (at the point of a Lee-Enfield .303 or M1 carbine as the case may be and as Call-Me-Dave might have said if he had been around at that time), and the Germans, of course, had no choice but to accept the Grundgesetz, though some at the time of its imposition did object to their conquerors' demand because they were good Germans and not Nazis – though they had known plenty who were – and felt that they were perfectly capable of drafting their own Verfassung.

It is also a fact that since the allied imposition of the Grundgesetz, the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) has had occasion to change and make adjustments to parts of the Grundgesetz as regards the EU and the former German Democratic Republic, which the West Germans always called Die Sowjetische Besatzungszone (The Soviet Occupation Zone) before it became re-united with the rest of Germany, namely with the US, British and French occupation zones of Germany.

One could argue, therefore, that the changing of the Grundgesetz by the German Constitutional Court shows that it had the sovereign right to do so and that Germany is, indeed, a sovereign state that treats its Grundgesetz as though it were a Verfassung. Furthermore, that august and supreme judicial authority based in Karlsruhe is indeed called the the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) and not the German Basic Law Court (Bundesgrundgesetzgericht) – so Germany does indeed have a constitution QED.

Yes, and the EU has a parliament in Strasbourg – but it ain't no parliament!

But get this:

Grundgesetz (not, may I remind you once again, Verfasssung) article 146.

"This Basic Law, which since the achievement of the unity and freedom of Germany applies to the entire German people, shall cease to apply on the day on which a constitution freely adopted by the German people takes effect".

See, the Basic Law recognises that there is no German constitution yet.

This very fact that Germany still has no Verfassung, or a document that they dare call one, may also indicate that Germans still do not enjoy full freedom in self-determination – which is a human right, goddamit!!!!!

:-)

A constitution is based upon a sovereign people. In Germany, however, there exists "The Basic Law" that was imposed upon the German people by its conquerors in 1949 following the unconditional surrender of the German state in 1945. Since "the unity and freedom of Germany" was achieved with the signing of the Treaty of Moscow in 1990, why have the Germans not changed the Basic law into a Constitution drawn up by a sovereign nation?

The Treaty of Moscow 1990 states in article 7:

"(1) The French Republic, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America hereby terminate their rights and responsibilities relating to Berlin and to Germany as a whole. As a result, the corresponding, related quadripartite agreements, decisions and practices are terminated and all related Four Power institutions are dissolved.

(2) The United Germany shall have accordingly full sovereignty over its internal and external affairs".

Alles klar?

So why no Deutsche Verfassung?

There have been some suggestions that the Treaty of Moscow notwithstanding, there may well be another hidden agreement between the USA and Germany that exists apart from an agreement between the former WWII allies, a secret agreement that infringes upon German sovereignty and blocks the possibility of adopting a Verfassung.

In 2007, Gerd-Helmut Komossa, a former head of the "German CIA" – the Bundesnachtrichtendienst (BND) – published the book "Die deutsche Karte (The German Card), stating that there was such a treaty in 1949

[Mar 14, 2015] http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/mar/14/hillary-clinton-arkansas-friends

From comments (BradBenson -> maggie111 14 Mar 2015 11:55) : We should have a woman candidate, but not this one. She is a WAR CRIMINAL who has promised a more aggressive foreign policy than Obama who, by the way, started five new wars to add to Bush's two. You are dangerously naïve.
Mar 14, 2015 | The Guardian

foggy2 -> OperatorError 14 Mar 2015 14:13

I think many Americans come here because usually the level of discussion is quite a bit higher than that found in most US newspapers.

I come here to read what other people are thinking and try hard to digest what I find because by using that process I can learn and grow.

Waughchild -> philipf 14 Mar 2015 14:10

Couldn't agree more. When she said she came under sniper fire during a trip to Bosnia in 1996, she retracted and said it was a mistake. Mistake!!!!! No, a total BS lie that she was so stupid that she thought she could get away with. She is power hungry like her husband. She doesn't have a feminist bone in her body.

sfgirl42 14 Mar 2015 14:08

Remember this?

"After they were criticized for taking $190,000 worth of china, flatware, rugs, televisions, sofas and other gifts with them when they left (the White House), the Clintons announced last week that they would pay for $86,000 worth of gifts, or nearly half the amount.

Their latest decision to send back $28,000 in gifts brings to $114,000 the value of items the Clintons have either decided to pay for or return." abc news 2/8/2001

foggy2 -> Orance 14 Mar 2015 13:50

I think corporate and bankster money is much more important to them than opinion polls. They can say one thing to appease people but in the end go with the monied interests.

janvaneck 14 Mar 2015 13:41

What you Brits do not realize is that Hillary can never prevail in a national election. It has nothing to do with talent, or campaign funds, or staff abilities, or anything else. It has to do with her behavior, which is so disgraceful that a hefty chunk of "democrat" voters will bolt.

To understand the Hillary-antipathy phenomenon, I offer this little tidbit: Hillary was asked by some University to give a Commencement Address. For 40 minutes of speaking, she demanded a fee of $350,000. She also demanded to be ferried to and fro in a Gulfstream G-5; that is the ultimate top-of-the-line corporate jet, with intercontinental capabilities. She also demanded to be put up in a hotel - not some raggedy 4-star hotel, but only a 5-star hotel - and not is some "room," nor even a "suite," but only the "Presidential Suite." Then she demanded that a staff of courtiers be brought along and paid for, a chunk of these to be ferried out as advance men on First-class tickets (at least, not a private jet!), and then only so many photos were allowed, and so forth.

The University caved in to this extortion, and hired the jet and the Presidential Suite and paid the outrageous fee. But the problem is that this tab, which all-in likely ran to some $750,000, meant that hundreds of students would not be receiving need scholarships. If you figure that even $2,000 would tip a needy student out of school, she with her arrogance and hubris shut down the education of some 400 students.

She gets away with this self-absorbed behavior because she is "Hillary," and has figured out how to milk the system to put hefty chunks of coin into her purse. Plus, she confuses the G-5 with being "royalty." And she craves being pseudo-royalty. {Would Kate ever behave like this? No chance; the Princess has real class.] But the voters are wise to this, and they do not like this bad behavior in their leaders. She has so incensed even party stalwarts (not to even mention how Republicans froth at the mouth when anyone says "Hillary!") that she will end up shellacked.

It reminds me of another badly-behaved politician, a fellow named John Ashcroft. He was running for Senator from Missouri, and as the fates would have it, his opponent was killed in a plane crash some five weeks before the election. There was no time window to put another candidate in there on the ballot, so the voters were faced with the choice of electing Ashcroft or a dead man. The voters chose the dead man - anybody but Ashcroft. Humiliated, he was awarded a Cabinet Post as a consolation prize (and went on to do a lot of damage, just as Hillary did in the State Department).

Personally, I would vote for any identifiable road-kill carcass - skunk, gopher, opossum, whatever - before I would elect Hillary. Welcome to America, where we elect the dead. It is the ultimate "none of the above" voting line.

Lucymarie 14 Mar 2015 13:38

Hilary Clinton is such a hawk, that I offer the following version of the nursery rhyme:

Pillory Hillary, mock,
Our troops land on the dock.
Our troops strike out,
Throughout we're cursed,
Pillory Hillary, mock.

foggy2 -> BradBenson 14 Mar 2015 13:35

I'm a woman and would like to at some point see a female candidate but I don't think it should come about strictly based on gender. The right woman will appear and this may or may not be the election. But nowhere is it written that a female president is going to be any better than a male.

geronimo -> rustybeancake 14 Mar 2015 13:30


Why do you think this only comes up as an issue for female candidates?

I think that observation is plainly and simply wrong, however often Hillary claims that any attacks on her are 'because she's a women'. Disingenuous self-serving claptrap.

Where should I start the list of male politicians with the same sociopathy? Well, for the sake of provocation let's take another opportunistic self-serving martyr and Grauniad darling in the news, Boris Nemtsov...

