|Contents||Bulletin||Scripting in shell and Perl||Network troubleshooting||History||Humor|
|News||Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few||Recommended Books||Recommended Links||US Presidential Elections of 2016||Donald Trump||Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention||Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton||Bernie Sanders|
|The Iron Law of Oligarchy||Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite||The Deep State||Myth about intelligent voter||American Exceptionalism||Libertarian Philosophy||Nation under attack meme||Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"||Pluralism as a myth|
|Principal-agent problem||Corporatist Corruption||Predator state||Media-Military-Industrial Complex||Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism||Ethno-lingustic Nationalism||Corporatism||National Security State||Neocons|
|Neoliberalism||Media-Military-Industrial Complex||"Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place||US Presidential Elections of 2012||Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA||Mayberry Machiavellians||Skeptic Quotations||Humor||Etc|
|"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.
I subscribe to Kantian idea of the dignity in human, the idea that everyone is entitles to survival as well as thriving beyond survival. But does everybody is entitled to equal participation in ruling of the state ? Or election of state leaders? Which is what democracy means.
But at the same time the struggle for political equality which is often associative with the word "democracy" is a vital human struggle even if democracy itself is an unachievable and unrealistic ideal (see The Iron Law of Oligarchy). In some sense too much talk about Democracy is very suspect and just characterize the speaker as a hypocrite with probably evil intentions, who probably is trying to mask some pretty insidious plans with "democracy promotion" smokescreen. That is especially true for "export of democracy" efforts. See color revolutions for details.
Under neoliberalism we now face a regime completely opposite to democracy: we have complete, forceful atomization of public, acute suppression of any countervailing political forces (not unlike it was the case in the USSR) including labor unions and other forms of self-organization for the lower 80% or even 99% of population. Neoliberalism tries to present any individual as a market actor within some abstract market (everything is the market under neoliberalism). Instead of fight for political and economic equality neoliberalism provides a slick slogan of "wealth maximization" which is in essence a "bait and switch" for wealth maximization for the top 1% (redistribution of wealth up - which is the stated goal of neoliberalism). It was working in tandem with "shareholder value" mantra which is a disguise of looting of the corporations to enrich its top brass via outsize bonuses (IBM is a nice example where such an approach leads) and sending thousands of white color workers to the street. Previously it was mainly blue-color workers that were affected. Times changed.
Everything should be organized like corporation under neoliberalism, including government, medicine, education, even military. And everybody is not a citizen but a shareholder (or more correctly stakeholder), so any conflict should be resolved via discussion of the main stakeholders. Naturally lower 99% are not among them.
In any democracy, how can voters make an important decision unless they are well informed? But what percentage of US votes can be considered well informed? And taking into account popularity of Fox News what percentage is brainwashed or do not what to think about the issues involved and operate based on emotions and prejudices? And when serious discussion of issues that nation faces are deliberately and systematically replaced by "infotainment" voters became just pawns in the game of factions of elite, which sometimes leaks information to sway public opinion, but do it very selectively. All MSM represent the views of large corporations which own them. No exception are allowed. Important information is suppressed or swiped under the carpet to fifth page in NYT to prevent any meaningful discussion. For example, ask several of your friends if they ever heard about Damascus, AR.
The great propaganda mantra of neoliberal governance, "wealth maximization" for society as a whole in reality is applied very selectively and never to the bottom 60% or 80%, or eve 99% of population. In essence, it means a form of welfare economics for financial oligarchy while at the same time a useful smokescreen for keeping debt-slaves obedient by removing any remnants of job security mechanisms that were instituted during the New Deal. As the great American jurist and Supreme Court associate justice Louis Brandeis once said: “We can have huge wealth in the hands of a relatively few people or we can have a democracy. But we can’t have both.” As under neoliberalism extreme wealth is the goal of the social system, there can be no democracy under neoliberalism. And this mean that pretentions of the USA elite that the USA is a bastion of democracy is plain vanilla British ruling elite style hypocrisy. Brutal suppression of any move to challenge dominance of financial oligarchy (even such feeble as Occupy movement) shows that all too well.
Politically neoliberalism. like Marxism in the past, operates with the same two classes: entrepreneurs (modern name for capitalists and financial oligarchy) and debt slaves (proletarians under Marxism) who work for them. Under neoliberalism only former considered first class citizens ("one dollar -- one vote"). Debt slaves are second class of citizens and are prevented from self-organization, which by-and-large deprives them of any form of political participation. In best Roman tradition it is substituted with the participation in political shows (see Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges) which decide nothing but helps to provide legitimacy for the ruling elite.
The two party system invented by the elite of Great Britain proved to be perfect for neoliberal regimes, which practice what Sheldon Wolin called inverted totalitarism. The latter is the regime in which all political power belongs to the financial oligarchy which rules via the deep state mechanisms, and where traditional political institutions including POTUS are downgraded to instruments of providing political legitimacy of the ruling elite. Population is discouraged from political activity. "Go shopping" as famously recommended Bush II to US citizens after 9/11.
Although politics at the US elite has been polarized since Reagan, when Republican drifted right and Democrats were bought by Wall Street. But still those parties reflect two different strata of the US population, which according to Marc J. Hetherington and Jonathan D. Weiler book Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics in the level of authoritarianism (for example, as measured by F-scale.). Many Republican politicians can be classified as Double High Authoritarians
If we assume that this is true, the the large part of "verge issues" that so skillfully played in each election, and which allow the elite to avoid addressing any fundamental issues facing the nation, duch as race, gay marriage, illegal immigration, and the use of force to resolve security problems -- reflect differences in individuals' levels of authoritarianism. This makes authoritarianism an especially compelling explanation of contemporary American politics. Events and strategic political decisions have conspired to make all these considerations more salient. While the authors acknowledge that authoritarianism is not the only factor determining how people vote, it does offer a an important perspective on the issue which goes a long way toward explaining the current election campaign: a lerge part (at least white Americans) flock to the particular party based on proximity to their own level authoritarism and correspoding worldview of the party. In other words the percentage of authoritarian/non-authoritarian personality in the population allow to predict, at least in part, the US "white block" public voting behavior.
Here are several Amazon reviews that illuminate some idea of the book (you should not blindly apply this distinction, authors are actually pretty nuaced):
a Midwest reviewer, February 28, 2016An eye-opening book in so many ways
This book's a total eye-opener in so many different ways. I spend time with people from a wide range of political and religious and work backgrounds, and find the Myers-Briggs personality characteristics of Judging vs Perceiving seems to explain a lot about how people react differently to the same situations. I often wondered what results you would get if someone measured how much the two political parties and different religious groups and denominations draw more people with either judging or perceiving personality types (Republicans/Democrats, evangelical Christians, Catholics, mainline Protestants, and unaffiliated/secular types, etc). If you're not familiar with Myers-Briggs personality types, judging types tend to reach decisions more quickly and see things in more black-and-white terms, while perceiving types are more likely to take time to make decisions, gather more evidence first, and aren't troubled by complexity and uncertainty. The best I could find when I tried an online search last year was some paper written by an undergrad who hardly looked at the judging/perceiving dimension of Myers-Briggs.
Yet even though I was primed to agree with their conclusions, I was blown away by just how strongly authoritarian/non-authoritarian personality types explain voting behavior.
I tend to view "trust" first and foremost in terms of honesty, accuracy, and telling the truth. So it baffled me how some candidates for the nomination in 2016 who score the very worst on PolitiFact fact checks would receive far more votes or consistently do better in polls than their opponents. My built-in assumption was that Americans will trust candidates who makes mostly accurate statements and distrust candidates who tell them lots of big whoppers. nytimes.com/2015/12/13/opinion/campaign-stops/all-politicians-lie-some-lie-more-than-others.
Hetherington and Weiler explain my assumption is a logical one: IF you're coming from the standpoint of people who rank as strongly NON-authoritarian on their scale. However about half of Americans lean towards the authoritarian end of their scale and when they perceive any kind of threat to "us" or "our team," these Americans first and foremost trust someone who shares their worldview and their personality type, rather than basing their trust on the accuracy of their individual statements. (see p. 44-46 hardcover ed, "Accuracy motivation")
My biggest criticism of a lot of political writing is that it makes assertions without convincing evidence. Anyone can select some anecdotes, examples and numbers to support their argument. Not this book. The evidence they present is amazing. The other reviewers are correct, the statistics make some parts of the book pretty dry reading. At the same time, it's the rigorous and careful statistics work that leaves me absolutely convinced their arguments are correct. Using data from sources like National Election Survey, they use statistical methods to demonstrate, for instance, that if you take an evangelical Christian who ranks high on the four authoritarian questions and compare them with an otherwise identical evangelical Christian who ranks low authoritarian, you find vast differences in responses to questions. And some of these authoritarian/non-authoritarian differences may be even larger than if you look at political party identification or labels like liberal or conservative. So rather than just reinforcing sweeping stereotypes about Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, and evangelicals and Catholics and secular non-believers, the authors demonstrate they have identified a personality characteristic that sometimes has an even bigger impact on political opinions and voting than these groups and labels. They've convinced me that this authoritarianism personality trait explains even more than I ever imagined.
And while this book probably has way too much nuance for most authoritarians, the authors say it's also too simplistic to simply label people as unchanging authoritarians or non-authoritarians. They argue that when Americans perceive a threat, moderate authoritarians are more likely to vote and behave like authoritarians, and some (not all) non-authoritarians are more likely to vote and behave like moderate authoritarians. So while authoritarians feel consistently threatened by difference and change and shades of gray most all the time, if Americans can be made to feel fearful and threatened and insecure, non-authoritarians will begin to vote more like authoritarians. And they say this means that understanding what causes changes in voting and attitudes of non-authoritarians may be even more important to understand than the more unchanging authoritarians.
Their views on immigration are another eye-opener. The authors argue that as a perfectly logical approach to win each coming election, the Republican party has positioning itself more and more to appeal to authoritarians since the 1970s, and that President Ford (not elected) was the last Republican president who did not fit this mold. The authors cover issues like national security, crime, race, gay marriage, civil rights, and terrorism and show how this was largely the result of intentional top-down decisions by Republican political elites to focus on "wedge" issues which encourage the more authoritarian to feel threatened and vote with their gut.
Many Republican elites did not want the party to be anti-immigration, feeling it was against their long-run interests to alienate the Latino vote. The authors argue that because these other wedge issues all had the unified effect of attracting authoritarian personality types away from the Democratic party to the Republican party, Republican party elites (such as Bush) who tried to pursue immigration reform found themselves blocked by a strong grassroots opposition on immigration.
Some have said America's two political parties today both have evolved a politically-convenient constellation of opinions which are ideologically inconsistent. In "The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics" Christopher Lasch does a marvelous job of showing just how much the notion of "conservative" made a complete reversal in some ways between 1940 and the 1980s. Hetherington and Weiler point out that while they may not seem intellectually or ideologically consistent from the standpoint of New Deal era political issues, today's Republican and Democratic parties are growing more and more consistently centered around authoritarian vs non-authoritarian personality types. So while the constellation of party positions today may seem highly inconsistent from the intellectual standpoint of a libertarian or a fiscal conservative, Republican elites cannot now pick and choose which issues they want to champion at random. Republican positions are growing more and more consistent when you view the party from a gut-level emotional and personality perspective.
And by no means are the eye-openers only about the Republican party. The authors dedicate a chapter to showing how in 2008 Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama may have taken very similar policy positions on the issues, yet Democratic voters were deeply divided between them based on more authoritarian vs less authoritarian personalities in the Democratic Party. How interesting that you can understand so little about the dynamics of that nomination fight based on policy positions, however you can suddenly explain a great deal if you know the answer to four questions about preferences in child-rearing.
And it probably goes without saying, but this book written in 2010 offers a spot-on explanation for why someone like Donald Trump can get more votes from evangelical Christians and conservatives in South Carolina than a candidate like Ted Cruz - a candidate who thought he was positioned correctly on all the issues to be the favorite of these voting blocs. The bottom line is, most American voters care a lot less about issues than either the Republican party or the Democratic party think.
Ideally you'd want to have some background in statistics to fully appreciate this book. However if you don't, their succinct political history of the past 40-50 years makes this book highly worth the read all by itself. I'm impressed that Hetherington and Weiler do put in explanations of things like regressions for people who don't remember Stats 101. Most books either leave out the statistics altogether, or else don't bother to explain them for the non-statisticians, so the authors are trying very hard to make the book accessible to a wider audience without throwing out their strong evidence in the process.
Eric John, March 2, 2016Overgeneralized uses of data, over-simplified findings and assumptions
The authors’ analysis assumes to a degree that non-authoritarians will lean Democratic, and authoritarians will lean Republican. On p. 141, they recognize that, despite African-Americans being the most authoritarian racial group, they are consistently tied to the Democratic Party, so they remove blacks from their model. Is this problematic to simply remove an entire – and substantial – racial group from an analysis because it doesn’t fit your analytical definitions? Should there be more discussion of why blacks are more authoritarian (predominantly lower incomes, historically underprivileged, lower education rates, etc.)?
The authors, after setting up their measure of authoritarianism (child rearing preferences), go on to refer to authoritarianism as an inherent or “natural” disposition within individuals. They state that authoritarian people simply: a) have fewer cognitive tools, and b) feel more threat from ambiguity. They link less authoritarianism to greater education, but do not explore the roots of authoritarianism, but rather take it for granted as just “how some people are”. Can the link between privilege, education, and lack of threats in one’s life to non-authoritarianism explain why, many “authoritarian” populations are generally in impoverished regions?
In the analysis of chapter 9, which found that less authoritarian Democrats chose Obama over Hillary, how would factoring in the black vote change their findings? Would the roughly 9-to-1 margin of blacks (who are “predominantly more authoritarian”) who voted for Obama over Hillary spoil their conclusion?
Kenneth Buck, June 25, 2013Worth the read
Hetherington and Weiler focus on a subject that is central to the divide we see in the U.S. and around the world today. The book is, I think, one of the better discussions on the two primary worldviews confronting each other today, authoritarianism and non-authoritarianism. It is not only an elaboration and expansion on ideas developed by Adorno in 1950 (The Authoritarian Personality) and Altemeyer in 2006 (The Authoritarians), but I think establishes new ground in the understanding of these two worldviews.
The focus on threat as the driving force behind authoritarianism and the polarization that occurs as a result of the variance in preceived threat is well documented in this book. The point that we all move further up the scale of authoritarianism the more we preceive a threat is an important point that is also well documented in this book. Hetherington and Weiler provide ample documentation to support their presentation and their bibliography is a wonderful source of further reading for those so inclined.
Lew Mills, April 1, 2013Great fruit about authoritarianism, but still on the vine of statistics
Authoritarianism is an important construct, and I'm glad the authors have brought it out of the shadows. But this was not the broad conceptual analysis I was hoping for. It is really an academic piece, laying the foundation for broader discussion of the concepts. They do a great job establishing that authoritarianism is a growing force in the polarization of American politics. But past that, I had difficulty seeing where they were going with it. I hope others will build on this.
I suppose that this is also a strength of the book. There was no hint of a political agenda behind the research. It really serves one basic purpose--to establish that authoritarianism is a real phenomenon, that it influences the world view of citizens, and that it is having an increasing impact on polarization in the United States.
In the face of what's on TV from FOX or MSNBC -- demonstrating florid polarization every day -- this was a pretty dry read, with an abundance of statistical explanations. I suspect that the authors felt it was overreaching to also try to draw broad conclusions about the ultimate meaning of authoritarianism and polarization in our political climate. To give it more context, my syllabus would include two other books on the same basic themes: "Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think" by George Lakoff (2002), and "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion", by Jonathan Haidt (2012).
The Ancient Simplicity, November 4, 2012Since the 1960's a big sort has been going on in American politics. Hetherington and Weiler (H&W) argue that the left and the right have become sorted not merely on the basis of issues or even on the basis of ideology but on something deeper. That something deeper is personality.
What do H&W mean by personality? In the book they specify there are large numbers of people who feel at an instinctive level the need to question authority while, in direct contrast, there is another large group who feel the need for order.
After WW II a vast literature was developed on what is now known as the authoritarian disposition. Those who score high in authoritarianism tend to have a greater need for order and to protect the existing norms of society than those who score low; they more easily perceive threats to order and norms and behave aggressively toward those groups perceived as threats. Those who score high also tend to see the world in concrete, black and white terms while those who score low see shades of grey and look for the complexity of things.
H&W are of the view that the personality disposition of authoritarianism is now the fundamental demarcation between Republicans and Democrats. As an example one can see this disposition at work on the issue of how to deal with terrorist threats and what civil liberties can be violated to sustain order. The different positions taken on this issue argue H&W are in large measure a function of one's level of authoritarianism. To a perilous degree each side has little or no empathy for the other's position, they not only talk past each other but fail to understand or even to accept the other's position as legitimate.
These are dangerous waters, as the example of France in the time of Dreyfus and its aftermath well demonstrates.
Civitas, February 14, 2010An important explanation of how political differences arise and persist
I can say for myself why this book is so important, but I will just quote form Nicholas Kristoff's recent column about the book:
The book establishes "a fascinating framework of the role of personality types in politics, explored in a recent book, "Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics," by two political scientists, Marc J. Hetherington of Vanderbilt University and Jonathan D. Weiler of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They start by exploring data showing a remarkably strong correlation between state attitudes toward spanking children and voting patterns. Essentially, spanking states go Republican, while those with more timeouts go Democratic.
Professors Hetherington and Weiler contend that the differences stem from profound differences in cognitive styles. Spankers tend to see the world in stark, black-and-white terms, perceive the social order as vulnerable or under attack, tend to make strong distinctions between "us" and "them," and emphasize order and muscular responses to threats. Parents favoring timeouts feel more comfortable with ambiguities, sense less threat, embrace minority groups -- and are less prone to disgust when they see a man eating worms."
So we have worldviews about many things, which means that how we raise our children maps on to our political views. This is a very important explanation about the differences between red and blue states.
Dr. Fontaine Moore, March 30, 2010Insightful take on authoritarianism and politics
Because I'm working on a book in the area of personality and politics, one of the criteria on which I based my selection of this book came from one of its reviews indicating it addressed personality dimensions in relation to political orientation. It doesn't. While the book does center around the construct of authoritarianism, the authors emphasize that they are addressing authoritarianism as a worldview and attitude--not a dimension of personality. Perhaps the reviewer missed that distinction, although it can be an important one, depending on one's motivation for selecting this book. This is not to criticize the perspective the authors have chosen to take (they are political scientists and not psychologists), but to clarify how they approach authoritarianism. (In terms of dimensions of personality, you may want to do a little research on "The Big Five." These are probably the most "popular" personality dimensions within the psychology community. Some of these dimensions may be alluded to in the book, but only by inference. Wikipedia has a decent summary of them.)
Another useful attribute of the book for potential readers is its tone. While academic in nature, it hardly requires a PhD to understand the authors premises. But it also does not have the popular appeal of say Twenge and Campbell's "The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement." Assertions are invariably referenced which may be a drag for some readers but a boon for others.
Given the political climate in which we (Americans) currently live, this book provides a useful framework (authoritarianism) for understanding what's going on--at least from a social if not an individual level. Then again, the lack of impact of personality characteristics and how those are generated and relate to political behavior is what is motivating me to write my book.
Since I haven't yet finished "Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics," I can't say how or whether the authors address the problems they uncover. But I hope I've read enough to provide some useful decision-making information for prospective readers.
Mark E. Poynter on January 17, 2016
Must read for politics as well as interpersonal relationships
For people wondering about the popularity of Trump and Cruz, I point them to this book and "The Authoritarians" by Altemeyer which is available free online. For anyone else, I also believe that they should read these books.
The largest empire, whose military alone produces 5% of global emissions, is nominally at least still a democracy. A conversation about American politics without understanding authoritarianism is unlikely to be productive.
The term “Deep State” was coined in Turkey and means existence of an interconnected network 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.
The neoliberal transformation of state, which proceeded in parallel with the conversion of system of governance to "deep state" (which started during Truman presidency) was virtually complete at the time of Reagan left his post. And this fact alone essentially makes elections optional, but they still continue to exist in an emasculated "two parties system" form to provide legitimacy to the ruling elite.
That legitimizing role actually includes the US Presidential elections. The selection of two candidates who face each other in elections is made somewhere else at the top echelons of Republican and Democratic Parties. There can be surprises like Trump and Sanders in 2015 cycle, but they are exceptions that confirm the rule. Also after triumph of neoliberalism in 80th we saw the phenomenon of "puppet" or "pcket" Presidents" (Clinton-Bush II-Obama) which definitely looked by being controlled by outside of White house forces. That is especially ture about Bush Ii and Obama. Clinton was just a willing sellout to Wall Street interests himself. Any of them have very little of no influence on the direction of the country (aka "change we can believe in"). Amazing consistany of the USA foreign policy during this period (which ideologically charged members of Bush administrating promoted under Obama administration as was the case with Victoria Nuland) is strong confirmation of this hypothesis.
In other words deep state 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 for 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 (KGB and military in the USSR were a nice example of "deep state" which controlled levels of power, while formaly not being in power), Turkey, China and many other countries.
In other words the current political system in the USA actually consists of 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:
“… 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.”
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:
The second important thinker in this area is Professor Michael J. Glennon who wrote the book “National Security and Double Government.”
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.
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. 
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?
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.”
“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….”
“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.
In a very deep sense the 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 faction of the same party 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
Hiding the rule of oligarchy 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." 
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.
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.
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.
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 VegaOne 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."
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.
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".
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).
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 JohnsonFormat: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.
|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.
“(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).
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:
kieviteI 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:
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are pretty typical comments about the recent Congress election in The Guardian (Oct 30, 2014):
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.
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" 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 CaplanGaetan 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.
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.”
Three weeks ago I posted a collection of quotes from politicians acknowledging the obvious reality that money has a huge impact on what they do, and asked anyone with more examples to send them to me .
You really came through. Here are 15 more great examples, with credit to the people who suggested them.
Please keep them coming; I'm looking specifically for working politicians who describe a tight linkage between money and political outcomes. And I'd still love to speak directly to current or former politicians who have an opinion about this.
I'll continue to add all of them to the original post , so you can bookmark that for the complete collection.
• "I gave to many people, before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me. And that's a broken system." - Donald Trump in 2015.• "This is what's wrong. [Donald Trump] buys and sells politicians of all stripes. … He's used to buying politicians." - Sen. Rand Paul , R-Ky., in 2015.
• "The millionaire class and the billionaire class increasingly own the political process, and they own the politicians that go to them for money. … We are moving very, very quickly from a democratic society, one person, one vote, to an oligarchic form of society, where billionaires would be determining who the elected officials of this country are." - Sen. Bernie Sanders , I-Vt., in 2015. (Thanks to Robert Wilson in comments .)
Sanders has also said many similar things, including : "I think many people have the mistaken impression that Congress regulates Wall Street. … The real truth is that Wall Street regulates the Congress." (Thanks to ND, via email.)
• "Today's whole political game, run by an absurdist's nightmare of moneyed elites, is ridiculous - a game in which corporations are people and money is magically empowered to speak; candidates trek to the corporate suites and secret retreats of the rich, shamelessly selling their political souls." - Jim Hightower , former Democratic agricultural commissioner of Texas, 2015. (Thanks to CS, via email.)
• "People tell me all the time that our politics in Washington are broken and that multimillionaires, billionaires and big corporations are calling all the shots. … It's hard not to agree." - Russ Feingold , three-term Democratic senator from Wisconsin, in 2015 announcing he's running for the Senate again. (Thanks to CS, via email.)
• "I can legally accept gifts from lobbyists unlimited in number and in value … As you might guess, what results is a corruption of the institution of Missouri government, a corruption driven by big money in politics." - Missouri state Sen. Rob Schaaf , 2015. (Thanks to DK, via email.)
• "When some think tank comes up with the legislation and tells you not to fool with it, why are you even a legislator anymore? You just sit there and take votes and you're kind of a feudal serf for folks with a lot of money." - Dale Schultz , 32-year Republican state legislator in Wisconsin and former state Senate Majority Leader, in 2013 before retiring rather than face a primary challenger backed by Americans for Prosperity.
Several months later Schultz said : "I firmly believe that we are beginning in this country to look like a Russian-style oligarchy where a couple of dozen billionaires have basically bought the government."
• "I was directly told, 'You want to be chairman of House Administration, you want to continue to be chairman.' They would actually put in writing that you have to raise $150,000. They still do that - Democrats and Republicans. If you want to be on this committee, it can cost you $50,000 or $100,000 - you have to raise that money in most cases." - Bob Ney , five-term Republican congressman from Ohio who pleaded guilty to corruption charges connected to the Jack Abramoff scandal, in 2013. (Thanks to ratpatrol in comments .)
• "American democracy has been hacked. … The United States Congress … is now incapable of passing laws without permission from the corporate lobbies and other special interests that control their campaign finances." - Al Gore , former vice president, in his 2013 book The Future. (Thanks to anon in comments .)
• "I will begin by stating the sadly obvious: Our electoral system is a mess. Powerful financial interests, free to throw money about with little transparency, have corrupted the basic principles underlying our representative democracy." - Chris Dodd , five-term Democratic senator from Connecticut, in 2010 farewell speech. (Thanks to RO, via email.)
• "Across the spectrum, money changed votes. Money certainly drove policy at the White House during the Clinton administration, and I'm sure it has in every other administration too." - Joe Scarborough , four-term Republican congressman from Florida and now co-host of "Morning Joe," in the 1990s. (Thanks to rrheard in comments .)
• "We are the only people in the world required by law to take large amounts of money from strangers and then act as if it has no effect on our behavior." - Barney Frank , 16-term Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, in the 1990s. (Thanks to RO, via email.)
• "Money plays a much more important role in what is done in Washington than we believe. … You've got to cozy up, as an incumbent, to all the special interest groups who can go out and raise money for you from their members, and that kind of a relationship has an influence on the way you're gonna vote. … I think we have to become much more vigilant on seeing the impact of money. … I think it's wrong and we've got to change it." - Mitt Romney , then the Republican candidate running against Ted Kennedy for Senate, in 1994. (Thanks to LA, via email.)• "I had a nice talk with Jack Morgan [i.e., banker J.P. Morgan, Jr.] the other day and he seemed more worried about [Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Rexford] Tugwell's speech than about anything else, especially when Tugwell said, 'From now on property rights and financial rights will be subordinated to human rights.' … The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson. … The country is going through a repetition of Jackson's fight with the Bank of the United States - only on a far bigger and broader basis." - Franklin D. Roosevelt in a 1933 letter to Edward M. House. (Thanks to LH, via email.)
• "Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government, owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day." - 1912 platform of the Progressive Party, founded by former president Theodore Roosevelt. (Thanks to LH, via email.)
Those numbers have no influence on the state-by-state results but offer a window into both the success of Sanders in generating enthusiasm and Clinton's inability to capitalize on all her political advantages . Since October, when her candidacy began rising again after several months of controversy about her use of a private email server, she has been on a downward slide. Her lead over the senator from Vermont has dropped from what was then a 31-point advantage to the current two points .
Meanwhile, her negative ratings have been rising and now outweigh her positives by 24 points , according to the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll. That makes her seen no more favorably than Cruz is. Her only salvation is that Trump's net negative is minus 41. Sanders, meanwhile, has a net positive of nine points - although it's fair to say that one reason for that is that he has received far less in the way of attacks from Republicans or scrutiny from the media than Clinton has. [This last is standard Clinton camp spin; conventional explanation until shown otherwise]
Clinton's image is at or near record lows among major demographic groups. Among men, she is at minus 40. Among women, she is at minus nine. Among whites, she is at minus 39. Among white women, she is at minus 25. Among white men, she is at minus 72. Her favorability among whites at this point in the election cycle is worse than President Obama's ever has been, according to Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who conducted the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll with Democratic pollster Peter Hart.
Minority voters have been the linchpin of Clinton's nomination strategy and were a key to her success in New York. Among African Americans nationally, the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll shows her with a net positive of 51 points. But that's down 13 points from her first-quarter average and is about at her lowest ever. Among Latinos, her net positive is just two points , down from plus 21 points during the first quarter.
Reince Priebus earlier described the Clinton candidacy as " in the ditch ":different clue , April 22, 2016 at 3:28 pm
"Much more comfortable [running against Clinton] and I think everyone that has analyzed this knows that Hillary Clinton is in the ditch. We don't know how far in the ditch she's going to go but she's not doing well. She's not even winning," Priebus said.
The DemParty would rather lose with Clinton than win with Sanders. Just as the RepParty would rather lose with Cruz than win with Trump.
And since Trump is stronger against the RepParty than Sanders is against the DemParty, Trump will very likely be nominated while Sanders very likely won't. So in a situation of Trump vs. Clinton, many people will face an agonizing choice.
Now . . . if the ReParty nominates Cruz or someother branded establishment ReParty member, then Clinton will likely win.EndOfTheWorld , April 22, 2016 at 7:12 am
If she was a rationally thinking human being she would have taken the hint when she got beaten by Obama in '08. Actually she should never have run in '08. Her basic conundrum is: how can she claim to be an empowered strong woman when ALL of her power is derived from the fact she was married to a prez and stuck through him through all his problems with many "other women". Plus, her personality, voice, cackle, even the mere sight of her is repulsive to many people. Another thing that will have to be dealt with during the general is: is she or is she not gay? Voters will certainly be curious about that.
edmondo , April 22, 2016 at 8:26 am
I don't care if she sleeps with other women – the fact that she's in bed with Wall Street is way more troubling.
ambrit ,April 22, 2016 at 9:58 am
+1crittermom , April 22, 2016 at 10:49 amthoughtful person , April 22, 2016 at 1:23 pm
+100aliteralmind , April 22, 2016 at 4:19 pm
+1000Elizabeth , April 22, 2016 at 7:57 pm
+100,000Steve , April 22, 2016 at 9:32 pm
+500,000Ensign Nemo , April 24, 2016 at 3:49 am
+$675,000JoeK , April 22, 2016 at 12:41 pm
http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/05/politics/hillary-clinton-bill-clinton-paid-speeches/oh , April 22, 2016 at 4:04 pm
I think a lot about a person's character is revealed by their laugh; hers is mirthless and mean, perfectly consonant with her generally strident tone of voice. Obama may be as narcissistic and have run for the office as much for the sake of trophy-seeking, but at least his voice doesn't grate.jrs , April 22, 2016 at 6:55 pm
oh really?Josquin , April 22, 2016 at 6:47 pm
It grates on me, as does his condescending words, his face etc.. But that's because of who he is. See he might objectively be judged as a fairly good looking guy but, who can't even see that anymore given his evil. And the sad part is with Hillary we're probably going to miss the O-bomber when he's gone.Richard Smith , April 22, 2016 at 7:42 am
Clinton's quite rational. She's also smart, logical, and perceptive. On the other hand, she's a devout Ayn Randian, carries a grudge, gets extremely angry, doesn't have any idea of what the difference between truth and lies is, and has a sense of self-entitlement as wide as the Atlantic Ocean.
This is her election. She doesn't care if she brings down the entire corrupt edifice of her own party, as reconfigured under the administration of her husband, as long as she gets the nomination. And if that puts the Dems out in the wilderness long enough for them to realize they need to return to being the party of the unions, the minorities, the working classes? Great.
But my bet is that first, for however long it takes, if they lose they'll blame it on Sanders and all those groups they used to support, and now spit on.phil , April 22, 2016 at 11:18 am
Gaius is right about the numbers and the trends. But even if Hillary's numbers plummet to catastrophic levels –to below Trump, which could happen if he cleans up his act as he is setting out to do right now - don't hold your breath for the DNC to nominate the only obvious potential winner, Bernie Sanders.
The Democratic machine hates Sanders even more than it hates Trump and the Republicans. They hate everything he stands for. He's a socialist (of a mild sort). The Dems and Repubs are all plutocrats. They would rather see Trump win than Sanders. He asks too many inconvenient questions. Trump can be handled, like Reagan or Bush II.Bev , April 22, 2016 at 11:57 am
It's also worth noting that comparisons between Clinton and Sanders say nothing about the matchup between Clinton and whatever emerges from the GOP swamp. Approval ratings are more relevant, but are still an unreliable proxy, and even they show her competitive once the GOP candidates wreck the curve.
Picking Clinton, IOW, has no serious downside if you're worried about beating a GOP Presidential candidate. However, there's obvious downside to pissing off a well-connected major political and financial player with a long memory, as opposed to a candidate with few lucrative contacts whose second act after his big swing for the fences is a probably quiet retirement.
As several people have pointed out, a win with Sanders is the second (or third) best outcome for the establishment. So far, the best-case scenario is still in the bag if they stick with her, and in jeopardy if they don't. It's delusional to think Sanders has a chance with them, even moreso than the Clinton supporters in 2008 who thought they could engineer an upset over Obama with convention procedures.Malcolm MacLeod, MD , April 22, 2016 at 10:31 pm
Americans know that our political system is completely rotten. Just two days ago, NBC News published the results of a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. It found the following: "Nearly seven-in-10 registered voters say they couldn't see themselves supporting Republican frontrunner Donald Trump; 61 percent say they couldn't back fellow Republican Ted Cruz; and 58 percent couldn't see themselves voting for Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton."
Above quote from: http://wallstreetonparade.com/2016/04/new-york-does-elections-like-it-does-wall-street-with-its-finger-on-the-scale/
New York Does Elections Like It Does Wall Street: With Its Finger on the Scale
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 20, 2016
Consistent with numerous other polls, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll also found that "just 19 percent of all respondents give Clinton high marks for being honest and trustworthy." So how did Hillary Clinton beat out the popular Senator Bernie Sanders in New York State where he was born and raised? Where he was drawing rallies of tens of thousands of supporters in the week before the primary? Where his ground game had the engaged support of thousands of members of the Working Families Party and Occupy Wall Street activists? The system was rigged to guarantee the outcome just as the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington guarantees that looting the little guy remains a lucrative business model on Wall Street.
via Richard Charnin https://richardcharnin.wordpress.com
Those states marked in yellow on the spreadsheet indicate Fraud. There are a lot of states that were stolen.
Maybe Sanders is saving up all this brilliant evidence from Richard Charnin and others to use in any contested fight for the nomination. I think it could be powerful leverage that could undo the blatant theft of votes, theft of democracy by Party leaders. Perhaps…
NY Democratic Primary: More Frustration
As always, the final CNN exit poll was forced to match the recorded vote.
View the Early Exit Poll vs. Final (matched to recorded vote) vs. True Vote
The UNADJUSTED exit poll indicated a close race. Hillary led by just 52-48%, an 11.8% discrepancy from the recorded vote. There were 1391 respondents and a 2.6% exit poll Margin of Error. Clinton led by a whopping 62-38% in the vote count with 33% of precincts reporting.
At 9:03 pm, there were 1307 exit poll respondents, Clinton led the actual count by 680-622 (52.0-47.6%). With just 84 additional respondents (1391 total), Clinton's lead increased to 802-589 (57.7-42.3%). She had 122 additional respondents and Sanders had 33 fewer.
How can Clinton gain 122 of 84 respondents? How can Sanders' total drop? They can't. It is mathematically impossible. Therefore the final vote has to be impossible as well. . The exit poll was forced to match the recorded vote with impossible adjustments.
In 2014, NY voter registration was 49D-24R-27I. The split was 85D-15I in the exit poll, which (as always) was forced to match the 57.9-42.1% recorded vote.
Assuming primary voting was proportional to registration, the split would have been 65D-35I and the race would have been a tie. If Clinton had 58% of Democrats, Sanders won the election by 52.5-47.5%.
Assuming that Sanders' 48% exit poll was accurate, he must have won the election due to thousands of suppressed votes. Sanders True Vote = 48% exit poll + suppressed vote.
Let's assume that 5% of registered voters (400,000) were disenfranchised and Sanders had 75%. Then he had 52.9% assuming his 48% exit poll share.
Sanders' exit poll share declined in the recorded vote in 18 out of 19 primaries.
The probability: P=1-binomdist(17,19,.5,true) = 0.000038 = 1 in 26,000.
This information needs updating. It shows that there is already a very big difference between those states which have Caucuses with open public evidence of head/hand counts or paper ballots hand counted vs those in Primaries using the abusive evidence-free/evidence-hidden e-voting/e-scanning machines:
Democratic Primaries (and Caucuses)
Sanders Average Vote Shares: 66% in 12 Caucuses
(My note: with Real Public Evidence);
41% in 20 Primaries
(Evidence Hidden or Removed with those voting machines for the purpose of stealing democracy)
We need to correct this now. Because it may be now or never.
Bernie or Extinction.
By Michael Byron
I confess to feeling despair for the survival of human civilization, of humanity and all complex life on Earth. The proximate reason for this is the theft of the New York Democratic primary by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. As for the fraud itself, it is a now familiar litany: Flipped registrations, machine switched votes, massive voter roll purges and much more. Consider just one illustrative example: Brooklyn. Brooklyn is run by the Kings County Democratic Party. A Chicago Mayor Dick Daley style political machine is in complete charge. Nothing happens there by accident. All "accidents" are carefully planned! And a lot of "accidents" occurred on primary election day there! Taken together these add up to election FRAUD.Bas , April 22, 2016 at 2:01 pm
Bev: I didn't understand a lot of the numbers in your link, but I
certainly caught the drift, and appreciated your comment.susan the other , April 22, 2016 at 11:24 am
a candidate with few lucrative contacts whose second act after his big swing for the fences is a probably quiet retirement.
don't think so, and Clinton v. GOP win depends on which party is more adept at election theft at this point.Left in Wisconsin , April 22, 2016 at 1:28 pm
i also think there is an internal battle going on among the plutocrats… there are those who want single payer health care for instance. we know that's not hillary's faction, so it could be trump's pals. There must be a consensus among some of the uneasy rich that if they can't resuscitate social equality they are history because they need society in order to function – they all know everything is dysfunctional now. The worst dysfunction is our deprivation: no health care, only welfare for insurance & drug companies; failing educational system; bankrupt retirement funds; no jobs; etc. The people are putting up better resistance to the takeover of the world by the neoliberals in Europe but only because they have vetted socialist societies. What Hillary and her pals concocted is an almost unbelievable disaster. Their solution seems to be more deprivation, more war, with no solution in sight for inequality. And lastly, Hillary does not even recognize the situation – she pretends things are just fine – all we have to do is protect our "rights" – are you for real, Hill?Malcolm MacLeod, MD , April 22, 2016 at 10:42 pm
There are lots of capitalist firms that would be better off with single payer, and lots of business people that would be happy to see McD's, Wal-mart, etc. finally pay some of the true cost of their low wages, and to see the vig for Big Pharma and Big Health (Un)Care shrink.ScottS , April 22, 2016 at 1:49 pm
Left: I've been preaching for years that single payer is the only option, plus
making medical education far less expensive. I went to school in the old
days before student loans and all that crap, and I wasn't forced to increase
my income to pay off debts. Europe has the correct idea.jrs , April 22, 2016 at 7:04 pm
Right on, Susan. I've long said single payer will come from Republicans. Only Nixon could go to China.
Plus, if they repeal Obamacare, what else but single payer would they replace it with?Thor's Hammer , April 22, 2016 at 3:20 pm
Yea but even if they would benefit from single payer and they might, it's hard to say they'll ever be on board for full employment. Slack in the labor market is how wages are kept low, you just keep the slack within a certain range that for us will guarantee there will be losers, and for them will guarantee there aren't enough of them for violent revolution. Then you blame the losers such a system necessarily creates for their fate.
So the interest of some oligarchs might sometimes coincide with ours, but don't count on it. And at a certain point I wonder how much good free healthcare will do if you bankrupt everyone with expensive rents or something instead (so many means of rent extraction, so little time!). Although it is a less inhumane way of keeping people enslaved than for their very healthcare.Fiver , April 23, 2016 at 3:53 am
Susan, I agree that not all plutocrats are mentally retarded ogres. And some may prefer a functioning social order over the immediate opportunity to suck the last blood out of the present one.
The Malignant Overlords- the Banksters, Frackers and War Party purveyors of weapons of Death- that have dominated US policy for decades have found the perfect candidate in Killary. She is a known commodity that will do their bidding instantly at the sound of a briefcase full of $100 dollar bills being opened. Many Overlords may have loyalty to the Republican party much as they do to the football team of their Alma Mater, but they can't help but understand the value of having a President like Obama or Killary who present themselves as a progressive man or woman of the people while delivering policies that benefit only them.
Why should they back a social misfit like Ted Cruz whom everybody he has ever worked with hates? Or an unpredictable wild card like Trump who occasionally says things that send chills up their spine? Withdraw from NATO? A Defense Department organized to defend America rather than enforce subservience to the Empire and maximize costs of new weaponry? Build things in the US instead of using much cheaper slave labor overseas? What a frightening idea.
Much better to support a Trojan Horse "Democrat." even if they have too many Jewish lawyers at their fund raising banquets.nippersdad , April 22, 2016 at 7:59 am
No question she was the ideal candidate, or they'd not, through the magic of DNC/Beltway 'consensus' have anointed her the first woman President in 2016 back in 2008 – no doubt some cruddy deal done at that time.
How the key power players managed to delude themselves into believing their own manufactured narrative vis a vis pretty much everything this century could totally fall apart without consequences is indeed amazing – so much so that half of me thinks this seeming outbreak of 'democracy' is itself scripted, that is, there was a conscious decision taken to allow Sanders and 'the people' to be 'given a hearing in the court of public opinion' justified by the easy collective assumption Clinton would make short work of Sanders' silly un-American ideas. That Clinton was an imperfect vehicle, a flawed instrument, obviously so to us, would surely have been evident to at least some people with considerable power, one of whom happens to hold a Go Directly To Jail card.
Set 'em up, Joe. Got a little story, you oughtta know….
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/04/22/backing-bernies-bold-vision-biden-knocks-hillarys-no-we-cant-mantraambrit , April 22, 2016 at 10:02 am
Something not noted in the article but seems relevant here is that Bill cannot seem to keep his foot out of his mouth. Yesterday he blamed millennials for the lack of wage inflation in recent years. Keeping in mind that many of them weren't old enough to vote in the 2010 mid-terms even if they wanted to, the unbroken wage curve of the last thirty years puts this lie to rest alone.
He is not making any friends either.perpetualWAR , April 22, 2016 at 10:59 am
I'm wondering if he secretly wants her to lose.Waldenpond , April 22, 2016 at 1:59 pm
Are you kidding? That predator wants to find another lonely intern in the Oval Office.Pavel , April 22, 2016 at 8:04 am
No, he's just that bitterly entitled. Do you not see how rich and powerful they are even out of office? How dare he be denied. They are the same… when the peasants are pleasant, they don't mind temporarily having to slum, but if they are even mildly questioned, their body language, voice, etc change. Watch their hands clench, jaws tighten, they both lean back. The strain to maintain and can never do it.ambrit , April 22, 2016 at 10:03 am
If the DNC give the nomination to HRC (which of course is extremely likely despite the poll numbers above) then they are signing their own death warrant.
There is a small risk to them that Bernie would run 3rd party (he could cite all the obvious shenanigans of the DNC and HRC as justification, and he could raise the money).
If Trump is the Republican nominee, we know he isn't afraid to go after Hillary and Bill on their many scandals, and they can't easily go after him on financial or morality scandal reasons - and he has no political baggage like NAFTA or the anti-black crime bill to defend.
Most likely HRC would win (just) but she will be thoroughly tarnished and battered by the Trump campaign, and will be inaugurated as the least-liked, least-trusted President in recent history. The Sanders supporters will detest her and we know the Repubs hate her with a passion, and will pursue various investigations. (The Clinton Slush Foundation clearly has a few unexploded bombs waiting to be found.)
The country will be in political gridlock for another 4 years. The DNC will have lost all credibility and good will, and a third party will come about. And none too soon.
HRC and Bill are the Macbeths of US politics. They should have quit with their hundreds of millions while they were ahead. Hillary may win the election but she'll lose the war. They will have so many scandals to deal with they won't know what hit them.redleg , April 23, 2016 at 1:54 pm
With a viable Third Candidate, the election could go to the House. Then, all bets are off.Ian , April 22, 2016 at 10:13 am
1998 Minnesota gubernatorial election might be relevant.
Two putrid major party candidates were nominated, and Jessie Ventura became governor. It wasn't just celebrity- he was a much better option compared to Skip Humphrey and Norm (f'n) Coleman.Mossack Fonseca , April 22, 2016 at 11:14 am
I think that our sociopathic elite are looking to finalize the end of democracy by finishing off the TPP, TTIP and TiSA within her first term. Then all chance of a peaceful resolution are out the door and Supranational Government is established. Hillary is end game in this stage of society.AnEducatedFool , April 22, 2016 at 6:18 pm
You may be onto something here. The wheels really do seem to be coming off. If the major systemic reactions to neoliberalism as embodied in Trump and Sanders do not produce a result that leads to some sort of acceptable homeostasis the current game is up. Something new has to emerge to control the forces at play. The long powerful illusions of American exceptionalism and ideological purity are failing–we just don't really have much of a shared ethos anymore. Without some major swing of the pendulum in the direction of reform, I don't see it holding up much longer. Even the average Joe is catching on.John Wright , April 22, 2016 at 9:02 am
I will be shocked if Warren is not offered the VP spot by Clinton. I do not know if she would take it but it is the perfect play by Clinton's team. She can pull over the Bernie supporters that are do not hold Ma against Warren.
Clinton will also have a great narrative in our identity politics driven world.
Convincing Warren to take on the VP position will also neuter her politically. Its a win win for Corporate Democrats.
I just hope that Warren has some backbone but something had to be promised her for Warren to not come out and endorse Sanders.ambrit , April 22, 2016 at 10:09 am
In my view, Trump "trumps" Hillary in a Trump vs Hillary election.
After his treatment by the Republican Elite, Trump will not feel loyalty to the Republican party and will not be beholden to them for staffing and intellectual guidance as was George W. Bush.
He has a far more open mind regarding the need for overseas military operations than "Hawk Hillary" and perhaps will not see every foreign "deal" as requiring a military intervention..
He also might be more skeptical of the value of the financial industry to America's well-being than Hillary.
And with Trump disdainful of both the Democratic and Republican elite, he might actually help the great unwashed who are largely ignored by both party leaders except at election time.
He won't build the wall.
If Trump were truly interested in restricting the flow of low wage immigrants he would push to enforce E-verify and employer sanctions, which would raise the price of low wage labor and would actually bring money into the US Treasury while avoiding the expense of a wall,.
After all, Trump's properties are more profitable with cheaper labor.
But I'd much rather have Bernie, someone who has been in public service for many years and yet has profited so little from the experience he had credit card debt to help with his daughter's and niece's weddings.marym , April 22, 2016 at 10:49 am
I look to who each candidate picks as 'advisors' for various subjects. No one can be a genius polymath politician; at least I've not spotted one. So, 'advisors' are needed to make the wheels go around. For example, when Lil' Barry chose the Neo Cabal for his advisors early on, I knew he was a crook.
As everyone here knows by now; watch what 'they' do, not what 'they' say.knowbuddhau , April 22, 2016 at 11:50 am
Important point. Trump's foreign policy advisors:
Keith] Kellogg, a former Army lieutenant general, is an executive vice president at Virginia-based CACI International, a Virginia-based intelligence and information technology consulting firm with clients around the world. He has experience in national defense and homeland security issues and worked as chief operating officer for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad following the invasion of Iraq.
[Joe]Schmitz served as inspector general at the Department of Defense during the early years of George W. Bush's administration and has worked for Blackwater Worldwide.
JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah, Joseph Schmitz was the Pentagon inspector general under Donald Rumsfeld, and he didn't really inspect much of anything. He was a big cheerleader, actually, for many of the most kind of excessive policies of Rumsfeld and the Pentagon in the post-9/11 world. And when Schmitz left the DOD, he became an executive at Blackwater. And Joseph Schmitz is a-you know, is a radical Christian supremacist. He is a member of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta and really is sort of a-you know, has a neo-crusader worldview. And I'm choosing those words carefully. I mean, that's-he is definitely a radical Christian supremacist.
And he was an enthusiastic fan of Erik Prince and Blackwater, and he goes and he joins that company. And, you know, this is a guy, though, who-when I was researching him for the Blackwater book, he wrote a series of letters to the editor of conservative newspapers-Washington Times and others-in the '90s. He was a fanatical opponent of abortion.
American Conservative (!!)
[Walid] Phares is a former Romney adviser, and selecting him as an adviser reflects just as poorly on Trump as it did on Romney. Leon Hadar has described him in TAC as a neoconservative and "an academic who was involved with right-wing Christian militia groups during the Lebanese civil war," but that doesn't do full justice to Phares' record of bad judgment and alarmist rhetoric about foreign threats. As McKay Coppins reported shortly after Romney named Phares as an adviser, "Throughout his career as a pundit, he has warned that some Muslims are plotting a secret takeover of American institutions with the end goal of imposing Sharia."Waldenpond , April 22, 2016 at 2:20 pm
Joseph Schmitz is also linked to anti-Indian and anti-Muslim efforts.
