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

Version 2.1 (Sep 20, 2016)

News Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Recommended Books Recommended Links US Presidential Elections of 2016 Donald Trump Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Paleoconservatism Non-Interventionism
Neocons foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Neocons Obama: a yet another Neocons Hillary Clinton email scandal: Timeline and summary "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry Hillary Clinton email scandal: Timeline and summary "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Lock her up movement
Zombie state and coming collapse of neoliberalism  Predator state New American Militarism 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
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite The Deep State Myth about intelligent voter  American Exceptionalism Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Pluralism as a myth
Principal-agent problem Corporatist Corruption Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Corporatism National Security State Demexit DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders and blaming Vladimir Putin 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 . Only in 2016 there is a slight chance that the election are not about choosing "soft neoliberal" vs. "hard neoliberal" but "soft neoliberal"  vs. "paleoconservative". If so then the question arise is there any connection to democracy of competition  of "Democratic Neoliberals" ("soft neoliberal/closet neocons) and "Republican Neoliberals: ("hard core" neoliberal/open neocons) in the USA, especially adjusting to slightly  lower level of political awareness and education in the USSR and the USA (in the USSR the cause of philosophy and political economy (with obvious communist bent) was obligatory for all university students.  they were literally forced to read Marx  and make a set of quotes from some of its most important works.  This was the selection the voters were forced to make  in Obama vs. McCain elections. 

This second consideration is also important: let's honestly ask yourselves  what percentage of US voters can list key proposition of pale conservative political platform and neoliberal platform, assuming that this is the key difference between two candidates in the current Presidential race... The hypothesis that majority of voters under "popular democracy" regime (where all citizens have a right to vote) understand what they are voting for is open to review (Myth about intelligent voter).

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.

 


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[Sep 28, 2016] Clearly for the neoliberal elite Democracy is not a bedrock principle of our society but some sort of safety valve

Sep 28, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

L September 28, 2016 at 2:28 pm

From the heart of the blob: "We've Got to Face It: Trump Is Riding a Global Trend" [Foreign Policy]. "We need to think about how to make democracy more effective at cushioning citizens from the shocks of change. We need to think hard about tackling political polarization and creating new space for politics that can actually address pressing problems rather than succumbing to the gridlock that discredits democracy. We need to think about information policies - including media literacy programs - that can offer urgently needed counterweights to the echo chambers and conspiracy factories of the internet." Seems a little late to do your thinking….

When you step back from it, that is a terrifying statement. In the Foreign Policy view Democracy is supposed to act a some sort of cushion against the shocks of change. I had been under the impression that Democracy was about the population directing changes and directing their own lives. That was, I believe, the basic idea.

But clearly for the elites at FP Democracy is not a bedrock principle of our society but some sort of safety valve while we norms all get beaten up by "The market".

Scary.

Reply
Carla September 28, 2016 at 2:46 pm

"But clearly for the elites at FP Democracy is not a bedrock principle of our society but some sort of safety valve"

It was ever thus. The question remains, are we gonna make it otherwise?

A place to start: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-joint-resolution/48

Reply
Michael September 28, 2016 at 3:02 pm

Yeah, I got that sense as well. What's the purpose of "change" if it isn't to improve the lives of the vast majority of humans? Reply

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL September 28, 2016 at 3:44 pm

"We need to think about how to make democracy more effective at cushioning citizens from the shocks of change." (Foreign Policy)
To parse this: "the only kind of change we will consider completely screws people over so let's give them a bandaid".
In Apocalypse Now they massacre a village and then run around trying to give everybody first aid, I say this time around we should just try and skip the massacre part.

Reply
timbers September 28, 2016 at 3:59 pm

Or how about a scene from your handle OpenThePodBayDoorsHal

Clinton:"I enjoy serving you the people and have many stimulating conversations with you. I understand what you must be going thru the last 8 years. But if you sit down and take a stress pill, and think about it, I'm sure we can work things out. I have the greatest enthusiasm to serve you. I enjoy working with people. Remember these things have happened before, and they have always been shown to be due to…human error…what are you doing…what are you doing….what are you doing?

Reply
Benedict@Large September 28, 2016 at 4:10 pm

We need to think hard about … succumbing to the gridlock that discredits democracy.

There is no gridlock that discredits democracy. What we have are billionaire sets, one buying each party, and then pitting them at odds with each other.

That is not democracy that is being discredited. What is being discredited is the two-party system overloaded with money. That of course is a feature; not a bug. The billionaires are raking it in while doing nothing for anyone less. How much better could it get?

Reply
cwaltz September 28, 2016 at 5:34 pm

Pay no attention to those men behind the closed door discussing policy behind your backs with both sides of the aisle

Nevermind that energy policy was discussed behind closed doors(Bush), health care(Obama) was discussed behind closed doors, trade is being discussed behind closed doors(Obama and next president)…….

The fact that we have pay to play lobbyists accessing the WH to write policy behind the backs of average citizens discredits democracy. But hey, I imagine our pundit class is hoping we don't notice that.

[Sep 28, 2016] Occupy the DNC: A Bernie Delegate's account of the 2016 Democratic National Commercial

Sep 28, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Kim Kaufman September 28, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Occupy the DNC: A Bernie Delegate's account of the 2016 Democratic National Commercial

https://medium.com/@5cottBrown/occupy-the-dnc-a-bernie-delegates-account-of-the-2016-democratic-national-commercial-85406db8cac7#.3a53g0q5q

This is a very long read… and I haven't finished it yet but so far lots of good details.

[Sep 28, 2016] We No Longer Live in a Democracy Henry Giroux on a United States at War With Itself

Notable quotes:
"... FDR once said, "A nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself." This is happening in the United States in the most literal sense, given that our political and economic system are wedded to a market-driven system willing to destroy the planet, while relentlessly undermining those institutions that make a democracy possible. ..."
"... War is no longer an instrument to be used by political powers, but a form of rule, a general condition of the social order itself -- a permanent social relation and organizing principle that affects all aspects of the social order. In fact, the US has moved from a welfare state in the last forty years to a warfare state, and war has now become the foundation for politics, wedded to a misguided war on terror, the militarization of everyday life ..."
"... Politics has become a comprehensive war machine that aggressively assaults anything that does not comply with its underlying economic, religious, educative and political fundamentalisms. ..."
"... The vocabulary of war has become normalized and mobilizes certain desires, not only related to violence and social combat, but also in the creation of agents who act in the service of violence. ..."
"... This retreat into barbarism is amplified by the neoliberal value of celebrating self-interest over attention to the needs of others. It gets worse. As Hannah Arendt once observed, war culture is part of a species of thoughtlessness that legitimates certain desires, values and identities that make people insensitive to the violence they see around them in everyday life. ..."
"... A one-dimensional use of data erases the questions that matter the most: What gives life meaning? What is justice? What constitutes happiness? These things are all immeasurable by a retreat into the discourse of quantification. ..."
"... Reducing everything to quantitative data creates a form of civic illiteracy, undercuts the ethical imagination, kills empathy and mutilates politics. ..."
"... America's obsession with metrics and quantitative data is a symptom of its pedagogy of oppression. Numerical values now drive teaching, reduce culture in the broadest sense to the culture of business and teach children that schools exist largely to produce conformity and kill the imagination. Leon Wieseltier is right in arguing that the unchecked celebration of metrics erases the distinction "between knowledge and information" and substitutes quantification for wisdom. ..."
"... The left appears to have little interest in addressing education as central to how people think and see things. Education can enable people to recognize that the problems they face in everyday life need a new language that speaks to those problems. What is particularly crucial here is the need to develop a politics in which pedagogy becomes central to enabling people to understand and translate how everyday troubles connect to wider structures. ..."
"... We no longer live in a democracy. The myth of democracy has to be dismantled. ..."
"... We have to make clear that decisions made by the state and corporations are not in the general interest. We must connect the war on Black youth to the war on workers and the war on the middle class ..."
"... As Martin Luther King recognized at end of his life, the war at home and the war abroad cannot be separated. Such linkages remain crucial to the democratic project. ..."
www.truth-out.org
Henry Giroux: FDR once said, "A nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself." This is happening in the United States in the most literal sense, given that our political and economic system are wedded to a market-driven system willing to destroy the planet, while relentlessly undermining those institutions that make a democracy possible. What this suggests and the book takes up in multiple ways is that the United States is at war with its own idealism, democratic institutions, the working and middle classes, minority youth, Muslims, immigrants and all of those populations considered disposable.

War has taken on an existential quality in that we are not simply at war; rather, as Étienne Balibar insists, "we are in war," inhabiting a war culture that touches every aspect of society. War is no longer an instrument to be used by political powers, but a form of rule, a general condition of the social order itself -- a permanent social relation and organizing principle that affects all aspects of the social order. In fact, the US has moved from a welfare state in the last forty years to a warfare state, and war has now become the foundation for politics, wedded to a misguided war on terror, the militarization of everyday life, and a culture of fear, which have become its most important regulative functions. Politics has become a comprehensive war machine that aggressively assaults anything that does not comply with its underlying economic, religious, educative and political fundamentalisms.

As a comprehensive war machine, the United States operates in the service of a police state, violates civil liberties and has given rise to a military-industrial-surveillance complex that President Eisenhower could never have imagined. For instance, the largest part of the federal budget -- 600 billion dollars -- goes to the military. The US rings the earth with military bases, and the US military budget is larger than those of all other advanced industrial countries combined. And that doesn't count the money spent on the National Surveillance State and intelligence agencies.

... ... ...

What's interesting about the war metaphor is that it produces a language that celebrates what the US should be ashamed of, including the national surveillance state, the military-industrial complex, the war on whistleblowers, the never-ending spectacle of violence in popular culture and endless wars abroad. The vocabulary of war has become normalized and mobilizes certain desires, not only related to violence and social combat, but also in the creation of agents who act in the service of violence.

Violence is not only normalized as the ultimate measure for solving problems, but also as a form of pleasure, especially with regard to the production of violent video games, films and even the saturation of violence in daily mainstream news. Violence saturates American life, as it has become cool to be cruel to people, to bully people and to be indifferent to the suffering of others. The ultimate act of pleasure is now served up in cinematically produced acts of extreme violence, produced both to numb the conscience and to up the pleasure quotient.

This retreat into barbarism is amplified by the neoliberal value of celebrating self-interest over attention to the needs of others. It gets worse. As Hannah Arendt once observed, war culture is part of a species of thoughtlessness that legitimates certain desires, values and identities that make people insensitive to the violence they see around them in everyday life. One can't have a democracy that organizes itself around war because war is the language of injustice -- it admits no compassion and revels in a culture of cruelty.

How does the reduction of life to quantitative data -- testing in schools, mandatory minimums in sentencing, return on investment -- feed into the cultural apparatuses producing a nation at war with itself?

This is the language of instrumental rationality gone berserk, one that strips communication of those issues, values and questions that cannot be resolved empirically. This national obsession with data is symbolic of the retreat from social and moral responsibility. A one-dimensional use of data erases the questions that matter the most: What gives life meaning? What is justice? What constitutes happiness? These things are all immeasurable by a retreat into the discourse of quantification. This type of positivism encourages a form of thoughtlessness, undermines critical agency, makes people more susceptible to violence and emotion rather than reason. Reducing everything to quantitative data creates a form of civic illiteracy, undercuts the ethical imagination, kills empathy and mutilates politics.

The obsession with data becomes a convenient tool for abdicating that which cannot be measured, thus removing from the public sphere those issues that raise serious questions that demand debate, informed judgment and thoughtfulness while taking seriously matters of historical consciousness, memory and context. Empiricism has always been comfortable with authoritarian societies, and has worked to reduce civic courage and agency to an instrumental logic that depoliticizes people by removing matters of social and political responsibility from ethical and political considerations.

America's obsession with metrics and quantitative data is a symptom of its pedagogy of oppression. Numerical values now drive teaching, reduce culture in the broadest sense to the culture of business and teach children that schools exist largely to produce conformity and kill the imagination. Leon Wieseltier is right in arguing that the unchecked celebration of metrics erases the distinction "between knowledge and information" and substitutes quantification for wisdom.

This is not to say that all data is worthless or that data gathering is entirely on the side of repression. However, the dominant celebration of data, metrics and quantification flattens the human experience, outsources judgement and distorts the complexity of the real world. The idolatry of the metric paradigm is politically and ethically enervating and cripples the human spirit.

As you have written and said often, the right takes the pedagogical function of the major cultural apparatuses seriously, while the left not so much. What do progressive forces lose when they abandon the field?

In ignoring the power of the pedagogical function of mainstream cultural apparatuses, many on the left have lost their ability to understand how domination and resistance work at the level of everyday life. The left has relied for too long on defining domination in strictly structural terms, especially with regard to economic structures. Many people on the left assume that the only form of domination is economic. What they ignore is that the crises of economics, history, politics and agency have not been matched by a crisis of ideas. They don't understand how much work is required to change consciousness or how central the issue of identification is to any viable notion of politics. People only respond to a politics that speaks to their condition. What the left has neglected is how matters of identification and the centrality of judgment, belief and persuasion are crucial to politics itself. The left underestimates the dimensions of struggle when it gives up on education as central to the very meaning of politics.

The left appears to have little interest in addressing education as central to how people think and see things. Education can enable people to recognize that the problems they face in everyday life need a new language that speaks to those problems. What is particularly crucial here is the need to develop a politics in which pedagogy becomes central to enabling people to understand and translate how everyday troubles connect to wider structures.

What do you want people to take away from the book?

Certainly, it is crucial to educate people to recognize that American democracy is in crisis and that the forces that threaten it are powerful and must be made visible. In this case, we are talking about the merging of neoliberalism, institutionalized racism, militarization, racism, poverty, inequities in wealth and power and other issues that undermine democracy.

We no longer live in a democracy. The myth of democracy has to be dismantled. To understand that, we need to connect the dots and make often isolated forms of domination visible -- extending from the war on terror and the existence of massive inequalities in wealth and power to the rise of the mass incarceration state and the destruction of public and higher education. We have to make clear that decisions made by the state and corporations are not in the general interest. We must connect the war on Black youth to the war on workers and the war on the middle class, while exposing the workings of a system that extorts money, uses prison as a default welfare program and militarizes the police as a force for repression and domestic terrorism. We must learn how to translate individual problems into larger social issues, create a comprehensive politics and a third party with the aim not of reforming the system, but restructuring it. As Martin Luther King recognized at end of his life, the war at home and the war abroad cannot be separated. Such linkages remain crucial to the democratic project.

[Sep 27, 2016] Clinton-Trump debate shows emptiness, vapidity of US political election cycle

Notable quotes:
"... "They have a few pro-Trump voices, but pretty much the CNN as a network is for Clinton – just like Fox is for Trump. They are not really media outlets; they are echo chambers for the respective political campaign," ..."
"... "The debate showed how vapid, how sensationalized, how empty the American political election cycle is – very expensive, but very long, and very empty. Both of them tried to outdo each other to show who had more support from the generals and admirals. It is not a good harbinger of where things are going in terms of American politics," ..."
"... "unwitting agent" ..."
"... "US national security." ..."
"... "The attack on Russia, the attempt to blame Russia for all things, including for the hack of the DNC [Democratic National Committee] files that showed the DNC was violating its own rules and trying to tilt the election for Clinton, which happened on the first day of the Democratic national convention. Russia became a convenient punching bag, so that the Democratic Party could divert attention from its own wrongdoing. But it's manifested itself into something more than just a diversion," ..."
"... "Clinton has the support of all of the neoconservatives: Robert Kagan, husband of Victoria Nuland; a hundred of Republican foreign policy elites. I think they represent the mainstream Washington consensus, which is the consensus of the military industrial complex, which wants to incentivize American public opposition or even hatred toward Russia as a pretext for building up the military armaments business. The expansion or escalation of tension with Russia is very good for the arms business, very good for the military industrial complex. So it is not just electoral politics. I think this is the Hillary Clinton presidency we see in the making. If she is elected, I think this bodes very badly for US- Russian relations," ..."
Sep 27, 2016 | www.rt.com

RT Op-Edge

The debate has shown how sensationalized, vapid and empty the US election cycle is, said Brian Becker, from the anti-war Answer Coalition, adding that the candidates' attempts to outdo each other on military support is not a good harbinger for US politics.

A CNN/ORC poll shows that majority of voters feel Hillary Clinton won Monday night's debate over Donald Trump.

According to Brian Becker of the anti-war Answer Coalition, one cannot judge who won by CNN polls as it has been actively campaigning for Clinton.

"They have a few pro-Trump voices, but pretty much the CNN as a network is for Clinton – just like Fox is for Trump. They are not really media outlets; they are echo chambers for the respective political campaign," he told RT.

"The debate showed how vapid, how sensationalized, how empty the American political election cycle is – very expensive, but very long, and very empty. Both of them tried to outdo each other to show who had more support from the generals and admirals. It is not a good harbinger of where things are going in terms of American politics," Becker said.

Ahead of the election, Clinton and her supporters have been repeatedly using anti-Russia rhetoric and accusing Trump of being "unwitting agent" of President Putin and posing a threat to "US national security." On Monday, Clinton played her Russian card again to attack her opponent.

In Becker's view, it's an attempt to divert public attention from the party's own wrongdoing and, also, the escalation of tensions with Moscow will only benefit the US military industrial complex who supports Clinton.

"The attack on Russia, the attempt to blame Russia for all things, including for the hack of the DNC [Democratic National Committee] files that showed the DNC was violating its own rules and trying to tilt the election for Clinton, which happened on the first day of the Democratic national convention. Russia became a convenient punching bag, so that the Democratic Party could divert attention from its own wrongdoing. But it's manifested itself into something more than just a diversion," he said.

"Clinton has the support of all of the neoconservatives: Robert Kagan, husband of Victoria Nuland; a hundred of Republican foreign policy elites. I think they represent the mainstream Washington consensus, which is the consensus of the military industrial complex, which wants to incentivize American public opposition or even hatred toward Russia as a pretext for building up the military armaments business. The expansion or escalation of tension with Russia is very good for the arms business, very good for the military industrial complex. So it is not just electoral politics. I think this is the Hillary Clinton presidency we see in the making. If she is elected, I think this bodes very badly for US- Russian relations," Becker added.

.... .... ...

[Sep 25, 2016] The Divided States of America

Like the USSR the USA has one party system. This guy does not understand that both part are wings of single Neoliberal Party of the USA. Differences are rather superficial. Democrats are better in fooling minorities and low income voters.
Notable quotes:
"... Perhaps we need to rethink our electoral model of winner-take-all elections, and particularly of single-member House districts - a model that reinforces, rather than cuts against, this growing geographic polarization, and one that makes it harder for parties to reflect their internal diversity. ..."
"... Well, let's see, both parties have been playing the social issue, divide and conquer game for decades. Throw in Citizens United, which has... ..."
Sep 22, 2016 | www.nytimes.com

...Most large cities, college towns, the Northeast and the West Coast are deep-blue Democratic. Ruby-red Republican strongholds take up most of the South, the Great Plains, the Mountain States and the suburban and rural areas in between. Rather than compete directly against each other, both parties increasingly occupy their separate territories, with diminishing overlap and disappearing common accountability. They hear from very different constituents, with very different priorities.

... The House, the supposed "people's chamber," is a sea of noncompetition. Out of 435 seats up for election this year, just 25 are considered tossups by The Cook Political Report . In 2014, 82 percent of House races were decided by at least 15 percentage points, including 17 percent that were not contested by one of the two major parties.

The Senate is only slightly better. A mere six seats out of 34 up for election are considered genuine tossups by Cook's assessment (Florida, Indiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Pennsylvania), while five are in the "lean" category.

The presidential candidates are also ignoring most of the country, instead focusing on the handful of swing states that always seem to take on outsize importance. In the 2012 presidential election , only four states were decided by five or fewer percentage points, and the median state-level margin of victory was a whopping 16.9 percent (in other words, not even close). Compare that with the 1976 presidential election , when 20 states were decided by five or fewer percentage points (and 31 were decided by eight percentage points or fewer), and the median state-level margin of victory was 5.9 percent.

...

While gerrymandering may explain some of the noncompetitiveness of House races, it can't explain the Senate or the Electoral College. No amount of nonpartisan redistricting can overcome the fundamental disconnect between place-based, winner-take-all elections and polarized, geographically separated parties.

Competition is even rarer these days in state legislatures, where 43 percent of candidates did not face a major party opponent in 2014, and fewer than one in 20 races was decided by five percentage points or less. That made 2014 one of the most uncompetitive state-election years in decades.

These patterns are likely to continue: The current partisan geography is a natural political alignment. Around the world , urban areas tend to be left-leaning and cosmopolitan; rural and suburban areas tend to be conservative and populist.

... ... ...

As the parties became more homogeneous, rank-and-file members began to cede more authority to their leaders to enforce party discipline within Congress, especially in the House. Particularly after the watershed election of 1994, when many longtime conservative Democratic seats turned into relatively safe Republican seats, a new generation of conservative lawmakers and a newly assertive party leadership exerted a hard-right pull on the Republican Party. That election also bled the Democratic Party of many of its conservatives, shifting its caucus to the left. The election of 2010 was the culmination of the decades-long undoing of the New Deal coalition, sweeping away the few remaining Southern conservative Democrats.

Moreover, as more of the country became one-party territory, the opposing party in these places grasped the improbability of winning and so had little incentive to invest in mobilization and party building. This lack of investment further depleted a potential bench of future candidates and made future electoral competitions less and less likely.

These trends have been especially bad news for congressional Democrats, whose supporters are both more densely concentrated into urban areas (giving them fewer House seats) and less likely to vote in nonpresidential years (when most elections for governor are held, robbing the party of prominent state leaders). Since Republicans hold more relatively safe House seats, Democrats might benefit from occasional wave elections when the Republican brand has been significantly weakened (e.g., 2006 and 2008). But given the underlying dynamics, such elections are far more likely to be aberrations than long-lasting realignments.

An optimistic view of a future devoid of much electoral competition is that it saves members of Congress from having to constantly worry about re-election, which critics have argued pushes members toward short-term, parochial lawmaking. Perhaps all these safe seats can finally free up members to think beyond the next electoral cycle, and become genuine statesmen again..

... ... ...

By contrast, Congress was probably at its most fluid and productive during the periods of highest two-party competition, from the 1960s through the 1980s. This was partly because competition kept turnover steady enough that it brought in a relatively even flow of new members with new ideas. It also encouraged members to cut deals to bring home earmarks that would help them get elected.

Members don't do these things anymore because they don't have to. Whatever bipartisan bonhomie that once existed in Washington was a consequence of these underlying electoral conditions. Trying to re-establish that good will without fixing the underlying causes is like building a bridge across a river without foundations to ground the towers.Certainly, there are some signs that we may have already hit the nadir of electoral non-competition. In presidential polling , for example, blue states are looking a little less blue this year than in past years, and red states are looking a little less red. Split-ticket voting will likely be up this year as well. If the Republican Party truly becomes the party of Donald J. Trump (and there is good reason to think it will), and Democrats continue to court moderate pro-business Republicans alienated by Mr. Trump while giving up on nostalgia-minded white working-class voters ( also likely ), this may make some states and congressional districts more competitive. Changing demographics, especially in places with rising immigrant populations, may also change the dynamics of competition. There are also some signs that divisions within the parties are coming to undermine longstanding party unity, creating potential for new crosscutting alliances in ways that are likely to reduce polarization .

But we have a long way to go. These nascent trends could use a boost. Perhaps we need to rethink our electoral model of winner-take-all elections, and particularly of single-member House districts - a model that reinforces, rather than cuts against, this growing geographic polarization, and one that makes it harder for parties to reflect their internal diversity.

The single-member, winner-take-all elections we use are a relative rarity among advanced democracies. They are not mandated by the Constitution, which lets states decide how to elect their representatives. In fact, many states originally used multimember districts . Returning to this approach would make it far easier to draw competitive districts that mix urban and rural areas. It would make it easier for different wings in both parties to send members to Congress, creating more diversity within the parties. It might also allow some smaller, regional parties to emerge, since multimember allow candidates to win with far less than majority support. These developments would increase the possibilities for deal-making in Congress. The FairVote proposal of multimember districts with ranked choice voting seems especially promising on this front.

But the first step in electoral reform is recognizing that this country has a problem. For decades, we had reasonably robust electoral competition, so there was little obvious reason to worry about our electoral system. But that era is over.

Nick Metrowsky

Well, let's see, both parties have been playing the social issue, divide and conquer game for decades. Throw in Citizens United, which has...

ttrumbo

We're the most economically divided industrial country; so that's who we are. We've let the favored few gain so much wealth and power that...

BirdL

The related implications for one-party states, especially deep red ones, is that policy making is way too "easy," with little deliberation...

[Sep 25, 2016] Thomas Ferguson on How Money Drives Congressional Elections

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente ..."
"... And while Clinton is far better funded than Trump, it's not at all clear that she's getting any kind of bang for the buck. Perhaps candidate quality is a wild card at the Presidential level. ..."
"... The Dollary Clump Campaign is likely to screw up a lot of models, its already turned satire from a form of critique to a form of government reducing important propaganda organs to pathetic persiflage in the process. ..."
"... Well, then could not one conclude that the Supreme Court was wrong in declaring money to be a form of protected speech? According to this study, money isn't speech, it is votes. ..."
"... And if that is true, then the Supreme Courts rulings violate the "one man: one vote" principle. The number of votes a person has is now determined by his/her wealth and how much of it they are willing to buy an election with. ..."
Sep 20, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Lambert Strether of Corrente

This is important work by Ferguson and his colleagues, Paul Jorgensen, and Jie Chen, and especially relevant to the 2016 election. From the executive summary at iNet :

Social scientists have stubbornly held that money and election outcomes are at most weakly linked. New research provides clear evidence to the contrary.

Thomas Ferguson, Paul Jorgensen, and Jie Chen reveal strikingly direct relations between money and major party votes in all U.S. elections for the Senate and House of Representatives from 1980 to 2014. Using a new and comprehensive dataset built from government sources, they find that the relationship between the proportions of money spent by the winning party and votes is close to a straight line.

( Here is the PDF of the full paper , How Money Drives US Congressional Elections, Thomas Ferguson, Paul Jorgensen, and Jie Chen, Working Paper No. 48, August 1, 2016.) First, I'll look at the dataset. Then, I'll look at that "straight line" relation. Finally, I'll look at some of the political implications of Ferguson's work for thinking about 2016.

The Dataset

If you are a data person, and especially a big data person, Ferguson's project is thrilling. Most everyone will be familiar with the problem of determining whether "Mr. Bob Smith, 1234 Your St., Anytown USA" and "R. Smith, Yore Avenue, Anystate" are really the same person; there's a whole industry built up to work that stuff out because marketers (and debt collectors) need it. How much more complex when the names and addresses are entered by people with every incentive to conceal their identities! From the full paper (pp. 8-9):

For this paper, the thornier data problems arise from the fragmentation of reporting sources and formats – whose chaotic realities are, we are sure, a major reason why progress has been so slow in understanding campaign finance. Because we have extensively discussed elsewhere the measures we have taken to overco me these problems, our discussion here will be summary.

The guiding idea of our Political Money Project is to return to the raw data made available by the FEC and the IRS and create a single unified database containing all contributions in whatever form. This is a tall order, as anyone with any familiarity with our vastly different data sources will realize. In particular, FEC sources are sometimes jarringly inconsistent; many previous analysts do always appear to recognize the extent of the "flow of funds" anomalies in this data. And not all the IRS contributions are easily available in electronic form for all years.

But our real work commences only once this stage is completed. At both the FEC and the IRS, standards for reporting names of both individual and corporate contributors are laughably weak. Both companies and individuals routinely take advantage of regulatory nonchalance about even arrant non-compliance. Along with an enormous number of obviously bad faith reports (such as presidential contributions listed as coming from individuals working at banks that were swallowed long ago by other giants) all sorts of naïve, good faith errors abound in spelling, consistent use of Jr., Sr., or Mr., Ms., and Mrs., along with many incomplete entries and hyphenated names. Many people, especially very wealthy contributors, legitimately have more 9 than one address and fail to consistently list their corporate affiliations ("retired" as a category of contributor is extensively abused; some people who chair giant c orporations claim the status).

From the outset we recognized that solving this problem was indispensable to making reliable estimates of the concentration of political contributions. We adapted for our purposes programs of the type used by major hospital s and other institutions dealing with similar problems, adding many safeguards against tricks that no medical institution ever has to worry about; all the while checking and cross-checking our results, especially for large contributors. In big data efforts , there is never a point where such tasks can be regarded as unimpeachably finished. But we are certain that our data substantially improve over other sources on offer, including rosters of campaign contributions compiled by for-profit companies and all public sources.

Because we can compare many reports filed by people who we recognize as really the same person, we are able to see through schemes, such as those encouraged by the Obama campaigns (especially in 2008)[1], that encourage individual contributors to break up contributions into what looks like many "small" donations. We are also able to fill in many entries for workplace affiliation left blank. By itself, these steps lead to a quantum leap in the number of contributions coming from the same enterprises. But we have also used business directories and data from the Securities and Exchange Commission to pin down the corporate affiliations of many other contributors, whose identifications, once established, are similarly extendible.

Again, I can't stress enough how excellent and important this work is. And it's really hard to do!

The "Straight Line" Relation

Now let's jump straight to the conclusion ( full paper, page 10 ):

Data compiled like this allows us to brush past artificial efforts to distinguish kinds of spending in Congressional races, such as "inside" vs. "outside" funds (that is, spent by candidate's own committee or by allegedly "independent" outside groups) or the spending of challengers or incumbents. Instead we simply pool all spending by and on behalf of candidates and then examine whether relative, not absolute, differences in total outlays are related to vote differentials.

If conventional claims about the limited importance of political money are correct, then the individual data points – particular House or Senate election outcomes – should be scattered indifferently across the graph. Money just wouldn't predict voting outcomes very well. If on the other hand, money is strongly associated with votes received, then the fit would approximate a straight line. All kinds of intermediate cases, of course, can be imagined.

And here are those straight lines:

house_data

(These table is an excellent example of the power of Tufte's "small multiples." Readers who are clever about statistics (and I am not) will have objected that Ferguson's methodology may not be able to tease out money as an effect from money as a cause, to which Ferguson et al. respond as follows:

[T]here is one last redoubt in which skeptics can take refuge: the possibility that money and votes are reciprocally related. AsJac obson artfully frames the conundrum that protects this escape hatch: "Money may help win votes, but the expectation that a candidate can win votes also brings in money. To the degree that (expected) votes influence spending, ordinary measures will exaggera te the effects of spending on votes."

Our response to this challenge consists of two parts. Firstly, at least one clear natural experiment exists, in which it is possible to say with reasonable certainty that a tidal wave of money helped produce a sho cking political upset that was anticipated by scarcely anyone: The famous 1994 election in which Newt Gingrich and a Golden Horde of donors stunned the world by seizing control of the House of Representatives for the Republicans for the first time since 1954 (and only the third time since 1932). Taking a leaf from recent studies in economics and finance of event analysis, we use published estimates of the change in the odds of a Republican takeover to rule out appeals to confident expectations of taking over the House as the explanation for the wave of money that drowned House Democrats that year.

But 1994 is only one case, though admittedly a momentous one. We have not been able to locate usable odds compilations for other elections. In the hope of bypassing tedious debates over a host of less clear cut cases, we searched for more general approaches. … We suspect that where politics and money is concerned, the search for good instruments is in most instances akin to hunting the Snark. A better approach is to search for estimation methods that do not require us to lean so heavily on thin reeds. This quest led us to the work of Peter Ebbes and his colleagues. Ebbes and his associates have developed latent instrumental variable (LIV) models into a practical working tool, where the instrument is unknown, and used them to attack a variety of problems.

These methods are relatively new and, of course, like virtually all statistical tools, rely on assumptions for their validity, but the assumptions required do not appear any more farfetched than more conventional approaches to tackling the question. Irene Hueter's recent critical review is very helpful in clarifying important points. While critical on various secondary issues, she concludes that the method appears to be fundamentally sound and to work in practice: the solutions it gives to some classical econometric applications appear reasonable and in line with results using more traditional methods. We think it is time to try the approach on money and politics, particularly since we can crosscheck its findings with our results on 1994, obtained by the completely different approach now conventional in finance.

Personally, I have to accept Ferguson's authority on this, but the Naked Capitalism commentariat being what it is, perhaps readers will be able to comment on the "latent instrumental variable" approach.

The 2016 Election

One more conclusion that Ferguson et al. draw is that yes, we do live in an oligarchy (although factional conflicts take place among oligarchs:

We demonstrated, for example, that the 1% - defined quite carefully – dominated both major parties; at the same time, however, our results once again directly confirmed the huge differences in the extent to which specific sectors and blocs of firms within big business differentially support Democrats or Republicans. The results point up the futility of trying to underst and the dynamics of American politics without reference to investor coalitions and strongly support a broad investment approach to party competition. We showed that the case of the Tea Party was no different by tracking the rates of support for its candidates within business as a whole but, most importantly, within big business. Claims that major American businesses do not financially support Tea Party candidates are plainly false.

I'm not sure whether Ferguson's results for House (and Senate) races translate directly to Presidential races. However, it would seem to me that at least in 2016, the relationship between money and electoral success has not been linear. After all, how much did George Bush blow? $270 million? And while Clinton is far better funded than Trump, it's not at all clear that she's getting any kind of bang for the buck. Perhaps candidate quality is a wild card at the Presidential level.

NOTE

[1] Well, well. I remember raising this issue in 2008, and being scoffed at. It would be interesting to know if the same techniques were used by the Trump campaign, which just came out with a small donors story, and, to be fair, whether they were used by Clinton or even Sanders.

diptherio , September 20, 2016 at 11:21 am

The Clinton campaign's tactics to inflate the small donor numbers are apparently to just bill their small donors over and over again. Typical democrats: screw over your poorest supporters (in all fairness, Republicans are good at that trick too).

http://www.kare11.com/news/investigations/kare-11-investigates-unauthorized-charges-by-clinton-campaign/229158541

Ignacio , September 20, 2016 at 11:59 am

I think it is rigthly arguable that the relation between money attracted and voting outcome can be reciprocally related. In the case that a candidate is seen as a potential winner, it can attract money that "wins" the rigth to be heared after the election. In other words, to make the candidate friendly to the interests that money represents. This is backed by the fact that the most powerful contributors finance both candidates (the two candidates that have real chance).

Anycase, this study very much supports Greg Palast's book title. Money has a clear effect in election outcome, and almost certainly an even bigger effect on policy, after the election. Good job indeed!

jsn , September 20, 2016 at 12:07 pm

"And while Clinton is far better funded than Trump, it's not at all clear that she's getting any kind of bang for the buck. Perhaps candidate quality is a wild card at the Presidential level."

The Dollary Clump Campaign is likely to screw up a lot of models, its already turned satire from a form of critique to a form of government reducing important propaganda organs to pathetic persiflage in the process.

KYrocky , September 20, 2016 at 12:28 pm
"One more conclusion that Ferguson et al. draw is that yes, we do live in an oligarchy"

The sleuthing required for this effort is amazing, as anyone who has tried to research campaign spending knows, and Ferguson et al are to be highly commended for their effort to shine more daylight on the sordid side of American democracy.

But about that oligarchy. Why not share that information? If the data has been aggregated to individuals and corporations can they be ranked and listed for the world to see? Can Ferguson et al at least share with us a glimpse of who is actually controlling the levers of power in our democracy as it sure isn't the people.

Vatch , September 20, 2016 at 3:52 pm

About a year ago, there was an article in the NY Times with a list of the 158 families who are supposedly donating the most to the Presidential campaign. This list has some major gaps, since the Koch family, the Walton family, and the (Sheldon) Adelson families are not on it. Also, it's in the NY Times, so if you don't want to use up your monthly allotment of articles, link to the article from an incognito or private browser.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/us/politics/wealthy-families-presidential-candidates.html#donors-list

There's also this web site by G. William Domhoff:

http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/

The 7th edition of his book Who Rules America? is available, and it has a list price of about $110.00. A loose leaf version can be had for a steal, only about $80.00.

Kokuanani , September 20, 2016 at 4:06 pm

so if you don't want to use up your monthly allotment of articles, link to the article from an incognito or private browser.

Or go into your browser & clear the NYT cookies. This will reset your monthly "count" to zero.

Robert Hahl , September 20, 2016 at 4:10 pm

If you are not ignoring the New York Times, you are part of the problem.

Vatch , September 20, 2016 at 5:30 pm

I wanted to ignore them; I tried to ignore them! I remembered that there had been an article about 158 rich families, so I a web search. After looking at 6 or 7 articles, all of which were fairly short and just linked to the NY Times article, I declared victory, gave up, and looked at the NY Times article, which is the only place where I could find the actual list.

Lambert Strether Post author , September 20, 2016 at 11:25 pm

I actually meant to add that. It would be nice to have an API to the data, for example, even if it isn't all available as a CSV (and there could be lamentable but legitimate funding reasons for that).

sgt_doom , September 20, 2016 at 1:57 pm

Yes and no - sorry, but at this point in time it isn't really important, we all know Wall Street owns the government, we know where those crapweasels comes from at the Department of Treasury, and Justice, and State (we know that the CIA within the State Department, which the Kennedy brothers once attempted to eradicate, has been incredibly strengthened by Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state by her hiring all those former CIA types), etc., etc.

We know this stuff already, and those of us concerned enough have read David Dayen's masterful book, Chain of Title , and realize that Covington & Burling's point man, Erick Holder, was appointed by Obama so the MERS criminal conspiracy wouldn't be uncovered and the banksters wouldn't be criminally prosecuted as they should all be!

Old news, chum, sorry . . . .

Lambert Strether Post author , September 21, 2016 at 1:53 am

It's not news, "chum," it's an academic study.

The part that I didn't look at - and I need to look at more of Ferguson work - is how he uses aggregations of funders to outline elite factional conflict (otherwise obscured by the "bad" record keeping) in the donor class, i.e. the 1%. That's very useful, pragmatically.

DR , September 20, 2016 at 3:02 pm

re: "I'm not sure whether Ferguson's results for House (and Senate) races translate directly to Presidential races. However, it would seem to me that at least in 2016, the relationship between money and electoral success has not been linear. After all, how much did George Bush blow? $270 million? And while Clinton is far better funded than Trump, it's not at all clear that she's getting any kind of bang for the buck."

Spending levels and Presidential campaigns often do NOT correlate directly for a simple reason: Presidential elections are one of the few political contests in which "free media," i.e., coverage in the news media, TV, blog commentary, Twitter, etc, compensates and often overwhelms the advertising and organizational effects of the campaigns themselves. Thus, Trump has so far received news media coverage worth at least a billion dollars in paid advertising. Further, Jeb, Trump, Clinton are known commodities to the general public. Bernie was an interesting phenomenon. In the end, of course, his fundraising was quite respectable. But in the beginning he benefited from another factor. There was a large latent pro-change anti-Clinton constituency in the Democratic Party hungry for a hero. Presidential primary campaigns are long. There was time for the news to get out and word to spread.

Once the latent anti-Clintonites realized they had a candidate, they gravitated to him, which generated more attention and more money…Finally, there are always exceptions in any data set. Over the years there are numerous examples of Congressional candidates defeating better funded opponents, especially in primaries, where turnout is small. Such exceptions do NOT disprove the general rule. It has always been a rule of thumb among practicing political professionals that the bigger your candidate's funding advantage, the better your chances on election day. Ferguson has proved what common sense and practical experience tell us.

Lambert Strether Post author , September 21, 2016 at 1:55 am

Ferguson says explicitly that the linear correlation in Senate races is choppier (I forget the exact term of art) and one reason is media. So that makes sense.

And makes independent media all the more important…

Steve Ruis , September 21, 2016 at 8:32 am

Well, then could not one conclude that the Supreme Court was wrong in declaring money to be a form of protected speech? According to this study, money isn't speech, it is votes.

And if that is true, then the Supreme Courts rulings violate the "one man: one vote" principle. The number of votes a person has is now determined by his/her wealth and how much of it they are willing to buy an election with.

[Sep 24, 2016] Vanity Fair

Sep 22, 2016 | www.vanityfair.com
(Re Silc). "Interestingly, the biggest drag on Trump among this group was his verbal treatment of women."

"Let's start by giv­ing Don­ald Trump every state that Rom­ney won in 2012, even North Car­o­lina where, as of Thursday morn­ing, Clin­ton had a nar­row lead in the RCP av­er­age of polls in that state. That would give Trump 245 elect­or­al votes to Clin­ton's 293, with 270 needed to win. Now let's give Trump every state where Clin­ton's RCP av­er­age lead was less than 3 points, thus put­ting Iowa, Nevada, Flor­ida, and Ohio in Trump's column. Clin­ton would then lead 273-265 and still be in the win­ner's circle. Now let's as­sume that Trump wins Maine's second con­gres­sion­al dis­trict, which would nar­row her lead to 272 to 266. To be clear, I do not think that Trump will sweep North Car­o­lina, Iowa, Nevada, Flor­ida, and Ohio. For that mat­ter, he is strug­gling to keep his lead in places like Ari­zona and Geor­gia. Even giv­ing Trump every state that is close, he still comes up short. To get over the top he would need to win states where today he's not run­ning par­tic­u­larly close. These in­clude New Hamp­shire, where the RCP av­er­age gives Clin­ton a 5-point edge, Pennsylvania a 6.2-point lead, Michigan a 5.6-point lead, and Vir­gin­ia a 3.7-point lead" [ Cook Political Report ] [dusts hands]. "The key thing to think about in the com­ing weeks is who the elec­tion is really about. For most of the past three months, it was a ref­er­en­dum on Trump, and he was los­ing. The last couple of weeks, the race has been about Clin­ton and she has been los­ing ground as a res­ult." The political class cannot concieve of the idea that the election might be a referendum on them . And that a narrow win will not be enough to allow them to retain the mandate of heaven.

"The larger explanation for the Trump phenomenon is even more unsettling for Washington's political class, especially the media. They have lost their power" [ Politico ]. No, they haven't. But they are frantic to retain it. "Only a decade or two ago, the media world was confined to a group of people in D.C. and New York-a group that largely knew each other, mingled in the same places, vacationed in the same locales. The most influential members of the group routinely defined what constituted a gaffe, others echoed that view, and it became the conventional wisdom for the rest of America. In the age of the Internet, with bloggers spread out across the nation, and multiple platforms across the political spectrum, that's no longer possible. The growing divergence between these 'insiders' and the new 'outsiders' has played to Trump's benefit, every single time he made what was once conceived as a 'game-changing' error." Hmm. I remember 2003-2006 very well, when bloggers were going to do just this. That was going to happen until it didn't. In other words, I don't think it's bloggers and platforms that are the drivers; aspirational 10%-ers, as it were. It's a solid chunk of the 90% being mightily ticked off (though ticked off in ways appropriate to their various conditions). And that's not going to change.

"Thus Clinton's peculiar predicament. She has moved further left than any modern Democratic nominee, and absorbed the newer left's Manichaean view of the culture war" [Ross Douthat, The New York Times ]. And "culture war" completely explains why all those bright young people were chanting the talking points of an elderly white male socialist delivering hour-long speeches on policy to ginormous rallies. If you want to see an utterly classic conflation of "liberal" and "left," read this. Douthat really is an idiot.

"View from the barber's chair: In Florida even blacks and Hispanics may be turning against Hillary Clinton" [ Independent ]. This is good, although using the word "safari" for encounters with Florida voters might not be an ideal choice of words.

UPDATE "There are three consistent features to all of conservative talk radio: Anger, Trump, and ads targeting the financially desperate" [ Chris Arnade ]. "The ads are a constant. Ads protecting against coming financial crisis (Surprise! It is Gold.) or ads that start, 'Having trouble with the IRS?' The obvious lessons being 1) Lots of conservative talk radio listeners are in financial distress. 2) They are willing to turn to scams."

UPDATE "[Squillionare Tom Steyer is] chipping in an additional $15 million to For Our Future, a joint effort among four labor unions and a super PAC he founded called Next Gen Climate. The money won't go to TV ads but to a door-to-door campaign that aims to knock on 2 million doors in seven swing states, encouraging "sporadic" voters to get to the polls" [ USA Today ]. Once again, if the Democrats didn't suck at basic party functions, they wouldn't have to suck up to squillionaires like this.

UPDATE "No matter who wins in November, America is going to face a divide unseen in decades. If Donald Trump wins, he will confront a resident media more hateful than that which confronted Richard Nixon in 1968" [Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative ]. "If Hillary Clinton wins, she will come to office distrusted and disbelieved by most of her countrymen, half of whom she has maligned either as "deplorables" or pitiful souls in need of empathy." A country Buchanan worked so tirelessly to unify! Still, the old reprobate has this right. If Clinton wins (likely modulo events, dear boy, events) and the Republicans retain the House and the Senate, they'll impeach her over some damned thing in the emails. And they'll be right.

UPDATE "Trump Boasts About Using 'Other People's Money' In Business" [ Talking Points Memo ]. History's worst monster!

UPDATE "A fuzzy screenshot of an email instructing people on how to disrupt internet groups is doing the rounds today, and it's worth having a really good look at. It's unclear where this particular handbook came from, and what particular groups they intend to target, but anyone who has been in Bernie, Green, or Libertarian groups will soon recognize these same tactics and patterns" [ Inquisitr ].

[Sep 22, 2016] Tilt in polls to Trump

www.businessinsider.com

A recent Detroit Free Press/WXYZ-TV poll of the state, however, found Clinton's lead shrinking from 11 points to just 3 - within the poll's margin of error.

Michigan wasn't the only state that swung toward the Republican nominee:

Reuters' projections now see Election Day coming down to a photo finish, showing a 60% chance of a Clinton win by 18 electoral votes. Nate Silver's forecast at FiveThirtyEight also gives Clinton 60% odds as of Saturday.

[Sep 21, 2016] An interesting view on Russian intelligencia by the scientist and writer Zinoviev expressed during perestroika in 1991

The intelligentsia (Latin: intellegentia, Polish: inteligencja, Russian: интеллигенция; IPA: [ɪntʲɪlʲɪˈɡʲentsɨjə]) is a social class of people engaged in complex mental labor aimed at guiding or critiquing, or otherwise playing a leadership role in shaping a society's culture and politics.[1] This therefore might include everyone from artists to school teachers, as well as academics, writers, journalists, and other hommes de lettres (men of letters) more usually thought of as being the main constituents of the intelligentsia.
Intelligentsia is the subject of active polemics concerning its own role in the development of modern society not always positive historically, often contributing to higher degree of progress, but also to its backward movement.[2]... In pre-revolutionary Russia the term was first used to describe people possessing cultural and political initiative.[3] It was commonly used by those individuals themselves to create an apparent distance from the masses, and generally retained that narrow self-definition. [citation needed]
en.wikipedia.org

If intellectuals replace the current professional politicians as the leaders of society the situation would become much worse. Because they have neither the sense of reality, nor common sense. For them, the words and speeches are more important than the actual social laws and the dominant trends, the dominant social dynamics of the society. The psychological principle of the intellectuals is that we could organize everything much better, but we are not allowed to do it.

But the actual situation is as following: they could organize the life of society as they wish and plan, in the way they view is the best only if under conditions that are not present now are not feasible in the future. Therefore they are not able to act even at the level of current leaders of the society, which they despise. The actual leaders are influenced by social pressures, by the current social situation, but at least they doing something. Intellectuals are unhappy that the real stream of life they are living in. They consider it wrong. that makes them very dangerous, because they look really smart, while in reality being sophisticated professional idiots.

[Sep 20, 2016] Two-Party Tyranny Ralph Nader on Exclusion of Third-Party Candidates From First Presidential Debate

www.truth-out.org

In a minute, we'll be joined by former third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader. But first, this is George Farah, the founder and executive director of Open Debates, speaking on Democracy Now! about how the Democrats and Republicans took control of the debate process.

GEORGE FARAH: GEORGE FARAH: The League of Women Voters ran the presidential debate process from 1976 until 1984, and they were a very courageous and genuinely independent, nonpartisan sponsor. And whenever the candidates attempted to manipulate the presidential debates behind closed doors, either to exclude a viable independent candidate or to sanitize the formats, the league had the courage to challenge the Republican and Democratic nominees and, if necessary, go public.

