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Two Party System as Polyarchy

News Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Recommended Books Recommended Links US Presidential Elections of 2016 Jeb "Wolfowitz Stooge" Bush Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Bernie Sanders
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite The Deep State Myth about intelligent voter  American Exceptionalism Nation under attack meme  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Pluralism as a myth
Principal-agent problem Corporatist Corruption Predator state Media-Military-Industrial Complex Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Corporatism National Security State  
Libertarian Philosophy Ethno-lingustic Nationalism   Neoliberalism 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 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 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.

"Myth about intelligent/rational voter"

"Myth about intelligent/rational voter" is pretty widespread despite many books that convincingly prove that this is a myth and that people are able consistently vote against their own interests including this virtual economic interests (in other words are easily brainwashed). There are some interesting facts on the ground that disprove this myth (Washington Post, ):

Two books on the subject that deserve attention are

There is one book with neoclassical perspective on the subject (and as such completely off the mark) but at least Amazon reviews (especially negative one start reviews ;-) are well worth reading:

The Myth of the Rational Voter Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies by Bryan Caplan

Gaetan Lion:
The Myth Caplan is rational, July 20, 2010

Caplan's thesis seems sensible. The voters are irrational as they have systematic biases including anti-market bias, anti-foreigner bias, anti-trade (or pro-protectionism) bias, and pro make-work bias. In turn, the voters elect politicians that reflect their biases. And, politicians execute detrimental social policies that reflect the biases of the voters. However, Caplan thesis is wrong on numerous counts.

First, the voters are not irrational. They are ignorant of counter-intuitive economic concepts. Those are two different things. One entails voters are crazy; they are not. The other entails they don't know macroeconomics; and they truly don't.

Second, politicians govern to get reelected. And, their main master is the economy as measured by GDP growth, inflation, and unemployment. Whether they are responsible or not for such indicators, politicians will suffer the blame or get credit for them. The pressure of delivering a strong economic performance easily overcomes any of the biases Caplan mentions.

Third, on economic policy it is often technocrats, not elected by voters, who run the show. Politicians are mainly lawyers not economists. On complex macroeconomic policies technocrats control the agenda. The main two ones are the Secretary of the Treasury and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. These two pretty much dictate fiscal and monetary policies respectively. They also work jointly in times of crisis. A good example is the recent financial crisis. The various bail outs, fiscal stimulus, TARP plan, etc... were not initiated by George Bush or Obama. They were orchestrated by Henry Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury under Bush, and his successor Timothy Geithner, and Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Fed. The public's strong anti-bank populist sentiment had no influence whatsoever on the implementation of those bail outs. Thus, recent history represents a devastating blow to Caplan's theory.

Fourth, international trade is another area that trumps Caplan's theories. His favorite theoretical examples address voters bias for protectionism and import tariffs. But, matters of international trade are now almost entirely subordinated to supranational entities such as the WTO. Additionally, you can't find a nation more in favor of free trade than the U.S. The latter has signed bilateral free trade agreements with North America (NAFTA) and many other countries. This is another embarrassing rebuttal to Caplan's theories that voters' biases result into poor economic policies. They don't. Political leaders and technocrats ignore voters' sentiments whenever they have to.

Fifth, Caplan's faith in the markets appears delusional. In his view, because democracy results in poor policies reflecting irrational voters' biases, you need an alternative. And, his alternative is the market. Quoting Caplan: "If people are rational as consumers but irrational as voters, it is a good idea to rely more on markets and less on politics." The timing of his libertarian manifesto could not have been worse. It gets published in 2007 just as we experience two spectacular market failures. The first one had been brewing up for decades: the health care crisis. That's where we found out that an unrestrained for profit health care system does not work. The second market failure was the aftermath of financial deregulation that had taken place over a decade and resulted in the current financial crisis. We should also add the recent market failure of unregulated deep sea oil drilling (the BP incident). So, for Caplan to state we should replace government by markets whenever we can is irrational.

Sixth, another weakness of Caplan's theory is that he uses data that is often over 20 years out of date. Such is the case, when he states that the elderly are less supportive of Social Security than the remainder of the public. He also states that women are less pro-choice than men. Had Caplan used current findings, it is likely that the opposite would be true.

Additionally, Caplan trips himself over basic economic concepts. Just as he goes on that economists are so smart and the rest of us are not; he demonstrates he is himself not so clear on economic concepts. Thus, when he attempts to teach us the basics of labor specialization he immediately contradicts himself. Quoting him on page 17: "If Crusoe's belief is correct, he wisely specializes in agriculture and has Friday do other kinds of work. But, if Crusoe's belief is blind to prejudice, keeping Friday out of agriculture reduces total production and makes both men poorer." As you noticed, whether Crusoe is correct or prejudice, the result is exactly the same.

David Moore wrote a far superior book pretty much on the same subject: The Opinion Makers: An Insider Exposes the Truth Behind the Polls. Moore's main point is that the public is often unqualified to answer polling questions. Meanwhile, such polls are mistaken for the voice of the Nation. But, again ignorance and craziness are not the same thing. Moore understands that. Caplan does not.

Loyd E. Eskildson "Pragmatist" (Phoenix, AZ.) 
  

1.0 out of 5 stars Boring and Adds Nothing to Today's Issues, October 1, 2007

"The greatest obstacle to social economic policy is not entrenched special interests but the popular misconceptions, irrational beliefs and personal biases of ordinary voters." I thought that was a good introduction and eagerly dived in. Then it all fell apart, beginning with page 1 and Caplan's assumption that free trade is unequivocally good for America.

Clearly free trade was good for America just after WWII when we were the only industrial entity of any consequence standing. Want cars, steel, electronics, refrigerators, TVs - whatever, we had it and they probably didn't. So Americans made out like bandits.

Today, its the Chinese, Indians, Koreans, Japanese, etc. who are raking in the benefits. While Americans lose jobs, pensions, health care coverage, and move to lower-paying jobs, economists remain isolated in their 18th century theories of free-trade developed in an era of only minor differences in standards of living, wage levels, and major limitations in communication speed and transportation.

On a macro level, Americans are also losing manufacturing capacity and skills. Shocked to see a senior Mattel executive publicly apologizing to the Chinese over issues leading to the recall of Chinese manufactured toys? Undoubtedly the Chinese have more than a little power over Mattel (and other toy makers), given that at least 75% of toys are now "Made in China" and we would have difficulty quickly substituting our own capabilities for theirs. In WWII the U.S. turned the tide of battle with its ability to mass-produce quality armaments. Today we have difficulty producing IED resistant vehicles and the most effective body armor.

The dollar's purchasing power is already another victim of today's free trade, with potentially far worse declines possible. Suppose we now suddenly decided to "bite the bullet," stop buying most low-cost items from China and reinvigorate our own manufacturing? Would China threaten retaliation by dumping the trillions of dollar IOUs they hold, wrecking our currency? Could we afford that risk?

Perhaps economists (including Caplan) will join the 21st century when Asian economists begin taking their jobs via Internet instruction in American colleges and universities. It is time to update their popular misconceptions, irrational beliefs, and personal biases.

Nicole

Don't confuse us with the facts!" June 8, 2007

Many people have noted that democracy seems not to work - policies are implemented that often are not in the best interest of voters, and when voters are surveyed they routinely lack even the most basic civic knowledge. The way people have typically answered this problem is to say that voters are uninformed, and that if they simply had more access to good information, they would use that information to make better choices. But even so, the tiny informed minority will sway elections because the uninformed majority will vote at random.

Here, Caplan directly challenges that view by asserting that voters are not simply ignorant but irrational, and that this is in fact predicted by economic theory. Voting is not like shopping - it is more like making use of a commons, because the costs of a "bad" vote are borne by the public at large, and the chance of an individual casting the deciding vote is tiny. Therefore, people will vote for what makes them feel good without bothering to find out whether it really is good - it simply doesn't matter.

... ... ...

The key idea here is that de facto educated people are not needed as voters so "diffusing" the vote to encompass a mass of uneducated people you get the situation similar when only top 1% has the right to elect. Intelligent voters are dangerous because they are heavier than control and manipulate (and if that means dismantling public education system so be it -- interest of oligarchy are more important).

What is important for elite is an illusion of choice not the choice itself. That simulates the sense of belonging for "shmaks" (aka red necks). Media, in this case is just a part of feedback control loop to manipulate the "dark masses" (aka shmaks), and the more ignorant people, the easier it is through such a control loop enables manipulation. Of course, neither of which involved such a dark reality of the population to the real issues of governance and the economy, it is not even going. After all we can't make happy all the people. So de facto, access to education is a powerful mean to make existing stratification of the society permanent. Of course, this policy creates  fundamental and unavoidable conflict with the requests for social justice. And as a result can lead to periodic shocks when masses slip out of control due to some gross injustice like financial crisis of 2008.

Actually this is what Russian elite (or at least part of Russian elite) openly proposes. Look at the transcript o Gref (the chairman of Sberbank). Recommended reading in order to better understand the real views of the ruling elite in the development and management and not to fall into some vain illusions. The second point here is that all those US cries about threats to democracy in Russia are the same cries that wolves do when they are deprived from guarding chickens. The was never democracy in Russia since 1991 and never will be as there is no democracy is the USA and never will be any.  The only differences is the methods of rotation of elite (and is this sense Russia is much more democratic then the USA).

 Yeltsin criminal regime was a dictatorship of comprador oligarchy centered around gangster syndicate of "Komsomol banksters" (Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky, Gusinsky and Co.). Shock therapy, methods of privatization used (under the direction of Harvard academic skunks) and shelling parlament proves that 100%. It was just economic rape of the country from which it did not fully recover. Actually under Yeltsin GDP dropped to level lower then during invasion of Hitler armies in WW2.

Putin partially dismounted this in favor of energy and military-industrial complex oligarchy. In a way his regime somewhat similar to George W Bush regime but with different personality and less hate toward middle class and common folks. As well as without subservience to neo-conservatives. But it looks like the same energy and military-industrial oligarchy bonsais rules the country. Medvedev tried to sit between two chairs. I think that's why Kudrin opposed growing milirary expenditures.

And this hysterical circus about votes falsifications is actually a perfect method to push voters to vote again their own economic and political interests. Consensus is very fragile as the county has huge unsolved problems. And hostility of the USA toward Russia which was quite determined to kill wondered foe should not be underestimated.

We have an example in a struggle between corrupt and criminal comprador oligarchy leaded by Yutchshenko-Timoshenko allies and industrial part of the oligarchy led by Yanokovich. In this case voters were quite successfully brainwashed. With the help of western money and consultants Yanukovich criminal past became a huge factor.

In other words common folds are always duped. For example millions of Americans who were taken for a ride by Bush II presidential campaign scripted from the pages of Niccolo Machiavelli’s "The Prince." The father of Realpolitik famously observed that “politics have no relations to morals,” and this aphorism serves as the motto for George Bush and company.  Richard Nixon once remarked, “You can’t fool all of the people, all of the time, but if you fool them once, it lasts for four years.”

 

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[Jun 28, 2015] US Department of Imperial Expansion

Deeper down the rabbit hole of US-backed color revolutions.
by Tony Cartalucci

Believe it or not, the US State Department's mission statement actually says the following:

"Advance freedom for the benefit of the American people and the international community by helping to build and sustain a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world composed of well-governed states that respond to the needs of their people, reduce widespread poverty, and act responsibly within the international system."

A far and treasonous cry from the original purpose of the State Department - which was to maintain communications and formal relations with foreign countries - and a radical departure from historical norms that have defined foreign ministries throughout the world, it could just as well now be called the "Department of Imperial Expansion." Because indeed, that is its primary purpose now, the expansion of Anglo-American corporate hegemony worldwide under the guise of "democracy" and "human rights."

That a US government department should state its goal as to build a world of "well-governed states" within the "international system" betrays not only America's sovereignty but the sovereignty of all nations entangled by this offensive mission statement and its execution.

Image: While the US State Department's mission statement sounds benign or even progressive, when the term "international system" or "world order" is used, it is referring to a concept commonly referred to by the actual policy makers that hand politicians their talking points, that involves modern day empire. Kagan's quote came from a 1997 policy paper describing a policy to contain China with.

....


The illegitimacy of the current US State Department fits in well with the overall Constitution-circumventing empire that the American Republic has degenerated into. The current Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, gives a daily affirmation of this illegitimacy every time she bellies up to the podium to make a statement.

Recently she issued a dangerously irresponsible "warning" to Venezuela and Bolivia regarding their stately relations with Iran. While America has the right to mediate its own associations with foreign nations, one is confounded trying to understand what gives America the right to dictate such associations to other sovereign nations. Of course, the self-declared imperial mandate the US State Department bestowed upon itself brings such "warnings" into perspective with the realization that the globalists view no nation as sovereign and all nations beholden to their unipolar "international system."

It's hard to deny the US State Department is not behind the
"color revolutions" sweeping the world when the Secretary of
State herself phones in during the youth movement confabs
her department sponsors on a yearly basis.

If only the US State Department's meddling was confined to hubris-filled statements given behind podiums attempting to fulfill outlandish mission statements, we could all rest easier. However, the US State Department actively bolsters its meddling rhetoric with very real measures. The centerpiece of this meddling is the vast and ever-expanding network being built to recruit, train, and support various "color revolutions" worldwide. While the corporate owned media attempts to portray the various revolutions consuming Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and now Northern Africa and the Middle East as indigenous, spontaneous, and organic, the reality is that these protesters represent what may be considered a "fifth-branch" of US power projection.

CANVAS: Freedom House, IRI, Soros funded Serbian color revolution
college behind the Orange, Rose, Tunisian, Burmese, and Egyptian protests
and has trained protesters from 50 other countries.


As with the army and CIA that fulfilled this role before, the US State Department's "fifth-branch" runs a recruiting and coordinating center known as the Alliance of Youth Movements (AYM). Hardly a secretive operation, its website, Movements.org proudly lists the details of its annual summits which began in 2008 and featured astro-turf cannon fodder from Venezuela to Iran, and even the April 6 Youth Movement from Egypt. The summits, activities, and coordination AYM provides is but a nexus. Other training arms include the US created and funded CANVAS of Serbia, which in turn trained color-coup leaders from the Ukraine and Georgia, to Tunisia and Egypt, including the previously mentioned April 6 Movement. There is also the Albert Einstein Institute which produced the very curriculum and techniques employed by CANVAS.

2008 New York City Summit (included Egypt's April 6 Youth Movement)
2009 Mexico City Summit
2010 London Summit

As previously noted, these organizations are now retroactively trying to obfuscate their connections to the State Department and the Fortune 500 corporations that use them to achieve their goals of expansion overseas. CANVAS has renamed and moved their list of supporters and partners while AYM has oafishly changed their "partnerships" to "past partnerships."

Before & After: Oafish attempts to downplay US State Department's extra-legal
meddling and subterfuge in foreign affairs. Other attempts are covered here.

Funding all of this is the tax payers' money funneled through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and Freedom House. George Soros' Open Society foundation also promotes various NGOs which in turn support the revolutionary rabble on the ground. In Egypt, after the State Department's youth brigades played their role, Soros and NED funded NGOs began work on drafting Egypt's new constitution.

It should be noted that while George Soros is portrayed as being "left," and the overall function of these pro-democracy, pro-human rights organizations appears to be "left-leaning," a vast number of notorious "Neo-Cons" also constitute the commanding ranks and determine the overall agenda of this color revolution army.

Then there are legislative acts of Congress that overtly fund the subversive objectives of the US State Department. In support of regime change in Iran, the Iran Freedom and Support Act was passed in 2006. More recently in 2011, to see the US-staged color revolution in Egypt through to the end, money was appropriated to "support" favored Egyptian opposition groups ahead of national elections.

Then of course there is the State Department's propaganda machines. While organizations like NED and Freedom House produce volumes of talking points in support for their various on-going operations, the specific outlets currently used by the State Department fall under the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). They include Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Alhurra, and Radio Sawa. Interestingly enough, the current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sits on the board of governors herself, along side a shameful collection of representatives from the Fortune 500, the corporate owned media, and various agencies within the US government.

Hillary Clinton: color revolutionary field marshal & propagandist,
two current roles that defy her duties as Secretary of State in any
rational sense or interpretation.


Judging from Radio Free Europe's latest headlines, such as "Lieberman: The West's Policy Toward Belarus Has 'Failed Miserably' " and "Azerbaijani Youth Activist 'Jailed For One Month,'" it appears that hope is still pinned on inciting color revolutions in Belarus and Azerbaijan to continue on with NATO's creep and the encirclement of Russia. Belarus in particular was recently one of the subjects covered at the Globsec 2011 conference, where it was considered a threat to both the EU and NATO, having turned down NATO in favor of closer ties with Moscow.

Getting back to Hillary Clinton's illegitimate threat regarding Venezuela's associations with Iran, no one should be surprised to find out an extensive effort to foment a color revolution to oust Hugo Chavez has been long underway by AYM, Freedom House, NED, and the rest of this "fifth-branch" of globalist power projection. In fact, Hugo Chavez had already weathered an attempted military coup overtly orchestrated by the United States under Bush in 2002.

Upon digging into the characters behind Chavez' ousting in 2002, it
appears that this documentary sorely understates US involvement.

The same forces of corporatism, privatization, and free-trade that led the 2002 coup against Chavez are trying to gain ground once again. Under the leadership of Harvard trained globalist minion Leopoldo Lopez, witless youth are taking the place of 2002's generals and tank columns in an attempt to match globalist minion Mohamed ElBaradei's success in Egypt.

Unsurprisingly, the US State Department's AYM is pro-Venezuelan opposition, and describes in great detail their campaign to "educate" the youth and get them politically active. Dismayed by Chavez' moves to consolidate his power and strangely repulsed by his "rule by decree," -something that Washington itself has set the standard for- AYM laments over the difficulties their meddling "civil society" faces.

Chavez' government recognized the US State Department's meddling recently in regards to a student hunger strike and the US's insistence that the Inter-American Human Rights Commission be allowed to "inspect" alleged violations under the Chavez government. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro even went as far as saying, "It looks like they (U.S.) want to start a virtual Egypt."

The "Fifth-Branch" Invasion: Click for larger image.


Understanding this "fifth-branch" invasion of astro-turf cannon fodder and the role it is playing in overturning foreign governments and despoiling nation sovereignty on a global scale is an essential step in ceasing the Anglo-American imperial machine. And of course, as always, boycotting and replacing the corporations behind the creation and expansion of these color-revolutions hinders not only the spread of their empire overseas, but releases the stranglehold of dominion they possess at home in the United States. Perhaps then the US State Department can once again go back to representing the American Republic and its people to the rest of the world as a responsible nation that respects real human rights and sovereignty both at home and abroad.

Editor's Note: This article has been edited and updated October 26, 2012.

[Jun 27, 2015] Warmongering vs Economic Progress

Jun 25, 2015 | Biblicism Institute
C H U R C H   R E F O R M    S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

"And you, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Then cause her to know all her abominations." Ezekiel 22:2

All Empires throughout history have their foundation in war and blood.

The American Empire is no different.

With more than 1,000 military bases and installations spanning the globe and a foreign policy that causes almost every nation on earth to cower to its will, the United States of America is the most powerful Empire the world has ever known. But instead of being an Empire of benevolence and peace, the US has been at perpetual war and expansion since its creation.

Unfortunately for the imperial citizenry, warmongering and economic progress are anathema to each other. If economic progress leads to empire-building, sooner or later empire-building leads to economic catastrophe and bankruptcy; said woes are usually the upshot of foreign entanglements and unholy alliances that lead to unsustainable expansions and wars.

However, in the absence of such imperialistic formula, the opposite usually takes place.

When WW2 caused the irrevocable dissolution of the Japanese and German Empires, the then emerging American hegemon quickly shackled these defeated countries with the trammel that paralyzed (and eliminated) their military machines which had facilitated their expansions. The happy result was that Japan became the economic power of Asia and Germany that of Europe.

Today these two countries have more robust economies than that of the US. Both are major centers of technological achievements, years ahead of their American jailer.

Even China managed to surpass the US by becoming the No 1 economy in the world. That's because China is not (yet) building an Empire. Its focus is on profit, not war.

As the 21st century dawned, America thought it wise and necessary to embark upon war after war by aiming to destroy the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

The deluded Promised Land of the Israelis

The delusional Promised Land of the Israelis

"… we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran," revealed Gen. Wesley Clark in 2007 referring to America's war plans drawn before the invasion of Iraq.

But why wage war on all these Arab and Muslim countries that wished and caused no harm to the US Empire? To benefit Israel and its plan of conquest (i.e., the delusional Greater Israel or Promised Land). See Israel is the Problem

In order to eliminate all opposition to Israel's Machiavellian design to steal more Arab lands, the more powerful and influential Arab and Muslim countries of the region (not firmly in the US orbit) had to be weakened to the point of exhaustion through war and the so-called Arab Spring's color revolutions (orchestrated by the Jewish neocons in Washington, DC).

Given that the Israelis could not start such an ambitious project by themselves, let alone bring it to fruition in its entirety, the only solution was to wag the American dog to implement most of it. After all, the dog couldn't possibly decline since AIPAC has it by the groin. So far, all these conflicts have drained trillions upon trillions of dollars from the US Treasury, hatched an economic depression, and resulted in over 5 Million refugees and 2 Million dead including Christians. See The War on Christianity

As if that were not enough, the American Eagle swooped down into the Russian Bear's cave and ensnared it into a whole new conflict. Now why did the Eagle that's less than a mouthful to a Bear risk such a move?

When the Imperial tsunami was about to hit Syria's shores, Syria called on its Russian patron for help. Russia of course intervened and halted the American war on Syria which was planned by AIPAC for the benefit of Israel. The end result is the current tug-of-war in Ukraine as payback (and more). See The Truth about the Conflict with Russia. This contrived dispute with Russia, if it were to get out of hand, could start WW3.

So while the American Empire is warmongering overseas, thereby wasting valuable resources that could have been directed toward its depressed and flailing economy, China has been steadily encroaching on and even surpassing America as the world economic hegemon while siphoning every industry that used to call America home.

For such a catastrophe, Americans only have Israel and its whorish minions in Congress to thank.

"Woe to the bloody city!" Ezekiel 24:9

[Jun 27, 2015]Trump for President

"...In the current issue of Trends Journal, Gerald Celente describes the eight candidates (at the time he went to press) for the US presidential nomination as "Liars, cowards, freaks & fools.""
.
"...In actual fact, Trump might be our best candidate to date. By all accounts, he is very rich. Thus, he doesn't need the office in order to become rich by selling out America to interest groups."
.
"...Trump's ego might even be strong enough for him to stand up to the Israel Lobby, something my former colleague, Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said publicly that no American President was capable of doing."
.
"...Money, lots of it, has one great virtue. Money in sufficient amounts conveys INDEPENDENCE. Trump, if press reports are correct, has money. This means, if correct, that Trump, unlike every other candidate, has independence from the ruling handful of private interest groups. "
.
"...If Trump is our best choice, imagine how deplorable our situation is."
June 20, 2015 | PaulCraigRoberts.org

Perhaps it has occurred to you as it has to me that the United States is no longer capable of producing political leadership. In the current issue of Trends Journal, Gerald Celente describes the eight candidates (at the time he went to press) for the US presidential nomination as "Liars, cowards, freaks & fools."

Celente put it well. If you look at the sorry collection that aspires to be the CEO of what continues to be described as the "exceptional, indispensable, most important country with the largest economy and military, the world's only Superpower, the Uni-power," you see a collection of nobodies. America is like the last days of Rome when contenting factions fought to put their puppet on the throne.

There is no known politician in America who measures up to Vladimir Putin's ankle, or to the knee of China's leaders, or to the waist of Ecuador's, Bolivia's, Venezuela's, Argentina's, Brazil's, or to the chests of India's and South Africa's.

In Europe, the UK, Australia, and Canada, the natural leaders are also frozen out of the corrupt system.

In the US, "leadership" positions depend on financial support from the ruling economic interests. American presidents and politicians represent about six powerful private interest groups and no one else.

After Celente went to press, Donald Trump announced to much mirth. A "con man" they say, but what else is the President of the United States? Do you think you weren't conned by Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama? What universe do you live in?

In actual fact, Trump might be our best candidate to date. By all accounts, he is very rich. Thus, he doesn't need the office in order to become rich by selling out America to interest groups.

By all accounts, Trump has a healthy ego. Thus, he could be capable of standing up to the powerful interest groups that generally determine the governance of the American serfs.

Trump's ego might even be strong enough for him to stand up to the Israel Lobby, something my former colleague, Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said publicly that no American President was capable of doing.

As Celente makes clear in the current Trends Journal, all politicians are con men or con women. We are going to have them regardless, so why not try a rich one who might decide to break with tradition and serve the interests of the citizenry. This would be a unique accomplishment, affording Trump the elevation in history books that would satisfy his ego. When a person reaches Trump's state, does he need another couple of billion dollars or is historical recognition as the savior, however temporary, more valuable?

This is not my endorsement of Trump for President. It is merely my speculations on how we might think of how large egos might be brought into our service. When we put the Clintons in office, they decided to make money so that they could outdo Hollywood and show their arrival with the $3 million they spent on their daughter's wedding.

For Trump, $3 million is pocket change.

The rich are everywhere demonized, but no action follows. So, let's consider voting for Trump. Some of the better Roman emperors were rich. Their riches allowed them to maintain the stability of the state and to think about its long-run survival. They could outbid the private interests that wished to overthrow them for their own purposes of immediate and highly selective gain.

It would take a lot of money to outbid Trump, although if he neglects the Secret Service and the CIA, he could go the way of John F. and Bobby Kennedy. He would have to make certain he was well protected if he cuts the budget of the military/security complex.

Money, lots of it, has one great virtue. Money in sufficient amounts conveys INDEPENDENCE. Trump, if press reports are correct, has money. This means, if correct, that Trump, unlike every other candidate, has independence from the ruling handful of private interest groups.

If Trump can assemble independent thinkers as his advisers, thus keeping himself out of the hands of the usual interest groups, should he be able to get elected, his administration could succeed in taking America in a more promising direction.

An important question is: can a really rich person find and be comfortable with peers who are not themselves really rich? If not, then Trump is not our man. But if Trump wants to save our country, he has the money and the ego, and he can find enough people to help him.

This opportunity doesn't mean that it will be seized or that it would pan out. If Trump is our best choice, imagine how deplorable our situation is.

[Jun 25, 2015] Bernie Sanders Gains on Hillary Clinton in Bloomberg Early-State Polling

In the USA polls are powerful method of influencing the voters. Independent political polling is a myth. In reality in all countries, but especially in the USA polls are used as an important opinion making instrument, not so much as opinion measurement tools. Among methods used are tricks with the selection of respondents, force-feeding of respondents with opinions masked as questions, slanting the wording of questions to get the necessary response, and so on and so forth. 
"...In Iowa, Clinton leads Sanders 50 percent to 24 percent, and in New Hampshire, 56 percent to 24 percent. That's a six- to eight-point increase in his support since those states were polled by Bloomberg Politics and partners in May."
.
"...In both states, he gets higher marks than Clinton on authenticity and willingness to take on Wall Street and financial elites."
Jun 25, 2015 | Bloomberg Politics
Bernie Sanders is gaining on Hillary Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire, with an appeal as an issue-oriented protest vehicle potentially capable of slowing any coronation of the popular front-runner.

In simultaneous surveys, the U.S. senator from Vermont received nearly a quarter of support from likely Democratic caucus and primary voters in the states that host the first presidential nomination balloting early next year, cutting sharply into Clinton's still-huge lead.

The polls suggest substantive and symbolic support for the socialist, as well as a craving among some Democrats for a Clinton rival to rise.

"I want to try to get him along as far as I can," said Democratic poll participant John Murphy, 74, a retired railroad worker in West Des Moines, Iowa. "He's going to bring up some issues that she may not want to talk about."

The surveys were commissioned to test sources of strength for Sanders, who has seen audiences at his campaign events swell in recent weeks. The polls were conducted June 19-22 by West Des Moines-based Selzer & Co. in Iowa and Washington-area Purple Strategies in New Hampshire, the latter done in cooperation with Saint Anselm College. The margin of error on the full samples—401 in Iowa, 400 in New Hampshire—is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

... ... ...

In Iowa, Clinton leads Sanders 50 percent to 24 percent, and in New Hampshire, 56 percent to 24 percent. That's a six- to eight-point increase in his support since those states were polled by Bloomberg Politics and partners in May.

With nearly identical support in Iowa and New Hampshire, the polls suggest Sanders' rise isn't just because he enjoys New England neighbor-state status. In both states, he gets higher marks than Clinton on authenticity and willingness to take on Wall Street and financial elites.

[Jun 22, 2015] The Inmates Are Running the Asylum

"...Rubio is just about as crazy as Donald Trump – and what a delight it is to hear that he will be running again for President – leading to a question as to whether there are any sane political figures left in the United States. Rubio is a weathervane, pointing in whatever direction he believes will get him the most votes"
Fern , June 22, 2015 at 2:20 pm
The crazies are on the loose again in Washington – flushed with the success of sanctions against Russia, they now itching to take a pop at the Big One, China:-

The US government must impose economic sanctions on China at this week's inter-government meeting in retaliation for China's alleged role in the giant data hack of federal employees, Senator Marco Rubio said in a letter to President Barack Obama on Monday……..

Rubio demanded that Obama impose real world consequences on China for its actions around the world and demanded Beijing take steps to reduce tensions in the South China Sea region.

http://sputniknews.com/us/20150622/1023714729.html

marknesop , June 22, 2015 at 2:31 pm
Rubio is just about as crazy as Donald Trump – and what a delight it is to hear that he will be running again for President – leading to a question as to whether there are any sane political figures left in the United States. Rubio is a weathervane, pointing in whatever direction he believes will get him the most votes – a strategy with which it is hard to disagree, since the object is to win, but the contest has devolved into a win-at-any-cost goal.

I can't believe Rubio actually believes now would be a good time to take on China as well, since China only has to call in its debt to make the USA either default or collapse. Or maybe it's just all out of choices, and it's now because it has to be now.

Northern Star, June 22, 2015 at 2:58 pm
This clown has ZERO credentials w.r.t international political dynamics….If by chance he WERE-God forbid-to become POTUS.. it would be one foreign policy clusterF-up after another….probably leading to a nuke holocaust….

[Jun 21, 2015] Why Bernie Sanders is a Dead End

Problems with "lesser evil" policies in the context of the current sold out to Wall Street Democrooks.

Jun 03, 2015 | CounterPunch

'Tis the season once again. You should know it well by now: a "progressive" Democrat running in the primaries for president of the United States. We've seen it all before, from Jesse Jackson to Dennis Kucinich, left-leaning voters have time-and-again been asked to support candidates that are working to transform the corrupt and war-hungry Democratic Party from within. And each and every time this strategy has failed — not only to elect a progressive Democrat into the White House, but to alter the party that offer themselves up as a lighter shade of neo-con.

...in order to radically alter the system in favor of workers, the Democrats must be abandoned altogether — for it's their neoliberal policies, from Bill Clinton on down, that exacerbated the sell-out of the American workforce.

...Bernie doesn't oppose U.S. power, nor does his campaign do a single thing to build independent politics in the country, perhaps the last chance to salvage any democracy we may have left. In the end, Bernie Sanders will play the lesser-evil card and plea for us all to hold our noses and vote for Hillary Clinton, who guarantees a future of more war and economic inequality.

[Jun 21, 2015] Americans need President Trump. He is their spirit animal of extremes

"...Indeed, he distills so many qualities of the modern Republican party that I briefly wondered if he is actually an elaborate satire"
"...The only problem I have with Trump is that he makes Hillary Clinton look almost good."
"...Jon Stewart described Trump this week as "America's id". I'd describe him more as America's spirit animal, the feral creature that exemplifies the country's extremes."
"...Trump may be a complete joke with no chance in hell of getting the Republican nomination but, as the article states, there's actually very little that he says that hasn't been vocalized in some form by the rest of the field."
"...she has detected in the behaviors and statements of this charlatan, so typical of the upper echelons of today as empire."
The Guardian

The property billionaire has announced his candidacy but needs endorsements. Here is mine: Trump! The worst of America!

hen I was a kid, growing up in New York in the late 80s, Donald Trump just seemed part of the deal if you lived in the city, like bed bugs or head lice. All that hair, all that wealth and the obligatory trophy wife – he seemed like a natural part of the landscape of 80s Manhattan. So it is one of the weirder phenomena of my life that, 30 years on, Trump is still, somehow, a presence when other figures from that era have long since faded away: junk bond king Michael Milken, say; or former Salomon Brothers boss John Gutfreund, whose wife, Susan, once allegedly shut down a whole street to lift a giant Christmas tree by crane into their apartment.

... ... ...

I hate to see a man looking lonely so I'd like to add my own very strong endorsement to Trump's campaign "to make America great again" – the US equivalent of Britain's "hard-working families", a phrase now apparently obligatory for all campaigning politicians to mention. Oh sure, some people might bring up the many, many, personal issues that come with this man. But in Trump we have the perfect presidential candidate. Indeed, he distills so many qualities of the modern Republican party that I briefly wondered if he is actually an elaborate satire, like Al Murray was of Ukip in Britain's last general election. It does seem the logical explanation for a man who on Tuesday listed his qualifications for being president as: "I'm in competition with Isis – they just built a hotel in Syria!" and "I just sold an apartment for $15 million to somebody from China."

Jon Stewart described Trump this week as "America's id". I'd describe him more as America's spirit animal, the feral creature that exemplifies the country's extremes.

jisames 18 Jun 2015 14:19

Oh c'mon, think of the laughs we'll all have if he's pressy!!

Talking of laughs, could he have Palin as his running mate? She deserves another go-round fer-sure.


Barong 18 Jun 2015 11:01

Brilliant. The only problem I have with Trump is that he makes Hillary Clinton look almost good.
Bernie Sanders for President.


