Softpanorama
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)

Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Two Party System as Polyarchy and anti-Democratic mechanisms of "first past the post" elections

Version 2.4 (Nov  21, 2016)

The USA looks more and more like a single party state -- it is governed by  Neoliberal party with two factions
 "soft neoliberals" (Democratic Party) and "hard neoliberals"(Republican Party)

News Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Recommended Books Recommended Links Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite US Presidential Elections of 2016 Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking The Deep State Predator state
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Neocons foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite New American Militarism Electoral College Hillary Clinton email scandal: Timeline and summary Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Demexit Myth about intelligent voter
Neocons Obama: a yet another Neocon Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neoliberalism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Protestant church on danger of neoliberalism
Donald Trump Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders and blaming Vladimir Putin National Security State  American Exceptionalism Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Pluralism as a myth
Principal-agent problem Corporatist Corruption Paleoconservatism Corporatism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Non-Interventionism "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry  Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS
Bernie Sanders Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Jeb "Wolfowitz Stooge" Bush US Presidential Elections of 2012  Mayberry Machiavellians Politically Incorrect Humor Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
"There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man."

-- Gore Vidal

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

-- Leonard Pinkney

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

-- Daniel Estulin

Due to the side an introduction was moved to the separate page Polyarchy, Authoritarianism and Deep State

Summary

I subscribe to Kantian idea of the dignity in human, the idea that everyone is entitled to survival as well as thriving beyond survival. But does everybody is entitled to equal participation in ruling of the state ?  Or  in election of state leaders? Which is what democracy means. Is the democracy possible, if elections use "the first after the post" rule?

My impression is that the Communist Party of the USSR made a grave mistake by not adopting "the first after the post" election system. In reality it would just legitimize the permanent Communist Party rule, as two factions of the CPSU competing for power (let's call them "Democratic Communists" and "Republican Communists") would exclude any real challenge for the one party rule that was practiced in the USSR under so called "one party" system (which, while providing the same results,  looks more undemocratic then "first after the post" system, and thus  less safe for the rule of oligarchy as it generates resentment of the population).   But both one party system and "first after the post" system provides a very effective suppression of any third party, preventing any chance of maturing such a political force. Which is all that is needed to continuation of the rule of the current oligarchy. It shops working only if  "revolutionary situation" (like in the USA in 2016) arise, when the people do not wont to live under the current system, and the ruling oligarchy can't continue to rule using the same methods and its brainwashing/propaganda doe not work anymore.  In such cases, often the ruling elite results to unleashing a war to suppress dissent and to restore the control. The pitch level of anti-Russian propaganda in 2016 in neoliberal MSM suggest that some part of the US elite is not totally hostile to this solution even in nuclear age.

The same was true for at least seven most recent US Presidential elections.  here we see attempt by oligarchy to rig the elections despite growing populism, at all cost. Evn by promoting a deeply criminal and unhealthy candidate. The level of propganda displayed in this election cycle by neoliberal MSM might well outdo the level achived by communist propagandists in best days of the USSR.

2016 elections are not unlike previous six presidential elections.  This time there is a slight chance that the election are not about choosing "soft neoliberal" vs. "hard neoliberal" but "soft neoliberal"  vs. "paleoconservative".

There is also an interesting question what king of democracy the competition  of "Democratic Neoliberals" ("soft neoliberal/closet neocons) and "Republican Neoliberals: ("hard core" neoliberal/open neocons) in the USA demostrates. Especially adjusting to slightly  lower level of political awareness and education of population in the USA (in the USSR the courses of philosophy and political economy (with obvious communist bent) was obligatory for all university students and people did read both Marx and Lenin. As Marx famously said he was not a Marxist ;-).  The same to a certain extent is true for Lenin, who was essentally a bridge between Marxism and national socialism.

And after they were literally forced to read Marx and make a set of quotes from some of his most important works, communist propaganda did no walr all too well. And people were listening to BBC and Voice of america at night, despite jumming.

This is not true with compley brainwashed the USA population, which does not have alternative sources of onfrematin (althouth they do exist, take for example RT).

Let's honestly ask yourselves  what percentage of US voters can list key proposition of paleoconservative political platform vs neoliberal platform, when just the words neoliberalism and Paleoconservatism are expunged from MSM. Assuming that this is the key difference between two candidates in the current Presidential race, this is really unfortunate.

Moreover the hypothesis that majority of voters under "popular democracy" regime (where all citizens have a right to vote) understand what they are voting for ("informed voters" hypothesis)  is open to review (Myth about intelligent voter).  Otherwise identity politics would not be so successful, despite being a primitive variation of classic divide and conquer strategy.

In any case one amazing fact happened during this election: republican voters abandoned Republican brass and flocked to Trump, while Democratic voters abandoed Democratic neoliberals and floked to Sanders (although DNC managed to fix primaries).  See Trump vs. The REAL Nuts—The GOP- “Uniparty” Establishment - The Unz Review  for an informed discussion of this phenomenon.

Mr. Trump’s great historical role was to reveal to the Republican Party what half of its own base really thinks about the big issues. The party’s leaders didn’t know! They were shocked, so much that they indulged in sheer denial and made believe it wasn’t happening.

The party’s leaders accept more or less open borders and like big trade deals. Half the base does not! It is longtime GOP doctrine to cut entitlement spending. Half the base doesn’t want to, not right now! Republican leaders have what might be called assertive foreign-policy impulses. When Mr. Trump insulted George W. Bush and nation-building and said he’d opposed the Iraq invasion, the crowds, taking him at his word, cheered. He was, as they say, declaring that he didn’t want to invade the world and invite the world. Not only did half the base cheer him, at least half the remaining half joined in when the primaries ended.

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. The same is true for countries.  Especially for those which use  "export of democracy" efforts to mask their pretty much imperial ambitions. The efforts to expand and sustain the global neoliberal empire led by the USA.  See color revolutions for details.  Actually that makes the USA very similar the USSR with its leaders dream about global Communist empire led from Moscow. Both in the USA and the USSR there was too much talk about democracy, while actually practice was decidedly undemocratic. It was oligarchic rule in both cases. In the USA the situation is further complicated by amazing level of brainwashing of population via MSM, which definitely exceed the level achieve by nomenklatura in Soviet Union. Can you imagine the situation in the USSR when members of the ruling communist party were prohibited to show their affiliation and the words "communist" and "communism" was "discouraged" and their usage is suppressed  in MSM including leading newspapers Pravda and Izvestia (roughly analogical to WaPo and NYT).   That's the situation we have in the USA now.

The term "neoliberalism" is effectively prohibited from usage in major US MSM and all political discussion is forcefully turned into "infotainment" -- the clash of  personalizes. In other words discussion of key issues facing the country (politics in real sense of this word)  was replaced under neoliberal regime by "infotainment" with slick and often psychically beautiful prostitutes instead of analysts.   But like was the case in the USSR neoliberal brainwashing gradually lost its effectiveness because it contradicts the reality. and neoliberalism failed to deliver promises of "rising tide lifting all board", or trickle down economy which justified tremendous enrichment of top 0.1%. 

So there is a consensus, that while there is not coherent alternative (and attempts to return to "enlightened corporatism" of New Deal are questionable at best in the age of peak oil), neoliberal ideology is on decline since 2008, which make Presidential elections of 2016 so atypical: for the fist time in many year there is one candidate (and earlier there were two) which was not pre-approved by establishment, fighting a weak, un-trusted by the most population establishment candidate with failing health.

Like in case of communist regimes before, 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 (similar to the suppression of dissidents in the USSR in its effectiveness and brutality, but done in "velvet gloves" without resort to physical violence). That includes decimation of  labor unions and other forms of self-organization for the lower 80%, or even 99% of population.  Neoliberalism tries to present any individual, any citizen, 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 redistribution of wealth up to the top 1% (which is the stated goal of neoliberalism aka "casino capitalism"). 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-collar workers to the street. Previously it was mainly blue-collar 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.


Top updates

Softpanorama Switchboard
Softpanorama Search


NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

Poliarchy Bulletin, 2015 Poliarchy Bulletin, 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Batman11 , Jan 16, 2017 2:22 PM

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

Let me explain.

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

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

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

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

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

Democracy – that requires the support of the majority.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Norma Lacy , Jan 16, 2017 2:22 PM

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

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

besnook , Jan 16, 2017 2:24 PM

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

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

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

mary mary , Jan 16, 2017 2:32 PM

The things I love about Davos are:

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

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

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

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

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

Batman11 , Jan 16, 2017 2:33 PM

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

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

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

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

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

sharonsj , Jan 16, 2017 2:37 PM

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

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

[Jan 17, 2017] Common Sense - Addressed To The Inhabitants Of 2017 America

Notable quotes:
"... It was read aloud in taverns, churches and town squares, promoting the notion of republicanism, bolstering fervor for complete separation from Britain, and boosting recruitment for the fledgling Continental Army. He rallied public opinion in favor of revolution among layman, farmers, businessmen and lawmakers. It compelled the colonists to make an immediate choice. It made the case against monarchy, aristocracy, tyranny and unfair taxation, offering Americans a solution – liberty and freedom. It was an important precursor to the Declaration of Independence, which was written six months later by Paine's fellow revolutionaries. ..."
Jan 17, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Submitted by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

"Without the pen of the author of Common Sense , the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain." – John Adams

Thomas Paine was born in 1737 in Britain. His first thirty seven years of life were pretty much a series of failures and disappointments. Business fiascos, firings, the death of his first wife and child, a failed second marriage, and bankruptcy plagued his early life.

He then met Benjamin Franklin in 1774 and was convinced to emigrate to America, arriving in Philadelphia in November 1774. He thus became the Father of the American Revolution with the publication of Common Sense , pamphlets which crystallized opinion for colonial independence in 1776.

The first pamphlet was published in Philadelphia on January 10, 1776, and signed anonymously "by an Englishman." It became an instantaneous sensation, swiftly disseminating 100,000 copies in three months among the two and a half million residents of the 13 colonies. Over 500,000 copies were sold during the course of the American Revolution. Paine published Common Sense after the battle of Lexington and Concord, making the argument the colonists should seek complete independence from Great Britain, rather than merely fighting against unfair levels of taxation. The pamphlets stirred the masses with a fighting spirit, instilling in them the backbone to resist a powerful empire.

It was read aloud in taverns, churches and town squares, promoting the notion of republicanism, bolstering fervor for complete separation from Britain, and boosting recruitment for the fledgling Continental Army. He rallied public opinion in favor of revolution among layman, farmers, businessmen and lawmakers. It compelled the colonists to make an immediate choice. It made the case against monarchy, aristocracy, tyranny and unfair taxation, offering Americans a solution – liberty and freedom. It was an important precursor to the Declaration of Independence, which was written six months later by Paine's fellow revolutionaries.

Paine's contribution to American independence 241 years ago during the first American Fourth Turning cannot be overstated. His clarion call for colonial unity against a tyrannical British monarch played a providential role in convincing farmers, shopkeepers, and tradesmen reconciliation with a hereditary monarchy was impossible, and armed separation was the only common sense option. He made the case breaking away from Britain was inevitable, and the time was now. Armed conflict had already occurred, but support for a full-fledged revolution had not yet coalesced within the thirteen colonies. Paine's rhetorical style within the pamphlets aroused enough resentment against the British monarchy to rally men to arms, so their children wouldn't have to fight their battles.

"I prefer peace, but if trouble must come, let it be in my time that my children may know peace." – Thomas Paine

Paine did not write Common Sense or The American Crisis pamphlets for his contemporaries like John Adams, Samuel Adams, Jefferson, Madison, or Franklin. These intellectual giants were already convinced of the need to permanently break away from the British Empire and form a new nation. Paine wrote his pamphlets in a style understandable to the common man, rendering complex concepts intelligible for the average citizen. Paine seized this historic moment of crisis to provide the intellectual basis for a republican revolution. To inspire his citizen soldiers, George Washington had Paine's pamphlets read aloud at their encampments.

"These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated." – Thomas Paine – The American Crisis

The wealthy landowners and firebrands who comprised the Continental Congress leadership were not the audience Paine was trying to sway. They were focused on how a Declaration of Independence would affect the war effort. They were deficient in making their case to the less informed populace.

Without public support and volunteers to fight the Redcoats, the revolution would have failed. Paine's indispensable contribution to our country's independence was initiating a public debate and disseminating ideas about independence among those who would need to do the fighting and dying if independence was to be achieved.

Paine was able to synthesize philosophical enlightenment concepts about human rights into common sense ideas understood by ordinary folks. Paine was not a highly educated intellectual and trusted the common people to make sound assessments regarding major issues, based upon wisdom dispensed in a common sense way. He used common sense to refute the professed entitlements of the British ruling establishment. He used common sense as a weapon to de-legitimize King George's despotic monarchy, overturning the conventional thinking among the masses.

Paine was able to fuse the common cause of the Founding Fathers and the people into a collective revolutionary force. Even though their numbers were small, Paine convinced them they could defeat an empire.

"It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies; yet our present numbers are sufficient to repel the force of all the world" – Thomas Paine, Common Sense

Paine didn't know he was propelling the American Revolution Fourth Turning towards its successful climax when he wrote those pamphlets. His use of the term Crisis as the title to his second group of pro-revolutionary pamphlets displayed his grasp of the mood in the colonies toward the existing social order. The majority of the 2.5 million people living in the 13 colonies in 1776 were native born. Their loyalty to a distant monarch, treating them with contempt and taxing them to support his far flung empire, had been waning as time progressed. They were ready to shed the cloak of oppression and Paine gave them the rationale for doing so.

The American Revolution Crisis was ignited by the fiery Prophet Generation leader Samuel Adams with the provocative Boston Tea Party in 1773. The colonial tinderbox was ignited as Adams' committees of correspondence rallied resistance against the Crown and formed a political union among the 13 colonies. After the battles of Lexington & Concord, arming of militias and the formation of the Continental Army under command of George Washington, the regeneracy was at hand.

Paine, as a Liberty Generation nomad, did what his generation was born to do – be a hands on, pragmatic, get it done leader. His vital contribution to the revolution was rousing the colonists with the toughness, resolution, and backbone to withstand the long difficult trials ahead. He, along with other members of his generation – George Washington, John Adams, and Francis Marion, did the heavy lifting throughout the American Revolution.

They knew they would hang if their labors failed, but the struggle for liberty against a tyrannical despot drove them forward against all odds. Paine's pamphlets, followed shortly thereafter by the Declaration of Independence, marked the regeneracy of the first American Fourth Turning , as solidarity around the cause of liberty inspired by brave words and valiant deeds, propelled history towards its glorious climax at Yorktown.

When you're in the midst of a Fourth Turning it is hard to step back and assess where you are on a daily basis. This Fourth Turning began in September 2008, with the global financial implosion created by the Fed and their Wall Street puppet masters. We have just achieved the long awaited regeneracy as Trump has stepped forth as the Grey Champion to lead a revolution against the corrupt tyrannical establishment.

The election of Trump did not mark the end for the Deep State, but just the beginning of the end. Just as Paine's Common Sense and the Declaration of Independence denoted the beginning of a long string of bloody trials and tribulations, Trump's ascendency to the presidency has marked the beginning of a battle – with the outcome dependent upon our response to the clashes ahead.

The regeneracy spurred by Thomas Paine and the nation's Founding Fathers in 1776 was followed by five years of ordeal, misery, misfortune, bloody routs, and numerous junctures where total defeat hung in the balance. Lesser men would have abandoned the cause during the dark bitter winter at Valley Forge in 1778.

The shocking victory by Trump has revealed the depth of corruption among the corporate mass media, both political parties, surveillance agencies, and shadowy Deep State moneyed players behind the scenes. The ivory tower D.C. politicians, their entitlement culture, blatant corruption, vile disregard for the Constitution, and complete disregard for the plight of average Americans living outside their bastions of liberal elitism (NYC, L.A., S.F., D.C., Chicago), have shown their true colors since November 8.

Trump utilized the same populist messaging invoked by Paine in his Common Sense pamphlets during his unorthodox presidential campaign. He mobilized the large alienated silent majority who has been left behind as the globalists, corporatists, and militarists reaped the rich rewards of a growing corporate fascist surveillance state. Average Americans in flyover country watched as the fetid swamp creatures in the mainstream media, along with debased political establishment hacks, Hollywood elites, left wing billionaires, and so called social justice warriors coalesced behind a criminal establishment candidate. The out of touch elite have controlled the government for decades, treating the country and its people like a two dollar whore.

Just as Paine hit a nerve among the great unwashed masses, Trump united blue collar workers, small business owners, family men, working mothers, guns rights champions, disaffected conservatives, realistic libertarians, disaffected millennials and various anti-establishment types sick and tired of the status quo. He gave voice to the little man with his in your face populist rhetoric against the corrupt dominant elites.

His plain spoken, aggressive, no holds barred, pugnacious approach to crushing his enemies rallied millions to his cause. The Make America Great Again revolution has only just begun and the violent, vitriolic pushback from the vested interests are only the opening volleys in this Second American Revolution . The entrenched Deep State establishment will concede nothing. Tyranny will not be defeated without bloodshed.

"Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." – Thomas Paine

The same common sense Paine used to argue against a tyrannical, oppressive hereditary monarchy applies today when judging our corrupt, authoritarian, co-opted government. His themes of society as a blessing, government as evil, and revolution as inevitable are as applicable today as they were 241 years ago. As we approach Trump's inauguration it has become clear the ruling elite feel threatened and are using their control of the media, intelligence services, military, and financial system to try and undermine his presidency before it begins.

As their fake news propaganda falls on the deaf ears of disgusted Americans, their next ploy will be violence, war or assassination. The vested interests have no intention of relinquishing their power and wealth, just as King George and his Parliament had no intention of allowing the colonies to form an independent republic.

If you thought voting Trump into the office of the president constituted a victory, you are badly misreading historical precedent and the inevitable paths of Fourth Turnings. The fight is just beginning. The leftist social justice warriors, their wealthy elite puppeteers, the neo-con military industrial complex warmongers, globalists, multi-culturists, and surveillance state apparatchiks have all made it clear they will violently and rhetorically, through their corporate media mouthpieces, resist Trump and his common man revolution.

I don't know if the normal people who supported Trump realize how abnormal, deviant, and despicable their opponents are. Blood will be spilled. Violence will beget violence. The country is already split and the divide will only grow wider. Someone will win and someone will lose. Our choices will matter.

"The seasons of time offer no guarantees. For modern societies, no less than for all forms of life, transformative change is discontinuous. For what seems an eternity, history goes nowhere – and then it suddenly flings us forward across some vast chaos that defies any mortal effort to plan our way there. The Fourth Turning will try our souls – and the saecular rhythm tells us that much will depend on how we face up to that trial. The saeculum does not reveal whether the story will have a happy ending, but it does tell us how and when our choices will make a difference." – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

In Part Two of this article I will try to show how Paine's Common Sense , even though written three generations ago, has essential pertinence during these troubled times of our current Fourth Turning .

[Jan 17, 2017] In Defense Of Populism

Notable quotes:
"... Davos elite faces evaporating trust in "post-trith" era ..."
"... "The most shocking statistic of this whole study is that half the people who are high-income, college-educated and well-informed also believe the system doesn't work." ..."
"... Even wealthy, well educated people understand things aren't working, which begs the question. Who does think the system is working? Well, the people attending Davos, of course. These are the folks who cheer on a world in which eight people own as much as the bottom 50%. ..."
"... The mere fact that billionaire-owned media is so hostile to populism tells you everything you need to know. Behind the idea of populism is the notion of self-government, and Davos-type elitists hate this. They believe in a technocracy in which they make all the important decisions. Populism is dangerous because populism is empowering. It implies that the people ultimately have the power. ..."
"... The global financial crisis of 2008/9 and the migrant crisis of 2015/16 exposed the impotence of politicians, deepening public disillusion and pushing people towards populists who offered simple explanations and solutions. ..."
"... Populism can be dangerous, and it's certainly messy, but it's a crucial pressure release valve for any functioning free society. If you don't allow populist movements to do their thing in the short-term, you'll get far worse outcomes in the long-term. ..."
"... Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. ..."
Jan 17, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

DAVOS MAN : "A soulless man, technocratic, nationless and cultureless, severed from reality. The modern economics that undergirded Davos capitalism is equally soulless, a managerial capitalism that reduces economics to mathematics and separates it from human action and human creativity."

– From the post: "For the Sake of Capitalism, Pepper Spray Davos"

One thing I've been very careful about not doing over the years is self-identifying under any particular political ideology. I articulated my reasoning in the post, Thank You and Welcome New Readers – A Liberty Blitzkrieg Mission Statement :

I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I do not consider myself a libertarian, progressive, socialist, anarchist, conservative, neoconservative or neoliberal. I'm just a 38 year old guy trying to figure it all out. Naturally, this doesn't imply that there aren't things which I hold dear. I have a strong belief system based on key principles. It's just that I don't think it makes sense for me to self-label and become part of a tribe. The moment you self-label, is the moment you stop thinking for yourself. It's also the moment you stop listening. When you think you have all the answers, anyone who doesn't think exactly as you do on all topics is either stupid or "paid opposition." I don't subscribe to this way of thinking.

Despite my refusal to self-identify, I am comfortable stating that I'm a firm supporter of populist movements and appreciate the instrumental role they've played historically in free societies. The reason I like this term is because it carries very little baggage. It doesn't mean you adhere to a specific set of policies or solutions, but that you believe above all else that the concerns of average citizens matter and must be reflected in government policy.

Populism reaches its political potential once such concerns become so acute they translate into popular movements, which in turn influence the levers of power. Populism is not a bug, but is a key feature in any democratic society. It functions as a sort of pressure relief valve for free societies. Indeed, it allows for an adjustment and recalibration of the existing order at the exact point in the cycle when it is needed most. In our current corrupt, unethical and depraved oligarchy, populism is exactly what is needed to restore some balance to society. Irrespective of what you think of Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, both political movements were undoubtably populist in nature. This doesn't mean that Trump govern as populist once he is sworn into power, but there's little doubt that the energy which propelled him to the Presidency was part of a populist wave.

Trump understands this, and despite having surrounded himself with an endless stream of slimy ex-Goldman Sachs bankers and other assorted billionaires, his campaign took the following position with regard to Davos according to Bloomberg :

Donald Trump won't send an official representative to the annual gathering of the world's economic elite in Davos, taking place next week in the days leading up to his inauguration, although one of the president-elect's advisers is slated to attend.

Former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, a regular attendee in the past, told the group he would skip 2017 after being named in December to head the National Economic Council, said people familiar with the conference. Other top Trump appointees will also pass up the forum.

A senior member of Trump's transition team said the president-elect thought it would betray his populist-fueled movement to have a presence at the high-powered annual gathering in the Swiss Alps. The gathering of millionaires, billionaires, political leaders and celebrities represents the power structure that fueled the populist anger that helped Trump win the election, said the person, who asked for anonymity to discuss the matter.

While all of this sounds great, it's not entirely true. For example:

Hedge fund manager Anthony Scaramucci is planning to travel to Davos, though. The founder of SkyBridge Capital and an early backer of Trump's campaign, Scaramucci was named on Thursday as an assistant to the president.

Not that Scaramucci's presence should surprise anyone, he's the consummate banker apologist, anti-populist. Recall what he said last month :

"I think the cabal against the bankers is over."

This guy shouldn't be allowed within ten feet of any populist President, but Trump unfortunately seems to have a thing for ex-Goldman Sachs bankers.

While we're on then subject, let's discuss Davos for a moment. You know, the idyllic Swiss town where the world's most dastardly politicians, oligarchs and their fawning media servants will gather in a technocratic orgy of panels and cocktail parties to discuss how best to manage the world's affairs in the year ahead. Yes, that Davos.

To get a sense of the maniacal mindset of these people, I want to turn your attention to a couple of Reuters articles published earlier today. First, from Davos Elites Struggle for Answers as Trump Era Dawns :

DAVOS, Switzerland – The global economy is in better shape than it's been in years. Stock markets are booming, oil prices are on the rise again and the risks of a rapid economic slowdown in China, a major source of concern a year ago, have eased.

First report from Davos is in. Everything's fine.

And yet, as political leaders, CEOs and top bankers make their annual trek up the Swiss Alps to the World Economic Forum in Davos, the mood is anything but celebratory.

Last year, the consensus here was that Trump had no chance of being elected. His victory, less than half a year after Britain voted to leave the European Union, was a slap at the principles that elites in Davos have long held dear, from globalization and free trade to multilateralism.

Moises Naim of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace was even more blunt: "There is a consensus that something huge is going on, global and in many respects unprecedented. But we don't know what the causes are, nor how to deal with it."

Thank you for your invaluable insight, Moises.

The titles of the discussion panels at the WEF, which runs from Jan. 17-20, evoke the unsettling new landscape. Among them are "Squeezed and Angry: How to Fix the Middle Class Crisis" , "Politics of Fear or Rebellion of the Forgotten?", "Tolerance at the Tipping Point?" and "The Post-EU Era".

Ah, a panel on how to fix the middle class. Sounds interesting until you find out who some of the speakers are.

You really can't make this stuff up. Now back to Reuters .

Perhaps the central question in Davos, a four-day affair of panel discussions, lunches and cocktail parties that delve into subjects as diverse as terrorism, artificial intelligence and wellness, is whether leaders can agree on the root causes of public anger and begin to articulate a response.

This has to be a joke. The public has been yelling and screaming about all sorts of issues they care about from both sides of the political spectrum for a while now. Whether people identify as on the "right" or the "left" there's general consensus (at least in U.S. populist movements) of the following: oligarchs must be reined in, rule of law must be restored, unnecessary military adventures overseas must be stopped, and lobbyist written phony "free trade" deals must be scrapped and reversed. There's no secret about how strongly the various domestic populist movements feel on those topics, but the Davos set likes to pretends that these issues don't exist. They'd rather focus on Russia or identify politics, that way they can control the narrative and then propose their own anti-populist, technocratic solutions.

A WEF report on global risks released before Davos highlighted "diminishing public trust in institutions" and noted that rebuilding faith in the political process and leaders would be a "difficult task".

It's not difficult at all, what we need are new leaders with new ideas, but the people at Davos don't want to admit that either. After all, these are the types who unanimously and enthusiastically supported the ultimate discredited insider for U.S. President, Hillary Clinton.

Moving along, let's take a look at a separate Reuters article previewing Davos, starting with the title.

Davos elite faces evaporating trust in "post-trith" era

Did you see what they did there? The evaporating trust in globalist elites has nothing to do with "post-truth," but as usual, the media insists on making excuses for the rich and powerful. The above title implies that elites lost the public truth as a result of a post-truth world, not because they are a bunch of disconnected, lying, corrupt thieves. Like Hillary and the Democrats, they are never to blame for anything that happens.

With that out of the way, let's take a look at some of the text:

Trust in governments, companies and the media plunged last year as ballots from the United States to Britain to the Philippines rocked political establishments and scandals hit business.

The majority of people now believe the economic and political system is failing them, according to the annual Edelman Trust Barometer, released on Monday ahead of the Jan. 17-20 World Economic Forum (WEF).

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

"The most shocking statistic of this whole study is that half the people who are high-income, college-educated and well-informed also believe the system doesn't work."

Even wealthy, well educated people understand things aren't working, which begs the question. Who does think the system is working? Well, the people attending Davos, of course. These are the folks who cheer on a world in which eight people own as much as the bottom 50%.

As can be seen fro the above excerpts, one thing that's abundantly clear to almost everyone is that the system is broken. This is exactly where populism comes in to perform its crucial function. This is not an endorsement of Trump, but rather an endorsement of mass popular movements generally, and a recognition that such movements are the only way true change is ever achieved. As Frederick Douglass noted in 1857:

This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world, but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others .

The above is an eternal truth when it comes to human struggle. The idea that the most wealthy and powerful individuals on earth are going to get together in a Swiss chalet and figure out how to help the world's most vulnerable and suffering is on its face preposterous. Again, this is why popular movements are so important. They represent the only method we know of that historically yields tangible results. This is also why the elitists and their media minions hate populism and demonize it every chance they get. Which is really telling, particularly when you look at the various definitions of the word. First, here's what comes up when you type the word into Google:

pop·u·lism

/ˈpäpyəˌlizəm/

noun

support for the concerns of ordinary people.

"it is clear that your populism identifies with the folks on the bottom of the ladder"

•the quality of appealing to or being aimed at ordinary people.

"art museums did not gain bigger audiences through a new populism"

Or how about the following from Merriam-Webster:


Definition of populist

1 :
a member of a political party claiming to represent the common people; especially, often capitalized
:
a member of a U.S. political party formed in 1891 primarily to represent agrarian interests and to advocate the free coinage of silver and government control of monopolies


2:
a believer in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people

-
populism
play \-ˌli-zəm\ noun

-
populistic
play \ˌpä-pyə-ˈlis-tik\ adjective

Aside from the 19th century historical reference, what's not to like about any of the above? The mere fact that billionaire-owned media is so hostile to populism tells you everything you need to know. Behind the idea of populism is the notion of self-government, and Davos-type elitists hate this. They believe in a technocracy in which they make all the important decisions. Populism is dangerous because populism is empowering. It implies that the people ultimately have the power.

I think a useful exercise for readers during this Davos circus laden week is to note whenever the word "populism" is used within mainstream media articles. From my experience, it's almost always portrayed in an overwhelmingly negative manner. Here's just one example from the first of the two Reuters articles mentioned above.

The global financial crisis of 2008/9 and the migrant crisis of 2015/16 exposed the impotence of politicians, deepening public disillusion and pushing people towards populists who offered simple explanations and solutions.

The key phrase in the above is, " populists who offered simple explanations and solutions." This betrays an incredible sense of arrogance and contempt for regular citizens. Note that it didn't offer a critique of a specific populist leader and his or her polices, but rather presented a sweeping dismissal of all popular movements as "simplistic." In other words, despite the fact that the people mingling at Davos are the exact same people who set the world on fire, they somehow remain the only ones capable enough to fix the world. How utterly ridiculous.

The good news is that most people now plainly see the absurdity of such a worldview, and understand that the people at Davos represent a roadblock to progress, as opposed to any sort of solution. While I don't endorse any particular populist movement at moment, I fully recognize the need for increased populism as a facet of American political life, particularly at this moment in time.

Populism can be dangerous, and it's certainly messy, but it's a crucial pressure release valve for any functioning free society. If you don't allow populist movements to do their thing in the short-term, you'll get far worse outcomes in the long-term.

In the timeless words of JFK:

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

Nobody wants that.

[Jan 14, 2017] Neoliberals try to understand groups of voters that supported Sanders, and of course get it wrong. Suckers

Krugman was and is neoliberal stooge and Hillary stooge. Complete despicable personality in this particular area. A political hack.
Jan 14, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Peter K. -> Peter K.... January 13, 2017 at 11:39 AM , 2017 at 11:39 AM

Krugman like PGL hates the left. That's why they're so dishonest.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/05/23/the-truth-about-the-sanders-movement/

The Truth About the Sanders Movement
May 23, 2016 6:17 pm 1134

In short, it's complicated – not all bad, by any means, but not the pure uprising of idealists the more enthusiastic supporters imagine.

The political scientists Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels have an illuminating discussion of Sanders support. The key graf that will probably have Berniebros boiling is this:

"Yet commentators who have been ready and willing to attribute Donald Trump's success to anger, authoritarianism, or racism rather than policy issues have taken little note of the extent to which Mr. Sanders's support is concentrated not among liberal ideologues but among disaffected white men."

The point is not to demonize, but, if you like, to de-angelize. Like any political movement (including the Democratic Party, which is, yes, a coalition of interest groups) Sandersism has been an assemblage of people with a variety of motives, not all of them pretty. Here's a short list based on my own encounters:

1.Genuine idealists: For sure, quite a few Sanders supporters dream of a better society, and for whatever reason – maybe just because they're very young – are ready to dismiss practical arguments about why all their dreams can't be accomplished in a day.

2.Romantics: This kind of idealism shades over into something that's less about changing society than about the fun and ego gratification of being part of The Movement. (Those of us who were students in the 60s and early 70s very much recognize the type.) For a while there – especially for those who didn't understand delegate math – it felt like a wonderful joy ride, the scrappy young on the march about to overthrow the villainous old. But there's a thin line between love and hate: when reality began to set in, all too many romantics reacted by descending into bitterness, with angry claims that they were being cheated.

3.Purists: A somewhat different strand in the movement, also familiar to those of us of a certain age, consists of those for whom political activism is less about achieving things and more about striking a personal pose. They are the pure, the unsullied, who reject the corruptions of this world and all those even slightly tainted – which means anyone who actually has gotten anything done. Quite a few Sanders surrogates were Naderites in 2000; the results of that venture don't bother them, because it was never really about results, only about affirming personal identity.

4.CDS victims: Quite a few Sanders supporters are mainly Clinton-haters, deep in the grip of Clinton Derangement Syndrome; they know that Hillary is corrupt and evil, because that's what they hear all the time; they don't realize that the reason it's what they hear all the time is that right-wing billionaires have spent more than two decades promoting that message. Sanders has gotten a number of votes from conservative Democrats who are voting against her, not for him, and for sure there are liberal supporters who have absorbed the same message, even if they don't watch Fox News.

5.Salon des Refuses: This is a small group in number, but accounts for a lot of the pro-Sanders commentary, and is of course something I see a lot. What I'm talking about here are policy intellectuals who have for whatever reason been excluded from the inner circles of the Democratic establishment, and saw Sanders as their ticket to the big time. They typically hold heterodox views, but those views don't have much to do with the campaign – sorry, capital theory disputes from half a century ago aren't relevant to the debate over health reform. What matters is their outsider status, which gives them an interest in backing an outsider candidate – and makes them reluctant to accept it when that candidate is no longer helping the progressive cause.

So how will this coalition of the not-always disinterested break once it's over? The genuine idealists will probably realize that whatever their dreams, Trump would be a nightmare. Purists and CDSers won't back Clinton, but they were never going to anyway. My guess is that disgruntled policy intellectuals will, in the end, generally back Clinton.

The question, as I see it, involves the romantics. How many will give in to their bitterness? A lot may depend on Sanders – and whether he himself is one of those embittered romantics, unable to move on.

[Jan 13, 2017] Neoliberalism vs Make America Great Again slogan

Notable quotes:
"... Our model for funding infrastructure is broken. Federal funding means project that are most needed by cities can be overlooked while projects that would destroy cities are funded. ..."
"... The neo in neoliberalism, however, establishes these principles on a significantly different analytic basis from those set forth by Adam Smith, as will become clear below. Moreover, neoliberalism is not simply a set of economic policies; it is not only about facilitating free trade, maximizing corporate profits, and challenging welfarism. ..."
"... But in so doing, it carries responsibility for the self to new heights: the rationally calculating individual bears full responsibility for the consequences of his or her action no matter how severe the constraints on this action-for example, lack of skills, education, and child care in a period of high unemployment and limited welfare benefits. ..."
"... A fully realized neoliberal citizenry would be the opposite of public-minded; indeed, it would barely exist as a public. The body politic ceases to be a body but is rather a group of individual entrepreneurs and consumers . . . ..."
"... consider the market rationality permeating universities today, from admissions and recruiting to the relentless consumer mentality of students as they consider university brand names, courses, and services, from faculty raiding and pay scales to promotion criteria. ..."
"... The extension of market rationality to every sphere, and especially the reduction of moral and political judgment to a cost-benefit calculus, would represent precisely the evisceration of substantive values by instrumental rationality that Weber predicted as the future of a disenchanted world. Thinking and judging are reduced to instrumental calculation in Weber's "polar night of icy darkness"-there is no morality, no faith, no heroism, indeed no meaning outside the market. ..."
Jan 13, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
sanjait : , January 13, 2017 at 01:09 AM
I just read through the Zingales, Schiller, Smith and Wren-Lewis pieces.

They all make what I would consider to be obvious points, though all are arguably worth repeating, as they are widely not accepted.

pgl -> sanjait... , January 13, 2017 at 02:07 AM
Let's see. Zingales does not like crony capitalism whereas Schiller praises LBJ's Great Society. I think most progressives agree with both.
Libezkova -> sanjait... , January 13, 2017 at 04:37 AM
There is nothing common between articles of Zingales and Schiller.

My impression is that Schiller might lost his calling: he might achieve even greater success as a diplomat, if he took this career. He managed to tell something important about incompatibility of [the slogan] "Make America Great Again" with neoliberalism without offending anybody. Which is a pretty difficult thing to do.

Zingalles is just another Friedman-style market fundamentalist. Nothing new and nothing interesting.

pgl : , January 13, 2017 at 01:32 AM
Noah Smith is wrong here: "This idea is important because it meant that we shouldn't expect fiscal stimulus to have much of an effect. Government checks are a temporary form of income, so Friedman's theory predicts that it won't change spending patterns, as advocates such as John Maynard Keynes believed."

Friedman's view about consumption demand is the same as the Life Cycle Model (Ando and Modligiani). OK - these models do predict that tax rebates should not affect consumption. And yes there are households who are borrower constrained so these rebates do impact their consumption.

But this is not the only form of fiscal stimulus. Infrastructure investment would increase aggregate demand even under the Friedman view of consumption. This would hold even under the Barro-Ricardian version of this theory. OK - John Cochrane is too stupid to know this. And I see Noah in his rush to bash Milton Friedman has made the same mistake as Cochrane.

jonny bakho -> pgl... , January 13, 2017 at 03:23 AM
What Friedman got wrong is not including current income. People with high income spend a fraction of that income and save the rest. Their demand is met, so the additional income mostly goes to savings.

People with low income spend everything and still have unmet demands. Additional income for them will go to meet those unmet demands (like fixing a toothache or replacing bald tires).

Friedman was biased against fiscal intervention in an economy and sought evidence to argue against such policies

Our model for funding infrastructure is broken. Federal funding means project that are most needed by cities can be overlooked while projects that would destroy cities are funded.

Federal infrastructure funding destroyed city neighborhoods leaving the neighboring areas degraded. Meanwhile, necessary projects such as a new subway tunnel from NJ to Manhattan are blocked by States who are ok if the city fails and growth moves to their side of the river.

Money should go directly to the cities. Infrastructure should be build to serve the people who live, walk and work there, not to allow cars to drive through at high speeds as the engineers propose. This infrastructure harms cities and becomes a future tax liability that cannot be met if the built infrastructure it encourages is not valuable enough to support maintenance.

We are discovering that unlike our cities where structures can increase in value, strip malls decline in value, often to worthlessness. Road building is increasingly mechanized and provides less employment per project than in the past. Projects such as replacing leaking water pipes require more labor.

pgl : , January 13, 2017 at 01:37 AM
Simon Wren Lewis leaves open the possibility that an increase in aggregate demand can increase real GDP as we may not be at full employment (I'd change that from "may not be" to "are not") but still comes out against tax cuts for the rich with this:

"There is a very strong case for more public sector investment on numerous grounds. But that investment should go to where it is most needed and where it will be of most social benefit"

Exactly but alas Team Trump ain't listening.

Libezkova : January 13, 2017 at 03:45 AM
Re: Milton Friedman's Cherished Theory Is Laid to Rest - Bloomberg View

Friedman was not simply wrong. The key for understanding Friedman is that he was a political hack, not a scientist.

His main achievement was creation (partially for money invested in him and Mont Pelerin Society by financial oligarchy) of what is now called "neoliberal rationality": a pervert view of the world, economics and social processes that now still dominates in the USA and most of Western Europe. It is also a new mode of "govermentability".

Governmentality is distinguished from earlier forms of rule, in which national wealth is measured as the size of territory or the personal fortune of the sovereign, by the recognition that national economic well-being is tied to the rational management of the national population. Foucault defined governmentality as:

"the ensemble formed by the institutions, procedures, analyses, and reflections, the calculations and tactics that allow the exercise of this very specific albeit complex form of power, which has as its target population, as its principle form of knowledge political economy and as its technical means, apparatuses of security"

Here is Wendy Brown analysis of "neoliberal rationality": http://lchc.ucsd.edu/cogn_150/Readings/brown.pdf

== quote ===

A liberal political order may harbor either liberal or Keynesian economic policies -- it may lean in the direction of maximizing liberty (its politically "conservative" tilt) or of maximizing equality (its politically "liberal" tilt), but in contemporary political parlance, it is no more or less a liberal democracy because of one leaning or the other.

Indeed, the American convention of referring to advocates of the welfare state as political liberals is especially peculiar, given that American conservatives generally hew more closely to both the classical economic and the political doctrines of liberalism -- it turns the meaning of liberalism in the direction of liberality rather than liberty.

For our purposes, what is crucial is that the liberalism in what has come to be called neoliberalism refers to liberalism's economic variant, recuperating selected pre-Keynesian assumptions about the generation of wealth and its distribution, rather than to liberalism as a political doctrine, as a set of political institutions, or as political practices. The neo in neoliberalism, however, establishes these principles on a significantly different analytic basis from those set forth by Adam Smith, as will become clear below. Moreover, neoliberalism is not simply a set of economic policies; it is not only about facilitating free trade, maximizing corporate profits, and challenging welfarism.