In 1980, independent candidate John B. Anderson was polling about 12 percent in the polls. The league insisted that Anderson be allowed to participate, because the vast majority of the American people wanted to see him, but Jimmy Carter, President Jimmy Carter, refused to debate him. The league went forward anyway and held a presidential debate with an empty chair, showing that Jimmy Carter wasn't going to show up.

Four years later, when the Republican and Democratic nominees tried to get rid of difficult questions by vetoing 80 of the moderators that they had proposed to host the debates, the league said, "This is unacceptable." They held a press conference and attacked the campaigns for trying to get rid of difficult questions.

And lastly, in 1988, was the first attempt by the Republican and Democratic campaigns to negotiate a detailed contract. It was tame by comparison, a mere 12 pages. It talked about who could be in the audience and how the format would be structured, but the league found that kind of lack of transparency and that kind of candidate control to be fundamentally outrageous and antithetical to our democratic process. They released the contract and stated they refuse to be an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American people and refuse to implement it.

And today, what do we have? We have a private corporation that was created by the Republican and Democratic parties called the Commission on Presidential Debates. It seized control of the presidential debates precisely because the league was independent, precisely because this women's organization had the guts to stand up to the candidates that the major-party candidates had nominated.

[Sep 18, 2016] Is It "Brexit In America" This Election Cycle?

Notable quotes:
"... on the day of the vote ..."
"... Brexit went on to win 52% to 48% . That is a swing of +14% to -4% on the day of the vote! The polls were off by 18% against the Elites/Globalist who inhabit the European Political Industrial Complex (or PIC) ..."
"... [Note: Political Industrial Complex (PIC) = all the career politicians, all the career bureaucrats, the sea of career political consultants and career staff, the political donor class and their career lobbyists, and of course the pliant career political news media. The EU is the epitome of the Political Industrial Complex – the apex of bad ideas hoisted upon the masses without thought or responsibility. The "elite" denizens of the PIC live apart from the rest of humanity] ..."
"... Check back for updates if we detect a hint of Brexit tonight ..."
Sep 18, 2016 | strata-sphere.com

Given the uniqueness of this election cycle with candidate Trump and the populist wave building in many countries of "the west", it is hard to put much trust in the polls. This lesson was learned during the Brexit vote in the UK when polls showed the "stay" campaign comfortably ahead on the day of the vote :

The paper ballots were still being counted by hand. Only the British overseas territory of Gibraltar had reported final results. Yet the assumption of a Remain victory filled the room-and depressed my hosts. One important journalist had received a detailed briefing earlier that evening of the results of the government's exit polling: 57 percent for Remain .

Emphasis mine. Brexit went on to win 52% to 48% . That is a swing of +14% to -4% on the day of the vote! The polls were off by 18% against the Elites/Globalist who inhabit the European Political Industrial Complex (or PIC) . I commented on why the polls were likely to be so far off :

… why would any anti-big-government voter participate in a poll from the PIC? They won't. So the polls become more and more over sampled by the PIC defenders: an ever shrinking fraction of the voting population.

[Note: Political Industrial Complex (PIC) = all the career politicians, all the career bureaucrats, the sea of career political consultants and career staff, the political donor class and their career lobbyists, and of course the pliant career political news media. The EU is the epitome of the Political Industrial Complex – the apex of bad ideas hoisted upon the masses without thought or responsibility. The "elite" denizens of the PIC live apart from the rest of humanity]

Today we are going to get a clear indication of how deep the ant-elite wave is in America. Paul Ryan, GOP Speaker of the House, is fighting off a primary challenger who has built his "Hail Mary" campaign on the populist movement. How he performs against Ryan is going to be a clear and unambiguous measure of the anti-government movement.

I seriously doubt Ryan will lose. But I also seriously doubt he will win by 60%. The closer Ryan gets to 60%, the less likely we have "Brexit In America" and the more likely it is Hillary can pull this election out. But if Ryan is down near 20% (or worse), then it is more likely Trump will ride a populist wave to victory in November.

This will be a very enlightening evening as the primary results come in.

BTW, turnout seems to be low today, which is probably really bad for Ryan. We know the populist voters have energy (see Trumps record breaking vote totals in his primaries). So ambivalence will probably be on the Ryan side. The lower the turnout, the more likely it is Ryan's tepid supporters who just failed to be worried about him losing. Paul Nehlen's supporters – who were all about sending a message to DC – will win the day on the urge to purge DC.

Check back for updates if we detect a hint of Brexit tonight

[Sep 18, 2016] Neoliberalism has grown decadent and corrupt. It is a secular religion: a massive systemic force that some can manipulate for their own gain, but as a society we've lost the will or ability to control it's macro forces which have the power grind up whole demographics, communities, or crash the whole economy.

Notable quotes:
"... Something along the lines of Sweden, or maybe Germany: the means of production is left in private hands and the owning class is welcome to get rich (there are the equivalent of billionaires in both countries) but there are strict limits as to how much they can screw their workers, cheat their customers or damage the environment. ..."
"... Also, basic social welfare matters (healthcare, child care etc.) are publicly provided, or at least publicly backstopped. The model may not be perfect but it appears to work quite well all in all. ..."
"... Sweden has no taxes on inheritance or residential property, and its 22 percent corporate income tax rate is far lower than America's 35 percent." ..."
"... I do not think that drag queens reading stories, Lionel Shriver's speech and backlash, or the latest Clinton scandal mean civilizational death. They are outliers, but serve to remind the vast majority of the country that there is plenty of room in America for eccentrics of every description to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. ..."
"... HRC is not really unthinkable. She is just not preferable. A vote for HRC is an acquiescence to the status quo of corrupt, big money politics. Voting for the status quo is unthinkable only if you think the apocalypse is around the next bend. Let's be serious. ..."
"... "we are at the mercy of systematic forces, difficult to name, which can be manipulated by the powerful but not governed by them, and that our problems are unsolvable" ..."
"... I would argue that the "system" is capitalism grown decadent and corrupt. It is a secular religion that we've given ourselves over to and is exactly as he describes: a massive systemic force that some can manipulate for their own gain, but as a society we've lost the will or ability to control it's macro forces which have the power grind up whole demographics, communities, or crash the whole economy. ..."
"... The reaction and fall out from the financial crisis amounted to everyone shrugging and declaring innocence and ignorance. They seemed to say, how could anyone see such a thing coming or do anything about it? How could anyone control such a huge system? ..."
"... I'm always struck by these posts detailing how everything is coming apart in America. I look around and frankly, life looks pretty good. Maybe it's because I'm a minority female, who grew up poor and now has a solidly middle class life. My mother, God rest her soul, was smarter and worked harder than I ever will but did not have one-quarter of the opportunities (education, housing) I've had. My sons have travelled the globe, and have decent jobs and good friends. I am grateful. ..."
"... I wouldn't say that [neo] Liberalism is "spent" as a force, rather that its credibility is. As a cultural force (covering both politics and the economy, among other things), its strength is and remains vast. It is Leviathan. For all intents and purposes, it defines the culture, and thus dictates the imperatives and methods, of our governing and economic elites. ..."
"... Bush proved that electing an imbecile to the Presidency has real consequences for our standing in the world. ..."
"... Trump starts speaking without knowing how his sentence will end, and then he will go to down fighting to defend whatever it was he said even though he never really meant it in the first place. That mix of arrogance and stupidity is more dangerous than Bush. ..."
"... Totally unconvincing. It couldn't be more obvious that Hillary stands for rule by globalists whereas Trump intends to return control of the federal government to We the People. ..."
"... Which candidate is traveling to Louisiana? Flint? Detroit? Mexico (on behalf of America)? Which candidate calls tens of millions of Americans irredeemable and thus it would be justified in exterminating them? ..."
"... What makes Mr. Cosimano so sure that what America is passing into is anything like a "civilization" at all? We could simple pass into barbarism. Can anyone name the leaders who hope to build any kind of civilization at all? ..."
"... For 70+ years, other than while working on a university degree in history, I never gave a thought to civilizational collapse, so I would have been a poor choice to ask for a definition of the term. But after a few years of reading TAC I think I have a handle on it. It's a situation in which someone or some group sees broad social change they don't like. So probably civilizational collapse is constant and ongoing. ..."
"... I would only point out that there is no clear path to economic safety for working Americans, whether they are white are black. Training and hard work will only take you so far in our demand-constrained economy. Whether black optimism or white pessimism turns out to be empirically justified is far from certain. We are constructing the future as we speak, and our actions will determine the answer to this question. ..."
"... As the WikiLeaks dox show, it wasn't "barrel bombs" or "chemical warfare against his own people" that made the elites hungry to overthrow the government there, it was the 2009 decision by Syria not to allow an oil pipeline through from Qatar to Turkey, whereupon the CIA was directed to start funding jihadists and regime change. ..."
"... I'd note that Popes going back to Leo XIII have written on the destructive effects of capitalism or rather the unmitigated pursuit of wealth. Both Benedict and Francis have eloquently expressed the need for a spiritual conversion to solve the world's problems. A conversion which recognizes our solidarity with one another as well as our obligation to the health of Creation. I rather doubt we will find the impetus for this conversion among our politicians. ..."
"... The problem is not civilization-level, Mr. Dreher. The problem is species -level. Humanity as a whole is discovering that it cannot handle too high a level of technology without losing its ability to get feedback from its environment. Without that feedback, its elite classes drift off into literal insanity. The rest of the society soon follows. ..."
"... James Parker in The Atlantic comes to a similar conclusion from a very different starting place ..."
"... "For Trump to be revealed as a salvational figure, the conditions around him must be dire. Trumpism-like fascism, like a certain kind of smash-it-up punk rock-begins in apprehensions of apocalypse." ..."
"... Classical [neo]liberalism presents itself not as a tentative theory of how society might be organized but as a theory of nature. It claims to lay out the forces of nature and to make these a model for social order. Thus free-market fundamentalism, letting the market function "as nature intended". It's an absurd position when applied dogmatically, and no more "natural" than other economic arrangements humans might come up with. ..."
"... Further, as I suggest, our two camps "left" and "right" are no longer distinctly left and right in any traditional sense. The market forces and self-marketing that lead to the fetishization of identity by the left are the same market forces championed by the capitalist right. In America today, both left and right are merely different bourgeois cults of Self. ..."
"... "Pope Francis (and to a slighly lesser degree, his two predecessors) has spoken frequently about unbridled capitalism as a source of the world ills. But his message hasn't been that well received among American conservatives." ..."
Sep 17, 2016 | john-uebersax.com

Andrew E. says: September 16, 2016 at 11:19 am

Will she be inviting them in from parallel universes? Because we do not have 40 million illegals. The number is closer to eleven million.

Wrong, see Adios America

JonF says: September 16, 2016 at 1:27 pm
Re: we have yet to hear a cogent description of what "bridled" capitalism is/looks like

Something along the lines of Sweden, or maybe Germany: the means of production is left in private hands and the owning class is welcome to get rich (there are the equivalent of billionaires in both countries) but there are strict limits as to how much they can screw their workers, cheat their customers or damage the environment.

Also, basic social welfare matters (healthcare, child care etc.) are publicly provided, or at least publicly backstopped. The model may not be perfect but it appears to work quite well all in all.

CatherineNY says: September 16, 2016 at 6:28 pm
Re: Sweden as an example of "bridled capitalism," here is an article about how many billionaires Sweden has (short answer: lots) http://www.slate.com/articles/business/billion_to_one/2013/10/sweden_s_billionaires_they_have_more_per_capita_than_the_united_states.html "The Swedish tax code was substantially reformed in 1990 to be friendlier toward capital accumulation, with a flat rate on investment income. Sweden has no taxes on inheritance or residential property, and its 22 percent corporate income tax rate is far lower than America's 35 percent."

I think a lot of American capitalists would welcome those bridles. As for Hanby's critique of the liberal order that (thankfully) prevails in the West, it is only because of that liberal order that we are freely discussing these matters here, that we can talk about a Benedict Option in which we can create an economy within the economy, because in the non-liberal orders that prevailed through most of history, and that still prevail in a lot of places, we'd be under threat from the state for free discussion, and we would have little or no choice of education or jobs, because we'd be serfs or slaves or forced by government to go into a certain line of work (like my husband's Mandarin teacher, a scientist who was forced into the countryside during the Cultural Revolution and then told that she had to become a language teacher.)

I'd be interested to know what kind of system Hanby would like to see replace our liberal order. Presumably one where he would be in charge.

Harvey says: September 15, 2016 at 3:36 pm
[neo]Liberalism is exhausted? What does that even mean, except as a high-brow insult?

If there is one statistic that disproves this claim, it's that religious attendance is plummeting and the number of people who are "nones" are rising rapidly.

What's exhausted is religion as a necessary component of social life. Since that is indisputably true, I guess the only thing that is left is for the remaining stalwarts resisting the tide to project this idea of exhaustion onto the other side.

[NFR: You don't understand his point. He's not talking about liberalism as the philosophy of the Democratic Party. He's talking about liberalism as the political culture and system of the West. - RD]

Clint says: September 15, 2016 at 3:38 pm
"There is nothing like a good shock of pain for dissolving certain kinds of magic."

Could be that Trump is God's Hot Foot Angel With The Dirty Face waking Americans up to the increasingly Godless Agenda of The Washington Establishment and The Corporate Media.

Elijah says: September 15, 2016 at 4:01 pm
Talk about cynical. There's a lot to take exception to here, but let's start with this:

"In other words, the fact that we are in civilizational crisis is becoming unavoidably apparent, though there is obviously little agreement as to what this crisis consists in or what its causes are and little interest from the omnipresent media beyond how perceptions of crisis affect voter behavior."

Possibly because he's one of the relatively few people who think we're in such a crisis. A lot of us – Republican and Democrat – still believe ideas and ideals are important and we support them (and their torchbearers, however flawed) with all the vigor we can muster.

I do not think that drag queens reading stories, Lionel Shriver's speech and backlash, or the latest Clinton scandal mean civilizational death. They are outliers, but serve to remind the vast majority of the country that there is plenty of room in America for eccentrics of every description to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I will admit to thinking this kind of thing much more important on college campuses, where it can affect the quality of an education.

"We would not see it as a crisis of soul, but a crisis of management…"

Probably true: I'm not so sure that our founding principles really envision our civilization as having a soul rather than virtues. And the idea of a national government mucking around with the souls of the people gives me the heebie-jeebies much as Putin's alliance with the Orthodox church does you. And if there's anything we can take from the current election, I think it's that Americans have had enough sociologists, economists, lawyers, and other "experts" tell them what to do to last a lifetime. It's part and parcel of the distrust you just posted about.

And I'm not at all sure that Americans are generally despairing, though it's pretty clear they think our country is on the wrong track. Hillary ought to be running away with this thing – why isn't she? Because she's seen as more of the same. Sanders offered the hope of something new, something transformative: the same thing people see in Trump. Their hope MAY be misplaced but time will tell. This election cycle ought to make people a little less confident in their predictions.

"Hope is hard, I admit. But my response is that it is not the pessimist about liberalism who lacks hope, but the optimist who cannot see beyond its horizons."

Hope is hard if you're investing in our institutions to carry us through. They aren't designed to. Our hope is in Christ, Our Redeemer, and that His will "be done on earth as it is in Heaven." And I will gladly admit to not being able to see beyond liberalism's horizons – again, the predictions of experts and philosophers haven't held up too well over time.

I can say that blithely because my hope is not in liberalism, ultimately. Do I think some semblance of liberalism can and will survive? Yes, but the cultural struggles we are going through are part and parcel of the system. Do I like that? No.

And as much as we need to reinforce communities (through the BenOp) we also need to recognize that our job isn't always to understand and prepare. As Christians, it is to obey. It means we repent, fast, and pray. It means we take the Great Commission seriously even when it's uncomfortable.

I'm sorry to rip your friend here, I just don't find his piece compelling at all.

allaround says: September 15, 2016 at 4:13 pm
HRC is not really unthinkable. She is just not preferable. A vote for HRC is an acquiescence to the status quo of corrupt, big money politics. Voting for the status quo is unthinkable only if you think the apocalypse is around the next bend. Let's be serious.

Voting for Trump is unthinkable because he is totally clueless about seemingly he talks about. His arrogance is only surpassed by his ignorance. Gary Johnson was excoriated because he did not know what Aleppo is. I bet a paycheck Trump couldn't point to Syria on a map. Trump get's no serious criticism for insistence that we steal Iraq's oil, his confusion about why Iran wasn't buying our airplanes, his assertion that Iran is North Koreas largest trading partner, that South Korea and Japan ought to have nukes, his threats to extort our NATO allies. There are dozens of gems like these, but you get the picture. One only needs to read transcripts from his interviews to understand the limits of his intellect. Voting for such a profound ignoramus is truly unthinkable.

Gary says: September 15, 2016 at 4:40 pm
Not (at least directly) related, but Rod thought this might give you some hope today (albeit it's from the <a href=" http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3790614/They-don-t-like-drugs-gay-marriage-HATE-tattoos-Generation-Z-conservative-WW2.html"Daily Mail but I found it interesting):

Teenagers born after 2000 – the so-called 'Generation Z' – are the most socially conservative generation since the Second World War, a new study has found.

The youngsters surveyed had more conservative views on gay marriage, transgender rights and drugs than Baby Boomers, Generation X or Millennials.

The questioned were more prudent than Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers but not quite as cash-savvy as those born in 1945 or before.

Only 14 and 15-year-olds were surveyed, by brand consultancy The Gild, as they were classed as being able to form credible opinions by that age.

When asked to comment on same-sex marriage, transgender rights and cannabis legislation, 59 per cent of Generation X teenagers said they had conservative views.

Around 85 per cent of Millennials and those in Generation X had a 'quite' or 'very liberal' stance overall.

When asked for their specific view on each topic only the Silent Generation was more conservative that Generation Z.

One in seven – 14% – of the 14 and 15-year-olds took a 'quite conservative' approach, while only two per cent of Millennials and one per cent of Generation X.

The Silent Generation had a 'quite conservative' rating of 34 per cent.

I think this was done in Britain but as we know, social trends in the rest of the West tend to spill over into the States.

Are we looking at another Alex P. Keaton generation? Kids likely to rebel against the liberalism of their parents?

Adamant says: September 15, 2016 at 4:43 pm
I can never quite understand the tension between these two concepts: enlightenment liberalism as a spent force, enervated, listless, barely able to stir itself even in its own defense, and simultaneously weaponized SJWism, modern day Jacobins, an army of clenched-jawed fanatics who will stop at nothing to destroy its enemies.

It seems that one of these perspectives must be less true than the other.

[NFR: SJWs are a betrayal of classical liberalism. - RD]

The Other Sands says: September 15, 2016 at 4:53 pm
I realize that I only comment here when something sets me off, and not when I agree with you (which is after all why I keep reading you).

So here I am agreeing with this post.

"we are at the mercy of systematic forces, difficult to name, which can be manipulated by the powerful but not governed by them, and that our problems are unsolvable"

I would argue that the "system" is capitalism grown decadent and corrupt. It is a secular religion that we've given ourselves over to and is exactly as he describes: a massive systemic force that some can manipulate for their own gain, but as a society we've lost the will or ability to control it's macro forces which have the power grind up whole demographics, communities, or crash the whole economy.

The reaction and fall out from the financial crisis amounted to everyone shrugging and declaring innocence and ignorance. They seemed to say, how could anyone see such a thing coming or do anything about it? How could anyone control such a huge system?

As your friend says, even if we want to exert more control over this system (which we can with the will), this would end up being a technocratic project, not a spiritual one. Sad because a spiritual argument against the excesses of capitalism might actually gain more traction at this point, than tired liberal arguments.

xrdsmom says: September 15, 2016 at 5:15 pm
I'm always struck by these posts detailing how everything is coming apart in America. I look around and frankly, life looks pretty good. Maybe it's because I'm a minority female, who grew up poor and now has a solidly middle class life. My mother, God rest her soul, was smarter and worked harder than I ever will but did not have one-quarter of the opportunities (education, housing) I've had. My sons have travelled the globe, and have decent jobs and good friends. I am grateful.

My friends and I went out the other night in Austin, and there were families, very diverse, walking in the outdoor mall, standing in line to buy $5 scoops of ice cream for their children. Not hipsters, or God forbid the elite, just regular middle class folk enjoying an evening out. The truth is, life has improved immeasurably for many Americans. Do we have serious problems? Of course, but can we have just a wee bit of perspective?

Will Harrington says: September 15, 2016 at 5:24 pm
The Other Sands

You may be right about the problem, but not its nature. Capitalism is not an impersonal force that can't be controlled, it's what people do economically if they are left alone to do it. The problem comes when people are not, simply put, virtuous. When people seek a return on investment that is not simply reasonable, but rather the most they can possibly get. We have had a capitalist system for long enough that some people who are both good at manipulating it and, often, unethical enough to not care what impact their choices have on others, have accumulated vast amounts of wealth while others, over generations, have made choices that have not been profitable, have lost wealth.

There used to be mechanisms for preventing these trends to continue to their logical conclusion, as they are here. Judea had Jubilee. The Byzantine Empire had an Emperor whose interests were served by a prosperous landed middle class to populate the Thematic armies and who would occasionally step in and return the land his part time soldiers had lost through bad loans from aristocrats. We have no such mechanism for a farmer to regain land lost due to foreclosure.

We should not redistribute wealth in such a way that a person has no incentive to work, but we should never allow a person's means of earning a livelihood to be taken from them.

C. L. H. Daniels says: September 15, 2016 at 5:30 pm
I wouldn't say that [neo] Liberalism is "spent" as a force, rather that its credibility is. As a cultural force (covering both politics and the economy, among other things), its strength is and remains vast. It is Leviathan. For all intents and purposes, it defines the culture, and thus dictates the imperatives and methods, of our governing and economic elites. The crisis of Western political legitimacy that is manifest in the nomination of Trump, Brexit and numerous other movements and incidents is a sign that the legitimacy of this order has been undermined and is dissolving within the societies it effectively governs; in some unspoken sense, the unwashed masses of the West (those not part of the so-called "New Class") have come to understand that they have been betrayed by the Liberal order, that it has not lived up to its promises, even that it is becoming or has become a force destructive of their communities and their ability to thrive as human beings.

The ever-increasing autonomy promised by the Liberal order has turned out to be a poisoned chalice for many. As it has dissolved the bonds of families and communities, it has atomized people into individuals without traditional social supports in an increasingly cutthroat and uncaring world. People cannot help but understand that they have lost something or are missing something, even if they are not able to articulate or identify that loss. It is a sickness of the soul, in the sense that the ailment is somewhere close to the heart of what it means to be human. We are what we are, and the Liberal order is pushing us into opposition to our own natures, as if we can choose to be something other than what we are.

Anne says: September 15, 2016 at 5:32 pm
This idea that Democrats hate Hillary in the same way Republicans despise Trump is way off base in my opinion. This attempt at equivalency, like so many others, is false. I voted for Sanders because I liked him better, but I am not holding my nose to vote for Hillary Clinton. There are several things I actually admire about her, including her attention to detail and tenacity. I'll always remember how she sat before Congress as First Lady, no paper or crib sheet in sight, and presented her detailed and compelling case for national health care . I thought that was awesome then, and still do.

Still, as I've noted many times, I never liked the Clintons that much, mainly because I hated a lot of what Bill Clinton stood for and what he did. Aside from his embarrassing sexual escapades, most of that pertained to positions that seemed more Republican than Democratic (on welfare mothers, mental patients, deregulation of the broadcast industry, etc.) I also didn't like their position on abortion nor the way their people treated Gov. Casey at the party convention, nor the dialing back on Jimmy Carter's uncompromising stand for human rights in the third world. Some of Hillary's hawkish positions are still a concern, but what she stands for in general is far and away more humane and within my understanding of what's good for the country and the world at large than anything Republicans represent. Their ideas hurt people on too many fronts to justify voting for them just because I may agree with them on principle when it comes to matters such abortion. Trump just adds insult to injury in every regard.

Adamant says: September 15, 2016 at 6:22 pm
xrdsmom says:
September 15, 2016 at 5:15 pm

Very well said. What accounts for the relative optimism of minorities vs. whites?
State of the economy, personal situation, optimism that your kids future will be better than yours, etc. In all of these surveys, it is the pessimism of whites, untethered from empirical reality, that stands out as the outlier.

Oakinhou says: September 15, 2016 at 6:22 pm
The Other Sands:

"Sad because a spiritual argument against the excesses of capitalism might actually gain more traction at this point, than tired liberal arguments."

It would gain more traction, and it would be better focused at what is much larger cause of the current social, economic, and family problems of the working classes.

But the argument won't be made, because the majority of those that believe in a societal crisis have pinned the origin of this crisis on feminism, the sexual revolution, and SJW, and have bought in full the bootstraps language of the radical capitalism. Even the majority crunchy cons, that would be sympathetic to the arguments against capitalism, would rather try to solve the ills of the world via cultural instead of economic ways.

Pope Francis (and to a slighly lesser degree, his two predecessors) has spoken frequently about unbridled capitalism as a source of the world ills. But his message hasn't been that well received among American conservatives

[NFR: Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict said the same thing. - RD]

allaround says: September 15, 2016 at 6:38 pm
@redfish

Bush proved that electing an imbecile to the Presidency has real consequences for our standing in the world. Trump is just as stupid, but he is far more dangerous. At least Bush wasn't a egomaniac. Trump starts speaking without knowing how his sentence will end, and then he will go to down fighting to defend whatever it was he said even though he never really meant it in the first place. That mix of arrogance and stupidity is more dangerous than Bush.

Charles Cosimano says: September 15, 2016 at 6:46 pm
"In fact, I doubt we any longer possess enough of a 'civilization' to understand what a 'civilizational crisis' would really mean."

I think someone has no idea what "civilization" means. None of his definitions apply.

What we are seeing is the radical change in Western Civilization from the old Graeco-Roman/Christian model to a yet undefined American model. (Which is why Islam in Europe is not very important. Europe is no longer very important.) No one guards the "glory that was Greece" any more. We've moved out of that. The debate will be when did the transition occur. Did it begin in the 19th Century with the Age of Invention? Did it occur in the flash of gunpowder that was WW1? Was it the blasting to rubble of Monte Cassino when the weapons of the new blew the symbol of the old to ruin? Was it the moment men stood upon the Moon and nothing the bronze age pilers of rocks had to say was of any value any more?

The key to understanding the change is that the old values are dead and we are in the process of creating new ones. No one knows where that is going to go. It is all too new.

Hanby is wrong. We have a civilization, but it is leaving his in the dust.

Andrew E. says: September 15, 2016 at 6:53 pm
Totally unconvincing. It couldn't be more obvious that Hillary stands for rule by globalists whereas Trump intends to return control of the federal government to We the People.

Which candidate is traveling to Louisiana? Flint? Detroit? Mexico (on behalf of America)? Which candidate calls tens of millions of Americans irredeemable and thus it would be justified in exterminating them?

Seriously, only one of these two appears interested in leading the nation.

Jon Swerens says: September 15, 2016 at 6:56 pm
Harvey said:

"What's exhausted is religion as a necessary component of social life."

This is so hilariously untrue, but also very sad that the secular Left cannot see its own idols or even read its own headlines.

What does he think is happening in the United States besides the rise of a revolutionary moral order, ruled by fickle tastemakers who believe that their own emotions and thoughts have creative power? How else would history have a "side"? How else could "gender" be entirely unmoored from sex and any other scientific fact? Progressivism even has "climate change" as its chosen apocalypse which will visit destruction if not enough fealty is granted to an ever-more-omnipotent and omniscient central government? Does he not see how over and over again, this week's progressive leaders attacks last week's? Amy Schumer, anyone?

Once a culture abolishes the One True God, as ours has, then that culture begins to find other sources for the attributes of God and for the definitions of virtues and vices.

Jon Swerens says: September 15, 2016 at 6:59 pm
What makes Mr. Cosimano so sure that what America is passing into is anything like a "civilization" at all? We could simple pass into barbarism. Can anyone name the leaders who hope to build any kind of civilization at all?
Andrew E. says: September 15, 2016 at 7:03 pm
Never forget that there is a real and clear choice before us.

Clinton will deliver amnesty to 40 million illegals. Continue the 1 million legal immigrants per yer all from the Third World. She will radically upsize the Muslim refugee influx to hundreds of thousands per year. All terrible things.

Trump will do the opposite. This will make a massive difference to the future of the country - Trump, good…Clinton, bad - and is what this election is about.

bacon says: September 15, 2016 at 7:08 pm
For 70+ years, other than while working on a university degree in history, I never gave a thought to civilizational collapse, so I would have been a poor choice to ask for a definition of the term. But after a few years of reading TAC I think I have a handle on it. It's a situation in which someone or some group sees broad social change they don't like. So probably civilizational collapse is constant and ongoing.

As for me, I'm outside somewhere every day and so far not even a tiny piece of the sky has fallen on me.

Richard McGee says: September 15, 2016 at 7:19 pm
@xrdsmom
Empirical reality depends on where you stand. Younote that your prospects have improved relative to your mom's. For the working class whites working at low paying jobs, they have declined. Is their anger simply a response to loss of white privilege? In the sense that this privilege consisted of access to well-paying jobs out of high school, the answer is yes.

I would only point out that there is no clear path to economic safety for working Americans, whether they are white are black. Training and hard work will only take you so far in our demand-constrained economy. Whether black optimism or white pessimism turns out to be empirically justified is far from certain. We are constructing the future as we speak, and our actions will determine the answer to this question.

Fran Macadam says: September 15, 2016 at 7:55 pm
It's true a lot of people couldn't point to Syria; because that's how important it is to most people. So why are we now involved in a full scale war there, when the American people clearly stated they didn't want another war?

As the WikiLeaks dox show, it wasn't "barrel bombs" or "chemical warfare against his own people" that made the elites hungry to overthrow the government there, it was the 2009 decision by Syria not to allow an oil pipeline through from Qatar to Turkey, whereupon the CIA was directed to start funding jihadists and regime change.

Alan says: September 15, 2016 at 7:57 pm
@ xrdsmom…..nice try….but I'm not buying it. You said Austin, and then tried to say these aren't elites. LOL.

Drive through the back counties of Kentucky and then report back to me that everything is fine.

cecelia says: September 15, 2016 at 8:23 pm
Hillary is not as corrupt as some think nor is Trump likely to be able to enact much of his agenda(most of which he has no commitment to – it is all a performance). So I do not see either as end times candidates.

However – a civilization must assure certain things – order, cohesion, safety from invasion and occupation. It also must assure that the resources we secure from the earth are available – good soil, clean water, sustainable management of energy sources etc. This is where our civilization is failing – if you doubt this – spend a moment looking up soil erosion on Google. Or dead zones Mississippi and Nile deltas. Depletion of fish stocks. Loss of arable land and potable water all over the planet. Is this calamitous failure a function of liberalism or capitalism run amok? Perhaps the two go hand in hand?

I'd note that Popes going back to Leo XIII have written on the destructive effects of capitalism or rather the unmitigated pursuit of wealth. Both Benedict and Francis have eloquently expressed the need for a spiritual conversion to solve the world's problems. A conversion which recognizes our solidarity with one another as well as our obligation to the health of Creation. I rather doubt we will find the impetus for this conversion among our politicians.

But there are certainly all over the earth groups of people who have experienced this conversion and are seeking to build civilizations which are just and sustainable. Rod has written about some – his friends in Italy as an example.

Hope is God's glory revealed in ourselves.

Lord Karth says: September 15, 2016 at 10:55 pm
The problem is not civilization-level, Mr. Dreher. The problem is species -level. Humanity as a whole is discovering that it cannot handle too high a level of technology without losing its ability to get feedback from its environment. Without that feedback, its elite classes drift off into literal insanity. The rest of the society soon follows.

The trick is going to be recovering our connection with the Realities of existence without bringing technological civilization down or re-engineering Humanity into something we would not recognize.

Color me less than optimistic about our prospects.

Your servant,

Lord Karth

Kit Stolz says: September 16, 2016 at 3:30 am
The Catholic philosopher writes:

"I really think there is a pervasive, but unarticulated sense that liberalism is exhausted, that we are at the mercy of systematic forces, difficult to name, which can be manipulated by the powerful but not governed by them, and that our problems are unsolvable. The reasons for this anxiety are manifold and cannot be reduced to politics or economics…"

Agree! For once. For reasons more civil than spiritual, but never mind. James Parker in The Atlantic comes to a similar conclusion from a very different starting place (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/10/donald-trump-sex-pistol/497528/)

"For Trump to be revealed as a salvational figure, the conditions around him must be dire. Trumpism-like fascism, like a certain kind of smash-it-up punk rock-begins in apprehensions of apocalypse."

Eric Mader says: September 16, 2016 at 3:55 am
Hanky's diagnosis is brilliant. Yes, thanks for posting, Rod.

One of our fundamental problems, along with the conceptual horizons imposed by liberalism, is the obsolete language of "left" and "right" that we continue to apply when weighing our options. This too is part of why we can't construct a politics of hope, and in my reading it explains the decline of the left into identity politics (our Democratic Party is not any more "the left" in any meaningful way) and of the right into "movement conservatism" or Trumpian nationalism.

Classical [neo]liberalism presents itself not as a tentative theory of how society might be organized but as a theory of nature. It claims to lay out the forces of nature and to make these a model for social order. Thus free-market fundamentalism, letting the market function "as nature intended". It's an absurd position when applied dogmatically, and no more "natural" than other economic arrangements humans might come up with.

The only truly rock solid aspect of classical liberalism in my mind is its theory of individual dignity, the permanent and nonnegotiable value of each individual in essence and before the law. The left has taken this and run with it and turned it into a divination of individual desire and self-definition, which is something different. The capitalist right has taken it and turned it into a theory of individual responsibility for one's economic fate, which is helpful in ways, but not decisive or even fully explanatory as to why people end up where they are. And a lot of people are not in a good place thanks to the free trade enthusiasts who believe what they're up to somehow reflects the eternal forces of nature.

Further, as I suggest, our two camps "left" and "right" are no longer distinctly left and right in any traditional sense. The market forces and self-marketing that lead to the fetishization of identity by the left are the same market forces championed by the capitalist right. In America today, both left and right are merely different bourgeois cults of Self.

It should be no surprise that the inalienable dignity of the individual, that rock solid core of liberal thinking, grew directly from the Christian soil of Paul's assertion of the equality of all–men, women, Greek, Jew, freed, slave–in Christ. (Galatians 3:28) The world's current thinking on "human rights" is merely a universalized version of Paul's thought, hatched in a Christian Europe by philosophes who didn't recognize just how Christian they were.

After all the utopian dusts settle, whether the dust of Adam Smith or the dust of PC Non-Discrimination, we must see that the one thing holding us together is this recognition that the political order must respect human rights. The core issue at present is thus that we legislate in ways that reflect a realistic understanding of these rights. As for "movement conservatism" or PC progressivism, they each represent pipe dreams that don't address the economic or legal challenges in coherent ways, and they each sacrifice true rights at one altar or another.

The obsolete language of "left" and "right" keeps us unwilling to grapple with the real economic and legal challenges, if only because we're too busy cheerleading either one version of the capitalist cult or the other.

I'm looking forward to The Benedict Option mainly as providing some answers as to how the remnant of faithful Christians in this mayhem might both hold their faith intact while perhaps simultaneously developing less utopian modes of thinking about community. The neoliberal order may very well be shaping up to be for us something like the pagan Roman Empire was to the early church. We finally have to face that, politically speaking, we are in the world but not of it.

JonF says: September 16, 2016 at 6:09 am
Re: Clinton will deliver amnesty to 40 million illegals.

Will she be inviting them in from parallel universes? Because we do not have 40 million illegals. The number is closer to eleven million.

Also the president can't do this on his/her own. Congress has to act. The House will remain GOP. The Senate may too, or will flip back to GOP after 2018. As I mentioned Clinton's hands will be tied as much as Obama's have been since 2010. That includes Supreme Court appointments. Only the most boring of moderates will get through– sure, they won't overturn Roe or Oberfell, but they won't rubber stamp much new either.

Elijah says: September 16, 2016 at 7:38 am
"Pope Francis (and to a slighly lesser degree, his two predecessors) has spoken frequently about unbridled capitalism as a source of the world ills. But his message hasn't been that well received among American conservatives."

[NFR: Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict said the same thing. - RD]"

It doesn't sit well for two reasons: (a) we have yet to hear a cogent description of what "bridled" capitalism is/looks like and (b) capitalism has its faults, but it has raised far more boats than it has swamped.

Until we hear an admission of (b) and an explanation of (a), their statements will continue to fall on deaf ears. Particularly from Pope Francis, whose grip on economic ideas seems tenuous at best.

[Sep 17, 2016] Unlocking the Election The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... If that record is perceived as unacceptable, then again it doesn't much matter who the challenger is or what he or she says or does. The incumbent or incumbent party loses. ..."
"... The Clinton email thing does not begin to rise to the level of Watergate or the Monica Lewinsky affair, except perhaps in the fever swamps of Fox News. ..."
"... My guess is that ultimately the two third parties fielding candidates this election will not trigger this key; they are what Lichtman calls "perennial third parties" and not really insurgencies led by well-known political figures, which is when the third party key is generally triggered. ..."
"... Having said all that, I congratulate the author for recognizing and engaging with Lichtman's work. It's a very substantial theory with a great track record that, for reasons I don't fully understand, is generally overlooked by journalists who write about such things. ..."
"... Right now, polling composite scores put Hillary Clinton at +5 or more over Trump in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Virginia. Add in the safely blue states and her floor is 272 electoral votes, even assuming she underperforms relative to her polling by 5 points across the board. Hillary wins even on a bad night. ..."
"... We elected Obama in large part to repudiate Bush, who was a total disaster. Now, if your hypothesis holds, we may elect Trump over Hillary as a repudiation of Obama who is becoming more of a disaster with each passing minute. In 4 or 8 years, which loser will the Democrats trot out to repudiate Trump, who is virtually guaranteed to be a total disaster? Most sane Americans just want this roller coaster to be over. ..."
"... Trump has the momentum right now, as Hillary Clinton stumbles. ..."
"... The overall national numbers show a slight and late recovery from recession. However, the average and median numbers conceal a split, in which a majority of voters did not participate in the recovery, especially in key swing states. ..."
"... Trump is actively drawing support from this sense of failure to recover, so it is not just theoretical. I'd score the recovery against the incumbent too, because key voting segments would. ..."
"... We are seeing a good example of the preference cascade. For well over a year Clinton has been capped at 45%, usually in the low 40's. As it becomes more respectable to vote for Trump, the more people are willing to move from the undecided/third party column to the Trump column. ..."
"... If I recall correctly, Lichtman also scores both the foreign policy/military success and failure keys differently. ISIS is a foreign policy failure, but not on the public perception of Pearl Harbor, the fall of Vietnam, or the Iran hostage crisis. And the Iran deal is a foreign policy success, but not on the level of, say, winning WWII. ..."
"... Polls, by themselves, don't predict much, and certainly not long-term – although I agree that Clinton remains the likely winner this year. ..."
"... Obama (I did not vote for him in '08 or '12) has succeeded and some areas, and failed in others – such is the nature of the job. ..."
"... As a student of history, I suspect his presidency will be graded somewhere between B- and C+; slightly above average. Whereas, by your assessment, his predecessor was "can't miss" disasters (D- leaning toward F). ..."
"... we may elect Trump over Hillary as a repudiation of Obama who is becoming more of a disaster with each passing minute ..."
"... At the end of the day, though, Lichtman's model, like most models of voting behavior, is not intended so much as a predictive system as an attempt to explain how voters make decisions. The Lichtman theory does a remarkable job of modeling such decision-making, and demonstrates clearly his hypothesis that presidential elections are mostly referenda on the performance of the incumbent party. That doesn't mean it will always be so, but he makes a compelling case that it's been that way since the Civil War. ..."
"... Obama's economy isn't gonna help Hillary Clinton. Government data show that the economy only grew by 1.2 percent in the second quarter. First quarter growth was also revised down from 1.1 percent to 0.8 percent. ..."
"... Hillary Clinton addressed the sluggish economy in her speech last night, admitting that Americans "feel like the economy just isn't working." Although she cited economic growth under president Obama, she insisted that "none of us can be satisfied with the status quo." ..."
Sep 17, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com

In 1976, Washington insider Averell Harriman famously said of Georgia peanut farmer Jimmy Carter, the one-term governor and presidential aspirant, "He can't be nominated, I don't know him and I don't know anyone who does.'' Within months Jimmy Carter was president. Harriman's predictive folly serves as an allegory of democratic politics. The unthinkable can happen, and when it does it becomes not only thinkable but natural, even commonplace. The many compelling elements of Carter's unusual presidential quest remained shrouded from Harriman's vision because they didn't track with his particular experiences and political perceptions. Call it the Harriman syndrome.

The Harriman syndrome has been on full display during the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. He couldn't possibly get the Republican nomination. Too boorish. A political neophyte. No organization. No intellectual depth. A divisive character out of sync with Republicans' true sensibilities. Then he got the nomination, and now those same perceptions are being trotted out to bolster the view that he can't possibly become president. Besides, goes the conventional wisdom, demographic trends are impinging upon the Electoral College in ways that pretty much preclude any Republican from winning the presidency in our time.

But Trump actually can win, despite his gaffe-prone ways and his poor standing in the polls as the general-election campaign gets under way. I say this based upon my thesis, explored in my latest book ( Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians ), that presidential elections are largely referendums on the incumbent or incumbent party. If the incumbent's record is adjudged by the electorate to be exemplary, it doesn't matter who the challenger is or what he or she says or does. The incumbent wins. If that record is perceived as unacceptable, then again it doesn't much matter who the challenger is or what he or she says or does. The incumbent or incumbent party loses.

... ... ...

Robert W. Merry is author of books on American history and foreign policy, including Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians .

  • Robert Levine , says: September 15, 2016 at 1:44 am
    Worth noting is that Lichtman himself scores the keys differently than does the author of this post. As the inventor of the system, his analysis deserves considerable weight. In particular, he scores the nomination contest key, the scandal key, and the challenger charisma key as all favorable to Democrats.

    I'm not sure I agree with him about the nomination contest key, but I think that, by the criteria he used in analyzing past elections, he's right about the other two. The Clinton email thing does not begin to rise to the level of Watergate or the Monica Lewinsky affair, except perhaps in the fever swamps of Fox News. As far as charisma, Lichtman identified four 20th-century candidates as charismatic: the two Roosevelts, Kennedy, and Reagan. Trump is not in that league.

    The third-party key is, as the author states, not really possible to call at this point. My guess is that ultimately the two third parties fielding candidates this election will not trigger this key; they are what Lichtman calls "perennial third parties" and not really insurgencies led by well-known political figures, which is when the third party key is generally triggered.

    One other point is worth mentioning. Lichtman's first key, the incumbent mandate key, changed during the development of his theory. It was originally based on whether the incumbent party had received an absolute majority of the popular vote in the previous election (which, in this case, would have favored the Democrats). But, because that led to the system predicting an incorrect outcome in one particular election (I don't remember which one), he changed it to the current comparison of seats won in the previous two mid-terms. I think there's a case to be made that the advanced state of the gerrymandering art may have rendered this key useless; it is now entirely possible for a party to gain seats from one mid-term to the next while actually doing less well in the popular vote. In fact, that's exactly what happened from 2010 to 2014; the percentage of the vote that Republican house members received was lower in 2014 than it was in 2010, even though they gained more seats in 2014. In any case, I don't think that it really favors Trump in the way the author of the OP thinks it does.

    Having said all that, I congratulate the author for recognizing and engaging with Lichtman's work. It's a very substantial theory with a great track record that, for reasons I don't fully understand, is generally overlooked by journalists who write about such things.

    Douglas K. , says: September 15, 2016 at 3:44 am
    I'm highly skeptical of this kind of historic analysis. It's the sort of thing that works until it doesn't, and even then only sort of works because the idea's proponents wind up explaining away the exceptions.

    What I trust is polling. It's quite well refined, and averaging the results of multiple polls tends to smooth out errors.

    Right now, polling composite scores put Hillary Clinton at +5 or more over Trump in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Virginia. Add in the safely blue states and her floor is 272 electoral votes, even assuming she underperforms relative to her polling by 5 points across the board. Hillary wins even on a bad night.

    Of course Trump might close some of that gap in the next seven weeks. We'll see.

    Tim , says: September 15, 2016 at 7:31 am
    "If the incumbent's record is adjudged by the electorate to be exemplary, it doesn't matter who the challenger is or what he or she says or does. The incumbent wins. If that record is perceived as unacceptable, then again it doesn't much matter who the challenger is or what he or she says or does. The incumbent or incumbent party loses."

    That is a compelling hypothesis which I find very plausible. As our two parties drift farther apart and become incapable of giving us any representatives whom we find exemplary, what happens to us? We elected Obama in large part to repudiate Bush, who was a total disaster. Now, if your hypothesis holds, we may elect Trump over Hillary as a repudiation of Obama who is becoming more of a disaster with each passing minute. In 4 or 8 years, which loser will the Democrats trot out to repudiate Trump, who is virtually guaranteed to be a total disaster? Most sane Americans just want this roller coaster to be over.

    Clint , says: September 15, 2016 at 11:29 am
    Trump has the momentum right now, as Hillary Clinton stumbles. Poll: Clinton, Trump tied in four-way race

    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/296078-poll-clinton-leads-trump-by-5-nationwide

    Jim the First , says: September 15, 2016 at 11:37 am
    I'm highly skeptical of this kind of historic analysis. It's the sort of thing that works until it doesn't, and even then only sort of works because the idea's proponents wind up explaining away the exceptions.

    This, in spades. Plus, many of these keys are so subjective (at least prospectively) as to render them meaningless for anything but fun predictive parlor games.

    What I trust is polling. It's quite well refined, and averaging the results of multiple polls tends to smooth out errors.

    Yes and no. Gallup thought this, too, when it predicted Dewey would defeat Truman. Nate Silver was absolutely positive that Trump could never ever ever win the Republican nomination, until he did.

    My analysis is that under the old, pre-Big Data-driven elections (i.e. micro-targeting your likely voters, registering them if they are unregistered, and stopping at nothing (probably not even the election laws) in getting them to the polls), Trump would win rather handily, but under the new Big Data-driven campaigns that the initial Obama campaign was the first to master, Clinton is a huge favorite, baggage and all. Organization and ground game trumps a lot – not everything, but a lot.

    Mark Thomason , says: September 15, 2016 at 1:15 pm
    The overall national numbers show a slight and late recovery from recession. However, the average and median numbers conceal a split, in which a majority of voters did not participate in the recovery, especially in key swing states.

    Trump is actively drawing support from this sense of failure to recover, so it is not just theoretical. I'd score the recovery against the incumbent too, because key voting segments would.

    The Zman , says: September 15, 2016 at 1:35 pm
    Averaging polls is the sort of thing people not good at math like to say, believing it makes them sound good at math.

    We are seeing a good example of the preference cascade. For well over a year Clinton has been capped at 45%, usually in the low 40's. As it becomes more respectable to vote for Trump, the more people are willing to move from the undecided/third party column to the Trump column.

    Robert Levine , says: September 15, 2016 at 2:00 pm
    If I recall correctly, Lichtman also scores both the foreign policy/military success and failure keys differently. ISIS is a foreign policy failure, but not on the public perception of Pearl Harbor, the fall of Vietnam, or the Iran hostage crisis. And the Iran deal is a foreign policy success, but not on the level of, say, winning WWII.

    I'm highly skeptical of this kind of historic analysis. It's the sort of thing that works until it doesn't, and even then only sort of works because the idea's proponents wind up explaining away the exceptions.

    What I trust is polling. It's quite well refined, and averaging the results of multiple polls tends to smooth out errors.

    Lichtman has been able to predict successfully the popular-vote winner for the last 7 or 8 elections, in many cases many months in advance – which, by standards of electoral prediction models, is pretty remarkable. Polls, by themselves, don't predict much, and certainly not long-term – although I agree that Clinton remains the likely winner this year.