Trump Foreign Policy Advisor Tied to Montana Anti-Tribal Efforts
IREHR (Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights)
April 19, 2016
Trump Advisor Joseph Schmitz Promotes Anti-Indian and Anti-Muslim Bigotry, Calls for End to the Vote for People Receiving Public Assistance
Lawrence Kogan is closely allied with the anti-Indian Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA). CERA aims to terminate tribes and abrogate treaties between the United States and Indian Nations. Kogan hired longtime CERA leader Elaine Willman to assist with the case and has spoken at multiple events with the group's leaders. Kogan and Schmitz's brief in the anti-CSKT lawsuit gained infamy for alleging that the dam transfer could allow the Turkish government and terrorists to obtain nuclear materials and poses a threat to national security. Rejecting the lawsuit, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras referenced the brief's "somewhat perplexing arguments regarding the Turkish Government's involvement with Native Americans," concluding that "counsel for Plaintiffs conceded that no such evidence has been submitted relating to the Plaintiffs' alleged economic harm." (See American Lands Council and the Anti-Indian Movement). Kogan and Willman have continued to press the CSKT-Muslim terrorist conspiracy theory in 2016 (See Bigoted Nationalism and CERA-allied Attorney Tours).Roger Smith , April 22, 2016 at 9:19 am
Trump surrounds himself w/loons. I'm in CA so I get to vote for Stein but if I was in a swing state I would lean Trump. Four years of orange tinted embarrassing hell rather than 8 years of savvy entrenched hell.
With Clinton all of the deck chairs are assigned. With Trump, the chairs get scrambled and it will be an opportunity for the majority but I don't see anyone in the pipeline. Sanders candidacy advantage is he's on tape on issues for so many years.Roger Smith , April 22, 2016 at 9:19 am
If Clinton v. Trump is the finality I think voting for Trump creates the best path for 3rd party emergence on the left. At that point (after a floozy democratic primary and all of their past injustices) the Democrats will need to be hammered down, humiliated, and put in their place. As they occupy so little of the left these days, weakening them creates an even greater "space" on the spectrum for others to occupy. The Republicans certainly are not going to move over.
Vote Trump, but keep the progressive revolution momentum alive and organized.
I really want a new progressive party with the finch as its mascot.Pavel , April 22, 2016 at 12:00 pm
If Clinton v. Trump is the finality I think voting for Trump creates the best path for 3rd party emergence on the left. At that point (after a floozy democratic primary and all of their past injustices) the Democrats will need to be hammered down, humiliated, and put in their place. As they occupy so little of the left these days, weakening them creates an even greater "space" on the spectrum for others to occupy. The Republicans certainly are not going to move over.
Vote Trump, but keep the progressive revolution momentum alive and organized.
I really want a new progressive party with the finch as its mascot.Barmitt O'Bamney , April 22, 2016 at 1:32 pm
Given that the USA (certainly) and possibly the world will go to hell if either HRC or Trump wins, I'd choose Trump if only for the novelty and to teach the frigging Clintons they can't buy and steal an election.
Trump will scare the shit out of the rest of the world but he seems a bit less likely to start more wars in Syria, the Ukraine, and elsewhere.Alex morfesis , April 22, 2016 at 9:31 am
Fair point. ROTW was over the Moon about Obama, and then look what happened. In looney bin moron colonies like The Guardian they're still aswoon over Bush in blackface. They would have a falling down fit over us electing Trump, but with no more real insight than they showed in 2008. I still can't see myself actually pulling the lever for Trump, or voting for any Republicans because Bern in Hellary, Clintons! I just want my third party option now, please, ready or not.NotTimothyGeithner , April 22, 2016 at 11:48 am
$hillary milhous Clinton (if she does not walk away from the nomination process) will be remembered as the "my turn" president who was a one term president and the last democratic party president…
Are the democratic party apparatchiks so blind they can not see they could lose wholesale in 2018 and never recover ?
Actually…maybe the theft of the nomination will be a good thing…will expose the democratic party and what it is today, helping push the door open for "other"(non-republican) opportunities…optimader , April 22, 2016 at 2:03 pm
There are a few issues at play.
-The Clintonistas need Hillary. Who would hire Begala, Brazille, and Carville based on their career outside of being attached to the 1992 election? Any prominent Democrat from the last ten years has worn out their welcome. They need Hillary. Obama will be an ignored figure.
-Buyers remorse with Obama who ushered in the destruction of the Democratic congress and party at the local level.
-Clinton myths. The Clintons are brilliant politicians who won in an era of GOP dominationfor example ignoring the Democrats controlled Congress an much of the state and local governments before Clinton ran everything into the ground.
-I dont want to limit it to Clintonistas, but Sanders despite numerous Infrastructure and financial challenges has mounted a challenge Hillary Clinton. All the money spent on Democratic strategists was essentially wasted. If Sanders had a little more money at the beginning this could be a very different race, but Sanders didn't need David Brock or to pay Dick Morris $5 million. The whole kabuki theatre of politics is at risk. Sanders much like the 50 state strategy undermine the need for the "Democratic strategist."david lamy , April 22, 2016 at 1:18 pm
president who was a one term president
if she is elected , fwiw I don't think she'll last a complete termgrayslady , April 22, 2016 at 1:33 pm
A massive protest against Former First Lady Hillary R Clinton's nomination is a terrific idea!
However, remember the astonishingly low level of news coverage of the massive DC and NYC anti-invasion protests before our wonderful Iraq adventure.
However, if first you don't succeed, try, try again!
My thoughts are already turning to logistics: Can we get enough of us there that it becomes impossible to access the convention site?Gaylord , April 22, 2016 at 12:54 pm
The idea is not to get arrested by blocking access–at least not for the superdelegates, who we want to flip to Bernie, and the masses of Bernie's elected delegates! Imagine how satisfying it would be to hoist the superdelegates on their own petard!
I think if we start the idea now, vans and buses can be organized, places to stay, signed petitions for those who can't attend, etc. Bernie is truly a once-in-a-lifetime candidate (certainly for those of us who are older). I just can't see giving up without bringing all of our numbers to bear.Waldenpond , April 22, 2016 at 2:53 pm
I have to keep reminding people that Bernie is not The Savior and no one can save us now. Remember that Obama was thought to be that, but he turned into another messenger of the MIC. The TBTF Empire is doomed to dig its own grave and take the rest of the world with it. This ship is going down and there is not the slightest "hope" for "progressive" "change" to prevent it.Heliopause , April 22, 2016 at 4:41 pm
Yep. There is a huge irreparable tear in the hull and the ship is no longer listing, it's gone vertical. At this point it's a matter of trying to limit the predation of the sharks and trying to find the last bits of humanity to appreciate like a sunrise while clinging to the side of a raft boat.tegnost , April 22, 2016 at 4:48 pm
The chance that Bernie will be the nominee is about zero. Barring an unforeseen deus ex machina from the Justice Dept. it will be Clinton, and even given the unforeseen scenario the party brass would be as likely to draft Biden or something similar as let Bernie win.Heliopause , April 22, 2016 at 6:14 pm
This seems to be an unreasonably pessimistic viewpoint. I stand behind my long held belief that if dems want the presidency then they'd best get behind bernie because even the gods will be unable to propel his primary opponent to victory in the general.tegnost , April 22, 2016 at 10:19 pm
The question is, which do they want more, the White House or to keep the party in the hands of their country club pals? Since the vast majority of party operatives are in the same orbit as HRC I tend to think it's the latter. This is America after all and anyone even a smidgen to the left of Barack Obama is considered out of bounds.
Barring the unforeseen it will be Clinton. As bad as she is she would still beat Trump in the general and probably Cruz. The other wild card is if the GOP manages to nominate someone other than those two, in which case HRC and the Dem party will be in trouble.Pat , April 22, 2016 at 11:26 pm
I just want them to wake up one morning and say "I'm a republican, and it's ok.". One long term problem of lumping republicans into the evil camp has been a reluctance of some republicans to be able to come out and be themselves for fear of ostracism. One benefit of course would be a less harsh republican party. And are you sure she will beat trump in the general? She should be running against trump in the republican primary. And considering the track record of the foreseen (polls,etc…) , "barring the unforeseen" is about as likely as keeping the tide from going out. Bernie by a length in the last furlong.Heliopause , April 23, 2016 at 2:42 pm
I'd love that too. Unfortunately the Democratic Party is now where former Republicans go to continue their career. While I may consider Lincoln Chaffee largely to the left of Clinton's real position, the fact is that neither that former Republican or Clinton and their positions are welcome in the Grand Old Party anymore. Hell they are eating people we considered to be far right even a decade ago for lunch. And the exiles don't seem to be willing to form the Reformed Republican Party as long as the Clintons/DLC/Third Way/New Dems welcome them so eagerly into the Democratic Party.tegnost , April 23, 2016 at 7:08 pm
Yes, Clinton will beat Trump in the general (barring the unforeseen). He's even more widely loathed than she is and current polling shows him with a yuuuuuge deficit to make up.
The unforeseen might include the GOP somehow nominating someone other than Trump. Cruz is also widely despised and would probably lose to Clinton, although he might stand a slightly better chance than Trump. A Romney/Kasich/Ryan/McCain type would be a solid favorite against her but first the GOP has to figure out how to finesse such an outcome.
The unforeseen might also include serious allegations stemming from the e-mail investigation. Obviously there is no way for us to know what might be in those thousands of e-mails so anything we say here is sheer speculation, but my best guess is that Clinton will not face serious consequences in regard to that. I wouldn't be wishing upon a star for that one if I were you, but you never know what might happen.Heliopause , April 23, 2016 at 9:19 pm
Where did you get your crystal ball from? Give me some numbers why clinton will beat trump with certainty.? At best hillary has a chance to beat trump but it certainly does not fall into the category of likely.. Could the unforeseen be total abandonment by sanders supporters? Major hurricanes revealing weak support structure? Market crash? oil skyrocketing to $140/bbl? As I said the unforeseen of course will happen, and the hillary titanic will have zero maneuverability, even now they can't take criticism. The emails may not get her indicted, but what if it just disgusts people? Cruz/hillary and we could get pres. stein, that would be unforeseen. You can lie, cheat, steal, and propagandize your way to a hillary nomination and she will face a great chance of losing, while sanders wins in almost any scenario if he can get past the upper crust of the democrat party.Yves Smith Post author , April 23, 2016 at 10:31 pm
Look up the popular poll aggregators - RealClearPolitics or Huffpost-Pollster - and look up both the general election hypothetical matchups and favorability ratings of the candidates. Trump's got a yuuuuuge problem; almost everybody has already formed an opinion about him and it's overwhelmingly negative. Clinton's favorables are poor, too, but quite a bit better than Trump's, and she wins all the hypothetical matchups as well.
Most Sanders supporters will vote for Clinton. The number who will not is probably not terribly different from the number of Republicans who would rather vote for Clinton than Trump. Please keep in mind that as disliked as Clinton is, Trump is disliked even more.
When I speak of the unforeseen I'm trying to keep to the at least minimally plausible. It's possible that Clinton will treat Bernie so poorly at the convention that she will cause a major schism, but she's not that stupid and I don't consider it likely. It's possible that the e-mails contain something truly deplorable, but most politicians aren't stupid enough to put such things in writing, and even if she did she still has the firewall of Barack Obama and Loretta Lynch. The GOP might pull a fast one and nominate someone who could dispatch Clinton, but they have a potential civil war problem of their own if they try that. So any of those things could happen, but I try to keep my expectations realistic. That's just me.
"sanders wins in almost any scenario if he can get past the upper crust of the democrat party."
Yes, but one of my points all along is that the upper crust would rather lose an election than cede any power at all to someone as left as Bernie.
Bernie still has a chance, but it's tiny. The real progress is still down the road. The tide is turning but the interests are extremely entrenched and it's going to take some time.Heliopause , April 24, 2016 at 4:51 pm
The sample at our large Sanders readership says your assumption is wrong: the overwhelming majority of Sanders voters will not vote for Clinton, particularly after the series of dirty election tricks, with New York as a particularly appalling spectacle. They will stay home, vote for Trump, write in Sanders, or vote for Jill Stein. And you discount the percentage that will vote Republican to punish the Democratic party. I know, for instance, of grad of a top school who is the son of Mexican farm workers who will vote for Trump if Sanders is not in the general. That is how deep the antipathy for Clinton is among Sanders voters.
I would never ever vote for Clinton.Fiver , April 24, 2016 at 4:28 am
I don't know what my limit on links is here, but here's a good one to start with:
Bottom line is, more GOP voters say they will not vote for Trump than Dem voters say they will not vote for Clinton. Other polling reveals basically the same thing.
I'm not sure why you are citing personal anecdotes and a blog comment section as evidence of anything, since obviously neither are remotely representative of a large voting population.
Yes, the Clinton's are opportunists and machiavellian political operators. We've known this for decades and so has the larger public. They're still going to vote for her over Trump, who is more despised than she is. That's just what the polling shows I'm afraid. She's not winning any elections here but a little blog is not the whole country.
As I've said from the start, there are still ways that it could slip away from her, but none of them appear to be high probability. And believe me when I tell you that I take zero pleasure in the thought of HRC as President. But one has to be realistic. I'll add, don't let what I'm saying dissuade anybody from voting in a primary if they have the opportunity and desire to do so, the game now would be to get as many delegates into the convention as possible as leverage on events there, not the tiny chance that Bernie can still outright win this thing. This is an intelligent, educated, and adult readership here that I think can handle the facts without discouragement.Waldenpond , April 22, 2016 at 10:58 pm
Have to agree with Yves – Dems are in for a mighty shock if they believe most current Sanders supporters will fall into line rather than sit it out:
For Sanders to even be where he is represents a major strategic error by senior Dems in not recognizing the political reality of the public mood and not moving to squash him early; or he is roughly where some other senior strategists wanted, perhaps unknown to Bernie i.e., Sanders provides a good show proving democracy still 'works', that progressives voices are heard, that the Party is open and change will come when it comes with Madame Clinton; or possibly a combo of both, with Sanders undertaking his part with a totally unexpected degree of relish that has infuriated Clinton. In other words, either fallibility is fully at play here, in which case a Sanders victory is not such an unimaginable stretch – or Sanders has some important support we don't know about.
To my mind, progressives should go for it now with as much focus, clarity of purpose and gusto as eclipses all prior efforts. However it got here, the chance has been presented, his name is on the ballot, and he articulates the priority of addressing 3 of the great issues of the day: peace versus war; working stiff versus Wall Street; re-vamped social safety net. Big change is possible when the people know what they want, and what they want is not remotely extravagant, greedy or anything – just a decent arrangement for all.teri , April 23, 2016 at 7:26 am
Sanders running as an independent.
[If electing a Republican is really Bernie's main concern, there is no reason he could not at least run in the 40+ states where it's absolutely clear the Democratic or Republican candidate will win, while not putting his name on the 5-10 closely contested "swing states." This could still allow for a historic campaign if linked to building a new party for the 99% and laying the foundation for an ongoing mass political movement to run hundreds of left candidates for all levels of government, independent of corporate cash.]
This would work. I don't care about the D party so someone else could list the drawbacks. It satisfies Sanders position of protecting Clinton but the movement continues. How does he turn it down?TheCatSaid , April 23, 2016 at 10:20 pm
I wonder why the Sanders campaign doesn't bring up the fact that in '08, Obama lost NY to Hillary Clinton by a wider margin than Sanders just did. (Leaving aside the, ahem, "voting issues"). And that at this same point in the race, Obama had fewer delegates than Sanders does right now. Also, in the end, it was the super-delegates switching their votes at the convention that won Obama the nomination.
It's obvious why the media won't reminisce about the '08 election, but why won't Sanders bring it up?
Sanders remains focused on the issues. Maybe he is right. Talking about the many election irregularity issues would immediately dissipate the focus, energy and educating functions of his key messages. The media blackout continues, so people are only learning more about him shortly before each primary/caucus. If the conversation were to shift to disputes about the tempting election irregularities–horrific as they are–the clarity of what he stands for would be lost.
At least Sanders is telling supporters he needs them to be observers at the polls. This recent interview with Harvey Wasserman touches on just a few of the kinds of problems.
April 29, 2016 | Conterpunch
Think of Republicans and despair for the human race. Even the ones who otherwise seem morally and intellectually sound champion political views straight out of Morons R'Us.
However, Democrats are worse - not morally or intellectually, of course; and neither are their views worse. But within the matrix of our semi-established two party system, Democrats do the most harm.
The Democratic Party is, by default, the political voice of organized labor and of social movements that fight for racial and gender equality, environmental sanity, and other worthy causes. Democrats can therefore do what Republicans cannot: integrate the victims of the status quo into a political consensus that serves and protects those who benefit most from it – the "one percent," the "billionaire class." They are good at this.
The generally accepted name for the socially atomizing, inequality-generating, environmentally reckless version of late capitalism practiced and promoted in developed countries over the past four decades is "neoliberalism." For most Americans, as for most people around the world, neoliberalism has become Enemy Number One.
Republicans support neoliberal policies and practices more fervently than Democrats do. But, for putting them into practice, Democrats leave Republicans standing in the dust.
The American version of neoliberal theory and practice was concocted by Republicans and others who flocked into the Reagan administration decades ago; call them "Reaganites."
The villainous old Gipper, Ronald Reagan, had little to do with it himself; he was never much of a thinker or visionary or policy wonk. But, in the United States, the name has stuck. It applies not only to neoliberals of the Reagan era, but to their successors as well.
Reaganites showed the way. However, "Clintonites," the Clintons themselves and other "new" Democrats, put the Reaganite vision into practice.
In America these days, Reaganites think of it, Clintonites do it. Rank and file Republicans, insofar as they think at all, believe in it; rank and file Democrats don't like it, but let it happen.
By now, though, nearly everyone who does not benefit egregiously from the neoliberal world order is fed up with its consequences. In public opinion, the Reaganite-Clintonite era has run its course.
Were the United States more of a (small-d) democracy, that would be the end of the story – and of the Clintons. But there is almost nothing democratic about American politics. It therefore looks like the neoliberal era will be hanging on for a while longer, an unloved encumbrance to human progress and wellbeing.
And, as the global hegemon goes, so go the countries it dominates. For the time being, the change so many yearn for is not quite at hand. Even so, there are reasons to hope: American politics is changing – in ways that could, before long, cause the neoliberal world order to fall.
The Republican Party is destroying itself. This has been in the works for a long time, but the Trump phenomenon has pushed the process along, and changed its nature.
A facetious later-day Hegelian might say of this that the Cunning of Reason is at work.
Hegel thought that History becomes increasingly rational and therefore intelligible through the deeds of world historical figures, great men (always men) acting out their passions and interests. He insisted, however, that this only becomes apparent in retrospect. In this case, Reason's cunning is on display even as events unfold.
Thanks to Trump, there is another wrinkle to add onto the Hegelian story: that Reason has a sense of humor. Hegel had men like Julius Caesar and Napoleon in mind. But the latest world historical figure, the Donald, is the very antithesis of figures like that: he is an over the top real estate tycoon, reality TV star, and all-around buffoon.
Hegel thought that opposites are integrally related. Democrats and Republicans certainly are. It is hardly surprising, therefore that the Democratic Party may also be on the brink of becoming undone or, failing that, of changing beyond recognition.
This might seem unlikely now that Hillary Clinton's victory over Bernie Sanders is practically assured. But the Sanders campaign, whatever becomes of it, introduced a destabilizing element into American politics. The Democratic Party may not yet be on the brink of destruction, but there is no telling what Reason has in store.
Were the Democratic Party to vanish from the face of the earth, it would certainly not be missed, except by deluded liberals who think, for example, that Hillary is one of the good guys, and that her "experience" – as an official wife, a feckless Senator, and the worst Secretary of State in modern times – has taught her how to get worthwhile things done.
Even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, there are people who believe that, alarmingly many of them. Democrats buy snake oil at Morons R'Us too.
At first, Elizabeth Warren was the Great Progressive Hope. She had one obvious advantage over Bernie: Team Hillary couldn't play the gender card against her. But she said she wouldn't run, and she meant it.
Sanders therefore came to occupy the space that might otherwise have been hers.
It was plain to progressives of nearly all stripes, from Day One, that, if nothing else, Sanders' candidacy would help reintroduce "socialism" - the word, if not the idea – back into the American lexicon. This couldn't hurt, and might actually do some good. A Warren candidacy would not have had the same effect.
Otherwise, between Warren and Sanders, it was, as far as anyone could tell, a wash.
One argument against Bernie was that his campaign would redound ultimately to the benefit of Hillary's because it would keep progressive voters on board long enough for them to be coopted into the Clintonized Democratic Party's mainstream. Another was that, on all but economic matters, his views were standard Democratic Party fare. The same arguments would likely have been deployed against Warren, had she decided to run.
I, for one, didn't much care. It was enough for me that the twenty-first century versions of New Deal-Great Society liberalism that the two of them had in mind is better by far than anything we Americans, with our bought and paid for pro-business political parties and our servile corporate media, had any right to expect. My beef with Bernie was just that he was too Clinton-friendly. No doubt, Warren is as well.
Nevertheless, I decided long ago that, if Bernie was still in the running by the time I had a chance to vote in the primaries, that I would vote for him – if only because a vote for Bernie would be a reasonably principled and effective way to protest the coronation of Clintonism's (neoliberalism's) reigning Queen.
Earlier this week, I made good on that decision. My state, Maryland, disgraced itself more fulsomely than the others voting that day - except Rhode Island. But even before last Tuesday, a Sanders victory was very nearly a mathematical impossibility.
For a few months, though, it did seem that a vote for Bernie could be more than just a protest vote; that he could win the nomination and therefore the presidency.
And it still seems that the "huge" crowds coming to Bernie's rallies and feeling the Bern are part of something a lot bigger. The differences from the Occupy movements of 201l are significant, but the vibe is much the same.
Oddly, leftists were less skeptical of Occupy Wall Street and its clones than of the Sanders campaign, especially at first. I certainly was.
This was odd because Occupy lacked a political focus – electoral or otherwise. One didn't have to be a committed Leninist to understand that this made it more than usually difficult for Occupy militants to figure out what to do next.
It was also plain that, without a more defined political orientation, the Occupy movements would be easily swept aside when the Forces of Order decided that the time to repress them had come, and when the campaign to reelect Barack Obama started sucking up all the air.
And so it was that Occupy burned out shortly after it got started.
Even so, it seemed, at the time, that Occupy's bottom up structure and disregard of electoral politics was its strength. Also, the movement awakened a long dormant spirit of resistance - in much the way that Black Lives Matter now does.
Therefore, it wasn't so strange, after all, that Occupy's flaws didn't seem quite as objectionable as the shortcomings of the Sanders campaign did in the days before it became clear that Bernie was on to something.
Unlike Occupy Wall Street, the Sanders campaign does have a focus and a structure; it is, and could only be, a top-down electoral campaign of the familiar kind. This is its weakness, of course. But it is also what has enabled it to reach more people and to change consciousness more profoundly than the Occupy movements ever could.
Much the same could be said for Sanders' decision to run as a Democrat. Technically, he had always been an Independent. He was, however, an Independent who caucused with the Democrats in the House and Senate, and who generally voted the way a Democrat would. His change in party affiliation was therefore of little substantive consequence.
However, it was consequential strategically. Had Bernie run as an Independent, he would not have been included in debates, and he would be even more ignored by corporate media than he has been. Also, he would have had to waste money, time and effort just gaining ballot access.
Running as an Independent, he would almost certainly end up doing even less well than Ralph Nader did, running on the Green Party ticket sixteen years ago. Nader won a whopping 2.74% of the popular vote.
On the down side, though, by running as a Democrat, Sanders is strengthening the Democratic Party. And were he actually to win the nomination, he would have no choice but to cede at least some power over his campaign to that wretched party's leaders. They would also demand a role in his administration.
Sanders' decision to run as a Democrat may not quite rise to the level of a Faustian bargain; he has not had to sell his soul – not yet, anyway. But it comes close.
At the same time, by running as a Democrat, Sanders has done a lot of good. He has shown that it is possible to finance a Presidential campaign without relying on "the billionaire class" or Super PACs, or nefarious lobbyists. And he has moved the center of gravity in the Democratic Party to the left.
Thanks to the Sanders campaign, even Hillary is now talking the talk. Of course, in her case, it is only talk; when there is no longer anything in it for her, she will revert back to form. But, in politics, even insincere and opportunistic words can have beneficial consequences in both the short and long term.
Pundits used to say that the Sanders campaign was doomed to fail; now that it has very nearly done so, they are saying it again. This seems right; the institutional Democratic Party and the corporate media that supports it defeated Sanders, just as everyone expected they would.
But failure was not inevitable. Were it not for New York State's election rules, which disenfranchised large numbers of potential Sanders voters, and for the Democratic Party machines that the Clintons concocted or took over during the past decade and a half, Sanders might have been able to sustain the momentum he brought into the New York primary by winning there. He would then have been well positioned to give the Clinton juggernaut a run for its money in the "Acela primaries" and in the others to come.
Hillary was never the inevitable nominee, just the most likely one. Unfortunately, this time, the facts bore the probabilities out.
In the end, though, her victory may be a blessing in disguise. For reasons I will mention presently, the Democratic nominee this year has always been sure to prevail against Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. But, barring a successful and profound "political revolution," he or she would then have as hard a time governing as Obama has had.
In Obama's case, racism made the problem worse. But Republican obstinacy will not go away just because the color of the Democrat in the White House next year will be white.
Republicans went after Obama mainly on domestic matters; they were fine with his drones and "targeted killings," his deportations, his war on whistle-blowers and his assaults on privacy rights.
We can expect Republicans to thwart Hillary at every turn too, except perhaps when she warmongers and otherwise promotes Obama-style murder and mayhem. Even more than was the case under Obama, we should be grateful that she will seldom get her way: being clueless and inept, she has a knack for making everything she works on worse.
Indeed, before long, even Obama will be looking good. Expect too that, as the consequences of Hillary's blundering unfold, many current Hillary supporters will wise up and turn on her in much the way that LBJ's supporters turned on him half a century ago.
We will never know for sure how a President Sanders would fare. On the one hand, the man is a straight shooter; even Republicans can respect him for that. But capitalists who feel their power and privileges threatened fight back viciously. Because they own almost the entire political class, a "democratic socialist" who means what he says would not be likely to be cut much slack.
Sanders is faulted for being an "idealist" and a "dreamer." This is nonsense; what he proposes – retrieving and then building upon progress made in the middle decades of the last century - is eminently doable, provided there is the political will. Countries less wealthy than ours do similar things all the time.
But finding the political will would not be easy. Republicans would be an obstacle, of course; but Democrats would be a problem too.
Even if his candidacy would generate enough excitement and voter turnout for Democrats to win control of the Senate and the House, as happened when Obama ran in 2008, Congress would still be in the hands of base and servile flunkies who toe the line for their corporate paymasters. The Democratic Congress Obama contended with during his first two years in office is a case in point.
Let Hillary deal with problems like that. Bernie can serve the people better in other ways.
Who's Afraid of Donald Trump?
High on the list of nonsensical things that foolish liberals believe is the idea that because Hillary is a "centrist," she is more electable than anyone further to her left.
This belief is like the old notion that after a heart attack or major surgery, patients should have complete bed rest as they recover. This seems commonsensical, but the idea is demonstrably false.
In this case, though, it is clear as can be that Hillary is going to shellac Trump (or Cruz) in November. Sanders would do the same – in all likelihood by a larger margin.
Even a people capable of venerating Ronald Reagan and reelecting George W. Bush in 2004, after it had become plain to anyone with half a brain how devastating his war against Iraq already was, would not put their country – and its nuclear weapons – in Trump's (tiny) hands. The Donald cannot win – no way.
To be sure, there is a fair chance that Trump is not nearly the racist, nativist and Islamophobe that he pretends to be. He played that part on TV, though; and he won't be able to live it down.
America is not yet a majority-minority nation - but it is getting there, demographically and in spirit. Therefore anyone nowadays whose public persona resembles that of, say, George Wallace circa 1971 cannot win an election that is not confined, as Republican primaries mostly are, to out of sorts white people.
Moreover, if Trump is the Republican nominee, he will not only have to contend with the Clintons and their hapless minions; he will have the Republican Party, what's left of it, against him as well.
The swords are already drawn. The Old Guard is mobilized against Trump because he threatens their hold over their Grand Old Party. Libertarians, theocrats and other self-described "conservatives" are against him too - because they realize that, despite his bluster, he is emphatically not one of them.
It is likely, in fact, that Trump would run to Hillary's left on most issues – trade, foreign affairs, infrastructure development, jobs programs, holding Wall Street banksters and other corporate criminals accountable, and so on.
Nevertheless, liberals say that, like her or not, Hillary is the lesser evil; and conclude, on that account, that she merits their support.
There is no point now in going back over the case against lesser evil voting, except to note that one of the timeworn arguments – that it is not always clear who the lesser evil is - is especially relevant in a Clinton vs. Trump matchup.
But, in this instance, lesser evil considerations are moot: Trump cannot win in November, period, full stop.
There is polling data that suggests that Bernie would have done a lot better than he did in recent primaries were voters more confident that a Democrat, any Democrat, would trounce Trump (or Cruz).
In the years to come, as the horror that is Hillary becomes apparent even to those who are now somehow able to enthuse over her candidacy, we will all have cause to regret that debilitating imperviousness to evidence that afflicts Republicans and Democrats alike.
Jesse Jackson folded the Rainbow Coalition into the Democratic Party after the 1988 primary season. Because he wanted to be a player, he squandered an enormous opportunity.
If Bernie follows suit, it will nullify much of the good his campaign has done.
Sanders seems less cooptable than Jackson. Nevertheless, every indication so far is that he will follow Jackson's lead.
That it could come to this has been the great fear all along, and the main reason for faulting Sanders for running as a Democrat. Containing progressive uprisings is what Democrats do.
In principle, what got going under the aegis of the Sanders campaign could survive and even flourish without him. There is no denying, though, that, in the short run, it will help mightily if Bernie stays on board.
For that to happen, he will have to become more like Donald Trump. Liberal pundits and faux progressives are already busily telling one and all that this would not please them one bit. No surprise there!
When Republican grandees treat the Donald badly, as they have been doing relentlessly from the moment that it became clear that his campaign was more than just a joke, he has fought back with verbal retorts designed to cut them down - supplemented with barely concealed calls for violence.
Behind his words, however, there is, as everybody knows, the threat of exit. Trump could bolt, taking large swathes of the Republican base with him.
The institutional Democratic Party has treated Sanders badly too, notwithstanding their fear that, if they go too far, his supporters will also bolt, regardless what Sanders tells them or what he himself chooses to do.
They want to keep as many Sanders backers on board as they can, not because they are afraid that Trump will win in November - that isn't going to happen – but for the sake of down ticket Democrats. To have any chance of taking over the Senate, the House and vulnerable State Houses, they know that they will need to keep the people feeling the Bern active and enthused.
Their thoroughly justifiable fear is that, without Bernie, most of them will just sit the election out.
There is no obvious way to prevent this. With Hillary at the head of the ticket, the temptations of quiescence are too strong not to prevail.
But all is not lost; not by any means. It may be impossible now for Americans opposed to neoliberalism to elect a President who is not part of the problem; but, thanks to the Sanders campaign, there has never been a more propitious moment for doing something even more worthwhile – changing the face of American politics by building a genuinely leftwing political party.
This is why the first order of business now must be to convince Bernie to join with those of us who would swim through vomit before voting for any Clintonite, much less the exceptionally inept and very dangerous "Madam Secretary."
This won't be easy. Bernie is too nice. It doesn't help either that liberal pundits back the Democratic Party, as we know it, a thousand percent.
Even so, many Sanders supporters are sure to find their way to the Greens - voting, as I probably will yet again, for Jill Stein.
On economic matters and other domestic issues, Stein offers essentially what Sanders does; on foreign affairs, she offers a lot of what anti-imperialists don't like about Sanders' views.
With these considerations in mind – and with a Democratic victory in the Presidential contest assured – a vote for Stein ought to be a no brainer for the vast majority of Sandersnistas, especially those who live in the forty or so states whose electoral votes might as well have been assigned four years ago.
But the Greens have been going nowhere for as long as anyone can remember, and they are not even good for drawing protest votes. In 2012, when I would tell people, including some who follow election news closely, that I voted for Jill Stein, the response I would often get is: "Jill who?" This year is looking no different.
Nevertheless, thanks to decades of perseverance, the Greens do have ballot status in more states than any other "third party." It is theoretically possible for them to assemble enough Electoral College votes actually to elect a President.
But their candidates are frozen out of media coverage. The media's malign neglect of Sanders turned out to be not quite fatal, because, by challenging Clinton so successfully, his campaign was undeniably newsworthy; and because, running as a Democrat, he couldn't be entirely ignored. Stein can and will be ignored; diluting the value even of the protest votes she receives.
However, were she and Bernie to join together, neither would stand a chance of being elected President, but the Greens would become a force to be reckoned with. This idea is one of many being floated ( link: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/21/the-undemocratic-primary-why-we-need-a-new-party-of-the-99/ ). It is far from clear, though, that Bernie has the will, or that the Greens have the means, to make it happen.
Now is therefore a time to be thinking hard and fast about what is to be done.
It is also a time to be thinking about how a genuinely leftwing party could win over Democratic politicians whose hearts are in the right place, but who, for the time being, have no choice but to make common cause with Clintonites. There are only a few brave souls like that at the national level; at the state and local levels, there are many more.
Predictably, though, calls for party unity are already become deafening. They should be rebutted whenever possible, and otherwise ignored.
If the party the Clintons did so much to move to the right is harmed by defections, so much the better.
There are Democrats who do good work at the local and even the state level; at the national level, the good ones could probably all fit, as they say, in one taxi, with room left over for luggage.
Arguably, the rest do some good just by being there - keeping Republicans at bay. That consideration aside, today's Democratic Party is good for nothing at all - at the national level and, with a few exceptions, further down the line.
The GOP is a wreck. This is outstanding news. A similarly damaged Democratic Party would be an enormously salutary development too, an achievement of truly historic importance.
ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).
Vanity FairThe Democratic Party has not been a total slouch, offering policies friendly to health-care executives, entertainment moguls, and tech titans. In fact, financial support for Democrats among the 1 percent of the 1 percent has risen dramatically, more than trebling since 1980. Traditionally, though, the Republican Party has been seen as the better friend to the wealthy, offering lower taxes, fewer business regulations, generous defense contracts, increased global trade, high immigration, and resistance to organized labor. It's been the buddy of homebuilders, oil barons, defense contractors, and other influential business leaders.
Trumpism changes the equation. If homebuilders face workplace crackdowns on illegal hiring, their costs go up. If defense contractors see a reduced U.S. military presence in Asia and Europe, their income goes down. If companies that rely on outsourcing or on intellectual property rights see their business model upended by discontinued trade agreements, they face a crisis. Sure, many rich people hate Obamacare, but how big a deal is it compared to other things they want: more immigration, sustained and expanding trade, continued defense commitments? Clintonism, by comparison, starts to look much more appealing.
All good, say some Democrats. The more people that Trumpism scares away, the broader and more powerful the liberal-left coalition will be. But nobody offers their support without expecting something in return. It's not dispassionate analysis that causes Chuck Schumer to waffle on the carried-interest tax loophole, Hillary Clinton to argue for raising the cap on H-1B visas, or Maria Cantwell to rally support for the Export-Import Bank. The more rich people that a party attracts, the more that the party must do to stay attractive.
In a world of Trumpism and Clintonism, Democrats would become the party of globalist-minded elites, both economic and cultural, while Republicans would become the party of the working class. Democrats would win backing from those who support expanded trade and immigration, while Republicans would win the support of those who prefer less of both. Erstwhile neocons would go over to Democrats (as they are already promising to do), while doves and isolationists would stick with Republicans. Democrats would remain culturally liberal, while Republicans would remain culturally conservative.
The combination of super-rich Democrats and poor Democrats would exacerbate internal party tensions, but the party would probably resort to forms of appeasement that are already in use. To their rich constituents, Democrats offer more trade, more immigration, and general globalism. To their non-rich constituents, they offer the promise of social justice, which critics might call identity politics. That's one reason why Democrats have devoted so much attention to issues such as transgender rights, sexual assault on campus, racial disparities in criminal justice, and immigration reform. The causes may be worthy-and they attract sincere advocates-but politically they're also useful. They don't bother rich people.
At least one presidential candidate pays a lower tax rate than the average AmericanHere are the 2014 income and tax numbers for four of the five presidential candidates (Donald Trump hasn't released his returns). All of these figures are for husband and wife filing jointly:
Source: Candidate web sites, IRS. Note: National averages are preliminary data for 2014.
Here's a breakdown of the Clintons' gross income, not counting deductions, in 2014:
- Hillary Clinton speeches: $10.5 million
- Bill Clinton speeches: $9.7 million
- Bill Clinton consulting: $6.4 million
- Hillary Clinton book royalties: $5.6 million
Various adjustments bring the Clintons' total AGI lower, and then there are nearly $5.2 million in itemized deductions. Those deductions include $2.8 million for state and local income taxes, $104,000 in real-estate taxes and $42,000 in mortgage interest – the amount of annual interest you might pay on a $1 million mortgage.
The couple also donated $3 million to the Clinton Foundation, which is a nonprofit, so the gift counts as a charitable donation. Because of a limit on the value of deductions they could claim, the Clintons' exemptions topped out just under $5.2 million.
... ... ...
Ted and Heidi Cruz are wealthy, though not in the neighborhood of the Trumps or Clintons. The couple earned $1.2 million in 2014, when Heidi Cruz was still working as a Goldman Sachs money manager. She took leave starting last year, while her husband was campaigning, so the family's income will probably be lower for 2015. The couple paid the highest effective tax rate of any presidential candidate, at 36.7%, because their amount of itemized deductions were relatively small. With only two pages from the return, it's hard to tell why there weren't more deductions.
Second, most of the complaints that Bernie has are that media, not the Clintons, are giving him a good going over. In a way, this is a compliment since six months ago they were ignoring him and they are now are treating him serious candidate who may become President in January. (Of course I wish they would give Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Paul Ryan the same treatment.)
PK's column was hard on Bernie and Bernie's campaign ("losing its ethical moorings"), but he was writing it as a political columnist who wants a Democrat elected President in November and was criticizing Bernie and his gang for recycling right memes against Clinton.
Finally, if Bernie does win upsets in the next few states, he is going to want Clinton supporters, particularly women and minorities to come out and vote for him. Calling a woman "unqualified to be President" and trashing President Obama's tenure in office as a "sell out" to the Banks and that the Affordable Care Act is as bad as the Republicans say it is. http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2016/04/obamacare-embarrasses-right.html
Finally, the Green Lanternism of Jeffrey Sachs and all the other Bernie supporters is really astounding. Somehow electing just the right person as President will cause Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and the Koch Brothers to run up the white flag and say we will do whatever you ask. Gobsmacking.Reply Friday, April 08, 2016 at 10:11 AM Peter said in reply to sherparick... "Somehow electing just the right person as President will cause Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and the Koch Brothers to run up the white flag and say we will do whatever you ask. Gobsmacking."
Nobody is saying that. Sanders's campaign is based on the idea that we need a political revolution.Reply Friday, April 08, 2016 at 10:23 AM Reg said in reply to sherparick... "Somehow electing just the right person as President will cause Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and the Koch Brothers to run up the white flag and say we will do whatever you ask. Gobsmacking."
Actually that's Hillary's line. "Getting things done" because "experience." Sanders is very clear that electing a new face to the Oval Office isn't going to cut it. Thus his "political revolution" - which means that Democrats need to get off their duffs in ways we have yet to see. And that's after Obama's "social movement" strategy - which disappeared as an independent force once he made it safely into the White House. OFA was neutered and folded into the party establishment. And lost any steam it might have had while the Tea Party took over the "activist" space. Big mistake. Bernie won't let that happen to his network, even assuming he doesn't get the nomination. Sanders has a vision and a strategy, Hillary has a personal ambition.Reply Friday, April 08, 2016 at 10:35 AM Jeff Fisher said in reply to Reg ... Is Sanders using his campaign machine to induce a political swing in offices below the presidency? Reply Friday, April 08, 2016 at 10:49 AM Peter said in reply to Jeff Fisher... He's trying to generate enthusiasm and draw more people into the political process which means a higher voter turnout.
When he began the campaign he was at 3 percent in the polls. At that time he should have been focused on inducing a political swing in offices below the presidency?Reply Friday, April 08, 2016 at 10:53 AM Chris G said in reply to Peter... If he convinces people that they can run as New New Dealers that alone would make his candidacy a success.
We need to break the "Please, Republicans, don't hurt us." mindset. Conservatives and right wingers have been wrong about EVERYTHING for the past 50 years. Time to go on the offensive against them. Reply Friday, April 08, 2016 at 01:35 PM JF said in reply to Chris G ... Yes, wrong for quite a while. Economics too.
Loanable funds theories means we need to favor capital formation and protect it from markets using tax codes and other policies (like the funding of tax cuts with payroll tax increases).
Simply ignoring the fact that banks create credit/money (which means capital can form at the stroke of the banks' pens).
Ignoring the plain fact that trade has distributional effects that have social effects that are real.
Missing a concern about the concentration of wealth and control over income flows as you watch the national fisc transfer bonds to the already wealthy as you tear up the tax bills they alteady had. . .
Votes need to be cast!Reply Saturday, April 09, 2016 at 05:19 AM Reg said in reply to Jeff Fisher... He's been very much part of the DSCC fundraising machinery - and been attacked for it by the Clinton camp as a hypocrite because a lot of "big money" donors show up for the kind of DSCC fundraising Sanders participates in. But he doesn't personally have the network the Clintons have among big donors and is focusing his current campaign's own efforts on the primary. Of course Hillary is able to distribute more, which likely drives a lot of the endorsement patterns - can't be too close to the Clintons if you are a traditional Dem pol. IMHO where we will see the difference is in how he uses this growing network to build organization for the future, having drawn in a lot of new energy. Reply Friday, April 08, 2016 at 11:56 AM Rune Lagman said in reply to Jeff Fisher... Bernie on top of the ticket will do way more, for down-ballot races, than any amount of Wall-Street money brought by Hillary.
Reply Friday, April 08, 2016 at 04:34 PM dd said in reply to sherparick... I guess that the single largest bailout, 467.2 billion to Citi just went down the memory hole.
Reply Friday, April 08, 2016 at 11:22 AM Rune Lagman said in reply to sherparick... "... will cause Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and the Koch Brothers to run up the white flag ..."
Absolutely not, Bernie's revolution will run rough-shod over them. Anyone believes that Hillary can talk sense to these guys is smoking something awful strong. They need to be defeated at the Polls; and Bernie can do that; Hillary can't.Reply Friday, April 08, 2016 at 04:29 PM likbez said in reply to sherparick... For all practical purposes Hillary is a warmongering neocon. As such she in a Republican, not a Democrat.
Think about it.Reply Friday, April 08, 2016 at 09:54 PM dd said... Yes, wall street was at the heart of the scams and that is the only reason for the bailouts or have we all forgotten Treasury Secretary and former Goldman CEO Paulson on bended knee?
April 9, 2016 | Angry BearA question to Senator Lindsey Graham by "The Daily Show's" Trevor Noah asking why he endorsed Cruz for the Republican Presidential candidate over Trump. Earlier, Noah ran a clip of Graham stating it was a choice between getting shot or being poisoned and the reasoning for the choice of Cruz was there may be "an antidote." What a lackluster answer and field of Republican candidates for the Presidency. The last seven years of this administration's congressional support has been rife with actions by Republicans to obstruct any action by this President. After all of the obstructionism, the electorate has had enough and has chosen some who may not be favored by the establishment.
Senator Elizabeth Warren delivered a message to her fellow Republican Senators as detailed in The Boston Globe, "Do Your Job." The Senator chastises the Republican members of the Senate for seven years of blocking anything to come before them as sponsored by President Obama (If you can not get into The Boston Globe to read her message, you may want to try Common Dreams.)
"through artificial debt ceiling crises, deliberate government shutdowns, and intentional confirmation blockades, Senate Republicans have acted as though the election and reelection of Obama relieved them of any responsibility to do their jobs. Senate Republicans embraced the idea that government shouldn't work at all unless it works only for themselves and their friends. The campaigns of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are the next logical outgrowth of the same attitude - if you can't get what you want, just ignore the obligations of governing, then divert attention and responsibility by wallowing in a toxic stew of attacks on Muslims, women, Latinos, and each other."
The most current crisis started in 2013 where the Republican Senate has stalled the process of judicial appointments to the higher courts enough so, it forced the then in majority Democrats to change the rules of filibuster in order to move along 3 appointments to the COA. Do not forget Senator McConnell's pledge to make Barack Obama a one term president and the meeting after President Obama's first election by key Republicans to block every move made by the then fledgling President. In 2015, the Republicans gained control of the Senate and judicial appointments have ground to a halt. And the same is occurring with Barack Obama's appointment of Merrick Garland.
But is Merrick the only one? "Amy Howe at Scotus Blog would say no.
A Summary by Amy Howe:
March 13, 1912, President William Taft (a Republican) nominated Mahlon Pitney to succeed John Marshall Harlan, who died on October 14, 1911.
President Woodrow Wilson (a Democrat) made two nominations during 1916; January 28, 1916 Wilson nominated Louis Brandeis to replace Joseph Rucker Lamar, who died on January 2, 1916; the Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed Brandeis on June 1, 1916 and John Clarke was confirmed 10 days after being nominated on July 14, 1916 after Charles Evans Hughes resigned from the Court to run (unsuccessfully) for president.
On January 4, 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt nominated Frank Murphy to replace Pierce Butler, who died on November 16, 1939.
On November 30, 1987, Republican President Ronald Reagan nominated Justice Anthony Kennedy to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Lewis Powell and was confirmed by a Democrat controlled Senate.
On September 7, 1956, Sherman Minton announced his intent to retire to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and he served until October 15, 1956. With the Senate already adjourned, Eisenhower made a recess appointment of William J. Brennan to the Court shortly thereafter; Brennan was formally nominated to the Court and confirmed in 1957.
It should not have to be a choice between a bullet or poison; but, the Republicans have spread so much of their conniving obstructionism with the sabotage of anything in Government today, it has left the people in anger, angry at a Congress which does not do the job to which it is elected. They will pick the poison over the gun shot to get things moving again.
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/31/2016 21:55 -0400
Bernie Sanders Great Depression
Authored by Gaius Publius via DownWithTyranny.com,
The Sanders- and Trump-led (for now) political rebellion is not going to go away. There are only two questions going forward:
Will it remain a political rebellion, one that expresses itself through the electoral process, or will it abandon the electoral process as useless after 2016? Will it be led by humanitarian populism from the left, or authoritarian populism from the right?
Why is this rebellion permanent, at least until conditions improve ? Because life in the U.S. is getting worse in a way that can be felt by a critical mass of people, by enough people to disrupt the Establishment machine with their anger. And because that worsening is seen to be permanent.
Bottom line, people are reaching the breaking point, and we're watching that play out in the 2016 electoral race.
Yes, It Is a Rebellion
There's no other way to see the Sanders and Trump surges except as a popular rebellion, a rebellion of the people against their "leaders." If one of them, Sanders or Trump, is on the ballot in November running against an Establishment alternative, Sanders or Trump, the anti-Establishment candidate, will win. That candidate will cannibalize votes from the Establishment side.
That is, Sanders will attract a non-zero percentage of Trump-supporting voters if Cruz or Paul Ryan runs against him, and he will win. By the same token, Trump will attract a non-zero percentage Sanders-supporting voters (or they will stand down) if Clinton runs against him, and she will lose to him.
(In fact, we have a good early indication of what percentage of Sanders supporters Clinton will lose - 20% of Sanders primary voters say they will sit out the general election if Clinton is the candidate, and 9% say they will vote for Trump over Clinton. By this measure, Clinton loses 30% of the votes that went to Sanders in the primary election.)
If they run against each other, Sanders and Trump, Sanders will win. You don't have to take my word for it (or the word of any number of other writers ). You can click here and see what almost every head-to-head poll says. As I look at it today, the average of the last six head-to-head polls is Sanders by almost 18% over Trump. In electoral terms, that's a wipeout. For comparison, Obama beat McCain by 6% and Romney by 4% .