Jimmyfagan1991 18 Jun 2015 10:39

Trump may be a complete joke with no chance in hell of getting the Republican nomination but, as the article states, there's actually very little that he says that hasn't been vocalized in some form by the rest of the field. His slurs against Mexico were just less tactful way of saying what most of the other candidates believe, even the Hispanic ones like Cruz and Rubio.

Listening to Trump say that he's going to defeat ISIS by finding the "new Patton" really goes to show how the Republicans are no longer a serious political party in any meaningful sense. Unfortunately the Democratic side doesn't look any more uplifting with Queen Hillary looking like she's going to gain the nomination that's her "birth right" despite being a vacuous politician without ever having a sincere political conviction in her life.

paulwalter -> paulwalter 18 Jun 2015 09:55

No, it's actually a good article.. she is like Alice in Wonderland, mouth open wide at these hirthoe inconceivable and jarring contradictions she has detected in the behaviors and statements of this charlatan, so typical of the upper echelons of today as empire.

This is the product of billions of years of evolution, the crowning moment of achievement for creation, and precisely the sort of individual that draws scorn from feminists, or any thinking folk for that matter. Hadley has put up an irrefutable case this time and who would I be to cavil when I can be grateful for such a delicate surgery.


AQuietNight 18 Jun 2015 08:13

I still recall all the wonderment over Barack Obama, a most smooth and polished guy.

[Jun 21, 2015] Meet the new Bush, same as the old Bush

"... If you consider the fact that Bush recently stated that "I love my father and my brother...but I am my own man," perhaps having a foreign policy team in which 19 of the 21 members are from the three former Bush administrations is not the best way to demonstrate that. "

http://stopimperialism.org/meet-the-new-bush-same-as-the-old-bush/

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City and the founder of StopImperialism.com.

...By March 2015, a full three months before he even announced his candidacy officially, Jeb Bush was already a superstar of the fundraising circuit, with projections reaching $100 million for the first quarter of 2015 alone. A close examination of some of the key donors reveals that Jeb, like his brother George W. and father George H.W., is a willing recipient of massive contributions from Wall Street, major corporations and foreign interests.

As The Intercept reported, Bush's Super PAC, known as Right to Rise, has received significant contributions from a number of key donors including lobbyists for Saudi Arabia, as well as those for Wal-Mart, ExxonMobil and other major corporations. In addition, a major contributor has been Glenn Youngkin, managing director of the Carlyle Group, the firm which owns Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the world's top defense contractors.

The Carlyle Group, a secretive investment group comprised of many powerful political and financial elites, has a longstanding relationship with the Bush family. As The Economist noted in 2003: "The Carlyle Group [is] a private equity firm that manages billions of dollars, including, at the time, some Bin Laden family wealth. It also employs Messrs [former President George H.W.] Bush and [former Bush administration Secretary of State James] Baker."

So it seems that all the usual players are involved in bankrolling Jeb, including longtime Bush political machine apparatchiks from a variety of fields. Not to be forgotten are the Wall Street hedge fund titans, including Lewis Eisenberg and Henry Kravis, who hosted a posh fundraiser in New York where the Bush machine had previously held $100,000 per plate fundraisers. The Bush camp has also received major financial backing from influential tech world figures in Silicon Valley and other important corporate donors.

Taken in total then, far from being the one to transform the "club of pampered elites" in Washington, Jeb Bush is, in fact, catering to those very same elites, the ones who finance both sides of the presidential elections. For it should come as no surprise that Hillary Clinton is raising serious money from many of these same interests, with only slight differences of names and figures. So, anyone believing the rhetoric flowing like expensive wine at the Jeb celebrations must simply not be paying attention.

But corruption and corporate greed aside, a potential Bush presidency poses extreme dangers for the US, and indeed the world. Bush's foreign policy, predicated on aggressiveness and "strength," is likely to exacerbate already complex and tense situations around the world.

Bush's foreign policy: the Usual Suspects

...When one looks at the roster of powerful and influential figures on Bush's foreign policy team, so many of the names are eerily and painfully familiar: Wolfowitz, Negroponte, Chertoff, Hadley, Baker, Shultz, Zoellick, Hayden, Dobriansky, and many others.

... If you consider the fact that Bush recently stated that "I love my father and my brother...but I am my own man," perhaps having a foreign policy team in which 19 of the 21 members are from the three former Bush administrations is not the best way to demonstrate that.

And of course that raises very serious questions about how Jeb Bush would act in regard to some of the major challenges in the world today. His recent comments during his European trip certainly do not bode well. His assertion that "Putin is a bully" demonstrates yet again that he and his neocon ilk still have not grasped the fundamental point that US aggression is not going to solve any of the issues in Eastern Europe: the conflict in Ukraine, the continued aggressive expansion of NATO, the escalation of military materiel and forces in the region, US missiles being pointed at Russia, and many other issues.

The Russian position has always been and remains today that it would like to address any issues through dialogue, but only in a climate in which the interested parties sit at the table as equals, not one in which Washington dictates to other countries as if they were subordinates. This sort of arrogance and hubris is precisely the rhetoric that tinges nearly every public pronouncement about foreign policy from Jeb Bush and his team.

Speaking to reporters in Europe, Jeb Bush recently explained that: "There are things that we could do given the scale of our military to send a strong signal that we're on the side of Poland, the Baltics and the countries that truly feel threatened by the 'little green men,' this new cyber warfare and these other tactics that Russia now is using... I think we ought to consider putting troops there for sure."

... ... ...

[Jun 20, 2015]Jeb Bush - Profile

"...No Republican will enjoy credibility as a deficit hawk unless he or she acknowledges that George W. Bush squandered the budget surplus he inherited. "
.
"...The National Review piece went on: "Adelson sent word to Bush's camp in Miami: Bush, he said, should tell Baker to cancel the speech. When Bush refused, a source describes Adelson as "rips***"; another says Adelson sent word that the move cost the Florida governor 'a lot of money.'" (At around the same time the rupture with Adelson was reported, Bush publicly disavowed Baker, saying that he would not be a part of his foreign policy team.)"
.
"...In March 2014, Bush and several other potential candidates were also received by Adelson at a Republican Jewish Coalition gathering at a Las Vegas hangar owned by Adelson's Sands Corporation, which papers dubbed the "Adelson primary." According to attendees, Bush gave a speech largely focused on domestic issues but also criticized the Obama administration's foreign policy—a key issue for Adelson, who is fiercely "pro-Israel." In his foreign policy remarks, Bush warned about the dangers of "American passivity" and, according to Time, "cautioned the Republican party against 'neo-isolationism' … a line universally understood as a shot at [libertarian-leaning Sen. Rand] Paul. Bush also pushed back on Democratic attacks that whenever a Republican calls for a more activist foreign policy that they are 'warmongering.'"
Jun 20, 2015 | Right Web - Institute for Policy Studies
Foreign Policy Views and Clues

Although he rarely comments on foreign policy, Bush has appeared to embrace neoconservatives who supported his brother's administration, inviting them to serve as his advisers, parroting their complaints about the Obama administration, promoting their current policy objectives, and defending many of their past debacles, like the Iraq War.

He has said that he does not think that "the military option should ever be taken off the table" with respect to Iran and that Obama administration policies on Iran had "empower[ed] bad behavior in Tehran."[8]

Bush has repeatedly defended the decision to invade Iraq. He told CNN in March 2013: "A lot of things in history change over time. I think people will respect the resolve that my brother showed, both in defending the country and the war in Iraq."[9]

More recently, in May 2015, when asked by Fox News pundit Megyn Kelly if he would have authorized the Iraq War "knowing what we know now," Bush replied: "I would have [authorized the invasion], and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody. And so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got."[10] This statement spurred widespread criticism, including among conservatives. Radio host Laura Ingram, arguing that Bush's weakness on this issue could be exploited by an election opponent, quipped: "We can't stay in this re-litigating the Bush years again. You have to have someone who says look I'm a Republican, but I'm not stupid." She added: "You can't still think that going into Iraq, now, as a sane human being, was the right thing to do. If you do, there has to be something wrong with you," she added.[11]

Many writers have argued that Bush's national ambitions will inevitably suffer from his association with his brother, whom Jeb has pointedly refused to criticize. Saying he didn't believe "there's any Bush baggage at all," Jeb Bush predicted in March 2013 that "history will be kind to George W. Bush." This led The Daily Beast's Peter Beinart to quip, "Unfortunately for Jeb, history is written by historians," who have generally given the Bush administration poor reviews. "That's why Jeb Bush will never seriously challenge for the presidency," Beinart concluded, "because to seriously challenge for the presidency, a Republican will have to pointedly distance himself from Jeb's older brother. No Republican will enjoy credibility as a deficit hawk unless he or she acknowledges that George W. Bush squandered the budget surplus he inherited. No Republican will be able to promise foreign-policy competence unless he or she acknowledges the Bush administration's disastrous mismanagement in Afghanistan and Iraq. … Jeb Bush would find that excruciatingly hard even if he wanted to."[12]

Bush has made several explicit gestures indicating his commitment to continue his brother's track record, particularly on foreign policy. In February 2015, his campaign announced 21 foreign policy experts who will guide him on foreign policy issues. The vast majority were veterans of the George W. Bush administration, like Paul Wolfowitz, Stephen Hadley, Michael Chertoff, John Negroponte, Otto Reich, and [13] George W. Bush Deputy National Security Adviser Meghan O'Sullivan has been mentioned as a possible "top foreign-policy aide."[14]

"Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush … is seeking to distinguish his views on foreign policy from those of his father and brother, two former presidents," reported the Washington Post, "but he's getting most of his ideas from nearly two dozen people, most of whom previously worked for George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush."[15]

Many observers have surmised that Bush's emphatic support for his brother is the result of him attempting to win the support of Sheldon Adelson. Bush is believed to have received the ire of Adelson after he included in his list of foreign policy advisers former Secretary of State James Baker, a realist who has been critical of Israel on several occasions.

"The bad blood between Bush and Adelson is relatively recent," wrote the conservative National Review in May 2015, "and it deepened with the news that former secretary of state James Baker, a member of Bush's foreign-policy advisory team, was set to address J Street, a left-wing pro-Israel organization founded to serve as the antithesis to the hawkish American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)."[16]

The National Review piece went on: "Adelson sent word to Bush's camp in Miami: Bush, he said, should tell Baker to cancel the speech. When Bush refused, a source describes Adelson as "rips***"; another says Adelson sent word that the move cost the Florida governor 'a lot of money.'"[17] (At around the same time the rupture with Adelson was reported, Bush publicly disavowed Baker, saying that he would not be a part of his foreign policy team.[18])

During the April 2015 Republican Jewish Coalition-hosted "Adelson primary" in Las Vegas, Salon reported, Adelson "devoted a night to honoring Bush's brother George W. for all he'd done for Israel and the Middle East." Salon added: "The Las Vegas mogul and Israel hawk thus took Bush's biggest political problem—his brother—and made him an asset."[19]

In May 2015, at a meeting with wealthy investors hosted by "pro-Israel" billionaire Paul Singer, Bush unequivocally expressed his attention to follow his brother's advice on issues related to Israel and the Middle East. "If you want to know who I listen to for advice, it's him," Bush said at the event.[20]

In March 2014, Bush and several other potential candidates were also received by Adelson at a Republican Jewish Coalition gathering at a Las Vegas hangar owned by Adelson's Sands Corporation, which papers dubbed the "Adelson primary." According to attendees, Bush gave a speech largely focused on domestic issues but also criticized the Obama administration's foreign policy—a key issue for Adelson, who is fiercely "pro-Israel." In his foreign policy remarks, Bush warned about the dangers of "American passivity" and, according to Time, "cautioned the Republican party against 'neo-isolationism' … a line universally understood as a shot at [libertarian-leaning Sen. Rand] Paul. Bush also pushed back on Democratic attacks that whenever a Republican calls for a more activist foreign policy that they are 'warmongering.'"[21]

The remarks—which the Washington Post described as "muscular if generic"[22]—appeared to be well received by the attendees and seemed to demonstrate that Bush identified more with the party's interventionist wing than with its rising libertarian faction on foreign policy.[23]

At one point in the late 1990s, Bush seemed to have been considered a potentially more influential political ally than his brother by the neoconservatives who founded the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). Commenting on the signatories to PNAC's 1997 founding statement of principles, Jim Lobe and Michael Flynn wrote: "Ironically, virtually the only signatory who has not played a leading role since the letter was released has been Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who in 1997 apparently looked to [William] Kristol and [Robert] Kagan more presidential than his brother George."[24]

[Jun 19, 2015]Inside the mind of Bernie Sanders: unbowed, unchanged, and unafraid of a good fight

"...The McMega-Media here in the USA seems determined to promote the coronation of Hillary Clinton. This article does prove Sanders views have been long term and he has the courage of his convictions. The Real Left in America has been sidelined or sidetracked and some were deluded by "Folks" Obama and his phony Hope and Change.

Sanders vocalizes the issues of income equality, and stacked deck in favor of multi-national corporations that export our jobs. Sanders correctly reveals the fact you can have first class health care in America or you can go college if and only if you can afford it.

Sanders would demolish any Republican or Hillary in a debate."

Jun 19, 2015 | The Guardian

gwpriester 19 Jun 2015 12:05


If only... Bernie is the only candidate on either party who is more or less for the people. And probably more than less.


Scuppie bcarey 19 Jun 2015 12:04


He's running as a Democrat so he won't be a "spoiler" as Nader was. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.

OurPlanet 19 Jun 2015 11:39

Bernie Sanders The only really authentic non corruptable candidate on the Democrat ticket. Probably the last of his kind. Obama was and is a corporate good corporate mouthpeace ,this time with a Black face who hoodwinked many and still does with his silver tongue. We all know the the totally corrupted Clinton. She is facing a crypto fascist carpet bagger opposition. Should be an easy election for her, with the corporate money behind her.


Christopher Weakley Falanx 19 Jun 2015 11:32


As someone born and raised in Vermont, where decency still counts for something, I've come to the same conclusion. Voting for Sanders is the only decent thing to do.


MonotonousLanguor 19 Jun 2015 11:30

The McMega-Media here in the USA seems determined to promote the coronation of Hillary Clinton. This article does prove Sanders views have been long term and he has the courage of his convictions. The Real Left in America has been sidelined or sidetracked and some were deluded by "Folks" Obama and his phony Hope and Change.

Sanders vocalizes the issues of income equality, and stacked deck in favor of multi-national corporations that export our jobs. Sanders correctly reveals the fact you can have first class health care in America or you can go college if and only if you can afford it.

Sanders would demolish any Republican or Hillary in a debate.


Falanx 19 Jun 2015 11:21


Sanders is not a true socialist but rather a Gotha Socialist more commonly known as a social democrat. He believes in regulating capitalism so as to enhance trickle-down, providing socio-economic benefits and security to working people.

It is indicative of how far right the United States has moved that a New Deal Democrat (1933) would be styled a "socialist."

Of course a difference in degree can produce a difference in kind. At some point regulation of production and distribution of wealth can tip over into effective public control over the economy. But nothing Sanders proposes comes close to that tipping point.

In my view, Sanders' policies will fail because they are not radical enough. The two encyclicals by Pope Francis are actually far more radical in scope and depth than anything Sanders espouses.

Sanders's campaign will fail because the system is designed to snuff out democratic impulses. That was the entire point of the Federalist (aka conservative) coup d'etat of 1789. Any democratic initiative which survives the system's structural deadlock will be vetoed by the Supreme Court in one fashion or another.

Sander's counter-weight will not be able to pull Hillary Clinton to the "left" because a blob cannot be pulled. Again, degrees. LBJ was ambitious but truly held core beliefs. Clinton is simply craven. She will appear to adopt any policy which she calculates will serve to "put a woman (herself) in the White House." But only parse her puff an you will see that it says nothing of substance on anything of importance.

For all that I support Sanders. Why? Because it's the only decent thing to do. It's as simple as that.


ckramer2 Mckim 19 Jun 2015 11:21

I've got my grimy bag of money held in case a "decent" politician happened to come along. I'm sort of hanging onto it to keep Sanders going when he is in a dead heat against the super PAC politicians (all others).

There are also progressive coalitions that were snubbed by Hillary-the-Wall-Street-Goldman-Sachs Clinton, that will probably back Bernie, too. I don't know why the average citizen would waste their money on politicians who are having their campaigns and careers paid for by super PACs, and who will obey their needs on command. It's just wasted money.


ckramer2 Mckim 19 Jun 2015 11:21


I've got my grimy bag of money held in case a "decent" politician happened to come along. I'm sort of hanging onto it to keep Sanders going when he is in a dead heat against the super PAC politicians (all others).

There are also progressive coalitions that were snubbed by Hillary-the-Wall-Street-Goldman-Sachs Clinton, that will probably back Bernie, too. I don't know why the average citizen would waste their money on politicians who are having their campaigns and careers paid for by super PACs, and who will obey their needs on command. It's just wasted money.


ckramer2 elaine layabout 19 Jun 2015 11:02

Hillary also supported Nixon. She is more hawkish than any Republican. She proudly follows the Communist-hating tradition of her family: Get those Commies. She's got some definite unhealthy issues/baggage. We don't need paranoid Hillary with hate issues for our president.


ataylorusa RiotGrrlUSA 19 Jun 2015 10:36

@RiotGrrlUSA: You are exactly right, just to add that public ownership of utilities went much further back than the 1970's; rural electrification allowed for electricity to be provided (at an actually reasonable rate) to rural communities throughout the US as early as the 1930's and 40's. I grew up on the high plains of ND, our electricity was provided by the Rural Electric Association (REA); to all of us, it was a given that (government) provided a necessary assist to everyone where needed, it was part of what we believed society was about - people working together to help everyone. I also grew up with the recognition that there were opposing opinions and ideas, but they were all part of the greater goal, or greater good - you argued, but you respected other arguments. How terrible to see how much we have lost, and I am just over 65 years old, such a short time to fall so far. Mr. Sanders is a shining light.

[Jun 17, 2015] Jeb Bush hires two new foreign policy advisers

The National Interest
Jun 17, 2015 | The Washington Post

Bush has tapped Robert S. Karem and John Noonan to join his growing policy shop, according to aides familiar with the hires.

Most recently, Karem was a top policy adviser to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). He also worked for former vice president Dick Cheney as a researcher on his memoir and as a member of his national security staff.

Noonan is leaving his role as spokesman for the House Armed Services Committee, and once advised Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign on defense policy.

... ... ...

One of the most sensitive tasks Karem and Noonan are expected to tackle is facilitating conversations with Bush's 21-member advisory team of veteran GOP foreign policy experts.

The team, which he unveiled in February,, reflects a broad cross-section of GOP thinking, including two former secretaries of state, George Shultz and James Baker; two former CIA directors, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden; former attorney general Michael Mukasey and Paul Wolfowitz, a former deputy defense secretary and lead architect of the Iraq war.

[Jun 17, 2015] Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush Foreign Policy Adviser, Plays Up Reagan Influence

Feb 22, 2015 | Bloomberg Politics

Paul Wolfowitz, who is advising former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as a foreign-policy expert, is seeking to deflect criticism that Bush is overly influenced by figures from his father and brother's administrations by pointing out many Bush advisers' ties to former President Ronald Reagan.

In an interview airing Sunday on CNN's State of the Union, host Gloria Borger asked Wolfowitz how Bush could "be seen as his own man when the people who are advising him promoted a foreign policy that in retrospect has largely been regarded as flawed and unpopular."

"You're painting [with] an awfully broad brush there," said Wolfowitz, who served as deputy defense secretary under George W. Bush and also worked under the senior Bush and Reagan. "A lot of people in that group, and actually including myself, who participated in the Reagan administration, which I think was a very successful foreign policy: Secretary [George] Shultz, Secretary [James] Baker—there's a pretty wide range of views there but in any case he is his own man."

... ... ...

Five of his foreign-policy advisers worked with Reagan, six worked with his father, and 17 worked with his brother, according to the Post. The lone fresh face: Former Florida Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

[Jun 16, 2015] The Gordon Gekko Effect The Role of Culture in the Financial Industry

Jun 16, 2015 | Economist's View '
Andrew Lo:
The Gordon Gekko Effect: The Role of Culture in the Financial Industry, NBER Working Paper No. 21267 Issued in June 2015: Culture is a potent force in shaping individual and group behavior, yet it has received scant attention in the context of financial risk management and the recent financial crisis. I present a brief overview of the role of culture according to psychologists, sociologists, and economists, and then present a specific framework for analyzing culture in the context of financial practices and institutions in which three questions are answered: (1) What is culture?; (2) Does it matter?; and (3) Can it be changed? I illustrate the utility of this framework by applying it to five concrete situations—Long Term Capital Management; AIG Financial Products; Lehman Brothers and Repo 105; Société Générale's rogue trader; and the SEC and the Madoff Ponzi scheme—and conclude with a proposal to change culture via "behavioral risk management."
anne said...

http://www.colorado.edu/studentgroups/libertarians/issues/friedman-soc-resp-business.html

September 13, 1970

The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits
By Milton Friedman - New York Times

When I hear businessmen speak eloquently about the "social responsibilities of business in a free-enterprise system," I am reminded of the wonderful line about the Frenchman who discovered at the age of 70 that he had been speaking prose all his life. The businessmen believe that they are defending free en­terprise when they declaim that business is not concerned "merely" with profit but also with promoting desirable "social" ends; that business has a "social conscience" and takes seriously its responsibilities for providing em­ployment, eliminating discrimination, avoid­ing pollution and whatever else may be the catchwords of the contemporary crop of re­formers. In fact they are–or would be if they or anyone else took them seriously–preach­ing pure and unadulterated socialism. Busi­nessmen who talk this way are unwitting pup­pets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.

The discussions of the "social responsibili­ties of business" are notable for their analytical looseness and lack of rigor. What does it mean to say that "business" has responsibilities? Only people can have responsibilities. A corporation is an artificial person and in this sense may have artificial responsibilities, but "business" as a whole cannot be said to have responsibilities, even in this vague sense. The first step toward clarity in examining the doctrine of the social responsibility of business is to ask precisely what it implies for whom.

Presumably, the individuals who are to be responsible are businessmen, which means in­dividual proprietors or corporate executives. Most of the discussion of social responsibility is directed at corporations, so in what follows I shall mostly neglect the individual proprietors and speak of corporate executives.

In a free-enterprise, private-property sys­tem, a corporate executive is an employee of the owners of the business. He has direct re­sponsibility to his employers. That responsi­bility is to conduct the business in accordance with their desires, which generally will be to make as much money as possible while con­forming to the basic rules of the society, both those embodied in law and those embodied in ethical custom. Of course, in some cases his employers may have a different objective. A group of persons might establish a corporation for an eleemosynary purpose–for exam­ple, a hospital or a school. The manager of such a corporation will not have money profit as his objective but the rendering of certain services.

In either case, the key point is that, in his capacity as a corporate executive, the manager is the agent of the individuals who own the corporation or establish the eleemosynary institution, and his primary responsibility is to them.

Needless to say, this does not mean that it is easy to judge how well he is performing his task. But at least the criterion of performance is straightforward, and the persons among whom a voluntary contractual arrangement exists are clearly defined.

Of course, the corporate executive is also a person in his own right. As a person, he may have many other responsibilities that he rec­ognizes or assumes voluntarily–to his family, his conscience, his feelings of charity, his church, his clubs, his city, his country. He may feel impelled by these responsibilities to de­vote part of his income to causes he regards as worthy, to refuse to work for particular corpo­rations, even to leave his job, for example, to join his country's armed forces. If we wish, we may refer to some of these responsibilities as "social responsibilities." But in these respects he is acting as a principal, not an agent; he is spending his own money or time or energy, not the money of his employers or the time or energy he has contracted to devote to their purposes. If these are "social responsibili­ties," they are the social responsibilities of in­dividuals, not of business.

What does it mean to say that the corpo­rate executive has a "social responsibility" in his capacity as businessman? If this statement is not pure rhetoric, it must mean that he is to act in some way that is not in the interest of his employers. For example, that he is to refrain from increasing the price of the product in order to contribute to the social objective of preventing inflation, even though a price in crease would be in the best interests of the corporation. Or that he is to make expendi­tures on reducing pollution beyond the amount that is in the best interests of the cor­poration or that is required by law in order to contribute to the social objective of improving the environment. Or that, at the expense of corporate profits, he is to hire "hardcore" un­employed instead of better qualified available workmen to contribute to the social objective of reducing poverty.

In each of these cases, the corporate exec­utive would be spending someone else's money for a general social interest. Insofar as his actions in accord with his "social responsi­bility" reduce returns to stockholders, he is spending their money. Insofar as his actions raise the price to customers, he is spending the customers' money. Insofar as his actions lower the wages of some employees, he is spending their money....

anne said in reply to anne...

Milton Friedman understood just how important "culture" is in the business community and in 1970 wrote an essay designed to dictate a business culture that was far removed from the New Deal vision of a Franklin Roosevelt or a John Kenneth Galbraith.

anne said in reply to anne...

http://truth-out.org/archive/component/k2/item/73007:naomi-klein--the-shock-doctrine

September 9, 2007

The Shock Doctrine
By Naomi Klein - Guardian

One of those who saw opportunity in the floodwaters of New Orleans was the late Milton Friedman, grand guru of unfettered capitalism and credited with writing the rulebook for the contemporary, hyper-mobile global economy. Ninety-three years old and in failing health, "Uncle Miltie", as he was known to his followers, found the strength to write an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal three months after the levees broke. "Most New Orleans schools are in ruins," Friedman observed, "as are the homes of the children who have attended them. The children are now scattered all over the country. This is a tragedy. It is also an opportunity."

Friedman's radical idea was that instead of spending a portion of the billions of dollars in reconstruction money on rebuilding and improving New Orleans' existing public school system, the government should provide families with vouchers, which they could spend at private institutions.

In sharp contrast to the glacial pace with which the levees were repaired and the electricity grid brought back online, the auctioning-off of New Orleans' school system took place with military speed and precision. Within 19 months, with most of the city's poor residents still in exile, New Orleans' public school system had been almost completely replaced by privately run charter schools.

The Friedmanite American Enterprise Institute enthused that "Katrina accomplished in a day ... what Louisiana school reformers couldn't do after years of trying". Public school teachers, meanwhile, were calling Friedman's plan "an educational land grab". I call these orchestrated raids on the public sphere in the wake of catastrophic events, combined with the treatment of disasters as exciting market opportunities, "disaster capitalism".

Privatising the school system of a mid-size American city may seem a modest preoccupation for the man hailed as the most influential economist of the past half century. Yet his determination to exploit the crisis in New Orleans to advance a fundamentalist version of capitalism was also an oddly fitting farewell. For more than three decades, Friedman and his powerful followers had been perfecting this very strategy: waiting for a major crisis, then selling off pieces of the state to private players while citizens were still reeling from the shock.

In one of his most influential essays, * Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism's core tactical nostrum, what I have come to understand as "the shock doctrine". He observed that "only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change". When that crisis occurs, the actions taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. Some people stockpile canned goods and water in preparation for major disasters; Friedmanites stockpile free-market ideas. And once a crisis has struck, the University of Chicago professor was convinced that it was crucial to act swiftly, to impose rapid and irreversible change before the crisis-racked society slipped back into the "tyranny of the status quo". A variation on Machiavelli's advice that "injuries" should be inflicted "all at once", this is one of Friedman's most lasting legacies.

Friedman first learned how to exploit a shock or crisis in the mid-70s, when he advised the dictator General Augusto Pinochet. Not only were Chileans in a state of shock after Pinochet's violent coup, but the country was also traumatised by hyperinflation. Friedman advised Pinochet to impose a rapid-fire transformation of the economy - tax cuts, free trade, privatised services, cuts to social spending and deregulation.

It was the most extreme capitalist makeover ever attempted anywhere, and it became known as a "Chicago School" revolution, as so many of Pinochet's economists had studied under Friedman there. Friedman coined a phrase for this painful tactic: economic "shock treatment". In the decades since, whenever governments have imposed sweeping free-market programs, the all-at-once shock treatment, or "shock therapy", has been the method of choice....

* http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Milton_Friedman

pgl said in reply to anne...

OK - we get it. You hate Milton Friedman. Your reasoning is tiresome as it is dishonest.

likbez said in reply to pgl...

It does not matter whether you love or hate Milton Friedman, but the fact is that he served as a "agent of influence" of financial oligarchy and a tool for enforcing neoliberal model on the society. This conjecture is provable with facts.

His "Capitalism and Freedom" was/is essentially a manifest of neoliberalism the way "Communist manifesto" was for Marxism.

Seth Edenbaum

Call it econocentric logic. It makes as much sense to name it after Gordon Gekko as it would be to name it after Brad Delong

Assuming self-interest reinforces self-interested behavior; measuring to the mean puts downward pressure on the mean. Democracy is a virtue ethic. "Value-free" science, especially social science, is a dangerous fantasy.

"Liberalism is amenable to fans of science since it can claim reasonably or not to be without priors. Republicanism is a virtue ethic and priors are explicit: burdens precede freedoms, making hypocrisy more difficult to hide, from yourself at least.

Liberal objectivity: If her interests have the same value as his, then my interests must have the same value as yours.

The opposite of virtue."

Gordon Gekko begins there.

[Jun 16, 2015] Hillary Clinton's Campaign Rollout Speech

June 14, 2015 | nakedcapitalism.com

...here's the text of Clinton's speech (as delivered).

As we might expect from the speech's location on Roosevelt Island, Clinton explicitly claims FDR's mantle. From the introductory portion of her remarks:

[CLINTON: It is wonderful[1]]To be here in this beautiful park dedicated to Franklin Roosevelt's[2] enduring vision of America, the nation we want to be.

Moreover, she not only claims FDR's mantle, she claims Roosevelt's Four Freedoms (history; text):

You know, President Roosevelt's Four Freedoms are a testament to our nation's unmatched aspirations and a reminder of our unfinished work at home and abroad. His legacy lifted up a nation and inspired presidents who followed.

And quoting directly from FDR's Four Freedom's speech:

CLINTON: President Roosevelt called on every American to do his or her part, and every American answered. He said there's no mystery about what it takes to build a strong and prosperous America: "Equality of opportunity… Jobs for those who can work… Security for those who need it… The ending of special privilege for the few…(cheers, applause.) The preservation of civil liberties for all… (cheers, applause) a wider and constantly rising standard of living."

(Interestingly, Clinton's quotes are not the actual Freedoms; we'll get to that in a moment.) After some buildup, she then goes on to structure her speech around four policy areas (which I've to say is refreshing, although not refreshing enough, as we shall see). Here they are, organized into a single list instead of being scattered through the speech:

CLINTON: If you'll give me the chance, I'll wage and win Four Fights for you.

  1. The first is to make the economy work for everyday Americans, not just those at the top.
  2. Now, the second fight[3] is to strengthen America's families, because when our families are strong, America is strong.
  3. So we have a third fight: to harness all of America's power, smarts, and values to maintain our leadership for peace, security, and prosperity.
  4. That's why we have to win the fourth fight – reforming our government and revitalizing our democracy so that it works for everyday Americans.

Before l take a look at the talking points that Clinton places under these four heads, let me quote Roosevelt's Four Freedoms, so we can compare and contrast them to Clinton's. The context is different; Clinton's is a campaign speech, and Roosevelt is addressing Congress, as a re-elected President, in his State of the Union speech, in 1941, before our entrance into World War II (hence the references to "everywhere in the world," and "translated into world terms"). Here's FDR:

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of[4] speech and expression–everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want–which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear–which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor–anywhere in the world.

Notice the extreme specificity and material basis of FDR's language: Freedom from want; freedom from fear. You know, today, in your very own life, whether you are in want or in fear. You don't have to ask anybody else, and it doesn't take some sort of credential plus a processing fee to figure it out. Now contrast Clinton: "[M]ake the economy work for everyday Americans." What the heck does that even mean? Certainly nobody knows what "everyday Americans" means. This is focus-grouped bafflegab emitted by Democratic consultants who are slumming it on the Chinese bus instead of the Acela because optics. Could we be in fear or in want after the economy "works"? Who knows? And if Clinton believes we won't be, why not say that?

With that, let me poke holes in some of the policies under Clinton's Four… Four… Well, Four Whatever-the-Heck-They-Are, since FDR's "Freedom of" and "Freedom from" construct seems to have been disappeared from Clinton's reversioning of FDR's material. I understand that the Clinton campaign, in a White House-style policy shop operation, will be rolling out more concrete material in the next 513 days, so I'll focus only on major gaps and contradictions. (The talking points won't necessarily be in speech order, though the headines will be.)

"Make the economy work for everyday Americans, not just those at the top"

CLINTON: "I will rewrite the tax code so it rewards hard work and investments here at home, not quick trades or stashing profits overseas. (Cheers, applause.)"

You will? Really? Article 1, Section 8 says differently.

CLINTON: "We will unleash a new generation of entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing tax relief, cutting red tape, and making it easier to get a small business loan."

First, I suppose it's OK to appropriate Republican rhetoric, Third Way fashion — "tax relief," "red tape" — but it sure seems odd to do so after claiming Roosevelt's mantle. Second, we've got entire industries (Uber; AirBnB) whose business model is to gain market share by breaking the law, and I'd like to know what Clinton thinks about ignoring "red tape" entirely. And that's not just a theoretical concern for small business, since the so-called "sharing economy" — Yves calls it the "shafting economy" — threatens them as well. (What does it mean for local restaurants and Farmer's Markets that food plus a recipe can now be delivered via an app?)

CLINTON: "To make the middle class mean something again, with rising incomes and broader horizons. And to give the poor a chance to work their way into it."