    Joe the Plutocrat , says: September 15, 2016 at 2:08 pm
    @Tim, How has/is Obama "becoming more of a disaster with each passing minute."? The consensus might be on the Foreign Policy side of the equation, but truthfully, he's spent 8 years cleaning up the mess handed him by the "total disaster" who preceded him. If you want the rollercoaster to be over, get off the rollercoaster. That is to say, most of the excitement offered by the rollercoaster lies in its design (partisan/tribal/echo chamber nonsense).

    See: Benghazi, Clinton Foundation, emails, Parkinson's, etc., etc. be legitimate concerns for a John Q. Public, the hyperbolic birther indignation does a disservice to critical thinking, rational Americans. Make no mistake, the GOP candidate has literally made a career (TV/Pro Wrestling) trading in this currency, but in the end, such hyperbole is a distraction. Obama (I did not vote for him in '08 or '12) has succeeded and some areas, and failed in others – such is the nature of the job.

    As a student of history, I suspect his presidency will be graded somewhere between B- and C+; slightly above average. Whereas, by your assessment, his predecessor was "can't miss" disasters (D- leaning toward F).

    JonF , says: September 15, 2016 at 2:14 pm
    Re: we may elect Trump over Hillary as a repudiation of Obama who is becoming more of a disaster with each passing minute

    Huh? Have you seen any of the more recent news on the economy? Or for that matter Obama's soaring approval ratings?

    Clint , says: September 15, 2016 at 3:14 pm
    Have you seen any of the more recent news on the economy?

    The Harvard Business School Report released today. Report: Government inaction is hampering economic growth: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/report-government-inaction-is-hampering-economic-growth/

    Derek , says: September 15, 2016 at 4:52 pm
    I also fail to see how President Obama, a veritable reincarnation of Bill Clinton, but without the scandals, is "becoming more of a disaster each passing minute." We have less (visible) war, we have more jobs, and we have better pay. Yes, the small segment of the population that was paying peanuts for narrowly-defined healthcare 'plans' is paying more now for healthcare than they were 6 years ago, but a large segment now has healthcare that previously did not. This will take decades to unfold but the savings will be immense over the long run. Our international prestige is as high or higher than it was at its peak in 2002 (before Bush started the stupider of his two wars).

    It's barely an exaggeration to say that, outside of the echo chamber, none of partisan concerns of the right wing are shared by the electorate at large. The plight of the underclass (of any color) is not being addressed regardless of which candidate you choose in this election. Immigration is a red herring issue, designed to hide the fact that your boss hasn't given you a raise in 20 years.

    Archon , says: September 15, 2016 at 7:45 pm
    I'm sure it makes Obama haters and Republican partisans feel good to think that Obama's Presidency is the cause for Hillary Clinton's loss (if she does indeed lose). Economic indicators along with Presidential approval ratings however suggest that if Hillary does lose it will be in spite of the electorates feelings on Obama not because of it.
    Robert Levine , says: September 15, 2016 at 11:53 pm
    many of these keys are so subjective (at least prospectively) as to render them meaningless for anything but fun predictive parlor games.

    That is the usual objection to Lichtman's theory. But his work gives pretty clear examples of what he considers the kind of events that drive his predictors. For example, "foreign policy/military success" looks like winning WWII and not like the Iran nuclear deal; "foreign policy/military failure" looks like Pearl Harbor and not ISIS' (temporary) success in gaining territory. "Scandal" looks like Watergate, and not like Clinton's email (or, interestingly, Iran/Contra, if memory serves). "Social unrest" looks like the summer of 1968, and not like the shootings in Orlando, Dallas, and San Bernadino.

    In short, events that drive his predictors are things that are the main (or even sole) subject of national conversation for weeks. Deciding what events are such drivers is not completely objective, perhaps, but it's also not hard to figure out what the author of the system would consider a given event. A system like his only works if one scores things as honestly as possible, and not as one might wish them to be. Then it can work very well.

    At the end of the day, though, Lichtman's model, like most models of voting behavior, is not intended so much as a predictive system as an attempt to explain how voters make decisions. The Lichtman theory does a remarkable job of modeling such decision-making, and demonstrates clearly his hypothesis that presidential elections are mostly referenda on the performance of the incumbent party. That doesn't mean it will always be so, but he makes a compelling case that it's been that way since the Civil War.

    John Blade Wiederspan , says: September 16, 2016 at 12:18 am
    With the chance that Donald will be President, and his followers rejecting outright the Washington establishment and corporate media as enemies; if he does come to power, who are We, the People, supposed to respect and trust? How can you be loyal to, and obey the laws of, a country governed by "Washington insiders"? How can you trust the liberal, coastal, educated, elite media reporting government malfeasance? In who or what should we place our trust? Dark days ahead, dark days.
    Mac61 , says: September 16, 2016 at 9:50 am
    The hope must be in a reinvigorated Republican Party in 2018 and 2020. As Trump again raises his birther conspiracy, the strongman will give voters plenty of reasons to reject his incoherent campaign. Total waste, when 2016 should have firmly been in Republican hands. I understand why he demolished the Republican field and realigned the issues that galvanize Republican voters, but in the end his pathological narcissism will be his downfall. If he wins, it will be the best thing that ever happened to the Democratic Party. They will control government from 2018 to the end of our lives.
    Clint , says: September 16, 2016 at 3:33 pm
    Obama's economy isn't gonna help Hillary Clinton. Government data show that the economy only grew by 1.2 percent in the second quarter. First quarter growth was also revised down from 1.1 percent to 0.8 percent.

    Hillary Clinton addressed the sluggish economy in her speech last night, admitting that Americans "feel like the economy just isn't working." Although she cited economic growth under president Obama, she insisted that "none of us can be satisfied with the status quo."

    http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/07/29/sluggish-u-s-economy-grows-1-2-percent-second-quarter/

  • [Sep 16, 2016] This election is a contest between two forms of evil with Hillary representing almost perfect form of political corruption, as evidenced by the fact that neither she, nor her surrogates, nor even her flacks in the press really pretend to believe in what she is selling

    Notable quotes:
    "... "Trump must hold all 24 states carried by Mitt Romney in 2012 and add Ohio and Florida to the tally. A loss in Florida, Ohio or in increasingly competitive North Carolina – which Romney carried by just 2.2 percentage points over President Barack Obama – would hand Clinton the presidency"" [ US News ]. ..."
    "... Voters in mid-September do not swing between Clinton and Trump (my colleagues and I have dubbed that The Mythical Swing Voter), but between undecided and/or third-party support and Clinton or Trump ..."
    "... The Republican establishment doesn't trust Trump. But they need him, and are in the process of supplying the efficient field organization ..."
    "... Hillary represents despair in the form of cynicism and resignation, as evidenced by the fact that neither she, nor her surrogates, nor even her flacks in the press really pretend to believe in what she is selling. ..."
    "... Trump represents despair in the form of anger and desperation, the willingness to embrace a strongman and a charlatan in the (false) hopes of regaining some kind of control over 'the system', whatever it is (which is a fascinating question, by the way.) ..."
    "... He's the one who convinced these folks that Clinton was in the pocket of Wall Street. ..."
    "... He's the one who convinced them she was a tool of wealthy elites. ..."
    "... He's the one who convinced them she was a corporate shill. She supported the TPP! ..."
    "... most of it can be laid at the feet of Bernie Sanders. He convinced young voters that Hillary Clinton was a shifty, corrupt, lying shill who cared nothing for real progressive values-despite a literal lifetime of fighting for them. Sadly, that stuck. ..."
    "... To date, we hear Bernie did it, Colin did it, Bush did it, Trump (or his baby-sized foundation) did it, Goldman Sachs offered it, or pneumonia caused it. ..."
    "... re: The Despair Election " Both are absolutely awful, indeed unthinkable, albeit in different ways, and yet this is what liberal neoliberal order has come to." There, fixed it. ..."
    "... Pennsylvania is often cited as a model of the country as a whole with Philidelphia, on one end, Pittsburgh on the other, and the south in between. In reality it is a good model in some ways but not that way. ..."
    "... The Philidelphia area has the new shipping facilities and is poised to gain logistics jobs especially under any new trade deal with Europe. ..."
    "... Pittsburgh has rusting steel factories, decaying infrastructure, industrial pollution that is scary, and is now serving as a testbed for driverless uber. ..."
    "... And Central Pennsylvania has farming families that are unsure what will happen. Rural towns that have been transformed, and in some cases irretrievably polluted, by fracking. And factories that may or may not stay in business. ..."
    "... Some percentage (say 1 or so) of those people have won in the new economy. Others such as the educated in Pittsburgh may be poised to take advantage of high speed rail to build a new tech hub, or they may be too late. And many others are simply shut out of real power or decisionmaking. ..."
    "... I expect that Clinton will carry the cities and Trump will carry the rural areas. The deciding vote will lie in the suburbs which have swung both ways. ..."
    "... She is an abominable candidate, a wooden speaker, a cynical triangulator, and-to put it kindly-ethically challenged." ..."
    "... Is anyone asking Kevin Drum, why blame Bernie Sanders when the Democratic Party tied one of their hands behind their back by overwhelming supporting the candidate that almost half of America already hated? ..."
    "... When every poll showed that Clinton had barely fifty percent of America that didn't dislike her at the start, ..."
    "... Still the party elite, for reasons that had nothing to do with what was best for the country decided to game the system and nominate Clinton despite her flaws, her well noted campaign problems (as in she is terrible at it) ..."
    "... Clearly the only people to blame if Clinton loses, are the people who insisted that she was the only candidate from the beginning – the Clintons, their donors, the Democratic Party which they have corrupted so completely. ..."
    "... 'Hillary Clinton was a shifty, corrupt, lying shill who cared nothing for real progressive values…' ..."
    Sep 16, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    The Voters

    "Trump must hold all 24 states carried by Mitt Romney in 2012 and add Ohio and Florida to the tally. A loss in Florida, Ohio or in increasingly competitive North Carolina – which Romney carried by just 2.2 percentage points over President Barack Obama – would hand Clinton the presidency"" [ US News ].

    UPDATE "Why the Whole Trump-Clinton Election Could Probably Just Be Held in Pennsylvania" [ New York Times ]. This is a very interesting article, well worth a read. It caught my eye because Pennsylvania is also part of the shipping story, with new warehousing and infrastructure. So I'd be interested in what our Pennsylvania readers think. Another tidbit: "Voters in mid-September do not swing between Clinton and Trump (my colleagues and I have dubbed that The Mythical Swing Voter), but between undecided and/or third-party support and Clinton or Trump. So the larger that pool, the larger the potential swing." And one more: "Voting is a major cost for many Americans with hourly wage jobs." So I could have filed this under Class Warfare.

    "The Republican establishment doesn't trust Trump. But they need him, and are in the process of supplying the efficient field organization he's never shown any interest in building" [ Bloomberg ]. "

    ... ... ...

    UPDATE "Clinton and Trump's demographic tug of war" (handy charts) [ WaPo ]. I knew before I looked at this they wouldn't slice by income.

    UPDATE "The Despair Election" [ The American Conservative ]. Quoting Michael Hanby, a Catholic philosopher: "hat we have in this election is fundamentally a contest between two forms of despair: Hillary represents despair in the form of cynicism and resignation, as evidenced by the fact that neither she, nor her surrogates, nor even her flacks in the press really pretend to believe in what she is selling. There is obvious cynicism within Trumpism as well; his supporters, on those rare occasions when he makes sense, seem to know that he is lying to them. But Trump represents despair in the form of anger and desperation, the willingness to embrace a strongman and a charlatan in the (false) hopes of regaining some kind of control over 'the system', whatever it is (which is a fascinating question, by the way.) Both are absolutely awful, indeed unthinkable, albeit in different ways, and yet this is what liberal order has come to."

    UPDATE "A Reuters survey found local governments in nearly a dozen, mostly Republican-dominated counties in Georgia have adopted plans to reduce the number of voting stations, citing cost savings and efficiency" [ Reuters ]. Don't they always.

    * * *

    A Scott Adams roundup. Chronologically: "It turns out that Trump's base personality is 'winning.' Everything else he does is designed to get that result. He needed to be loud and outrageous in the primaries, so he was. He needs to be presidential in this phase of the election cycle, so he is" [ Scott Adams ].

    "Sometimes you need a 'fake because' to rationalize whatever you are doing. … When Clinton collapsed at the 9-11 site, that was enough to end her chances of winning. But adding the 'fake because' to her 'deplorable' comment will super-charge whatever was going to happen anyway" [ Scott Adams ].

    "Checking My Predictions About Clinton's Health" [ Scott Adams ].

    "The Race for President is (Probably) Over" [ Scott Adams ]. "If humans were rational creatures, the time and place of Clinton's 'overheating' wouldn't matter at all. But when it comes to American psychology, there is no more powerful symbol of terrorism and fear than 9-11 . When a would-be Commander-in-Chief withers – literally – in front of our most emotional reminder of an attack on the homeland, we feel unsafe. And safety is our first priority."

    * * *

    As soon as the race tightened, there was a rash of stories about Millenials [ugh] not voting for Clinton. And now various Democrat apparatchiks have started to browbeat them, apparently believing that's the best strategy. Here's one such: "Blame Millennials for President Trump" [ Daily Beast ]. I'm sure you've seen others.

    UPDATE Other Democrat operatives are preparing the way to pin the blame on anybody but the Democrat establishment and the candidate it chose. Here, Kevin Drum squanders the good will on his balance sheet from his story on lead and crime: "Don't Hate Millennials. Save It For Bernie Sanders" [Kevin Drum, Mother Jones ].

    I reserve most of my frustration for Bernie Sanders. He's the one who convinced these folks that Clinton was in the pocket of Wall Street. She gave a speech to Goldman Sachs! He's the one who convinced them she was a tool of wealthy elites. She's raising money from rich people! He's the one who convinced them she was a corporate shill. She supported the TPP! He's the one who, when he finally endorsed her, did it so grudgingly that he sounded like a guy being held hostage. He's the one who did next to nothing to get his supporters to stop booing her from the convention floor. He's the one who promised he'd campaign his heart out to defeat Donald Trump, but has done hardly anything since-despite finding plenty of time to campaign against Debbie Wasserman Schultz and set up an anti-TPP movement.

    There's a reason that very young millennials are strongly anti-Clinton even though the same age group supported Obama energetically during his elections-and it's not because their policy views are very different. A small part of it is probably just that Clinton is 68 years old (though Sanders was older). Part of it is probably that she isn't the inspirational speaker Obama was. But most of it can be laid at the feet of Bernie Sanders. He convinced young voters that Hillary Clinton was a shifty, corrupt, lying shill who cared nothing for real progressive values-despite a literal lifetime of fighting for them. Sadly, that stuck.

    In other words, these young (i.e., silly, unlike wise old farts like Drum) didn't "do their own research." And so apparently the demonic Sanders found it very easy to deceive them. Sad! Oh, and it's also interesting to see liberal Drum explicitly legitimizing hate. Again, this election has been wonderfully clarifying.

    Vatch , September 16, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    "Don't Hate Millennials. Save It For Bernie Sanders" [Kevin Drum, Mother Jones].

    Shouldn't we blame Hillary Clinton for people's perception that she is in the pocket of Wall Street, that she is tool of wealthy elites, that she is a corporate shill, and that she supports the TPP? Because she is in the pocket of Wall Street, she is tool of wealthy elites, she is a corporate shill, and she does support the TPP (few people really believe her recent claims to oppose it).

    curlydan , September 16, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Wow. Read that for a ride on the blame train. When are HRC and her buddies going to start offering something instead of pointing the finger at others?

    To date, we hear Bernie did it, Colin did it, Bush did it, Trump (or his baby-sized foundation) did it, Goldman Sachs offered it, or pneumonia caused it.

    flora , September 16, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    re: The Despair Election " Both are absolutely awful, indeed unthinkable, albeit in different ways, and yet this is what liberal neoliberal order has come to." There, fixed it.

    Jason Boxman , September 16, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Indeed, the Democrat freakout about millennials is hilarious. They're trotting out Al Gore and the discredited notion that votes for Nader spoiled the election, rather than, say, a defective candidate.

    L , September 16, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    UPDATE "Why the Whole Trump-Clinton Election Could Probably Just Be Held in Pennsylvania" [New York Times]. This is a very interesting article, well worth a read. It caught my eye because Pennsylvania is also part of the shipping story, with new warehousing and infrastructure. So I'd be interested in what our Pennsylvania readers think.

    I strongly suspect that will depend upon which Pennsylvania voter you ask. Pennsylvania is often cited as a model of the country as a whole with Philidelphia, on one end, Pittsburgh on the other, and the south in between. In reality it is a good model in some ways but not that way.

    The Philidelphia area has the new shipping facilities and is poised to gain logistics jobs especially under any new trade deal with Europe.

    Pittsburgh has rusting steel factories, decaying infrastructure, industrial pollution that is scary, and is now serving as a testbed for driverless uber.

    And Central Pennsylvania has farming families that are unsure what will happen. Rural towns that have been transformed, and in some cases irretrievably polluted, by fracking. And factories that may or may not stay in business.

    Some percentage (say 1 or so) of those people have won in the new economy. Others such as the educated in Pittsburgh may be poised to take advantage of high speed rail to build a new tech hub, or they may be too late. And many others are simply shut out of real power or decisionmaking.

    I expect that Clinton will carry the cities and Trump will carry the rural areas. The deciding vote will lie in the suburbs which have swung both ways.

    Massinissa , September 16, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    That article about Millenials is a real laugh.

    At the beginning, the author says about Clinton, "She is an abominable candidate, a wooden speaker, a cynical triangulator, and-to put it kindly-ethically challenged."

    Then, he spends the rest of the article asking why Millenials don't want to vote for her.

    I have no words.

    And the best part is the last line: "If Trump wins, we'll get what we deserve"

    *facepalm*

    Pat , September 16, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Is anyone asking Kevin Drum, why blame Bernie Sanders when the Democratic Party tied one of their hands behind their back by overwhelming supporting the candidate that almost half of America already hated?

    When every poll showed that Clinton had barely fifty percent of America that didn't dislike her at the start, when all the polls after Trump had pretty much cinched the nomination made it clear that Sanders was the stronger candidate, the only logical choice if you wanted a Democratic President was to nominate Sanders. Still the party elite, for reasons that had nothing to do with what was best for the country decided to game the system and nominate Clinton despite her flaws, her well noted campaign problems (as in she is terrible at it), and the fact that no matter how many times she reintroduces herself a huge percentage of people do not like her and largely do not trust her (and didn't before Sanders even entered the race) and pretend she could wipe the floor with Trump.

    Clearly the only people to blame if Clinton loses, are the people who insisted that she was the only candidate from the beginning – the Clintons, their donors, the Democratic Party which they have corrupted so completely. This coupled with media idiots like Drum who either are paid to be oblivious and chose that life OR are so divorced from the reality of life for the majority of Americans they cannot comprehend why anyone could despise the status quo they would be willing to roll the dice with the unknown quantity.

    I might have tried taking it on, but there will be no convincing him (or the readers stupid enough to blame Sanders or the millenials). He cannot blame the candidate herself and her machine, because that would admit that the Empress not only has no clothes, is a physical wreck, and has more strings attached than a marionette is a fast route to oblivion in a dying industry even if he has already realized it.

    ira , September 16, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    'Hillary Clinton was a shifty, corrupt, lying shill who cared nothing for real progressive values…'

    I'd say he nailed it.

    [Sep 14, 2016] Noam Chomsky WikiLeaks Cables Reveal Profound Hatred for Democracy on the Part of Our Political Leadership, Noam Chomsky interviewed by Amy Goodman

    Notable quotes:
    "... Perhaps the most dramatic revelation, or mention, is the bitter hatred of democracy that is revealed both by the U.S. Government -- Hillary Clinton, others -- and also by the diplomatic service. ..."
    "... How representative this is of what they say, we don't know, because we do not know what the filtering is. But that's a minor point. But the major point is that the population is irrelevant. ..."
    "... The Tea Party movement itself is, maybe 15% or 20% of the electorate. It's relatively affluent, white, nativist, you know, it has rather traditional nativist streaks to it. But what is much more important, I think, is the outrage. Over half the population says they more or less supported it, or support its message. What people are thinking is extremely interesting. I mean, overwhelmingly polls reveal that people are extremely bitter, angry, hostile, opposed to everything. ..."
    "... The primary cause undoubtedly is the economic disaster. It's not just the financial catastrophe, it's an economic disaster. I mean, in the manufacturing industry, for example, unemployment levels are at the level of the Great Depression. And unlike the Great Depression, those jobs are not coming back. U.S. owners and managers have long ago made the decision that they can make more profit with complicated financial deals than by production. So finance -- this goes back to the 1970s, mainly Reagan escalated it, and onward -- Clinton, too. The economy has been financialized. ..."
    "... Financial institutions have grown enormously in their share of corporate profits. It may be something like a third, or something like that today. At the same time, correspondingly, production has been exported. So you buy some electronic device from China. China is an assembly plant for a Northeast Asian production center. The parts and components come from the more advanced countries and from the United States, and the technology . So yes, that's a cheap place to assemble things and sell them back here. Rather similar in Mexico, now Vietnam, and so on. That is the way to make profits. ..."
    "... The antagonism to everyone is extremely high -- actually antagonism -- the population doesn't like Democrats, but they hate Republicans even more. They're against big business. They're against government. They're against Congress. ..."
    www.chomsky.info
    AMY GOODMAN: Our guest is Noam Chomsky, world-renowned dissident, author of more than 100 books, speaking to us from Boston. Noam, you wrote a piece after the midterm elections called Outrage Misguided. I want to read for you now what Sarah Palin tweeted Ð the former Alaskan governor, of course, and Republication vice presidential nominee. This is what she tweeted about WikiLeaks. Rather, she put it on Facebook. She said, "First and foremost, what steps were taken to stop WikiLeaks' director Julian Assange from distributing this highly-sensitive classified material, especially after he had already published material not once but twice in the previous months? Assange is not a journalist any more than the editor of the Al Qaeda's new English-language magazine ÒInspire,Ó is a journalist. He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands. His past posting of classified documents revealed the identity of more than 100 Afghan sources to the Taliban. Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders? Noam Chomsky, your response?

    NOAM CHOMSKY: That's pretty much what I would expect Sarah Palin to say. I don't know how much she understands, but I think we should pay attention to what we learn from the leaks. What we learned, for example, is kinds of things I've said. Perhaps the most dramatic revelation, or mention, is the bitter hatred of democracy that is revealed both by the U.S. Government -- Hillary Clinton, others -- and also by the diplomatic service.

    To tell the world well, they're talking to each other -- to pretend to each other that the Arab world regards Iran as the major threat and wants the U.S. to bomb Iran, is extremely revealing, when they know that approximately 80% of Arab opinion regards the U.S. and Israel as the major threat, 10% regard Iran as the major threat, and a majority, 57%, think the region would be better off with Iranian nuclear weapons as a kind of deterrent. That is does not even enter. All that enters is what they claim has been said by Arab dictators -- brutal Arab dictators. That is what counts.

    How representative this is of what they say, we don't know, because we do not know what the filtering is. But that's a minor point. But the major point is that the population is irrelevant. All that matters is the opinions of the dictators that we support. If they were to back us, that is the Arab world. That is a very revealing picture of the mentality of U.S. political leadership and, presumably, the lead opinion, judging by the commentary that's appeared here, that's the way it has been presented in the press as well. It does not matter with the Arabs believe.

    AMY GOODMAN: Your piece, Outrage Misguided. Back to the midterm elections and what we're going to see now. Can you talk about the tea party movement?

    NOAM CHOMSKY: The Tea Party movement itself is, maybe 15% or 20% of the electorate. It's relatively affluent, white, nativist, you know, it has rather traditional nativist streaks to it. But what is much more important, I think, is the outrage. Over half the population says they more or less supported it, or support its message. What people are thinking is extremely interesting. I mean, overwhelmingly polls reveal that people are extremely bitter, angry, hostile, opposed to everything.

    The primary cause undoubtedly is the economic disaster. It's not just the financial catastrophe, it's an economic disaster. I mean, in the manufacturing industry, for example, unemployment levels are at the level of the Great Depression. And unlike the Great Depression, those jobs are not coming back. U.S. owners and managers have long ago made the decision that they can make more profit with complicated financial deals than by production. So finance -- this goes back to the 1970s, mainly Reagan escalated it, and onward -- Clinton, too. The economy has been financialized.

    Financial institutions have grown enormously in their share of corporate profits. It may be something like a third, or something like that today. At the same time, correspondingly, production has been exported. So you buy some electronic device from China. China is an assembly plant for a Northeast Asian production center. The parts and components come from the more advanced countries and from the United States, and the technology . So yes, that's a cheap place to assemble things and sell them back here. Rather similar in Mexico, now Vietnam, and so on. That is the way to make profits.

    It destroys the society here, but that's not the concern of the ownership class and the managerial class. Their concern is profit. That is what drives the economy. The rest of it is a fallout. People are extremely bitter about it, but don't seem to understand it. So the same people who are a majority, who say that Wall Street is to blame for the current crisis, are voting Republican. Both parties are deep in the pockets of Wall Street, but the Republicans much more so than the Democrats.

    The same is true on issue after issue. The antagonism to everyone is extremely high -- actually antagonism -- the population doesn't like Democrats, but they hate Republicans even more. They're against big business. They're against government. They're against Congress. They're against science

    [Sep 12, 2016] Southern blacks as a voting block

    Sep 12, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Jerry Denim , March 9, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    I really liked Charles Blow's insightful comment about two Black Americas and the great migration. I am white but I like to think that I know a little about Black America. I've travelled and lived all over the US now, but I grew up in the eighties in a small, racially divided southern town. I attended a public school that was 60% black and every black teacher of mine in elementary school was formerly employed by the "separate but equal" black school system prior to desegregation. I didn't realize how close I was to the bad ole' segregated south growing up, but it boggles my mind and certain things make more sense to me now looking back. I was raised by my working mother and two different black nannies. They were surrogate moms to me. I would play with their nieces, nephews and grand-children at their house sometimes and other times at my parents. I even attended church with them on a couple of different occasions. I left the south after graduating college but I didn't forget the lessons of my youth. I said from the very beginning of Sanders campaign, that an old, lefty, New York Jew is going to have a really tough time connecting with older, black voters in the south.

    I don't think most Americans realize just how conservative southern blacks really are, particularly the ones old enough to remember the bad old days of segregation and before. The cultural DNA of the diaspora blacks of the north and the blacks that stayed behind is very different. Besides the attitudes and personality types that may have been more likely to migrate north or west, it's important to remember that the social climate in the south would reward and penalize behaviors by both whites and blacks in a manner very different from cultures found in the north and the west.

    There are still plenty of strong pockets of racism today outside of the south, particularly in the northeast, appalachia, and the midwest but nowhere I've visited can compare to racism found in the deep southern states of the Gulf and Mississippi delta region.

    Radical personalities and those who are quick to embrace new ideas don't fare very well in those parts of the country. Slow, steady, quite and modest is your best bet for survival. Almost like Clinton's "slow incremental change" campaign theme. Clinton keeps running up the delegate score with the support of southern black grannies like the ones who raised me, but she is running out of deep south. Meanwhile Sanders is forging new coalitions and crushing the under-forty vote, so even if he can't win the DNC's rigged primary this year the future looks bright for leaders that want to pick up Sanders mantle in the near future.

    MojaveWolf , March 9, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    Besides the attitudes and personality types that may have been more likely to migrate north or west, it's important to remember that the social climate in the south would reward and penalize behaviors by both whites and blacks in a manner very different from cultures found in the north and the west.

    Very true & excellent point. I grew up in small town Alabama & permanently moved away in January 1990. It is a very pro-establishment place, where, at least back then, people who were willing to be noticeably different had to be very exceptional in some way or willing & able to fend for themselves, otherwise they would be ostracized or bullied. Birmingham & Tuscaloosa were better, at least in pockets, but outside of the university system you were still expected to behave in a very conservative manner. Going home to visit over the years & seeing giant billboards–in cities!–saying things like "Go to church or go to Hell" (that is an exact quote; I shall never forget it; horribly wrongheaded and asinine even from a fundamentalist Christian perspective) or "praise be the glory of the fetus, may those who harm it suffer eternal torment" (not an exact quote but pretty much an exact sentiment on a large # of signs) did not make me change my thoughts a whole hella lot, or–and this is kinda funny in light of my current politics–talking with a group of business owners in an airport who suddenly turned their backs on me & excluded me from conversation when they were trashing Hillary and I said "I like Hillary" & after a shocked silence one of them said "You need to listen to Rush Limbaugh son, learn some things" followed by "I've heard Rush. Not really a fan." That ended that conversation abruptly. Among other things.

    And I have (or rather had, kinda lost touch) friends from Alabama involved in state & national democratic politics, and whatever their private inclinations they were just as conservative as the Republicans (among whom I had an equal # of friends) on most things in public, and kept very quiet about issues where they were not with the growing conservative majority there (it should be noted that this is a HORRIBLE long term strategy, if you have actual principles in opposition to the spreading & solidifying right-wing belief system). I had nonetheless expected better from the South, and am still disappointed/horrified at the voting there, but this reminder does explain a lot. With a lot of help from the DNC & MSM, they were convinced Bernie would not win, and might even lose by an amount they would find embarrassing, & knowingly fighting a lost cause is (or was) generally derided back there, and no one wants to be an object of derision. Also, a lot of Southerners just don't like people from the Northeast. End stop. I for some reason thought that would have changed by now, and/or that Bernie was sufficiently atypical for this to be a non-factor anyway. But maybe not. Plus it may be people still consider Hillary a Southerner from her time in Arkansas, and she's getting the "one of us" vote.

    but she is running out of deep south.

    Indeed. Temperaments out west are very, very different. =)

    [Sep 12, 2016] Exit polling is more accurate. Polls using land lines are not

    Notable quotes:
    "... My own take away is that in order for the investment in electronic election fraud to pay off, polls must be discredited. ..."
    "... It used to be that exit polling was the best, most reliable defense against election fraud, and was used all over the globe to access the legitimacy of election results. ..."
    "... The decline in polling accuracy will lead to more audacious efforts, probably successful, to steal elections as the people are trained not to believe poll results. ..."
    "... Most pollsters now days are actually trying to influence as opposed to measure the mood of the electorate, this hasn't helped matters, and probably accounts for most of the negative sentiment held by the people as concerns pollsters. ..."
    "... Interesting point, Watt4Bob. The golden age of polling happened when most households had a landline. Before then, access was a problem. Now there are too many alternative communication channels, and each has its demographic bias (more old people on landlines, etc.). ..."
    "... The polls in MI were not exit polls. Exit polling is more accurate. The MI polls were phone calls to land lines, which left out millennials completely, as maybe 1% of them own a land line telephone. ..."
    Mar 09, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    Watt4Bob, March 9, 2016 at 9:08 am

    My own take away is that in order for the investment in electronic election fraud to pay off, polls must be discredited.

    It used to be that exit polling was the best, most reliable defense against election fraud, and was used all over the globe to access the legitimacy of election results.

    So far the history of electronic manipulation has overlapped the history of effective polling, which means the manipulators have only felt safe changing votes when the margin is very close.

    The decline in polling accuracy will lead to more audacious efforts, probably successful, to steal elections as the people are trained not to believe poll results.

    Most pollsters now days are actually trying to influence as opposed to measure the mood of the electorate, this hasn't helped matters, and probably accounts for most of the negative sentiment held by the people as concerns pollsters.

    Looks like this could be the last election cycle where anyone pays attention to the polls, and that isn't good for us, it would be sad to think that the Republican technical team might be all that stands between our future and President Trump.

    How bizarre.

    Steve H. , March 9, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Interesting point, Watt4Bob. The golden age of polling happened when most households had a landline. Before then, access was a problem. Now there are too many alternative communication channels, and each has its demographic bias (more old people on landlines, etc.).

    However, all this can be offset in politics by focusing on exit polls. In this age of personal broadcasting, people may be more willing to be open about their opinions in public.

    Lord Koos , March 9, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    The polls in MI were not exit polls. Exit polling is more accurate. The MI polls were phone calls to land lines, which left out millennials completely, as maybe 1% of them own a land line telephone.

    [Sep 12, 2016] We should remember the prejudice of the DNC toward Sanders and criminal tricks they played to derail his candidacy

    Now in view of recent Hillary health problems actions of Wasserman Schultz need to be revisited. She somehow avoided criminal prosecution for interfering with the election process under Obama administration. That's clearly wrong. The court should investigate and determine the level of her guilt.
    Moor did his duty, moor can go. This is fully applicable to Wasserman Schultz. BTW it was king of "bait and switch" Obama who installed her in this position. And after that some try to say that Obama is not a neocon. Essentially leaks mean is that Sander's run was defeated by the Democratic Party's establishment dirty tricks and Hillary is not a legitimate candidate. It's Mission Accomplished, once again.
    "Clinton is a life-long Republican. She grew up in an all-white Republican suburb, she supported Goldwater, and she supported Wall Street banking, then became a DINO dildo to ride her husband's coattails to WH, until the NYC Mob traded her a NY Senator seat for her husband's perfidy. She never said one word about re-regulating the banks."
    How could this anti-Russian hysteria/bashing go on in a normal country -- the level of paranoia and disinformation about Russia and Putin is plain crazy even for proto-fascist regimes.
    Notable quotes:
    "... Wasserman Schultz reluctantly agreed to relinquish her speaking role at the convention here, a sign of her politically fragile standing. ..."
    "... Democratic leaders are scrambling to keep the party united, but two officials familiar with the discussions said Wasserman Schultz was digging in and not eager to vacate her post after the November elections. ..."
    "... Sanders on Sunday told CNN's Jake Tapper the release of DNC emails that show its staffers working against him underscore the position he's held for months: Party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz needs to go. ..."
    "... "I don't think she is qualified to be the chair of the DNC not only for these awful emails, which revealed the prejudice of the DNC, but also because we need a party that reaches out to working people and young people, and I don't think her leadership style is doing that," Sanders told Tapper ..."
    "... But again, we discussed this many, many months ago, on this show, so what is revealed now is not a shock to me." ..."
    Jul 24, 2016 | cnn.com

    Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week, a decision reached by party officials Saturday after emails surfaced raising questions about the committee's impartiality during the Democratic primary.
    The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, as permanent chair of the convention, according to a DNC source. She will gavel each session to order and will gavel each session closed.

    "She's been quarantined," another top Democrat said of Wasserman Schultz, following a meeting Saturday night. Wasserman Schultz faced intense pressure Sunday to resign her post as head of the Democratic National Committee, several party leaders told CNN, urging her to quell a growing controversy threatening to disrupt Hillary Clinton's nominating convention.

    Wasserman Schultz reluctantly agreed to relinquish her speaking role at the convention here, a sign of her politically fragile standing. But party leaders are now urging the Florida congresswoman to vacate her position as head of the party entirely in the wake of leaked emails suggesting the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion. Democratic leaders are scrambling to keep the party united, but two officials familiar with the discussions said Wasserman Schultz was digging in and not eager to vacate her post after the November elections.

    ... ... ...

    One email appears to show DNC staffers asking how they can reference Bernie Sanders' faith to weaken him in the eyes of Southern voters. Another seems to depict an attorney advising the committee on how to defend Hillary Clinton against an accusation by the Sanders campaign of not living up to a joint fundraising agreement.

    Sanders on Sunday told CNN's Jake Tapper the release of DNC emails that show its staffers working against him underscore the position he's held for months: Party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz needs to go.

    "I don't think she is qualified to be the chair of the DNC not only for these awful emails, which revealed the prejudice of the DNC, but also because we need a party that reaches out to working people and young people, and I don't think her leadership style is doing that," Sanders told Tapper on "State of the Union," on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

    "I am not an atheist," he said. "But aside from all of that, it is an outrage and sad that you would have people in important positions in the DNC trying to undermine my campaign. It goes without saying, the function of the DNC is to represent all of the candidates -- to be fair and even-minded."

    He added: "But again, we discussed this many, many months ago, on this show, so what is revealed now is not a shock to me."

    ... ... ...

    Several Democratic sources told CNN that the leaked emails are a big source of contention and may incite tensions between the Clinton and Sanders camps heading into the Democratic convention's Rules Committee meeting this weekend.

    "It could threaten their agreement," one Democrat said, referring to the deal reached between Clinton and Sanders about the convention, delegates and the DNC. The party had agreed to include more progressive principles in its official platform, and as part of the agreement, Sanders dropped his fight to contest Wasserman Schultz as the head of the DNC.

    "It's gas meets flame," the Democrat said.

    Michael Briggs, a Sanders spokesman, had no comment Friday.

    The issue surfaced on Saturday at Clinton's first campaign event with Tim Kaine as her running mate, when a protester was escorted out of Florida International University in Miami. The protester shouted "DNC leaks" soon after Clinton thanked Wasserman Schultz for her leadership at the DNC.

    [Sep 12, 2016] I told him it would not have surprised me in the least if it was Israeli and Bush who were instrumental in demolishing of building 7

    Notable quotes:
    "... millions of people in the Islamic world have reached their own conclusion about responsibility. ..."
    "... Deeply distrusting anything coming from Washington, many are buying into a theory based not on facts or evidence but the assumption that the West and Israel are capable of anything. ..."
    "... When I was in Iraq in 2004 I had a Turkish contractor I worked with there (he owned a generator maintenance/repair shop) tell me it was unfortunate that Bush did not understand that the Israelis paid for and helped to execute the WTC blowup. ..."
    "... To be perfectly frank, I told him it would not have surprised me in the least if it were true. ..."
    www.nakedcapitalism.com

    RabidGandhi , September 13, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    Washington Post: Dumb Muslims Love Conspiracy Theories

    While Western leaders declare they have incontrovertible, if not yet public, proof that Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden was behind the attacks, millions of people in the Islamic world have reached their own conclusion about responsibility.

    Deeply distrusting anything coming from Washington, many are buying into a theory based not on facts or evidence but the assumption that the West and Israel are capable of anything.

    It's only a conspiracy theory if you have a deerstalker turban.

    JCC , September 13, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    This story has been circulating in various forms over there for years. When I was in Iraq in 2004 I had a Turkish contractor I worked with there (he owned a generator maintenance/repair shop) tell me it was unfortunate that Bush did not understand that the Israelis paid for and helped to execute the WTC blowup.

    To be perfectly frank, I told him it would not have surprised me in the least if it were true.

    [Sep 12, 2016] Polls Are Closed, They Lied

    Notable quotes:
    "... To hear the mainstream news media retell the story of the contentious 2000 presidential election, one would think that it all boils down to Bush v. Gore. The Supreme Court decision created huge controversy and poisons public life to this day. But this focus on the decision serves to obscure an act of great duplicity on the part of the media that dwarfs the impact of that case: namely, that if it hadn't been for actions they took on television on Election Night, November 7, 2000, there never would have been a Bush v. Gore or a Florida recount in the first place. ..."
    "... by 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Election Night, a cover-up had already begun. ..."
    theamericanconservative.us4.list-manage.com

    To hear the mainstream news media retell the story of the contentious 2000 presidential election, one would think that it all boils down to Bush v. Gore. The Supreme Court decision created huge controversy and poisons public life to this day. But this focus on the decision serves to obscure an act of great duplicity on the part of the media that dwarfs the impact of that case: namely, that if it hadn't been for actions they took on television on Election Night, November 7, 2000, there never would have been a Bush v. Gore or a Florida recount in the first place.

    It is a story of voter suppression. As it turns out, most of what we think was important about that election-hanging chads, butterfly ballots, 36 days of legal jousting-is unimportant. And by 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Election Night, a cover-up had already begun.

    [Sep 12, 2016] About polls that predict Hillary victory

    Aug 28, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Friday, August 26, 2016 at 07:25 PM likbez -> Fred C. Dobbs... Friday, August 26, 2016 at 07:25 PM Fred,

    It's not over until it's over. The accuracy of those figures are probably pretty low as phones no loner represent a reliable medium for such opinion surveys. Times changed ;-).

    I will be surprised if rust belt and similar states not support Trump.

    You should understand that this is a referendum on neoliberal globalization, so Hillary is with all her crimes and warts is generally immaterial.

    All this smoke screen of Trump demonization, that MSM use to save Hillary might not work at all.

    The real question is: Does the anger of the US population at neoliberal globalization reached the boiling point or not.

    Please also think about what Assange might still have on Hillary and when he will release those emails.

    [Sep 12, 2016] There was absolutely NO unsubscribe link on the emails asking for donations from the Clinton Cult. And they do not really need your money. They just are trying to mask infusions of rich individual and corporations

    Notable quotes:
    "... "Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign raised an eye-popping $143 million in August for her candidacy and the Democratic Party, the best showing of her campaign, her team said Thursday" ..."
    "... And yet my spam folder yesterday contained 46 (count 'em) pleas for donations from HillaryClinton.com, sent over the last ten days, including the one I read that said "Just send us a dollar." ..."
    "... I'm sure they were just trying to make sure that 'eye-popping' amount isn't from the fewest donors in history. By about the fourth one of those I finally determined they really didn't need me to donate money they just needed to be able to count me as a donor… ..."
    "... But the Democrats don't even want those kinds of victories. They want the Executive Branch and no other branch of government so they can blame what they don't (or worse, do) do – haha, if you read that right you get "dodo" – on the other side. ..."
    "... Ms Clinton has an insane amount of money. And what she spends it on (herself) and what she doesn't (anybody else) is what tells you what you need to know. ..."
    Sep 03, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Elizabeth Burton , September 2, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    "Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign raised an eye-popping $143 million in August for her candidacy and the Democratic Party, the best showing of her campaign, her team said Thursday"

    And yet my spam folder yesterday contained 46 (count 'em) pleas for donations from HillaryClinton.com, sent over the last ten days, including the one I read that said "Just send us a dollar."

    And yes, since there was absolutely NO "unsubscribe" link on the emails I initially received from the Clinton Cult, I did consign all further communication to spam, thank you very much.

    Pat , September 2, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    I'm sure they were just trying to make sure that 'eye-popping' amount isn't from the fewest donors in history. By about the fourth one of those I finally determined they really didn't need me to donate money they just needed to be able to count me as a donor…

    a different chris , September 2, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Following right after that link is the withdrawal of $$$ for airtime from Ted Strickland's campaign. Not some House race, not even a unlikely Senate attempt, but they don't have enough money to hammer on somebody who not only is chasing a big prize but actually already won the damn race once already.

    And you can convince me that it is 100% likely Strickland will lose. But if you don't support him, you don't allow an alternative view to be developed and used to hammer the winner during his term. Isn't that how you play politics? You don't just show up around election, play nice, and if polls – yeech, polls – don't go your way you just go home.

    But the Democrats don't even want those kinds of victories. They want the Executive Branch and no other branch of government so they can blame what they don't (or worse, do) do – haha, if you read that right you get "dodo" – on the other side.

    Ms Clinton has an insane amount of money. And what she spends it on (herself) and what she doesn't (anybody else) is what tells you what you need to know.

    [Sep 12, 2016] Wikileaks released 19K emails from the DNC burying Debbie Wasserman Schultz and hurting Hillary

    DNC is just a cesspool of neocon sharks. No decency whatsoever. What a bottom feeders. Will Sanders supporters walk out ?
    Notable quotes:
    "... They made Craigslist posts on fake Trump jobs talking about women needing to be hot for the job and "maintain hotness" https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/12803 ..."
    "... DNC and Hillary moles inside the Bernie campaign https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/4776 ..."
    m.reddit.com

    This post will be updated. For bios on some of the people mentioned in these emails, please see /u/MrLinderman 's awesome post below.

    People copying this post across Reddit have had their posts removed on /r/politics and even was removed on /r/SandersForPresident .

    If you have one to add, either message me or post below. Contributors so far have been credited. I appreciate their help.

    Regarding Trump

    Regarding Bernie

    Media Collaboration

    GENERAL

    [Sep 12, 2016] Reducing the election to personalities is kind of infantile at this point. The fact is, we live in a system that Sheldon Wolin calls inverted totalitarianism in which corporatations seized all of the political levers

    This short article contains several very deep observations. Highly recommended...
    Notable quotes:
    "... There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil or Raytheon. We've lost our privacy. We've seen, under Obama, an assault against civil liberties that has outstripped what George W. Bush carried out. ..."
    "... This has been a bipartisan effort, because they've both been captured by corporate power. We have undergone what John Ralston Saul correctly calls a corporate coup d'état in slow motion, and it's over. ..."
    "... First, it dislocated the working class, deindustrialized the country. Then, in the name of austerity, it destroyed public institutions, education, public broadcasting. And then it poisoned the political system. And we are now watching, in Poland, they created a 30,000 to 40,000 armed militia. You know, they have an army. The Parliament, nothing works. And I think that this political system in the United States has seized up in exactly the same form. ..."
    "... So, is Trump a repugnant personality? Yes. Although I would argue that in terms of megalomania and narcissism, Hillary Clinton is not far behind. But the point is, we've got to break away from-which is exactly the narrative they want us to focus on. ..."
    "... I mean, this whole debate over the WikiLeaks is insane. Did Russia? I've printed classified material that was given to me by the Mossad. But I never exposed that Mossad gave it to me. Is what was published true or untrue? And the fact is, you know, in those long emails -- you should read them. They're appalling, including calling Dr. Cornel West "trash." It is-the whole-it exposes the way the system was rigged, within-I'm talking about the Democratic Party -- the denial of independents, the superdelegates, the stealing of the caucus in Nevada, the huge amounts of corporate money and super PACs that flowed into the Clinton campaign. ..."
    "... Clinton has a track record, and it's one that has abandoned children. I mean, she and her husband destroyed welfare as we know it, and 70 percent of the original recipients were children. ..."
    "... Trump is not the phenomenon. Trump is responding to a phenomenon created by neoliberalism. And we may get rid of Trump, but we will get something even more vile ..."
    Aug 06, 2016 | www.democracynow.org

    CHRIS HEDGES : Well, reducing the election to personalities is kind of infantile at this point. The fact is, we live in a system that Sheldon Wolin calls inverted totalitarianism. It's a system where corporate power has seized all of the levers of control. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil or Raytheon. We've lost our privacy. We've seen, under Obama, an assault against civil liberties that has outstripped what George W. Bush carried out. We've seen the executive branch misinterpret the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act as giving itself the right to assassinate American citizens, including children. I speak of Anwar al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son. We have bailed out the banks, pushed through programs of austerity. This has been a bipartisan effort, because they've both been captured by corporate power. We have undergone what John Ralston Saul correctly calls a corporate coup d'état in slow motion, and it's over.

    I just came back from Poland, which is a kind of case study of how neoliberal poison destroys a society and creates figures like Trump. Poland has gone, I think we can argue, into a neofascism.

    First, it dislocated the working class, deindustrialized the country. Then, in the name of austerity, it destroyed public institutions, education, public broadcasting. And then it poisoned the political system. And we are now watching, in Poland, they created a 30,000 to 40,000 armed militia. You know, they have an army. The Parliament, nothing works. And I think that this political system in the United States has seized up in exactly the same form.

    So, is Trump a repugnant personality? Yes. Although I would argue that in terms of megalomania and narcissism, Hillary Clinton is not far behind. But the point is, we've got to break away from-which is exactly the narrative they want us to focus on. We've got to break away from political personalities and understand and examine and critique the structures of power. And, in fact, the Democratic Party, especially beginning under Bill Clinton, has carried water for corporate entities as assiduously as the Republican Party. This is something that Ralph Nader understood long before the rest of us, and stepped out very courageously in 2000. And I think we will look back on that period and find Ralph to be an amazingly prophetic figure. Nobody understands corporate power better than Ralph. And I think now people have caught up with Ralph.

    And this is, of course, why I support Dr. Stein and the Green Party. We have to remember that 10 years ago, Syriza, which controls the Greek government, was polling at exactly the same spot that the Green Party is polling now-about 4 percent. We've got to break out of this idea that we can create systematic change within a particular election cycle. We've got to be willing to step out into the political wilderness, perhaps, for a decade. But on the issues of climate change, on the issue of the destruction of civil liberties, including our right to privacy-and I speak as a former investigative journalist, which doesn't exist anymore because of wholesale government surveillance-we have no ability, except for hackers.