Note that Sanders is still surging, winning some states with 80% of the vote (across all states he's won, he averages 67% of the vote), while Trump seems to have hit a ceiling below 50%, even in victory. The "socialist" tag is not only not sticking, it's seen positively by his supporters. And finally, just imagine a Trump-Sanders debate. Sanders' style is teflon to Trumps', and again, I'm not alone in noticing this.
Whichever anti-Establishment candidate runs, he wins. If both anti-Establishment candidates face off, Sanders wins. The message seems pretty clear. Dear Establishment Democrats, you can lose to Sanders or lose to Trump. Those are your choices, and I'm more than happy to wait until November 9 to find out what you chose and how it turned out. Not pleased to wait, if you choose wrongly, but willing to wait, just so we're both aware of what happened.
The Rebellion Is Not Going Away
I won't be happy with you though, Establishment Democrats, if you choose badly. And I won't be alone. Because even if you succeed with Clinton, Establishment Democrats, or succeed in giving us Trump in preference to giving us Sanders, the rebellion is not going away.
If you look at the Trump side , it's easy to see why. Are wages rising with profits? No, and Trump supporters have had enough. (They don't quite know who to blame, but they're done with things as they are.) Will they tolerate another bank bailout, the one that's inevitable the way the banks are continuing to operate? They haven't begun to tolerate the last one . They already know they were screwed by NAFTA. What will their reaction be to the next trade deal, or the next, or the next? (Yes, it's not just TPP; there are three queued up and ready to be unleashed.)
Trump supporters, the core of them, are dying of drugs and despair , and they're not going to go quietly into that dark night. The Trump phenomenon is proof of that.
On the Sanders side , the rebellion is even clearer. Sanders has energized a great many voters across the Democratic-independent spectrum with his call for a "political revolution." But it's among the young, the future of America, that the message is especially resonant. For the first time in a long time, the current generation of youth in America sees itself as sinking below the achievements of their parents.
The Guardian :
US millennials feel more working class than any other generation
Social survey data reveals downshift in class identity among 18-35s, with only a third believing they are middle class
Millennials in the US see themselves as less middle class and more working class than any other generation since records began three decades ago, the Guardian and Ipsos Mori have found.
Analysing social survey data spanning 34 years reveals that only about a third of adults aged 18-35 think they are part of the US middle class. Meanwhile 56.5% of this age group describe themselves as working class.
The number of millennials – who are also known as Generation Y and number about 80 million in the US – describing themselves as middle class has fallen in almost every survey conducted every other year, dropping from 45.6% in 2002 to a record low of 34.8% in 2014. In that year, 8% of millennials considered themselves to be lower class and less than 1% considered themselves to be upper class.
Of course, that leads to this:
The large downshift in class identity among young adults may have helped explain the surprisingly strong performance in Democratic primaries of the insurgent presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who has promised to scrap college tuition fees and raise minimum wages.
Will those voters, so many of them self-described "independents," return to the Democratic Party? Only if the Party offers them a choice they actually want. If the Party does not, there will be hell to pay on the Democratic side as well. America is making them poorer - Establishment Democratic policies are making them poorer - and they're done with it. The Sanders phenomenon is proof of that.
Will the Very Very Rich Stand Down?
The squeeze is on, and unless the rich who run the game for their benefit alone decide to stand down and let the rest of us catch our breath and a break, there will be no letting up on the reaction . What we're watching is just the beginning. Unless the rich and their Establishment enablers stand down, this won't be the end but a start, and just a start.
I'll identify the three branches to this crossroad in another piece. It's not that hard to suss out those three paths, so long as you're willing to look a few years ahead, into the "middle distance" as it were. The ways this could play out are limited and kind of staring right at us.
But let's just say for now, America faces its future in a way that hasn't happened since the Great Depression, another period in which the Constitution was rewritten in an orderly way (via the political process). Which means that for almost every living American, this is the most consequential electoral year of your life.
I know. I'm not happy about that either.
You folks in the big cities have about three months to GTFO.
Casanova , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 21:58
Rebellion? What rebellion? We are CURSED with a curse >> http://wp.me/p4OZ4v-3z
wee-weed up , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 22:14
Let's hope all those elites in power who are to blame for their selfish needs causing our great country going completely down the toilet will have a chance to finally meet their favorite lamppost with a little rope in a nice gentle breeze.
Lurk Skywatcher , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 22:22
they will fake an alien invasion or some such and put us all under lock and key. we will either willingly give them complete control over us or they will take it forcefully. they are playing for all the chips, while the vast majority of sheeple don't even realize they are in the game. i hope to hold my own and dont expect anything more of anyone else at this stage, let alone an organized rebellion that will deal to those most at fault for our collective hellhole.
greenskeeper carl , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 22:30
I kind of agree with this guy, in a round about sort of way. If an economic collapse brought on by socialism and central planning in inevitable, might as well have a socialist/central planner in charge. No better way to show people why that shit doesn't work. It would also be useful to point to the left and say "see, I fucking told you so. this shit doesn't work"
Muh Raf , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 22:39
Paraphrasing Crocodile Dundee "That's not a rebel, this is a rebel..." Robert Morrow interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNf6q-THvTE
animalogic , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 23:48
Hey Carl....What "socialism" ??
What "central planning" ? Shit, there's a PLAN ?? Who would've guessed....beyond the obvious plan of the 1% to gorge on the flesh of all the rest...
And as for your "the left", I'd sooner believe in fairy's living at the bottom of the garden... (Of course, you probably think all the PC wankers are a genuine "left" ....yer, lol).
eatthebanksters , Fri, 04/01/2016 - 00:24
Obozo pretends there is no problem as he recites fraudulent info from the Fed...meanwhile the people on Main Street see through the bullshit. The Obozo Administration is a propaganda sham...he just wants the Fed to hold it together for him until the elections.
conscious being , Fri, 04/01/2016 - 01:13
doctor10 , Fri, 04/01/2016 - 01:13
as paradoxical as its seems, Fed.gov's only real option is actually The Donald. He's the only one with potential to stay the rapid slide in Fed.gov's legitimacy and mandate to unite the states.
any other president will get to preside over internal disintegration
the harder they grasp, the faster the brass ring slides through their greedy fingers
Reagan bought that crowd another 20 years; Trump can get them another 10-15 if they shut up and elect him
Government need... , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 23:09
Trump has shown nothing of the substance he would need philosophically/charasmatically to buy this USA another 20 years. Based on what I've seen, he's a relatively harmless blowhard narcissist. And relative to 1980, this USA is FAR, FAR, FAR more fractured across several critical dimensions. Further, this polarization has been happening since the late 70s, and I cant perceive the catalyst for an ideologic harmonization. We are past the event horizon, in a strange environment where the rule of law is largely suspended. The fundamental of free market economics ('risk-free rate of return') has also been fixed by .gov in an effort to support, nay increase price inflation. The Constitution as it relates to individual liberties has been eviscerated. There is no turning back. A lot of suffering lies ahead. We are walking into the valley of the shadow of death. When you are lost, a compass can help you find the way. But when you throw away the compass (rule of law, Consitutional liberties, focus on excellence of thoughts), THERE CAN BE NO RETURN.
conscious being , Fri, 04/01/2016 - 01:11
Trump sucks. Anybody saying otherwise is as dillusional as all those Obummer voters everyone, now, loves to goof on. Who has room for another serving of hope and change? Lucy pulls the football away again, but Charlie Brown never learns.
Doctor10 hits the mark.
PTR , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 22:51
You folks in the big cities have about three months to GTFO.
Paging Snake...Snake. Please pick up the red courtesy automatics.
Hail Spode , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 22:51
Good. But rebellion alone is not enough. Anger at a corrupt system is not enough. We must know what the goals are, what we are trying to change and why. What should this system be replaced with and why?
What it should be replaced with: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B0GACAQ
Why : http://www.amazon.com/Localism-Defended-between-Anarchy-Central/dp/0996239006/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid =
PoasterToaster , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 22:10
So that's the take from the disaffected Democrat voter, eh? It's nice they are being forced to confront reality in the same way the Republicans are, but to think that Trump voters are dying from drugs and despair while not acknowledging the same state of affairs in their own side is silly.
Still not quite ready to lower themselves to the same level as the rest of us. Humanitarian Left indeed.
Skiprrrdog , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 22:14
Ted Cruise is the Zodiac Killer...
Clowns on Acid , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 22:17
What about the illegals...? 40MM of them? What about the muslims? Oh yeh...they will all become productive members of society...
Ms. Erable , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 22:24
They can most definitely help to increase productivity - the ones that don't self-deport can help fertilize the non-GMO crops.
the.ghost.of.22wmr , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 22:37
A wise man on ZH once said Europe would be *in flames* before America even farted.
Well, Europe is *in flames* and it's not yet summer.
TheEndIsNear , Fri, 04/01/2016 - 00:02
You ain't seen nothing yet.
STP , Fri, 04/01/2016 - 00:05
Let me fix that "they are the reproductive members of our society..."
Bill of Rights , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 22:18
They've managed to turn the office of the President as well as the election process in this Country into nothing but douchebaggery fact is the whole circus bores the shit out of me at this stage....kill each other fighting for the ( 1 ) more food for me.
monad , Fri, 04/01/2016 - 01:48
Thats the psyop, son. DYOH.
Change your domain. Don't buy in easy but do attend your local civic events. Adapt.
the.ghost.of.22wmr , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 22:22
As I have said before, I don't necessarily see Trump at the finish line.
Trump's ass-kissing speech to the AIPAC Israhell crowd on 3/21 did not impress me or bode well for world peace!
conscious being , Fri, 04/01/2016 - 00:46
As of this point, two zionist ideologues have logged in to downvote your sacriledge. Golf clap for the zionists, responding true to form.
Kirk2NCC1701 , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 22:29
If Trump gets burned/stabbed by the GOP-E, his supporters have a moral duty to vote Anti-Establishment, by voting for Sanders.
Because, by then, the curtain will gave been pulled back and everyone can stop pretending. At that point, only a hard reset will work, and the only person to bring it about sooner than later, is Sanders.
"The enemy of my enemy is my Ally " -Kirk
Freddie , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 22:52
I actually think Bernie has a better chance at avoiding the steal then Trump has.
The GOP-e and RNC plus Bushes/Romney are in full theft mode and will do anything to steal it or elect Hillary.
Sir John Bagot Glubb , Thu, 03/31/2016 - 22:57
Sanders is probably a nice man who means well but his entire philosophy is based on envy. He may be Anti-establishment now but if he were elected, he's too weak and lacking in depth not to give into the Establishment. Trump may be too. The pressure would be beyond unbearable for a normal human being.
I would only vote for Sanders to accelerate the Great Reset as other bloggers on here have said. But an added feature of supporting naive Bernie is Democrats might finally get the blame for all the destruction that they have caused, not the least of which is destroying the greatest country that ever was and probably ever will be.
Iraq war and its aftermath failed to stop the beginning of peak oil in 2005
Government admits oil is the reason for war in Iraq
economistsview.typepad.comNew Column:Why Republican Elites are Threatened, by Mark Thoma : ... Donald Trump's tax plan will result in a fall in revenue of 9.5 trillion dollars over the next ten years, yet somehow he will fulfill his promise to protect Social Security and Medicare and balance the budget? When push comes to shove (or worse – this is Trump after all), who do you think he will protect, social insurance programs the working class relies upon for economic security or his own and his party's wealthy interests? Ted Cruz has proposed an 8.6 trillion dollar tax cut. How, exactly, will that be financed without large cuts to social insurance programs or huge increases in the budget deficit?Republicans have fooled people into thinking budget deficits can be reduced substantially by eliminating waste and fraud in government, cutting foreign aid, or that it is the fault of lazy, undeserving "others" who sponge off of government programs. ...
I am very happy that the Republican con is starting to come to light. Members of the working class who support Trump are beginning to see that the elites in the Republican Party do not have their best interests at heart. I am not pleased at all, however, that people are still being led to believe that there are simple answers to budget problems that do not require raising taxes, or, alternatively, reducing their hard-earned benefits from programs such as Social Security or Medicare. ...
Posted by Mark Thoma on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 05:24 AM in Economics , Politics , Social Insurance | Permalink Comments (41)
Peter K. :Bill Clinton balanced the budget via economic growth and the dotcom bubble. Unfortunately Bush squandered the surplus with tax cuts for the rich and military Keynesianism.pgl -> Peter K....
A hopeful scenario is that the Fed doesn't kill the economy and HRC gets unforeseen surpluses which she can then plow back into the economy via government spending and investment; boosting automatic stabilizers and expanding the welfare state.
It's possible!"HRC gets unforeseen surpluses which she can then plow back into the economy via government spending and investment; boosting automatic stabilizers and expanding the welfare state."New Deal democrat -> pgl...
Is is also possible that President Sanders will get these opportunities. California and New York have yet to be heard from.And the next GOP President will immediately give away those hard earned surpluses generated by President Clinton or Sanders to their plutocratic donors - just as W did.Peter K. -> New Deal democrat...
Hence my support for a *countercyclical* Balanced Budget Amerndment.My point was that Sanders or Clinton would be getting the surprise surpluses as W. did.sanjait -> Peter K....
My hope is that Clinton would do the right thing, but I wouldn't bet money on it. I could see her do tax cuts for corporations and finance. Summers recently had a piece arguing for tax cuts as incentives for private investment.If we consider that there is probably some pent up business investment demand that could drive above average productivity growth for a few years ... then it plausibly is possible for the country to achieve late 90s style growth.likbez -> Peter K....The collapse and subsequent economic rape of the USSR region in 1991-1998 was a huge stimulus for the US economy. Something like 300 millions of new customers overnight for many products and huge expansion of the dollar zone, which partially compensates for the loss of EU to euro. Even if we count just the cash absorbed by the region, it will be a major economic stimulus. All-it-all it was Bernanke size if we add buying assets for pennies on the dollar.pgl :
Actually, Bill Clinton put a solid fundament for subsequent deterioration relations with Russia. His semi-successful attempt to colonize Russia (under Yeltsin Russia was a semi-colony and definitely a vassal state of the USA) backfired.
Now the teeth of dragon planted by Slick Bill (of Kosovo war fame) are visible in full glory. Russian elite no longer trusts the US elite and feels threatened.
Series of female sociopath (or borderline personalities) in the role of Secretaries of State did not help either. The last one, "We came, we saw, he died" Hillary and her protégé Victoria Nuland (which actually was a close associate of Dick Cheney http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2005/11/president_cheney.html ) are actually replay of unforgettable Madeleine Albright with her famous a 60 Minutes segment in which Lesley Stahl asked her "We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" and Albright replied "we think the price is worth it."[All well said! The notion that Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump lie a lot is as established as the fact that the earth is not flat.Jerry Brown -> pgl...True that!Paul Mathis :"[T]here are simple answers to budget problems that do not require raising taxes, or, alternatively, reducing their hard-earned benefits from programs such as Social Security or Medicare."Jerry Brown -> Paul Mathis...
As every legitimate economist knows, stimulus spending to increase the GDP growth rate would raise tax revenues without raising tax rates. This phenomenon is well-known to Keynesians and has been demonstrated many times.
Thanks to the disinformation campaign run by Republicans, however, stimulus spending has been taken off the table of economic choices except in China where minimum GDP growth is 6.5%. China is "killing us" economically because we are stupid.Instead, the Trumps and Cruzes and Ryans believe in giant tax cuts for the very wealthy. This might provide a weak stimulus for the economy, but it is a very poor way to go about it. More likely in my mind is that it would lead to increased pressure to cut government spending on things that actually do help the economy.Paul Mathis -> Jerry Brown...Tax cuts for the wealthy do not increase demand. Trickle down is a false economic doctrine that exacerbates inequality and therefore reduces demand. Keynes established this principle decades ago but his wisdom has been ignored.pgl -> Paul Mathis...You'll love this bit of honesty from right wing Joe Scarborough:mulp -> pgl...
But the 1981 tax cuts did increase shopping on Rodeo Drive.Job losses began the month Reagan signed the tax cuts. Job creation began the month Reagan hiked taxes to pay workers to fix the roads and bridges. Reagan and his job killing tax cuts caused the recession, not the Fed and monetary policy. Monetary policy was steady from 1980 to 1983.anne :
Reagan's tax cuts struck fear into would be lenders. How much debt was the government going to need if it intentionally cuts it's incomes? On the other hand, if the government stops spending, that's millions of workers who will be forced to stop spending.
For Nixon, the Fed monetized the smaller deficits from repealling the war tax surcharge that balanced the budget in 1969. Just as the Fed monetized all government debt once FDR and his bankers took over, especially Eccles at the Fed.
But Volcker was not going to monetize the debt caused by Reagan's adoption of intentional deficit spending.
But even Reagan eventually understood what FDR did: gdp growth requires workers getting paid more, and government can take the money from people who have it but won't spend it paying workers, but tax and spend, and create jobs.
If only economists today understood it, and called for tax and spend to create jobs to grow gdp.Really nice essay.Mr. Bill :"Republicans have fooled people into thinking budget deficits can be reduced substantially by eliminating waste and fraud in government, cutting foreign aid, or that it is the fault of lazy, undeserving "others" who sponge off of government programs. ..."BobZ :
I think you have identified the potential roots of a movement. The unwrapping and critical analysis of the demagoguery that has defined the lives of the baby boom generation. The quote below from Dan Baum's Harper's article, Legalize It All", seems particularly poignant:
"At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. "You want to know what this was really all about?" he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. "The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."I'm pretty sure that the Trumpists would be thrilled to raise taxes...on someone else. It's only the elites that are interested in lowering taxes on the rich. Trump's followers don't care.pgl -> BobZ ...
I'm also pretty sure that Trump will turn on the donor class rather than reduce anything for his own base - but I could be wrong.Much Republican elites would love to raise sales taxes, payroll taxes, or any tax that the "little people" pay. This would allow them to cut taxes for rich people even more. This is their game. Take from the poor and give to the rich. DOOH NIBOR economics!pgl -> BobZ ...Krugman for almost 12 years ago:JohnH :
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/01/opinion/dooh-nibor-economics.html?_r=0All this liberal hand wringing about Trump's tax plan. Yet when Bernie introduces a major tax plan, it doesn't get noticed!!! Not a single 'attaboy' from these supposedly liberal economists.pgl -> JohnH...
"With the most progressive tax policy of any candidate, Sanders would dramatically increase taxes for the very wealthy and high-income earners (as well as moderate increases for the middle- and upper-middle classes) in order to pay for key planks of his social agenda including tuition-free public college, a Medicare for All healthcare program, massive infrastructure spending, and paid family leave for all workers."
"Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders proposes significant increases in federal income, payroll, business, and estate taxes, and new excise taxes on financial transactions and carbon. New revenues would pay for universal health care, education, family leave, rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, and more. TPC estimates the tax proposals would raise $15.3 trillion over the next decade. All income groups would pay some additional tax, but most would come from high-income households, particularly those with the very highest income. His proposals would raise taxes on work, saving, and investment, in some cases to rates well beyond recent historical experience in the US."
As I've said many times, most 'liberal' economists simply to not want increased taxes to be put on the table as a viable alternative for funding stimulus. Else, why would they go silent when a major candidate makes such an economically significant proposal? Why is it that they are eager to promote ever more debt but refuse to support more taxes?You are pushing this which is fine. ButJohnH -> pgl...
"Yet when Bernie introduces a major tax plan, it doesn't get noticed!!"
I noticed this a long time ago. And I applauded Bernie's proposal. I guess I have to resign as a "liberal economist".Now pgl claims to have supported Bernie's tax plan...when all he said did was to acknowledge that I cited a credible source!pgl -> JohnH...
Question is, why are all those 'liberal' economists running from Bernie's progressive tax plan like the plague?I have supported tax increases on the rich many times. Pay attention. Also - read the latest column from Mark Thoma which is what this thread is supposed to be about. I guess Mark must not be a liberal economists either. DUH!Eric377 -> JohnH...Because they can always run back to something like it if a Democrat is elected, but not so if Trump or Cruz are and they have convinced themselves that supporting Sanders is a big risk of getting a Republican. And they are right about that.JohnH -> Eric377...LOL!!! Democrats will NOT endorse support anything like Bernie's tax pan EVER! Just like 'liberal" economists will never endorse it either...in fact, they have every opportunity to endorse it now but refuse to even talk about it, apparently hoping it will just go away.mulp -> JohnH...But the real benefit of high tax rates on people with lots of money is they will work really hard to not pay taxes by investing in new capital assets even if the bean counters think building more assets will only slash returns on capital.pgl :
The result is no increase in tax revenue, but lots of jobs created if the tax dodges are designed to create jobs.
The best example is a carbon tax. The correct carbon tax schedule of increases will raise virtually no tax revenue, but will result in trillions of dollars in labor costs building productive capital, which will ironically make the rich far wealthier.
But if millions of people are employed for a lifetime and the burning of fossil fuels ends, only Bernie will be angry that those responsible end up worth hundreds of billions, or maybe become trillionaires. Their businesses will not be profitable, just like Amazon, Tesla, SpaceX are worth tens of billions but are unprofitable.GOP elite Peter Schiff babbling even worse lies than our excellent host has documented:pgl -> pgl...
http://realcrash2016.com/peter-schiff-social-security-could-implode-in-2016/?code=466832/&utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=referralSchiff is saying Soc. Sec. will go bankrupt this year. He also predicted hyperinflation and gold at $5000 an ounce:Benedict@Large -> pgl...
http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2013/02/13/gold-at-5000-and-beyond-peter-schiff-sticks-to-his-call/Every year Schiff predicts a recession. Once every 6-8 years, he's right. Schiff then claims he's predicted every recession for the last three dozen years. Everyone is amazed. "How does he do it?" the crowd gasps.pgl :
Why does anyone even mention Schiff? He's a grifter with an angle to part rich people from their money. Nothing more.From the day job - filed under fun with Microsoft Excel. Math nerds will get this right away. I'm reading a report from some expert witness that claims some loan guarantee is worth only 22 basis points when my client has charged 55 basis points. Think of x = 1.005 and take the natural log. Yes, the right answer is 50 basis points. This clown uses Excel and types in log(x).William -> pgl...
OK - I hate Microsoft Excel as it took me a while. But the log function assumes base 10. The correct syntax is ln(x).
Somehow I think the right wing elite will start doing similar things in their Soc. Sec. analyzes.Somehow, I think the right wing elite don't know the difference between a basis point and a percentage point, let alone between a base 10 or a base e logarithm.pgl -> William...I know Stephen Moore certainly does not know the difference!DrDick :Excellent piece, but I would point out that the GOP would likely sacrifice their own mothers for upper class tax cuts.pgl :Politics down under (New Zealand). The Green Party is campaigning on transfer pricing enforcement in order to make the multinationals pay their fair share of taxes:Fred C. Dobbs :
We need more of this in the US!Rachel Maddow pointed out last night that the GOP *leadership* is vehemently opposed to Trump, because he threatens their authority, but the rank-and-file seem to be pretty happy with him.pgl -> Fred C. Dobbs...I was tired and fell asleep by 9PM missing Rachel's show. Thanks for filling me in. She's awesome!Fred C. Dobbs -> pgl...The idea seems to be that Trump, if elected, will obviously 'reconstitute' the GOP, re-making it totally, casting out old people, bringing in New Blood.eudaimonia :
This would be 'yuuugely' more cataclysmic than what happened between Teddy Roosevelt and the anti-progressives of the GOP back in 1912.[I am very happy that the Republican con is starting to come to light. Members of the working class who support Trump are beginning to see that the elites in the Republican Party do not have their best interests at heart.]pgl :
I disagree here. I don't see Trump as exposing the Republican economic agenda to be a fraud. Instead, Trump is exposing that the main driver in conservatism is not policy, but racism.
The Republican base is not "waking up" per say, but Trump rather erased away the policy veneer and has shown the heart of the conservative base.
For decades, the RW economic and social agenda was based off of racism and bigotry - fictional Cadillac mothers, how blacks just vote Democrat since they are lazy, increased voting restrictions for a non-problem, Willie Horton, opposing the CRA in the name of "freedom" and states' rights, etc.
The argument now has simply shifted away from slashing taxes on white rich males since it creates an underclass of dependent minorities, to blaming Mexicans, immigrants, Muslims, etc.
If you look at the heart of Trump supporters, they are high school dropouts who have also dropped out of the labor force since they were dependent on the old economy, live in mobile houses and have not moved around much, with a history of voting for segregationists.
As their economy breaks down around them, like it has in various parts of the country, we are seeing the same social ills emerge - suicide, drug use, depression, rise of divorce, etc.
What Trump has shown them is that it is not their fault. It is not the fault of policy. It is not the fault of globalization. It is not the fault of technological change. It is the fault of the Mexicans, immigrants, Muslims, etc.
The core of conservatism is still there: racism, and Trump has simply shown this. Conservatism is not about policy, but an emotional reactionary ideology based on fear and ignorance that looks for minorities to be scapegoats.US Supreme Court splits 4-4 in Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore:sanjait :
Appeals Court had ruled in favor of the bank so the bank prevails. OK - we know Scalia would have voted in favor of the bank but now the standard is how would have Garland ruled. The Senate needs to act on his nomination.Maybe the simplest way to dissect it is to note that the GOP has been running multiple overlapping cons.
They tell the base that tax cuts will improve their lives, and then passes tax cuts that go mostly to the rich.
They tell the base that regulations are killing jobs, and then block or remove any government protection or program that makes the country livable so some industrialist can avoid having to deal with externalities.
They tell the base that "those people" are taking their stuff, and then shred the safety net that helps almost everyone except the rich.
What Trump has done is expose how these cons don't really fit together logically, but he hasn't really gone strongly against any of them. He's been on both sides of the first two, and tripled down on the third.
economistsview.typepad.comPaul Ryan, in a speech on the state of American politics, says :We don't lock ourselves in an echo chamber, where we take comfort in the dogmas and opinions we already hold.
Followed by:... in 1981 the Kemp-Roth bill was signed into law, lowering tax rates, spurring growth, and putting millions of Americans back to work.
Bruce Bartlett :... I was the staff economist for Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) in 1977, and it was my job to draft what came to be the Kemp-Roth tax bill, which Reagan endorsed in 1980 and enacted the following year. ...PAUL MATHIS :
Republicans like to say that massive growth followed the Reagan tax cut. But average real GDP growth during Reagan's eight years in the White House was only slightly above the rate of the previous eight years: 3.4 percent per year vs. 2.9 percent. The average unemployment rate was actually higher under Reagan than it was during the previous eight years: 7.5 percent vs. 6.6 percent. ...Lyin' Ryan
"In 1981 the Kemp-Roth bill was signed into law, lowering tax rates, spurring growth, and putting millions of Americans back to work."
In 1981 real GDP increased 2.6%, but in 1982 it was NEGATIVE 1.9%.
In 1981 the unemployment rate was 7.6% but by 1982 it was 9.7%.
So the tax cuts reduced growth and increased unemployment. Those are FACTS
PAUL MATHIS -> pgl...The Question Was the Effect of the 1981 Tax Cutspgl -> PAUL MATHIS...
Ryan says they were positive for growth and jobs. They were not based on the ensuing facts.
Obviously many other things were happening but Ryan made a clear statement that was a lie and that needs to be called out.In his first economic text Greg Mankiw (pre Bush Kool Aid) laid this out nicely. Inward shift of the national savings schedule, higher real interest rates, and the crowding-out of investment. Which lowers long-term growth in the standard Solow model. QED!
JohnH :Responding to the increasingly inane behavior of the two parties, Robert Reich envisions a third party win in 2020: http://robertreich.org/post/141437490885 "Politics abhors a vacuum. In 2019, the People's Party filled it.
Its platform called for getting big money out of politics, ending "crony capitalism," abolishing corporate welfare, stopping the revolving door between government and the private sector, and busting up the big Wall Street banks and corporate monopolies.
The People's Party also pledged to revoke the Trans Pacific Partnership, hike taxes on the rich to pay for a wage subsidy (a vastly expanded Earned Income Tax Credit) for everyone earning below the median, and raise taxes on corporations that outsource jobs abroad or pay their executives more than 100 times the pay of typical Americans.
Americans rallied to the cause. Millions who called themselves conservatives and Tea Partiers joined with millions who called themselves liberals and progressives against a political establishment that had shown itself incapable of hearing what they had been demanding for years."
Will Democrats and Republicans becoming out of touch with voters and illegitimate representatives of the will of the people, it's time to register your disgust--vote third party!
[Not voting only communicates apathy, which is fine with the elites.]
Ben Groves :Boomers were driving up the labor force, driving up unemployment.pgl :
If you want to be clear, this happened to Jimmy Carter in the late 70's when that expansion was peaking.
The bigger the growth rate of total population, the faster GDP must grow.........and vice versa. Why do you think the classical liberals hated Malthus so much?Bruce may be right here but this includes business cycle effects:
"Republicans like to say that massive growth followed the Reagan tax cut. But average real GDP growth during Reagan's eight years in the White House was only slightly above the rate of the previous eight years: 3.4 percent per year vs. 2.9 percent."
Using the typical measure of potential output, we can do this on the terms that supply-siders preach. Long-term growth. This growth was around 3.5% before 1981. It was also 3.5% after 1992. But during the Reagan-Bush41 years, it was only 3%. You see - this tax cut raised real interest rates and crowded out investment.
Paul Ryan wants to pretend he's a smart guy. If he is - then he knows this. Which means he is lying to us.
pgl :Oh goodie! Ted Cruz attacks my mayor!eudaimonia :
Yesterday when Brussels was attacked – my police department went into action to insure my subway rides were safe. My mayor took a subway ride to Times Square which showed courage. So what does the slime ball Cruz do?
'Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz swooped into Manhattan Wednesday and promptly hit Mayor de Blasio below the belt when he said cops who turned their backs on him were speaking for all Americans." When heroes of NYPD stood up and turned their backs on Mayor de Blasio, they spoke not just for the men and women of New York, but for Americans all across this nation," said Cruz at the GOP Party & Women's National Republican Club in Midtown.'
There has been tension as our police have to patrol as we march against how the police that murdered Eric Garner got off from prosecution. And then the horror of two of them murdered in cold blood by some crazed person from Baltimore. A few cops did turn their backs as the mayor honored these two brave cops. Most of the NYPD, however, was appalled at this garbage. Had I known Cruz was coming here to insult my city – I would have been there protesting. But my mayor handled this the right way:
'De Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton were two of the most vocal critics, with Bratton saying it was so out of line it showed why he'd never win the White House race. He doesn't know the hell what he is talking about, to be frank with you," Bratton said. "While he's running around here, he probably has some Muslim officers guarding him." Later, during an radio interview, Bratton went after the Texas senator again on the monitoring." He is maligning a whole population group. A religion. That's not the American way," Bratton said on "The John Gambling Show" on AM970. "Mr. Cruz showed his naivete of the police department. I don't recall Mr. Cruz in uniform at any time fighting for his country. This election campaign is painting everyone with the broad brush. We focus on people committing the crime…the disorder, not the population."'
Bratton is the best police commissioner in the nation! My only regret is that the NYPD did not arrest Cruz and toss him in jail for a few days.Except the tax cut story does not hold up for a couple of reason.
(i) It implies that high taxation was responsible for the stagnant economy. Therefore, reducing taxes would unleash growth. The early 80's recessions was not caused by high taxation and growth was just as strong before.
(ii) Reagan actually passed a significant tax increase in 1982; TERFA. Some have actually called it the largest peacetime tax increase in history.
(iii) Supply-siders completely ignore interest rates. The federal funds rate fell from 19% in July 1981 to 8.5% in February 1983. That looks like good ol' fashion Keynesianism at work.
It is simply a comfortable story that conservatives tell themselves in order to validate slashing taxes on the rich, cut discretionary non-military spending, and explode military spending and our deficits.
However, like in an echo-chamber for 3-4 decades, they will not come to terms with this.
McGovern says he believes the president can't hold either agency accountable for their violations of the law and human rights because of the power they hold over him.
MUNICH - A former CIA analyst believes the CIA and National Security Agency have become so powerful that the president is afraid to act against them when they break the law.
Ray McGovern retired from the CIA in 1990, following nearly 30 years of service to the agency. He was awarded the Intelligence Commendation Medal, which is given to agents who offer "especially commendable service" to the agency.
Outraged over the CIA's open use of torture, he returned the medal in 2006 and became an antiwar activist. He was arrested in 2011 for a silent protest against a speech by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In an interview published Monday by acTVism Munich, an independent media outlet, McGovern warned that U.S. intelligence agencies are too powerful to be held accountable, even by President Barack Obama. He explained:
"I will simply say that he is afraid of them. Now I would have never thought that I would hear myself saying that the president of the United States is afraid of the CIA. But he is. He's afraid of the NSA as well. How else to explain that the National Intelligence director, who lied under oath to his senate overseers on the 12th of March 2013, is still the director of National Intelligence?"
Statements made under oath to Congress in 2013 by James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, in which he denied mass surveillance of Americans, were later revealed to be false by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. In 2014, some members of Congress, including California Rep. Darrell Issa , moved to have Clapper dismissed from his post, but their efforts were ultimately defeated.
McGovern continued: "How else to explain that the head of CIA, John Brennan, who deliberately hacked the computers of the senate's intelligence community, that's supposed to be overseeing him, he's still in office?"
Brennan apologized to Senate leaders in July 2014 after CIA agents hacked Senate computers during a congressional investigation of the CIA's use of torture, but neither the torturers nor the hackers would face any consequences for their actions. In January 2015, an internal CIA review board declared the hack had been a result of "miscommunication" and cleared all agents of wrongdoing.
In the interview, McGovern lamented the fact that political leaders, including President George W. Bush and Obama, have given their approval to unconstitutional behavior by government officials:
"Our bill of rights has been shredded. The Fourth Amendment specifically prohibits the kind of activities the NSA is involved in domestically."
He also criticized Obama's drone program, noting that "[t]he Fifth Amendment prohibits any president or anyone else from killing anyone without due process," and dismissed the administration's legal justifications for the killings as a "lawyerly diversion from the truth."
"Not even George Bush claimed the right to kill American citizens without due process," McGovern said.
Activism is one way to drive positive change and resist the erosion of Americans' civil liberties, he said.
"You do what you know is good, because it's good, and then you have a certain peace of mind, saying, you've been an activist in a constructive way," he concluded.
Watch "Interview with former CIA-Analyst: Ray McGovern" on acTVism Munich
arly%2010%25%20Of%20Democratic%20Party%20Superdelegates%20Are%20LobbyistWhen it comes to presidential primaries, there isn't a whole lot of "democracy" in the Democratic Party.
By Michael Krieger | Liberty Blitzkrieg | March 11, 2016
On July 25, these superdelegates will cast votes at the Democratic National Convention for whomever they want, regardless of primary and caucus outcomes. Democrats like to describe superdelegates as mostly elected officials and prominent party members, including President Obama and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
But this group, which consists of 21 governors, 40 senators and 193 representatives, only makes up about a third of the superdelegates. Many of the remaining 463 convention delegates are establishment insiders who get their status after years of donations and service to the party. Dozens of the 437 delegates in the DNC member category are registered federal and state lobbyists, according to an ABC News analysis.
In fact, when you remove elected officials from the superdelegate pool, at least one in seven of the rest are former or current lobbyists registered on the federal and state level, according to lobbying disclosure records.
– From the ABC News article: The Reason Why Dozens of Lobbyists Will Be Democratic Presidential Delegates
When it comes to presidential primaries, there isn't a whole lot of "democracy" in the Democratic Party.
Last year, The New York Times published an article examining the American attitude toward the question of money in politics. This is what it found:
Americans of both parties fundamentally reject the regime of untrammeled money in elections made possible by the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling and other court decisions and now favor a sweeping overhaul of how political campaigns are financed, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.
The findings reveal deep support among Republicans and Democrats alike for new measures to restrict the influence of wealthy givers, including limiting the amount of money that can be spent by "super PACs" and forcing more public disclosure on organizations now permitted to intervene in elections without disclosing the names of their donors.
You might think the supposedly "liberal" Democratic Party would take this sort of thing to heart, but you'd be wrong. Not only is the super delegate system intentionally undemocratic, but a remarkable 9% of superdelegates are actually lobbyists.
You just can't make this stuff up.
From ABC News :
Hillary Clinton holds a substantial edge among a particular and little-noticed kind of delegate to the Democratic National Convention: Superdelegates.
On July 25, these superdelegates will cast votes at the Democratic National Convention for whomever they want, regardless of primary and caucus outcomes. Democrats like to describe superdelegates as mostly elected officials and prominent party members, including President Obama and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter .
But this group, which consists of 21 governors, 40 senators and 193 representatives, only makes up about a third of the superdelegates. Many of the remaining 463 convention delegates are establishment insiders who get their status after years of donations and service to the party. Dozens of the 437 delegates in the DNC member category are registered federal and state lobbyists, according to an ABC News analysis.
In fact, when you remove elected officials from the superdelegate pool, at least one in seven of the rest are former or current lobbyists registered on the federal and state level, according to lobbying disclosure records.
That's at least 67 lobbyists who will attend the convention as superdelegates. A majority of them have already committed to supporting Hillary Clinton for the nomination.
Of course they have.
Superdelegates are unique to the Democratic nominating process. Of the 4,763 delegates who will attend the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, 717 will be superdelegates - almost a third of the total required to win the nomination.
Meanwhile, former presidential candidate and current Democratic Party superdelegate, Howard Dean, shared his personal thoughts on democracy via Twitter the other day.
Ussurisk chrisbrown, 10 Mar 2016 08:48
What wars are you citing? WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Angola, Grenada, Cuban Bay of Pigs, Libya, Syria, Yemen,....that is what the Democrats have done.
The Reps are no peackeniks but somehow Democrats are better able to initiate and conduct war because people like you build myths that Democrats are more peace loving. Sorry, history does not support your view.
Trump is impetuous and dangerous but he would be a lame duck president like Jimmy Carter; unable to muster Congressional support to do much of anything.
Hillary is by far the most dangerous because she has both Administration and Senatorial experience and knows how to muster support for her war mongering ways with the likes of Neo-cons and AIPAC'ers.
FrankBnov14 -> ID8020624 ,Since the Oligarchy supposedly control the media, the corporations, the money, the congress, the bureaucracy, the states, the armed forces, etc, why on earth would one alleged Lefty in the White House be 'very dangerous' for them? Even assuming he really wanted to be a real threat to them (as distinct from merely saying the things that get him votes), he simply wouldn't have the power to do any more than a few minor things that marginally protect the interests of the 99.9% of us who are not so-called Oligarchs.ID8020624 -> twistsmom ,Did you watch the debate tonight? He brought up all the coups. He is a Social Democrat, so was Allende and Albeniz.PearsonGooner -> Christopher3175 ,
Cruz is a political whore, I am a simple Dem Socialist Bernie supporter.
Cruz is a phony Jesus freak (was Catholic), I am an Atheist, like all Dem Socialists.
Cruz is a Canadian, I am an American.
Cruz is a transgender, I am straight.
Cruz is a racist teabagger, who made fame by opposing even the most conservative Obama policies. I have Dr. King's portrait in my office and a fierce enemy of social injustice.
Cruz is a demagogue, I simply pointed some historical facts (bloody Coups) and some of our historical atrocities around the globe.
Super delegates are almost completely with HRC, the WS call girl. Why...do you think it is so?
Again, Bernie is very dangerous for the ruling few that run this Oligarchy. He used the term Oligarchy again in this debate. And he stated again that this is not a democracy.All US presidents are owned by corporations and bankers, not just Hillary, her and Bill have their own criminal enterprise.PearsonGooner -> Mei P ,
All US presidents are war criminals at worst and blatant liars at best.
Bernie will get lead poisoning from as assassins bullet if, in the unlikely event he becomes POTUSHillary and Bill are murderers, rapists, thieves, fraudsters and drug dealers. A long history of criminal violence. Google "Mena Airport" and take it from there, you will be busy for days.subgeometer -> john7appleyard ,
The elite don't care about you, they only care about their own access to your tax dollar.
Do not vote for Hillary, the world will be a better place when she and rapist Bill swing from the end of a ropePally with Clinton , then with Bush.Kira Kinski ,
The RTP doctrine was born with the Balkan war, driven by Clinton and Blair, the latter advocating a ground assault, and Blair's military intervention in Sierra Leone, rebirthing the whole idea of British expeditionary forcesThis is a cause worth fighting for. America is crumbling under our feet, yet the Uniparty continues to point us towards a downward spiral. But, the People have awakened. They realize the game is rigged. Nothing illustrates this better than Big Media and the DNC that marginalize Sanders and his message every chance it gets. Why? They obviously support the official Uniparty pick, Clinton. America is fortunate that Sanders has stepped up to face the Clinton campaign machine. Sanders wants to do what is best for America. Not the elite. But the People. Sanders has fought for civil rights and equality his entire political career. Name anyone else who has done this over decades. We can use them on the good ship Reclaim America.Jerome Fryer -> DracoFerret ,
Join the political revolution of the People, for the People, by the People. Vote for Bernie. He is the only candidate running who is for all of us, because he cares...
If nothing else, America, please stop voting for the same crowd, the Uniparty; they are literally sucking the life out of the People and have been for decades (going back to Bill Clinton and beyond)...
Let's fix America together. Now is a once in a lifetime chance for a reboot.The proportion of superdelegates has actually increased from 14% to 20% of the total delegate count over the years since this was introduced (in 1982). So the Democratic Party have been adding more slots for party cronies and making the results less and less democratic.ID8020624 ,Corporate media and Dem establishment campaign against Bernie's chances have completely backlashed. And the more he stays in the race, the more likely he will get the max number of pledged delegates or nomination.MaxBoson ,
And the longer the race for nomination is, the more likely that the WS speeches, Sec of State emails, and bribes by foreign sleazy regimes to the Foundation will be exposed before nomination.
Slick Willy/Obama moderate centrists running Dem establishment, same sleaze bags that did the welfare and justice reforms of 90s and deregulated WS in the first place, wanted Bernie out by last night;...thanks to Michigan...we will see them all in Philadelphia!
The WS(Ruben, Summers, Geithner,...)/Clinton/Obama wing of the party will be buried by Uncle Bernie when all this is said and done, and with it the D-establishment media: msnbc athews, the executive Wolffe and te corporate-feminist Maddows!
I am toasting over here,...Feeling the Bern!The truth is that before Tuesday's elections, Clinton was ahead of Sanders by 673 to 477 pledged delegates, and her lead is now 745 to 540-by no means insurmountable, as a recent NBC-Washington Post poll shows (the numbers don't sum to 100% because 'Other' and 'No opinion' replies were included): In December Clinton led Sanders 59% to 28%; in January 55% to 36%; in March 49% to 42%. These figures show that Hillary's lead is slowly but steadily evaporating.Martin Thompson -> smudge10 ,
Anyone who believes that superdelegates can hand Clinton the nomination even if she loses the primary fight is betting the Democratic Party is willing to commit suicide: Sanders supporters already loathe Hillary Clinton, and if she is carried to the coronation throne on the backs of superdelegates, that loathing will multiply, and many of them will stay home or participate in a write-in campaign for Bernie, enough to cause Hillary to lose the general election. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her friends in the DNC will have achieved their goal: a woman will have been nominated, but at the price of making Donald Trump President, and having to find another name for their party-"Democratic Party" would hardly be fitting after such a betrayal.free trade is unfair trade it is like these subsidies on food where people pay tax and then farmers get money from govt to grow what they are told. Then there is free trade deal such as with europe where the american subsidised food too compete with the european subsidised food but there are differences in regulations so too compete fairly the europeans would have to reduce the regulations in a race to the bottom with the Americans who are already suffering from obesity.amacd2 ,
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/economy/2015/12/ttip-disaster-left-brexit-would-be-worseHere's my comment finally allowed to be published in the NYT today 3/8 after MichiganQuartz001 ,
Bernie is on the Bern across America --- and he hasn't even fired a 'shout heard round the world' yet.
When Bernie fires a non-violent 'shout heard round the world' to further ignite his & our "Political Revolution against Empire" the Bern will burn through the rest of the primary states.
Understand that Bernie will increase both the enthusiasm and the education of Americans in evolutionary ways of understanding the essential need for the "Political Revolution against Empire".
Initially, Bernie can point to the flaws and failures of a 'foreign policy' that does not serve the interests of Americans nor peace in our world, any better than domestic economic tyranny at home, because our country is being pushed by the same corrupted politics to "act like a global Empire abroad".
Even the most trusted elder anchorman and author of "Greatest Generation", Tom Brokaw, on "Meet the Press" shocked Chuck Toad and other young pundits at the 'Round Table' when he explained, "When Trump and Cruz are talking about three year old orphans and refugees [from Syria to Europe], what we're really talking about is three year old orphans and refugees, caused by
Such truth telling by older and politically experienced people like Bernie, Tom, and the late Walter Cronkite is what has radically changed, even Revolutionized the political landscape as it did half a century ago when such truthful shocks caused LBJ not to run and admit, "If I've lost Cronkite, we've lost the war"Looks like the corporate media attempts to keep Bernie Sanders coverage down, and making any attention they do give him negative isn't totally working... what will they try next?antipodes -> jambin ,
Corporate Media to Begin Adding Fangs to Images of Bernie Sanders
http://www.theniladmirari.com/2016/03/corporate-media-to-begin-adding-fangs-to-all-images-of-bernie-sanders-and-push-narrative-storyline-fantasy-secretary-hillary-clinton-inevitable-democratic-presidential-candidate.htmlI just don't like the slaughter of half a million Syrians and Libyans and 10 million refugees facing devastation of their lives just so the USA and NATO can control oil supplies out of the Middle East. Its not a good look Hillary.Junnie Quorra Lee -> Junnie Quorra Lee ,
I'm not all that happy about the splitting up of Syria just to isolate Iran and destroy the Russian economy while risking a nuclear war.
illary needs to explain why we can't have world peace because the insecurity and armaments industry makes so much money for the 1%. In fact Hilary needs to prove she cares about the worlds ordinary people like the Palestinians living under the yoke of the cruel oppresive Israeli Gogernment. And she would need to demonstrate her concern with policies to help the people living on the streets of America before I would support her.(Can Hillary be trusted? Also See:)
Reich Risked getting fired from Clinton Admin by slamming Corporate Welfare
(RECENT!) Hillary Clinton's Email About Gay Parents Should Seriously Trouble Her LGBT Supporters
Looks like she hasn't really "evolved" on LGBT acceptance, but is simply taking on positions that she thinks is politically beneficial to her, as usual. Much of her campaign platform (specifically her sudden focus on social and civil issues) is pretty much copied over from Sander's after all.
Bernie Sanders Was For Transgender Rights Before It Was A Thing
Hillary Paid Herself $250000 From Campaign Funds
Hillary Clinton says outsourcing jobs is good for America (top 1%)
Her shock when he says he supports Bernie Sanders (the "socialist", rather than Hillary, on Fox News) is priceless!
Why I Switched My Support From Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders
Hillary Calls for Michigan Gov's Resignation an Hour After Her Spox Slammed Bernie for Same (This pretty much sums up her dis-ingenious campaign)
Racism is still alive. Black lives DO matter, and the things BLM activists are doing may look excessive, but I find it necessary if they are EVER to be heard by the government. Things are desperate now, and the Clintons has a hand in the current sad sate of things for African Americans due to the policies that they have pushed. Bernie have repeatedly highlighted how Black people in America is oppressed. Just look at the % of black vs white jobless rate, and % of black vs white people being jailed for weed possession. Something needs to be done. "Enough is Enough" as Bernie says.
Clinton confronted for calling black kids 'super predators'
Activist Ashley Williams Confronts Hillary Clinton On Calling Black People Super Predators
Prominent Black Activists Want to Set The Record Straight On Hillary Clinton!
The endorsements bring the biggest possible names into the hotly-contested race for the Democratic nomination for Florida's U.S. Senate seat between Murphy, of Jupiter, and U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson or Orlando.In a news release issued by Murphy's campaign, Obama called Murphy a "tireless champion for middle-class families."
"I am proud to endorse Congressman Patrick Murphy for the United States Senate. Patrick has been a tireless champion for middle-class families and a defender of the economic progress that American workers and businesses have made," Obama stated in the release. "In Congress, he's fought to strengthen Medicare and Social Security, reform our criminal justice system, and protect a woman's right to choose. Floridians can count on Patrick Murphy to stand up for them every day as their next Senator."
Grayson's campaign responded calling the endorsements "the DC establishment" and noted they come one day after Grayson endorsed outsider Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders against Hillary Clinton.
For Murphy, the endorsements could not come any higher; he already has brought in dozens of Democratic endorsements. Grayson, meanwhile, has brought in a few of his own, mostly from people in the progressive wing of the party.