First, note the shift from "everyday Americans" (whatever that means) to "middle class" (whatever that means) and "the poor" (I think we know what that means). Because Clinton cannot really define who her programs target, it's not possible to determine who will actually benefit from them; hence, "mean something" is vacuous. People can project, of course, but 2008 should have taught us the danger of doing that. Second, there are well-known policies that provide concrete material benefits to wage workers, and which it would be easy for Clinton to support, if she in fact does so. The first is raising the minimum wage, not to Obama's pissant $10.10, but to the $15 that so many on the ground are pushing for. Silence. More radically, we have programs like the Basic Income Guarantee or the Jobs Guarantee (or both). Programs like this would be of great benefit especially to those who have been cast out from our permanently shrunken workforce, and will in all likelihood never work again. These programs target millions, and so who benefits is easy to see. Silence.

CLINTON: "There are leaders of finance who want less short-term trading and more long-term investing."

There are leaders in finance who are walking the street but who should be in jail. It's hard to see how "confidence" can be restored for "everyday Americans" until elite criminals no longer have impunity. Of course, taking a stand like that would make life hard for Clinton with the Rubinite faction of the Democratic Party, along with many Wall Street donors, and many contributors to the Clinton Foundation, but corruption isn't my problem. It's Clinton's. So, again, silence.

"Strengthen America's families"

CLINTON: "I believe you should look forward to retirement with confidence, not anxiety."

First, note again how abstract Clinton's words are. Where FDR says "freedom from fear," Clinton says "not anxiety." Where FDR says "freedom from want," Clinton (with Wall Street) says "confidence." Second, and as usual, what do Clinton's words even mean? Let me revise them: "I believe Social Security benefits should be raised, not lowered, and that benefits should be age-neutral. It's unconscionable that the younger you are, the worse off you will be when you're old. I also believe that Social Security benefits should begin at age 60, so more can retire from the workforce, and more young people enter." This is not hard. It doesn't take a think tank to work out.

CLINTON: "[I believe] that you should have the peace of mind that your health care will be there when you need it, without breaking the bank."

What does that mean? Well, we know what it means. It means tinkering round the edges of ObamaCare, keeping the sucking mandibles of the health insurance companies firmly embedded in the body politic, and not bringing our health care system up to world standards.

CLINTON: "I believe you should have the right to earn paid sick days. (Cheers, applause.)"

Given the above, we're in school uniform territory now.

"Maintain our leadership for peace, security, and prosperity"

CLINTON: "I've stood up to adversaries like Putin and reinforced allies like Israel. I was in the Situation Room on the day we got bin Laden."

'Nuff said. (On Bin Laden, "got" is nice. And see here, here, here, and — for grins — here.) SMH, but maybe somebody should ask Clinton, just for an opener, if she supports a grotesquely expensive fighter aircraft with buggy software that randomly catches on fire, and if she doesn't, what she'd do with the money.

"Reforming our government and revitalizing our democracy"

CLINTON: "We have to stop the endless flow of secret, unaccountable money that is distorting our elections, corrupting our political process, and drowning out the voices of our people. (Cheers, applause.)"

So wouldn't it be very appropriate Clinton I to stop influence-peddling giving paid speeches right now, instead of hedging his bets, and saying he'll stop only under a Clinton II administration? To be fair, this is good:

CLINTON: "If necessary, I will support a constitutional amendment to undo the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United. (Cheers, applause.)"

However, the shout-out to a specific policy advocated by Move to Amend might make one reflect on the curious lack of specificity so prevalent elsewhere in the speech.

CLINTON: "I want to make it easier for every citizen to vote. That's why I've proposed universal, automatic registration and expanded early voting. (Cheers, applause.)"

This is good, but bizarre. Trivially, the Democrats are at least a decade late on this, the sign of a sclerotic party that can't defend its putative constituents on even the most basic level. Critically, Clinton is defending people's right to vote without defending their right to have their vote counted. This is especially weird after after Jebbie tried to steal Florida 2000 for Bush II — although 308,000 Florida Democrats voting for Bush and not Gore swung the election — and after all that weird stuff that happened in Cuyahoga County, Ohio in 2004. Why not bring America up to world standards at the ballot box, too, and prevent election theft? Silence.

Conclusion

There's plenty to like in Clinton's speech at the talking point level. (For example, on immigration, she does support "a path to citizenship," though curiously not an end to mass incarceration, or reforms to policing.) But over-all, I think any grand vision disappears in a welter of bullet points, vague language, and a resolute unwillingness to present policies that would visibly benefit all Americans, instead being tailored to the narrow constituencies of the sliced up version of America so beloved by the political class.

Here's a random factoid you can use to frame whatever policy options a candidate presents. I keep track of #BlackLivesMatter shootings on my Twitter feed, and most of them come with pictures of the scene. The pictures come from all across the country, as we might expect, and I have started looked at the backgrounds: Invariably, there are signs of a second- or third-world level of infrastructural decay and destruction: Cracked sidewalks, potholed roads, sagging powerlines, weed-choked lots, empty storefronts, dreary utilitarian architecture just as soul-sucking as anything the Soviets could have produced.

... ... ...

ekstase, June 14, 2015 at 3:57 pm

"To make the middle class mean something again, with rising incomes and broader horizons. And to give the poor a chance to work their way into it."

Why are the middle class and the poor always invited to "have a chance"? Or to "work their way into it"? It is supposed to be a fair system, not one in which some people have been crippled by cheaters, and therefore need to work their way out of the unfair position they have been put in. The logic seems off.

tongorad, June 14, 2015 at 4:06 pm
Why are the middle class and the poor always invited to "have a chance"? Or to "work their way into it"?

"Have a chance:" The old "skin in the game" routine. Everyone deserves the chance to risk their skin. Nice, eh? "Work their way into it:" Divide and conquer. The deserving poor and middle class vs undeserving.

jrs, June 14, 2015 at 11:53 pm
one also has a chance to win the lottery if one plays it. Well one does … not a good chance but a chance.
Lexington, June 15, 2015 at 1:26 am
Why are the middle class and the poor always invited to "have a chance"? Or to "work their way into it"? Because in America some win and some lose, but the losers deserved it because they lack ability, persistence, a strong work ethic, or otherwise have some serious character flaw that prevents them from succeeding. In American everyone who deserves success gets it. Or in the shorthand of American political discourse, it's about equalizing "opportunity", not "outcome".

Hillary isn't promising that under her presidency everyone in America will have economic security and some basic allotment of human dignity – that would have after all be defiling the altar of "meritocracy" at which America's elite worships – but those who deserve it will.

As for the others, well America will always need fast food workers, convenience store clerks and Walmart greeters. In any case those sorts of people have no right to aspire to a station in life higher than the one for which one providence suited them.


craazyboy, June 14, 2015 at 4:49 pm

Might be interesting to compare it to Senator Obama speeches. Many parts seem hauntingly familiar, but 8 years and 500 plus days does overly tax my memory. Then maybe compare it to a Reagan speech. Maybe it's my long term memory kicking in.

But that may be more work than it's worth.

Oh geez. Today is gym day. The Fox News TV is there. I can smell the fumes bubbling up from the swamp pit already. Hillary Clinton has embraced FDR and gone bungee cord jumping completely off the far, far, left cliff. Gawd help us.

Bernie, don't let Hillary sit in your lap. Let's try and keep this believable.


OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL, June 14, 2015 at 6:45 pm

We have 1400 billionaires in this country (up from 700 when the "Crisis" began) and we can't find one, NOT ONE, with a functioning moral compass who is willing to do the least little thing for the actual *people* in this country by supporting a real alternative candidate to Fascist War Monger 1 (Hilary) or Fascist War Monger 2 (Jeb).

Forget Grandpa Buffet and his homely homilies while he steals off with insider deals on Goldman preferred, or BillG, who does some good things but then goes and leads the Better Than Cash Alliance (an attempt to get everyone in the developing world to run up debts on a MasterCard). Mark, Elon, Peter…don't you have even one remaining moral bone left that will make you save us from these charlatans?

David, June 14, 2015 at 6:49 pm

"…hatchet-faced austerity enforcer.."

In the links this morning, you castigated someone for making sexist comments about Hillary. You said,

"..it's dumb, because emphasizes the personal characteristics of candidates as opposed to their political ones."

Other than that, I enjoyed the article.


Blue Guy Red State, June 15, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Bernie Sanders resonating with some very Tea Party friendly members of my extended family, along with various traditional lefties like me (aging Boomer and former Independent who move right to join Democratic Party in 1980s) and Millenial offspring. Summer family camping trip might get interesting!

Sen. Sanders is making more sense to more people because we've tried trickle-down, tax-cutting Reaganomics for 35 years, and it's been a disaster across the board unless you're filthy rich. (And the filthy rich live on the same planet as the rest of us, breathe the same air and drink the same water too.)

People are ready for REAL hope and REAL change; this will give Sen. Sanders a lot more traction than the MSM and both GOP and Democratic bigwigs expect. Good.

Synoia, June 14, 2015 at 8:25 pm

S.S. Clinton, the beginning of a Titanic voyage.

I cannot perceive of anything concrete coming form a second Clinton presidency, except more and more constituents thrown under the bus, the space already crowded with groups so discarded by President Obama.

I'm for Bernie.

craazyman. June 14, 2015 at 8:48 pm

Now that Hillary is officially running for President, it's time to ask the tough questions. The tough questions separate a vanity candidate who just want media attention from the hardened policy field marshall who has to make the tough decisions in the face of strenuous opposition. If Hillary is for real, she might get elected, so its not too early to think of the Top 10 Questions for President H.R. Clinton at her first press conference.

... ... ...

Question #6: This is a multiple choice question!

How many hedge funds does it take to destroy society?
a) less than 100
b) just one
c) they can't take you anyway, you don't already know how to go
d) what kind of question is that?

Question #5: Are Republlcans completely crazy or do they just seem like it?

... ... ..

drum roll please . . . .

Is Bruce Jenner still a roll model for America's athletic youth and if not, why not?

^ ^ ^
Holy smokes those are tough questions for any body, much less a US president. but they need to be clever if they're the President don't they!

Ed Walker, June 14, 2015 at 10:10 pm

Fun factoid. Sunday Paper has different headline than current article up on web. Here's the headline from the paper:

Sounding Populist Themes, Clinton Pledges to Close Gap in Wealth.

And here's the headline from the web right now:

Hillary Clinton, in Roosevelt Island Speech, Pledges to Close Income Gap

And note the title in the URL:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/14/us/hillary-clinton-attacks-republican-economic-policies-in-roosevelt-island-speech.html

Just can't quite make up their minds about what happened.


timbers, June 15, 2015 at 12:27 am

Hillary is Sarah Palin but with better grammar. Just like Obama is Sarah Palin but with better grammar. Read this and say I'm lying:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/14/us-drug-companies-that-_n_7581818.html

"Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton said drug companies that would benefit from a Pacific trade pact should sell their products to the U.S. government at a discount in her strongest comments yet on an issue that has divided her party."

"Clinton's comments amount to an implicit rebuke of President Barack Obama's efforts to secure the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a nod toward liberal critics of the deal as she campaigns to win the Democratic nomination for the November 2016 presidential election."

"I have held my peace because I thought it was important for the Congress to have a full debate without thrusting presidential politics and candidates into it," she said at a campaign stop in Burlington, Iowa. "But now I think the president and his team could have the chance to drive a harder bargain."

"Clinton did not say whether she would support or reject the deal. But she criticized several aspects of the agreement…"

"Our drug companies, if they are going to get what they want, they should give more to America,"

Sanctuary, June 15, 2015 at 1:51 am

I was in Cuyahoga County in 2004 and I can tell you unequivocally, they (the Republicans) played every dirty trick in the book and stole that election. They were calling people up and telling them that Democrats vote the next day, Republicans vote on that day and/or calling people up and "informing" them of the incorrect polling location to go to, closing down polling locations or not starting them for several hours past the mandated time.

The 2000 morass I blame on Gore, since by no stretch of the imagination should that election have even been close enough that a few million votes undercounted or prevented would have swung the election. That he chose to buy into the Republican memes about Clinton, act guilty, and run away from him, was his own bad judgment.

When you act guilty in the US, you ARE guilty. Doesn't matter if it's true or not. Say what you want about the Clinton's, that is one lesson they always understood.


Jerry Denim, June 15, 2015 at 2:55 am

"There's plenty to like in Clinton's speech at the talking point level."

Seriously?

"We need more from Clinton — more from all candidates. Much, much more. "

Really?

I know Hillary once again is the front runner, the presumed nominee and the only Democratic candidate for "serious" respectable grown-ups and as such must receive her share of the horse race coverage. I also know the tone of this post was basically critical and skeptic.

That said, I find such an earnest micro-parsing of Clinton's utterly meaningless, consequence-free campaign rhetoric by a respected, important and principled site such as this does Clinton an undeserved service by lending her legitimacy at a time when she should be shouted down and shamed for being the lying, compromised, money-grubbing, scruple-less corporate sock puppet that she is.

If the political elites learned anything from Obama (a.k.a. Bush 3.0) it's that you can lie through your teeth on a daily basis and along with some help from our red vs. blue propaganda machine media still convince gullible voters who identify with team blue's brand to continue to support a team blue Prez, and vote for him/her even if he/she betrays regular Americans and kicks them on a daily basis as long as he/she smiles and says he/she is committed to popular and happy things on camera. Hillary can say whatever the hell she wants right now and it doesn't mean a thing. She doesn't hold elected or appointed office.

She can make socialist, FDR type promises till the cows come home while still raking in billions in corporate money, foreign money, and libertarian billionaire asshole money because they know just like Obama she will break every populist campaign promise before she's even sworn in as President. A President Hillary and her entourage would continue business as usual because they has a proven track record of being pro-establishment, pro-Wall Street, Washington-consensus, Neo-con hawks. Believing anything else is utter madness.

Save your analysis and commentary for a Socialist with a better track record like Bernie Sanders or some other long-shot, third party candidate. Carefully parsing the words of a lying pol like Clinton is about as sane and as useful as trying to divine meaning in a pile of dogshit and then claiming you have a legal and binding contract with your bank. We don't need more from Clinton we need less. Way less. We need her to shut up and go away, we know who and what she really is. Since Clinton doesn't look like she plans on shutting up or going away anytime soon I think she should either be – a.) Ignored, or (b.) Shouted down and shamed. Just like Obama I can't take a single word she speaks seriously with her track record.


TedWa, June 15, 2015 at 7:45 pm
I just wish posters here would stop thinking about and posting about Bernie Sanders as if he's a 3rd party candidate. I'm old enough to remember when progressive democrats like Bernie ran things. He's more of a traditional democrat than Hillary can even dream about being. There is no throwing the race to the Republicans by voting for and supporting Bernie – he's running as a democrat and running as a challenger to neo-liberal Hillary and neo-liberal politics and only 1 of them can make it to the final democratic nomination. Get it? Only one of them. This is not going to be a 3rd party race! I know wrapping your head around Bernie as a democrat is hard for some of the younger among us that don't remember a time when neo-liberalism didn't rule the roost, but that is what he is and that is how he's running. There is no 3rd party candidate
Thank you for your time.
Blurtman

How does Hillary's level playing field rhetoric work in her own life? Let's look at how her daughter has fared in her own struggles to live a middle class life.

Lord Butler of Brockwell, the Master of University College, said: "Her (Chelsea's) record at Stanford shows that she is a very well-qualified and able student. The college is also pleased to extend its link with the Clinton family."

In 2003, Clinton joined the consulting firm McKinsey & Company in New York City.

In the fall of 2006, she went to work for Avenue Capital Group, a global investment firm focusing on distressed securities and private equity.

In 2010, she became Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation.

In November 2011, NBC announced that they hired Clinton as a special correspondent, paying her $600,000 per year. Clinton memorably interviewed the Geico Gecko in April 2013.

Since 2011, she has also taken a dominant role at the family's Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, and has had a seat on its board.

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

Yep, just your average citizen who received no breaks or hands up in her slog through the trials and tribulations of making it in the USA.

FunknJunk

Just thought I'd add a link to Professor Harvey Kaye talking to Bill Moyers about FDR's Four Freedoms. http://billmoyers.com/episode/fighting-for-the-four-freedoms/ So inspiring. The opposite of HRC. I appreciated this article very much … I don't see how anyone who watched or read the HRC text and has a passing familiarity to the Four Freedoms speech can see any relationship between the two whatsoever except at the most superficial level, meaning HRC used the word "Four".


[Jun 16, 2015]The Strongest Deal Possible

"...My comment there: If that is truly how Clinton feels, then I think we have our answer. It's the corporatist version of the dog whistle. Whistling to the money lords. Such an answer is what one would expect from a DLC/New Dem who is trying to convince the citizens she is for them. It should have been a non-acceptable answer to the host. Still not getting that people are more awake today than when she ran last time. 2 Dem candidates presenting themselves as progressive, populist, liberal and yet no real fight from them for the 99%... She's pedaling truthiness. Does she really think the people are not going to be fully awake by 11/16?"
.
"...One thing I strongly disagree with that many liberal Dems say about Clinton is that she's running to give her husband a third term. I think she's running because she wants to be the first woman president. And I don't think she feels wedded to any particular policy of her husband's. She's made a big effort to make that clear, and I believe her. The criticism of her that I believe is spot-on is that she mainly supports policy positions only after it becomes clear that that's the way the wind is blowing. The exceptions are policy positions on the standard women's issues."
Jun 14, 2015 | Angry Bear

"The president should listen to and work with his allies in Congress, starting with Nancy Pelosi, who have expressed their concerns about the impact that a weak [Trans-Pacific Partnership] agreement would have on our workers to make sure we get the best, strongest deal possible. And if we don't get it, there should be no deal.

– Hillary Clinton, speaking today in Des Moines, Iowa

I have to confess that I've been somewhat sympathetic to Clinton in her decision, until today, to avoid speaking about the TPP, mainly because she plays no role in the decisionmaking process. Unlike Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Clinton isn't a member of Congress. And she wasn't likely to persuade any Democratic members of Congress one way or another simply by weighing in publicly on it. And by the time the new president is sworn in in January 2017, Congress will have long earlier decided the issue.

Had she taken a public stand against it before last week's vote, it would have been simply a gratuitously political act.

Now that that vote is over, it's fine for her to discuss it. But not tautologically. Obama says the current deal is the strongest deal possible. That is, he says that the counterparties would not agree to any of the changes and additions that the pact's US critics (most prominently Warren, Sanders and Joseph Stiglitz) say are necessary to make the agreement a benefit rather than a detriment to the American workforce and others who would be effected (by the patent provisions that would pertain to pharmaceuticals, for example).

What does she mean when she says that Obama should listen to and work with his allies in Congress who have expressed their concerns about the impact that a weak agreement would have on our workers to make sure we get the best, strongest deal possible? And that if we don't get it, there should be no deal? Does she mean that unless the pact's terms are what Pelosi and the other congressional critics of it say is necessary, there should be no pact?

Presumably so. The other alternative is that she means that Congress should approve the fast-track process once they're convinced that the terms negotiated are the best possible ones that the other parties will accept, but she negates that possibility when she says, "And if we don't get it, there should be no deal." But then, why didn't she just say it, outright?

She's so consumed by her strategy of never saying anything actually specific about anything that her statements come off as some combination of a Rubik's Cube and a Rorschach test for the listener. I wish she'd start speaking in straightforward sentences and paragraphs—sentences and paragraphs that lead somewhere other than a cul-de-sac.

Daniel Becker, June 14, 2015 9:31 pm

I disagree with you on whether she should have said anything prior to the vote. She's in an election and we are trying to asses what she would do if elected. The TPP was a test and she failed it in her usual way. She waited to see how the wind blew.

Now, if she had no competition who was very clear as to what they would do and why they would do it thus not waiting for the wind to blow but instead realizing that the position in contest can actually make the wind blow….

And, it still might past muster if not for this noted at C & L today:

In a separate interview, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook rejected the suggestion that his boss has been on the sidelines of the trade issue. [...]

Mook argued that it's not a problem that Clinton hasn't taken a stance since the administration hasn't made the text of the TPP deal public, and called the current dispute between Congress and the administration "about procedures and parliamentary this and that."

My comment there: If that is truly how Clinton feels, then I think we have our answer. It's the corporatist version of the dog whistle. Whistling to the money lords. Such an answer is what one would expect from a DLC/New Dem who is trying to convince the citizens she is for them.

It should have been a non-acceptable answer to the host.

Still not getting that people are more awake today than when she ran last time. 2 Dem presidents presenting themselves as progressive, populist, liberal and yet no real fight from them for the 99%. There is 1/5 years to go.

She's pedaling truthiness. Does she really think the people are not going to be fully awake by 11/16?

Beverly Mann, June 14, 2015 9:44 pm

Well, if Clinton doesn't understand that a key problem was precisely that this vote on fast-track was taking place before the text of the deal was made available to Congress, and if she really thinks the issue of fact-track approval is unimportant—"about procedures and parliamentary this and that"—then she's seriously stupid. That's a different issue than the ones I was talking about.

Beverly Mann, June 15, 2015 5:46 pm

I read a week or two ago that Hillary Clinton actually voiced serious doubts about the wisdom of NAFTA when it was under debate within the Clinton Administration, Amateur Socialist. And there's no way to know what positions she took on various parts of the TPP as Sec'y of State.

One thing I strongly disagree with that many liberal Dems say about Clinton is that she's running to give her husband a third term. I think she's running because she wants to be the first woman president. And I don't think she feels wedded to any particular policy of her husband's. She's made a big effort to make that clear, and I believe her. The criticism of her that I believe is spot-on is that she mainly supports policy positions only after it becomes clear that that's the way the wind is blowing. The exceptions are policy positions on the standard women's issues.

My post, like two or three earlier ones in recent weeks and months, was intended mainly to highlight (yet again) Clinton's strange and harmful tendency to make statements using a cliché-like phrase or analogy or comparison that actually is either wrong or misleading or irrelevant or incoherent or patently silly.

Jack, June 16, 2015 8:39 am

"….highlight (yet again) Clinton's strange and harmful tendency to make statements using a cliché-like phrase or analogy or comparison that actually is either wrong or misleading or irrelevant or incoherent or patently silly."

Maybe Hillary has noticed how well that tactic has been working for the Republicans. They're in control of both houses of Congress and the leadership, McConnell, Boehner, Ryan, etc. can't seem to utter a word in public that is based on the realities of any issue.

Daniel Becker, June 16, 2015 8:47 am

". I think she's running because she wants to be the first woman president. And I don't think she feels wedded to any particular policy of her husband's

I agree with this. If there is any policy she is wedded to any degree it is because it is the party line in general which is believed to be based on the current wind direction and strength. Unfortunately, the weather report the party most relies on is the ITB broad cast, "inside the beltway".

[Jun 16, 2015]Bubble!

"...somehow the "peace dividend" attributable to the Soviet collapse, the tech boom, even the Republican Congress! were all Clinton's doing. "
.
"...I listened to the Jeb Bush speech & I could begin to sketch the GOP campaign communications strategy. They will make job creation and small business creation the top goals for the GOP. This will form the foundation for higher family incomes return the economy to higher growth rates & I suspect that they will throw in broadly shared. Of course they will not reveal how they will stimulate small business creation or how they will create livable incomes but bankers will be involved."
.
"...One does not have to be of old age to recognize the same patterns in the endless US election cycles. Candidates will promise the heavens if necessary - remember the times of "hope and change"? - only to align themselves with the interest of wealth after being elected."
.
"...Clinton -like all other candidates - will pretend to be the next champion of working Americans up to the moment in which she enters the White House.
Our election system is design so that anyone whose elected could not and would not forget where their campaign money came from."
.
"...Most Americans no longer rely exclusively on, nor trust, the corporate media for their political news. The republican (and democratic) base is getting smarter. I think republicans will see right through Jeb's "Florida miracle" if he trots it out on the campaign trail and call him on it. His Florida "leadership" will come back to haunt him. "
.
"...Yes, it's a big joke all right, but how many people are going to get it? After all, what he said was absolutely correct, but sadly there is the real story behind the numbers and that is lost on the electorate. The Right just keeps pushing their rhetoric full blast and it sounds so good to those who have an appetite for what they are saying. It doesn't matter if they are lying are manipulating the truth, just keep promoting the story and repeat, repeat, repeat. It's all about winning votes, and the truth gets lost in the muddle."
.
"...Try and find a Republican that doesn't live in Voodoo Fantasy-land- Jeb is just preaching to his fellow True Believers. They think of themselves as "people of faith", by which they simultaneously assert moral superiority and ignore or deny any factual evidence contrary to their preexisting beliefs. It's magical thinking similar to that of a medieval theologian. Ridicule is sometimes effective dealing with them; facts they just ignore or mouth some talking point. "
.
"...Even David Stockman has all but admitted it and he helped sell it. So I wouldn't put too much faith in voters realizing that Jeb is just selling snake oil when it comes to his record. Yes, I am a cynic about the how much of a role intelligence plays in how people vote but I think I have good reason."
.
"...Your numbers reflect the result of the economic disaster in 2008 caused by Bush and, yes, Clinton financial deregulation and opportunistic and criminal bank behavior."
Jun 16, 2015 | NYTimes.com

It's tempting! to ridicule! Jeb Bush! over his ludicrous campaign logo! But it would be wrong. He should, instead, be ridiculed over his ludicrous, self-aggrandizing economic claims.

Incredibly, Jeb! is running on his economic record as governor of Florida, on the claim that he knows how to create growth — 4 percent growth, no less — because of the way Florida prospered during his term in office:

We made Florida number one in job creation and number one in small business creation. 1.3 million new jobs, 4.4 percent growth, higher family income, eight balanced budgets, and tax cuts eight years in a row that saved our people and businesses 19 billion dollars.

During those years, of course, Florida experienced the mother of all housing bubbles — and when the bubble burst (luckily for Jeb! just after he left office) it promptly wiped out 900,000 of those 1.3 million jobs:

Photo

Credit

... ... ...


Tom Silver

Funny! But perhaps some day Prof. Krugman will stop using the phrase "during the Clinton years" when he looks back on that golden economic era, not too subtly inferring that Clinton deserves the credit - but without actually coming out and saying it. He knows better. Why not attribute the 1980s conquest of inflation, the huge economic growth rates and laying the groundwork for the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union - to none other than Ronald Reagan? After all, these wonders happened on his watch. Forget the negatives of Reagan's term - my example is limited to the positives. The Professor will explain in excruciating detail why Reagan was "lucky", and deserves none of the credit upon close examination. But somehow the "peace dividend" attributable to the Soviet collapse, the tech boom, even the Republican Congress! were all Clinton's doing.

Conclusion: When it's a Republican claiming credit for economic successes under his or her administration, analyze it away. When it's a Democrat, just marvel at all the great things that happened "during his [or her] years". No analysis necessary.


James Jordan, Falls Church

Dr. K,

I listened to the Jeb Bush speech & I could begin to sketch the GOP campaign communications strategy. They will make job creation and small business creation the top goals for the GOP. This will form the foundation for higher family incomes return the economy to higher growth rates & I suspect that they will throw in broadly shared. Of course they will not reveal how they will stimulate small business creation or how they will create livable incomes but bankers will be involved.

It would be wise for very serious economists (VSEs) to scope alternatives for creating broadly shared income growth that will address job creation.

... ... ...

R. Law, is a trusted commenter Texas

Jeb! would have the same problem any other GOP'er would have - the same problem of Bush 41 and 43 - the rest of the party will wag them around; the party is only looking for a new face to put on their same ol' same ol' bankrupt economic and foreign policies, attempting a(nother) sales job.

As Grover Norquist reminded one and all in 2012 at CPAC when he said all GOP'ers need is someone in the White House with enough working digits to sign what's prepared - GOP'ers aren't looking for a leader:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/13/grover-norquist-speech-...

Nothing has changed about the party since those 2012 remarks.


JD, Columbia, SC

I believe there could possibly be another housing bubble in Florida. Perhaps the consequences of it bursting isn't as bad this time, since there's a lot of cash-only deals that have happened. But one of my friends who's been a residential real estate agent not in Miami, but good ol' Jacksonville, made around $600,000 in gross commission in 2014. This person's gross commission has grown rapidly each year since 2008. I see the 1099 every year.

This year this person expects to make around $800-$900 thousand in 2015. Again... Jacksonville residential real estate. We'll see what happens I guess.

Inverness, New York 12 hours ago

Professor Krugman is correct to point out to the fantasy/lies that the next Bush in line is spreading starting of his campaign. Though it would be exceedingly naive of Professor Krugman to take the next Clinton seriously.

One does not have to be of old age to recognize the same patterns in the endless US election cycles. Candidates will promise the heavens if necessary - remember the times of "hope and change"? - only to align themselves with the interest of wealth after being elected.

President Obama once elected created his new-old economical team made from Wall Street favorites who served under Clinton the firsts' administration and used the revolving doors of Citibank. The group of 'Rubin Boys' who pushed against regulation were brought back to clean the economic disaster they caused.

It was best put by Romney's top campaign adviser, as reported by Times magazine at the time: "You hit a reset button for the fall campaign," adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said, when asked how a campaign changes its tactics from primary season to a general election. "Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again."

Clinton -like all other candidates - will pretend to be the next champion of working Americans up to the moment in which she enters the White House.
Our election system is design so that anyone whose elected could not and would not forget where their campaign money came from.


Vince Cate, Anguilla

"And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble." - Paul Krugman

Paul, are you sure you can do anything more than blow another bubble?

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/krugman-in-02-greenspan-needs-to-create-a...

Lew Fournier, Kitchener, Ont.

Re: Vince Cate

Oh, for pity sake.

Economist Arnold Kling commented:

"He was not cheerfully advocating a housing bubble, but instead he was glumly saying that the only way he could see to get out of the recession would be for such a bubble to occur."

Some people are just great at pulling quotes out of context. Republicans seem particularly good at it.

lynn, california

It is hard to believe that someone running for president today would have a platform built on the economic "gains" they made during the run up to the largest economic fiasco this country has seen since the Great Depression. How stupid does Jeb think his republican base is?

He can attract the 1% with his "Florida miracle" malarkey because they see through it and only care about their tax cuts and the government deregulation they know he will provide.

I think it is trickier, however, to run a national campaign today on the assumption that the majority of republicans will happily ignore reality and recent history and believe Jeb's schtick. Most Americans no longer rely exclusively on, nor trust, the corporate media for their political news. The republican (and democratic) base is getting smarter. I think republicans will see right through Jeb's "Florida miracle" if he trots it out on the campaign trail and call him on it. His Florida "leadership" will come back to haunt him.

Jim Kay, is a trusted commenter Taipei, Taiwan

However stupid Jeb thinks his Republican base is, they are far more stupid!

Widgetmaker, Orange, CA

Yes, it's a big joke all right, but how many people are going to get it? After all, what he said was absolutely correct, but sadly there is the real story behind the numbers and that is lost on the electorate. The Right just keeps pushing their rhetoric full blast and it sounds so good to those who have an appetite for what they are saying. It doesn't matter if they are lying are manipulating the truth, just keep promoting the story and repeat, repeat, repeat. It's all about winning votes, and the truth gets lost in the muddle.

Woof!, is a trusted commenter NY

Why blame poor Jeb ?

From the NY Times (2002)

Paul Krugman:

The basic point is that the recession of 2001 wasn't a typical postwar slump, brought on when an inflation-fighting Fed raises interest rates and easily ended by a snapback in housing and consumer spending when the Fed brings rates back down again. This was a prewar-style recession, a morning after brought on by irrational exuberance. To fight this recession the Fed needs more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment.

And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble."

And so he did.

If you are a Nobel Prize Winner, people take what you later claim to be merely an observations for advice.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/02/opinion/dubya-s-double-dip.html

Reality Based, Flyover Country

"Jeb is living in a world of pure fantasy, in which supply side policies produce economic miracles despite abundant evidence that they do no such thing."

Try and find a Republican that doesn't live in Voodoo Fantasy-land- Jeb is just preaching to his fellow True Believers. They think of themselves as "people of faith", by which they simultaneously assert moral superiority and ignore or deny any factual evidence contrary to their preexisting beliefs. It's magical thinking similar to that of a medieval theologian. Ridicule is sometimes effective dealing with them; facts they just ignore or mouth some talking point.


Dan H, Denver, CO 14 hours ago

The problem is getting the average voter to realize that Jeb's economic castle is built on sand. As Dr. Krugman has pointed out before, most voters are too busy trying to earn a living and survive to pay any attention to politics and the various players.

How many realize Chris Christie is nothing but a vindictive blow-hard and a bully who would come close to matching George W. Bush's incompetence if he were elected president. Ask most voters and they only remember the Ronald Reagan was supposed to be the president who brought morning to America. They don't understand that his disastrous policies set the stage many of the country's struggles today such as the ever increasing inequity in this country.

Even David Stockman has all but admitted it and he helped sell it. So I wouldn't put too much faith in voters realizing that Jeb is just selling snake oil when it comes to his record. Yes, I am a cynic about the how much of a role intelligence plays in how people vote but I think I have good reason.

Defector, Mountain View 10 hours ago

None of that is true. Your numbers reflect the result of the economic disaster in 2008 caused by Bush and, yes, Clinton financial deregulation and opportunistic and criminal bank behavior. Since then we have not only regained lost ground but have continued to grow both labor participation and manufacturing.

True, we should have and could have done better, but we'd have done far worse had Romney or McCain won respective 2012 and 2008 elections. Of that there is no doubt.