Rather, neoliberalism carries a social analysis that, when deployed as a form of governmentality, reaches from the soul of the citizen-subject to education policy to practices of empire. Neoliberal rationality, while foregrounding the market, is not only or even primarily focused on the economy; it involves extending and disseminating market values to all institutions and social action, even as the market itself remains a distinctive player.

... ... ...

1. The political sphere, along with every other dimension of contemporary existence, is submitted to an economic rationality; or, put the other way around, not only is the human being configured exhaustively as homo economicus, but all dimensions of human life are cast in terms of a market rationality. While this entails submitting every action and policy to considerations of profitability, equally important is the production of all human and institutional action as rational entrepreneurial action, conducted according to a calculus of utility, benefit, or satisfaction against a microeconomic grid of scarcity, supply and demand, and moral value-neutrality. Neoliberalism does not simply assume that all aspects of social, cultural, and political life can be reduced to such a calculus; rather, it develops institutional practices and rewards for enacting this vision. That is, through discourse and policy promulgating its criteria, neoliberalism produces rational actors and imposes a market rationale for decision making in all spheres.

Importantly, then, neoliberalism involves a normative rather than ontological claim about the pervasiveness of economic rationality and it advocates the institution building, policies, and discourse development appropriate to such a claim. Neoliberalism is a constructivist project: it does not presume the ontological givenness of a thoroughgoing economic rationality for all domains of society but rather takes as its task the development, dissemination, and institutionalization of such a rationality. This point is further developed in (2) below.

2. In contrast with the notorious laissez-faire and human propensity to "truck and barter" stressed by classical economic liberalism, neoliberalism does not conceive of either the market itself or rational economic behavior as purely natural. Both are constructed-organized by law and political institutions, and requiring political intervention and orchestration. Far from flourishing when left alone, the economy must be directed, buttressed, and protected by law and policy as well as by the dissemination of social norms designed to facilitate competition, free trade, and rational economic action on the part of every member and institution of society.

In Lemke's account, "In the Ordo-liberal scheme, the market does not amount to a natural economic reality, with intrinsic laws that the art of government must bear in mind and respect; instead, the market can be constituted and kept alive only by dint of political interventions. . . . [C]ompetition, too, is not a natural fact. . . . [T]his fundamental economic mechanism can function only if support is forthcoming to bolster a series of conditions, and adherence to the latter must consistently be guaranteed by legal measures" (193).
The neoliberal formulation of the state and especially of specific legal arrangements and decisions as the precondition and ongoing condition of the market does not mean that the market is controlled by the state but precisely the opposite. The market is the organizing and regulative principle of the state and society, along three different lines:

  1. The state openly responds to needs of the market, whether through monetary and fiscal policy, immigration policy, the treatment of criminals, or the structure of public education. In so doing, the state is no longer encumbered by the danger of incurring the legitimation deficits predicted by 1970s social theorists and political economists such as Nicos Poulantzas, Jürgen Habermas, and James O'Connor.6 Rather, neoliberal rationality extended to the state itself indexes the state's success according to its ability to sustain and foster the market and ties state legitimacy to such success. This is a new form of legitimation, one that "founds a state," according to Lemke, and contrasts with the Hegelian and French revolutionary notion of the constitutional state as the emergent universal representative of the people. As Lemke describes Foucault's account of Ordo-liberal thinking, "economic liberty produces the legitimacy for a form of sovereignty limited to guaranteeing economic activity . . . a state that was no longer defined in terms of an historical mission but legitimated itself with reference to economic growth" (196).
  2. The state itself is enfolded and animated by market rationality: that is, not simply profitability but a generalized calculation of cost and benefit becomes the measure of all state practices. Political discourse on all matters is framed in entrepreneurial terms; the state must not simply concern itself with the market but think and behave like a market actor across all of its functions, including law. 7
  3. Putting (a) and (b) together, the health and growth of the economy is the basis of state legitimacy, both because the state is forthrightly responsible for the health of the economy and because of the economic rationality to which state practices have been submitted. Thus, "It's the economy, stupid" becomes more than a campaign slogan; rather, it expresses the principle of the state's legitimacy and the basis for state action-from constitutional adjudication and campaign finance reform to welfare and education policy to foreign policy, including warfare and the organization of "homeland security."

3. The extension of economic rationality to formerly noneconomic domains and institutions reaches individual conduct, or, more precisely, prescribes the citizen-subject of a neoliberal order. Whereas classical liberalism articulated a distinction, and at times even a tension, among the criteria for individual moral, associational, and economic actions (hence the striking differences in tone, subject matter, and even prescriptions between Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and his Theory of Moral Sentiments), neoliberalism normatively constructs and interpellates individuals as entrepreneurial actors in every sphere of life.

It figures individuals as rational, calculating creatures whose moral autonomy is measured by their capacity for "self-care"-the ability to provide for their own needs and service their own ambitions. In making the individual fully responsible for her- or himself, neoliberalism equates moral responsibility with rational action; it erases the discrepancy between economic and moral behavior by configuring morality entirely as a matter of rational deliberation about costs, benefits, and consequences.

But in so doing, it carries responsibility for the self to new heights: the rationally calculating individual bears full responsibility for the consequences of his or her action no matter how severe the constraints on this action-for example, lack of skills, education, and child care in a period of high unemployment and limited welfare benefits.

Correspondingly, a "mismanaged life," the neoliberal appellation for failure to navigate impediments to prosperity, becomes a new mode of depoliticizing social and economic powers and at the same time reduces political citizenship to an unprecedented degree of passivity and political complacency.

The model neoliberal citizen is one who strategizes for her- or himself among various social, political, and economic options, not one who strives with others to alter or organize these options. A fully realized neoliberal citizenry would be the opposite of public-minded; indeed, it would barely exist as a public. The body politic ceases to be a body but is rather a group of individual entrepreneurs and consumers . . . which is, of course, exactly how voters are addressed in most American campaign discourse.8

Other evidence for progress in the development of such a citizenry is not far from hand: consider the market rationality permeating universities today, from admissions and recruiting to the relentless consumer mentality of students as they consider university brand names, courses, and services, from faculty raiding and pay scales to promotion criteria. 9

Or consider the way in which consequential moral lapses (of a sexual or criminal nature) by politicians, business executives, or church and university administrators are so often apologized for as "mistakes in judgment," implying that it was the calculation that was wrong, not the act, actor, or rationale.

The state is not without a project in the making of the neoliberal subject. It attempts to construct prudent subjects through policies that organize such prudence: this is the basis of a range of welfare reforms such as workfare and single-parent penalties, changes in the criminal code such as the "three strikes law," and educational voucher schemes.

Because neoliberalism casts rational action as a norm rather than an ontology, social policy is the means by which the state produces subjects whose compass is set entirely by their rational assessment of the costs and benefits of certain acts, whether those acts pertain to teen pregnancy, tax fraud, or retirement planning. The neoliberal citizen is calculating rather than rule abiding, a Benthamite rather than a Hobbesian.

The state is one of many sites framing the calculations leading to social behaviors that keep costs low and productivity high. This mode of governmentality (techniques of governing that exceed express state action and orchestrate the subject's conduct toward himor herself) convenes a "free" subject who rationally deliberates about alternative courses of action, makes choices, and bears responsibility for the consequences of these choices. In this way, Lemke argues, "the state leads and controls subjects without being responsible for them"; as individual "entrepreneurs" in every aspect of life, subjects become wholly responsible for their well-being and citizenship is reduced to success in this entrepreneurship (201).

Neoliberal subjects are controlled through their freedom-not simply, as thinkers from the Frankfurt School through Foucault have argued, because freedom within an order of domination can be an instrument of that domination, but because of neoliberalism's moralization of the consequences of this freedom. Such control also means that the withdrawal of the state from certain domains, followed by the privatization of certain state functions, does not amount to a dismantling of government but rather constitutes a technique of governing; indeed, it is the signature technique of neoliberal governance, in which rational economic action suffused throughout society replaces express state rule or provision.

Neoliberalism shifts "the regulatory competence of the state onto 'responsible,' 'rational' individuals [with the aim of] encourag[ing] individuals to give their lives a specific entrepreneurial form" (Lemke, 202).

4. Finally, the suffusion of both the state and the subject with economic rationality has the effect of radically transforming and narrowing the criteria for good social policy vis-à-vis classical liberal democracy. Not only must social policy meet profitability tests, incite and unblock competition, and produce rational subjects, it obeys the entrepreneurial principle of "equal inequality for all" as it "multiples and expands entrepreneurial forms with the body social" (Lemke, 195). This is the principle that links the neoliberal governmentalization of the state with that of the social and the subject.

Taken together, the extension of economic rationality to all aspects of thought and activity, the placement of the state in forthright and direct service to the economy, the rendering of the state tout court as an enterprise organized by market rationality, the production of the moral subject as an entrepreneurial subject, and the construction of social policy according to these criteria might appear as a more intensive rather than fundamentally new form of the saturation of social and political realms by capital. That is, the political rationality of neoliberalism might be read as issuing from a stage of capitalism that simply underscores Marx's argument that capital penetrates and transforms every aspect of life-remaking everything in its image and reducing every value and activity to its cold rationale.

All that would be new here is the flagrant and relentless submission of the state and the individual, the church and the university, morality, sex, marriage, and leisure practices to this rationale. Or better, the only novelty would be the recently achieved hegemony of rational choice theory in the human sciences, self-represented as an independent and objective branch of knowledge rather than an expression of the dominance of capital. Another reading that would figure neoliberalism as continuous with the past would theorize it through Weber's rationalization thesis rather than Marx's argument about capital.

The extension of market rationality to every sphere, and especially the reduction of moral and political judgment to a cost-benefit calculus, would represent precisely the evisceration of substantive values by instrumental rationality that Weber predicted as the future of a disenchanted world. Thinking and judging are reduced to instrumental calculation in Weber's "polar night of icy darkness"-there is no morality, no faith, no heroism, indeed no meaning outside the market.

Julio -> Libezkova...

I agree with this. But I think it's extraordinarily wordy, and fails to emphasize the deification of private property which is at the root of it.

anne -> Libezkova... January 13, 2017 at 05:10 AM

http://lchc.ucsd.edu/cogn_150/Readings/brown.pdf

January, 2003

Neoliberalism and the End of Liberal Democracy
By Wendy Brown

Chris G :

Brown - who I haven't read much of but like what I have - sounds a lot like Lasch.

Brown:

"The extension of market rationality to every sphere, and especially the reduction of moral and political judgment to a cost-benefit calculus, would represent precisely the evisceration of substantive values by instrumental rationality that Weber predicted as the future of a disenchanted world. Thinking and judging are reduced to instrumental calculation in Weber's "polar night of icy darkness"-there is no morality, no faith, no heroism, indeed no meaning outside the market."

Lasch in Revolt of the Elites:

"... Individuals cannot learn to speak for themselves at all, much less come to an intelligent understanding of their happiness and well-being, in a world in which there are no values except those of the market.... The market tends to universalize itself. It does not easily coexist with institutions that operate according to principles that are antithetical to itself: schools and universities, newspapers and magazines, charities, families. Sooner or later the market tends to absorb them all. It puts an almost irresistible pressure on every activity to justify itself in the only terms it recognizes: to become a business proposition, to pay its own way, to show black ink on the bottom line. It turns news into entertainment, scholarship into professional careerism, social work into the scientific management of poverty. Inexorably it remodels every institution in its own image."

Libezkova -> anne... January 13, 2017 at 05:43 AM
The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy Paperback – January 17, 1996

by Christopher Lasch

https://www.amazon.com/Revolt-Elites-Betrayal-Democracy/dp/0393313719

anne -> anne...
Correcting:

https://www.theworkingcentre.org/course-content/2717-communitarianism-or-populism-ethic-compassion-and-ethic-respect

May, 1992

Communitarianism or Populism? The Ethic of Compassion and the Ethic of Respect
By Christopher Lasch

[Jan 13, 2017] Communitarianism or Populism The Ethic of Compassion and the Ethic of Respect

Notable quotes:
"... Instead of serving as a counter weight to the market, then, the family was invaded and undermined by the market. The sentimental veneration of motherhood, even at the peak of its influence in the late nineteenth century, could never quite obscure the reality that unpaid labour bears the stigma of social inferiority when money becomes the universal measure of value. ..."
"... Commercial television dramatizes in the most explicit terms the cynicism that was always implicit in the ideology of the marketplace. The sentimental convention that the best things in life are free has long since passed into oblivion. Since the best things clearly cost a great deal of money, people seek money, in the world depicted by commercial television, by fair means or foul. ..."
"... Throughout the twentieth century liberalism has been pulled in two directions at once: toward the market and (not withstanding its initial misgivings about government) toward the state. On the one hand, the market appears to be the ideal embodiment of the principle-the cardinal principle of liberalism-that individuals are the best judges of their own interests and that they must therefore be allowed to speak for themselves in matters that concern their happiness and well-being. But individuals cannot learn to speak for themselves at all, much less come to an intelligent understanding of their happiness and well-being, in a world in which there are no values except those of the market. Even liberal individuals require the character-forming discipline of the family, the neighbourhood, the school, and the church, all of which (not just the family) have been weakened by the encroachments of the market. ..."
"... The market notoriously tends to universalize itself. It does not easily coexist with institutions that operate according to principles antithetical to itself: schools and universities, newspapers and magazines, charities, families. Sooner or later the market tends to absorb them all. It puts an almost irresistible pres sure on every activity to justify itself in the only items it recognizes: to become a business proposition, to pay its own way, to show black ink on the bottom line. It turns news into entertainment, scholarship into professional careerism, social work into the scientific management of poverty. Inexorably it remodels every institution in its own image. ..."
"... In the attempt to restrict the scope of the market, liberals have therefore turned to the state. But the remedy often proves to be worse than the disease. The replacement of informal types of association by formal systems of socialization and control weakens social trust, undermines the willingness both assume responsibility for one's self and to hold others accountable for their actions destroys respect for authority and thus turns out to be self-defeating. Neighbourhoods, which can serve as intermediaries between the family and the larger world. Neighbourhoods have been destroyed not only by the market-by crime and drugs or less dramatically by suburban shopping malls-but also by enlightened social engineering. ..."
"... "The myth that playgrounds and grass and hired guards or supervisors are innately wholesome for children and that city streets, filled with ordinary people, are innately evil for children, boils down to a deep contempt for ordinary people." In their contempt planners lose sight of the way in which city streets, if they are working as they should, teach children a lesson that cannot be taught by educators or professional caretakers: that "people must take a modicum of public responsibility for each other even if they have no ties to each other." When the corner grocer or the locksmith scolds a child for running into the street, the child learns something that can't be learned simply by formal instruction. ..."
"... The crisis of public funding is only one indication of the intrinsic weakness of organizations that can no longer count on informal, everyday mechanisms of social trust and control. ..."
Jan 13, 2017 | www.theworkingcentre.org

If terms like "populism" and "community" figure prominently in political discourse today, it is because the ideology of the Enlightenment, having come under attack from a variety of sources, has lost much of its appeal. The claims of universal reason are universally suspect. Hopes for a system of values that would transcend the particularism of class, nationality, religion, and race no longer carry much conviction. The Enlightenment's reason and morality are increasingly seen as a cover for power, and the prospect that the world can he governed by reason seems more remote than at any time since the eighteenth century. The citizen of the world-the prototype of mankind in the future, according to the Enlightenment philosophers-is not much in evidence. We have a universal market, but it does not carry with it the civilizing effects that were so confidently expected by Hume and Voltaire. Instead of generating a new appreciation of common interests and inclinations-if the essential sameness of human beings everywhere-the global market seems to intensify the awareness of ethnic and national differences. The unification of the market goes hand in hand with the fragmentation of culture.

The waning of the Enlightenment manifests itself politically in the waning of liberalism, in many ways the most attractive product of the Enlightenment and the carrier of its best hopes. Through all the permutations and transformations of liberal ideology, two of its central features have persisted over the years: its commitment to progress and its belief that a liberal state could dispense with civic virtue. The two ideas were linked in a chain of reasoning having as its premise that capitalism had made it reason able for everyone to aspire to a level of comfort formerly accessible only to the rich. Henceforth men would devote themselves to their private business, reducing the need for government, which could more or less take care of itself. It was the idea of progress that made it possible to believe that societies blessed with material abundance could dispense with the active participation of ordinary citizens in government.

After the American Revolution liberals began to argue-in opposition to the older view that "public virtue is the only foundation of republics," in the words of John Adams -- that proper constitutional checks and balances would make it advantageous even for bad men to act for the public good," as James Wilson put it. According to John Taylor, "an avaricious society can form a government able to defend itself against the avarice of its members" by enlisting the "interest of vice ...on the side of virtue." Virtue lay in the "principles of government," Taylor argued, not in the "evanescent qualities of individuals." The institutions and "principles of a society may be virtuous, though the individuals composing it are vicious."

Meeting minimal conditions

The paradox of a virtuous society based on vicious individuals, however agree able in theory, was never adhered to very consistently. Liberals took for granted a good deal more in the way of private virtue than they were willing to acknowledge. Even to day liberals who adhere to this minimal view of citizenship smuggle a certain amount of citizenship between the cracks of their free- market ideology. Milton Friedman himself admits that a liberal society requires a "minimum degree of literacy and knowledge" along with a "widespread acceptance of some common set of values." It is not clear that our society can meet even these minimal conditions, as things stand today, but it has always been clear, in any case, that a liberal society needs more virtue than Friedman allows for.

A system that relies so heavily on the concept of rights presupposes individuals who respect the rights of others, if only because they expect others to respect their own rights in return. The market itself, the central institution of a liberal society, presupposes, at the very least, sharp-eyed, calculating, and clearheaded individuals-paragons of rational choice. It presupposes not just self interest but enlightened self-interest. It was for this reason that nineteenth-century liberals attached so much importance to the family. The obligation to support a wife and children, in their view, would discipline possessive individualism and transform the potential gambler, speculator, dandy, or confidence man into a conscientious provider. Having abandoned the old republican ideal of citizenship along with the republican indictment of luxury, liberals lacked any grounds on which to appeal to individuals to subordinate private interest to the public good.

But at least they could appeal to the higher selfishness of marriage and parenthood. They could ask, if not for the suspension of self-interest, for its elevation and refinement. The hope that rising expectations would lead men and women to invest their ambitions in their offspring was destined to be disappointed in the long run. The more closely capitalism came to be identified with immediate gratification and planned obsolescence, the more relentlessly it wore away the moral foundations of family life. The rising divorce rate, already a source of alarm in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, seemed to reflect a growing impatience with the constraints imposed by long responsibilities and commitments.

The passion to get ahead had begun to imply the right to make a fresh start whenever earlier commitments became unduly burden some. Material abundance weakened the economic as well as the moral foundations of the "well-'ordered family state" admired by nineteenth-century liberals. The family business gave way to the corporation, the family farm (more slowly and painfully) to a collectivized agriculture ultimately controlled by the same banking houses that had engineered the consolidation of industry. The agrarian uprising of the 1870s, 1880s, and l890s proved to be the first round in a long, losing struggle to save the family farm, enshrined in American mythology, even today, as the sine qua non of a good society but subjected into practice to a ruinous cycle of mechanization, indebtedness, and overproduction.

The family invaded

Instead of serving as a counter weight to the market, then, the family was invaded and undermined by the market. The sentimental veneration of motherhood, even at the peak of its influence in the late nineteenth century, could never quite obscure the reality that unpaid labour bears the stigma of social inferiority when money becomes the universal measure of value.

In the long run women were forced into the workplace not only because their families needed extra income but because paid labour seemed to represent their only hope of gaining equality with men. In our time it is increasingly clear that children pay the price for this invasion of the family by the market. With both parents in the workplace and grandparents conspicuous by their absence, the family is no longer capable of sheltering children from the market. The television set becomes the principal baby-sitter by default. Its invasive presence deals the final blow to any lingering hope that the family can provide a sheltered space for children to grow up in.

Children are now exposed to the out side world from the time they are old enough to be left unattended in front of the tube. They are exposed to it, moreover, in a brutal yet seductive form that reduces the values of the marketplace to their simplest terms. Commercial television dramatizes in the most explicit terms the cynicism that was always implicit in the ideology of the marketplace. The sentimental convention that the best things in life are free has long since passed into oblivion. Since the best things clearly cost a great deal of money, people seek money, in the world depicted by commercial television, by fair means or foul.

Throughout the twentieth century liberalism has been pulled in two directions at once: toward the market and (not withstanding its initial misgivings about government) toward the state. On the one hand, the market appears to be the ideal embodiment of the principle-the cardinal principle of liberalism-that individuals are the best judges of their own interests and that they must therefore be allowed to speak for themselves in matters that concern their happiness and well-being. But individuals cannot learn to speak for themselves at all, much less come to an intelligent understanding of their happiness and well-being, in a world in which there are no values except those of the market. Even liberal individuals require the character-forming discipline of the family, the neighbourhood, the school, and the church, all of which (not just the family) have been weakened by the encroachments of the market.

The market notoriously tends to universalize itself. It does not easily coexist with institutions that operate according to principles antithetical to itself: schools and universities, newspapers and magazines, charities, families. Sooner or later the market tends to absorb them all. It puts an almost irresistible pres sure on every activity to justify itself in the only items it recognizes: to become a business proposition, to pay its own way, to show black ink on the bottom line. It turns news into entertainment, scholarship into professional careerism, social work into the scientific management of poverty. Inexorably it remodels every institution in its own image.

Weakening social trust

In the attempt to restrict the scope of the market, liberals have therefore turned to the state. But the remedy often proves to be worse than the disease. The replacement of informal types of association by formal systems of socialization and control weakens social trust, undermines the willingness both assume responsibility for one's self and to hold others accountable for their actions destroys respect for authority and thus turns out to be self-defeating. Neighbourhoods, which can serve as intermediaries between the family and the larger world. Neighbourhoods have been destroyed not only by the market-by crime and drugs or less dramatically by suburban shopping malls-but also by enlightened social engineering.

The main thrust of social policy, ever since the first crusades against child labour, has been to transfer the care of children from informal settings to institutions designed specifically for pedagogical and custodial purposes. Today this trend continues in the movement for daycare, often justified on the undeniable grounds that working mothers need it but also on the grounds that daycare centers can take advantage of the latest innovations in pedagogy and child psychology. This policy of segregating children in age-graded institutions under professional supervision has been a massive failure, for reasons suggested some time ago by Jane Jacobs in The Death and Life of Great American Cities, an attack on city planning that applies to social planning in general.

"The myth that playgrounds and grass and hired guards or supervisors are innately wholesome for children and that city streets, filled with ordinary people, are innately evil for children, boils down to a deep contempt for ordinary people." In their contempt planners lose sight of the way in which city streets, if they are working as they should, teach children a lesson that cannot be taught by educators or professional caretakers: that "people must take a modicum of public responsibility for each other even if they have no ties to each other." When the corner grocer or the locksmith scolds a child for running into the street, the child learns something that can't be learned simply by formal instruction.

What the child learns is that adults unrelated to one another except by the accident of propinquity uphold certain standards and assume responsibility for the neighbourhood. With good reason, Jacobs calls this the "first fundamental of successful city life," one that "people hired to look after children cannot teach because the essence of this responsibility is that you do it without being hired."

Neighbourhoods encourage "casual public trust," according to Jacobs. In its absence the everyday maintenance of life has to be turned over to professional bureaucrats. The atrophy of informal controls leads irresistibly to the expansion of bureaucratic controls. This development threatens to extinguish the very privacy liberals have always set such store by. It also loads the organizational sector with burdens it cannot support. The crisis of public funding is only one indication of the intrinsic weakness of organizations that can no longer count on informal, everyday mechanisms of social trust and control.

The taxpayers' revolt, although itself informed by an ideology of privatism resistant to any kind of civic appeals, at the same time grows out of a well-founded suspicion that tax money merely sustains bureaucratic self-aggrandizement

The lost habit of self-help

As formal organizations break down, people will have to improvise ways of meeting their immediate needs: patrolling their own neighbourhoods, withdrawing their children from public schools in order to educate them at home. The default of the state will thus contribute in its own right to the restoration of informal mechanisms of self-help. But it is hard to see how the foundations of civic life can be restored unless this work becomes an overriding goal of public policy. We have heard a good deal of talk about the repair of our material infrastructure, but our cultural infrastructure needs attention too, and more than just the rhetorical attention of politicians who praise "family values" while pursuing economic policies that undermine them. It is either naive or cynical to lead the public to think that dismantling the welfare state is enough to ensure a revival of informal cooperation-"a thousand points of light." People who have lost the habit of self-help, who live in cities and suburbs where shopping malls have replaced neighbourhoods, and who prefer the company of close friends (or simply the company of television) to the informal sociability of the street, the coffee shop, and the tavern are not likely to reinvent communities just because the state has proved such an unsatisfactory substitute. Market mechanisms will not repair the fabric of public trust. On the contrary the market's effect on the cultural infrastructure is just as corrosive as that of the state.

A third way

We can now begin to appreciate the appeal of populism and communitarianism. They reject both the market and the welfare state in pursuit of a third way. This is why they are so difficult to classify on the conventional spectrum of political opinion. Their opposition to free-market ideologies seems to align them with the left, but 'their criticism of the welfare state (whenever this criticism becomes open and explicit) makes them sound right-wing. In fact, these positions belong to neither the left nor the right, and for that very reason they seem to many people to hold out the best hope of breaking the deadlock of current debate, which has been institutionalized in the two major parties and their divided control of the federal government. At a time when political debate consists of largely of ideological slogans endlessly repeated to audiences composed mainly of the party faithful, fresh thinking is desperately needed. It is not likely to emerge, however, from those with a vested interest in 'the old orthodoxies. We need a "third way of thinking about moral obligation," as Alan Wolfe puts it, one that locates moral obligation neither in the state nor in the market but "in common sense, ordinary emotions, and everyday life."

Wolfe's plea for a political program designed to strengthen civil society, which closely resembles the ideas advanced in The Good Society by Robert Bellah and his collaborators, should be welcomed by the growing numbers of people who find themselves dissatisfied with the alternatives defined by conventional debate. These authors illustrate the strengths of the communitarian position along with some of its characteristic weaknesses. They make it clear that both the market and the state presuppose the strength of "non-economic ties of trust and solidarity" as Wolfe puts it. Yet the expansion of these institutions weakens ties of trust and thus undermines the preconditions for their own success. The market and the "job culture," Bellah writes, are "invading our private lives," eroding our "moral infrastructure" of "social trust." Nor does the welfare state repair the damage. "The example of more successful welfare states ... suggests that money and bureaucratic assistance alone do not halt the decline of the family" or strengthen any of the other "sustaining institutions that make interdependence morally significant." None of this means that a politics that really mattered-a politics rooted in popular common sense instead of the ideologies that appeal to elites-would painlessly resolve all the conflicts that threaten to tear the country apart. Communitarians underestimate the difficulty of finding an approach to family issues, say, that is both profamily and profeminist.

That may be what the public wants in theory. In practice, however, it requires a restructuring of the workplace designed to make work schedules far more flexible, career patterns less rigid and predictable, and criteria for advancement less destructive to family and community obligations. Such reforms imply interference with the market and a redefinition of success, neither of which will be achieved without a great deal of controversy.

Back to Course Content

[Jan 06, 2017] Is the USA a democracy or oligarchic republic

Jan 06, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs : January 05, 2017 at 06:53 AM , 2017 at 06:53 AM
A Threat to US Democracy:
Political Dysfunction
http://nyti.ms/2hOJ9AB
NYT - Eduardo Porter - Jan 3

Is American democracy broken?

There are precedents around the world for the kind of political jolt the United States experienced in November. They usually include a political firebrand who promises to sweep away a system rigged to serve the powerful rather than the interests of ordinary people. They usually end badly, when the popular champion decides to read electoral victory as an invitation to bend the institutions of democracy to the force of his will.

Most Americans, I'm sure, never expected to worry about that sort of thing in the United States. And yet concern is decidedly in the air (*). Did a combination of globalization, demographic change, cultural revolutions and whatever else just upend America's consensus in support of liberal market democracy? Did American democracy just succumb to the strongman's promise?

(* Is Donald Trump a Threat to
Democracy? http://nyti.ms/2hNr32N )

I'm skeptical that the United States is about to careen down the path taken by, say, Venezuela, governed by the whim of President Nicolás Maduro - the handpicked successor of the populist champion Hugo Chávez, who was elected in the late 1990s on a promise to sweep away an entrenched ruling class and proceeded to battle any democratic institution that stood in his way.

Still, the embrace by millions of American voters of a billionaire authoritarian who argues that the "system" has been rigged to serve a cosmopolitan ruling class against the interests of ordinary people does suggest that American democracy has a unique credibility problem.

The United States resisted the temptations of Nazism, fascism and communism that beguiled Europe in the first half of the 20th century. Extreme parties like France's National Front or the United Kingdom Independence Party never established an American toehold. Populist candidates running as outsiders - Pat Buchanan, Ross Perot, Ralph Nader - could only tip the balance between the two parties of the establishment.

And yet, when the 21st century brought about a populist insurrection, the United States government was quick to cave.

"What makes the United States so distinctive?" wrote Ronald Inglehart, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, in a somewhat prescient article a few months before the election. "One reason may be that in recent years U.S. democracy has become appallingly dysfunctional."

Working Americans have suffered disproportionately from the economic shocks of our time. Income inequality in the United States far exceeds anything seen in other advanced nations. Families from the middle on down have suffered stagnant or declining incomes for years. And the nation's threadbare social safety net remains the weakest in the industrialized world, providing only the most meager insurance to working families undercut by globalization and technological change.

But for all the reasons Americans may have to rebel against the status quo, what made the political system so vulnerable to a populist insurrection in November was that - for all its institutional strengths - the political system itself has come to be seen by too many voters as illegitimate.

"There is persistent lack of confidence in U.S. political institutions which allows populists to make hay," said Pippa Norris, a political scientist at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and the University of Sydney in Australia. "And the institutions need a major overhaul because some, like elections, are badly broken."

This is not just about the Electoral College system, which awarded the presidency to the candidate who lost the popular vote. It is not just about money's growing influence in politics, though that plays a part, too.

The problems are embedded in the design of America's political institutions - with all their checks and balances ostensibly designed to slow down policy-making and prevent political extremists from swiftly taking over the gears of government. These institutions have produced a polarized government, paralyzed by partisan gridlock, unable to govern effectively. They have built a system easy to demonize as rigged.

The Electoral Integrity Project, run by Professor Norris and colleagues from Harvard and the University of Sydney in Australia, surveys thousands of election experts to assess the quality of hundreds of elections around the world. They are asked to rate how well district boundaries are drawn, whether voter registration procedures are adequate, and the effectiveness of campaign finance regulation, among other things.

Based on the average evaluations of the elections in 2012 and 2014, the United States' electoral integrity was ranked 52nd among the 153 countries in the survey - behind all the rich Western democracies and also countries like Costa Rica and Uruguay, the Baltic states, and Cape Verde and Benin in Africa.

A paper by Professor Norris on these results, titled "Why American Elections Are Flawed," describes the major problems with American electoral institutions, perhaps the most critical of which is partisan control over electoral institutions, which has subjected the integrity of elections to the distortions of a partisan lens.

( https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2844793 )

The fact that each state has its own set of electoral regulations - covering things like the type of technology used and opening hours of the polls - means that Americans' voting rights can change substantially from state to state. And the party polarization that has gripped statehouses across the country has stymied attempts to build sensible, effective electoral regulations and bred mistrust.

The patchwork of electoral systems - run by politically appointed local officials managing part-time workers - is hardly a recipe for competence. "Among mature democracies, the nuts and bolts of American contests seem notoriously vulnerable to incompetence and simple human errors," Ms. Norris notes. ...

kthomas -> Fred C. Dobbs... , -1
Gerry Mander.

Oh, and let's not forget the Corporations have Constitutional rights.

Libezkova said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , January 05, 2017 at 10:17 AM
Democracy like love is a fuzzy term. Democracy for whom?

For top .1%? For top 1%? For top 10%? For 100% of voters?

A more interesting question is whether two party system based on "the first past the post" rule can be considered a democracy at all.

If the party elites are free to chose two candidates for which then voters are forced to vote this is oligarchy (the rule of the elite) or at best poliarchy (two competing factions of the same elite install their candidate using popular vote for legitimizing one of the two pre-chosen candidates), not a democracy.

Nobody can dismiss the fact that the iron law of oligarchy is the governing law of any two party system. In this sense Parliamentary democracy with proportional representation is a much better model.

One can see that the iron law of oligarchy was clearly in action in the Democratic Party the last Presidential elections.

In case of Republican Party this time the law was broken (or it looks to us like that) but this exception just confirms the rule.

Peter K. : , January 05, 2017 at 07:12 AM
All of the political, partisan progressive neoliberals are pretty pessimistic about Trump: DeLong, Krugman, Vox, etc.

(the same people that assured us Clinton was a great candidate who would win easily...)

And it's funny how the stock market is booming (despite the looming trade wars) and all of the establishment type neoliberals are pretty optimistic! (DeLong here questions Olivier Blanchard)

http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/01/should-read-disagreeing-with-olivier-my-chances-of-success-are-surely-less-than-50-50-nevertheless-as-i-read-the-e.html

DeLong: January 04, 2017 at 06:44 AM

Should-Read: Disagreeing with Olivier, my chances of success are surely less than 50-50. Nevertheless...

As I read the evidence, the short-run fiscal multipliers (1) from government purchases are rather high, (2) from transfer payments to the liquidity-constrained are moderate, and (3) from high-income tax cuts are next to zero. At the moment it looks like effectively all of the Trump fiscal initiative to be will take the form of (3). Some of it will be direct tax cuts. The rest will be tax credits to businesses that are not currently cash-constrained but rather, at the margin, in the share buyback business.

But they will produce a stronger dollar.

Thus I expect next to no effective fiscal stimulus. I expect a larger capital inflow (trade deficit). And I am told we now expect the trade war to start soon.

Thus I do not see why Olivier Blanchard is so optimistic.
Where is he coming from? What does he see that I do not?

...

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 05, 2017 at 07:17 AM
The "stronger dollar" seems to be the go-to criticism.

I agree that tax cuts and deregulation alone won't do much (see the Bush years) except blow more asset bubbles.

I just don't get the theory of a larger capital inflow and strong dollar. Aren't those good things?

All of the comfortable progressive neoliberals' vacations in foreign countries will be cheaper. Their multinational corporate sponsors now can purchase more for the dollar in foreign lands, whether it be labor, assets, whatever.

Yes the export sector will be hurt, but they've never really cared about the export sector or unionized manufacturing jobs. The Fed will create more jobs as necessary. Plus it's mostly automation which can't be stopped. What, are you a Luddite?

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 05, 2017 at 07:24 AM
Olivier Blanchard:

https://piie.com/blogs/realtime-economic-issues-watch/light-elections-recession-expansion-and-inequality

"To the extent that both growth and interest rates are higher, the dollar is likely to appreciate, leading, ironically, to larger US trade deficits, which Donald Trump the candidate indicated he wanted to fight. This leads me to trade issues and trade measures."

Isn't that what Clinton wanted? Higher growth and interest rates? That would also lead to a stronger dollar.

But absent tax cuts for the rich and deficits, interest rates wouldn't be so high.

Seems like progressive neoliberals and mainstream macro economists are slaves to the bond vigilantes. See Bill Clinton dropping his middle class spending bill campaign promise.

"Increase the demand for domestic goods, and increase output (although, even then, as pointed out by Robert Mundell more than fifty years ago, the exchange rate may appreciate enough to lead to lower output in the end). But the "by themselves" assumption is just not right: Tariffs imposed by the United States would most likely lead to a tariff war and thus decrease exports. And the decrease in imports and exports would not be a wash. On the demand side, higher import prices would lead the Fed to increase interest rates further. "

So tariffs are bad because they cause retaliation. That's politics, not economics. And again the Fed is brought in to tell us that something good is actually bad.

High growth causes the Fed to kill the economy. Same would happen under Democrats.

Neoliberal BS.

kthomas -> Peter K.... , January 05, 2017 at 07:30 AM
Da, comrade!
Peter K. -> kthomas... , January 05, 2017 at 07:34 AM
Where is our Miss Manners, Chris Lowrey?
anne -> kthomas... , January 05, 2017 at 07:42 AM
Da, comrade!
Da, comrade!
Da, comrade!

[ Ceaseless crazed destructiveness. ]

[Jan 06, 2017] Did Trump has converted the GOP into a populist, America First party

Jan 06, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Chris Lowery : January 05, 2017 at 06:40 AM , 2017 at 06:40 AM
Interesting column by Tom Edsall in the NYTimes --


http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/05/opinion/what-does-my-party-want.html?ref=opinion

What Does My Party Want?
JAN. 5, 2017

How do Republicans hold on to the voters Donald Trump brought to the party?

Securing the loyalty of the millions of white working-class Americans who lined up behind Trump will require that all three wings of the Republican Party - its business faction, its ideological purists and its cultural traditionalists - abandon any idea of strict adherence to core conservative principles on fiscal and social policy.

"Just as Reagan converted the G.O.P. into a conservative party, with his victory this year, Trump has converted the G.O.P. into a populist, America First party," Stephen Moore, a Trump adviser whose résumé includes stints at the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, told Republican House members on Nov. 23. "The G.O.P. is now officially a Trump working-class party."

Moore is one of the most outspoken advocates of sweeping change, explicitly willing, in the face of a voter uprising, to jettison his own past convictions. In a subsequent National Review article, he made this quite clear:

Trade and immigration are in my view unambiguously good for the country - but new policies on these issues will have to be done in ways that are supported by the American people, not shoved down their throats by the elites. In this regard, I am a populist. The elites in both parties have not understood Trumpism and have often been contemptuous of the intellect and lifestyle of the Trump loyalists.

Moore is not alone.

"Accommodating these new voters' concerns will be an ongoing challenge, but the political payoffs are immense," Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the conservative Ethics and Policy Center, wrote. "Bringing them into the Republican fold ... will make the Midwest a new red firewall."

The surge of whites from Midwest industrial states - or more broadly from the heartland - to the Trump campaign included many voters who were not naturally inclined to the pre-2016 Republican Party. Olsen writes:

These voters have shunned Republicans because they disagree with the party's focus on low taxes, small government, and pro-business policies. They benefit enormously from middle-class entitlement programs; their children get what they consider to be good educations from public schools and state universities. They have no problem with redistribution so long as it is focused on either people who can't work or people who do.

In other words, these voters have little or no interest in the anti-government stance that had become reflexive among many congressional Republicans.

Accommodation now requires fiscal, business and social conservatives to compromise their beliefs in ways that will be wrenching, if not intolerable, to some. Olsen's assessment:

These voters view questions of public taxation and spending differently than do other factions in the party. Where movement conservatives see many social programs and the high taxes that fund them as threats to liberty, these voters see them as giving decent, hard-working people a hand up to live decent, dignified lives. Where business conservatives see free trade or immigration as helping people and increasing growth, these voters see those policies as favoring foreigners over themselves and as just another way that their bosses try to pay them less without justification.

In the case of cultural litmus test issues, Olsen argues, newly recruited white working-class converts to Trump's Republican Party do not consider conservative dogma on gay rights, abortion, gender identity, or traditional marriage their priority.

Stephen Bannon, appointed senior counselor and chief strategist to President Trump, puts much of what Moore and Olsen say in colorful and perhaps more illuminating language.

In a Nov. 15 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bannon described the goal of the "entirely new political movement" he believes Trump is leading:

It's everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I'm the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it's the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Shipyards, ironworks, get them all jacked up. We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution - conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.

Bannon is explicit in his identification of the enemy:

The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f-ed over. If we deliver, we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years.

Bannon's worldview was evident in the Trump campaign's closing argument, a striking two-minute commercial that mixed images of closed factories, multiracial workers, piles of hundred dollar bills, shots of Hillary and the Clinton Foundation, Trump rallies, busy Chinese assembly line workers and footage of George Soros, Janet Yellen, and Lloyd Blankfein - all of whom are Jewish.

Trump provided the voice-over, which was taken from a speech he gave in West Palm Beach in October:

For those who control the levers of power in Washington and for the global special interests, they partner with these people that don't have your good in mind. The political establishment that is trying to stop us is the same group responsible for our disastrous trade deals, massive illegal immigration and economic and foreign policies that have bled our country dry.

The political establishment has brought about the destruction of our factories and our jobs as they flee to Mexico, China and other countries all around the world. It's a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities. The only thing that can stop this corrupt machine is you. The only force strong enough to save our country is us.

This ad was part and parcel of an election that has put some of the most vocal House Republicans, including the vaunted Freedom Caucus, on notice that defying Trump's right-populist orientation could put their political future at risk. Since its formation in Jan. 2015, the caucus, a group of roughly 35 Republicans with ties to the Tea Party movement, has repeatedly blocked efforts by Republican leaders to produce compromise legislation that could win Democratic support. The group was largely responsible for the forced resignation of former Speaker John Boehner.