"I am honored that President Obama and Vice President Biden are endorsing my campaign for Florida's middle-class families," Murphy stated in the release. "The president, the vice president and I share the same values and commitment - strengthening Social Security and Medicare for our seniors, protecting a woman's right to choose, and growing America's middle class.
"Over the past seven years, President Obama and Vice President Biden have been champions for Democrats and hardworking families across our country, and I am humbled and proud to receive their endorsement and campaign shoulder-to-shoulder with them for what we believe in," he continued.
"These endorsements are a last-ditch effort by the DC Establishment to try to blunt our large and growing command of the race. It comes as no surprise that these moves are made just two days after Rep. Grayson became the first major statewide candidate in the country to endorse the anti-Establishment candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, for the Presidency. They come just one day after a new poll shows Rep. Grayson with a double-digit lead, winning among men and women, every age group, and whites, blacks and Hispanics. The anti-Democratic Party Establishment is desperate to drag Grayson's opponent, their do-nothing, errand boy for Wall Street, over the finish line. But Florida voters in both parties are fed up with egregious manipulation by outside forces to dictate our candidates. These arrogant Empire-Strikes-Back efforts by the Democratic politburo will be no more successful than the similar failed attempts by Republican party bosses. This is the year when the voters decide."
Here is a response from Brian Swensen, Campaign Manager for Carlos Lopez-Cantera for U.S. Senate:
"Patrick Murphy continues on the path to become Charlie Crist 2.0 by moving further and further to the left for political expediency and gain. This simply shows that, like Charlie Crist, Murphy, the former Republican turned Democrat, cannot be trusted and will always pander to whatever group that will aid his ambition.
By receiving Obama's endorsement Murphy has cast his allegiance to those who don't believe in American exceptionalism, those whose policies have severely hindered economic growth and those who refuse to stand with our most important ally, Israel."
It was a stirring call to arms for a strategic-voting retreat.
And it mirrored the broader slog of a Republican primary, where for months Jeb Bush, Rubio, Cruz, Kasich, Chris Christie and the rest tore each other apart to prevent one another from emerging as the chief Trump alternative. All believed they could beat Trump one-on-one. None has gotten the chance.
Along the way, Trump has skated. In one remarkable statistic, Trump suffered less in attack ads through Super Tuesday than Romney's team hurled at Newt Gingrich in the final days in Florida alone in 2012. The Republican Party's top financiers are mobilizing now, with millions in anti-Trump ads expected in the next two weeks, but it may be too late to slow Trump after he has carried 10 of the first 15 contests, many of them by wide margins.
In failing to back a single Trump alternative, Romney essentially called for a Republican civil war to wage through this summer, a retrenchment for an irreparably divided GOP in hopes of outmaneuvering Trump at a contested convention where party elites still control some levers of power. (Also, by not picking a single anti-Trump standard-bearer, Romney, who briefly considered running for president again in 2016, left slightly more open the door that might allow a contested convention to select him.)
"He's playing the members of the American public for suckers," Romney said of Trump. "He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat."
Romney's speech was certainly historic. Perhaps never before has the most recent party nominee for president so thoroughly rebuked the prohibitive front-runner for the nomination four years later. But, as Romney said in his speech, "The rules of political history have pretty much all been shredded during this campaign."
Romney ripped about Trump's business background, ticking off bankruptcies and abandoned efforts. "What ever happened to Trump Airlines?" he said. "How about Trump University? And then there's Trump Magazine and Trump Vodka and Trump Steaks, and Trump Mortgage?" "A business genius he is not," Romney said. Of Trump's varied stances on issues, Romney added, "Dishonesty is Donald Trump's hallmark."
Romney did not stand alone. Moments after he finished speaking, Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee, seconded Romney's speech. "I share the concerns about Donald Trump that my friend and former Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, described," McCain said in a statement.
"Well said," tweeted Kasich.
Trump went on the attack even before Romney took the stage in Salt Lake City, blasting Romney for having "begged" for his endorsement four years earlier. In February 2012, Romney traveled to one of Trump's hotels to accept the endorsement. "There are some things that you just can't imagine happening in your life," Romney said then. "This is one of them. Being in Donald Trump's magnificent hotel and having his endorsement is a delight."
On Thursday, Trump hammered back on NBC's "Today" show: "Mitt Romney is a stiff."
Romney said he expected the blowback: "This may tell you what you need to know about his temperament, his stability, and his suitability to be president." As the old guard of the Republican Party cheered Romney's outspoken remarks on Thursday, there remained downside in having so prominent a party leader rip apart Trump, should he still become the nominee.
Said Justin Barasky, a spokesman for the super PAC dedicated to electing Hillary Clinton, understatedly, "Certainly, having a former Republican nominee go after him is not unhelpful."
The GuardianAnthonyFlack -> ryanpatrick9192, 2016-02-28 20:44:44Democratic party is not investing in voting drives this year because doing so would benefit Sanders, whereas a low voter turnout favors Clinton (who is increasingly unpopular and looks increasingly likely to lose the general).samwisehere, 2016-02-28 20:44:25
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/election/dem-voter-registration-leading-turnout-article-1.2545420I'm afraid this strategy will have the exact opposite effect. To Trump, an attack from Rubio or Cruz is a badge of honor.Nedward Marbletoe -> olman132, 2016-02-28 20:44:04Sanders was nearly tied with Clinton in delegates before South Carolina. So it's very close right now.Robert Hoover -> Nedward Marbletoe, 2016-02-28 20:42:23
80% of young people are for Sanders. If he gets unfairly dumped, they will never forgive the Democrapic party. Both parties are in danger of losing the duopoly.Sorry. boys. It's a case of "too little, too late." Hopefully the Dems will not underestimate Trump like the GOP did. http://moronmajority.com/are-democrats-underestimating-trump-like-the-gop/JRWirth, 2016-02-28 20:39:56What everyone is glossing over, is that the country is too big and the politics have become too small. You have a special problem with the presidency in that the person who occupies it should embody the basic American ethos from Boston to Honolulu and from Miami to Anchorage. No one exists who can do this.dig4victory, 2016-02-28 20:38:52
We're a divided country, living separate cultures over four time zones (mainland alone). We're a big big country with big big problems. I don't know how it will shake out, especially when the bills come due. I only wish we had the problems of a small European country that you can drive across in four hours. That's a luxury.Hillary and Trump make Nixon look like a stand up guy. There is only one authentic, principled and electable candidate in the race. Bernie Sanders, the only candidate with a positive national favorability rating.WyntonK, 2016-02-28 20:37:08Donald Trump is almost entirely a creation of the media. Most people don't realize it, but the media got addicted to him back in the early 1980, when he became one of the most flamboyant characters on the New York scene with a string of bimbos by his side, splashing around money, mostly not his, and creating the Trump brand, which he used to get into business with OPM (other people's money).daniel1948 -> IMSpardagus, 2016-02-28 20:36:46
A lot of his revenues come from licensing out the Trump name out to various development ventures into which he doesn't contribute a penny, and which generate a large income that finances his extravagant lifestyle. He is basically a con man, always has been. The corporate media refrains from mentioning his four bankruptcies, despite inheriting a quarter of a billion dollars from his father. They media wants him to stay on the campaign scene till the end, because he is the largest entertainment story that have had in years, and covering his carnival act keeps generating great revenues for them.Sadly, this is exactly what America has become. Fox News, talk radio, lunatics and raving psychopaths, a cesspool of fear and hate. The candidates are what we have become. We're in a canoe headed for the waterfall and all we hear is "Paddle faster! Paddle faster!" What the American people will do in the end is anyone's guess.Teebs, 2016-02-28 20:35:48Headline news says in Iran ... hardliners suffer defeat as reformists make gains ... And ... in the USA ...? hardliners on the rampage? O Tempora ... O Mores ....turn1eft -> Rialbynot, 2016-02-28 20:35:43Think how many billions are tied up in an establishment win. Trump will be taxing companies that move blue collar jobs out of the US. He will be a jobs president. I am really really suspicious of papers and parties like the Guardian and Labour that don't support this agenda.AlabasterCodefy -> Rialbynot, 2016-02-28 20:35:23Destroy Trump? CNN has placed Trump on hard rotation since mid-2015, to join their rolling Clinton love-in. They haven't reported on him so much as run his campaign. That would imply that they' re getting paid down the line.timnorfolk, 2016-02-28 20:35:11Let Trump build his walls along the Mexican and Canadian borders. Only when they are completed reveal they are intended to keep Americans in.ryanpatrick9192 -> deddzone, 2016-02-28 20:34:53I agree that the republican party is a despicable joke, but a look at the turnout suggests that they will very likely control the WH, senate, and increass their majority in the House. Its unfortunate, but that is definitely the way it looks right now!David Galbraith, 2016-02-28 20:33:28"I believe that a first-rate con artist is on the verge of taking over the party of Reagan and Lincoln." Pretty funny comment. They are all con artists. And Hillary can match them con for con.Robert Jenkins -> Flugler, 2016-02-28 20:33:09Yup it's a shitfest all-round, the Dems debate schedule was so openly biased towards Hillary that it was comical but at least they were talking about substantive issues.africanland123, 2016-02-28 20:30:06
The main thing that interests me though is the money still pouring into the GOP even though it's clear that the party has become unelectable." LincolnJordiPujol -> martinusher, 2016-02-28 20:28:45
Pressed on whether he could win in this week's elections, the 12-state "Super Tuesday" contest, Rubio said: "Sure. That's not the plan, by the way, but sure."
"He then voiced anxieties that have coursed through the Republican party for months: "I believe that a first-rate con artist is on the verge of taking over the party of Reagan and Lincoln."
Calling the billionaire "a clown act" who is "preying on" struggling Americans, Rubio warned that..."
"Struggling Americans"? Since when has Rubio's ultra-corporate free market ideology recognised their struggle? What the fuck does he have to offer except rich man's You're OK I'M OK preaching?
Fuck off, Rubio ! We are going to vote Trump.Flugler -> Rialbynot, 2016-02-28 20:20:05I seem to recall that Benito embroiled Italy in fruitless war or two....
Trump is not Mussolini, his political, economic and social thinking has very little, if anything, in common with that man. He may be dangerous, but that doesn't mean he is a Fascist.Yep, MIC depends on bankster puppets like Rubio and Clinton following their orders. Oh and the power of money is so persuasive. Bill Clinton is a very bright guy and he still repealed Glass Steagall under orders......martinusher, 2016-02-28 20:16:18
...The problem is that Rubio and Cruz are just as bad -- or worse. They're a bit more polished politically but they have the same awful mindset and espouse the same awful policies.ArdentSocialist, 2016-02-28 20:14:23
A Trumpohpile told me that the reason he likes Trump (and possibly Sanders) is that neither of them are likely to end up embroiling us in yet more fruitless wars. I understand where he was coming from -- we've been conned so many times by the political establishment that voting is really choosing the lesser of evils. People are tired of this.
Anyway, ganging up on Trump is likely to backfire. Unlike most politicians Trump makes absolutely no attempt to hide who he is and what he stands for. People respect that even as they ignore that what he stands for is corporatism -- he's not the reincarnation of Hitler (as those two MX has-been described him), he's Mussolini.I think Rubio and Cruz's attempts to destroy Trump will backfire. He can just say he is the outside being ganged up on by the establishment and how he "wont be pushed around just like America wont be pushed around anymore! blah blah".Tim Osman, 2016-02-28 20:02:11
Trump will emerge the victor. I'm almost positive.The establishment will do and say anything to get Trump out. They have total control over all the others but not Trump. Donald is the only candidate who will do what's right for the country and the people and make America great again. TRUMP 2016janpcb -> maggie111, 2016-02-28 20:01:54Clinton: When i'm POTUS we will attack Iran!Svalbard, 2016-02-28 19:58:15
Trump : Let's work with Russia to destroy ISIS!
Out of the two, i'm thinking Clinton is a total psychopath.Rubio seems power-mad. Another reason why he is deeply unsuitable to wield ultimate power.ryanpatrick9192, 2016-02-28 19:57:27As a democrat I am terrified and so too should all democrats be. Turnout so far has been down about 26% compared to 2008. The republicans on the other hand have seen an increase of almost the smae amount compared to their 2012 numbers! Thats a disaster waiting to happen in November. Turnout in primaries is one of the best indicators, if not the best, of what will happen in a general election.Big_Boss -> SuchArticleSoComment, 2016-02-28 19:55:48
If this trend doesnt change (and theres no reason to believe it will) then we are not only looking at a Republican controlled WH, but democrats will have almost no chance of regaining control of the Senate and they could even increase their majority in the House (which they are going to control no matter what happens)Indeed. If I was American, a Hillary v Trump scenario would be mindscrewingly difficult to choose between. An evil woman who is a front for all the neoliberal forces out there. Or an evil man who is a complete moron and will drive America to its knees. I think the best option is not to playxavierzubercock -> SPappas, 2016-02-28 19:41:13"Donald Trump is a liberal Republican" In the crazy world of Republican politics 2016 you're not wrong. You then drift of into a fantasy world where Trump actually wins the presidency. More people hate him than love him, with barely anything in-between. Plus they've only just started digging for dirt.funnynought, 2016-02-28 19:37:20Guardian sub-heading: "Rubio attacks 'con artist' as Cruz links Trump to mafia" I link all of them to oligarchy, patriarchy and Christian jihadism. Admittedly, there are some conceptual overlaps there.quilt, 2016-02-28 19:35:15OMG Cruz, Rubio or Trump vs Hilary Clinton. Jeez, America. I got kids to care about - is that IT?Texas_Sotol -> skepticaleye, 2016-02-28 19:30:20"amoral salesman" Very succinct character description!tuhaybey, 2016-02-28 19:22:10
S alesmanRubio isn't what he presents himself as. Look at his voting record- http://politicsthatwork.com/voting-record/Marco-Rubio-412491 Does that match up to the way he talks about his policies? I don't think so.skepticaleye, 2016-02-28 19:18:52One "good" thing about Trump in this election is that he is clearly not a consultant-packaged candidate (like Rubio) or a fake (like Cruz), but Trump is a quintessentially amoral salesman. He pitches whatever the customers want to hear. Customers need to read the fine print before buying products from him.ustanonlooker -> Doug Steiner, 2016-02-28 19:18:46Poorly educated and stupid. Sadly, that sums up the majority of Americans.Woops1gottasneeze, 2016-02-28 19:18:20Truth is both parties pander to the emotions -- the more frenzied the better it seems -- none of the candidates respect voters enough to discuss policy with anything even resembling depth. Politics is cotton candy in America, sprinkled with just enough cayenne to arouse burnt tongues. Oh what a tangled web we weave...chiefwiley -> PeteGr1, 2016-02-28 19:17:54Unless she is indicted before the election. Then it might be problematic. Look up Spiro Agnew if you think investigations are all for show.ajbsmurphy, 2016-02-28 19:17:43I can't stand Trump...but he seems to be better than Cruz & Rubio...the problem seems to be a politically bankrupt party disintegrating before our eyes...gunnison, 2016-02-28 19:17:40Full blown panic mode now by the GOP establishment, as they belatedly realize they have a problem with no agreeable solution.SundridgePete -> John Dagne, 2016-02-28 19:16:32
But let's notice one more time that all the discomfort about Trump as expressed by the GOP functionaries is centered around their suspicions that he may be a closet "liberal". They're worrying aloud about whether he'd support single-payer healthcare insurance, or refuse to vigorously oppose gay marriage or draconian positions on abortion.
Not a word about his promise to be a war criminal by torturing people "because they deserve it", or unconstitutionally banning entry to the US on religious grounds or his support for the idea of rendering the press vulnerable to lawsuits under brand spanking new libel laws.
The guy has come out brazenly in support of attitudes that the GOP has been covertly dog-whistling about for years, and now they're panicking.
Embracing him as their candidate destroys the brand.
Torpedoing his candidacy by deploying internal party shenanigans either in the remaining days of the campaign and/or at the convention will fracture the party.
All the people who Trump has excited with his "he's just saying what people are really thinking" meme are sure as hell not going to just roll over and let their hero "be robbed" of the nomination. And you can bet that's how, with Donald's help, they will see it.Supporting war in Iraq was spectacularly I'll judged. But I'd rather have someone who once made a mistake than a psychopath.ClaudeNAORobot, 2016-02-28 19:15:15Trump's game seems to have been to use The Republican Party's machinery to boost himself, aware that his appeal to the populace is that he is counter the old guard, awaiting that old guard's attempt to ditch him and then becoming his own man with his own party. That would split the GOP's ranks; if, having only, say, half its voters so not winning this time, he will have sown the seed in his long game to win next time.RealSoothsayer, 2016-02-28 19:14:54When Trump was still normal, he left The Reform Party because David Duke from the KKK had joined it. Now, he says doesn't know David Duke, not even the KKK!!!!Vintage59, 2016-02-28 19:07:42As Cruz desperately tries to salvage something before slithering under the exit door Rubio keeps insisting that he will keep receiving participation ribbons just for showing up and they will add up to victory.benbache, 2016-02-28 18:58:44Trump looks more and more like the mature actor in the room. From lunatic insider to the presumptive candidate for the republican party in about 6 months. Pretty impressive. The voters will flock to Trump, who in the end will do what all presidents do and screw the voters and support the rich. Both parties do it to the voters, but the voters never learn.bcarey -> SuchArticleSoComment, 2016-02-28 18:55:51Hillary doesn't exist politically. It is a front for banks and foreign investments. A sham.JonnyNoone, 2016-02-28 18:47:47This is awesome, America is embarking on a long overdue conversation. The Republicans are now using tax returns to play the 1% card on Trump, yes they hate those richer than themselves as well as poorer. You wonder why they bother, and I'm sure some of them are. So hate it will be from the Republicans and 'love and kindness' from Hillary. It's mapping out.
by Lambert Strether of Corrente .
I can't break out my Magic Markers™ for the Sanders v. Clinton debate last Thursday because there's not enough time in the world. So I want to look at three seemingly distinct topics: corruption, health care, and what the smart people who ride the Acela call "theories of change." For each topic, I will compare and contrast Sanders and Clinton; and I'll weave the three topics together at the end.
Before I begin, though, let me set the context for the ( "truly great" ) debate: Elite panic at Clinton's performance. McClatchy :
Dick Harpootlian, a prominent criminal defense lawyer in Columbia, South Carolina, and former chair of that key Southern state's Democratic Party, said the addition of more debates reflects panic among Clinton and Democratic figures who support her in the wake of Sanders' unexpectedly strong challenge.
"Hillary was against having more debates, now she's for debates," Harpootlian told McClatchy. "This is what's wrong with our party. The minute she's in trouble, they decide they need more debates. If she had done much better in Iowa, there wouldn't be more debates."
Others agree. The Los Angeles Times uses more measured language than (Sanders supporter (!)) Harpootlian, which is not hard, but the conclusion is the same:
The fact the session took place at all was a reflection of the changed nature of the contest. Originally, Clinton agreed to just six debates sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee, which has weathered criticism it tried to shelter the party's front-runner and stave off a serious challenge.
Her willingness to join Sanders onstage - and agree to later debates in Michigan and California - was just one sign the race has grown much tougher than Clinton and her supporters had hoped.
Now, I'm assuming Wasserman-Schulz is still di– messing around with the schedule, and so a viewership ranked 17 of 19 debates, equivalent to a Republican undercard debate , wasn't a bug, but a feature. If that's true, I'd argue that the Clinton campaign hoped both to keep Clinton wrapped in tissue paper and land a knockout blow in the form of an admission or a gaffe suitable for YouTube; Clinton's diatribe on "If you've got something to say, say it directly" looks a lot like a setup for such a punch. If so, Sanders didn't fall for it and wasn't rattled, and he wins by not losing. (In fact, the Sanders campaign landed a solid counterpunch of its own, as we shall see under "Corruption," below, and enabled Sanders himself to stay on the high road. That's how it's done.)
Our famously free press doesn't like to use the word "corruption" - that's Third World stuff - but let's go ahead and call things by their right names. From the debate transcript at the Washington Post:
SANDERS: What being part of the establishment is, is, in the last quarter, having a super PAC that raised $15 million from Wall Street, that throughout one's life raised a whole lot of money from the drug companies and other special interests.
To my mind, if we do not get a handle on money in politics and the degree to which big money controls the political process in this country, nobody is going to bring about the changes that is needed in this country for the middle class and working families.
CLINTON: Yeah, but I - I think it's fair to really ask what's behind that comment. You know, Senator Sanders has said he wants to run a positive campaign. I've tried to keep my disagreements over issues, as it should be.
But time and time again, by innuendo, by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth, which really comes down to - you know, anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought.
And I just absolutely reject that, Senator. And I really don't think these kinds of attacks by insinuation are worthy of you. And enough is enough. If you've got something to say, say it directly.
CLINTON: So I think it's time to end the very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out…
Shorter Clinton: "You say I'm corrupt. Prove it!" In longer form, Clinton makes the strong claim that "you will not find that I changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I received." This claim can be disproved with a single example. Here ya go.
Let's look at what Elizabeth Warren has to say on Clinton and the bankruptcy bill; note the appeal to those burdened with student loans. (Many of you may have seen this, but it's well worth a second look. The video was "blasted out" to the press "almost instantaneously" by the Sanders campaign , to whom we should give credit both for being both better at oppo and more agile than we might think.) Here it is:
From the 2004 transcript at Bill Moyers :
ELIZABETH WARREN: One of the first bills that came up after she was Senator Clinton was the bankruptcy bill. This is a bill that's like a vampire. It will not die. Right? There's a lot of money behind it, and it…
BILL MOYERS: Bill, her husband, who vetoed…
ELIZABETH WARREN: Her husband had vetoed it very much at her urging.
BILL MOYERS: And?
ELIZABETH WARREN: She voted in favor of it.
BILL MOYERS: Why?
ELIZABETH WARREN: As Senator Clinton, the pressures are very different. It's a well-financed industry. You know a lot of people don't realize that the industry that gave the most money to Washington over the past few years was not the oil industry, was not pharmaceuticals. It was consumer credit products. Those are the people. The credit card companies have been giving money, and they have influence.
BILL MOYERS: And Mrs. Clinton was one of them as Senator.
ELIZABETH WARREN: She has taken money from the groups, and more to the point, she worries about them as a constituency.
Well, so much for "artful smear." (I saw that one go by on the Twitter, and thought "Uh oh," but then it suddently died, as if some decision had been made no longer to propagate it. Perhaps this video was why.)
Note how narrow Clinton's definition of corruption is: Money in exchange for a vote. That is the criminal definition of corruption - the quid pro quo - as we've seen from Zephyr Teachout, but corrupton as the Framers understood it , as an infection in the body politic, has a far broader definition: "The self-serving use of public power for private ends." Clearly, using one's official position as a former Secretary of State and a likely future President to collect $675,000 from Goldman is exactly that. And I'm amazed how many Clinton supporters, at least on the Twitter, simply refuse to see this. Do they believe, as Yves asks, that Goldman is investing in Clinton with no thought of return? If so, I've got a campaign headquarters I'd like to sell. Transpose the example from high politics to local politics. Assume Clinton's running for re-election as dog-catcher. She gives a speech at Premier EZ Catch, Inc. for $675, and then later awards Premier EZ Catch the contract for dog catching nets. Am I entitled to call that corrupt? Of course; Clinton would never have been offered the $675 had she not been, as a public official, in a position to award the contract. Would I vote to re-elect Clinton as dogcatcher? Of course not.
And now to compare Clinton to Sanders: Things are a lot simpler with Sanders; his net worth is $419,000 . Let me break out my calculator… And so his lifetime accumulation of wealth is $256,000 less than the $675,000 Clinton made for three speeches at Goldman. And then there's the campaign fundraising model: 70 percent small donors. "[T]he $20 million it reports to have raised in January came almost exclusively from online donations averaging $27 a piece." So, with Sanders, even if we use Clinton's definition of corruption, the question of quid pro quo doesn't arise. There's not enough quid.
To health care. Rather than shredding Clinton's false claims about Sanders on health care policy, I want to compare and contrast their health care policy successes. First, Clinton. The transcript :
CLINTON: Before it was called Hillarycare - I mean, before it was called ObamaCare it was called Hillarycare because we took them on, and we weren't successful, but we kept fighting and we got . Every step along the way I have stood up, and fought, and have the scars to prove it.
With "kept fighting," Clinton is being a little disingenuous. The Clinton administration began their effort in 1993, and the "Health Security Act" was deep-sixed by the leadership in 1994. The State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was only proposed in 1997; it's not part of the Health Security Act's legislative history at all. That said, it's a good program, and Hillary Clinton can take some of the credit for passing it. From Factcheck.org :
Hillary Clinton took a major role in translating the new law into action. The program leaves to the states the job of setting up coverage and getting children enrolled, a task that continues to be a struggle to this day. … In April that year the first lady gave a speech saying nearly 1 million children had been enrolled during the previous year, but that increasing the figure was "one of the highest priorities" of her husband's administration. She said the president would seek $1 billion to fund a five-year "outreach" effort, with a goal of increasing enrollment to 5 million by 2000. Our conclusion: Clinton is right [to take credit].
In 2014, over 8 million children were enrolled in CHIP .
Second, Sanders. The transcript :
SANDERS: And let me just say this. As Secretary Clinton may know, I am on the Health Education Labor Committee. That committee wrote the Affordable Care Act. The idea I would dismantle health care in America while we're waiting to pass a Medicare for All is just not accurate. …
So I do believe that in the future, not by dismantling what we have here - I helped write that bill - but by moving forward, rallying the American people, I do believe we should have health care for all.
Sanders, with "I helped write that bill," is claiming at once too much and too little. Too much, because - thank heavens - Sanders didn't architect or draft the ACA; that was a job for Max Baucus and the insurance companies. Too little, because what Sanders did do was get Community Health Centers into the bill:
However, as negotiations were in their final stage, Sanders successfully pushed for the inclusion of $11 billion in funding for community health centers, especially in rural areas. The insertion of this funding helped bring together both Democratic lawmakers on the left and Democrats representing more conservative, rural areas.
"There was no one who played a more important role than Sen. Sanders" in securing that funding, Daniel Hawkins, vice president of the National Association of Community Health Centers, told the Intercept last year. (Sanders' camp forwarded PolitiFact the Intercept article as evidence for his statement.)
Community Health Centers, too, are a good program :
The new law provides an additional $9.5 billion in operating costs and $1.5 billion for new construction. With this additional funding, community health centers will be able to double the number of patients they serve to up to 40 million annually by 2015.
Now let's step back and compare and contrast Clinton and Sanders:
1) Sanders, just like Clinton, is capable of being "pragmatic," if that's defined as settling for a partial good. Clinton got CHIP initiated; Sanders got CHC expanded.
2) If we take coverage numbers as a metric, Sanders is a more successful pragmatist than Clinton; 6 million covered by Clinton, vs. 20 million covered by Sanders.
3) Sanders is most certainly capable not only of legislative achievement but of coalition-building. In a time of divided government and partisanship even more ruthless than under the Clintons, Sanders could "bring together both Democratic lawmakers on the left and Democrats representing more conservative, rural areas."
So one could certainly make the case - at least in health care - that Sanders is a more effective politician, and a more effective pragmatist, than Clinton. (Of course, Sanders didn't have to cope with the reputational effects of the HillaryCare debacle. So there's that.) Why would that be? I think there are two reasons (and I'll get to the second in the next section). First, Sanders had set high goals in the beginning of the legislative process. He didn't negotiate with himself, or start from the perspective that he had to ask for half a loaf because that's all we was going to get. Politifact summarizes the legislative history :
Still, when Sanders says he "helped write" the bill, it would be reasonable to imagine that Sanders was an integral player in the crafting of the bill over a long period of time - an insider in the process. And that's not the reality.
Before the final bill was enacted, Sanders and his allies on the party's left flank regularly expressed frustration at the concessions they had to make during the legislative process.
"Public-option proponents, including Sanders and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, say they already have given up enough," Politico reported in late November 2009. "They agreed to forgo a single-payer system. They decided not to push a government plan tied to Medicare rates. And they accepted (Harry) Reid's proposal to include the opt-out provision. That's it, they say."
Politico went on to quote Sanders saying, "I have made it clear to the administration and Democratic leadership that my vote for the final bill is by no means guaranteed."
If Sanders had started from Clinton's perspective of fear of "contentious debate" and what is "achievable," and made his first offer his final offer, would he and his allies have achieved even as much as the CHC? I doubt it.
Theory of Change
Elsewhere, I contrasted Clinton's theory of change as "trench warfare" with Sanders' theory of change as "breakthrough." Here, I want to weave together theories of change with corruption, using health care as an example. Above, I presented one reason that Sanders is an effective and pragmatic politician: He set high goals. (Clinton characterizes having a high goal as an initial offer as "Making promises you can't keep.") Here's the second reason: He had the right kind of outside pressure to help him. To see this, let's look at the what happened to single payer advocacy in the HillaryCare debacle. From Vicente Navarro, who was inside the process :
Jesse Jackson, Dennis Rivera (then president of Local 1199, the foremost health care workers union), and I went to see Hillary Clinton. We complained about the commitment to managed care competition without due consideration of a single-payer proposal supported by large sectors of the left in the Democratic Party. We emphasized the need to include this proposal among those to be considered by the task force. Mrs. Clinton responded by asking Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition to appoint someone to the task force with that point of view. And this is how I became a member of the White House task force. I later found out that there was considerable opposition from senior health advisors, including Starr and Zelman, to my becoming part of the task force. According to a memo later made public and published in David Brock's nasty book The Seduction of Hillary Clinton, Starr and Zelman disapproved of my appointment "because Navarro is a real left-winger and has extreme distaste for the approach we are pursuing"– which was fairly accurate about my feelings, but I must stress that my disdain for managed competition and the intellectuals who supported it did not interfere with my primary objective: to make sure that the views of the single-payer community would be heard in the task force. They were heard, but not heeded. I was ostracized, and I had the feeling I was in the White House as a token - although whether as a token left-winger, token radical, token Hispanic, or token single-payer advocate, I cannot say. But I definitely had the feeling I was a token something.
(If only Jesse Jackson had run, and not Michael Dukakis!) This is the inside game: "appoint someone to the task force" Then comes the outside pressure :
It was at a later date, when some trade unions and Public Citizen mobilized to get more than 200,000 signatures in support of a single-payer system, that President Clinton instructed the task force to do something about single-payer. From then on the battle centered on including a sentence in the proposed law that would allow states to choose single-payer as an alternative if they so wished.
Now let's contrast the outside pressure - considering national union leadership as outsiders, for the sake the argument - for single payer when ObamaCare was being passed. There were petition drives, and also (some) unions, like National Nurses United, though shamefully not the SEIU. But there were also these forms of elite reaction to outside pressure (somewhat reformatted):
(1) The Democratic nomenklatura , which censored single payer stories and banned single payer advocates from its sites , and refused even to cover single payer advances in Congress , while simultaneously running a "bait and switch" operation with the so-called "public option," thereby sucking all the oxygen away from single payer;
(2) Democratic office holders like Max Baucus, the putative author of ObamaCare - Liz Fowler, a Wellpoint VP, was the actual author - who refused to include single payer advocates in hearings and had protesters arrested and charged ;
(3) and Obama himself , who set the tone for the entire Democratic food chain by openly mocking single payer advocates ( "got the little single payer advocates up here" ), and
(4) whose White House operation blocked email from single payer advocates , and
(5) went so far as to suppress a single payer advocate's question from the White House live blog of a "Forum on Health Care." (Granted, the forums were all kayfabe, but even so.) As Jane Hamsher wrote, summing of the debacle: "The problems in the current health care debate became apparent early on, when single payer advocates were excluded [note, again, lack of agency] from participation."
(It looks like the lesson the Democratic establishment took from the HillaryCare debacle was not to appoint single payer advocates at all, instead of putting them on committees and then shunning them.) All these examples exhibit outside pressure exerted by single payer advocates on elites in the Obama administration and its allies in the political class. Now review Navarro's narrative. Do you see any similar examples there? (It's possible that such examples did happen - readers? - but it seems unlikely to me that Navarro would not have mentioned them). It could be that I'm too close to the single payer battle to be objective, but this is a distinction. I don't recall people getting arrested on behalf of single payer in Senate hearing rooms when HillaryCare was going down, for example. So that, to me, is the second reason for Sanders success with CHC.
And where, pray tell, would such outside pressure on the political class come from, in a Sanders administration? Well, that would be the political revolution that Sanders constantly speaks of:
SANDERS I'm running for president because I believe it is just too late for establishment politics and establishment economics. I do believe we need a political revolution where millions of people stand up and say loudly and clearly that our government belongs to all of us and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors.
And is there an example in recent history of a movement that could perform this task? Why yes. Yes there is. It was called Obama for America, and it was highly effective in 2008. Here's what happened to it:
As Jessica Shearer, a top Obama field organizer in 2008, who managed nine key states for the campaign, said a year ago at our PDF symposium on networked organizing after the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, the Obama team had basically "kneecapped" their grassroots after the 2008 victory. "If Dean had been put in charge of the Democratic Party after that election, that list might have really built the democracy. It might have built a party. It might have allowed people a place to engage. Instead, it was this weak echo chamber, where they couldn't be one step to the left or one step to the right of anything the president said."
Marshall Ganz, who initiated and organized Obama for America, agrees with Shearer :
President Obama, Ganz says ruefully, seems to be "afraid of people getting out of control." He needed the organizing base in 2008, but he and his inner circle were quick to dismantle it after the election. Yes, Ganz concedes, they kept Organizing for America, with its access to the vast volunteer databases, alive; but they made a conscious decision to neuter it, so as to placate legislators who were worried about the independent power base it could give Obama. Following a meeting of key members of the transition team, they placed it under the control of the Democratic National Committee.
So a Sanders theory of change doesn't have to be that hard: Don't replicate the Democrat's strategic failure - I'm being very charitable here - of gutting a movement once built. We know how to do the right thing; so do it. Change is hard; but the theory of change is not hard.
And this brings me right back round to corruption. The Democrat Party and, more importantly, its voters and constitutents, are not faced with a choice between Clinton's incremental, insider-driven trench warfare strategy, and Sanders' breakthrough, outsider, movement strategy. The first cannot work; the second can. Why?
The insider strategy founders on corruption. You saw that in Warren's video on Clinton and the bankruptcy bill. When Clinton's private interests changed after her transition from First Lady to Senator, she flipped on policy to favor her new Wall Street contributors constituents; "the self-serving use of public power for private ends." And exactly the same thing will happen with any insider strategy today; corruption will defeat it.
A movement strategy is the only way forward. And we already know how to do it!
 Under oligarchy, we might ask ourselves if corruption is the normal - indeed, normative - interface between state and civil society, at least for elites.
 I know that's way above average for the United States; it seems like a lot to me. But it's way below average for Presidential candidates and Senators . Sanders is the 86th poorest Senator in a Senate where the median net worth is about $2.8 million . Clinton's net worth is estimated at 50 times greater than Sanders .
 So put that in your "electable" pipe and smoke it. Yves Smith , February 7, 2016 at 9:54 pmdiptherio, February 7, 2016 at 1:51 pm
If you want to depict NC as having a house position, it is that Clinton 1. Has a vastly overblown track record (as in she's held plummy jobs but either accomplished little or had negative accomplishments at each of them and 2. She and Bill are hopelessly corrupt, going back to the late 1970s (!!!) commodity trades, which became public only after Bill became president.
So we are solidly anti-Clinton. I still have reservations about Sanders despite his successes so far and him having a much better economic policy and foreign policy position than she does (as in he is merely not very enthusiastic about moar warz, as opposed to against them).
If you say nice stuff re Trump you will get shot at in a big way. Honestly, I don't see how anyone with an operating brain cell can have any enthusiasm for any of the leading Republican candidates.jo6pac, February 7, 2016 at 5:46 pm
Interesting that OFA was gutted because the status quo types were worried about Obama having an "independent" power base. And Obama seems to have been more than happy to go along and let his independent base be dismantled.
Someone had a quote from Michael Hudson the other day (citation needed) about how he was told that he wouldn't be successful running for office because the elite king-makers won't back anybody without some kind of dirt on them, to ensure their tractability. This OFA things sounds to me like Obama rolling over and showing the power-structure his tummy. "Don't worry, I'm a submissive lapdog. I won't bite anybody you don't tell me to."DakotabornKansan, February 7, 2016 at 2:12 pm
Yep, he's in it for the speaking fees, private jet rides, and golf. Oh and the most important a lieberry built on public land.
Thanks Lambert and it is fun to watch Bernie give her a run for their money.MikeNY , February 7, 2016 at 8:19 pm
Lambert, excellent post to be chewed and digested thoroughly!
Glenn Greenwald also points to a passage in Alex Pareene's "Hillary Clinton Has a Henry Kissinger Problem" that captures a key part of Clinton v. Sanders that many pundits haven't grasped…
"She's a creature of a fundamentally corrupt system, who comfortably operates within that system and accepts it as legitimate. Clinton has had trouble countering that critique because, well, it's true. It's not that she's been bought, it's that she bought in…
"One problem afflicting our online discourse is that many of her dimmer fellow liberals in the press keep being baffled at Clinton opposition from leftists who extensively criticize the institutions of American liberalism."
http://gawker.com/hillary-clinton-has-a-henry-kissinger-problem-1757313187ian , February 7, 2016 at 2:49 pm
She's a creature of a fundamentally corrupt system, who comfortably operates within that system and accepts it as legitimate. Clinton has had trouble countering that critique because, well, it's true. It's not that she's been bought, it's that she bought in.
Great post, Lambert.Dugh , February 7, 2016 at 9:01 pm
I keep seeing the $675K in speaking fees, what hasn't gotten enough attention is the total that the Clintons have received: over $150M (Bill and Hillary). Sure, they are doing what others have done, but they have been doing it on an industrial scale.fresno dan , February 7, 2016 at 3:43 pm
How much do Blankfein and other big, insider players have in the HillBilly son-in-law's loser hedge fund?divadab , February 7, 2016 at 4:28 pm
"Note how narrow Clinton's definition of corruption is: Money in exchange for a vote. That is the criminal definition of corruption - the quid pro quo - as we've seen from Zephyr Teachout, but corrupton as the Framers understood it, as an infection in the body politic, has a far broader definition: "The self-serving use of public power for private ends." Clearly, using one's official position as a former Secretary of State and a likely future President to collect $675,000 from Goldman is exactly that."
I would just note that it seems to me that the Clintons and their ilk epitomize modern corruption – The Clintons don't change their views because of bribes. A Rhodes scholar doesn't need to get a brown paper bag stuffed with hundreds to do what his client wants. The client does what Clinton wants. It just so happens that the Clintons and the bankers are of the same Davos Man elite, and share the same world and policy views. The Clintons don't have to be paid to try and make Goldman Sachs richer – they already believe that!
The Clintons are much more like consultants anticipating what political issues could come up, and through a comprehensive program of appointments, alliances (including marriage), and preemptive attacks, neutralization of any anticipated problems, as well as providing insights into future opportunities. Indeed, the Clintons get hired by Goldman for exactly the same reason that Goldman gets hired by the market. Goldman's insider knowledge and connections make them more valuable.
Goldman has so many employees who have been Treasury secretaries…well, because they love America? Well, of course they love America – it works great for them. And for anyone who is smart, hard working, and plays the game the way it IS SUPPOSE TO BE PLAYED. And they, and their defenders, certainly don't want it changing in ANY substantive way that could possibly make them poorer, OR even reduces the RATE that their wealth ever increases. Nothing so crass or venal as bribes have to happen. You just have to understand who your friends are, and what you do for them. A really expensive prostitute never takes the cash in advance – the clients want to enumerate them generously. And at this level of "service" the provider truly wants a happy client….win-win as they say in Davos.
I am sure in the mind of Hillary that she honestly believes she is serving Goldman Sachs honestly, honorably, and to the best of her ability. She believes that the "Davos Man" elite view provides the framework for great material growth – she understands not to even ASK if the growth is equitable.
Their are plenty of lawyers, economists, and policy elites that can marshal "sophisticated" arguments for such a viewpoint. The fact that this viewpoint has guided US policy for near 50 years, and that corresponds exactly to the diminution of the middle class, is something that Hillary Clinton could not accept. The Clintons, like many successful people who get rich who attribute their good fortune to diligence, hard work, and upstanding moral behavior, instead of because of the true reason – – luck, brown nosing, and unabashed grandstanding, will like most humans be incapable of facing that their beliefs are wrong and the people they have allied themselves with are self promoters and sycophants, and bad.JTMcPhee , February 7, 2016 at 6:01 pm
good addition to the thread, Fresno Dan. I think you put your finger on something important- Hillary Clinton believes herself to be a good person doing good work. And she believes also that her view of the realities of elite class political life is pragmatic and furthermore she succeeds within that world by dint of hard work and diligence and therefore has achieved and deserves wealth.
I think she's deeply insulted to be accused of corruption. However, is she deliberately blind to the systematic corruption of the political process?fresno dan , February 7, 2016 at 4:01 pm
"As senator, Wall Street was part of my constituency." Or word to that effect. Believes she is doing good in a good system? Really? "We came, we saw, he died" cue the Monte Burns cackle…Amateur socialist , February 7, 2016 at 4:03 pm
But was Shkreli's performance actually more objectionable than that of the legislators who were performing alongside him? Elijah Cummings, of Maryland, is the ranking Democrat on the committee, and he used his allotted time to deliver a scolding. "Somebody's paying for these drugs, and it's the taxpayers that end up paying for some of them," he said. "Those are our constituents." In fact, it's hard to figure out exactly who is paying what for Daraprim. Shkreli and Turing have claimed that hospitals and insurance companies will pay, while patients who can't afford it will get a discount, or get it for free. And Nancy Retzlaff, Turing's chief commercial officer, told the committee about her company's efforts to get the drug to people who can't afford it. The arrangement she described sounded like a hodge-podge, an ungainly combination of dizzyingly high prices, mysterious corporate bargaining, and occasional charitable acts-which is to say, it sounded not so much different from the rest of our medical system.
Even so, Cummings acted as if Shkreli were the only thing preventing a broken system from being fixed. "I know you're smiling, but I'm very serious, sir," he said. "The way I see it, you can go down in history as the poster boy for greedy drug-company executives, or you can change the system-yeah, you." Cummings has been in Congress since 1996, and he is a firm believer in the power of government to improve industry through regulation. And yet now he was begging the former C.E.O. of a relatively minor pharmaceutical company to "change the system"? It seemed like an act of abdication.
One of the strangest things about the anti-Shkreli argument is that it asks us to be shocked that a medical executive is motivated by profit. And one of the strangest things about Shkreli himself is that he doesn't seem to be motivated by profit-at least, not entirely. Last fall, Derek Lowe, a chemist and blogger affiliated with Science, criticized Shkreli's plan to raise prices as a "terrible idea," not least because such an ostentatious plan posed "a serious risk of bringing the entire pricing structure of the industry under much heavier scrutiny and regulation." He called on the pharmaceutical industry to denounce Shkreli as a means of protecting its own business model; from an economic point of view, Shkreli's strategy seemed self-defeating. At least one person close to Shkreli seems to have agreed. One of the most revealing documents uncovered by the committee showed an unnamed executive imploring him not to raise the price of Daraprim again, saying that the risk of another media firestorm outweighed the benefit. "Investors just don't like this stuff," the e-mail said. Shkreli's response was coolly noncommittal: "We can wait a few months for sure."
A truly greedy executive would keep a much lower profile than Shkreli: there would be no headline-grabbing exponential price hikes, just boring but reliable ticks upward; no interviews, no tweeting, and absolutely no hip-hop feuds. A truly greedy executive would stay more or less anonymous. (How many other pharmaceutical C.E.O.s can you name?) But Shkreli seems intent on proving a point about money and medicine, and you don't have to agree with his assessment in order to appreciate the service he has done us all. By showing what is legal, he has helped us to think about what we might want to change, and what we might need to learn to live with.
Reminds me very much of a movie were the "good" vampires have to kill a "rogue" vampire who is just sucking up way more blood than he needs or deserves. Because the villagers apparently are willing to give up a few people as the normal course of events…
Of course, the hardest thing to take is the unbelievable rationalization proffered by FDA officials (at the behest of their bosses, congress of course) to prevent willing buyers from buying from willing sellers….because those sellers are in those hell holes of filth and decomposition like Germany, Switzerland, and France. Funny how wonderful the market is….except when it isn't. So much better that people go without heat than risk buying prescription drugs from Europe…because our government is SO CONCERNED about their health.TedWa , February 7, 2016 at 4:08 pm
I know many NC readers are also fans of Harry Shearer's weekly radio show/podcast Le Show . This week's episode features a delicious segment of Clintonsomething wherein Hillary and Bill discuss what the new think tank should be named. Priceless and available for free (eventually) at http://harryshearer.com/le-show/ or other podcast servers (i.e. iTunes etc.)Carolinian , February 7, 2016 at 4:16 pm
Forced myself to watch a HRC townhall this morning and she was again harping on Sanders wanting to get rid of the ACA and start over and how we'll lose the ACA in a huge fight in Congress. Add to that her pollsters that are push polling with questions like "Do you want Sanders single payer health care that's going to cost $20 trillion or HRC's improvement of the ACA?" and you know she's in trouble, and it's just started. Sanders can be one smart politician and I think she's in over her head as she can't see beyond the "corruption is normal" framework she's coming from. Talk about being compromised – wowwally , February 7, 2016 at 7:08 pm
Pat Lang asks if she really expects us to believe that she's going to lower the boom on her own son in law.
http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/02/httpwwwcelebritynetworthcomrichest-businessmenwall-streetmarc-mezvinsky-net-worth.htmlauntienene , February 7, 2016 at 8:05 pm
It's really hard to see the point of this sort of thing. So her son-in-law has money or works in banking… so what? Do you really think Bernie, as President, is somehow going to ride in and take trillions of dollars from the wealthy and spread them around? There seems to be a huge amount of fantasy and unreality afoot… a sort of George McGovern idealism that somehow pushing a 'pure' candidate for President will change the world, or even change a significant number of mind in the US… or even make any difference at all. Well, except end us up with a 6-3 conservative majority on the Court. Now, THAT would be an important change. You want that?Pookah Harvey , February 7, 2016 at 7:51 pm
Your anti-purity, fantasy, unreality statement insults the intelligence of everyone who wants a return to human decency in government. No president has ever changed things alone and never will. If Bernie wins, it's because he will have inspired us to form a movement for change. Just like Reagan and movement conservatism. They succeeded and so can we.hreik , February 7, 2016 at 9:49 pm
Krugman's latest hit piece on Bernie's electability has pissed me off. Here was my comment:
Here is something another political scientist has discovered:
"Interviewing a roomful of undeclared voters recently, Neil Levesque, executive director of Saint Anselm College's New Hampshire Institute of Politics, asked which presidential candidate they were most likely to support when the state holds the country's first primary in two weeks. The majority of these New Hampshire voters, he said in a phone interview from Manchester, cited the Republican real estate developer, Donald Trump. Their second choice? Bernie Sanders, the self-styled social democratic senator from Vermont."
How many "undecideds" do you think will flock to Clinton if Trump loses the nomination? Who really has a better chance to win the national election?
This is one of the few times I have seen the pollster ask who would be your second choice without limiting it to party, as in who is your second choice among the Republican candidates?
Fantastic piece. Thank you.
sdkeller72 -> SeanThorp 30 Jan 2016 21:10
Let's not forget Bill Clinton's brother Roger's involvement in the Iran Contra affair. Clinton's have been involved in drugs and gun running for a long time.
skipsdad -> André De Koning 30 Jan 2016 21:03
Putin did more damage to Isis in 6 weeks, than Obama and Nato did in six years.
The Turkish fox, is in the Nato chicken coop. Turkey has been getting oil from Syria for years. Obama knew about it. The Russians were threatening to reveal the deceit, and that's why their plane was shot down.
Now Turkey is claiming another Russian violation. The fox is looking to start WWIII.
Obama has been dealing with 'moderate terrorists' for years, and Putin exposed him.
Obama and the US - Running with the foxes, and hunting with the hounds.
Trump will clean that cesspit of corruption out.
johnf1 30 Jan 2016 20:58
Who in God's name cares what anyone in Iowa thinks about who should be president. As far as I know neither Iowa nor New Hampshire has ever been important in any presidential election. Pennsylvania, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, the voters in those states are important.
nnedjo 30 Jan 2016 20:56
The former first lady run in the elections for the Democratic presidential candidate for the second time, and claims to have a trump cards for it; "Only she is able to defeat Trump!"
However, the problem is that in addition to trump cards Hillary also has Trump's money. You remember that she took the money from Trump, as a fee for coming to his wedding.