[Jun 16, 2015]Hillary Clinton ducks questions on trade deals during New Hampshire visit

"..."But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the Decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!""
.
"...She was part of the Obama/Biden administration that expanded Afghanistan war, attacked Libya, intervened in Syria and Yemen, relaunched the Iraq war, used Ukraine to provoke Russia and is being provocative with China by interfering in South China Sea."
.
"...Let's face it. Wall Street and the military industrial complex control BOTH parties, and are especially bonded with and beholding to Hillary Clinton."
Jun 15, 2015 | The Guardian

FugitiveColors 15 Jun 2015 23:52

She can talk til her pantsuit turns blue.
I have already decided that my ballot will have Bernie Sanders on it one way or another.
I don't believe her. I don't like her, and I damn sure won't vote for her.
She is a blue corporate stooge and not much different than a red corporate stooge.
Bernie is honest and after all of those years in politics, he is not rich.
You can't say that about a single other candidate.


libbyliberal -> Timothy Everton 15 Jun 2015 23:47

Yo, Timothy, Paul Street recently reminded his readers of part of Colbert's speech at the Correspondents' Dinner way back in 2006 (time flies while we're sinking into fascism):

"But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the Decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!"

Timothy Everton -> enlightenedgirl 15 Jun 2015 22:36

Sorry Not-so-enlightenedgirl. WE don't elect government officials, and we don't pay them for "not putting the screws to us". They get elected, paid, and influenced by lobbyists for the wealthy one percent, and by the corporations, who both fund their campaigns for future favors rendered. Those with the most funding for the prettiest and most abundant campaign ads are those elected. And yes, they DO put the screws to us, the American public. This woman is more a puppet for those interests than some Republicans.

Timothy Everton -> libbyliberal 15 Jun 2015 22:11

"The media is still a bunch of stenographers for the WH and even now the WH candidates."

Sorry libby, I don't see them crowding around Bernie Sanders, the only viable candidate FOR the AVERAGE American. In fact, I believe he had more "press time" before he became a candidate.

That is the way it goes here though. Get an honest candidate who speaks her/his mind, and you get no press coverage - way too dangerous for those who actually control our government through lobbyists.


libbyliberal 15 Jun 2015 21:42

What is this business about Hillary NOT "taking the bait" of a reporter's questions? Hillary needs to be challenged and not be the one in control with her gobsmackingly well-funded pr info-mercial steamrolling her presidential challenge.

The media is still a bunch of stenographers for the WH and even now the WH candidates. This is what THEY say their policy is and will be. Not critical thinking of the journalist, no connecting of the dots, to be applied?

Their talk sure is cheap and seductive. Obama gave us major lessons in that in 2008 and again in 2012. More nicey-nice sounding bull-sh*t that is vague or downright mendacious to the realpolitik agenda.

Hillary wants to talk about what is convenient and safe for her. Identity politics. Generalized populist feel-good rhetoric. Nothing substantial with the globalized and corporatized trade deals OR the massive violent US-sponsored or direct militarism around the globe.

Hillary's NYC Four Freedoms Park speech: lack of mention of foreign policy except for some threats on China, Russia, N. Korea and Iran. No mention of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Afghanistan. No mention of drone warfare. No mention of NSA surveillance. No mention of police violence.

She was part of the Obama/Biden administration that expanded Afghanistan war, attacked Libya, intervened in Syria and Yemen, relaunched the Iraq war, used Ukraine to provoke Russia and is being provocative with China by interfering in South China Sea.

Hillary skipped addressing the inconvenient and the media and her fan base had no problem with such gobsmacking omissions. Hillary decides that the US citizenry doesn't want to focus on foreign policy and she ramps up vague populist rhetoric like Obama did back in 2008 to convince the citizenry she is their champion even though she personally has amassed over $100 million from her financial elite cronies over the decades and if you think that fortune has no influence on who she is championing there's a bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn you should look into buying.

Let's face it. Wall Street and the military industrial complex control BOTH parties, and are especially bonded with and beholding to Hillary Clinton.


Vladimir Makarenko -> enlightenedgirl 15 Jun 2015 19:19

"diplomacy so badly needed after the disastrous term of Bush and Cheney and their destruction of the Middle East." If anything she extended B & Ch policies by destroying Libya and turning it in a murderous breeding ground for Islamic ultras. She was at helm of arming Syrian "opposition" better known today as ISIS.

Her record as a Secretary is dismal - line by line no achievements, no solved problems but disaster by disaster.

talenttruth 15 Jun 2015 18:34

If the Democratic party nominates the "inevitable" Hillary Clinton, rather than someone real who ACTUALLY represents the middle class, tells the truth and is NOT part of the "corporately bought-and-sold" insider group, then it will be heads-or-tails whether she wins or one of the totally insane, whack-job Republi-saur candidates wins.

If she keeps on doing what she's been doing, she will LOOK just like those arrogant "insiders" the Republicans claim her to be (despite the fact that they are FAR FAR FAR worse, but much better at lying about that than any Democrat). Hillary is a VERY VERY WEAK candidate, because the huge "middle" of decent Americans is looking for real change, and not -- as well -- a Republican change WAY for the worse.

This Election is the Democratic Party's to LOSE. Hillary could make that happen (no matter how much worse ANY Republican victor will likely be). What a choice.

sour_mash -> goatrider 15 Jun 2015 18:09

"...why doesn't the disgusting American media ask the Republicans who support it to explain themselves too. Why are they so eager to join Obama in destroying the American middle class?"

After +6 years of the then Republican Party, now known as the Christian Jihad Party or CJP, making Obama a one term president it smells to high heaven that they now agree on this single issue.

Yes, where are the questions.

Whitt 15 Jun 2015 18:03

Because they're not "destroying the American middle class". You have to remember that to the financial elites who are backing Republicans - and Obama - "middle class" means anyone who's in the top 5% of the economic pyramid but hasn't made it into the top 1% because they're too damned lazy.

[Jun 16, 2015]Jeb Bush's campaign debut: protester showdown met with chants of 'USA'

"..."are you really suggesting we forget this piece of history simply because bush won by corruption nd connivance?""
.
"...Most Americans are addicted , with help from the media, to those who like to drag them to wars and fuck their economy for the sake of the rich and powerful. And the sad truth is that there is not much difference between Democrats such as Clinton and the GOP bunch that have announced their presidential intentions. There is no hope as long as big money is involved in choosing leadership for a country that boasts about democracy and democratic values while it's institutions are under assault by corrupt rich and powerful."
.
"...All candidates are promising change and yet are funded by those who don't want change.
All candidates are promising defeat of ISIS and yet voted for or presided over or agreed with military aggression in the ME and tactics that helped create the instability in Iraq that led to ISIS. All candidates are promising to strengthen the middle classes and yet support tax cuts (benefiting the rich), trade agreements (benefiting the rich), deregulation (benefiting the rich), and are funded by industries that impoverish the working and middle classes and keep wages stagnant. "

.
"...Bush may speak Spanish and come across as Latino friendly, but the reality is that he's the son of one of the most powerful families in the US. As a conservative Republican, his first priority is to the powerful elite."
Jun 15, 2015 | The Guardian

eileen1 -> mabcalif 15 Jun 2015 23:48

Neither a Bush nor a Clinton. They're both poisonous in different ways.

eileen1 -> WMDMIA 15 Jun 2015 23:47

There is no difference between Bush and Obama, except Obama is smarter and more devious.

redbanana33 -> mabcalif 15 Jun 2015 23:27

"are you really suggesting we forget this piece of history simply because bush won by corruption and connivance?"

No, I never said I believed there was corruption and connivance. Those are your words. Your personal opinion. MY words were that if more voters had wanted Gore as their president, he would have won. As it was, he couldn't even carry his home state. Sometimes the truth is hard to face and so we make excuses for what we perceive as injustice, when, in reality, more people just didn't think like you did in that election. But blame the court (bet you can't even clearly state what the case points they were asked to consider, without googling it) and blame the Clintons and even blame poor Ralph for your guy's lack of popularity. If it makes you feel better, go for it. It won't change the past.

And, speaking of presidents winning by a hair's breadth, shall we talk about how Joe Kennedy bribed his way to electing his son? Hmmmm? Except that even the crook Nixon had enough class to concede rather than drag the country through months of misery like your hero did.

mabcalif -> redbanana33 15 Jun 2015 22:50

there have been more than one excellent president who's won that office only by a hair's breadth.

are you really suggesting we forget this piece of history simply because bush won by corruption and connivance? particularly when the outcome was so disastrous for the country and the world?

it wasn't a question of being more popular, it's a question of being overwhelmed by the clinton scandal, a brother governor willing to throw the state's votes and by a supreme court that was arrayed against him (sandra o'connor is actually on record saying that she would do anything to get bush elected.) not to mention a quixotic exercise in third party politics with a manifestly inadequate candidate that had no foreign policy experience

Otuocha11 -> redbanana33 15 Jun 2015 22:43

Yes some people need to be reminded, especially about the falsification/lies completing the 2009 voter-registration form.

bishoppeter4 15 Jun 2015 22:39

Jeb and his father and brother ought to be in jail !

Otuocha11 -> redbanana33 15 Jun 2015 22:38

His point is that "No more president with the name BUSH" in the White House. He can change his name to something like Moron or Terrone. Let him drop that name because Americans have NOT and will NOT recover from the regime of the last Bush.

redbanana33 -> Con Mc Cusker 15 Jun 2015 22:30

Then (respectfully) the rest of the world needs to grow some balls, get up off their asses, define their vision, and strike out on their own as controllers of their own destinies.

After that, you'll have the right to criticize my country. Right now you don't have that right. Get off the wagon and help pull it.

ponderwell -> Peter Ciurczak 15 Jun 2015 22:25

Politics is about maneuvering to get your own way. In Jebya speak it means whatever will
lead to power. Hillary sounds trite and poorly staged.

Jeez, now Trump wants more attention...a big yawn.

WMDMIA 15 Jun 2015 22:24

His brother should be in prison for war crimes and crimes against Humanity. Jeb violated election laws to put his brother in office so he is also responsible for turning this nation into a terrorist country.

ExcaliburDefender -> Zenit2 15 Jun 2015 22:03

No $hit $herlock, he met his wife when they were both 17, in MEXICO. Jeb has a degree in Latin Studies too.

Just vote, the Tea Party always does.

:<)

ExcaliburDefender 15 Jun 2015 22:01

Jeb may very well be the most qualified of the GOP, and he can speak intelligently on immigration, if his campaign/RNC would allow it.

Too bad we don't have other GOPers like Huntsman and even Steve Forbes, yes I enjoyed Forbes being part of the debates in 96, even voted for him in the primary. And not because I thought he would win, but I wanted him to be heard.

Debates will be interesting, Trump is jumping in for the 4th time.

#allvotesmatter

fflambeau 15 Jun 2015 22:00

The USA presidential campaign looks very much like a world wrestling match (one of those fake ones). Only the wrestlers are more intelligent.

MisterMeaner 15 Jun 2015 21:59

Jebya. Whoopty Goddam Doo.

ponderwell 15 Jun 2015 21:52

Jebby exclaimed: 'The country is going in the wrong direction'. Omitting the direction W Bush sent the U.S. into with false info. and willful intention to bomb Iraq for the sake of an egotistical purpose.

And, the insane numerous disasters W sponsored. The incorrigible Bush Clan !

benluk 15 Jun 2015 21:49

Jeb Bush, "In this country of ours, most improbable things can happen," Jeb Bush

But not as improbable as letting another war mongering Bush in the White House.

gilbertratchet -> BehrHunter 15 Jun 2015 21:42

Indeed, and it seems that Bush III thinks it's a virtue not a problem:

"In this country of ours, most improbable things can happen," began Bush. "And that's from the guy who met his first president on the day he was born and his second on the day he was brought home from the hospital..."

No Jeb, that would be improbable for me. For you it was a normal childhood day. But it's strange you're pushing the "born to rule" angle. I guess it's those highly paid consultants who tell you that you have to own the issue before it defines you.

Guess what... No amount of spin will change your last name.

gorianin 15 Jun 2015 21:35

Jeb Bush already fixed one election. Now he's looking to "fix" the country.

seasonedsenior 15 Jun 2015 21:29

Stop calling him Jeb. Sounds folksy and everyman like. His name is John E. Bush. And he's from a family of billionaires. Don't let him pull a what's-her-name in Spokane. He was a rich baby, child, young man, Governor ...on and on and is completely out of touch with the common man.

He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and his sensibilities are built of money gained off the backs of the workers of this country. He is big oil to his core.

Caesar Ol 15 Jun 2015 21:27

Jeb is the dumbest of all the Bushes. Therefore the most dangerous as someone will manipulate him the way that Cheney did with Bush.

ChelsieGreen 15 Jun 2015 21:27

Interesting thing is that Bush is old school Republican, spend big, be the power to the world.

Since his brother/father left office the party moved on, Tea Party may have faded slightly but they are not big spenders, they are small government. Jeb will have trouble making a mark in the early states to be the nominee, he is considered center-right.

The right wing of the party thinks where they slipped up was not nominating someone right-wing enough, they will portray him as weak on immigration and chew him up.


Brookstone1 15 Jun 2015 21:11

America has been wounded badly by the reckless and stupidity of the Republicans under the leadership of G. W. Bush. And now it would be a DEADLY MISTAKE to even ponder about voting Republican again, let alone voting for another Bush! The Bush family has nothing in common with ordinary Americans!

NO MORE BUSH!!!

nubwaxer 15 Jun 2015 21:03

i heard his punchlines about "fixing" america to get us back to free enterprise and freedom. dear jeb, we know what you mean and free enterprise is code for corporatism run wild and repeal of regulations. similarly when you say freedom you mean that for rich white males and right to work laws, union busting, repeal of minimum wage laws, no paid vacation or maternity leave and especially the freedom to go bankrupt, suffer, and die for lack of health care insurance. more like freedumb.

Xoxarle -> sitarlun 15 Jun 2015 20:33

All candidates are promising change and yet are funded by those who don't want change.

All candidates are promising defeat of ISIS and yet voted for or presided over or agreed with military aggression in the ME and tactics that helped create the instability in Iraq that led to ISIS.

All candidates are promising to strengthen the middle classes and yet support tax cuts (benefiting the rich), trade agreements (benefiting the rich), deregulation (benefiting the rich), and are funded by industries that impoverish the working and middle classes and keep wages stagnant.

All candidates are promising bipartisanship and yet are part of the dysfunction in DC, pandering to special interests or extreme factions that reject compromise.

ID6995146 15 Jun 2015 20:33

Another Saudi hand-holder and arse licker.


OlavVI -> catch18 15 Jun 2015 20:24

And he's already got Wolfowitz, one of the worst war mongers (ala Cheney) in US history as an adviser. Probably dreaming up several wars for Halliburton, et al., to rake up billions of $$$$ from the poor (the rich pretty much get off in the US).

concious 15 Jun 2015 20:20

USA chant is Nationalism, not Patriotism. Is this John Ellis Bush really going to get votes?

sitarlun 15 Jun 2015 20:02

Most Americans are addicted , with help from the media, to those who like to drag them to wars and fuck their economy for the sake of the rich and powerful.

And the sad truth is that there is not much difference between Democrats such as Clinton and the GOP bunch that have announced their presidential intentions.

There is no hope as long as big money is involved in choosing leadership for a country that boasts about democracy and democratic values while it's institutions are under assault by corrupt rich and powerful.

OurPlanet -> briteblonde1 15 Jun 2015 19:34

He's a great "fixer" Him and his tribe in Florida certainly fixed those chads for his brother's election success in 2000. A truly rich family of oilmen . What could be better? Possibly facing if inaugerated as the GOP nominee to face the possibly successful Democrat nominee Clinton. So the choice of 2016 menu for American election year is 2 Fish that stink. Welcome to the American Plutocracy.

Sam Ahmed 15 Jun 2015 19:23

I wonder if the state of Florida will try "Fix" the vote count for Jeb as they did for Georgie. I wonder if the Republicans can "Fix" their own party. You know what, I don't want the Republican party to think I'm bashing them, so I'll request a major tune up for Hillary Clinton too. Smiles all around! =)

Cyan Eyed 15 Jun 2015 18:48

A family linked to weapons manufacturers through Harriman.
A family linked to weapons dealing through Carlyle.
A family linked to the formation of terrorist networks (including Al Qaeda).
A family linked to an attempted coup on America.
The right-wing is incredibly stupid if Bush is their nominee.

davshev 15 Jun 2015 18:43

Bush may speak Spanish and come across as Latino friendly, but the reality is that he's the son of one of the most powerful families in the US. As a conservative Republican, his first priority is to the powerful elite.

[Jun 15, 2015]How Corporations Control Politics

"...conservatives are leading a revolution, in which national governments are being usurped by the big government of the international corporate oligopoly."
June 7, 2015 | crookedtimber.org
In my Salon column today, I look at new research examining how corporations influence politics.
Money talks. But how?

From "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" to Citizens United, the story goes like this: The wealthy corrupt and control democracy by purchasing politicians, scripting speech and writing laws. Corporations and rich people make donations to candidates, pay for campaign ads and create PACs. They, or their lobbyists, take members of Congress out to dinner, organize junkets for senators and tell the government what to do. They insinuate money where it doesn't belong. They don't build democracy; they buy it.

But that, says Alex Hertel-Fernandez, a PhD student in Harvard's government department, may not be the only or even the best way to think about the power of money. That power extends far beyond the dollars deposited in a politician's pocket. It reaches for the votes and voices of workers who the wealthy employ. Money talks loudest where money gets made: in the workplace.

Among Hertel-Fernandez's findings:
1. Nearly 50% of the top executives and managers surveyed admit that they mobilize their workers politically.

2. Firms believe that mobilizing their workers is more effective than donating money to a candidate, buying campaign ads, or investing in large corporate lobbies like the Chamber of Commerce.

3. The most important factor in determining whether a firm engages in partisan mobilization of its workers—and thinks that that mobilization is effective—is the degree of control it has over its workers. Firms that always engage in surveillance of their employees' online activities are 50 percent more likely to mobilize their workers than firms that never do.

4. Of the workers who say they have been mobilized by their employers, 20% say that they received threats if they didn't.

My conclusion:
When we think of corruption, we think of something getting debased, becoming impure, by the introduction of a foreign material. Money worms its way into the body politic, which rots from within. The antidote to corruption, then, is to keep unlike things apart. Take the big money out of politics or limit its role. That's what our campaign finance reformers tell us.

But the problem isn't corruption. It's…

Phil 06.07.15 at 3:43 pm

That's a disgusting state of affairs, and one which I hope is confined to the US. I've never seen anything remotely like that – never had a hint that my boss wanted to influence my vote – at any of the places I've worked, including the ones with no pension scheme and no union recognition.
.2

Metatone 06.07.15 at 3:44 pm

I think in terms of campaigning (letter writing) etc. these abuses have clear effects.

I'd argue though that in terms of the overall discourse, "the bosses" have won without even resorting to anything so crude.

At least here in the UK it's palpable that people soak up attitudes about economics and trade policy from work. And those policy preferences aren't designed around their prosperity…

They aren't being threatened, it's simply a matter of culture – of lionising the "private sector" and bashing the "public sector" and those out of work. The identity comes out of water cooler moments and the lunch break. It takes a strong outside-work identity not to want the halo of "private sector wealth creator" and thus disdain a union, or a strike or a dole recipient…

Josh Jasper 06.07.15 at 4:38 pm

cassander : Seems to me that coal miners and coal mine owners have a lot of interests in common.

You might want to mention that to someone who's worked for Massey energy at the Upper Big Branch Mine. Suggest to him that he really ought to be giving his wages to the PACs if Massey tells them to.

I suggest having your dentist on speed dial.

For that matter, it's evident that the lot of interests Murray and his labor force have in common exclude worker safety as well

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elliott-negin/coal-baron-digs-a-deeper_b_4714139.html

But hey, it's not him getting black lung or dying in a mine collapse. It's his workers. The ones he's been fined repeated times for ignoring safety regulations to save a buck here and there.

Does mobilization to vote Republican affect coal workers? Yes. It makes it very likely that the industry will get away with ignoring safety regulations to save money, because destroying mining safety regulations for major donors is a Republican party practice.

Sasha Clarkson 06.07.15 at 6:45 pm

Much conservative rhetoric, especially in the US, is caught up in an anachronistic big-government/small-government debate. But real government is not where the nominal authority lies, but who has the real power!

Like it or not, conservatives are leading a revolution, in which national governments are being usurped by the big government of the international corporate oligopoly. This of course is barely accountable for its actions, nor subject to democratic oversight, and hence can ride roughshod over the broad mass of humanity. Of course, like the Star Wars Trade Federation, the oligopoly also subverts/coerces the loyalties of employees from the wider community to itself.

I suspect that the trend is that national governments will be important only in that they will provide the armies to enforce the will of the corporate elite. Eventually even this may become unimportant as other means are found to suppress us!

http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/…/images/6/68/TF-DCS-ST.jpg

Bruce Wilder 06.07.15 at 7:08 pm

. . . the problem isn't corruption. It's capitalism.

So simple, then. So obvious.

More than a century of organizing work in hierarchy was all just a big mistake, but no worries, we'll just exchange it for "economic democracy" at the service desk at Best Buy.

Ronan(rf) 06.07.15 at 8:11 pm
Not to display a put on world weary cynicism , but I'm surprised people are surprised by this. It isn't "capitalism" , it's politics. People have always been pressured into how they vote, whether by domineering individuals in their family, notable families in their community , factions in their village, political machines in their towns and cities , so on and so forth. In workplaces of all sizes, from small shops to local factories, individuals have been coerced, whether implicitly (through peer pressure) or explicitly (threats of dismissal) into supporting political positions a dominant faction wants them to. (Is this not part of what trade unions do, or have done?)
It is a fallacy of WEIRD thinking to imagine away such pressures historically. Obviously this situation in the OP isn't ideal, but it is politics , as it has existed since time immemorial. (Or at least a date I can't place)
Alex Hertel-Fernandez 06.07.15 at 8:24 pm
Cassander: I've looked at workers' self-reports of whether employer messages changed their behaviors. About half of all workers who have been contacted by their bosses report a change in at least one of their political behaviors or attitudes, and 15% report that employer messages affected their vote choice. Is this a lot or a little? I think the answer depends on whether you think it is an appropriate role for managers to play in the political lives of their employees.

You're definitely right that the economic interests of workers and managers are often aligned on things like trade and regulation. But many times they are not — as in the cases of working conditions (e.g. minimum wage) or redistributive policies. And independent of the content of employers' political messages, we might be worried about the power that managers have over their workers. For instance, I find that about 28% of contacted workers reported that their employers' messages either made them uncomfortable or included threats of economic retaliation. I think whether you are troubled by these statistics or not depends on whether you are concerned about power differentials between employers and their employees.

Barry Freed: Many of these employer tactics used to be illegal, for the most part, before Citizens United. And some states have taken action to curb the most coercive practices (NJ and OR). But most states haven't.

hix 06.07.15 at 8:40 pm
Well, I associate such behaviour with defect democracy – which is how id think of most historical democracies. So for me it is shocking to see this kind of mechanism in a modern long established rich democracy (ok not that shocking, considering all the other fingerpointers towards that direction with regards to the US).
gianni 06.07.15 at 8:46 pm
Not to mention the ways in which American corporations especially have worked to diminish the employee's time for political activity. Some workers are terribly underpaid, forcing them to work extra hours/job; some are subject to capricious scheduling, and irregular hours; others in prestige jobs intentionally overworked, makes for easier conditioning. All around the 40hr/week standard persists despite massive productivity gains. At least the French get August off to take a proper trip to the beach.

Added to this our antiquated infrastructure and sprawling residential geography make the simple fact of getting to work a huge time investment. While in your car you are more likely to be fed the political opinions of well-funded media figures than to those of your peers. Don't forget that this is in the country that invented the internet – how many of those people could just be telecommuting anyway?

Ronan(rf) 06.07.15 at 8:55 pm
@13 – I don't know if I'd see the US as an institutionally mature democracy akin to what exists in Northern Europe, more as a hybrid of areas that are economically and politically developed, and others that are more comparable to weak states or emerging democracies (at best the European 'periphery', Spain, Greece, Italy, Ireland- perhaps in the 80s more than now) You can see this in the weak state capacity, corrupt militia like police forces and late agrarian style of politics.
Also, perhaps I'm wrong.
Bruce Wilder 06.07.15 at 9:44 pm
Rich Puchalsky @ 11:

I appreciate that when you're going against an established story, you have to emphasize that what's really going on is a whole different story.

That's what I'd take "the problem isn't corruption. It's capitalism." to be.

But really I'd assume that it's both.

[Jun 14, 2015] Bush and Hawkish Magical Thinking

"...t's usually not clear what hawks think would have discouraged Russian interference and intervention in Ukraine under the circumstances, but they seem to think that if only the U.S. had somehow been more assertive and more meddlesome there or in some other part of the world that the conflict would not have occurred or would not be as severe as it is."
Jun 14, 2015 | The American Conservative
Jeb Bush made a familiar assertion during his visit to Poland:

Bush seemed to suggest he would endorse a more muscular foreign policy, saying the perception of American retreat from the global stage in recent years had emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin to commit aggression in Ukraine.

"When there's doubt, when there's uncertainty, when we pull back, it creates less chance of a more peaceful world," Bush told reporters. "You're seeing the impact of that in Ukraine right now."

Bush's remarks are what we expect from hawks, but they are useful in showing how they indulge in a sort of magical thinking when it comes to the U.S. role in the world. They take for granted that an activist and meddlesome U.S. foreign policy is stabilizing and contributes to peace and security, and so whenever there is conflict or upheaval somewhere it is attributed to insufficient U.S. meddling or to so-called "retreat." According to this view, the conflict in Ukraine didn't happen because the Ukrainian government was overthrown in an uprising and Russia then illegally seized territory in response, but because the U.S. was perceived to be "retreating" and this "emboldened" Russia. It's usually not clear what hawks think would have discouraged Russian interference and intervention in Ukraine under the circumstances, but they seem to think that if only the U.S. had somehow been more assertive and more meddlesome there or in some other part of the world that the conflict would not have occurred or would not be as severe as it is.

This both greatly overrates the power and influence that the U.S. has over the events in other parts of the world, and it tries to reduce every foreign crisis or conflict to how it relates to others' perceptions of U.S. "leadership." Hawks always dismiss claims that other states are responding to past and present U.S. actions, but they are absolutely certain that other states' actions are invited by U.S. "inaction" or "retreat," even when the evidence for said "retreat" is completely lacking. The possibility that assertive U.S. actions may have made a conflict more likely or worse than it would otherwise be is simply never admitted. The idea that the U.S. role in the world had little or nothing to do with a conflict seems to be almost inconceivable to them.

One of the many flaws with this way of looking at the world is that it holds the U.S. most responsible for conflicts that it did not magically prevent while refusing to accept any responsibility for the consequences of things that the U.S. has actually done. Viewing the world this way inevitably fails to take local conditions into account, it ignores the agency of the local actors, and it imagines that the U.S. possesses a degree of control over the rest of the world that it doesn't and can't have. Unsurprisingly, this distorted view of the world reliably produces very poor policy choices.

[Jun 14, 2015] An Inconvenient Truth The Bush Administration Was a Disaster

Jun 14, 2015 | The American Conservative

Most Americans remember the Bush years as a period of expanding government, ruinous war, and economic collapse. They voted for Obama the first time as a repudiation of those developments. Many did so a second time because most Republicans continue to pretend that they never happened.

[Jun 14, 2015]The Hillary Promise

Zero Hedge

Following Hillary's first official campaign speech yesterday, promising everything to everyone (apart from those dastardly Wall Street types that keep donating to her campaign and Foundation) so that "everybody will have a better time," we thought it worth reminding 'voters' of another promise...

NoWayJose

The Clinton's and Obama may not know how to run a country - but you have to admit that they are masters at deflating scandals and at running Presidential campaigns. With all these scandals, I am shocked that Hillary is not only still in this, but is running ahead! Are Americans really this stupid?

Caleb Abell

More than 300 million people in the US, and the best two candidates the country can come up with is a choice that will probably be between a treasonous neocon warmonger (bush) and a corrupt warmongering grifter (clinton).

I wonder if Roman citizens put with stupid shit like this when their republic was collapsing.

sunkeye

Hey c'mon now. Hil's just a good ol' gal tryin' to make things better for y'all. She's running for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave for "you people." This aren't about her no way. An insanely maniacal grab for power aren't got nothin' to do with it. (Insert Slick Willy wink here.)

[Jun 13, 2015] What Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Really All About?

June 4, 2015 | The Baseline Scenario

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and 11 other countries. It is comprised of two main parts: reductions in tariffs (and related non-tariff barriers), of the kind typically seen in trade agreements; and new rules for foreign direct investment and intellectual property rights, which have not previously been prominent in FTAs.

The new rules part has become controversial. The case for introducing an investor-state dispute settlement seems less than compelling – this would favor foreign investors over domestic investors, not an idea that sits well with the standard idea of equality before the law (going back at least 800 years) and a direct contradiction to the usual principles of FTAs (emphasizing non-discrimination across types of investors). As currently formulated, it would also be open to considerable abuse. And the precise rules under consideration for patent protection appear likely to reduce access to affordable medicines in both our trading partners and potentially also in the United States.

As a result, advocates of TPP are now emphasizing the benefits of tariff reductions in terms of boosting US exports. But the administration's claims in this regard are greatly exaggerated and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is unfortunately refusing to fully discuss the broader trade impact, including the precise impact of higher imports into the United States.

[Jun 13, 2015]The Index Of Evil Whos The Bad Guy Now

"...Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Lindsey Graham come to mind, along with John McCain, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, and all the other clownish warmongers."
Zero Hedge
Let us finish our series, "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." We've been looking at how, when everybody's a lawbreaker, it's hard to spot the real criminals. (To catch up, here's Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.)

You'll recall that we imagined a conversation between two German soldiers on the Eastern Front in 1943. "Klaus, are we the bad guys here?" one might have asked the other.

Yesterday, we mentioned a few "bad guys." It was no trouble to find them. Just check the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C.

But today we move on – beyond the two-bit bullies, chiselers, and zombies – to the really ugly guys. Who are the evil ones?

It's easy to see evil in dead people. Stalin... Hitler... Pol Pot... people who tortured and killed just to feel good. The jaws of Hell must open especially wide to let them in.

But who should go to the devil today?

Counting the Bodies

It is not for us to say. But we can make some recommendations:

Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Lindsey Graham come to mind, along with John McCain, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, and all the other clownish warmongers.

Of course, we want to be fair and respectful. Each should definitely get an impartial hearing… and then his own lamppost.

... ... ...

[Jun 13, 2015] Former secretary of state officially launches presidential campaign, says shell fight for all Americans

"......She made one reference to Vladimir Putin, saying she "stood up to" the Russian leader when she worked to pass a treaty to limit Russian nuclear warheads. But she noticeably avoided any talk of her stance on trade -- an issue that has dominated recent headlines because of congressional Democrats' internal strife on fast-track trade legislation."
.
"...Hillary diplomatic accomplishments consist of drone strikes, gunboat diplomacy, wire taps of friends, sucking up with enemies and assassination teams."
.
"...It's funny how all you yahoos think that "the people" decide who is president. If the people really decided that, there wouldn't be just two candidates to vote for. Live on in your political fantasy world."
Jun 13, 2015 | CBS News

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton officially launched her 2016 campaign in New York Saturday, laying out a populist policy agenda that she said would fight "for all Americans."

"I'm running to make our economy work for you and for every American," Clinton told supporters at a midday rally on New York's Roosevelt Island. "I'm not running for some Americans, but for all Americans."

Standing atop a stage shaped in the likeness of her campaign logo -- a large "H" with an arrow pointing right -- Clinton cited "America's basic bargain" as a guiding principle of her campaign and her personal life: "If you do your part, you ought to be able to get ahead."

...Clinton also addressed issues with entering the presidential race at 67 years old.

...She made one reference to Vladimir Putin, saying she "stood up to" the Russian leader when she worked to pass a treaty to limit Russian nuclear warheads. But she noticeably avoided any talk of her stance on trade -- an issue that has dominated recent headlines because of congressional Democrats' internal strife on fast-track trade legislation.

Carltests

Hillary's message is one of being stuck in the past. Her mother lived through the Great Depression, and evidently had a hard time. Well, most people who lived through the Great Depression had hard times. Living under the impression that life is the way it was now almost 100 years ago is not indicative of anyone I can support.

She is really hung up women's issues. I know a lot of professional women who are doing quite well and don't seem to carry that sort of baggage. They tend to be good at their career choices and have understood that they only needed empower themselves to succeed, and therefore, they have succeeded. They weren't dependent upon the men in their lives, although they have them, nor were they dependent on the Government to have their success. Among them was one of the best supervisors I ever had, and she never had the hangups Hillary does, plus she was much more competent than Hillary has proved to be.

Perhaps Hillary's hangups are the result of her philandering, likely abusive husband, Slick Willy. You know, he was always that way. She could have left him at any time and stood on her own. Yet, she stayed in that almost certainly sick relationship. Now she claims she will save all women. Well, I think her actions and her choices in her life demonstrate that she won't.

puckingpup842

More Clinton crap of greed corruption is all we would get, and with her ignorance and a finger on the button WWIII as she thinks she is pushing a reset button.

..trout.

I am not a Hillary supporter. But if I have to choose between her and the motley lineup of Republicans, guess she gets my vote by default.

puckingpup842

Hillary diplomatic accomplishments consist of drone strikes, gunboat diplomacy, wire taps of friends, sucking up with enemies and assassination teams.

Buttercup

@puckingpup842

Which should make her right at home in the GOP.

eightsigma

@puckingpup842 In other words, normal foreign policy leadership.

WildStarre

It's funny how all you yahoos think that "the people" decide who is president. If the people really decided that, there wouldn't be just two candidates to vote for. Live on in your political fantasy world.

WildStarre

@eightsigma @WildStarre

They never have. The banks decide who the two candidates will be. And both candidates are in their pocket.

rykatspop

And from the far corner of the old GOP, Newt has a plan . . . a contract with America. They can bring that disaster out again.