"Trump dominated - in the primary and general elections - those districts represented by Congress's most conservative members," Tim Alberta wrote in National Review (he is now at Politico):

They once believed they were elected to advance a narrowly ideological agenda, but Trump's success has given them reason to question that belief.

Among these archconservatives, who in the past had been fanatical in their pursuit of ideological purity, the realization that they can no longer depend on unfailing support from their constituents has provoked deep anxiety.

As Alberta put it:

Even if they support Trump nine times of ten, voting against him once could trigger a tweetstorm or the threat of a visit to their district. It's a chilling thought for members who know that the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the House GOP leadership already want them gone.

Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader, plans to make full use of Trump's leverage to keep recalcitrant members of the Freedom Caucus in line.

In a Nov. 29 interview at the Washington Post, McCarthy noted that the caucus had been a thorn in the side of House leaders, but now "there's less ability for the Freedom Caucus to do those types of things" - blocking leadership bills, for example, especially those measures that have Trump's backing.

McCarthy pointed out that "Trump probably did the best" in the districts of caucus members, and

it would be hard for them to stand up if President-Elect Trump is asking for this fundamental change, and they're saying no to it.

Various initiatives outlined by Moore, Olsen and Bannon could easily die on the vine; nevertheless, the open debate among Republican operatives and advisers stands in contrast to the Democrats' tortured struggle to address those aspects of identity politics - race, immigration, gender and sexuality, for example - lurking beneath the large scale defection of white voters.

The incendiary nature of identity issues has prompted the two leading candidates for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez and Keith Ellison, to purposefully focus on anodyne concerns.

"Our universal message of access to economic opportunity resonates with the ironworker in northeastern Ohio and the immigrant in South Florida," Perez told the Huffington Post, referring to two states Clinton lost. "We sometimes have a relationship deficit with our voters, because we're not communicating that message."

Ellison, in turn, matched Perez for blandness in a prepared statement on Dec. 7:

At this point, the Democratic Party must be the party that delivers for working people. We can do that by meeting folks where they are, looking them in the eye, treating them with respect, and working to solve their problems.

In a postelection analysis on Dec. 5, Stanley Greenberg, a Democratic pollster, and Page Gardner, president of the Women's Voices Women Vote Action Fund, were cautious when they referred to identity politics in the Clinton campaign:

Instead of spending the final weeks of the campaign advancing a compelling economic message to show Clinton would bring change, the campaign closed with a promise to fight for opportunity and to unite a multicultural America under the banner of being '"stronger together."

For the left coalition, the tangled issues of race, gender, immigration and identity are inescapable. Crime as an issue is similarly divisive. Over the weekend, for instance, Garry McCarthy, the former Chicago police superintendent appointed by Rahm Emanuel in 2011, breached Democratic norms and made national headlines when he blamed Black Lives Matter for a rise in violent crime. In a radio interview, McCarthy showcased the kind of potentially explosive material that could split the Democratic Party:

What's happening, and this is ironic, is that a movement with the goal of saving black lives at this point is getting black lives taken, because 80 percent of our murder victims here in Chicago are male blacks.

McCarthy also pointed out that, "less than half of 1 percent of all the shootings in this city involve police officers shooting civilians."

Nor did McCarthy stop there. He contended that

the Trump election quite frankly is a reaction to that. I think the people are tired of career politicians who've never really had a job telling us how we should think and how we should act.

In late November such liberal icons as Bernie Sanders and President Obama cautiously broached the subject of identity politics. On Nov. 20, Sanders told a group in Boston:

It's not good enough for someone to say, "I'm a woman! Vote for me!" No, that's not good enough. What we need is a woman who has the guts to stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industry.

That same day, Obama addressed reporters traveling with him in Lima, Peru:

One message I do have for Democrats is that a strategy that's just microtargeting particular, discrete groups in a Democratic coalition sometimes will win you elections, but it's not going to win you the broad mandate that you need.

In a centrist challenge to Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House Leader, Tim Ryan, an Ohio congressman who presented himself as a champion of the "flyover states," argued against campaign strategies in which

we try to slice the electorate up. And we try to say, 'You're black, you're brown, you're gay, you're straight, you're a woman, you're a man.' The reality of it is there's no juice in that kind of campaign.

Alarm bells went off. Ian Millhiser, an editor at the liberal website Think Progress, turned to Twitter on Nov. 20 to accuse Ryan of sexism:

This thing where an obscure male backbencher thinks he deserves to replace the most accomplished woman in Congress is how sexism works.

Then in December, Bobby Rush, a black congressman from Chicago, told the Boston Globe that if Democrats shift their primary focus to the "white middle and working class" and take "for granted the black working class or the black underclass, the party will add an arm and lose a body." Rush warned:

If I see my party not considering, even more intensely than they've done in the past, the economic, social, and political climate of the people I represent, the people I've been fighting for all my life, then I'm going to raise hell.

A Vox.com postelection headline, "The whole Democratic Party is now a smoking pile of rubble," contains more than a grain of truth.

At the moment, the Democratic Party is structurally fragile and its members have shied away from the kind of radical upheaval Republicans have been forced to embrace. Nonetheless, Democrats will soon face enormously risky decisions.

Does the party move left, as a choice of Keith Ellison for D.N.C. chairman would suggest? Does it wait for internecine conflict to emerge among Republicans as Trump and his allies fulfill campaign promises - repealing Obamacare, enacting tax reform and deporting millions of undocumented aliens?

Or should the party edge toward the center, attempting a strategic reposition on thorny issues of race, immigration, gender and identity, in effect acknowledging pressures from the right - the very pressures that delivered crucial white votes to Trump?

Democrats face a vast unknown - unable to stand still and unable to make reasoned choices until they know to what lengths, demonic or inspired, Trump might go.

Peter K. -> Chris Lowery ... , January 05, 2017 at 07:05 AM
I would support democratic socialists like Bernie Sanders over progressive neoliberals like Clinton and Vox. We need policies that work, not half-measures with a mutlicultrual spin. The country is becoming more and more multicultural and diverse on its own. Prosperity will help ease the anxiety of change. With shared prosperity and rising wages, trade and immigration will be focused on less as scapegoats.

With Trump joining the public in going after Republicans for their ethics fiasco, the Democratic leadership is supposedly thinking they might work with Trump on some sort of infrastructure plan that the deficit hawks and Freedom Caucus would be against.

As Benjamin Appelbaum reports above, Yellen's Fed may cancel out any fiscal stimulus with faster rate hikes. Would Trump notice? Who knows?

kthomas -> Peter K.... , January 05, 2017 at 07:27 AM
What BS.
Peter K. -> kthomas... , January 05, 2017 at 07:31 AM
Where is our Miss Manners Chris Lowry?
anne -> kthomas... , January 05, 2017 at 07:43 AM
What --.
What --.
What --.

[ Ceaseless crazed destructiveness. ]

im1dc -> kthomas... , January 05, 2017 at 09:35 AM
Why?
pgl -> kthomas... , January 05, 2017 at 09:36 AM
Giving Trump credit on reigning in (temporarily) this ethics trial balloon may indeed be BS but you need to state a reason for calling it so. Try this out:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/a-clarifying-lesson

EMichael -> Chris Lowery ... , January 05, 2017 at 07:19 AM
I just love this idea that Trump created new voters.

Somehow, a difference of 80,000 or so votes in three states (one state had the lowest turnout in 20 years) means Trump brought " millions of white working-class Americans" into the Republican Party is absolute nonsense.

Stephen Moore believes it. Than again, does anyone believe anything he says is correct and/or true?

im1dc -> EMichael... , January 05, 2017 at 09:37 AM
So spot on!

Although I have yet to come across a definitive actual count of the 3 State voters that went for Trump over Hillary. I have read from 80,000 to 128,000 and use 120,000, the high side, to be safe.

Peter K. -> Chris Lowery ... , January 05, 2017 at 07:30 AM
Trump won the Republican primary and general election.

""Trump dominated - in the primary and general elections - those districts represented by Congress's most conservative members," Tim Alberta wrote in National Review (he is now at Politico):

They once believed they were elected to advance a narrowly ideological agenda, but Trump's success has given them reason to question that belief.

Among these archconservatives, who in the past had been fanatical in their pursuit of ideological purity, the realization that they can no longer depend on unfailing support from their constituents has provoked deep anxiety."

These archconservatives who say that Trump's flimsy mandate is just based on just 80,000 votes in the rustbelt are in for a rude awakening. He won the primary. In Northern States. In Southern States. Everywhere.

It's hilarious that the progressive neoliberals like DeLong, Krugman, Drum, Yglesias etc have said exactly nothing about Trump's tweets at Congressional Republicans over the independent ethics committee.

Silence.

JF -> Chris Lowery ... , January 05, 2017 at 09:02 AM
There is a propaganda technique where you describe staw-person characterizations then undermine them. When in fact the whole longwinded campaign depends on readers and listeners not bothering or too tired to focus and see the mischaracterizations in the straw.

This whole thing is an apologia, for propaganda purposes, as I see it.

We all need to take care. It takes a lot of money and effort to organize such propaganda exercises. Please take care in using and reusing these type things.

Libezkova -> Chris Lowery ... , -1
"Trump has converted the G.O.P. into a populist, America First party" is an overstatement. He definitely made some efforts in this direction, but it is premature to declare this "fait accompli".

If we consider two possibilities: "GOP establishment chew up Trump" and "Trump chew up GOP establishment" it is clear that possibility is more probable.

Theoretically that might give Democrats a chance, but I think the Clintonized Party is too corrupt to take this chance. "An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought." ;-)

In any case, 2018 elections will be very interesting as I think that the process of a slow collapse of neoliberal ideology and the rise of the US nationalist movements ("far right") will continue unabated.

This is the same process that we see in full force in EU.

[Jan 06, 2017] Hannity Julian Assange Interview

Jan 06, 2017 | www.youtube.com
Published on Jan 3, 2017

Tonight we were presented with the one-on-one interview between Sean Hannity and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In the first segment that Hannity showed, Assange stated that Rushua was not involved in providing WikiLeaks with the hacked emails from the DNC or John Podesta, and neither was a state party. Assange, who is confined to the Ecuadorean embassy in London due to a warrant for sexual assault in Sweden, was asked if President Barack Obama was lying when claiming Rushuaans were behind the hacks since Assange is saying Rushua wasn't involved. "Well, he is acting like a lawyer," he noted. "If you look at most of his statements he doesn't say that. He doesn't say WikiLeaks obtained its information from Rushua, worked with Rushua." Later on, when describing why Obama had a dramatic response to Rushua via sanctions, Assange says he is "trying to delegitimize the Trump Administration as it goes into the White House."Hannity Julian Assange FULL Interview 1/3/17. Sean Hannity gave us a preview of his revealing exclusive interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, which will air on Fox News Channel tonight at 10pm ET. Assange spoke for about 90 minutes at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has remained for four-and-a-half years under threat of arrest. Hannity said they discussed "the state of journalism" in the United States and what was not covered by the media when it came to the contents of the hacked emails. Spc Garza 19 hours ago This guy is way to smart for the government lol!!! Stay safe Jakareh75 17 hours ago Julian Assange has more integrity in one fingernail than does the entire mainstream media. And that is why he's under a bogus indictment for rape by Sweden, the same country that allows Muslim subhumans scores of their women every day with impunity. The rotten liberals who run Sweden go after Julian Assange but not their Muslim pets. Alex Phillips 16 hours ago as a fellow Australian i find it absolutely fucking disgraceful that our government isn't fighting tooth and nail to clear Julian's name. .....stand strong Julian. ....walk with your head held high. ....keep on doing what you are doing. ....god bless you and keep you safe. Arisen Hemloc 21 minutes ago Alex: I wouldn't call us Fascist. Fascist governments are hard to fully achieve because they require so many attributes in comparison to other extremes like Communism. It needs to be Nationalistic (which, let's face, we're not at the moment), a dictatorship (which, we're not yet), Authoritarian to the extreme (we're VERY close to that), and quite a few other qualities. But regardless, Australia is clamped down by regulations and laws which choke business, a moron who wants a Carbon Tax (useless. Doesn't even help Climate Change if you believe in it), Emissions Trading Scheme (Again, worthless) and has the political sense of a rock, stupid Socialist departments that aren't working (Centrelink) because the economy is so blotto, we've got gun laws that will probably lead to us all getting machine gunned down by some Islamic with an AK and slowly our borders are becoming less and less secure. We're at the point of America at the moment, not Germany or France yet, but getting there. Only our Ocean protects us from that. Under Rudd and Gillard, we were moving heavily Socialist. Under Abbot, in an attempt to fix the damage they did, he shoved us too far the other way. We need a Trump now and I get a feeling it'll come from a coalition between Hansen and Bernardi. Bernardi is considering, if he hasn't already, leaving the Liberals and starting a real Conservative Party for the people, but to get into power he'll need a coalition. Either that or someone in the Liberals will need to get rid of Turnbull and fix our system. We can't trust Labor because they have that Union boss creep Shorten as their leader and he's nuttier than Rudd. It's sad, but Assange will not be allowed back into Australia or helped by Australia while our current cycle of nut job politics keep on going. We need Howard or Menzies back. Also, for you Americans, our politicians aren't as corrupt as yours (the Labor maybe), but ours are just incompetent 75% of the time. Stacey Johnson 21 hours ago This was a great interview. Hopefully now that Assange has established for the millionth time that Russia did not hack, we (as in all truth media outlets like RT, Hannity, etc) need to stop focusing on and talking about who did the hacking. Its time to start investigating, talking about and exposing the actual content of the emails, all of them not just the ones that expose the media and campaign corruption. Yet RT, Hannity, etc are not talking about it or asking the questions that need to be asked or investigating it. Why isn't anyone asking about the Clinton foundation and its link to human trafficking or why Monica Peterson was found dead while investigating it?? Why isn't anyone asking Podesta to explain all the strange and suspicious code talk that is factual signs, symbols and code words for pedophilia used over and over in these emails? Why aren't they asking about the ties and connections to occult rituals? Why aren't they asking about the sickening art collections? Why aren't they asking about the strange and inappropriate happenings that go on at Ping Pong Pizza? The flight logs of the Lolita express, which is owned by a convicted sex offender, to "orgy island"? Clinton's reasons for going there without secret service detail on numerous occasions? The deaths of so many people connected to the Clinton's?? I still don't understand why these things are still not being talked about?!?! PopTartsAndCinemax 7 hours ago Saudi Arabia bankrolled HRC's campaign but please, tell us how the Russians are interfering in the election... lol... John S 5 hours ago SA is using US $$ and weapons via Hillary's state department to bankroll ISIS. But please, more Russia!! Paul X 11 hours ago Hannity worries about where Assange draws the line, and whether his releases might endanger human lives (those of spies, I suppose). The problem with that line is that human lives are endangered no matter what! If Assange releases information, some lives are endangered. If he doesn't, other lives are endangered. Let's face it, Madeleine Albright said that it was "worth it" if half a million Iraqi people were killed in the pursuit of American imperialist ambitions. And let's face it, if spies' lives are endangered, well they signed up for that danger. It's part of their job to deal with it. If the release of truth endangers them, then maybe they are doing something they shouldn't be doing. I don't for a second believe the American (or any other) ruling class gives a rat's ass about the lives of ordinary peons being endangered. Cam Smith 1 hour ago Great interview by Mr. Hannity! And thank you Mr. Assange for your dedication to the truth! Jolly Froster 2 hours ago Assange created wikileaks to give more info to voters to stop wars. Hillary and the neocons wanted war with Russia through her no fly zone so the Saudis could get their pipeline in Syria. Hilary was stopped. So now they are using wikileaks to try and start the war. Gary McAleer 1 hour ago Everyone in the msm calls Julian Assange a liar when he emphatically said that Russia was not the source of the Clinton or Podesta emails. I'll take Julian's impartial word over the politically selfish interests here in America. Frankly, I'm sick and tired of all the disinformation Americans have been fed. Deliberate liars will be met with fire on "the resurrection of damnation." "The wicked shall perish: and shall be as the fat of lambs: into smoke shall they consume away." Ps.37. So many in this country lie as easily as they breathe. Their lies will be their ruin. Michael Snow 2 hours ago Tonight, on PBS Nightly Business Report (NBR) produced by CNBC, the reference to 'Russian hacking' smeared Julian Assange as a 'fugitve from criminal justice' in the USA. Rod Ruger 11 hours ago True, proven information is anathema to governments that seeks tyranny. The goal of such governments is to befuddle, misinform, instill fear, and otherwise keep citizens in a fog. George G 19 hours ago WOW Assange is so much more credible than Obama and his cooked up Intel narrative. The only facts that truly point to a crime is that WIKILEAKS revealed crimes committed by the democrate which included Obama and it needs to be prosecuted AFTER HE LEAVES OFFICE! AntonBatey 11 hours ago I have always supported Julian Assange. I do not like Sean Hannity and disagree with him roughly 90 percent of the time. If Julian Assange attempted to sabotage Donald Trump (and by default helping Hillary Clinton) and continued to expose the war crimes and internal emails exposing America's imperialist interests, Hannity would brush him off as a traitor and would claim that nothing he said should be trusted or believed. But he helped Trump and (appropriately) exposed Hillary Clinton was a warmongering corporate shill who helped sabotage Bernie Sanders, so Hannity lends his words as credible. Barbara Mowrey 20 hours ago Like a lawyer, means, double talk . To seem legit through actions and talk, alone, with no evidence, hoping the action, or subpoena to make act, (send diplomats out of the country) is that "tangible" evidence when it is not even close! Double talk. Keep em guessing to stay legit, again. Make evidence when none exists. Laine Gordon 15 hours ago (edited) podesta's own email said the clinton foundation leak was eric braverman, missing for months now. and in podesta's own words, he fingered braverman as the leak. you really have to be willfully blind at this point to think otherwise Laine Gordon 15 hours ago he looks good..healthy considering what TPTB are doing to him, for providing a legitimate platform for whistleblowers ,...how much clearer could he have been? a LEAK, not a HACK,...an individual unrelated to russian state. and since he hinted during a netherlands interview last year that the source ( which he has always refused to name , to protect the integrity and safety of the source) was seth rich, not to mention the ex ambassador admitting he received material from the whistleblower in a park near AU, the Dems' trying to start WW3 with russia seems like theatre of the absurd Gamer Boy 5 hours ago HOLD UP HOLD UP HOLD UP Will someone look at the first question Julian answers about "did he think Trump would win" He says someone hacked/leaked it who wanted to get more donations for her to win, because if the people thought she was losing that more money would come in upwards of 5 Billion and she had only gotten 1.5 billion so far!!! So she needed that push to put her down in the polls for more money to come in. so it could have been someone in the Media industry as he says who wanted more for money, the DNC... I don't know but someone smart please look into this. Did Russia need money from her? who wanted to get her donations up to 5 billion. Watch his very first answer over and over it's right there! lets figure it out!!

[Jan 02, 2017] What Do Trump and Marx Have in Common

Notable quotes:
"... If John Steinbeck could travel the West today as he traveled America three generations ago, leaving the highways to visit forgotten towns, documenting people's struggles as he did in "The Grapes of Wrath,'' he would find much the same to write about. Globalization and its masters have capitalized on enormous pay gaps between West and East, at a huge profit for them, and huge cost to others. ..."
"... The upper class has gained much more from the internationalization of trade and finances than the working class has, often in obscene ways. Bankers get bonuses despite making idiotic decisions that trigger staggering losses. ..."
"... Giant enterprises like Facebook or Apple pay minimal taxes, while blue-collar workers have to labor harder - even taking a second or third job - to maintain their standard of living. ..."
"... In Germany, some 60 percent of A.F.D. supporters say globalization has "mainly negative" effects. We live in a world, the liberal British historian Timothy Garton Ash noted lately, "which would have Marx rubbing his hands with Schadenfreude." ..."
"... When Hillary Clinton calls half of Mr. Trump's voters a "basket of deplorables," she sounds as aloof as Marie Antoinette, telling French subjects who had no bread to "eat cake." ..."
"... In Germany a recent poll showed that only 14 percent of the citizens trusted the politicians. ..."
Oct 25, 2016 | www.nytimes.com

We have a word in German, "Wutbürger," which means "angry citizen" - though like many German compound words, its meaning can never quite be captured in a pithy English translation. And yet nothing in either language quite frames this current political moment.

It is a relatively new expression, with a derogatory connotation. A Wutbürger rages against a new train station and tilts against wind turbines. Wutbürgers came out in protest after the Berlin government decided to bail out Greece and to accept roughly one million refugees and migrants into Germany.

Wutbürgers lie at both ends of the political spectrum; they flock to the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (A.F.D.) and the socialist Linke (Left) Party. The left wing has long had a place in German politics, and the Linke has deep roots in the former East Germany's ruling party. And we've had a fringe right wing since the postwar period began. But the populist anger of the A.F.D. is something new: Anti-establishment, anti-European Union and anti-globalization, the A.F.D. didn't exist four years ago. Today, 18 percent of Germans would consider voting for it.

The same thing is happening elsewhere in Europe: Many British Wutbürgers voted for Brexit. French Wutbürgers will vote for Marine Le Pen's National Front. Perhaps the most powerful Wutbürger of them all is Donald J. Trump.

Which raises the question: How was anger hijacked?

In its pure form, anger is a wonderful force of change. Just imagine a world without anger. In Germany, without the anger of the labor movement, we would still have a class-based voting system that privileged the wealthy, and workers would still toil 16 hours a day without pension rights. Britain and France would still be ruled by absolute monarchs. The Iron Curtain would still divide Europe, the United States would still be a British colony and its slaves could only dream of casting a vote this Nov. 8.

Karl Marx was a Wutbürger. So were Montesquieu, William Wilberforce, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the tens of thousands of Eastern German protesters who brought down the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Now: Compare these spirits to the current parties claiming to stand for necessary change. Mr. Trump vs. Dr. King. Sadly, the leaders of today's Wutbürger movements never grasped the difference between anger driven by righteousness and anger driven by hate.

Anger works like gasoline. If you use it intelligently and in a controlled manner, you can move the world. That's called progress. Or you just spill it about and ignite it, creating spectacular explosions. That's called arson.

Unfortunately, a lack of maturity and prudence today exists among not just the new populist class, but parts of the political establishment. The governing class needs to understand that just because people are embittered and paranoid doesn't mean they don't have a case. A growing number of voters are going into meltdown because they believe that politicians - and journalists - don't see what they see.

Sure, the injustices they see are, in historical perspective, less stark and obvious than in the days of Marx or King. The injustices of today are smaller, but they are more complex. And this is what makes them all the more terrifying.

If John Steinbeck could travel the West today as he traveled America three generations ago, leaving the highways to visit forgotten towns, documenting people's struggles as he did in "The Grapes of Wrath,'' he would find much the same to write about. Globalization and its masters have capitalized on enormous pay gaps between West and East, at a huge profit for them, and huge cost to others.

The upper class has gained much more from the internationalization of trade and finances than the working class has, often in obscene ways. Bankers get bonuses despite making idiotic decisions that trigger staggering losses.

Giant enterprises like Facebook or Apple pay minimal taxes, while blue-collar workers have to labor harder - even taking a second or third job - to maintain their standard of living. And this is as true in Germany, France or Austria as it is in Ohio or Florida.

In Germany, some 60 percent of A.F.D. supporters say globalization has "mainly negative" effects. We live in a world, the liberal British historian Timothy Garton Ash noted lately, "which would have Marx rubbing his hands with Schadenfreude."

The grievances of white, often less-educated voters on both sides of the Atlantic are often dismissed as xenophobic, simplistic hillbillyism. But doing so comes at a cost. Europe's traditional force of social change, its social democrats, appear to just not get it. When Hillary Clinton calls half of Mr. Trump's voters a "basket of deplorables," she sounds as aloof as Marie Antoinette, telling French subjects who had no bread to "eat cake." In Germany, a deputy Social Democrat leader, Ralf Stegner, displays a similar arrogance when he calls A.F.D. supporters "racists" and "skunks." Media reports often convey the same degree of contempt.

In Germany a recent poll showed that only 14 percent of the citizens trusted the politicians. This is an alarming figure, in a country where faith in a progressive, democratic government has been a cornerstone of our postwar peace. But this presumes that legitimate anger will be acknowledged as such. If this faith is rattled, democracy loses its basic promise.

Amid their mutual finger-pointing, neither populist nor established parties acknowledge that both are squandering people's anger, either by turning this anger into counterproductive hatred or by denouncing and dismissing it. Mrs. Clinton has the chance to change, by leading a political establishment that examines and processes anger instead of merely producing and dismissing it. If she does, let's hope Europe once again looks to America as a model for democracy.

Jochen Bittner is a political editor for the weekly newspaper Die Zeit and a contributing opinion writer.

[Jan 01, 2017] Now that 0bama is about to exit as US Pres, perhaps it is time to revisit the Who Is Worse: Bush43 v 0bama question.

Notable quotes:
"... Obama campaigned on change and vague promises, but still change. Instead he normalized atrocities that most of us had been screaming about in the Bush administration AND he didn't just squander the opportunities he had to change our course domestically because of the crash and the majorities in Congress, no he couldn't throw those away fast enough. ..."
"... Indeed. Bush was a known quantity. "Compassionate conservatism" was was blatantly hollow jingoism. My only surprise under W was how virulently evil Cheney was. ..."
"... The big O, though, was handed the opportunity to change the course of history. He took power with Wall Street on its knees. The whole world hungered for a change in course. Remember "never let a crisis go to waste". O turned Hope into blatantly hollow jingoism. ..."
"... Obama can be legitimately described as worse than Bush 43 because Obama ran as a "progressive" and flagrantly broke almost all of his promises and governed like a "Moderate" Republican. ..."
"... At the least, Bush, Sr. and Jr. ran as right wing politicos. The people basically got what they voted for with them. ..."
"... In August 1999, Barack Obama strolled amid the floats and bands making their way down Martin Luther King Drive on Chicago's South Side. Billed as the largest African-American parade in the country, the summer rite was a draw over the years to boxing heroes like Muhammad Ali and jazz greats like Duke Ellington. It was also a must-stop for the city's top politicians. ..."
"... Back then, Mr. Obama, a state senator who was contemplating a run for Congress, was so little-known in the community's black neighborhoods that it was hard to find more than a few dozen people to walk with him, recalled Al Kindle, one of his advisers at the time. Mr. Obama was trounced a year later in the Congressional race - branded as an aloof outsider more at home in the halls of Harvard than in the rough wards of Chicago politics. ..."
"... But by 2006, Mr. Obama had remade his political fortunes. He was a freshman United States senator on the cusp of deciding to take on the formidable Hillary Rodham Clinton and embark on a long-shot White House run. When the parade wound its way through the South Side that summer, Mr. Obama was its grand marshal. ..."
"... A tight-knit community that runs through the South Side, Hyde Park is a liberal bastion of integration in what is otherwise one of the nation's most segregated cities. Mayor Washington had called it home, as did whites who marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and wealthy black entrepreneurs a generation removed from the civil rights battles of the 1960s. ..."
"... At its heart is the University of Chicago; at its borders are poor, predominately black neighborhoods blighted by rundown buildings and vacant lots. For Mr. Obama, who was born in Hawaii to a white Kansan mother and an African father and who spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, it was a perfect fit. ..."
"... "He felt completely comfortable in Hyde Park," said Martha Minow, his former law professor and a mentor. "It's a place where you don't have to wear a label on your forehead. You can go to a bookstore and there's the homeless person and there's the professor." ..."
Jan 01, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Now that 0bama is about to exit as US Pres, perhaps it is time to revisit the Who Is Worse: Bush43 v 0bama question.

Conventional wisdom among "Progressive" pundits, even good ones like SecularTalk, seems to be "yes, 0bama is better than Bush43, but that is a very low bar, & not a real accomplishment. 0bama still sucks".

IMHO, 0bama's relentless pursue of 1 Grand "Bargain" Ripoff & 2 TPP, may alone make him Even Worse than Bush43, as far as to damage inflicted on USians had 0bama been successful in getting these 2 policies. 0bama tried for years getting these 2 policies enacted, whereas Bush43 tried quickly to privatize SS but then forgot it, & IIRC enacted small trade deals (DR-CAFTA ?). Bush43 focus seemed to be on neocon regime change & War On Terra TM, & even then IIRC around ~2006 Bush43 rejected some of Darth Cheney's even more extremish neocon policy preferences, with Bush43 rejecting Cheney's desired Iran War.

IMHO both policies would've incrementally killed thousands of USians annually, far more than 1S1S or the Designated Foreign Boogeyman Du Jour TM could ever dream of. Grand Ripoff raising Medicare eligibility age (IIRC 67 to 69+ ?) would kill many GenX & younger USians in the future. TPP's pharma patent extensions would kill many USians, especially seniors. These incremental killings might exceed the incremental life savings from the ACA (mainly ACA Adult Medicaid expansion). Furthemore, 0bama could've potentially achieved MedicareForAll or Medicare Pt O – Public Option in ~2010 with Sen & House D majorities, & 0bama deliberately killed these policies, as reported by FDL's Jane Hamsher & others.

Bush43 indirectly killed USians in multiple ways, including Iraq War, War On Terra, & failing to regulate fin svcs leading to the 2008 GFC; however it would seem that 0bama's Death Toll would have been worse.

"What do you think?!" (c) Ed Schultz

How do Bush43 & 0bama compare to recent Presidents including Reagan & Clinton? What do you expect of Trump? I'd guesstimate that if Trump implements P Ryan-style crapification of Medicare into an ACA-like voucher system, that alone could render Trump Even Worse than 0bama & the other 1981-now Reganesque Presidents.

It does seem like each President is getting Even Worse than the prior guy in this 21st Century. #AmericanExceptionalism (exceptionally Crappy)

timbers , December 31, 2016 at 9:14 am

You hit the right priority of issues IMO, and would add a few bad things Obamanation did:

1). Bombing more nations than anyone in human history and being at war longer than any US President ever, having never requested an end but in fact a continuation of a permanent state of war declared by Congress.

2). The massive destruction of legal and constitutional rights from habeas corpus, illegal and unconstitutional surveillance of all people, to asserting the right to imprison, torture, and assassinate anyone anytime even America children just because Obama feels like doing it.

3). Austerity. This tanked any robust recovery from the 2008 recession and millions suffered because of it, we are living with the affects even now. In fact Obamanation's deep mystical belief in austerity helped defeat Clinton 2016.

Pat , December 31, 2016 at 9:18 am

HAMP. And not just ignoring bank mortgage fraud, but essentially enabling it and making it the norm.
Deporting more people than Presidents before him.
Passing the Korea and Columbia free trade pacts, even lying about what the pact did to get the Columbian one passed. KORUS alone made our trade deficit with Korea soar and lost an estimated 100,000 jobs in the US (and not those part time ones being created).
Had the chance to pass a real infrastructure repair/stimulus package, didn't.
Had the chance to put the Post Office in the black and even start a Postal Bank, didn't. Didn't even work to get rid of the Post Office killing requirement to fund its pension 75 years out.
Furthering the erosion of our civil rights by making it legal to assassinate American citizens without trial.
Instead of kneecapping the move to kill public education by requiring any charter school that receives federal funding to be non-profit with real limits on allowable administrative costs, expanded them AND expanded the testing boondoggle with Common Core.
Libya.
Expansion of our droning program.

While I do give him some credit for both the Iran deal and the attempt to rein in the Syria mistake, I also have to take points away for not firing Carter and demoting or even bringing Votel before a military court after their insubordination killing the ceasefire.

Should I continue. Bush was evil, Obama the more effective one.

John Wright , December 31, 2016 at 10:15 am

Bush's Iraq war will cost an estimated $3 trillion per Joseph Stiglitz.

That does not count all the damage done to Iraq/Afghanistan people and property and American's reputation.

Iraq's excess deaths due to the war were estimated at 500K to 655K.

On a population adjusted basis, this would be equivalent to the USA losing 5 to 6.55 million people to a foreign, unprovoked, power.

Bush scores quite high on being an effective evil, especially when viewed from outside the USA

I score him the winner vs Obama on total damage done to the USA and the world

j84ustin , December 31, 2016 at 10:52 am

Absolutely.

Pat , December 31, 2016 at 12:02 pm

Was that a disastrous choice? Certainly and it is a big one, but it also ignores how much of the disastrous choices attached to that decision Barack H. Obama has either continued or expanded upon. It also ignores how that war continues under Obama. Remember when we left Iraq? Oh, wait we haven't we just aren't there in the previous numbers.

http://time.com/4298318/iraq-us-troops-barack-obama-mosul-isis/

And what about Libya? You remember that little misadventure. Which added to our continued Saudi/Israeli determined obsession with Syria has led to a massive refugee crisis in Europe. How many were killed there. How much will that cost us fifteen years on?

https://www.ft.com/content/c2b6329a-9287-11e4-b213-00144feabdc0

I get that the quagmire was there before Obama. I also get that he began to get a clue late in his administration to stop listening to the usual subjects in order to make it better. But see that thing above about not firing people who undermined that new direction in Syria, and are probably now some of the most pressing secret voices behind this disastrous Russia Hacked US bull.

But I think only focusing on the original decision also ignores how effective Obama has been at normalize crime, corruption, torture and even assassination attached to those original choices – something that Bush didn't manage (and that doesn't even consider the same decriminalization and normalization done for and by the financial industry). Bush may have started the wheel down the bumpy road, but Obama put rubber on the wheel and paved the road so now it is almost impossible to stop the wheel.

TedWa , December 31, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Pat – don't forget about him putting banks above the law – unconstitutional and e v i l

JCC , December 31, 2016 at 12:40 pm

As mentioned, Bush is a very low bar for comparison, and if that's the best presidential comparison that can be made with Obama, then that says it all.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , December 31, 2016 at 5:48 pm

Mr. O long ago received my coveted Worst_President_Ever Award (and yes the judging included Millard Fillmore and Andrew Johnson).
Handed the golden platter opportunity to repudiate the myriad policy disasters of Bush (which as cited above cost trillions of dollars and millions of lives) he chose instead to continue them absolutely unchanged, usually with the same personnel. Whether it was unprosecuted bank crime in the tens of billions, foreign policy by drone bomb, health care mega-bezzle, hyper-spy tricks on everyday Americans, and corporo-fascist globalist "trade" deals, Mr. O never disappointed his Big Wall St, Big Pharma, Big Insurance, and Big Surveillance-Industrial Complex constituents. Along the way he reversed the polarity of American politics, paving the way for a true corporo-fascist to say the slightest thing that might be good for actual workers and get into the White House. History will remember him as the president who lost Turkey and The Philippines, destroyed any remaining shreds of credibility with utterly specious hacking claims and war crime accusations of other nations, and presided over an era of hyper-concentration of billionaire wealth in a nation where 70% of citizens would need to borrow to fund a $400 emergency. Those failures are now permanently branded as "Democrat" failures. The jury is unanimous: Obama wins the award.

crittermom , December 31, 2016 at 12:29 pm

"HAMP. And not just ignoring bank mortgage fraud, but essentially enabling it and making it the norm."
Exactly. That is #1 on my list making him worst president ever.

Katharine , December 31, 2016 at 1:00 pm

I would question "ever" simply because I know I don't know enough about the history of previous presidents, and I doubt any of us do; even historians who focus on this kind of thing, supposing we had any in our midst, might be hard put to it to review all 44 thoroughly.

witters , December 31, 2016 at 7:47 pm

I like your epistemology! You don't know, but you do know others don't know either, even historians who clearly know a lot more on this than you.

Ed , December 31, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Declining empires tend to get entire series of bad kings.

Tom Bradford , December 31, 2016 at 8:08 pm

Cause or effect?

Ray Phenicie , December 31, 2016 at 12:54 pm

I vote the mortgage fraud situation (see Chain of Title by David Dayen -not really a plug for the book) as the worst aspect of the Obama Administration. What to say about it? Regular readers of this site are well versed in the details but one aspect of it needs to be expounded upon; stand on the housetops and shout it kind of exposition: the mortgage fraud worked on millions (3, 5, 7, maybe 12 million) shows that rule of law is now destroyed in the land. Dictionary .com says this about the phrase

Rule of Law: the principle that all people and institutions are subject to and accountable to law that is fairly applied and enforced; the principle of government by law.

The World Justice Project has several pages on the topic and starts off with this:

* The government and its officials and agents as well as individuals and private entities are accountable under the law.
* The laws are clear, publicized, stable, and just; are applied evenly; and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property and certain core human rights.
* The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient.
* Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.

I would invite the reader to take a moment and apply those principles to what is known about the situation concerning mortgage fraud worked on millions of homeowners during the past two decades.

The Justice Department's infamous attempts to cover up horribly harmful schemes worked by the mortgage industry perpetrators involved the cruel irony of aiding and abetting systemic racism. Not a lot was said in the popular press about the subject of reverse redlining but I'm convinced by the preponderance of evidence that overly complicated mortgage products were taken into the neighborhoods of Detroit (90% Black or Latin American, Hispanic) and foisted off on unsuspecting homeowners. Those homeowners did not take accountants and lawyers with them to the signing but that's how those schemes should have been approached; then most of those schemes would have hit the trashcan. Many a charming snake oil salesman deserves innumerable nights of uncomfortable rest for the work they did to destroy the neighborhoods of Detroit and of course many other neighborhoods in many other cities. For this discussion I am making this a separate topic but I realize it is connected to the overall financial skulduggery worked on us all by the FIRE sector.

However, let me return to the last principle promulgated by the World Justice Project pertaining to Rule Of Law and focus on that: "Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve." Now hear this: "are of sufficient number" for there, and gentle reader, please take this to bed with you at the end of your day: we fail as a nation. But look to the 'competent, ethical and independent' clause; we must vow to not sink into despair. This subject is a constant struggle. Google has my back on this: Obama, during both campaigns of '08 and '12, took millions from the very financial sector that he planned to not dismay and then was in turn very busy directing the Attorney General of The United States, the highest law officer in the country, to not prosecute. These very institutions that were in turn very busy taking property worth billions. 12 million stolen homes multiplied times the average home value = Trillions?

Finally, my main point here (I am really busy sharpening this ax, but it's a worthy ax) is the issue of systemic racism- that the financial institutions in this country work long hours to shackle members of minority neighborhoods into monetarily oppressive schemes in the form of mortgages, car loans, credit cards and personal loans (think pay day scammers) and these same makers of the shackles have the protection of the highest officials in the land. Remember the pitchforks Obama inveighed? Irony of cruel ironies, two black men, both of whom appear to be of honorable bearing, (Holder moved his chair right directly into the financiers, rent takers of Covington & Burling ) work to cement the arrangements of racist, oppressive scammers who of course also work their playbooks on other folks.

To finalize, the subject of rule of law that I have worked so assiduously to sharpen, applies to all of the other topics we can consider as failures of the Obama Presidency. So besides racism and systemic financial fraud we can turn to some top subjects that make '09 to '17 the nadir of the political culture of the United States of America. Drone wars, unending war in the Middle East, attempts to place a cloak of secrecy on the workings of the Federal Government, the reader will have their own axes to sharpen but I maintain if the reader will fervently apply and dig into the four principles outlined above, she, he, will agree that the principles outlining Rule of Law have been replaced by Rule of the Person.

Ray Phenicie , December 31, 2016 at 1:02 pm

(3, 5, 7. 12 million) should be 3, 5, 7, maybe 12 million

Ray Phenicie , December 31, 2016 at 1:22 pm

Here's one of many scholarly articles that reviews the subject of systemic racism in the finance and mortgage industries.
Am Sociol Rev. 2010 October 1; 75(5): 629–651. doi:10.1177/0003122410380868
Racial Segregation and the American Foreclosure Crisis
Jacob S. Rugh and Douglas S. Massey
Office of Population Research, Princeton University

Ray Phenicie , December 31, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Arghhh, the server is apparently napping-more caffeine please for the cables.
Here's one of many scholarly articles that reviews the subject of systemic racism in the finance and mortgage industries.
Am Sociol Rev. 2010 October 1; 75(5): 629–651. doi:10.1177/0003122410380868
Racial Segregation and the American Foreclosure Crisis
Jacob S. Rugh and Douglas S. Massey
Office of Population Research, Princeton University

hreik , December 31, 2016 at 2:22 pm

The book deserves to be plugged. I thought it was great. A fast and infuriating read. And very well written.

hreik , December 31, 2016 at 9:09 am

I dunno. President Obama is not great but the comments here make me feel like it's time for me to skedaddle. Thinking he might be worse than Shrub? 6″ tall, smh

Pat , December 31, 2016 at 9:31 am

Oh I admit it can be a tough choice, but you might really want to add up the good and the bad for both. Not surprisingly there is little good and a whole lot of long ongoing damage inflicted by the policies that both either embraced, adapted to or did little or nothing to stop.