Now it raises a hypothetical question: What if in the middle of the election campaign Trump decides to pay Clinton a little more than before, as "a fee for the lost elections"?
So, in my opinion it is not unthinkable at all that Hillary could sell elections to Trump in exchange for a certain sum of money, the only question is how much money would that be.
And after all, Trump himself has already stated that he is looking forward to get Hillary Clinton as an opponent in the presidential race, so draw your own conclusions?
André De Koning -> skipsdad 30 Jan 2016 20:50
Pity we only get a silly picture of Putin via western media. Reading his speeches, especially the last one at the UN (28th Sept.), he was the clearest and summed up the issues of western caused chaos with its invasions and claim of 'being special'(US, especially hypocritical and doing the opposite of what it preaches). Putin is thoughtful, strategic and a leader, while in the US there are no leaders and even more is done by the so-called intelligence agencies' that by the Russian FSB (more control over them than over the NSA). One debate with Putin would be more interesting than any of this American waffle that has never changed their superficial, cruel foreign policies. I discovered this by reading other literature about Putin than you can ever find in the misleading demonization of any leader who is opposed to US policies. The press lied about Gadaffi too, so take some trouble to find out what these so-called enemies are actually about.
RusticBenadar -> carson45 30 Jan 2016 20:42
Actually, if you had done your due diligence and researched Bernie's track record you would see he is a master of bipartisan success; it was said of his mayorship that he "out republicaned the republicans" achieving all the fiscal objectives they had long sought in Butlington but failed to accomplish until Bernie came along.
TettyBlaBla 30 Jan 2016 20:39
I find all the predictions of who will win the General Election in November quite amusing. Primary elections haven't even started and neither major political party has declared which candidates in the present fields will represent them. The choice of Vice Presidential candidates could well change the scenarios many are now presenting.
If you're relying on seeing your favorite candidate's name the most times in a Google search, do keep in mind that only young low information voter relies on technology to determine who's popular. The old folks still rely on talk radio.
atkurebeach 30 Jan 2016 20:34
if the democrats vote for Hillary, who is tight with Wall Street money, especially when there is such a clear alternative for the poor, to me that means there is no difference between the two parties. I might as well vote for Trump, at least he is less likely to start a war.
digitalspacey -> Calvert 30 Jan 2016 20:32
As an outsider looking in (from Australia) what you describe actually works in favour of the Democrats.
Think about it.
An intransigent Republican party continually blocks what the President wants to do. Now I'm assuming that if people vote in Bernie it's because they actually want what he has to sell.
So if the Republicans keep playing this game it's really gonna start to grate on people.
There will come a tipping point where people will say 'enough!' and the removal of the Republicans will commence.
It may take several terms but the Republicans are in egret signing their own death warrant.
Merveil Meok -> Logicon 30 Jan 2016 20:12
There are very powerful forces in America that would NEVER let Bernie Sanders win the White House. He has said stuff that has disqualified him (in the eyes of those forces) for the role of president.
You can't run against the military, cops, oil companies, Wall Street, the richest people on the planet, big pharma, and win. That only happens in movies.
SeniorsTn9 30 Jan 2016 20:09
The U.S. campaign is nearly over and two choices remain. Everyone knows America is broken. Candidates promoting staying the course and being politically correct have no place in America's future. They broke the America we have today. The realities are obvious; Clinton is to the past as Trump is to the future. After all the campaigning dust settles, Americans who want American back will vote for Trump. Trump will make America great again. It really is that simple.
redwhine -> Merveil Meok 30 Jan 2016 20:01
It's good that they have to win over people in Iowa and New Hampshire, and I say this as a Californian who only ever hears of politicians visiting my state to raise money at the homes of rich people before leaving the same day. The point is that politicians need to show that they are willing to work for their votes. They need to hit the pavement. They need to convince people to vote for them even if they know that the votes in those states don't amount to much. If politicians only campaigned in California, New York, Texas, and Florida and then skipped the rest, I'd see no evidence of grit and determination, just lazy opportunism.
ID4352889 30 Jan 2016 19:56
Clinton is a deeply unpleasant character, but Americans will vote for her over the decent Sanders. It's just the way they do things in the US. Clinton is the Democratic Party candidate of the Military Industrial Complex and will take the cake. Bernie is just there to make people think they have a choice. They don't.
redwhine consumerx 30 Jan 2016 19:52
Plenty of people have inherited millions and still ended up penniless. You can't call Trump an idiot even if you maintain that he could have become a billionaire merely by putting all his daddy's money into the bank and leaving it there (which we know he didn't, because he's built at least a dozen skyscrapers and golf courses). By the way, Fred Trump (Donald's dad) was rich but he was not astronomically rich. As for his lawyers, plenty of lawyers of rich men have done worse; in trying to denigrate Trump people are reflexively making his dad into some sort of financial wizard and everyone around Trump to magically have helped him in every step of the way like guardian angels surrounding him his whole life. It just doesn't work like that.
Merveil Meok 30 Jan 2016 19:42
The political system allows two states (Iowa and New Hampshire) to dictate the future the country. Some candidates are forced to quit after one or two Caucuses (as money sponsors quit on them), even if, only God knows, they could have picked up steam later.
I would be in favor of adding three or more states in the first round of the caucuses so that most of America is represented, not states which have no real power in American daily life - economically and otherwise.
These two states represent 1.5% of America's population and a ridiculously low percentage of national GDP.
ChiefKeef 30 Jan 2016 19:39
Sanders will be the best president theyve ever had. The lefts popularity is rocketing across the west in response to austerity and the endless cycle of imperialism and international crisis. A new generation of activists, unencumbered by the diminished confidence of past defeats, have risen spectacularly in defense of equality against the attacks of the right.
Steven Wallace 30 Jan 2016 19:33
Hillary is a devout psychopath whereas Trump is a total doughnut ,seriously who the hell would vote for these animals ?
Pinesap -> TaiChiMinh 30 Jan 2016 19:31
Trump says insane things, of course every news outlet covers him, I don't really think he counts. MSNBC is by far the worst of the lot when it comes to spoon feeding. I don't like FOX any better when they bring on their Holy band of extreme right commentators either. Like I've said before when your in the middle like me, your screwed. NO news outlets and NO candidates that could win. Screwed like deck boards I tell you.
WarlockScott -> carson45 30 Jan 2016 19:31
Sorry who was president before Bush? Bill Clinton? and who was Bush running against? Central figure in the Clinton administration Al Gore?.... oh, woops.
Experience as secretary of state? US foreign policy has got much better since Kerry took over. Healthcare? the woman that takes bundles of money from Big Pharma, who is now saying that UHC is fundamentally a pipe dream for the US?
She's a poor choice compared to Sanders imo, If she was running against Biden or another centrist democrat yeah sure but against a Sanders figure? nah
Jill McLean 30 Jan 2016 19:28
As a young female undecided voter, it's hard not to be fooled by the celebrity game show host. And on the other hand, it's hard not to support my fellow gender and vote Hillary (until you look at the baggage). Now, if I listen to my brain as opposed to emotions, the common sense of Bernie on the one side or Rand Paul on the other has a distinct appeal. They're quite interesting to listen to and they do it without invoking terror, hatred, scare tactics or even biblical quotes. How refreshing!
redwhine -> consumerx 30 Jan 2016 19:26
The bankruptcy argument is a bunch of bs. He's a billionaire now. If I could become a billionaire by going bankrupt I'd do it in a heartbeat. The truth is that he figured out how to rise out of bankruptcy and is now financing a presidential campaign and manhandling his opponents who have received millions in contributions.
redwhine 30 Jan 2016 19:19JoePomegranate 30 Jan 2016 19:17
I've been a democrat all my life and hope that Sanders wins. But if it comes down to Hillary and Trump, I'm voting Trump. If it comes down to Hilary and any republican not named Trump, I'll hold my nose and vote for Hilary. I really don't care for her.Logicon 30 Jan 2016 19:08
It's heartening to see that Clinton is polling lower than Sanders when it comes to young women, perhaps indicative of the post-sexism ideal we're going for; younger women are judging the candidates on their actual policies and character, as opposed to being swayed by the infantile "because she's a woman" appeal.Cafael -> ponderwell 30 Jan 2016 19:06
Bernie has to win the ticket -- the 'best' revolutionary will win the general election:
Trump vs Clinton = trump wins
Trump vs bernie = bernie wins
Given TTP and TTIP, NAFTA, the actions of the IMF and World Bank, the moves by the EU and Anglosphere away from social democracy and the continuing prescription of liberal economic policy for all states, deregulation, plans to expand recourse to investor-state dispute settlement courts, and the overall 'small state' philosophy, often enforced by military interventionism or sanctions, it seems as if pro-capital policy, deregulation and the resulting inequality haven't obtained a status quo that will be maintained under Hilary or the GOP so much as an agenda that has been pushed globally, and will go further in the direction that many voters on the left and centre of politics and even the traditional conservative right and far-right, probably the majority of America's and the world's population, oppose.
Patrick Ryan 30 Jan 2016 18:58
Most polls are shite as extrapolating from relatively small samples never tells you the true story.... We'll know better after the Caucuses.... the fear factor and the worries of a nation will play a big part in the selective process - This is not a sprint and race is only beginning... Having Trump in the mix has shaken up system and he has clearly got the super conservative media's knickers in a twist...
skipsdad 30 Jan 2016 18:54
The Guardian and the rest of the UK media are giving Trump the same treatment as they gave Arthur Scargill in the 1980s.
The UK Establishment and media and their overseas supporters (in the other direction) and we all know who that is. are schit scared in case Trump gets in. The British establishment has been bought. British 'informed democracy', is dead. Censorship, is rife. And the British People know it.
Douglas Lees 30 Jan 2016 18:53
The is only one decent candidate and that's Bernie Sanders. The others are a collection of fruit loops and clowns (all deranged and dangerous) with the exception of Clinton who is experienced intelligent and totally corrupt. She will cause a war with Iran... Let's hope it's Bernie maybe a hope for some changes. The last 36 years have been fucked
Canuck61 30 Jan 2016 18:45
Does any of this really matter? The United States is an empire and, regardless of who is anointed President by the Koch brothers and the rest of the American aristocracy, the empire will still require a military budget of at least $500,000,000,000 and American jobs will still go to China because that's profitable for the corporations and for the aristocrats who own and run those corporations. Enjoy the show, but don't assume that it actually means anything.
LeftRightParadigm 30 Jan 2016 18:35
The far-left attacks again, well I have to give them credit, they are really trying harder than ever. Anyway, these polls are always adulterated by special interests, just look in the UK at IPSOS MORI with CEO who worked for the cabinet office - no bias there! IPSOS said the majority of British people want to remain in the EU... LOL
Trump is the best candidate, all the others are untrustworthy to the extreme due to who's funding them, namely Goldman Sachs.
ponderwell -> thedono 30 Jan 2016 18:35
We do not have a democracy. Freedom of speech & democratic freedom of thought, yes. Democracy is an unfulfilled philosophical idea and wishful thinking. For decades, we have been under the total rule of organized business - as are many developed nations.
jamesdaylight 30 Jan 2016 18:28
i so hope trump or sanders wins. the establishment needs a new direction.
AdrianBarr -> ID7004073 30 Jan 2016 18:26
I have been a lifelong Democrat and my first choice is Bernie Sanders. With my meagre income I will continue to contribute to his campaign. My alternate choice is, anyone but Hillary Clinton. For the life of me, I cannot imagine anyone who reads the news can vote for this Wall St. puppet. The recent Guardian article by a Wall St. insider about Hillary's connections and the money she had received from Wall St. should make anyone shudder of her presidency. Let alone the money the Clinton Foundation had received from other countries when Hillary was the Secy. of State.
Be that as it may, the US average voter owes to Donald Trump for standing up to the corporate media that we always criticise for influencing elections, while other candidates of both parties bend over backwards to curry their favor.
Yes, the corporate media as a result are going after him, but he still gets votes. This election, the case the US Voter vs. Corporate Media, the Voter won thanks to Trump.
If Bernie is cheated out of the nomination process that the DNC had worked from the beginning to crown Hillary. I will vote for Trump to save what is left (pun intended) of the Democratic party. Hillary way far right of Trump. Hillary was a Goldwater Republican, while Trump is a Rockefeller REpublican. Take your !
elaine layabout -> sammy3110 30 Jan 2016 18:18
He doesn't care about them so long as they are unsubstantiated allegations. When the FBI announces the result of their investigation, he will give his opinion, so long as it is relevant to the welfare of the American people.
But using mid-investigation rumors and allegations against an opponent to distract the American people from the actual, fact-based issues is hardly a failing. I would say it demonstrates Sanders' commitment to fairness and truth and the best interests of the American people.
elaine layabout -> Philip J Sparrow 30 Jan 2016 18:12
That would be news to the folks in Burlington, who elected Bernie Sanders to 4 terms as mayor, during which time he cut their budget, streamlined city services, revitalized their commercial district and restored their lakefront, AND he was judged one of the top 20 mayors in the country.
The folks in the State of Vermont would also be surprised to hear this about the man who served them in the House of Representatives for 16 years. During that time, when the extreme right wing of the Republican party ruled Congress, Bernie (an Independent) passed more legislative amendments than any other congressman, even the Republicans themselves. And this was not watered-down legislation, it was pure, progressive gold.
Those same folks would be surprised to hear this about the Senator whom they last re-elected with 71% of their votes. I guess that they were thinking of his ability to, again, passed a series of progressive amendments in a Republican-controlled Congress, including the first-ever audit of the Federal Reserve -- you know that thing that Ron Paul had been trying to do for decades. And then there was the Veterans Administration Bill that Republican Jack Reed said would never have passed without Bernie Sanders' ability to build bi-partisan coalitions.
Bringing 30 Jan 2016 18:12
People have unfavourable opinions of politicians they actually vote for. Nearly all Repubs will vote for trump if he is the nominee and whether it's Hillary or Sanders, a fair size of one time Obama voters are switching to the Repubs because they want action taken against the rapid erosion of what they consider to be American values.
OurPlanet -> eveofchange 30 Jan 2016 18:06
"Does corporate supported Clinton, support gun/missile/bomb "control" of the Army, Police and state apparatus,or just ordinary people ?"
Took the words out of my mouth. I wonder if those folks who are thinking of voting for her will stretch their brain capacity to think seriously about the consequences of voting for her. Do they want more of their tax $ spent on even more wars?
peacefulmilitant 30 Jan 2016 17:50
But it's simple enough to point out that a minority of Americans are Republicans, and that even among Republicans about 30% have a negative opinion of Trump. You can see where the 60% might come from.
This is true but those 30% of Republicans who don't like Trump are nearly canceled by the 20% of Democrats who are considering defecting to vote for him.
WillKnotTell -> Fentablar 30 Jan 2016 17:50
The Kochs will forward his thoughts along to him in time.
Harry Bhai 30 Jan 2016 17:48
meanwhile: Iowa's long-serving senior senator, Chuck Grassley, who last weekend popped up at a Trump event
Rats are coming out of holes to pay respect to Trump the cat.
ID7004073 30 Jan 2016 17:46
It appears that the Guardian continues to show it's bias toward Clinton. How about being balanced and reporting the news instead of trying to create the news and influence the outcome. If we want bias we can drift over to Fox Fake news
Bernie has solutions that Fox feels is too boring but solutions about economic and national security are what America and our world needs. Boats that won't float right and F35 billionaire toys dressed up as the ultimate killing machine will never make America and our world strong. Economic policies that Bernie promotes that actually employ more people is the only solutions.
TaiChiMinh -> TheAuthorities 30 Jan 2016 17:36
Hillary Clinton is not "on the left." She is right center. Your attempt to put the debate between her advocates and those of Sanders into the realm of Stalin-Spanish Republicans-etc is delusional. Maybe, just maybe the people having this discussion are engaged in real disagreements, not dogmatic and factional maneuvering.
nnedjo 30 Jan 2016 17:08
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whose once-mighty lead in the Hawkeye state has narrowed to paper-thin margins, is focusing on rival Bernie Sanders' complicated history on gun control in the final days of the Iowa campaign. The former secretary of state will be joined by former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a survivor of a 2011 mass shooting that claimed the lives of six people.
Hillary stands for a gun control in order "to disarm" Bernie, but voters say they would not vote for Hillary even if someone put a gun to their forehead.
The reason for this is obvious, she is able to exploit even the survivors of the mass shooting, just to satisfy her own selfish political interests.
Saltyandthepretz -> MasonInNY 30 Jan 2016 16:47
Except a circus is funny. The anti-human, repugnant policies put forward by these two are in fact quite serious. Trump is crazy, of the A grade variety, but Cruz is genuinely dangerous. A religious zealot and a war monger, it would be a massive step back for America and the world if this man became president.
Fentablar -> turnip2 30 Jan 2016 16:21
Rubio is terrible, he's pandering even more than Hillary does (well, if nothing else he does it just as much) and I'm not sure anyone knows what he actually stands for, even himself.
loljahlol -> godforbidowright 30 Jan 2016 16:15
Yeah, the Libyan people thank her
PlayaGiron -> SenseCir 30 Jan 2016 16:11
aka Wall Street's "progressive" voice as opposed to the Wall Street Journal its "conservative" voice. In the end two sides of the same neo-liberal beast. "There is no alternative"! Your corporatist elites have spoken!
elaine layabout -> greven 30 Jan 2016 16:05
Wall Street and it's lackey pols are playing with fire, because although many Americans had savings and assets and/or family members with savings and assets and/or access to the beneficence of local churches and charities, we are all tapped out.
The next time we fall, we fall hard. And we will be taking Wall Street down with us.
vishawish -> TheAuthorities 30 Jan 2016 15:53
It's because many people who are centrist or left leaning have a sense of morality and principles.. It's not about voting for who stinks less.. It's about standing up for what you consider right and if you can't do that during the election process then what's the bloody point of democracy.. Take the case of Occupy Wall Street.. supported by most left leaning people.
The only candidate who would support and encourage that is Sanders. So how do you expect people not to support him and go out to support someone who is basically a quasi republican?
Principles and ideologies matter.
marshwren -> GaryWallin 30 Jan 2016 15:19
Uh, it's not as if Iowans haven't had at least eight months to make up their minds, even with the advantage of being able to see ALL of the candidates up close and personal, unlike those of U.S. in late states (such as NJ, where i live, on June 7th or so). Besides, when people vote in primaries on machines, they have 2-3 minutes to mull things over in the booth.
I appreciate your disdain, but caucus season in IA is like beach season in NJ--a tiresome inconvenience, but an economic necessity given how many non-residents arrive to spend their money. And you only have to put up with it once every four years, while ours is an annual event.
curiouswes MartinSilenus 30 Jan 2016 15:14
Personally, I would prefer not to sit in either, wouldn't you?
Thanks for being logical. Now, the media wants us to frame everything into left wing or right wing. However I don't buy into that paradigm anymore. When Clinton was about to send the jobs away, I saw effectively Pat Buchanan (staunch conservative but poplulist) effectively joining forces with Ralph Nader (perhaps as far left as anyone can go but still populist). You think any democrat would be better than any republican. I think that if we don't fix something soon, this whole thing is going to collapse. For my money only 3 candidates are actually pledging to fix something (Sanders, Paul and Trump). Cruz says he wants to fix everything by using that same old tired republican bs, so he isn't really planning on fixing anything. Basically he is Steve Forbes without glasses and with a face lift. Paul would actually try to fix something, but at this stage, he is a long shot and barring any 11th hour surge, I don't need to discuss him much at this time. I would classify Trump as a populist, but a loose cannon that isn't "presidential".
Voting for Trump is sort of an act of desperation. It isn't quite like being a suicide bomber, but more like going all in just prior to drawing to an inside straight. Sanders is a populist also. Some people think we can't afford his programs. However the reason the nation is broke (financially) is because it is broke (as in broken). Sanders has vowed to fix this (it won't be easy but with the people standing behind him, it is possible). The rest of the candidates won't fix anything (just try to move the nation either to the left or the right as it continues it's downward spiral.
We have to stop that downward motion or it won't matter whether we move to the left or right. Unfortunately everybody doesn't see stopping this downward motion as job one.
For example: take Greece and their financial troubles. Even though our debt is higher, we aren't in as bad shape as the Greeks, however we really need to stop the bleeding. We really need to get a populist in there. I'm no economist but according to my understanding, there is this thing called the money supply which is a bit different than the money itself. While the government controls the money, it doesn't control the money supply. It needs to control both or else we are just one "bad" policy away from economic disaster because whoever controls the money supply controls the economy. If you remember in 2008 the credit dried up and that can happen again if somebody isn't happy.
WarlockScott 30 Jan 2016 14:33
Can any Clinton supporter cogently argue why they've plumped for her over Bernie? He's far closer to the social democracy the Democrats espouse (albeit have rarely put into action since 1992), polls show him to be more electable than Clinton, he has a far greater chance of passing his programs for numerous reasons (better bargaining position, not as hated by opposition, running a proactive rather than defensive campaign) and he has the popular touch... Which even Hillary would admit she lacks. I'm hoping perhaps vainly the first answer won't be about her gender.
TheAuthorities -> NotYetGivenUp 30 Jan 2016 14:12
I'm guessing you don't have a lifetime's experience observing U.S. presidential elections.
Sanders does well in the polls you cite because, so far, the Republicans haven't even begun to attack him. In fact, they're positively giddy that Clinton looks to be faltering and that Sanders actually seems closer to the nomination today than anyone would have thought 6 months ago. Nothing will make GOP strategists sleep more soundly than the prospect of a Sanders nomination.
In the still-unlikely event that Sanders gets the Democratic nomination, the Republicans will turn their heavy artillery on him and -- you can trust me on this -- the end result won't be pretty. Actually, I think it may not even take that much from the Republican character assassins to convince most Americans not to vote for someone with Sanders's convictions and political record. Remember that "socialist" is a dirtier word in much of the U.S. than "neo-liberal" is in Western Europe. There's also the very pertinent question of whether the U.S. is ready to elect a Jewish president.
Again, if you're unfamiliar with the American electoral process, you've never seen anything like the Republican attack machine. ESPECIALLY if your reference point is a British election. It's like comparing a church picnic with a gang fight.
Another factor to consider is that, just as the GOP establishment is trying to undercut Trump, so the Democratic Party leadership could possibly draft somebody else to run (Biden?) if Clinton does go down in flames.
TaiChiMinh -> Winner_News 30 Jan 2016 14:06
Obama came to office basically bragging that he had the key to a post-partisan, collaborative way of governing - above the issues, above parties, above rancor. During the crucial period, when he had momentum and numbers, he trimmed on issue after issue - starting with single payer. The Tea Party was perhaps an inevitable response but its strength, and the success of the intransigents in Congress, were not inevitable. But the Tea Party began with a protest of floor traders against protections for people in mortgage trouble - but its momentum really came with the movement against the ACA and in the off-year elections in 2010. A strong president reliant on a mobilized coalition of voters - rather than a pretty crappy deal maker (who liked starting close to his opponents' first offer) backed by corporate elites - would perhaps have seen different results. Obama never gave it a go. And here we are . . . I imagine that I join eastbayradical in some kind of astonishment at the extent to which "progressives" want to keep at what has shown itself a losing proposition . .
westerndevil -> Martin Screeton 30 Jan 2016 13:50
I spent 18 months in my twenties as a debt collector for people who defaulted on student loans...a soul crushing job. Virtually everybody who defaulted either...
- A-attended some diploma mill like University of Phoenix and not surprisingly had no job prospects after they left...or
- B-dropped out or flunked out
We need to encourage more young people to work as electricians, plumbers, machinists and in other blue-collar occupations.
GaryWallin 30 Jan 2016 13:49
April Fool's Day comes two months early here in Iowa this year. The Iowa Presidential Caucuses are one of the greatest Political Hoaxes of all time. They are filling our newspapers, radio, and neighborhoods with an all time record appeal to nonsense.
As Iowan's we've had the endure nearly a full year of lying and misleading politicians, newspapers that give us the latest spin on the political horse-race (under the guise of journalism), phone calls from intrusive pollsters and political operatives, emails from assorted special and political interests; and we've even had to watch our mail carriers burdened with the task of delivering many oversized junk mail advertising pieces.
Let me make it clear that I am not opposed to political parties holding caucuses. I think it is a good idea for them to get together in formal and informal settings: caucuses, parties, picnics, and civic observances. But I think the choice for our next President is too important to be left to a voter suppressing, low turn-out, media event such as the Iowa Presidential Caucuses. The goal should be to be inclusive of all Iowans; not to have a record (but suppressed) turnout.
We've had to endure this nonsense for months, while the politicians are given multiple and varied means to get their message out. But the voters get only an hour or so to make their decisions, and even then in my party, the so-called 'Democratic' one, they don't even get the right to a secret ballot, or the right to cast an absentee ballot if they cannot attend. Instead of including all Iowans, this Circus gives special interests, establishment political operatives, and elites an unfair advantage. This is voter suppression and manipulation. Too few care if there might be a snow storm coming, or someone has to be up early the next morning for surgery at a local hospital, or if someone has to make a living by working at the time of the caucus. In this circus-like atmosphere it is all too important to our elites to bring in the millions of dollars in advertising money that this charade provides to local media. Dollars come before democratic principles.
I certainly hope that my party, the Democrats, have the courage to reject all delegates chosen by this non-democratic process when the National Convention comes around. It is time for Party members outside of Iowa to stand up for real democracy, free and fair candidate selection with secret ballots, and inclusive party processes that expand and grow the Political Party.
In Iowa we need to make a few changes. I suggest a few:
Requiring every television station, radio station, and newspaper to give daily public updates on how much and who bought political advertising.
Requiring every piece of political advertising mailed to people in Iowa to have the cost of that item listed on the mailing.
Requiring all politicians, political parties, and PACs to honor the 'Do Not Call' list. I often tell these callers I will not vote for anyone who annoys me with a phone call, but this seems to have little deterrence value to phone centers and robo-calls.
Requiring that all major political parties in the state give voters the right to choose candidates by secret ballot. No more forcing people to publicly declare for one candidate or another. People should have the right to make their individual choices known if they so choose; or keep them private if that is what they want.
Gary Wallin, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 30 Jan 2016
eastbayradical -> Winner_News 30 Jan 2016 13:16
The capitalist system will surely attempt to "brick wall" any authentic attempt at change Sanders might try to implement.
But to compare him to Obama is off.
Obama came in surrounded by Wall Street execs and stooges and from the outset had no intention of challenging the power of the capitalist class or affecting change that was anything other than rhetorical in nature.
The Republicans' "brick walling" of his agenda was made far, far easier because he didn't articulate, let alone mobilize around, one that named the enemy and communicated specific progressive changes he sought to achieve.
This was seen vividly during the fight over health care reform, where Obama, in the face of widespread support for single-payer health care, took single-payer off the table from the outset and negotiated away the public option for nothing of substance in return. This allowed the Republicans an open field to attack his reform's unpopular and unprogressive features--the mandate and the general complexity of a system that retained the insurance cartel's power over health care.
Marcedward 30 Jan 2016 13:11
Clinton is the one candidate who can lose to Trump, and if she win's she will govern like Bush. It's disgusting how the establishment is pushing her so hard, but it does inform us that we should reject her. Clinton is a candidate like Obama - runs on hope and change, than nothing changes - same old attitude that "Government exists to protect the profits of the 1% and **** Working Class Americans"
JoePomegranate 30 Jan 2016 13:09
The feting of Clinton over a genuine, principled and subversive politician like Sanders - when subversion is exactly what is needed - reveals the complete paucity of argument behind so much "progressive" thought nowadays.
The idea that the lying, the patronisation, the cynicism, the cronyism and the ghastly thirst for power by any means can be simply offset by the fact that she's a woman is appalling. It's retrograde, sexist bollocks.
Sanders is the candidate people need and his nomination would put down a marker for real disenfranchised and impoverished Americans to fix their country. How anyone who purports to call themselves liberal or reformist can opt for Hillary over him, I have no idea.
James Eaton -> CurtBrown 30 Jan 2016 13:02
The myth of "American Exceptionalism" is cracking. Many folks are actually able to see how things work in other places around the globe and not simply react with the knee jerk "it ain't gonna work here, this is 'Murica!"
eastbayradical 30 Jan 2016 12:49
The NY Times' argument that Sanders' proposals for achieving change are unrealistic suggests that the differences between him and Clinton are chiefly tactical in nature.
This is a clever dodge that relieves the Times of the need to address the fact that, far from being an agent of change, Clinton, like her husband and Obama--both of whom it supported--has a consistent record of carrying water for Wall Street, the Pentagon, and the national security/police-state apparatus, one that that she will undoubtedly carry on as president if elected.
Madibo 30 Jan 2016 12:17
Sanders' mild social democratic policies - which require moderate and easily affordable sacrifices on the part of the rich - are of course very realistic and practical. Or at least they are realistic in countries that are at least reasonably politically sane. But since US politics is the very definition of insanity, Sanders policies are "not realistic".
TheBorderGuard 29 Jan 2016 12:58
You could tell the Trumpless debate was an almost normal presidential event by the nature of the closing statements.
Bland, clichéd, and frankly boring.
Zetenyagli -> benbache 29 Jan 2016 11:49
Trump won because these people have nothing people want to listen to.
Spot on. The Republican party is about corporatism and the "1%". They are irrelevant to nearly all the American public apart from democrat haters. The GOP might as well be a corpse.
tonybillbob -> Commentator6 29 Jan 2016 11:31
Trump is currently the front runner and bearing in mind that the entire West is moving to the right it is quite likely that by the time of the election Trump may turn out to be closer to the mainstream.
Mainstream of what? The conservative movement? America? The globe?
tonybillbob 29 Jan 2016 11:25
Jeb Bush insisted several times that he had "a proven record", begging the question why he needed to mention such a proven thing quite so many times.
Yeah!!! How come those who have a "proven track record" always have to remind folks that they have a proven track record and usually follow that claim with "unlike my competitor"?
Hillary Clinton's always going on and on about her "Proven track record" at the State Dept....where she set Libya on fire, for example.....unlike her competitor, Bernie Sanders.
And her "hands on experience" reforming banks....."Cut that out!!!!" ...another something she has over Bernie Sanders. Another thing Clinton can say about herself is that she's made a huge pile of 'speakin' fees' dough rubbin' elbows with bankers.....another something that Bernie can't say about himself. And don't forget: Hillary's gonna color inside the lines because she's a realist.
She knows what Wall Street will approve of and what Wall Street won't approve of......Hillary's unique in that regard....at least she thinks so, and claims that's why we should vote for her....because she already knows what Wall Street will and won't allow a president to do.
simpledino 29 Jan 2016 11:23
Okay, Ted Cruz -- I'll gladly pray on the nation's decision. (Kneeling humbly): "Dear Lord, please let the American people not vote in anyone from the GOP side as president in 2016. Lord, hear my prayer -- let them choose either HIllary Clinton or Bernie Sanders (or even thy faithful and honorable servant Martin O'Malley, who doesn't have a chance in .... oh never mind, Lord...)."
Okay, my prayer skills are a bit rusty, I admit, but you get the idea.
Anyhow, Donald Trump reminds me more and more of Italy's media mogul/politician Silvio Berlusconi -- maybe it's just my eyes playing tricks on me, but he is even starting to LOOK more and more like that man, what with the many faces he makes and the populist theatricality and all. Trump offers no substance in terms of policy, but he clearly has an intuitive grasp of how the major media outlets will respond to and cover his every move.
Lafcadio1944 29 Jan 2016 11:15
I wonder if this column was written before or after the subject events. It is so trite meaningless and predictable he must have written it in his sleep.
Cranios 29 Jan 2016 11:13
I was never warmly disposed toward Trump, but the more I hear him annoying the news media by refusing to be frightened and dance to their tune, the more I am starting to like him.
tklhmd 29 Jan 2016 11:11
Managing to outfox Fox news is no mean feat, I'll give him that.
Tearoutthehairnow -> hawkchurch 29 Jan 2016 11:11
Trump is a centre-right, and possibly even slightly left candidate. His grandstanding is for the core base. All candidates walk back toward the middle once they have to appeal to the national electorate. He's far more liberal than Cruz, who, I assure you, will set about undoing every last bit of progress for working people and women that managed to creep forward over the last eight years, starting with health care, Medicare, and Social Security.
You have to separate out Trump's grandstanding with his east coast New York roots. It's actually Trump who has brought up single-payer health care and some brutal talk about Wall Street. I would wager a month's salary that Trump and Mrs Clinton are not too far apart on how they would govern. And you forget that Congress is involved as well.
The hyperbole is meaningless. So far, Jeb Bush's brother and his Vice President have done more damage to the US and the world than I would guess Trump would do in 20 years.
And do remember on whose watch NAFTA, that infamous "ending welfare as we know it", the equally infamous DOMA, and the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which paved the way for The Big Short were passed: dear old Bill Clinton.
Try analysis instead of hyperbole. It works wonders.
Tearoutthehairnow -> lefthalfback2 29 Jan 2016 11:06
I have been nonplussed from this end of things by how lackluster J. Bush's performance has been - I can only assume that unconsciously, he really doesn't want it - because no one who really wants it and has the advantage of his experience, access, and background, could possibly be turning in this deadly a performance. It reeks of self-sabotage in the name of self-preservation. At of course a huge cost in funds . . .
Tearoutthehairnow 29 Jan 2016 11:02
I was able to catch some US news - Trump not only wasn't "sidelined" as the other Guardian article on last night's debate proclaimed, firstly he walked out of his own accord, and second, he cut FOX's debate audience in half. Last night's debate attracted the lowest audience ratings of all the Republican debates so far - approximately 11-12 million as opposed to the approximately 23 million the debates attracted when he participated. CNN did quite well covering the "other" event.
And he's still leading in the polls among Republicans - including among Republican women according to CNN, so the Guardian's recent article on these parties' only audience being "angry white men" was, again, off the mark by including Trump and the US Republicans.
The media is trusted by the public about as much as bankers and politicians. Trump sticking it to FOX not only didn't get him "sidelined" it probably increased his support among the Republican base. Jeb Bush is still pretending to be a candidate as is Ben Carson, and Cruz in the spotlight reinforced his reputation as so nasty a human being that even if he gets into the Oval Office, no one, including those on his own side of the aisle, will want to work with him.
It would be refreshing to see the media try to report rather than shape the news to its own liking.
JackGC -> ACJB 29 Jan 2016 10:34
Keeping people "scared" is a full time job for the government. It would be impossible to have a war without the "scared" factor.
"We are a nation in grave danger." George Bush.
In 'Merica, people need their guns just in case ISIS invades their town. It's like War of the Worlds only with Muslims, not Martians. That was a REALLY scary flick back in the 30s. 'Mericans really didn't know if New Jersey had been invaded and Christie is the guv. of Jersey.
Trump is a New Yorker, so those two are on the front lines of any potential outer space invasion. War of the Worlds II. 'Merica is ready.
Harry Bhai 29 Jan 2016 10:27
This is Ted Cruz.
Cruz is a world-class question-dodger
When Cruz is asked about his votes against defense budgets, he launches into an extended diatribe against Barack Obama's defense budgets.
When Cruz is asked about his own position on issues, he talks about his idol: Ronald Reagan.
When Cruz is asked about why he flip-flopped on his feelings towards Trump, he pretends that he was asked to insult Trump
Cruz is a flip-flop politician.
Be like Cruz, NOT.
JackGC N.M. Hill 29 Jan 2016 10:22
Translation: Trump knows he already has the nomination locked up. Why should he give Cruz and Rubio an opportunity to attack him in a live debate? He made the smart move. Since 9/11 and the buildup to the war in Iraq, the media's only real job is political propaganda.
N.M. Hill 29 Jan 2016 09:48
Trump just proved: it's possible to win a debate you didn't attend
Translation: Media more obsessed with Trump than actual issues.
MeereeneseLiberation -> LiamNSW2 29 Jan 2016 09:24
he was chastised for saying he'd stop Muslims from entering the US
Because Muslim immigration is really the one thing that affects ordinary Americans the most. Not affordable health care, wealth distribution, labour rights ... Muslim immigration. Especially of those few thousand Syrian refugees that are vetted over months and months. (But oh yes, "the Muslims" hate the West, each and every one. Especially if he or she is fleeing from ISIS terror, I guess.)
Sweden, that paragon of migrant virtue
Sweden, like all Scandinavian countries, has extremely restrictive immigration and asylum policies. Calling Sweden a "paragon of migrant virtue" is about as accurate as calling Switzerland a 'paragon of banking transparency' (or the US a 'paragon of gun control').
nnedjo -> RusticBenadar 29 Jan 2016 08:59
Just curious, can anyone share some actual substance concerning any of Trump's policy plans?
As far as I know, Trump, Sanders and Obama were equally resentful because American businessmen are moving production abroad, thus leaving American workers out of work, and the state budget deprived of taxes that go also to foreign countries instead of remaining in the US.
In addition, Trump also stands for a kind of economic protectionism, particularly in relation to China, bearing in mind "the urgent need to reduce the trade deficit with China", which is now about $ 500 billion a year, if I remembered well.
So, it is interesting that the current as well as two of the possible future US presidents are pushing for some kind of protectionism of domestic production and economic isolationism that are completely contrary to previous commitment of the United States to free markets and free flow of capital in the world.However, taking into account the current economic crisis in the world, that from acute increasingly turns into some kind of chronic phase, it is perhaps not so surprising.
SeniorsTn9 29 Jan 2016 08:44
UPDATE: 2016/01/29 Trump won the debate he didn't even participate in. No surprise here.
Which debate will you focus on, the elephant walk or Trump? If you want to hear positive messages listen to Trump. Trump stood his ground. Trump is definitely different. When we look at the options there is simply no alternative. I prefer to watch the next president of the United States of America. I was on the fence but how I am definitely a Trump supporter. Trump will make America great again.
There is a personality conflict here and everyone knows it. This reporter definitely has a hate on for Trump. Trump was right to not participate in this debate. Replace the so called bias reporter. Fox News could have fixed this but choose not to. Call Trump's bluff and he will have no choice but to join the debate. This is not and should not be about reporters. The press, for some reason, always plays into Trump's hand. This is another Trump strategic move to force the debate to focus on him first. Seriously just look at what has already happened, All Trump's opponents and the media are talking about now is the fact that Trump is not participating in the debate. Brilliant!
Trump has changed the debating and campaigning rules. Trump will or will not be successful based on his decisions and his alone. Trump now has the focus on him and the debates haven't even startled. Trump is now winning debates he isn't even participating in. This has got to be a first in successful political debating strategies! Amazing! A win win for Trump. Smart man! Smart like a Fox.
ID0020237 -> NYcynic 29 Jan 2016 08:25
Methinks all this debate and chatter are nothing but distractions for the masses so those behind and above the scene can carry out their hidden agendas. Debates are like more opium for the masses, it keeps their brains churning while other issues are burning. I see no problems being solved here with all the empty rhetoric.
kaneandabel -> kodicek 29 Jan 2016 07:45
Well kodi, your comments are valid in it that ALL of these candidates are part of the revolving door irrespective of the supposed 'right' or supposed 'left'. Clinton is as much a compromised candidate as the entire bunch of the republican team. Trump may appear to be a different kind but that that's only because he is a good "talker" who seems to give 2 hoots to the establishment. But thats only talk. He would turn on a cent the moment he becomes President. A perfect example of that is Barack Obama. He talked the sweet talk and made people think a new dawn is coming in American politics. But as it turned out.... zilch!
But there is a slight ray of hope, a thin one. With Sanders. As he has walked the talk all along! Otherwise you van be sure to be in the grip of the wall street scamstars and plutocrats for the next decade.
RusticBenadar B5610661066 29 Jan 2016 06:02
Plutocracy; and all candidates are millionaires or billionaires being hoisted upon Americans by the establishment media/business/banks/politics- all, that is, with the single exception of Bernie Sanders, who alone has managed not to enrich himself with special interest bribery or financial exploitation during his unparalleled 45+ years of outstanding common sense public service.
kodicek -> LazarusLong42 29 Jan 2016 05:52
The vast majority of the political elite, from Bush to Clinton, are there to further the agenda, as well as their own careers. In this way, you have Obama brought into to finish by proxy what Bush started by direct force. I.e the wrecking of any Nation State that opposes the neo-liberal economic system.
They only exist in the spotlight for as long as they are tolerated in terms of their persona, until the public wise-up. It is then they go into their background role; the cushy and lucrative 'consulting' jobs they have been promised by the special interest 'think tanks' they already belong to; be it the Council of Foreign Relations, or the Bilderberg group; all funded by international banking cartels.
Supposed 'right' or supposed 'left' of the mainstream media are just part and parcel of the same ultimate deception.
Trump, although not perfect in his persona, is certainly a problem for the agenda: thus their attack dogs in the media have been called to take him out.
This is what first raised my suspicions: I thought for myself, rather than double clicking on a petition.
Best Regards, K
kodicek 29 Jan 2016 05:19
It's amusing to see the attacks on Trump; who just for speaking his mind is starting to steadily resonate with a growing demographic, both at home and abroad.
You'd never hear about it here of course; but he harshly denounced the invasion of Iraq, and was a big critic of Bush.
Despite all the allegations of racism, he has the largest support amongst the Black and Latino community; and is the most popular Republican candidate with Women.
He also seems to be the only one who understands that the majority of Americans needs real jobs – not some laughable concept of an 'ideas economy.' and is willing to fight for them on a trade level to ensure this.
He is also the least likely to drag the US into dangerous conflicts, (proxy or otherwise) with those such as Russia – Sadly I can see some Guardian commentators already gunning for that.
He is also not controlled by the usual financial ties to banking elites: Goldman & Sachs just gave Hillary $3 million – what's that then? Just pocket money?
We always drone on about democracy etc, but when someone is actually popular, from Corbyn to Trump, we denounce them and ridicule their supporters.
Funny thing is; if it wasn't for all these attacks I might never have noticed!
TheChillZone -> SteelyDanorak 29 Jan 2016 05:05
America isn't better than this - this IS America. The land of political dynasties and limitless corporate donations. Where a movie star became the President and a body builder a Governor. It doesn't even have a one-man-one vote voting system for heavens sake. The rise of Trump makes perfect sense - most of American culture has been relentlessly dumbed down; now it's Politics turn.
europeangrayling -> shaftedpig 29 Jan 2016 04:40
It's kind of like Iranian 'democracy', where the Ayatollah picks out and approves 4-5 candidates, and then the Iranian people get to 'vote' for them. We do it a bit differently, in a society where we have freedom of speech, but the outcome always ends up the same, with 2 establishment, corporate, Wall street, military industrial complex, globalist 'free trade' choices for president. All approved by corporate America, our corporate and mainstream media and by Wall street, it always ends up like that. Like right now, there is no difference between Hillary, and establishment corporate Democrats like the Clintons, and the establishment Republicans like Rubio, Kasich or Bush, on all those really big and truly important issues.
fanfootbal65 29 Jan 2016 04:20
At least with Trump you know where he stands unlike most politicians who just tell the voters what they want to hear. Then after getting elected, these lip service politicians just go off on their own agenda against the wishes of the people that voted for them.
SamStone 29 Jan 2016 03:55
Haha, Trump is tremendously astute and clever when it comes to tactics. It will be awesome if he actually becomes president.
boldofer 29 Jan 2016 03:46
That thing about Cruz labelling Trump a Democrat is interesting. I'm sure most Democrats would be understandably offended by the suggestion, and I'm pretty sure Cruz doesn't actually believe it either. I haven't been following Trump's statements on policy closely at all, but from my general impression of him over the years, I always thought that, although he was clearly a dyed in the wool capitalist, he probably wasn't a social conservative.
I can't help thinking he's just another wealthy, metropolitan businessman who probably didn't give a single toss about immigration, gay marriage, Islam or any of it, and if you pushed him probably would have been completely relaxed about all those issues. But I guess what he is above all else is a power hungry narcissist and a showman, and if he feels he needs to push certain buttons to get elected...
SGT123 29 Jan 2016 03:29
"Megyn Kelly, the Fox News anchor whose participation in the debate led to Trump's boycott, referred to him as "the elephant not in the room".
Which is both quite funny and accurate. I can see why Donald was so frightened of her!
Blaaboy 29 Jan 2016 03:03
Tough for any GOP candidate to avoid the flip flops in fairness. Pro life gun nuts, military spending addicted defecit hawks, die hard defenders of the Constitution hell bent on removing church/state separation, defenders of the squeezed middle sucking on the teat of Murdoch and the Koch brothers.... A very high and skinny tight rope....
benbache 29 Jan 2016 02:22
Trump won because these people have nothing people want to listen to. Nobody cares about Rubio or Bush flip flopping on immigration, because they have decided not to vote for them. And despite the press, no one I know cares about terrorism in the US. No one ever brings it up in any conversation, despite constant fear mongering.
People care about jobs and their dwindling opportunities. Trump talks populism. He talks about tariffs on manufacturers who moved jobs overseas. People like that. He said he thinks the US should have left Saddam Hussein in power. Every rational person today agrees with that. He says the US should have left Gaddafi in power. While not too many people think about that too much, if they do, they agree with that too. Especially once they learn about the domino effect it has had, such as the attack on the coffee shop in Burkina Faso a week ago or so.
People have grown tired of war. All of the mainstream candidates want war because their campaigns depend on it. Bush's family has massive investment in the Carlisle Group and other players in the MIC.
Trump made his money in real estate, not war.
ID1569355 29 Jan 2016 01:53
I have no vote in the U.S.A. I greatly respect it's people and achievements. President Obama has been a big disappointment to me. I really thought he could make some good changes for his citizens. Should Mr Trump actually win the Presidency life for many will be very, very interesting, perhaps not in a good way. Then again perhaps his leadership might be just what America needs.
A few years of Mr Trump as leader of the world's greatest super-power may give us all a new outlook on life as we know it, help us adjust our personal and National priorities. Give him the power as the Supreme Commander of Military Forces and we can all learn some lessons about the consequences of Americans votes on everyone else's lives. Americans may learn a thing or two also........Go Trump !
Oboy1963 29 Jan 2016 01:37
Not a Trump fan, but it is great to see someone with enough nous to tell Fox to go bite their bum. Good on him. We know from past experience what a sleazy old fart Rupert is and his fellow travelers in Fox are a good fit. The "moderators" are third rate journo's out to polish their image and try the bigmouth on the guy that 'may' become President. No need for Trump to take that kind of crap off of those sort of people.
Commentator6 29 Jan 2016 01:32
Cruz was attacked, got flustered and blew his opportunity. Trump's judgement turned out to be vindicated in not attending. Trump is currently the front runner and bearing in mind that the entire West is moving to the right it is quite likely that by the time of the election Trump may turn out to be closer to the mainstream. If there are further Islamic terrorist attacks on US soil then this will likely be a certainty.
Dark money is the name for cash given to nonprofit organizations that can receive unlimited donations from corporations, individuals and unions without disclosing their donors. Under IRS regulations these tax-exempt groups are supposed to be promoting "social welfare" and are not allowed to have politics as their primary purpose – so generally they have to spend less than half their funds directly promoting candidates. Other so-called "issue ads" paid for by these groups often look like thinly veiled campaign ads.
The boom in dark money spending in recent elections came in the wake of the supreme court's 2010 Citizens United decision, which held that the first amendment allowed unlimited political spending by corporations and unions. That decision and other court rulings opened the floodgates to individuals, corporations and unions writing unlimited checks to outside groups, both Super Pacs and dark money outfits, which can directly promote federal candidates. Dark money spending rose from just under $6m in 2006 to $131m in 2010 following the decision, according to the CRP.kus art , 2016-01-30 01:11:10
Well, there you have it. In the USA you can actually buy yourself a president. But for Real! No underhanded bribes, but openly buying. Would you like fries with that...? And here's the kicker - Everyone, from media outlets all the way down to the 'person on the street' just accepts it as is without any real protestations...GeorgiaTeacher , 2016-01-30 00:22:27Why is the left so afraid of these guys?Suga , 2016-01-30 00:08:59
Look at the Billary Wall Street fund raisers. http://freebeacon.com/politics/all-hillary-clinton-wall-street-fundraisers /
I am sure all this money is legit, right?