Walker and Gingrich. There's a ticket. Neo conservatives and tea baggers unite.

eightsigma

GOP Presidential campaign platform:

"If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

eightsigma

@jgg0000012 @eightsigma You must have missed the "freeloader" narrative.

Slammy Davis, Jr.

@eightsigma @jgg0000012

Dayum right on that one! I saw Jon Stewart tear them apart on that one! Epic!

HiTor15

We saw a president come in here with all the hoopla and promise of "CHANGE"...what did he do instead? Well he MADE THE ELITE A WHOLE LOT MORE ELITE...the POOR A WHOLE LOT MORE POOR...and HE HAS BROUGHT US ONE SHOT FROM WORLD WAR THREE! That was not a whole lotta change of the kind most people were expecting.....as for hillary? well first she becomes SENATOR OF NEW YORK....then...when she loses her bid for the presidency..she decides she can join the MAN OF CHANGE and become SECRETARY OF STATE..and what did she do there????? ....well I can leave that answer to YOU!

Its time for a REAL CHANGE....or the only change we're going to get is to die in a NUCLEAR WAR! which will be charged to our credit bill.....before hand...... Just an opinion.....

KansasCowboy
The Clinton's have been for sale every since their early days in Arkansas. Put a t-shirt on Bill or Hillary with the sleeves cut out and a pack of smokes on their shoulder and they are right back in the hills..

eightsigma

@KansasCowboy Yeah - those Rhodes scholars. There goes the neighborhood
KansasCowboy

Elitist hypocrite on steroids... The Lyle Alzado of politics!

FlMed

The argument for Clinton in 2016 is that she is the candidate of the only major American political party not run by lunatics.

There is only one choice for voters who want a president who accepts climate science and rejects voodoo economics, and whose domestic platform would not engineer the largest upward redistribution of resources in American history.

Even if the relatively sober Jeb Bush wins the nomination, he will have to accommodate himself to his party's barking-mad consensus.

She is non-crazy America's choice by default. And it is not necessarily an exciting choice for some, but it is an easy one, and a proposition behind which she will command a majority

californiadreaming
That's a laugh. Her family is about one of the most dysfunctional families in the public spotlight today!

Sorry, but she's just borrowing a line from Obama's playbook - tell the voters anything and everything to get their votes, and then ignore them when you get elected.Yes, it might be time for a female president, but Hillary Clinton is not the person to fill those shoes. She has less experience than Obama had. And no - you can't count the 8 years being married to the president as experience!

The overall problem in 2016 is that no candidate has stepped up that would really fit the role of president - for either party. I've seen the administration of 11 presidents in my lifetimes, and I've never seen such slim pickings as we have in 2016. They are all unknown entities or they are total froot loops. The Republicans have so many candidates that even if they had a viable one, there are too many to choose from.

skeezix06
Obama's cabinet selection of CEOs and their assistant water carriers makes Hillary's claim of populism pretty thin. I might have believed it in 2010 but not at this point. I might add that I've given up on my current democratic senator due to an apparent inability to tell Obama "no". That person won'tbe getting my vote next election.

Everything considered, democrats did nothing to reverse Dumbya's bad policies and little or nothing that looks like actual democratic policies. I'm totally disgusted with the democratic party. Republicans have been forced so far into la-la land by the tea party/libertarians that they aren't an option. The only person running who looks interesting so far is Bernie.

rzarc101
@xlucky7x

Bush Jr. was CEO of one or two small companies that went belly up. Fiorina almost took out HP, a huge company. Romney was a very successful cEO. Running a company and running a government are two different animals. They share some things but not many.
wfw3536
Hillary talks about how she is the candidate of today, and how she is fighting for children, and regular folks. Maybe she should tell us how Bill and Hillary could make 130 million dollars in less than six years after being broke in 2008. She tells us she wants to help our economy, well she could help our economy by just giving us her secret of how to make 130 million dollars, or how to play the "pay to play" games and win big. Her comments of fighting against the rich is almost as big a lie as her whopper of being shot at by rebels in Kosovo that Obama exposed in the 2008 campaign. She claims to be a candidate of today, but the truth is if you listen to her speech it is the same old, same old Hillary who is getting very tired to a majority of folks who do not believe she is neither honest of trustworthy.

erasmus

@scottpatrick1234

Give your freakin' head a shake. Every single Republican candidate will have the same or more skeletons in their closet. I've never seen so many corrupt politicians. In fact, your whole political system is corrupt.

From what I can see, Obama is the only one without skeletons.. Good luck with finding another. This one was a fluke.




Anyways, GO HILLARY!!!
RJ.Incognito1974
@Buttercup @RJ.Incognito1974 You are damned right I'm afraid of a pathological liar and a Federal criminal as POTUS.

She is also likely to be an agent for the Communist Chinese now too.

Now that we can assume that the Chinese also have EVERY single email that Hillary Clinton had saved on the hard drive of her private server in her private home during her 4 years as Sec of State and for 2 more years afterward, she is totally compromised. The Chinese can blackmail her into doing ANYTHING they want her to do by threatening to expose her incriminating emails, and you can be sure there are MANY. She deleted 30,000 of them and then had her hard drive scrubbed in the attempt to prevent them from EVER being retrieved. Surprise, surprise, the Chinese have read ALL of them. The Chinese OWN Hillary Clinton's fat A$$.

wdrousell

If you don't like Hillary because she is too close to WallSt, then it is obvious you would never vote for a republican.

eightsigma

@scottpatrick1234 "Yesterday" means "greed is good".
Clinton has the moral high ground.

PlsMKSns

@scottpatrick1234 Oh. OK. You don't get it?

Yesterday - segregated army barracks, segregated society, can't vote, can't marry a different race, can't this can't that...you get it yet?
xlucky7x
Hillary equals more hate and racism and divisiveness and misogyny and impoverishment and dependency and crime.

Hillary offers nothing except that will be good for Hillary. She cares about nothing but herself!

FlMed
Here are some startling facts:

In 2012 the final Electoral College results were 332 for Obama and 206 for Romney. If that Mormon had won the battleground states of Florida (29 votes), Ohio (18 votes), and Virginia (13 votes), Obama would still have been reelected but by acloser margin of 272 to 266.

Now, just because Obama won well over 300 electoral votes does not mean Hillary will repeat that achievement but her chances of doing so look quite good. . The path to 270 is much easier for any Democrat candidate given current and future demographic growth and established voting patterns.

Hillary may in fact win by an electoral landslide not seen since Reagan's win in 1984 which in todays numbers would be 97% of the electoral college.

MickeyOne65
To paraphrase Bill Clinton, "I want to say one thing to the American people - I will not vote for this woman."

[Jun 11, 2015]Clinton might not have the intellectual capacity to discern critically important distinctions

Looks like Hillary is just another puppet.
.
"...My own antenna always goes up when I hear a politician assert as fact a generic statement that is intended to imply what I know is a falsity or that patently makes no sense. In this instance, it was both, and, stunningly, was intended to imply a false fact that supports a key line in the Republican playbook: that federal regulation is keeping middle-class folks from starting or expanding a small business."
.
"...Elsewhere in her LinkedIn letter she says that it takes longer to complete small-business federal tax forms than it is to complete multi-national corporations' federal tax forms. Maybe so, but is that because the multi-nationals keep PricewaterhouseCoopers or Deloitte on retainer and the owners of the Thai food restaurant down the road probably don't? She doesn't say. She thinks the ultimate in clever political rhetoric is to make some dramatic comparison; the accuracy and even the coherence of the comparison doesn't matter to her."
.
"...Vanden Heuvel's column, titled "A new definition of freedom in America," argues that the term "freedom" has had different meanings in different political eras, and that it's imperative now that the Democratic presidential nominee, presumably Clinton, move aggressively away from the Conservative Movement definition of freedom as economic laisse faire, and reinstitute and expand upon FDR's famous Four Freedoms."
June 10, 2015 | Angry Bear
What Worries Me Most About Clinton: That she may not have the intellectual capacity to discern even critically important distinctions. Including glaring ones.

"It should not take longer to start a business in America than it does in Canada or France. But that is the fact."

— Hillary Clinton, during a small business discussion, Cedar Falls, Iowa, May 19, 2015

Our antenna always goes up when a politician asserts a "fact." Clinton made this remark in the midst of a discussion about the "perfect storm of crisis" that she said small businesses face in the United States.

She made a similar point in an article she posted on LinkedIn on May 21, but with an additional country added: "It should not take longer to start a business in the U.S. than it does in Canada, Korea, or France."

Clinton's claim that it takes longer to start a business in the U.S. than in Canada or France, Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, May 22

My own antenna always goes up when I hear a politician assert as fact a generic statement that is intended to imply what I know is a falsity or that patently makes no sense. In this instance, it was both, and, stunningly, was intended to imply a false fact that supports a key line in the Republican playbook: that federal regulation is keeping middle-class folks from starting or expanding a small business.

Marco Rubio claimed something similar in April—to which Martin O'Malley famously responded, when asked about it in an interview, "It is not true that regulation holds poor people down or regulation keeps the middle class from advancing. That's kind of patently bulls—." And Jeb Bush hinted at it a couple of months earlier.

When I read about Clinton's statements before I read Kessler's post (I didn't see the post until about a week after it was posted), I was absolutely dumbfounded. As Kessler notes, Clinton complains about "red tape" in starting small businesses and says that the length of time in starting a business, caused by red tape, keeps people from starting businesses. The claim startled me; most red tape in starting businesses is state and local red tape, not federal, and the amount and type of red tape depends almost entirely upon the type of business and factors such as whether it requires a trade license of some sort (e.g., beautician), or a liquor license, and whether a permit of some sort must be obtained. Opening a restaurant, for example, requires local health department permits and adherence to health department rules. It also requires procuring a physical space in which to have the restaurant, and usually also means obtaining a business loan. Starting a home-based web-design business requires none of those things. The incorporation process involves filing a short filled-out form with the state Secretary of State's office and paying a fee.

Clinton doesn't know these things?

So the generic breadth of her statement was stupefying. She holds a law degree from Yale, was a partner in a corporate law firm, an active First Lady of a state and then of the country. Did she really not know that most red tape in starting a business does not touch upon anything that the federal government regulates? Or did she have something accurate and specific in mind, but rather than identifying it, indulged her penchant for talking in incoherencies apparently in order to avoid ever saying anything specific about, well, anything?

Kessler's post answered that question. She did indeed have something specific in question: average statistics for businesses that employ between 10 and 50 people within one month, having five owners, using start-up capital equivalent to 10 times income per capita and being engaged in industrial or commercial activities and owning no real estate. In Los Angeles, where it takes an average of eight days to start such a business. Whereas in Paris it takes only 4.5 days and in Toronto five days. In New York City, though, it takes only four days.

Clinton lives near New York City and represented New York state as a senator. She knows that New York City is in this country.

This information was taken from the World Bank website, which, Kessler says, provides statistics that "lets you compare the individual cities to countries, so New York ends up tied for 6th place — with Belgium, Iceland, South Korea, the Netherlands and Sao Tome." Los Angeles, he says, is in 15th place, tied with Cyprus, Egypt, Madagascar and the Kyrgyz Republic, among others. Oh, dear. But he points to another World Bank report that notes that "the differences are so large because, in the United States, 'company law is under state jurisdiction and there are measurable differences between the California and New York company law.'"

I knew that! I should run for president in the Democratic primary. Every small-business owner and aspiring small-business owner knows that, so I'd have a natural constituency. And I have the advantage of actually recognizing problems that do affect many small businesses and that the federal government can address, by regulation. Including ones that recent Democratic congresses, together with a Democratic president, actually enacted.

Kessler comments, "So what does data about starting a business in the largest city have to do with small businesses in Iowa? Beats us." It surely also beats small-business owners and people who are seriously considering becoming one. Including those who are fairly recent immigrants to this country and who don't hold a law degree from Yale.

Kessler notes that even if Clinton were accurate in her claim that it takes longer, on average, throughout this country than in the other countries she mentioned to start small businesses generally, the difference would be a matter of a day or two. He writes:

The World Bank's database lists 189 countries in terms of the time required to start a business. For 2014, in first place is New Zealand, with one day. In France and Canada, along with eight other countries, it takes five days. (South Korea, along with six other countries, is listed as four days.) The United States, with 12 other countries, is listed as six days.

First of all, one extra day does not seem like much of a hindrance — so much so that, as Clinton asserted in the LinkedIn article, the fact signified the "red tape that holds back small businesses and entrepreneurs."

This is crazy. What, pray tell, is her point? To show that she's too dumb to recognize distinctions between state and federal regulation, and between one type of small business and another? If you've seen one small business, you've seen 'em all? And if you've seen state or local regulation, you've seen federal regulation?

Elsewhere in her LinkedIn letter she says that it takes longer to complete small-business federal tax forms than it is to complete multi-national corporations' federal tax forms. Maybe so, but is that because the multi-nationals keep PricewaterhouseCoopers or Deloitte on retainer and the owners of the Thai food restaurant down the road probably don't? She doesn't say. She thinks the ultimate in clever political rhetoric is to make some dramatic comparison; the accuracy and even the coherence of the comparison doesn't matter to her.

Clinton does this conflation/sweeping-two-or-more-things-together-that-need-to-be-recognizated-as-separate-things thing regularly. In her brief comment in Iowa in April in which she said she would support a constitutional amendment, if necessary, to reverse Citizens United and get "unaccountable" money out of politics, she misrepresented that Citizens United bars election laws that would require super PACs to identify their donors, and corporations to report the recipients of their political largesse. It doesn't. No constitutional amendment is needed to permit such statutes and SEC, IRS and FEC regulations.

I had planned to post on all this earlier but didn't get around to it. But two articles published in recent days, one in the Washington Post last weekend about the 2008 Clinton campaign's gift of snow shovels to supporters in Iowa before the caucuses, the other a Washington Post column yesterday by Katrina vanden Heuvel, prompted this post. The snow shovels article, by David Fahrenthold, begins:

AMES, Iowa — In Phyllis Peters's garage, there is a snow shovel. A nice one: green, shiny, with an ergonomic steel handle. It came from Hillary Rodham Clinton.

And it plays a part in a modern-day political legend, about some of the strangest money a candidate has ever spent.

Eight years ago, Peters was a volunteer for Clinton's first presidential run. She had been an admirer of Clinton since her time as first lady. But just before Clinton lost the Iowa caucuses, her staffers did something odd: They bought shovels for Peters and the hundreds of other volunteers.

"If you're in Iowa, you [already] have a snow shovel," the article quotes Peters as saying. But she accepted the gift so as not to be rude. "For both those who gave out the shovels and those who received them," the article says, "they came to symbolize a candidate who never quite got their home state."

Clinton grew up in a suburb of Chicago, then spent four winters in Wellesley, MA. That was decades ago. But, geeez. She didn't get cold-climate folks?

Vanden Heuvel's column, titled "A new definition of freedom in America," argues that the term "freedom" has had different meanings in different political eras, and that it's imperative now that the Democratic presidential nominee, presumably Clinton, move aggressively away from the Conservative Movement definition of freedom as economic laisse faire, and reinstitute and expand upon FDR's famous Four Freedoms. She writes:

This is Hillary Clinton's historic opportunity. The greatest threat to freedom now is posed by the entrenched few that use their resources and influence to rig the rules to protect their privileges. She would do a great service for the country — and for her own political prospects — by offering a far more expansive American view of what freedom requires, and what threatens it.

Clinton should make it clear to Americans that in a modern, globalized world, we are in the midst of a fierce struggle between economic royalists and a democratic citizenry. If we are to protect our freedoms, citizens must mobilize to take back government from the few, to clean out the corruption and to curb the oppressive power of the modern day economic royalists.

But this requires a candidate who is both mentally quick enough and willing to respond, accurately and in specifics, to the Republican anti-regulation, supply-side-economics nonsense. Clinton doesn't seem like she has either of these attributes.

Clinton appears to think that all that matters is the generic ideas people have about what she stands for, and a few specific policy proposals all in good time. She's wrong. She needs to respond, in full oral statements, using clear fact-based arguments, to the anti-government policy cant of the Republican sheep herd, from which her opponent eventually will come. But I don't think she can.

—-

ADDENDUM: I posted a comment in response to a comment by Mark Jamison that says in part:

One thing that comes through loud and clear from her attempt to Sister Souljah small-business owners and aspirants, Mark, is that she thinks Democrats NEED a Sister Souljah moment for small-business owners and aspirants. Dick Durbin could educate her on that, simply by referring her to what's known as the Durbin Amendment.

Another thing that comes across is that, just as she didn't realize in 2008 that Iowans all have snow shovels, she apparently doesn't recognize that small-business owners and aspirants want solutions to problems that they actually have, and that that requires knowing the specifics of the problem, including the cause.

I want to make clear that the concerns of small-business owners are very much appropriate issues for progressive Democratic politicians to address. And that progressive Democratic elected officials do address them–the Durbin amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act being an example. What Democratic candidates and officeholders should not do is create straw men for them to swat down.

Mark Jamison June 10, 2015 4:42 pm

I could very easily imagine Mrs. Clinton having a moment similar to Poppy Bush's astonishment at the price scanners in a grocery store. With few exceptions, most notably Warren and Sanders, our politicians much above the lowest local levels are part of an elite that has no conception much less a connection with what the life of most Americans is like (I hesitate to say average because there may not be such a thing).

Her "starting a business" comment is one of those banal, off the shelf, ready made campaign vomit sentences that insults the intelligence of any thinking being. It's not even one step away from the standard Republican talking point regurgitation that salutes small business while advocating ALEC sponsored corporate policies.

I've got a Sanders sign in the front yard and it will stay there until November 2016. If Clinton is the nominee I will grudgingly vote for her because of SCOTUS but I will do so unenthusiastically. In the meantime I will work for local candidates who show promise in the hopes of building a progressive bench that can push aside .01 percenters.

Beverly Mann June 10, 2015 5:01 pm

One thing that comes through loud and clear from her attempt to Sister Souljah small-business owners and aspirants, Mark, is that she thinks Democrats NEED a Sister Souljah moment for small-business owners and aspirants. Dick Durbin could educate her on that, simply by referring her to what's known as the Durbin Amendment.

Another thing that comes across is that, just as she didn't realize in 2008 that Iowans all have snow shovels, she apparently doesn't recognize that small-business owners and aspirants want solutions to problems that they actually have, and that that requires knowing the specifics of the problem, including the cause.

She'll win because, well, the Republican nominee won't. But she could have been beaten in the primaries by, say, Sherrod Brown or Jeff Merkley. Someone very progressive who thinks and speaks like a normal person rather than an automaton and is younger than Sanders.

[Jun 11, 2015] For Jeb Bush, a Tepid Media Reception to European Trip

Jun 11, 2015 | vzglyad.ru
Jun 11, 2015 | NYTimes.com

Jeb Bush's Europe trip is intended to help bolster his foreign policy credentials for American voters, but in the countries he is visiting — Germany, Poland and Estonia — the visit appears to be making few headlines.

A commentary in the German newspaper Der Spiegel ahead of Mr. Bush's arrival argued that while the former Republican governor of Florida is more rational and careful than his brother, former President George W. Bush, his reluctance to make amends with Cuba and Iran are problematic.

Mr. Bush heads to Poland on Wednesday to meet with President-elect Andrzej Duda.

Radio Poland described the trip as an opportunity for the likely presidential candidate to "highlight the success of neo-liberal economic policies in Europe." It also referred to Mr. Bush's older brother as "naïve" on foreign affairs but said that the trip could eventually be helpful for securing military contracts between the United States and Poland.

The article noted that there are 10 million Poles living in the United States and that some Polish-American groups have been critical of Mr. Bush's stances on immigration.

Mr. Bush concludes his European trip in Estonia. While the visit has garnered little media attention so far, it has not gone unnoticed among Estonian diplomats in the United States. During a campaign stop last week, Mr. Bush praised Estonia's tax system and the fact that it takes only five minutes to file online. Estonia also uses a flat tax of about 20 percent, which might be less appealing to some Americans.

"It's always good when someone is acknowledging what we do," said Maria Belovas, a spokeswoman for the Estonian Embassy in Washington. "It's good when people notice that and cite us as an example."

[Jun 11, 2015] Bush plans to play russia card agains Hillary

"...During his trip Jeb Bush to Germany, Poland and Estonia Jeb Bush wants to kill at least two birds with one stone: to enlist the support of critical of the Russia Europeans and to demonstrate the failure of the foreign policy of Hillary Clinton – its main competitor. The weapon of choice in both cases is one of the anti-Russian rhetoric."
"...The United States opposes the policies of Putin, but the Russian people they support and consider him a "victim of the reckless behavior of their President", quotes the NYT Bush.
And he even have a plan for saving it. "The United States and Russia need to clarify the relationship. We don't want to throw Russia a generation ago. In the end, Russia must be European power. First of all we should contribute to the isolation of its corrupt leaders from their own people", – quotes his statement to the Associated Press."
"...At the end of his speech, the presidential candidate the US has urged together to combat "Russian aggression". "Showing in advance of the inevitable consequences of bad behavior, we will be able to deter possible aggression from Russia, which we all fear. But, in response, usually rather reserved, we only give Putin the opportunity to behave badly. Who can doubt that Russia will do what you like, if her aggression remains unanswered?" "asked Bush. The Germans applauded and sighed."
"...Anti-Russian component will be quite significant in the election campaign of Jeb Bush, believes in American studies, co-editor of the website Terra America Boris Mezhuev. "This is an easy opportunity to be rigid, not engaging in internal conflicts within the Bush clan""
Jun 11, 2015 | vzglyad.ru

During his trip Jeb Bush to Germany, Poland and Estonia Jeb Bush wants to kill at least two birds with one stone: to enlist the support of critical of the Russia Europeans and to demonstrate the failure of the foreign policy of Hillary Clinton – its main competitor. The weapon of choice in both cases is one of the anti-Russian rhetoric.

"Bush will not stop and will scold Russia, at least until the end of 2016. If only ISIS would break out in Jerusalem, it will force Bush to change his mind"

The call to confront Vladimir Putin will remain a Central theme throughout European tour policy, told Bush aides. At the end of the week it will be joined by his consultant, former state Department official Kenneth Juster, known for his statement that "Putin has destroyed international norms of invading Crimea and seizing the territory." "It should shock the international community," claimed jester.

"Putin is a ruthless pragmatist"

In Germany Bush noted the importance of the role of NATO. "Who can argue against that, when we see the fate of Ukraine, where the slowly unfolding tragedy?" – he turned to the audience. And moved on to the main theme of his tour – the relations with Russia. "We need to understand that Putin is a ruthless pragmatist, said Bush. – He will not stop until someone does not jerk him to a halt. And I believe that it will make NATO. It is our responsibility to protect the countries of the block, and it serves to strengthen security."

The United States opposes the policies of Putin, but the Russian people they support and consider him a "victim of the reckless behavior of their President", quotes the NYT Bush.

And he even have a plan for saving it. "The United States and Russia need to clarify the relationship. We don't want to throw Russia a generation ago. In the end, Russia must be European power. First of all we should contribute to the isolation of its corrupt leaders from their own people", – quotes his statement to the Associated Press.

After Bush outlined the main threats, and methods of dealing with them, he moved on to the next important aspect of the spending budget to strengthen NATO. It is known that very few European countries can afford the increase in the defense budget until required by the Alliance of two percent of GDP. Germany, for example, spend on the military 32.2 billion dollars, which is only 1.09 per cent of GDP.

Jeb Bush expressed concern about the observed reduction in charges. However, in saying this, he made a smart move, accusing it of not the German authorities, and the U.S. government. "Reducing our defense budget is destructive, and they were the wrong signal to our European NATO allies, whom we call upon to make their defence spending accounted for no less than two percent of GDP," said Bush, adding that the US should increase defense spending.

"One of the responsibilities of the next President is to rebuild our armed forces, to stop the automatic spending reductions which send cooling signals to our allies," he added. Note that the US military budget compared to 2014 year increased in monetary terms – with 511,2 billion to $ 513 billion, but in relation to GDP it fell from 3.6 percent to 3.4.

Estonia is now the only NATO country, which even exceeded the requirements of the Alliance – its defense budget in 2015 will amount to 2.05 percent of GDP. Poland these figures can not boast, but she increased the budget to 6.6 billion euros for 2015. In 2014 Poland spent on these needs much less of 5.6 billion euros. However, the country still does not gain the required two percent.

"As for Poland, the Baltic countries and Eastern Europe in General, I believe that NATO is taking the right steps today, however, they could be more determined, says Jeb Bush. – We need Russia to send a signal about the possible consequences. I welcome the efforts of Chancellor Merkel, her position on sanctions against Russia, taking into account the economic interests of German business in this country. This is the principled position it has consistently held", – he said approvingly.

At the end of his speech, the presidential candidate the US has urged together to combat "Russian aggression". "Showing in advance of the inevitable consequences of bad behavior, we will be able to deter possible aggression from Russia, which we all fear. But, in response, usually rather reserved, we only give Putin the opportunity to behave badly. Who can doubt that Russia will do what you like, if her aggression remains unanswered?" "asked Bush. The Germans applauded and sighed.

The main and very serious competitor Jeb Bush in the campaign for the presidency is former U.S. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Despite the abundance of criticism in its address, and also at a serious information campaign waged by Republicans against her, Clinton is still the favorite of the race.

To blacken the reputation of Clinton, the Republicans, the main candidate on which now stands Jeb Bush, is tactics: they criticize former Secretary of state for the foreign policy failures. For a long time, "elephants" tried to denounce Clinton for the failure of operations in Benghazi, when during the rally were killed American citizens, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya. To this end data were carefully examined her correspondence, which had to prove that Clinton knew about the threat, but did nothing to rescue the Ambassador. However, digging the Benghazi attack did not give the expected result, and opponents pulled out the trump card – the so-called reset button, donated to her by the Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in 2009.

"We are beginning to understand that the reset button was not what was needed," said Jeb Bush, speaking in Berlin. Now the opponents of the Democrats lay all the problems associated with Russia, Barack Obama, since the Ukrainian conflict began in the period of his presidency. But as Obama himself for them are not potentially dangerous, it made sense that Clinton will be the main target of the Republicans in this matter, as the person who started the reboot.

The Republicans really need to make a major effort to overtake Clinton, or at least closer to its positions. Now, according to polls, she is the leader among all of the candidates for President. However, Jeb Bush is not discouraged about it. "I haven't seen these polls," he said to the journalists who spoke to him on Wednesday in Germany. "You know, it's very fun to read polls, when you win. Less fun when you're not winning. But I think it's not important. Now only June, and it is too early to cry. We have a long road ahead".

Anti-Russian component will be quite significant in the election campaign of Jeb Bush, believes in American studies, co-editor of the website Terra America Boris Mezhuev. "This is an easy opportunity to be rigid, not engaging in internal conflicts within the Bush clan" – he said to THE VIEW newspaper .

[Jun 11, 2015] The real story behind Jeb's Iraq follies The Bush Doctrine lives on in GOP

European News

It turns out that "knowing what we know now, should we have invaded Iraq?" isn't all that complicated a question for Republicans to answer, at least Republicans who aren't named Bush. After trying to evade the question the first time, Jeb Bush gave it another shot, with no more success. Now he says that "I don't know what that decision would've been," because "that's a hypothetical but the simple fact was mistakes were made, as they always are in life and foreign policy." Ah yes, mistakes were made.

But we've also heard from two other Republican candidates, and they've been a lot more clear. Says Chris Christie: "I don't think you can honestly say that if we knew then that there was no WMD, that the country should have gone to war." And when Ted Cruz was asked whether he would have invaded, he answered: "Of course not. The entire predicate of the war against Iraq was the intelligence that showed they had weapons of mass destruction and that there was a real risk they might use them."

There are few things we in the media love more than an intra-party argument (not to mention a front-running candidate stumbling), so this controversy is already getting plenty of attention and will surely get more. It's encouraging to see an acknowledgement that the Iraq War was a mistake finally become majority opinion in the GOP, given that it was probably the greatest foreign policy catastrophe in American history.

But before we make too much of that shift, we need to be clear that the actual substantive disagreements between the candidates are much smaller than it would appear if you were just tuning in now. Republicans may be criticizing Jeb Bush, but they aren't coming at him from the left, and they aren't actually turning their backs on most of what his brother represented.

That isn't to say there's no difference of opinion within the party on Iraq. Most former Bush administration officials will defend the invasion to their dying day and insist that it was a grand idea, whether there were any weapons of mass destruction or not. Those who have less of a personal stake in the war vary more in their opinions (of all the actual and potential Republican candidates, only Lindsey Graham and Rick Santorum were in the Senate in 2003 and voted for the resolution approving the war).

But opinions don't actually vary all that much. All the candidates agree that we should increase military spending. With the exception of Rand Paul, all express an unrestrained enthusiasm for military adventurism. That's one thing Iraq hasn't changed: Republicans still believe that the application of military force is a great way to solve problems around the world.

The only difference of opinion comes after the first wave of bombing. Ted Cruz explicitly warns against nation-building, but he doesn't express any reservations about the use of military force. Later today, Marco Rubio will give a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations about his foreign policy views, and they sound an awful lot like George W. Bush's: increase military spending and spread American values with "moral clarity."

Scott Walker wants to dump any deal on Iran's nuclear program the moment he takes office, making military action there far more likely. So does Marco Rubio. None of the GOP candidates will say he wants to occupy Iran. But military action against the country's nuclear facilities ought to be, as any of them will tell you, "on the table."

Again with the exception of Paul, none of the candidates seems willing to grapple with the possibility that there are unintended consequences to military action that we need to be wary of. At most, they think the problems come only when you stick around too long after reducing a nation to rubble. And when you listen to them talk about Barack Obama's foreign policy record, the word they use over and over again is "weak." The problem is never that some situations we confront offer no good options, or that our decisions can backfire, or that there are places where America may not be able to set things right to the benefit of all. The problem is always weakness, and strength is always the solution.

Everyone understands why Jeb Bush is floundering around trying to answer the question of whether the Iraq War was a mistake from the beginning: It was his brother's war. But neither he nor his opponents seem to have learned much from the experience, whether we're asking about concocting phony intelligence to sell a war you've already decided you want, believing that all the "bad guys" in the world must be in cahoots, seeing every foreign policy question in black and white, or putting blind faith in the idea that "strength" is all you need to succeed.

The George W. Bush years provided an emphatic refutation of the ideas underlying Republican foreign policy, but few in the party seem to have gotten the message, even if they have some minor disagreements today. They might not be looking at the invasion of Iraq in exactly the same way, but few in the party are asking anything but the most superficial questions about what lessons we might learn from it.

Paul Waldman is a contributor to The Plum Line blog, and a senior writer at The American Prospect.

Plum Line

[Jun 11, 2015] Jeb Bush, on European Tour, Opens by Rebuking Putin

A neocon is always a neocon.
.
"...Mr. Bush took pains to articulate an American foreign policy that would take aim at Mr. Putin and his allies but not alienate the Russian people, whom he cast as victims of their president's reckless behavior. "We should never do it in a way that pushes Russia away for a generation of time," Mr. Bush said."
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"... Mr. Putin, and the need to confront him, would be a recurring focus of his trip, which will also take him to Poland and, finally, Estonia, a former Russian-controlled territory whose population has been deeply unsettled by Russian actions in Ukraine."
Jun 11, 2015 | NYTimes.com

BERLIN – Jeb Bush on Tuesday delivered a forceful rebuke of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in a city once sundered by Soviet aggression, calling him a "ruthless pragmatist," demanding the isolation of the country's "corrupt leadership" and vowing to reassert American primacy in the fight to contain Russia's territorial ambitions.

Mr. Bush, the former governor of Florida who is expected to announce his campaign for president next week, seemed determined on the opening day of a European tour to project resolve against a Russian foe who has increasingly rankled and baffled American leaders.

Mr. Bush invoked Ronald Reagan's plea to Mikhail S. Gorbachev, then the leader of the Soviet Union, to "tear down this wall," as well as the legacy of his own father, George Bush, who lent vital American support to the reunification of Germany once the wall eventually fell.

His criticism was directed, above all, at an American audience of Republican voters who believe that President Obama has failed to hold Mr. Putin accountable for his interventions in Ukraine, and who are clamoring for an aggressive foreign policy leader as their nominee in 2016.

"Who can doubt," Mr. Bush asked, "that Russia will do what it pleases if its aggression goes unanswered?"

Mr. Bush took pains to articulate an American foreign policy that would take aim at Mr. Putin and his allies but not alienate the Russian people, whom he cast as victims of their president's reckless behavior.

"We should never do it in a way that pushes Russia away for a generation of time," Mr. Bush said.

He extolled Berlin as a "reminder for the ages that freedom cannot be walled off," a message that resonated with the crowd of businessmen and women aligned with the center-right Christian Democrats, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Ms. Merkel herself shook Mr. Bush's hand and exchanged brief pleasantries as she prepared to take the stage. But it was unclear whether, at this early stage of the American presidential campaign, she would grant him or any other candidate a private audience.

Mr. Bush was careful to summon the White House record of his father, but not his brother, who remains unpopular in Germany, calling the elder Mr. Bush "the greatest man alive" — a line that drew warm and sustained applause.

... ... ...

Advisers to Mr. Bush said that Mr. Putin, and the need to confront him, would be a recurring focus of his trip, which will also take him to Poland and, finally, Estonia, a former Russian-controlled territory whose population has been deeply unsettled by Russian actions in Ukraine.

"Putin shattered international norms by going into Crimea and grabbing that territory," said Kenneth Juster, a former State Department official who is advising Mr. Bush and will join him on the trip later this week. "That's something that should shock the international system."

"No one is seeking a conflict with Russia," Mr. Juster added. "But if someone is probing and is not getting as much resistance as he expects, then he keeps probing."