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n06/keith-gessen/remembering-boris-nemtsov?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=3706&utm_content=ukrw_nonsubs&hq_e=el&hq_m=3661873&hq_l=11&hq_v=6833aad56c

http://pando.com/2015/03/02/boris-nemtsov-death-of-a-russian-liberal/

philipf 14 Mar 2015 13:43

No matter how many words are written to try and humanise these people they are clearly sociopaths. Clinton, like her husband, is utterly shameless and without scruples. She is warmongering, lying scumbag without any genuine qualities.


MBDifani 14 Mar 2015 12:50

Hillary Clinton made a headline when she gave an address at Wellesley College in 1969 regarding the 'Nam war which I protested too at UC San Diego. I was in the army for five yrs. half of which was in W. Germany as a flight operations Sp5 at two helicopter bases. Our protest was not aimed at the trigger pullers, but the four star brass and civilian hawks such as Pres. LBJ and McNamara in the Pentagon. I am not for her as president...Jim Webb and Martin O'Malley in '16...not Joe Biden. Back in 2008 stand up comic Lewis Black ranted and raved about Clinton in the race vs. Obama. He wanted her to get out of the race, it's time for Barack Obama...on and on. Much applause from the audience.

boscovee 14 Mar 2015 12:48

Ah, the money must be finding the right pockets, this article is nothing but propaganda to foist this woman on the people, read the Clinton chronicles of ask the people of Arkansas about the Clinton's.

george1la 14 Mar 2015 12:39

This is exactly the personality type we do not need anymore. This is self destruction if she is elected. How about some sensible people like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who are for the people not corporations and billionaires as the Clinton's have proven, by their actions, to be with Fascist inclinations as does Obama when looking at not what they say, but what they do. Are we more free and safe? Do you have more or less privacy? Is the world safer? Why is the U.S. backing Nazi Fascists in the Ukraine?

WHO ARE WE REALLY AND WHO ARE THE LEADERS WE ELECT?

hertsman 14 Mar 2015 12:39

Why does this article not address the outright, provable lies she told when she ran against Obama and she was aggrandising her time in the White House ;

1) Her claim to have landed at Sarajevo, dodging sniper-fire
2) Her claim to have been instrumental in the Irish Peace process

Appalling liar. Impossible to trust her a e-mail controversy shows.

pwatson mizdarlin 14 Mar 2015 12:39

She's just another ambitious careerist who voted for war

chiefwiley -> Guruwho 14 Mar 2015 12:38

There will be a constant stream of sycophantic articles laying the base, together with stinging, downright nasty articles on each and every opponent, questioning why they are not in jail. She will be shown as holding her own against terrible accusations, while Republicans will be portrayed as denying, deflecting, and deceiving. Even potential Democratic opponents will be measured and found wanting.

It's all nonsense, of course, but the template is "history in the making," and history must be served. So they lower the bar for her and raise it for anybody else. She blatantly ignores public records and FOIA regulations --- no big deal. Christie, on the other hand, personally created a traffic jam and should be in jail for it.

Put on the popcorn and get out the pompoms. In the Guardian, it's Hillary Time!

flatulenceodor67 -> J.K. Stevens 14 Mar 2015 12:33

"She was on a secured server and has already confirmed that security was not breached."

What an ASININE statement believing a compulsive/corrupt KNOWN LIAR! I guess it takes one to know one.


geronimo -> MurkyFogsFutureLogs 14 Mar 2015 12:31

Indeed...

Under the retiring editor, all politics seems to have been reduced to 'identity' politics. Forget about class, war, class war and so on... If it can't be reduced to Hillary's gender or Putin's, er... transcendental evil... then it's barely worth a comment above the line.

As I've said before, for the Guardian 'the personal is the political' - or rather, for the Guardian as for Hillary, the political reduces to the personal.

A marriage made, not so much in heaven, but somewhere in political-fashionista North London.

Scuppie -> outsiderwithinsight 14 Mar 2015 12:18

I've heard that Elizabeth Warren's IQ is somewhat greater than that of a cherry stone clam. Anyone who would willingly sign up as a US presidential candidate cannot be very high in the brain-power pecking order. Political party has nothing to do with it.

xxxaaaxxx -> outsiderwithinsight 14 Mar 2015 12:17

She hasn't much experience and lied about her background to get a place at Harvard. We had an inexperienced young politician in Obama and that has not worked out so well. Just because someone is a women does not mean they need to be elected. BTW I am a women but there has to be more qualifications then sex to get the job.

consciouslyinformed -> outsiderwithinsight 14 Mar 2015 12:14

Elizabeth Warren, has stated she is heavily invested in her current position, about which, she has great passion and rewards of her personal productivity, and recognises that the presidency is not the "goal," of one who knows what her current position provides her and the citizens of her state.

Spanawaygal -> J.K. Stevens 14 Mar 2015 12:12

She's not a computer tech and hasn't got a clue as to whether security was breached. If the hackers can invade gov't websites (wikileaks) and major corporations, it's not only possible but very likely that her security was breached.

Roberta -> Hudlow Crewman 14 Mar 2015 12:06

There is a political term that drives me crazy, "flip-flopped," Do we really prefer politicians who say, "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up?' Or do we prefer someone who can review the facts of an issue and find that their own view is wrong and untenable? I change my mind in view of facts. Do we want thinkers of primitive robots? I say primitive, because even computers can re-analyze. Further, I understand that many Evangelicals have changed stance on Israel-Palestine.

BradBenson -> maggie111 14 Mar 2015 11:55

We should have a woman candidate, but not this one. She is a WAR CRIMINAL who has promised a more aggressive foreign policy than Obama who, by the way, started five new wars to add to Bush's two. You are dangerously naïve.

Moyers & Company: The Long, Dark Shadows of Plutocracy

Nov 28 2014 | dewaynenet.wordpress.com

Moyers & Company: The Long, Dark Shadows of Plutocracy
Nov 28 2014
<http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-long-dark-shadows-plutocracy/>

Some people say inequality doesn't matter. They are wrong. All we have to do to see its effects is to realize that all across America millions of people of ordinary means can't afford decent housing.

As wealthy investors and buyers drive up real estate values, the middle class is being squeezed further and the working poor are being shoved deeper into squalor — in places as disparate as Silicon Valley and New York City.

This week Bill points to the changing skyline of Manhattan as the physical embodiment of how money and power impact the lives and neighborhoods of every day people. Soaring towers being built at the south end of Central Park, climbing higher than ever with apartments selling from $30 million to $90 million, are beginning to block the light on the park below. Many of the apartments are being sold at those sky high prices to the international super rich, many of whom will only live in Manhattan part-time – if at all — and often pay little or no city income or property taxes, thanks to the political clout of real estate developers.

"The real estate industry here in New York City is like the oil industry in Texas," affordable housing advocate Jaron Benjamin says, "They outspend everybody… They often have a much better relationship with elected officials than everyday New Yorkers do." Meanwhile, fewer and fewer middle and working class people can afford to live in New York City. As Benjamin puts it, "Forget about the Statue of Liberty. Forget about Ellis Island. Forget about the idea of everybody being welcome here in New York City. This will be a city only for rich people."

At the end of the show Bill says: "Tell us if you've seen some of these forces eroding the common ground where you live. Perhaps, like some of the people in our story, you're making your own voice heard. Share these experiences at our website,BillMoyers.com."

Video+Transcript: 23:09 min

[Nov 17, 2014] Democrats: The Party of Pablum John Nichols

Nov 17, 2014 | thenation.com

When Bernie Sanders gets to griping about the Democratic Party, which happens frequently, he asks, "What does it stand for?"

The independent senator argues that, after years of sellouts and compromises on issues ranging from trade policy to banking regulation, and especially after letting campaign donors and consultants define its messaging, the party of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman has become an ill-defined and distant political machine that most Americans do not relate to or get excited about.