(I know, I know feel the bern. He doesn't accept it. And unless there is an indictment he won't win)Learn how Citizens United has allowed Billionaires like the Koch's to rabble-rouse, whip into a frenzy and influence one-half of America to vote against their own best interest!Itsrainingtin , 2016-01-30 00:01:51
The Billionaires' Created Tea Party : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKH2gRDkC5sFor sale, cheap, one POTUS puppet, strings firmly attached. Keep the kiddies entertained, good for four years worth of distraction.babymamaboy , 2016-01-29 23:52:10
Where does most of the money, dark or obvious, go? Answer: The Main Stream Media (I include the Guardian in this). Do you now understand why they're all having a bob-each-way? Morals, journalistic integrity, decency or the welfare of the public be damned, it's raining wads of cash.Until we have a system that makes sense, I guess we can only hope someone realizes that if they just paid a reasonable tax rate it would cost them less than funding Super PACs. Then again, money doesn't make you smart -- they just might spend a billion to save a million. Can we give crowd sourcing political decisions a chance?MtnClimber , 2016-01-29 23:10:59Because of the SCOTUS Citizens united decision, it is just fine to bribe politicians IN PUBLIC. How could SCOTUS and the GOP do this to the United States. It is destroying our Democracy.woodyTX , 2016-01-29 22:36:47Let the ass-kissing and groveling beginkriss669 , 2016-01-29 22:30:41The undue influence of the rich over American politics is an absolute disgrace. How can those who claim to be conservatives justify their destruction of democratic processes? They conserve nothing but their own power. Traitors!blueterrace , 2016-01-29 22:09:26America, get a good look at your "democracy" in action.woodyTX blueterrace , 2016-01-29 23:30:44Need infra-red night vision goggles to see it.Washington1776 , 2016-01-29 21:55:40Waste your blood money. This is a revolution.Siki Georgevic , 2016-01-29 21:53:15I'm afraid that the soul of America was lost with the scotus ruling. Corporations are just that, corporations. They are not people. They already had a disproportionate say in politics because of lobbying money.kevink , 2016-01-29 21:45:09
Now the princes of darkness have descended on the land like perpetual night. Leaving the populace longing for the light! The Kochs and their ilk are slaves to their ideology which is to destroy the federal government, destroy all social safety net's, even privatize our military. All this for the ideology of the extreme right wing corporate fascism.All Hail the Deep State!Suga , 2016-01-29 21:30:47Thank you, Peter Stone! So few Americans even know this is happening.hardlyeverclever , 2016-01-29 21:27:13
Check this out...It will blow you away: 'Dark Money: Jane Mayer on How the Koch Bros. & Billionaire Allies Funded the Rise of the Far Right'
Please Wake Up America.....Citizens United is the Mirror Image of Dred Scott.
"Dred Scott turned people into property....Citizens United turned property into people."Give Karl Rove the money: http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/08/15007504-karl-roves-election-debacle-super-pacs-spending-was-nearly-for-naughtStafford Smith , 2016-01-29 21:25:14One of the great sources of Trump's appeal has been the perception of his independence from the Kochs and other corporate manipulators. If he gets the nomination, they will of course attempt to co-opt him just as they did the tea party. It will be interesting to see how he responds.oldamericanlady Stafford Smith , 2016-01-29 21:41:28The Kochs didn't co-opt the Tea Party--they created it. They brainstormed it, branded it, funded it, propped it up, bought positive news coverage for it, and pulled its strings to keep the GOP voting base at a full boil for the fall elections in 2010.woodyTX Stafford Smith , 2016-01-29 23:37:23
This was tactically necessary to enable them to take full advantage of the gorgeous opportunity John Roberts had created for them earlier that spring with Citizens United, rushed through precisely to help the oligarchs buy themselves Congress and as many state houses and governor's mansions as they could reap.
Trump is a different matter. They can't invent Trump the same way they invented the so-called Tea Party.
What they can do is flatter him and wheedle him and beguile him in hopes of making him more receptive to little things like, for instance, their nominations to the federal bench.
This, given Trump's pathetic grasp of reality and his monumental ego, shouldn't actually prove too complicated a feat for the Kochs and their worker bees to pull off.
After all, all Marla Maples had to do was say "Donald Trump--best sex I ever had" on Page 6 at the Post and she got to marry the schlub: the Kochs will surely be equally adept at figuring out the wizened, soulless old billionaire version of this time-honored tactic.The Donald is one of the oligarchs but with an immense ego. Instead of playing the political puppets from behind the curtain as the Koch's do, he thought he'd become the puppet show himself.revelationnow Stafford Smith , 2016-01-30 00:31:06
An oligarch in politician's clothing attempting to persuade America that he's on our side. How very Putinesque.They won't be able to co-opt Trump because he is only guided by his ego.str8vision , 2016-01-29 20:56:28The best government money can buy...... Since the Supreme Court ruled unlimited corporate bribes to politicians would be considered "free speech" in the eyes of the law, people lost any chance they had of representation based on what's best for average citizen. It's -ALL- about big money now, a literal Corporatocracy. The idea that government should be "Of the people, by the people and for the people" is long lost, RIP.Christopher Aaron Jones , 2016-01-29 20:45:39"How can we override the people's needs with money and influence?"UzzDontSay Christopher Aaron Jones , 2016-01-30 01:42:36Help pol get registered, informed & get you & those you have influenced to vote in EVERY ELECTION!!!Totoro08 , 2016-01-29 20:37:46Dark money = Corruption.....period..!! Just because its not illegal doesn't make it right. What it is, is the continual demolition of democracy in the US where whoever has the biggest cheque-book has an advantage over everyone else. Totally wrong and the slippery slope to an end of 'government by the people'...MtnClimber , 2016-01-29 20:35:03And the theft of the Presidency is underway. Does anyone not think that allowing millions, even a billion dollars to be donated to campaigns with the donor kept secret is a problem? Heck, foreign government can contribute to get the candidate that they want. So.......Who will be the one to kiss Koch butt?Whatsup12 , 2016-01-29 20:29:52Hey look, they're trying to buy the elections again. No surprises there...MtnClimber Whatsup12 , 2016-01-29 20:54:23Not trying. Succeeding. The Koch brothers own many, many politicians who are beholding to Koch and will vote any way Koch wants.catch18 , 2016-01-29 20:27:51Coming on pitchfork time.Anthony Caudill , 2016-01-29 20:25:43Their intentions are now plain: they aim the overthrow of democracy and the establishment of a modern feudal state/oligarchy.UzzDontSay Anthony Caudill , 2016-01-30 01:45:53Question is are we going to let them?centerlane , 2016-01-29 20:11:43Dark money cannot compete with the elephant on the block, the electorate. If any one has the finances to buy the oval office and or Congress it is "citizens united" ten dollars ahead should do it.Anthony Caudill centerlane , 2016-01-29 20:30:12What you are failing to reckon with is the scale of their organization and its capacity. This retreat probably has a trillion dollars backing it. That's a lot of high paying jobs...MtnClimber centerlane , 2016-01-29 20:37:53If money didn't work, people would not be spending over a billon dollars on the election. Of course money works. Think of it this way: The Koch brothers give almost a billion dollars to support most of the GOP candidates. Regardless of who wins, they will be completely owned by the Koch brothers. It doesn't matter who you vote for if they are all owned by Koch.marshwren Anthony Caudill , 2016-01-29 20:46:05
So, no, the power does NOT lie with the voters. SCOTUS has stolen our democracy and has given it to the richest 100 people in the US.And what you're failing to recognize is the scale and capacity of the internet--the people's MSM and Super PAC. Whatever the outcome of this year's election, the Sanders' campaign is creating the template by which guerrilla/insurgent campaigns will be modeled for the next 20 years or longer...depending on if and when the Kochs et al finally get to end net neutrality.SiriErieott , 2016-01-29 20:05:00Dark money - it's the undetectable dark matter of politics that bends and motivates political stars to the black hole of government. Ordinary people can't detect it or see it, but it's effect is to control the movement of money to the star clusters (otherwise known as tax havens).groovebox1 , 2016-01-29 19:58:12The Koch Brothers heads belong on a stick.MtnClimber groovebox1 , 2016-01-29 20:38:32I believe that would be a pike. It's also a great idea.mikedow , 2016-01-29 19:53:45Moneylenders own the temple.marshwren mikedow , 2016-01-29 20:42:48Not to mention that in their own minds and mirrors, the money-lenders are the temple.onevote , 2016-01-29 19:48:14Citizen's United, the gift that keeps on giving...Gramercy , 2016-01-29 19:38:31
One Person : One VoteThe Kochs are concentrating on State legislatures, the key to amending the Constitution.mikedow Gramercy , 2016-01-29 19:56:57
By the time they're finished, the President will have less power than the Queen.Hand in hand with ALEC.Anthony Caudill Gramercy , 2016-01-29 20:31:42Looks like Roberts is gonna have to decide whether or not he wants to endure the humiliation of having the next majority overturn his ruling.JulianTurnbull , 2016-01-29 19:28:16These people laugh in the face of democracy. I like particularly this quote - if I remember it correctly - by Lily Tomlin:RedPanda JulianTurnbull , 2016-01-30 01:57:06
"The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat."
The pendulum has swung too far - the rich are too rich, and the poor are too poor. The Emperor we have been told has beautiful clothes will soon be found to have none.The Republicans moan, the Republicans bitch: The rich are too poor and the poor are too rich.pconl , 2016-01-29 19:27:20A genuine, and possibly naive, question. Is this reported in the States? If so, does anyone notice?widdak pconl , 2016-01-29 19:42:35Not really and definitely not.sour_mash pconl , 2016-01-29 19:55:10"A genuine, and possibly naive, question. Is this reported in the States?"Voltairine pconl , 2016-01-29 19:58:19
Yes. With few exceptions, the only bad question is the one not asked.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/01/29/koch-brothers-push-poverty-education-societal-change--initiative-republican/79468744 /I'm a U.S. citizen, and I don't know because I stopped watching U.S. "news" … although I'm not sure how much better The Guardian is … the people in comments seem a tad nicer … better grammar and spelling … did I answer the questions? Oh, a butterfly!lefthalfback2 , 2016-01-29 19:22:03They are already spending their money on negative ads against- wait for it- Hillary Clinton. They know who that have to beat- and it ain't Bernie.marshwren lefthalfback2 , 2016-01-29 20:40:59Good--let them blow billions (more) attacking Clinton; it'll only be more delicious when they find out they should have spent it against Sanders. You better hope Clinton wins IA big, because if she doesn't, she just might jump-start the process by which she loses the nomination. Like last time.lefthalfback2 marshwren , 2016-01-29 20:49:48could happen. I could live with Bernie as the nominee. Krugman had an interesting slant on it today in NYT.callaspodeaspode , 2016-01-29 19:20:59Apollo_11 , 2016-01-29 19:06:22Several Koch network donors have voiced strong concerns about the rise of Trump, raising doubts about his conservative bona fides and his angry anti-immigrant rhetoric, which they fear could hurt efforts by the Koch network and the Republican party to appeal to Hispanics and minorities.
I wonder if they also worry about their lavishly-funded support of theocratic loudmouth Republican lunatics such as Tom Cotton, Sam Brownback and Joni Ernst potentially alienating moderate Christians or, heaven (literally) forbid, non-believers?
Only joking. No.Don't let nobody give your guns to shoot down your own brothersnakeatzoes , 2016-01-29 19:01:31
Don't let nobody give your bombs to blow down my sweet mother
Tell me are you really feeling sweet when you sit down to eat
You eating blood money you spending blood money
You think you're funny living off blood money
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anjkSBQDRjcIts funny to see them without Trump. You are so mesmerised by Trump and his hair that you haven't noticed what an incredibly weird looking bunch the rest are. Not that it matters given Bernie will *ump them all anyway ! :)Whitt , 2016-01-29 18:56:52"Several Republican congressional incumbents and candidates facing tough races are slated to attend the Koch retreat this weekend, and, if recent history is a guide, are expecting to gain support from Koch-backed dark money groups."lefthalfback2 Whitt , 2016-01-29 19:23:02
For some reason I'm reminded of the opening scene of The Godfather where supplicants meet with Don Corleone and present their requests on the occasion of his daughter's wedding, kissing his hand at the end.
Can't imagine why."...Give this to Clemenza. Tell him to send responsible people. We don't want things to get out of hand...".MtnClimber Whitt , 2016-01-29 20:45:10That's exactly what it is. The Koch Brothers will own most of the GOP politicians. It doesn't matter which one you vote for because that person will likely be owned by Koch and will do their bidding.NYbill13 Whitt , 2016-01-29 20:46:55Or that famous Apalachin, NY, meeting of the five families in 1957. One difference: I bet the FBI won't be raiding the Koch compound, forcing all the big dogs to flee into the woods. More likely, the feds will be providing protection, writing down the license plate numbers of everyone who might object to billionaires dividing up their 'turf' in America.
"Donald Trump is Democrats' greatest gift," applauded The Globalist, via Salon. "As Donald Trump surges in polls, Democrats cheer," countered The Washington Post. Even before Trump surged in the polls, Democrats were smacking their lips, a la DNC spokeswoman Holly Schulman, who cheekily applauded Trump for bringing "seriousness" to the Republican debate.
... ... ...But it turns out that mainstream Democrats believe just the opposite – that with the GOP spiraling, the party should now brook even less dissent within their ranks. They'd like a primary season with no debate at all, apparently.
We saw a preview of how this rotten dynamic will work last week, when former Democratic congressman and current Signature Bank board member Barney Frank wrote a piece for Politico entitled "Why Progressives Shouldn't Support Bernie."
This isn't about Hillary. The lesser evil argument has been a consistent feature of Democratic Party thought dating all the way back to the late Reagan years, long before Hillary Clinton was herself a candidate. The argument always hits the same notes:
- The essentially antiwar, anti-inequality platform progressives want will never win a national election in this country, because McGovern, etc.
- Therefore we must instead support corporate-sponsored Candidate A, who will help us bridge the fundraising gap with the evil Republicans.
- And we should vote for Candidate A anyway, because even though he doesn't always (or even often) show it with his votes, deep down, he's a true believer on the issues.
Frank hit all of these notes in his piece, with special emphasis on point #3. He insisted that people like Hillary, John Kerry and Joe Biden didn't mean it when they voted for the Iraq War, that they only did it out of political expediency. "I regard liberal senators' support for the Iraq War as a response to a given fraught political situation," Frank wrote, "rather than an indication of their basic policy stance."... ... ...
It's not an accident that The Daily Show turned into the most trusted political news program in America during the Bush years. When the traditional lefty media became so convinced by the "lesser evil" argument that it lost its sense of humor about the Democratic Party, people had to flee to comedy shows for objective news.
Even worse, a lot of Democratic-leaning campaign reporters are to this day so convinced by the lesser evil argument that they go out of their way to sabotage/ridicule candidates who don't fit their idea of a "credible" opponent for Republicans.
I've seen this countless times, usually with candidates like Dennis Kucinich who didn't have a real chance of winning the Democratic nomination (although early 2004 frontrunner Howard Dean also fell into this category). Sanders, who was ludicrously called the Trump of the left by bloviating Meet the Press hack Chuck Todd last week, is another longshot type getting the royal treatment by "serious" pundits now.
But framing every single decision solely in terms of its utility in beating the Republicans leads to absurdities. Not every situation is a ballot with Ralph Nader on it.
The Democrats insisted they had to support the Iraq War in order to compete with Bush, but they ended up not competing with Bush anyway and supporting a crappy war that no sane person believed in. All it won Democratic voters in the end was a faster trip into Iraq, and the honor of having supported the war at the ballot box.
When the Democrats had a legitimate electoral threat in the Republicans to wave in front of their voters, they used that as currency to buy their voters' indulgence as they deregulated Wall Street, widened the drug war, abandoned unions in favor of free-trade deals and other horrors, and vastly increased the prison population, among innumerable other things.
But now that the rival electoral threat is mostly gone, they want permission to take the whole primary season off so they can hoard their money for massive ad buys targeting swing votes in Tennessee or whatever. In other words, even though the road ahead is easier for them, they want increased latitude to take their core voters for granted.
The Democrats could take this godsend of a Trump situation and use it as an opportunity to finally have a healthy primary season debate about what they want to stand for in the future. But nah to that. They'll probably just hoover donor cash and use press surrogates to bash progressives the way they always have. Trump or no Trump, if politicians don't have to work for your vote, they won't.
Lone Wolf | Jan 11, 2016 3:56:12 PM | 9
For all of those who keep on arguing about the benefits of one US candidate over the other, they could save their energy for more constructive efforts.
Voting Is for Chumps: Veteran Congressional Staffer Says 'Deep State' Already Controls America
You still have to pay your taxes, thoughOne of the more encouraging (?) developments in Acceptable American Discourse over the last five years or so has been the gradual acceptance, even among Serious Media Outlets, that American voters no longer have any real control over their own government, and more broadly, their collective destiny.
In April 2014, Princeton University published a study which found that "economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence."
Then in October of the same year, a Tufts University professor published a devastating critique of the current state of American democracy, "National Security and Double Government," which catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term "double government": There's the one we elect, and then there's the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.
The Boston Globe's write-up of the book was accompanied by the brutal headline, "Vote all you want. The secret government won't change." Imagine a headline like that during the Hope and Change craze of 2008. Yeah, you can't. Because nobody's that imaginative.
Yes, people are beginning to smell the rot - even people who watch television in hopes of not having to confront the miserable reality that awaits them once they turn off their 36-inch flatscreens. In September, Jimmy Carter warned Oprah Winfrey:
"We've become now an oligarchy instead of a democracy. And I think that's been the worst damage to the basic moral and ethical standards of the American political system that I've ever seen in my life," the 90-year-old former president told Winfrey.
The live audience were probably hoping for free Oprah cars. Instead, an ex-president told them that their democracy is in the gutter. What a bummer.
The latest canary in the coal mine is none other than ex-longtime GOP staffer turned best-selling author Mike Lofgren, whose new book, "The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government," confirms what is already painfully apparent:
The deep state has created so many contradictions in this country. You have this enormous disparity of rich and poor; and you have this perpetual war, even though we're braying about freedom. We have a surveillance state, and we talk about freedom. We have internal contradictions. Who knows what this will fly into? It may collapse like the Soviet Union; or it might go into fascism with a populist camouflage.
Some excerpts from Salon's recent interview with Lofgren:
On how the deep state operates:
Well, first of all, it is not a conspiracy. It is something that operates in broad daylight. It is not a conspiratorial cabal. These are simply people who have evolved [into] a kind of position. It is in their best interest to act in this way.
And given the fact that people would rather know about Kim Kardashian than what makes up the budget or what the government is doing in Mali or Sudan or other unknown places, this is what you get: a disconnected, self-serving bureaucracy that is … simply evolving to do what it's doing now. That is, to maintain and enhance its own power.
On who (and what) is part of the deep state:
The key institutions are exactly what people would think they are. The military-industrial complex; the Pentagon and all their contractors (but also, now, our entire homeland security apparatus); the Department of Treasury; the Justice Department; certain courts, like the southern district of Manhattan, and the eastern district of Virginia; the FISA courts. And you got this kind of rump Congress that consists of certain people in the leadership, defense and intelligence committees who kind of know what's going on. The rest of Congress doesn't really know or care; they're too busy looking about the next election.
Lofgren goes on to explain that the private sector works hand-in-hand with the deep state, regardless of which "party" is in power. According to Lofgren, "There are definable differences between Bush and Obama. However, the differences are so constrained. They're not between the 40-yard lines; they are between the 48-yard lines."
Of course, millions of Americans will still enjoy rooting for the candidate whom they would most enjoy drinking Bud Lite Lime with, but probably deep in their hearts they all know they're doomed.
lysias | Jan 11, 2016 4:05:02 PM | 10What is the mechanism that forces American presidents to go along with what the deep state decides?
john | Jan 11, 2016 4:31:03 PM | 12
What is the mechanism that forces American presidents to go along with what the deep state decides?
well, there's always this
Zapruder Film Slow Motion (HIGHER QUALITY) - YouTube
lysias | Jan 11, 2016 4:41:29 PM | 14@12, Only a coward would submit to such a threat, instead of regarding it as a challenge to be defied. If the worst came to the worst, one would at least have died heroically. And such a president, if he did die, could have taken steps before he died to make sure the public would learn how and why he died. So it would not be a death without purpose.Lozion | Jan 11, 2016 4:58:21 PM | 15
How does the deep state ensure that only cowards become president?Lone Wolf | Jan 11, 2016 5:22:54 PM | 17
Don't know if true but I remember reading something to the effect that after Obama was sworn in, he met with Bush sr. and co who told him that he now worked for them with threats to his family if he wouldn't submit..
What is the mechanism that forces American presidents to go along with what the deep state decides?
It is a complex mechanism, a take-over of key positions within the US power structure, a corporate government mix where the US "government" mission is to advocate, promote, and defend corporate interests worldwide.
US National Security Strategy embodies those corporate interests and unfolds them into specific goals and objectives to be attained by means of foreign and domestic policies that "presidents" and other figureheads sell at home and abroad.
That, in a nutshell, is how the Deep State works.
Bluemot5 | Jan 11, 2016 5:23:42 PM | 18What is the mechanism that forces American presidents to go along with what the deep state decides?
...and then there is this... https://www.corbettreport.com/interview-1024-tjeerd-andringa-exposes-the-kakistocracy/
NotTimothyGeithner | Jan 11, 2016 5:45:15 PM | 23
@15 This is excuse making for falling for Obama who openly admired Reagan, claimed the right to bomb anything anywhere without working with local governments, surrounded himself with pigs, and even denounced Moveon for their ad about Petraeus.
People hate being conned more than con men, and they concoct rationalizations for being duped that often defy logic.
jo6pac | Jan 11, 2016 6:22:07 PM | 25For everyone on deep state there is this.
#21 yep maybe the next pm for England. The candidate like obomber from the cia/m16.
#11 I Agree
jfl | Jan 11, 2016 7:00:06 PM | 28@10 'What is the mechanism that forces American presidents to go along with what the deep state decides?'
1. DS vets prospective candidates beforehand, only allowing candidates aligned with deep state authorities to begin with.
2. DS doesn't make the payoff until successful applicants have left office with an 'acceptable' record.
3. Assassination is always an option in extreme cases, real or imagined.
fast freddy | Jan 11, 2016 7:46:05 PM | 33The system is totally corrupt. If you make it to Congress, you've got favors to pay back. If you don't work for the corporate interests (already aligned with deep state) you won't get the money to run a second term. Some other craven asshole will take your job whether you want it (by demonstrating total acquiescence) or not (by trying to be Mr.Smith in Washington).
Now, if you want to be President, you've got to have "experience" in Congress or in state gubmint.
The very best thing about Donald Trump, is that he is an outsider - particularly when compared with the other contestants whom are machine politicians (corrupted in the system). BTW, Bernie is full of shit (as is Trump).
juliania | Jan 11, 2016 8:50:00 PM | 37Lone Wolf @ 9
That is a very good explanation of 'Deep State'. My only caveat is that it doesn't completely describe the oligarchy because it leaves out the corporate component. When money became speech a huge mountain of power devolved to the rich. They'd always had clout as the graphs describing the separation of the rich from the not-so-well off and the rest of us have made clear - but now the ugly truth is unavoidable and it all goes together to produce what President Carter described.
It's just plain awful.
ben | Jan 11, 2016 10:04:10 PM | 42An excellent site with a deep look at the deep state: http://www.unwelcomeguests.net/UNWELCOME_GUESTS
V. Arnold | Jan 11, 2016 9:57:24 PM | 41Lone Wolf @ 9 & 17: Yep, that about covers it. Thanks.
Stir this into the mix, and basically, America's system of governance is a fraud.
fast freddy | Jan 11, 2016 10:05:02 PM | 43Susan Sunflowe r | Jan 11, 2016 10:54:55 PM | 49
Jimmy Carter seems like a real nice fellow. It should be remembered, however, that Brzezinski was Carter's National Security Adviser. Now that was probably the deep state hanging that albatross around ol' Peanut Boy's neck (as a minder, perhaps). In any case, Carter didn't do anything to stop that son of a bitch from his evil doings in Afghanistan.
"You are soldiers of god. Your cause is right and god is on your side". - Brzezinski addressing the Mujahideen.
Jane Mayers new book says Koch Brothers father built a major oil refinery for Hilter ... It looks to be another corker ...Ms. Mayer, a staff writer at The New Yorker, presents the Kochs and other families as the hidden and self-interested hands behind the rise and growth of the modern conservative movement. Philanthropists and political donors who poured hundreds of millions of dollars into think tanks, political organizations and scholarships, they helped win acceptance for anti-government and anti-tax policies that would protect their businesses and personal fortunes, she writes, all under the guise of promoting the public interest.
The Kochs, the Scaifes, the Bradleys and the DeVos family of Michigan "were among a small, rarefied group of hugely wealthy, archconservative families that for decades poured money, often with little public disclosure, into influencing how the Americans thought and voted," the book says.
Many of the families owned businesses that clashed with environmental or workplace regulators, come under federal or state investigation, or waged battles over their tax bills with the Internal Revenue Service, Ms. Mayer reports. The Kochs' vast political network, a major force in Republican politics today, was "originally designed as a means of off-loading the costs of the Koch Industries environmental and regulatory fights onto others" by persuading other rich business owners to contribute to Koch-controlled political groups, Ms. Mayer writes, citing an associate of the two brothers.
NYT: Father of Koch Brothers Helped Build Nazi Oil Refinery, Book Says .
... ... ...
Yeah, Right | Jan 12, 2016 3:13:58 AM | 63@10 "What is the mechanism that forces American presidents to go along with what the deep state decides?"
You can't run a campaign to be elected President of the United States unless you can tap into billionaires who are willing to hand over $100 millions to your campaign.
Without that largess you are not going to get elected, and people who have $billions are the going to be the very same people who make up the Deep State.
So you either get with the program or you get.... nothing. Not a cent. Not a hope.
This is part of the reason why Trump is causing so much mayhem: he is a candidate who already has those $billions, and so he isn't beholden to anyone but himself and his own whacky ideas.
Deep down I suspect that this is why he is the Republican frontrunner i.e. deep down Mr Joe Average knows that his "democracy" has been hijacked out from underneath him, so he is receptive to Trump's dogwhistle.
Which, basically, is this: why are you bothering with any of these chattering monkeys? Their votes will end up belonging to people like me anyway, so you may as well just cut out the middle-man.
jfl | Jan 12, 2016 3:30:05 AM | 64
Great story chipnik ... you should continue in that vein more often.
lysias @10 ... from guest77s recommended read ... @55 in the previous open thread ...
The Devil's Chessboard. Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government , chapter 10Eisenhower's innate midwestern sense of decency initially made him recoil from backing Britain's colonial siege of Iran. He rebuffed the Dulles brothers' advice, suggesting that it might be a better idea to stabilize Mossadegh's government with a $100 million loan than to topple it. If Eisenhower had followed through on his original instincts, the bedeviled history of U.S.-Iran relations would undoubtedly have taken a far different course.The author pours it on thick with zero references but, overall ...
Realizing that Eisenhower was not inclined to defend British imperial interests, the Dulles brothers reframed their argument for intervention in Cold War terms. On March 4, 1953, Allen appeared at a National Security Council meeting in the White House armed with seven pages of alarming talking points. Iran was confronted with "a maturing revolutionary set-up," he warned, and if the country fell into Communist hands, 60 percent of the free world's oil would be controlled by Moscow. Oil and gasoline would have to be rationed at home, and U.S. military operations would have to be curtailed.
In truth, the global crisis over Iran was not a Cold War conflict but a struggle "between imperialism and nationalism, between First and Third Worlds, between North and South, between developed industrial economies and underdeveloped countries dependent on exporting raw materials," in the words of Ervand Abrahamian.
1. The DS vetted Ike and discovered that he looked up to corporate CEOs and Wall Street financiers and their lawyers, he was sympathetic to those he fantasized as captains of industry and looked upon success as a marker of steady men, those of his imagined deep state.
2. Ike came cheap. He felt it was his duty to help out if the people he looked up to thought he was the right man at the right time.
3. Ike bought the 'What's good for GM is good for the country' line, just as Engine Charley Wilson did. No need to assassinate Ike.
The DS uses the same M.O. ... O tempora, o mores ... mutatis mutandis.
Jan 09, 2016 | naked capitalism
An Axis of Evil inside the Democratic Party is suddenly on the defensive. Steve Israel was forced to announce an early retirement for reasons that are still murky . Rahm Emanuel can barely show his face in Chicago and, with the exception of Hillary Clinton, all his cronies and allies are jumping off that sinking ship . And now it's looking like Debbie Wasserman Schultz's rotten self-serving career is finally catching up with her. As we mentioned, Tuesday, Roots Action has a petition drive to force her out of the DNC - with over 30,000 signatures already. And then yesterday, CREDO launched another petition drive to get her out of a position she never should have been in in the first place. I don't like signing petitions but I eagerly signed both of these. The Democratic Party will never be a force for real progressive change with careerist power mongers like Steve Israel, Rahm Emanuel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Chuck Schumer controlling it.
...There aren't that many Democrats as transactional as Debbie Wasserman Schultz when it comes to serving the interests of the wealthy people who have financed her political rise, from the sugar barons and private prison industry to the alcohol distillers .
...Wasserman Schultz's support for the dysfunctional corporate trade agreements like TPP very much motivated Canova to make the difficult decision to take on one of the House's most vicious gutter fighters. "People are just tired of being sold out by calculating and triangulating politicians," told us back in October when he was thinking about running. "Wasserman Schultz has become the ultimate machine politician. While she stakes out liberal positions on culture war issues, when it comes to economic and social issues, she's too often with the corporate elites. On too many crucial issues– from fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the war on drugs and medical marijuana and mass incarceration, to her support for budget sequestrations and austerity– Wasserman Schultz votes down the line with big corporate interests and cartels: Wall Street banks and hedge funds, Big Pharma, the private health insurers, private prisons, Monsanto, it goes on and on."Clive , January 9, 2016 at 2:54 amjgordon , January 9, 2016 at 3:31 am
I know it's the Daily Mail (I always swore I'd never start a comment with that but needs must…), anyhow, I know it's the Daily Mail, but I never saw such an outpouring of consistent bile and outrage like the comments which were posted on this DWS article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2962331/Democratic-Party-chair-Debbie-Wasserman-Schultz-says-activist-s-allegations-tried-bribe-outrageous.htmlYves Smith Post author , January 9, 2016 at 4:29 am
women's issues, LGBT issues, gun issues… but anything that involves economics
This is important. Initially I started out not having much of an opinion on LGBT and women's issues. However, the more I saw corrupt neoliberal politicians advocating for these issues (wasn't Obama trying to make Lloyd Blankfein the ambassador for LGBT issues or something a couple of years ago?) the more I started associating them with corruption and evil.
This isn't rational at all, but whenever I see HRC or Obama advocating for some particular culture war issue, the more I despise the groups and causes they're advocating for and the more I want to fight against them. Why aren't these people in the LGBT and women communities vocally and continually disowning these corrupt politicians? It's like having a serial killer come out in support of you.jgordon , January 9, 2016 at 10:14 am
These pols have played very successfully on out-groups' fear that their hold on legitimacy and power is fragile. That is particularly true with gay men, who outside a handful of big cities, face open discrimination and risk of physical harm.polecat , January 9, 2016 at 11:34 am
I understand that, but there is something in psychology called "shared distinctiveness". LGBT groups are uniquely distinctive just as corrupt politicians are uniquely distinctive. And the more I see corrupt politicians talking about the importance of LGBT issues, etc, the more the two are starting to go together in my head.
As I said that's not a rational process, but it's real. The mental connections that are formed mean that whenever I see LGBT activities/people/whatever I immediately think of all the corrupt politicians they're in bed with, and a lot of that aura of corruption brushes off on them.Uahsenaa , January 9, 2016 at 8:04 am
Lindsey Graham is a fine example…..NotTimothyGeithner , January 9, 2016 at 9:52 am
Feminist concerns are not in themselves corrupt, but what the Dem party peddles is tame, second wave weak sauce feminism of the Betty Friedan kind. Basically, "middle class housewives are oppressed by being withdrawn from equity within the workplace," which was even criticized at the time (notably by Germaine Greer) .
bell hooks, on the other hand, doesn't mince words at all, when she shows how questions of racial and gender oppression are expressly linked to economics/class and militarism. You can't tackle any of them without tackling all of them, so the DCCC's take that you can be liberal on "social" issues while hard right on political economy is not at all in line with contemporary feminist thinking, which holds, more or less, that the economy is a social issue just like reproductive rights, workplace equity, etc.Uahsenaa , January 9, 2016 at 12:07 pm
I wouldn't even say Team Blue is there. Pelosi and other prominent Team Blue women held a mock panel to get to the bottom of why Rush Limbaugh was mean to a Georgetown Law school student who was photogenic. This has been the sum total of Team Blue's defense of feminism since GDub except to cynically conclude young women will rush to Team Blue because Hillary is a woman despite Hillary losing young women in 2008.PlutoniumKun , January 9, 2016 at 8:21 am
Your assessment is more spot on, perhaps, given we can't even get Dems to commit to something as broadly popular as paid family leave.
That said, I've noticed a denigrating tone directed toward what gets labeled as "identity politics" of late, and I just wanted to make clear that current proponents of things like critical race theory and what have you are more in line with the NC commentariat than I think people give them credit for.wbgonne , January 9, 2016 at 9:11 am
Unfortunately, its become part of the professional centre-left playbook around the world – you see it in many countries. Genuflecting to identity politics has become like right wing politicians pretending to be religious. Here in Ireland the Irish Labour party, in coalition with a centre right party, used up every bit of political credit they had to push for gay marriage. Like most people I was very happy it was legalised, but they were patting themselves on the back for this while simultaneously supporting vicious austerity.
Its a classic bait and switch move, but it also reflects a professional political class who have completely lost contact with their supposed base. I've met left wing activists who genuinely saw it as something more important than, say, protecting benefits for the poor.PlutoniumKun , January 9, 2016 at 10:21 am
Unfortunately, its become part of the professional centre-left playbook around the world – you see it in many countries. Genuflecting to identity politics has become like right wing politicians pretending to be religious.
I think the explanation is quite simple, at least in the U.S. (which has effectively exported its political dysfunction to other developed democracies). When the Washington Consenusus formed around corporatism (neoliberalism for the Democrats, conservatism/economic libertarianism for the Republicans), there was no longer meaningful economic distinction between the parties. So culture war/identity politics issues are all that remain for brand differentiation. Obama's recent Academy Award performance on guns is a harbinger of how the Democrats will run in 2016 if Clinton is the nominee. Plus Planned Parenthood and gay marriage and a few additional poll-tested non-economic issues that the professionals calculate will garner marginally more votes than they will cost. If the Democrats here truly wanted to win they would nominate Bernie Sanders and run on the wildly-popular platform of economic populism. (I'd say this is probably true in Britain with Corbyn and Labour as well, and probably in France and Italy as well, where the nominal leftists parties have been infected by neoliberalism.) It seems clear at this point that the Democratic Party is more committed to Wall Street than it is to the middle class, and is quite prepared to lose political power to keep its place at the financial trough. Obama's reign is solid evidence and the fact that Clinton remains the frontrunner and the establishment's darling shows they are doubling down, not changing course.wbgonne , January 9, 2016 at 11:40 am
You are quite right in what you say, even if the processes are slightly different in every country. In the UK in particular, I think there is a huge problem with the Labour Party in that it was effectively taken over by middle class left wing student activist types who have only the most theoretical notion how poor or working class people live. It is inevitable that they start to reinterpret 'left wing' and 'liberal' in a manner which suits the people they socialise with. I.e. seeing social progressivism as far more important than economic justice.
Back in the 1990's I shared a house in London with a lawyer who qualified in Oxford – many of her friends were the first generation of Blairites. They were intelligent, enthusiastic and genuinely passionate about change. But talking to them it was glaringly obvious the only connection they had with 'ordinary' people was when they first had to canvass on the streets. I remember one young woman expressing horror at the potential constituent who came and insisted that she sort out her welfare entitlements, because thats what a politician is supposed to do. She had simply never met someone from the 'underclass' if you want to put it that way. It was all too obvious that people like her would shift rapidly to the right as soon as they achieved power, they had no real empathy or feel for regular people.
In my own country, in Ireland, it is far more cynical. Its no secret that the traditional main centre left party, Labour, realised it would lose its core working class base if it supported austerity. They crunched the polling numbers, and strategised that they could replace them with the one big cohort that pollsters said were 'unclaimed' by other parties – working educated females 25-45. So they quite deliberately refocused their policies from representing working class and poorer people, to focusing on progressive-lite policies. fortunately, it seems that most working educated females 25-45 are too smart to fall for the cynicism, most polls indicate they will be wiped out in the next election.ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© , January 9, 2016 at 10:26 am
it seems that most working educated females 25-45 are too smart to fall for the cynicism, most polls indicate they will be wiped out in the next election
I do see signs of political awakening around the Western world, including here in the epicenter of the neoliberal infestation. Can the forces of reform win? Can the people take control of the political systems back from the plutocrats? Can they do it in time to avoid catastrophic global warming and socially-destructive wealth inequality? We'll see.wbgonne , January 9, 2016 at 11:36 am
Bill Clinton proved how profitable triangulation can be, and Obama followed that model from even before taking his first oath as President in January, 2009.
Bernie Sanders isn't perfect, but he's so much better than Hillary in every way.ex-PFC Chuck , January 9, 2016 at 12:32 pm
Bill Clinton proved how profitable triangulation can be, and Obama followed that model from even before taking his first oath as President in January, 2009.
True, but there is one glaring difference between the 90s and today. In the 90s one could make a plausible if not persuasive case that the electorate did not want economic populism and was content with the Third Way's neoliberal economic royalism. So, Bill Clinton's "triangulation" was actually designed to secure votes and win elections (as well as pad Clinton's pockets, of course.). Today, things are very different, with the people since 2007 overwhelmingly clamoring for economic populism but the Democrats refusing to provide it and indeed castigating those who want the party to turn left.
Bernie Sanders isn't perfect, but he's so much better than Hillary in every way.
No doubt. And I am very pleased to say that I appear to have been wrong in thinking that Sanders was fading. I'm not saying Sanders will win, but it looks to me like he may stick around long enough for Hillary to (very possibly) implode, since she is and always has been a bad politician.Pavel , January 9, 2016 at 2:22 pm
In re:"If the Democrats here truly wanted to win they would nominate Bernie Sanders and run on the wildly-popular platform of economic populism."
I don't think the the neolib Dems (aka DLC Dems) want to win full control of the federal government. They want the presidency and only one of the two houses of Congress. This allows them to remain on the money train while blaming the Republicans for their inability to pass progressive legislation which pisses off their paymasters.Local to Oakland , January 9, 2016 at 3:14 pm
What drives me crazy about Hillary (though it can easily be extended to other Dems) is all her talk of women, children, gun control, and LGBT rights (remember her tweet when gay marriage was legalised) while as SofS she approved arms deals to Saudi Arabia and the Clinton Slush Foundation took donations from it - surely one of the most despotic, anti-women, anti-LGBT regimes in the world. Not to mention the ongoing US-supported Saudi genocide in Yemen.
So I guess HRC and the others think Americans need all these rights but people in the Mideast can just go stuff themselves. Because, you know, ISIS, and TERRORISM, and OIL…and arms sales.
Why the fsck doesn't Bernie point out these contradictions? Hillary apparently is blaming him for being "weak on gun control" while she has been a member of one of the most militaristic, bombing-and-droning administrations since, well, George W. Bush's.
Hey Team Bernie, in the next debate, if HRC brings up control, just have Bernie quietly but clearly say something like: "Forgive me Madame Secretary, but HOW DARE YOU criticise me on gun control when you were responsible for blowing up Libya and shipping arms to ISIS?"
/rantandyb , January 9, 2016 at 8:05 am
Thank you for saying this.
Also re guns and politics, if he can win the nomination, Sanders' position will help him in rural states. I have never seen a national politician address the differing needs between working people who feed their families with the help of a deer or two vs urban people whose primary concern is gang violence. All we hear is pro or anti gun and people have trouble imagining each others circumstances.ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© , January 9, 2016 at 10:27 am
DWS is my Congressperson. She is adored by elderly Jewish women, reluctantly accepted by Democrats (an overwhelming majority in her District), and loathed by all others. Whenever she appears on local or national TV, she regurgitates an obvious rote memorized list of talking points that she refuses to stray from. She will never engage in a true debate, and avoids answering any substantive questions. She keeps getting re-elected because of weak opposition and a complicit local media.
I'm thrilled that there is a candidate that could derail her.
Readers should be aware that some years back a local politician used her picture as a target at a local gun range. There was considerable uproar in the media, somewhat offset by a cottage industry providing actual pictures of her superimposed over a standard target.allan , January 9, 2016 at 11:19 am
She keeps getting re-elected because of weak opposition and a complicit local media.
And all that cash she gets from the people she sells out to.JTMcPhee , January 9, 2016 at 8:56 am
It's hard to say exactly what you're referring to,
but saying that FDL's regulars and commenters were DWS fans is totally off base.
Typical coverage (from 2009):
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Won't Draw "Lines in the Sand" – Except When She Does
… when she says it's more important for her to be in a leadership position fighting for a public plan than it is to make a commitment to vote against a bill that doesn't have one, I think that's a luxury she can afford:
DWS: I'm planning to reform for a health care reform plan that includes a robust public option.
Mike Stark: Those are … we're calling them "weasel words" over at FDL just because it does give you a huge loophole to back out of .
DWS: Well I'm not someone who draws lines in the sand.Carolinian , January 9, 2016 at 9:36 am
And if she loses in the primary, so what? As far as I can tell, the head of the DNC does not have to be an elected official still in office. She of course is a "superdelegate," and under DNC rules, wiki reports that "The chairperson is a superdelegate for life."
Wiki also reports that the DNC plays no role in "policy." Just writes the platform every so often. Really?
While they live, they rule, and to re-coin an old legal chestnut, we have buried the Rulers we unelect, but they rule us from their graves…NotTimothyGeithner , January 9, 2016 at 10:19 am
Isn't a name missing from the above rogue's gallery: Nancy Pelosi. If I'm not mistaken DWS was a bit of a protege.polecat , January 9, 2016 at 11:05 am
Nancy is a Lex Luthor caliber villain. She doesn't warrant being lumped with henchmen or the Kitemans of the world.ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© , January 9, 2016 at 10:29 am
I can hardly wait for her grand-daughter to rise-up to the same level……..wbgonne , January 9, 2016 at 11:45 am
Obama's name is missing. He's the one who picked her to head the DNC.
~Pavel , January 9, 2016 at 2:25 pm
Obama never gets blamed for anything. Keep your fingerprints off and find a villain to blame instead. That's Obama's modus operandi and it's worked his entire life. He is beyond Teflon.mad as hell. , January 9, 2016 at 10:56 am
Part of that strategy seems to be a definite preference for staying ignorant and uninformed. How many times has he claimed not to be aware of something going on until it's in the MSM? Of course hard to keep up when one is on the golf course so much of the time.flora , January 9, 2016 at 12:36 pm
You could see which way her wagon was headed almost four years ago if not longer from Greenwald's article.
Schultz's is one of those unfortunate people to have a bullshit aura circling her where ever she steps.
Great news! How do you get rid of neolib DLC-machine third-way triangulating Dems? One seat at a time.
economistsview.typepad.comAs the title says, elections matter:Elections Have Consequences, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times : ...I'm a big geek... I was eagerly awaiting the I.R.S.'s tax tables for 2013... And what these tables show is that elections really do have consequences.anne :
You might think that this is obvious. But on the left, in particular, there are some people who, disappointed by the limits of what President Obama has accomplished, minimize the differences between the parties. Whoever the next president is, they assert - or at least ... if it's not Bernie Sanders - things will remain pretty much the same, with the wealthy continuing to dominate the scene. ...
But the truth is that Mr. Obama's election ... had some real, quantifiable consequences. ...
If Mitt Romney had won, we can be sure that Republicans would have found a way to prevent these tax hikes. ...
Mr. Obama has effectively rolled back not just the Bush tax cuts but Ronald Reagan's as well..., about $70 billion a year in revenue. This happens to be in the same ballpark as both food stamps and ... this year's net outlays on Obamacare. So we're not talking about something trivial.
Speaking of Obamacare, that's another thing Republicans would surely have killed if 2012 had gone the other way. ... And the effect on health care has been huge...
Now, to be fair, some widely predicted consequences of Mr. Obama's re-election - predicted by his opponents - didn't happen. Gasoline prices didn't soar. Stocks didn't plunge. The economy didn't collapse..., and the unemployment rate is a full point lower than the rate Mr. Romney promised to achieve by the end of 2016.
In other words, the 2012 election didn't just allow progressives to achieve some important goals. It also gave them an opportunity to show that achieving these goals is feasible. No, asking the rich to pay somewhat more in taxes while helping the less fortunate won't destroy the economy.
So now we're heading for another presidential election. And once again the stakes are high. Whoever the Republicans nominate will be committed to destroying Obamacare and slashing taxes on the wealthy - in fact, the current G.O.P. tax-cut plans make the Bush cuts look puny. Whoever the Democrats nominate will, first and foremost, be committed to defending the achievements of the past seven years.
The bottom line is that presidential elections matter, a lot, even if the people on the ballot aren't as fiery as you might like. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/04/academics-and-politics/anne -> anne...
January 4, 2015
Academics And Politics
By Paul Krugman
Via Noah Smith, * an interesting back-and-forth about the political leanings of professors. Conservatives are outraged ** at what they see as a sharp leftward movement in the academy:
But what's really happening here? Did professors move left, or did the meaning of conservatism in America change in a way that drove scholars away? You can guess what I think. But here's some evidence. First, using the DW-nominate measure *** - which uses roll-call votes over time to identify a left-right spectrum, and doesn't impose any constraint of symmetry between the parties - what we've seen over the past generation is a sharp rightward (up in the figure) move by Republicans, with no comparable move by Democrats, especially in the North:
So self-identifying as a Republican now means associating yourself with a party that has moved sharply to the right since 1995. If you like, being a Republican used to mean supporting a party that nominated George H.W. Bush, but now it means supporting a party where a majority of primary voters **** support Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. Being a Democrat used to mean supporting a party that nominated Bill Clinton; it now means supporting a party likely to nominate, um, Hillary Clinton. And views of conservatism/liberalism have probably moved with that change in the parties.
Furthermore, if your image is one of colleges being taken over by Marxist literary theorists, you should know that the political leanings of hard scientists are if anything more pronounced than those of academics in general. From Pew: *****
Why is this? Well, climate denial and hostility to the theory of evolution are pretty good starting points.
Overall, the evidence looks a lot more consistent with a story that has academics rejecting a conservative party that has moved sharply right than it does with a story in which academics have moved left.
Now, you might argue that academics should reflect the political spectrum in the nation - that we need affirmative action for conservative professors, even in science. But do you really want to go there?
***** http://www.people-press.org/2009/07/09/section-4-scientists-politics-and-religion/Wild conservatives have been attacking supposed liberals at universities since the time of Joseph McCarthy. The attacks have changed in nuance now and again but been persistent since the close of the 1940s. Whether the attacks extend back before the late 1940s is a matter I have to look into.DeDude :Yes the differences between candidates may not be nearly as great as you want it to be - but the idea that it "makes no difference" whether the GOP or Democratic candidate gets to be president is idiotic. Anybody who can be bothered looking through executive actions during Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama years will recognize a huge difference.Dan Kervick :Elections matter. Nominations matter too. But the only nomination battle Paul Krugman is apparently interested in is the Republican one, which he trolls constantly to amuse himself. This despite the fact that there are very major policy difference, both foreign and domestic, present on the Democratic side - along with major differences in political alliances, monetary support bases and key constituencies.Dan Kervick -> EMichael...
Paul Krugman is a middle of the road, mainstream fellow who manages to line up on the "left" according to the austerely conservative economic standards of the establishment media. If Krugman were chief economic adviser - or even president - nothing very important in America would change economically. So when he tries to tell "progressives" about what would advance "their goals", his words are a good candidate for in one ear, out the other treatment.
Harold Meyerson, the Democratic Socialist op-ed columnist for Wapo, was just canned by Fred Hiatt. Apart from removing another left wing economic voice from the establishment public sphere, this helps clear the decks for a 2017 Middle East war after Clinton gets control of the war room from Obama. Not a word on that firing from sometime scourge of the Washington Post, Brad DeLong - who I guess is pretty cool with it.
The world of the NY Times, Wapo, the Atlantic, the New Republic, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, National Review - it's all one intellectually gated community where the affluent talk among themselves at the club house about their slightly different approaches to maintaining order are protecting elite privileges and power.I didn't say they were either stupid or corrupt. They are intelligent people whose political orientation reflects the general predilections and interests of their class. That's really not much different than most people in America. But the class divides are intensifying, which is why the discourse of that establishment group is of increasingly diminished relevance to what the other 80% of the country is talking about.Dan Kervick -> EMichael...That's what the elite is always going to do. People who are interested in significant social change should never count on elitists coming down out of the clouds to save them.anne -> Dan Kervick...Harold Meyerson, the Democratic Socialist op-ed columnist for Wapo, was just canned by Fred Hiatt.... Not a word on that firing from sometime scourge of the Washington Post, Brad DeLong - who I guess is pretty cool with it....Julio -> Dan Kervick...