Many Germans, whose own scarred history has left them deeply reluctant to engage in military conflict, remain openly conflicted about over how to respond to Russian aggression, a mood detected in the audience Mr. Bush spoke to Tuesday night. In interviews, several of them expressed dismay with Mr. Obama's handling of his Russian counterpart, calling it an unimpressive show of American muscularity.

... ... ...

[Jun 11, 2015] Jeb Bush Gets Schooled By College Student for Spouting War Rhetoric

It is true that Project for the New American Century (PNAC) core ideas were expressed in a September 2000 report produced for Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, and Lewis Libby entitled Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century. The Sunday Herald referred to the report as a "blueprint for U.S. world domination." (http://home.earthlink.net/~platter/neo-conservatism/pnac.html) That means that Jeb Bush is a dyed in the wool neocon.
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"...'Your brother created ISIS,' declared 19-year-old Ivy Ziedrich."
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"...In order to know for certain that Jeb Bush is a true neocon all one required to know is to google project for a new american century. In this web page one encounters evil incarnate Dick Cheney sight. Opening page written by notorious war monger Jeb Bush himself own words."
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"...how do you mention JFK in the same sentence as the Bush Crime Family. Poppy said he didn't remember where he was on 11/22/63. The liar was in Dallas with the other conspirators. Jeb seems as dumb as 'the village idiot'. First he said he backed the illegal invasion of a sovereign country, Iraq. Today he said it was wrong to go into Iraq. Someone told the boob to disavow his idiot brother. Too late Jebby."
Common Dreams

'Your brother created ISIS,' declared 19-year-old Ivy Ziedrich.

Former Florida governor and potential Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who has been clumsily defending his brother's widely-discredited decision to invade Iraq in 2003, on Wednesday was schooled by a university student for "spouting nationalist rhetoric to get us involved in more wars."

During one of his much-publicized town hall meetings in Reno, Nevada, 19-year-old Ivy Ziedrich gave Bush a history lesson that was caught on video.

"It was when 30,000 individuals who were part of the Iraqi military were forced out—they had no employment, they had no income, and they were left with access to all of the same arms and weapons," she said. "Your brother created ISIS."

Seemingly unsure of how to respond, Bush replied in a dismissive tone: "All right, is that a question."

Ziedrich's response: "You don't need to be pedantic to me, sir."

"Why are you saying that ISIS was created by us not having a presence in the Middle East when it's pointless wars where we send young American men to die for the idea of American exceptionalism?" she demanded. "Why are you spouting nationalist rhetoric to get us involved in more wars?"

"We respectfully disagree," retorted Bush.

Ziedrich, who said she is a member of the Young Democrats at her school, reflected on the exchange in a phone interview with ABC News.

"I think he's telling the truth as he understands it," she said. "I think it's important when we have people in positions of authority we demand a dialogue and accountability."

The exchange can be viewed in the video below.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

reddbear

If it wasn't for Jeb Bush we wouldn't have been in Iraq in the first place. We wouldn't have had the financial cash. There wouldn't had been a crisis during Katrina. No high unemployment. Possibly no 9-11 and maybe no or slowed climate change. Not to mention what he done as gov of Florida. Because he purged voters for his brother Al Gore lost the election, thus giving us the worsew president in history. Enough said

Steven

I am not a big fan of Jeb Bush, but if you are going to transcribe comments, the candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination answer should be written out so I can read that too. I am not looking to be sold a narrative. I read what she said, I want to read what he said. Journalism, not politics, please.

J_Crandell

O.K. but what he says at the end of the video - he suggests that we ought to have gone in full force to solve the threat of an ISIS ever evolving. Essentially, that would have involved nuclear weapons, the wiping out of an entire society.

The same sentiment has continually been voiced by conservatives over the Vietnam war, that we should have used full force and gotten out. THAT would have require carpet bombing of North Vietnam with nuclear weapons, which is what madman Nixon wanted to do but was blocked by more sane minds in the White House.

warrior0713

In order to know for certain that Jeb Bush is a true neocon all one required to know is to google project for a new american century. In this web page one encounters evil incarnate Dick Cheney sight. Opening page written by notorious war monger Jeb Bush himself own words. Note date well before 9/11/01. In it Jeb states need for a new Pearl Harbor. Marvin Bush an executive for firm providing security for world trade center. Therefore Bushes had access to wire complex. No buildings in history of this particular type has ever collapsed by fires even when they burned for over a day. Yet no real investigation of 9/11/01. Unless you consider the white wash an investigation I do not. Jeb answered truthfully to Kelly on fox. He is surrounding himself with the exact same neocons as had his brother. If Americans would look at this sight he ought be unelectable for dog catcher. Please avail your for a new american centuryself we do not need war mongers running america.

raydelcamino

Skeletons in the Kennedy clan closets indeed don't come close to the Bush legacy that flows from Jeb's grandpa Preston Bush being among the US 1%ers pushing for the US to go fascist during the 1930s to the extent that they contracted retired US Army General Smedley Butler to assassinate FDR. Although Butler purposely foiled the plot, the Bush family has continued to push for fascism.

thylacine

Steven,

Whatever he actually said is irrelevant, for all intents and purposes. What he was thinking is what counts. And let me transcribe what he was thinking for you: "You stupid bitch, I don't give a crap about you or about anything that you have to say. I'm just up here putting on a facade for the corporate media. I'm reading a script, and the script is part of a theatrical event which you think of as "politics," but which is really just a production of the entertainment division of the military industrial Wall Street complex."

wlawlor

WalterPewen,

how do you mention JFK in the same sentence as the Bush Crime Family. Poppy said he didn't remember where he was on 11/22/63. The liar was in Dallas with the other conspirators. Jeb seems as dumb as 'the village idiot'. First he said he backed the illegal invasion of a sovereign country, Iraq. Today he said it was wrong to go into Iraq. Someone told the boob to disavow his idiot brother. Too late Jebby.

WalterPewen

wlawlor ,

Apologies if it seems weird. The reason I bring it up is because of the endless crap we had to endure on any dirt about the Kennedys. It went on for decades, still does. Some similarity between Obama and JFK in that there's a sizable quadrant that just can't stand that they got in. I still hear shit about Joe Kennedy.

And, at 56 I am still angered that Robert did not get a chance at the presidency. Yes Joe did the liquor licensing, mistress, etc. So fucking what? The goal was for the kids to go into public service, and they did (everybody knows).

So to me comparing the two families is valid because it shows how hard it is to buck what the U.S. traditionally is at the top level. Yuk. FDR was one of the only ones who told them to shove it and succeeded.

The Bush clan need to be stopped, I myself do not know how.

BenHecht

This guy is part of a family that are war makers. they profit from war machines. the lowest of the low.

MaPol

WalterPewen

One must bear in mind, however, that Elizabeth Warren is not running for POTUS. She publicly said so.

WalterPewen

True. But importantly, Robert Reich and Move On are behind the draft Warren movement. Even if she doesn't change her mind, because of Reich the correct things are being said on a consistent basis. I see this as the biggest problem the Democrats have had since Reagan switched the dialog years ago. Because of his evasive, slimy crew money issues have not been addressed in a simple, no-nonsense way. Bill Clinton couldn't do it. Hilary has to.

[Jun 01, 2015] Rand Paul's Money Troubles

...militaristic meddling in the Middle East is what Republicans do!
May 29, 2015 | The Washington Monthly

...It looked like he was cruising into the presidential cycle having blurred his distinctive views—especially on foreign policy—enough to keep the entire GOP from anathemizing him like the Old Man, while keeping enough edge on certain issues to support his unusual electability rationale as the candidate of the Cool Kids and maybe even some African-Americans. That he did another high-profile filibuster on NSA data collection seemed a bit excessive from a purely political point of view.

But the real shocker was his gratuitous slam of virtually the entire Republican Party for "creating ISIS" by their militaristic meddling in the Middle East. It was like attacking the Keebler Elves for high diabetes rates: militaristic meddling in the Middle East is what Republicans do!

But today along comes Politico's Alex Isenstadt with a very clear explanation of why the candidate of the Cool Kids is losing his own cool and re-establishing his family's bad name in GOP circles:

In a presidential campaign defined by billionaire sugar daddy donors, Rand Paul has a problem: He doesn't seem to have one.
While his rivals cultivate wealthy backers who will pump millions of dollars into their candidacies, Paul has struggled to find a similar lifeline. It's led to considerable frustration in his campaign, which, amid rising concerns that it will not be able to compete financially, finds itself leaning heavily on the network of small donors who powered his father's insurgent White House bids.

Super-PAC does not indicate much interest in getting along with the rest of the GOP, does it?

[Jun 01, 2015] David Runciman writes something goofy about US vs. British Politicsby Rich Yeselson

Selected Quotes: "..."Why don't people start new parties in the US to compete against the established ones?" is the same damned question as "why don't people start new parties in the USSR to compete against the communist party?", it's just that the US has two parties instead of one.
"...the whole point, as imagined by men who, with certain important exceptions, were very much determined not to replicate the powers of a monarchy in their fledgling nation, was to create conditions that would force elites to compromise and to limit the power of the propertyless (let alone the slaves) to even enter into the discussion. Compromise between powerful interests, not the clarity of unitary authority, was supposed to occur not only between the branches of government, but also between the national government and those of the states (and between the North and the slaveholding sub-nation of the South). There is absolutely nothing structurally about the American system of government, either in its inception or in its current dissipated condition, that offers voters a "clear choice" regarding domestic politics. "
"...Meanwhile, the dominant political party over the past hundred years has won a majority yet again with a minority of those actually voting. ...people seem quite happy for a government to rule with the support of 22% of the population and to wait patiently for the opportunity to repeat the process in five years time."
"...These are all reasonable questions to ask at a time when the neoliberal course of policy evolution seems to be trending in a direction non-responsive to the substantive interests of the mass of people and the apparatus for authoritarian governance is being augmented. "
"..In fact, it turns out that the only country in the world with a US style two coke/ pepsi two parties and that is all you are going to get electoral system happens to be the US."
May 28, 2015 | Crooked Timber

David Runciman wrote a brief essay http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n10/david-runciman/notes-on-the-election in the LRB about the results of the British election. I want to focus on one peculiar passage. Runciman observes:

The two countries that have seen the greatest rise in inequality over the past couple of decades are Britain and the United States. Both have a first-past-the-post system designed to offer a clear choice between two main parties. Yet whichever of the two parties wins, the drift towards inequality has been inexorable.

... the US has a presidential model with separation of powers across three branches of government and a widely dispersed federalism, and the UK has a parliamentary model.

...The American system offers a decidedly murky choice; Because the congressional party (whose election is spread over three cycles) does not merely oppose, but also obstructs the presidential party, the US way of democracy provides the electorate with no logical party accountability — presidential "failures" can be caused by minority legislative parties because the presidential party only appears to voters—and to Runciman, apparently—to be the governing party, but is not.

... ... ...

...the whole point, as imagined by men who, with certain important exceptions, were very much determined not to replicate the powers of a monarchy in their fledgling nation, was to create conditions that would force elites to compromise and to limit the power of the propertyless (let alone the slaves) to even enter into the discussion.

Compromise between powerful interests, not the clarity of unitary authority, was supposed to occur not only between the branches of government, but also between the national government and those of the states (and between the North and the slaveholding sub-nation of the South). There is absolutely nothing structurally about the American system of government, either in its inception or in its current dissipated condition, that offers voters a "clear choice" regarding domestic politics.


Bruce Wilder 05.28.15 at 4:34 am

"The system makes them do it" enables a flight into meta, where the thin atmosphere and lessened gravity, makes all kinds of intellectual acrobatics possible, as david notes.

Technical tweaking of electoral rules may make knowledge seem like power, but, as Cersei Lannister so eloquently put it, "Power is power."

Neither the U.S. nor Britain has an effective, popular party with committed mass support or a committed leadership. Politicians of both Parties respond pretty much only to the very, very rich and to well-organized business interests.

That's not to say that the Parties are "the same", because they are not. But, it is to say that the political weight to force the kinds of political compromise with the general or mass interest Runciman apparently desires is simply not there, and no clever reforms can conjure it up.

reason 05.28.15 at 7:56 am

Bruce
The problem with a two party system is that it stifles debate (at least in the major media – crooked timber is an exception of course). Politics unfortunately today is about symbolism and personalities, I'm old enough to remember a time when it was about policy (as in my view it should be).

The US presidential system unfortunately institutionalises it being about personality which I regard as an enormous mistake. voting systems are not the solution to everything, but they matter.

Omega Centauri 05.28.15 at 5:03 pm

There might be issues of subtle incentives/drives towards certain types of outcomes, which effect the dynamics of how the system evolves. Does FPP which gives uneven decision power to swing voters in swing districts, favor those political actors (or pressure groups), which can capture these swing voters? If that is indeed happening, does it favor big money, over grassroots or vice versa?

I'm not up to date on the British system with regards to financing of campaign publicity efforts. There used to be strict limits on money in UK elections, in the US -especially after citizens united, there are effectively no limits on big money spending to influence results. Surely this creates forces that effect how the overall system evolves. In the US we have one party which is openly in the pocket of big money interests, and another which is rhetorically opposed, but in fact has to raise substantial funds from big money sectors in order to remain competitive. This of course creates a bit of a dichotomy, one party can have a clear set of principles it appears to be loyal to, whilst the other is continually compromising between its ideals, and its funders desires -therefore even though its policies are generally favored, the personal integrity of its candidates can be continually undermined.

Igor Belanov 05.28.15 at 6:31 pm

The British political system is extremely conservative, some of which is no doubt due to the voting system.

Take the 2015 election as an example, but in terms of the actual representation. The UK has remained a two-and-a-half party system, as it has been since at least 1997, but with the SNP replacing the Lib Dems. Meanwhile, the dominant political party over the past hundred years has won a majority yet again with a minority of those actually voting.

This is against a backdrop of massive change when it comes to voting and political attitudes. The winning party received the same proportion of the vote as the Labour Party did in its disastrous defeat in 1979. While almost all elections involve the vast majority of seats 'swinging' from one party to another, this election saw a bizarre collection of swings in different areas and individual constituencies. Scotland moved decisively for the SNP and against Labour. The North and the big cities saw safe Labour seats pile on enhanced majorities but lose out in marginal seats, while in the Midlands and South Labour lost votes slightly almost everywhere to the Tories and UKIP. The only uniform factor was the drubbing handed to the Lib Dems.

Despite the vagaries of the political system, however, the real sign of the conservatism of the British system and society is that people seem quite happy for a government to rule with the support of 22% of the population and to wait patiently for the opportunity to repeat the process in five years time.


Bruce Wilder 05.28.15 at 6:44 pm

reason @ 10: The problem with a two party system . . . Politics unfortunately today is about symbolism and personalities . . . The US presidential system unfortunately . . . I'm old enough to remember a time when . . .

Are the pathologies of politics related in a substantial way to the two-party system? What is the problem with the institution of the Presidency? (Or, what is the problem with institution of the Parliament?)

Two-party systems can have a variety of equilibria, which may involve various emergent third or fourth parties or movements on the periphery, as it were. The OP is raising the question of whether the Party system presents distinct choices, or should, and whether presenting distinct choices is related to being able to hold the Parties responsible and accountable, and whether the Party system encourages or discourages deliberation in policy choice or conduct.

These are all reasonable questions to ask at a time when the neoliberal course of policy evolution seems to be trending in a direction non-responsive to the substantive interests of the mass of people and the apparatus for authoritarian governance is being augmented. Tweaking the rules might disrupt undesirable trends driven by the peculiar turn taken recently in the strategic competition of the Parties.

... ... ...

Igor Belanov @ 22: . . . people seem quite happy for a government to rule with the support of 22% of the population . . .

I assume you mean that observation ironically.


Collin Street 05.28.15 at 9:10 pm

In fact, it turns out that the only country in the world with a US style two coke/ pepsi two parties and that is all you are going to get electoral system happens to be the US. This is probably due to the fact that, also somewhat uniquely, in the US the Democrats and the Republicans jointly staff the bureaucracies responsible for running the elections and counting the votes.

The actual root of the problem is twofold:

  • the way that the requirements to be able to nominate candidates are different between established and new parties, and at a ludicrously high level for new parties, entrenches the two main parties to an undesirable degree; effort that in a normal context would be spent in setting up a new political movement is in the US better-spent taking over one or the other of the party shells
  • the way that the state dictates through the primary process who the parties will run as "their" candidate means that the parties can no longer be regarded purely as private-space organisations but essentially part of the state.

"Why don't people start new parties in the US to compete against the established ones?" is the same damned question as "why don't people start new parties in the USSR to compete against the communist party?", it's just that the US has two parties instead of one.

otpup 05.29.15 at 2:40 am

The US system has three, mutually reinforcing pillars:

  • disproportionality (i.e., a uniquely pure 2 party system),
  • super-majority requirements (Senate disproportionality and filibuster, Presidential vetos, staggered elections, etc)
  • structural demobilization (low voter turnout, registration laws, cultural pessimism/realism).

Most of this rooted in the notoriously hard to amend Constitution. Reform in the US is high gear when it's only 50 years behind the rest of the advanced industrial nations.

Igor Belanov 05.29.15 at 7:20 am

@33

I think there is an incredible inertia within the core Labour vote, and there is such an anti-Tory feeling within a good quarter of the electorate that many of us end up voting Labour merely to try and keep the Tories out. While the present voting system exists I think this situation will endure.

That said, I suspect that the next five years will provide a useful experiment as to just how far the Labour Party can stretch the allegiance of its core vote without it snapping. I reckon that the next Labour leader will make Blair seem like Blanqui.

Main Street Muse 05.29.15 at 10:25 am

US needs campaign finance reform – stat. And they need to do what they can, if anything, to stop the revolving door. As the banks led the economy over the cliff, bankers finagled fantastic bonuses from one of their own – Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, who, as CEO of $GS, had lobbied Congress in 2002 for lower capital requirements, a business practice that considerably weakened banks' ability to weather a financial crisis. There's huge backlash against raising the minimum wage, coming from – as you can imagine – well-coordinated lobbying efforts by companies that pay people so little they require federal assistance to survive. Corporations see huge profits but workers don't get a raise – the profits head out the door to shareholders. We bow at the altar of the shareholders, to he$$ with all else.

It's all very sordid and the furthest thing Madison et al. could have imagined.

otpup 05.29.15 at 1:42 pm

The US has open primaries because the 2 party system is over-determined, not the other way around.

The tendency toward fewer parties is due to (see Duverger) the tradeoff between voting for a party of one's preferred ideology and the voting for a party that might actually be represented in the legislature (let alone wield power).

SMD's, bicameralism, the existence and strength of a presidential office, federalism, etc. are all structural factors leading to fewer parties, mostly because they create or heighten the trade off.

In a supermajority legislature like the US, the trade off isn't even between voting one's ideological or policy preference because reform is so unlikely. It is between voting for one's preference and defensively voting for a party that, at the least, can block unwanted reforms by the other side.


Sancho 05.30.15 at 1:52 pm

Being Australian, I assume The Onion is relevant in this case. And if not, well that's my quaint antipodean misunderstanding.

http://www.theonion.com/article/area-man-passionate-defender-of-what-he-imagines-c-2849


Bruce Wilder 05.30.15 at 5:21 pm

Runciman's complaint is a rather vague one, about the responsiveness of politics, and it seems to me that his big mistake is imagining that the Continental polities, where the remnant Left has been Pasokified in grand coalition governments, is in any better shape than the UK.

If you have leftist sympathies, you may look upon SYRIZA in Greece, Podemos in Spain, or even the Five Star movement in Italy with some small measure of trepidacious hope. But, even if forlorn hope gets one of these Parties elected, like SYRIZA, they may find themselves unable to formulate a useful way to lead or exercise power.

There's been some back and forth in this thread using clichés concerning two-party competition for the generic political center or median voter. To me, the discussion just highlighted how incoherent such generic analysis has become.

Attlee may have succeeded, as the New Deal succeeded, because of the social and political solidarity forged by the experience of World War II. That sense of solidarity with the state, reinforced by a politics of mass-membership Parties, which was particularly necessary to Labour representing its eponymous constituency, gave advantages to the politicians, who sought to further the interests of the common man and the public good.

As that sense of solidarity has dissolved, the politics of self and symbolic political identity have displaced it, and the advantage has shifted to lobbyists for corporate interests, who can supply the funds for sophisticated campaigns of media manipulation and neoliberal rhetoric that can apologize for, and cover for, "reforms" that facilitate economic predation.

From my great distance, one of the more remarkable patterns in the recent British elections is the rise of a desire for political solidarity. Most British voters were, according to polls, fairly hostile to the Conservative agenda. And, though fragmented, the most effective political appeals seem to be centered on political solidarity of one kind or another. Labour found itself falling back on its historical constituencies and the voters who identify with it most strongly. Scottish nationalists of course, and English nationalists, too surged in the polls.

To the extent that politics is about who gets what, in the distribution of power and income, it is always, at its core, a potential war between the rich and poor, the few and the many, in which feelings of political solidarity are a means of reconciliation, of binding elites to followers, or, alternatively, allowing sufficient organization of the many to overwhelm with numbers the otherwise superior organization of elites pursuing their own selfish interests at the expense of the many.

In our neoliberal era, the "poor" and the many are losing, steadily and inexorably. Parties of the many — like Labour — do not seem to be able to find leaders who want to represent the genuine interests of the many or to make arguments for the interests of the many.

Arguments about consumer sovereignty in politics can obscure the import of the political losses of the many. Do people vote "against their interests"? Do they prefer racism to socialism? Why can't people see how much better Obama is than Romney? Why didn't people get more enthusiastic about Miliband's austerity-lite? Why are politicians of the centre-left so shy of challenging the shibboleths laid down by the right-wing press? Why was Miliband such a tool, rejecting cooperation with the SNP or engaging in self-parody with his policy tombstone?

When the rich are not genuinely afraid of nazis or commies, many have little or no interest in genuine solidarity, and are freed to engage in the most cynical sort of manipulation. Also, they will have the good sense to do what they can to undermine, or destroy, any nascent mass-movements with economics on their minds. And, as a second line of defense, they will actively seek to put political power out of constitutional reach, so that a popular party that achieves electoral success will be without the means to put together a coherent policy agenda.

This has been a long-winded way of saying that electoral arithmetic is a distraction from the difficulty of forming and leading a mass-movement against a well-organized, well-financed economic elite determined to prevent it. It's long-winded, because I want to get to a somewhat harder point: in the absence of a solidarity the encompasses a large part of the economic elite, the popular party has to depend on the passions of resentment and righteous anger, and contemplate the necessity of meeting violence.

Anger and resentment are not attractive qualities in political leadership. It's a tricky business to feed these into electoral politics, to (ideally) stage-manage ripping the mask of humanity off of the Camerons of this world, revealing them for the predators and sociopaths they, and their sponsors, may be.

I think this is realistic, but it is a long way from tweaking electoral rules to bring about a glorious era of consumer sovereignty in politics, and much closer to revolution in its aims and means.

Ed 05.30.15 at 6:41 pm

Bruce Wilder makes some excellent points in his post at # 73, but I'll add that one thing different about the 1930s and 1940s is that countries fought wars by conscripting as many working class men as they could into the army (those that could be spared from manufacturing weapons and yes, from the coal mines), and handing them rifles. This mass mobilization made it very important for the elites to actually pay attention to what the masses want, also to make sure they were well fed enough and healthy enough to do their military service.

Universal suffrage was invented in the French Revolution along with conscription, and was implement in most of Europe and North America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, right around the time of the World Wars. The US was late again here, in effect not instituting universal suffrage until after World War 2. The reason behind the rollback of democracy and the welfare state is simply due to the fact that the changes in technology means that the elites don't need them to fight for them anymore.

Bruce Wilder 05.31.15 at 4:04 pm

Stephen @ 75: [Didn't the New Deal happen before WWII?]

The New Deal, as a policy program and a political coalition, was initiated as a response to the Great Depression of the 1930s. By most accounts, the New Deal, policy and program, was put in considerable jeopardy by the steady march of Southern Senators and senior Representatives to the Right during the 1930s. FDR's so-called "court-packing scheme", though it ended the Supreme Court's intransigent opposition to key New Deal programs also galvanized a conservative coalition of Republicans and Southern Democrats in Congress in opposition to FDR, and key New Deal programs of public works spending, advance of union rights and social liberalization were in jeopardy as the Depression eased toward the end of the 1930s.

What I asserted was that the New Deal succeeded to the extent that it did, as a result of WWII. The massive national effort of the war derailed the efforts of conservatives to curtail or reverse New Deal policies and programs. New Dealers became powerful administrators of the industrial and agricultural mobilization required by the war, and many goals and policies of the New Deal were advanced far beyond what had been achieved in the 1930s. Most notably, the war ended the stalemate over income distribution, resulting in what economists have labeled the Great Compression in income distribution, and the enormous "Keynesian" stimulus spending of the war altered the distribution of financial wealth in programs of forced savings among a new, broad middle class.

[May 31, 2015] Publius: Sinking the Sanders Campaign Beneath a Wave of Silence by Yves Smith

Quotes: "After nearly 40 years in journalism, I'm still amazed at just how routinely the press violates nearly every ethical precept that is supposed to guide its work."
"...You do realize that the party machinery will cheat, if necessary? Rigging elections was the meat and drink of the big city machines – almost all Democrats. Chicago is the last survivor."
"...That dog won't hunt. After the 1972 fiasco the Democrats specifically adopted the superdelegate rule to ensure that party establishment could exercise a de facto veto over the nomination process in order to ensure they would never again be saddled with an unelectable McGovernesque candidate by the party rank and file. From the point of view of the party establishment Sanders is McGovern with 10% of the charisma and 1000% of the ideological baggage.
Not that it's ever going to come to that. They destroyed Howard Dean literally overnight with the meme that he was some crazed out of control freak on the basis of one boisterous post primary celebration rally – and Dean was then a frontrunner with a extensive ground organization and Obama-like adulation from young Democrats. Taking down a 73 year old senator from a small state with no organization and no constituency within the Democratic Party is almost an insult to their finely honed mastery of the Machiavellian arts. "
"...MSM are large corporations. Large corporations plump for corporate approved candidates. Sanders isn't a corporate candidate. End of story. By the way, double-check your calendars, it isn't 1948, nor even 1972."
"...Sanders is toxic to the establishment not only because they regard him as unelectable, but more importantly because even if he was nominated (never mind thinking the unthinkable, as in a President Sanders) the plutocracy would abandon the Democrats in droves and take their money and patronage with them. From the perspective of the establishment that would be the very definition of a Pyrrhic victory."
"...Democrat is a disgusting moniker, not Liberal/Progressive". They (Democrats) sell their Mothers too, but it's behind a veil of policy, that's never brought up. Obama stunted the vote of the 18-30 year olds for possibly eternity. There was no "Change", and almost all have lost "Hope"."
"...I sometimes think that parties are: interest groups for certain industries. And if so Sanders could be different as long as he's the same on the issues these industries care about. And maybe that's what could happen, he'll be allowed some progressive economic policies that still have to pass Congress, and thus may never see the light of day, in return for steering the empire through another round, which will of course see the light of day.
The popular perception is to see parties as ideologies but to accept that is to condemn a party that will not condemn and disown Obama as having no principles, or no decent principles at any rate.
Because the Dem party is really not coherent as an ideological entity except as a champion of the worse types of things."
May 30, 2015 | nakedcapitalism.com

... ... ...

Ditto May 30, 2015 at 4:55 am

This article has an implicit faith in the American voter that is unearned. I'm deeply skeptical that the elites are the problem. I support Sanders. I think Americans are in denial and identify too much with the elite.

Gerard Pierce May 30, 2015 at 5:32 am

Another way of looking at it is the Americans want to be part of the winning team. At the same time, they want a candidate that they believe is on their side.

That may have a lot to do with Obama's victory – he convinced a large number of people that he WAS on their side.

It also explains why a large number of us have no respect for what's left of his administration, and it explains why a lot of people are less than fully optimistic about Hillary.

Bernie lacks the Wall St connections and the Wall St money. It's hard to see him as the inevitable winner. But we do know what he stands for. I'll vote for him in a primary and in the general election precisely because he is not the lesser evil.

The only way I would vote for Hillary would be if she convinced me that she was on my side. It's not likely to happen because she was tightly connected to the New Democrats, and they have demonstrated over and over that they are on their own side. She used up the time when she might have demonstrated who she is. It' a little late to start now and be believable.

JTMcPhee May 30, 2015 at 2:35 pm

Bill Clinton was on our side. He felt our pain. Reagan was on our side. We just knew it, he talked so good and trustworthy and he was a war hero, wasn't he? Like John Wayne?

To paraphrase, no one ever went broke underestimating the stupidity of the American public.

Lambert Strether May 30, 2015 at 4:11 pm

In general, I deprecate the "voters are stupid" trope. Basically, I file that under the heading of "Democracy is the worst system of government, except for all the others." (Too lazy to find the soruce of the quote; Churchill?) I deprecate it for two reasons:

1) Tactically, it's foolish. Why insult the people you need to persuade? (And if you write them off, what then?)

2) Morally, I'd appeal to "There but for the grace of ___ go I." After all, who among us hasn't done something really stupid, and sometimes persisted for years? I certainly have.)

neo-realist May 30, 2015 at 2:30 pm

I also believe that with many Americans, cultural values trump good economics: Americans may not want to support broader based health care programs and or a stronger social safety net in general if they believe that those more redistributive economic policies leading to such would provide equal quality benefits to people they consider less than worthy—-poor people of color, poor people of color on federal assistance, substance abuse addicts. People who oppose abortion would vote for an anti-abortion candidate whose economic policies served the wealthy much more than a pro-choice candidate whose economics better serve the 99%.

Right Wing Corporate media has also done a bang up job over the past 3 decades "manufacturing consent" among main street Americans to economic policies that better the wealthy than themselves.

bkrasting May 30, 2015 at 7:05 am

Okay – Yves likes Sanders. But is Sanders really a viable candidate?

The man is 73 today. If elected he would be 75 when he takes the oath of office. The oldest president to take the oath was Ronnie Regan. He was 69 when he swore on a bible. Sanders will be six years older than Ronnie.

Bernie is a good guy, and he has ideas that have support – but there is no way that he is qualified to be the next Prez.

abynormal May 30, 2015 at 8:13 am

I say FINALLY…ditch the Am Idol Bierber Bops!
Sanders will have the experience and position to DELEGATE instead of being DELEGATED.

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. Eisenhower

Vatch May 30, 2015 at 6:19 pm

"Bernie is a good guy, and he has ideas that have support – but there is no way that he is qualified to be the next Prez."

Just wondering: when was the last time we had a President who was qualified for the job?

Carolinian May 30, 2015 at 7:31 am

A couple of points:

If Sanders supporters ever thought that the mainstream press was going to help them in their crusade they are deeply delusional. The dismissive attitude of the political press is exactly what one might have expected.

And the Carter comparison is a bit of stretch. Carter brought the South into the Democratic fold when that was hardly guaranteed. Sanders brings…Vermont? The favorite son idea may seem antique in this media age but the last New Englander to win was JFK, and he was from the largest state in the region.

For once I actually agree with Chuck Todd and the rest. If Sanders wants to prove his political viability he's going to have to do more than cite popularity in tiny Vermont. Might be time to start shaking hands, kissing babies.

And finally isn't it way too early to be talking about any of this? The tea leaves are very murky.

jrs May 30, 2015 at 11:26 am

Way too early yea, I'm more with what Chomsky says in that voting should take 5 minutes, then get back to real activism. Now I think the 5 minute thing is wrong (and he uses it to defend voting for such "lesser" evils of Obama), I mean if your going to be a semi-intelligent voter do more research than that, or you really would be better off not voting, especially if your voting on referendums and things you have a direct say on. But it's closer to the truth than starting on the Presidency, of all things (the position we have least ability to affect), now.

Code Name D May 30, 2015 at 8:22 am

... But I also say that Bernie needs to keep his eye on the real prize here – which is actually much larger than the White House – and that is the principle of change itself, something that he doesn't need to win the presidency or even the nomination in order to achieve. He can show leadership now and make it happen.

For example, Bernie has a formidable ally with Warren, who can be his attack dog. He couldn't have asked for a better opportunity. If he uses her right, it not only advances his own chances, but Warren's as well, by better positioning her in congress and even making changes in the congressional races. This is nothing new. But it would be jaw dropping to see a Democrat playing political hardball like this – political competence would be awesome to see at work.

Brooklin Bridge May 30, 2015 at 10:29 am

Good comment and good question; What is Sanders going to do about it? Gaius is saying, keep the faith (long shots are not always so long), because the electorate is still looking for actual representation as illustrated by Gaius' somewhat less than compelling examples and will manage to find it somehow. That may be true, Gaius has a way of being early to recognize things. But you are absolutely correct that Sanders has to do something to make that happen and as you also point out he is not without possibilities. It won't be enough to simply blame the media if he fails.

The media will do a lot to hinder Sanders and silence is indeed their biggest weapon, but this is only the beginning. Personally, I'm more suspicious that wittingly or not, he is fulfilling other purposes than simply those of an enlightened choice in a democratic process – and that is the direction you will see the media, or a significant part of it, pushing things as hard as they can once the primaries get going. Will he be aware? Can he use it to his advantage?

Sanders is a deeply political person and a very capable one so he will deserve little excuse if his run turns out to be simply channeling energy into the Hillary coronation.

Vince in MN May 30, 2015 at 8:24 am

MSM are large corporations. Large corporations plump for corporate approved candidates. Sanders isn't a corporate candidate. End of story. By the way, double-check your calendars, it isn't 1948, nor even 1972.