His point has always been well-taken, but it was confirmed on November 4. How else can we explain voters who chose Mitch McConnell senators and Elizabeth Warren policies?

That's what happened in Arkansas, where 65 percent of voters expressed their concern about income inequality and poverty by approving a substantial minimum-wage increase on the same day they gave Senator Mark Pryor just 39 percent of the vote. Pryor was one of many Democrats who ran away from President Obama in 2014, and part of how Pryor distanced himself was by announcing his opposition to increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Republican Tom Cotton, who also opposes the federal increase, slyly endorsed the state ballot initiative and swept to victory in a race where what could have been sharp distinctions between the contenders were neutralized by the Democrat.

[Oct 30, 2014] Republicans confident of midterm success as apathetic America switches off by Dan Roberts

Quote: "Don't blame the voters. If you're looking for someone to blame, how about asking the Democrats -- who appear to know why the GOP sucks -- to either lead or get the hell out of the way. They are occupying the opposition spot, but they are unwilling to take the natural positions that their criticism of the Republicans would imply they should take. In fact, the National Democratic Party appears to do AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE to oppose the Republican agenda, while still keeping enough faithful voters around to prevent some other party from taking its place. If there wasn't already such a placebo party, big money would probably invent it."
Oct 30, 2014 | http://www.theguardian.com | Comments

,

Is there a difference between the Republicans and Democrats? Yes.

Is it enough to generate excitement and make the public feel like they are truly charting this nation's course with their votes. Not a chance in hell.

Don't blame the voters. If you're looking for someone to blame, how about asking the Democrats -- who appear to know why the GOP sucks -- to either lead or get the hell out of the way. They are occupying the opposition spot, but they are unwilling to take the natural positions that their criticism of the Republicans would imply they should take.

In fact, the National Democratic Party appears to do AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE to oppose the Republican agenda, while still keeping enough faithful voters around to prevent some other party from taking its place.

If there wasn't already such a placebo party, big money would probably invent it.

,
We live in the media market of Sacramento, CA, and the only TV advertising is for the Congressional district some 50-60 miles north of us, which the Democrat won by a narrow margin two years ago, defeating the sitting republican congressman.

The TV ads are endless, and the money being spent on behalf of the Republican former congressman in the effort to retake the seat seems monumental. There are at least 6 or more other congressional districts covered by the Sacramento TV stations, but not a single ad concerning any of them.

Crazy, and gross, and a mindless distortion of democracy. But there you are; that is modern USA

,

I hope all those middle class people who are holding those signs have brought plenty of lube ..Because once Congress goes RED be ready for a serious reaming of the Middle Class once again by the GOP ... There not quite done yet siphoning of the what wealth remains in the American Middle Class ..

They got real close during the Wall Street Meltdown but did not quiet get it all .. America is poised to make.... yes the same mistake again and again and again .. Why one may ask ?? Because we are NUMBER ONE and NUMBER TWO .. don't forget lots of Lube ......The GOP will love it it's petroleum product after all ...

,

Either way, they argue, the White House loses. "He'll become the president of no," another GOP congressman confidently told the Guardian, revelling in the prospect of reversing the insult that dogged House Republicans when they were the ones blocking Democratic legislative efforts.

These clowns are still out of touch with reality...they keep saying no to everything and believe they're paying no price for it...but somehow if the Democrats say no, that it harms them.

I think you'll find that whenever the Democrats resist Republican pressure like the threats to shut government down, their popularity soars....its not about WHO says the 'NO'...it's about who says 'NO' to WHAT. They don't get it....

, l

Republicans confident of midterm success ..........

If I was an American citizen (and I'm extremely grateful that I am not) I would not insult/humiliate myself by participating in the Corporate corrupt bought and paid for, White House, politician's Corporate general elections.

It makes no difference who the Corporate America is on the Election list:

Republican's; Democrats; Disneyland; Hollywood; Crime incorporated...

Corporate politics has taken over in Corporate America. Voting is but just a mythical action. Just a load of (taken for a ride) old bollocks.

Because the Republicans just like the Tories in British politics are always in control and New Labour demonstrated this fact in 1997 when they embraced Tory Thatcher's financial philosophy for thirteen years.

A One Party State !! That loves to arm and finance dictators across the world and still clocking up coup d' etat's.

The decision not to vote in an election arises from the mistaken belief that just because things are bad now, that they could not be worse later.

,
Will a republican takeover of the senate make a difference? You bet it will! Suddenly, the president (and I use the term loosely) will become the "president of no."

Republicans will set a governing agenda, the country will be better off and in 2016, Romney might be our new president.

-> SFChutzpah ,

You forgot the step before that. The Democrats have experienced record numbers of filibusters. They are very well-schooled on their use.

As for the Republicans. They have NO POLICIES that they have shared with anyone. What we will see is the continued attempts to be the anti-Democrats.

1. The "mainstream" media may be ignoring the election because they tend not to report anything that might make Republicans look good.

2. Republicans should not be sure of anything for they are skilled at gaining defeat from what looks to be a sure victory.

3. Local ads against Republicans have used quotes (if you can read the very small print) from as long ago as 15 years and imply they were said yesterday. Some bounce back on that.

4. Interesting that most election story references to "big" money always mention the Koch brothers, but not the likes of George Soros, et al. Locally, the Democrats raised and outspent to Republicans by as much as 12/1.

5. There ought to be a total spending limit for a political campaign and all campaigns should be limited to 60-90 days prior to an election.

6. Too bad we don't have the leadership to create a viable Centrist Party. We need options.

,
Chomsky said it best when he described Obama as a moderate Republican.

The whole scene in America is dragged so far to the right that it doesn't really matter which you vote for. You either have extremist republicans who proudly hate poor people, women, non-white people and people who think guns aren't the answer to everything, or you have the more moderate Republicans who are comparable to British Tories.

And you (quite rightly) thought things were bad here!!

-> ryan2293
Interesting that Chomsky 1) made his riches being a capitalist while condemning capitalism and 2) never chose to live in a society that more closely practiced what he preached compared to where he did choose to live.
-> laredo33
1) how is he a capitalist?

2) why should he leave the country? Do you have to leave the country when you don't like the government? If you don't (which you don't) then you're a hypocrite and if you do then you're an idiot, the choice is yours. And there is no libertarian socialist society that he could move to anyway! Where do you suggest?

PATROKLUS00
The American electorate will deserve exactly what they will get, just as the morons in Kansas who swallowed the right-wing nonsense about trickle-down economics, slashing taxes and cutting budgets have seen their state plummet in credit ratings, burn through a billion dollars into massive debt, and debilitate their educational system at all levels.

Yet, the races are still close in that benighted state since its dyed-red voters will vote for the vacuous, destructive and exploitative ideology of the right in spite of all contrary evidence. The broader American electorate is of the same cloth and will reap the same "benefits" as the antediluvian Kansans.

The only way all too many American voters can learn is by experience, since they are incapable of thinking about anything with any reasonable level of knowledge and reason. So I am all for the GOTP taking control, now and in 2016. It will, in all likelihood, benefit me, but not the nation. I am just too weary of trying to get the first world's most politically ignorant, indolent, incompetent and inciteable voters to act in their own interest or that of their nation. Let them reap the whirlwind of their stupidity.

Herman Munster -> PATROKLUS00
Ah, and the democrat states like California, New York and Illinois are just rolling in excess money because they're fiscally responsible. And their education systems are churning out Rhodes Scholars, every child is above average, there's no poverty or racial disparity, majority democrat states are just going great guns.
BaronVonAmericano -> PATROKLUS00

I get your frustration. But I think a big component of the problem is that there is no genuine opposition party. Democrats could contrast themselves with the GOP in ways that would a) get their base excited; b) get independent votes (based on issue polling) and c) be good for the nation. But to do so would conflict with donors.