Even if the list of bad was equal, I have to give Obama for the edge for two reasons. First because Bush pretty much told us what he was going to do, Obama campaigned on change and vague promises, but still change. Instead he normalized atrocities that most of us had been screaming about in the Bush administration AND he didn't just squander the opportunities he had to change our course domestically because of the crash and the majorities in Congress, no he couldn't throw those away fast enough.

Your position is obviously different.

And I don't give a damn what height either of them are, both are small people.

Lost in OR , December 31, 2016 at 11:14 am

Indeed. Bush was a known quantity. "Compassionate conservatism" was was blatantly hollow jingoism. My only surprise under W was how virulently evil Cheney was.

The big O, though, was handed the opportunity to change the course of history. He took power with Wall Street on its knees. The whole world hungered for a change in course. Remember "never let a crisis go to waste". O turned Hope into blatantly hollow jingoism.

In the end, the black activist constitutional lawyer turned his back on all that he seemed to be. Feint left, drive right.

With W we got what we expected. With O we got hoodwinked. What a waste.

ambrit , December 31, 2016 at 9:32 am

Look, if you don't like some of the comments you see, say so. We have some thick skinned people here. A little rancorous debate is fine. If some reasoned argumentation is thrown in, the comments section is doing it's job. (I know, I know, "agency" issues.)

Obama can be legitimately described as worse than Bush 43 because Obama ran as a "progressive" and flagrantly broke almost all of his promises and governed like a "Moderate" Republican.

At the least, Bush, Sr. and Jr. ran as right wing politicos. The people basically got what they voted for with them.

Finally, " it's time for me to skedaddle." WTF? I'm assuming, yes, I do do that, that you are a responsible and thoughtful person. That needs must include the tolerance of and engagement with opposing points of view. Where do you want to run to; an "echo chamber" site? You only encourage conformation bias with that move. The site administrators have occasionally mentioned the dictum; "Embrace the churn." The site, indeed, almost any site, will live on long after any of we commenters bite the dust. If, however, one can shift the world view of other readers with good argumentation and anecdotes, our work will be worthwhile.

So, as I was once admonished by my ex D.I. middle school gym teacher; "Stand up and face it. You may get beat, but you'll know you did your best. That's a good feeling."

craazyboy , December 31, 2016 at 11:47 am

Picking the #1 Worst Prez is a fallacy inherent in our desire to put things on a scale of 1 to 10. It's so we can say, in this case, #1 was the WORST, and then forget about #2 thru #10.

It's like picking the #1 Greatest Rock Guitar Player. There are too many great guitar players and too many styles. It's just not possible.

Even so, I'd like to see the Russian citizen ranking of Putin vs. Yeltsin. Secret ballot, of course.

ambrit , December 31, 2016 at 12:48 pm

America will be lucky if it avoids something similar to the earlier Russian people's ranking of Tsar Nicholas versus Karensky and subsequent events.

hreik , December 31, 2016 at 1:16 pm

I like your response. Thanks.

I don't think he's worse than Bush but I agree he was horribly dishonest to run as a progressive. He's far from progressive.

I think the ACA, deeply flawed as it is, was/is a good thing. It wasn't enough and it was badly brought out. I hope many thousands don't get tossed off health insurance.

My major criticism of him and most politicians is that he has no center. There is nothing for which he truly stands and he has a horrible tendency to try to make nice w the republicans. He's not progressive. Bernie, flawed also stands for something always has, always will.

Vatch , December 31, 2016 at 3:46 pm

Obama is highly deceptive, but I think that Bush (43) was worse. I doubt that Obama would have performed many of his worst deeds if Bush hadn't first paved the way. But we'll never know for sure, so it's possible to argue on behalf of either side of the dispute.

ambrit , December 31, 2016 at 5:05 pm

Sorry if I came across as harsh. I enjoy your arguments, so, I tried to encourage you to hang in there.
Happy New Year

hunkerdown , December 31, 2016 at 5:40 pm

In other words, Obama's a Kissingerian realist, or a businessperson (but I repeat myself): only permanent interests.

Happy New Year, and try to don't run off so easy. :)

Yves Smith , December 31, 2016 at 6:58 pm

I have to tell you it is inaccurate in material respects, and many of the people who played important roles in the fight were written out entirely or marginalized.

Christopher Fay , December 31, 2016 at 7:35 pm

This one's a keeper. I have to take notes including writer's name, post title, dates. Good summary.

Ed , December 31, 2016 at 1:16 pm

GW Bush sort of had two administrations. The first two years and the last two years was sort of a generic Republican but sane administration, sort of like his father's, and was OK. The crazy stuff happened in the middle four years, which maybe not coincidentally the Republicans had majorities in both house of Congress.

Obama signed off on the Big Bailout (as did GW Bush, but my impression is that the worst features of the Big Bailout were on Obama's watch(), and that defined his administration. Sometimes you get governments defined by one big thing, and that was it. But I suspect he may have prevented the neocons from starting World War III, but that is the sort of thing we won't know about until decades have passed, if we make it that long.

tongorad , December 31, 2016 at 1:31 pm

Obama promised hope and change and delivered the exact opposite – despair and decline. Obama should be remembered as the Great Normalizer. All of the shitty things that were around when he was inaugurated are now normalized. TINA to the max, in other words.
It should be no shock to anyone that Trump was elected after what Obama did to American politics.

Jess , December 31, 2016 at 3:09 pm

"It should be no shock to anyone that Trump was elected after what Obama did to American politics."

Bingo. Hit that one dead solid perfect, right in the ten-ring.

Jess , December 31, 2016 at 3:12 pm

"It should be no shock to anyone that Trump was elected after what Obama did to American politics."

Bingo. You can say that again. Right in the ten-ring, dead solid perfect.

Montanamaven , December 31, 2016 at 4:14 pm

You got it. Obama was hired to employ "The Shock Doctrine" and he did. He was and is "a Chicago Boy"; the term Naomi Klein used for the neoliberals who slithered out of the basements of U of Chicago to visit austerity on the masses for the enhancement of the feudal lords. It is laughable that he said last week that he could have beaten Trump. As always, He implied that it was the "message" not the policy. And that he could "sell" that message better than Hilary. For him it was always about pitching that Hopey Changey "One America" spleel that suckered so many. The Archdruid calls this "the warm fuzzies". But the Donald went right into the John Edwards land of "The Two Americas". He said he came from the 1%; but was here to work for the 99% who had been screwed over by bad deals. We will see if the Barons will stand in his way or figure out that it might be time to avoid those pitchforks by giving a little to small businesses and workers in general. Like FDR, will they try to save capitalism?

The Donald has the bad trade deals right, but looks like he doesn't know what havoc Reagan wreaked on working people's household incomes and pension plans by breaking any power unions had and by coming up with the 401K scam; plus the Reagan interest rates that devastated farmers and ranchers and the idea of rewarding a CEO who put stock price above research and development and workers' salaries. But again, I believe it was a Democratic congress and a Democratic president Carter who eliminated the Usury law in 1979. From then on with stagnating wages, people began the descent into debt slavery. And Jimmy started the Shock Doctrine by deregulating the airlines and trucking. But he did penance. Can't see Obama doing that.

LT , December 31, 2016 at 6:13 pm

And once usary laws went away, credit cards were handed out to college students, with no co-sign, even if students had no work or credit history and were unemployed.
It took until just a few years ago before they revisted that credit card policy to students.

alex morfesis , December 31, 2016 at 6:22 pm

dont want to burst your bubble(or anyone elses) but obama is not and was not the power to the throne it was michelle and val jar (aka beria) it was a long series of luck that got that krewe anywhere near any real power mostly, it comes from the Univ of Chicago hopey changee thingee was a nice piece of marketing by david axelrod..

the grey lady

5-11-2008

In August 1999, Barack Obama strolled amid the floats and bands making their way down Martin Luther King Drive on Chicago's South Side. Billed as the largest African-American parade in the country, the summer rite was a draw over the years to boxing heroes like Muhammad Ali and jazz greats like Duke Ellington. It was also a must-stop for the city's top politicians.

Back then, Mr. Obama, a state senator who was contemplating a run for Congress, was so little-known in the community's black neighborhoods that it was hard to find more than a few dozen people to walk with him, recalled Al Kindle, one of his advisers at the time. Mr. Obama was trounced a year later in the Congressional race - branded as an aloof outsider more at home in the halls of Harvard than in the rough wards of Chicago politics.

But by 2006, Mr. Obama had remade his political fortunes. He was a freshman United States senator on the cusp of deciding to take on the formidable Hillary Rodham Clinton and embark on a long-shot White House run. When the parade wound its way through the South Side that summer, Mr. Obama was its grand marshal.

but to capture the arrogance of hyde park (read the last line)

A tight-knit community that runs through the South Side, Hyde Park is a liberal bastion of integration in what is otherwise one of the nation's most segregated cities. Mayor Washington had called it home, as did whites who marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and wealthy black entrepreneurs a generation removed from the civil rights battles of the 1960s.

At its heart is the University of Chicago; at its borders are poor, predominately black neighborhoods blighted by rundown buildings and vacant lots. For Mr. Obama, who was born in Hawaii to a white Kansan mother and an African father and who spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, it was a perfect fit.

"He felt completely comfortable in Hyde Park," said Martha Minow, his former law professor and a mentor. "It's a place where you don't have to wear a label on your forehead. You can go to a bookstore and there's the homeless person and there's the professor."

also note how the lib racist grey lady can not bring themselves to name the parade it is the

bud billiken parade

peaceful, fun, successful

heaven forbid the world should see a giant event run by black folk that does not end in violence might confuse the closet racists

RudyM , January 1, 2017 at 12:17 am

There are enough examples of such things for it to be a reasonable expectation.

The parade also hasn't always gone without a hitch:

The 2003 parade featured B2K.[9] The concert was free with virtually unlimited space in the park for viewing. However, the crowd became unruly causing the concert to be curtailed. Over 40 attendees were taken to hospitals as a result of injuries in the violence, including two teenagers who were shot.[38] At the 2014 parade, Two teenagers were shot after an altercation involving a group of youths along the parade route near the 4200 block of King Drive around 12:30 pm.[39][40]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bud_Billiken_Parade_and_Picnic#Violence

dcrane , December 31, 2016 at 10:43 pm

On balance this one should go on the "Good" list for Bush 43:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President's_Emergency_Plan_for_AIDS_Relief

Yes, the abstinence-education dimension probably wasn't worth much, but that took up only a minority share of the funds.

Oregoncharles , December 31, 2016 at 11:14 pm

Yes, they've been getting steadily worse (more right-wing) since Carter, without regard to party. That's at least 30 years now.,

Cry Shop , December 31, 2016 at 8:49 am

Jerri-Lynn, do all these last minute moves by Obama fit the pattern you observed Obie-the-wan perform at Harvard?

Oregoncharles , December 31, 2016 at 11:15 pm

Clinton did it, too. I think it's a general pattern resulting from term limits – but in the case of sole executives, term limits do make sense.

[Dec 30, 2016] The Coup against Trump and His Military – Wall Street Defense

Notable quotes:
"... In the wake of her resounding defeat, Candidate Stein usurped authority from the national Green Party and rapidly raked in $8 million dollars in donations from Democratic Party operatives and George Soros-linked NGO's (many times the amount raised during her Presidential campaign). This dodgy money financed her demand for ballot recounts in selective states in order to challenge Trump's victory. The recounts failed to change the outcome, but it was a 'first shot across the bow', to stop Trump. It became a propaganda focus for the neo-conservative mass media to mobilize several thousand Clintonite and liberal activists. ..."
"... The 'Big Lie' was repeated and embellished at every opportunity by the print and broadcast media. The 'experts' were trotted out voicing vitriolic accusations, but they never presented any facts and documentation of a 'rigged election'. Everyday, every hour, the 'Russian Plot' was breathlessly described in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Financial Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, NPR and their overseas followers in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Oceana and Africa. The great American Empire looked increasingly like a 'banana republic'. ..."
"... The coup intensified as Trump-Putin became synonymous for "betrayal" and "election fraud". As this approached a crescendo of media hysteria, President Barack Obama stepped in and called on the CIA to seize domestic control of the investigation of Russian manipulation of the US election – essentially accusing President-Elect Trump of conspiring with the Russian government. Obama refused to reveal any proof of such a broad plot, citing 'national security'. ..."
"... Obama's last-ditch effort will not change the outcome of the election. Clearly this is designed to poison the diplomatic well and present Trump's incoming administration as dangerous. Trump's promise to improve relations with Russia will face enormous resistance in this frothy, breathless hysteria of Russophobia. ..."
"... Ultimately, President Obama is desperate to secure his legacy, which has consisted of disastrous and criminal imperial wars and military confrontations. He wants to force a continuation of his grotesque policies onto the incoming Trump Administration. ..."
"... Trump's success at thwarting the current 'Russian ploy' requires his forming counter alliances with Washington plutocrats, many of whom will oppose any diplomatic agreement with Putin. Trump's appointment of hardline economic plutocrats who are deeply committed to shredding social programs (public education, Medicare, Social Security) could ignite the anger of his mass supporters by savaging their jobs, health care, pensions and their children's future. ..."
"... If Trump defeats the avalanching media, CIA and elite-instigated coup (which interestingly lack support from the military and judiciary), he will have to thank, not only his generals and billionaire-buddies, but also his downwardly mobile mass supporters (Hillary Clinton's detested 'basket of deplorables'). ..."
"... He embarked on a major series of 'victory tours' around the country to thank his supporters among the military, workers, women and small business people and call on them to defend his election to the presidency. He will have to fulfill some of his promises to the masses or face 'the real fire', not from Clintonite shills and war-mongers, but from the very people who voted for him. ..."
"... It is true there is breaking news today but you certainly won't hear it from the mainstream media. While everyone was enjoying the holidays president Obama signed the NDAA for fiscal year 2017 into law which includes the "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" and in this video Dan Dicks of Press For Truth shows how this new law is tantamount to "The Records Department of the Ministry of Truth" in George Orwell's book 1984. ..."
"... What we have to do is prove that there is an organization that includes George Soros, but is not limited to him personally–you know, a kosher nostra! ..."
"... I would dearly like to know what Moscow and Tel Aviv know about 9-11. I suspect they both know more than almost anyone else. ..."
"... Those dastardly Russkies have informed and enlightened the American public for long enough! This shall not stand! ..."
"... What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia. ..."
"... Obama has been providing weapons, training, air support and propaganda for Terrorists via their affiliates in Syria, and now directly. This is a felony, if not treason. ..."
Dec 28, 2016 | www.unz.com

Introduction

A coup has been underway to prevent President-Elect Donald Trump from taking office and fulfilling his campaign promise to improve US-Russia relations. This 'palace coup' is not a secret conspiracy, but an open, loud attack on the election.

The coup involves important US elites, who openly intervene on many levels from the street to the current President, from sectors of the intelligence community, billionaire financiers out to the more marginal 'leftist' shills of the Democratic Party.

The build-up for the coup is gaining momentum, threatening to eliminate normal constitutional and democratic constraints. This essay describes the brazen, overt coup and the public operatives, mostly members of the outgoing Obama regime.

The second section describes the Trump's cabinet appointments and the political measures that the President-Elect has adopted to counter the coup. We conclude with an evaluation of the potential political consequences of the attempted coup and Trump's moves to defend his electoral victory and legitimacy.

The Coup as 'Process'

In the past few years Latin America has experienced several examples of the seizure of Presidential power by unconstitutional means, which may help illustrate some of the current moves underway in Washington. These are especially interesting since the Obama Administration served as the 'midwife' for these 'regime changes'.

Brazil, Paraguay, Honduras and Haiti experienced coups, in which the elected Presidents were ousted through a series of political interventions orchestrated by economic elites and their political allies in Congress and the Judiciary.

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton were deeply involved in these operations as part of their established foreign policy of 'regime change'. Indeed, the 'success' of the Latin American coups has encouraged sectors of the US elite to attempt to prevent President-elect Trump from taking office in January.

While similarities abound, the on-going coup against Trump in the United States occurs within a very different power configuration of proponents and antagonists.

Firstly, this coup is not against a standing President, but targets an elected president set to take office on January 20, 2017. Secondly, the attempted coup has polarized leading sectors of the political and economic elite. It even exposes a seamy rivalry within the intelligence-security apparatus, with the political appointees heading the CIA involved in the coup and the FBI supporting the incoming President Trump and the constitutional process. Thirdly, the evolving coup is a sequential process, which will build momentum and then escalate very rapidly.

Coup-makers depend on the 'Big Lie' as their point of departure – accusing President-Elect Trump of

  1. being a Kremlin stooge, attributing his electoral victory to Russian intervention against his Democratic Party opponent, Hillary Clinton and
  2. blatant voter fraud in which the Republican Party prevented minority voters from casting their ballot for Secretary Clinton.

The first operatives to emerge in the early stages of the coup included the marginal-left Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein, who won less than 1% of the vote, as well as the mass media.

In the wake of her resounding defeat, Candidate Stein usurped authority from the national Green Party and rapidly raked in $8 million dollars in donations from Democratic Party operatives and George Soros-linked NGO's (many times the amount raised during her Presidential campaign). This dodgy money financed her demand for ballot recounts in selective states in order to challenge Trump's victory. The recounts failed to change the outcome, but it was a 'first shot across the bow', to stop Trump. It became a propaganda focus for the neo-conservative mass media to mobilize several thousand Clintonite and liberal activists.

The purpose was to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's electoral victory. However, Jill Stein's $8 million dollar shilling for Secretary Clinton paled before the oncoming avalanche of mass media and NGO propaganda against Trump. Their main claim was that anonymous 'Russian hackers' and not the American voters had decided the US Presidential election of November 2016!

The 'Big Lie' was repeated and embellished at every opportunity by the print and broadcast media. The 'experts' were trotted out voicing vitriolic accusations, but they never presented any facts and documentation of a 'rigged election'. Everyday, every hour, the 'Russian Plot' was breathlessly described in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Financial Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, NPR and their overseas followers in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Oceana and Africa. The great American Empire looked increasingly like a 'banana republic'.

Like the Billionaire Soros-funded 'Color Revolutions', from Ukraine, to Georgia and Yugoslavia, the 'Rainbow Revolt' against Trump, featured grass-roots NGO activists and 'serious leftists', like Jill Stein.

The more polished political operatives from the upscale media used their editorial pages to question Trump's illegitimacy. This established the ground work for even higher level political intervention: The current US Administration, including President Obama, members of the US Congress from both parties, and current and former heads of the CIA jumped into the fray. As the vote recount ploy flopped, they all decided that 'Vladimir Putin swung the US election!' It wasn't just lunatic neo-conservative warmongers who sought to oust Trump and impose Hillary Clinton on the American people, liberals and social democrats were screaming 'Russian Plot!' They demanded a formal Congressional investigation of the 'Russian cyber hacking' of Hillary's personal e-mails (where she plotted to cheat her rival 'Bernie Sanders' in the primaries). They demanded even tighter economic sanctions against Russia and increased military provocations. The outgoing Democratic Senator and Minority Leader 'Harry' Reid wildly accused the FBI of acting as 'Russian agents' and hinted at a purge.

ORDER IT NOW

The coup intensified as Trump-Putin became synonymous for "betrayal" and "election fraud". As this approached a crescendo of media hysteria, President Barack Obama stepped in and called on the CIA to seize domestic control of the investigation of Russian manipulation of the US election – essentially accusing President-Elect Trump of conspiring with the Russian government. Obama refused to reveal any proof of such a broad plot, citing 'national security'.

President Obama solemnly declared the Trump-Putin conspiracy was a grave threat to American democracy and Western security and freedom. He darkly promised to retaliate against Russia, " at a time and place of our choosing".

Obama also pledged to send more US troops to the Middle East and increase arms shipments to the jihadi terrorists in Syria, as well as the Gulf State and Saudi 'allies'. Coincidentally, the Syrian Government and their Russian allies were poised to drive the US-backed terrorists out of Aleppo – and defeat Obama's campaign of 'regime change' in Syria.

Trump Strikes Back: The Wall Street-Military Alliance

Meanwhile, President-Elect Donald Trump did not crumple under the Clintonite-coup in progress. He prepared a diverse counter-attack to defend his election, relying on elite allies and mass supporters.

Trump denounced the political elements in the CIA, pointing out their previous role in manufacturing the justifications (he used the term 'lies') for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He appointed three retired generals to key Defense and Security positions – indicating a power struggle between the highly politicized CIA and the military. Active and retired members of the US Armed Forces have been key Trump supporters. He announced that he would bring his own security teams and integrate them with the Presidential Secret Service during his administration.

Although Clinton-Obama had the major mass media and a sector of the financial elite who supported the coup, Trump countered by appointing several key Wall Street and corporate billionaires into his cabinet who had their own allied business associations.

One propaganda line for the coup, which relied on certain Zionist organizations and leaders (ADL, George Soros et al), was the bizarre claim that Trump and his supporters were 'anti-Semites'. This was were countered by Trump's appointment of powerful Wall Street Zionists like Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary and Gary Cohn (both of Goldman Sachs) to head the National Economic Council. Faced with the Obama-CIA plot to paint Trump as a Russian agent for Vladimir Putin, the President-Elect named security hardliners including past and present military leaders and FBI officials, to key security and intelligence positions.

The Coup: Can it succeed?

In early December, President Obama issued an order for the CIA to 'complete its investigation' on the Russian plot and manipulation of the US Presidential election in six weeks – right up to the very day of Trump's inauguration on January 20, 2017! A concoction of pre-cooked 'findings' is already oozing out of secret clandestine CIA archives with the President's approval. Obama's last-ditch effort will not change the outcome of the election. Clearly this is designed to poison the diplomatic well and present Trump's incoming administration as dangerous. Trump's promise to improve relations with Russia will face enormous resistance in this frothy, breathless hysteria of Russophobia.

Ultimately, President Obama is desperate to secure his legacy, which has consisted of disastrous and criminal imperial wars and military confrontations. He wants to force a continuation of his grotesque policies onto the incoming Trump Administration. Will Trump succumb? The legitimacy of his election and his freedom to make policy will depend on overcoming the Clinton-Obama-neo-con-leftist coup with his own bloc of US military and the powerful Wall Street allies, as well as his mass support among the 'angry' American electorate. Trump's success at thwarting the current 'Russian ploy' requires his forming counter alliances with Washington plutocrats, many of whom will oppose any diplomatic agreement with Putin. Trump's appointment of hardline economic plutocrats who are deeply committed to shredding social programs (public education, Medicare, Social Security) could ignite the anger of his mass supporters by savaging their jobs, health care, pensions and their children's future.

If Trump defeats the avalanching media, CIA and elite-instigated coup (which interestingly lack support from the military and judiciary), he will have to thank, not only his generals and billionaire-buddies, but also his downwardly mobile mass supporters (Hillary Clinton's detested 'basket of deplorables').

He embarked on a major series of 'victory tours' around the country to thank his supporters among the military, workers, women and small business people and call on them to defend his election to the presidency. He will have to fulfill some of his promises to the masses or face 'the real fire', not from Clintonite shills and war-mongers, but from the very people who voted for him.

(Reprinted from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)

Kirt December 28, 2016 at 3:19 pm GMT

A very insightful analysis. The golpistas will not be able to prevent Trump from taking power. But will they make the country ungovernable to the extent of bringing down not just Trump but the whole system?

John Gruskos , December 28, 2016 at 4:16 pm GMT

If the coup forces President Trump to abandon his America First campaign promises by appointing globalists eager to invade-the-world/invite-the-world, then the coup is a success and the Trump campaign was a failure.

Robert Magill , December 28, 2016 at 5:30 pm GMT

Ultimately, President Obama is desperate to secure his legacy, which has consisted of disastrous and criminal imperial wars and military confrontations

The current wave of icon polishing we constantly are being asked to indulge seems a bit over the top. Why is our president more devoted to legacy than Jackie Kennedy was to the care and maintenance of the Camelot image?

Have we ever seen as fine a behind-the-curtain, Wizard of Oz act, as performed by Barrack Obama for the past eight years? Do we know anything at all about this man aside from the fact that he loves his wife and kids?

Replies: @Skeptikal I expect Obama loves his kids.

Great analysis from Petras.
So many people have reacted with "first=level" thinking only as Trump's appointments have been announced: "This guy is terrible!" Yes, but . . . look at the appointment in the "swamp" context, in the "veiled threat" context. Harpers mag actually put a picture on its cover of Trump behind bars. That is one of those veiled invitations like Henry II's "Will no one rid me of this man?"

I think Trump understands quite well what he is up against.

I agree completely with Petras that the compromises he must make to take office on Jan. 20 may in the end compromise his agenda (whatever it actually is). I would expect Trump to play things by ear and tack as necessary, as he senses changes in the wind. According to the precepts of triage, his no. 1 challenge/task now is to be sworn in on Jan. 20. All else is secondary.

Once he is in the White House he will have incomparably greater powers to flush out those who are trying to sideline his presidency now. The latter must know this. He will be in charge of the whole Executive Branch bureaucracy (which includes the Justice Department). , @animalogic Oh, yes, Robert ! To read the words "Obama" & "legacy" in the same sentence is to LOL.

What a god-awful president.

An 8 year adventure in failure, stupidity & ruthlessness.

The Trump-coup business: what a (near treasonous) disgrace. The "Russians done it" meme: "let's show the world just how stupid, embarrassing & plain MEAN we can be". A trillion words -- & not one shred of supporting evidence.... ?! And I thought that the old "Obama was not born in the US" trope was shameless stupidity !

If there is any bright side here, I hope it has convinced EVERY American conservative that the neo-con's & their identical economic twin the neoliberals are treasonous dreck who would flush the US down the drain if they thought it to their political advantage.

Brás Cubas , December 28, 2016 at 6:17 pm GMT

Excellent analysis! Mr. Petras, you delved right into the crux of the matter of the balance of forces in the U.S.A. at this very unusual political moment. I have only a very minor correction to make, and it is only a language-related one: you don't really want to say that Trump's "illegitimacy" is being questioned, but rather his legitimacy, right?

Another thing, but this time of a perhaps idiosyncratic nature: I am a teeny-weeny bit more optimistic than you about the events to come in your country. (Too bad I cannot say this about my own poor country Brazil, which is going faster and faster down the drain.)

Happy new year!

schmenz , December 28, 2016 at 9:05 pm GMT
@John Gruskos If the coup forces President Trump to abandon his America First campaign promises by appointing globalists eager to invade-the-world/invite-the-world, then the coup is a success and the Trump campaign was a failure.

Exactly...

Svigor , December 28, 2016 at 9:28 pm GMT

The recounts failed to change the outcome, but it was a 'first shot across the bow', to stop Trump. It became a propaganda focus for the neo-conservative mass media to mobilize several thousand Clintonite and liberal activists.

On the contrary, this first salvo from the anti-American forces resulted in more friendly fire hits on the attackers than it did on its intended targets. Result: a strengthening of Trump's position. It also serve to sap morale and energy from the anti-American forces, helping dissipate their momentum.

The purpose was to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's electoral victory.

And it backfired, literally strengthening it (Trump gained votes), while undermining the anti-American forces' legitimacy.

The purpose was to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's electoral victory. However, Jill Stein's $8 million dollar shilling for Secretary Clinton paled before the oncoming avalanche of mass media and NGO propaganda against Trump. Their main claim was that anonymous 'Russian hackers' and not the American voters had decided the US Presidential election of November 2016!

This was simply a continuation of Big Media's Full Capacity Hate Machine (thanks to Whis for the term; this is the only time I will acknowledge the debt) from the campaign. It has been running since before Trump clinched the nomination. It will be no more effective now, than it was then. Americans are fed up with Big Media propaganda in sufficient numbers to openly thwart its authors' will.

The big lie, as you refer to it, hasn't even produced the alleged "report" in question. The CIA supposedly in lockstep against Trump (I don't buy that), and they can't find one hack willing to leak this "devastating" "report"? It must suck. Probably a nothing burger.

This is all much ado about nothing. Big Media HATES Trump. They want to make sure Trump and the American people don't forget that they HATE Trump. It's a broken strategy, doomed to failure (it will only cause Trump to dig in and go about his agenda without their help; it certainly will not break him, or endear him to their demands). Trump's voters all voted for him in spite of it, so it won't win them over, either. Personally, I think Trump's low water mark of support is well behind him. Obviously subject to future events.

Trump denounced the political elements in the CIA, pointing out their previous role in manufacturing the justifications (he used the term 'lies') for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

CIA mouthpieces have been pointing and sputtering in response that it was not they who cooked the books, but parallel neoconservative chickenhawk groups in the Bush administration. The trouble with this is that the CIA did precious little to counter the chickenhawks' narrative, instead choosing to assent by way of silence.

Personally, I sort of doubt this imagined comity between Hussein and the CIA. Ever seen Zero Dark Thirty ? How much harder did Hussein make the CIA's job? I doubt it was Kathryn Bigelow who chose to go out of her way to make that movie hostile to Hussein; it's far more likely that this is simply where the material led her. I similarly doubt that the intelligence community difficulties owed to Hussein were in any way limited to the hunt for UBL.

Replies: @Seamus Padraig

The trouble with this is that the CIA did precious little to counter the chickenhawks' narrative, instead choosing to assent by way of silence.
That's not entirely accurate. CIA people like Michael Scheuer and Valery Plame were trying to undermine the neocon narrative about Iraq and WMD, not bolster it. At that time, the neocons controlled the ranking civilian positions at the Pentagon, but did not yet fully control the CIA. This changed after Bush's re-election, when Porter Goss was made DCI to purge all the remaining 'realists' and 'arabists' from the agency. Now the situation in the opposite: the CIA is totally neocon, while the Pentagon is a bit less so.

So even if what Trump is saying is technically inaccurate, it's still true at a deeper level: it was the neocons who lied to us about WMD, just as it is now the neocons who are lying to us about Russia.

Lieutenant Morrisseau , December 28, 2016 at 11:27 pm GMT

MAN PAD LETTER – DM 24 DEC 2016

I think Obama's right-in-the-open [a week or so ago] authorization for the sale and shipping [?] of "man pads" to various Syrian rebel and terrorist forces is insane, and may be contrary to law.

Yes, I have no trouble calling it TREASON. It is certainly felony support for terrorists.

Man pads are shoulder held missile launchers that can destroy high and fast aircraft .such as commercial passenger airlines [to be blamed on Russia?] and also any nations' fighter/bombers .such as Russia's Air Force planes operating in Syria still–that were invited to do so by the elected government of Syria which is still under attack by US proxy [terrorist] forces. Syria is a member in good standing of the UN.

Given this I think we are all in very great danger today–now– AND I think we have to press hard to reverse the insane Obama move vis a vis these man pads.

This truly is an emergency.

TULSI GABBARD'S BILL MAY BE TOO LITTLE TOO LATE. It may even be just window dressing or PR. [That could be the reason Peter Welch has agreed to co-sponsor it.... The man never does anything that is real and substantive and decent or courageous.]

IN ANY EVENT both Gabbard and Welch via this bill have now acknowledged
that Obama and the US are supporting terrorists in Syria [and elsewhere]–a felony under existing laws. –Quite possibly an impeachable offense.

"Misprision" of treason or misprision of a felony IS ITSELF A FELONY.

If Gabbard and Welch KNOW that the man-pad authorization and other US support
for terrorists in Syria and elsewhere is presently occurring, I THINK THEY NEED TO FORCE PROSECUTION UNDER EXISTING LAWS NOW, rather than just sponsoring a sure-to-fail NEW LAW that will prevent such things in the far fuzzy future–or NOT.

Respectfully,

Dennis Morrisseau
US Army Officer [Vietnam era] ANTI-WAR
–FOR TRUMP–
Lieutenant Morrisseau's Rebellion
FIRECONGRESS.org
Second Vermont Republic
POB 177, W. Pawlet, VT USA 05775
dmorso1@netzero.net
802 645 9727

• Replies: @Bruce Marshall The Man Pad Letter is brilliant!

It needs to be published as a feature story.

Yes finally someone has the guts to say it: Obama is a traitor and terrorist.

Said by a true antiwar hero, Lt. Morrisseau who said no to Vietnam, while in uniform, as an officer in the U.S. Army. The New York Times and CBS Evening News picked it up back in the day. It was big, and this is bigger, same war though, just a different name: Its called World War III, smouldering as we speak.

Again I do urge Unz to contact Denny and get this letter up as a feature. Note that it has been sent to Rep. Gabbard and Rep. Welch. so it is a vital, historic action, may it be recognized.

BTW Rep. Tulsi Gabbards Bill is the Stop Arming Terrorist Act.

Bruce Marshall , December 29, 2016 at 6:05 am GMT • 100 Words @Lieutenant Morrisseau MAN PAD LETTER - DM 24 DEC 2016


I think Obama's right-in-the-open [a week or so ago] authorization for the sale and shipping [?] of "man pads" to various Syrian rebel and terrorist forces is insane, and may be contrary to law.

Yes, I have no trouble calling it TREASON. It is certainly felony support for terrorists.

Man pads are shoulder held missile launchers that can destroy high and fast aircraft ....such as commercial passenger airlines [to be blamed on Russia?] and also any nations' fighter/bombers....such as Russia's Air Force planes operating in Syria still--that were invited to do so by the elected government of Syria which is still under attack by US proxy [terrorist] forces. Syria is a member in good standing of the UN.

Given this......I think we are all in very great danger today--now-- AND I think we have to press hard to reverse the insane Obama move vis a vis these man pads.

This truly is an emergency.

TULSI GABBARD'S BILL MAY BE TOO LITTLE TOO LATE. It may even be just window dressing or PR. [That could be the reason Peter Welch has agreed to co-sponsor it.... The man never does anything that is real and substantive and decent or courageous.]

IN ANY EVENT both Gabbard and Welch via this bill have now acknowledged
that Obama and the US are supporting terrorists in Syria [and elsewhere]--a felony under existing laws. --Quite possibly an impeachable offense.

"Misprision" of treason or misprision of a felony IS ITSELF A FELONY.

If Gabbard and Welch KNOW that the man-pad authorization and other US support
for terrorists in Syria and elsewhere is presently occurring, I THINK THEY NEED TO FORCE PROSECUTION UNDER EXISTING LAWS NOW, rather than just sponsoring a sure-to-fail NEW LAW that will prevent such things in the far fuzzy future--or NOT.

Respectfully,

Dennis Morrisseau
US Army Officer [Vietnam era] ANTI-WAR
--FOR TRUMP--
Lieutenant Morrisseau's Rebellion
FIRECONGRESS.org
Second Vermont Republic
POB 177, W. Pawlet, VT USA 05775
dmorso1@netzero.net
802 645 9727

The Man Pad Letter is brilliant!

It needs to be published as a feature story.

Yes finally someone has the guts to say it: Obama is a traitor and terrorist.

Said by a true antiwar hero, Lt. Morrisseau who said no to Vietnam, while in uniform, as an officer in the U.S. Army. The New York Times and CBS Evening News picked it up back in the day. It was big, and this is bigger, same war though, just a different name: Its called World War III, smouldering as we speak.

Again I do urge Unz to contact Denny and get this letter up as a feature. Note that it has been sent to Rep. Gabbard and Rep. Welch. so it is a vital, historic action, may it be recognized.

BTW Rep. Tulsi Gabbards Bill is the Stop Arming Terrorist Act.

• Replies: @El Dato Hmmm.... If I were GRU I would offer Uber services to the recipients of the manpads all the way up to West European airports (not that this is needed, just take a truck, any truck).

What will the EU say if smouldering wreckage happens?

Especially as Obama won't be there to set the overall tone.

Oh my. Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

Mark Green says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 29, 2016 at 6:39 am GMT • 600 Words

This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump–not Obama–that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump–out of fear and necessity–run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?–Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?–Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

• Replies:

@Authenticjazzman

Okay so you voted twice for BO, and now for HC, so what else is new.

Authenticjazzman, "Mensa" society member of forty-plus years and pro jazz artist. ,

@Seamus Padraig

In general, I agree with a good portion of your analysis. A few minor quibbles and qualifications, though:

Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel.
Not really. Since he's a lame-duck president and the election is over, he's not really risking anything here. After all, opposition to settlements in the occupied territories has been official US policy for nearly 50 years, and when has that ever stopped Israel from founding/expanding them? No, this is just more empty symbolism.
And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.
It's been dead foreever. The One State solution will replace it, and that will really freak out all the Zios.
They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.
Oderint dum metuant ("Let them hate, so long as they fear.") - Caligula ,

@Rurik

Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.
I'm hoping that Trump is running with the neocons just as far as is necessary to pressure congress to confirm his cabinet appointments and make sure he isn't JFK'd before he gets into office and can set about putting security in place to protect his own and his family's lives.

For John McBloodstain to vote for a SoS that will make nice with his nemesis; Putin, will require massive amounts of Zio-pressure. The only way that pressure will come is if the Zio-cons are convinced that Trump is their man.

Once his cabinet appointments are secured, then perhaps we might see some independence of action. Not until. At least that is my hope, however naïve.

It isn't just the Zio-cons that want to poke the Russian bear, it's also the MIC. Trump has to navigate a very dangerous mine field if he's going to end the Endless Wars and return sanity and peace to the world. He's going to have to wrangle with the devil himself (the Fiend), and outplay him at his own game. , @map I wish people would stop making a big deal out of John Kerry's and Barack Obama's recent stance on Israel. Neither of them are concerned about whatever injustice happened to the Palestinians.

What they are concerned with is Israeli actions discrediting the anti-white, anti-national globalism program before it has successfully destroyed all of the white nations. That is the real reason why they want a two-state solution or a right of return. If nationalists can look at the Israeli example as a model for how to proceed then that will cause a civil war among leftists and discredit the entire left-wing project.

Trump, therefore, pushing support for Israel's national concerns is not him bending to AIPAC. It is a shrewd move that forces an internecine conflict between left-wing diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews. It is a conflict Bibi is willing to have because the pet project of leftism would necessarily result in Israel either being unlivable or largely extinct for its Jewish population. This NWO being pushed by the diaspora is not something that will be enjoyed by Israeli Jews.

Consider the problem. The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis. The diaspora left is ok with that because they want to continue importing revanchist groups into Europe and America to break down white countries. So, Israel makes a small sacrifice for the greater good of anti-whitism, a deal that most Israelis do not consider very good for themselves. Trump's support for Israeli nationalism short-circuits this project.

Of course, one could ask: why don't the Israeli Jews just move to America? What's the big deal if Israel remains in the middle east? The big deal is the kind of jobs and activities available for Israelis to do. A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash. Everyone can't be a doctor, a lawyer or a banker. Tradesmen, technicians, workers are all required to get a project like Israel off the ground and maintained.

How many of these Israelis doing scut work in Israel for a greater good want to do the same scut work in America just to get by? The problem operates in reverse for American Jews. A Jew with an American law degree is of no use to Israelis outside of the money he brings and whether he can throw out the trash. Diaspora Jews, therefore, have no reason to try and live and work in Israel.

So, again, we see that Trump's move is a masterstroke. Even his appointment to counter the coup with Zionists is brilliant, since these Zionists are rich enough to both live anywhere and indulge their pride in nationalist endeavors. ,

@RobinG "

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right . "

THEN WHY DOESN'T HE DO WHAT'S RIGHT? As Seamus Padraig pointed out, the UN abstention is "just more empty symbolism."
Meanwhile...
The Christmas Eve attack on the First Amendment
The approval of arming terrorists in Syria
The fake news about Russian hacking throwing Killary's election

Aid to terrorists is a felony. Obama should be indicted.

@Tomster

Most of the Western world is much sicker of the head-choppers in charge of our 'human rights' at the UN (thanks to Obama and the UK) than it is of Israel. It is they, not we, who have funded ISIS directly.

Pirouette , December 29, 2016 at 7:08 am GMT

The real issue at stake is that Presidential control of the system is non existent, and although Trump understands this and has intimated he is going to deal with it, it is clear his hands will now be tied by all the traitors that run the US.

You need a Nuremburg type show trial to deal with all the (((usual suspects))) that have usurped the constitution. (((They))) arrived with the Pilgrim Fathers and established the slave trade buying slaves from their age old Muslim accomplices, and selling them by auction to the goyim.

(((They))) established absolute influence by having the Fed issue your currency in 1913 and forcing the US in to three wars: WWI, WWII and Vietnam from which (((they))) made enormous profits.

You have to decide whether you want these (((professional parasitical traitors))) in your country or not. It is probably too late to just ask them to leave, thus you are faced with the ultimate reality: are you willing to fight a civil war to free your nation from (((their))) oppression of you?

This is the elephant in the room that none of you will address. All the rest of this subject matter is just window dressing. Do you wish to remain economic slaves to (((these people))) or do you want to be free [like the Syrians] and live without (((these traitor's))) usurious, inflationary and dishonest policies based upon hate of Christ and Christianity?