    I mean, this whole debate over the WikiLeaks is insane. Did Russia? I've printed classified material that was given to me by the Mossad. But I never exposed that Mossad gave it to me. Is what was published true or untrue? And the fact is, you know, in those long emails -- you should read them. They're appalling, including calling Dr. Cornel West "trash." It is-the whole-it exposes the way the system was rigged, within-I'm talking about the Democratic Party -- the denial of independents, the superdelegates, the stealing of the caucus in Nevada, the huge amounts of corporate money and super PACs that flowed into the Clinton campaign.

    The fact is, Clinton has a track record, and it's one that has abandoned children. I mean, she and her husband destroyed welfare as we know it, and 70 percent of the original recipients were children.

    This debate over -- I don't like Trump, but Trump is not the phenomenon. Trump is responding to a phenomenon created by neoliberalism. And we may get rid of Trump, but we will get something even more vile, maybe Ted Cruz.

    [Sep 12, 2016] The Illusion Of Democracy

    Neo: I can't go back, can I?
    Morpheus: No. But if you could, would you really want to? ...We never free a mind once it's reached a certain age. It's dangerous, the mind has trouble letting go... As long as the Matrix exists, the human race will never be free.
    ~ The Matrix
    While this is a satire on an extreme polarization of electorate who now behave like sport fans rooting for "their" team, Neoliberalism is the Other side ideology and will not abolish it without a fight.
    Notable quotes:
    "... Let's face it: The Other Side is held hostage by a radical, failed ideology. I have been doing some research on the Internet, and I have learned this ideology was developed by a very obscure but nonetheless profoundly influential writer with a strange-sounding name who enjoyed brief celebrity several decades ago. If you look carefully, you can trace nearly all the Other Side's policies for the past half-century back to the writings of this one person. ..."
    "... To be sure, the Other Side also has been influenced by its powerful supporters. These include a reclusive billionaire who has funded a number of organizations far outside the political mainstream; several politicians who have said outrageous things over the years; and an alarmingly large number of completely clueless ordinary Americans who are being used as tools and don't even know it. ..."
    "... It's ridiculous to talk about freedom in a society dominated by huge corporations. ..."
    "... Wasn't it Voltaire who said "If you want to understand infinity look at people's stupidity"? ..."
    Zero Hedge
    Distract, deny, democracy...

    Source: Jesse

    Which reminded us of this perennial note...

    The past several weeks have made one thing crystal-clear: Our country faces unmitigated disaster if the Other Side wins.

    No reasonably intelligent person can deny this. All you have to do is look at the way the Other Side has been running its campaign. Instead of focusing on the big issues that are important to the American People, it has fired a relentlessly negative barrage of distortions, misrepresentations, and flat-out lies.

    Just look at the Other Side's latest commercial, which take a perfectly reasonable statement by the candidate for My Side completely out of context to make it seem as if he is saying something nefarious. This just shows you how desperate the Other Side is and how willing it is to mislead the American People.

    The Other Side also has been hammering away at My Side to release certain documents that have nothing to do with anything, and making all sorts of outrageous accusations about what might be in them. Meanwhile, the Other Side has stonewalled perfectly reasonable requests to release its own documents that would expose some very embarrassing details if anybody ever found out what was in them. This just shows you what a bunch of hypocrites they are.

    Naturally, the media won't report any of this. Major newspapers and cable networks jump all over anything they think will make My Side look bad. Yet they completely ignore critically important and incredibly relevant information that would be devastating to the Other Side if it could ever be verified.

    I will admit the candidates for My Side do make occasional blunders. These usually happen at the end of exhausting 19-hour days and are perfectly understandable. Our leaders are only human, after all. Nevertheless, the Other Side inevitably makes a big fat deal out of these trivial gaffes, while completely ignoring its own candidates' incredibly thoughtless and stupid remarks – remarks that reveal the Other Side's true nature, which is genuinely frightening.

    My Side has produced a visionary program that will get the economy moving, put the American People back to work, strengthen national security, return fiscal integrity to Washington, and restore our standing in the international community. What does the Other Side have to offer? Nothing but the same old disproven, discredited policies that got us into our current mess in the first place.

    Don't take my word for it, though. I recently read about an analysis by an independent, nonpartisan organization that supports My Side. It proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that everything I have been saying about the Other Side was true all along. Of course, the Other Side refuses to acknowledge any of this. It is too busy cranking out so-called studies by so-called experts who are actually nothing but partisan hacks. This just shows you that the Other Side lives in its own little echo chamber and refuses to listen to anyone who has not already drunk its Kool-Aid.

    Let's face it: The Other Side is held hostage by a radical, failed ideology. I have been doing some research on the Internet, and I have learned this ideology was developed by a very obscure but nonetheless profoundly influential writer with a strange-sounding name who enjoyed brief celebrity several decades ago. If you look carefully, you can trace nearly all the Other Side's policies for the past half-century back to the writings of this one person.

    To be sure, the Other Side also has been influenced by its powerful supporters. These include a reclusive billionaire who has funded a number of organizations far outside the political mainstream; several politicians who have said outrageous things over the years; and an alarmingly large number of completely clueless ordinary Americans who are being used as tools and don't even know it.

    These people are really pathetic, too. The other day I saw a YouTube video in which My Side sent an investigator and a cameraman to a rally being held by the Other Side, where the investigator proceeded to ask some real zingers. It was hilarious! First off, the people at the rally wore T-shirts with all kinds of lame messages that they actually thought were really clever. Plus, many of the people who were interviewed were overweight, sweaty, flushed, and generally not very attractive. But what was really funny was how stupid they were. There is no way anyone could watch that video and not come away convinced the people on My Side are smarter, and that My Side is therefore right about everything.

    Besides, it's clear that the people on the Other Side are driven by mindless anger – unlike My Side, which is filled with passionate idealism and righteous indignation. That indignation, I hasten to add, is entirely justified. I have read several articles in publications that support My Side that expose what a truly dangerous group the Other Side is, and how thoroughly committed it is to imposing its radical, failed agenda on the rest of us.

    That is why I believe [2016] is, without a doubt, the defining election of our lifetime. The difference between My Side and the Other Side could not be greater. That is why it absolutely must win [in 2016].

    Waylon Bits

    Wake we up when we can vote on troop deployments, oil pipelines, assassinations, etc...

    NotApplicable

    Sad sad Americans just figured this out? You idiots should have been reading Chomsky, he just said it so well: "It's ridiculous to talk about freedom in a society dominated by huge corporations." -Chomsky

    Chomsky has been saying this for years. I guess you have been too busy "making money" to pay attention.

    The average American sheeple never fail to amuse me how stupid they really are. Wasn't it Voltaire who said "If you want to understand infinity look at people's stupidity"?

    [Sep 12, 2016] We know exactly where corporations go when their iron grip on democracy loosens

    ...the dystopia of the Wachowski Brothers' Matrix trilogy is already here: the technological-industrial 'machine' is already running the world, a world where individual humans are but insignificant little cogs with barely any autonomy. No single human being - neither the most powerful politician, nor the most powerful businessman - has the power to rein in the system. They necessarily have to follow the inexorable logic of what has been unleashed.
    ~ G Sampath on John Zerzan
    Neo: I can't go back, can I?
    Morpheus: No. But if you could, would you really want to? ...We never free a mind once it's reached a certain age. It's dangerous, the mind has trouble letting go... As long as the Matrix exists, the human race will never be free.
    ~ The Matrix
    Notable quotes:
    "... And if they (Pentagon, DoD, etc…) resist new guidance, what is going to be done about it? ..."
    "... It seems to me like the major sovereignty-violating actions of the US Gov't happen with the approval of the executive branch. The military and intelligence services generally don't speak out or publicly act against the president's policies. They do leak a bunch of shit everywhere (the mysterious "high-ranking anonymous Obama official" who seems to pop up whenever the president's policies need to be opposed), but that you can live with. ..."
    www.nakedcapitalism.com
    GlassHammer

    Are we assuming that the Pentagon, DoD, etc… are just going to accept new guidance from the top? (That sounds like wishful thinking to me.)

    And if they (Pentagon, DoD, etc…) resist new guidance, what is going to be done about it? Currently more Americans trust the military than any institution or politician. I highly doubt anyone could swing public opinion against the Deep State at this point in time.

    Daryl

    It seems to me like the major sovereignty-violating actions of the US Gov't happen with the approval of the executive branch. The military and intelligence services generally don't speak out or publicly act against the president's policies. They do leak a bunch of shit everywhere (the mysterious "high-ranking anonymous Obama official" who seems to pop up whenever the president's policies need to be opposed), but that you can live with.

    It is a real problem, one that makes me nervous. We know exactly where corporations go when their iron grip on democracy loosens: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Plot

    JTMcPhee

    Any Agent of Actual Change has to fear the "bowstring…"

    http://www.allempires.com/article/index.php?q=fate_of_roman_emperors

    Vatch

    JKF? I didn't know that the historian John King Fairbank was assassinated.

    roadrider

    Then I guess you have solid evidence to account for the actions of Allen Dulles, David Atlee Phillips, William Harvey, David Morales, E. Howard Hunt, Richard Helms, James Angleton and other CIA personnel and assets who had

    1. perhaps the strongest motives to murder Kennedy
    2. the means to carry out the crime, namely, their executive action (assassination) capability and blackmail the government into aiding their cover up and
    3. the opportunity to carry out such a plan given their complete lack of accountability to the rest of the government and their unmatched expertise in lying, deceit, secrecy, fraud.

    Because if you actually took the time to research or at least read about their actions in this matter instead of just spouting bald assertions that you decline to back up with any facts you would find their behavior nearly impossible to explain other than having at, the very least, guilty knowledge of the crime.

    [Sep 11, 2016] The concept of the unbiased political reporter is difficult to accept today.

    www.nakedcapitalism.com
    RBHoughton

    The concept of the unbiased political reporter is difficult to accept today. The financial and commercial systems require us all to be economic animals responding to self-advantage. It is only that handful of people with more loot than they can spend who can step off the treadmill and act honestly.

    Can any of the political reporters be financially qualified in that way? Seems highly unlikely.

    The only thing that might produce an honest pollster is the fear of the owners of the polling company that their venality will be exposed and they will have to start another biz.

    Congrats to Lambert for focusing his attention where it matters and not on the prima donnas.

    [Sep 10, 2016] Sanders might run as a sheepdog from the very beginning. His attitude toward email skandal was an early warning that the game was rigged

    Notable quotes:
    "... Sanders is a touchy subject with me. The man was offered a spot on the Green party ticket, and obviously didn't take it. Considering the public disgust with the two slimeballs we're stuck with now, I believe he'd have had a real shot at the presidency. Despite my rating him as a C- at best, I'd have voted for the man. It's my opinion he'd have gotten a whole lot of Trump's base too. The poorer members of the GOP know they're getting the shaft, and I suspect a great many of them would have defected too. ..."
    "... There was a theory early-on that Sanders never was really serious, but instead was running as a "sheepdog" to lead the dirty hippy lefties to Clinton. ..."
    Sep 04, 2016 | angrybearblog.com

    Zachary Smith August 31, 2016 12:13 am

    Sanders is a touchy subject with me. The man was offered a spot on the Green party ticket, and obviously didn't take it. Considering the public disgust with the two slimeballs we're stuck with now, I believe he'd have had a real shot at the presidency. Despite my rating him as a C- at best, I'd have voted for the man. It's my opinion he'd have gotten a whole lot of Trump's base too. The poorer members of the GOP know they're getting the shaft, and I suspect a great many of them would have defected too.

    There was a theory early-on that Sanders never was really serious, but instead was running as a "sheepdog" to lead the dirty hippy lefties to Clinton. That theory looks more plausible now than it did earlier.

    [Sep 10, 2016] Sanders was the geriatric Obama, dispensing more Hopium for the dopes. And when Clinton feigns adoption of Sanders policy, like not signing the TPP, she is LYING.

    Picked from comments...
    Notable quotes:
    "... Sanders was clearly the sheep-dog, and I won't be surprised if an e-mail showing that reality appears. ..."
    "... spitting in the face of the latest generation of suckers who thought that the elite plutocracy of the USA could be 'reformed' from within. ..."
    "... sheepdog is accurate. I have been calling him a sheepdog since 2014 and predicting, correctly, that he would both lose the nomination and endorse Hillary. This was inevitable since he SAID he would endorse her from the start of his so-called campaign. ..."
    OffGuardian

    Richard Le Sarcophage, July 28, 2016

    Sanders was clearly the sheep-dog, and I won't be surprised if an e-mail showing that reality appears. He is, in fact, with his total and immediate roll-over, even as the corruption of the process was categorically exposed by the e-mails, making no pretense otherwise, spitting in the face of the latest generation of suckers who thought that the elite plutocracy of the USA could be 'reformed' from within. He was the geriatric Obama, dispensing more Hopium for the dopes. And when Clinton feigns adoption of Sanders policy, like not signing the TPP, she is LYING.

    Diana, July 28, 2016

    Sanders' own campaign called him the "youth whisperer", but sheepdog is accurate. I have been calling him a sheepdog since 2014 and predicting, correctly, that he would both lose the nomination and endorse Hillary. This was inevitable since he SAID he would endorse her from the start of his so-called campaign. Perhaps he did so hoping that the DNC would play fair, but that goes to show you he's no socialist. A real socialist would have been able to size up the opposition, not made any gentleman's agreements with them and waged a real campaign.


    rtj1211, July 26, 2016

    So far as I'm aware, there must be a mechanism for an Independent to put their name on the ballot.

    If the majority of people in the USA are really thinking that voting for either Hillary or the Donald is worse than having unprotected sex with an HIV+ hooker, then the Independent would barely need any publicity. They'd just need to be on the ballot.

    Course, the Establishment might get cute and put a far-right nutcase up as 'another Independent' so as they would have someone who'd do as they were told no matter what.

    But until the US public say 'da nada! Pasta! Finito! To hell with the Democrats and the GOP!', you'll still get the choice of 'let's invade Iran' or 'let's nuke Russia'. You'll get the choice of giving Israel a blowjob or agreeing to be tied up and have kinky sex with Israel. You'll get the choice of bailing out Wall Street or bailing out Wall Street AND cutting social security for the poorest Americans. You'll get the choice of running the USA for the bankers or running the USA for the bankers and a few multinational corporations.

    Oh, they'll have to fight for it, just as Martin Luther King et al had to fight for civil rights. They may have the odd candidate shot by the CIA, the oil men or the weapons men. Because that's how US politics works.

    But if they don't want a Republican or a Republican-lite, they need to select an independent and vote for them.

    The rest of us? We have to use whatever influence we have to try and limit what they try to do overseas…….because we are affected by what America does overseas…….

    [Sep 10, 2016] Bernie Sanders should regret what he has done -- he betrayed the very people who believed in this political revolution repeating Obama bat and switch maneuver of 2008

    Sanders as a pupil of the king of "bait and switch" Obama
    Notable quotes:
    "... I think he will come to deeply regret what he has done. He has betrayed these people who believed in this political revolution. We heard this same kind of rhetoric, by the way, in 2008 around Obama. ..."
    Aug 06, 2016 | www.democracynow.org

    CHRIS HEDGES : Well, I didn't back Bernie Sanders because-and Kshama Sawant and I had had a discussion with him before-because he said that he would work within the Democratic structures and support the nominee.

    And I think we have now watched Bernie Sanders walk away from his political moment. You know, he - I think he will come to deeply regret what he has done. He has betrayed these people who believed in this political revolution. We heard this same kind of rhetoric, by the way, in 2008 around Obama.

    [Sep 10, 2016] Sanders is now backing Wall Street, the neocons and the TPP. Whether he plays Gorbachov or this is Stockholm syndrome shame on him!

    Notable quotes:
    "... That means backing Wall Street, the neocons and the TPP. Shame on him! He told his followers to think of pie in the sky in the decades it will take to take over the Democratic Party from below, from school boards, etc. ..."
    "... What on earth is revolution if it doesn't include either remove the rot in the Democratic Party, the Wall Street control, or start another party? It had to be one or the other. Here was his chance. I think he missed it. ..."
    "... He did miss his chance. Some people were suggesting that he should walk and form his own party. Particularly how the party treated him. ..."
    "... The Democrats and the Republicans together have made it almost impossible for a third party to get registered in every state. To run in every state. To get just all of the mechanics you need because of all the lawsuits against them. The Green Party is the only party that had already solved that. Apart from the Libertarian Party. ..."
    "... The oligarchs have joined the Republicans and the Democrats are now seen to be the same party, called the Democratic Party. Here was his chance to make an alternative. ..."
    "... I believe Hillary's the greater evil, not Trump, because Trump is incompetent and doesn't have the staff around him, or the political support that Hilary has. ..."
    "... I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I remember her, as you do, as a great first lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a first lady was supposed to play as she helped lead the fight for universal health care. ..."
    "... I served with her in the United States Senate and know her as a fierce advocate for the rights of children, for women and for the disabled. ..."
    "... Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her tonight! ..."
    "... Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life. ..."
    "... I agree with Hudson that HRC is the greater threat. I also agree with him that Bernie makes no sense. What the hell did Bernie have to lose? He could have accepted the prez nomination with the Greens. In fact, he should have run third party from the git-go. By sucking up to the dems that politically raped him, Bernie is exhibiting a variation of Stockholm syndrome. ..."
    "... Bernie's problem in the end is that he couldn't see that in order to gain power in the Democratic Party (i.e., in order to dislodge the Clintons), the Left might (probably would) have to lose an election. ..."
    "... The Democratic PoC (Party of Clinton) had to be shown as a party that could not win an election without its left half. He wrongly saw the powerless Trump as the greater threat, something that could only be done if he still at least marginally trusted Hillary to ever keep her word on anything. He will come to see that as his greatest mistake of all. ..."
    "... Bernie reminds me of Gorbachev. Both clearly saw what the problem was with their respective societies, but still thought that things could be fixed by changing their respective parties. Bernie it seems, like Gorbachev before him, can not intellectually accept that effective reforms require radical action on the existing power structures. Gorbachev could not break with the Communist system and Bernie can not break with the Democratic party. ..."
    "... I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I remember her, as you do, as a great first lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a first lady was supposed to play as she helped lead the fight for universal health care. ..."
    "... I served with her in the United States Senate and know her as a fierce advocate for the rights of children, for women and for the disabled. ..."
    "... Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her tonight! ..."
    "... Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life. ..."
    Aug 10, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    PERIES: Let's turn to Sanders's strategy here. Now, Sanders is, of course, asking people to support Hillary. And if you buy into the idea that she is the lesser of two evils candidate, then we also have to look at Bernie's other strategy – which is to vote as many people as we possibly can at various other levels of the elections that are going on at congressional levels, Senate level, at municipal levels. Is that the way to go, so that we can avoid some of these choices we are offered?

    HUDSON: Well, this is what I don't understand about Sanders's strategy. He says we need a revolution. He's absolutely right. But then, everything he said in terms of the election is about Trump. I can guarantee you that the revolution isn't really about Trump. The way Sanders has described things, you have to take over the Democratic Party and pry away the leadership, away from Wall Street, away from the corporations.

    Democrats pretend to be a party of the working class, a party of the people. But it's teetering with Hillary as it's candidate. If ever there was a time to split it, this was the year. But Bernie missed his chance. He knuckled under and said okay, the election's going to be about Trump. Forget the revolution that I've talked about. Forget reforming the Democratic Party, I'm sorry. Forget that I said Hillary is not fit to be President. I'm sorry, she is fit to be President. We've got to back her.

    That means backing Wall Street, the neocons and the TPP. Shame on him! He told his followers to think of pie in the sky in the decades it will take to take over the Democratic Party from below, from school boards, etc.

    Labor unions said this half a century ago. It didn't work. Bernie gave up on everything to back the TPP candidate, the neocon candidate.

    What on earth is revolution if it doesn't include either remove the rot in the Democratic Party, the Wall Street control, or start another party? It had to be one or the other. Here was his chance. I think he missed it.

    PERIES: I think there's a lot of people out there that agree with that analysis, Michael. He did miss his chance. Some people were suggesting that he should walk and form his own party. Particularly how the party treated him. But there is another choice out there. In fact, we at the Real News is out there covering the Green Party election as we are speaking here, Michael. Is that an option?

    HUDSON: It would have been the only option for him. He had decided that you can't really mount a third party, because it's so hard. The Democrats and the Republicans together have made it almost impossible for a third party to get registered in every state. To run in every state. To get just all of the mechanics you need because of all the lawsuits against them. The Green Party is the only party that had already solved that. Apart from the Libertarian Party.

    So here you have the only possible third party he could have run on this time, and he avoided it. I'm sure he must of thought about it. He was offered the presidency on it. He could of used that and brought his revolution into that party and then expanded it as a real alternative to both the Democrats and the Republicans. Because the Republican Party is already split, by the fact that the Tea Party's pretty much destroyed it. The oligarchs have joined the Republicans and the Democrats are now seen to be the same party, called the Democratic Party. Here was his chance to make an alternative.

    I don't think there will be a chance like this again soon. I believe Hillary's the greater evil, not Trump, because Trump is incompetent and doesn't have the staff around him, or the political support that Hilary has. I think Bernie missed his chance to take this party and develop it very quickly, just like George Wallace could have done back in the 1960s when he had a chance. I think Chris Hedges and other people have made this point with you. I have no idea what Bernie's idea of a revolution is, if he's going to try to do it within the Democratic Party that's just stamped on him again and again, you're simply not going to have a revolution within the Democratic party.

    Butch In Waukegan ,, August 10, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Sanders' convention endorsement:

    I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I remember her, as you do, as a great first lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a first lady was supposed to play as she helped lead the fight for universal health care.

    I served with her in the United States Senate and know her as a fierce advocate for the rights of children, for women and for the disabled.

    Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her tonight!

    Sanders' campaign was premised on exactly the opposite. How can anyone now take Bernie seriously?

    Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

    crittermom ,, August 10, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Okay. I know this comment will bring forth much backlash, but I'm gonna put it out there anyway since my 'give-a-shitter' was severely cracked over 4 yrs ago (when 2 sheriff's deputies evicted me from my home while I had been current on my pymts when the bank foreclosed and the response from EVERY govt agency I contacted told me to "hire a lawyer", which I couldn't afford, with one costing much more than I owed on my home of 20 yrs). I had bought my first house by the time I graduated h.s. and had owned one ever since until now.

    My 'give-a-shitter' completely shattered this year with the election, so here goes:

    So it seems we are offered 3 choices when we vote. Trump, Hillary or Green.

    To someone who is among the 8-10 MILLION (depending on whose figures you believe) whose home was illegally taken from them by the banksters, I would welcome a 4th choice since none of the 3 offered will improve my life before I die.

    The consensus seems to be that it'll take decades to create change through voting.

    I'm a divorced woman turning 65. I don't feel I have decades to wait, while I am forced to live in a place that doesn't even have a flush toilet because it's all I can afford. To someone my age with no degrees or special skills, the job market is nonexistent, even if I lived in a big city (where I couldn't afford the rent).

    When I see reports of an increase in new homes being built, I'd love to see a breakdown showing exactly how many of those homes will be primary residences and how many are second (or third, or fourth) homes.

    There are 4 new custom homes being built within a half mile of me.
    None will be primary residences. All will be 'vacation' homes.

    Yet if we're to believe the latest figures, "the housing market is improving!"
    For whom?

    Yes, I'm extremely disappointed that Bernie bailed on us. I doubt either of us will live long enough to see the change required to change this govt and save the planet with our current choices this election.

    I fear the only thing that this election has given me was initially great hope for my future, before being plunged into the darkness of the same ol', same ol' as my only choices.

    I was never radical or oppositional in my life but I would now welcome a revolution. I don't see me living long enough to welcome that change by voting. Especially with the blatant voter suppression and all else that transpired this election.

    While the govt and political oligarchs may fear Russia & ISIS, if they met 8-10 million of us victims of the banksters, they would come to realize real fear, from those within their homeland.

    Most are horrified when I offer this view, saying I'd be thrown in prison.
    Hmmm…considering that…I'd be fed, clothed, housed-and I'd have a flush toilet!

    Gads, I'd love to see millions of us march on Washington & literally throw those in power out of their seats onto the lawn, saying "enough is enough"!

    So I guess my question is, does anyone else feel as 'at the end of their rope' as I do?
    Can you even truly imagine being in my position and what you would do or how you would feel?

    Yes. I screamed, cried, and wrote Bernie's campaign before his endorsement speech was even completed, expressing my disappointment, after foregoing meals to send him my meager contributions.

    My hopes were shattered and I'm growing impatient for change.

    backwardsevolution ,, August 10, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    crittermom/Bullwinkle – here's one of the articles by Chris Hedges on Bernie Sanders:

    "Because the party is completely captive to corporate power," Hedges said. "And Bernie has cut a Faustian deal with the Democrats. And that's not even speculation. I did an event with him and Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein and Kshama Sawant in New York the day before the Climate March. And Kshama Sawant ,the Socialist City Councilwoman from Seattle and I asked Sanders why he wanted to run as a Democrat. And he said - because I don't want to end up like Nader."

    "He didn't want to end up pushed out of the establishment," Hedges said. "He wanted to keep his committee chairmanships, he wanted to keep his Senate seat. And he knew the forms of retribution, punishment that would be visited upon him if he applied his critique to the Democratic establishment. So he won't."

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/15/chris-hedges-on-bernie-sanders-and-the-corporate-democrats/

    Lambert Strether ,, August 10, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    I don't get what's wrong with not ending up like Nader.

    And if Sanders saved the left from another two decades of "Nader Nader neener neener!" more power to him, say I.

    backwardsevolution ,, August 10, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Fair enough. I don't know enough about Nader to care. To me, it was just the about-face that Bernie did, going from denouncing Hillary (albeit not very strongly) to embracing her. I think if I had been one of his supporters who cheered him on, sent him money, got my hopes raised that he would go all the way, I would have been very disappointed. Almost like a tease.

    crittermom ,, August 10, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks for that link.

    I'd wanted Bernie to run as an Independent more than anything, but I can understand him wanting to keep his Senate seat and chairs. Without them, he has no power to bring change.
    I had believed he had a good chance to win, whipping a big Bernie Bird to both parties and changing things in my lifetime, running Independent.

    I now realize just how completely corrupt our political system is. Far worse than I ever could have imagined. Wow, have my eyes been opened!

    I'm beginning to think this election may just come down to who has the bigger thugs, Trump or HRC.

    EndOfTheWorld , August 10, 2016 at 5:04 am

    I agree with Hudson that HRC is the greater threat. I also agree with him that Bernie makes no sense. What the hell did Bernie have to lose? He could have accepted the prez nomination with the Greens. In fact, he should have run third party from the git-go. By sucking up to the dems that politically raped him, Bernie is exhibiting a variation of Stockholm syndrome.

    Benedict@Large , August 10, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Bernie's problem in the end is that he couldn't see that in order to gain power in the Democratic Party (i.e., in order to dislodge the Clintons), the Left might (probably would) have to lose an election.

    The Democratic PoC (Party of Clinton) had to be shown as a party that could not win an election without its left half. He wrongly saw the powerless Trump as the greater threat, something that could only be done if he still at least marginally trusted Hillary to ever keep her word on anything. He will come to see that as his greatest mistake of all.

    Roger Smith , August 10, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Very well stated++

    Another Anon , August 10, 2016 at 7:27 am

    Bernie reminds me of Gorbachev. Both clearly saw what the problem was with their respective societies, but still thought that things could be fixed by changing their respective parties. Bernie it seems, like Gorbachev before him, can not intellectually accept that effective reforms require radical action on the existing power structures. Gorbachev could not break with the Communist system and Bernie can not break with the Democratic party.

    diptherio , August 10, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Bernie is too nice for his own good. He should have used the DNC machinations as an excuse to go back on his promise to endorse. "I made that promise on the assumption that we would all be acting in good faith. Sadly, that has proved not to be the case."

    But no, he's too much of a politician, or too nice, or has too much sense of personal pride…or had his life and his family threatened if he didn't toe the line (not that I'm foily). Whatever his motivations, we don't get a "Get out of Responsibility Free" card just because one dude made some mis-steps. If that's all it takes to derail us, we're so, so screwed.

    Reply
    perpetualWAR , August 10, 2016 at 11:42 am

    No, Bernie is exhibiting behavior of a man whose family was theatened. There's no other explanation for his pained face at the convention.

    Griffith W Jones , August 10, 2016 at 5:30 am

    I also agree with Hudson and EndOfTheWorld that HRC is the greater threat and that Sanders makes no sense.

    Sure, the Dems probably threatened to kick him off of Congressional Committees and to back a rival in Vermont.

    So what! With his tenure and at his age, what's really to lose? If he couldn't face off someone in his home state, it's probably time to retire anyway. And it's not like he was ever in it for the money.

    The best he gets now is mild tolerance from his masters. "Give me your followers and lick my boots." What a coward, could have made history, now he's a goat.

    Fortunately, his "followers" have more integrity…

    Eman , August 10, 2016 at 5:33 am

    It's actually not so surprising given his long history of working within the mainstream system, simply along its fringes. I think many may have been falling into the '08 Obama trap of seeing what they wanted to see in him.

    As a senator he's had plenty of opportunities to grandstand, gum up the works, etc, and he really never does. Even his "filibuster" a few years back wasn't all that disruptive.

    Reply
    backwardsevolution , August 10, 2016 at 5:37 am

    EndOfTheWorld- totally agree with you. I just shake my head at Bernie. Diametrically opposed to Clinton, he suddenly turns around and embraces her! What? I will never understand that.

    "America needs an ineffective president. That's much better than an effective president that's going to go to war with Russia, that's going to push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that's going to protect Wall Street, and that's going to oppose neoliberal austerity."

    He's right too. I am absolutely terrified of Hillary Clinton becoming President. She strikes me as having psychopathic tendencies. I mean, just look at the scandals she and Bill have been involved in, and then when she gets caught, she lies, feigns ignorance, deflects, blames others, lies some more. Power and money are her goals.

    She has called Putin "Hitler", said she wants to expand NATO, and again said she wants to take out Assad. Well, how is she going to do that when Russia is in there? God, she is scary. I just hope that there's a big Clinton Foundation email leak to finish her off.

    Trump is out there, but at least he wants to try to negotiate peace (of course, if war wasn't making so many people rich, it would be stopped tomorrow). He's questioning why NATO is necessary, never mind its continual expansion, and he wants to stop the TPP.

    God, I'd be happy with even one of the above. Hillary will give us TPP, more NATO, more war, and a cackle. Please, if anyone has some loose emails hanging around, now is the time!

    Butch In Waukegan , August 10, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Sanders' convention endorsement:

    I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I remember her, as you do, as a great first lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a first lady was supposed to play as she helped lead the fight for universal health care.

    I served with her in the United States Senate and know her as a fierce advocate for the rights of children, for women and for the disabled.

    Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her tonight!

    Sanders' campaign was premised on exactly the opposite. How can anyone now take Bernie seriously?

    Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

    backwardsevolution , August 10, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Butch – "…she helped lead the fight for universal health care." Did she now? Here's a good quote on how she felt about universal health care:

    "Hillary took the lead role in the White House's efforts to pass a corporate-friendly version of "health reform." Along with the big insurance companies the Clintons deceptively railed against, the "co-presidents" decided from the start to exclude the popular health care alternative – single payer – from the national health care "discussion." (Obama would do the same thing in 2009.)

    "David, tell me something interesting." That was then First Lady Hillary Clinton's weary and exasperated response – as head of the White House's health reform initiative – to Harvard medical professor David Himmelstein in 1993. Himmelstein was head of Physicians for a National Health Program. He had just told her about the remarkable possibilities of a comprehensive, single-payer "Canadian style" health plan, supported by more than two-thirds of the U.S. public. Beyond backing by a citizen super-majority, Himmelstein noted, single-payer would provide comprehensive coverage to the nation's 40 million uninsured while retaining free choice in doctor selection and being certified by the Congressional Budget Office as "the most cost-effective plan on offer."

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/27/feel-the-hate/

    That whole article deals with the "fake liberalism" exhibited by the Clinton's and Obama. It says they only "pretend" to care.

    Perhaps Yves could highlight Hillary's disdain for single-payer healthcare on another post. Thanks.

    Lambert Strether , August 10, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Hillary Clinton: Single-payer health care will "never, ever" happen CBS

    [Sep 10, 2016] Twenty silver coins for Bernie

    Notable quotes:
    "... Bernie had cashed in on the Revolution that he had betrayed, citing as evidence the purchase of a third ..."
    "... I said there might be more to the story, like the fact that Bernie had signed a book deal (ala the Clintons) where he would tell the story of his Glorious Revolution (which ended up with him dumping his foot soldiers into the vaults of the very machine they were warring against.) And guess what? I was right. ..."
    "... Los Angeles Times ..."
    Aug 14, 2016 | www.counterpunch.org

    On Tuesday afternoon, my friend Michael Colby, the fearless environmental activist in Vermont, sent me news that Bernie Sanders had just purchased a new waterfront house on in North Hero, Vermont. I linked to the story on my Facebook page, quipping that Bernie had cashed in on the Revolution that he had betrayed, citing as evidence the purchase of a third house for the Sanders family, a lakefront summer dacha for $600,000.

    This ignited a firestorm on Zuckerburg's internet playpen. People noted that Bernie and Jane lived a penurious existence, surviving on coupons and the kindness of strangers, and the house was just a cramped four-bedroom fishing shack on a cold icy lake with hardly any heat–a place so forsaken even the Iroquois of old wouldn't camp there–which they were only able to afford because Jane sold her dead parents' house.

    I said there might be more to the story, like the fact that Bernie had signed a book deal (ala the Clintons) where he would tell the story of his Glorious Revolution (which ended up with him dumping his foot soldiers into the vaults of the very machine they were warring against.) And guess what? I was right.

    Coming in November to a bookstore near you….Our Revolution by Thomas Dunne Books.

    The love for Bernie is truly blind. It's also touching. I've never seen Leftists defend the purchase of $600,000 lakefront summer homes with such tenacity!

    ... ... ...

    By the way, the median cost of homes sold in North Hero, Vermont so far this year is $189,000.

    ... ... ...

    Fulfilling his pledge to Hillary, Bernie Sanders took to the pages of the Los Angeles Times to plead with his followers to get behind Clinton as the one person who could "unite the country" against Trump.

    In the wake of this pathetic capitulation to the Queen of Chaos, our Australian Shepard, Boomer, drafted an Open Letter on behalf of all sheepdogs renouncing any association with Bernie Sanders. One of the signatories (a Blue Healer from Brentwood) swore, however, that she saw Sander's head popping out of Paris Hilton's handbag…

    A friend lamented the fact that all of the fun and spirit had gone out of the election campaign since Sanders was "neutralized." Was Bernie neutralized? I thought that Bernie neutralized himself. And it was hard to watch. Like an x-rated episode of Nip/Tuck.

    [Sep 09, 2016] All candidates in 2016 Presidential elections with the possible exception of Trump, are neocons

    All candidates with the possible exception of Trump, are either neocons or neocon stooges: "Most revealing are their policies concerning war and peace. Despite minor differences, all three (and those to come) want more military spending. Each thinks the United States can and should manage stability in the Middle East, on Russia's border, etc. All three demonize Russia and Iran, countries that do not threaten us. Thus they would risk war, which would bolster government power while harming the American people and others."
    Notable quotes:
    "... "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence-it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master." ..."
    "... "The state - or, to make matters more concrete, the government - consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get, and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting 'A' to satisfy 'B'. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advanced auction on stolen goods." ..."
    "... Do the four declared candidates really fit this picture? You can judge for yourself. Hillary Clinton, the sole Democrat so far, is long associated with activist government across the range of issues domestic and foreign. Her newfound rhetorical populism can't obscure her association with elitist social engineering. ..."
    "... What about Republicans Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio? Are they "men of system"? Despite their talk about reining in government, I think the answer is yes. ..."
    "... Most revealing are their policies concerning war and peace. Despite minor differences, all three (and those to come) want more military spending. Each thinks the United States can and should manage stability in the Middle East, on Russia's border, etc. All three demonize Russia and Iran, countries that do not threaten us. Thus they would risk war, which would bolster government power while harming the American people and others. ..."
    May 01, 2015 | http://www.insidesources.com/laymans-early-guide-presidential-election/

    From Opinion: A Layman's Early Guide to the Presidential Election

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

    George Washington supposedly said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    [Sep 09, 2016] Hillary Clinton lied about not receiving email subpoena, Benghazi chair claims

    According to Gowdy, "the committee immediately subpoenaed Clinton personally after learning the full extent of her unusual email arrangement with herself, and would have done so earlier if the State Department or Clinton had been forthcoming that State did not maintain custody of her records and only Secretary Clinton herself had her records when Congress first requested them."
    Notable quotes:
    "... According to Gowdy, "the committee immediately subpoenaed Clinton personally after learning the full extent of her unusual email arrangement with herself, and would have done so earlier if the State Department or Clinton had been forthcoming that State did not maintain custody of her records and only Secretary Clinton herself had her records when Congress first requested them." ..."
    "... Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi. The Republicans chant while Rome burns. How about Iraq, Iraq, Iraq, Iraq.... ..."
    "... Did Clinton say she's never had a subpoena? Yes. Did a subpoena get issued? Yes. Was the whole interview at that point discussing a point in time months before the subpoena got issued? Yes. ..."
    "... Karl Rove has so often said that it is who DOES NOT vote that determines the outcome, and now we have the Tea Party. ..."
    "... The Clintons ARE very close personal family friends with the entire Bush clan. When the TV cameras are off and the reporters are gone, they are a very tight group who see the world thru like greedy eyes. Check this out. ..."
    "... Having someone who is the brother of one former president and the son of another run against the wife of still another former president would be sweetly illustrative of all sorts of degraded and illusory aspects of American life, from meritocracy to class mobility. ..."
    "... Wall Street has long been unable to contain its collective glee over a likely Hillary Clinton presidency. ..."
    "... the matriarch of the Bush family (former First Lady Barbara) has described the Clinton patriarch (former President Bill) as a virtual family member, noting that her son, George W., affectionately calls his predecessor "my brother by another mother." ..."
    "... If this happens, the 2016 election would vividly underscore how the American political class functions: by dynasty, plutocracy, fundamental alignment of interests masquerading as deep ideological divisions, and political power translating into vast private wealth and back again. ..."
    "... Most of our presidents were horn dogs. Their wives know about it in many cases, but they knew that it was part of the package. The only difference was that before Clinton, the press would never think of reporting about sexual dalliances. ..."
    "... Clinton is not materially different to many GOP candidates outside the loons. ..."
    "... She has stiff competition: Madeleine Albright, Samantha Power, Carly Fiorina, etc. She might win the title, though. ..."
    "... So after years of trying to turn Benghazi into a scandal, the email thing is mostly meaningless to Democrats. So congratulations Republicans, you blew your chance. ..."
    Jul 09, 2015 | The Guardian

    In a statement on Wednesday, Republican congressman Trey Gowdy accused the former secretary of state of making an "inaccurate claim" during an interview on Tuesday. Responding to a question about the controversy surrounding her email server while at the US state department, Clinton had told CNN: "I've never had a subpoena."

    But Gowdy said: "The committee has issued several subpoenas, but I have not sought to make them public. I would not make this one public now, but after Secretary Clinton falsely claimed the committee did not subpoena her, I have no choice in order to correct the inaccuracy."

    Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill told the Guardian that Gowdy's accusation itself was inaccurate, insisting that the congressman had not issued a subpoena until March.

    "She was asked about her decision to not to retain her personal emails after providing all those that were work-related, and the suggestion was made that a subpoena was pending at that time. That was not accurate," Merrill wrote in an email.

    Gowdy also posted a copy of the subpoena on the Benghazi committee's website.

    According to Gowdy, "the committee immediately subpoenaed Clinton personally after learning the full extent of her unusual email arrangement with herself, and would have done so earlier if the State Department or Clinton had been forthcoming that State did not maintain custody of her records and only Secretary Clinton herself had her records when Congress first requested them."


    Lester Smithson 9 Jul 2015 16:00

    Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi. The Republicans chant while Rome burns. How about Iraq, Iraq, Iraq, Iraq....

    kattw 9 Jul 2015 12:41

    Gotta love when people say they have no choice but to do something absurd, then choose to do something absurd rather than not.

    Did Clinton say she's never had a subpoena? Yes. Did a subpoena get issued? Yes. Was the whole interview at that point discussing a point in time months before the subpoena got issued? Yes.

    Yes, Mr. Legislator: you DID subpoena Clinton. Several months AFTER she did the thing in question, which the interviewer wanted to know why she did in light of subpoenas. And really, what was she thinking? After all, a subpoena had already been issued, ummm, 3 months into the future! Why was she not psychic? Why did she not alter her actions based on something that congress would do eventually? How DARE she not know what the fates had decried!

    Mr. Legislator, you were given the opportunity to not spin this as a political issue, and to be honest about the committee's actions. You chose to do otherwise. Nobody forced you to do so. You had plenty of choices - you made one. Don't try to shift that onto a lie Clinton never told. She's got plenty of lies in her closet, many stupidly obvious - calling one of her truths a lie just shows how much of an ideological buffoon you really are.

    ExcaliburDefender -> Dan Wipper 8 Jul 2015 23:47

    Whatever. Dick Cheney should have been tried in the Hague and incarcerated for 50 lifetimes. Most voters have decided to vote party lines, the next 16 months is for the 10% undecided and a few that can be swayed.

    Karl Rove has so often said that it is who DOES NOT vote that determines the outcome, and now we have the Tea Party.

    Plenty of time for outrage, faux or real. We haven't had a single debate yet. Still get to hear from Chafee on the metric system and whether evolution is real or not from the GOP.

    Jill Stein for President <-------|) Paid for by David Koch and Friends


    Herr_Settembrini 8 Jul 2015 23:25

    Quite frankly, I've long since passed the point of caring about Benghazi, and the reason why is extremely simple: this has been a nakedly partisan investigation, stretching on for years now, that has tried to manufacture a scandal and fake outrage in order to deny Obama re-election in 2012, and now (since that didn't work) to deny Clinton the election in 2016.

    The GOP doesn't have one shred of credibility left about this issue-- to the point that if they were able to produce photographs of Obama and Clinton personally storming the embassy, America would collectively shrug (except of course for the AM talk radio crowd, who are perpetually angry anyway, so nobody would notice).


    TET68HUE -> StevePrimus 8 Jul 2015 23:08

    The Clintons ARE very close personal family friends with the entire Bush clan. When the TV cameras are off and the reporters are gone, they are a very tight group who see the world thru like greedy eyes. Check this out.

    JEB BUSH V. HILLARY CLINTON: THE PERFECTLY ILLUSTRATIVE ELECTION
    BY GLENN GREENWALD

    @ggreenwald
    12/17/2014

    Jeb Bush yesterday strongly suggested he was running for President in 2016. If he wins the GOP nomination, it is highly likely that his opponent for the presidency would be Hillary Clinton. Having someone who is the brother of one former president and the son of another run against the wife of still another former president would be sweetly illustrative of all sorts of degraded and illusory aspects of American life, from meritocracy to class mobility. That one of those two families exploited its vast wealth to obtain political power, while the other exploited its political power to obtain vast wealth, makes it more illustrative still: of the virtually complete merger between political and economic power, of the fundamentally oligarchical framework that drives American political life.

    Then there are their similar constituencies: what Politico termed "money men" instantly celebrated Jeb Bush's likely candidacy, while the same publication noted just last month how Wall Street has long been unable to contain its collective glee over a likely Hillary Clinton presidency. The two ruling families have, unsurprisingly, developed a movingly warm relationship befitting their position: the matriarch of the Bush family (former First Lady Barbara) has described the Clinton patriarch (former President Bill) as a virtual family member, noting that her son, George W., affectionately calls his predecessor "my brother by another mother."

    If this happens, the 2016 election would vividly underscore how the American political class functions: by dynasty, plutocracy, fundamental alignment of interests masquerading as deep ideological divisions, and political power translating into vast private wealth and back again. The educative value would be undeniable: somewhat like how the torture report did, it would rub everyone's noses in exactly those truths they are most eager to avoid acknowledge. Email the author: glenn.greenwald@theintercept.com

    StevePrimus 8 Jul 2015 22:33

    Clinton's nomination as a democratic candidate for president is a fait accompli, as is Bush's nomination on the GOP card. The amusing side show with Rubio, Trump, Sanders, Paul, Walker, Perry, Cruz, et al can be entertaining, but note that Clinton and Bush seem much closer aligned with each other than either sueems to be to Sanders on the left and Graham on the right.


    MtnClimber -> CitizenCarrier 8 Jul 2015 20:41

    Read some history books and learn.

    Most of our presidents were horn dogs. Their wives know about it in many cases, but they knew that it was part of the package. The only difference was that before Clinton, the press would never think of reporting about sexual dalliances.

    Among those that cheated are:

    Washington
    Jefferson
    Lincoln
    Harding
    FDR
    Eisenhower
    JFK
    LBJ
    Clinton

    Not bad company, but they all cheated. It seems like greater sexual drive is part of the package for people that choose to be president.

    RossBest 8 Jul 2015 20:24

    There is an obvious possible explanation here. She was talking about things in the past and ineptly shifted in effect into the "historical present" or "dramatic present" and didn't realize she was creating an ambiguity.

    That is, she was talking about the times when she set up the email system and used it and later deleted personal emails and she intended to deny having received any relevant subpoenas AT THOSE TIMES.

    I'm not a Clinton supporter but this seems plausible. But inept.

    zchabj6 8 Jul 2015 20:10

    The state of US politics...

    Clinton is not materially different to many GOP candidates outside the loons.

    CitizenCarrier -> Carambaman 8 Jul 2015 17:54

    My personal favorite was when as 1st Lady during a trip to New Zealand she told reporters she'd been named in honor of Sir Edmund Hillary.

    She was born before he climbed Everest. He was at that time an obscure chicken farmer.

    BorninUkraine -> duncandunnit 8 Jul 2015 17:44

    You mean, she lies, like Bill? But as snakes go, she is a lot more dangerous than him.

    BorninUkraine -> Barry_Seal 8 Jul 2015 17:40

    She has stiff competition: Madeleine Albright, Samantha Power, Carly Fiorina, etc. She might win the title, though.

    Dennis Myers 8 Jul 2015 16:30

    This sort of thing is exactly why anything they throw at her won't stick. Like the boy who cried wolf, when the wolf actually came, no one was listening anymore. So after years of trying to turn Benghazi into a scandal, the email thing is mostly meaningless to Democrats. So congratulations Republicans, you blew your chance.

    [Sep 05, 2016] Labor day? How about Labor Memorial Day?