So it would appear that Democrats -- the only other viable option than the awful Republicans -- would rather sell out their base, sell out the nation, and lose seats in power in order to please their donors.

That probably explains why so many people don't want to vote.

[Oct 29, 2014] Moderate thunder out of Kansas by EJ Dionne

Kansas is one of the most brainwashed state in the country. See What's the matter with Kansas
Oct 29, 2014 | The Washington Post

The several dozen people gathered at a street corner just off the main square of this southeastern Kansas town of 5,600 were polite and friendly in the Midwestern way. They did not look in the least like a band of counterrevolutionaries intent on reversing the direction of the government in Topeka.

Yet the results of the tea party rebellion four years ago have led these civic-minded, middle-of-the-road Kansans to a quiet but fierce determination to take their state back from those who once talked incessantly about taking their country back.

What brought them together this week was a visit from Paul Davis, the Democratic candidate for governor. Davis has generally been running ahead of Republican incumbent Sam Brownback in one of the country's most consequential showdowns on Tuesday's ballot.

Brownback set things up this way by launching what he called, proudly and unapologetically, a "real, live experiment" that he hoped would provide a model of red-state governance. He pushed steep income and business tax cuts through the legislature, insisting that his program would spur unprecedented economic growth. The results have been less than inspiring: large budget deficits, credit downgrades and substantial cuts in education spending, some of which were reversed only because of a court order. Only rarely does an election pose such a clear philosophical and policy choice.

Brownback often cited low-tax Texas as his model, prompting a ready reply from Davis. Voters "don't want to be like Texas," he said in an interview at his storefront headquarters here. "They just want to be Kansas."

What it means to be Kansas is precisely what's at stake, and it's why Davis's campaign uses #RestoreKansas — a traditionalist's slogan, when you think about it — as its Twitter battle cry. The choice Davis is offering is not between liberalism and conservatism but rather between two kinds of conservatism: the deeply anti-government tea party kind, and an older variety that values prudence and fiscal restraint but also expects government to provide, as Davis put it, "the basic services that are essential to the state's vitality."

In his stump speech, Davis emphasizes public education, transportation, Brownback's rejection of the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act and a widely unpopular privatization of Kansas's Medicaid program.

What's striking is how many Republicans have joined Davis's effort, including a large group of Republican politicians, some of whom Brownback purged in bitter primaries. Achieving ideological purity in the GOP turns out to have high costs, and Davis spoke of "the many functions we've had where we had more Republicans than Democrats. "I like those," he adds.

Indeed he does. In a state where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by almost 2 to 1, moderately conservative Republicans are the swing voters.

Some are shocked that Kansas is one of this year's battlegrounds, not only in the governor's race but also in the pivotal Senate contest between independent Greg Orman and incumbent Pat Roberts (R). But one person who is not surprised is James Roberts (no relation to the senator), Davis's 29-year-old campaign manager.

In January 2013, the young organizer paid me a visit in Washington to explain why Kansas could swing Democratic this year. Over lunch at a Mexican restaurant this week in Lawrence, I asked him how he knew this back then. "We're a Kassebaum-Dole-Eisenhower state," Roberts said, referring to two legendary Republican senators and the president from Abilene, by way of stressing that Kansas is "a pragmatic, moderate state."

"We're not a state of radical experiments," he said. "Anytime conservatism takes a back seat to raw ideology, Kansans rebuke that idea."

If Republicans do as well nationwide next week as many expect, they should pay attention to the reaction unleashed here by Brownback, a former senator whom Davis regularly accuses of bringing "Washington, D.C.-style politics to Kansas," which he equates with "hyperpartisan politics."

Among those who came out to greet Davis here was David Toland, executive director of Thrive Allen County, a social service and economic development organization. He summarized why the decision here matters so much.

"If moderates are starting to push back against the extremism of the Republican Party in Kansas, I cannot believe they won't be pushing back in other states," Toland said. "This is a state with a strong conservative tradition that's in open rebellion against the policies of its own party."

Conservatism at its finest has been defined by a devotion to moderation. Next week, conservative Kansas may remind the nation that this is still true.

E.J. Dionne writes about politics in a twice-weekly column and on the PostPartisan blog. He is also a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, a government professor at Georgetown University and a frequent commentator on politics for National Public Radio, ABC's "This Week" and NBC's "Meet the Press." View Archive

[Oct 21, 2014] Would Stronger Parties Mean Less Polarization? by Thomas B. Edsall

Much of the polarization is fake and is just a shrewd method to enforce adverse selection conditions on voters.
Oct 21, 2014 | nytimes.com

Ever since they emerged in the early 1800s, political parties have been a target of public scorn. But they have always had their defenders — a smaller, less influential camp that holds that parties are more beneficial than harmful because they play an essential role in mediating political disputes.

The anti-party forces fitfully succeed in enacting laws and rules to restrain party organizations and bosses, including the adoption of referendum and recall procedures; requirements that states pick delegates to the national conventions through primaries and caucuses; bans on closed-door meetings; the prohibition of legislative earmarks; and legislation that restricts the size and source of contributions to the national political parties.

The intensity of polarized politics at every level of government now puts the dispute over political parties at the center of a debate among office holders, political scientists, legal experts and partisan activists. Is it possible that strengthening the parties could lessen polarization?

The pro-party camp contends that many reforms have unintentionally fostered polarization: diminishing the clout of parties and party leaders undermines their role as a force for moderation and compromise.

... ... ...

Thomas E. Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who is a strong supporter of McCain-Feingold, disagrees with Persily and La Raja. At the conference, and in later email exchanges, Mann made a number of key points.

First of all, Mann contends, Republicans are the driving force behind polarization. Their opposition to Democratic proposals is based less on ideological principle than on a strategic political decision to oppose President Obama on every front, even when he takes a position previously advocated by conservatives. Examples of the latter include the individual mandate under Obamacare and end-of-life counseling.

"Much of the acrimony and gridlock is not a consequence" of ideological issues or campaign finance, Mann told participants at the conference. Instead, he argues, "it's strategic – it's all about capturing a majority in the House and Senate, and the White House."

According to Mann,

The Republican Party leadership has largely embraced the ideological positions of Tea Party activists and uses its campaign resources to help elect Republicans wherever they have a good chance of winning, not to favor less extreme candidates or to try to discipline their most extreme or recalcitrant members.

Lifting campaign contribution limits to help them raise more money is unlikely to make much of a difference.

Rima Regas, is a trusted commenter Mission Viejo, CA

The root cause of the problem isn't so much the parties themselves, though they most certainly are an important part of it.

The real problem is that some very wealthy individuals and corporations discovered that, with money, a plan, and perspicacity, they can just buy themselves the Federal government by financing political parties and their candidates. Since the 80's, some of the most perspicacious individuals have patiently, doggedly, and methodically overseen changes to laws that have made it possible to spend almost any sum of money in return for influence over our every aspect of our politics and economics.

President Obama's election came just as the job was nearly done. The consequence of voting in a choice unsanctioned by the oligarchs has come in the form of unrelenting obstruction by the party they are most in control of, and the unrelenting punishment of the electorate ever since through obstructionist policies of austerity at a time when investment is most needed.

So, the political parties didn't start this. Our oligarchs did and the cure for what ails us isn't so much the strengthening the political parties as it is convincing the voters, all of them, that what's needed is their dogged, perspicacious, vigilant engagement in order to restore our democracy.

That's not to say that there aren't problems within both parties. There are, but that's a separate set of issues.

[Oct 07, 2014] Ron Paul: Republican Majority in US Senate Would Not Make Much Difference by Adam Dick

"bipartisan on the wicked things" such as supporting military interventions overseas.
October 2, 2014 | ronpaulinstitute.org

While Washington, DC politicians and pundits are prattling about whether the Democrats or Republicans will control the United States Senate after the November election, Ron Paul is throwing cold water on the whole brouhaha. Paul, speaking Wednesday on the Alan Colmes Show, explains that, "generally speaking, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference" which party controls the Senate.