In the post Citizens United world, none of this matters. Do we need a free press -yes. Do we have one – no. But then we don't have democracy either.

jrs May 30, 2015 at 11:18 am

Yes I've asked, could Sanders win on small donations alone? But we are told there are rich people or corporations who mean well that will donate. Ok, lets assume that (although I'd really rather not assume it about the corporate persons at least), would we even be able to KNOW WHO is donating to him? (or to any other candidate)

Carla May 30, 2015 at 1:13 pm

No.

http://www.movetoamend.org

Jill May 30, 2015 at 9:04 am

If people truly believe in the candidacy of Sanders then they should do everything in their power to get him elected. I cannot say if other ways of person to person communication can undo the silence of the MSM, but it's certainly worth a try.

For me, the more important question is this– what are the people getting with a Sander's win? Just as Obama won, I would not say that ordinary people around the world or the earth itself is a better place due to his winning. His win has been an unmitigated disaster in this regard. It has also been an unmitigated, uncompromising success for his real constituents.

All I am asking is that people look not only at what Sanders says, (which like what Obama said before his election, is profound, excellent, impassioned and great), but that voters judge him on his votes. The votes are different from the speeches. Actions tell a story that voters need to understand.

We were all told it was necessary for Obama to win. Was it? Did his win help ordinary people and the earth?. Has his win accomplished the goals people sought in voting for him? I would say, absolutely not.

This country is very ready to vote for an actual left wing politician. I also see that we are again in a position of desperation, seeking a savior. That desperation, that desire for a savior can be very dangerous while trying to make a good judgment about our political class. However, if people look at Sander's actions and want to pull for him, that is what I would do. Go around the MSM in every possible way. It may not succeed but it is still worth doing.

Jagger May 30, 2015 at 10:49 am

What was his position on the Israeli attack on Gaza or Russia and the Ukraine debacle? What about Syria and Iran? And I guess now we need to look at China as well.

Hopefully, there isn't a neocon cloaked underneath that nice shiny anti-neo-liberal facade.

I guess I should do some homework on him.

Ned Ludd May 30, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Will Miller, an anti-war activist who fought to unionize the University of Vermont faculty, called Sanders: "Bernie the Bomber".

Since 1991 the Democrats have given Bernie membership in their Congressional Caucus. Reciprocally, Bernie has become an ardent imperialist. Sanders endorsed Clinton in 1992 and 1996. In 1992 he described Clinton as the "lesser of evils," (a justification he used to denounce when he was what the local press called an "avowed socialist"). By 1996 he gave Clinton an unqualified endorsement. He has been a consistent "Friend of Bill's" from since 1992. One student I know worked on the Clinton Campaign in 1996 and all across Vermont, Bernie was on the stage with the rest of the Vermont Democratic Party Leadership, while the unauthorized Democratic candidate for his Congressional seat was kept out in the audience.

Sanders continues to support sanctions even though the Iraqi body count has now passed 1.5 million. Just as he has supported every bombing of Iraq since 1992. When Clinton sent military units to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in October, 1994 because Iraq moved troops inside Iraq closer to the Kuwait border (apparently
about 100 miles away), Bernie supported this because "we cannot tolerate aggression." […]

The overwhelming majority of the people present were against Sander's [sic] support for the bombing… and his active support for every US intervention since he has been in Congress–Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Liberia, Zaire (Congo), Albania, Sudan, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia.

When Delores Sandoval, an African American faculty member at the University of Vermont, ran as a Democrat against Sanders, she "was amazed that the official party treated her as a nonperson and Bernie kept outflanking her to her right. She opposed the Gulf build-up, Bernie supported it. She supported decriminalization of drug use and Bernie defended the war on drugs…"

Jess May 30, 2015 at 10:17 pm

So, the question is, "Do we want just more bombing and imperialism?" or "Do we want more bombing and imperialism to go along with cutting SS and Medicare, privatizing education, debt servitude, no prosecution of banksters, etc?"

Also, although MMT advocates may disagree, isn't it conventional wisdom that to do the kinds of things at home that Bernie advocates, we'll have to cut back on the foreign misadventures?

ran May 30, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Like the sainted Warren, he believes Israel is justified in murdering as many Palestinians as they want.

Oregoncharles May 30, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Good point. You need to start posting his voting record, or your posts get more hollow as you go along.

Lambert Strether May 30, 2015 at 4:14 pm

Yep. Worse, since the comments have no authority, they don't propagate. No point coming back to them, no point learning new sources, etc.

Ned Ludd May 30, 2015 at 12:21 pm

"The Toxically Useful Idiocy of Amy Goodman", a response to Amy Goodman's column on Obama's re-election, questions the entire role of the lefty media in electing Democrats.

It's their bread and butter to know, that, yes, the government IS bought and paid for and to remind us of that again and again in laborious, depressing and mostly disempowering detail. But it's also built into their job to hint at the way out and this they crucially do by habitually endorsing Democrats with loose talk of 'making [them] do it' via grass roots agitating.

But if the government is bought and paid for and only mass uprisings will help, why squander time and money on elections at all? Why not just get straight to the shit-disturbing?

Forget about ever hearing those questions posed, or answered, by Goodman and her ilk, at least not with any seriousness. That's not what they're paid to do.

Elections are a sink for activist energy. After my state's Green Party became hopelessly corrupt, I wasted far too much time electing more & better Democrats based on progressive promises and liberal voting records.

In a corrupt system, popular progressive, socialist, and Green politicians will follow the path of Joschka Fischer. Once he rose to the position of foreign minister of Germany, the former communist street fighter became a charismatic advocate for neoliberalism.

Uahsenaa May 30, 2015 at 9:57 am

This is Iowa, so take what I say with a grain of salt; people here have a tendency to overestimate the significance of being "first in the nation" (many eyerolls).

However, Hilary's campaign trail behavior has already been deeply irritating to voters here. At Kirkwood (Community College) she basically got out of her van, walked immediately into a building, delivered a speech to a bunch of cameras (no press!), where she talked about the importance of meeting "everyday Iowans," all the while many many flesh and blood Iowans were waiting outside, because she willfully ignored them. There was much grumbling in the crowd.

Meanwhile, Sanders is actually going to rec centers and townhalls to be bombarded with dumb midwestern platitudes, something which will almost certainly ingratiate him to the "ordinary folk" around here. I'm perfectly willing to predict a Hilary loss in Iowa even at this point in the game.

Pelham May 30, 2015 at 10:16 am

If one judges by the various candidates' policy positions and — far more importantly — their credibility (how likely they are to foIlow through on promises), Sanders is literally the only serious candidate.

If the press were truly objective, Sanders would be the dominant figure in the race, not an afterthought.

After nearly 40 years in journalism, I'm still amazed at just how routinely the press violates nearly every ethical precept that is supposed to guide its work.

Brooklin Bridge May 30, 2015 at 12:49 pm

Can't resist a question. I'm assuming, after 40 years in journalism, that you have contacts, friends, acquaintances among the media. Are they aware of the unflattering similarities between themselves and say Baghdad Bob, but the money is sweet, or do they really imagine they are reporting the facts?

juliania May 30, 2015 at 10:59 am

I take umbrage at the description of Obama. "Quixotic" he is not.

Steven Greenberg May 30, 2015 at 11:04 am

The point of the article is not so much, "What is Bernie going to do about it", and more "What are you and I going to do about it?" While we still have access to the internet, this is the biggest tool we have to get things done our way. It is up to us to use it, Tweet, Facebook, Blog, MeetUp, Organize, Petition, or do whatever else you can imagine doing on the internet to overcome the lame stream media's silence.

Don't just sit back and say it can't be done. How do you know it can't be done, if you don't try? If a 72 year old guy can muster the energy, perhaps the younger folk can find a little energy to invest, too. (Of course forcing you to have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet, is a good way for the oligarchs to make sure you don't have too much excess energy to devote to politics.) If you are participating in this thread, then you must have some spare time on your hands.

"They" may have the money, but, at least for the time being, "we have the votes."

grayslady May 30, 2015 at 11:20 am

Some thoughts on Bernie:

1) Regarding age: It was only 5 years ago that Bernie filibustered for a solid 8 1/2 hours against a tax cut for people earning over $250,000. He's clearly a lot hardier than many people his age.

2) Bernie's campaign team includes the excellent Tad Devine as senior strategic consultant. Bernie's digital team includes Revolution Messaging, a firm comprised of many of the individuals who worked on Obama's campaigns.

These two choices tell me that Bernie knows he needs someone with serious credentials on how to win the Democrat primary and, also, that he understands the traditional media is going to give him short shrift. I don't personally participate in any of the standard social media platforms, but I don't underestimate their power. Consider that recently two housewives, and a quarter of a million online supporters, successfully forced Kraft to eliminate artificial dyes in their mac and cheese product. Online campaigns can be extremely powerful in reaching audiences that newspapers and television miss.

3) Democrat opposition: Hillary still had vestiges of populism in her 2008 persona. Today, it's difficult for anyone to imagine a woman who helps her daughter buy a $10 million co-op in NYC is anything but part of the .01%. Her refusal to condemn TPP, her brazen condemnation of Chelsea Manning, her pathetic responses on Edward Snowden, and her abnormally secretive actions–as SofS and before–also indicate a personality totally out of touch with the majority of Americans.

4) Bernie's voting record: Bernie hasn't always ended up voting the way I would have liked on issues, but I appreciate that as a member of Congress without a political party behind him, he has occasionally made deals that didn't benefit the public at large even if he was still able to negotiate some small victories for his Vermonters. When first asked if he was considering running for President, Bernie said it depended on two things: he would only run if he thought he could win, and he understood that for him to win he needed a movement behind him. He understands the fallacy of a political "savior". He's willing to be the voice of the people if the people are finally ready to take back their government–not just hand it over to one individual and hope for miracles.

5) Voter turnout: Bernie has a potentially broader base of voters by staying away from hot-button issues such as immigration and gay rights. His platform of universal free college has to be a winner with young people, and his campaign announcement included, as part of his platform, women's equality. He's also a serious advocate for environmental protection. Most importantly, anyone who works can easily relate to his primary platform issue, more and better jobs.

For what it's worth, my best friend's 17-year old grandson, who was an active foot soldier in our local congressional campaign last fall, said recently that looking at all the current candidates for President, he liked Bernie the best. If Bernie can catch hold with the younger voters, he won't have to worry about whether he's picking up the ethnic, single-issue voting blocs.

No candidate for President is ever ideal, but I agree with the author that Bernie has a real shot at the nomination as long as the voters, and not the traditional press, say he has a shot and are willing to back the movement Bernie says we need to develop.

jrs May 30, 2015 at 11:48 am

Was Bernie's filibuster real or hadn't everyone already gone home for the weekend by then? I mean very well, he does a so called filibuster, so does Rand Paul do so called filibusters and quits at the last minute (by the way I don't know why Rand Paul was able to insert a Patriot Act filibuster in a trade debate, but anyway.).

If we're going to develop a movement shouldn't it be for more than Bernie Sanders? Even a reformist movement should look toward I don't know taking over a political party or something. What happened to all the movement Obama allegedly built, sure some were Obots, but some probably really wanted change. Nothing of course. What do those types of single candidate movements do but churn through people and demoralize them if they lose the one office that was the whole reason for being of the whole movement.

I don't' just believe looking for a political savior is a fallacy, I believe starting at the top of the political system (the presidency!) is a fallacy. Why do we continually focus where we have no power, but not where we might (maybe city counsel member or something). But sure spend 5 minutes voting for Sanders if it makes sense to you. I'm undecided. I know why we start at the top: because all the propaganda is aimed there, every slight of hand has us looking in that direction, we're continually told the Presidency is what really matters (and witness voter turn out in Presidential elections versus non-Presidential), because the intoxication of so much power is seductive, because one can't help being informed about the Presidential race by osmosis and learning some down ticket items takes real effort. But it's not working.

grayslady May 30, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Try reading the bullet points. My point about Bernie's filibuster wasn't the content, or the time of day, or the day of the week. I'm a year younger than Bernie was when he filibustered and I couldn't stand up for 8 1/2 hours with only a glass of water and one bathroom break.

As to a movement, Bernie isn't talking about an Obama-worship type movement. He's talking about everyday citizens taking back their government from the monied class. He's indicated a willingness to be the governmental representative leading the charge, nothing more. Having started his political career running for mayor, I don't think Bernie ignores the importance of local action. But when you can have the state override local action, such as recently happened in Denton, Texas, you can't ignore the importance of changing state and Federal actions at the same time.

It's natural to feel jaded, I suppose, after so many years of political hucksters. Being from Illinois, I knew Obama was a con man from day one. Obama was never in the news here for anything, much less helping ordinary citizens, until Emil Jones decided to start manufacturing a bogus c.v. for him. Bernie has a long, public record to examine, whether you like his record or not. Personally, I'd rather try one more shot at a legitimate political contender before opting for revolution.

abynormal May 30, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Personally, I'd rather try one more shot at a legitimate political contender before opting for revolution. taking this with me…thanks

"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem."
H. Zinn

Carolinian May 30, 2015 at 7:47 pm

Maybe what we need is a political savior. I think one error of the Occupy movement was thinking it could succeed without visible and charismatic leadership. After all we don't celebrate Civil Rights day, we celebrate Martin Luther King day. The Republicans win election after election by making it all about personalities because the reality is that's what wins Presidential elections. Even in the extreme situation of a 1930s style Depression–far worse than now–the right leader was needed and happily got elected.

What the left really needs is an Obama type figure who isn't a gold plated phony. It's a tough order. Some of us are just wondering if Sanders fits the bill.

Ned Ludd May 30, 2015 at 9:10 pm

Martin Luther King, Jr. was an outstanding orator, but compare the time he was given to defend his views on The Mike Douglas Show, versus the concision required by today's news programs.

Jeff Greenfield, Nightline producer: One of the things you have to do, when you book a show, is know that the person can make the point in the framework of television… We've got to have English-speaking people. We also need concision.

[…]

Chomsky: The beauty of concision, you know, saying a couple of sentences between two commercials, the beauty of that is you can only repeat conventional thoughts. […]

You can't give evidence if you're stuck with concision. That's the genius of this structural constraint.

Today's media ensures that anyone with unconventional views "can't give evidence" and will "sound like they were from Neptune." Consequently, a contemporary dissident whose views cannot be explained in two sentences would fare better as an outstanding writer, instead of an outstanding orator.

Lambert Strether May 31, 2015 at 1:43 am

The long form is hard to do on a cellphone (or so I hear). And that's where so many of the 18-to-35s Obama betrayed are to be found. Maybe we have to figure out how to do that two sentence thing. "Peace, land, bread" worked well for Lenin.

Paul Tioxon May 31, 2015 at 2:25 pm

SOCIAL SECURITY-SOLAR POWER-$15 AN HOUR

Anthony Kennerson May 31, 2015 at 7:38 am

How about instead we support an Independent Left built from the bottom up through local activism, lead by leaders who are viable enough to lead. Kshama Sawant, anyone??

Doug Terpstra May 30, 2015 at 12:00 pm

This is an encouraging post. But ISTM that the examples of upstart outsiders, with the partial exception of Carter, maybe Truman, really turned out to be stealth insiders, whose appeal to the 1% put them over the top. Weren't Truman and Carter both militarists and Carter a big deregulator?

Truman's support for the partition of Palestine and the recognition of Israel probably out him over the top in 48. Ditto for Slick Willie, the come-back kid who went all-in for Wall Street. But the prize goes to the ultimate dark-horse Trojan horse, Obama, whose fealty to Israel, Wall Street, and the MIC are unconditional. These examples turned out to be very establishment presidents, with the exception of Obama, a radical fascist.

If Sanders follows these exemplary Democrats, no thank you. He already supports Israeli crimes and he supported the health insurance racket bailout bill (Obamneycare). Will he become yet another Wall Street "water-boy" to pull off an apparent "upset"?

Oregoncharles May 30, 2015 at 12:22 pm

You do realize that the party machinery will cheat, if necessary?

Rigging elections was the meat and drink of the big city machines – almost all Democrats. Chicago is the last survivor.

If Republicans can do it, Democrats certainly can, too, unless you think they're actually dumber.

The party apparatchiks' grip on the kind of power they care about is at stake.

Lambert Strether May 30, 2015 at 4:16 pm

Obama certainly rigged the caucuses in Texas in 2008. So, yeah.

JurisV May 30, 2015 at 12:45 pm

I have a question I'd like to ask to ask the commenters who criticize Sanders about age, his support of particular items, and doubts about his odds of actually being elected.

How, other than his candidacy, would you suggest a better method/plan to get serious "leftist" ideas into the swarms of the Media????

  • (quote)
    -Screwing the big banks
  • -Restoring "Glass-Stiegel"
  • – Getting rid of "Citizens-United"
  • – Treating Natanyahu like the creep that he is
  • – Expanding Social Security
  • – A $15 national minimum wage
  • – NOT approving trade deals that export American blue collar jobs
  • – A single payer health system rather than the giveaway Obama care benefit to insurance companies
  • – Letting people pretend to be married in whatever manner they favor
  • – Publicly funded college for the qualified

Against him:

  • – He is opposed to developing nuclear electric power generation
  • – He is a socialist? So what. What does that even mean these days? (unquote)

The quote above is from SicSemperTyrranis by Patrick Lang.

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2015/05/angry-old-man-supports-angry-old-senator.html

I recommend reading the whole post because it's an example of the stirrings of recognition that we, as a country, are seriously off the tracks and that this recognition is seeping into public awareness. Pat Lang's post and the poster "Uahsenaa" upstream.

I can't think of a better to get real progressive ideas past the PTB in Washington and the MSM than Bernie Sanders campaigning for President.

sharonsj May 30, 2015 at 3:56 pm

On the same day that Bernie gave a speech to 5,000, Rick Santorum gave a speech to 50 people. I expect this makes the establishment very nervous…. Maybe it proves that Chris Hedges is right about revolutions and that Americans aren't as stupid as they appear.

Gaius Publius May 30, 2015 at 4:38 pm

> On the same day that Bernie gave a speech to 5,000, Rick Santorum gave a speech to 50 people. I expect this makes the establishment very nervous….

I'm starting to agree with whoever said that Martin O'Malley will be the media's candidate to block Bernie Sanders (from getting in Clinton's way).

Just a thought, but watch for lots of O'Malley media love, plus lots of "Sanders language" from O'Malley, an insider who could steal the outsider's thunder, then lose — and never have to make good on those Sanders-style promises.

Hmm. The spidey sense is twitching…

GP

Lambert Strether May 30, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Yep. If people want a sheepdog (conscious collusion) I'd look to O'Malley, not Sanders. I'm not sure I understand if there is actually a rationale for his campaign, though people in Maryland don't seem to he very surprised he's running. (I like the anti-Wall Street rhetoric, but… If this were a local race, his name would be "Saunders," right?) Boy, does he have a chiseled jaw, though. It juts superbly, especially when photographed from below.

abynormal May 30, 2015 at 6:15 pm

Lambert, i just caught his am speech on npr. he was heckled pretty hard on his '0 tolerance' but he sounded prepared…as in Screaming.

1999 – " O'Malley has promised to clean up 10 drug corners in the city in the first six months of his administration and make low-income neighborhoods as safe as wealthier communities."

cleaned 10 and got 20 more thanks to his deep understanding of poverty.

Lambert Strether May 30, 2015 at 9:23 pm

Not sure I'd trust O'Malley's numbers on Baltimore crime. See David Simon.

ErnstThalmann May 30, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Terribly sorry but I refuse to be sucked credulously into a discussion that presupposes that Sanders – or Warren for that matter – represents a political vision that differs materially from Clinton.

Sander's' support for just about every defense expenditure he's considered over the last decade or so qualifies him as every bit the crazed warmonger that is Hillary.

And Warren's nausea inspiring support of Israel's war crimes in Gaza last Summer recommend her more than anything else for Elsa Koch look-alike of 2014. Sanders is no alternative, he's right out of DNC central casting. How stunningly naive it is to read trustfully a piece that treats him as anything else.

ErnstThalmann May 30, 2015 at 7:24 pm

It matters little to me, Lambert, that there will even be an election, what for all the authenticity elections for representative governments actually have. So if it's not already entirely clear, it is to your – and others – loyalty to these institutions that I addressed my remarks.

As long as you persist in imagining that the present context can produce "better alternatives", you remain, in my mind, the very expression of the underlying problem.

Many years ago, the Bernie Sanders version of this problem was aptly called "social fascism". So it is by no means certain that by "telling people who pay attention things that they already know", one is addressing people who actually do know.

Jim May 31, 2015 at 2:28 pm

Lets for a moment assume that everyone in the Thalman/Yves/Lambert back and forth has honorable motives.

From my perspective it would be extremely worthwhile if the respective political/economic/financial/cultural arrangements of each position could be sketched out.

Then we would all have something to really sink are teeth into.

TarheelDem May 30, 2015 at 5:44 pm

I get the reference to Eugene McCarthy 1968, but is that all that the great hope for Bernie Sanders amount to?

Jimmy Carter was on the map at all because in 1970 in his inaugural speech he committed as governor to ending segregation in Georgia. Bill Clinton was on the map because he, like Richard Riley of South Carolina, succeeded in getting taxes raised to fund public education in an era in which "no new taxes" was the mantra everywhere. And he did that with a conservative, if not Republican, legislature.

Barack Obama was on the map because of his 2004 keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, which made him an instant Presidential candidate like Reagan's address in 1964 made him an instant Presidential candidate.

Sanders gains momentum if he wins in Iowa (a matter of playing the quirky caucus system properly), New Hampshire, and can prove in South Carolina that he has the potential of developing momentum in red states. It was not Carter's and Clinton's centrism but their ability to deliver Southern states that made them attractive to Democratic voters in 1976 and 1992.

Ideological alignments with voters are only part of the appeal of Presidential candidates. Trust that they are up to the demands of campaigning and the operation of a huge executive operation are critical parts of a candidate's appeal. Sanders's encouraging polling seems to indicate that he is beginning to build that sort of trust. Another is the hints that the candidates' campaign style gives into his means of continued communications with voters, especially voters who might not agree with him all the time. Sanders goes into over-marketed campaigning at his peril; so far it looks like his team understands this.

The big question is can Sanders's campaign end run the Wall Street media and their subsidiary local media, blog presence, and social media so as to have two-way communication with voters. If he can transform marketing-oriented politics and gain traction, winning becomes much easier.

The other issue is governing after winning, which requires having coattails in the Congress within and outside the Democratic Party so as to create the prospect of challengers to Democratic and Republican candidates in the 2018 mid-terms.

He must change the nature of the conversation not rhetorically but institutionally.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL May 30, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Let's face it, elections are about money and power, more than ever after Citizens United. The shocking part is that with all of this nation's billionaires (>1400 at last count, up from 700 in 2008) not a single solitary man of principle, a man (or woman) who gives even the tiniest possible damn about the actual direction of the country and the people in it, has committed *anything* to candidates like Warren or Sanders.

Instead we get Rupert's whore, Koch's favorite fascist du jour, ossified Cold Warriors backing (retch) Bush, and flat earthers supporting any number of clown car passengers.

Billionaires smugly calculating which utterly corrupt puppet will be best for their personal bank balances or best for their own personal nutjob fantasies is a pretty damning indictment of "civic responsibility" in this age of ours.

A groundswell of public disgust will not turn the tide in 2016 without Really Big Money behind it. Probably will in 2020, in the midst of WW III and a financial meltdown that will make 2008 look like a picnic (if they still let people vote from the FEMA camps, that is…)

jrs May 30, 2015 at 10:31 pm

Last congressional election was the most expensive ever. And it shows. But money couldn't possible influence anything …. could it?

Jeremy Grimm May 30, 2015 at 8:35 pm

The levels of discontent are beyond anything I can recall from earlier times. Both red and blue voters are concerned and unhappy. I will vote for Sanders. He may wheel around like Obama and disdain his base. I doubt it. As for his past, he is not lily white. I am less concerned with his past than his future. As for his age he must be especially careful in choosing his vice president.

I don't know the answer — What was FDR about before he was elected? Did he have a lily white liberal voting record?

A rhetorical question — who else might … might … lead our country in the correct ("right" direction offers too much semantic propriety to what has become a direction toward madness) direction? At least Bernie doesn't offer any truly crazy ideas like an Adolf did in a similar period of discontent in a sibling country — so many years ago.

If you are for Bernie already, what to do about it? Send Bernie your $50 or what you can afford. Design your own Bernie Sanders for President sunscreen plastic to mount inside a rear window of your car and offer it to friends who have little kids. Talk Bernie up to your barber. Talk Bernie up at your Post Office, where you get your oil changed, anywhere many people congregate and occasionally talk and exchange opinions, anywhere a person like your barber talks to and listens to many people.

Even if you don't especially like Bernie, vote for him in the primary as the lesser Evil — although in Truth there is no lesser Evil. BUT don't vote for Evil lesser or otherwise in the final election — and DO vote and be counted as an undervote — at least do this if you do care and are not apathetic.

I voted for Obama, twice to my shame. I will never again vote for the lesser of Evils in the final election. But, I will vote my ballot in some way to assure it is counted as a ballot.

As for marching in the street and other such nostrums. I leave that to someone else. Direct confrontation with a vastly superior force, with absolutely no moral constraints holding them back, is simply unwise. The lessons of warfare in this and the previous century teach other far more effective tactics and strategy.

Money cannot buy votes directly. Money can buy advertising, signs, good words and bad words against enemies in the papers, radio and TV but those cannot buy your vote.

Laziness against complexity and nuance buys votes. Credulity buys votes. Disinformation and fatigue buys votes. Money only greases the transaction. Take and enjoy the bread and circuses for what they are, use them.

Remind all your friends, acquaintances and all who will or might listen — Citizenship is a sacred responsibility upon which our freedom depends. We don't live in an English men's club! Politics and its free and wide discussion by individuals is the vital life blood of a free and democratic nation.

Lexington May 30, 2015 at 8:47 pm

It's too bad that Intrade is no longer functional because it appears I could make a killing on Democratic nomination futures by betting against the starry eyed dreamers that believe for even one second that there's a snowball's chance in hell that the Democrats are going into the 2015 campaign with Bernie Sanders as their nominee. That dog won't hunt.

After the 1972 fiasco the Democrats specifically adopted the superdelegate rule to ensure that party establishment could exercise a de facto veto over the nomination process in order to ensure they would never again be saddled with an unelectable McGovernesque candidate by the party rank and file. From the point of view of the party establishment Sanders is McGovern with 10% of the charisma and 1000% of the ideological baggage.

Not that it's ever going to come to that. They destroyed Howard Dean literally overnight with the meme that he was some crazed out of control freak on the basis of one boisterous post primary celebration rally – and Dean was then a frontrunner with a extensive ground organization and Obama-like adulation from young Democrats. Taking down a 73 year old senator from a small state with no organization and no constituency within the Democratic Party is almost an insult to their finely honed mastery of the Machiavellian arts.

I like Bernie Sanders but he's a protest candidate at best whose real opportunity is to highlight issues that insiders in both parties would rather not discuss, and in so doing move the Overton Window and possibly help lay the groundwork for a future grassroots challenge to the biparty consensus.

Jess May 30, 2015 at 10:44 pm

I would tend to agree with you except that since Zero got elected in 2008 the curtain has been ripped down.

There is now much more disenchantment and resentment against the direction of the mainstream institutional Democrap party. And many grass roots conservatives are equally fed up with the Wall Street wing of their party. Much different terrain to fight this battle on than in times past.

Johnnie Fever May 30, 2015 at 11:07 pm

Oh no, that didn't happen. The democrats insist there was no curtain, you where just a "low info" voter, dontchaknow. The campaign speeches where just hyperbole, been like that forever.

Democrat is a disgusting moniker, not Liberal/Progressive". They (Democrats) sell their Mothers too, but it's behind a veil of policy, that's never brought up. Obama stunted the vote of the 18-30 year olds for possibly eternity. There was no "Change", and almost all have lost "Hope".

Lexington May 30, 2015 at 11:53 pm

Not disagreeing with you, but my point is regardless of how the electorate at large feels about the state of the nation and its leadership the Democratic nominee is going to be someone acceptable to the party establishment, who are the people who erected the curtain and stage managed everything that occurred behind it. That someone most definitely isn't Bernie Sanders. Sanders is toxic to the establishment not only because they regard him as unelectable, but more importantly because even if he was nominated (never mind thinking the unthinkable, as in a President Sanders) the plutocracy would abandon the Democrats in droves and take their money and patronage with them. From the perspective of the establishment that would be the very definition of a Pyrrhic victory.

There was an excellent post on NC a while back about how the leaders of an organization will ultimately always sacrifice the organization's putative objectives if this is necessary in order to preserve their own position and authority within it. Don't have time to look it up right now but I think it's very apropos the situation in which the party now finds itself.

CB May 31, 2015 at 4:49 am

http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/001705.html

May 30, 2015 at 11:04 pm

Obama by all accounts should have lost in 2012 with the economy in the crappy shape it was but the Republican nominated Romney, who managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with incidents like having had a Swiss bank account and his remarks about the 47% who don't pay taxes (which is untrue since everyone pays sales taxes and property taxes, either directly or indirectly through rent). So as much as the Republicans ought to win, again given the state of the economy and Democrat fatigue, they have a tone deafness as to how plutocrats play with the general public.

As to the popularity of the positions that Sanders advocates, the US polls consistently well to the left of the political center of gravity represented in the media and inside the Beltway.

Phil May 31, 2015 at 4:15 am

Lexington, you could be right, but something is changing in America. The Plutocrats are in our faces with hegemony and privilege, and using their elevated position of power to decimate the middle class.

Sanders resonates with people in both parties. Social media and its bottom-up power is more sophisticated than it was in 2008. New communication tools have the potential to trump Power. I would love to see Sanders go all the way. Lets see what happens.

TG May 31, 2015 at 9:36 am

Indeed. But Clinton and Obama were not 'quixotic' – they made explicit deals to sell us out, and from that point forward the corporate press suddenly gave them glowing coverage out of nowhere. That (I hope) does not apply to Bernie Sanders.

And it's not just silence that will be applied to Sanders – also the magnification of minor flaws or past mistakes until that's all the people know about him. The things he stands for – like not having TPP or bank bailouts, which even the tea party supports – will not be covered. So in the conservative press we hear nothing about Sander's opposition to TPP etc., only that he is a 'socialist' who fifty years ago wrote a stupid essay on something.

And the liberal press won't talk about Senator Jeff Sessions' opposition to TPP, because his opposition to the use of foreign workers to drive down wages means that he's a racist who scapegoats immigrants. Divide and conquer, report only makes the enemies of the 1% 'unelectable'.

washunate May 31, 2015 at 11:46 am

Very interesting read and comments. One angle I might add is to recall how important it was in 2007 to break the aura of inevitability. To grossly oversimplify, a few thousand teens and 20 somethings in Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, Iowa, and farther away worked to ensure that Hillary Clinton finished third in the Iowa Caucus.

The good news is that it can be done. The bad news is that you can only fool people so many times. A lot of those Obama and Edwards folks in 2006 and 2007 are wary of anyone operating within the Democratic Party today.

Jackrabbit May 31, 2015 at 12:03 pm

The fundamental flaw made by those who support Sanders is that the Democratic Party is an independent institution. It is not. It is a member of the Duopoly which, by design, offers the illusion of democracy. That makes Sanders nothing more than a prequel to lesser evil voting.

Berie Sanders is no Eugene Debs

Sanders' policies are pretty good on working-class economic justice demands and climate action, and not so good on foreign policy and militarism. But his positions on the issues is secondary to the question of whether his politics are helping the working class act for itself or subsume itself under the big business interests in charge of the Democratic Party. By entering the Democratic primaries with the promise of supporting Clinton as the lesser evil to the Republicans, Sanders is not helping the working class to organize, speak and act for itself.

By failing to act on its own and speak for itself in U.S. elections, the left committed political suicide. It lost its independent voice and its platform from which to be heard. The public doesn't hear from the left in elections. They only hear from pro-capitalist Democrats, who most of "the left" promotes as the lesser evil to the Republicans.

By trying to get Democratic politicians to say and do what the left wants them to say and do, the left has been engaged in a pathetic and hopeless attempt at political ventriloquism. It is dependent politics, powerless politics. It has been 80 years–20 presidential election cycles–since the left largely disappeared itself into the Democratic Party. It is way past time to draw the lesson of this experience: the left won't regain power and public significance until it breaks with the Democrats and acts independently for itself.

THE INDEPENDENT left should be talking to progressives who have decided to support Sanders. We should talk about why independent politics is the best way to build progressive power, about the Democratic Party as the historic graveyard of progressive movements, and about the need in 2016 for a progressive alternative when Sanders folds and endorses Clinton. I don't expect many will be persuaded to quit the Sanders campaign before the primaries. But I do expect that many of them will want a Plan B, a progressive alternative to Clinton, after the primaries.

H O P

Jackrabbit May 31, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Interesting bit of history (from "Bernie Sanders is No Eugene Debs"):

THE INDEPENDENT left was a force to be reckoned with in U.S. politics from the 1840s through the 1930s. The Liberty Party, the Free Soil Party and the Radical Republicans carried the banners of abolition, land reform, labor rights and Reconstruction from the 1840s through 1870s. With the post-Civil War industrialization and rapid expansion of industrial workers, the surviving radicals of the pre-war reform movements formed the populist farmer-labor Greenback Labor and People's Parties of the 1880s and 1890s.

With collapse of Populism into the Democratic Party, its radicals were central to the formation of the Socialist Party of America, as well as regionally based Labor, Farmer-Labor and Progressive Parties between 1900 and 1936, which came close to establishing a major third party on the left with a farmer-labor popular base. Together, they elected hundreds of local officials, scores of state officials and dozens of members of Congress. The Farmer-Labor and Progressive parties of the Upper Midwest in the 1930s had two governors, three U.S. Senators, 12 members of the House, and scores of state and local elected officials.

Those successes fueled widespread agitation for an independent labor party based on unions, which reached a peak as the 1936 election approached. Unfortunately, the unions and the Communist Party's Popular Front policy led most of labor and the left into the Democratic Party's New Deal Coalition in 1936 – from which they never emerged afterward in a major way.