[ Telling and saddening, but this should not be a surprising silence by an academic who periodically wildly smashes liberals. ]"Paul Krugman is a middle of the road, mainstream fellow..."Dan Kervick -> Julio ...
I am old enough to remember a time when he would have been one. But not now.
"So when he tries to tell "progressives" about what would advance "their goals", his words are a good candidate for in one ear, out the other treatment."
No: they are a candidate for a place to start a conversation with liberals, to expand their views of what's possible.Krugman is not interested in such discussions. As has been pointed out several times, he and DeLong have studiously avoided any engagement with the issues that are being hotly contested in the Democratic Party's primary campaign. They are bright and well-informed fellows, so this is no ignorant oversight and is certainly a deliberate, tactical political choice.EMichael -> Dan Kervick...Why in the world do you care why two economists who you disrespect on many levels have not discussed the Dem candidates?yuan -> EMichael...Funny how you skipped over the word "issues" and moved the goal post to "dem candidates".Sanjait -> yuan...
The difference between Sanders and Clinton when it comes to income inequality, TBTF, and financial regulation is stark. These economic issues are studiously avoided by DeLong and Krugman because they are, and always have been, loyal insiders to the establishment.
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/05/nothing-to-say/Syaloch -> Dan Kervick..."The difference between Sanders and Clinton when it comes to income inequality, TBTF, and financial regulation is stark."
Sanders shouts about income inequality but like Hillary has no real plan to impact it except at the margins.
On financial regulation also, Sanders makes the louder noises and trots out Glass Steagall often, but Hillary, not Bernie, is the one who actually has a coherent and plausible plan for limiting systemic financial risk. Bernie fans seem fundamentally incapable of unwilling to process this fact, to the detriment of everyone.I take exception to your (mis)use of Krugman to support your narrative. As Julio notes above (I think), Krugman's early writings were notably more middle of the road; he started off as a committed centrist, taking on left and right equally whenever he felt one side or the other was peddling nonsense. Over time I've seen his writing become more political and more consistently liberal, even as his paycheck has presumably increased.Dan Kervick -> Syaloch...
As an example, back in the '90s Krugman was slamming Robert Reich as a nonsense-peddling "policy entrepreneur", but by 2015 he was writing a glowing review of Reich's book, "Saving Capitalism".I took it that what Julio was mainly referring to was that the establishment discourse has moved so far to the right that someone like Krugman now represents the far left of what that establishment will tolerate.Julio -> Dan Kervick...That was indeed my point.Julio -> Syaloch...I would not call his review "glowing", but I agree with your example. I think Krugman the columnist started as someone "above the fray", engaged in an academic exercise; and has since learned he must support his allies, even if he has intellectual disagreements with them.Julio -> Dan Kervick..."Krugman is not interested in such discussions."Dan Kervick -> Julio ...
So? If I am correct in stating that he represents a lot of the liberal spectrum, then those are the people we need to move "left" or, as I prefer to put it, enlarge their view of what's possible.
Sanders IMO is doing a good job of this. He is being loudly ignored by Krugman, which makes your point; and also by a lot of liberals who think he cannot win because, um, he's unelectable -- which makes mine.It doesn't seem like we disagree much on the background facts. But if someone is engaging in a deliberate strategy of ignoring the left, there doesn't seem to be much point in pretending they are having a discussion with the left.Syaloch -> Julio ...
One way to try to move more people to the left is to encourage them to stop lending so much credence to establishment opinions. Krugman's ego is big enough that if he detects his relevance and popularity slipping away, he will move along with the zeitgeist to go where the people are.I don't think there's nearly as much of a separation between Krugman and Sanders as you guys seem to think.Julio -> Syaloch...
At least Sanders doesn't seem to think so.
Bernie Sanders Hints At What A Sanders Administration Cabinet Could Look Like
Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) offered a first glimpse on Sunday of some of the people he might consider for his cabinet in a potential Sanders administration, and a few that he certainly won't.
"My cabinet would not be dominated by representatives of Wall Street," Sanders said on CNN's "State of the Union." "I think Wall Street's played a horrendous role in recent years, in negatively impacting our economy and in making the rich richer. There are a lot of great public servants out there, great economists who for years have been standing up for the middle class and the working families of this country."
Prompted by host Jake Tapper, Sanders went on to praise Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist. Krugman is a vocal opponent of tax cuts for the rich, and he has warned readers for years about the dangers of income inequality. "Krugman does a great job," Sanders said.
Also doing a great job, Sanders said, is Columbia University economics professor and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, whose recent work has focused on the perils of radical free markets, such as those espoused by some in the libertarian wing of the GOP.
Sanders also singled out Robert Reich, the former labor secretary under President Bill Clinton, now a professor at the University of California at Berkeley: "I think [he] is doing a fantastic job." Reich has long been an influential backer of labor unions, which have come under attack from Republican governors in recent years.
Still, Sanders said, "it's a little bit too early, I must say, to be appointing a cabinet. Let me get elected first."
In recent weeks, Sanders' long shot campaign for the Democratic nomination has captured a swell of momentum on the left, drawing larger crowds in Iowa than Hillary Clinton, the presumed Democratic front-runner.
"All over this country, younger people, working people, elderly people, are moving in our direction, because they want a candidate to take on the establishment," Sanders said.I don't think Krugman disagrees with Sanders, but he seems to ignore him. Like everyone else in the media, he's devoted much more time to the Republicans.Syaloch -> Julio ...But that's because it's always been his style to write that way. Krugman has always spent most of his effort attacking those who he perceives as peddling nonsense, or providing additional evidence to back up a position he has taken against a nonsense peddler. He rarely spends time talking about those he agrees with. Even in cases where he has written approvingly about Obama or the ACA, he's done so primarily as a counterweight to all those he sees taking the opposite (and incorrect) view.Dan Kervick -> Syaloch...
While he hasn't said much about Sanders aside from praising his example of Denmark as a role model for change, he hasn't said a whole lot about Clinton either. Probably his most explicit comment on either was in his column comparing their proposed Wall Street reforms, where he concluded:
"If a Democrat does win, does it matter much which one it is? Probably not. Any Democrat is likely to retain the financial reforms of 2010, and seek to stiffen them where possible. But major new reforms will be blocked until and unless Democrats regain control of both houses of Congress, which isn't likely to happen for a long time.
"In other words, while there are some differences in financial policy between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders, as a practical matter they're trivial compared with the yawning gulf with Republicans."
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/16/opinion/democrats-republicans-and-wall-street-tycoons.htmlYes, but there are clearly more differences between Clinton and Sanders than just differences over financial policy - the most obvious and large one being their differences over health care.Syaloch -> Dan Kervick...In terms of what they're likely to be able to deliver in the current political climate there really doesn't seem to be that much difference between them.pgl -> Dan Kervick...
However there is one key difference: Sanders has been able to energize the Democratic base in a way that Clinton the policy wonk simply can't.
But we digress.Bernie is endorsing single payer. That was HillaryCare ala 1993. That was her position in 2008...Dan Kervick -> pgl...What the heck are you talking about? The Clinton health Care Plan of 1993 was not a single payer plan. The 2008 plan was also by no means a single payer plan. And single payer is certainly not her position now, since she has come out strongly against it on the oh-so-progressive grounds that it will ... (gasp) ... raise taxes! Good grief.Dan Kervick -> Syaloch...Do you really think that the differences between Sanders and Clinton on how college education is to be paid for, to take one example, is trivial?pgl -> Syaloch...
Painting the large differences between Clinton and Sanders as trivial seems like a case of dumbing down the debate so that people don't pay attention to it.
Krugman frequently devotes a great deal of time to people who are not peddling nonsense. He just participated in an involved debate with DeLong and Summers, two people he agrees with on most issues. And he has done the same in many past columns debating the views of various esteemed economics colleagues at length.anne -> Julio ..."Sanders went on to praise Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist. Krugman is a vocal opponent of tax cuts for the rich, and he has warned readers for years about the dangers of income inequality."
Even more places where Bernie Sanders has basically called JohnH a liar.If I am correct in stating that he represents a lot of the liberal spectrum, then those are the people we need to move "left" or, as I prefer to put it, enlarge their view of what's possible.pgl -> Dan Kervick...
Sanders IMO is doing a good job of this. He is being loudly ignored by Krugman...
[ Nicely expressed. ]So go write these comments over at Paul's place. Oh wait - you are a coward. Never mind.Julio -> pgl...You know, of all the insults you freely toss about, this "cowardice" one is the dumbest. We're all here to discuss Thoma's selections, but we're cowards if we criticize them here?Dan Kervick -> pgl...I have written several comments at "Paul's" blog that were directly critical of his arguments. I have also posted many critical comments on Twitter directly @ Krugman. I have no problem going right at people. But I don't like the NY Times format as much because it is harder to have a live debate there.anne -> Dan Kervick...The word "troll" is used to intimidate and silence, and used to depict the writer in question is wildly false and mean-spirited.Dan Kervick -> anne...Lol... yeah, I know the feeling.Sanjait -> pgl...Delong isnt a socialist, democratic or otherwise.Dan Kervick -> Sanjait...
And this bent of creating purity tests for commentators and politicians to define who is sufficiently progressive or more progressive or whatever, it reeks of Republicans and their conservative tribalism.
It's asinine and anti intellectual, and I condemn it unequivocally.It's not a purity test of any kind. I don't know what "purity" means in this context. There is no sense in which democratic socialists are "purer" than liberals. They just have different values and goals. For socialists, a society based on sharing, solidarity, equality and cooperation is the highest ideal, where for liberals the highest idea is the expression of personal liberty, potential and individuality. There are certainly ways in which these outlooks can find specific expressions at a given point in time that involve significant overlap, but their chief governing ideals are different.Sanjait -> Dan Kervick...
I agree with you completely that DeLong simply has a different ideology or social philosophy than someone like Sanders or Meyerson, and I object to the dumbing down of the debate between these two camps by such trite slogans as "Oh, you know after all, we are all on the same team". That's silly. It confuses the highly contingent, shifting and adventitious alliances that are part of the American party system with the coherence of a philosophical stance. These differences and disputes should be debated, instead of attempting to muddy and flatten them all under the foolish fantasy that it doesn't make a dime's worth of difference whether a society moves toward an ideal of progress fashioned from democratic socialist principles or one fashioned from liberal principles.
I brought DeLong in this context because he is a noted scourge of the Washington Post and its op-ed writers, so if he had any sympathy for Meyerson's views, this would be more low-hanging fruit for him. But nothing so far. And my guess is that the main reason is that Meyerson is just not DeLong's cup of tea. But who knows. the year is young.Tl;drDan Kervick -> Sanjait...
What I do notice is a lot of navel gazing talk about how "left" this or that commentator is, which as I said is asinine, anti-intellectual, and ironically very similar to the way conservatives operate.Great. You think it's navel gazing. Easy for you to say from your desk writing insurance policies or whatever the hell it is you do. But it does make a real difference to millions and millions of people who don't have the lives you and I have, and whose lives aren't going to get *notably* better once Krugman, DeLong and Summers decide which particular version of capitalist oppression their best models point toward. Those people are dying of American capitalism, and their kids are going to die of it too, and whether the ruling class decides on one set of interest rates or a slightly higher set of interest rates only marginally affects the precise speed at which the barons who own their lives are able to kill them.anne -> Dan Kervick...
If people have the honestly to tell me, "Look, I'm a believer in good ol' American capitalism, and that lefty stuff just won't fly with me," that's one thing. But when they try to convince me that the kind of world they are after is really the same kind of world I want, just so I'll vote for their politicians - then I get ornery. Maybe I'd have an easier time with the conservatives because at least the look me in the face and say, "I hate your pinko guts".
The debate has gotten half crazy. Someone like Brad DeLong has called himself a "card-carrying neoliberal". And yet I get pilloried for calling DeLong a neoliberal - as though I libeled him - or for calling attention to the apparently uncomfortable fact that since neoliberals are obviously not leftists, then DeLong is no kind of leftist whatsoever. Or for noting that since DeLong is a loyal student of his mentor and adviser Larry Summers - who is about as mainstream a player as they come in the global capitalist system - that makes Delong a thoroughly establishment economist. (This isn't about "purity". DeLong is not an "impure" half-assed lefty. He's just a mainline capitalist.) Or for having the audacity to want to *debate* from the left the ideas that come up here instead of joining in with the yea-and-amen corner where everybody just agrees with one another. Oh no, we're all on the same team! Stop being such an annoying troll and criticizing the team! Larry Summers - that great man on the make who was the highest paid professor in the history of Harvard, and sold himself and his thoroughly mainstream "advice" to some Wall Street firm for $5 million/yr in between other gigs - he's also on the team bro!
I've made many good faith efforts in the past to calmly debate the ideas of people whose moral outlooks I disdain and whose best proposals amount to no more than marginal differences in a system I detest. In return, I get insulted routinely and asked to leave. But hey, we're all on the same team!
It seems to me that the liberals are having a crisis of faith and confidence because their late 20th century paradigm is crumbling apart from the inside, they don't know what to replace it with, and they don't know what side they are going to end up standing on when it falls. Look at poor pgl. He can't even remember what "single payer" means any more. I haven't encountered a single liberal Clinton supporter who is positively enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton. Frankly, they all seem defensive at best about her, and somewhat scared. But they fell in early with the TINA argument and the strategy of smothering debate under the Clinton machine, and now having let the Inevitability Express get so far down the tracks they don't know what else to do. And when that crazed, neocon-tilting fanatic launches her global military crusades in 2017, you guys will all be investing some sob story about how Bush is to blame, or Reagan is to blame, or Calvin Coolidge or William McKinley is to blame. A fat lot of good that will do the body parts she scatters all over the West Bank, Syria, Iran or whatever other places we're into by then.
Krugman had a meltdown last week - as he and the other chronic countercyclical stabilizers apparently do whenever anybody uses that dangerous and threatening word "structural", pointing at the possibility of changing the system and not just stabilizing it - because even a middle of the road guy like Tim Taylor had the audacity to "change the subject" and talk about something he actually wants talk about ... as though Paul Krugman gets to decide what the "subject" is, and everyone who doesn't talk about what Krugman demands they talk about is written up for changing that subject. Screw Krugman. He wouldn't know what "the subject" is if he tripped over it lying in the street on his way to some Manhattan train station. In fact, he probably has tripped over it.
I'm so tired of dealing with liberals with their chronic cases of double-think, unresolved intellectual conflicts, self-deluding irony and fuzzy, snarky ambivalence about everything. Pick a damn side. You are either with the plutocratic owners who dominate and run everyone else's lives - or you are on the side of taking them down and leveling the field.http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/no-happy-new-year-at-the-washington-post-harold-meyerson-gets-the-bootanne -> anne...
December 31, 2015
No Happy New Year at the Washington Post: Harold Meyerson Gets the Boot
The Washington Post opinion pages is not a place most people go for original thought, even if they do provide much material for Beat the Press. One major exception to the uniformity and unoriginality that have marked the section for decades was Harold Meyerson's column. Meyerson has been writing a weekly column for the Post for the last thirteen years. He was told by opinion page editor Fred Hiatt that his contract would not be renewed for 2016. *
According to Meyerson, Hiatt gave as his reasons that his columns had bad social media metrics and that he focused too much on issues like worker power. The first part of this story is difficult to believe. Do other Post columnists, like Beat the Press regulars Robert Samuelson and Charles Lane, really have such great social media metrics?
As far as the second part, yes Meyerson was a different voice. His columns showed a concern for the ordinary workers who make up the overwhelming majority of the country's population. Apparently this is a liability at the Post.
-- Dean BakerThe studied failure of the fierce critic of the Washington Post and New York Times from the economics department of the University of California at Berkeley to so much as regret the firing of the only writer on labor affairs at either paper tells of just how little regard there is for the affairs of ordinary workers.Sanjait -> anne...
Not surprising, but disappointing nonetheless.Oh please.ken melvin -> Dan Kervick...
Delong has been writing loudly about the need for pro labor fiscal and monetary policy for the last 6 years. He's a leading voice on this topic, despite being "shrill."
To anyone that has been paying attention even a little, he has more than firmly established his concern for workers.
You're just weirdly upset because he called the Yale protesters stupid. Others here are upset because, like conservative tribalists, they think the best way to promote progressive causes is to ignore fact based debates and instead talk about who is or isn't an apostate. It's really very ugly.Two states, maybe?am -> Dan Kervick...Harold Meyerson, the Democratic Socialist op-ed columnist for Wapo, was just canned by Fred Hiatt. Apart from removing another left wing economic voice from the establishment public sphere, this helps clear the decks for a 2017 Middle East war after Clinton gets control of the war room from Obama. Not a word on that firing from sometime scourge of the Washington Post, Brad DeLong - who I guess is pretty cool with it.Dan Kervick -> am...
This is from your comment. You go from the sacking of a journalist to clearing the ground for a middle east war and then connect it all to Brad De Long. I hope you see the defects in your thinking.OK, let's wait and see what DeLong says.djb -> Dan Kervick...
However, I stand by the idea that one of Hiatt's beefs with Meyerson is that Meyerson is a critic of the generally neoconservative foreign policies that Hiatt staunchly promotes. I think Hiatt is likely rubbing his hands in glee over the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency, since her foreign policy will be much more aggressive and neocon-friendly than Obama's - and also much more so than a president Trump, for that matter, whom the neocons despise and fear.sorry to bother you dan but I couldn't help notice your comment to Egmont about consumption being greater than incomeDan Kervick -> djb...
"As you can see, consumption runs consistently and significantly higher than wages and salaries."
why do you think that is?djb, to be accurate, I pointed out that consumption was higher than wage and salary income. And clearly one reason for that is that is that wage and salary income is only one portion of national income. Besides other returns to labor like bonuses, a lot of income consists in profits and other returns to capital.Dan Kervick :Even Brookings is getting worried about what's going on with the growing cultural isolation of the relatively affluent:Syaloch -> Dan Kervick...
http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/social-mobility-memos/posts/2015/09/03-separation-upper-middle-class-reeves?cid=00900015020089101US0001-0907This Brookings piece doesn't contribute much of anything to the conversation either. Mostly it just provides a working definition of upper middle class. The "getting worried" part is pretty much limited to the conclusion, and even then mostly outsourced to a conservative writer over at Slate:EMichael -> Syaloch...
The Upper Middle Class Is Ruining America
And if we go and read the Slate piece we find out that it's mostly BS -- even the Brookings article warns us in advance that it's "hyperbole, of course."
All of that said I do think there is an important point to be made, one that I was making the other day -- if you let a small number of people accumulate extreme levels of wealth, these people will tend to focus their philanthropic efforts on the sorts of problems that get discussed in their rather limited social circle, which may not be what the broader population views as the most pressing issues. However, I was talking about billionaires (and tech billionaires in particular, who tend to view things through an even narrower lens. In contrast, here we're talking about a much larger and more diverse group -- 15-20% of the working-age population according to the article -- many of whom came from middle class or lower-middle class backgrounds and who strongly identify with these groups and their concerns.Of course it doesn't contribute to the discussion, not unless you read between the kervick lines and understand that the separation is sinister, aided and abetted by pols and economists on both sides as they are all elites.Dan Kervick -> Syaloch...
"When everyone is out to get you, paranoia is just being careful." Dan K, err, I mean Woody Allen.The Brookings title for the article describes the separation as "dangerous". Isn't that an instance of worrying?Syaloch -> Dan Kervick...
The point isn't that the upper middle class is engaged in some sort of sneaky, diabolical plot to "ruin" America, but rather that the emergence of growing cultural, educational and economic gaps between different classes of Americans is bad for the country, and that the greater the degree of class separations, the greater likelihood that the discourse of people who belong to a particular class will tend to reflect the preoccupations and values of that class alone.
At all times and in all societies the preoccupation of those who have most greatly benefited from a given social order will tend to be focused on how to defuse, appease or discipline dissenting elements without disrupting the social order.The Brookings title appears to be mere clickbait, with little in the article to back the claim up. The main thrust of the piece is that those who've managed to make it to the upper end of the middle class have been more successful than those with less income. Big surprise there.Dan Kervick -> Syaloch...
I have no objection to the claim that growing economic gaps are bad for the country. However, I do think your attempt to cast this as an internal conflict within the middle class is nonsense.
I mean, Bernie Sanders' net worth is reportedly $700,000, which is roughly three times the median for someone his age ($232,100 as of 2013). Isn't he part of this elite class you describe, doing what elites always do? Does his political orientation reflect the general predilections and interests of his class?It seems to me the article documents trends in several areas, all meant to back up the summary story told in the opening paragraph:cm -> Syaloch...
"The American upper middle class is separating, slowly but surely, from the rest of society. This separation is most obvious in terms of income-where the top fifth have been prospering while the majority lags behind. But the separation is not just economic. Gaps are growing on a whole range of dimensions, including family structure, education, lifestyle, and geography. Indeed, these dimensions of advantage appear to be clustering more tightly together, each thereby amplifying the effect of the other."Considering current real estate evaluations (I suppose Mr. Sanders owns a house), I don't think 700K is a net worth that confers any kind of elite status (where in this discussion "elite" must be understood as being able to set or influence policy, without necessarily holding public office).Syaloch -> cm...
The current median sales price for homes in Burlington VT is around $270,000, so Sanders must be living in an "elite" home appropriate to his class.Dan Kervick -> Syaloch...
More seriously, I don't think $700K necessarily confers elite status either, I'm just poking holes in the arguments of those who want to drive wedges between different segments of the middle class.I don't think it's so much a matter of driving wedges, but recognizing the wedges that are already there.Syaloch -> Dan Kervick...
Of course, some individual people who have lots of money are capable of adopting political stances that range outside their class interests. The similarity between political outlook and class interest is a strong general tendency, not an iron rule.Your understanding of class relationships is flawed.Julio -> Syaloch...
Perhaps one has to actually be part of the upper middle class to see how these things actually work?Here's a tidbit that seems relevant, though I'm not sure exactly how:Syaloch -> Julio ...
Yeah, I don't know exactly how either.cm -> Syaloch...
The county where I live is one of the richest in the country, and it consistently votes Democrat. But then again the cost of living is very high here, so a lot of people who appear to have high incomes by national standards actually live quite modest lifestyles. And many people who live here came from other lower-income areas to find work, and probably relate most strongly with the places and backgrounds from which they came (even after 25 years of living in the DC suburbs my wife and I still tend to answer the question, "where are you from?" with the states we were born in).
The relationship between income and "class interest" is apparently quite complicated.**my wife and I still tend to answer the question, "where are you from?" with the states we were born in**Syaloch -> cm...
Isn't that what the questioner is actually asking? I always understood this question as "what is your cultural (often more specifically ethnic) background". The question often comes in the form "where's your *accent* from".
Sometimes it's unclear, but generally the context is ah, so you're a visitor here, where is your home located?cm -> Syaloch...
We still have a hard time saying we're "from" Virginia, as the part of Virginia that borders DC bears little relationship culturally, politically, or economically with the rest of the state. Culturally we're still very much Northerners.Perhaps, though I often respond jokingly stating the city where I live, and then there is *always* the clarification "no where are you originally from". The larger area here has a lot of immigration from other places (inside and outside the US), and a lot of people with immigrant family background. It seems to be a common (and reliable) conversation opener.cm -> Syaloch...
"The relationship between income and "class interest" is apparently quite complicated."anne -> Julio .. .
A large part of the complication is adjustment to local cost structures. Another is that "class" is a fairly abstract concept, which I define more by socioeconomic autonomy and participation in the societal decision making process (at higher or lower levels) than by income. Of course the former strongly correlates with income. E.g. when obtaining one's income absolutely requires personal daily commitment to some activity (e.g. employment), one cannot be consider "upper" of anything.
I would even question whether middle to upper corporate management falls in the upper middle class - let's say Director to VP levels. They are paid quite well and can generally afford living in "good neighborhoods" with higher end houses and cars, and perhaps even domestic "help", but can they influence policy outside their company?
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/22/income-and-voting/anne -> Julio ...
October 22, 2007
Income and Voting
By Paul Krugman
And one more before the day's round of media stuff begins.
Another weirdly persistent myth is that rich people vote Democratic, while working stiffs vote Republican. Here's Tucker Carlson: *
"OK, but here's the fact that nobody ever, ever mentions - Democrats win rich people. Over 100,000 in income, you are likely more than not to vote for Democrats. People never point that out. Rich people vote liberal. I don't know what that's all about."
Actually, people mention this alleged fact all the time - but the truth is just the opposite.
From the 2006 exit polls:
Vote by Income (Total) Democrat Republican
Less than $100,000 (78%) 55% 43%
$100,000 or more (22%) 47% 52%
And the fact that people with higher incomes are more likely to vote Republican has been consistently true since 1972. **
The interesting question is why so many pundits know for a fact something that simply ain't so.
** http://www.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/20041107_px_ELECTORATE.xlshttp://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/24/even-more-on-income-and-voting/Dan Kervick -> Syaloch...
October 24, 2007
Even More on Income and Voting
By Paul Krugman
As I pointed out in an earlier post, * there's a weird myth among the commentariat that rich people vote Democratic. There's another strange thing about that myth: the notion that income class doesn't matter for voting, or that it's perverse, has spread even as the actual relationship between income and voting has become much stronger.
Larry Bartels ** offers us these data, which I also provide in "Conscience of a Liberal," on white voting patterns in presidential elections by income:
Democratic Share of Vote
Bottom third ( 46)
Middle third ( 47)
Top third ( 42)
Democratic Share of Vote
Bottom third ( 51)
Middle third ( 44)
Top third ( 37)
As you can see, a 4-point difference between top and bottom became a 14-point difference.
Andrew Gelman et al *** offer us an election-by-election graph; the dots represent an estimate of the effect of income on the tendency to vote Republican, the whiskers the range of statistical uncertainty. Again, a weak link in the earlier period, except when Barry Goldwater was the candidate, and a much stronger link since then.
So the conventional pundit wisdom about the relationship between class and voting is, literally, the opposite of the truth.
*** http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/research/published/red_state_blue_state_revised.pdfIf you are trying to suggest that a mere prole couldn't possibly understand how the well-off people actually think, you may be comforted to know that my wife and I are comfortably part of that upper 20%.Syaloch -> Dan Kervick...
The people I am criticizing are the kinds of people I have known all my life. I went to college and graduate school with them, and have known them socially and professionally. Quite the contrary to your suggestion, I think if people from humbler walks of life had a clearer idea of how knowledge class yuppies actually think and talk when they are not behaving themselves in public forums and trying to act like compassionate and concerned citizens, the resentment and determination to act on the part of the former would be even more intense than it is now.
I dearly recall the day one of my college friends told me that it was so unfair that smart college kids might be subject to the same kinds of military service requirements that less educated people faced, because the college kids "had so much more to lose." Their heads, after all, were stuffed with big, valuable, meaningful brains; while the existences of the plebs were so much less meaningful. Of course, she's probably running some health care outfit these days.I had a very similar experience with the people I met at my Ivy League university. A depressing percentage of the student body consisted of spoiled trust fund babies, many of whom were apparently ignored or otherwise mistreated by their parents and exhibited a shocking array of psychological and substance abuse problems.cm -> Dan Kervick...
The most shocking incident I encountered was when a decent-seeming girl I met at the beginning of sophomore year calmly explained during a discussion with myself and a high school friend the "difference between black people and [n-word]s" as if this were a totally natural and uncontroversial position. And she wasn't from the Deep South, either -- she was from Columbia MD.
But these people were of a distinctly different class than the many nominally upper-middle class people I encounter in daily life. Even now, high as my household income is, I would immediately be detected as a "mere prole" by them, a "lower class" person.
Fitzgerald was absolutely right -- the truly well off are indeed different from you and me. Even if you don't realize it, rest assured that they do.Did your friend actually say these things about the brain value or are you extrapolating?cm -> Dan Kervick...
I had to go to military service *before* going to college, before the question of occupational deferments could even come up, and incidentally so that the conscripts could be coerced with the threat of having their college admission canceled. It was a good opportunity to purge our heads of some of the highschool knowledge and attitudes, and fill it with more practical things like avoiding or shirking work assignments, creative ways of procuring and hiding alcohol, and learning a bit about sizing up people and power dynamics as well as losing some illusions about the universality of human qualities. The latter part was actually useful.
The concept of class is also just a model, and not rigidly tied to economic markers. People in comparable occupational settings or type of economic participation can have very different incomes and ability to afford certain lifestyles.cm -> cm...
This is not only related to geographic differences, but jobs with similar skill profiles and job content can have significantly different pay/perk structures across public/private sector, different industries, and even within the same company. And by significantly I mean easily 2X.
E.g. regardless of your pay level, if your occupational situation is such that you have to essentially show up for work every day and follow somebody else's directives (to make a relatively low-risk income), then it would be a stretch to consider you upper middle class.
This is in response to your "wedges" comment, which may not be obvious in the web page layout.Dan Kervick -> cm...I definitely agree with those observations, although I have to say that following the crash in 2008 I was startled to realize just how much truth there is in the old Marxian idea that in an economic pinch, people will rapidly form coalitions with other people on the basis of economic affinities to protect their mutual interests.cm -> Dan Kervick...It is probably less about *mutual* interests and more about *common* interests. OTOH (but perhaps fundamentally the same phenomenon) I and others have observed how people switch (declared?) allegiances and ideological leanings and patterns of acting, as well the people they associate with, when changing occupational roles, e.g. from individual contributor to manager or lower to middle management. That usually comes with an income bump, but I don't think it is much related to income level.Syaloch -> cm...
From what I've observed, following the 2008 crash a lot of upper-middle class people suddenly realized that the differences between themselves and those living in poverty are actually much smaller than the differences between themselves and the truly wealthy.
naked capitalismMaybe George H. W. Bush saying "Read my lips: No new taxes?" (Never mind that the OECD has recently found that "The paper also finds no evidence that redistributive policies, such as taxes and social benefits, harm economic growth, provided these policies are well designed, targeted and implemented," and that "the United States, the cumulative growth rate would have been six to nine percentage points higher had income disparities not widened.") It's no wonder that some commentators have called out Clinton for using Republican talking points , not just in debate but on the trail generally:
Instead of laying low and playing it cool, Clinton is running as though the race were very close, tax-baiting Sanders with Republican talking points… It's a mystifying and risky way to run a campaign.
Not all that mystifying. The Democratic establishment hates the left. Which is fine; the trick is for the left to get the establishment to fear them. That has yet to be done.
Let's run the tape. On policy, the Clinton campaign has been consistently tax-baiting Sanders over his support for single-payer healthcare and other moderate social-democratic programs. This not only plays into Republican narratives that taxes are always a simple decrease in income (rather than payment for valuable and desperately needed programs), but also boxes Clinton herself in on taxes. A promise of no tax increases means she cannot support Kirsten Gillibrand's paid leave proposal .
Clinton's stance also basically rules out badly needed increases in Social Security. At an Iowa townhall this month, Clinton spoke about the solvency of Social Security, and while she initially disavowed benefit cuts, she eventually ended up Speaking about how it's harder for some workers to keep working to age 70, she said : "If we could figure out how to do it, I would be open to hearing about it, I've just never heard anybody tell me how we could do it."
In other words, Clinton is setting us up for a Grand Bargain fight again. Do we really want to go through that? But returning to the debate transcript, here is Sanders' riposte to Clinton's Republicans-style "tax baiting":
SANDERS Now, when Secretary Clinton says, 'I'm not going raise taxes on the middle class,' let me tell you what she is saying. She is disagreeing [how, exactly?] with FDR on Social Security, LBJ on Medicare and with the vast majority of progressive Democrats in the House and the Senate, who today are fighting to end the disgrace of the United States being the only major country on Earth that doesn't provide paid family and medical leave.
What the legislation is is $1.61 a week. Now, you can say that's a tax on the middle class. It will provide three months paid family and medical leave for the working families of this country. I think, Secretary Clinton, $1.61 a week is a pretty good invest [sic].
Tactically, this is weak; picking a fight on "family leave" lets Clinton drag the argument onto her ground, as she responds: "I have been fighting for paid family leave for a very long time." And strategically, it's weak, for two reasons. First, Sanders assumes ("it will provide") that Federal taxes pay for Federal spending; they don't . Second, Sanders' muddled invocation of FDR assumes ("pretty good invest") the same "Can we afford it?" frame that Clinton uses. Unfortunately, this is the "Progressive Give-Up formula, " described by Joe Firestone as follows:
[A]ccepting the deficit hawk's framing of the problem is to accept, for the indefinite future, the idea that every progressive Government spending initiative must be evaluated from the viewpoint of whether "we can afford it" or not, or whether it de-stabilizes the debt-to-GDP ratio, regardless of the benefit it will deliver to Americans.Government fiscal policy and the ideas of fiscal sustainability and fiscal responsibility need to be viewed from the broad viewpoint of the employment of Government spending to fulfill America's public purposes, and not from the narrow one of how Government fiscal activity will impact deficits, debts, and debt-to-GDP ratios. The reason for this is that for a nation like the United States with a fiat non-convertible currency, a floating exchange rate, and no debt denominated in any foreign currency, there is no risk of insolvency, however high the deficit, debt, or debt-to-GDP ratio may have grown in the past. Whatever the levels of these statistics are, the constitutional authority of the Government to spend on public purposes remains unimpaired and undiminished.
A concrete example of the "Progressive Give-Up" Formula in action was the 2009-2010 health care policy debacle, where progressives focused with laser-like precision on the CBO scoring for ObamaCare, proudly proclaiming that their bill would be "revenue neutral" (that is, cheerfully adopting George H.W. Bush's talking point of "no new taxes"). This prevented any consideration of how health care policy would impact the country as a whole. So, even though single payer would have saved the country at least $400 billion a year (not to mention many lives), those savings didn't show up in the Federal budget, and so single payer could not be shown to be revenue neutral. And so the "Progressive Give-Up Formula" produced a demonstrably worse - in fact, demonstrably lethal - policy outcome. As will any initiative undertaken by a President Sanders, if the Formula continues to be a part of Washington conventional wisdom.
It may well be that the Democratic Party retains a deep, tribal collective trauma from Reagan's defeat of Mondale, back when the neo-liberal dispensation was tightening its death grip on the American body politic.
Selected Skeptical Comments
It's interesting how Clinton is following Obama with the not so veiled appeals to Reagan. If Democrats do nominate her, it will hopefully mean actual leftists abandon the party for good.
But while I do have some concerns about Sanders, it doesn't bother me at all when he uses language amounting to 'can we afford it'. Firestone has gone way too far on his semantic crusade on that front. It doesn't mean, can the US print dollars in a deficit hawk sense? Of course the US can print dollars. It means, is it worth it? The MMT/SFB irony on healthcare in the US context is that a properly constructed single payer system will reduce GDP, not increase it. Healthcare inflation is the problem, not deflation. The private sector spends too much money on healthcare, not too little.
And more generally, the 'is it worth it' question is one we ought to be asking about a whole range of tax and spending policies.Neocon is always a neoliberal. So for her like for Obama Reagan is a role model. As simple as that.
=== quote ===
The policy agenda is totally dominated by the consensus of the political and economic elites that there is no alternative to neoliberal policies supporting globalization under U.S. military domination. The neoliberal hegemony over public policy warrants careful scrutiny, for it is central to American capitalism, and to the dilemmas confronting the left inside the United States and beyond.
…The Reagan neoliberal program of small government, tax cuts, deregulation, free trade, and monetarist financial policies was more than just consolidated. In signing the Welfare Reform Bill of 1996 and the subsequent 1997 budget compromise, Clinton broke the back of the New Deal.
…Reagan propounded that "the most important cause of our economic problems has been the government itself." The cure prescribed combined tax cuts to increase market incentives and cuts in overall government spending (with the crucial exemption of the military). The Budget and Reconciliation Act of 1981 began a long series of program cuts, and expanded means testing of entitlements, while introducing across-the-board tax cuts that favored the redistribution of income to the rich. The key measure, whose legacy continues to this day in a process of competitive taxation pressures between jurisdictions, was the Recovery Tax Act of 1981. It cut personal income tax brackets, particularly in the highest brackets, and accelerated capital depreciation, substantively "shifting the burden away from capital income." Meeropol details other measures of the neoliberal counter-revolution of Reagan's first term: tax bracket indexation, deregulation of monopolistic industries, reversal of equal employment initiatives, reduction of welfare benefits, and cuts to food stamps and other welfare supports.
…Clintonism made its peace with neoliberalism. When congressional wrangling blocked tax increases, the weight of deficit reduction had to fall on cuts to program spending.
…The central policy disputes in Washington occur totally on the terrain of neoliberalism: the pace and degree of budgetary and tax cutting and debt reduction.
washunate, December 29, 2015 at 10:27 am
small government, tax cuts, deregulation, free trade
That's the rhetoric. That is not the actual policy implementation, though. The Reagan-Obama era of the past three plus decades has made government much bigger and trade much more restricted. And rather than balancing budgets via spending cuts, tax cuts were "paid for" by printing USD. That's right, neoliberals are not deficit hawks. They're MMTers.
It is hard to believe I know, but we used to be able to get a job without an I-9 form and E-verify online database. And greet an arriving family member at the gate at the airport. And the creepily named Department of Homeland Security didn't always exist (it does allow us to ponder fascinating questions like wondering whether Democratic politicians are more jealous of the Nazi Fatherland or the East German Ministry of State Security). Heck, at the height of the Cold War in the mid 1980s, the US defense budget was 'only' $300 billion. Oh, and IP law used to be for the purpose of encouraging the production of creative and inventive works rather than limiting them. And somehow we accidentally developed the largest prison system on the planet. Oops.
On and on, "small government" is the anti-thesis of what contemporary neoliberals advocate.
Left in Wisconsin, December 29, 2015 at 2:10 pm
But that is part of the whole bait-and-switch. Keep fighting for something that, despite control of the govt apparatus for decades, is never quite attainable...
Steven, December 28, 2015 at 10:10 am
You make it so easy to comment! I could just say "Thumbs up!" but I do have a problem with
Healthcare inflation is the problem, not deflation. The private sector spends too much money on healthcare, not too little.
It isn't "Healthcare inflation" or the private sector spending "too much money on health care" that is the problem. The problem is the public / government not getting what it pays for. The problem is the obscene profits of the pharmaceutical and private medical insurance industries, the compensation of their top executive personnel. Health care costs what it costs. The nation's last real Democrat, FDR, would have called it a 'basic human right' if he was participating in the debate – a right transcending that of financial parasites to pile up more money by evading paying their fair share of the cost of maintaining the society from which they derived their wealth.
washunate, December 28, 2015 at 8:10 pm
Absolutely, I wouldn't disagree we are not getting what we pay for. But there's an additional element, too, where we pay so much that it exceeds the actual cost of universal care. We spend far more per capita than Germany, France, the U.K., or Canada. I have no quibble with using a different word to describe that phenomenon than inflation, but whatever word employed, it's important to note that healthcare does not cost what it costs. That is a unique creation of our system.
Crazy Horse, December 28, 2015 at 9:09 pm
I agree, there is a problem when one uses the word "health care system" to describe how health care is delivered in the US. The proper term is "Medical Extortion Racket."
Obamacare is simply an extension of the racket. Rather than providing health care for people who were formerly unable to afford any care, It was designed as a way for the insurance companies to extract money from victims that they were formerly unable to reach. So now low income Obamacare subscribers are reportedly spending 10% of their disposable income to support the bureaucracy that administers it and receive high deductible insurance that will still bankrupt them if any serious illness occurs.
And for all this we get a health care system that the World Health Organization ranks far below any other wealthy industrialized country and behind many third world countries. In fact Cuba, where incomes are measured in pennies, ranks the same as the home of free enterprise and Exceptionalism.
Joe Firestone, December 28, 2015 at 10:10 pm
My book about the progressive give-up formula doesn't focus much on Bernie. It's mainly about progressives all over Washington who call themselves Democrats. Bernie is probably the least likely to give-up without at least an honorable fight. Also, I don't include include the "progressives" who label themselves that way, but who are clearly within the Clinton wing of the Party, rather than the Warren/Sanders wing. I view the Clinton wing "progressives" such as John Podesta, Neera Tanden, Andy Stern, Larry Summers etc, as entirely "faux" progressives, and I am writing about them in the second volume of my book series on the Peterson Network and Inequality.
kimsarah, December 29, 2015 at 3:41 am
You mean Democrats all over Washington who call themselves progressives. Those Democrats are not progressive. They tarnish the word.
efschumacher, December 28, 2015 at 12:41 pm
And I can't understand why any small to mid size employer wouldn't be demanding S.P. rather than dealing with the costs and complexities of ACA.
I think the success of the US Chamber of Commerce is in acting as an umbrella organization for all businesses, while promoting multinationals' causes and neutering small business. I can only assume that small/medium businesses (mis-)leadership is so foozled by the KoolAid they can't see the shaft the US C of C is perpetually delivering to them.
A real Occupy/TeaParty revolution would set up a Small/Medium Business Chamber of Main Street Commerce for local business aligned with the people. Anything that can be locally sourced can be locally controlled. Single payer Health Care, local employment guarantees, and secure pensions are cost externalizers that will very much ease the costs and risks of new business start-up.
kimsarah, December 29, 2015 at 3:49 am
The Chamber is a scummy lobbying mouthpiece for the Kochs.
Ulysses, December 28, 2015 at 11:15 am
Sanders did point out in the debate that characterizing single-payer as nothing but a tax increase was unfair– because it ignored the huge savings from not paying through the nose to the for-profit insurance/medical industry.
"I can tell you that adding up the fact you're not paying any private insurance, businesses are not paying any private insurance. The average middle-class family will be saving thousands of dollars a year."
(Bernie Sanders, I-VT)
I don't think the primary problem with the Sanders candidacy is that he himself is playing small-ball and doesn't offer anything better than Mondale redux for U.S. voters. The real problem is that 1) those that directly benefit from the status quo, and 2) those who have monetized discontent with the status quo on the left, by setting up phony "progressive" institutions funded by wealthy people with guilty consciences, want him to fail.
Vatch, December 28, 2015 at 2:50 pm
I like your point about people who want Sanders to fail. They aren't just the ones with a financial stake in the status quo. There are also people with an emotional stake in the status quo, whose self image depends on their ability to feel as though they are standing up to those in power. If Sanders were to win the Democratic nomination or the general election, it would disrupt their whole raison d'être.
I'm not saying that any of the commenters here at NC are in this category, but I strongly suspect that this is true of some of the leftist bloggers who habitually criticize Sanders.
DJG, December 28, 2015 at 4:06 pm
Ulysses and Vatch: I agree with your point: The status quo is comforting to much of the declining middle class. The status quo has too many benefits for the so-called "progressives" in the upper-middle class to vote for real change. So the fear of change permeates much of the electorate, and the upper percentiles don't want change. So Sanders must fail.
I also think that we are in a period of cultural stagnation (Matthew Barney, Jeff Koons, still around, as symptoms). So the economics of wanting Sanders to fail are firmly tied to a culture that is mired in a kind of failure.
tegnost, December 28, 2015 at 11:18 am
ACA is a massive tax increase on your 25k-50k slice of the population, and the Cadillac tax is gone with the wind, Those I know in the 200k bracket are literally rolling in dough. They've refinanced to 15 year mortgages and benefit mightily from cheap gas for the suv. That's where I thought up my argument (uber very popular among them) of ubering around patents…for some reason they become speechless….
allan, December 28, 2015 at 8:36 am
Scanning the issue pages of DCCC approved candidates in House races and DSCC backed candidates for the Senate shows how far down the ticket the "budgetary responsibility" rhetoric has permeated. Who do they think is going to vote for GOP-lite? Are the Dems counting on Third Way's GOTV operation? 2016 is going to be a disaster for the Dems, regardless of what happens in the presidential race.
sleepy, December 28, 2015 at 8:39 am
I doubt if the demrepub hierarchy much cares. It's always a win-win for them, no matter who loses or wins.
cwaltz, December 28, 2015 at 2:05 pm
Sanders is a bit of a pragmatist. He knows if he wins he'd need to work with the D party. I suspect that's why he's playing nice instead of pursuing a scorched earth policy.
Brooklin Bridge, December 28, 2015 at 5:49 pm
The standard pattern is to go into the primaries playing to one's base and then tone things down a little for the general. Perhaps Bernie is thinking about having to work with the Dems if he looses as well as if he wins, but at a certain point of playing nice, people start to wonder what's the point? It's difficult to ask the public to be sophisticated enough about inside politics to realize he isn't simply showing what a gentleman he can be. The question legitimately arises, Is this what he would do, or have to do, if elected?, and he is not clearly making the case that it isn't.
Banana Breakfast, December 28, 2015 at 3:50 pm
In the long game, the bully pulpit would win out. If Sanders were elected on progressive promises, and then a Democratic controlled legislature blocked its passage, he has vastly more public exposure as President and the opportunity to throw them under the bus en masse. It seems unlikely that Sanders himself has the will for that kind of realpolitik though.
Joe Firestone, December 29, 2015 at 12:12 am
Who, in the Congress, has shown more "will" to work for progressive legislation over the past 20 years than Bernie Sanders? I'd place a bigger bet on Bernie for having the "will" than on any other legislator in Congress! There are others outside who have a stronger will undoubtedly; but Bernie is the best bet at this point, isn't he?
Brooklin Bridge, December 28, 2015 at 8:38 am
Oddly, this was the one debate I did watch so far and I think the analysis is spot on. Bernie was not compelling and that was not due to lack of opportunity. Lambert zoomed in on the exact exchange where (I think) the most damage was done – where Sanders invoked FDR. I thought, "here it comes", but no; a fizzle.
The other technique that Hillary used several times was to group all three of the speakers together on a topic as if thier differences were small, they were all in a common cause against the Republicans with the implicit assumption that Hillary was the one confident enough, magnanimous enough and with enough leadership to rise above the Frey of the debate and join everyone together. Clinton did this at least three or four times during the debate and Sanders had zero response for it; it just went zing over his head though it did look a couple of times as if he had heard the whisshing sound.
Personally, I find this technique manipulating and odious, probably because I find Hillary odious, but it may be appealing to others; a sort of "adult in the room" stance.
kimsarah, December 29, 2015 at 4:01 am
She's tactically acting like the presumptive winner in waiting. Trump is using that tactic too. I think it's a bit risky.
Crazy Horse, December 28, 2015 at 9:53 pm
I always find it depressing to watch otherwise intelligent people argue about "positions" that candidates use in their election campaigns and discuss the political parties in Amerika as if they actually stood for some principle rather than just being organizations for the accumulation of positions of higher servitude.
Come on People! There is only one political party in the USA- the Property Party. The Repugnant and Demothug teams hold circuses for your entertainment and to provide a break from football. What they say has absolutely no relationship to what they will do while in office. * As is only right, because the people who cast their votes don't own the politicians - that investment was made by your Overlords long before the election circus began.
* People who label Obama a weak and indecisive president are the greatest fools of all. Rather he has been a master politician, managing to overcome the Hildabeast and get elected to the office of the President twice while failing to act on a single campaign promise, meanwhile delivering the biggest transfer of wealth in history for his Bankster masters.
Joe Firestone, December 29, 2015 at 12:16 am
I agree on all points. Bernie should have been waiting for that Clinton attack and been ready to lower the boom. Instead he seemed tentative and ill-confident about his ability to explain in a sound bite why the "regular" citizen would make money on his deal as well as safeguard her/his future.
SRW, December 28, 2015 at 9:18 am
One of the most frustrating thing for me is hearing how under a single payer would raise taxes.
Not so New York State were over 30% of the budget is spent on some form health care. That's not counting what municipalities pay in health care. Now I'm pretty sure that all the states in the union have similar budget percentage that is being spent on health care.
A single payer health care system would reduce the tax burden that citizens of the various states and counties pay.
Now under my way of thinking under a single payer system we would eliminate the Medicaid part of FICA saving working tax payers and employers money.
Having a single payer system could very much be a wash or even save the tax payer money.
neo-realist, December 28, 2015 at 12:12 pm
Sanders needs to make this kind of an intellectual argument in the debates insofar as how it would save working taxpayers money or consist of a minimal increase when he is confronted w/ Hillary's framing that it puts a greater tax burden on the middle class.
inode_buddha, December 28, 2015 at 9:21 am
Perhaps the Establishment *already* fears the Left, and the hatred is a sign of this? Either way, I agree: Sanders needs to corner Clinton, hard and repeatedly for the remainder of the race.
david lamy, December 28, 2015 at 10:51 am
Did not the Supreme Court rule that The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was a tax so to ensure it was in compliance with the Constitution of the United States?
Does this mean that President Hillary Clinton will deny any premium increases during her administration to comport with her "no new taxes" pledge?