Paul, the chairman and founder of the Ron Paul Institute, proceeds to comment that Senate and US House of Representatives leaders like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) are "bipartisan on the wicked things" such as supporting military interventions overseas.

Listen to the complete interview here:

[Sep 02, 2014] The End of Democracy as we Knew it by Bernd Hamm

Sep 02, 2014 | informationclearinghouse.info

This paper starts with summarizing the major theoretical elements in the definition of a global ruling class. It then examines how neoconservatives in the US took power and used regime change to install US-friendly governments in other regions. A strategy of tension is used to press the population into conformity. But the real revolution is to what extent factual politics escape any attempt to democratic control. Three case studies show how far the Deep State already goes. Democracy is on the brink of survival.

1. Theory

In an earlier paper (Hamm, B. 2010) I suggested an analytical framework for the study of power as it relates to the future of global society. This outline specifically addressed four questions:

  1. How is the global ruling class structured internally?
  2. Is it theoretically correct to use the term class for the ruling elite?
  3. What are the major instruments of power?
  4. How do these analytical insights impact on the probable future of human society?

Drawing on C. Wright Mills' seminal work on The Power Elite (1956), recent power structure research suggests an ideal-type model of four concentric circles:

  1. In the inner circle, we find the global money trust, the richest individuals, families or clans, all with fortunes well above one billion Euros.
  2. The CEOs of big transnational corporations and biggest international financial players make up the second circle. They are mostly concerned with increasing the wealth of the inner circle, and with it their own.
  3. Top international politicians, some active in governments and international institutions, some more in the background as advisors, plus the top military, compose the third circle. This political class has assignments: organize the distribution of the social product in such a way as to transfer as much as the actual power balance allows into the pockets of the inner and second circles, and secure the legitimacy of government by organizing the political circus of an allegedly pluralistic structure.
  4. The fourth ring will be composed of top academics, media moguls, lawyers, and may sometimes include prominent authors, film and music stars, artists, NGO representatives, few religious leaders, few top criminals and others useful for decorating the inner circles. They enjoy the privilege of close access to those in power, they are well paid, and they will make sure not to lose such benefits (Hamm, B. 2010:1008-9; see also Phillips, P., Osborne, B. 2013).

It appears that the degree of internationalization of the powerful correlates with their status on the ring hierarchy. The two inner circles have always been international. The third and fourth rings, however, tend to be much more nationally bound (by ownership and by elections) than the first and the second. The inner circle is not static but relatively solid. It builds on financial and social capital often accumulated by former generations (steel industry, banking, weapons, or oil barons). The major source of power is being borne to a family of the inner circle (for example, the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds, the Morgans, the DuPonts, the Vanderbilts, the Agnellis, the Thyssens, and the Krupps, to mention a few) [1].

There are also the nouveaux riches. Names like George Soros, William Gates, Warren Buffet, Marc Zuckerberg, Sheldon Adelson, or the Koch brothers come to mind (Smith, Y. 2013), and the Bush-Clan might also be mentioned here (Bowles, W. 2005);

Russian or Eastern European oligarchs like Alisher Usmanov, Mikhail Chodorkowski, Boris Beresowski, Mikhail Fridman, Rinat Ahmetov, Leonid Mikhelson, Viktor Vekselberg, Andrej Melnichenko, Roman Abramovich; then there are Carlos Slim Helu, Lakshmi Mittal, Mukesh Ambani, Jorge Paulo Lemann, Iris Fontbona or Aliko Dangote from the so-called less developed countries.

These parvenus tend to be politically more active, at least on the front stage, than the old rich families: George Soros with his Open Society Foundation and his permanent warnings of the evils of unregulated capitalism is the best known for his liberal leanings, while the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson or Robert Murdoch are aggressively right-wing (Heath, T. 2014; Snyder, M. 2013; Webster, S.C. 2013). The oligarchs of the former Soviet block have almost all grabbed their fortunes during the presidency of Boris Yeltzin who, pathological alcoholic as he was, made room for large scale privatization of state corporations and raw materials after the collapse of the socialist regime. Shock therapy was pushed through under the influence of Western advisors, especially the Harvard privatization program with Jeffrey Sachs as the leading figure, as well the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Jegor Gajdar, Anatoli Tschubais (an oligarch himself) and Alfred Koch [2] were their local executives in Russia (Vaclav Klaus in Czecholovakia, Leszek Balcerowicz in Poland, etc.).

The strategy for the creation of oligarchs and social polarization is easy to understand since it has been practiced by the IMF time and again to this very day as part of their structural adjustment policy (later cynically referred to as "poverty reduction strategy"). What it amounts to is the abolition of all price controls and public subsidies, laying-off civil servants, limiting wages, devaluing currencies, and privatizing public corporations and infrastructure (the so-called Washington Consensus). Widespread poverty is the immediate result, and the other side of the coin is extremely concentrated wealth in just a few hands. If the number of victims multiplied by the gravity of damages done to each of them is used as an indicator, the IMF is certainly the most criminal organization on earth (Chossudovsky, M. 2001).

[Sep 02, 2014] Thoughts on Neoconservatism and Neoliberalism by Hugh

08/19/2012 | Corrente

I got to thinking today about how neocon and neoliberal are becoming interchangeable terms. They did not start out that way. My understanding is they are ways of rationalizing breaks with traditional conservatism and liberalism. Standard conservatism was fairly isolationist. Conservatism's embrace of the Cold War put it at odds with this tendency. This was partially resolved by accepting the Cold War as a military necessity despite its international commitments but limiting civilian programs like foreign aid outside this context and rejecting the concept of nation building altogether.

With the end of the Cold War conservative internationalism needed a new rationale, and this was supplied by the neoconservatives. They advocated the adoption of conservatism's Cold War military centered internationalism as the model for America's post-Cold War international relations. After all, why drop a winning strategy? America had won the Cold War against a much more formidable opponent than any left on the planet. What could go wrong?

America's ability not simply to project but its willingness to use military power was equated with its power more generally. If America did not do this, it was weak and in decline. However, the frequent use of military power showed that America was great and remained the world's hegemon. In particular, the neocons focused on the Middle East. This sales pitch gained them the backing of both supporters of Israel (because neoconservatism was unabashedly pro-Israel) and the oil companies. The military industrial complex was also on board because the neocon agenda effectively countered calls to reduce military spending. But neoconservatism was not just confined to these groups. It appealed to both believers in American exceptionalism and backers of humanitarian interventions (of which I once was one).

As neoconservatism developed, that is with Iraq and Afghanistan, the neocons even came to embrace nation building which had always been anathema to traditional conservatism. Neocons sold this primarily by casting nation building in military terms, the creation and training of police and security forces in the target country.

9/11 too was critical. It vastly increased the scope of the neocon project in spawning the Global War on Terror. It increased the stage of neocon operations to the entire planet. It effectively erased the distinction between the use of military force against countries and individuals. Individuals more than countries became targets for military, not police, action. And unlike traditional wars or the Cold War itself, this one would never be over. Neoconservatism now had a permanent raison d'être.

Politically, neoconservatism has become the bipartisan foreign policy consensus. Democrats are every bit as neocon in their views as Republicans. Only a few libertarians on the right and progressives on the left reject it.

Neoliberalism, for its part, came about to address the concern of liberals, especially Democrats, that they were too anti-business and too pro-union, and that this was hurting them at the polls. It was sold to the rubiat has pragmatism.

The roots of neoliberalism are the roots of kleptocracy. Both begin under Carter. Neoliberalism also known at various times and places as the Washington Consensus (under Clinton) and the Chicago School is the political expression for public consumption of the kleptocratic economic philosophy, just as libertarian and neoclassical economics (both fresh and salt water varieties) are its academic and governmental face. The central tenets of neoliberalism are deregulation, free markets, and free trade. If neoliberalism had a prophet or a patron saint, it was Milton Friedman.