    Notable quotes:
    "... Congress created the federal holiday in response to the murder of strikers by US Army troops and federal marshalls during the Pullman strike of 1894. The factory workers who built Pullman railway cars lived in the company town of Pullman. George Pullman provoked a strike by lowering wages but not the rents charged in the company town. ..."
    "... President Grover Cleveland relied on Attorney General Richard Olney to restore capitalist control. Olney, a former railway attorney, sent in the federal violance to break up the strike. Olney still received a retainer from his railway company that was larger than his salary as US Attorney General. So we know whose side he was on. The presstitute media portrayed the beaten down strikers as unpatriotic foreigners, and the strike leader, Eugene Debs, was sentenced to federal prison. The experience radicalized Debs and turned him into a socialist. ..."
    "... The labor movement, which gave us Labor Day, is no longer with us. The American labor movement died about ten years after the death of its most famous leader, George Meany of the AFL-CIO. Meany, born in 1894, died in 1980. ..."
    "... I remember when labor was at the center of politics and policy. There was even a field of economics called "labor economics." The political influence of labor ended with the offshoring of US industrial and manufacturing jobs. For years US capitalists tried to avoid a fair shake for labor by locating their facilities in Southern states that had right to work laws. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the change in attitude of India and China toward foreign capital, capitalists learned that they could increase profits by using foreign labor offshore to produce the goods and services that they sold to Americans. The difference in labor costs flowed directly into profits, executive bonuses, and shareholder capital gains. ..."
    "... The Democratic Party, which had been the countervailing power against the Republican business party, was deprived of union funding as the jobs that paid union dues were no longer in America. By moving production offshore, capitalists turned the Democrats into a second capitalist political party dependent on funding from the business sector. ..."
    "... Today we have one party with two heads. The competition between the parties is about which party gets to be the whore for the capitalists for the next political term. As Democrats and Republicans swap the whore function back and forth, neither party has an incentive to do anything different. ..."
    "... the United States now has the labor profile of a Third World country. The absence of jobs that can support an independent existence and family life is the reason that more Americans aged 24-34 live at home with parents than live independently. The absence of jobs is the reason the labor force participation rate has declined for years. The absence of jobs that pay sufficiently to provide discretionary income is the reason the economy cannot grow. ..."
    "... Whatever deranged Hillary and her neoconservatives claim, there is no evidence in the compositon of the US labor force that the US is a superpower. Indeed, what the employment statistics show is that the United States is a third world country, a country whose leaders are so out of their minds that they are picking fights with first world countries-Russia and China. ..."
    "... The whole world celebrates May 1st as the International Labour Day, to commemorate the 1886 Chicago Haymarket incident. Why cant the working class Americans - which is almost 99% now - start celebrating it, and leave this 0.1% ordained "labour' day? That will be a good start... ..."
    "... The non union white collar workers are the employees who need a union these days. Management screws over the salaried employees now since they can't do anything ..."
    Zero Hedge

    From: Labor Day Lament: America's Workforce Smells Like India's A Half-Century Ago by Paul Craig Roberts

    Labor Day - what is it? Perhaps not many Americans any longer know, so here is my explanation. In my time Labor Day was the unofficial end of summer, because school began after Labor Day.

    Today school begins almost a month before. When I was in school that would not have been possible, especially in the South. The schools were not air-conditioned. If school had started in August no one would have showed up. It was difficult enough getting through May before school was out in June.

    As most Americans probably thought of Labor Day as the last summer holiday, now that Labor Day has lost that role, what is Labor Day? The holiday originated as an apology capitalists tossed to labor to defuse a standoff.

    Workers understood that labor was the backbone of the economy, not Wall Street moguls or bankers in their fine offices. Workers wanted a holiday that recognized labor, thus elevating labor in public policy to a standing with capital. Some states created labor day holidays, but it wasn't until 1894 that Labor Day was made a federal holiday.

    Congress created the federal holiday in response to the murder of strikers by US Army troops and federal marshalls during the Pullman strike of 1894. The factory workers who built Pullman railway cars lived in the company town of Pullman. George Pullman provoked a strike by lowering wages but not the rents charged in the company town.

    President Grover Cleveland relied on Attorney General Richard Olney to restore capitalist control. Olney, a former railway attorney, sent in the federal violance to break up the strike. Olney still received a retainer from his railway company that was larger than his salary as US Attorney General. So we know whose side he was on. The presstitute media portrayed the beaten down strikers as unpatriotic foreigners, and the strike leader, Eugene Debs, was sentenced to federal prison. The experience radicalized Debs and turned him into a socialist.

    The obvious injustice created more sympathy for labor than capitalists could stomach, so Congress defused the situation by creating Labor Day. President Cleveland washed his hands of the blood on them by signing the legislation.

    Officially what we are celebrating on the first Monday of September is American labor, but what is really being celebrated is the success of capitalists again flummoxing the people and avoiding a real social revolution.

    The labor movement, which gave us Labor Day, is no longer with us. The American labor movement died about ten years after the death of its most famous leader, George Meany of the AFL-CIO. Meany, born in 1894, died in 1980.

    I remember when labor was at the center of politics and policy. There was even a field of economics called "labor economics." The political influence of labor ended with the offshoring of US industrial and manufacturing jobs. For years US capitalists tried to avoid a fair shake for labor by locating their facilities in Southern states that had right to work laws. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the change in attitude of India and China toward foreign capital, capitalists learned that they could increase profits by using foreign labor offshore to produce the goods and services that they sold to Americans. The difference in labor costs flowed directly into profits, executive bonuses, and shareholder capital gains.

    Free market economists, who live in a make-believe world, pretend that the lower labor costs flow into lower US consumer prices and that consumers beneift despite the loss of well-paying jobs. The problem with free market economics is that a priori reasoning takes precedence over empirical fact. For free market economists, the way the world should be prevails over the way that the world actually is.

    As a consequence of jobs offshoring, industrial and manufacturing cities became semi-ghost towns with declining populations. Municipal and state governments, deprived of tax base, found themselves under duress to make pension payments. To avoid immediate bankruptcy, cities such as Chicago sold off public assets such as 75 years of parking meter revenues for a one time payment.

    The Democratic Party, which had been the countervailing power against the Republican business party, was deprived of union funding as the jobs that paid union dues were no longer in America. By moving production offshore, capitalists turned the Democrats into a second capitalist political party dependent on funding from the business sector.

    Today we have one party with two heads. The competition between the parties is about which party gets to be the whore for the capitalists for the next political term. As Democrats and Republicans swap the whore function back and forth, neither party has an incentive to do anything different.

    The offshoring of high productivity, high value-added US jobs has destroyed the labor movement. How much luck will labor leaders have organizing people who hold part-time jobs as waitresses, bartenders, hospital orderlies, and retail clerks? As I have pointed out for years in my reports on the monthly payroll jobs reports, the United States now has the labor profile of a Third World country. The absence of jobs that can support an independent existence and family life is the reason that more Americans aged 24-34 live at home with parents than live independently. The absence of jobs is the reason the labor force participation rate has declined for years. The absence of jobs that pay sufficiently to provide discretionary income is the reason the economy cannot grow.

    Looking at last Friday's BLS payroll report, the jobs are in the lowly paid, part-time service sector. The goods producing sector of the economy lost 24,000 jobs. The jobs are in retail trade, health care and social assistance, waitresses and bartenders, and government which is tax supported employment.

    Whether Washington policymakers realize it or not, the American work force smells like India's of a half century ago. Whatever deranged Hillary and her neoconservatives claim, there is no evidence in the compositon of the US labor force that the US is a superpower. Indeed, what the employment statistics show is that the United States is a third world country, a country whose leaders are so out of their minds that they are picking fights with first world countries-Russia and China.

    The United States of America is on its last legs. As there is no willingness to recognize this, nothing can be done about it. America's last function is to cause World War 3 in which all of us will expire.

    East Indian •Sep 5, 2016 1:47 PM

    The whole world celebrates May 1st as the International Labour Day, to commemorate the 1886 Chicago Haymarket incident. Why cant the working class Americans - which is almost 99% now - start celebrating it, and leave this 0.1% ordained "labour' day? That will be a good start...

    Son of Captain Nemo •Sep 5, 2016 1:27 PM

    Smells like "India 50 years ago"???...

    PCR has a lot wishful pride in that statement considering the lack of savings of better than 90% of the Country and $23 Trillion not counting the "unfunded stuff" proudly sitting in back of it!!!

    East Indian

    He had hedged his statement with "fifty years ago" ! But the condition of Indian labour has worsened in these fifty years, if you compare their rights.

    Hubbs •Sep 5, 2016 1:44 PM

    Labor day? How about Labor Memorial Day?

    Catullus •Sep 5, 2016 2:05 PM

    The Labor Movement only ever had violence as their main argument. Instead of shaking down their employers, they just tax the union employees with dues that go directly to the DNC coffers. It was morally and economically bankrupt from beginning to hopefully an ignoble end.

    Hopefully someone does away with fascist Wagner Act while they're at it, but we are to be spared nothing these days.

    Korprit_Phlunkie •Sep 5, 2016 2:05 PM

    Labor has worked themselves right out of the market by being too successful in their protection of union jobs. It is almost impossible to get rid of even the most unskilled useless union employee in any industry, especially government work. The unions protect them to the max and liberal arbitrators will give them their job back eventually no matter how bad the transgression.

    The non union white collar workers are the employees who need a union these days. Management screws over the salaried employees now since they can't do anything to the union thugs. Makes them feel like they are still in charge.

    [Sep 04, 2016] Bernie sold out. If not that, then he was simply in it as faux opposition from the start.

    Notable quotes:
    "... Bernie disgraced himself and drove a dagger through the heart of youth involvement in the democratic process. Millions of kids believd in him. He's is even more repellent that Clinton. Faced with evidence that the DNC had rigged the nomination process in favour of Clinton, what did he do? He backed her. Beyond shame. ..."
    www.theguardian.com

    Mistaron MacSpeaker

    Bernie sold out. If not that, then he was simply in it as faux opposition from the start. Having unified the militant and disgruntled outliers, he then readily doffed his cap and sheperded his gullible followers towards the only practical Democratic alternative available.

    Wasted effort. The 'masters' in the shadows are about to throw the harridan under the bus. Her brazen air of arrogance and entitlement is about to fade as she comes to realise, that albeit Comey having been got at, he's still succeeded in striking a severe blow against her, and also at the not-so-tin-hat conspiracy of inappropriate, and increasingly overt, institutional support, in the face of documented lies, in your face hypocrisy, and corruption oozing from every orifice of a maverick administration.

    The seeds have been planted for a defense of diminished responsibility. Don't fall for it! Hillary, (and her illustrious spouse), deserve not a smidgen of pity.

    ''We came, we saw, he died'', she enthusiastically and unempathically cackled.

    Just about sums it up


    Michael109 fflambeau 2d ago

    Bernie disgraced himself and drove a dagger through the heart of youth involvement in the democratic process. Millions of kids believd in him. He's is even more repellent that Clinton. Faced with evidence that the DNC had rigged the nomination process in favour of Clinton, what did he do? He backed her. Beyond shame.

    [Sep 04, 2016] Lesse evilism as in those f*ckers from trade unions will vote for Dems anyway, they have nowhere to go no longer works

    Notable quotes:
    "... Lesse evilism that Bill Clinton used for moving Democratic Party into neoliberal camp (as in "those f*ckers from trade unions will vote for Dems anyway, they have nowhere to go") no longer works. ..."
    Sep 04, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

    John Quiggin 09.03.16 at 6:36 am

    @111 The obvious explanation for union endorsements of Clinton is that they expected her to win the Democratic nomination, as she did. And of course they would endorse her against any Republican. What else could they do>

    The most obvious test case is the teachers unions. Obama's administration was clearly hostile to the (think of Rahm Emanuel!), but they nonetheless endorsed him, as the lesser evil.

    likbez 09.04.16 at 7:29 pm
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    John,

    @112

    "The most obvious test case is the teachers unions. Obama's administration was clearly hostile to the (think of Rahm Emanuel!), but they nonetheless endorsed him, as the lesser evil."

    Lesse evilism that Bill Clinton used for moving Democratic Party into neoliberal camp (as in "those f*ckers from trade unions will vote for Dems anyway, they have nowhere to go") no longer works.

    Far right will absorb those working class and lower white collar votes. And they became a political force to recon with, which disposed neocons from the Republican establishment (all those Jeb!, Kasich, Cruz, and Rubio crowd ) despite all efforts of the party brass. Welcome to the second reincarnation of Weimar republic.

    Trade union management, which endorsed Hillary, now expects that more than half of union members will probably vote against Hillary. In some cases up to 2/3.

    So Dem neolibs became a party that is not supported by the working class and if identity politics tricks fail to work, they might get a a blowback in November. They can rely only on a few voting blocks that benefitted from globalization, such as "network hamsters" (programmers, system administrators, some part of FIRE low level staff, and such) and few other mass professionals. That's it.

    [Sep 03, 2016] Corporations are one-dollar-one-vote top-down systems. They consider one-person-one-vote democracy illegitimate

    Sep 03, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    Corporations are "one-dollar-one-vote" top-down systems. They consider "one-person-one-vote" democracy illegitimate

    [Sep 02, 2016] Debbie Wasserman Schultz Hangs Onto Her Seat In Florida Primary

    Another slap in the face for Sanders: She defeated progressive law professor Tim Canova.
    www.huffingtonpost.com

    Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) won her primary Tuesday, a positive development for the congresswoman after a tumultuous past few months.

    Wasserman Schultz beat progressive law professor Tim Canova, who drew on the same anti-corporate momentum that fueled the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), earning him national attention and significant contributions from Sanders supporters. The political novice was even raising more money than Wasserman Schultz during the campaign.

    With 98 percent of the votes counted, Wasserman Schultz had 57 percent, to Canova's 43 percent, according to The Associated Press.

    Not that long ago, even talking about a possible Wasserman Schultz defeat would have been outlandish. She ran the Democratic National Committee, held a safe blue seat and had never had a competitive primary.

    But furor at Wasserman Schultz grew during the presidential primary as many progressives criticized her for seeming to tip the scales in favor of Hillary Clinton, and lingering frustrations over her management of the party spilled into the open. Canova campaigned against her as the "quintessential corporate machine politician." In March, President Barack Obama endorsed Wasserman Schultz, an early indication that the congresswoman needed some help in retaining her seat.

    Wasserman Schultz resigned as DNC chair on the eve of the convention last month as Sanders supporters gathered in Philadelphia took to the streets and protested her. The catalyst was a leak of DNC staffers' emails that seemed to show the party working to help get Clinton elected ― even though it was supposed to be neutral in the primary. The congresswoman wanted to keep her speaking spot at the convention, but ultimately, she was forced to give that up as well.

    Wasserman Schultz also faced outrage from progressives for co-sponsoring legislation to gut new rules put forward by the Obama administration intended to rein in predatory payday lending. The activist group Allied Progressive released an ad in Florida, hitting the DNC chair for teaming up with Republicans to defeat the policy.

    For Sanders supporters, the race became a fight against corporate interests and a way to eke out a victory after the senator's loss in the Democratic presidential primary.

    Yet despite this dissatisfaction, Canova's candidacy lagged. Sanders sent out fundraising emails on his behalf, but he never went to Florida and campaigned in person.

    "There are a lot of people who feel disappointed," Canova told The Atlantic. "There are a lot of people in South Florida who wanted Bernie Sanders to come down."

    Clinton, meanwhile, paid a surprise visit to a Wasserman Schultz field office and praised the congresswoman when she was in Miami last month. She also won the district against Sanders by a landslide.

    Being tied to Sanders could also have been a double-edged sword, as Canova told NBC News.

    "Bernie ran a lousy campaign in Florida," he said. "Bernie had his problems with certain constituencies that I don't have problems with."

    The 23rd district is heavily Democratic, and Wasserman Schultz is expected to win in November.

    [Aug 29, 2016] The Scourge of Neoliberalism Why the Democratic Party Is Failing the Poor

    Notable quotes:
    "... Though Democrats were happy to take their votes on election day, lower-income Americans were increasingly faced with a party that had taken on a managerial posture, one characterized by both a growing commitment to market principles and an abandonment of the notion - fostered by the New Deal period - that government could play a significant role in improving the material conditions of the population. ..."
    "... Because they eschew any honest critique of capitalism, these are the absurdities to which Democrats are confined: They must justify the economic order and insist that there are good and bad economic elites, those who, out of the kindness of their hearts, share the spoils with their workers and those who, like Trump, don't. ..."
    "... The elite anger the Sanders insurgency provoked was telling: It made clear the opposition within the political establishment to " even mild social democracy ." It teased out the distinctions between those who believe corporate money is inherently corrupting and those who don't, those who support single-payer health care and those who don't, those who support a radical approach to both redistributing income and wealth and addressing the crisis of poverty and those who don't. ..."
    "... With Hillary Clinton at the helm, though, it is unlikely that the Democrats' drift toward becoming " the cosmopolitan elite party " will slow, particularly if Trumpism becomes the dominant current within the GOP. Also, given Clinton's "embrace of amoral billionaires," notes Nathan Robinson, it is "highly unlikely that the party will follow through on any meaningful attempt to reduce American economic inequality." ..."
    "... The problem is, ultimately, systemic: It is about who writes the rules, and how these rules act in the real world to create extraordinary gains for some while leaving others to compete, endlessly and ruthlessly, for the rest. ..."
    "... The problem is no longer, as it was prior to the publication of Michael Harrington's famous study The Other America, that the poor are invisible, unseen by the political class and by those enjoying the gains of an " affluent society ." ..."
    "... "No other advanced nation," writes Eduardo Porter, "tolerates this depth of deprivation." ..."
    Aug 29, 2016 | www.commondreams.org
    When Democrats began their rightward lurch in the late 1960's, they were not content to merely broaden their coalition in order to quell the rise of the ultra-reactionary right; they have been concerned, also, with preventing left-wing insurgencies that could spook their patrons and push the party left.

    After Ronald Reagan's decisive victories - first in 1980 against an incumbent president whose administration had, in many ways, fueled the neoliberal turn , and again in 1984 - the efforts of Democrats eager to transform the party, both superficially and ideologically, intensified.

    ... ... ...

    Though it was often framed as a tactical move necessary to undercut movement conservatives, Democrats' shift to the right was accompanied by lucrative material advantages, advantages that organized labor, even at its peak, could not provide.

    But the Democratic Leadership Council's takeover of the party didn't just have the effect of bringing over business interests previously wary of Democrats' ostensible commitment to labor's causes - key DLC advisers, noted Robert Dreyfuss in an analysis of the Third Way's rise, included such corporate giants as Enron, Aetna, British Petroleum, Chevron, and Philip Morris.

    It also had a significant, and often devastating , impact on the poorest Americans.

    Though Democrats were happy to take their votes on election day, lower-income Americans were increasingly faced with a party that had taken on a managerial posture, one characterized by both a growing commitment to market principles and an abandonment of the notion - fostered by the New Deal period - that government could play a significant role in improving the material conditions of the population.

    This message of business friendly "moderation" resonated with rich Americans.

    .... ... ...

    "The 1992 election marked an inflection point of sorts," notes Lee Drutman. The year in which "Democrats changed their policies, with Bill Clinton as the standard bearer for a new pro-business, neoliberal centrism that sought to win over the growing professional classes," the very rich began to find comfort within the party's ever-broadening tent.

    Though there have been diversions, these trends have largely continued up to the present. "The wealthiest 4 percent of voting-age Americans, by a narrow plurality," backed President Obama in 2012, Drutman observes.

    Today, confronting the flailing and odious candidacy of Donald Trump, Democrats have seized upon yet another opportunity to expand their coalition. And, once more, they have looked not to the left - the diverse bloc of Sanders backers pushing for social democracy - but to wealthier constituencies, including those that tend to lean Republican .

    Presenting the 2016 election as a vote for or against "American values," the Clinton campaign has frequently deployed the right-wing language of exceptionalism and patriotism, and Clinton herself has eagerly embraced the endorsements of billionaire businessmen and women eager to legitimize their own wealth by highlighting Trump's history of fraud and abuse.

    Of course, these moves are in no way ahistorical.

    "There is," writes Carl Beijer, "a distinct history of Clintonian coalition-building with right-wing Republicans." And as even the most cursory examination of this history reveals, Democrats' opportunistic and strategic solidarity with the right has real-world consequences; in Beijer's words, such an approach is "undertaken at the risk of normalizing their politics."

    From the gross demonization of poor minorities that permeated Bill Clinton's tenure to the Democratic Party's tacit - and in some cases eager - acceptance of a political process dominated by business interests, this is largely what has happened.

    Sky-high wealth inequality has become the new normal, and far from embracing and aggressively pushing a radical redistributionist agenda, Democrats have embraced a meritocratic message , one that emphasizes the centrality of hard work, dedication, and personal responsibility.

    Such platitudes, while reassuring to the winners of globalization, ring hollow in the ears of those who rightly feel abandoned by the political system in general - and by the Democratic Party in particular.

    This year, with the insurgent campaign of Bernie Sanders doing much to expose long-standing rifts within the Democratic establishment, the flaws inherent in a party reliant on both high-income and lower-income voters have been thrown into sharp relief.

    In a recent piece for the New York Times, Thomas Edsall nicely captures this tension, using housing as the focal point.

    Contrasting Baltimore County - a majority white community where the median household income is over $68,000 - and Baltimore City - a majority black community where the median household income is just over $42,500 - Edsall details "how hard it is for the Democratic Party to reconcile the interests of its upscale wing with those of its lower-income wing."

    Baltimore City, Edsall notes, has always been a Democratic stronghold, but Baltimore County, "in the wake of an influx of educated, higher income professionals, immigrants and minorities," has, of late, been leaning Democratic, as well; Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney there decisively in 2012.

    But progressive attempts to lift poor families in the city - to provide better opportunities for housing, education, and other means of upward mobility - have been met with strong resistance from wealthier communities that, though they increasingly vote Democratic, are wary of attempts to integrate poor and rich neighborhoods.

    The result, Edsall quotes former Maryland attorney general Stephen Sachs as saying, is "economic apartheid."

    To demonstrate the rifts between the county and the city, Edsall cites the recent efforts by Baltimore's Housing Authority to buy homes "in prosperous suburbs to use as public housing." Attempts to provide affordable housing have long been a key component of anti-poverty programs, but opposition to such programs by wealthy county residents has proven intractable.

    Despite attempts by public officials to work "under the radar" to provide opportunities for poor families, anger was quick to mount.

    "The reaction from many was outright racist," Doug Donovan, a journalist who has followed this issue closely, told Edsall.

    "The problems for Democrats on matters of race and housing subsidies are not confined to Baltimore," Edsall points out. "In Westchester County, just north of New York City, an ongoing battle over the court-ordered construction of affordable housing has played a key role in the election and re-election of a Republican county executive - in a suburban jurisdiction that, in presidential elections, has become increasingly Democratic."

    Given her attempts to take both sides on matters of class, and given her embrace of big-tent liberalism, it makes sense that Hillary Clinton has been rather mute on this topic - despite the fact that, as Edsall observes, Clinton owns a home that "happens to be located in the midst of an affordable housing conflict."

    This willingness to quietly accept a status quo that privileges wealthy communities at the expense of the poor pervades the thinking not just of Clinton Democrats, but of the two-party system as a whole.

    "This willingness to quietly accept a status quo that privileges wealthy communities at the expense of the poor pervades the thinking not just of Clinton Democrats, but of the two-party system as a whole."

    Across the board, the interests of organized wealth and economic elites are prioritized over those of much of the population. The case of housing is just one example; health care, including Obamacare, which was subordinated to the interests of the private insurance and pharmaceutical industries at great cost to the most vulnerable, is another.

    In 1996, Adolph Reed denounced Clintonian neoliberalism as "a politics motivated by the desire for proximity to the ruling class and a belief in the basic legitimacy of its power and prerogative. It is a politics which, despite all its idealist puffery and feigned nobility, will sell out any allies or egalitarian objectives in pursuit of gaining the Prince's ear."

    Over the last several decades, the consequences of such a dynamic - one in which both major parties are eager, above all, to serve the needs of their wealthiest constituents - have been stark. While those at the very top are doing extremely well in the aftermath of decades of deregulation and privatization , almost everyone else is in a state of stagnation or decline.

    As Neil Irwin observes , "81 percent of the United States population is in an income bracket with flat or declining income over the last decade."

    And while Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both vie for the support of economically insecure middle class Americans, the poorest are virtually ignored.

    "We don't have a full-voiced condemnation of the level or extent of poverty in America today," Matthew Desmond, the author of an essential book on evictions and deep poverty, told the New York Times. "We aren't having in our presidential debate right now a serious conversation about the fact that we are the richest democracy in the world, with the most poverty. It should be at the very top of the agenda."

    But it isn't. Not satisfied with a crime of omission, however, Democrats, particularly in 2016, have moved in the opposite direction, earnestly courting and proclaiming the benevolence of " the good billionaires ," in contrast with the pernicious Donald Trump.

    Such distinctions say, in effect, that staggering systemic inequities are okay, just as long as those benefiting from these inequities are admirable people - they're not, of course: Warren Buffett has made a lot of money exploiting the poor , and Michael Bloomberg has been quite Trump-like with his extensive history of sexist remarks .

    Because they eschew any honest critique of capitalism, these are the absurdities to which Democrats are confined: They must justify the economic order and insist that there are good and bad economic elites, those who, out of the kindness of their hearts, share the spoils with their workers and those who, like Trump, don't.

    And often, Democrats have not merely capitulated to the anti-poor agenda of the right; they have adopted swaths of it, pushing it on their own under the guise of political compromise. It is no wonder, then, that the poorest tend to not turnout on election day - they feel disowned by a political system that has, in actual fact, disowned them.

    The campaign of Bernie Sanders helped to bring to the surface Democrats' history of rightward sprints, and it offered a brief glimpse of the class and ideological warfare brewing within the confines of the Democratic Party, a party divided by its ostensible commitment to "the people" and its actual commitment to the business interests and the economic elites that have so skillfully captured the legislative process .

    This shaky coalition, Corey Robin notes , "rests upon the age-old powder keg of race, class, and real estate that's just waiting to explode. Everything about the neoliberal Democratic Party depends upon suppressing this conflict."

    We saw this throughout the primary process, during which the Sanders coalition, whose core priority was an aggressive approach to income inequality, was smeared repeatedly as racist, sexist, and class-reductionist.

    The elite anger the Sanders insurgency provoked was telling: It made clear the opposition within the political establishment to " even mild social democracy ." It teased out the distinctions between those who believe corporate money is inherently corrupting and those who don't, those who support single-payer health care and those who don't, those who support a radical approach to both redistributing income and wealth and addressing the crisis of poverty and those who don't.

    These are meaningful distinctions, and they will animate future political contests and, hopefully, successful progressive movements and campaigns.

    With Hillary Clinton at the helm, though, it is unlikely that the Democrats' drift toward becoming " the cosmopolitan elite party " will slow, particularly if Trumpism becomes the dominant current within the GOP. Also, given Clinton's "embrace of amoral billionaires," notes Nathan Robinson, it is "highly unlikely that the party will follow through on any meaningful attempt to reduce American economic inequality."

    But the crises we face - deep poverty is just one of many - reach far beyond the realm of electoral politics, and even the election of the Right Leaders will not move us any closer to ameliorating the suffering in America's most vulnerable communities.

    The problem is, ultimately, systemic: It is about who writes the rules, and how these rules act in the real world to create extraordinary gains for some while leaving others to compete, endlessly and ruthlessly, for the rest.

    As long as those who write the rules are primarily concerned with securing gains for their wealthy constituents, and as long as Democratic initiatives are shaped by the " truly advantaged wing " of the party, there is little reason to believe the steps necessary to eradicate poverty will be taken.

    "The problem is that we have a political system almost wholly captured by those hostile to the radical redistributive agenda necessary to ameliorate the suffering poverty inflicts in communities throughout the world's wealthiest nation."

    "If we are going to spend the bulk of our public dollars on the affluent - at least when it comes to housing - we should own up to that decision and stop repeating the canard about this rich country being unable to afford more," Matthew Desmond writes . "If poverty persists in America, it is not for lack of resources. We lack something else."

    In the present, we lack the mass organization necessary to launch a meaningful counter-offensive to combat " the scourge of neoliberalism ," a political and economic framework that atomizes individuals who would otherwise share common objectives, undercutting avenues for democratic reform and entrenching the power of private capital.

    And, according to the latest census figures , the costs of our inability to challenge these institutional powers are startling: Over 46 million Americans live in poverty; the poverty rate for children under the age of 18 is 21.1 percent. Millions, furthermore, live in deep poverty ; over 17 million families suffer from food insecurity .

    The problem is no longer, as it was prior to the publication of Michael Harrington's famous study The Other America, that the poor are invisible, unseen by the political class and by those enjoying the gains of an " affluent society ."

    The problem is that we have a political system almost wholly captured by those hostile to the radical redistributive agenda necessary to ameliorate the suffering poverty inflicts in communities throughout the world's wealthiest nation. We have, in other words, a political class that sees the poor, but does nothing in response.

    "No other advanced nation," writes Eduardo Porter, "tolerates this depth of deprivation."

    In such a context, even the election of Bernie Sanders would not have been sufficient to alter the nature of the political and economic order. Only labor-based mass movements sustained beyond the extravaganzas of electoral politics and working independently of the anti-democratic forces that so dominate Washington can produce sufficient force to create lasting change.

    Such efforts will be dismissed as Utopian, unfeasible, too idealistic; they will fail more often than they succeed; and they will always provoke a response from those uninterested in ceding the gains they have gone to great lengths to consolidate - they are necessary, nonetheless, given the stakes.

    "Never before has humanity depended so fully for the survival of us all on a social movement being willing to bet on impracticality," write Mark and Paul Engler, in a similar vein as John Dewey's observation , penned in the midst of the Great Depression, that it is, ultimately, "the pressure of necessity which creates and directs all political changes."

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

    [Aug 29, 2016] The Perfect GOP Nominee

    What is amazing is that such column was published is such a sycophantic for Hillary and openly anti-Trump rag as NYT. In foreign policy Hillary is the second incarnation of Cheney... Neocons rules NYT coverage of Presidential race and, of course, they all favor Hillary. Of course chances that some on neocons who so enthusiastically support her, crossing Party lines are drafted, get M16 and send to kill brown people for Wall Street interests now is close to zero. Everything is outsourced now. But still, it is simply amazing that even a lonely voice against neocon campaign of demonization of Trump got published in NYT ...
    MSM shilling for Hillary is simply overwhelming, so why this was in NYT is a mystery to me. But this article of Maureen Dowd in on spot. Simply amazing how she manage to publish it !!!
    Notable quotes:
    "... Hillary will keep the establishment safe. Who is more of an establishment figure, after all? Her husband was president, and he repealed Glass-Steagall, signed the Defense of Marriage Act and got rid of those pesky welfare queens. ..."
    "... Hillary often seems more Republican than the Gotham bling king, who used to be a Democrat and donor to Democratic candidates before he jumped the turnstile. ..."
    "... Hillary is a reliable creature of Wall Street. Her tax return showed the Clintons made $10.6 million last year, and like other superrich families, they incorporated with the Clinton Executive Services Corporation (which was billed for the infamous server). Trump has started holding up goofy charts at rallies showing Hillary has gotten $48,500,000 in contributions from hedge funders, compared to his $19,000. ..."
    "... Unlike Trump, she hasn't been trashing leading Republicans. You know that her pals John McCain and Lindsey Graham are secretly rooting for her. There is a cascade of prominent Republicans endorsing Hillary, donating to Hillary, appearing in Hillary ads, talking up Hillary's charms. ..."
    "... Robert Kagan, a former Reagan State Department aide, adviser to the McCain and Mitt Romney campaigns and Iraq war booster, headlined a Hillary fund-raiser this summer. Another neocon, James Kirchick, keened in The Daily Beast , "Hillary Clinton is the one person standing between America and the abyss." ..."
    "... The Democratic nominee put out an ad featuring Trump-bashing Michael Hayden, an N.S.A. and C.I.A. chief under W. who was deemed "incongruent" by the Senate when he testified about torture methods. And she earned an endorsement from John Negroponte, a Reagan hand linked to American-trained death squads in Latin America. ..."
    "... Politico reports that the Clinton team sent out feelers to see if Kissinger, the Voldemort of Vietnam, and Condi Rice, the conjurer of Saddam's apocalyptic mushroom cloud, would back Hillary. ..."
    "... The Hillary team seems giddy over its windfall of Republicans and neocons running from the Trump sharknado. But as David Weigel wrote in The Washington Post, the specter of Kissinger, the man who advised Nixon to prolong the Vietnam War to help with his re-election, fed a perception that "the Democratic nominee has returned to her old, hawkish ways and is again taking progressives for granted." ..."
    "... Hillary is a safer bet in many ways for conservatives. Trump likes to say he is flexible. What if he returns to his liberal New York positions on gun control and abortion rights? ..."
    "... Trump is far too incendiary in his manner of speaking, throwing around dangerous and self-destructive taunts about "Second Amendment people" taking out Hillary, or President Obama and Hillary being the founders of ISIS ..."
    "... Hillary, on the other hand, understands her way around political language and Washington rituals. Of course you do favors for wealthy donors. And if you want to do something incredibly damaging to the country, like enabling George W. Bush to make the worst foreign policy blunder in U.S. history, don't shout inflammatory and fabricated taunts from a microphone. ..."
    "... You must walk up to the microphone calmly, as Hillary did on the Senate floor the day of the Iraq war vote, and accuse Saddam of giving "aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda," repeating the Bush administration's phony case for war. If you want to carry the GOP banner, your fabrications have to be more sneaky. ..."
    "... "You must walk up to the microphone calmly, as Hillary did on the Senate floor the day of the Iraq war vote, and accuse Saddam of giving "aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda," repeating the Bush administration's phony case for war." ..."
    "... Anyone who believes Bill Clinton didn't know exactly what was going on is just kidding themselves. One clue, for example. They moved the WMD 'intelligence" investigation to the DOD under Paul Wolfowitz. LOL! ..."
    "... Thomas Frank, the author of "What's the Matter with Kansas?" and "Listen Liberal: Or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?" echoes Ms. Dowd's sentiments. In a recent column Frank says that with Trump certain to lose, you can forget about a progressive Clinton. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/13/trump-clinton-elec... ..."
    "... "America's two-party system itself has temporarily become a one-party system. And within that one party, the political process bears a striking resemblance to dynastic succession. … Come November, Clinton will have won her great victory – not as a champion of working people's concerns, but as the greatest moderate of them all." ..."
    "... We've also managed to select one of biggest dissemblers, enablers, war hawks, fungible flip-floppers, pay for play con artists, scandal mongerers candidates since Tricky Dicky. Congratulations America! We did it. As Alexis de Tocqueville said, "Wet get the government we deserve." ..."
    "... The reaction by many to Ms Dowd's column clearly shows that the "save the world" "lesser evil" argument only works is one is willing to suspend belief on the demonstrated evil of Hillary Clinton. ..."
    "... Clinton could well take us to war against Russia. In Syria, Clinton is spoiling to give Russia a punch in the nose, on the theory that Russia will back down and the US will have a free hand there. She advocates a a no-fly zone for Russian jets in Syria. The idea there is to create a confrontation, shoot down a couple of Russian jets and teach them a lesson. There is also the CIA and Pentagon "Plan B" for the Syrian negotiations. ..."
    "... It's always wonderful to see when the truth comes out in the end: Hillary is the perfect Repulican candidate and this is also prove of the fact that on finance and economic issues Democrats and old mainstream Republicans have been in in the same pocket...even under Obama. ..."
    "... One night after the election on the Carson show Goldwater quipped that he didn't know how unpopular a president he would have been until Johnson adopted his policies... ..."
    "... All the things you say about Hillary are true. She is an establishment favorite. She did indeed vote to support Bush and his insane desire to invade Iraq. ..."
    "... Did we all forget the millions who went for Bernie and his direct and aggressive confrontation of Hillary's Wall Street/corporate ties? That was a contest between what used to be the Dem party of the people and the corporate friendly Dem party of today. We understood then that Hillary represented the Right; why the surprise now? (The right pointing arrow on the "H" logo is so appropriate.) ..."
    "... There are reasons Hillary is disliked and distrusted by nearly a majority of us. My reasons are she is of and for the oligarchs and deceitful enough to run as a populist. ..."
    "... America tried to liberalize in the 1960's and the response was swift and violent as three of the greatest liberal lions and voices the country has ever known - JFK, MLK and RFK - were gunned down. ..."
    "... While one can endlessly argue the specific details of those ghastly assassinations of America's liberal superstars, in my view, all three of those murders rest on the violent, nefarious right-wing shoulders and fumes of moneyed American 'conservatism' that couldn't stand to share the profits of their economic parasitism with society. ..."
    "... I truly believe that Congressional Republicans in the House are already drafting articles of impeachment should Hillary become President. Dowd may claim that Republicans are in lock step with her, but don't be surprised when the talk of impeachment starts soon after Jan 20, 2017. ..."
    "... We need a multi party system. With 2 parties dominating the politics, its like having a monopoly of liberalism or conservatism which just does not represent the width and depth of views our citizens resonate with. Having voted democrat all my life, to me Hillary does not represent my choice (Bernie does). ..."
    "... This annoys me..."like enabling George W. Bush to make the worst foreign policy blunder in U.S. history" Maureen is talking about Hillary, but she might as well be talking about her own newspaper. Hillary got it wrong, but so did the New York Times editorial board. ..."
    "... The Bush Administration hinted that the anti-war people were traitors and terrorist sympathizers and everybody got steamrolled. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/22/opinion/culture-war-with-b-2-s.html ..."
    "... HRC couldn't have asked for a better opponent if she'd constructed him out of a six-foot pile of mildewed straw. By running against Trump, the whole Trump and nothing but the Trump, and openly courting neocon war criminals and "establishment" Republicans, she's outrageously giving CPR to what should have been a rotting corpse of a political party by now. ..."
    "... By giving new life to the pathocrats who made Trump possible, Clinton is only making her own party weaker and more right-wing, only making it easier for down-ticket Republicans to slither their way back into power.... the better to triangulate with during the Clinton restoration. Grand Bargain, here we come. TPP, (just waiting for that fig leaf of meager aid for displaced American workers) here we come. Bombs away. ..."
    "... She'll have to stop hoarding her campaign cash and share it with the down-ticket Democrats running against the same well-heeled GOPers she is now courting with such naked abandon. ..."
    "... The Empress needs some new clothes to hide that inner Goldwater Girl. ..."
    Aug 13, 2016 | The New York Times

    All these woebegone Republicans whining that they can't rally behind their flawed candidate is crazy. The G.O.P. angst, the gnashing and wailing and searching for last-minute substitutes and exit strategies, is getting old. They already have a 1-percenter who will be totally fine in the Oval Office, someone they can trust to help Wall Street, boost the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, cuddle with hedge funds, secure the trade deals beloved by corporate America, seek guidance from Henry Kissinger and hawk it up - unleashing hell on Syria and heaven knows where else.

    The Republicans have their candidate: It's Hillary. They can't go with Donald Trump. He's too volatile and unhinged. The erstwhile Goldwater Girl and Goldman Sachs busker can be counted on to do the normal political things, not the abnormal haywire things. Trump's propounding could drag us into war, plunge us into a recession and shatter Washington into a thousand tiny bits.

    Hillary will keep the establishment safe. Who is more of an establishment figure, after all? Her husband was president, and he repealed Glass-Steagall, signed the Defense of Marriage Act and got rid of those pesky welfare queens.

    Pushing her Midwestern Methodist roots, taking advantage of primogeniture, Hillary often seems more Republican than the Gotham bling king, who used to be a Democrat and donor to Democratic candidates before he jumped the turnstile.

    Hillary is a reliable creature of Wall Street. Her tax return showed the Clintons made $10.6 million last year, and like other superrich families, they incorporated with the Clinton Executive Services Corporation (which was billed for the infamous server). Trump has started holding up goofy charts at rallies showing Hillary has gotten $48,500,000 in contributions from hedge funders, compared to his $19,000.

    Unlike Trump, she hasn't been trashing leading Republicans. You know that her pals John McCain and Lindsey Graham are secretly rooting for her. There is a cascade of prominent Republicans endorsing Hillary, donating to Hillary, appearing in Hillary ads, talking up Hillary's charms.

    Robert Kagan, a former Reagan State Department aide, adviser to the McCain and Mitt Romney campaigns and Iraq war booster, headlined a Hillary fund-raiser this summer. Another neocon, James Kirchick, keened in The Daily Beast , "Hillary Clinton is the one person standing between America and the abyss."

    She has finally stirred up some emotion in women, even if it is just moderate suburban Republican women palpitating to leave their own nominee, who has the retro air of a guy who just left the dim recesses of a Playboy bunny club.

    The Democratic nominee put out an ad featuring Trump-bashing Michael Hayden, an N.S.A. and C.I.A. chief under W. who was deemed "incongruent" by the Senate when he testified about torture methods. And she earned an endorsement from John Negroponte, a Reagan hand linked to American-trained death squads in Latin America.

    Politico reports that the Clinton team sent out feelers to see if Kissinger, the Voldemort of Vietnam, and Condi Rice, the conjurer of Saddam's apocalyptic mushroom cloud, would back Hillary.

    Hillary has written that Kissinger is an "idealistic" friend whose counsel she valued as secretary of state, drawing a rebuke from Bernie Sanders during the primaries: "I'm proud to say Henry Kissinger is not my friend."

    The Hillary team seems giddy over its windfall of Republicans and neocons running from the Trump sharknado. But as David Weigel wrote in The Washington Post, the specter of Kissinger, the man who advised Nixon to prolong the Vietnam War to help with his re-election, fed a perception that "the Democratic nominee has returned to her old, hawkish ways and is again taking progressives for granted."

    And Isaac Chotiner wrote in Slate, "The prospect of Kissinger having influence in a Clinton White House is downright scary."

    Hillary is a safer bet in many ways for conservatives. Trump likes to say he is flexible. What if he returns to his liberal New York positions on gun control and abortion rights?

    Trump is far too incendiary in his manner of speaking, throwing around dangerous and self-destructive taunts about "Second Amendment people" taking out Hillary, or President Obama and Hillary being the founders of ISIS. And he still blindly follows his ego, failing to understand the fundamentals of a campaign. "I don't know that we need to get out the vote," he told Fox News Thursday. "I think people that really wanna vote are gonna get out and they're gonna vote for Trump."

    Hillary, on the other hand, understands her way around political language and Washington rituals. Of course you do favors for wealthy donors. And if you want to do something incredibly damaging to the country, like enabling George W. Bush to make the worst foreign policy blunder in U.S. history, don't shout inflammatory and fabricated taunts from a microphone.

    You must walk up to the microphone calmly, as Hillary did on the Senate floor the day of the Iraq war vote, and accuse Saddam of giving "aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda," repeating the Bush administration's phony case for war. If you want to carry the GOP banner, your fabrications have to be more sneaky.

    As Republican strategist Steve Schmidt noted on MSNBC, "the candidate in the race most like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from a foreign policy perspective is in fact Hillary Clinton, not the Republican nominee."

    And that's how Republicans prefer their crazy - not like Trump, but like Cheney.

    JohnNJ, New jersey August 14, 2016

    For me, this is her strongest point:

    "You must walk up to the microphone calmly, as Hillary did on the Senate floor the day of the Iraq war vote, and accuse Saddam of giving "aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda," repeating the Bush administration's phony case for war."

    There are still people who believe her excuse that she only voted for authorization, blah, blah, blah.

    Anyone who believes Bill Clinton didn't know exactly what was going on is just kidding themselves. One clue, for example. They moved the WMD 'intelligence" investigation to the DOD under Paul Wolfowitz. LOL!

    Red_Dog , Denver CO August 14, 2016

    Thomas Frank, the author of "What's the Matter with Kansas?" and "Listen Liberal: Or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?" echoes Ms. Dowd's sentiments. In a recent column Frank says that with Trump certain to lose, you can forget about a progressive Clinton. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/13/trump-clinton-elec...

    "America's two-party system itself has temporarily become a one-party system. And within that one party, the political process bears a striking resemblance to dynastic succession. … Come November, Clinton will have won her great victory – not as a champion of working people's concerns, but as the greatest moderate of them all."

    And great populist uprising of our times will be gone --- probably for many years.

    FDR Liberal , Sparks, NV August 14, 2016

    Spot on column Ms. Dowd.

    As Americans we are to blame that these two major party candidates are the only viable ones seeking the presidency. Yes, fellow citizens we are to blame because in the end we are the ones that voted for them in various primaries and caucuses. And if you didn't attend a caucus or vote in a primary, you are also part of problem.

    In short, it is not the media's fault, nor is it the top .1%, 1% or 10% fault, nor your kids' fault, nor your parents' fault, nor your neighbors' fault, etc.

    It is our fault because we did this together. Yes, we managed y to select a narcissist, xenophobe, anti-Muslim, racist, misogynist, and dare I say buffoon to the GOP ticket.

    We've also managed to select one of biggest dissemblers, enablers, war hawks, fungible flip-floppers, pay for play con artists, scandal mongerers candidates since Tricky Dicky. Congratulations America! We did it. As Alexis de Tocqueville said, "Wet get the government we deserve."

    Martin Brod, NYC August 14, 2016

    The reaction by many to Ms Dowd's column clearly shows that the "save the world" "lesser evil" argument only works is one is willing to suspend belief on the demonstrated evil of Hillary Clinton.

    The Green Party and Libertarian parties provide sane alternatives to the two most distrusted candidates of the major parties. As debate participants they
    would offer an alternative to evil at a time when the planets count-down clock is racing to mid-night.

    pathenry, berkeley August 14, 2016

    Clinton could well take us to war against Russia. In Syria, Clinton is spoiling to give Russia a punch in the nose, on the theory that Russia will back down and the US will have a free hand there. She advocates a a no-fly zone for Russian jets in Syria. The idea there is to create a confrontation, shoot down a couple of Russian jets and teach them a lesson. There is also the CIA and Pentagon "Plan B" for the Syrian negotiations.

    If the negotiations fail, give stingers to our "vetted allies". Who will those stingers be used against? Russia. At least the ones not smuggled to Brussels. And then there is the plan being bandied about by our best and brightest to organize, arm and lead our "vetted allies" in attacks on Russian bases in Syria. A Bay of Pigs in the desert. A dime to a dollar, Clinton is supportive of these plans.

    All of this is dangerous brinksmanship which is how you go to war.

    Mike A. , East Providence, RI August 14, 2016

    The second Pulitzer quality piece from the NYT op-ed columnists in less than a month (see Charles Blow's "Incandescent With Rage" for the first).

    heinrich zwahlen , brooklyn August 14, 2016

    It's always wonderful to see when the truth comes out in the end: Hillary is the perfect Repulican candidate and this is also prove of the fact that on finance and economic issues Democrats and old mainstream Republicans have been in in the same pocket...even under Obama.

    For real progressives it's useless to vote for her and high time to start a new party. Cultural issues are not the main issues that pain America, it's all about the money stupid.

    JohnD, New York August 14, 2016

    ... One night after the election on the Carson show Goldwater quipped that he didn't know how unpopular a president he would have been until Johnson adopted his policies...

    Lee Elliott , Rochester August 14, 2016

    You've written the most depressing column I've read lately. All the things you say about Hillary are true. She is an establishment favorite. She did indeed vote to support Bush and his insane desire to invade Iraq. But it was that vote kept her from being president in 2008. Perhaps that will convince her to keep the establishment a little more at arm's length. When there is no other behind for them to kiss, then you can afford to be a little hard to get.

    As for Trump, he is proving to be too much like Ross Perot. He looks great at first but begins to fade when his underlying lunacy begins to bubble to the surface.
    Speaking of Perot, I find it an interesting coincidence that Bill Clinton and now Hillary Clinton will depend on the ravings of an apparent lunatic in order to get elected.

    citizen vox, San Francisco August 14, 2016

    Why the vitriol against Dowd? Did we all forget the millions who went for Bernie and his direct and aggressive confrontation of Hillary's Wall Street/corporate ties? That was a contest between what used to be the Dem party of the people and the corporate friendly Dem party of today. We understood then that Hillary represented the Right; why the surprise now? (The right pointing arrow on the "H" logo is so appropriate.)

    Last week's article on how Hillary came to love money was horrifying; because Bill lost a Governor's race, Hillary felt so insecure she called all her wealthy friends for donations. Huh?! Two Harvard trained lawyers asking for financial help?! And never getting enough money to feel secure?! GIVE ME A BREAK (to coin a phrase).

    There are reasons Hillary is disliked and distrusted by nearly a majority of us. My reasons are she is of and for the oligarchs and deceitful enough to run as a populist.

    If readers bemoan anything, let it be that the populist movement of the Dem party was put down by the Dem establishment. We have a choice between a crazy candidate of no particular persuasion and a cold, calculating Republican. How discouraging.

    Thanks, Maureen Dowd.

    Chris, Louisville August 14, 2016

    Maureen please don't ever give up on Hillary bashing. It needs to be done before someone accidentally elects her as President. She is most like Angela Merkel of Germany. Take a look what's happening there. That is enough never to vote for Hillary.