Max Havelaar , December 29, 2016 at 10:45 am GMT

My guess: the outgoing Obama administration is in a last ditch killing frenzy, to revenge Aleppo loss!

The Berlin bus blowup, The Russian ambassador in Turkey killed and the Red army's most eminent Alexandrov's choir send to the bottom of the black sea.

Typical CIA ops to threaten world leaders to comply with the incumbent US elite.

Watch Mike Morell (CIA) threaten world leaders:

• Replies: @annamaria The prominence of the "perfumed prince" Morell is the most telling indictment of the so-called "elites" in the US. The arrogant, irresponsible (and untouchable) imbeciles among the real "deciders" in the US have brought the country down to a sub-civilization status when the US does not do diplomacy, does not follow international law, and does not keep with even marginal aspects of democracy home and abroad. The proliferation of the incompetent and opportunists in the highest echelons of the US government is the consequence of the lack of responsibility on the top. Morell - who has never been in combat and never demonstrated any intellectual vigor - is a prime example of a sycophantic and poorly educated opportunist that is endangering the US big time.
Karl , December 29, 2016 at 11:20 am GMT

the "shot across the bow" was the "Not My President!" demonstrations, which were long before Dr Stein's recount circuses.

They spent a lot of money on buses and box lunches – it wouldn't fly.

Nothing else they try will fly.

Correct me if I am wrong . plain ole citizens can start RICO suits against the likes of Soros.

@Seamus Padraig
Correct me if I am wrong . plain ole citizens can start RICO suits against the likes of Soros.
It seems you may be on to something:
RICO also permits a private individual "damaged in his business or property" by a "racketeer" to file a civil suit. The plaintiff must prove the existence of an "enterprise". The defendant(s) are not the enterprise; in other words, the defendant(s) and the enterprise are not one and the same.[3] There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise: either the defendant(s) invested the proceeds of the pattern of racketeering activity into the enterprise (18 U.S.C. § 1962(a)); or the defendant(s) acquired or maintained an interest in, or control of, the enterprise through the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (b)); or the defendant(s) conducted or participated in the affairs of the enterprise "through" the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (c)); or the defendant(s) conspired to do one of the above (subsection (d)).[4] In essence, the enterprise is either the 'prize,' 'instrument,' 'victim,' or 'perpetrator' of the racketeers.[5] A civil RICO action can be filed in state or federal court.[6]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act#Summary

What we have to do is prove that there is an organization that includes George Soros, but is not limited to him personally--you know, a kosher nostra!

mp , December 29, 2016 at 11:23 am GMT

In the past few years Latin America has experienced several examples of the seizure of Presidential power by unconstitutional means Brazil, Paraguay, Honduras and Haiti experienced coups

The US is not at the stage of these countries yet. To compare them to us, politically, is moronic. In another several generations it likely will be different. But by then there won't be any "need" for a coup.

If things keep up, the US "electorate" will be majority Third World. Then, these people will just vote as a bloc for whomever promises them the most gibs me dat. That candidate will of course be from the oligarchical elite. Trump is likely the last white man (or white man with even marginally white interests at heart) to be President. Unless things drastically change, demographically.

El Dato , December 29, 2016 at 11:39 am GMT
@Bruce Marshall The Man Pad Letter is brilliant!

It needs to be published as a feature story.

Yes finally someone has the guts to say it: Obama is a traitor and terrorist.

Said by a true antiwar hero, Lt. Morrisseau who said no to Vietnam, while in uniform, as an officer in the U.S. Army. The New York Times and CBS Evening News picked it up back in the day. It was big, and this is bigger, same war though, just a different name: Its called World War III, smouldering as we speak.

Again I do urge Unz to contact Denny and get this letter up as a feature. Note that it has been sent to Rep. Gabbard and Rep. Welch. so it is a vital, historic action, may it be recognized.

BTW Rep. Tulsi Gabbards Bill is the Stop Arming Terrorist Act.

Hmmm . If I were GRU I would offer Uber services to the recipients of the manpads all the way up to West European airports (not that this is needed, just take a truck, any truck).

What will the EU say if smouldering wreckage happens?

Especially as Obama won't be there to set the overall tone.

Oh my.

Authenticjazzman , December 29, 2016 at 1:00 pm GMT
@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

Okay so you voted twice for BO, and now for HC, so what else is new.

Authenticjazzman, "Mensa" society member of forty-plus years and pro jazz artist.

Agent76 , December 29, 2016 at 1:59 pm GMT

D.C. has passed their propaganda bill so I am not shocked.

Dec 27, 2016 "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" Signed Into Law! (NDAA 2017)

It is true there is breaking news today but you certainly won't hear it from the mainstream media. While everyone was enjoying the holidays president Obama signed the NDAA for fiscal year 2017 into law which includes the "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" and in this video Dan Dicks of Press For Truth shows how this new law is tantamount to "The Records Department of the Ministry of Truth" in George Orwell's book 1984.

Skeptikal , December 29, 2016 at 3:00 pm GMT
@Robert Magill
Ultimately, President Obama is desperate to secure his legacy, which has consisted of disastrous and criminal imperial wars and military confrontations
The current wave of icon polishing we constantly are being asked to indulge seems a bit over the top. Why is our president more devoted to legacy than Jackie Kennedy was to the care and maintenance of the Camelot image?

Have we ever seen as fine a behind-the-curtain, Wizard of Oz act, as performed by Barrack Obama for the past eight years? Do we know anything at all about this man aside from the fact that he loves his wife and kids? https://robertmagill.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/barry-we-hardly-knew-ye/

I expect Obama loves his kids.

Great analysis from Petras.

So many people have reacted with "first level" thinking only as Trump's appointments have been announced: "This guy is terrible!" Yes, but . . . look at the appointment in the "swamp" context, in the "veiled threat" context. Harpers mag actually put a picture on its cover of Trump behind bars. That is one of those veiled invitations like Henry II's "Will no one rid me of this man?"

I think Trump understands quite well what he is up against.

I agree completely with Petras that the compromises he must make to take office on Jan. 20 may in the end compromise his agenda (whatever it actually is). I would expect Trump to play things by ear and tack as necessary, as he senses changes in the wind. According to the precepts of triage, his no. 1 challenge/task now is to be sworn in on Jan. 20. All else is secondary.

Once he is in the White House he will have incomparably greater powers to flush out those who are trying to sideline his presidency now. The latter must know this. He will be in charge of the whole Executive Branch bureaucracy (which includes the Justice Department).

animalogic , December 29, 2016 at 3:01 pm GMT • 100 Words

@Robert Magill

Ultimately, President Obama is desperate to secure his legacy, which has consisted of disastrous and criminal imperial wars and military confrontations
The current wave of icon polishing we constantly are being asked to indulge seems a bit over the top. Why is our president more devoted to legacy than Jackie Kennedy was to the care and maintenance of the Camelot image?

Have we ever seen as fine a behind-the-curtain, Wizard of Oz act, as performed by Barrack Obama for the past eight years? Do we know anything at all about this man aside from the fact that he loves his wife and kids? https://robertmagill.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/barry-we-hardly-knew-ye/

Oh, yes, Robert ! To read the words "Obama" & "legacy" in the same sentence is to LOL.
What a god-awful president.
An 8 year adventure in failure, stupidity & ruthlessness.
The Trump-coup business: what a (near treasonous) disgrace. The "Russians done it" meme: "let's show the world just how stupid, embarrassing & plain MEAN we can be". A trillion words - & not one shred of supporting evidence . ?! And I thought that the old "Obama was not born in the US" trope was shameless stupidity !
If there is any bright side here, I hope it has convinced EVERY American conservative that the neo-con's & their identical economic twin the neoliberals are treasonous dreck who would flush the US down the drain if they thought it to their political advantage.

Seamus Padraig says: • Website

@Svigor

The recounts failed to change the outcome, but it was a 'first shot across the bow', to stop Trump. It became a propaganda focus for the neo-conservative mass media to mobilize several thousand Clintonite and liberal activists.
On the contrary, this first salvo from the anti-American forces resulted in more friendly fire hits on the attackers than it did on its intended targets. Result: a strengthening of Trump's position. It also serve to sap morale and energy from the anti-American forces, helping dissipate their momentum.
The purpose was to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's electoral victory.
And it backfired, literally strengthening it (Trump gained votes), while undermining the anti-American forces' legitimacy.
The purpose was to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's electoral victory. However, Jill Stein's $8 million dollar shilling for Secretary Clinton paled before the oncoming avalanche of mass media and NGO propaganda against Trump. Their main claim was that anonymous 'Russian hackers' and not the American voters had decided the US Presidential election of November 2016!
This was simply a continuation of Big Media's Full Capacity Hate Machine (thanks to Whis for the term; this is the only time I will acknowledge the debt) from the campaign. It has been running since before Trump clinched the nomination. It will be no more effective now, than it was then. Americans are fed up with Big Media propaganda in sufficient numbers to openly thwart its authors' will.

The big lie, as you refer to it, hasn't even produced the alleged "report" in question. The CIA supposedly in lockstep against Trump (I don't buy that), and they can't find one hack willing to leak this "devastating" "report"? It must suck. Probably a nothing burger.

This is all much ado about nothing. Big Media HATES Trump. They want to make sure Trump and the American people don't forget that they HATE Trump. It's a broken strategy, doomed to failure (it will only cause Trump to dig in and go about his agenda without their help; it certainly will not break him, or endear him to their demands). Trump's voters all voted for him in spite of it, so it won't win them over, either. Personally, I think Trump's low water mark of support is well behind him. Obviously subject to future events.

Trump denounced the political elements in the CIA, pointing out their previous role in manufacturing the justifications (he used the term 'lies') for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
CIA mouthpieces have been pointing and sputtering in response that it was not they who cooked the books, but parallel neoconservative chickenhawk groups in the Bush administration. The trouble with this is that the CIA did precious little to counter the chickenhawks' narrative, instead choosing to assent by way of silence.

Personally, I sort of doubt this imagined comity between Hussein and the CIA. Ever seen Zero Dark Thirty ? How much harder did Hussein make the CIA's job? I doubt it was Kathryn Bigelow who chose to go out of her way to make that movie hostile to Hussein; it's far more likely that this is simply where the material led her. I similarly doubt that the intelligence community difficulties owed to Hussein were in any way limited to the hunt for UBL.

The trouble with this is that the CIA did precious little to counter the chickenhawks' narrative, instead choosing to assent by way of silence.

That's not entirely accurate. CIA people like Michael Scheuer and Valery Plame were trying to undermine the neocon narrative about Iraq and WMD, not bolster it. At that time, the neocons controlled the ranking civilian positions at the Pentagon, but did not yet fully control the CIA. This changed after Bush's re-election, when Porter Goss was made DCI to purge all the remaining 'realists' and 'arabists' from the agency. Now the situation in the opposite: the CIA is totally neocon, while the Pentagon is a bit less so.

So even if what Trump is saying is technically inaccurate, it's still true at a deeper level: it was the neocons who lied to us about WMD, just as it is now the neocons who are lying to us about Russia.

Seamus Padraig says: • Website December 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm GMT • 1

@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

In general, I agree with a good portion of your analysis. A few minor quibbles and qualifications, though:

Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel.

Not really. Since he's a lame-duck president and the election is over, he's not really risking anything here. After all, opposition to settlements in the occupied territories has been official US policy for nearly 50 years, and when has that ever stopped Israel from founding/expanding them? No, this is just more empty symbolism.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

It's been dead for ever. The One State solution will replace it, and that will really freak out all the Zios.

They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Oderint dum metuant ("Let them hate, so long as they fear.") – Caligula

Seamus Padraig says: • Website December 29, 2016 at 3:28 pm GMT

@Karl the "shot across the bow" was the "Not My President!" demonstrations, which were long before Dr Stein's recount circuses.

They spent a lot of money on buses and box lunches - it wouldn't fly.

Nothing else they try will fly.

Correct me if I am wrong.... plain ole citizens can start RICO suits against the likes of Soros.

Correct me if I am wrong . plain ole citizens can start RICO suits against the likes of Soros.

It seems you may be on to something:

RICO also permits a private individual "damaged in his business or property" by a "racketeer" to file a civil suit. The plaintiff must prove the existence of an "enterprise". The defendant(s) are not the enterprise; in other words, the defendant(s) and the enterprise are not one and the same.[3] There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise: either the defendant(s) invested the proceeds of the pattern of racketeering activity into the enterprise (18 U.S.C. § 1962(a)); or the defendant(s) acquired or maintained an interest in, or control of, the enterprise through the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (b)); or the defendant(s) conducted or participated in the affairs of the enterprise "through" the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (c)); or the defendant(s) conspired to do one of the above (subsection (d)).[4] In essence, the enterprise is either the 'prize,' 'instrument,' 'victim,' or 'perpetrator' of the racketeers.[5] A civil RICO action can be filed in state or federal court.[6]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act#Summary

What we have to do is prove that there is an organization that includes George Soros, but is not limited to him personally–you know, a kosher nostra!

annamaria , December 29, 2016 at 4:36 pm GMT

@Max Havelaar My guess: the outgoing Obama administration is in a last ditch killing frenzy, to revenge Aleppo loss!

The Berlin bus blowup, The Russian ambassador in Turkey killed and the Red army's most eminent Alexandrov's choir send to the bottom of the black sea.

Typical CIA ops to threaten world leaders to comply with the incumbent US elite.

Watch Mike Morell (CIA) threaten world leaders:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZK2FZGKAd0

The prominence of the "perfumed prince" Morell is the most telling indictment of the so-called "elites" in the US. The arrogant, irresponsible (and untouchable) imbeciles among the real "deciders" in the US have brought the country down to a sub-civilization status when the US does not do diplomacy, does not follow international law, and does not keep with even marginal aspects of democracy home and abroad. The proliferation of the incompetent and opportunists in the highest echelons of the US government is the consequence of the lack of responsibility on the top. Morell – who has never been in combat and never demonstrated any intellectual vigor – is a prime example of a sycophantic and poorly educated opportunist that is endangering the US big time.

• Agree: Kiza • Replies: @Anonymous
The arrogant, irresponsible (and untouchable) imbeciles among the real "deciders" in the US have brought the country down to a sub-civilization status when the US does not do diplomacy, does not follow international law, and does not keep with even marginal aspects of democracy home and abroad.
It is corrupt, annamaria, corrupt to the very core, corrupt throughout. Any talk of elections, honest candidates, devoted elected representatives, etc., is sappy naivete. They're crooks; the sprinkling of decent reps is minuscule and ineffective.

So, what to do? , @Max Havelaar A serial killer, paid by US taxpayers. By universal human rights laws he would hang.

Maybe the Russian FSB an get to him.

Durruti , December 29, 2016 at 4:57 pm GMT

Nice well written article by James Petras.

I agree with some, mostly the pro-Constitutionalist and moral spirit of the essay, but differ as to when the Coup D'etat is going to – or has already taken place .

The coup D'etat that destroyed our American Republic, and its last Constitutional President, John F. Kennedy, took place 53 years ago on November 22, 1963. The coup was consolidated at the cost of 2 million Vietnamese and 1 million Indonesians (1965). The assassinations of JF Kennedy's brother, Robert Kennedy, R. Kennedy's ally, Martin L. King, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, John Lennon, and many others, followed.

Mr. Petras, the Coup D'etat has already happened.

Our mission must be the Restore our American Republic! This is The Only Road for us. There are no shortcuts. The choice we were given (for Hollywood President), in 2016, between a psychotic Mass Murderer, and a mid level Mafioso Casino Owner displayed the lack of respect the Oligarchs have for the American Sheeple. Until we rise, we will never regain our self-respect, our Honor.

I enclose a copy of our Flier, our Declaration, For The Restoration of the Republic below, for your perusal. We (of the Anarchist Collective), have distributed it as best we can.

Respect All! Bow to None!

Merry Christmas!

God Bless!

[MORE]
For THE RESTORATION OF THE REPUBLIC

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles "

The above is a portion of the Declaration of Independence , written by Thomas Jefferson.

We submit the following facts to the citizens of the United States.

The government of the United States has been a Totalitarian Oligarchy since the military financial aristocracy destroyed the Democratic Republic on November 22, 1963, when they assassinated the last democratically elected president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy , and overthrew his government. All following governments have been unconstitutional frauds. Attempts by Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King to restore the Republic were interrupted by their murder.

A subsequent 12 year colonial war against Vietnam , conducted by the murderers of Kennedy, left 2 million dead in a wake of napalm and burning villages.

In 1965 , the U.S. government orchestrated the slaughter of 1 million unarmed Indonesian civilians.

In the decade that followed the CIA murdered 100,000 Native Americans in Guatemala.

In the 1970s , the Oligarchy began the destruction and looting of America's middle class, by encouraging the export of industry and jobs to parts of the world where workers were paid bare subsistence wages. The 2008, Bailout of the Nation's Oligarchs cost American taxpayers $13trillion. The long decline of the local economy has led to the political decline of our hard working citizens, as well as the decay of cities, towns, and infrastructure, such as education.

The impoverishment of America's middle class has undermined the nation's financial stability. Without a productive foundation, the government has accumulated a huge debt in excess of $19trillion . This debt will have to be paid, or suffered by future generations. Concurrently, the top 1% of the nation's population has benefited enormously from the discomfiture of the rest. The interest rate has been reduced to 0, thereby slowly robbing millions of depositors of their savings, as their savings cannot stay even with the inflation rate.

The government spends the declining national wealth on bloody and never ending military adventures, and is or has recently conducted unconstitutional wars against 9 nations. The Oligarchs maintain 700 military bases in 131 countries; they spend as much on military weapons of terror as the rest of the nations of the world combined. Tellingly, more than half the government budget is spent on the military and 16 associated secret agencies.

The nightmare of a powerful centralized government crushing the rights of the people, so feared by the Founders of the United States, has become a reality. The government of Obama/Biden, as with previous administrations such as Bush/Cheney, and whoever is chosen in November 2016, operates a Gulag of dozens of concentration camps, where prisoners are denied trials, and routinely tortured. The Patriot Act and The National Defense Authorizations Act , enacted by both Democratic and Republican factions of the oligarchy, serve to establish a legal cover for their terror.

The nation's media is controlled , and, with the school systems, serve to brainwash the population; the people are intimidated and treated with contempt.

The United States is No longer Sovereign

The United States is no longer a sovereign nation. Its government, The Executive, and Congress, is bought, utterly owned and controlled by foreign and domestic wealthy Oligarchs, such as the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, and Duponts , to name only a few of the best known.

The 2016 Electoral Circus will anoint new actors to occupy the same Unconstitutional Government, with its controlling International Oligarchs. Clinton, Trump, whomever, are willing accomplices for imperialist international murder, and destruction of nations, including ours.

For Love of Country

The Restoration of the Republic will be a Revolutionary Act, that will cancel all previous debts owed to that unconstitutional regime and its business supporters. All debts, including Student Debts, will be canceled. Our citizens will begin, anew, with a clean slate.

As American Founder, Thomas Jefferson wrote, in a letter to James Madison:

"I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self evident, 'that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living':"

"Then I say the earth belongs to each of these generations, during it's course, fully, and in their own right. The 2d. Generation receives it clear of the debts and incumberances of the 1st. The 3d of the 2d. and so on. For if the 1st. Could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not the living generation."

Our Citizens must restore the centrality of the constitution, establishing a less powerful government which will ensure President Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms , freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship God in ones own way, freedom from want "which means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peace time life for its inhabitants " and freedom from fear "which means a world-wide reduction of armaments "

Once restored: The Constitution will become, once again, the law of the land and of a free people. We will establish a government, hold elections, begin to direct traffic, arrest criminal politicians of the tyrannical oligarchy, and, in short, repair the damage of the previous totalitarian governments.

For the Democratic Republic!
Sons and Daughters of Liberty
florent.defeu@yahoo.com

Anonymous , December 29, 2016 at 5:02 pm GMT

@annamaria The prominence of the "perfumed prince" Morell is the most telling indictment of the so-called "elites" in the US. The arrogant, irresponsible (and untouchable) imbeciles among the real "deciders" in the US have brought the country down to a sub-civilization status when the US does not do diplomacy, does not follow international law, and does not keep with even marginal aspects of democracy home and abroad. The proliferation of the incompetent and opportunists in the highest echelons of the US government is the consequence of the lack of responsibility on the top. Morell - who has never been in combat and never demonstrated any intellectual vigor - is a prime example of a sycophantic and poorly educated opportunist that is endangering the US big time.

The arrogant, irresponsible (and untouchable) imbeciles among the real "deciders" in the US have brought the country down to a sub-civilization status when the US does not do diplomacy, does not follow international law, and does not keep with even marginal aspects of democracy home and abroad.

It is corrupt, annamaria, corrupt to the very core, corrupt throughout. Any talk of elections, honest candidates, devoted elected representatives, etc., is sappy naivete. They're crooks; the sprinkling of decent reps is minuscule and ineffective.

So, what to do?

• Replies: @Bill Jones The corruption is endemic from top to bottom.

My previous residence was in Hamilton Township in Monroe County, PA . Population about 8,000.
The 3 Township Supervisors appointed themselves to township jobs- Road master, Zoning officer etc and pay themselves twice the going rate with the occupant of the job under review abstaining while his two palls vote him the money. Anybody challenging this is met with a shit-storm of propaganda and a mysterious explosion in voter turn-out: guess who runs the local polls?

The chief of the local volunteer fire company has to sign off on the sprinkler systems before any occupation certificate can be issued for a commercial building. Conveniently he runs a plumbing business. Guess who gets the lion's share of plumbing jobs for new commercial buildings?

As they climb the greasy pole, it only gets worse.

Meanwhile the routine business of looting continues:

My local rag (an organ of the Murdoch crime family) had a little piece last year about the new 3 year contract for the local county prison guards. I went back to the two previous two contracts and discovered that by 2018 they will have had 33% increases over nine years. Between 2008 and 2013 (the latest years I could find data for) median household income in the county decreased by 13%.

At some point some rogue politician will start fighting this battle.

Miro23 , December 29, 2016 at 5:31 pm GMT

If the US is split between Trump and Clinton supporters, then the staffs of the CIA and FBI are probably split the same way.

The CIA and FBI leadership may take one position or another, but many CIA and FBI employees joined these agencies in the first place to serve their country – not to assist Neo-con MENA Imperial projects, and they know a lot more than the general public about what is really going on.

Employees can really mess things up if they have a different political orientation to their employers.

Rurik , December 29, 2016 at 5:42 pm GMT

@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

I'm hoping that Trump is running with the neocons just as far as is necessary to pressure congress to confirm his cabinet appointments and make sure he isn't JFK'd before he gets into office and can set about putting security in place to protect his own and his family's lives.

For John McBloodstain to vote for a SoS that will make nice with his nemesis; Putin, will require massive amounts of Zio-pressure. The only way that pressure will come is if the Zio-cons are convinced that Trump is their man.

Once his cabinet appointments are secured, then perhaps we might see some independence of action. Not until. At least that is my hope, however naïve.

It isn't just the Zio-cons that want to poke the Russian bear, it's also the MIC. Trump has to navigate a very dangerous mine field if he's going to end the Endless Wars and return sanity and peace to the world. He's going to have to wrangle with the devil himself (the Fiend), and outplay him at his own game.

Art , December 29, 2016 at 7:36 pm GMT • 100 Words

I do not like saying it, but the appointment of the Palestinian hating Jew as ambassador to Israel has disarmed the Jew community – they can no longer call Trump an anti-Semite – the most power two words in America. The result is that the domestic side of the coup is over.

The Russian thing has to play out. The Jew forces will try and make bad blood between America and Russia – hopefully Trump and Putin will let it play out, but really ignore it.

If we get past the inauguration, the CIA is going to be toast. GOOD!

Peace - Art

• Agree: Seamus Padraig • Replies: @RobinG "If we get past the inauguration...."

Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats today (effective Friday) - doing his best to screw things up before Trump takes office. Will he start WWIII, then say Trump can't transition during war?

Obama has authorized transfer of weapons, including MANPADS, to terrorist affiliates. If we are at war with terrorists, isn't this Treason? It is most certainly a felony under the Patriot Act - providing aid, directly or indirectly, to terrorists.

A Bill of Impeachment against Obama might stave off WWIII.

Francis Boyle writes:

"... I am willing to serve as Counsel to any Member of the US House of Representatives willing to put in a Bill of Impeachment against Obama as soon as Congress reconvenes-just as I did to the late, great Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez on his Bill to Impeach Bush Sr. on the eve of Gulf War I. RIP.

Just have the MOC get in touch with me as indicated below.

Francis A. Boyle
Law Building
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign IL 61820 USA
217-333-7954 (phone)
217-244-1478 (fax)

Svigor , December 29, 2016 at 9:52 pm GMT

That's not entirely accurate. CIA people like Michael Scheuer and Valery Plame were trying to undermine the neocon narrative about Iraq and WMD, not bolster it.

True.

alexander , December 29, 2016 at 10:08 pm GMT • 200 Words

Dear Mr. Petras,

It seems that our POTUS has just chosen to eject 35 Russian diplomats from our country, on grounds of hacking the election against Hillary.

Is this some weird, preliminary "shot across the bow" in preparation for the coming "coup attempt" you seem to believe is in the offing ?

It seem the powers-that-be are pulling out all the stops to prevent an authentic rapprochement with Moscow.

What for ?

It makes you wonder if there is more to this than meets the eye, something beyond the sanguine disgruntlement of the party bosses and a desire for payback against Hillary's big loss ?

Does anyone know if Russia is more aware than most Americans of certain classified details pertaining to stuff ..like 9-11 ?

Why is cooperation between the new administration and Moscow so scary to these people that they would initiate a preemptive diplomatic shut down ?

They seem to be dead set on welding shut every single diplomatic door to the Kremlin there is , before Trumps inauguration.

Perhaps something "else "is being planned ..Does anyone have any ideas whats going on ?

• Replies: @annamaria

"They seem to be dead set on welding shut every single diplomatic door to the Kremlin there is , before Trumps inauguration."

The subtitles are quite direct in presenting the US deciders as criminal bullies: http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/12/russia-obama-was-most-evil-president.html

@Tomster What does Russian intelligence know? Err ... perhaps something like that the US/UK have sold nukes to the head-choppers of the riyadh caliphate, say (knowing how completely mad their incestuous brains are?). Who knows? - but such a fact could explain many inexplicable things.

RobinG , December 29, 2016 at 10:25 pm GMT

@Art I do not like saying it, but the appointment of the Palestinian hating Jew as ambassador to Israel has disarmed the Jew community – they can no longer call Trump an anti-Semite – the most power two words in America. The result is that the domestic side of the coup is over.

The Russian thing has to play out. The Jew forces will try and make bad blood between America and Russia – hopefully Trump and Putin will let it play out, but really ignore it.

If we get past the inauguration, the CIA is going to be toast. GOOD!

Peace --- Art

"If we get past the inauguration ."

Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats today (effective Friday) – doing his best to screw things up before Trump takes office. Will he start WWIII, then say Trump can't transition during war?

Obama has authorized transfer of weapons, including MANPADS, to terrorist affiliates. If we are at war with terrorists, isn't this Treason? It is most certainly a felony under the Patriot Act – providing aid, directly or indirectly, to terrorists.

A Bill of Impeachment against Obama might stave off WWIII.
Francis Boyle writes:
" I am willing to serve as Counsel to any Member of the US House of Representatives willing to put in a Bill of Impeachment against Obama as soon as Congress reconvenes-just as I did to the late, great Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez on his Bill to Impeach Bush Sr. on the eve of Gulf War I. RIP. Just have the MOC get in touch with me as indicated below.

Francis A. Boyle
Law Building
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign IL 61820 USA
217-333-7954 (phone)
217-244-1478 (fax)

• Replies: @Art Hi RobinG,

This is much ado about nothing - in a NYT's article today - they said that the DNC was told about being hacked in the fall or winter of 2015 - they all knew the Russian were hacking all along!

The RNC got smart - not the DNC - it is 100% their fault. Right now they look real stupid.

Really - how pissed off can they be?

Peace --- Art

p.s. I do not blame Obama – he had to do something – looks like he did the minimum.

map , December 29, 2016 at 10:41 pm GMT

@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

I wish people would stop making a big deal out of John Kerry's and Barack Obama's recent stance on Israel. Neither of them are concerned about whatever injustice happened to the Palestinians.

What they are concerned with is Israeli actions discrediting the anti-white, anti-national globalism program before it has successfully destroyed all of the white nations. That is the real reason why they want a two-state solution or a right of return. If nationalists can look at the Israeli example as a model for how to proceed then that will cause a civil war among leftists and discredit the entire left-wing project.

Trump, therefore, pushing support for Israel's national concerns is not him bending to AIPAC. It is a shrewd move that forces an internecine conflict between left-wing diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews. It is a conflict Bibi is willing to have because the pet project of leftism would necessarily result in Israel either being unlivable or largely extinct for its Jewish population. This NWO being pushed by the diaspora is not something that will be enjoyed by Israeli Jews.

Consider the problem. The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis. The diaspora left is ok with that because they want to continue importing revanchist groups into Europe and America to break down white countries. So, Israel makes a small sacrifice for the greater good of anti-whitism, a deal that most Israelis do not consider very good for themselves. Trump's support for Israeli nationalism short-circuits this project.

Of course, one could ask: why don't the Israeli Jews just move to America? What's the big deal if Israel remains in the middle east? The big deal is the kind of jobs and activities available for Israelis to do. A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash. Everyone can't be a doctor, a lawyer or a banker. Tradesmen, technicians, workers are all required to get a project like Israel off the ground and maintained. How many of these Israelis doing scut work in Israel for a greater good want to do the same scut work in America just to get by? The problem operates in reverse for American Jews. A Jew with an American law degree is of no use to Israelis outside of the money he brings and whether he can throw out the trash. Diaspora Jews, therefore, have no reason to try and live and work in Israel.

So, again, we see that Trump's move is a masterstroke. Even his appointment to counter the coup with Zionists is brilliant, since these Zionists are rich enough to both live anywhere and indulge their pride in nationalist endeavors.

• Replies: @joe webb masterful interpretation here. But I doubt it , in spades. Trump cooled out the soccer moms on the Negroes by yakking about Uplift. And he reduced the black vote a tad. That was very clever, but probably did not come from Trump.

As for "The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis."

That is a huge claim which is not substantiated with argument. If the Palestinians sign a peace treaty with Israel, and then continue to press their claims...Israel would have the moral high ground to beat hell out of them. Clearly, the jews got the guns, and the Palestinians got nothing but world public opinion.

Please present an argument on just how Palestinians and other Arabs could continue to logically and morally challenge Israel. Right now, the only thing preventing Israel from cleansing Israel of Arabs is world public opinion. That public opinion is real and a huge factor.

I have been arguing that T. may be outfoxing the jews, but I doubt it now.
Don't forget the Christian evangelical vote and Christians generally who have a soft spot in their brains for the jews.

Also, T's claim that he will end the ME wars is a big problem if he is going to go after Isis, big time, in Syria or anywhere else. He has put himself in the rock/hard place position. I don't think he is that smart. I voted for him of course and sent money, but...

Joe Webb , @RobinG "A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash."

Perhaps you'd like to discuss why so much of this and other "scut work" is done by Palestinians, while an increasing number of Israeli Jews are on the dole. Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

Realist , December 29, 2016 at 11:05 pm GMT • 100 Words

"The 'experts' were trotted out voicing vitriolic accusations, but they never presented any facts and documentation of a 'rigged election'. Everyday, every hour, the 'Russian Plot' was breathlessly described in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Financial Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, NPR and their overseas followers in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Oceana and Africa."

You left out Fox, most of their news anchors and pundits are rabidly pro Israel and anti Russia.

There is a pretty good chance, since all else has failed so far, Obama will declare 'a special situation martial law'. And you can be sure many on both sides of Congress will comply. This will once again demonstrate who is on the power elite payroll. If this happens hopefully the military will be on Trumps side and round up those responsible and proper justice meted out.

joe webb , December 29, 2016 at 11:35 pm GMT • 200 Words

@map I wish people would stop making a big deal out of John Kerry's and Barack Obama's recent stance on Israel. Neither of them are concerned about whatever injustice happened to the Palestinians.

What they are concerned with is Israeli actions discrediting the anti-white, anti-national globalism program before it has successfully destroyed all of the white nations. That is the real reason why they want a two-state solution or a right of return. If nationalists can look at the Israeli example as a model for how to proceed then that will cause a civil war among leftists and discredit the entire left-wing project.

Trump, therefore, pushing support for Israel's national concerns is not him bending to AIPAC. It is a shrewd move that forces an internecine conflict between left-wing diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews. It is a conflict Bibi is willing to have because the pet project of leftism would necessarily result in Israel either being unlivable or largely extinct for its Jewish population. This NWO being pushed by the diaspora is not something that will be enjoyed by Israeli Jews.

Consider the problem. The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis. The diaspora left is ok with that because they want to continue importing revanchist groups into Europe and America to break down white countries. So, Israel makes a small sacrifice for the greater good of anti-whitism, a deal that most Israelis do not consider very good for themselves. Trump's support for Israeli nationalism short-circuits this project.

Of course, one could ask: why don't the Israeli Jews just move to America? What's the big deal if Israel remains in the middle east? The big deal is the kind of jobs and activities available for Israelis to do. A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash. Everyone can't be a doctor, a lawyer or a banker. Tradesmen, technicians, workers are all required to get a project like Israel off the ground and maintained. How many of these Israelis doing scut work in Israel for a greater good want to do the same scut work in America just to get by? The problem operates in reverse for American Jews. A Jew with an American law degree is of no use to Israelis outside of the money he brings and whether he can throw out the trash. Diaspora Jews, therefore, have no reason to try and live and work in Israel.

So, again, we see that Trump's move is a masterstroke. Even his appointment to counter the coup with Zionists is brilliant, since these Zionists are rich enough to both live anywhere and indulge their pride in nationalist endeavors.

masterful interpretation here. But I doubt it , in spades. Trump cooled out the soccer moms on the Negroes by yakking about Uplift. And he reduced the black vote a tad. That was very clever, but probably did not come from Trump.

As for "The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis."

That is a huge claim which is not substantiated with argument. If the Palestinians sign a peace treaty with Israel, and then continue to press their claims Israel would have the moral high ground to beat hell out of them. Clearly, the jews got the guns, and the Palestinians got nothing but world public opinion.

Please present an argument on just how Palestinians and other Arabs could continue to logically and morally challenge Israel. Right now, the only thing preventing Israel from cleansing Israel of Arabs is world public opinion. That public opinion is real and a huge factor.

I have been arguing that T. may be outfoxing the jews, but I doubt it now.
Don't forget the Christian evangelical vote and Christians generally who have a soft spot in their brains for the jews.

Also, T's claim that he will end the ME wars is a big problem if he is going to go after Isis, big time, in Syria or anywhere else. He has put himself in the rock/hard place position. I don't think he is that smart. I voted for him of course and sent money, but

Joe Webb

• Replies: @map The revanchist claim that I refer to is psychological, not moral or legal. Palestinians think their land was stolen in the same way Mexicans think Texas and California were stolen. That feeling will not change just because they get a two-state solution or a right of return. What it will result in is a comfortable base from which to continue to operate against Israel, one that Israel can't afford.

It is Nationalism 101 not to allow revanchist groups in your country.

The leftists are being consistent in their ideology by opposing Israel, because they are fully on board going after what looks like a white country attacking brown people and demanding not to be dismantled by anti-nationalist policies. Trump suggesting the capital go to Jerusalem and supporting Bibi is just triangulation against the left.

I feel sorry for the Palestinians and I think they have been treated very shabbily. They did lose a lot as any refugee population would and they should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East. I don't know who is using them or for what purpose.

Stebbing Heuer says: • Website December 29, 2016 at 11:36 pm GMT

Does anyone know if Russia is more aware than most Americans of certain classified details pertaining to stuff ..like 9-11 ?

I would dearly like to know what Moscow and Tel Aviv know about 9-11. I suspect they both know more than almost anyone else.

annamaria , December 29, 2016 at 11:50 pm GMT

@Realist "The 'experts' were trotted out voicing vitriolic accusations, but they never presented any facts and documentation of a 'rigged election'. Everyday, every hour, the 'Russian Plot' was breathlessly described in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Financial Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, NPR and their overseas followers in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Oceana and Africa."

You left out Fox, most of their news anchors and pundits are rabidly pro Israel and anti Russia.

There is a pretty good chance, since all else has failed so far, Obama will declare 'a special situation martial law'. And you can be sure many on both sides of Congress will comply. This will once again demonstrate who is on the power elite payroll. If this happens hopefully the military will be on Trumps side and round up those responsible and proper justice meted out.

The obscenity of the US behavior abroad leads directly to an alliance of ziocons and war profiteers. Here is a highly educational paper on the exceptional amorality of the US administration: http://www.voltairenet.org/article194709.html
"The existence of a NATO bunker in East Aleppo confirms what we have been saying about the role of NATO LandCom in the coordination of the jihadists The liberation of Syria should continue at Idleb the zone is de facto governed by NATO via a string of pseudo-NGO's. At least, this is what was noted last month by a US think-tank. To beat the jihadists there, it will be necessary first of all to cut their supply lines, in other words, close the Turtkish frontier. This is what Russian diplomacy is currently working on."
Well. After wasting the uncounted trillions of US dollars on the war on terror and after filling the VA hospitals with the ruined young men and women and after bringing death a destruction on apocalyptic scale to the Middle East in the name of 9/11, the US has found new bosom buddies – the hordes of fanatical jihadis.

• Replies: @Realist Great observations. Thanks. Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
Art , December 30, 2016 at 1:06 am GMT • 100 Words @RobinG "If we get past the inauguration...."

Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats today (effective Friday) - doing his best to screw things up before Trump takes office. Will he start WWIII, then say Trump can't transition during war?

Obama has authorized transfer of weapons, including MANPADS, to terrorist affiliates. If we are at war with terrorists, isn't this Treason? It is most certainly a felony under the Patriot Act - providing aid, directly or indirectly, to terrorists.

A Bill of Impeachment against Obama might stave off WWIII.
Francis Boyle writes:
"... I am willing to serve as Counsel to any Member of the US House of Representatives willing to put in a Bill of Impeachment against Obama as soon as Congress reconvenes-just as I did to the late, great Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez on his Bill to Impeach Bush Sr. on the eve of Gulf War I. RIP. Just have the MOC get in touch with me as indicated below.

Francis A. Boyle
Law Building
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign IL 61820 USA
217-333-7954 (phone)
217-244-1478 (fax)

Hi RobinG,

This is much ado about nothing – in a NYT's article today – they said that the DNC was told about being hacked in the fall or winter of 2015 – they all knew the Russian were hacking all along!

The RNC got smart – not the DNC – it is 100% their fault. Right now they look real stupid.

Really – how pissed off can they be?

Peace - Art

p.s. I do not blame Obama – he had to do something – looks like he did the minimum.

• Replies: @RobinG Hi Art,

I try to write clearly, but if this is your response I've failed miserably. My interest in the hacking is nil.

What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia.

Obama has been providing weapons, training, air support and propaganda for Terrorists via their affiliates in Syria, and now directly. This is a felony, if not treason.

Svigor , December 30, 2016 at 2:20 am GMT • 100 Words

Looks like I spoke too soon:

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/312132-fbi-dhs-release-report-on-russia-hacking

The feds have now released their reports, detailing how the dastardly Russians darkly influenced the 2016 presidential election by releasing Democrats' emails, and giving the American public a peek inside the Democrat machine.

Those dastardly Russkies have informed and enlightened the American public for long enough! This shall not stand!

RobinG , December 30, 2016 at 5:37 am GMT

@Art Hi RobinG,

This is much ado about nothing - in a NYT's article today - they said that the DNC was told about being hacked in the fall or winter of 2015 - they all knew the Russian were hacking all along!

The RNC got smart - not the DNC - it is 100% their fault. Right now they look real stupid.

Really - how pissed off can they be?

Peace --- Art

p.s. I do not blame Obama – he had to do something – looks like he did the minimum.

Hi Art,

I try to write clearly, but if this is your response I've failed miserably. My interest in the hacking is nil.

What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia.

Obama has been providing weapons, training, air support and propaganda for Terrorists via their affiliates in Syria, and now directly. This is a felony, if not treason.

• Replies: @Art
What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia.
RobinG --- Agree 100% - some times I get things crossed up --- Peace Art
anon , December 30, 2016 at 6:33 am GMT

https://www.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/publications/JAR_16-20296A_GRIZZLY%20STEPPE-2016-1229.pdf

This is a very underwhelming document.

I assume that everyone agrees that the final outcome of the security breach was that 'Wikileaks' leaked internal emails of Clinton Campaign Manager Pedesta and DNC emails regarding embarrassing behavior.

No one is suggesting that the leaked information is 'fake news'.

An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.

Given that Podesta's password was 'P@ssw0rd' - does it take Russian deep state security to hack?