Again just as neoconservatism and kleptocracy or bipartisan so too is neoliberalism. There really is no daylight between Reaganism/supply side economics/trickledown on the Republican side and Clinton's Washington Consensus or Team Obama on the other.

And just as we saw with neoconservatism, neoliberalism expanded from its core premises and effortlessly transitioned into globalization, which can also be understood as global kleptocracy.

The distinctions between neoconservatism and neoliberalism are being increasingly lost, perhaps because most of our political classes are practitioners of both. But initially at least neoconservatism was focused on foreign policy and neoliberalism on domestic economic policy. As the War on Terror expanded, however, neoconservatism came back home with the creation and expansion of the surveillance state.

At the same time, neoliberalism went from domestic to global, and here I am not just thinking about neoliberal experiments, like Pinochet's Chile or post-Soviet Russia, but the financialization of the world economy and the adoption of kleptocracy as the world economic model.

jest on

I'm now under the opinion that you can't talk about any of the "neo-isms" without talking about the corporate state.

That's really the tie that binds the two things you are speaking of.

With neocons, it manifests itself through the military-industrial complex (Boeing, Raytheon, etc.), and with neolibs it manifests itself through finance and industrial policy.

For example, you need the US gov't to bomb Iraq (Raytheon) in order to secure oil (Halliburton), which is priced & financed in US dollars (Goldman Sachs). It's like a 3-legged stool; if you remove one of these legs, the whole thing comes down. But each leg has two components, a statist component and a corporate component.

The entity that enables all of this is the corporate state.

It also explains why economic/financial interests (neolib) are now considered national security interests (neocon). The viability of the state is now tied to the viability of the corporation.

lambert on

Corporate/statist (not sure "corporate" captures the looting/rentier aspect though). We see it everywhere, for example in the revolving door.

I think the stool has more legs and is also more dynamic; more like Ikea furniture. For example, the press is surely critical in organizing the war.

But the yin/yang of neo-lib/neo-con is nice: It's as if the neo-cons handle the kinetic aspects (guns, torture) and the neo-libs handle the mental aspects (money, mindfuckery) but both merge (like Negronponte being on the board of Americans Select) over time as margins fall and decorative aspects like democratic institutions and academic freedom get stripped away. The state and the corporation have always been tied to each other but now the ties are open and visible (for example, fines are just a cost of doing business, a rent on open corruption.)

And then there's the concept of "human resource," that abstracts all aspects of humanity away except those that are exploitable.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

jest on

I like the term much better than Fascist, as it is 1) more accurate, 2) avoids the Godwin's law issue, and 3) makes them sound totalitarianist.

Yes, I would agree that additional legs make sense. The media aspect is essential, as it neutralizes the freedom of the press, without changing the constitution. It dovetails pretty well with the notion of Inverted Totalitarianism.

I think you could also make the argument that Obama is perhaps the most ideal combination of neolib & neocon. The two sides of him flow together so seamlessly, no one seems to notice. But that's in part because he is so corporate.

Lex on

Actually, neoliberalism is an economic term. An economic liberal in the UK and EU is for open markets, capitalism, etc. You're right that neoliberalism comes heavily from the University of Chicago, but it has little to do with American political liberalism.

A reading of the classical liberal economists puts some breaks on the markets, corporations, etc. Neoliberalism goes to the illogical extremes of market theory and iirc, has some influence from the Austrian school ... which gives up on any pretense of scientific exposition of economics or rationality at the micro level, assuming that irrationality will magically become rational behavior in aggregate.

Therefore, US conservatives post Eisenhower but especially post Reagan are almost certainly economic neoliberals. Since Clinton, liberals/Democrats have been too (at least the elected ones). You nailed neoconservative and both parties are in foreign policy since at least Clinton ... though here lets not forget to go back as far as JFK and his extreme anti-Communism that led to all sorts of covert operations, The Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Remember, the Soviets put the missiles in Cuba because we put missiles in Turkey and they backed down from Cuba because we agreed to remove the missiles from Turkey; Nikita was nice enough not to talk about that so that Kennedy didn't lose face.

"Don't believe them, don't fear them, don't ask anything of them" - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Hugh on

I agree that neoconservatism and neoliberalism are two facets of corporatism/kleptocracy. I like the kinetic vs. white collar distinction.

The roots of neoliberalism go back to the 1940s and the Austrians, but in the US it really only comes into currency with Clinton as a deliberate shift of the Democratic/liberal platform away from labor and ordinary Americans to make it more accommodating to big business and big money. I had never heard of neoliberalism before Bill Clinton but it is easy to see how those tendencies were at work under Carter, but not under Johnson.

This was a rough and ready sketch. I guess I should also have mentioned PNAC or the Project to Find a New Mission for the MIC.

Hugh on

I have never understood this love of Clinton that some Democrats have just as I have never understood the attraction of Reagan for Republicans. There is no Clinton faction. There is no Obama faction. Hillary Clinton is Obama's frigging Secretary of State. Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, both of whom served as Bill Clinton's Treasury Secretary, were Obama's top financial and economic advisors. Timothy Geithner was their protégé. Leon Panetta Obama's Director of the CIA and current Secretary of Defense was Clinton's Director of OMB and then Chief of Staff.

The Democrats as a party are neoconservative and neoliberal as are Obama and the Clintons. As are Republicans.

What does corporations need regulation mean? It is rather like saying that the best way to deal with cancer is to find a cure for it. Sounds nice but there is no content to it. Worse in the real world, the rich own the corporations, the politicians, and the regulators. So even if you come up with good ideas for regulation they aren't going to happen.

What you are suggesting looks a whole lot another iteration of lesser evilism meets Einstein's definition of insanity. How is it any different from any other instance of Democratic tribalism?

Lex on

Perhaps it should be pointed out that the Clintons became fabulously wealthy just after Bill left office, mostly on the strength of his speaking engagements for the financial sector that he'd just deregulated. Both he and Hillary hew to a pretty damned neoconservative foreign policy ... with that dash of "humanitarian interventionism" that makes war palatable to liberals.

But your deeper point is that there isn't enough of a difference between Obama and Bill Clinton to really draw a distinction, not in terms of ideology. What a theoretical Hillary Clinton presidency would have looked like is irrelevant, because both Bill and Obama talked a lot different than they walked. Any projection of a Hillary Clinton administration is just that and requires arguing that it would have been different than Bill's administration and policies.

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that at that level of politics, the levers of money and power work equally well on both party's nomenklatura. They flock to it like moths to porch light.

That the money chose Obama over Clinton doesn't say all that much, because there's no evidence suggesting that the money didn't like Clinton or that it would have chosen McCain over Clinton. It's not as if Clinton's campaign was driven into the ground by lack of funds.

Regardless, that to be a Democrat i would kind of have to chose between two factions that are utterly distasteful to me just proves that i have no business being a Democrat. And since i wouldn't vote for either of those names, i guess i'll just stick to third parties and exit the political tribalism loop for good.

"Don't believe them, don't fear them, don't ask anything of them" - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

[Aug 13, 2014] America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds by Cheryl K. Chumley

April 21, 2014 | Washington Times

America is no longer a democracy — never mind the democratic republic envisioned by Founding Fathers.

Rather, it has taken a turn down elitist lane and become a country led by a small dominant class comprised of powerful members who exert total control over the general population — an oligarchy, said a new study jointly conducted by Princeton and Northwestern universities.

One finding in the study: The U.S. government now represents the rich and powerful, not the average citizen, United Press International reported.

In the study, "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups and Average Citizens," researchers compared 1,800 different U.S. policies that were put in place by politicians between 1981 and 2002 to the type of policies preferred by the average and wealthy American, or special interest groups.

Researchers then concluded that U.S. policies are formed more by special interest groups than by politicians properly representing the will of the general people, including the lower-income class.