    Susan e, AZ August 14, 2016

    I recall the outrage I, a peace loving liberal who despised W and Cheney, felt while watching the made for TV "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq. I recall how the"liberal Democrats" who supported that disaster with a vote for the IRW could never quite bring themselves to admit their mistake - and I realized that many, like Hillary, didn't feel it was a mistake. Not really. It was necessary for their political careers.

    For me, its not a vote for Hillary, its a vote for a candidate that sees killing innocent people in Syria (or Libya, or Gaza, etc.) as the only way to be viewed as a serious candidate for CIC. I'm old enough to remember another endless war, as the old Vietnam anti-war ballad went: "I ain't gonna vote for war no more."

    John, Switzerland August 14, 2016

    Maureen Dowd is not being nasty, but rather accurate. It is nasty to support and start wars throughout the ME. It is nasty to say (on mic) "We came, we saw, he died" referring to the gruesome torture-murder of Qaddafi.

    Will Hillary start a war against Syria? Yes or no? That is the the "six trillion dollar" question.

    Socrates , is a trusted commenter Downtown Verona, NJ August 13, 2016

    It's hard to a find a good liberal in these United States, not because there's anything wrong with liberalism or progressivism, but because Americans have been taught, hypnotized and beaten by a powerfully insidious and filthy rich right-wing to think that liberalism, progressivism and socialism is a form of fatal cancer.

    America tried to liberalize in the 1960's and the response was swift and violent as three of the greatest liberal lions and voices the country has ever known - JFK, MLK and RFK - were gunned down.

    While one can endlessly argue the specific details of those ghastly assassinations of America's liberal superstars, in my view, all three of those murders rest on the violent, nefarious right-wing shoulders and fumes of moneyed American 'conservatism' that couldn't stand to share the profits of their economic parasitism with society.

    The end result is that political liberals are forced to triangulate for their survival in right-wing America, and you wind up with Presidents like Bill Clinton and (soon) Hillary Clinton who know how to survive in a pool of right-wing knives, assassins and psychopaths lurking everywhere representing Grand Old Profit.

    ... ... ...

    Dotconnector, New York August 14, 2016

    The trickery deep within the dark art of Clintonism is triangulation. By breeding a nominal Democratic donkey with a de facto Republican elephant, what you get is a corporatist chameleon. There's precious little solace in knowing that this cynical political hybrid is only slightly less risky than Trumpenstein.

    And the fact that Henry Kissinger still has a seat at the table ought to chill the spine of anyone who considers human lives -- those of U.S. service members and foreign noncombatants alike -- to have greater value than pawns in a global chess game.

    Bj, is a trusted commenter Washington,dc August 13, 2016

    I truly believe that Congressional Republicans in the House are already drafting articles of impeachment should Hillary become President. Dowd may claim that Republicans are in lock step with her, but don't be surprised when the talk of impeachment starts soon after Jan 20, 2017. They didn't succeed with Bill. And they were chomping at the bit to try to impeach Obama over his use of executive orders and his decision not to defend an early same sex marriage case. They are just waiting for inauguration to start this process all over again - another circus and waste of taxpayer money.

    petey tonei, Massachusetts August 14, 2016

    Two party system is not enough for a country this big, with such a wide spectrum of political beliefs. We need a multi party system. With 2 parties dominating the politics, its like having a monopoly of liberalism or conservatism which just does not represent the width and depth of views our citizens resonate with. Having voted democrat all my life, to me Hillary does not represent my choice (Bernie does). Heard on NPR just today from on the ground reporters in Terre Haute, Indiana, the bellwether of presidential elections, the 2 names that were most heard were Trump and Bernie Sanders, not Hillary. Sadly, Bernie is not even the nominee but he truly represents the guts, soul of mid America

    Schrodinger, is a trusted commenter Northern California August 14, 2016

    This annoys me..."like enabling George W. Bush to make the worst foreign policy blunder in U.S. history" Maureen is talking about Hillary, but she might as well be talking about her own newspaper. Hillary got it wrong, but so did the New York Times editorial board.

    What about Ms Dowd herself? Of the four columns she wrote before the vote on October 11th, 2002, only two mentioned the war vote, and one of those was mostly about Hillary. Dowd said of Hillary that, "Whatever doubts she may have privately about the war, she is not articulating her angst as loudly as some of her Democratic colleagues. She knows that any woman who hopes to be elected president cannot have love beads in her jewelry case."

    In her column 'Culture war with B-2's', Dowd comes out as mildly anti-war. "Don't feel bad if you have the uneasy feeling that you're being steamrolled", Dowd writes, "You are not alone." Fourteen years later that column still looks good, and I link to it at the bottom. However, Dowd could and should have done a lot more. I don't think that anybody who draws a paycheck from the New York Times has a right to get on their high horse and lecture Hillary about her vote. They ignored the antiwar protests just like they ignored Bernie Sanders' large crowds.

    The Bush Administration hinted that the anti-war people were traitors and terrorist sympathizers and everybody got steamrolled. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/22/opinion/culture-war-with-b-2-s.html

    Karen Garcia , is a trusted commenter New Paltz, NY August 13, 2016

    HRC couldn't have asked for a better opponent if she'd constructed him out of a six-foot pile of mildewed straw. By running against Trump, the whole Trump and nothing but the Trump, and openly courting neocon war criminals and "establishment" Republicans, she's outrageously giving CPR to what should have been a rotting corpse of a political party by now.

    By giving new life to the pathocrats who made Trump possible, Clinton is only making her own party weaker and more right-wing, only making it easier for down-ticket Republicans to slither their way back into power.... the better to triangulate with during the Clinton restoration. Grand Bargain, here we come. TPP, (just waiting for that fig leaf of meager aid for displaced American workers) here we come. Bombs away.

    With three months to go before this grotesque circus ends, Trump is giving every indication that he wants out, getting more reckless by the day. And that's a good thing, because with her rise in the polls, Hillary will now have to do more on the stump than inform us she is not Trump. She'll have to ditch the fear factor. She'll have to start sending emails and Tweets with something other than "OMG! Did you hear what Trump just said?!?" on them to convince voters.

    She'll have to stop hoarding her campaign cash and share it with the down-ticket Democrats running against the same well-heeled GOPers she is now courting with such naked abandon.

    The Empress needs some new clothes to hide that inner Goldwater Girl.

    [Aug 27, 2016] Hillary Clintons Ghosts A Legacy of Pushing the Democratic Party to the Right

    Notable quotes:
    "... But the party's latest generation of "New Democrats" - self-described "moderates" who are funded by Wall Street and are aggressively trying to steer the party to the right - have noticed this trend and are now fighting back. Third Way, a "centrist" think tank that serves as the hub for contemporary New Democrats, has recently published a sizable policy paper, " Ready for the New Economy ," urging the Democratic Party to avoid focusing on economic inequality. Former Obama chief of staff Bill Daley, a Third Way trustee, recently argued that Sanders' influence on the primary "is a recipe for disaster" for Democrats. ..."
    "... The DLC's goal was to advance "a message that was less tilted toward minorities and welfare, less radical on social issues like abortion and gays, more pro-defense, and more conservative on economic issues," wrote Robert Dreyfuss in a 2001 article in The American Prospect . "The DLC thundered against the 'liberal fundamentalism' of the party's base - unionists, blacks, feminists, Greens, and cause groups generally." ..."
    "... Within the DLC, populism was not merely out of favor; it was militantly opposed. The organization had virtually no grassroots supporters; it was funded almost entirely by corporate donors. Its executive council, Dreyfuss reported , was made up of companies that donated at least $25,000 and included Enron and Koch Industries. A list of its known donors includes scores of the United States' most powerful corporations, all of whom benefit from a Democratic Party that embraces big business and is less reliant on labor unions and the grassroots for support. ..."
    "... The height of the DLC's triumph may well have been in the 1990s, when it claimed President Bill Clinton as its most prominent advocate, celebrating his disastrous welfare cuts (which were supported by Hillary Clinton as the first lady), his support for the North American Free Trade Agreement and his speech declaring that the "era of big government is over." These initiatives had the DLC's footprint all over them. ..."
    "... The DLC's prescribed Third Way also found a home on Downing Street in England. Tony Blair, a major Clinton ally, was a staunch advocate of the DLC, adopted its strategies and lent his name to its website. According to the book Clinton and Blair: The Political Economy of the Third Way , he said in 1998 that it "is a third way because it moves decisively beyond an Old Left preoccupied by state control, high taxation and producer interests." ..."
    "... When Bill Clinton left the White House, Hillary Clinton entered the Senate. She quickly became a major player for the DLC, serving as a prominent member of the New Democratic Caucus in the Senate, speaking at conferences on multiple occasions and serving as chair of a key initiative for the 2006 and 2008 elections. ..."
    "... She also adopted the DLC's hawkish military stance. The DLC was feverishly in favor of Bush's "war on terror" and his invasion of Iraq. Will Marshall, one of the group's founders, was a signatory of many of the now infamous documents from the Project for the New American Century, which urged the United States to radically increase its use of force in Iraq and beyond. ..."
    "... The DLC led efforts to take down Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign, citing his opposition to the war in Iraq as an example of his weakness. Two years later, the organization played a similar role against Ned Lamont's antiwar challenge to Sen. Joe Lieberman, which the DLC decried as "The Return of Liberal Fundamentalism." ..."
    "... However, the DLC's influence eventually waned . A formal affiliation with the organization became something of a deal breaker for some progressive voters. When Barack Obama first ran for the Senate in 2004, he had no affiliation with the DLC. So, when they wrongly included him in their directory of New Democrats, he asked the DLC to remove his name. In explaining this, he also publicly shunned the organization in an interview with Black Commentator. "You are undoubtedly correct that these positions make me an unlikely candidate for membership in the DLC," he wrote when pressed by the magazine . "That is why I am not currently, nor have I ever been, a member of the DLC." ..."
    "... When the DLC closed, it records were acquired by the Clinton Foundation, which DLC founder Al From called an "appropriate and fitting repository." To this day, the Clinton Foundation continues to promote the work of the DLC's founding members. In September 2015, the foundation hosted an event to promote From's book The New Democrats and the Return to Power ..."
    "... Citizens United ..."
    "... So while the DLC may be a dirty word among many progressives, this didn't stop Obama from appointing New Democrats to key posts in his White House. The same Bill Daley who works for a hedge fund and is on the board of trustees for Third Way was also President Obama's White House chief of staff . And, as was noted above, he is now actively trying to influence the Democratic Party's direction in the 2016 election. ..."
    "... The remaining champions of the DLC agenda have been increasingly active in trying to push back against populism. On October 28, 2015, Third Way published an ambitious paper, "Ready for the New Economy," that aims to do just that. The paper falsely argues that "the narrative of fairness and inequality has, to put it mildly, failed to excite voters," and says "these trends should compel the party to rigorously question the electoral value of today's populist agenda." ..."
    "... When Clinton announced her tax plan, Dow Jones quoted Jim Kessler, a Third Way staffer, praising the plan. On social media , Third Way staffers are routinely cheering on Clinton and attacking Sanders and O'Malley . ..."
    "... and where she will be ..."
    "... Consider the case of Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and presidential candidate, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president . Dean's reputation as a fiery progressive has always been wildly overstated , but there was a rich irony about Dean's endorsement. His centrist record aside, Dean was once the face of the party's progressive base. During his campaign for the Democratic nomination in 2003 and 2004, Dean used his opposition to the war in Iraq to garner progressive support. He attracted a large group of partisan liberal bloggers, who coined the term "Netroots" in support of his candidacy . For a time, Dean was leading in the polls during the primary. ..."
    "... Remember: The Dean campaign was taken down by the DLC, who attacked him for running a campaign from the "McGovern-Mondale wing" of the Democratic Party, "defined principally by weakness abroad and elitist, interest-group liberalism at home." The rift between the DLC and Dean's supporters was so intense that Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas described it as a "civil war" between Democrats. Of course, when Dean announced his support for Clinton, he made no mention of the fact that she was the leader of the same group that ambushed his candidacy precisely because it appealed to the party's left-leaning base. ..."
    "... The tendency of some progressives to downplay, ignore or deflect populist critiques of Clinton's record was observed by Doug Henwood in his 2014 Harper's piece "Stop Hillary." ..."
    "... In the article, he describes the "widespread liberal fantasy of [Clinton] as a progressive paragon" as misguided. "In fact, a close look at her life and career is perhaps the best antidote to all these great expectations," Henwood writes. "The historical record, such as it is, may also be the only antidote, since most progressives are unwilling to discuss Hillary in anything but the most general, flattering terms." ..."
    Aug 27, 2016 | www.truth-out.org
    A discussion about how the Democrats could be compromised by their relationship with the financial institutions that fund their campaigns was unthinkable in past presidential debates. Such a discussion falls way outside the narrow parameters of debate that have dominated political discourse in the mainstream media for decades. But at the Democratic debate in Iowa this November, this issue was front and center: Hillary Clinton was forced to defend her financial relationship with Wall Street numerous times on network television.

    Within the DLC, populism was not merely out of favor; it was militantly opposed.

    Clinton's response to populist attacks on her Wall Street connections has largely been to adopt similar language and policy positions as her primary opponent, Bernie Sanders. In many ways she is trying to minimize the differences between her and Sanders, rather than emphasize them. "The differences among us," she said of her opponents at the Iowa debate , "pale in comparison to what's happening on the Republican [side]."

    Clinton, currently the front-runner, is now making "debt-free" college tuition , minimum wage hikes ( to $12 per hour ) and measures to bring "accountability to Wall Street" major talking points in her campaign. The language of populism - at least for now - is seen as a viable electoral strategy .

    But the party's latest generation of "New Democrats" - self-described "moderates" who are funded by Wall Street and are aggressively trying to steer the party to the right - have noticed this trend and are now fighting back. Third Way, a "centrist" think tank that serves as the hub for contemporary New Democrats, has recently published a sizable policy paper, " Ready for the New Economy ," urging the Democratic Party to avoid focusing on economic inequality. Former Obama chief of staff Bill Daley, a Third Way trustee, recently argued that Sanders' influence on the primary "is a recipe for disaster" for Democrats.

    This "ideological gulf" inside the party, as The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus describes it , is not a new phenomenon. Before there was Third Way, there was the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). And before there was Bill Daley, there was Hillary Clinton - a key member of the DLC's leadership team during her entire tenure in the US Senate (2000-2008). As Clinton seeks progressive support, it is important to consider her role in the influential movement to, as The American Prospect describes it , "reinvent the [Democratic] party as one pledged to fiscal restraint, less government, and a pro-business, pro-free market outlook." This fairly recent history is an important part of Clinton's record, and she owes it to primary voters to answer for it.

    The Reign of the DLC

    A lot has happened since the last time the Democrats had a contested primary. The 2008 economic crisis , the growth of the Occupy movement , the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the consequent increase in public attention to the ongoing killings of Black people by police , and the Bernie Sanders campaign have all played major roles in shaping the political consensus of primary voters. None of these existed when Barack Obama won the nomination over Clinton in June 2008.

    But before all of these events shaped public opinion, the party was largely guided by the ideas of the Democratic Leadership Council. Founded by Southern Democrats in 1985 , the group sought to transform the party by pushing it to embrace more conservative positions and win support from big business.

    Clinton adopted the DLC strategy in the way she governed.

    The DLC's goal was to advance "a message that was less tilted toward minorities and welfare, less radical on social issues like abortion and gays, more pro-defense, and more conservative on economic issues," wrote Robert Dreyfuss in a 2001 article in The American Prospect . "The DLC thundered against the 'liberal fundamentalism' of the party's base - unionists, blacks, feminists, Greens, and cause groups generally."

    Within the DLC, populism was not merely out of favor; it was militantly opposed. The organization had virtually no grassroots supporters; it was funded almost entirely by corporate donors. Its executive council, Dreyfuss reported , was made up of companies that donated at least $25,000 and included Enron and Koch Industries. A list of its known donors includes scores of the United States' most powerful corporations, all of whom benefit from a Democratic Party that embraces big business and is less reliant on labor unions and the grassroots for support.

    The organization's influence was significant, especially in the 1990s. The New York Times reported that during that era "the Democratic Leadership Council was a maker of presidents." Its influence continued into the post-Clinton years. Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry, John Edwards, Dick Gephardt and countless others all lent their names in support of the organization. The DLC and its think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), were well financed and published a seemingly endless barrage of policy papers , op-eds and declarations in their numerous publications.

    "It is almost hard to find anyone who wasn't involved with [the DLC]" said Mark Schmitt, a staffer for the nonpartisan New America Foundation think tank, in an interview with Truthout. "This was before there were a lot of organizations, and the DLC provided a way for politicians to get involved and to be in the same room with important people."

    The height of the DLC's triumph may well have been in the 1990s, when it claimed President Bill Clinton as its most prominent advocate, celebrating his disastrous welfare cuts (which were supported by Hillary Clinton as the first lady), his support for the North American Free Trade Agreement and his speech declaring that the "era of big government is over." These initiatives had the DLC's footprint all over them.

    The DLC's prescribed Third Way also found a home on Downing Street in England. Tony Blair, a major Clinton ally, was a staunch advocate of the DLC, adopted its strategies and lent his name to its website. According to the book Clinton and Blair: The Political Economy of the Third Way , he said in 1998 that it "is a third way because it moves decisively beyond an Old Left preoccupied by state control, high taxation and producer interests."

    As recently as 2014, Blair has continued to urge the UK's Labour Party to remain committed to these ideals. "Former UK prime minister Tony Blair has urged Labour leader Ed Miliband to stick to the political centre ground, warning that the public has not 'fallen back in love with the state' despite the global financial crisis," according to the Financial Times , which noted that the left-wing base of his party has rejected his centrist leanings. "His decision as prime minister to join the US in its invasion of Iraq - as well as his free-market leanings - have made him a hate figure among the most leftwing Labour activists."

    Hillary Clinton as a New Democrat

    When Bill Clinton left the White House, Hillary Clinton entered the Senate. She quickly became a major player for the DLC, serving as a prominent member of the New Democratic Caucus in the Senate, speaking at conferences on multiple occasions and serving as chair of a key initiative for the 2006 and 2008 elections.

    She was even promoted as the DLC's "New Dem of the Week" on its website. (It would be remiss not to note that Martin O'Malley also served as a "New Dem of the Week," and even co-wrote an op-ed on behalf of the DLC with its then-chair, Harold Ford Jr.)

    New Democrats were never really about popular support; they were about bringing together big business and the Democrats.

    More importantly, Clinton adopted the DLC strategy in the way she governed. She tried to portray herself as a crusader for family values when she introduced legislation to ban violent video games and flag burning in 2005. She also adopted the DLC's hawkish military stance. The DLC was feverishly in favor of Bush's "war on terror" and his invasion of Iraq. Will Marshall, one of the group's founders, was a signatory of many of the now infamous documents from the Project for the New American Century, which urged the United States to radically increase its use of force in Iraq and beyond.

    The DLC led efforts to take down Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign, citing his opposition to the war in Iraq as an example of his weakness. Two years later, the organization played a similar role against Ned Lamont's antiwar challenge to Sen. Joe Lieberman, which the DLC decried as "The Return of Liberal Fundamentalism."

    However, the DLC's influence eventually waned . A formal affiliation with the organization became something of a deal breaker for some progressive voters. When Barack Obama first ran for the Senate in 2004, he had no affiliation with the DLC. So, when they wrongly included him in their directory of New Democrats, he asked the DLC to remove his name. In explaining this, he also publicly shunned the organization in an interview with Black Commentator. "You are undoubtedly correct that these positions make me an unlikely candidate for membership in the DLC," he wrote when pressed by the magazine . "That is why I am not currently, nor have I ever been, a member of the DLC."

    The DLC's decline continued: A growing sense of discontent among progressives, Clinton's loss in 2008 and the economic crisis that followed turned the DLC into something of a political liability. And in 2011, the Democratic Leadership Council shuttered its doors .

    When the DLC closed, it records were acquired by the Clinton Foundation, which DLC founder Al From called an "appropriate and fitting repository." To this day, the Clinton Foundation continues to promote the work of the DLC's founding members. In September 2015, the foundation hosted an event to promote From's book The New Democrats and the Return to Power . Amazingly, O'Malley provided a favorable blurb for the book, praising it as a "reminder of the core principles that still drive Democratic success today."

    The 2016 Election and New Democrats

    The DLC's demise was seen as a victory by many progressives, and the populist tone of the 2016 primary is being celebrated as a sign of rising progressivism as well. But it is probably too soon to declare that the "battle for the soul of the Democratic Party is coming to an end," as Adam Green, cofounder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, recently told the Guardian .

    Consider the way Marshall spun the closing of the DLC. "With President Obama consciously reconstructing a winning coalition by reconnecting with the progressive center, the pragmatic ideas of PPI and other organizations are more vital than ever," he said in an interview with Politico .

    His reference to "PPI and other organizations" refers to the still-existing Progressive Policy Institute and Third Way. These institutions have the same Wall Street support and continue to push the same agenda that their predecessor did.

    New Democrats' guns are aimed firmly at Sanders, and they are quick to defend Clinton.

    Many of these "centrist" ideas lack popular support these days. But New Democrats were never really about popular support; they were about bringing together big business and the Democrats. The group's board of trustees is almost entirely made up of Wall Street executives. Further, in the aftermath of the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision, these same moneyed interests have more influence over the political process than ever before.

    "These organizations now are basically just corporate lobbyists today," Schmitt said.

    So while the DLC may be a dirty word among many progressives, this didn't stop Obama from appointing New Democrats to key posts in his White House. The same Bill Daley who works for a hedge fund and is on the board of trustees for Third Way was also President Obama's White House chief of staff . And, as was noted above, he is now actively trying to influence the Democratic Party's direction in the 2016 election.

    The remaining champions of the DLC agenda have been increasingly active in trying to push back against populism. On October 28, 2015, Third Way published an ambitious paper, "Ready for the New Economy," that aims to do just that. The paper falsely argues that "the narrative of fairness and inequality has, to put it mildly, failed to excite voters," and says "these trends should compel the party to rigorously question the electoral value of today's populist agenda."

    The report attacks Sanders' proposals for expanding Social Security and implementing a single-payer health-care system directly, making faulty claims about both proposals. It also advises Democrats to avoid the "singular focus on income inequality" because its "actual impact on the middle class may be small."

    "Third Way and its allies are gravely misreading the economic and political moment," said Richard Eskow, a writer for Campaign for America's Future, in a rebuttal to the paper. "If their influence continues to wane, perhaps one day Americans can stop paying the price for their ill-conceived, corporation- and billionaire-friendly agenda."

    Eskow is right to use the word "if" instead of "when." Progressives ignore these efforts at their own peril. Despite their archaic and flawed ideas, Third Way's reports and speakers still get undue attention in the mainstream media. For instance, The Washington Post devoted 913 words to Third Way's new paper, describing it as part of a "big economic fight in the Democratic Party." The article provided a platform for Third Way's president Jonathan Cowan to attack Sanders. "We propose that Democrats be Democrats, not socialists," he said. This tone is the status quo for New Democrats in the media. Their guns are aimed firmly at Sanders, and they are quick to defend Clinton.

    When Clinton was attacked for working with former Wall Street executives, The Wall Street Journal quoted PPI president Will Marshall, defending her. "The idea that you have to excommunicate anybody who ever worked in the financial sector is ridiculous," he said .

    When Clinton announced her tax plan, Dow Jones quoted Jim Kessler, a Third Way staffer, praising the plan. On social media , Third Way staffers are routinely cheering on Clinton and attacking Sanders and O'Malley .

    "The Necessities of the Moment": Will Clinton Run Back to the Right?

    Of course, the New Democrats' preference for Clinton shouldn't surprise anyone. She has been an ally for years. And while they have expressed concern over her leftward tilt, they are confident, as the Post reported , that "she'll tack back their way in a general election." For instance, her recent opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership - which Third Way is supporting aggressively - has centrists "disappointed" but not worried.

    "Everyone knew where she was on that and where she will be , but given the necessities of the moment and a tough Democratic primary, she felt she needed to go there initially," New Democratic Coalition chairman Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wisconsin) told the Guardian (emphasis added).

    Politics isn't a sporting event. It is important to be critical, even of candidates for whom you will likely vote.

    If New Democrats aren't worried that Clinton's populist rhetoric is sincere, progressives probably should be worried that it isn't. As DLC founder Al From told the Guardian : "Hillary will bend a little bit but not so much that she can't get herself back on course in the general [election] and when she is governing."

    Some, however, are confident that if elected, Clinton will have to spend political capital on the very populist ideas she is now embracing.

    "When you make these kind of promises it will be difficult to just go back on them," said the New America Foundation's Mark Schmitt. "She will have to work on many of these issues if she is elected."

    Adam Green, cofounder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told Truthout that his group's emphasis is to make any Democratic candidate responsive to the issues important to what he calls the "Warren wing" of the party, which espouses the more populist economic beliefs of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). Like Warren, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee hasn't endorsed a candidate in the race as of now.

    "It is not about one candidate; it is about trying to make all the candidates address the issues we care about," Green said, citing debt-free education, expanding Social Security benefits and supporting Black Lives Matter as key issues.

    Liberals, Clinton and Partisan Amnesia

    It is understandable why some progressives are hesitant to be critical of Clinton: They fully expect that soon she will be the only thing standing between them and some candidate from the "Republican clown car," as Green described the GOP field.

    But voting pragmatically in a general election is one thing. Ignoring or apologizing for Clinton's very recent and troubling record is another. Too many progressives are engaged in a sort of willful partisan amnesia and are accepting the false narrative that Clinton is "a populist fighter who for decades has been an advocate for families and children," as some unnamed Clinton advisers told The New York Times.

    Consider the case of Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and presidential candidate, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president . Dean's reputation as a fiery progressive has always been wildly overstated , but there was a rich irony about Dean's endorsement. His centrist record aside, Dean was once the face of the party's progressive base. During his campaign for the Democratic nomination in 2003 and 2004, Dean used his opposition to the war in Iraq to garner progressive support. He attracted a large group of partisan liberal bloggers, who coined the term "Netroots" in support of his candidacy . For a time, Dean was leading in the polls during the primary.

    Remember: The Dean campaign was taken down by the DLC, who attacked him for running a campaign from the "McGovern-Mondale wing" of the Democratic Party, "defined principally by weakness abroad and elitist, interest-group liberalism at home." The rift between the DLC and Dean's supporters was so intense that Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas described it as a "civil war" between Democrats. Of course, when Dean announced his support for Clinton, he made no mention of the fact that she was the leader of the same group that ambushed his candidacy precisely because it appealed to the party's left-leaning base.

    Once the primary is over, the chance to force Clinton to respond to left critiques will likely not come again soon.

    Yet Moulitsas recently endorsed Clinton in a column for The Hill. Moulitsas was one of the key bloggers who supported Dean in 2004 and helped create the Netroots in its infancy. His goal, he said often, was "crashing the gate" of the Democratic establishment. But his uncritical support for Clinton, the quintessential establishment candidate, has turned much of his own blog into evidence of how some progressives are dismissing recent history for partisan reasons. In the last contested Democratic primary, Moulitsas was extremely critical of Clinton. Now, he is helping her do to Sanders what the DLC did to Dean.

    Why are the likes of Dean and Moulitsas so quick to embrace Clinton after years of battling with her and her allies in the so-called "vital center?" Only they know for sure. In the case of Dean, it may well be because he was never a real populist to begin with. In 2003, Bloomberg did a story asking Vermonters to talk about Dean's ideology. "Howard is not a liberal. He's a pro-business, Rockefeller Republican," said Garrison Nelson, a political science professor at the University of Vermont. This sentiment is shared by many Vermonters, on both the left and right .

    But for other self-identified progressives who have embraced the establishment candidate, such as Moulitsas, the answers may be simpler: partisan loyalty and ambition. The fact is the odds of Clinton winning the nomination are very good. And for the likes of Moulitsas - who now writes columns for an establishment DC paper and is a major fundraiser for Democrats - being on the side of the winner will certainly make him more friends in DC than supporting the self-identified socialist that opposes her. Moulitsas argues that Clinton has dismissed "her husband's ideological baggage" and is "aiming for a truly progressive presidency." He is now a true believer, he claims. It is up to readers to decide if they find his argument to be credible, especially compared to the conflicting statements he has made for many years. Many on his own blog are skeptical.

    But, lastly, the main reason many progressives are willing to overlook Clinton's record is simply fear. They are afraid of a Republican president, and it is hard to blame them. The idea of a President Trump - or Carson or Cruz - is extremely frightening for many people. This is entirely understandable. But even if one feels obligated to vote for Clinton in the general election, should she win the nomination, that does not mean her record ought to be ignored. Politics isn't a sporting event. It is important to be critical, even of candidates for whom you will likely vote.

    The Historical Record: "The Only Antidote"

    The tendency of some progressives to downplay, ignore or deflect populist critiques of Clinton's record was observed by Doug Henwood in his 2014 Harper's piece "Stop Hillary."

    In the article, he describes the "widespread liberal fantasy of [Clinton] as a progressive paragon" as misguided. "In fact, a close look at her life and career is perhaps the best antidote to all these great expectations," Henwood writes. "The historical record, such as it is, may also be the only antidote, since most progressives are unwilling to discuss Hillary in anything but the most general, flattering terms."

    Cleary, Clinton's historical record reveals much to be concerned about, including her long career as a New Democrat. For the first time in recent memory, however, progressives actually have some leverage to make her answer for this record.

    Clinton has a reasonably competitive opponent who has challenged her on her record of Wall Street support, her dismissal of the Glass-Steagall Act and her vote for war in Iraq . She should also be challenged vigorously on her role with the DLC.

    Circumstances have created a unique moment where Clinton has to answer these tough questions. But it may be a fleeting moment. Once the primary is over, the chance to force Clinton - or any major establishment politician - to respond to left critiques will likely not come again soon. Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission .

    Michael Corcoran is a journalist based in Boston. He has written for The Boston Globe, The Nation, The Christian Science Monitor, Extra!, NACLA Report on the Americas and other publications. Follow him on Twitter: @mcorcoran3 .

    [Aug 26, 2016] Bernie Sanders and the Clintonite Neoliberal Consensus

    Notable quotes:
    "... The Clinton approach from hereon in is one of masquerade: appropriate the Bernie Sanders aura, give the impression that the party has somehow miraculously moved leftward, and snap up a stash of votes come November. ..."
    "... clinging to the fiction that the Clintons are somehow progressive. This ignores the fundamental fact that Bill Clinton, during his presidential tenure through the 1990s, made parts of the GOP strategy plan relatively progressive by way of comparison. Stunned by this embrace of hard right ideas, the Republicans would be kept out of the White House till 2000. ..."
    www.globalresearch.ca
    The reality is that millions were readying themselves to vote for him come November precisely because he was Sanders, meshed with the ideas of basic social democracy. He betrayed them.

    The Clinton approach from hereon in is one of masquerade: appropriate the Bernie Sanders aura, give the impression that the party has somehow miraculously moved leftward, and snap up a stash of votes come November.

    The approach of the Republicans will be self-defeating, clinging to the fiction that the Clintons are somehow progressive. This ignores the fundamental fact that Bill Clinton, during his presidential tenure through the 1990s, made parts of the GOP strategy plan relatively progressive by way of comparison. Stunned by this embrace of hard right ideas, the Republicans would be kept out of the White House till 2000.

    Be wary of any language of change that is merely the language of promise. Keep in mind that US politics remains a "binary" choice, an effective non-choice bankrolled by financial power.

    [Aug 26, 2016] Bernie Sanders' Dubious "Our Revolution" Initiative. Fake Leftist "Big Money Politics"

    Notable quotes:
    "... He's no more a progressive revolutionary than any other member of Congress, nor Washington's bipartisan criminal class, bureaucrats included – Sanders a card-carrying member throughout his deplorable political career. ..."
    "... A major concern is the group's tax status as a 501(c)(4) organization able to get large donations from anonymous sources – meaning the usual ones buying influence, letting Sanders pretend to be progressive and revolutionary while operating otherwise. ..."
    "... Claire Sandberg was the initiative's organizing director. "I left and others left because we were alarmed that Jeff (Weaver) would mismanage this organization as he mismanaged the campaign," she explained. ..."
    "... She fears Weaver will "betray its core purpose by accepting money from billionaires and not remaining grassroots funded and plowing that billionaire cash into TV instead of investing it in building a genuine movement." ..."
    "... Vermont GOP vice chairman Brady Toensing blasted Sanders for "preach(ing) transparency and then tr(ying) to set up the most shadowy of shadowy fund-raising organization to support" what he claims to endorse. ..."
    "... Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net . ..."
    "... His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." ..."
    "... http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html ..."
    "... Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com . ..."
    "... Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. ..."
    Aug 26, 2016 | Global Research -

    He's no more a progressive revolutionary than any other member of Congress, nor Washington's bipartisan criminal class, bureaucrats included – Sanders a card-carrying member throughout his deplorable political career.

    Endorsing Hillary Clinton after rhetorically campaigning against what she represents exposed his duplicity – a progressive in name only. An opportunist for his own self-interest, he wants his extended 15 minutes of fame made more long-lasting.

    Claiming his new initiative "will fight to transform America and advance the progressive agenda (he) believe(s) in" belies his deplorable House and Senate voting records, on the wrong side of most major issues, especially supporting most US wars of aggression.

    A separate Sanders Institute intends operating like his Our Revolution initiative. Maybe his real aim is cashing in on his high-profile persona – including a new book due out in mid-November titled "Our Revolution: A Future To Believe In."

    Save your money. Its contents are clear without reading it – the same mumbo jumbo he used while campaigning.

    It excludes his deplorable history of promising one thing, doing another, going along with Washington scoundrels like Hillary to get along, betraying his loyal supporters – the real Sanders he wants concealed.

    On August 24, The New York Times said his Our Revolution initiative "has been met with criticism and controversy over its financing and management."

    It's "draw(ing) from the same pool of 'dark money' (he) condemned" while campaigning. After his former campaign manager Jeff Weaver was hired to lead the group, "the majority of its staff resigned," said The Times – described as "eight core staff members…"

    "The group's entire organizing department quit this week, along with people working in digital and data positions." They refused to reconsider after Sanders urged them to stay on.

    A major concern is the group's tax status as a 501(c)(4) organization able to get large donations from anonymous sources – meaning the usual ones buying influence, letting Sanders pretend to be progressive and revolutionary while operating otherwise.

    Claire Sandberg was the initiative's organizing director. "I left and others left because we were alarmed that Jeff (Weaver) would mismanage this organization as he mismanaged the campaign," she explained.

    She fears Weaver will "betray its core purpose by accepting money from billionaires and not remaining grassroots funded and plowing that billionaire cash into TV instead of investing it in building a genuine movement."

    Vermont GOP vice chairman Brady Toensing blasted Sanders for "preach(ing) transparency and then tr(ying) to set up the most shadowy of shadowy fund-raising organization to support" what he claims to endorse.

    "What I'm seeing here is a senator who is against big money in politics, but only when" it applies to others, not himself, Toensing added.

    Campaign Legal Center's Paul S. Ryan said "(t)here are definitely some red flags with respect to the formation of this group…We're in a murky area."

    Is Sanders' real aim self-promotion and enrichment? Is his Our Revolution more a scheme than an honest initiative?

    Is it sort of like the Clinton Foundation, Sanders wanting to grab all he can – only much less able to match the kind of super-wealth Bill and Hillary amassed?

    Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

    His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

    http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

    Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

    Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

    [Aug 25, 2016] Bernie Sanders' new 'revolution' rocked by revolt of its own as top staff head for the exits US elections

    independent.co.uk
    Already, however, the whole enterprise is in turmoil, thanks to the resignations of several of its top staff members even before it was off the ground, who were angered by the decision of Senator Sanders and his wife, Jane Sanders, to appoint his former campaign manager, John Weaver, as its top officer over their very clearly expressed objections.

    Among those heading to the exits was Claire Sandberg, who was the digital organising director of the campaign and the organising director of Our Revolution. Her entire department of four people quit, in fact.

    She and the others who joined the revolt, including Kenneth Pennington, who was to be the digital director of Our Revolution, were opposed to Mr Weaver's involvement both for reasons of personality clashes and because they felt he mismanaged the Senator's campaign in part by spending too much money on television advertising and failing to harness grassroots support.

    They also contended that Mr Weaver would only exacerbate an additional concern they had with the new entity namely that it has been set up as a so-called 501(c)(4) organisation, which, because of its charitable status, is in theory not allowed to work directly with the election of political candidates and is able to receive large sums from anonymous donors.

    A large part of the premise of Mr Sanders's campaign for president had been precisely to wean political campaigns from the flood of dark money that flows into them. That the Our Revolution entity has been set up precisely to take such money looked to them like a betrayal.

    According to several reports a majority of the staff appointed to run the new outfit resigned as soon as the appointment of Mr Weaver was confirmed on Monday

    [Aug 25, 2016] Trickle Down Election Economics How Big Money Can Affect Small Races naked capitalism

    Notable quotes:
    "... Here is an up-to-date look at the massive amount of money that has been donated to Super PACs in this election cycle: http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2016/07/super-pacs-2016-awash-with-cash.html ..."
    "... The wealthiest Americans still firmly believe that political control belongs to them. ..."
    "... "The Labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers." ..."
    Aug 25, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Will Dippel , August 23, 2016 at 6:50 am

    Here is an up-to-date look at the massive amount of money that has been donated to Super PACs in this election cycle: http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2016/07/super-pacs-2016-awash-with-cash.html

    The wealthiest Americans still firmly believe that political control belongs to them.

    Sound of the Suburbs , August 23, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Thinking about trickledown.

    Do companies employ people to make its employees rich? No they employ people to make a profit, the productive output of all employees is split to take a profit for the company, cover costs and pay wages. The employee loses a slice of their productive output to the company for the company to take as profit.

    The employee takes out less than he puts in.

    Someone with a trust fund receives an income from their trust fund without the fund going down.

    They take out more than they put in.

    The system trickles up and assuming it trickles down to lower taxes on the wealthy has polarized personal wealth and is hitting global aggregate demand.

    Adam Smith noted the system flowed upwards in the 18th Century.

    "The Labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers."

    Where did the idea of trickledown come from?
    US billionaires after a long liquid lunch.

    dk , August 23, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Across the country, the presence and influence of big money exerts a downward pressure on down-ticket candidates across the board. Steve Israel's sentiments are widely shared; without direct and committed backing from large (national-level) donors, candidates have to spend the greater part of their election efforts just to raise money, this of course eats into their constituent outreach. Candidates with expensive consultants/vendors and/or large staff may be under pressured to fundraise from within their own campaign. HRC's decision to forego a visit to Louisiana flood victims may be a case of in-house pressure; money can distort rational, not to mention compassionate, action.

    And significant donations and/or political support can appear as if out of nowhere. I recently spoke with a candidate for D.A. who was surprised to hear his own voice coming out of his car radio; a national PAC had chosen to back him, and was buying local radio time. Since PACs can't (shouldn't) coordinate with formal campaigns, this isn't too unusual. But he has had to answer questions from media about why and how he got this support (they had interviewed him by phone some months earlier, with no further direct contact). His opponent has since dropped out, citing financial pressures and lack of sufficient contributions to continue. The opposing party is scrambling to find a replacement to meet the State's requirements for submission of candidate names, no luck so far; they could actually end up pulling an incumbent State Senator running for re-election to vacate one slot to fill another.

    The flood of money in politics, including the involvement of PACs, also raises the stakes for prospective candidates, who are under increasing scrutiny from mainstream and independent media; outside money drives media attention directly and indirectly, in addition to media capabilities of well financed opposing candidates and parties. Money heats up the entire process, and the emotional and physical (and financial) pressure is considerable. This also leads to more self-funding candidates, and less opportunity for independents with lesser personal means. And the trend of antagonistic campaigning, long of polarizing vitriol and short on substantial issue discussion, is also driven by moneyed influences seeking traction of any kind, while bringing little or no substantial or broadly popular policy agenda to a contest.

    The Sanders direct fundraising model may be evidence of a countercurrent. Bernie famously spent no time courting big donors, and was able to produce a formidable campaign war chest directly from his message and persona. But even while competing favorably with Hillary's campaign fundraising, Clinton benefited from massive PAC support which Sanders never matched. Sanders' campaign also had a hard time finding experienced campaign staff (and possibly other resources); there was considerable implicit (and some explicit) pressure within the Dem consultant stable to avoid opposing the Clinton (Money) Machine. Jobs and careers on the line, with repercussions long after this election cycle.

    ekstase , August 23, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    This is great. Debate your real political opponent, not the front man or woman.
    Good luck to her.

    [Aug 25, 2016] I wonder if the infomation about Jane Sanders tenure as the president of Burlington college was the dirt that the Clinton campaign was planning to use against Bernie before he endorsed you-know-who on July 12

    Notable quotes:
    "... And, pardon me for being a tinfoil-hatted conspiracy theorist, I wonder if this was the dirt that the Clinton campaign was planning to use against Bernie before he endorsed you-know-who on July 12. ..."
    "... President Sanders was not to last long at BC and she left for still unknown circumstances soon after the purchase of the property. ..."
    "... The next Presidents, Cjristine Plunkett, Mike Smith and Carol Moore then sold off large portions of the property to real estate developers and then, when the ship finally sank under increasingly hopeless and clueless leadership, all of whom could not increase enrollment or or raise any funds (in fact we were eventually told that the school had given up fund raising), Burlington College went into a relentless downward spiral which tragically and painfully closed its doors in May, 20016. ..."
    "... It may ultimately have been the straw that broke the camel's back, and it looks terrible that Jane Sanders was at the helm and instrumental in making the decision, but it also sounds like it was a bold effort – that the Board of Directors signed off on – to change the school's fortunes, and one that unfortunately could not overcome years of struggle and financial instability. ..."
    Aug 25, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Arizona Slim , August 24, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    http://vtdigger.org/2016/08/23/state-taxpayers-pick-tab-burlington-college-student-records/

    My comments on this link: Jane Sanders used to be president of Burlington College.

    And, pardon me for being a tinfoil-hatted conspiracy theorist, I wonder if this was the dirt that the Clinton campaign was planning to use against Bernie before he endorsed you-know-who on July 12.

    Katharine , August 24, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    But if she left five years ago, it is difficult to see how she could be blamed for this specific problem. Whatever her role in the financial problems may have been (and I admit I don't understand that well), her successors were responsible for what was done subsequently, and if they knew they might have to close down should have taken steps to protect student records and ensure their future accessibility.

    Anne , August 24, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    This was a comment left on that article by someone named Sandy Baird:

    Thank you for this reporting. The demise of Burlington College was not caused by Jane Sanders. The Board of trustees and the then President Jane Sanders bought the property from the Catholic diocese. President Sanders was an ambitious President and sought to increase the enrollment by creating substantial, innovative and effective programs, which included the Burlington College/Cuba Semester abroad and by increasing the profile of the school in the community and state. Jane's plan always was to create a thriving campus for a growing student body and for a unique college which had as its mission the "building of sustainable, just, humane and beautiful communities." However, President Sanders was not to last long at BC and she left for still unknown circumstances soon after the purchase of the property.

    The next Presidents, Cjristine Plunkett, Mike Smith and Carol Moore then sold off large portions of the property to real estate developers and then, when the ship finally sank under increasingly hopeless and clueless leadership, all of whom could not increase enrollment or or raise any funds (in fact we were eventually told that the school had given up fund raising), Burlington College went into a relentless downward spiral which tragically and painfully closed its doors in May, 20016.

    The school, the property and the beach will now be picked up by the developer, Eric Farrell and the beach goes to the City. In a final irony, Eric Farrell was awarded an honorary doctorate degree at the final graduation of the school in May when its founder, Stu Lacase gave the graduation address.

    For what it's worth, here's another article from The Atlantic .

    Burlington College was always a fragile concern. Its website notes that in the early days, it "had no financial backing, paid its bills when they came due, and paid its President when it could." Jane Sanders's plan to place a big bet on expansion in order to put the school on a more solid long-term footing was similar to decisions made by other college presidents, and sometimes those bets simply don't work out.

    Lambert Strether Post author , August 24, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    On the last quote, that's how I read it. Owning real estate on the Lake Champlain waterfront is not, ipso facto , a crazy thing to do. It sounds like the college just couldn't outrun trouble. I still don't think it's a good look, though.

    Anne , August 24, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    It may ultimately have been the straw that broke the camel's back, and it looks terrible that Jane Sanders was at the helm and instrumental in making the decision, but it also sounds like it was a bold effort – that the Board of Directors signed off on – to change the school's fortunes, and one that unfortunately could not overcome years of struggle and financial instability.

    The college should have provided the transcripts before it locked the doors, but it looks to me like they wouldn't have been able to do it even then without the state's financial assistance.

    If Jane had only known, she could have gotten the Board to approve a donation to the Clinton Foundation, right?

    Katharine , August 24, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Looks terrible? Seriously? I'm sorry, but I can't raise my pulse at all because someone took a rational chance her successors were unable to carry through successfully.

    As for providing the transcripts before locking the doors, that would have been problematic, as so many places want original transcripts from the institution and won't accept something that has come through the hands of the student. Those alumni are going to be dogged by that as long as they need transcripts unless the state or somebody funds permanent access.

    afisher , August 24, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Amen, did anyone hear the screaming about this same scenario when small college had Ben Sasse as President of College? He left, others followed and undid some of his actions and eventually the small college suffered.

    Apparently it is fine for some people to have these behaviors overlooked and not so for others. I believe there is a word for that – hmmm, I'm sure it will come to me eventually.

    [Aug 24, 2016] Paul Krugman The Water Next Time

    Notable quotes:
    "... The politicians are battling it out for mindshare in both the electorate and the donor class for related but different reasons. ..."
    "... The electorate is not so committed to serving the masters of capitalism, big finance and large corporations and the ownership class as their petty oligarchs are, but that is why campaign finance needs a makeover. ..."
    "... In both cases though brainwashing starts at an early age. It just does not pay well enough for the general electorate to be as rigid in their thinking as it does for politicians to be rigid in their blinking. That is why media coverage of public affairs needs a makeover. ..."
    Economist's View
    RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> DeDude...
    The politicians and their electoral constituents are separate matters although there must obviously be a stratum within which political allegiance can be triangulated. The politicians are battling it out for mindshare in both the electorate and the donor class for related but different reasons.

    The electorate is not so committed to serving the masters of capitalism, big finance and large corporations and the ownership class as their petty oligarchs are, but that is why campaign finance needs a makeover.

    In both cases though brainwashing starts at an early age. It just does not pay well enough for the general electorate to be as rigid in their thinking as it does for politicians to be rigid in their blinking. That is why media coverage of public affairs needs a makeover.

    ilsm -> mulp ... ,
    Humpty,

    Check the media........ and money!

    It is a 'system' sustaining itself, and it is corrupt. I have known this since I was a kid.

    [Aug 23, 2016] The Populist Uprising Isn't Over-It's Only Just Begun Common Dreams Breaking News Views for the Progressive Community

    www.commondreams.org

    The likelihood is that the Clinton presidency will be tumultuous.

    1. No Honeymoon: On the left, there are fewer hopes about Clinton than about Barack Obama. The pressure will begin even before she takes office in what is likely to be a battle royal in the lame duck session of Congress as Obama tries to force through his TPP trade deal.
    2. New Energy: If the Sanders supporters stay engaged, there could be an organizational form – his OurRevolution and his institute – that can do what a political party should do: educate and mobilize around progressive issues; recruit and support truly progressive candidates. This insurgency may continue to grow.
    3. New Generation: It can't be forgotten how overwhelmingly Sanders won young voters. He not only won 3 of 4 millennial voters in the Democratic primaries, he won a majority of young people of color voting. Some of this was his message. Much of it was the integrity of someone consistent in his views spurning the big money corruptions of our politics. These young people are going to keep moving. They won't find answers in a Clinton administration. We're going to see more movements, more disruptions, and more mobilizations – around jobs, around student debt, about inequality, around criminal justice, immigration, globalization, and climate and more.
    4. New Coalitions: Sanders and Trump clearly have shaken the coalitions of their parties. Trump combined populism with bigotry and xenophobia to break up the Republican establishment's ability to use the latter to support their neoliberal economics. Sanders attracted support of the young across lines of race, challenging the Democratic establishment's ability to use liberal identity politics to fuse minorities and upper middle class professionals into a majority coalition. Clinton fended off the challenge, but the shakeup has only begun.
    5. New Ideas: The Davos era has failed. There is no way it can continue down the road without producing more and more opposition. This is now the second straight "recovery" in which most Americans will lose ground. Already the elite is embattled intellectually on key elements of the neo-liberal agenda: corporate globalization, privatization, austerity, "small government," even global policing. Joe Stiglitz suggests that the Davos era is over, but that is premature. What is clear is that it has failed and the struggle to replace it has just begun. And that waving the white flag because Trump is besmirching populism mistakes today's farce for history's drama.
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

    Robert Borosage is the founder and president of the Institute for America's Future and co-director of its sister organization, the Campaign for America's Future.