From WikiLeaks:

"From:eryn.sepp@gmail.com To: john.podesta@gmail.com Date: 2015-02-19 00:35 Subject: 2 things

Though CAP is still having issues with my email and computer, yours is good to go. jpodesta p@ssw0rd

The report is 13 pages of mostly nothing.

Note the Disclaimer:

DISCLAIMER: This report is provided "as is" for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service referenced in this advisory or otherwise. This document is distributed as TLP:WHITE: Subject to standard copyright rules, TLP:WHITE information may be distributed without restriction. For more information on the Traffic Light Protocol, see https://www.us-cert.gov/tlp .

• Replies: @Seamus Padraig
An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.
His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC


Realist , December 30, 2016 at 8:17 am GMT

@annamaria The obscenity of the US behavior abroad leads directly to an alliance of ziocons and war profiteers. Here is a highly educational paper on the exceptional amorality of the US administration: http://www.voltairenet.org/article194709.html

"The existence of a NATO bunker in East Aleppo confirms what we have been saying about the role of NATO LandCom in the coordination of the jihadists... The liberation of Syria should continue at Idleb ... the zone is de facto governed by NATO via a string of pseudo-NGO's. At least, this is what was noted last month by a US think-tank. To beat the jihadists there, it will be necessary first of all to cut their supply lines, in other words, close the Turtkish frontier. This is what Russian diplomacy is currently working on."

Well. After wasting the uncounted trillions of US dollars on the war on terror and after filling the VA hospitals with the ruined young men and women and after bringing death a destruction on apocalyptic scale to the Middle East in the name of 9/11, the US has found new bosom buddies - the hordes of fanatical jihadis.

Great observations. Thanks.

map , December 30, 2016 at 9:16 am GMT

@joe webb masterful interpretation here. But I doubt it , in spades. Trump cooled out the soccer moms on the Negroes by yakking about Uplift. And he reduced the black vote a tad. That was very clever, but probably did not come from Trump.

As for "The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis."

That is a huge claim which is not substantiated with argument. If the Palestinians sign a peace treaty with Israel, and then continue to press their claims...Israel would have the moral high ground to beat hell out of them. Clearly, the jews got the guns, and the Palestinians got nothing but world public opinion.

Please present an argument on just how Palestinians and other Arabs could continue to logically and morally challenge Israel. Right now, the only thing preventing Israel from cleansing Israel of Arabs is world public opinion. That public opinion is real and a huge factor.

I have been arguing that T. may be outfoxing the jews, but I doubt it now.
Don't forget the Christian evangelical vote and Christians generally who have a soft spot in their brains for the jews.

Also, T's claim that he will end the ME wars is a big problem if he is going to go after Isis, big time, in Syria or anywhere else. He has put himself in the rock/hard place position. I don't think he is that smart. I voted for him of course and sent money, but...

Joe Webb

The revanchist claim that I refer to is psychological, not moral or legal. Palestinians think their land was stolen in the same way Mexicans think Texas and California were stolen. That feeling will not change just because they get a two-state solution or a right of return. What it will result in is a comfortable base from which to continue to operate against Israel, one that Israel can't afford.

It is Nationalism 101 not to allow revanchist groups in your country.

The leftists are being consistent in their ideology by opposing Israel, because they are fully on board going after what looks like a white country attacking brown people and demanding not to be dismantled by anti-nationalist policies. Trump suggesting the capital go to Jerusalem and supporting Bibi is just triangulation against the left.

I feel sorry for the Palestinians and I think they have been treated very shabbily. They did lose a lot as any refugee population would and they should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East. I don't know who is using them or for what purpose.

• Replies: @Tomster "treated very shabbily" indeed, by other Arabs - who have done virtually nothing for them. , @joe webb good points. Yet, Palestinians ..."They should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East." sounds pretty much like an Israel talking point. How about
Israel should be dissolved and the Jews repatriated around Europe and the US?

Not being an Idea world, but a Biological World, revanchism is true enough up to a point. Of course The Revanchists of All Time are the jews, or the zionists, to speak liberalize.

As for feelings that don't change, there is a tendency for feelings to change over time, especially when a "legal" document is signed by the participating parties. I have long advocated that the Jews pay for the land they stole, and that that payment be made to a new Palestinian state. A Palestinian with a home, a job, a family, and a nice car makes a lot of difference, just like anywhere else.

(We paid the Mexicans in a treaty that presumably ended the Mexican war. This is a normal state of affairs. Mexico only "owned" California, etc, for about 25 years, and I do not think paid the injuns anything for their land at the time. Also, if memory serves, I think Pat Buchanan claimed somewhere that there were only about 10,000 Mexicans in California at the time, or maybe in the whole area under discussion..)

How Palestine stolen property, should be evaluated I leave to the experts. Jews would appear to have ample resources and could pony up the dough.

The biggest problem is the US evangelicals and equally important, the nice Episcopalians and so on, even the Catholic Church which used to Exclude Jews now luving them. This is part of our National Religion. The Jews are god's favorites, and nobody seems to mind. Kill an Arab for Christ is the national gut feeling, except when it gets too expensive or kills too many Americans.

As I have said, Trump is in between the rock and the hard place. If he wants to end the Jewish Wars in the ME, he cannot luv the jews, and especially he cannot start lobbing bombs around too much...even over Isis and the dozens of jihadist groups, especially now in Syria.

Sorry but your "comfortably repatriated" is a real howler. There is no comfort to be had by anybody in the ME. And, like Jews with regard to your points about revanchism in general, Palestinians have not blended into the general Arab populations of other countries, like Lebanon, etc.. Using your own logic, the Palestinians will continue to nurse their grievances no matter where they are, just like the Jews.

The neocon goals of failed states in the Arab World has been largely accomplished and the only way humpty-dumpty will be put back together again is for tough Arab Strong Men to reestablish order. Like Assad, like Hussein, etc. Arab IQ is about 85 in general. There is not going to be
democracy/elections/civics lessons per the White countries's genetic predisposition.\

For that matter, Jews are not democrats. Left alone Israel, wherever it is, reverts to Rabbinic Control and Jehovah, the Warrior God, reigns. Fact is , that is where Israel is heading anyway.
Jews never invented free speech and rule of law, nor did Arabs, or any other race on the planet.

The Jews With Nukes is of World Historical Importance. And Whites have given them the Bomb, just as Whites have given Third World inferior races, access to the Northern Cornucopia of wealth, both spiritual and material. They will , like the jews, exploit free speech and game the economic system.

All Semites Out! Ditto just about everybody else, starting with the Chinese.

finally, if the jews had any real brains, they would get out of a neighborhood that hates them for their jewishness, their Thefts, and their Wars. Otoh, Jews seem to thrive on being hated more than any other race or ethnic group. Chosen to Always Complain.

Joe Webb

Seamus Padraig says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 30, 2016 at 2:05 pm GMT

@anon https://www.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/publications/JAR_16-20296A_GRIZZLY%20STEPPE-2016-1229.pdf

This is a very underwhelming document.

I assume that everyone agrees that the final outcome of the security breach was that 'Wikileaks' leaked internal emails of Clinton Campaign Manager Pedesta and DNC emails regarding embarrassing behavior.

No one is suggesting that the leaked information is 'fake news'.

An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.

Given that Podesta's password was 'P@ssw0rd' -- does it take Russian deep state security to hack?

From WikiLeaks:

"From:eryn.sepp@gmail.com To: john.podesta@gmail.com Date: 2015-02-19 00:35 Subject: 2 things

Though CAP is still having issues with my email and computer, yours is good to go. jpodesta p@ssw0rd

The report is 13 pages of mostly nothing.

Note the Disclaimer:

DISCLAIMER: This report is provided "as is" for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service referenced in this advisory or otherwise. This document is distributed as TLP:WHITE: Subject to standard copyright rules, TLP:WHITE information may be distributed without restriction. For more information on the Traffic Light Protocol, see https://www.us-cert.gov/tlp.

An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.

His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC.

• Replies: @geokat62
His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC.
"Was" is the operative word:

Julian Assange Suggests That DNC's Seth Rich Was Murdered For Being a Wikileaker

https://heatst.com/tech/wikileaks-offers-20000-for-information-about-seth-richs-killer/ , @alexander Given all the hoaky, "evidence free" punitive assaults being launched against Moscow today ....combined with the profusion of utterly fraudulent narratives foisted down the throats of the American people over the last sixteen years...

Its NOT outside of reason to take a good hard look at the "Seth Rich incident" and reconstruct an outline of events(probably) much closer to the truth than the big media would ever be willing to discuss or admit.

Namely, that Seth Rich, a young decent kid (27) who was working as the data director for the campaign, came across evidence of "dirty pool" within the voting systems during the DNC nomination ,which were fraudulently (and maybe even blatantly) tilting the results towards Hillary.

He probably did the "right thing" by notifying one of the DNC bosses of the fraud ..who informed him he would look into it and that he should keep it quite for the moment...

.I wouldn't be surprised if Seth reached out to a reporter , too, probably at the at the NY Times, who informed his editor...who, in turn, had such deep connections to the Hillary corruption machine...that he placed a call to a DNC backroom boss ... who , at some point, made the decision to take steps to shut Seth's mouth, permanently...."just make it look like a robbery (or something)"

Seth, not being stupid, and knowing he had the dirt on Hillary that could crush her (as well as the reputation of the entire democratic party)......probably reached out to Julian Assange, too, to hedge his bets.

In the interview Julian gave shortly after Seth's death, he intimated that Seth was the leak, although he did not state it outright.

Something like this sequence of events (with perhaps a few alterations ) is probably quite close to what actually happened.

So here we have a scenario, where the D.N.C. Oligarchs , so corrupt, so evil, so disdainful of the electorate, and the democratic process , rig the nomination results (on multiple levels) for Hillary..and when the evidence of this is found, by a decent young kid with his whole life ahead of him, they had him shot in the back.....four times...

And then "Big Media for Hillary", rather than investigate this horrific tragedy and expose the dirty malevolence at play within the DNC , quashes the entire narrative and grafts in its place the"substitute" Putin hacks..... demanding faux accountability... culminating with sanctions and ejections of the entire Russian diplomatic corp.......all on the grounds of attempting to "sully American Democracy"
.

But hey, that's life in the USA....Right, Seamus ?

Skeptikal , December 30, 2016 at 2:38 pm GMT • 100 Words

"what looks like a white country attacking brown people and demanding not to be dismantled by anti-nationalist policies. "

The longer Israel persists in its "facts-on-the-ground" thievery, the less moral standing it has for its white country. And it is a racist state also within its own "borders."

A pathetic excuse for a country. Without the USA it wouldn't exist. A black mark on both countries' report cards.

geokat62 , December 30, 2016 at 2:52 pm GMT @Seamus Padraig
An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.
His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC.

His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC.

"Was" is the operative word:

Julian Assange Suggests That DNC's Seth Rich Was Murdered For Being a Wikileaker

https://heatst.com/tech/wikileaks-offers-20000-for-information-about-seth-richs-killer/


RobinG , December 30, 2016 at 4:02 pm GMT

@map I wish people would stop making a big deal out of John Kerry's and Barack Obama's recent stance on Israel. Neither of them are concerned about whatever injustice happened to the Palestinians.

What they are concerned with is Israeli actions discrediting the anti-white, anti-national globalism program before it has successfully destroyed all of the white nations. That is the real reason why they want a two-state solution or a right of return. If nationalists can look at the Israeli example as a model for how to proceed then that will cause a civil war among leftists and discredit the entire left-wing project.

Trump, therefore, pushing support for Israel's national concerns is not him bending to AIPAC. It is a shrewd move that forces an internecine conflict between left-wing diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews. It is a conflict Bibi is willing to have because the pet project of leftism would necessarily result in Israel either being unlivable or largely extinct for its Jewish population. This NWO being pushed by the diaspora is not something that will be enjoyed by Israeli Jews.

Consider the problem. The problem is that Palestinians have revanchist claims against Israel. Those revanchist claims do not go away just because they get their own country or they get a right of return. Either "solution" actually strengthens the Palestinian claim against Israel and results in a vastly reduced security stance and quality of life for Israelis. The diaspora left is ok with that because they want to continue importing revanchist groups into Europe and America to break down white countries. So, Israel makes a small sacrifice for the greater good of anti-whitism, a deal that most Israelis do not consider very good for themselves. Trump's support for Israeli nationalism short-circuits this project.

Of course, one could ask: why don't the Israeli Jews just move to America? What's the big deal if Israel remains in the middle east? The big deal is the kind of jobs and activities available for Israelis to do. A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash. Everyone can't be a doctor, a lawyer or a banker. Tradesmen, technicians, workers are all required to get a project like Israel off the ground and maintained. How many of these Israelis doing scut work in Israel for a greater good want to do the same scut work in America just to get by?

The problem operates in reverse for American Jews. A Jew with an American law degree is of no use to Israelis outside of the money he brings and whether he can throw out the trash. Diaspora Jews, therefore, have no reason to try and live and work in Israel.

So, again, we see that Trump's move is a masterstroke. Even his appointment to counter the coup with Zionists is brilliant, since these Zionists are rich enough to both live anywhere and indulge their pride in nationalist endeavors.

"A real nation requires a lot of scut work. Someone has to do the plumbing, unplug the sewers, drive the nails, throw out the trash."

Perhaps you'd like to discuss why so much of this and other "scut work" is done by Palestinians, while an increasing number of Israeli Jews are on the dole.

RobinG , December 30, 2016 at 4:32 pm GMT

@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

"As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right . "

THEN WHY DOESN'T HE DO WHAT'S RIGHT? As Seamus Padraig pointed out, the UN abstention is "just more empty symbolism."
Meanwhile
The Christmas Eve attack on the First Amendment
The approval of arming terrorists in Syria
The fake news about Russian hacking throwing Killary's election

Aid to terrorists is a felony. Obama should be indicted.

Art , December 30, 2016 at 4:49 pm GMT

@RobinG Hi Art,

I try to write clearly, but if this is your response I've failed miserably. My interest in the hacking is nil.

What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia.

Obama has been providing weapons, training, air support and propaganda for Terrorists via their affiliates in Syria, and now directly. This is a felony, if not treason.

What I have against Obama is his regime-change war in Syria, his State Department enabled coup in Ukraine, his support of Saudi war/genocide against Yemen, his destruction of Libya, his demonization of Putin, and his bringing us to a status near war in our relations with Russia.

RobinG - Agree 100% – some times I get things crossed up - Peace Art

Tomster , December 30, 2016 at 5:03 pm GMT

@Mark Green This is a good article but there's been a sudden shift. Incredibly, Obama has finally gotten some balls in his dealings with Israel. And Trump is starting to sound like a neocon!

Maybe Trump is worried enough about a potential coup to dump his 'America First' platform (at least for now) to shore up vital Jewish support for his teetering inauguration. This ploy will require a lot of pro-Zionist noise and gesturing. Consequently, Trump is starting to play a familiar political role. And the Zio-friendly media is holding his feet to the fire.

Has the smell of fear pushed Trump over the edge and into the lap of the Zionist establishment? It's beginning to look that way.

Or is Trump just being a fox?

Let's face it: nobody can pull out all the stops better than Israel's Fifth Column. They've got the money, the organization skills, the media leverage, and the raw intellectual moxie to make political miracles/disasters happen. Trump wants them on his side. So he's is tacitly cutting a last-minute deal with the Israelis. Trump's Zionized rhetoric (and political appointments) prove it.

This explains the apparent reversal that's now underway. Obama's pushing back while Trump is accommodating. And, as usual, the Zions are dictating the Narrative.

As Israel Shamir reminds us: there's nothing as liberating to a politician as leaving office. Therefore, Obama is finally free to do what's right. Trump however is facing no such luxury. And Bibi is more defiant than ever. This is high drama. And Trump is feeling the heat.

Indeed, outgoing Sec. John Kerry just delivered a major speech where he reiterated strongly US support for a real 'Two State' solution in Israel/Palestine.

And I thought the Two State Solution was dead.

Didn't you?

Kerry also criticized Israel's ongoing confiscation of the Occupied Territories. It was a brilliant analysis that Kerry gave without the aid of a teleprompter. Hugely impressive. Even so, Kerry did not throw Israel under the bus, as claimed. His speech was extremely fair.

This renewed, steadfast American position, coupled with the UNSC's unanimous vote against Israel (which Obama permitted by not casting the usual US veto) has set the stage for a monumental showdown. Israel has never been more isolated. But it's Trump--not Obama--that's looking weak in the face of Israeli pressure.

Indeed, the international Jewish establishment remains uniquely powerful. They may be hated (and appropriately so) but they get things accomplished in the political arena. Trump understands this all-too-well.

Will Trump--out of fear and necessity--run with the mega-powerful Jews who tried to sabotage his campaign?--Or will he stay strong with America First and avoid "any more disasterous wars". It's impossible to say. Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

I get the feeling that even Trump is unsure of where all this is going. But the situation is fast approaching critical mass. Something's gotta give. The entire world is fed up with Israel.

Will Trump blink and take the easy road with the Zions?--Or will he summon Putin's independent, nationalistic spirit and stay the course of 'America First'?

Unfortunately, having scrutinized the Zions in action for decades, I'm fearful that Trump will go Pure Washington and run with the Israeli-Firsters. This will fortify his shaky political foundation. I hope that I'm wrong about this but the Zions are brilliantly equipped to play both sides of America's political divide. No politician is immune to their machinations.

Most of the Western world is much sicker of the head-choppers in charge of our 'human rights' at the UN (thanks to Obama and the UK) than it is of Israel. It is they, not we, who have funded ISIS directly.

Tomster , December 30, 2016 at 5:14 pm GMT @alexander

Dear Mr. Petras,

It seems that our POTUS has just chosen to eject 35 Russian diplomats from our country, on grounds of hacking the election against Hillary.

Is this some weird, preliminary "shot across the bow" in preparation for the coming "coup attempt" you seem to believe is in the offing ?

It seem the powers-that-be are pulling out all the stops to prevent an authentic rapprochement with Moscow.

What for ?

It makes you wonder if there is more to this than meets the eye, something beyond the sanguine disgruntlement of the party bosses and a desire for payback against Hillary's big loss ?

Does anyone know if Russia is more aware than most Americans of certain classified details pertaining to stuff.....like 9-11 ?

Why is cooperation between the new administration and Moscow so scary to these people that they would initiate a preemptive diplomatic shut down ?

They seem to be dead set on welding shut every single diplomatic door to the Kremlin there is , before Trumps inauguration.

Perhaps something "else "is being planned........Does anyone have any ideas whats going on ?

What does Russian intelligence know? Err perhaps something like that the US/UK have sold nukes to the head-choppers of the riyadh caliphate, say (knowing how completely mad their incestuous brains are?). Who knows? – but such a fact could explain many inexplicable things.

Tomster , December 30, 2016 at 5:16 pm GMT

@map The revanchist claim that I refer to is psychological, not moral or legal. Palestinians think their land was stolen in the same way Mexicans think Texas and California were stolen. That feeling will not change just because they get a two-state solution or a right of return. What it will result in is a comfortable base from which to continue to operate against Israel, one that Israel can't afford.

It is Nationalism 101 not to allow revanchist groups in your country.

The leftists are being consistent in their ideology by opposing Israel, because they are fully on board going after what looks like a white country attacking brown people and demanding not to be dismantled by anti-nationalist policies. Trump suggesting the capital go to Jerusalem and supporting Bibi is just triangulation against the left.

I feel sorry for the Palestinians and I think they have been treated very shabbily. They did lose a lot as any refugee population would and they should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East. I don't know who is using them or for what purpose.

"treated very shabbily" indeed, by other Arabs – who have done virtually nothing for them.

alexander , December 30, 2016 at 5:28 pm GMT

@Seamus Padraig

An alternative hypothesis is that the Wikileaks material was, in fact, leaked by members of the Democratic campaign itself.
His name was Seth Rich, and he did software for the DNC.

Given all the hoaky, "evidence free" punitive assaults being launched against Moscow today .combined with the profusion of utterly fraudulent narratives foisted down the throats of the American people over the last sixteen years

Its NOT outside of reason to take a good hard look at the "Seth Rich incident" and reconstruct an outline of events(probably) much closer to the truth than the big media would ever be willing to discuss or admit.

Namely, that Seth Rich, a young decent kid (27) who was working as the data director for the campaign, came across evidence of "dirty pool" within the voting systems during the DNC nomination ,which were fraudulently (and maybe even blatantly) tilting the results towards Hillary.

He probably did the "right thing" by notifying one of the DNC bosses of the fraud ..who informed him he would look into it and that he should keep it quite for the moment

.I wouldn't be surprised if Seth reached out to a reporter , too, probably at the at the NY Times, who informed his editor who, in turn, had such deep connections to the Hillary corruption machine that he placed a call to a DNC backroom boss who , at some point, made the decision to take steps to shut Seth's mouth, permanently ."just make it look like a robbery (or something)"

Seth, not being stupid, and knowing he had the dirt on Hillary that could crush her (as well as the reputation of the entire democratic party) probably reached out to Julian Assange, too, to hedge his bets.

In the interview Julian gave shortly after Seth's death, he intimated that Seth was the leak, although he did not state it outright.

Something like this sequence of events (with perhaps a few alterations ) is probably quite close to what actually happened.

So here we have a scenario, where the D.N.C. Oligarchs , so corrupt, so evil, so disdainful of the electorate, and the democratic process , rig the nomination results (on multiple levels) for Hillary..and when the evidence of this is found, by a decent young kid with his whole life ahead of him, they had him shot in the back ..four times

And then "Big Media for Hillary", rather than investigate this horrific tragedy and expose the dirty malevolence at play within the DNC , quashes the entire narrative and grafts in its place the"substitute" Putin hacks .. demanding faux accountability culminating with sanctions and ejections of the entire Russian diplomatic corp .all on the grounds of attempting to "sully American Democracy"
.

But hey, that's life in the USA .Right, Seamus ?

joe webb , December 30, 2016 at 6:15 pm GMT

@map The revanchist claim that I refer to is psychological, not moral or legal. Palestinians think their land was stolen in the same way Mexicans think Texas and California were stolen. That feeling will not change just because they get a two-state solution or a right of return. What it will result in is a comfortable base from which to continue to operate against Israel, one that Israel can't afford.

It is Nationalism 101 not to allow revanchist groups in your country.

The leftists are being consistent in their ideology by opposing Israel, because they are fully on board going after what looks like a white country attacking brown people and demanding not to be dismantled by anti-nationalist policies. Trump suggesting the capital go to Jerusalem and supporting Bibi is just triangulation against the left.

I feel sorry for the Palestinians and I think they have been treated very shabbily. They did lose a lot as any refugee population would and they should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East. I don't know who is using them or for what purpose.

good points. Yet, Palestinians "They should be comfortably repatriated around the Muslim Middle East." sounds pretty much like an Israel talking point. How about
Israel should be dissolved and the Jews repatriated around Europe and the US?

Not being an Idea world, but a Biological World, revanchism is true enough up to a point. Of course The Revanchists of All Time are the jews, or the zionists, to speak liberalize.

As for feelings that don't change, there is a tendency for feelings to change over time, especially when a "legal" document is signed by the participating parties. I have long advocated that the Jews pay for the land they stole, and that that payment be made to a new Palestinian state. A Palestinian with a home, a job, a family, and a nice car makes a lot of difference, just like anywhere else.

(We paid the Mexicans in a treaty that presumably ended the Mexican war. This is a normal state of affairs. Mexico only "owned" California, etc, for about 25 years, and I do not think paid the injuns anything for their land at the time. Also, if memory serves, I think Pat Buchanan claimed somewhere that there were only about 10,000 Mexicans in California at the time, or maybe in the whole area under discussion..)

How Palestine stolen property, should be evaluated I leave to the experts. Jews would appear to have ample resources and could pony up the dough.

The biggest problem is the US evangelicals and equally important, the nice Episcopalians and so on, even the Catholic Church which used to Exclude Jews now luving them. This is part of our National Religion. The Jews are god's favorites, and nobody seems to mind. Kill an Arab for Christ is the national gut feeling, except when it gets too expensive or kills too many Americans.

As I have said, Trump is in between the rock and the hard place. If he wants to end the Jewish Wars in the ME, he cannot luv the jews, and especially he cannot start lobbing bombs around too much even over Isis and the dozens of jihadist groups, especially now in Syria.

Sorry but your "comfortably repatriated" is a real howler. There is no comfort to be had by anybody in the ME. And, like Jews with regard to your points about revanchism in general, Palestinians have not blended into the general Arab populations of other countries, like Lebanon, etc.. Using your own logic, the Palestinians will continue to nurse their grievances no matter where they are, just like the Jews.

The neocon goals of failed states in the Arab World has been largely accomplished and the only way humpty-dumpty will be put back together again is for tough Arab Strong Men to reestablish order. Like Assad, like Hussein, etc. Arab IQ is about 85 in general. There is not going to be
democracy/elections/civics lessons per the White countries's genetic predisposition.\

For that matter, Jews are not democrats. Left alone Israel, wherever it is, reverts to Rabbinic Control and Jehovah, the Warrior God, reigns. Fact is , that is where Israel is heading anyway. Jews never invented free speech and rule of law, nor did Arabs, or any other race on the planet.

The Jews With Nukes is of World Historical Importance. And Whites have given them the Bomb, just as Whites have given Third World inferior races, access to the Northern Cornucopia of wealth, both spiritual and material. They will , like the jews, exploit free speech and game the economic system.

All Semites Out! Ditto just about everybody else, starting with the Chinese.

finally, if the jews had any real brains, they would get out of a neighborhood that hates them for their jewishness, their Thefts, and their Wars. Otoh, Jews seem to thrive on being hated more than any other race or ethnic group. Chosen to Always Complain.
Joe Webb


Realist , December 30, 2016 at 6:57 pm GMT • 100 Words

Trump has absolutely no support in the media. With the Fox News and Fox Business, first string, talking heads on vacation (minimal support) the second and third string are insanely trying to push the Russian hacking bullshit. Trump better realize that the only support he has are the people that voted for him.

January 2017 will be a bad month for this country and the rest of 2017 much worse.

lavoisier says: • Website Show Comment Next New Comment December 31, 2016 at 1:38 am GMT • 100 Words

@joe webb

Sorry Joe, the "whites" did not give the Jews the atomic bomb. In truth, the Jews were critically important in developing the scientific ideas and technology critical to making the first atomic bomb.

I can recognize Jewish malfeasance where it exists, but to ignore their intellectual contributions to Western Civilization is sheer blindness.

[Dec 27, 2016] Democracy Is Dying as Technocrats Watch

Replace Technocrats with Neoliberals. Somewhat stupid laments of a neoliberal economist, who feels that his plush position might be soon engaged... Under the smoke screen of identity politics (exemplified by gay and lesbian rights and "gay marriage" gambit desired to distract from important economic processes in the country ) neoliberals destroyed unions, outsourced manufacturing and now are outsourcing service sector, and lowered the standard living of the US middle class, while top 1% became filthy rich... they behave like the occupiers of the country so "Occupy Wall Street" movement should actually be called "liberation of the country from Wall Street occupation" movement.
Notable quotes:
"... This is most obvious in the case of Trump, who devoted a large share of his presidential campaign not just to attacking democratic norms but also to attacking the technocratic experts who have come to symbolize democracy in the United States. ..."
"... Technocrats do not even have a good answer for technocratic-sounding attacks on democracy. ..."
"... Whether because of the incompetence of experts or just a string of bad luck, democracies haven't been performing very well lately. ..."
"... The foreign-policy experts guided wars on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq that seemingly made terrorism worse. Domestic economists gave us the 2008 financial crisis - and a response afterward that bailed out banks too big to fail but treated families losing homes as too small to care about. Dictator-run China is taking over ever larger chunks of the world economy while U.S. wages stagnate. ..."
"... Experts often cannot agree on "what works" or even what already happened. Some experts could still credibly argue that in the long run democracies worldwide outperform dictatorships on average, but there is disagreement, and few have the patience to wait for long-run world averages to reassert themselves. ..."
"... As the economist John Stuart Mill said almost 150 years ago, the true test of freedom is not whether we care about our own rights but whether we care about "the rights of others." ..."
Dec 23, 2016 | foreignpolicy.com

This is most obvious in the case of Trump, who devoted a large share of his presidential campaign not just to attacking democratic norms but also to attacking the technocratic experts who have come to symbolize democracy in the United States.

...the technocrats who now monopolize the country's political elite would be incapable of fighting back.

Technocrats have always shown little interest in fights over fundamental values. ...So when technocrats are all we have to defend democracy, fights over fundamental values become embarrassingly one-sided. Technocrats do not even have a good answer for technocratic-sounding attacks on democracy. Technocrats' defense of democracy on the basis of "what works" was always vulnerable because the anti-democratic side was not going to be maximally scrupulous about the evidence in any case. It also makes liberal values hostages to fortune.

Whether because of the incompetence of experts or just a string of bad luck, democracies haven't been performing very well lately.

The foreign-policy experts guided wars on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq that seemingly made terrorism worse. Domestic economists gave us the 2008 financial crisis - and a response afterward that bailed out banks too big to fail but treated families losing homes as too small to care about. Dictator-run China is taking over ever larger chunks of the world economy while U.S. wages stagnate.

Experts often cannot agree on "what works" or even what already happened. Some experts could still credibly argue that in the long run democracies worldwide outperform dictatorships on average, but there is disagreement, and few have the patience to wait for long-run world averages to reassert themselves. Which is why the principal defense of democratic values must be that they are desirable in themselves as values - something technocrats are not trained to do Which is not to suggest they don't have any resources at their disposal. My own field of economics can be so technical that whenever I give a talk mentioning values, I feel like I have to apologize.

Yet economics is better equipped to defend values than usually believed. At the core of models of economic behavior is individual choice. Hidden in plain sight is the assumption that all individuals - whether male, female, white, black, gay, Muslim, or Latino - should indeed have equal rights to make decisions for themselves. The assumptions that guide analysis of what makes people better off embody the same respect for individual choice - we infer A is better than B for an individual if they voluntarily selected A over B. And if an individual chose something for himself or herself that did not make anyone else worse off, we say that overall well-being improved.

Although these principles are more than a century old in economics and are still at the core of our textbooks, they get sporadic attacks and less attention than they should due to our infatuation with evidence-based policy. Yet as Harvard University economist Edward Glaeser argued along the same lines in 2011, economics still has a "moral spine" beneath all the technocracy: "That spine is a fundamental belief in freedom."

As the economist John Stuart Mill said almost 150 years ago, the true test of freedom is not whether we care about our own rights but whether we care about "the rights of others."

But can economics provide a conception of democracy that truly protects the "rights of others"? The field does indeed offer a potential defense against one of the core democratic dangers - the possibility that a tyrannical majority might vote to violate the rights of some minority group. Economists teach that it's in a majority party's interest to conduct a simple thought experiment before making political decisions: Since it's impossible to know for sure that they will always be in the majority, and they could always wind up as part of some minority that some future majority decides to tyrannize, they should make political decisions behind a so-called "veil of ignorance" that sets aside their personal status and group affiliations. And anyone running that thought experiment faithfully would join a coalition to protect all future minority and individual rights.

Needless to say, the "veil of ignorance" thought experiment is ultimately a voluntary exercise. This year's U.S. election tore the veil of ignorance to shreds and not for the first time. Many white men apparently did not perceive, or consider, this "ignorance" about the future, feeling confident that they will always have enough power to protect themselves and thus are free not to vote to protect the rights of others.

The long campaign for equal rights, by mixing eloquent moral appeals with "veil of ignorance" warnings, has nevertheless tried to make us all care just enough about other groups to forge a broad coalition in favor of democracy. Our technocratic age often sees such appeals as sentimentalism - more suitable for refrigerator magnets than serious debates. But Trump's attack on core values required a response of such universal moral appeals - to white people as well as to minorities - instead of Clinton's coalition of minorities and the 41-point plan of measurable outcomes on her website.

Democratic values have never been capable of defending themselves - equal rights require eloquent defenses capable of building broad alliances on their behalf. History offers plenty of inspiration. Abraham Lincoln: "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it." Martin Luther King Jr.: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Elie Wiesel: "Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe."

[Dec 27, 2016] Neopopulism

Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs -> Peter K.... December 26, 2016 at 07:15 AM neopopulism: A cultural and political movement, mainly in Latin American countries, distinct from twentieth-century populism in radically combining classically opposed left-wing and right-wing attitudes and using electronic media as a means of dissemination. (Wiktionary)

[Dec 26, 2016] Neoliberals as closet Trotskyites are adamant neo-McCarthyists eager to supress any dissent, as soon as they feel it starts to influence public opinion

"You control the message, and the facts do not matter. "
Notable quotes:
"... That's funny. Neoliberals are closet Trotskyites and they will let you talk only is specially designated reservations, which are irrelevant (or, more correctly, as long as they are irrelevant) for swaying the public opinion. ..."
"... If you think they are for freedom of the press, you are simply delusional. They are for freedom of the press for those who own it. ..."
"... Try to get dissenting views to MSM or academic magazines. Yes, they will not send you to GULAG, but the problem is that ostracism works no less effectively. That the essence of "inverted totalitarism" (another nickname for neoliberalism). You can substitute physical repression used in classic totalitarism with indirect suppression of dissenting opinions with the same, or even better results. Note that even the term "neoliberalism" is effectively censored and not used by MSM. ..."
"... And the resulting level of suppressing of opposition (which is the essence of censorship) is on the level that would make the USSR censors blush. And if EconomistView gets too close to anti-neoliberal platform it will instantly find itself in the lists like PropOrNot ..."
Dec 26, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
likbez -> EMichael... December 26, 2016 at 04:20 PM
"Then of course, it is easy to attack the neoliberals, they'll actually let you talk."

That's funny. Neoliberals are closet Trotskyites and they will let you talk only is specially designated reservations, which are irrelevant (or, more correctly, as long as they are irrelevant) for swaying the public opinion.

They are all adamant neo-McCarthyists, if you wish and will label you Putin stooge in no time [, if you try to escape the reservation].

If you think they are for freedom of the press, you are simply delusional. They are for freedom of the press for those who own it.

Try to get dissenting views to MSM or academic magazines. Yes, they will not send you to GULAG, but the problem is that ostracism works no less effectively. That the essence of "inverted totalitarism" (another nickname for neoliberalism). You can substitute physical repression used in classic totalitarism with indirect suppression of dissenting opinions with the same, or even better results. Note that even the term "neoliberalism" is effectively censored and not used by MSM.

See Sheldon Wolin writings about this.

And the resulting level of suppressing of opposition (which is the essence of censorship) is on the level that would make the USSR censors blush. And if EconomistView gets too close to anti-neoliberal platform it will instantly find itself in the lists like PropOrNot

http://www.propornot.com/p/the-list.html

[Dec 26, 2016] Russian Hacker Conspiracy Theory is Weak, But the Case For Paper Ballots is Strong

Dec 26, 2016 | politics.slashdot.org
(facebook.com) 286 Posted by msmash on Thursday November 24, 2016 @01:01PM from the stranger-things dept. On Wednesday, J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan's Center for Computer Security & Society and a respected voice in computer science and information society, said that the Clinton Campaign should ask for a recount of the vote for the U.S. Presidential election . Later he wrote, "Were this year's deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyberattack? Probably not. I believe the most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked. But I don't believe that either one of these seemingly unlikely explanations is overwhelmingly more likely than the other." The Outline, a new publication by a dozen of respected journalists, has published a post (on Facebook for now, since their website is still in the works), in which former Motherboard's reporter Adrianne Jeffries makes it clear that we still don't have concrete evidence that the vote was tampered with, but why still the case for paper ballots is strong . From the article: Halderman also repeats the erroneous claim that federal agencies have publicly said that senior officials in Russia commissioned attacks on voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois. In October, federal agencies attributed the Democratic National Committee email hack to Russia, but specifically said they could not attribute the state hacks. Claims to the contrary seem to have spread due to anonymous sourcing and the conflation of Russian hackers with Russian state-sponsored hackers. Unfortunately, the Russia-hacked-us meme is spreading fast on social media and among disaffected Clinton voters. "It's just ignorance," said the cybersecurity consultant Jeffrey Carr, who published his own response to Halderman on Medium. "It's fear and ignorance that's fueling that." The urgency comes from deadlines for recount petitions, which start kicking in on Friday in Wisconsin, Monday in Pennsylvania, and the following Wednesday in Michigan. There is disagreement about how likely it is that the Russian government interfered with election results. There is little disagreement, however, that our voting system could be more robust -- namely, by requiring paper ballot backups for electronic voting and mandating that all results be audited, as they already are in some states including California. Despite the 150,000 signatures collected on a Change.org petition, what happens next really comes down to the Clinton team's decision.

[Dec 26, 2016] Young Sanders Campaign Aides Plan Anti-Trump Permanent Protest Base in Washington

Notable quotes:
"... "Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids – all while the very rich become much richer. ..."
"... "To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him." ..."
Dec 26, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Sanders betrayed them, but they still use him as a flag...
PlutoniumKun , December 25, 2016 at 6:27 am

This is inspiring, but I hope they realise that opposing Trump is just one side of a two-front battle. Trump needs to be opposed when (as seems very likely) he will start to drive a very right wing pro-billionaire set of policies. But its increasingly obvious that there is an equally difficult battle to be fought against the 'centrists' in the Dems and elsewhere. If all the focus is on Trump, then there is the danger they just become the useful idiots of the Dem mainstream.

Wyoming , December 25, 2016 at 8:18 am

I would go so far to say that their greatest opponent and biggest danger is not Trump and the Republicans at all. It is the Democratic Party and pretty much every significant office holding Democrat and their staffs.

Revolution starts at home. Fighting with Republicans will not accomplish much when the fifth columnists from the Democratic Party are going to sabotage every effort they make which shows promise of having an effect. They need to show their power by hamstringing targeted Democrats and thus herding the rest into line through fear. You do what we say and how we say it or we replace you. They have to own the left. No more liberal's in name only. You are against us or you are with us.

johnnygl , December 25, 2016 at 8:38 am

Primary them all! Schumer, pelosi, the whole bunch.

Win in 2020 and redraw those districts to wipe out those super-safe ones that are drawn to wipe out competition.

Vatch , December 25, 2016 at 11:17 am

I agree - they must be opposed in the primaries. That's tough to do, and will take real dedication and money. The deplorable Debbie Wasserman Schultz won against Tim Canova in the 2016 primary, and the equally deplorable Chuck Schumer won reelection in 2016, so he won't be facing a primary opponent until the 2022 election season. Pelosi, of course is vulnerable every two years.

Please need to be willing to do more than just post comments on blogs. And lets not have any more of those comments bewailing the impossibility of overthrowing the status quo - it's difficult, but it's not impossible. (This paragraph isn't directed specifically to you, JohnnyGL or PlutoniumKun. I'm just concerned that some other commenters seem to try to prevent people from taking an active role in politics, and that is just plain wrong.)

Katharine , December 25, 2016 at 9:12 am

I think opposing Trump will naturally entail telling the centrists to shape up. That is of course only a start, but it is a start.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , December 25, 2016 at 11:37 am

Sanders started, many moths ago, with the goal of taking over/reforming/remaking/revolutionizing the D party.

That start is not completed yet.

jrs , December 25, 2016 at 12:06 pm

uh why fight against a party with NO federal power? (state power in a few states so maybe relevant there)

Even if you get unanimous Dem opposition how much does it matter? Ok the Rs don't quite have a super-majority yet I guess but it is Rs who will be passing legislation. Fighting Dems is about like fighting WWII after it's all over. They have mouthpieces and foundations it is true, but no power.

Sorrynotsorry , December 25, 2016 at 6:43 am

Bwah ha ha ha ha! What are they doing? Anything except, you know, voting

Synoia , December 25, 2016 at 7:16 am

Better message is to be pro a set of policies:
1. Medicare for all
2. SS are a real retirement system
3. Job Guarantee
4. College for all – student debt
5. Taxes as social and business policy
6. No permanent standing military

Merry Christmas to all

Direction , December 25, 2016 at 7:43 am

7. Money out of politics
8. Corporations are not people with inalienable rights.

Dirk77 , December 25, 2016 at 11:58 am

Irritated by the identity politics of the main article. That and would they have opened an office if Hillary had won? If not, I fear they don't understand and are doomed to repeat the same mistakes of their elders.

+1 to you and Synoia. Merry Christmas!