"The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence," the study found.

The study also found: "When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose.

Larry -> Scott Richie81

Stop sending billions to Wall Street and the banks. They don't like us either

Richie81 -> optimistic4thefuture

Gangsters in suits

Shari Peterson -> Richie81

What's the difference? Corporatism is still prevalent, war culture, big brother, militarization of our nation, siding with big pharma/big biotech with ridiculous protections, aligning with oil/gas industries. And so on.

Nothing ever changes. Voting doesn't change anything; if it did they wouldn't allow it.

Sarah Goodwich -> Richie81

Neither, the empire fools them into thinking they have power, when they have none. It's called "keeping the people enslaved by making them think they're free."

Rope_Necktie -> adplatt126

The Tea Party certainly accomplished getting you to bad-mouth them, so they must be doing something right.

adplatt126 -> Rope_Necktie

I didn't badmouth the Tea Party here. And I supported some of its initiatives, particularly early on. I was even at the March on Washington. I'm just acknowledging reality, cold, hard reality. The Tea Party changed nothing. That's not bad-mouthing it. That's just a fair assessment.

I understand that there are honest people out there, all over the country, who banded together and believed in America and believed they could change something. But they can't and they didn't. The corporate owned media will crush any true dissent by whatever nefarious means at their disposal. I knew that from the outset.

What the Tea Party fails to acknowledge as of yet, because they are still wedded to misguided notions of American greatness and fail to see the ways in which business can corrupt many thing from honest governance to functioning democracy, all the way down to basic sense and ethics, is that it isn't big government that is the enemy of ordinary Americans, but the entire government and power structure in America. It's our own government that is the real enemy of America and indeed our primary threat.

That should be pretty obvious to anyone not watching cable television. And if anything good about America is to be preserved, the government must go. It's time for Tea Partiers to accept that whatever country they grew up in, well that country is gone, and it's high time to dismantle this totalitarian nightmare once and for all. I'm talking the whole empire. Anyone still harping on R and D, left and right, is behind the times.

A lot like still debating phlogiston. Reality has moved on. It's time for Americans to move on from their conceptions of "America" as well, because this nation has no governmental or for that matter civilizational connection to the America of the past.

The social Marxist value system of the elite class and now the bulk of the citizenry is much closer to that of the Soviet Union than anything America traditionally has been. These are revolutionary times pal.

gobnait -> adplatt126

How could they when they met opposition from their own party, Einstein?

adplatt126 -> gobnait

"From their own party"? You mean the banks, banksters, multi-nationals and criminal thugs that own the country and most of both parties? I thought that was my point. This is tyranny. There's no choice.

adplatt126 -> Dennis

No, many of the prescriptions are BS. But their message is not entirely wrong. This power structure is beyond criminal and this government is beyond tyrannical. It should be immediately dissolved for the good of everyone in the country. They're not wrong that Americans have no say. That's not BS. This paper virtually proves this truth.

Dennis -> adplatt126

"It should be immediately dissolved for the good of everyone in the country" And be replaced by what??? This form of Govt is still the best ,flawed, still the best ..... Fix the problem term limits ,don't allow the politicians to gain wealth while in office, no retirement.... etc

adplatt126 -> Dennis

Nope, not the best. Not even functioning. No democracy remaining really. This government is literally mandating by law social decline on a historic scale. It should be replaced by autonomous, ideally demilitarized regions. An extreme form of federalism perhaps. The key component is that power, military and monetary is completely decentralized. The best way to achieve that is to dissolve the government and permit new currencies and districts to arise organically and by market processes. Local elections need to be instituted so that government can actually be managed instead of doing literally all of the managing, which it's currently doing, and there should be both proportional representation and public referenda to veto dangerous criminal legislation. I could go on, but at the end of the day, the end of the Republic is the beginning of something better. Because it can't get any worse than this government. This government is systemically corrupt. The U.S. is better than nothing. It's a banana republic with tremendous military power and a citizenry as deluded as the perfectly controlled totalitarian nations of old. Which makes it a very scary banana republic. It should be dismantled post haste. It's already turning its weapons and its tactics on its own citizens through paramilitary campaigns and massive psychological operations, not to mention mass surveillance. Dismantle it and do it now.

Dennis -> adplatt126

Dude you might as well go to a far off wilderness and stay off the grid .... as they say Aint happenin...the direction this country is going will change...But all this info of big corporations in control ,which I dont believe, is no different than the 1800-early 1900's when the Hurst. getty's and the tycoon's of that age had influence

adplatt126 -> Dennis

Nonsense. Did Hearst set up a surveillance state rivalling perhaps only the Nazi state apparatus? Did Rockefeller contrive a massive system of thought and speech control like Political Correctness for ensuring everyone accept at all times and completely Lysenkoist propaganda? Did Carnegie let the whole third world flood into the nation and then prevent states from defending themselves from a foreign invasion? Did a mere 17 percent of the American population of the early 20th century believe the Federal Government ruled with the consent of the people?

Over 1100 fat cats went to prison for their role in the crash of '29. In this most recent crash, only one man, one (who turned himself in and confessed ironically) was sentenced. One. The country will not change.

It will only get worse until the power structure that is perpetuating this totalitarian system and insulating itself from its own crimes, is dismantled. Even if it's held up by wealth and historic advantages for a bit, its utter criminality is no less criminal. Nor should anyone for any moment claim that those who speak out against it are merely speaking to themselves or doing so futilely. Besides, it's only futile on television. And the primary purpose of those on television is to deceive the people into thinking an illegitimate government is legitimate, and that any noble resistance to it is madness, silly, insane, hopeless etc.

The pundits serve first the state and its tyrannical designs. In private circles on the other hand, everyone with a head knows something is terribly amiss. They're gradually figuring out how amiss but they don't know what to do about it. I'm providing a rational solution. Secede, resist, dissolve. Do not bow. Do not comply.

Dennis -> adplatt126

you confuse the 2 subjects I said......"But all this info of big corporations in control ,which I don't believe, is no different than the 1800-early 1900's when the Hurst. Getty's and the tycoon's of that age that had influence"...... pertaining to the story. No I dont like what the feds are doing conserning to ILLEGALS and to PC correctness....but again I see the pendulum swinging the other way...... AND from what i read there was no one that went to prison for the 29 crash......"Did anyone go to jail for precipitating the 1929 collapse?

No. The rampant speculation and eventual crash of 1929 weren't caused by fraud or illegality, but by unreasonable optimism and loose financial regulation. Federal prosecutors eventually brought charges against a couple of the era's most important and aggressive bankers, but the lack of pre-existing rules undermined the government's efforts". so it seems that the last crash was from illegal means BUT it was started by the demorats demanding that banks loan to people with bad credit

Richie81 -> Dennis

If you don't believe it than get your head out the sand and pop your lil bubble as well. 6 companies own every single thing you read in a news paper, see on the news and on the web. There is a reason for that. Don't be naive.

Dennis -> Richie81

Again it is no different that before and no one person/group controlled the USA ....... The news agencies have been filled with one type of mindset ,they have refused to hold "their" guy to the standards that was once there ....... No one is digging into the mess that is there like they did with Watergate,,,, Which at that time was really not that big of a story..... until it exploded

Richie81 -> Dennis

Watergate is nothing compared to the things Bush and Obama have done. Read this if you still dont think so.http://www.newscientist.com/ar...

Dennis -> Richie81

Ooh please Bush never harassed the Libs with the IRS he NEVER sold guns to the Cartels ......I'll give you the part of the NDAA.....

Richie81 -> Dennis

Which had nothing to do with terrorist or 9/11 and that war killed 1 million innocent woman and children. The economy also did crash on his watch. One is not better than the other. At the top they are all the same and have the same policies. Thats why Obama has nearly doubled down on all Bush's FAILED policies.