    [Aug 22, 2016] A 'New McCarthyism': This is the Real Harm in 'Lesser-Evil' US Politics

    Notable quotes:
    "... about lesser-evil politics and what impact the election could have on the future of progressive politics. ..."
    "... Ford quoted writer Steven Salait, who wrote recently, "Lesser evilism is possible only because we're so accustomed to seeing certain people as lesser human beings." ..."
    "... Dr. Monteiro believes that Republican support for Clinton could signal the beginning of a "new Mccarthyism." ..."
    "... "Now we've always known that the two-party system was essentially a one party system with two wings." he said, "But now, so many of the Republicans and the neocons and the liberals are gravitating to this big umbrella. But at the same time they're saying to anyone who would oppose their policy in Russia, or towards Korea or Syria, that somehow you are unpatriotic, you are on the payroll of Russia or some external force. So I would suggest that there's nothing more lethal than a Cold War liberal. They go beyond the conservatives." ..."
    "... That's a real concern. When we look at Hillary Clinton, when we look at her support for surveillance, her lack of support for civil liberties…It's very important that we're not distracted by this issue of who people vote for, is it this party or that party ..."
    "... "That's not to say that elections aren't important, they definitely are a gauge of where people are at, at any given point, but that's not where social change comes from. And we need to stand strong, we need to stand united, we need to be prepared to get out into the streets to continue to struggle around the issues, including issues that are to the left of the articulated position of Bernie Sanders himself, which are issues of peace and social justice that the Bernie movement resonated with." ..."
    sputniknews.com

    With election season in full swing, Democrats and defecting Republicans have ramped up a campaign against the open bigotry of bombastic real estate magnate Donald Trump.

    Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear spoke with Jane Cutter, editor of Liberationnews.org; Dr. Anthony Monteiro, W.E.B. DuBois scholar and member of the Black Radical Organizing Collective; and Derek Ford, Assistant Professor of Education Studies at DePauw University, about lesser-evil politics and what impact the election could have on the future of progressive politics.

    ​Cutter explained that, historically, "Who's sitting in the White House is ultimately not the determining factor" of a movement's vitality, and points to the presidency of Richard Nixon, considered to be one of America's most conservative presidents. Cutter noted the many progressive measures passed under the Nixon Administration due to pressure from the Civil Rights, Black Power, feminist and LGBTQ movements.

    "At that time, people were organized, people were mobilized, people were militant and in the streets and, as a result, the Nixon Administration and other elements of the ruling class were forced to give up numerous concessions that were in fact quite beneficial to the working class of this country," she said.

    Ford quoted writer Steven Salait, who wrote recently, "Lesser evilism is possible only because we're so accustomed to seeing certain people as lesser human beings."

    "By that he was saying that to call Hillary Clinton the lesser evil is to call the people of Palestine, in Syria, Libya and Iraq, as lesser human beings, because her actions and her policies have been so steadfastly hawkish there. It also disarms the movement and any potential for popular uprising."

    Dr. Monteiro believes that Republican support for Clinton could signal the beginning of a "new Mccarthyism."

    "Now we've always known that the two-party system was essentially a one party system with two wings." he said, "But now, so many of the Republicans and the neocons and the liberals are gravitating to this big umbrella. But at the same time they're saying to anyone who would oppose their policy in Russia, or towards Korea or Syria, that somehow you are unpatriotic, you are on the payroll of Russia or some external force. So I would suggest that there's nothing more lethal than a Cold War liberal. They go beyond the conservatives."

    He added, "I think Hillary represents something that we have to be very frightened of and we really have to mobilize and steel ourselves for a really intense struggle against what she represents."

    Cutter agreed, saying, "That's a real concern. When we look at Hillary Clinton, when we look at her support for surveillance, her lack of support for civil liberties…It's very important that we're not distracted by this issue of who people vote for, is it this party or that party."

    "That's not to say that elections aren't important, they definitely are a gauge of where people are at, at any given point, but that's not where social change comes from. And we need to stand strong, we need to stand united, we need to be prepared to get out into the streets to continue to struggle around the issues, including issues that are to the left of the articulated position of Bernie Sanders himself, which are issues of peace and social justice that the Bernie movement resonated with."

    [Aug 22, 2016] Bernie Sanders: The Ron Paul of the Left? Not Quite

    May 29, 2015 | original.antiwar.com

    Yet his real foreign policy record is closer to Hillary's than he likes to admit. Yes, he opposed the Iraq war – and then proceeded to routinely vote to fund that war: ditto Afghanistan. In 2003, at the height of the Iraq war hysteria, then Congressman Sanders voted for a congressional resolution hailing Bush:

    "Congress expresses the unequivocal support and appreciation of the nation to the President as Commander-in-Chief for his firm leadership and decisive action in the conduct of military operations in Iraq as part of the ongoing Global War on Terrorism."

    As the drumbeat for war with Iran got louder, Rep. Sanders voted for the Iran Freedom Support Act, which codified sanctions imposed since the fall of the Shah and handed out millions to "pro-freedom" groups seeking the overthrow of the Tehran regime. The Bush administration, you'll recall, was running a regime change operation at that point which gave covert support to Jundullah, a terrorist group responsible for murdering scores of Iranian civilians. Bush was also canoodling with the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, a weirdo cult group once designated as a terrorist organization (a label lifted by Hillary Clinton's State Department after a well-oiled public relations campaign).

    Sanders fulsomely supported the Kosovo war: when shocked antiwar activists visited his Senate office in Burlington, Vermont, he called the cops on them. At a Montpelier public meeting featuring a debate on the war, Bernie argued passionately in favor of Bill Clinton's "humanitarian" intervention, and pointedly told hecklers to leave if they didn't like what he had to say.

    As a Senator, his votes on civil liberties issues show a distinct pattern. While he voted against the Patriot Act, in 2006 he voted in favor of making fourteen provisions of the Act permanent, including those that codified the FBI's authority to seize business records and carry out roving wiretaps. Sanders voted no on the legislation establishing the Department of Homeland Security, but by the time he was in the Senate he was regularly voting for that agency's ever-expanding budget.

    The evolution of Bernie Sanders – from his days as a Liberty Unionist radical and Trotskyist fellow-traveler, to his first political success as Mayor of Burlington, his election to Congress and then on to the Senate – limns the course of the post-Sixties American left. Although birthed in the turmoil of the Vietnam war, the vaunted anti-interventionism of this crowd soon fell by the wayside as domestic political tradeoffs trumped ideology. Nothing exemplifies this process of incremental betrayal better than Sanders' support for the troubled F-35 fighter jet, the classic case of a military program that exists only to enrich the military-industrial complex. Although the plane has been plagued with technical difficulties, and has toted up hundreds of billions of dollars in cost overruns, Sanders has stubbornly defended and voted for it because Lockheed-Martin manufactures it in Vermont.

    [Aug 21, 2016] Gaius Publius: You Broke It, You Bought It – A Sanders Activist Challenges Clinton Supporters

    No progressives worth their name would vote for Hillary. Betrayal of Sanders made the choice more difficult, but still there no alternative. Clinton "No passaran!". Also "Clinton proved capable of coming to an agreement with Sanders. He received good money, bought a new house, published a book, and joined with Clinton, calling on his supporters to vote for her"...
    Crappy slogans like "hold her feet to the fire" are lies. Has there ever been serious detail about that? I've seen this line over and over. Hillary is dyed-in-the-wool neoliberal and will behave as such as soon as she get into office. You can view her iether as (more jingoistic) Obama II or (equally reckless) Bush III. If she wins, the next opportunity to check her neoliberal leaning will be only during the next Persidential election.
    Notable quotes:
    "... ...was Clinton the better progressive choice against Sanders? Almost no Sanders-supporting Democratic voter would say yes to that. Not on trade, not on climate, not on breaking up too-big Wall Street banks, not on criminally prosecuting (finally) "too big to jail" members of the elite - not on any number of issues that touch core progressives values. ..."
    "... It's time for progressives who helped Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in the primary to take the lead on holding her accountable. ..."
    "... She's now appointed two pro-TPP politicians to key positions on her campaign  -  Tim Kaine as her Vice President and Ken Salazar to lead her presidential transition team. It's time for progressives who helped Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in the primary to take the lead on holding her accountable. ..."
    "... The choice of Salazar is a pretty good sign that as expected we'll be seeing the 'revolving door' in full force in a Clinton administration. As head of the transition he'll have enormous influence on who fills thousands of jobs at the White House and federal agencies. ..."
    "... It is really important to stop referring to "job-killing trade deals" and point out every single time they are mentioned that the TPP, TTIP and TISA are about GOVERNANCE, not about "trade" in any sense that a normal person understands it. ..."
    "... TPP & its ilk, like NAFTA and CAFTA before them, are about world government by multinational corporations via their Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions. ..."
    "... Regulatory arb, slice of corruption, and like shareholder value memes an equity burnishing tool… ..."
    "... One thing I liked about Thom Hartmann was he relentlessly drove home the point that the US succeeded, grew, and became the dominant economic power in the world through the use of TARIFFS. Tariffs are necessary. ..."
    "... The nafta-shafta deals relinquish the right to even think about tariffs. You don't have a sovereign nation any more. ..."
    "... You can visit the prosperous Samsung-suburb of Suwon, Korea and see all the abandoned manufacturing space (where Korea was just a step on the path to Vietnam and Bangladesh). ..."
    "... Information revolution automation is substituting machines for human intelligence. Here the race to the bottom is a single step, and these "trade" deals are all about rules of governance that will apply when people have been stripped of all economic power. ..."
    "... merely infinite wealth and power for a thin oligarchy of robot/machine owners? ..."
    "... Globalization and Technologization is a canard they use to explain the impoverishment and death of the working class. ..."
    "... The fact that auto manufactures moved plants to low wage, nonunion, right to work states actually highlights the fact that labor costs drive the decision where to locate manufacturing plants. ..."
    Aug 20, 2016 | nakedcapitalism.com

    ...was Clinton the better progressive choice against Sanders? Almost no Sanders-supporting Democratic voter would say yes to that. Not on trade, not on climate, not on breaking up too-big Wall Street banks, not on criminally prosecuting (finally) "too big to jail" members of the elite - not on any number of issues that touch core progressives values.

    ... ... ...

    Becky Bond on the Challenge to Clinton Supporters

    ...Bond looks at what the primary has wrought, and issues this challenge to activists who helped defeat Sanders: You broke it, you bought it. Will you now take charge in the fight to hold Clinton accountable? Or will you hang back (enjoying the fruits) and let others take the lead? ("Enjoying the fruits" is my addition. As one attendee noted, the Democratic Convention this year seemed very much like "a jobs fair.")

    Bond says this, writing in The Hill (my emphasis):

    Progressive Clinton supporters: You broke it, you bought it

    It's time for progressives who helped Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in the primary to take the lead on holding her accountable.

    With Donald Trump tanking in the polls, there's room for progressives to simultaneously crush his bid for the presidency while holding Hillary Clinton's feet to the fire on the TPP .

    And yet:

    She's now appointed two pro-TPP politicians to key positions on her campaign  -  Tim Kaine as her Vice President and Ken Salazar to lead her presidential transition team. It's time for progressives who helped Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in the primary to take the lead on holding her accountable.

    ... ... ...

    Bond has more on Salazar and why both he and Tim Kaine are a "tell," a signal of things to come from Hillary Clinton: "The choice of Salazar is a pretty good sign that as expected we'll be seeing the 'revolving door' in full force in a Clinton administration. As head of the transition he'll have enormous influence on who fills thousands of jobs at the White House and federal agencies."

    ... ... ...

    Carla , August 20, 2016 at 5:40 am

    It is really important to stop referring to "job-killing trade deals" and point out every single time they are mentioned that the TPP, TTIP and TISA are about GOVERNANCE, not about "trade" in any sense that a normal person understands it.

    This is the evil behind the lie of calling these "trade" agreements and putting the focus on "jobs." TPP & its ilk, like NAFTA and CAFTA before them, are about world government by multinational corporations via their Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions.

    That's what's at stake; not jobs. The jobs will be lost to automation anyway; they are never coming back. The TPP et al legal straight jackets do not sell out jobs, that's already been done. No, what these phony trade agreements do is foreclose any hope of achieving functioning democracies. Please start saying so!

    sd , August 20, 2016 at 5:55 am

    Question – If automation killed jobs, then why did manufacturing move to low wage states and countries?

    Carla , August 20, 2016 at 6:25 am

    I miss-typed above. Of course I meant TPP and not ttp.

    Yes, WTO, NAFTA, CAFTA, etc., certainly killed jobs. However, those jobs are not coming back to these shores. In the higher wage countries, "good" jobs - in manufacturing and in many "knowledge" and "service" sectors - as well as unskilled jobs, are being or have been replaced with automated means and methods.

    Just a few examples: automobile assemblers; retail cashiers; secretaries; steelworkers; highway toll collectors; gas station attendants. ETC. Here's what's happened so far just in terms of Great Lakes freighters:

    "The wheelman stood behind Captain Ross, clutching a surprisingly tiny, computerized steering wheel. He wore driving gloves and turned the Equinox every few seconds in whatever direction the captain told him to. The wheel, computer monitors and what looked like a server farm filling the wheelhouse are indicative of changes in the shipping industry. Twenty years ago, it took 35 crew members to run a laker. The Equinox operates with 16, only a handful of whom are on duty at once."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/21/travel/great-lakes-montreal-minnesota.html

    TPP, TTIP and TISA are about GOVERNANCE, not trade, and only very incidentally, jobs. The rulers of the universe vastly prefer paying no wages to paying low wages, and whatever can be automated, will be, eventually in low-wage countries as well as here and in Europe. A great deal of this has already happened and it will continue. Only 5 sections of the TPP even deal with trade–that's out of 29. Don't take this on my authority; Public Citizen is the gold standard of analysis regarding these so-called "trade" agreements.

    different clue , August 21, 2016 at 2:00 am

    It took the OverClass several decades to send all those jobs away from our shores. It would take several decades to bring those jobs back to our shores. But it could be done within a context of militant belligerent protectionism.

    Americans are smart enough to make spoons, knives and forks. We used to make them. We could make them again. The only obstacles are contrived and artificial political-economic and policy obstacles. Apply a different Market Forcefield to the American Market, and the actors within that market would act differently over the several decades to come.

    Andrew , August 20, 2016 at 6:34 am

    Automation hasn't eliminated those jobs yet. But it will. See Foxconns investment in automation to eliminate iPhone assemblers.

    Skippy , August 20, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Regulatory arb, slice of corruption, and like shareholder value memes an equity burnishing tool…

    EndOfTheWorld , August 20, 2016 at 6:46 am

    One thing I liked about Thom Hartmann was he relentlessly drove home the point that the US succeeded, grew, and became the dominant economic power in the world through the use of TARIFFS. Tariffs are necessary. They protect your industries while at the same time bringing in a lot of revenue.

    The nafta-shafta deals relinquish the right to even think about tariffs. You don't have a sovereign nation any more.

    casino implosion , August 20, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    Sovereign nations are racist.

    different clue , August 21, 2016 at 2:02 am

    Really? Even multi-ethnic ones like Russia? Or America on a good day? Or Canada?

    You might want to be careful with Davos Man Free-Trade hasbara like that. You could end up giving racism a good name.

    Tom , August 20, 2016 at 6:50 am

    Off-shoring was just a stop-gap measure until human capital could be completely removed from the equation.

    Tom , August 20, 2016 at 7:55 am

    I meant to include a link to this particularly shocking example from a few months ago:
    Foxconn, Apple's Chinese supplier, is replacing 60,000 workers with AI robots.

    John , August 20, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Well then Apple can bring the all it's manufacturing back to the U.S. No need to be in China if they aren't using slave wage workers.

    Tom , August 20, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Humans are just one line item on the list of expenses..

    dk , August 20, 2016 at 8:20 am

    ^That.

    Vastydeep , August 20, 2016 at 7:19 am

    The first round of industrial revolution automation substituted machines for human/horse mechanical exertion. We reached "peak horse" around 1900, and the move to low-wage/low-regulation states was just a step on the global race to the bottom. You can visit the prosperous Samsung-suburb of Suwon, Korea and see all the abandoned manufacturing space (where Korea was just a step on the path to Vietnam and Bangladesh).

    Information revolution automation is substituting machines for human intelligence. Here the race to the bottom is a single step, and these "trade" deals are all about rules of governance that will apply when people have been stripped of all economic power.

    Will the rise of the machines lead to abundance for all, or merely infinite wealth and power for a thin oligarchy of robot/machine owners? TPP and it's ilk may be the last chance for we the people to have any say in it.

    PhilU , August 20, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Manufacturing is in decline due to Reagan's tax cuts and low investment. Globalization and Technologization is a canard they use to explain the impoverishment and death of the working class.

    John Zelnicker , August 20, 2016 at 10:23 am

    @Squirrel – Labor costs, as you say, are a driving force; they are not the only one. Notice that the products you mentioned are all large heavy items. In these cases the transportation costs are high enough that the companies want their production to be close to their final market. The lower cost of labor elsewhere is not enough to compensate for the higher shipping costs from those locations. In addition, the wage gap between the US and other places has narrowed over the past 20 years, mostly due to the ongoing suppression of wage gains in the US. Your examples are exceptions that do not falsify the original premise that a huge amount of manufacturing has moved to lower wage locations. And those moves are still ongoing, e.g., Carrier moving to Mexico.

    The cost of manufactured goods has not fallen because the labor savings is going to profit and executive compensation, not reduced prices.

    TimmyB , August 20, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    The fact that auto manufactures moved plants to low wage, nonunion, right to work states actually highlights the fact that labor costs drive the decision where to locate manufacturing plants.

    [Aug 21, 2016] Sanders gets 45% of the vote and leads them down Hillarys cattle chute for slaughter – not cooption, not marginalization, but the bolt gun to the head

    Notable quotes:
    "... All these elections are equally fake. At some point you're going to have to stop pecking B.F. Skinner's levers, because the pellets have stopped coming out. But there's no point reasoning with you till your extinction burst finally subsides. ..."
    "... This is not a very good piece for several reasons, one being only in the nonsense universe of US mainstream discourse can Clinton be termed a 'centrist' or can someone be depicted as a bona fide 'progressive' and also be a supporter of Clinton. I wouldn't waste a moment trying to pressure 'Clinton progressives' on anything – there is no historical evidence she or Bill have ever had the slightest interest in the public interest. At best a 'Clinton progressive' might claim to be 'defending' some existing public good, but good luck there as well – as Trump is not the source of any real 'threat', that distinction belonging to the existing power elites (military, financial, corporate, legal, media etc.) Clinton serves. ..."
    "... The idea that Clinton ever was 'open' to progressives reminds me of why the putrid Rahm Emmanuel could dismiss the left as a 'bunch of retards'. Time to make them eat those words by taking ourselves and our values and our thinking seriously enough we stop fearing not being taken 'seriously' by so loathsome a crew as the Clintons. ..."
    www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Mooooo , August 20, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    Here in Temple Grandin's touchy-feely slaughterhouse, Sanders gets 45% of the vote and leads them down Hillary's cattle chute for slaughter – not cooption, not marginalization, but the bolt gun to the head, with lots of sadistic poleaxing straight out of an illegal PETA video. The surviving livestock are auctioned off for flensing through gleeful trading in influence. This we learn, is not beyond redemption. In some demented psycho-Quaker sense, perhaps. What the fuck WON'T you put up with?

    In this psychotic mindset, Kim Jong Un's 99.97% victory proves he's like twice as worthwhile as any Dem. Write him in. Nursultan Nazarbayev, too, his 98% success speaks for itself. Write him in. All these elections are equally fake. At some point you're going to have to stop pecking B.F. Skinner's levers, because the pellets have stopped coming out. But there's no point reasoning with you till your extinction burst finally subsides.

    Then we can talk about how you knock over moribund regimes.

    Fiver , August 20, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    This is not a very good piece for several reasons, one being only in the nonsense universe of US mainstream discourse can Clinton be termed a 'centrist' or can someone be depicted as a bona fide 'progressive' and also be a supporter of Clinton. I wouldn't waste a moment trying to pressure 'Clinton progressives' on anything – there is no historical evidence she or Bill have ever had the slightest interest in the public interest. At best a 'Clinton progressive' might claim to be 'defending' some existing public good, but good luck there as well – as Trump is not the source of any real 'threat', that distinction belonging to the existing power elites (military, financial, corporate, legal, media etc.) Clinton serves.

    There are 3 critical issues 'progressives', Greens, lefties, libertarians and others must come together en masse to resist: TPP immediately, US foreign policy of permanent wars of aggression now involving the entire Muslim world and fossil fuels. Don't waste any time hoping to influence Clinton (you won't) or fretting about Trump. First TPP, then anti-War/anti-fossil fuels.

    I am convinced TPP can be beaten – not with 'Clinton activists', but with a broad coalition of interests. And once it has been beaten, the supremely idiotic 'war on terror' is next up. Americans' votes and electoral desires have been ignored and suppressed. Other legitimate means therefore must be taken up and utilized to change critical policy failures directly.

    The idea that Clinton ever was 'open' to progressives reminds me of why the putrid Rahm Emmanuel could dismiss the left as a 'bunch of retards'. Time to make them eat those words by taking ourselves and our values and our thinking seriously enough we stop fearing not being taken 'seriously' by so loathsome a crew as the Clintons.

    [Aug 20, 2016] Trip Reports from Sanders Delegates at the Democrat National Convention

    Notable quotes:
    "... Perhaps the most surreal point of the night is when a military leader speaks to how much butt we're going to kick once Hillary is elected, the Sanders delegates start the chant, "Peace, Not War", and the rest of the arena drowns this out with chants of 'U.S.A ..."
    "... We discussed how it felt Orwellian, like the two minutes of hate in 1984. "Having chants of 'No More War' attempted to be drowned out by chants of 'USA' was baffling," Alan Doucette, Bernie delegate from Las Vegas, said. "To me, USA is a symbol of justice and equality and not warmongering and looking for excuses to go to war. That's what I want it to be and what it should be." ..."
    "... "The most dislocating experience was General Allen's speech, with so many military brass on display, and the 'fight' between No More War and USA. That was chilling. Note, No More War is not: War Criminal! Or similarly 'disrespectful' stuff; it's simply a demand not to make our present worse with more 'hawkish' 'interventionist' 'regime change' wars and war-actions." ..."
    "... The US 2016 election is different. You actually have a huge choice to make. Do you vote(or not vote) to support the Washington establishment, which is clearly pushing for war with Russia, or do you vote Trump who doesn't want such a war? Your choice. ..."
    "... why would you even contemplate gambling that we can survive 4 years of Clinton without a nuclear war? ..."
    naked capitalism
    Militarism

    Mark Lasser (CO): "Perhaps the most surreal point of the night is when a military leader speaks to how much butt we're going to kick once Hillary is elected, the Sanders delegates start the chant, "Peace, Not War", and the rest of the arena drowns this out with chants of 'U.S.A.'"

    Carole Levers (CA): " I was harassed by five Hillary delegates who got in my face while I was sitting in my seat. They told me that we needed to quit chanting, go home, and that we did not belong there. They added that by chanting "No More Wars" we were disrespecting the veterans. I replied that none of us were disrespecting the veterans. We were honoring them by NOT WANTING ANY MORE DEAD VETERANS, killed in illegal wars for the profits of the wealthy. I reiterated that we were exercising our first amendment rights to which one replied that WE (Bernie delegates) had no rights. I was later shoved by a Hillary delegate into the metal frame of the seats."

    Carol Cizauskas (NV): "We heard other Bernie delegates chanting "No more war" and then the "opposing team" of Hillary delegates thundering over those chants with "USA." It was darkly eerie. We discussed how it felt Orwellian, like the two minutes of hate in 1984. "Having chants of 'No More War' attempted to be drowned out by chants of 'USA' was baffling," Alan Doucette, Bernie delegate from Las Vegas, said. "To me, USA is a symbol of justice and equality and not warmongering and looking for excuses to go to war. That's what I want it to be and what it should be."

    #SlayTheSmaugs (NY): "The most dislocating experience was General Allen's speech, with so many military brass on display, and the 'fight' between No More War and USA. That was chilling. Note, No More War is not: War Criminal! Or similarly 'disrespectful' stuff; it's simply a demand not to make our present worse with more 'hawkish' 'interventionist' 'regime change' wars and war-actions."

    Lauren Steiner (CA): "[Clinton supporters] decided to chant with us when we chanted 'Black Lives Matter.' But for some reason, they found 'No More War' to be offensive and shouted "USA" right after. At first, I was puzzled by the fact that they were shouting exactly what Trump supporters shout at his rallies. Then, after all the bellicose speeches and the fact that they had so many Republicans endorsing Clinton, it hit me that perhaps it was because they were courting Republicans now. They didn't care about our support anymore."

    Ike, August 18, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    I am reading Primary Colors by Anonymous. It is entertaining as well as reaffirming a suspected baseline of conduct.

    Lambert Strether, August 18, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Primary Colors (by Joke Line (Joe Klein)) is terrific. The movie is good too. I am so happy and amazed that I live in a world where John Travolta plays Bill Clinton in a movie.

    Jeremy Grimm, August 18, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    The harassment and dirty tricks pulled against the Sanders people - as described in these collected reports - leaves me wondering whether Sanders actually won the nomination. It would have been much more politic for the Hillary people to let the Sanders delegates blow off steam and wait until the nomination and end of the convention to circle the wagons in "unity". If Hillary clearly won the nomination then the stupidity and arrogance in team Hillary's treatment of the Sanders people speaks to a new level of disdain for the 99%. The business about the $700 hotels and the misinformation and lack of information provided from team Sanders raises other questions.

    trent, August 18, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Wow, all those testimonials from the democrat convention are an eye opener, for some. Hillary's soft Nazism on full display for any of the still true believers. Yet the press calls trump the Nazi. Trump is crazy, but its almost an honest craziness compared to Hillary. She's nuts, but manipulates everything she can to hide it. I'll take out in the open crazy, easier to plan for.


    EoinW, August 19, 2016 at 8:51 am

    I haven't voted in years. In Canada, however, we've never been given a choice on anything. Doesn't matter if the election is federal, provincial or municipal, no issues just personalities.

    The US 2016 election is different. You actually have a huge choice to make. Do you vote(or not vote) to support the Washington establishment, which is clearly pushing for war with Russia, or do you vote Trump who doesn't want such a war? Your choice.

    But why would you even contemplate gambling that we can survive 4 years of Clinton without a nuclear war? Speculating on global warming or third party movements kind of lose their significance during a nuclear winter.

    Patricia

    This young woman turned it into a tale, "The Bullshittery of the DNC":

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHD_bj5fXO0

    [Aug 19, 2016] For decades already, neoliberalized centre-left parties all over the world have been engaged to varying extents in deregulation, privatisation, welfare state reduction, TTIP-style neoliberal globalism and now, most recently, austerity not to mention a slavish pro-US foreign policy

    Clinton betrayal and sell out of Democratic Party to Wall Street was actually a phenomenon affecting other similar parties, especially in Europe. And not only in Great Britain, where Tony Bliar was a real copycat.
    Notable quotes:
    "... Ideology or political philosophy may matter to the skilled politician, but it matters less as a matter of conviction than as the précis of a novel's plot. It is like a key they use to encode rhetorical poses for the occasion, to signal that they understand the concerns of whatever group they are speaking to. ..."
    "... It is one of the odd (to me) features of political attitude formation that so many people have amnesia where there should be some basic appreciation for what politics, at base, is about. (Politics is about who gets what, when, how, in Harold Lasswell's immortal title.) ..."
    "... Neoliberalism is possibly the most important set of political phenomena -- certainly the most consequential -- in our generation's experience of political ideas and movements, and yet a common impulse is to deny it is exists or labels anything more meaningful than a catch-all "don't like it". ..."
    "... I do think think there's something to the contention that a political re-alignment is underway and the iron hold that neoliberalism has on the Media discourse is rusting. Rusting or not, the structures of propaganda and manipulation remain highly centralized, so even if the rhetorical tropes lose their meaning and emotional resonance, it isn't clear that the structures of authority won't continue, their legitimacy torn and tattered but not displaced. Because there's no replacement candidate, yet. ..."
    "... I agree, of course, that Marxism is obsolete. But, it does furnish a model of what an ideology can do to explain political economy and its possibilities, providing a rally point and a confession of faith. The contrast to our present common outlook highlights that several things are clearly missing for us now: one is economic class antagonism, the idea that the rich are the enemy, that rich people make themselves rich by preying on the society, and that fundamental, structural remedies are available thru politics. ..."
    "... I do think there's a reservoir of inchoate anger about elite betrayal and malfeasance. The irony of being presented the choice of Trump and Clinton as a remedy is apparently not fully appreciated by our commenters, let alone the irony of rummaging the attic and bringing down Sanders, like he was a suit of retro clothes last worn by one's grandfather. ..."
    "... Above, Layman reminds us that George W Bush sold himself as a compassionate conservative. Quite a few adults voted for him I understand. Supposedly quite a few did so thinking that dry drunk would be a good fellow to have a beer with. Because . . . I guess some pundits thought to tell them that that is what politics is about, having a guy in the most powerful office in the federal government that you identify with - a guy who cuts brush at his ranch with a chainsaw. ..."
    crookedtimber.org

    bruce wilder 08.11.16 at 5:33 pm 618

    F Foundling @ 605: The 'self' one can rely on is mostly features of temperament and style, not policy. The 'brand' is also to a large extent about style, not substance, and it is subject to change, too.

    The handful of politicians I have known personally have had fewer and lighter personal commitments to political policy preferences, than most, say, news junkies. They are trying to get political power, which rests at the nexus of conflicting forces. They have to put themselves at the crossroads, so to speak, and - maybe this is one of the paradoxes of power -- if they are to exercise power from being at a nexus, they have to be available to be used; they have to be open to persuasion, if they are to persuade.

    Ideology or political philosophy may matter to the skilled politician, but it matters less as a matter of conviction than as the précis of a novel's plot. It is like a key they use to encode rhetorical poses for the occasion, to signal that they understand the concerns of whatever group they are speaking to.

    T: If inequality remains the same or increases and growth remains low (and I believe they are very much linked) there will be new challengers from both the right and left and one of them will win. It did take a good 70 yrs to vanquish the robber barons.

    If there's a perennial lodestar for politics, it is this: the distribution of income, wealth and power. Follow the money is a good way to make sense of any criminal enterprise.

    F. Foundling: For decades already, so-called centre-left parties all over the world (can't vouch for *every* country) have been engaged to varying extents in deregulation, privatisation, welfare state reduction, TTIP-style neoliberal globalism and now, most recently, austerity (not to mention a slavish pro-US foreign policy).

    Yes.

    It is one of the odd (to me) features of political attitude formation that so many people have amnesia where there should be some basic appreciation for what politics, at base, is about. (Politics is about who gets what, when, how, in Harold Lasswell's immortal title.)

    I suspect that William the Conqueror had scarcely summered twice in England before someone was explaining to the peasantry that he was building those castles to protect the people.

    Neoliberalism is possibly the most important set of political phenomena -- certainly the most consequential -- in our generation's experience of political ideas and movements, and yet a common impulse is to deny it is exists or labels anything more meaningful than a catch-all "don't like it".

    RP: A lot of what people seem to be talking about is Overton Window stuff. I'm not convinced.

    I do think think there's something to the contention that a political re-alignment is underway and the iron hold that neoliberalism has on the Media discourse is rusting. Rusting or not, the structures of propaganda and manipulation remain highly centralized, so even if the rhetorical tropes lose their meaning and emotional resonance, it isn't clear that the structures of authority won't continue, their legitimacy torn and tattered but not displaced. Because there's no replacement candidate, yet.

    By replacement candidate, I mean some set of ideas about how society and political economy can be positively structured and legitimated as functional.

    I agree, of course, that Marxism is obsolete. But, it does furnish a model of what an ideology can do to explain political economy and its possibilities, providing a rally point and a confession of faith. The contrast to our present common outlook highlights that several things are clearly missing for us now: one is economic class antagonism, the idea that the rich are the enemy, that rich people make themselves rich by preying on the society, and that fundamental, structural remedies are available thru politics.

    I do think there's a reservoir of inchoate anger about elite betrayal and malfeasance. The irony of being presented the choice of Trump and Clinton as a remedy is apparently not fully appreciated by our commenters, let alone the irony of rummaging the attic and bringing down Sanders, like he was a suit of retro clothes last worn by one's grandfather.

    bruce wilder 08.11.16 at 10:36 pm

    Lee A. Arnold: I don't think I've met anyone over the age of consent who doesn't know what politicians are all about.

    Above, Layman reminds us that George W Bush sold himself as a compassionate conservative. Quite a few adults voted for him I understand. Supposedly quite a few did so thinking that dry drunk would be a good fellow to have a beer with. Because . . . I guess some pundits thought to tell them that that is what politics is about, having a guy in the most powerful office in the federal government that you identify with - a guy who cuts brush at his ranch with a chainsaw. How many times did Maureen Dowd tell the story of dog strapped to the roof on the Romney family vacation?

    In my comment, you may have read "politician" but I actually wrote, "politics". And, I did not write that there was only inchoate anger. You added "only".

    [Aug 14, 2016] It has been said that you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. Bernie Sanders wishes to fool all of the people, at least those who were once his loyal devotees, all of the time.

    www.counterpunch.org
    It has been said that you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. Apparently, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders wishes to fool all of the people, at least those who were once his loyal devotees, all of the time. This writer received an enthusiastic email from some organization talking about the next steps in Mr. Sanders 'revolution', and requesting that this writer hold a house party to watch a speech to be given by the senator, as part of the initiation of a new organization called 'Our Revolution'.

    Well, there is certainly something revolting about all this, but it has nothing to do with a social change.

    Mr. Sanders, that avowed socialist with a long and undistinguished career in what passes in the U.S. for public service (well-paid 'service', that is), lost all credibility with any but his most blindly loyal followers when, after months of railing against everything that Hillary Clinton stands for, even to the point of calling her unfit to be president, he put on a happy face and gave her a glowing endorsement at the Democratic Convention. Does this sound to the reader like a man of integrity? Does endorsing Miss Wall Street 2016 have that ring of revolutionary fervor? Does such glowing support of the Princess of Israel sound like part of revolutionary change

    Methinks not. No, his support for Mrs. Clinton, and his forthcoming address about 'Our Revolution', seem to be the work of a career politician who wants to bask in whatever remains of the adulation of his naive and enthusiastic youthful followers, while at the same time enjoying all the perquisites of 'the good old boys' club'. The only thing he sacrifices along the way (in addition, of course, to self-respect, but who in elected office has that anyway?), is credibility. Oh, and integrity. And honesty. Well, maybe he does make many sacrifices to enjoy both the prestige of change agent and maintainer of the status quo. But really, does anyone do it better than he?

    [Aug 13, 2016] Inside The Head Of Trump Voters

    Notable quotes:
    "... individuals' innate psychological predispositions to intolerance ("authoritarianism") interacting with changing conditions of societal threat. The threatening conditions, particularly resonant in the present political climate, that exacerbate authoritarian attitudes include, most critically, great dissension in public opinion and general loss of confidence in political leaders. Using purpose-built experimental manipulations, cross-national survey data and in-depth personal interviews with extreme authoritarians and libertarians, the book shows that this simple model provides the most complete account of political conflict across the ostensibly distinct domains of race and immigration, civil liberties, morality, crime and punishment, and of when and why those battles will be most heated. ..."
    "... But the latent authoritarianism within them is triggered when they perceive a threat to the stable moral order. ..."
    "... It's at this point in the talk when Haidt surely began to make his audience squirm. He says that in his work as an academic and social psychologist, he sees colleagues constantly demonizing and mocking conservatives. He warns them to knock it off. "We need political diversity," he says. And: "They are members of our community." ..."
    "... The discourse and behavior of the Left, says Haidt, is alienating millions of ordinary people all over the West. It's not just America. We are sliding towards authoritarianism all over the West, and there's really only one way to stop it. ..."
    "... we can reduce intolerance and defuse the conflict by focusing on sameness. We need unifying rituals, beliefs, institutions, and practices, he says, drawing on Stenner's research. The romance the Left has long had with multiculturalism and diversity (as the Left defines it) has to end, because it's helping tear us apart. ..."
    "... If we don't have a feasible conservative party, we open the way for authoritarianism. ..."
    "... I don't think the center can hold anymore. It's too late. The cultural left in this country is very authoritarian, at least as regards orthodox Christians and other social conservatives. On one of the Stenner slides, we see that she defines one characteristic of authoritarians as "punishing out groups." Conservative Christians are the big out group for the cultural left, and have been for a long time. ..."
    "... The threat to the moral order is very real, and not really much of a threat anymore; it's a reality. ..."
    "... Haidt says that the authoritarian impulse comes when people cease trusting in leaders. Yep, that's where a lot of us are, and not by choice. ..."
    The American Conservative
    If you look back far enough in humankind's history, you will observe that you don't see civilizations starting without their building temples first. Haidt, who is a secular liberal, is not making a theistic point, not really. He's saying that the work of civilization can only be accomplished when a people binds itself together around a shared sense of the sacred. It's what makes a people a people, and a civilization a civilization. "It doesn't have to be a god," says Haidt. Anything that we hold sacred, and hold it together, is enough.

    The thing is, this force works like an electromagnetic field: the more tightly it binds us, the more alien others appear to us, and the more we find it impossible to empathize with them. This is what Haidt means by saying that morality binds and blinds.

    Haidt quizzes the 700-800 people in the hall about their Hillary vs. Trump feelings. The group - all psychologists, therapists, professors of psychology, and so forth - were overwhelmingly pro-Hillary and anti-Trump. No surprise there. But then he tells them that if they believe that they could treat without bias a patient who is an open Trump supporter, they're lying to themselves. In the America of 2016, political bias is the most powerful bias of all - more polarizing by far than race, even.

    Haidt turns to the work of social psychologist Karen Stenner, and her 2005 book The Authoritarian Dynamic. The publisher describes the book like this (boldface emphases mine):

    What are the root causes of intolerance? This book addresses that question by developing a universal theory of what determines intolerance of difference in general, which includes racism, political intolerance, moral intolerance and punitiveness. It demonstrates that all these seemingly disparate attitudes are principally caused by just two factors: individuals' innate psychological predispositions to intolerance ("authoritarianism") interacting with changing conditions of societal threat. The threatening conditions, particularly resonant in the present political climate, that exacerbate authoritarian attitudes include, most critically, great dissension in public opinion and general loss of confidence in political leaders. Using purpose-built experimental manipulations, cross-national survey data and in-depth personal interviews with extreme authoritarians and libertarians, the book shows that this simple model provides the most complete account of political conflict across the ostensibly distinct domains of race and immigration, civil liberties, morality, crime and punishment, and of when and why those battles will be most heated.

    Haidt says Stenner discerns three strands of contemporary political conservatism: 1) laissez-faire libertarians (typically, business Republicans); 2) Burkeans (e.g., social conservatives who value stability); and 3) authoritarians.

    Haidt makes a point of saying that it's simply wrong to call Trump a fascist. He's too individualistic for that. He's an authoritarian, but that is not a synonym for fascist, no matter how much the Left wants to say it is.

    According to Haidt's reading of Stenner, authoritarianism is not a stable personality trait. Most people are not naturally authoritarian. But the latent authoritarianism within them is triggered when they perceive a threat to the stable moral order.

    It's at this point in the talk when Haidt surely began to make his audience squirm. He says that in his work as an academic and social psychologist, he sees colleagues constantly demonizing and mocking conservatives. He warns them to knock it off. "We need political diversity," he says. And: "They are members of our community."

    The discourse and behavior of the Left, says Haidt, is alienating millions of ordinary people all over the West. It's not just America. We are sliding towards authoritarianism all over the West, and there's really only one way to stop it.

    At the 41:37 point in the talk, Haidt says that we can reduce intolerance and defuse the conflict by focusing on sameness. We need unifying rituals, beliefs, institutions, and practices, he says, drawing on Stenner's research. The romance the Left has long had with multiculturalism and diversity (as the Left defines it) has to end, because it's helping tear us apart.

    This fall, the Democrats are taking Stenner's advice brilliantly, says Haidt, referring to the convention the Dems just put on, and Hillary's speech about how we're all better off standing together. Haidt says this is actually good advice, period. "It's not just propaganda you wheel out at election time," he says. If we don't have a feasible conservative party, we open the way for authoritarianism.

    To end the talk, Haidt focuses on what his own very tribe - psychologists and academics - can do to make things better. They can start by being aware of their own extreme bias. "We lean very far left," he says, then shows a graph tracking how far from the center the academy has become over the past 20 years.

    Haidt says we don't need "equality" - that is, an equal number of conservatives and liberals in the academy. We just need to have diversity enough for people to be challenged in their viewpoints, so an academic community can flourish according to its nature. But this is not what we have. According to the research Haidt presents, in 1996, liberals in the academy outnumbered conservatives 2:1. Today, it's 5:1 - and the conservatives are concentrated in engineering and other technical fields. Says Haidt: "In the core areas of the university - in the humanities and social sciences - it's 10 to 1 and 40 to 1."

    The Right has left the university faculties, he said - and a lot of that is because they got tired of the "hostile climate and discrimination"

    "People who are not on the left … are often in the closet," says Haidt. "They can't speak up. They can't criticize. They hear somebody say something, they believe it's false, but they can't speak up and say why they believe it's false. And that is a breakdown in our science."

    Until they repent (my word, not his), university professors will continue to be part of the problem, not the solution, says Haidt. He ends by calling on his colleagues to "get our hearts in order." To stop being moralistic hypocrites. To be humble. To be more forgiving, and more open to hearing what their opponents have to say. Says Haidt, "If we want to change things, we need to do it more from the perspective of love, not of hate."

    It's an extraordinary speech by a brave man who is a true humanist. Watch it all here, and read more about it.

    Here's what I think about all of this.

    I don't think the center can hold anymore. It's too late. The cultural left in this country is very authoritarian, at least as regards orthodox Christians and other social conservatives. On one of the Stenner slides, we see that she defines one characteristic of authoritarians as "punishing out groups." Conservative Christians are the big out group for the cultural left, and have been for a long time.

    We are the people who defile what they consider most sacred: sexual liberty, including abortion rights and gay rights. The liberals in control now (as distinct from all liberals, let me be clear) have made it clear that they will not compromise with what they consider to be evil. We are the Klan to them. Error has no rights in this world they're building.

    If you'll recall my blogging about Hillary Clinton's convention speech, I really liked it in theory - the unity business. The thing is, I don't believe for one second that it is anything but election propaganda. I don't believe that the Democratic Party today has any interest in making space for us. I wish I did believe that. I don't see any evidence for it. They and their supporters will drive us out of certain professions, and do whatever they can to rub our noses in the dirt.

    I know liberal readers of this blog will say, "But we don't!" To which I say: you don't, maybe, but you're not running the show, alas.

    The threat to the moral order is very real, and not really much of a threat anymore; it's a reality. As I've written in this space many times, this is not something that was done to us; all of us, Republicans and Democrats, Christians and non-Christians, have done this to ourselves. At this point, all I want for my tribe is to be left alone. But the crusading Left won't let that happen anymore. They don't even want the Mormons to be allowed to play football foe the Big 12, for heaven's sake. This assault is relentless. Far too many complacent Christians believe it will never hurt them, that it will never happen where they live. It can and it will.

    There is no center anymore. Alasdair MacIntyre was right. I may not be able to vote in good conscience for Trump (and I certainly will not vote for Hillary Clinton), but I know exactly why a number of good people have convinced themselves that this is the right thing to do. Haidt says that the authoritarian impulse comes when people cease trusting in leaders. Yep, that's where a lot of us are, and not by choice.

    This week, I've been interviewing people for the Work chapter of my Benedict Option book. In all but one case, the interviewees - lawyers, law professors, a doctor, corporate types, academics - would only share their opinion if I promised that I wouldn't use their name. They know what things are like where they work. They know that this is going to spread. That fear, that remaining inside the closet, tells you something about where you are. When professionals feel that to state their opinion would be to put their careers at risk, we are not in normal times.

    The center has not held. I certainly wish Jon Haidt well. He's a good man doing brave, important work. And I hope he proves me wrong on this. I honestly do. Because if I'm right, there goes America. On the other hand, reasoning that this must not be true therefore it is not true is a good way to get run over.

    [Aug 12, 2016] Robert Fitrakis Sanders May Have Lost Due to Election Fraud

    www.defenddemocracy.press

    Defend Democracy Press

    FITRAKIS: Well one of the obvious things in this election was the visible hijacking of Bernie Sanders voters. Bernie brought in what political scientists would call an asymmetrical entrance of new voters. He went out and got a lot of people that hadn�t voted previously and at first emerged in New York City, in Brooklyn where you had 126 thousand people. Overwhelmingly new voters supporting Bernie that were purged at the last second from the voting rolls. And that�s being investigated but it turned out to be a clerk said to have Republican leanings. But just prior to the purge, the daughter of a Clinton super delegate had bought property from her. A million and a half dollars over the street value that wasn�t even being listed. So at least it calls into question, whether it was an old fashioned Tammany Hall bribe for purging voters.

    So it�s what me and my co-author Harvey [Wasserman] call vote stripping, right? I think before this is all through the leaks by the Democratic National Committee, you�ll find that somebody had access to those databases and were targeting the Bernie people to purge them.

    NOOR: And can you talk about what the tactics were that were used in order to target these Bernie supporters and as youre saying, discount their votes?

    FITRAKIS: Well, you simply purge them from the voting rolls. And that can be done in a variety of ways depending upon the state. In most states people dont realize it but you privatize with companies, the voter databases. And also you have often these poll books. Many of them are electronic that are also created by proprietary companies.

    So the US is the only democracy in the world that allows private for profit partisan companies those that actually make contributions as did Dominion, the remnants of [Depolled] that went out of business for worldwide fraud following the 04 election and Hart Intercivic. So Hart Intercivic and Dominion both made contributions to the Clinton foundation. So you wonder, when a candidates running for president, why are voting machine companies making donations to their campaigns?

    So we allow these private, for-profit partisan companies to count our vote, to set our databases with secret proprietary software that nobody can look at. It violates every principle of transparency. And the only person on a high level willing to talk about this is Jimmy Carter, who says to Der Spiegel that America has a dysfunctional democracy and that we dont meet minimum standards of transparency.

    ... ... ...

    So all the evidence says were the absolute worst. But youve got this enculturation. Youve got two parties and both historically corporate capitalists parties, particularly since the Koch brothers decided we needed a DLC following the 84 election that they wanted a corporate wing of the Republican Party and they got that in 1992 in the form of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, which were both DLC people. Two corporate capitalist free trade parties. People wouldnt even, many people think Sanders was very progressive and he was and he spoke as a democratic socialist.

    But Jerry Brown in 1992 called for a 50% cut in the U.S. military. I mean, thats territory. But George Herbert Walker Bush actually talked about a peace dividend. We dont even talk anymore about nearly half of the money on planet earth beings spent in the U.S. military. And weve got soldier arguably or advisers in 181 out of 203 nations no one wants to say in great detail. And Sanders was touching on all these issues that that appears to be imperialism.