Reify99 , December 25, 2016 at 10:01 am

Sanders is always on point moving toward the goal with minimal time spent talking about moving away from what Is opposed. Here's a sometime humorous case in point–

A candid conversation: Bernie Sanders and Sara Silverman

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mP5xavI0d_o&sns=em

Knifecatcher , December 25, 2016 at 11:23 am

Waaaaay too many bullet points already, and I see that others are adding more. Not that I'm saying any of those are unimportant, but when you have a dozen goals you actually have none at all. My ideal progressive movement would hammer relentlessly on 3 major initiatives:

– Medicare for all
– $15 minimum wage
– Post office banking

All 3 provide tangible benefits to the majority of Americans, with the added bonus of poking a sharp stick in the eye of the oligarchs.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , December 25, 2016 at 11:39 am

Perhaps these 2:

– Medicare and one Single Pesion (Socia Security) for all
– Basic Income (before retirement) for all

Steeeve , December 25, 2016 at 1:28 pm

I definitely agree about keeping the list of priorities short, but I feel that these two areas are foundational and systemically corrupting, and little else is likely to be accomplished without major reforms of both

– MIC/"Defense" spending (mostly spent on offense, not defending the borders of the USA from invasion)
– Campaign Finance – big money in politics

floatingcopy , December 25, 2016 at 8:15 am

9. Lifelong job education and skills-building for all unemployed and under-employed, paid for directly from corporate taxes.
10. Universal two-year commitment to the military or a full-time volunteer public service program.

johnnygl , December 25, 2016 at 8:43 am

11. Rewilding and reforesting polluted and abandoned land.
12. Anti-trust! More trust-busting needed!
13. Agricultural reform to ban feedlots, fertilizers and pesticides and reorganize farms to restore and rebuild soil. And yes, this will create jobs.

Marco , December 25, 2016 at 1:45 pm

13 points already? We're toast.

jrs , December 25, 2016 at 12:20 pm

"9. Lifelong job education and skills-building for all unemployed and under-employed, paid for directly from corporate taxes."

people don't know what a nightmare such scenarios are, ok it sucks if you are underemployed and have no way to retrain because finances, but it also sucks big league if you have to spend your entire life working full time AND pursuing more and more formal education, forever until you die. Is any of our utopias going to care about human beings being able to BE human beings? We are so so much more than just useful labor machines forever aquiring labor market useful skills.

Ok course a basic income guarantee or a labor market tilted for labor not capital (including government job creation sure – and sure there's other things that can tilt it for labor – lower Social Security age, unionization etc.) would nullify this objection as the competition for jobs would lessen enough perhaps.

"10. Universal two-year commitment to the military or a full-time volunteer public service program."

well this is even more self-evidently nightmarish but it hardly needs unpacking. 2 years of becoming hired killers for the imperialist murder machine. Yea I know you didn't specify military as mandatory, I'm just saying what is being encouraged.

DJG , December 25, 2016 at 12:48 pm

jrs: Agreed. Points 9 and 10 are non-starters. They will not lessen class warfare. Only a jobs policy and a commitment to full employment will. And this idea that U.S. citizens have to be drafted into some regimented public-service program isn't helpful.

But let's talk about reopening the Civilian Conservation Corps, as in point 11. Now that is a genuinely good idea. And people would gladly join–without feeling regimented.

Direction , December 25, 2016 at 8:28 am

There was an interesting debate around the water cooler links on Festivus. I would like to recap and extend it here because I want to know more. First about how you, Lambert, see the take over of a single state Democratic party office breaking open a path to reform the party from within. I would like to hear what scenarios you feel are possible.

Walden pond wrote
"The elite control the D party (which is nothing but a criminal organization at this point). They will allow outsiders to have dog-catcher, but get uppity and run for a state position and that person will be out in an instant. The Ds are factually/legally a private club and they can select their membership and candidates in any way they choose or get a court to back them on every petty legal change they make to block outsiders. They change rules (legal contract) retroactively, they violate their own rules repeatedly and someone thinks they are going to get any farther than a few school board positions or city council is going to fail.

Taking over the D party is similar to proposing infiltrating gangs (fully backed by the legal system) with 13 year olds to 'save the neighborhood'."

I whole heartedly agree. I think it's important that people understand that the party is not just a "machine" waiting for someone new to guide it. It is not a set of empty offices and poster printing machines with helpful local people waiting for guidance. At the top, it is much more like an exclusive country club whose membership passes down through wealthy families who think they know what's best for the nation.

Anyhow, if you have a strategy on how to break it, I would like to support that discussion. I would like to hear more.

Montanamaven , December 25, 2016 at 12:47 pm

I'm glad you carried this discussion over to today. People hear have heard my sad tales of woe when I decided in 2004 to stop being inattentive and to actually try "to change the party from within" that talk show hosts like Thom Hartmann and "The Nation" gang call for every 4 years. Yes, I discovered what Walden Pond wrote; that there is an "elite" control of the state parties. They are almost hereditary positions. Yes, they will get excited by a newbie like me who was articulate, worked in Hollywood, married to a rancher for conservative creeds. But then I started to challenge their positions by advocating for single payer; stronger labor stances that they all paId lip service to but didn't really seem to care about. So no longer was I allowed to talk to the press at the DNC Convention. As I recall in 2006 or 2007 they changed a rule to make it harder to challenge Jon Tester in a primary.
Affairs like "Campaign for America's Future" conventions were always in D.C. And during the 2nd one I went to, I confirmed by observations that they were just big job fairs for people wanting jobs in the next administration or becoming lobbyists. That was actually what the convention in 2004 was too that I attended as a delegate. "Agriculture Salutes Tom Harking"; brought to you not by The Grange but by Monsanto and Carroll. Lavish party with handsome young men shucking tons of oysters. Ick.
I went in naive as I suspect many well meaning millennials will do now to this "house". But boy did I start to wake up and finally by 2009 after the failed single payer health care movement, I quit this dead donkey.

JohnnyGL , December 25, 2016 at 1:31 pm

Christmas Rant!!! ***You've been warned***

There's a lot of contentious debate on whether to fight in the Democrat Party or build a 3rd one. The answer is both, always and constantly.

1) Start the fight within the Party, as seen in MI. What happened there is important to expose and embarrass the local party officials. I consider the incident an encouraging sign and hope there are more like it around the country (not happy with the guy getting assaulted, of course, but if it shows 'they are who we thought they were', then that's progress of a sort).

2) If you can fight within the party and the party leadership at the state level understands the need to change and gets on board (getting on board as defined by fighting for specific policies, organizing and party building, and going against the wishes of big donors), then work with them.

3) if the big donors and dinosaur party leaders don't get on board, then then need to be A) removed, if possible. Or, if not possible, B) they should be isolated. If Schumer and Pelosi can't be primary-ed out of existence (a-la Eric Cantor) then they should be stripped of leadership positions and isolated. Primary all of their allies in congress. Pelosi still got around 2/3 of the vote. Let's get it below 1/2. We're not starting from scratch, there's a base of opposition to work with.

4) Part of the contention between points 2) and 3) is protests like those seen recently protesting at Schumer's office by BLM and Occupy folks. Again, make them come to us on policy. Life should get increasingly uncomfortable for Party leaders and members that don't play ball. It should be clear that their current attitudes and policies are untenable and they need to get with the new program. Hassle them in their offices, at their public events. Anti-fracking protestors who harassed Cuomo over several years showed what to do. I think one of his kids joked that when they got lost on the way to an event, they could always find where they were going because the anti-fracking protestors were there waiting for them.

People like Pelosi and Schumer will cave to public pressure, they've done it in the past. Pelosi said no to medicare changes when Obama wanted to put entitlement reform on the table. These people are different than ideologues who will push their agenda regardless of public opinion. They're snakes, but they'll play ball under pressure.

5) Now in the case where we can't with the fight within the party, go outside. Socialist Alternative, Working Families and other 3rd parties that are built up at the local level can threaten and do real damage. Does anyone think Seattle gets a $15/hr min. wage without Sawant and Socialist Alternative? Working Families Party demonstrated exactly what NOT to do during NY Governor election. If Cuomo won't come to us and meet our demands, bring him down. Suck it up, deal with a Republican for a few years, if necessary. While the Republican is in charge, pressure them, too. Don't think about the election right now .that's short termism. Let's think 2, 3, 4 elections out. If you're not winning now, clear out the deadwood to win later.

6) Now, to face up to the 'lesser evil' arguments regarding 5). It's over, there's no more 'lesser evilism'. It's dead. Hillary Clinton and the elite Dems killed it. They put it all on display for all to see. They were willing to crush the left (again), squash voting rights through a variety of means, and risk Trump or another whacky 'Pied Piper' candidate in order to get their anointed candidate put in charge. THAT should tell you EXACTLY who we're dealing with here. They were perfectly willing to risk Trump to win, so that means if a 3rd party can get 3%-5% in a close election and play a spoiler role, then that 3rd party should DO it. Every time. Again, keep doing it until the Democrats adopt the platform of a 3rd party (which, presumably includes fight for $15, medicare for all, no wars, etc). Again, until the Dems come to us on policy, they will be opposed.

But, but Nader brought us Bush who brought us Iraq War! You cannot take risks like that! Must vote lesser evil!!! Oh really? Dems voted for Patriot Act, Dems voted for AUMF over and over again. Dems voted to keep funding the war, too. When Dems don't win the Presidency they want to sit back and wait for Repubs to do awful stuff so that Dems will be back in charge as seen in 2006-8. Pelosi and Reid did NOTHING to deserve a win, they just waited it out until people voted for change again. They want to do this again. We can't let them. Make them do their job. Make them act in opposition. Make them earn their next win, otherwise we'll get the same group and the same policies that have just been discredited.

7) From the article, I like Ahmed's strategy/tactics, but the concept of attacking Trump the person, seems flawed. Remember, policy is what matters!
Nixon passed an amendment that created the EPA. That doesn't happen if you oppose Nixon for who he is. Also, wikipedia reveals that the Clean Water Act got passed in spite of Nixon's veto! If Trump wants to move in the right direction, he should be praised for doing so. If he doesn't, go around him!

Trump is a guy that just slapped the Repub establishment silly and clearly is running at least partially out of vanity more than he wants to collect fat checks when he leaves office (like the Clintons, and probably Obama soon enough). There's value in this, by itself, and there's value on policy grounds, too.

Okay, I'm done. I hope anyone who bothers to read found this enjoyable. Happy for comments. Also, to be clear, I've got no experience in organizing or any kind of playbook to carry this plan out. :) So, feel free to mock my credentials, because they don't exist!

funemployed , December 25, 2016 at 8:49 am

Sigh. We millennials might be smart about policy and pragmatic, but if this is our moonshot, we don't know jack about how to organize a successful social movement. Protesting "Trump" is stupid. Trump is not a policy. He is a person. Is our goal to make him feel bad about himself? And he did win the election. So his administration is, in fact, "legitimate" in any meaningful sense of the word.

I'd have slightly different lists, but I entirely agree that a pro-policy platform is an essential starting point. That said, protests basically always fail, and more often then not IMO, strengthen the opposition. When they succeed, or even make headway like NODAPL, they always share a common set of features.

1) One very specific policy. Today, if I were in charge, I'd choose Federally funded Medicare for all. Never mind details for protesting purposes.

2) A simple, clear message that appeals to values that most people in a body politic can agree on "Health Care is a Civil Right!"

3) A symbol that presents a clear, binary, moral choice. Sorry people, it makes me feel icky too, but this is where we go hunting for a dying grandma or kid with cancer who can't get medical care and make him/her our mascot (ideally, in a purely strategic realm, such person would refuse any care until it was guaranteed to all, then die at a decisive moment, thus becoming a martyr).

4) The ability to bring different folks together to agree on ONE thing. Organized bitch sessions about Obamacare in Trump country might work here, but we'd have to throw shit at the wall and see what stuck. I know for a fact that most Trump supporters, if pressed, will say that a family should not have to choose between impoverishment and treating mom's cancer. But protesting "Trump" is protesting them too, with the main goal of feeling like you are a better person because you know that gender is socially constructed or whatever (as if there is something magical in who you are that is the reason you got to go to a private liberal arts college, and you totally never would have been racist no matter what life circumstances you were born into).

It's not that I'm a single issue person, it's just protesting lots of things at once just makes a lot of noise, and a bunch of people trying to work together with competing agendas (lack of shared vision, in corporate speak), makes all human organizations dysfunctional. Basically, I support many issues, but think mixing them all together is not a good recipe for success.

Steven Greenberg , December 25, 2016 at 9:20 am

Didn't read the article. Seems like a misdirected effort to me. You don't win voters by being against something. You win them by being for something. I am getting tired of the "Ain't It Awful" game. Give me a vision to be for.

There is something called target fixation. When you concentrate on what you want to avoid, you end up going right toward it. Concentrate on where you want to go rather than spend all your time thinking about where you don't want to go.

Reify99 , December 25, 2016 at 10:33 am

This can be demonstrated by asking someone to follow your instructions and then issuing a number of imperative sentences:
Don't think of blue
Don't think about your left earlobe
Don't think about what Crazyman will do with this
Don't think of Trump
Etc

One has to think of those things in order to make sense of the words. Moving away from can be a powerful motivator but only toward will get you there. Sorry, clarifying the obvious again.

Katharine , December 25, 2016 at 10:38 am

This effort is not about winning voters but about blocking really bad policy changes that will hurt millions of people. Organizing for an election campaign and organizing for issue-based activism are not the same. If Barb Mikulski forty-odd years ago had just gone around the city talking about her vision of good communities and good transportation policy, a lot of Baltimore neighborhoods would have been wiped out as the city was cut apart by an ill-placed interstate. She stopped it by organizing a fight against it. More recently, Destiny Watford, still in high school at the time, was the prime mover in the successful fight against an incinerator in her Curtis Bay neighborhood in south Baltimore.

There is a time and a place for everything. There are at least two other organizations focusing on electoral politics. This one has a different purpose.

jrs , December 25, 2016 at 12:34 pm

Yes to be opposed to Trump is because they think a bunch of bad policies will come from his administration and they are likely not wrong. It doesn't need to be about Trump the person at all, though for some deluded people it may be. Now they could broaden it to opposing Paul Ryans congress etc. since they are hardly better but if any legistlaton is actually going to be passed a Republican congress and Trump will be working together.

A single issue focus, say it was Medicare for all, even if it was sucessful, would have let all the other issues a Trump administration will represent slide. Ok so if Trump passes tax cuts say that further enrich the plutocrats, an ever more unequal society might even destroy Medicare for all (the rich will just buy their way out). If Trump passes even more obviously anti-environmental legistlation, the fact Medicare for all was achieved would be a goal of it's own but would not change this. Maybe there are people enough for all movements, I don't know.

craazyman , December 25, 2016 at 10:00 am

Oh man. More identity politics yada yada.

It'll never work & for good reason. It's a form of ideation contrary to gnostic principles and therefore to the highest spiritual values on this plane of existence.

Sad to see hopeful inspired people get lost in that maze of misery. Trust your perceptions in the silence of your mind without looking to anybody else for affirmation. People are people. That's what everybody who can figure things out figures out when they grow up.

Grow up & Merry Christmas. LOL

I'm wishing Trump well & am somewhat hopeful that - through the odd feedback loops in complex systems - the provocations of his originality will shape things in a direction even progressives will find appealing. Maybe I'll be wrong, I admit. But I'm usually not wrong. LOL. (Although I am sometimes, no lie.)

alex morfesis , December 25, 2016 at 10:03 am

Firecracker puppies professional trainer who isists she knows about how people of color feel..hmmm a bunch of photos of ms nadine and her fellow associates something about dc that tells me the demographics are not the same as iowa does not look as she thinks there are any people of color who can train on what "she" calls "non violence" and her "famous" black female puppet to represent and protest against the military because the military is so black and female seems a bit tone deaf

Same old same old chameleons bending to the new hot button funding to keep the lights on

"As the international director of the committee to make noise and get nothing done, we strive to "

And ms bangladeshi her nov 27 tweet that anyone right of the democrats is a fascist does this child have an idea what that word means, or is it something she picked up at one of the "people" conventions she attended or spoke at

Not looking to be hyper cynical on this of all days but seems moumita has spent her entire adult life posing with her megaphone and for someone who is so "out there" mekantz find much about her except her self proclaimed relevance and for a person who claims this large network somewhat smallish set of followers on her chyrping account

I hope I am wrong

Peace on earth and goodwill to all

jrs , December 25, 2016 at 12:39 pm

movements often outgrow their leaders

mad as hell. , December 25, 2016 at 10:40 am

The Washington police will now have to use a search warrant or a battering ram unlike Zuccotti park where night sticks and pepper spray were used. I don't see a problem getting those. Especially after agents have infiltrated. Well at least it is a start which I hope snowballs!

dcblogger , December 25, 2016 at 10:42 am

enter the sans coullottes! I am thrilled and will try to get in contact with them. depend upon it, the American people will turn to those who demonstrate the best ability to push back against Trump. Which is why Bernie has been doing that since the election.

beth , December 25, 2016 at 11:42 am

No, I disagree. Bernie does not push back against Trump. No identity politics, no focus on personalities. Bernie pushes back against wrong-headed policies. Bernie wants policies that benefit the majority.

Let's pray our new president does some good that most of us do not expect. I hope he is more unpredictable than that. I may be wrong but I can hope.

Montanamaven , December 25, 2016 at 10:53 am

Sounds like the Alternet crowd is up to its sheepdogging tactics again. Let's corral young energy and co-opt it for the Democrats. Co-opting is what I call "Skunking" because it sure stinks up the joint.

I'm with the majority here in finding this sad that these "organizers" have decided to go all negative. They are "going to hold him [Trump] accountable and delegitimize literally everything he is doing and not let him succeed." Well, how has that worked out so far.
New thinking and new solutions ae called for, not the same old feel good "protests" and voter drives that professional organizers love to do. If they had done any real introspection they would have come up with ways of forming new coalitions; and also realize the need to keep Schumer and Pelosi as accountable as Trump. But these are still party operatives in younger sheep's clothing. Many are poli sci majors who want to be in politics in Washington as a vocation. See, they are the wise "behind the scenes" people that will guide the "activists" . Ugh. Same old; Same old story.
And this smells of the same DLC Clinton gang since they are calling Trump's victory and presidency illegitimate. Again, they don't want to delve into why she lost. They wants jobs in D.C. And spend their energy "resisting" rather than coming up with anything remotely interesting. This is not Occupy. And I doubt they will embrace young Anarchists.

Denis Drew , December 25, 2016 at 10:55 am

Re: How the Obama Coalition Crumbled, Leaving an Opening for Trump By NATE COHN
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/upshot/how-the-obama-coalition-crumbled-leaving-an-opening-for-trump.html

Wonderful shakeout by Cohn: Trump won by trading places with Obama . O appealed to less educated whites as their protector against the Wall Street candidate (47% time) Romney. (Crackpot) Trump appealed to them with same promise versus Wall Street candidate (true enough) Hill.

Upshot: Dems only have to get busy rebuilding labor union density at the state by progressive state level (or not so progressive; but be seen trying hard). Repubs will have no where to hide: once and for all political checkmate.

For some beginning thoughts and angles on what and how to - see here:
http://ontodayspage.blogspot.com/2016/12/wet-backs-and-narrow-backs-irish.html

We are only asking state legislatures to make possible joining a union if you want to - without running an impassable gauntlet - no complicated policy issues at all.

fosforos , December 25, 2016 at 10:55 am

Totally unpromising that they start with the calamitous premise of the whole Sanders campaign: "a campaign where Bernie specifically said, 'Do not attack the other person." Sanders knew he could run a campaign that would destroy the Clinton, a proven loser on the merits, and thereby make it possible to defeat any of the GOP's dumpster of deplorables, especially the Trumpe-l'oeil. But that would involve a political break with the whole record of the Obama administration in both domestic and foreign policy. So instead Sanders wound up saying the falsest single thing anyone said in the whole campaign–"nobody cares about those damn e-mails."

Yves Smith , December 25, 2016 at 11:56 am

*Sigh*

Sanders did not lose as a result of his position on the e-mails. The GOP was guaranteed to make a big issue of them and did.

walt , December 25, 2016 at 11:21 am

Youth may wish to have their bragging rights for their old age, but Trump has proven that power lies with the voters, who will be driven away to the likes of Reagan by this posturing.

Ahmed has not learned all the lessons of the 1960s.

Gaylord , December 25, 2016 at 11:23 am

We-The-Ppl rejected Gold Sacks's "shitty deal" Hillary, foisted on us by the Dems whose elites "assassinated" the best candidate since JFK; Repubs rejected "fool me again" Jeb in the Primary. Nasty Trump was put there to shoo-in Hill, but it backfired. Democracy? all gone. The Wild West is back.

PhilK , December 25, 2016 at 11:26 am

They're still trying to grab Sanders' mike and take over his show.

Katharine , December 25, 2016 at 11:41 am

He was always the first to point that this show is not about him but about all of us.

Reify99 , December 25, 2016 at 1:12 pm

True, otherwise we're lost in celebrity.

We need both "away from" and "toward" bullet points. The "away from" will naturally target Trump's onerous policies and will generate lots of energy. The "toward" bullet points will also "target" the "fake news" neoliberals because their support will prove to be tepid faint praise and lots of how it can't be done. Energy wise it will be more of a slog. They will also covertly seek to undermine progressive change. They will be called out on their crap.

Billy-bob , December 25, 2016 at 12:48 pm

To the naysayers I say: just shut up and fund it–I just did. It's an experiment and it might work.

At least these yunguns are DOING something.

Reify99 , December 25, 2016 at 1:18 pm

+1

Jamie , December 25, 2016 at 1:11 pm

Why didn't they set up this "permanent base" when Sanders voted for the 700 billion dollar F35 or when Obama claimed the legal right to indefinitely detain or kill anyone without judicial oversight?

"You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image,
when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."

– Anne Lamott

Elizabeth Burton , December 25, 2016 at 2:00 pm

I assume all of those who have so arrogantly dismissed the efforts of these young people are all, therefore, engaged in alternative activities that support their respective opinions of how to effect the change that is our only salvation from neo-feudalism. Otherwise, I say put up or shut up.

Because I'm getting really sick of all the armchair quarterbacking, which to me is no different from the way the DNC elites treat anyone who isn't a member of their club. If people who object to the goals and/or methods of the District 13 House group have useful suggestions to make, why haven't they engaged in working to bring those suggestions to fruition. It's also precisely the kind of ivory-tower critique that has brought us to this pass, so do keep in mind that when pointing out the sins of others, one has three other fingers pointing in the opposite direction.

ChrisAtRU , December 25, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Natural skeptic/cynic at this point I go back to to Bernie's first statement after the election:

"Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids – all while the very rich become much richer.

"To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him."

Now taken in that light, do we need a generic "anti-Trump" resistance house to "stick out like a sore thumb"?

Or do we need something that speaks to the deeper issues around which non-squillionaire people can unite?

I concur with those who posted above on sticking to the issues. If you stick to the issues, the face of the opposition (from within and without) doesn't matter. It's about getting people to realize that agents of the establishment on BOTH sides (Dem & Repub) of all various identarian flavors have betrayed us all.

Now granted, there's plenty of swamp left undrained to warrant being all up the new administration's grill like freckles. But please, let's get the focus where it should be – on what's being done and undone. Focusing on "Trump" is a non-starter.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and FestivusForTheRestOfUs to everyone!

[Dec 23, 2016] Paul Krugman: Populism, Real and Phony

Dec 23, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
"Trumpism ... is anything but populist":
Populism, Real and Phony, by Paul Krugman, NY Times : Authoritarians with an animus against ethnic minorities are on the march across the Western world. ... But what should we call these groups? Many reporters are using the term "populist," which seems both inadequate and misleading..., are the other shared features of this movement - addiction to conspiracy theories, indifference to the rule of law, a penchant for punishing critics - really captured by the "populist" label?

Still, the European members of this emerging alliance - an axis of evil? - have offered some real benefits to workers. ... Trumpism is, however, different..., the emerging policy agenda is anything but populist.

All indications are that we're looking at huge windfalls for billionaires combined with savage cuts in programs that serve not just the poor but also the middle class. And the white working class, which provided much of the 46 percent Trump vote share, is shaping up as the biggest loser. ...

Both his pick as budget director and his choice to head Health and Human Services want to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and privatize Medicare. His choice as labor secretary is a fast-food tycoon who has been a vociferous opponent both of Obamacare and of minimum wage hikes. And House Republicans have already submitted plans for drastic cuts in Social Security, including a sharp rise in the retirement age. ...

In other words..., European populism is at least partly real, while Trumpist populism is turning out to be entirely fake, a scam sold to working-class voters who are in for a rude awakening. Will the new regime pay a political price?

Well, don't count on it..., you know that there will be huge efforts to shift the blame. These will include claims that the collapse of health care is really President Obama's fault; claims that the failure of alternatives is somehow the fault of recalcitrant Democrats; and an endless series of attempts to distract the public.

Expect more Carrier-style stunts that don't actually help workers but dominate a news cycle. Expect lots of fulmination against minorities. And it's worth remembering what authoritarian regimes traditionally do to shift attention from failing policies, namely, find some foreigners to confront. Maybe it will be a trade war with China, maybe something worse.

Opponents need to do all they can to defeat such strategies of distraction. Above all, they shouldn't let themselves be sucked into cooperation that leaves them sharing part of the blame. The perpetrators of this scam should be forced to own it.

ilsm : , December 23, 2016 at 10:45 AM
The Clinton brand of nato-neocon-neolib is way ahead of the populist nativist in tilting toward Armageddon.

Own the world for the banksters.

poor pk

DeDude -> Gibbon1... , December 23, 2016 at 02:33 PM
It really depend on how the two sides play it out. You don't need to move the diehard sexists and racists for things to change. But the Democrats need to have a Warren/Sanders attack team ready on every single GOP "favor the rich and screw the rest" proposal. It would be rather easy to get the press to pay attention to those two if they went to war with Trump/GOP. Their following is sufficiently large to be a media market - so their comments would not be ignored. We also know that at least Warren knows how to bait Trump into saying something stupid so you can get the kind of firework that commercial media cannot ignore. The Dems need to learn how to bait the media at least as effectively as Trump does.
Tim Cahill : , -1
When can we please start tuning Krugman down here? He aided and abetted the election disaster by being one of the most prominent Very Serious People leading the offensive against Sanders and promoting a fatally flawed candidate that was beaten resoundingly in 2008 and with irredeemable, self-inflicted, negative baggage.

He may make good points here after-the-fact, but they're all "duh!" level bits of analysis at this stage. And the last thing I want to hear from any of the VSPs who piloted the train over the cliff during this election season is b*tching about the mess at the bottom of the cliff.

Aren't there ANY other voices with some remaining shred of political credibility that can be quoted here instead of the unabashed VSPs who helped elect trump?

Tim Cahill -> pgl... , December 23, 2016 at 11:17 AM
Since I am only noting objection to one blogger who invested much of his personal credibility into promoting a horrible leader, I don't see the relevance of your comment at all. I enjoy pretty much every other blogger to which Thoma links.

My issue is with highlighting a crank whose writing has cratered over the last year. If a Trump ripping is due (and it usually is), then I'm fine with it being a feature so long as it's written by someone who isn't channeling Niall Ferguson and with the same degree of credibility as a political "wonk".

yuan -> sanjait... , December 23, 2016 at 12:03 PM
I think a certain amount of self-criticism and introspection is warranted at this point, no? And, I think, there is little question that the long-term coziness of the democratic party with high finance and the PMIC played a major role in negative perceptions of HRC.

Although I did not vote for Clinton, if I had lived in a remotely competitive state I would have certainly voted for her. To put this in perspective, my vote for Sanders was a very reluctant vote and Clinton is the POTUS I despise the most (Trump will change this).

ilsm -> sanjait... , December 23, 2016 at 01:04 PM
As Lincoln may have observed: you* can fool too many of the democrats all the time.

one Obama, two Clintons .........

Vapid talking points, like fast and loose with felonies.

She had no convictions bc justice was ordered to do the job of juries.

yuan -> Tim Cahill ... , December 23, 2016 at 11:57 AM
"beaten resoundingly in 2008 and with irredeemable, self-inflicted, negative baggage."

Characterizing Clinton's electoral college defeat as being beaten resoundingly is exactly the kind of irrational "bro" rhetoric that Krugman rightly criticized.

And I write this as someone who voted for Sanders and then Stein.

Peter K. -> Tim Cahill ... , December 23, 2016 at 01:08 PM
As you can tell there a few people here who agreed with Krugman during the primary and agree with him now.

I agree with you in general, but am going to try to ignore the insulters and haters and link to good thinkers.

Tim Cahill -> Peter K.... , December 23, 2016 at 01:46 PM
They're an angry lot.... and they, like the conservative "affinity fraudsters" that Krugman has lambasted over the years, refuse to accept reality. Instead, they hunker down, shut out facts, and surround themselves only with people and information that agrees with their flawed opinions.
Denis Drew : , December 23, 2016 at 11:03 AM
All I hear from Paul -- and others -- sounds like ducking and weaving and back peddling -- in a phrase: retreat-in-good-order to avoid defeat-in-detail.

How about a little aggression? Would it be too much to expect these top brains the potential to rebuild labor union density (THE ONLY POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC TISSUE OF THE AVERAGE PERSON) at state by progressive state level.

NEVER HEAR OF IT -- NO OTHER PATH (and it looks to be multi-multi-path once you start looking through all the angles.

So I wont be accused of hi-jacking the thread with a very long unionization entreaty you can look up my entreaty here:
Wet backs and narrow backs (Irish immigrants' native born kiddies)
http://ontodayspage.blogspot.com/2016/12/wet-backs-and-narrow-backs-irish.html

I'm only beginning to sort all this out -- like the angle that any group disallowed of employee status by the Trump NLRB (student teaching and research assistants?) immediately become eligible for full state supported conduction of NLRB-like certification process. No preemption problem.

Preemption on closer exam may not be the barrier folks think. So, so much more federal preemption/supremacy (not the same thing!) stuff to sort through -- another reason to put off posting the full comment. Few weeks maybe.

Denis Drew -> anne... , December 23, 2016 at 01:07 PM
Where I come from, the Bronx of the 50s-70s, everybody was different, so nobody was different, so we had more fun with your differences.

We didn't have diversity; we had assimilation; everyone was the same.

Typical 60s high school chatter: How's an Italian like a crashing airplane? Guinea, Guinea, Guinea: Whop!
How's an Irishman like a submarine under attack? Down the hatch; down the hatch; down the hatch!

In the movie The Wanderers, portraying the 1979 Bronx with more people of color, the high school teasing is all: nigger, spic, kike! Too much for your non-real-melting pot ears.

:-)-
********************
Be more impressed by your (plural) interest in minority dignity if it obsessed on getting everyone one the same ECONOMIC (!) level.

Click here -- for early thoughts (still sorting) on how to actually do just that -- if you really want to really help:
http://ontodayspage.blogspot.com/2016/12/wet-backs-and-narrow-backs-irish.html

You rebuild union density or you do nothing! You do it at the state by progressive state level or you do nothing! Are you academic progressives the slightest bit interested in doing just that? How come you are not obsessed with re-unionization?

[Dec 21, 2016] Economists View Paul Krugman How Republics End

Notable quotes:
"... That seems to be the problem in most of our western democracies right now. Voters are able to diagnose the problems they themselves feel and suffer from; but are clueless as to the actual cause of those problems. So the first guy who comes around promising to provide solutions is given the go ahead, under the false assumption that it "cannot get any worse than it is now" - but it can get a lot worse! ..."
Dec 21, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Dan Nile : , December 19, 2016 at 11:49 AM
"When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic."

-Ben Franklin

Fred C. Dobbs : , December 19, 2016 at 11:52 AM
David Souter warned of a Trump-like
candidate in prescient remarks (in 2012)

Steve Benen - October 2016 - Maddow Blog

Former Supreme Court Justice David Souter has maintained a very low public profile since retiring from the bench nearly eight years ago, but Rachel highlighted a 2012 appearance Souter made in New Hampshire, and his remarks on "civic ignorance" are striking in their foresight.

"I don't worry about our losing republican government in the United States because I'm afraid of a foreign invasion. I don't worry about it because I think there is going to be a coup by the military as has happened in some of other places. What I worry about is that when problems are not addressed, people will not know who is responsible. And when the problems get bad enough, as they might do, for example, with another serious terrorist attack, as they might do with another financial meltdown, some one person will come forward and say, 'Give me total power and I will solve this problem.'

"That is how the Roman republic fell. Augustus became emperor, not because he arrested the Roman Senate. He became emperor because he promised that he would solve problems that were not being solved.

"If we know who is responsible, I have enough faith in the American people to demand performance from those responsible. If we don't know, we will stay away from the polls. We will not demand it. And the day will come when somebody will come forward and we and the government will in effect say, 'Take the ball and run with it. Do what you have to do.'

"That is the way democracy dies. And if something is not done to improve the level of civic knowledge, that is what you should worry about at night."

Souter couldn't have known about Donald Trump's rise in Republican politics, but that only makes his fears in 2012 that much more prophetic. ...

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 19, 2016 at 12:26 PM
Do set down the reference link when possible.
Fred C. Dobbs -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 12:36 PM
Oops.

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/souter-warned-trump-candidate-prescient-remarks

DeDude -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 19, 2016 at 12:55 PM
That seems to be the problem in most of our western democracies right now. Voters are able to diagnose the problems they themselves feel and suffer from; but are clueless as to the actual cause of those problems. So the first guy who comes around promising to provide solutions is given the go ahead, under the false assumption that it "cannot get any worse than it is now" - but it can get a lot worse!
ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 19, 2016 at 03:58 PM
Heard on Howie Carr's (AM 680* in Boston) chump line:

What do you call a bunch of democrats in the basement: whine cellar.

For democrats "if at first you don't succeed; cry cry again".

Shorter poor pk

pitiable pk.

*I much prefer the late Jerry Williams!

Chris G -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 19, 2016 at 07:41 PM
I miss David Souter.
DrDick : , December 19, 2016 at 11:56 AM
While this is certainly a real possibility, I have a bit more faith in the American people and the American system than Krugman seems to.
New Deal democrat -> DrDick... , December 19, 2016 at 12:11 PM
I hope you are correct, but if Trump decides to defy the Congress or the Courts, with 40% of the populace ready to do whatever he says, who do you think is going to stand up to him? Mitch McConnell? Paul Ryan? Clarence Thomas? Samuel Alito?
pgl -> New Deal democrat... , December 19, 2016 at 12:13 PM
None of the above. But there will be another election in 2018. We have to make sure the other 60% of the populace stand up.
New Deal democrat -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 12:44 PM
If PK's concern is right -- and I think it is -- Trump is going to crack down on dissent. In this he will be aided and abetted by his Nuremburg rallies.

We will still have elections in 2018 and 2020. But will they be fair or banana-republic facsimiles? North Carolina has already crossed the line in my opinion.

ilsm -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 04:04 PM
can crooks beat the morality play?

2018 my money is on non democrats!

yuan -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 05:10 PM
an election in 2018 that heavily favors republicans.
ilsm -> New Deal democrat... , December 19, 2016 at 04:03 PM
it was the crook

versus cuckoo

who won

it ain't so bad

abortion and deviant

behavior lost

does not threaten

the republic

however whining

democrat subversives

if you all cannot

get over it!

tea baggers lived with

the war mongering

lover of immorality

for 8 years

poor pk

a candidate

for dimbot

che guevera

pgl -> DrDick... , December 19, 2016 at 12:12 PM
Maybe PK spent too much time watching the Star Wars marathon this weekend. Me? I watched football.
Peter K. -> DrDick... , December 19, 2016 at 12:45 PM
Krugman also said Hillary was a great candidate who would win easily.

He's wrong a lot when it comes to politics.

Gibbon1 -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 01:47 PM
I've said this before economists and politics are like doctors and light aircraft.
anne -> Gibbon1... , December 19, 2016 at 01:57 PM
Aside:

The comment you made and reminder for me that the Chinese leadership has long been largely educated as engineers was especially important in my understanding the IMF warning of dangerous credit growth in China. Economic planners are of course aware of the warning and a just established goal in 2017 is to limit the extension of credit though keeping general economic growth at 6.5%.

PGL was equally helpful.

I now have the solution, which I can depict in graphs.

anne -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 02:41 PM
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2016/12/links-for-12-17-16.html#comment-6a00d83451b33869e201b7c8be11ae970b

December 17, 2016

[...the seeming lack of concern about corporate debt suggests the level is not considered a problem. Why though?]

Easy answer: China's leaders are technocrats not finance people like in the US. Meaning they think that a factory is an asset, the bonds used to pay for it is just a weak obligation on paper. In the US it's the opposite.

-- Gibbon

yuan -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 05:18 PM
you are rewriting history. krugman was histrionically concerned about the possibility of trump win.
Gibbon1 -> yuan... , December 19, 2016 at 05:28 PM
Look another refugee
Fred C. Dobbs -> DrDick... , December 19, 2016 at 03:15 PM
Me too.

Because we live in the
best of all possible worlds.

Tom aka Rusty : , December 19, 2016 at 11:59 AM
The sky is falling, the sky is falling.

I'm with Dr. Dick on this one.

pgl -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 19, 2016 at 12:11 PM
But you just said that if the Dems don't win the House in 2018 - the party should disband. What's gonna replace it - Luke Skywalker?
Peter K. -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 12:43 PM
If the Democrats keel listening to people like pgl and Krugman, they will lose again in 2018.

Rustbucket was prophetic. So was Dean Baker and Jared Bernstein.

PGL had nothing but insults for the messengers of what became a populist revolt that helped past Brexit and elect Trump.

BenIsNotYoda -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 01:10 PM
I have to support Peter K on this one. This was important before the election but is all the more important now.
pgl -> BenIsNotYoda... , December 19, 2016 at 04:18 PM
BINY the gold bug jumps on the PeterK pointless bandwagon. Aren't you guys bored with this pointless nonsense by now? Yawn!
yuan -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 05:19 PM
the democrats will lose badly in 2018 because many of their contested seats are in deep red states.
Tom aka Rusty -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 03:21 PM
I have an RR8 robot running around my living room - maybe a robot party?
pgl -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 19, 2016 at 04:18 PM
Love it. OK I watched football this weekend but Star Wars rocks!
ilsm -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 04:06 PM
if the crooks still run the dems.......

they are toast.

pgl -> ilsm... , December 19, 2016 at 04:19 PM
Rusty and I are sending R2D2 over to your place. Take cover.
ilsm -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 05:31 PM
I will get to that movie!
M. Gamble : , December 19, 2016 at 12:14 PM
I think most people commenting on the Trump phenomena are treating as though it sprang whole cloth out of the either. I think Trump is the natural conclusion of two things the GOP accepted as its own. The modern management style of tell your employees anything and it will happen, no need to be a good manager and know what you're talking about just act as though you know everything. Next the original sin(not my coin) of the GOP supply side economics. Now this brings into power R. Reagan. Who said famously, the scariest thing to hear is, "I am from the Federal Government, and I am here to help you!" This caused down through the years an ongoing disdain for anything coming from Washington, no expert was to be trusted, the other side was not to be trusted, etc. This was for one reason, to make rich people feel good about all the money that was going up stream into their pockets instead of anyone who works for a living.

After about forty years of this is it any wonder that half the people don't vote? Or that half of the half see a rich guy and think he can do it look at all the money he made? It is a very sad state of affairs, but it is what you get when most of society is in love with the all mighty dollar and not actual substance in their lives.

pgl -> M. Gamble... , December 19, 2016 at 12:25 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhYJS80MgYA

Reagan did have a disdain for the government.

david s -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 01:56 PM
Yet Reagan and Tip O'Neill spent like the Keynesians they were.

Far better than the austere Clinton and Obama Administrations.

Marcus Tullius Cicero -> david s ... , December 19, 2016 at 06:50 PM

They could talk the walk but could not

walk the
talk
!

anne -> Marcus Tullius Cicero... , December 19, 2016 at 07:05 PM
Fitting name, Cicero.
Peter K. -> M. Gamble... , December 19, 2016 at 12:48 PM
"After about forty years of this is it any wonder that half the people don't vote?"

EMichael is astonished that people aren't more excited and energized by the American Jobs Act or Romneycare or Hillary's family leave tinkering.

Julio -> M. Gamble... , December 19, 2016 at 01:55 PM
"...the Trump phenomena...sprang whole cloth out of the either."

[Either party, I presume :-)].

Meets : , December 19, 2016 at 12:18 PM
He doesn't actually present any evidence that "democracy is at the edge" or that the US republic is about to end.

He's just unhappy about Trump's policies. They may be bad policies, but it's a huge leap from there to the nation collapsing.

pgl -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 12:24 PM
Is this like we survived Nixon as well as Bush-Cheney so we will survive Trump? I hope you're right.
Meets -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 12:28 PM
Exactly.

I mean, he should first present an argument of why Trump will be a bad president rather than assuming it (which I know he's readers do anyway).

Then from there he needs to explain how a bad president leads to national collapse.

I can see a bad presidency, I don't see the country ceasing to exist.

New Deal democrat -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 01:11 PM
First of all, let me emphasize that I want to be polite about this. But I think the concern is valid. The country will exist. Elections will be held. But they are also held in Russia and Turkey. If those in power crack down on the opposition, and crack down on dissent, and the ruling party controls the election apparatus, then the elections do not make the country a Republic.