Reply

jrs May 31, 2015 at 2:01 pm

If we believe that Sanders could win and be entirely different than Obama, then we believe the Democratic party could support both Obama and someone unlike him (the anti-Obama). Is this a coherent position? I don't know as I have a hard time making coherent sense of what parties really are, of having a mental model of them.

I sometimes think that parties are: interest groups for certain industries. And if so Sanders could be different as long as he's the same on the issues these industries care about. And maybe that's what could happen, he'll be allowed some progressive economic policies that still have to pass Congress, and thus may never see the light of day, in return for steering the empire through another round, which will of course see the light of day.

The popular perception is to see parties as ideologies but to accept that is to condemn a party that will not condemn and disown Obama as having no principles, or no decent principles at any rate.

Because the Dem party is really not coherent as an ideological entity except as a champion of the worse types of things. Sometimes I think parties should be seen more as junior high school cliques or yes as tribes, though I think that's a hard conception for those who never were "in with the in crowd" to get their minds around. But maybe they are just all people in exclusionary (to the other party) and inclusionary (to anyone in the party) social circles, and no we non-elite really aren't part of the club.

The other individualist alternative is to see Sanders as purely an individual, but he is running on a party platform. Would we vote for Sanders if he ran as a Republican? Why not? Maybe parties are branding, but branding of what, maybe those exclusionary and inclusionary social circles, that yea we the masses will never be part of.

jrs May 31, 2015 at 2:13 pm

I reject the simplification that both parties are the same big party. I can accept that they BOTH represent plutocrats and not the common person. But at the same time they fight too hard to win (even cheat to win as in hacking and counter-hacking the voting machines) to be the same exact party.

Even if it's really just fighting for the spoils and to distribute some spoils to their cliques (no their cliques are not us). But some may believe their own spin of it being for the greater good.

[May 29, 2015]Bernie Sanders doesnt have to win the Democratic primary to do a lot of good

While it is extremely important that Sanders beat Hillary for democratic nomination, as warmonger Hillary will be a disaster for the county, it looks like majority of commenters does not understand that election in the USA are a formality and in reality "deep state" has most if not all the power and in a sense President is more of a figurehead, not "decider" as Bush boasted while being manipulated by Cheney, Wolfowitz and friends.
May 28, 2015 | The Guardian

ExcaliburDefender -> libbyliberal 28 May 2015 22:52

Oh bless your heart Lib Lib - good to be kept up to date on the world of Jill Stein, has she decided to run yet? Those 3rd challenges are going to work someday, right? Lesser evilism et al.

Do keep in mind there are no shortage of Rove types that want the democrats to sit this one out. It's the GOP that are worried this election, not enough Tea Party types to carry them. More than 5 states heading toward BLUE.

PEPP, now that was net new, is this the 'socialist' site?

In Sanders' case, I think he's partly a true believer in militarism. He wants good wars instead of bad wars (whatever that means) despite the belief in "good wars" requiring ongoing military spending. And partly, I think, he comes at it from a deep habit of "supporting" the troops and veterans for both sincere and calculating reasons. He's also a PEP in the Palestine sense.

But people will be thrilled just to hear Sanders mention "the bad Bush-Cheney war," when their standard is set by such war hawks as Hillary Clinton, whose love for war, rather than some collective fit of amnesia, explains the absence of the military from most of the emerging populist agendas.

We should be clear that this degeneration of the Democratic Party platform does not represent a shift in public attitudes, but rather an increase in the corruption of the political system. No polls support this. Many campaign funders do.

http://davidswanson.org/node/4752

Zepp -> bbh795 28 May 2015 19:59

Do you know that federal tax revenues, as a percentage of GDP, are at the same levels as they were in 1952?

The difference is that back then, a family of four making average income paid 4% of their income in federal taxes. The wealthy and corporations paid a much larger share, and you know what? Both they and the country prospered!

Zepp -> gwpriester 28 May 2015 19:36

There's a sea change in American politics over the past six or seven years. A poll yesterday showed that 31% of Americans now self-identify as "liberal" or "very liberal", matching the number who self-identify as conservative or very conservative. Ten years ago, ten points separated the two groups.

Further, the number of Americans who self-identify as Christian has dropped an amazing seven points in seven years. These are not trivial changes; for an estimated 15 million adult Americans to change their self-description on such a bedrock issue such as religion indicates a vast change is going on.

Part of it, of course, is the utter vileness of the radical right, who associate their views with Christianity as much as possible and have done much to damage the brand.

But part of it is the 2007 crash and the Occupy movement, which made it politically correct for the first time since the 50s for Americans to ask if unrestricted capitalism really is the best way to run a society, and do

Zepp -> zelazny 28 May 2015 19:20

Would [McCain and Palin] have attacked Libya and destroyed the most prosperous country in Africa?

Absolutely. And more. Remember McCain singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran"? He wasn't kidding, you know. They probably would have sparked World War III.

America is a corporate slave state. It is largely run by entities who see America as a useful tool, nothing else.

Support for Sanders is a good way of repudiating the corps.

Zepp -> hastings45 28 May 2015 19:14

Superhuman race? Not likely. But I do think Israel exerts undue influence on American policy, due largely to the deluded notion by Christian Zionists that Israeli interests and American interests cojoin because they are part of an insane biblical plan for end days.

Note to humanist_peach: You're right, I forgot that Sanders did that. As did about 40% of the Democrats, as I recall. Good for them!

pmyshkin 28 May 2015 16:43

I'm not sure when the media is going to break it to the American people that Bernie Sanders, who when he's not running for president, is a (gasp) socialist. Although he caucuses with the Democrats it would have been helpful to mention his pinkishness for the readership. One wonders why it hasn't come up yet in a big way, with the heavy handed finality, characteristic of an inane MM and a brainwashed USA, to thoroughly ridicule and discredit him. I suppose it is being held in reserve for the right moment.

As for Ralph Nader, your ad hominem attack depicting him as an attention seeking martyr with a giant ego is the borrowed, careless, shorthand cliche used by party hacks and operatives otherwise known as the Washington Consensus, to easily dismiss without consideration of issue or substance one of the few clear and vital voices of informed dissent America has. He has done as much or more over the last fifty years as any politician to protect and advocate for Americans against the corporate behemoths that regularly run roughshod over their lives.

His work on auto safety standards alone has literally saved thousand of lives. The Public Interest Research Groups spawned by Nader's early work and the court settlement against General Motors for their attempt to discredit and destroy him, have done as much as anyone operating in the political arena to protect Americans against polluters, big finance and Pharmaceutical companies.

As far as Gore and Bush and the practice of democracy in America, it is perhaps not so odd as it might seem, to hear a journalist criticize one candidacy because another candidate might win. That is after all how democracy works. Recall also what Clinton and Obama have done for the country if you wonder why the left must look for candidates beyond the Democratic Party.

amacd2 28 May 2015 16:27

My comment to Union Leader regarding Bernie Sanders in this campaign event in Portsmouth NH:

http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150527/NEWS0605/150529254

The Union Leader's Dan Tuohy correctly reports that Sanders "said America needs a serious debate on issues, and he then referenced the Trans-Pacific Partnership", and that in the Hall, "Sanders spoke about free tuition to public colleges and the importance of universal health care, Social Security, and keeping promises to veterans" which are also 'issues'.

Your accurate report continued that, "Afterward, he walked out to a nearby courtyard where grabbed a bull horn to speak to an overflow crowd. He said his campaign would focus on fighting income inequality and the influence of big money in politics." --- which are more 'issues'.

Finally, you reported that Sanders addressed the 'issues' of; billionaires, control of the media and the economy. Sanders said that others should address the 'issues' like he is with 'the people'.

But the only single issue which is the proximate CAUSE of all these subordinate 'issues' that Sanders mentioned is the Disguised Global (crony) Capitalist EMPIRE, which is only 'posing' as our former country and which is the force hiding behind both these Vichy parties --- and which Bernie needs to honestly; expose, 'call-out', and tell the people about, just as Thomas Paine and Paul Revere shouted-out and warned the people about the EMPIRE that was oppressing colonial American 'subjects' of that more visible Red Coated British EMPIRE.

As I wrote in January of 2007 and implored Nader, Jim Webb, Romney (in Portsmouth '12), and Jill Stein to level with the people about:"The very most important question that the American people should be asking (and looking for) in any candidate for president in '08 is not, "Where do you stand on the war?", but, "Where do you stand on the EMPIRE that has taken over our country --- an Empire of which the war in Iraq is only its biggest and most visible crime?" -

See more at: http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_alan_mac_070125_the_most_important_q.htm

The only 'Issue' (which covers all 'Issues") that both Sanders and Webb should address is the EMPIRE behind and CAUSING all these 'issues'.

If they addressed the EMPIRE all the other candidates would run away for fear of losing their campaign bribes from the EMPIRE which keeps both the neocon 'R' Vichy party political puppets and the neoliberal-con 'D' Vichy war goddess shilling Hillary in business!

cp1818 -> Timothy Everton 28 May 2015 15:04

I agree. Hillary is just a fake Democrat.

Timothy Everton -> ApostasyUSA 28 May 2015 14:11

" If Hillary gets the nomination then I will vote for her, If it's Bernie so be it."

That's part of the problem. People will let the DNC choose a candidate for them instead of helping get the BEST one on the rolls. Hillary is part of the problem, not part of the solution. She's more Republican than Democrat.

Tell the DNC to pick up Bernie Sanders as their candidate. It only takes and email or snail mail.

libbyliberal 28 May 2015 13:54

This columnist another proud to be sheepdog for patriarchy.

Sanders, sadly, a PEPP, "progressive except for Pentagon and Palestine." Kind of major holes in humaneness.

Style not substance with Obama, and now it is anti-style as style and not substance?

Meh.

ElyFrog 28 May 2015 13:22

"self-aggrandizing and delusional pose of a Ralph Nader, who could only arrive at the conclusion that there was no essential difference between George W Bush and Al Gore by surveying the playing field from somewhere 20 yards up his own ass."

Actually, on many issues, these two were very close. Maybe on the culture war issues not so much, but on economic, social and foreign policy, very close. However, juvenile insults are the refuge of mildly liberal types like this author.

What Bernie is actually pointing out is this same essential failure of the Clintons/ Gore/ Obama positions as centrist Democrats - and he's here to say that is not the way to go. Attack Nader, you also attack Bernie - and I've heard it already said by Clinton supporters.

marshwren -> ravioliollie 28 May 2015 12:36

Sanders' senate term isn't up until 2018, and i suspect at his age he'd probably retire rather than run again. He's still a senator while he runs for president, and will remain one should he lose the nomination or the general election.

As for "Democrooks", there's an old joke in US politics, of small town's election whose outcome hinges on the last voter, who happens to be the town drunk. As the drunk staggers towards to polling station, the Democratic boss offers him $5 and a six pack to vote for the Democrat; a few steps later the GOP offers him $10 and two six packs. The drunk goes in, votes, staggers out, and each boss demands to know how he voted. "Democrat" the drunk hiccups. Outraged, the GOP boss demands to know why, citing his more generous offer.

To which the drunk replies, "The Democrats are only half as corrupt as the Republicans."

marshwren -> ID345543 28 May 2015 12:21

I do, and so do most left-of-center voters: for the past 35 years the only dissent from Orthodoxy allowed is by the right wing; this is why Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Rand Paul make 2-3 (or more) appearances on the Sunday talk show EVERY WEEK, while Sanders was accorded just one--IN THE PAST YEAR. This is why we have 20+ flavors of Christo-corporate fascism representing the GOP, and one Democratic flavor thereof, who suck 99.999% of the oxygen out of the M$M coverage, while the only coverage afforded Sanders is about how unelectable he is (the week after Sanders announced, the liberal-lite non-candidate O'Malley generated more buzz for not yet announcing).

Anyone with half a brain could have predicted this the moment Sanders first mentioned his interest in running; this is why net neutrality is vital to the political health of this country--it's the people's alternative to the M$M, which is why corporate America (and their mostly GOP sock-puppets, including Rand Paul) wanted to drive the proverbial wooden stake through its heart.

ApostasyUSA 28 May 2015 11:18

I'll vote for the Democrat. It's about the platform of ideas to me, not just one person. If Hillary gets the nomination then I will vote for her, If it's Bernie so be it. Bernie can help one way or the other. His ideals enter the debate, many of which I agree with, and the conversation the left wants to have gets aired. Bernie + Hillary in the race is good for the Democrats and the Democrats are by far the better of the two major political Parties. I think a Clinton-Sanders ticket could be sweet!

Republicans prove themselves the scum of the Earth every day, so I'm all in for the Democrats and the Democratic platform. Renewable energy policy. Women's rights. Voting rights. Consumer rights. Serious efforts to reduce prison populations. Upkeep of our nation's infrastructure. Immigration rights. I'm going to vote affirmatively for the Democrats for allot of reasons in the next few decades.

Richard Polley 28 May 2015 11:10

'HE IS OUR ONLY HOPE.'....'NO, THERE IS ANOTHER.' bernie's greatness is in his current senate position and the voice/role he uses it for. He is pragmatic, offers clarity, states the obvious from a high position in the Senate. He is not destroying the rich class, he is saving them...because they are locked in to shortsighted views...their wealth is dependent on the existence and wealth of a middle class in the United states. Bernie is also growing a very powerful grass roots movement which, despite the hyperbole, is asking the wealthy to join in these reforms for every member of our society. This is not a super liber give-away program! Better education, rights to basic care, fair wages, these shouldn't even be thought of as 'revolutionary ideas' in our country...AMAZING....let the evolution revolution gain momentum!

johnshaplin 28 May 2015 09:26

"Lack of polish", 'abruptness' do not characterize his platform which is based on a long and comprehensive legislative and administrative record beginning in the time he served as Mayor of Burlington VT. in housing, health care,urban re-development, family services, veterans' benefits, minority affairs, immigration, community policing, schools, workers rights as well as numerous efforts to end the de-regulated environment, subsidies and tax-breaks in which the corporate 'oligarchy' presently operates. Furthermore, he has consistently avoided the 'ideological purities' of the intransigent Left, preferring always to strive for what can be done as opposed what 'could be done' in a perfect world and even in foreign affairs he has never positioned himself as an anti-Imperialist demagogue or 'anti-Israel, to the great consternation of many who one would presume would be his 'natural supporters', very precisely Ralph Nader, Kucinich and others. His success in Vermont has been derived to an unexpected degree from folks who otherwise would be considered 'conservative'- farmers, blue-collars with decidedly independent points of view, veterans and many segments of the business community who have gradually come to realize that his initiatives in many areas, not the least in health care and education, are in their interest. Of course, "The Media", as evinced in their 'non-coverage' the official kick-oo to his campaign, are not going to broadcast his record. He will have to pull-up support blade by blade, dollar by dollar in countless 'town-hall meetings' and modest venues across the country, in a grueling contest with few opportunities to debate his opponents face-to-face. Perhaps he and Hillary will circle each other like carnivorous cats in the jungle, each staking out their own territories but avoiding direct conflict to jointly defeat the behemoth of "Thatcher-Reaganism" and tea-party anarchism which has held the country in its thrall for the last thirty years has wrecked the country and plunged it into cynicism and despair. As Bernie has indicated time and time again, following Hannah Arendt's remarks in "The Eggs Speak", his campaign is one chance, perhaps the last, for Americans to avoid the choice between 'the lesser of two evils." To avoid choosing what, after all, is still evil.

sassafrasdog 28 May 2015 09:11

As for articles which have to issue a disclaimer that Bernie Sanders doesn't stand a squirrel's chance in hell of winning, they are preferable to the fawning articles about Hillary Clinton's inevitability because it is her turn.

Bushwah! We are in the primary season. Other candidates need to run to keep the frontrunner on her toes if she is going to get the nomination--otherwise it is months of her talking to herself. Also, some of those candidates might actually have a chance at beating her!

So let's stop placing bets on winning and talk about what is good for America right now, not what is good for this or that candidate.

[May 28, 2015]Bernie Sanders's Message Resonates With a Certain Age Group His Own

Hillary Clinton is a despicable warmonger, so "anybody but Clinton" theme might get a traction.
NYTimes.com

EPPING, N.H. — Fit and quick-witted at age 73, Senator Bernie Sanders was still going strong after speaking for an hour in 90-degree heat on Wednesday when he fielded a question from a man who could have been an older brother.

"Would you raise the top marginal tax rate to over 90 percent, as it was in the 1950s, when the middle class and the economy were doing so well?" asked Milt Lauenstein, 89, who had the same white hair and hunched posture as Mr. Sanders.

"You mean under the communist Dwight D. Eisenhower?" Mr. Sanders quipped about the former president, who, of course, was a Republican, but one who did not oppose high taxes as fiercely as party leaders do now.

Senator Bernie Sanders speaking at an event at New England College in New Hampshire on Wednesday.

It is not every day in 2015 that an Ike joke gets a laugh, but Mr. Sanders landed the line perfectly — at least for the roughly 50 older people in the crowd of 200 who came out to meet the candidate in a backyard here. It was the latest Sanders event to draw a sizable number of registered voters who share not only Mr. Sanders's cultural reference points but also his age group.

Mr. Sanders, an independent from Vermont, is running an insurgent's campaign for the Democratic nomination for president, but to spend time with him on the trail is almost to travel back in time: He sprinkles his remarks with "50 years ago" or "40 years ago" as he reminds his audiences of the progress in the United States on race relations or gay rights.

At one point during his remarks in Epping, Mr. Sanders drew a "yes" from Nina Capra Jordan when he commented that back in the first half of the 20th century, the University of California campuses, the City College of New York and other elite institutions charged little or no tuition. (Mr. Sanders wants to eliminate tuition at public universities nationwide and pay for it largely with revenue from taxes on Wall Street stock trades.)

Older voters seem to be responding. Some, facing financial strains now, seem especially drawn to the senator's evoking of an earlier era's more generous government and strong safety net.

"He's like F.D.R.," Marlene Gilman, 80, whispered excitedly in Concord, N.H., as Mr. Sanders pledged to create more jobs through a trillion-dollar public works program — a plan that echoes President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal.

At a campaign rally in Vermont on Tuesday and at three events in New Hampshire, including a town-hall-style gathering in Portsmouth that drew roughly 600 people, older voters made up a sizable minority of the crowds.

Their visibility at his events has been striking because Mr. Sanders's unabashedly progressive message, calling for a "political revolution" to tax the rich and redistribute income, often appeals to idealistic young Americans who do not pay much in the way of taxes. Even some of these older voters said they were a little surprised to be responding to the fiery, man-the-barricades exhortations of Mr. Sanders. But if young people and African-Americans identified with Barack Obama during his presidential run in 2008, older Americans said that Mr. Sanders had struck a deeply personal chord with them.

"I don't think he's too old — he's articulate and on the ball," said Leslie Dundon, a 71-year-old from Manchester, N.H. "And look, the older you get, the more you realize that life has actually taught you something, and you have something to contribute."

Mr. Sanders, who is only starting to build a national campaign — he has hired a dozen staff members and raised about $4 million toward a $50 million goal over the next 10 months — said that support from older Americans was a central part of his strategy to win the Democratic nomination over the party's front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton. A new survey by Quinnipiac University showed him moving up in the polls, with 15 percent support among Democratic voters, although polls at this point mainly reflect name recognition.

"It is beyond my understanding why the Democratic Party has not focused on the needs of seniors much more than they have — and you better believe I plan to," Mr. Sanders said in an interview on Wednesday between campaign events in New Hampshire, site of the first presidential primary, in February. "The Democratic Party talks about needing the African-American vote, the Hispanic vote, the women's vote — and all of that is right — but somehow we forget about senior citizens. Well, poverty among seniors is growing in this country, too. I'm going to fight for expanded Social Security benefits for them, and fight for their vote."

Mr. Sanders starts out as a long-shot candidate against Mrs. Clinton, who is far ahead of him in polls of Democratic voters. He is among the most liberal members of his party and hardly a power broker with a strong record in the Senate, and he is unlikely to come close to Mrs. Clinton in fund-raising — he vowed not to use a super PAC — or media exposure. But the televised debates could help him considerably, as he comes across as a truth-teller and more of a populist than Mrs. Clinton, and his policies and personality could attract both younger and older voters in influential states like Iowa and New Hampshire who are skeptical of establishment politicians.

Older Americans have long been a crucial voting bloc for presidential candidates, especially in states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina that have early nominating contests.

... ... ...

Jordan Derderian Jr., 69, a retiree who turned out to hear Mr. Sanders in Concord on Wednesday, said his problems were bigger than entitlement programs. He said he still wanted to earn some money to enjoy his life, but was having a hard time getting by, mostly on a combination of Social Security and a state pension. Recently he started working as a driver, earning 50 cents a mile to take people to hospitals.

[May 28, 2015]Bush earned millions in juggling act as corporate adviser

May 28, 2015 | finance.yahoo.com

Lucrative stints as corporate director, adviser earned Bush millions, may invite 2016 scrutiny

During his transition from Florida governor to likely presidential candidate, Jeb Bush served on the boards of or as an adviser to at least 15 companies and nonprofits, a dizzying array of corporate connections that earned him millions of dollars and occasional headaches.

Bush returned to corporate America after leaving the governor's mansion in early 2007, and his industry portfolio expanded steadily until he began shedding ties late last year to prepare a run for president.

Executives who worked alongside Bush describe him as an engaged adviser with an eye for detail.

Yet experts question how anyone could serve so many boards at once effectively.

"Board of directors and advisory boards are in charge of high-level oversight," said law professor Elizabeth Nowicki, a former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer. "You cannot possibly do that simultaneously for 10 or 15 entities."

There is no formal rule limiting the number of boards one person can serve. But in the wake of the Enron scandal, where flimsy board oversight contributed to the company's infamous meltdown, and a federal law that increased liability for a public company's director, common sense dictates a small number, Nowicki said.

"If somebody starts serving on more than three or four boards that's a problem," she said.

Three boards should be the maximum, agreed Zabihollah Rezaee, a University of Memphis accounting professor who has authored books about corporate governance.

"Board members are representing shareholders, and they are responsible to shareholders for financial integrity," said Rezaee. "Best practices" dictate a small number, he said, "because of the amount of time it requires to be effective."

Bush served on the boards of or as an adviser to 11 companies or nonprofits at a time each year from 2010 to 2013, The Associated Press found. Those ties were in addition to his own businesses, such as Jeb Bush & Associates, and the educational foundations he created.

In 2010 Bush served on the board of directors of eight different entities, as adviser to a ninth company and advisory board member for two others. In 2013, he served on six boards, as an adviser to another company and on the advisory board of four more entities.

Bush answered curtly Thursday when asked about the positions after visiting a lab in Lansing, Michigan, that makes antidotes and vaccinations for poisons such as anthrax.

"I had two public boards," he said. "And I did my fiduciary duty quite well, I think. You'll have to ask them."

Bush was apparently referring to his standing only in 2014, when he shed his corporate ties. At that time he was on the board of two publicly held companies, Tenet Healthcare and Rayonier Inc. In 2013, he was on the board of four public companies, including the international advisory board of Barrick Gold Corp.

Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said not all the corporate entities were the same — some were board slots, some advisory positions and others nonprofits — and suggested it was unfair to put them all in the same basket. AP's review found that Bush served on the board of directors of as many as seven for-profit companies at a time — while also serving as an adviser to other companies and nonprofits.

Bush's experience on corporate boardrooms could evolve into a theme during the 2016 race for the presidency. Among the issues the Florida Republican could be asked to explain:

Bush was a board member or adviser to publicly traded health care, timber, gold mining and sanitation companies; for private firms involved in housing, finance, medicine, higher education and decontamination; and for nonprofits focused on drug addiction and philanthropy. He served on the board of directors for nine of the 15, and as an adviser or advisory board member for the others. Two of the 15 are nonprofits.

Once Bush officially declares for president, he will have 45 days to file a public disclosure form listing his sources of income for the prior year. Those forms include broad ranges for the values of assets or salaries that can be used to estimate a politician's net worth, but they will not be precise totals and will capture just the prior year.

... ... ...

Re-joining the corporate world

Bush returned to corporate America less wealthy than when he took office. Bush's net worth, $2 million when he was elected Florida governor in 1998, dipped to less than $1.3 million by the time he left office in the first days of 2007, his financial disclosure forms show. The decline came largely from a diminished investment portfolio. He also earned less as governor — $129,000 his last year in office — than in the private sector, where he had been paid $755,000 annually by the Codina Group, a development company in Coral Gables, Florida, before taking office.

Out of office, Bush began quickly making up time, becoming an adviser or board member for at least five companies in 2007.

One was Tenet Healthcare Corp., a publicly held company where Bush served on the board of directors from 2007 to 2014, earning $2,375,870 in pay and stock, the company's SEC filings show.

Tenet declined to make a board member available for an interview, but spokesman Donn Walker said Bush challenged management to deliver for patients and consumers. Bush attended 94 percent of board meetings and 99 percent of committee meetings, Walker said.

In a statement, Trevor Fetter, the company's president and CEO, said his fellow board member "made innumerable contributions to Tenet's transformation into a national diversified health care services provider."

That year Bush also became an adviser for Lehman Brothers, which, after its collapse, was absorbed by Barclays Capital. Bush worked for Barclays through 2014, advising clients on the regulatory landscape in the U.S. The New York Times reported last year that Barclays paid Bush $1 million a year. The company declined comment on Bush's pay and tenure.

Later in 2007, Bush took on what became his most troublesome board position, joining Miami Beach's InnoVida Holdings. Founder Osorio is now serving a prison sentence for orchestrating a global fraud that cost investors millions.

Bush conducted a thorough review before joining InnoVida's board, Campbell said. That included commissioning a background check of Osorio, conducted by a former federal agent whom she declined to identify.

"Based on the report that was shared with the governor by the company that was hired to do the background check, there were not red flags to indicate financial or criminal wrongdoing," Campbell said. The campaign declined to share the report.

But financial red flags did exist, public court records show.

Thirteen years before creating InnoVida in 2006, Osorio had founded another South Florida business, CHS Electronics, which sold computer products in Latin America and Europe from its headquarters west of the Miami International Airport.

In 1999, just as Bush was beginning his first term as Florida governor, scores of CHS investors filed suit in federal court in Miami accusing Osorio and CHS of inflating the company's income and profits. In all, 36 separate actions were consolidated into one class-action lawsuit that said CHS overstated its profits in 1998 by 50 percent.

After CHS admitted in 1999 that it overstated vendor rebates, a financial chess move that led the company to issue a misleadingly rosy financial picture, the price of its common stock plummeted 35 percent in one day.

The lawsuit cited analyst Robert Damron who urged investors not to buy. "There was fraud, and when I see fraud I walk away," he said.

CHS filed for bankruptcy protection in 2000, and, a year later, entered into an $11.5 million settlement with shareholders, federal court records show.

In September 2007, the SEC revoked CHS' securities registration.

Three months later, Bush joined Osorio's InnoVida, a South Florida manufacturer that said its unique fiber composite panel construction could withstand fires and hurricanes. But instead of building homes, including a U.S. government-financed project in earthquake-stricken Haiti, Osorio used investors' money to bankroll a Miami Beach mansion, Colorado mountain retreat home, Maserati and country club dues, the SEC said.

Bush's role on InnoVida's board helped build the company's image and attract business.

One businessman who hired InnoVida as a contractor said that, when he visited Osorio at the company's Miami Beach offices, Bush's pictures were all over the wall.

"He drops his name repeatedly. 'Jeb Bush this, Jeb Bush that.' And you just say, OK, there's credibility there," said Troy Von Otnott, founder of Massive Technologies, a CleanTech consulting firm in Atlanta.

InnoVida never delivered on its promises to build housing in Africa, despite receiving $3 million for the job from Von Otnott's partners. "They delivered false promises and hot air and lies," he said.

Now Von Otnott is among creditors trying to collect pennies on the dollar — and questioning how Bush could have put his name behind the company.

"We bought into their whole sales push because Jeb Bush was on their board of directors and had his picture all over their office," said Von Otnott, a onetime volunteer with Citizens Climate Lobby who describes himself as a political independent.

"At the very least, it just demonstrates poor judgment. If you are running for the president of the United States of America, you need to show that you have judgment."

A major InnoVida investor, Miami lawyer Chris Korge, said Bush "showed true concern" about the losses investors suffered.

Bush left InnoVida in September 2010. In 2013, as part of the company's bankruptcy proceedings, Bush agreed to repay $270,000 of the $468,902 InnoVida paid Jeb Bush & Associates LLC over the 33 months he worked for InnoVida. From his Miami prison, Osorio declined an AP interview request.

"As soon as concerns regarding InnoVida were brought to Gov. Bush's attention, he took action to address them immediately," Campbell said.

[May 22, 2015] Stephen Kinzers The Brothers John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War

John Foster Dulles Allen Dulles were architects of deep state as a new form of US government.
May 15, 2015 | Foreign Policy Journal

Kinzer's The Brothers is an excellent source of information concerning the development of U.S. foreign policy during the Twentieth Century.

The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret War Stephen Kinzer. St. Martin's Griffin, New York, 2013.

Stephen Kinzer is a masterful storyteller, creating an historical record that is readily accessible to all levels of readers. Besides writing history—or more importantly, rewriting history correctly—he is able to draw out the personal characteristics of the people involved, creating lively anecdotal stories that carry the reader through the overall narrative.

His book, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret War, delves into the personal beliefs and perspectives of the Dulles brothers and those associated with them. From that he creates a picture of the nature of U.S. foreign policy as shaped by and being embodied by the brothers and the various Presidents and other corporate and political wheeler and dealers they interacted with over a span of fifty years:

"If they were shortsighted, open to violence, and blind to the subtle realities of the world, it was because these qualities help define American foreign policy and the United States itself…..they embodied the national ethos….They were pure products of the United States."

The historical narrative is clearly presented, the ties to corporations, their employment with powerful law firms, the power they gained within the political system such that after the Second World War they became the two most powerful figures in U.S. politics and foreign affairs. Apart from the basic historical record, the most intriguing aspect is the different natures of the brothers, and the basic similarity that few people gave very much credence to their abilities for deep thought.

Personalities…

They came from a relatively rigid Christian upbringing. John Foster retained the dourness of that upbringing through his life, while his younger brother Allen proved to be a dilettante and womanizer. Their concept of freedom

"was above all economic: a country whose leaders respected private enterprise and welcomed multinational business was a free country."

The other component of freedom was religion,

"Countries that encouraged religious devotion, and that were led by men on good terms with Christian clerics, were to them free countries….These two criteria…they conjured an explanation of why they condemned some dictatorships but not others."

This doctrinaire system of thought did not allow for much in the way of critical thinking skills. Sir Alexander Cadogan, Britain's undersecretary to the Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, "wrote in his diary, "J.F.D. the wooliest type of useless pontificating American….Heaven help us!" Eden himself "considered Foster a narrow minded ideologue…always ready to go on a rampage….Churchill agreed. After one of their meetings he remarked,

"Foster Dulles is the only case I know of a bull who carries his own china shop around with him."

It was not just the British. American political scientist Ole Holsti found that Foster dealt with "discrepant information" by "discrediting the source" and "reinterpreting the new information so as to be consistent with his belief system; searching for other information. The advice of subordinates was neither actively sought nor, when tendered, was it often of great weight." Arthur Schlesinger Jr. said that Allen "was a frivolous man" who would "make these decisions which involved people's lives, and never would really think them through."

…and history

From a privileged upbringing with many family contacts in both the political and corporate world, the brothers had little trouble maneuvering through the intricacies of the global power structures they encountered. They were steeped in the ethos of pioneers and missionaries," and

"spent decades promoting the business and strategic interests of the United States….they were vessels of American history."

That history spans half a century. It starts with the Versailles peace talks and ends only with the death of Foster in 1959 and the senescence and increasing senility of Allen during that same time period. Its major impact occurred after World War II, with John Foster becoming Secretary of State with President Eisenhower, while Allen worked himself into founding leader of the FBI.

From both these positions, one of great public power (wielded with much secrecy) and the other with great covert power, they steered the course of U.S. history through the early days of the Cold War. Their rabid anti-communism, combining their religious and corporate beliefs, shaped the world as we know it today.

Kinzer leads the reader through the "Six Monsters", the foreign leaders who became the most public targets of the Eisenhower/Dulles administration: Mossadegh (Iran), Jacabo Arbenz (Guatemala), Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam), Sukarno (Indonesia ), Patrice Lumumba (Congo), and Castro (Cuba). The ongoing repercussions and blowback from these actions continue to shape our world today.

The last three of these had other impacts. UN Secretary Dag Hammarskjold was involved with Sukarno and Lumumba, and was killed by CIA backed covert action in the Congo. The assassination of John F. Kennedy has several possible claimants, of which his interactions with Sukarno and Castro are the most telling. Significantly, Allen Dulles was appointed to the Warren Commission by President Johnson as it had "some foreign complications, CIA, and other things." Allen "systematically used his influence to keep the commission safely within bounds, the importance of which only he could appreciate."[1]

Kinzer's The Brothers is an excellent source of information concerning the development of U.S. foreign policy during the Twentieth Century. A reader will develop a much stronger understanding of our current geopolitical crisis with this as a background source. It provides not just the historical data behind the events, but more importantly it examines the mindset of the U.S. administration and the people who are both shaped by it and are shaping it:

"The story of the Dulles brothers is the story of America. It illuminates and helps explain the modern history of the United States and the world."

Note

(1) See The Incubus of Intervention—Conflicting Indonesian Strategies of John F. Kennedy and Allen Dulles. Greg Poulgrain. Strategic Information and Research Development Centre, Selangor, Malaysia. (Click here to read Jim Miles' review of Incubus of Intervention.)

[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 2016
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
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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".