Dennis -> Richie81

I knew that if you talked long enough I would see where you were coming from..... Iraq had wmd's even clinton said so.... the democrats also voted to go into Iraq after hearing the same thing..... 1 million that's BS with a capital ..... you are starting to sound like the Liberal BS talking points.... why don't go further and say that 9-11 was done by Bush ..you know you want to

Richie81 -> Dennis

So because Clintom said so its true? There were no WMD's found in Iraq and that id a fact? If there were please tell me whem and where they were found??? Yes the democrats did too, that should show you right there that at the top Dems and Reps are for the same major policies when it comes to banking, wars and spying.

1 milliom is another fact. It had to do with the sanctions as well. Before you argue you should really do some research. There is a video of a reporter asking Madeline Albright if the killing of these woman and children were worth it and she says yes.

I will tell you this about 9-11, I dont know what happened but I definitely dont believe the official story. Your telling me a guy (OBL) who drove around in trucks with AK47s strapped to the top of them and lives in a bunker in a mountain was able to bypass the greatest military to ever exist and bypasd the most guarded airspace on earth? Now that's a conspiracy if I ever heard one. Don't forget the guys with box cutters too.

Dennis -> Richie81

because "they" didn't find them..... so it means Saddam never had them ...... Great logic..."Saddam realized, this time, the Americans are coming," Sada said. "They handed over the weapons of mass destruction to the Syrians.".....you go one believing what you want.... I dont believe in conspiracies....I know OBL did try what 2-3 times to damage the WTC ...he finally found the way to do it ....remember that hijacking and ramming planes into buildings had NEVER been done like that before...... The enemy are the extreme Muslims ...But I have said that ANY muslim will become extreme.....they just need to become a radical believer

Richie81 -> Dennis

He did invade Iraq after 9/11 off of false pretenses.

Richie81 -> Dennis

Flawed??? Are you kidding? It's a disgrace to what this country was founded on. There is a reason the founding fathers had so many quotes about times like these. There is also a reason why they are not taught in schools. They'd rather you pledge allegiance blindly.

Dennis -> Richie81

So what would you replace instead of this Constitution and this form of Government??

Richie81 -> Dennis

I wouldnt replace the constitution. I would re-enforce it line by line. The reason we are in this mess is because we are getting away from what our founding princioles were. To big to fail is fascism not capitalism. Corporations arent people and should not be able to bribe politicians. We should have more choices than just two (Dem&Rep). We need term limits on ALL politicians.

lihartke -> adplatt126

Like ANY NEW political party you will NEVER win every race. Trying to beat out powerful incumbents with the full force of the establishment against you is not an easy task. If you think there are MIRACLE candidates out there you are mistaken. One by one there will be a wedge put in this gov't until they are forced to do the will of the people. Democrats shoved healthcare down our throats when we clearly said no. A leader who is supposed to be representing the people but votes against them should be HUNG. GOD BLESS THE TEA PARTY. You go ahead and be enamored by your party and I will sit and laugh at you as you are told to sit down and shut up while they steal us blind and tell us to eat cake. Enjoy the Empire we have built for them -FOOL.

contrarian35 -> adplatt126

Well, in fairness, the Tea Party had no prayer of meaningful legislation because they held a minority. But they sure did block a lot. I actually believe that the conservatively minded are our last bastion of hope, and hope that they clean sweep the Senate with this election. But believe fundamentally that Soros has a firm rig on the elections, so I am not holding my breath.

And even if they do sweep in, there will still be GOP establishment fighting for big business, so either way, you're looking at a fight. It is not all lost, though, until they have our guns too. And that is not going to be a fight won easily. Of this, I am absolutely sure.

Sarah Goodwich -> Jimtaryon

It makes no difference which despot holds power, it's still despotism.

The USA has been an oligarchy ever since Lincoln, since that's when the People lost their consent to government; and now government holds all the power, since their elected officials aren't bound to obey them; and the People can't do a thing about it other than elect someone ELSE who's not bound to obey them.

But no one will dare fault Lincoln, so we're screwed.

AceTrace -> Sonshine

And look no further than our diabolical Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for that. He's corrupt down to his bone marrow, amassing wealth & power for himself, his family and his cronies. The rest of us be damned.

Richie81 -> AceTrace

All of them are corrupt at the top. From Bush to Obama, they are all the same. It don't matter though, because most American are to naive and will just continue to fight each other over political parties while be screwed and laughed at by both.

Edward98 -> AceTrace

Both parties are in this together.

Richie81 -> Edward98

Yes they both are and its sad to see the left and right bickering at each other instead of their own parties who are actually responsible for all this.

AceTrace -> AceTrace

From the article: "One concluding finding in the study: The U.S. government now represents the rich and powerful, not the average citizen, United Press International reported."

RightWingFoamControl -> Sonshine

Money is being used to undermine all American citizens political power. Congress has gathered so much power that it no longer cares about what the American people want.

Larry Scott -> Sonshine

CONGRESS? your mean that bunch of sycophants on sale to the highest bidder? Neither the right or left can trust them. Maybe if Putin invaded Long Island they could get together long enough to vote something for the USA as they did for Ukrainians. Billions of dollars for them while we taxpayers can't get them to do anything but call each other names.

[Jan 22, 2014] Apocalypse Again The Boom-and-Bust Cycle of Bipartisan Politics

The great irony is that the man who ran on the campaign slogan of Change failed to deliver it in any meaningful way
Truthdig

The Democratic Party has the bad habit of coming on to voters like the neighborhood mafia extortion team. The Democrats have the incurably bad breath of reliably broken promises. They collar and corner us with mobster charm, they pick our pockets while pretending to pick our brains.

Then as the big election day draws near, they lean heavily upon us and whisper an almost romantic confession: "Sure, we spit in your faces and ask you to pretend it's rain. But the other guy is a real brute and would also break your arms."

[Jan 12, 2014] Congress is a Millionaires' Club. Why that Matters...

Economist's View
William of Ockham:

John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

George Washington:
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force.
Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

Thomas Jefferson
"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories."

Thomas Paine
"Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one."

Andrew Jackson
"It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their own selfish purposes."

Thomas Jefferson
"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

William of Ockham -> William of Ockham...
When private sector money is allowed to influence government at any level you have a tremendous potential for corruption.

Patriots who loves their country must to rise to end this dispicable realtionship between the private sector and government. If the Government refuses to end this dispicable practice then the goverment must be defeated and a new one appointed of the people, by the people and for the people.

Amen

plus.google.com/102534266379291948922:

Back in the 70's, my father (twice) attempted to run for Congress. We were living in Scranton, Pa....

NEITHER party apparatus (R or D) would even entertain him running against the well-entrenched Joseph McDade. After all, my dad was just a modestly successful business man and had few political connections.

He ran as an independent (I), garnering less than 2% of the vote after spending nearly $50k of his own money (no small amount for our family, I assure you). Not only that, business suffered for a few years afterward. Lesson learned.

Many have said this: "We sure do E-lect our leaders but we don't get to SE-lect our leaders."

Larry Signor:

What is unexpected about Nicholas Carnes study? Political power breeds wealth, wealth enhances political power. The cumulative effect is a lack of political and economic representation for a plurality of Americans. This dovetails into most of our economic stories today: SNAP, UI, the attack on SS, the minimum wage, immigration, EITC and block grants, etc.

Next Poliarchy Bulletin, 2013

Recommended Links

Softpanorama Top Visited

Softpanorama Recommended

Oligarchy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Iron law of oligarchy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Recommended Books

The Myth of the Rational Voter Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies (New Edition) (9780691138732) Bryan Caplan Books

polyarchy participation and opposition - Robert Alan Dahl - Google Books

Promoting polyarchy Globalization, US Intervention, and Hegemony (Cambridge Studies in International Relations) by William I. Robinson Also at Google Books.

by

polyarchy Participation and Opposition Robert A. Dahl Amazon.com Books




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