The question is, why do you think Trump will refrain -- or be restrained -- from doing any of those things? His rallies have already appeared to condone violence. He has already suggested an embrace of "second amendment remedies. He called for his opponent to be locked up. He has suggested that he personally will start prosecutions. He has said he wants libel laws broadened. He has called for judges who rule against him to be investigated. Really, he has telegraphed that he wants to cross the Rubicon in just about every way he can. Why shouldn't we take that seriously?

Meets -> New Deal democrat... , December 19, 2016 at 01:28 PM
Well for one he has said a lot of stupid things that he's already backed up on, from making the wall just a fence to keeping parts of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank.

Second, a President can't do whatever he wants. Lots of Republicans didn't want him there in the first place, they won't let him just violate the constitution and ruin the party when they have control of house, senate, states, etc.

I can believe he'll be the worst president yet, I have trouble seeing how we'll become Turkey, which has a history many coups, or Russia, which is practically a failed state.

New Deal democrat -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 01:29 PM
Re: "a President can't do whatever he wants."

As I asked up thread, who do you believe is going to stop him?

Meets -> New Deal democrat... , December 19, 2016 at 01:47 PM
Congress, Senate, Supreme Court.

Before you say "They're all Republicans" there was segment of the party that didn't want him to run at all.

And the Reps have power, they won't let Trump ruin them.

New Deal democrat -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 02:07 PM
I guess we will just have to leave it at that, because when Trump has his base (which is the GOP base) frothing at the mouth, I simply do not see Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Clarence Thomas, and Samueal Alito suddenly auditioning for Profiles in Courage.

I pray that Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg have the best healthcare on earth.

kurt -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 02:18 PM
Something about whistling and graveyards is coming to mind here. Do you think that a weasel like Ryan or an addled old man like McCain can hold him back? McConnell? The Republicans long ago gave up any trappings of rationality or reason. They long ago gave up anything smacking of conscious or thoughtfulness. They long ago stopped treating policy as something to be determined by what works best for the most people. For decades the Republican Party has been an insurgent party that has been seeking to prevent positive change in the world. The elected leaders despise government. They are against programs that actually help people. They nakedly stole $12B in Iraq that we know of. Pretending this is normal only helps to hasten the demise.
pgl -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 04:21 PM
It is already out there - Trump needs to prove he was born on this planet. With that hairdo - it is hard to tell if he is Jedi or a Sith.
ilsm -> New Deal democrat... , December 19, 2016 at 05:33 PM
crooks in DNC are a huge threat to republic I thought less GOPsters running Trump. Why I voted against the crook.

HRC should get 3 squares and a cot!

david s -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 01:53 PM
Nixon was the last progressive President.

We should hope to have an Administration as effective and activist as Nixon's.

pgl -> david s ... , December 19, 2016 at 04:23 PM
Nixon was not a right wing creep but he was still a creep. BTW - the Committee to Re-Elect the President was called CREEP.
DrDick -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 04:28 PM
While I think this will likely be worse than anything we have seen before, but I do not think this will be the end of democracy. It may be in rather ragged shape by then, however.
yuan -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 05:26 PM
draconian voter suppression is not a figment of krugman's imagination. nor is the north carolina legislative coup. i think the usa may very well transitionin into an authoritarian political system.

https://www.thenation.com/article/the-gops-attack-on-voting-rights-was-the-most-under-covered-story-of-2016/

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/11/03/federal_judge_slams_north_carolina_voter_purge.html

Peter K. : , December 19, 2016 at 12:39 PM
"Why is this happening? ... And let's be clear: This is a Republican story, not a case of "both sides do it.""

No it's also a story about Democrats and center-left parties the world over.

The callous elites of the center are not presenting a good alternative to the demagogues on the right.

(So voters are unenthusiastic or they don't bother to vote or organize. They're apathetic.)

You can see it here in comments. You can see it with Krugman who absolves the center-left of any blame.

Bernie Sanders and his supporters issued a warning.

But Krugman assured us Hillary was a great candidate who would easily win.

If the Democrats keep behaving like Krugman and EMichael with their heads in the sand, then they'll lose in 2018 and 2020.

EMichael quotes Mike Singletary when Singletary would have nothing but contempt for the EMichaels who are always crying about the media/referees and blaming their loss on meddling from the Russians.

I've seen NO post-mortem from the center-left Democrats. Only excuses.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 12:41 PM
The experts told us Brexit would never pass.

The pollsters assured us Hillary would win.

kurt -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 02:23 PM
In a normal world, we would know - due to exit polling - that something was amiss. In fact, the large skew from the results and exit polling would be considered by our own election watchers in the 3rd world to be indicative of shenanigans. But we can't say that. And apparently the reason we can't is due to people like you being on the same page with the Republican kleptocrats.
ilsm -> kurt... , December 19, 2016 at 06:25 PM
one poll had HRC 48% on 6 Oct....

before Comey and Assange!

She polled 48% on 8 Nov!

kurt -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 02:21 PM
Your level of dishonesty is appalling. Calling Krugman a centrist? That defies reason. Saying that there is a center-left? Absurd. It doesn't exist. The Pete Peterson's of the world are Center Right. Do you think that being just plain liberal is center left? Anyone who questions anything that Amy Goodman or Thom Hartman says is a centrist (and for the record, while I like Thom and Amy very much - they occasionally fall for utter BS because of tribalism). Also - reasons =/= excuses.
pgl -> kurt... , December 19, 2016 at 04:25 PM
"Your level of dishonesty is appalling."

I would say a rare but of brilliant honesty here. But I should add EVERY one here knows PeterK lies 24/7. It is his day job. Don't get him fired now as this winter is cold.

Peter K. -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 07:19 PM
pgl can't even keep his story straight.

That's sure sign of a dishonest troll.

Peter K. -> kurt... , December 19, 2016 at 07:08 PM
He called himself center-left to differentiate himself from the leftist Sanders supporters.

There are a lot of nutcases on the left - there are everywhere in politics - but the centrist establishment has failed for 40 years.

Krugman just gives excuses for Bill Clinton, Hillary, Obama etc.

Peter K. -> kurt... , December 19, 2016 at 07:21 PM
"Also - reasons =/= excuses."

Hillary lost to a laughable Reality TV star.

Any true progressive would have won by a large margin.

pgl -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 04:24 PM
One trick pony you are. Oh wait - I just insulted real world ponies.
kthomas -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 04:37 PM
You require a lesson in manners.
Peter K. -> kthomas... , December 19, 2016 at 07:19 PM
Who is going to teach me?

You?

Don't make me laugh.

yuan -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 05:33 PM
additional losses in 2018 are inevitable and voter suppression and gerrymandering will likely result in even larger losses in 2020. i also think constitutional amendments that make the usa a de facto one party state are conceivable.
ilsm -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 05:35 PM
center left are the problem.....

they are con artists and crooks.

yuan -> ilsm... , December 19, 2016 at 07:53 PM
"center left are the problem....."

sanders, warren and grijalva are crooks and con artists? that's an interesting point of view!

Peter K. : , December 19, 2016 at 12:51 PM
Bernie Sanders and his primary campaign made me hopeful.

"Initially considered a long shot, Sanders won 23 primaries and caucuses and approximately 43% of pledged delegates to Clinton's 55%. His campaign was noted for the enthusiasm of its supporters, as well as his rejection of large donations from corporations, the financial industry, and any associated Super PAC. The campaign instead relied on a record-breaking number of small, individual contributions."

If the Democrats continue to flail helplessly, energy will continue to build on the left.

pgl -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 04:27 PM
"Bernie Sanders and his primary campaign made me hopeful."

That's cool but then you reverted to your norm - an angry and pointlessly stupid and dishonest troll. Get a life.

Gibbon1 -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 06:14 PM
You need to leave.
yuan -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 05:43 PM
"energy will continue to build on the left."

meh.

sanders is on his way to retirement and warren is hardly an inspiring candidate. i personally see little evidence of energy from the center-left (e.g. the congressional progressive caucus). if anything, sanders and warren appear to be supporting more triangulation (e.g. neoliberals like ellision and gabbard).

anne : , December 19, 2016 at 01:07 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/19/opinion/how-republics-end.html

December 18, 2016

How Republics End
By Paul Krugman

Adrian Goldsworthy's "In the Name of Rome" says: *

"However important it was for an individual to win fame and add to his own and his family's reputation, this should always be subordinated to the good of the Republic. The same belief in the superiority of Rome that made senators by the second century BC hold themselves the equals of any king ensured that no disappointed Roman politician sought the aid of a foreign power."

* http://erenow.com/ancient/in-the-name-of-rome-the-men-who-won-the-roman-empire/7.html

anne -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 01:12 PM
Correcting for spacing:

http://erenow.com/ancient/in-the-name-of-rome-the-men-who-won-the-roman-empire/7.html

GENERAL IN EXILE: SERTORIUS AND THE CIVIL WAR

Quintus Sertorius (c. 125–72 BC)

The Roman political élite was not unique in its competitiveness and desire to excel. The aristocracies of most Greek cities – and indeed of the overwhelming majority of other communities in the Mediterranean world – were just as eager to win personal dominance and often unscrupulous in their methods of achieving this. Roman senators were highly unusual in channelling their ambitions within fairly narrow, and universally recognized, boundaries. The internal disorder and revolution which plagued the public lives of most city states were absent from Rome until the last century of the Republic. Even then, during civil wars of extreme savagery when the severed heads of fellow citizens were displayed in the Forum, the Roman aristocracy continued to place some limits on what means were acceptable to overcome their rivals. A common figure in the history of the ancient world is the aristocratic exile – the deposed king or tyrant, or the general forced out when he was perceived to be becoming too powerful – at the court of a foreign power, usually a king. Such men readily accepted foreign troops to go back and seize power by force in their homeland – as the tyrant Pisistratus had done at Athens – or actively fought against their own city on their new protector's behalf, like Alcibiades.

Rome's entire history contains only a tiny handful of individuals whose careers in any way followed this pattern. The fifth-century BC, and semi-mythical, Caius Marcius Coriolanus probably comes closest, for when banished from Rome he took service with the hostile Volscians and led their army with great success. In the story he came close to capturing Rome itself, and was only stopped from completing his victory by the intervention of his mother. The moral of the tale was quintessentially Roman. However important it was for an individual to win fame and add to his own and his family's reputation, this should always be subordinated to the good of the Republic. The same belief in the superiority of Rome that made senators by the second century BC hold themselves the equals of any king ensured that no disappointed Roman politician sought the aid of a foreign power. Senators wanted success, but that success only counted if it was achieved at Rome. No senator defected to Pyrrhus or Hannibal even when their final victory seemed imminent, nor did Scipio Africanus' bitterness at the ingratitude of the State cause him to take service with a foreign king.

The outbreak of civil war did not significantly change this attitude, since both sides invariably claimed that they were fighting to restore the true Republic. Use was often made of non-Roman troops, but these were always presented as auxiliaries or allies serving from their obligations to Rome and never as independent powers intervening for their own benefit. Yet the circumstances of Roman fighting Roman did create many highly unorthodox careers, none more so than that of Quintus Sertorius, who demonstrated a talent for leading irregular forces and waging a type of guerrilla warfare against conventional Roman armies. Exiled from Sulla's Rome, he won his most famous victories and lived out the last years of his life in Spain, but never deviated from the attitudes of his class or thought of himself as anything other than a Roman senator and general....

anne -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 01:16 PM
http://erenow.com/ancient/in-the-name-of-rome-the-men-who-won-the-roman-empire/7.html

2003

In the Name of Rome: The Men Who Won the Roman Empire
By Adrian Goldsworthy

anne -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 04:12 PM
I would hope readers would carefully consider this quoted passage that Paul Krugman has used. I am uncomfortable with this theme.
kthomas -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 04:38 PM
No you are not. You are relishing all of this.
anne -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 04:28 PM
Julius Caesar who was born in 100 BC, of course invaded Rome with a Roman army. I really am uncomfortable with the theme in using Adrian Goldsworth on the end of the republic, likely I am missing something and will read Goldworthy for a while now.
ilsm -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 05:42 PM
Reference to the Rome of the Gracchi and subsequent empire evolutions is a huge stretch toward false equivalence.

Senators were hereditary, a class oriented. They were the holders of vast farms on the labor of slaves.

The plebes voted for tribunes etc who observed the senate but had no authority other than a veto.

When the senate was in trouble they selected a dictator for the duration.

The roman republic was better than the Athenian demos who sent out fleets to slaughter on the whim of the orator.....

but no role model for an enlightened civitas....

But it was not popular!

anne : , December 19, 2016 at 01:10 PM
http://erenow.com/ancient/in-the-name-of-rome-the-men-who-won-the-roman-empire/7.html

GENERAL IN EXILE: SERTORIUS AND THE CIVIL WAR

Quintus Sertorius (c. 125–72 BC)

The Roman political élite was not unique in its competitiveness and desire to excel. The aristocracies of most Greek cities – and indeed of the overwhelming majority of other communities in the Mediterranean world – were just as eager to win personal dominance and often unscrupulous in their methods of achieving this. Roman senators were highly unusual in channelling their ambitions within fairly narrow, and universally recognized, boundaries. The internal disorder and revolution which plagued the public lives of most city states were absent from Rome until the last century of the Republic. Even then, during civil wars of extreme savagery when the severed heads of fellow citizens were displayed in the Forum, the Roman aristocracy continued to place some limits on what means were acceptable to overcome their rivals. A common figure in the history of the ancient world is the aristocratic exile – the deposed king or tyrant, or the general forced out when he was perceived to be becoming too powerful – at the court of a foreign power, usually a king. Such men readily accepted foreign troops to go back and seize power by force in their homeland – as the tyrant Pisistratus had done at Athens – or actively fought against their own city on their new protector's behalf, like Alcibiades.
Rome's entire history contains only a tiny handful of individuals whose careers in any way followed this pattern. The fifth-century BC, and semi-mythical, Caius Marcius Coriolanus probably comes closest, for when banished from Rome he took service with the hostile Volscians and led their army with great success. In the story he came close to capturing Rome itself, and was only stopped from completing his victory by the intervention of his mother. The moral of the tale was quintessentially Roman. However important it was for an individual to win fame and add to his own and his family's reputation, this should always be subordinated to the good of the Republic. The same belief in the superiority of Rome that made senators by the second century BC hold themselves the equals of any king ensured that no disappointed Roman politician sought the aid of a foreign power. Senators wanted success, but that success only counted if it was achieved at Rome. No senator defected to Pyrrhus or Hannibal even when their final victory seemed imminent, nor did Scipio Africanus' bitterness at the ingratitude of the State cause him to take service with a foreign king.
The outbreak of civil war did not significantly change this attitude, since both sides invariably claimed that they were fighting to restore the true Republic. Use was often made of non-Roman troops, but these were always presented as auxiliaries or allies serving from their obligations to Rome and never as independent powers intervening for their own benefit. Yet the circumstances of Roman fighting Roman did create many highly unorthodox careers, none more so than that of Quintus Sertorius, who demonstrated a talent for leading irregular forces and waging a type of guerrilla warfare against conventional Roman armies. Exiled from Sulla's Rome, he won his most famous victories and lived out the last years of his life in Spain, but never deviated from the attitudes of his class or thought of himself as anything other than a Roman senator and general....

David : , December 19, 2016 at 01:16 PM
I grew up in Bakersfield, California. Most of my friends were minorities, mexicans, phillipinos, blacks. But a lot were white - and there's no other way to put it - racists. I played pool with these guys, drank beer with em.

A lot of the racism was just so casual I let it slide, though I'm very liberal. We all figured it's just something you say over a beer, it doesn't mean anything.

Well, maybe now that they run the government, maybe it does. Maybe they just figure they got nothing left to lose.

And when you got nothing left to lose, you're one dangerous fellow. And there's a bunch of em.

ilsm -> David... , December 19, 2016 at 05:44 PM
I prefer Cali secede!

No nukes for you.

Lord : , December 19, 2016 at 01:37 PM
Plutocracy craves power.
Lord -> Lord... , December 19, 2016 at 01:38 PM
Or what do you get the person who has everything but power?
bob : , December 19, 2016 at 02:12 PM
Lately I have been thinking about the famous story of Kurt Gödel's citizenship hearing, when he said that he could prove that the U.S. Constitution would allow for our government to be converted to a dictatorship. (The most complete account of this perhaps apocryphal story AFAIK is found here http://morgenstern.jeffreykegler.com/ ). I wonder what the most important logician of the 20th century had concluded, and I worry that we may find out!
Greg : , December 19, 2016 at 03:04 PM
What is happening follows directly and inevitably from the Citizens United decision. The Supreme Court failed in its duty to be a bulwark of democracy.

However, that decision wouldn't have gone the way it did unless the culture was already fully compromised.

ilsm -> Greg... , December 19, 2016 at 04:15 PM
evidence?

clinton spent more

far more

in NH the republican senate incumbent was out spent by PAC's attacking her and had nothing to sell in the opponent.

Gibbon1 -> ilsm... , December 19, 2016 at 07:40 PM
It's not so much that Clinton spent more than Trump. Seriously Clinton lost because she had terrible negatives in the Rust Belt and she didn't do jack diddly to shore that up.

Where money comes in is that Clinton's ability to raise unlimited amounts of money allowed her to squash the better candidate, Sanders. Even though she lost a lot of campaign operatives made a lot more than they would have if they backed Sanders.

Tom aka Rusty : , December 19, 2016 at 03:24 PM
Liberals believe the country survives and prospers because of the federal government.

So PK's reaction is natural for a liberal.

The truth is more nuanced.

pgl -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 19, 2016 at 04:29 PM
"Liberals believe the country survives and prospers because of the federal government."

You really need to stop this stupid nonsense. On occassion you make a decent point. But then you write just asinine and utterly stupid comments.

Tom aka Rusty -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 06:59 PM
Your opinion and $1 will get me a McDonalds coffee.

Open your mind grasshopper.

ilsm : , -1
sad pk

neolib, war mongering corporatists are aghast

it will be 50 years before

wall st banksters can pass

their crooked tool off

as 'center left'

whose detractors are

called sexist and racists!!

only the most deluded liar

would toss that loss

out as a harm to the republic

which they would coup

deplorables are more organized

and many are proud

to be depolrables in the

"faux center left's" eyes.

poor pk

yuan -> ilsm... , -1

'Murrican "democracy" is the theory that the deplorables know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Dec 17, 2016] Paul Krugman Useful Idiots Galore

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Useful Idiots Galore," terrifying.

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

One thought....

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

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

Seems a bit of a double standard.

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

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

the looking glass you all went through.

Trump has more convictions than any democrat

... ... ...

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

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

September 22, 2014

Snap Out of It
By David Brooks

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

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

October 21, 2014

Putin and the Pope
By Thomas L. Friedman

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

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

December 20, 2014

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

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

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

December 21, 2014

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

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

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

January 27, 2015

Czar Putin's Next Moves
By Thomas L. Friedman

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

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

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

September 15, 2015

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

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

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

September 20, 2015

Mr. Putin's Mixed Messages on Syria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RUSSIA'S UNFREE PRESS

The Boston Globe - Marshall Goldman - January 29, 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(No link; from their archives.)

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

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

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

February 7, 2001

Russia's Unfree Press
By Marshall I. Goldman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And there is outrage fatigue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Bill : , December 16, 2016 at 10:28 PM
Hillary Clinton lost because she is truly an ugly aristocrat.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , December 16, 2016 at 11:49 PM
The experience of voting for the Hill was painful, vs Donald Trump.

The Hill seemed like the least likely aristocrat, given two choices, to finish off all government focus on the folks that actually built this society. Two Titans of Hubris, Hillary vs Donald, each ridiculous in the concept of representing the interests of the common man.

At the end of the day. the American people decided that the struggle with the unknown monster Donald was worth deposing the great deplorable, Clinton.

Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , December 17, 2016 at 12:11 AM
The real argument is whether the correct plan of action is the way of FDR, or the way of the industrialists, the Waltons, the Kochs, the Trumps, the Bushes and the outright cowards like the Cheneys and the Clintons, people that never spent a day defending this country in combat. What do they call it, the Commander in Chief.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , December 17, 2016 at 12:29 AM
My father was awarded a silver and a bronze star for his efforts in battle during WW2. He was shot in the face while driving a tank destroyer by a German sniper in a place called Schmitten Germany.

He told me once, that he looked over at the guy next to him on the plane to the hospital in England, and his intestines were splayed on his chest. It was awful.

Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , December 17, 2016 at 12:55 AM
What was he fighting for ? Freedom, America. Then the Republicans, Ronald Reagan, who spent the war stateside began the real war, garnering the wealth of the nation to the entitled like him. Ronald Reagan was a life guard.
btg : , December 16, 2016 at 11:09 PM
Other idiots...

Anthony Weiner
Podesta
Biden (for not running)
Tim Kaine (for accepting the nomination instead of deferring to a latino)
CNN and other TV news media (for giving trump so much coverage- even an empty podium)
Donna Brazile
etc.

greg : , December 16, 2016 at 11:57 PM
The people of the United States did not have much to choose between: Either a servant of the Plutocrats or a member of the Plutocratic class. The Dems brought this on us when they refused to play fair with Bernie. (Hillary would almost certainly have won the nomination anyway.)

The Repubs brought this on, by refusing to govern. The media brought this on: I seem to remember Hillary's misfeasances, once nominated, festering in the media, while Trump's were mentioned, and then disappeared. (Correct me if I'm wrong in this.) Also, the media downplayed Bernie until he had no real chance.

The government brought this on, by failing to pursue justice against the bankers, and failing to represent the people, especially the majority who have been screwed by trade and the plutocratic elite and their apologists.

The educational system brought this on, by failing to educate the people to critical thought. For instance: 1) The wealthy run the country. 2) The wealthy have been doing very well. 3) Everybody else has not. It seems most people cannot draw the obvious conclusion.

The wealthy brought this on. For 230 years they have, essentially run this country. They are too stupid to be satisfied with enough, but always want more.

The economics profession brought this on, by excusing treasonous behavior as efficient, and failing to understand the underlying principles of their profession, and the limits of their understanding. (They don't even know what money is, or how a trade deficit destroys productive capacity, and thus the very ability of a nation to pay back the debts it incurs.)

The people brought this on, by neglecting their duty to be informed, to be educated, and to be thoughtful.

Anybody else care for their share of blame? I myself deserve some, but for reasons I cannot say.

What amazes me now is, the bird having shown its feathers, there is no howl of outrage from the people who voted for him. Do they imagine that the Plutocrats who will soon monopolize the White House will take their interests to heart?

As far as I can tell, not one person of 'the people' has been appointed to his cabinet. Not one. But the oppressed masses who turned to Mr Trump seem to be OK with this.
I can only wonder, how much crap will have to be rubbed in their faces, before they awaken to the taste of what it is?

Eric377 : , -1
Krugman is himself one of those most useful idiots. I do not recall his clarion call to Democrats last spring that "FBI investigation" and "party Presidential nominee" was bound to be an ugly combination. Some did; right here as I recall. Or his part in the official "don't vote for third party" week in the Clinton media machine....thanks, hundreds of thousands of Trump votes got the message.

It's too rich to complain about Russia and Wikileaks as if those elements in anyway justified Clinton becoming President. Leaks mess with our democracy? Then for darn sure do not vote for a former Sec. of State willing to use a home server for her official business. Russia is menacing? Just who has been managing US-Russia relations the past 8 years? I voted for her anyway, but the heck if I think some tragic fate has befell the nation here. Republicans picked a better candidate to win this thing than we Democrats did.

Greg -> Eric377... , December 17, 2016 at 12:11 PM
Well said, Eric377.

The truth of the matter is that Clinton was a very weak candidate with nothing to offer but narcissism ("I'm with her"). It's notable that Clinton has still not accepted responsibility for her campaign, preferring to throw the blame for the loss anywhere but herself. Sociopathy much?

This has made me cynical. I used to think that at least *some* members of the US political elite had the best interests of ordinary households in mind, but now I see that it's just ego vs. ego, whatever the party.

As for democracy being on the edge: I believe Adam Smith over Krugman: "there is a lot of ruin in a nation". It takes more than this to overturn an entrenched institution.

I think American democracy will survive a decade of authoritarianism, and if it does not, then H. L. Mencken said it best: "The American people know what they want, and they deserve to get it -- good and hard."

[Dec 15, 2016] Georgia asks Trump to investigate DHS cyberattacks

Dec 15, 2016 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Pavlo Svolochenko , December 14, 2016 at 2:43 pm
Georgia asks Trump to investigate DHS 'cyberattacks'

If you want to know what Washington is doing at any given time, just look at what they're accusing the competition of.

yalensis , December 14, 2016 at 5:05 pm
As the Worm Turns!
For all those Amurican rubes out there who beleived that Homeland Security was protecting them against foreign terrorists – ha hahahahahaha!

[Dec 09, 2016] The Persistent Problems of Presidential Elections Zero Hedge

Dec 09, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com

The election is over. I am left with two very contradictory feelings.

First is one of appreciation - every four years we peacefully replace our government.

I remember my parents in the late 1970s discussing Soviet politics at our house with their close friend. Their friend said something anti-Soviet. I vividly recall the fear in my mother's eyes when she realized I had overheard that part of the conversation.

Views that were contrary to "politics of the party" were not tolerated. If I repeated in kindergarten what I had just heard, my teacher could report it to authorities and my parents (not me) would get in trouble.

A six-year-old kid could have only heard this sort of anti-Soviet talk at home: TV, radio, and newspapers were a pro-Soviet propaganda machine. My parents would not have been sent to the gulag, but they could have lost their jobs. If this sounds farfetched, my father's best friend, a colleague and professor at Murmansk Marine Academy, was fired for possession of anti-Soviet propaganda - a copy of Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago . It took him years to get another job, and it was almost two decades later, when the Soviet Union fell apart, that he was finally able to get a decent teaching job.

We in America tend to take our democratic elections for granted and underappreciate the fact that we can openly express our views. But there is also the other, new feeling: disgust. Yes, disgust. There is something deeply wrong with the U.S. election process. Between the presidential candidates and the congressional races, billions of dollars were spent (wasted) on the election. To spend that kind of money, first you have to raise it. Politicians sell their souls and beliefs to whomever will give them the most money.

And here is the sad truth: If you don't raise money, the other guy will, and then he can outspend you. He can slaughter you, as his lies will be amplified louder through TV and radio ads, and the victory will be his. As I am writing this, I am realizing that allowing politicians to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns is not unlike allowing steroids in sports - even the strongest athlete will lose to a weaker opponent who is pumped on steroids.

Also, this election process will turn even a very honorable person into a liar or half-truth teller, because it is impossible to express complex ideas in 30-second sound bites. Even during the presidential debates, where candidates were allowed a few minutes to make their case, every claim that each of them made had to be fact-checked the next morning. We must be scratching an all-time low in politics when we feel the need to fact-check the statements of the candidates running for the highest office in the land, the president of the United States, the office that should be the moral compass for the country. If we accept lies and half-truths from them as politics as usual, what do you expect from just a mortal senator or a congressman?

The partisan politics of this country is simply insane. I observed both Republican and Democrat friends, who are otherwise rational people whom I deeply respect, turning into mindless robots when the conversation turned to politics. It seemed that their cognitive abilities had been wiped and replaced by a party program as they mindlessly repeated half-truths and lies propagated by the party mother ship, without any critical thinking of their own. It was scary.

But there is a silver lining to U.S. politics. Call me a disillusioned optimist, but no matter what the outcome of the election, this country has survived and will continue to survive bad congressmen, bad senators, and even bad presidents.

Here is the irony of the above: I wrote that piece exactly four years ago about the Obama/Romney election. I never thought that I was describing what, four years later, we'd consider the good ol' days.

Thoughts on Trump's presidency:

If Hillary Clinton had been elected, her presidency would have provided a fairly narrow band of outcomes - basically a continuation of the past eight years. (I'll let you, Dear Reader, be the judge of whether that would have been good or bad.)

Potential outcomes for the Trump presidency fall in a much wider band. Probable outcomes are relatively narrow for domestic policy and a mile wide for foreign policy.

We tend to think of the American president as a very powerful person. However, that is only true when it comes to foreign policy, when the president acts as commander-in-chief. Regarding domestic policy, the brilliance of the Constitution is that it puts significant limits on what the president can do.

For instance, even though Republicans control the Congress, they lack the 60 votes to break filibusters and invoke cloture. Thus, though Trump's party may diminish Obamacare, they may not have the ability to repeal it altogether. In the case of domestic policy, Trump is pretty much just another Republican president whose effectiveness will be helped by Republican control of Congress - but at the same time may potentially be restricted by the new president's own negotiating skills and his lack of political experience.

When it comes to foreign policy and trade, the range of outcomes becomes incredibly wide. First, we don't know who Trump the commander-in-chief really is. Is he Trump the candidate, who would say brash and simply idiotic things - or the very calm, presidential person who delivered a brilliant acceptance speech? Will he make the world a safer or a more dangerous place?

I don't have an answer for that question. Just as with predictions for the outcome of this election, it seems that no one does.

Vitaliy N. Katsenelson, CFA, is Chief Investment Officer at Investment Management Associates in Denver, Colo. He is the author of Active Value Investing (Wiley) and The Little Book of Sideways Markets (Wiley).

[Dec 06, 2016] What the demand for recount tells us about Jill Stein?

Dec 06, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org
jfl | Dec 3, 2016 5:54:00 PM | 31

A Bare-Knuckle Fight Over Recounts

Since recounts that overturn the vote totals seem unlikely, it appears the Clinton campaign's Plan B is to use any evidence of tampering that it can pin on Russia to lobby electors to change their votes to Clinton when the Electoral College meets in state capitals on Dec. 19.

Finding evidence of hacking of election computers that can somehow be blamed on Russia could be crucial for the Clinton team in their effort to convince electors to change their vote.

Laurence Tribe, a well-known and connected Democratic lawyer, has offered to defend pro bono any elector who breaks the law by changing their vote to Clinton. And there are plans to mount a constitutional challenge against the 26 states that legally bind the electors' to their state's popular vote.


Jill Stein's willingness to provide cover for 'the Russians hacked the election' recounts is interesting ...

Exhibit A in Stein's petition is an affidavit from Professor J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan, who alleges that Russia hacked the election.

Exhibit B from Stein's petition is an article from Wired Magazine about Russia's alleged role in the hack.

Exhibit C is a New York Times article quoting DellSecureWorks, a private security firm, saying Russia was behind the hack of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Exhibits D through G - meaning all of Stein's exhibits - are on alleged Russian hacking. One article is about an alleged attempted Russian hack of the 2014, post-coup Ukrainian election.


... although I think it unlikely that 'the Russians hacked the election' it does look likely that the authors of that 'meme' managed to get Jill Stein to carry their water for them. Why did she do that? Did she even read the petition - that drew $7 million in funding overnight - before signing it? What does it say about her if she didn't? What does it say about her if she did?

What does it say about her that she went for such a lose-lose proposition?

Can an actual run on the electoral college be in the works? Can that be the 'reasoning' behind Jeff Bezos' ProPornoTeam?

[Dec 06, 2016] Challenges for Western civilization

Dec 06, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org
psychohistorian | Dec 3, 2016 8:02:21 PM | 46

Here is link to an interview with Stephen Hawking that I will pull some quotes from

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/01/stephen-hawking-dangerous-time-planet-inequality

The quotes:
"
So the recent apparent rejection of the elites in both America and Britain is surely aimed at me, as much as anyone. Whatever we might think about the decision by the British electorate to reject membership of the European Union and by the American public to embrace Donald Trump as their next president, there is no doubt in the minds of commentators that this was a cry of anger by people who felt they had been abandoned by their leaders.
"
"
What matters now, far more than the choices made by these two electorates, is how the elites react. Should we, in turn, reject these votes as outpourings of crude populism that fail to take account of the facts, and attempt to circumvent or circumscribe the choices that they represent? I would argue that this would be a terrible mistake.

The concerns underlying these votes about the economic consequences of globalisation and accelerating technological change are absolutely understandable. The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.

This in turn will accelerate the already widening economic inequality around the world. The internet and the platforms that it makes possible allow very small groups of individuals to make enormous profits while employing very few people. This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive.

We need to put this alongside the financial crash, which brought home to people that a very few individuals working in the financial sector can accrue huge rewards and that the rest of us underwrite that success and pick up the bill when their greed leads us astray. So taken together we are living in a world of widening, not diminishing, financial inequality, in which many people can see not just their standard of living, but their ability to earn a living at all, disappearing. It is no wonder then that they are searching for a new deal, which Trump and Brexit might have appeared to represent.
"
"
For me, the really concerning aspect of this is that now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together. We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.

Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it. Perhaps in a few hundred years, we will have established human colonies amid the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it.

To do that, we need to break down, not build up, barriers within and between nations. If we are to stand a chance of doing that, the world's leaders need to acknowledge that they have failed and are failing the many. With resources increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, we are going to have to learn to share far more than at present.

With not only jobs but entire industries disappearing, we must help people to retrain for a new world and support them financially while they do so. If communities and economies cannot cope with current levels of migration, we must do more to encourage global development, as that is the only way that the migratory millions will be persuaded to seek their future at home.

We can do this, I am an enormous optimist for my species; but it will require the elites, from London to Harvard, from Cambridge to Hollywood, to learn the lessons of the past year. To learn above all a measure of humility.
"

[Dec 05, 2016] BuzzFeed Exposes Corporate Super Courts That Can Overrule Government

Corporations are "one-dollar-one-vote" top-down systems. They consider "one-person-one-vote" democracy illegitimate
Notable quotes:
"... Existing "trade" agreements like NAFTA allow corporations to sue governments for passing laws and regulations that limit their profits. They set up special " corporate courts " in which corporate attorneys decide the cases. These corporate "super courts" sit above governments and their own court systems, and countries and their citizens cannot even appeal the rulings. ..."
"... Now, corporations are pushing two new "trade" agreements - one covering Pacific-are countries and one covering Atlantic-area countries - that expand these corporate rights and move governments out of their way. The Pacific agreement is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Atlantic one is called the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). ..."
"... International corporations that want to intimidate countries have access to a private legal system designed just for them. And to unlock its power, sometimes all it takes is a threat. ..."
"... ISDS is so tilted and unpredictable, and the fines the arbitrators can impose are so catastrophically large, that bowing to a company's demands, however extreme they may be, can look like the prudent choice. ..."
Sep 03, 2016 | Back to (our) Future

BuzzFeed is running a very important investigative series called "Secrets of a Global Super Court." It describes what they call "a parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else."

Existing "trade" agreements like NAFTA allow corporations to sue governments for passing laws and regulations that limit their profits. They set up special "corporate courts" in which corporate attorneys decide the cases. These corporate "super courts" sit above governments and their own court systems, and countries and their citizens cannot even appeal the rulings.

The 2014 post "Corporate Courts - A Big Red Flag On "Trade" Agreements" explained the origin and rationale for these corporate courts:

Picture a poor "banana republic" country ruled by a dictator and his cronies. A company might want to invest in a factory or railroad - things that would help the people of that country as well as deliver a return to the company. But the company worries that the dictator might decide to just seize the factory and give it to his brother-in-law. Agreements to protect investors, and allowing a tribunal not based in such countries (courts where the judges are cronies of the dictator), make sense in such situations.

Here's the thing: Corporate investors see themselves as legitimate "makers" and see citizens and voters and their governments - always demanding taxes and fair pay and public safety - to be illegitimate "takers." Corporations are all about "one-dollar-one-vote" top-down systems of governance. They consider "one-person-one-vote" democracy to be an illegitimate, non-functional system that meddles with their more-important profit interests. They consider any governmental legal or regulatory system to be "burdensome." They consider taxes as "theft" of the money they have "earned."

To them, any government anywhere is just another "banana republic" from which they need special protection.

"Trade" Deals Bypass Borders

Investors and their corporations have set up a way to get around the borders of these meddling governments, called "trade" deals. The trade deals elevate global corporate interests above any national interest. When a country signs a "trade" deal, that country is agreeing not to do things that protect the country's own national interest - like impose tariffs to protect key industries or national strategies, or pass laws and regulations - when those things interfere with the larger, more important global corporate "trade" interests.

Now, corporations are pushing two new "trade" agreements - one covering Pacific-are countries and one covering Atlantic-area countries - that expand these corporate rights and move governments out of their way. The Pacific agreement is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Atlantic one is called the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Secrets of a Global Super Court

BuzzFeed's series on these corporate courts, "Secrets of a Global Super Court," explains the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in the "trade" deals that have come to dominate the world economy. These provisions set up "corporate courts" that place corporate profits above the interests of governments and set up a court system that sits above the court systems of the countries in the "trade" deals.

Part One, "Inside The Global "Club" That Helps Executives Escape Their Crimes," describes, "A parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else, helps executives convicted of crimes escape punishment."

In a little-noticed 2014 dissent, US Chief Justice John Roberts warned that ISDS arbitration panels hold the alarming power to review a nation's laws and "effectively annul the authoritative acts of its legislature, executive, and judiciary." ISDS arbitrators, he continued, "can meet literally anywhere in the world" and "sit in judgment" on a nation's "sovereign acts."

[. . .]

Reviewing publicly available information for about 300 claims filed during the past five years, BuzzFeed News found more than 35 cases in which the company or executive seeking protection in ISDS was accused of criminal activity, including money laundering, embezzlement, stock manipulation, bribery, war profiteering, and fraud.

Among them: a bank in Cyprus that the US government accused of financing terrorism and organized crime, an oil company executive accused of embezzling millions from the impoverished African nation of Burundi, and the Russian oligarch known as "the Kremlin's banker."

One lawyer who regularly represents governments said he's seen evidence of corporate criminality that he "couldn't believe." Speaking on the condition that he not be named because he's currently handling ISDS cases, he said, "You have a lot of scuzzy sort-of thieves for whom this is a way to hit the jackpot."

Part Two, "The Billion-Dollar Ultimatum," looks at how "International corporations that want to intimidate countries have access to a private legal system designed just for them. And to unlock its power, sometimes all it takes is a threat."

Of all the ways in which ISDS is used, the most deeply hidden are the threats, uttered in private meetings or ominous letters, that invoke those courts. The threats are so powerful they often eliminate the need to actually bring a lawsuit. Just the knowledge that it could happen is enough.

[. . .] ISDS is so tilted and unpredictable, and the fines the arbitrators can impose are so catastrophically large, that bowing to a company's demands, however extreme they may be, can look like the prudent choice. Especially for nations struggling to emerge from corrupt dictatorships or to lift their people from decades of poverty, the mere threat of an ISDS claim triggers alarm. A single decision by a panel of three unaccountable, private lawyers, meeting in a conference room on some other continent, could gut national budgets and shake economies to the core.

Part Three, "To Bankers, It's Not Just A Court System, It's A Gold Mine," exposes how "Financial companies have figured out how to turn a controversial global legal system to their own very profitable advantage."

Indeed, financiers and ISDS lawyers have created a whole new business: prowling for ways to sue nations in ISDS and make their taxpayers fork over huge sums, sometimes in retribution for enforcing basic laws or regulations.

The financial industry is pushing novel ISDS claims that countries never could have anticipated - claims that, in some instances, would be barred in US courts and those of other developed nations, or that strike at emergency decisions nations make to cope with crises.

ISDS gives particular leverage to traders and speculators who chase outsize profits in the developing world. They can buy into local disputes that they have no connection to, then turn the disputes into costly international showdowns. Standard Chartered, for example, bought the debt of a Tanzanian company that was in dire financial straits and racked by scandal; now, the bank has filed an ISDS claim demanding that the nation's taxpayers hand over the full amount that the private company owed - more than $100 million. Asked to comment, Standard Chartered said its claim is "valid."

David Dayen explains this last point, in "The Big Problem With The Trans-Pacific Partnership's Super Court That We're Not Talking About": "Financiers will use it to bet on lawsuits, while taxpayers foot the bill."

But instead of helping companies resolve legitimate disputes over seized assets, ISDS has increasingly become a way for rich investors to make money by speculating on lawsuits, winning huge awards and forcing taxpayers to foot the bill.

Here's how it works: Wealthy financiers with idle cash have purchased companies that are well placed to bring an ISDS claim, seemingly for the sole purpose of using that claim to make a buck. Sometimes, they set up shell corporations to create the plaintiffs to bring ISDS cases. And some hedge funds and private equity firms bankroll ISDS cases as third parties - just like billionaire Peter Thiel bankrolled Hulk Hogan in his lawsuit against Gawker Media.

Part Four of the great BuzzFeed series, "Secrets of a Global Super Court," is expected to be published later this week.

PCCC Statement

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) released this statement on the ISDS provisions in TPP:

"Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Wall Street would be allowed to sue the government in extrajudicial, corporate-run tribunals over any regulation and American taxpayers would be on the hook for damages. This is an outrage. We need more accountability and fairness in our economy – not less. And we need to preserve our ability to make our own rules.

"It's time for Obama to take notice of the widespread, bipartisan opposition to the TPP and take this agreement off the table before he causes lasting political harm to Democrats with voters."