To rephrase a current bumper sticker: "I'm ready for the Democratic Party collapse!".
TedWa, December 28, 2015 at 4:18 pm
One thing I do know for about 99% certain is that Bernie is no neocon or neo-liberal and I'll continue to work for and contribute to his campaign. He does need to get tougher on HRC since there's sooo many things he can knock her down a peg or 5 on. Continuing to play nice-nice with this shark isn't going to get him the nomination.
sd, December 28, 2015 at 4:27 pm
Observation…I think Sanders concentration is on courting independent or lapsed Democratic/liberal voters and not the voters who make up Clintons base. Clinton's appeal is to conservatives – her base will never vote for Sanders.
3.14e-9, December 28, 2015 at 8:45 pm
Thank you for this thought-provoking article, Lambert. I agree that Bernie isn't hitting debate points very well, and it's making Clinton look stronger. For crying out loud, he's the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee. He knows very well where the money comes from and how it gets allocated.
A few days ago I dug up his opening speech for the mark-up session of the 2016 budget. He talked about the importance of clarifying national priorities before deciding how the money should be spent. That seems like kind of a "duh" statement, but I'd wager that the general public doesn't think of it in those terms.
I also just found a long interview he did a few months back with Iowa Press. He was much better in that format. One of the interviewers pretty much accused him of inciting class warfare, and he had a great answer. (The interview is 25 minutes long; class warfare starts around 15:00).
I wish he would use some of this material in his debates with Clinton.
kimsarah, December 29, 2015 at 4:08 am
Thank you for this column. The Democrats have long mastered the give-up formula (negotiating against one's self before negotiating begins) and have been trying to drag progressives down with them.
jfleni, December 29, 2015 at 10:43 am
Hillary and Debbie are already in the "lawyer-gobble" mode: SS will be converted to a charity at best; the grand bargain will be essential because the "producers" (the dimwit Dems buddies) don't want it at all, they just want it all! If Hillary wins, kiss SS, jobs, and progress goodbye.
Clinton democrats are actually "Third Way" neoliberals and as such a faction of Republican Party for all practical purposes.
The key attribute of this faction is the systematic use of deception ( see Leo Strauss' Philosophy of Deception ) . Their main task is no so much to win the election as to neutralize and possibly coopt any significant left movement. So the disconnect between their election rhetorics and actual behaviour when in office can't be wider. Hillary can promise anything she thinks will help her to win and then betray all those promises without minor doubt.
Classic example is Obama, the man without past who managed to win selling the color of his skin and posh but meaningless slogans like "change we can believe in"; and then betray his electorate on any significant matter during his office. There is such huge disconnect between campaign rhetoric and actual governance that it's naïve to believe any Hillary statement other then the statement about her gender. She is just another Obama in skirt. A warmongering neocon under the mask of a Democrat.
In reality any politician who voted for Iraq war should be disqualified from seeking any elected office.
That does not mean that Bernie has any chance against her despite all the background support he receives. He is a one man show, a man without a party at the time when party functionaries often exert the decisive power or at least can influence the selection of the candidate from the Party, no matter what is the will of the people. They clearly do not want Bernie and would prefer almost any Republican to him.
The key problem for them now is the same that faces Republican party establishment with Trump: most people who are ready to vote for Bernie will never vote for Hillary. They probably will not vote at all. And Bernie personal position will not change that. So much depends on how they plan to resolve this problem.
My guess that they will try to to play tha fact that people themselves are still pretty confused about what they actually want and do not understand what is the real source of thier impoverishment or too preoccupied with just struggle to survive. Add to this the constant brainwashing of MSM and it is clear that a considerable part of middle class wants and will vote for the continuation of the status quo. In no way there is something like mass "Restore the New Deal" movement in the USA now. Only "Restore the power of financial oligarchy" party.
jfleni, December 29, 2015 at 10:43 am
Hillary and Debbie are already in the "lawyer-gobble" mode: SS will be converted to a charity at best; the grand bargain will be essential because the "producers" (the dimwit Dems buddies) don't want it at all, they just want it all! If Hillary wins, kiss SS, jobs, and progress goodbye.
RGC, December 02, 2015 at 05:55 AMBernie's latest pitch:pgl -> RGC, December 02, 2015 at 05:58 AM
When it comes to Wall Street buying our democracy, you just need to follow the money. Let's compare donations from people who work at Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton, has received $495,503.60 from people who work on Wall Street Bernie Sanders, has received only $17,107.72. Hillary Clinton may have Wall Street, But Bernie has YOU! Bernie has received more than 1.5 million contributions from folks like you, at an average of $30 each.$17,107.72? Jamie Dimon spends more than that on his morning cup of coffee. Go Bernie!EMichael -> RGC, December 02, 2015 at 06:03 AMTo be fair, don't you think we should count donations for this election cycle for Clinton?pgl -> EMichael,
Y'know, she was the Senator from New York.Some people think anyone from New York is in bed with Wall Street. Trust me on this one - not everyone here in Brooklyn is in Jamie Dimon's hip pocket. Of course those alleged liberals JohnH uses as his sources (e.g. William Cohan) are in Jamie Dimon's hip pocket.EMichael -> pgl,I hate things like this. No honesty whatsoever. This cycle.RGC -> EMichael,
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres16/contrib.php?cycle=2016&id=N00000019How is there no honesty whatsoever?EMichael -> RGC,
The total for Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Bank of America is $326,000.
That leaves Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs to contribute $169,000.I stand corrected, somewhat.reason said,
Let me know how much comes from those organizations PACs.The false promise of meritocracy was most disappointing. It basically said that meritocracy is hard to do, but never evaluates whether it is the right thing to do. Hint - it isn't enough. We need to worry about (relative) equality of outcome not just (relative) equality of opportunity. An equal chance to starve is still an equal chance.ilsm -> reason,Making economies games is how you continued rigged distribution apparatus.
Question all "rules"!
von Neumann should have been censored.
Nov 29, 2015 | Washington Times
What if the government's goal is to perpetuate itself? What if the real levers of governmental power are pulled by agents, diplomats and bureaucrats behind the scenes? What if they stay in power no matter who is elected president or which political party controls Congress?
What if the frequent public displays of adversity between the Republicans and the Democrats are just a facade and a charade? What if both major political parties agree on the transcendental issues of our day?
What if the leadership of both major political parties believes that our rights are not natural to our humanity but instead gifts from the government? What if those leaders believe that the government that gives gifts to the people can take those gifts back?
What if the leadership of both parties gives only lip service to Thomas Jefferson's words in the Declaration of Independence that all people "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, [and] among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" and that the purpose of government is to protect these rights? What if the leadership of both parties dismisses these ideas as just Jefferson's outdated musings? What if Jefferson's arguments have been enacted into the federal laws that all in government have sworn to uphold?
... ... ...
What if the congressional leadership and most of the membership from both major political parties believe in perpetual war and perpetual debt? What if the history of American government in the past 100 years is proof of this nearly universal belief among the political class?
What if the political class in America believes that war is the health of the state? What if the leadership of that class wants war so as to induce the loyalty of the voters, open the pocketbooks of the taxpayers and cause compliance among the people? What if the political class uses war to enrich its benefactors? What if the government has been paying for war by increasing its debt?
What if the political class has been paying for prosperity by increasing the government's debt? What if that class has controlled the cash-creating computers at the Federal Reserve, and the free cash the Fed creates is to bankers and traders what heroin is to addicts? What if the $18.6 trillion current federal government debt has largely been caused by borrowing to pay for war and false prosperity? What if 20 cents of every tax dollar collected by the feds today is spent on interest payments for the government's debt?
... ... ...
What if the government demands transparency from all of us but declines to be transparent to us? What if the government fosters the make-believe notion that it exists to serve us? What if the government denies that it works for us and thinks we work for it? What if it has access to all of our communications, bank accounts, health and legal records, and monthly utility and credit card bills? What if the government knows more about us than we know about it?
What if the government stays in power by bribery? What if it bribes the states with grants of cash, the rich with bailouts, the middle class with tax cuts and the poor with welfare? What if the courts have approved this bribery?
What if, on Thanksgiving Day, our gratitude is not to the government that assails our freedoms but to God, who gave us our freedoms? What if, on Thanksgiving Day, our gratitude is for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? What if we possess them despite the government?
Story Continues →
The nervousness displayed by the AKP administration, in Ankara, has a lot to do with Turkey's Syria policy being in ever-growing disarray, and its failure to set priorities to help resolve the conflict. As the Syrian quagmire deepened, old anti-Kurdish fixations in Ankara came to the surface, and clashed with the priorities of its allies, centred on Isis. Ankara's blocking moves against the only combat force on ground, the PKK-YPG axis, has impeded the fight against jihadists, and its constant redrawing of red-lines (Kurds, Turkmens, no-fly zone, Assad gone etc) may have been frustrating the White House, but does not seem to affect Moscow. Recently, Moscow's rapprochement with the Syrian Kurds, the PYD, only added to the huge complexity of the situation.
In the recent G20 summit, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was once more keen to underline that "terror has no religion and there should be no our terrorist and your terrorist"
... ... ...
So, the tension now rises between one determined and one undecided, conflicted player – one lucid on strategy, the other lacking it. If any, the lesson to be drawn from this showdown is this: any solution of the Syrian conflict will be based on a precondition that the US and Russia put aside their differences, agree in principle on the future of the region, build a joint intelligence gathering and coordinated battle scheme against jihadists, and demand utter clarity of the positions of their myopic, egocentric allies. Unless they do so, more complications, and risks beyond turf wars will be knocking at the door
Eugenios -> André De Koning 25 Nov 2015 23:24
Assad is targeted because it is a necessary prelude to an attack on Iran. Pepe Escobar called that long ago. What is sought is a Syria in the imperialist orbit or in chaos.
Attack on Iran by whom--you ask? Actually several in cahoots, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, et al.
Lyigushka -> trandq 25 Nov 2015 23:22
BBC maps show ISIS controlled territory only a few miles from the Turkmen area where the shooting down took place.
Your not very good at this are you
Lyigushka -> trandq 25 Nov 2015 23:11
A brief search on the internet shows many items referring to Turkish support for IS.
Now the SAA with Russian support is on the border dealing with the jihadist Turkmen, Turkey's duplicity is in danger of being revealed .
Hence the impotent rage and desperate pleas for support to its other US coalition partners and the strange reluctance of the complicit western MSM to fully reveal the lies and double standards of the western allies in this foul business.
Only the other day a US TV program was trying to con its viewers that the US was bombing ISIS oil trucks, with video from a Russian airstrike.
James H McDougall 25 Nov 2015 23:09
At least one good thing has come from all of this. At least it took Putin to be the first leader to openly say exactly what turkey actually is. A despicable, Islamist supporting vile wolf in Sheep's clothing. Who else was buying ISIS oil....the tooth fairy ? Never in my life did I think I'd be defending the red team yet here I am.
AtelierEclatPekin -> murati 25 Nov 2015 23:06
well , just think for a second .... all the image - they were shooting him while he was in the air , shouting "Allah Akbar " then they showed a photo with dead pilot , being proud of that ..... Those ppl are the "hope" for a Syria post-Assad....don't you feel that something is wrong here ?
Shankman -> ianhassall 25 Nov 2015 23:02
He was awfully quick to accept Turkey's version of events.
As for his Nobel "Peace" Prize, Alfred Nobel is probably still turning in his grave.
Lyigushka -> trandq 25 Nov 2015 23:02
Of course Turkey supports ISIS and has done for all its existence as part of an opposition to its main enemies, Assad and the Kurds.
A brief search of the internet provides countless articles on this without even having to quote Russian sources. Examples
iusedtopost 25 Nov 2015 23:01
.....and the censors are out again.....SHAME on you Guardian.
I say again.....MSM now referring to "Turkmen" like they are cuddly toys FFS
They are head chopping....moon howling....islamo-terrorists.
Russia has the right idea....kill the lot them
ianhassall -> ianhassall 25 Nov 2015 22:56
Also as soon as the noble Turkman started shooting at the pilot and navigator once they'd bailed out of the plane they showed themselves to be the terrorists they are. Playing "no prisoners" against Russia.
And as for the US - they can bomb a Medicin sans Frontiers field hospital in Afghanistan for 37 minutes and the best excuse they come out with is "the plane's email stopped working, it didn't know where the target was, they didn't know where they were, so they just attacked something that looked like". So much for US military's navigation abilities.
NikLot -> LordMurphy 25 Nov 2015 22:44
Dear Lord, where did I defend it?!! How do you read that?!!! Of course it is appalling!!!
I wanted to point out that the 'good terrorist' Turkmen militia or whoever else did it would have done the same to NATO pilots and that the story should be explored from that angle too. Statement by Turkey's PM today, if true, confirms my concern:
"Davutoglu told his party's lawmakers on Wednesday that Turkey didn't know the nationality of the plane that was brought down on Tuesday until Moscow announced it was Russian."
ianhassall 25 Nov 2015 22:38
Its amazing that NATO have been bombing ISIS for 2 years and did very little to halt its progress.
Russia's been doing it for a month and have bombed ISIS, the military supplies NATO have been giving ISIS, and the illegal oil racket that Turkey's been running with ISIS - all at a fraction of the cost that's going into supporting ISIS and other Syrian terrorist groups.
I can see why Turkey's upset. Also anyone who thinks Turkey shot down this plane without the approval of NATO and Obama is kidding themselves. Obama has blood up to his armpits with what's been going on in Syria, despite his Peace Prize credentials.
luella zarf -> ArundelXVI 25 Nov 2015 22:28
OK I did some research and I was somewhat wrong, Russia did initiate the bombing of the oil delivery system, but at the G20 summit. This is the actual chronology:
At the G20 Antalya summit of Nov 15, Putin embarrassed Obama publicly showing satellite pictures of ridiculously long tanker lines waiting for weeks to load oil from ISIS, as the coalition spared them any trouble. "I've shown our colleagues photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil," said Putin.
The next day, on Nov 16, the US bombed a truck assembly for the first time in the history of the coalition and then claimed to have hit 116 oil tankers. In the meantime, Russia carried on its own airstrike campaign, destroying more than 1,000 tankers and a refinery in a period of just five days, and posting video footage of the airstrikes.
Because the US never made available any recordings, on Nov 19 PBS used footage of Russian fighter jets bombing an oil storage facility and passed it off as evidence of the US hits. The Moon of Alabama website was the first to notice. On Nov 23, a second American air raid claimed to have destroyed 283 oil tankers.
So there you have it. For 15 months, the US didn't touch the oil trade that financed ISIS affairs, until Russia shamed them into it. Then, the mightiest army in the world bombs 400 trucks, while Russia destroys 1000. Then Russia provides videos of its airstrikes, while the US doesn't, and PBS is caught passing off Russian evidence as American.
idkak -> John Smith 25 Nov 2015 22:17
Currently 18 aircraft are patrolling the area on a daily basis, they must have misread the memo.... Downing a Turkish plane over Turkish soil, or attacking a NATO aircraft on mission in Syria within the alliance that is currently bombing ISIS or other terrorist variants... won't be favorable for Russia or their forces in Syria. Even without NATO, Turkey has a very large military and the location we are talking about is about 2-5 minutes to bomb, and 1-2 minutes to intercept.. so the attack would be about the same level of strategic stupidity as attacking Russia from the Ukraine.
André De Koning -> trandq 25 Nov 2015 22:16
How naive: downing a jet who fights al-Nusra. Of course Turkey has supported terrorist there for a long time and left the border between Turkey and Syria porous, so the proxy war can be fought against Assad (just one man (?) always features in the multi-factorial warfare, which is easy on the ears of simpletons). There were already plans in 1957 and more modern ones in the US to ruin Syria and take the land and resources and use it for the oil pipelines from Saudi to Turkey (Assad did not sign off in 2009, so war was bound to happen).
André De Koning 25 Nov 2015 22:11
Imagine a US fighter being shot down? From the beginning of the war Russia and Syria said there were not just peaceful demonstrators, but people who were shooting and grew into ISIS and Al-Nusra and al-Qaeda. This did not fit the western propaganda and the Divide and Ruin policy (title of Dan Glazebrook's recent book of articles) which is that Syria was a on the Ruin-map for a long time. Turkey's Erdogan is intellectually an Islamist and together with Saudi they and the terrorists are fighting this proxy war the US can hardly afford.
In 7 weeks Russia destroyed more of ISIS infrastructure and oil tankers than the US did in a year (the superpower has managed to make ISIS increase seven-fold). The only objective is one man: Assad and the ruin of Syria to be 'rebuilt' (plundered) by western investments and domination of the entire region of the Middle East. The rest is lies to prop up propaganda and doing as if they bring democracy (like the West does in Saudi?! the biggest friend and weapons buyer. Just like Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq, which did not play ball, it will be destroyed by the West. It gets harder with Russia actually wishing to stop the proxy war: Syria itself deciding what their future will be? No way as far as US and UK are concerned (and the weak EU following with their businessmen contingent to reap the benefits). Absolutely disgusting that the people have to suffer it.
Of course Turkey did not need to down this jet: well planned and a clear provocation to start the propaganda war against Russia which actually wants to stop this war before a transition without a pre-planned (US) outcome.
EightEyedSpy -> Eugenios 25 Nov 2015 21:59
Meanwhile, Turkey just gave the Russians a no-fly zone--against Turks.
Not true - unless Russia intends to breach the resolution unanimously passed by the UN Security Council authorising all member nations to fight against ISIS on territory controlled by ISIS in Syria.
Pursuant to the Security Council resolution, which Russia voted for, all member nations have the legal right to use Syrian airspace and traverse Syrian territory for the purpose of fighting ISIS in Syria.
If Russia attempts to impose a no-fly zone against Turkey in Syria, Russia will violate the Security Council resolution ...
btt1943 25 Nov 2015 21:59
Forget about whether Russian jet has infiltrated Turkey's airspace or not as claimed by one and denied by other, the bottom line is Turkey has been wanting to play a big and decisive role in Syrian conflict and ISIS's rise. Ankara does not wish to see Russian's growing influence and intervention in the messy region.
Jimmi Cbreeze -> Normin 25 Nov 2015 21:49
With Saudi and Turkish support for ISIS , just who have they bothered saving and sending out into Europe amongst their name taking and slaughters ? Wahabists? How many cells set up now globally?
Jimmi Cbreeze EightEyedSpy 25 Nov 2015 21:17
The turkmen are illegally staging war. Russia is the only country legally in Syria. That's why CIA, Saudi, Turk, Israel etc etc etc operate clandestine. But they all enjoy bombing hotheads. A pity so many of them think their brands of religion or old stories from centuries ago of enemies have any bearing today. Or perhaps they just believe rich mens newspapers and media too much. Maybe all their educations and futures were lost by gangsters that were funded and protected and given country ownership for oil and now forces clean up their centuries long mess for newer deals.
And then you have the Murdochs and the Rothchilds and the arms industries.
Because where the people are'nt divided by cunning for profit, they are too lunatic and gangster minded to live in peace with each other anyway.
The whole matter is a multi joint taskforce of opportunism. And wealth is going for broke stamping and taking as much corporate ground as possible worldwide.
What chance is there of calling peace? Where and when are all these lunatics going to live in peace and constructively? How would they with half the the globe shitstirring and funding trouble amongst them for profit and gain?
Turkey has attacked Russia on Syrian soil and Russia is the only country legally at arms in Syria. Makes you wonder that Turkey does'nt like Turkmen or consider them a problem. That they provoke getting them wiped out of Syria. How could Assad or anyone govern getting undermined from a dozen directions.
Who knows, the place is a mess. It's no use preaching peace inside the turmoil. It has to come from outside and above. But it appears with this lot-what peace ever.
Bosula trandq 25 Nov 2015 21:07
Since you can't or don't bother to actually read the Guardian or other papers you probably missed that UN Resolution 2249 calls not only for action against IS but also Al Nusra and other AQ associated groups in Syria. The Syrian Free Army is linked with these groups, particularly Al Nusra.
Now you have learned something.
Eugenios 25 Nov 2015 21:04
It seems more likely than not that the Russians will make an effort to capture and try the moderate terrorists who shot the Russian pilot parachuting. It is a war crime after all. The old Soviets would have dispensed with such niceties as trials, but the RF is more legalistic. Nicely enough the moderate terrorists identified themselves on video, don't you know?
There may also be several legal cases brought against Erdogan and Turkey.
Meanwhile, Turkey just gave the Russians a no-fly zone--against Turks.
ozhellene -> trandq 25 Nov 2015 20:57
I thought Russia was INVITED by the Syrian Gov. to assist them in eradicating ALL rebel factions including a bunch of Turkmen rebels funded by Erdogan. No others operating in Syria are legitimate. Any cowards shouting Allah uakbar and killing POWs should be eradicated
luella zarf -> ArundelXVI 25 Nov 2015 20:54
US air strikes destroys 283 oil tankers used for smuggling to fund terror group. You were saying? I don't know why some people around here just feel free to make things up.
Give us a break. The US hit ISIS oil tanks 6 full days after Russia released footage which showed its fighter jets targeting 200 oil trucks and a refinery. In 15 months of bombing ISIS, there were no American airstrikes on oil tanks until Russia came along and showed them how it's done. Even PBS pointed out when reporting the attack "For the first time, the US is attacking oil delivery trucks."
ozhellene 25 Nov 2015 20:35
will this be a "turkey shoot"? Big mistake Mr Erdogan! You just condemned you Turkmen buddies to be bombed by the Russian bears.
Turkey will never avoid the Kurdish finally taking back their rightful lands, stolen during the Ottoman rule.
Never forget that Kurds make up a lot of your population.....waiting for the right moment...
WalterCronkiteBot 25 Nov 2015 20:32
According to the BBC the Turkmen fight with Al Nusra. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34910389 UN Resolution 2249 calls not only for action against IS but also Al Nusra and other AQ associated groups.
These guys advertise and run jihadist training camps for children. http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/09/uighur-jihadist-group-in-syria-advertises-little-jihadists.php
They might not be explicitly AQ affiliated or Al Nusra itself but they share similar doctrines and fight together. Attacking them may not be by the word of the resolution but its certainly in the spirit of it.
ianhassall -> ianhassall 25 Nov 2015 20:13
Whether I think the Turkman should be wiped out is generally irrelevent.
I just know in the past 24 hours I've seen Turkey shoot down a Russian plane over Syria to defend the Turkmen. I also saw the Turkmen shooting at 2 Russian pilots why they attempted to parachute to safety, and one was killed. And I've seen the Turkmen fire a Saudi Arabia-supplied TOW missile at a Russian rescue helicopter, destroying it and killing two pilots.
I also know Turkey has been "laundering" ISIS oil from Syria and Iraq to the tune of $2 million/day.
You reap what you sow.
nnedjo 25 Nov 2015 19:49
In the recent G20 summit, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was once more keen to underline that "terror has no religion and there should be no our terrorist and your terrorist".
Yes, just when Erdogan says this, he thinks only on the Kurds, and wonder why the rest of the world considers the Kurds as freedom fighters, and only Turkey considers them as [its] terrorists.
However, the main message of this article is correct. In order to achieve peace in the Middle East, first the rest of the world must come to terms. The divisions in the world, inherited from the times of the Cold War were reflected also on the Islamic world, and so deepened or even provoked a new sectarian Sunni-Shia divisions and conflicts. So although it's "a chronic disease", it is fallen now into an acute phase in Syria and Iraq. And the urgency of the case requires that really has to come to some deal, primarily between the US and Russia, that it could reach the end of the civil war in Syria, but also in Iraq, because it's all inter-connected. Otherwise, this problem will become even more complicated and prolonged, with unforeseeable consequences.
Eugenios 25 Nov 2015 19:58
Well, a US Air Force has now also suggested that the Turkish shooting down of the Russian had to have been a pre-planned provocation. Also US officials have said it cannot be confirmed that the Russian jet incurred into Turkish territory. And of course there is the testimony of the Russian pilot. No doubt the Guardian will be covering these points, yes?
ianhassall -> EightEyedSpy 25 Nov 2015 19:47
Yes, I know. Why shouldn't Turkey defend terrorits and shoot down a Russian jet while its flying missions in Syria and not incur any wrath.
Russians have been fighting Islamic extremists for a bit longer than the West, who have generally only ever funded or armed them. I'd believe Putin 99 times out of a 100 before I'd believe Obama once.
illbthr22 -> EightEyedSpy 25 Nov 2015 19:21
What ethnic cleansing??? Assad has a multi sect and multi ethnic government. Meanwhile western and Turkish backed jihadist have openly said they will massacre every last Kurd,Christian,Alawi and Druze in the country.
Andrew Nichols -> Jeremn 25 Nov 2015 19:14
We don't have a clear, clear understanding of everything that happened today, okay? I've said that and I can keep saying it all day. We're still trying to determine what happened. It's easy to rush to judgments and to make proclamations and declarations after an incident like this.
Which is exactly what the US did - by supporting Turkeys side of the story. Dont you wish the journalist would point this out?
Cecile_Trib -> Spiffey 25 Nov 2015 19:12
Turkmen terrorists backed by Turkey (now from the air) are there not to fight with Assad but to wipe out Kurds in this region - Edorgan's sweet dream to get the political weight back.
spitthedog -> centerline 25 Nov 2015 18:43
Amazing how Russia attacking the ISIS oil operation can suddenly embarrass the Yanks into doing the obvious. Why didn't they do it before? If ISIS and their FSA buddies loses they can't get rid of Assad for Bibi, simples. The good old FSA, chanting Jihad and carrying white on black Al Qaeda flags. We have an interesting idea of what "moderate" is. Then again Blair was a moderate and he.... ummm....errrr....oops!
luella zarf -> TheOutsider79 25 Nov 2015 18:38
are France the only honest brokers in all of this, the only ones actually doing what they say they are doing - targeting ISIS
No, of course not. It's all spin. France, which was Syria's colonial master, is hoping to regain some of its former influence. ISIS is just a pretext, and they really have no incentive of destroying their only justification for being there in the first place.
When France launched its first airstrikes in Sep, Reuters wrote: "Paris has become alarmed by the possibility of France being sidelined in negotiations to reach a political solution in Syria. A French diplomatic source said Paris needed to be one of the "hitters" in Syria - those taking direct military action - to legitimately take part in any negotiations for a political solution to the conflict."
This is why they are participating - to get a seat at the table when the great powers break up Syria and hand out land rights for pipelines to big oil.
SallyWa -> HHeLiBe 25 Nov 2015 18:46
Turkey has no interest in the peaceful settlement to the conflict in Syria that world powers are negotiating. As it gets desperate, Turkey will attempt to bring focus back on the Assad regime and reverse the losses it has made both in Syria and geopolitically.
SallyWa -> FelixFeline 25 Nov 2015 18:45
Really? I guess I'll have to take your word for that.
Really. That's sort of your issue, not mine.
Do you have any links to support your claims about these lost ISIS territories?
For example http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/12/russian-airstrikes-support-syrian-troops-to-push-back-rebels-in-strategic-town
Article tried to call ISIS as rebels, though, it happens sometimes as those are always "good terrorists" or just "rebels" if they do what we need, like in this case if they are anti-Assad .
midnightschild10 25 Nov 2015 18:33
Although there has been a war of words between Greece and Turkey, with Turkey charging the Greeks with invading its air space, Turkey has yet to fire on a Greek plane. The turkmen are considered "moderates, and the US arm them to fight the Assad government. Shooting down the Russian plane was Turkey's way of flexing its muscles. The murder of the pilot in the parashoot was a cowardly act. These are the people the US are backing. They can be added to Obama's list of most favored and join the ranks of the Saudis who behead and crucify protesters, one upmanship over ISIS gruesome beheadings, and of course there is alSiSi, who executes all opposition. Petroshenko, wants to freeze the people of Crimea, and has over 6500 Ukrainian deaths notched on his belt since Nuland and Obama gave him the keys to Kiev.
Turkey feels feisty right now, but he obviously isn't aware of the talk coming from Washington about dividing up Syria among four leaders like they did to Berlin.
Turkey will have no part to play, and the US really wants to keep Russia out of the picture. They blame Assad for ISIS but the vacuum left by the US and the coalition left in Iraq is what gave birth to ISIS. Easy to depose governments, and then let chaos reign. Since Obama keeps bringing up the right of a sovereign nation to protect its borders, he should realize that the Syrian government never invited the US onto its soil. The Turkmen through their actions have shown they are terrorists, and Russia will treat them accordingly.
HHeLiBe 25 Nov 2015 18:32
Erdogan is playing both NATO and Russia for fools. Trying to create a wedge and sabotage the restoration of stability in Syria.
Branko Dodig 25 Nov 2015 18:26
The Russian plane was shot over Syrian airspace. Even if it had strayed over Turkish airspace, it was not shot down there. Basically, an act of revenge for bombing their "rebel" buddies.
SallyWa -> FelixFeline 25 Nov 2015 18:24
It is "Turkey screwed up and overreacted". Not confusing at all.
SallyWa -> FelixFeline 25 Nov 2015 18:23
Sorry, but I'm not Russian and also where have you been - Russia has been fighting ISIS in Syria better than US/coalition, though US/coalition did it like for a whole year.The result is that ISIS lost territories which it gained under US's "watch".
centerline 25 Nov 2015 18:12
Since the G20 meeting, Russia has photographed and destroyed the Turkish/ISIS oil convoys.
In the day or so since Turkey shot down the Russian plane in defence of al Qaeda, Russia has for the first time attacked a Turkish logistics convoy to ISIS and al Qaeda right at the main border crossing to Allepo. A number of trucks destroyed and 7 killed in that operation. turkey will pay dearly in the days to come, without Russia ever having to move into Turkish territory.
Any Turks running errands for AQ and ISIS within Syria will now be an endangered species. Or more to the point they will simply be eradicated like the vermin they are.
luella zarf -> TonyBlunt 25 Nov 2015 18:10
What a joke.
In one year of bombing, August 2014-July 2015, the coalition conducted 44,000 airstrikes in Syria-Iraq and killed 15,000 ISIS fighters, which comes at 3 sorties per terrorist!
It is all a giant make-believe. They are only using ISIS as a pretext to occupy and breakup Syria. And Western populations swallow all these lies without blinking and feel victimized by refugees.
pfox33 25 Nov 2015 17:49
The US and Israel were totally freaking when Russia first considered selling Iran S-300 systems, even though they're defensive. It would have taken the feasibility of bombing Iran's nuclear infrastructure to an unknown place. Russia sold these systems to select customers, like China. The S-400 is not for sale. Any search of Youtube will explain why.
When the S-400 is set up around Latakia they will effectively own the surrounding skies for 400 miles in every direction. That extends well into Turkey.
Now, I'd bet that Putin has no plans to exacerbate the current situation by shooting down any Turkish jets out of revenge for yesterday's incident. But it will be unsettling for Turkish flyboys and their bosses to know that a good chunk of their a airspace is totally vulnerable and they fly there only because Russia lets them.
So maybe the Turks pissed in the pickles. This little problem is keeping the Nato nabobs up at night. They haven't said a fucking word.
Geraldine Baxter -> SallyWa 25 Nov 2015 17:47
it's astonishing how many of the Putin hating NATObots from the Ukrainian-themed CIF threads turn out to be ISIS supporters.
indeed, with the "stench" of US grand mufti all over them.. How far do you think Obama will bow on his next visit to Saudi.
Liesandstats -> luella zarf 25 Nov 2015 17:47
Yup the FT estimated before the Russians got involved that ISIS were producing between 30,000 and 40,000 barrels of oil a day. You would need over 2000 full size road tankers just to move one days output. Now its fair to assume after filling up it takes more than a day before it gets back to the pump. Surprisingly the US has neither noticed all these tankers and even more surprisingly the oil tanks and installations.
jonsid 25 Nov 2015 17:33
An article about Syria is now infested with Banderites. They need to worry more about their own long-time disaster of a country instead of stalking every article mentioning Russia.
Anette Mor 25 Nov 2015 17:29
Russians spent all this time signing the rules of engagement and recognition of each other air crafts over Syria with the US, only to be shot by Turkey. Does NATO even exist as a unit other than in the headquarter offices? They constantly refer to the terms which could allegedly force then to support each other in case of external threat, while clearly they will fuck each other on technicalities for years before doing anything practically viable. Russia waste their time talking to NATO, instead had to bribe Turkey separately into a workable local deal. I am sure Turkey got just the same conclusion after wasting time in NATO talks. Corruption and complicity eaten away common sense in western politician and military heads. They only think how weak or strong they would look imitating one or another decision.
aretheymyfeet -> psygone 25 Nov 2015 17:22
Hilarious, checkmate Putin? The only reason the Turks took this drastic action is because the Western alliance has lost the initiative in Syria and they are desperately trying to goad Russia into overreacting. But, as we have seen time and again from the Russians (Lavrov is an incredibly impressive Statesman) that they are cool headed, and restrained.
The whole regime change plan is hanging in the balance and every day Russia solidifies Assad's position. If this continues for even another month it will be virtually impossible for the Western alliance to demand the departure of Assad.
Their bargaining position is diminishing by the day and it is great to watch. Also good to read that the Russians have been pounding the shi*e out of those Turkmen areas. Expect those silly buggers to be slaughtered whilst Erdogan and the Turks watch on helplessly. If they even try anything inside the Syrian border now the Russians will annihilate them. I'd say if anything, the Turks have strengthened the Russians providing them with the perfect excuse to close the Syrian air space to "unfriendly" forces. Check.
thatshowitgoes 25 Nov 2015 16:56
Erdogan's reaction to Syria shooting down a Turkish jet in 2012. "Erdogan criticized Syria harshly on Tuesday for shooting down the Turkish fighter jet, saying: "Even if the plane was in their airspace for a few seconds, that is no excuse to attack." "It was clear that this plane was not an aggressive plane. Still it was shot down," the corrupt ISIS supporting scumbag said"
SallyWa -> psygone 25 Nov 2015 16:56
means he's politically impotent, militarily boxed in a corner and incompetent for self-inflicting
You know you just described Obama and all his policies in a nutshell.
Bob Nassh -> keepithuman 25 Nov 2015 16:54
I believe there's conditions within the NATO treaty that prevent them from defending another member nation providing the conflict was instigated by war crimes committed by the member nation.
MRModeratedModerate 25 Nov 2015 16:50
But of course Turkey was exposed last year...Yet our governments continue to ignore and cover.
luella zarf Jeremn 25 Nov 2015 16:45
The US doesn't bomb ISIS, only pretends it does. Actually nobody bombs ISIS there except Russia.
Only between August 2014 and July 2015 the coalition aircraft have flown nearly 44,000 sorties, according to USNews, and Airwars said the strikes have killed more than 15,000 Islamic State militants during this period.
So they needed 3 sorties per terrorist! I have no idea how they manage to be this ineffective unless a) they are world's worst airforce b) it's all make-believe. My money is on option b).
Yury Kobyzev -> Valois1588 25 Nov 2015 16:41
Now fact - turkey government is on ISIS side. Its simplifies situation. Russia now quite free to clean the Turkey border from interface with ISIS. It's half a job in fight.
I don't see why Russia can be damaged by so stupid current west policy. I think that clever part of west will change policy towards Russia in near future and will find there friends as it was during ww2. You can repeat mantra Pu... tin as I use Ooom ... but is he of your level?
Chummy15 25 Nov 2015 16:30
Turkey has made it pretty clear where its primary loyalties lie, with ISIS and the other anti-Assad elements. It was a foolish move shooting down the Russian plane which clearly was no threat to the security of Turkey whether or not it had violated Turkish airspace, something that happen around the world regularly. It adds a further dimension to an already complicated war
Konstantin Murakhtin, a navigator who was rescued in a joint operation by Syrian and Russian commandos, told Russian media: "There were no warnings, either by radio or visually. There was no contact whatsoever."
He also denied entering Turkish airspace. "I could see perfectly on the map and on the ground where the border was and where we were. There was no danger of entering Turkey," he said.
The apparent hardening of both countries' versions of events came as Russian warplanes carried out heavy raids in Syria's northern Latakia province, where the plane came down. Tuesday's incident – the first time a Nato member state has shot down a Russian warplane since the Korean war – risks provoking a clash over the ongoing conflict in Syria, where Russia has intervened to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
... ... ...
Later, in a telephone call with John Kerry, the US secretary of state, Lavrov said Turkey's actions were a "gross violation" of an agreement between Moscow and Washington on air space safety over Syria. The state department said Kerry called for calm and more dialogue between Turkish and Russian officials.
... ... ...
Russian officials made it clear that despite the fury the reaction would be measured. There is no talk of a military response, and no suggestion that diplomatic relations could be cut or the Turkish ambassador expelled from Moscow. However, the tone of relations between the two countries is likely to change dramatically.
... ... ...
A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, hit out at the US state department official Mark Toner, who said the Turkmen fighters who shot the Russian airman as he parachuted to the ground could have been acting in self defence. "Remember these words, remember them forever. I will never forget them, I promise," Zakharova wrote on Facebook.
economistsview.typepad.comFred C. Dobbs said...Who Turned My Blue State Red?
NYT - ALEC MacGILLIS - NOV. 20
It is one of the central political puzzles of our time: Parts of the country that depend on the safety-net programs supported by Democrats are increasingly voting for Republicans who favor shredding that net.
In his successful bid for the Senate in 2010, the libertarian Rand Paul railed against "intergenerational welfare" and said that "the culture of dependency on government destroys people's spirits," yet racked up winning margins in eastern Kentucky, a former Democratic stronghold that is heavily dependent on public benefits. Last year, Paul R. LePage, the fiercely anti-welfare Republican governor of Maine, was re-elected despite a highly erratic first term - with strong support in struggling towns where many rely on public assistance. And earlier this month, Kentucky elected as governor a conservative Republican who had vowed to largely undo the Medicaid expansion that had given the state the country's largest decrease in the uninsured under Obamacare, with roughly one in 10 residents gaining coverage.
It's enough to give Democrats the willies as they contemplate a map where the red keeps seeping outward, confining them to ever narrower redoubts of blue. The temptation for coastal liberals is to shake their heads over those godforsaken white-working-class provincials who are voting against their own interests.
But this reaction misses the complexity of the political dynamic that's taken hold in these parts of the country. It misdiagnoses the Democratic Party's growing conundrum with working-class white voters. And it also keeps us from fully grasping what's going on in communities where conditions have deteriorated to the point where researchers have detected alarming trends in their mortality rates.
In eastern Kentucky and other former Democratic bastions that have swung Republican in the past several decades, the people who most rely on the safety-net programs secured by Democrats are, by and large, not voting against their own interests by electing Republicans. Rather, they are not voting, period. They have, as voting data, surveys and my own reporting suggest, become profoundly disconnected from the political process. ...
(Indeed. Why are impoverished, federal-dollar absorbing states typically So Red? It's a good question. But Kentucky, Iowa & Maine are not good examples.
Kentucky has always been on the very edge of the Old South. Iowa is deeply evangelical. And Maine is just Maine.)
Nov 23, 2015 | Zero Hedge
"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," warns former CIA Director Jack Devine, saying that, with "frankly uncivilized" ISIS, there is a greater risk of violence worldwide than ever before.
According to The Hill,
"I think this is the most dangerous time in terms of sustained violence," he said on "The Cats Roundtable" in an interview airing Sunday on New York's AM-970.
"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," he told host John Catsimatidis. "Some percentage of the world today is always either unbalanced or radicalized. When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."
Devine cited the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as an unprecedented threat in terms of its wanton disregard for human life...
"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s, but they never attacked innocent women and children indiscriminately," he said.
"You have a group in ISIS today that is frankly uncivilized. These folks could get stronger and stronger. We basically have to destroy ISIS over there," Devine said.
Devine argued that dismantling ISIS's command structure is crucial for minimizing the danger it presents, much like al Qaeda before them. "We killed three-fourths of their leadership," he said of al Qaeda. "We have to do the same thing with ISIS. "We have to destroy their refuge over there. When they start to lose, their recruiting numbers start to fall."
Devine, who mainly served during the Cold War, said ISIS is a scourge without parallel because it has no concern for self-preservation.
"There is nothing that can be compared with nuclear weapons and their use," he said of tensions between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union.
"[But] people felt safe in the sense there was countervailing balance," he added. "Early in our contest with the Russians, it was clear we had checks and balances."
Finally Devine admits...
"If there's blame to be put, it's on our failure to have done that by this point."
Selected Skeptical Comments
"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s..."
"And by dealt I mean trained and funded."
John Kerry to the MSM:
Do not use "Al Qaeda" or "Al Nustra" - just call them "Allies" (pronounced Al Lies). ;-)
"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," he told host John Catsimatidis. "Some percentage of the world today is always either unbalanced or radicalized. When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."
By small group he means CIA, Right? I thought he would have been a little clearer.
My guess is that Iran have done a deal with Putin in that once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe. Russia is allowing Iran into the European gas market because Bandar threatened Sochi, and Putin wants to end the House of Saud in retaliation. Two weeks from now the world is going to make laws that pushes countries towards natural gas and away from coal and oil.
"...once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe..."
I would say that's accurate, since the U.S. put ISIS there to block the Iran - Iraq - Syria pipeline. When Russia destroys ISIS, the previously planned pipeline can proceed. It has nothing to do with Russian 'permission' - Putin expects someone to eventually be sending gas up from the Middle East once the slaughter stops. He doesn't care who it is or how much. It's not going to displace more than a fraction of the Russian supply to Europe. Syria rejected the Qatari pipeline for its own reasons - probably because Qatar was planning on killing Assad and replacing him with a Western stooge well before the Qatari-Turkey pipeline was announced. In fact, the announcement was pretty much an insult to Syria. Qatar quite arrogantly announced that they WOULD be building the pipeline through Syria without bothering to ask them.
The U.S. blocked the first Iran pipeline (called the Persian Pipeline) FROM IRAN to Iraq in 2010 by forcing the Swiss company that partnered with Iran to back out due to Israeli - ooops, 'Western' sanctions on Iran. The second Iran-sourced NG pipeline from Iran through Iraq and Syria - called the Friendship Pipeline - was agreed to in 2012 by the countries involved. That's when the U.S. launched it's failed coup attempt in Syria and let its ISIS mad-dogs loose in Iraq. Tyler usually refers to this by the derogatory label of "Islamic Pipeline" - a snide label that Kagan-PNAC and Western oil companies used. Tyler never refers to the Western-backed Qatari pipeline as the Jihadi Pipeline, nor does he refer to the Kirkuk-Haifa oil pipeline as the Jewish Pipeline. I'm not sure about the inconsistency - maybe he's trying to make some point.
Putin negotiates with everyone. He was even talking with Israel about helping them with the Leviathan pipeline. The U.S. seems to favor 'regime change' as the preferred strategy to expand its oil interests where it has no business doing so.
The CIA guy doesn't mention the House of Saud.
Good catch! And there never do.
CIA and House of Saud have done a long term deal to look out for each other in this world. The CIA serves no master, it is the fucking master. It does deals that are anti American, and they don't care, because America is just a sugar daddy to them. We are the chumps who pay their bills, while they put half of all honest Americans on their enemies list.
CIA is international, not American. They are the hit men for the biggest corporations on earth, and most especially the biggest energy firms. Oil and CIA go together, and there is the Saudi connection.
CIA is the lead agent if world Islamic extremism, they don't fight it, they nurture it! Their long term goal is to use mass Islamic terror armies to do what the CIA and Corporate masters want done. Need a police state in America? Do a hit on America 9/11. Need to eliminate Russia? Create ISIS and direct them against Russia's allies. And you can take it from there. It will continue on as before. Nobody left has the power to take down the CIA terror rings.sgt_doom
Somewhere it's 3:00 AMWikileaks: Hillary Clinton Claims Saudi Arabia is the Largest Donor to "Salafism Terrorists" Worldwide
http://refreshingnews99.blogspot.in/2015/11/wikileaks-hillary-clinton-cl...Clinton Foundation's Colombian 'Private Equity Fund' Deletes Website
"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s, but they never attacked innocent women and children indiscriminately," he said.
No shit, sherlock, and it's because of you and the most vile mass murderer of all time, the CIA (and DIA, and NSA, and FBI, etc.), but predominantly the CIA and the Pentagon, that ISIS and such exists today!
Whether it was Allen Dulles coordinating the escape of endless number of mass murderering Nazis, who would end up in CIA-overthrown countries, aiding and abetting their secret police (Example: Walter Rauff, who was responsible for at least 200,000 deaths, ending up as an advisor to Augusto Pinochet's secret police or DINA) or the grandson of the first chairman of the Bank for International Settlements, Richard Helms and his MKULTRA, you devils are to blame.
Recommended reading (to better understand why the USA is known as the Great Satan):
The Devil's Chessboard, by David Talbot
http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=the+devil%27s+chessboard&tag=googhydr-20&index=stripbooks&hvadid=78875381302&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2565125617248777980&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_34lcz93rcf_e_p4Funny how these fucks can come out and say this kind of shit and get away with it. The fucker's basically pleading guilty to murder, FFS.Ms NoThey didn't kill anybody in South America my ass.... The school of Americas, Operation Condor, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Guatamala, El Salvador .... who the hell are they kidding? The CIA has always been covered and nobody ever cared.Perimetr"If there's blame to be put. . ."
It's on the CIA for running its global terrorist operations, funded by the $1 trillion dollars a year coming from its Afghanistan heroin operation.
NoplebianUS Gives Their Proxy Army ISIS 45 Minute Warning Before Air Strikes......
sirs and madams,
"Christmas celebration this year is going to be a charade because the whole world is at war. We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war.
It's all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war. A war can be justified, so to speak, with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war, piecemeal though that war may be-a little here, a little there-there is no justification.
What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now? What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims, and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers."
Dinero D. Profit
Ladies and gentlemen of ZH.
In history, what must be, will be.
The discovery of America by Europe had to happen. The savages had to be eliminated and The Revolutionary War had to happen. Slavery had to begin, and after it, segregation had to begin, but, what must be, will be, slavery and segregation had to end. Old School colonization of poor nations had to happen. The Boer War had to happen. The Spanish American War had to happen. The Main had to be sunk. WWI had to happen. Calvary charges had to end. Totalitarian Communism had to happen. Germany's 20's depression had to happen, reactionary jingoism had to happen, and Kristallnacht and the Reichstag fire had to happen. The Allies had to win WWII, Hiroshima and Nagasaki had to be publicity stunts, and the Cold War had to begin. JFK had to be wacked, the Vietnam War had to happen, the FED still was happening. Civil Rights laws had to be passed. Recognition of China had to happen, going off the gold standard had to happen, and Nixon had to be kicked out of office. Corporate Globalization had to begin. After Carter an actor had to be President. Unions had to be stifled. Perestroika and glasnost had to happen. The Berlin Wall had to come down. The MIC had to find another enemy, and suddenly 9/11 had to happen. …
Over population has to happen, poisoning the environment has to happen, and the NWO has to happen.
Ladies and gentlemen, the NWO is here, and there is nothing you can do, and nothing you could have done to stop it.
Edit. I see none of our supposed enemies 'truth bombing' 9/11, 7/7, and the 13th Paris attacks. I see no trade embagoes, I see no arguments in the Security Council over the illegality of US/Nato bombing in Syria.
Jimmy Carter Is Correct That the U.S. Is No Longer a Democracy
Posted: 08/03/2015 11:48 am EDT
On July 28, Thom Hartmann interviewed former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and, at the very end of his show (as if this massive question were merely an afterthought), asked him his opinion of the 2010 Citizens United decision and the 2014 McCutcheon decision, both decisions by the five Republican judges on the U.S. Supreme Court. These two historic decisions enable unlimited secret money (including foreign money) now to pour into U.S. political and judicial campaigns. Carter answered:
It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it's just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members. So, now we've just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over. ... At the present time the incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody that is already in Congress has a great deal more to sell." ...
it is the money "system", man.
corporations and hoodwink powers ride on the indifference of the damned, the silence of the dead and doomed.
Dinero D. ProfitDick Buttkiss
The Satus Quo can rely upon the loyalty of their employees, Congress, the military, the military industrial contractors, their workers and family members, the crime control establishment, all Uniersity professors and employees, and every employee of all publically traded companies, and every person employed by the MSM.
The dead and doomed are irrelevant. If you have an establishment job, you'll obey and ask no vital questions.Sunnis and Shiites hate each other far more than they hate Christians, Jews, or anyone else. If it weren't for oil, the USG wouldn't give a flyiing fuck if they anihilated each other. Instead, it conspires with them in ways far beyond its ability to comprehend, much less navigate. Thus is the US ship of state heading for the shoals of its destruction, the only question being how much of the country and the outside world it takes down with it.ross81thats bullshit Western propaganda that Shiites hate Sunnis and vice versa. In the same way that the Brits stirred up Protestant hatred