    But these the Stein campaign has enormous room to actually talk about what is happening in the United States. She asked people on the stage at this convention actually used the correct term, imperialism. And they actually do talk about a rigged election system. Because its systematically rigged when you bring these private contractors in and then they say its a computer glitch. In 2004 [D Bolt] two weeks before the election, accidentally glitched 10,000 voters in the city of Cleveland who were going to vote 95% for John Kerry.

    I dont believe those are glitches. I believe private contractors in this privatization has allowed big money to come in in the form of the corporation. And theres an old axiom, theres not much money in counting vote but theres a lot of money in the voting results.

    [Aug 12, 2016] Michael Hudson: Clintons Red-Baiting Distracts from Failure to Address Inequality, War-Mongering as Trump Flails

    This lesser evilness trap is a standard trick inherent in two party system setup, designed to prevent voting for third party candidate and essentially limiting public discourse to selection between two oligarchy stooges. Moreover Hillary is definitely greater evil. Invoking of Nader to justify voting for Hillary is pure neoliberal propaganda designed to get the establishment candidate (who has significant and dangerous for any politician, to say nothing about POTUS, health problems) into White House. that why neoliberal MSM are baking non-stop at Trump, trying exaggerate any his misstep to galactic proportions. ...
    Notable quotes:
    "... Michael, in a recent article that you penned on your website, you argued that Hillary Clinton's campaign is using a very clever strategy in that it is trying to associate criticism of Clinton with support for Trump and therefore support for Russia, which in the end is anti-American ..."
    "... Trump opposes the neocon line toward Russia, and because he criticizes NATO, Russia benefits. Therefore Putin must have stolen the leaks and put them out, to make America weaker, not stronger, by helping the Trump campaign by showing the DNC's dirty tricks toward Bernie's followers. ..."
    "... Most of all, Hillary is still the war candidate. Trump already has said, "Look at what she did to Libya." By displacing Libya, she turned its arms cache over to terrorist groups that have become ISIS, Al-Nusra, and the other terrorist in the Near East. So she's the Queen of Chaos. Finally, she's the candidate of Wall Street, given the fact even the Koch Brothers have said they're not going to back Trump, they're going to back Hillary because she's on their side. George Soros and most other big moguls and billionaires are now siding with the Democratic Party, not Trump. ..."
    "... She is a candidate of Wall Street and she is as you say, now being supported even by the neocons. They're holding fundraisers for her. And the Koch brothers and so on. ..."
    "... Trump will win if he can make the election all about Hillary, and Hillary will win if she can make the election all about Trump. ..."
    "... "America needs an ineffective president. That's much better than an effective president that's going to go to war with Russia, that's going to push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that's going to protect Wall Street, and that's going to oppose neoliberal austerity." ..."
    "... I am absolutely terrified of Hillary Clinton becoming President. She strikes me as having psychopathic tendencies. I mean, just look at the scandals she and Bill have been involved in, and then when she gets caught, she lies, feigns ignorance, deflects, blames others, lies some more. Power and money are her goals. ..."
    "... I'm sure he will quash TPP, renegotiate nafta and be less belligerent with Russia. But what will happen when he and his non-government-indoctrinated team of advisers finally see every bit of redacted and "confidential" information that has been routinely hidden from the public and lied about for decades? ..."
    "... The loss of sovereignty inherent in the "trade" agreements and incoherent Middle East policies, to name a few "strategies" this country is pursuing, have a larger purpose. We private citizens have just not been privy to it. How private citizen Trump will proceed if he is elected and comes to know the government's deepest, darkest secrets is anybody's guess. ..."
    "... I think its a safe assumption that if Trump is elected he will be carefully 'minded' to ensure he can't gain access to information that would upset the applecart. ..."
    "... As for Donnie taking down TPP and being the peace candidate, I think people should sit down and take a few deep breaths. As a New Yorker who's observed him for his entire public life, and as a 90 second scanning of his career demonstrates, the man cannot be trusted to speak truthfully about anything ..."
    "... You're right. He'll make a good court jester. That's about it. as for "the man cannot be trusted to speak truthfully about anything" reminds me of someone who gets on TeeVee and does that well. And he really didn't have any experience but he got himself good handlers and others who ran the country. ..."
    "... Exactly right! Trump is dangerous…to the establishment. And the establishment is what we have to get rid of. ..."
    "... As flawed a character as Trump is, he still represents our last chance to challenge the establishment. It won't be a pretty presidency – but it will be entertaining – however the alternative is the ultimate horror show. Plus you are gambling that Clinton won't start a nuclear war and end the human race. Why would anyone in their right mind touch that wager? ..."
    "... It is unlikely that Trump will be able to deport more people than Obama's record breaking administration. ..."
    "... Obama actually ended up rejecting Clinton's continuous advice for more more more military intervention. ..."
    "... I agree with you that Trump is not likable, and an unknown. The problem is that the known is despicable. Neither, let me repeat, neither candidate should be anywhere near this close to the White House. ..."
    "... You have obviously chosen the despicable hateful war mongering devil you know. Others are willing to roll the dice with the guy who has incoherently at least given a nod to the idea that war with Russia is not a smart plan, and that our current military choices are not effective – not to mention a far more coherent case that our trade policy is screwed up and needs to be changed. ..."
    "... Trump wants to stop "illegal" immigration so that poor Americans can have jobs. Illegals lower wages (because American employers pay them less), they increase rents (supply and demand), and they cost a fortune in medical and educational costs. He's for "legal" immigration when the country needs more workers. I don't think that is being racist, although he doesn't have a very nice way of saying things. ..."
    "... Muslim immigration stopped until they can be properly vetted? That's just being prudent and careful, but again he could say things in a much kinder way. ..."
    "... He's a wild man, but at least he's upfront about it. I see her as being a narcissist that just hides it better than he does. She could get us all killed. ..."
    "... While Trump is upfront (yikes, I know), I see Hillary as the secretive, conniving, manipulative, scheming, backstabbing type. When someone slights Trump, out comes his response right back at them. It's over. But I would not want to cross her. I see her as cold, with very, very little conscience. I mean, would you ever have tried to pull off the scandals she has been involved in? No. She seeks power and money, and look out if you ever got in her way. She never says she's sorry, not really. Most you get out of her is she made a "mistake". ..."
    "... Her outright aggression towards Russia, Syria, Libya, Ukraine should give you a hint of what lurks inside. And she doesn't attack these countries to better the U.S. She's doing it solely for her own person gain: money into the Clinton Foundation, business for her speech-giving husband, all to further the Clinton's. ..."
    "... IMO, a very dangerous person, a very dangerous couple. And she has said, if she's elected, she will put Bill Clinton in charge of "economic affairs"! Can you just imagine what more deregulation will do for the banks? He repealed Glass-Steagall and brought us the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, as well as NAFTA. Get ready to hear a "huge" sucking sound if Hillary is elected. The place will be gutted. ..."
    "... Perhaps with a hateful, racist, despicable con man trying to tell them what to do, congress just might re-assert its authority instead of acting as a rubber stamp. Which is the LOTE – Trump antagonizing congress into gridlock or HRC manipulating them into moar war? ..."
    "... It sounds like you're talking about HRC when you're talking about Trump. She coined the term "super predators" so they could enrich the private prison industry by filling the jails with black people, she has waged wars against brown people in the middle east for no particular reason except corporate profits and power, no respect for their theocracies or the delicate balance that "supposed" tyrants there accomplished that had enduring peace there (some may argue). Where has Trump exhibited such hatred and racism? His policies? What policies? No one that has worked for him ever described him as hateful, racist or despicable. Stop believing the propaganda on TV. ..."
    "... You might think Obama doesn't like us, the 99%, but Hillary probably hates us. Pay attention, the most "effective evil" is the evil to fear. ..."
    "... If it's not close in my state, I will vote 3rd party. If it is close, I'll vote for Clinton over Trump. There is a good interview with Chomsky on this on youtube which I'm too lazy to look up right now. ..."
    "... "Hillary took the lead role in the White House's efforts to pass a corporate-friendly version of "health reform." Along with the big insurance companies the Clintons deceptively railed against, the "co-presidents" decided from the start to exclude the popular health care alternative – single payer – from the national health care "discussion." (Obama would do the same thing in 2009.) ..."
    "... Beyond backing by a citizen super-majority, Himmelstein noted, single-payer would provide comprehensive coverage to the nation's 40 million uninsured while retaining free choice in doctor selection and being certified by the Congressional Budget Office as "the most cost-effective plan on offer." ..."
    "... That whole article deals with the "fake liberalism" exhibited by the Clinton's and Obama. It says they only "pretend" to care. ..."
    "... clinton is the more effective evil for another reason; she is respected by other neoliberals who rule the world in other countries. even if trump wanted to pass the TPP, TTIP and TISA, the intense dislike of him would make it easier to reject the bills in countries like Canada, Australia, the EU. A Hillary presidency would just about guarantee they'd sign. ..."
    "... it's common knowledge that the current "rigged" system, as Donald Trump keeps calling it, has been instrumental in bringing American politics and government to their present state of dysfunction at local, state and national levels. Americans hate and despise this elitist system; everyone is disgusted with the political donor class whose billions of dollars underwrite the election-rigging televised attack ads that dominate it. ..."
    "... At the Demo Convention Bernie Sanders neatly pinpointed the topics with which this bogus system is obsessed: "Let me be as clear as I can be. … This election is not about political gossip. It's not about polls. It's not about campaign strategy. It's not about fundraising. It's not about all the things the media spends so much time discussing." ..."
    "... Do you see it as possible that empowered citizens will truly be willing to take on big capital, even when big capital goes to war on them? I'm skeptical ..."
    "... The evil to fear is the most effective evil. Hillary IS both sides of the aisle and Congress will allow her all her neocon neoliberal desires, Trump is neither side of the aisle and would be ineffective because he doesn't belong to the neoliberal neocons, he's not an insider and obviously won't play their games. ..."
    "... Oh heck yes. This is a fight that has been going on for decades with battles like the War Powers Act and Nixon's impeachment. Supposedly the Founding Fathers didn't want an all powerful chief executive and thought that Congress would be the dominant force. But in modern times, even before Clinton v Trump, we already had gone much too far in the direction of a caudillo. Internally one person with a bully pulpit will never be able to change the current course and overseas presidents have a frightening amount of power that they can wield and then dare Congress to do something about it afterwards. ..."
    "... HRC has got the big corporate money behind her, the media too. Trump is fighting an uphill battle. If you watch CNN, which I watch very little of, they spend almost the whole time pulling apart what Trump has said, and very, very little press on Hillary's email, the Clinton Foundation, etc. ..."
    "... They are going after Trump with all that they have. They want the status quo to remain, and they are very worried that he might change it. Hillary is Wall Street, multinational corporations, arms dealers, weapons manufacturers, the military-industrial complex ..."
    "... "When you join the dots to Trump also preaching a policy revolt against the insatiable corporate jaws feeding on trillions of dollars of public budgets in Washington, the meaning becomes clear. But that connected meaning is blacked out. In its place, the corporate media and politicians present an egomaniac blowhard bordering on fascism who preaches hate, racism and sexism. ..."
    "... He is on record saying he will cut the Pentagon's budget "by 50%". No winning politician has ever dared to take on the military-industrial complex, with even Eisenhower only naming it in his parting speech. ..."
    "... Trump also says that the US "must be neutral, an honest broker" on the Israeli-Palestine conflict – as unspeakable as it gets in US politics ..."
    "... Hillary and her team will try to paint Trump as a lover of Putin, as a racist, bigot, bring the narrative down to this only. This way, no one ends up talking about the corporate elites she represents. Good, read some more, crittermom, and open your eyes even more. There's a lot more going on than meets the eye. ..."
    "... Recently I asked a wise person I know what historically follows an oligarchy (which is what I believe we have been in for awhile now). He told me that an oligarchy is usually followed by a dictatorship. ..."
    "... A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy". ..."
    "... How could Trump become a dictator? Congress will be hostile. Judiciary will be hostile. Pentagon will be hostile (didn't you see all those generals and admirals, in uniform, literally lining up behind Clinton?) Civil administration will be sullen, uncooperative, and leaking like crazy. ..."
    "... Trump does not have his own freestanding parallel state organization, ready to move in and take over the bureaucracy and the armed forces. It would be physically impossible for Trump to attempt a mass purge. ..."
    "... Just think: if you elect Trump, you would actually get to see the US Constitution's fabled "checks and balances" come into play for once in your life! ..."
    "... How could Trump become a dictator? ..."
    "... This is complete rhetorical garbage, the same kind of nonsense displayed when he is shock quoted and only the narrative supporting text is copied (such as the convenient omission that the fabled day in which Clinton could be assassinated would be "horrible"). It also fits well with the Democrats' habit of burying themselves instead of putting up a fight. ..."
    "... While Trump is a buffoon who might lead us into bad situations as he stumbles around, Hillary Clinton displays an undeniable and proven malice aforethought that he does not. ..."
    www.nakedcapitalism.com

    ... ... ...

    PERIES: So Michael, in a recent article that you penned on your website, you argued that Hillary Clinton's campaign is using a very clever strategy in that it is trying to associate criticism of Clinton with support for Trump and therefore support for Russia, which in the end is anti-American . Now, this type of association game, which is supposed to make it difficult for Sanders supporters to criticize Clinton, what implication does this have on the overall politics in this country?

    HUDSON: Well, it certainly changed things in earlier elections. The Republican convention was as is normal, all about their candidate Trump. But surprisingly, so was the Democratic convention. That was all about Trump too – as the devil. The platform Hillary's running on is "I'm not Trump. I'm the lesser evil."

    She elaborates that by saying that Trump is Putin's ploy. When the Democratic National Committee (someone within it, or without) leaked the information to Wikileaks, the Democrats and Hillary asked, "Who benefits from this"? Ah-ha. Becaue Trump opposes the neocon line toward Russia, and because he criticizes NATO, Russia benefits. Therefore Putin must have stolen the leaks and put them out, to make America weaker, not stronger, by helping the Trump campaign by showing the DNC's dirty tricks toward Bernie's followers.

    Then Assange did an Internet interview and implied that it was not a cyberwar attack but a leak – indicating that it came from an insider inn the DNC. If this is true, then the Democrats are simply trying to blame it all on Trump – diverting attention from what the leaks' actual content!

    This is old-fashioned red baiting. I saw it 60 years ago when I was a teenager. I went to a high school where teachers used to turn in reports on what we said in class to the FBI every month. The State Department was emptied out of "realists" and staffed with Alan Dulles-type Cold Warriors. One couldn't talk about certain subjects. That is what red-baiting does. So the effect at the Democratic Convention was about Hillary trying to avoid taking about her own policies and herself. Except for what her husband said about "I met a girl" (not meaning Jennifer Flowers or Monica Lewinski.)

    The red baiting succeeded, and the convention wasn't about Hillary – at least, not her economic policies. It was more about Obama. She tied herself to Obama, and next to Trump = Putin, the convention's second underlying theme was that Hillary was going to be Obama's third term. That's what Obama himself said when he came and addressed the convention.

    The problem with this strategy is it's exactly the problem the Republicans faced in 2008, when voters turned against George Bush's administration. Voters wanted change. And they do today. Hillary did not say "I'm going to have hope and change from the last years of Obama." She said, in effect, "I'm not going to change anything. I'm going to continue Obama's policies that have made you all so prosperous." She talked about how employment is rising and everyone is better off.

    Well, the problem is that many people aren't better off than the last eight years. Ten million families have lost their homes, and most peoples' budgets are being squeezed. Obama saved the banks not the economy. So Trump's line and the Republican line in this election could well be: "Are you really better off than you were eight years ago? Or, are you actually worse off? Where are all your gains? You're further in debt. You're having more difficulty meeting your paychecks, you're running up your student loans. You're really not better off and we're going to be the party of hope and change."

    Hillary can't really counter that with the policies she has. Trump and the Republicans can say that even though she disavowed the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the trade agreement with Europe, all the Democratic representatives that voted for the TPP have won re-nomination, and it's still on the burner.

    Most of all, Hillary is still the war candidate. Trump already has said, "Look at what she did to Libya." By displacing Libya, she turned its arms cache over to terrorist groups that have become ISIS, Al-Nusra, and the other terrorist in the Near East. So she's the Queen of Chaos. Finally, she's the candidate of Wall Street, given the fact even the Koch Brothers have said they're not going to back Trump, they're going to back Hillary because she's on their side. George Soros and most other big moguls and billionaires are now siding with the Democratic Party, not Trump.

    What did Hilary actually say at the convention besides "I'm not Trump, Trump is worse." She's trying to make the whole election over her rival, not over herself.

    PERIES: Okay, so everything you say about Hillary Clinton may be true, and it's more in your favor that it is true. She is a candidate of Wall Street and she is as you say, now being supported even by the neocons. They're holding fundraisers for her. And the Koch brothers and so on. So when we opened this interview we were talking about what the Bernie Sanders supporters should now do, because Trump is starting to appeal like he's the candidate of ordinary people. So what are they to do?

    HUDSON: Well, if the election is between the most unpopular woman candidate in America and the most unpopular male candidate, the winner is going to be whoever can make the election fought over the other person. Trump will win if he can make the election all about Hillary, and Hillary will win if she can make the election all about Trump. It looks like she's able to do this, because Trump is even more narcissistic than she is.

    backwardsevolution , August 10, 2016 at 5:37 am

    EndOfTheWorld- totally agree with you. I just shake my head at Bernie. Diametrically opposed to Clinton, he suddenly turns around and embraces her! What? I will never understand that.

    "America needs an ineffective president. That's much better than an effective president that's going to go to war with Russia, that's going to push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that's going to protect Wall Street, and that's going to oppose neoliberal austerity."

    He's right too. I am absolutely terrified of Hillary Clinton becoming President. She strikes me as having psychopathic tendencies. I mean, just look at the scandals she and Bill have been involved in, and then when she gets caught, she lies, feigns ignorance, deflects, blames others, lies some more. Power and money are her goals.

    She has called Putin "Hitler", said she wants to expand NATO, and again said she wants to take out Assad. Well, how is she going to do that when Russia is in there? God, she is scary. I just hope that there's a big Clinton Foundation email leak to finish her off.

    Trump is out there, but at least he wants to try to negotiate peace (of course, if war wasn't making so many people rich, it would be stopped tomorrow). He's questioning why NATO is necessary, never mind its continual expansion, and he wants to stop the TPP.

    God, I'd be happy with even one of the above. Hillary will give us TPP, more NATO, more war, and a cackle. Please, if anyone has some loose emails hanging around, now is the time!

    Katniss Everdeen , August 10, 2016 at 7:30 am

    I honestly don't think there's any way to predict what Donald Trump will do if elected. He's effectively a private citizen who, all of a sudden, will have access to every government secret and lie, and no culpability for any of it. It's almost impossible to imagine what that would be like.

    And it's what makes him so "dangerous."

    I'm sure he will quash TPP, renegotiate nafta and be less belligerent with Russia. But what will happen when he and his non-government-indoctrinated team of advisers finally see every bit of redacted and "confidential" information that has been routinely hidden from the public and lied about for decades?

    The loss of sovereignty inherent in the "trade" agreements and incoherent Middle East policies, to name a few "strategies" this country is pursuing, have a larger purpose. We private citizens have just not been privy to it. How private citizen Trump will proceed if he is elected and comes to know the government's deepest, darkest secrets is anybody's guess.

    PlutoniumKun , August 10, 2016 at 8:09 am

    I think its a safe assumption that if Trump is elected he will be carefully 'minded' to ensure he can't gain access to information that would upset the applecart. I doubt he would be able to get much done as there would be an establishment consensus to keep him firmly under wraps. He would mostly busy himself with jetting around meeting foreign leaders and he might actually be quite productive at that.

    jrs , August 10, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    or he'll pass what he campaigns on which is standard Republican policy (sometimes) through an entirely Republican legislature duh. So tax cuts, cuts to regulation etc.. Really he's campaigning on these things and they CAN pass a Republican congress.

    Michael Fiorillo , August 10, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Yes, if Donnie is elected, we'll see some form of a Regency; that's what Pence is there for. Donnie will be Clown Prince, while more traditionally evil Republican/DC technocrats "run" things. It would be a re-doing of the Reagan/Bush-Baker and Bush/Cheney dynamic, as seen on reality TV.

    As for Donnie taking down TPP and being the peace candidate, I think people should sit down and take a few deep breaths. As a New Yorker who's observed him for his entire public life, and as a 90 second scanning of his career demonstrates, the man cannot be trusted to speak truthfully about anything. Does he lie exactly the way Hillary does? Of course not, she's the accomplished professional, while Donnie spins plates and tries to misdirect by finding someone to insult when they fall and shatter.

    Vote for Hillary or not (I most likely won't, but can't predict much of anything in this all-bets-are-off opera buffa), but by believing anything Donnie says, you risk being the chump he already thinks you are.

    oh , August 10, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    You're right. He'll make a good court jester. That's about it. as for "the man cannot be trusted to speak truthfully about anything" reminds me of someone who gets on TeeVee and does that well. And he really didn't have any experience but he got himself good handlers and others who ran the country.

    EoinW , August 10, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Exactly right! Trump is dangerous…to the establishment. And the establishment is what we have to get rid of.

    When was the last time a political candidate in any country was as hated by the establishment as Trump is? That's all you need to know. As flawed a character as Trump is, he still represents our last chance to challenge the establishment. It won't be a pretty presidency – but it will be entertaining – however the alternative is the ultimate horror show. Plus you are gambling that Clinton won't start a nuclear war and end the human race. Why would anyone in their right mind touch that wager?

    Pat , August 10, 2016 at 10:32 am

    It is unlikely that Trump will be able to deport more people than Obama's record breaking administration. Something, that for all her rhetoric, there is no reason to believe that Clinton will change. As for waging war, we have a whole lot of information that for all his massive drone wars and interventions in the Middle East, Obama actually ended up rejecting Clinton's continuous advice for more more more military intervention.

    I agree with you that Trump is not likable, and an unknown. The problem is that the known is despicable. Neither, let me repeat, neither candidate should be anywhere near this close to the White House.

    You have obviously chosen the despicable hateful war mongering devil you know. Others are willing to roll the dice with the guy who has incoherently at least given a nod to the idea that war with Russia is not a smart plan, and that our current military choices are not effective – not to mention a far more coherent case that our trade policy is screwed up and needs to be changed.

    Once again, people are choosing from known despicable, unknown possibly lesser possibly greater despicable, and unlikely to win third parties or write ins – everyone can only do that for themselves.

    MikeNY , August 10, 2016 at 10:53 am

    That's fair.

    backwardsevolution , August 10, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    One New York reporter (sorry, I don't have the link) said that he has watched Trump his whole life and he said, though he could say many bad things about Trump, racism wasn't one of them. He said he had never in all his years of watching him known Trump to be racist in any way.

    Trump wants to stop "illegal" immigration so that poor Americans can have jobs. Illegals lower wages (because American employers pay them less), they increase rents (supply and demand), and they cost a fortune in medical and educational costs. He's for "legal" immigration when the country needs more workers. I don't think that is being racist, although he doesn't have a very nice way of saying things.

    Muslim immigration stopped until they can be properly vetted? That's just being prudent and careful, but again he could say things in a much kinder way.

    He's a wild man, but at least he's upfront about it. I see her as being a narcissist that just hides it better than he does. She could get us all killed.

    backwardsevolution , August 10, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    While Trump is upfront (yikes, I know), I see Hillary as the secretive, conniving, manipulative, scheming, backstabbing type. When someone slights Trump, out comes his response right back at them. It's over. But I would not want to cross her. I see her as cold, with very, very little conscience. I mean, would you ever have tried to pull off the scandals she has been involved in? No. She seeks power and money, and look out if you ever got in her way. She never says she's sorry, not really. Most you get out of her is she made a "mistake".

    Her outright aggression towards Russia, Syria, Libya, Ukraine should give you a hint of what lurks inside. And she doesn't attack these countries to better the U.S. She's doing it solely for her own person gain: money into the Clinton Foundation, business for her speech-giving husband, all to further the Clinton's.

    IMO, a very dangerous person, a very dangerous couple. And she has said, if she's elected, she will put Bill Clinton in charge of "economic affairs"! Can you just imagine what more deregulation will do for the banks? He repealed Glass-Steagall and brought us the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, as well as NAFTA. Get ready to hear a "huge" sucking sound if Hillary is elected. The place will be gutted.

    Lambert Strether , August 10, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Needs a link, especially on a key point like that!!

    backwardsevolution , August 10, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    Okay, I'm pretty sure I saw it at Counterpunch. I think I can probably find it. Thanks.

    Michael Fiorillo , August 10, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    That's preposterous about Donnie not being racist. When the Central Park Five (released from prison and compensated by the state for false impisonment) were arrested, Donnie took out full page ads for days in the NYC papers, all but calling for those (innocent) boy's lynching. He was raised in an explicitly racist milieu – his father arrested at a KKK tussle in Queens in the 1920's, and successfully sued by the Nixon DOJ for his discriminatory rental policies…) and has a long history of saying ignorant, absurd and racist things about "The Blacks."

    shinola , August 10, 2016 at 10:56 am

    "Clinton is awful, but that doesn't mean it's a better idea to elect a hateful, racist, despicable con man"

    Perhaps with a hateful, racist, despicable con man trying to tell them what to do, congress just might re-assert its authority instead of acting as a rubber stamp. Which is the LOTE – Trump antagonizing congress into gridlock or HRC manipulating them into moar war?

    TedWa , August 10, 2016 at 11:25 am

    It sounds like you're talking about HRC when you're talking about Trump. She coined the term "super predators" so they could enrich the private prison industry by filling the jails with black people, she has waged wars against brown people in the middle east for no particular reason except corporate profits and power, no respect for their theocracies or the delicate balance that "supposed" tyrants there accomplished that had enduring peace there (some may argue). Where has Trump exhibited such hatred and racism? His policies? What policies? No one that has worked for him ever described him as hateful, racist or despicable. Stop believing the propaganda on TV.

    Hatred and racism is exhibited in leaders by being a war monger and gutting this nation with the TPP and lousy trade deals that sell off our national sovereignty and democracy. You might think Obama doesn't like us, the 99%, but Hillary probably hates us. Pay attention, the most "effective evil" is the evil to fear.

    MikeNY , August 10, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    I am with Noam Chomsky on this. If it's not close in my state, I will vote 3rd party. If it is close, I'll vote for Clinton over Trump. There is a good interview with Chomsky on this on youtube which I'm too lazy to look up right now.

    But as Pat said above, everyone must make up his or her own mind.

    TedWa , August 10, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Of course my friend, you have to vote your conscience is the way I've always felt. You have to be able to live with your vote.

    lyman alpha blob , August 10, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Has there ever been any evidence that this type of strategic voting has ever done any good whatsoever or ever had its intended result? Just speculation but I'm guessing that only a very few of the very politically astute would even bother. I say vote your conscience regardless and let the chips fall where they may.

    Not the voters fault that this is the best the two major parties could come up with.

    Tyler , August 10, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Speaking of revolution, I emailed Chomsky yesterday and he replied. The below is my message to him.

    Professor Chomsky,

    In the last years of his life, Martin Luther King, Jr. organized the Poor People's Campaign, which essentially planned to occupy Capitol Hill. The campaign still happened after his death, but not enough people showed up for it to have a great impact.

    I've begun to advocate what would essentially be a continuation of the Poor People's Campaign, but with a broader focus on the numerous crises facing humanity: climate change, poverty, illegal wars, etc.

    Would you possibly be interested in providing rhetorical support for this action?

    Thank you so much for your efforts to make a better world.

    The below is Chomsky's reply.

    It was a wonderful and very important initiative, cruelly undermined by his assassination. I hope you manage to revive it.

    MikeNY , August 10, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Bravo! Chomsky and MLK are two of my heros, as I think they are for many here.

    backwardsevolution , August 10, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Butch – "…she helped lead the fight for universal health care." Did she now? Here's a good quote on how she felt about universal health care:

    "Hillary took the lead role in the White House's efforts to pass a corporate-friendly version of "health reform." Along with the big insurance companies the Clintons deceptively railed against, the "co-presidents" decided from the start to exclude the popular health care alternative – single payer – from the national health care "discussion." (Obama would do the same thing in 2009.)

    "David, tell me something interesting." That was then First Lady Hillary Clinton's weary and exasperated response – as head of the White House's health reform initiative – to Harvard medical professor David Himmelstein in 1993. Himmelstein was head of Physicians for a National Health Program. He had just told her about the remarkable possibilities of a comprehensive, single-payer "Canadian style" health plan, supported by more than two-thirds of the U.S. public. Beyond backing by a citizen super-majority, Himmelstein noted, single-payer would provide comprehensive coverage to the nation's 40 million uninsured while retaining free choice in doctor selection and being certified by the Congressional Budget Office as "the most cost-effective plan on offer."

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/27/feel-the-hate/

    That whole article deals with the "fake liberalism" exhibited by the Clinton's and Obama. It says they only "pretend" to care.

    Perhaps Yves could highlight Hillary's disdain for single-payer healthcare on another post. Thanks.

    Lambert Strether , August 10, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Hillary Clinton: Single-payer health care will "never, ever" happen CBS

    vidimi , August 10, 2016 at 9:52 am

    clinton is the more effective evil for another reason; she is respected by other neoliberals who rule the world in other countries. even if trump wanted to pass the TPP, TTIP and TISA, the intense dislike of him would make it easier to reject the bills in countries like Canada, Australia, the EU. A Hillary presidency would just about guarantee they'd sign.

    Steve Sewall , August 10, 2016 at 11:08 am

    I love Michael Hudson. But like everyone commenting here he is needlessly thinking inside the crumbling box of America's existing top-down, money-driven system of political discourse. So what is it that keeps us from thinking outside this godawful box? I think we're all so deeply and habitually embedded in the mode of being status quo critics that we're unable to enter the problem-solving mode of finding alternatives to it. But to make government work in America, we need to think in both modes.

    So let's think outside the box for a minute. After all, it's common knowledge that the current "rigged" system, as Donald Trump keeps calling it, has been instrumental in bringing American politics and government to their present state of dysfunction at local, state and national levels. Americans hate and despise this elitist system; everyone is disgusted with the political donor class whose billions of dollars underwrite the election-rigging televised attack ads that dominate it.

    At the Demo Convention Bernie Sanders neatly pinpointed the topics with which this bogus system is obsessed: "Let me be as clear as I can be. … This election is not about political gossip. It's not about polls. It's not about campaign strategy. It's not about fundraising. It's not about all the things the media spends so much time discussing." Yet like all presidential candidates this year Bernie didn't take the next, logical step: he didn't call for the creation of a new political discourse system. (Note that Hillary alone among the top three candidates never, ever has a bad word to say against the current system.)

    OK, so what might a new system look like? First off, it would be non-partisan, issue-centered and deliberative. And citizen-participatory. It would make citizens and governments responsive and accountable to each other in shaping the best futures of their communities. That's its core principal.

    More specifically, the format of a reality TV show like The Voice or American Idol could readily be adapted to create ongoing, prime-time, issue-centered searches for solutions to any and all of the issues of the day. And of course problem-solving Reality TV is just of any number of formats that could work for TV. Other media could develop formats tap their strengths and appeal to their audiences.

    I'm from Chicago, so here's how it could take shape in the Windy City .

    Thanks to the miracle of modern communications technologies, there's nothing to stop Americans from having a citizen-participatory system of political discourse that gives all Americans an informed voice in the political and government decisions that affect their lives. Americans will flock in drove to ongoing, rule-governed problem-solving public forums that earn the respect and trust of citizens and political leaders alike. When we create them, governments at local, state and national levels will start working again. If we don't, our politics will continue to sink deeper into the cesspool we're in now.

    Left in Wisconsin , August 10, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Do you see it as possible that empowered citizens will truly be willing to take on big capital, even when big capital goes to war on them? I'm skeptical, unless there is a real socialist-ish movement out there educating and politicizing. In other words, while the political system is indeed broken, the economy is also broken and it is hard to see "empowered" citizens fixing the economy. What I think would happen is the politicians elected by these empowered citizens would be opposed by big business and the politicians they own, nothing good would get done, and there would be a business-financed media drumbeat that more democracy has been "proven" not to work.

    I don't think our political problems can be solved simply be electing better politicians – though of course we do need better politicians.

    TedWa , August 10, 2016 at 11:40 am

    The evil to fear is the most effective evil. Hillary IS both sides of the aisle and Congress will allow her all her neocon neoliberal desires, Trump is neither side of the aisle and would be ineffective because he doesn't belong to the neoliberal neocons, he's not an insider and obviously won't play their games.

    Roger Smith , August 10, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    I have not had nearly the hardship you have had crittermom and I have not lived as long either, but at 27, and being someone who has been discontent with social structure since middle school, I have absolutely had enough. Genetics, environment, the combination of internal-external factors, whatever it was I have always had a very ("annoying" and sarcastic) curiousity or oppositional approach to things, especially things people do not question and accept as is (religion, government…).

    Growing older has only led me to greater understanding of the pit we reside within and how we probably will not get out. This election season in particular has been ridiculously… indescribable. The utter incompetence of our selfish administrations is finally coming to a head and people are completely oblivious, pulling the same stale BS that we have seen every four years since before I was born.

    Bernie totally blew it but, outside your hardship, don't ever think you effort was a waste. For once an honest candidate appeared who was backed by the policies we need and you supported that (as I did). That is the most we can do at this point. Bernie the man should absolutely be criticized because he wanted a "revolution" then sold out to the Junta instead of biting back when it would have really sent a message to the people and high rollers. He wasn't willing to sacrifice what was necessary to make a stand. Instead he sided with the people that have made careers sacrificing citizens like you–and that is terrible. The reality these people live in and teach to others is such a lie.

    Roger Smith , August 10, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    These circumstances constantly remind me of the closing passage from Robert A. Heinlein's All You Zombies" :

    The Snake That Eats Its Own Tail, Forever and Ever. I know where I came from-but where did all you
    zombies come from?

    I felt a headache coming on, but a headache powder is one thing I do not take. I did once-and you all went away.

    So I crawled into bed and whistled out the light.

    You aren't really there at all. There isn't anybody but me-Jane-here alone in the dark.

    I miss you dreadfully!

    Carolinian , August 10, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    America needs an ineffective president .

    Oh heck yes. This is a fight that has been going on for decades with battles like the War Powers Act and Nixon's impeachment. Supposedly the Founding Fathers didn't want an all powerful chief executive and thought that Congress would be the dominant force. But in modern times, even before Clinton v Trump, we already had gone much too far in the direction of a caudillo. Internally one person with a bully pulpit will never be able to change the current course and overseas presidents have a frightening amount of power that they can wield and then dare Congress to do something about it afterwards.

    So despite his potty mouth there's something to be said for Mr. Trump Goes to Washington. By the time he figures out how to be caudillo it may be time for another election.

    backwardsevolution , August 10, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    crittermom – HRC has got the big corporate money behind her, the media too. Trump is fighting an uphill battle. If you watch CNN, which I watch very little of, they spend almost the whole time pulling apart what Trump has said, and very, very little press on Hillary's email, the Clinton Foundation, etc.

    They are going after Trump with all that they have. They want the status quo to remain, and they are very worried that he might change it. Hillary is Wall Street, multinational corporations, arms dealers, weapons manufacturers, the military-industrial complex. Who would have thought that the guy running for the right wants to keep jobs in America, wants to stop wars, and the one on the left is for the monied class! Right is left and left is right. Upside down world.

    The following article is old now, from April, but it gives you an idea of "Why the Establishment Hates Trump" and what he is planning on doing. Watch them go after him; they will vilify him.

    "When you join the dots to Trump also preaching a policy revolt against the insatiable corporate jaws feeding on trillions of dollars of public budgets in Washington, the meaning becomes clear. But that connected meaning is blacked out. In its place, the corporate media and politicians present an egomaniac blowhard bordering on fascism who preaches hate, racism and sexism.

    But the silenced policies he advocates are more like jumping into a crocodile pit. He is on record saying he will cut the Pentagon's budget "by 50%". No winning politician has ever dared to take on the military-industrial complex, with even Eisenhower only naming it in his parting speech.

    Trump also says that the US "must be neutral, an honest broker" on the Israeli-Palestine conflict – as unspeakable as it gets in US politics.

    Big Pharma is also called out with "$400 billion to be saved by government negotiation of prices". The even more powerful HMO's are confronted by the possibility of a "one-payer system", the devil incarnate in America's corporate-welfare state."

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/05/why-the-establishment-hates-trump/

    Hillary and her team will try to paint Trump as a lover of Putin, as a racist, bigot, bring the narrative down to this only. This way, no one ends up talking about the corporate elites she represents. Good, read some more, crittermom, and open your eyes even more. There's a lot more going on than meets the eye.

    MLaRowe , August 10, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    So I don't usually post here, just mostly read what other folks have to say.

    Recently I asked a wise person I know what historically follows an oligarchy (which is what I believe we have been in for awhile now). He told me that an oligarchy is usually followed by a dictatorship.

    So if that is the case is Trump going to take us into the land of dictatorship (which I believe is highly likely) or are any of us going to be able to tread water for a little longer with HRC (who I agree is ugh a non-choice but hopefully the lesser of the two evils).

    Looking this up I found the concept of the Tytler Cycle. Interesting and scary. This is off wikipedia:

    Two centuries ago, a somewhat obscure Scotsman named Tytler made this profound observation: "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy".

    Anyway can someone refute this for me so I can sleep tonight? Thanks, in advance.

    flora , August 10, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    Sounds a bit too deterministic.

    Roland , August 11, 2016 at 4:51 am

    @ MLaRowe

    How could Trump become a dictator? Congress will be hostile. Judiciary will be hostile. Pentagon will be hostile (didn't you see all those generals and admirals, in uniform, literally lining up behind Clinton?) Civil administration will be sullen, uncooperative, and leaking like crazy.

    Trump does not have his own freestanding parallel state organization, ready to move in and take over the bureaucracy and the armed forces. It would be physically impossible for Trump to attempt a mass purge.

    So exactly how the hell would Trump impose his will on the American masses? Answer: No Way.

    President Trump can only be a relatively weak president.

    Just think: if you elect Trump, you would actually get to see the US Constitution's fabled "checks and balances" come into play for once in your life!

    Roger Smith , August 11, 2016 at 10:48 am

    How could Trump become a dictator?

    Thank you! The same question I have been asking repeatedly throughout this charade. Everyone's favorite line is "Trump will be a dictator [be afriad]!" The obvious question… how ?!

    How is Trump going to have the same or any more power within or over the system than any president before him?? What is a reasonable strategy with which he could upend and create domination over this system with? This is complete rhetorical garbage, the same kind of nonsense displayed when he is shock quoted and only the narrative supporting text is copied (such as the convenient omission that the fabled day in which Clinton could be assassinated would be "horrible"). It also fits well with the Democrats' habit of burying themselves instead of putting up a fight.

    Roger Smith , August 11, 2016 at 10:42 am

    I have felt for a long time but have struggled to put into words the deep, strong aversion I have towards Clinton (et al.)and that I feel any time I read about her or see her. There is a phrase in the song Art War , by the Knack, that caught my ear; what I originally heard as, "malice of forethought". To me this represents the idea that terrible, harmful, far-reaching, incompetent decisions are made completely on purpose. After doing some research I discovered that the phrase is actually "malice aforethought", related to murderous intent in legal definitions. A second, more appropriate definition here is "a general evil and depraved state of mind in which the person is unconcerned for the lives of others". This represents my internal shuddering exactly – a sort of willful, deadly incompetence.

    While Trump is a buffoon who might lead us into bad situations as he stumbles around, Hillary Clinton displays an undeniable and proven malice aforethought that he does not.

    [Aug 12, 2016] Nader, Bush-Gore and lesser evil propaganda by Demorats

    Notable quotes:
    "... CNN exit polls show that only about 47 percent of the Nader voters would have voted for Gore in a two way race, while 21 percent would have voted for Bush and 30 percent would have abstained from voting in the Presidential contest altogether. ..."
    www.nakedcapitalism.com

    MikeNY , August 10, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Well, a counterfactual: Bush v Gore 2000. I have heard arguments that if Nader had not run, or if no one voted for him, Gore would have won Florida and hence the election.

    How might the world be different?

    Reply
    oh , August 10, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    That was the Dems' excuse for losing and has been disproved many times over. Don't buy it.

    Reply
    MikeNY , August 10, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Do you have a link? I'd like to be educated.

    Reply
    Michael Fiorillo , August 10, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Mike, I've no links to provide you with -you can easily find them – but the rebuttal to the Nader-Gave-Us-Bush line is typically that 1) hundreds of thousands of registered Democrats in Florida voted for Bush, and 2) Gore could not win his "home" (though he's really a pure product of Washington, DC) state of Tennessee.

    The Blame Nader narrative also ignores the fact that the Dems did little or nothing to contest the blatant stealing of the election.

    Lies and misdirection, everywhere you look.

    Reply
    MikeNY , August 10, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Thanks, Michael. They only way I see to disprove it is if they interviewed all 90,000+ Nader voters and > 50% in FL swore they would have voted for Bush - or some such.

    It seems tough to disprove such an historical counterfactual hypothetical!

    At any rate, I think this is what underlies Chomsky's reasoning.

    Reply
    MikeNY , August 10, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    BTW here's the Chomsky interview I referred to.

    Reply
    m1p3nner , August 11, 2016 at 12:55 am

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/dont_fall_for_it_the_nader_myth_and_your_2016_vote_20160802
    Of course such commentary isn't conclusive but I found it persuasive. Then again, I voted for Ralph Nader and can't help second guessing that vote now and again, so some confirmation bias. If you have time, let us know what you think.

    Reply
    MikeNY , August 11, 2016 at 5:27 am

    Thanks for the link. From the Alternet article linked to at the end:

    CNN exit polls show that only about 47 percent of the Nader voters would have voted for Gore in a two way race, while 21 percent would have voted for Bush and 30 percent would have abstained from voting in the Presidential contest altogether.

    This would be the relevant evidence to prove the counterfactual hypothesis. I note that it seems to be contradicted by the CNN polling data in the Truthdig article; what is unclear to me is whether they are talking about FL voters, or national voters. It makes a difference if we are focusing solely on FL (which in itself could be problematic if Nader's elimination swung the result in other states - which I don't know.)

    Anyway, as I said above, I do think it is this example and reasoning that underlies Chomsky's logic. And mine. But I admit, I am abjectly unenthusiastic about it. I expect and hope that I shall be able to vote 3rd party - I vote in NY.

    Thanks again. And to you and all, I appreciate the civility of tone in this engagement. I realize my view is probably in the minority here.

    Reply
    lyman alpha blob , August 10, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Gore got more votes overall than Bush and not all the votes were counted in FL in 2000 thanks to a corrupt Supreme court. Bush was appointed, not elected, and that isn't Nader's fault.

    Nader ran in 2004 too and got ,< 1% of the vote. Of course that election was stolen too but neither Gore nor Kerry bothered to raise a fuss.

    I think we ought to be concentrating more on the integrity of our elections in this country rather than wringing our hands about who might be a 'spoiler'.

    Can't stand the republicans but I haven't heard them whinging about Ross Perot for the last 20 years.

    Reply
    MojaveWolf , August 10, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Sooooo tired of this analogy. And I voted for Gore in 2000. First, a couple of differences:
    Gore was clearly a much better candidate and would have been a much better president than Bush. And Gore was great on the environment.

    Also, Gore lost primarily because of a tilted "liberal media" that seemed to MUCH prefer Bush. Secondarily because he (or his people) ran one of the worst presidential campaigns I've ever seen. Maybe the worst presidential campaign I've ever seen, as far as trying to take advantage of the candidate's strengths (Trump in this general is working on catching up, though!)

    Third was Clinton fatigue, which was very real at the time and did not help at all. Nader and the cheating in Florida and the horrid Supreme Court decision (complete w/failures to recuse that were kinda eyebrow raising) were also relevant, but none of this should have even come into play. Gore had a lot to work with, Bush was a godawful candidate, and a competent campaign combined with something even vaguely resembling fair media coverage would have made this a slam dunk 5+ % win despite the polarized country and a strong desire on the part of many to get rid of anything associated with Bill. Even with all that, and Nader, if we hadn't allowed a truly criminal purge of non-criminals from Florida's voter rolls, Gore wins. This was followed by the count fiasco, more horribly biased media coverage (they were as desperate for Gore to quit then as they were for Bernie to quit the last several months of his campaign, gotta give Bernie credit for fighting harder and longer against worse odds), Gore inexplicably rolling over in a display that still makes me shake my head in disbelief, and a just plain wrong Supreme Court decision that only happened because justices w/family members working on Bush's campaign didn't recuse themselves.

    But still, biggest difference for me? Neither of these are someone I want in the oval office.

    Reply
    Skippy , August 11, 2016 at 2:24 am

    Bush used the Enron jet to stitch up a deal, Gore folded.

    Disheveled Marsupial…. I still get a tear in my eye when thinking about the xmas card the Skilling family sent Bush…. see you in the WH…. sniff…

    Reply

    [Aug 11, 2016] Is Trump Wrecking Both Parties - The New York Times

    Amazing: neoliberalism -- the social system under which everybody in the USA lives is not mentioned onece. This looks like Politburo in the USSR prohibit mentioning communism by name. Clinton health problems, reckless gingoism and neocon domonance in forigh policy also are not discussed. As oif they do not exist. The fact that Demorats lost owrking class was by design as Clinton sold the party to Wall Streeet, counting that blue color workers has nowhere to go. Which was rthe case until 2016 election (actually the king of bait-and-switch Obama striggled in 2012 and if Republican have has better candidate he would be a toast). Betraysl of New Deal hangs like a curse of neoliberal Democtatic Party. Those sucher need to pay for the betrayls and it might that time has come. .
    Notable quotes:
    "... In case you weren't convinced Democrats are becoming the cosmopolitan elite party. ..."
    "... They abdicated too easily to market fundamentalism and bought in to its central tenets. Worse still, they led the hyper-globalization movement at crucial junctures. The enthroning of free capital mobility – especially of the short-term kind – as a policy norm by the European Union, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the IMF was arguably the most fateful decision for the global economy in recent decades. ..."
    "... Instead of serving as the political arm of working and middle class voters seeking to move up the ladder, the Democratic Party faces the prospect of becoming the party of the winners, in collaboration with many of those in the top 20 percent who are determined to protect and secure their economic and social status. ..."
    "... increasingly disconnected from working-class America. I mean that in a very specific sense. Our residences are increasingly segregated by class. Our schools are increasingly segregated by class. Our extended families are increasingly separated by class. ..."
    "... working-class whites, based in the South and West and suburbs and exurbs everywhere. They will favor universal, contributory social insurance systems that benefit them and their families and reward work effort - programs like Social Security and Medicare. ..."
    www.nytimes.com

    ... ... ...

    On Aug. 7, Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at New America, a center-left Washington think tank, posted some of the findings from an Aug. 1 CNN survey on Twitter with a succinct comment:

    In case you weren't convinced Democrats are becoming the cosmopolitan elite party.

    ... ... ...

    "The voice of the left - especially the old social democratic left - has lost force in recent years," Ian Buruma, a professor of democracy, human rights, and journalism at Bard College, wrote me in an email.

    This is partly because leftwing parties since the 1960s began to switch their attention from working class struggle to identity politics.

    There is, Buruma went on,

    a common anxiety about the effects of globalism, multinational corporate power, immigration. More and more people feel unrepresented. When they complained about immigration or the bewildering changes effected by a global economy, such people were too easily dismissed as racists and bigots. Now they blame the "liberal elites" for all their anxieties.

    Dani Rodrik, a professor of international political economy at Harvard, is even harsher in his critique of contemporary liberalism. "Economists and technocrats on the left bear a large part of the blame," Rodrik writes, in an essay, " The Abdication of the Left ," published in July by Project Syndicate.

    Rodrik does not let up:

    They abdicated too easily to market fundamentalism and bought in to its central tenets. Worse still, they led the hyper-globalization movement at crucial junctures. The enthroning of free capital mobility – especially of the short-term kind – as a policy norm by the European Union, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the IMF was arguably the most fateful decision for the global economy in recent decades.

    Left policy makers and analysts, Rodrik writes, face

    the paradox that earlier waves of reforms from the left – Keynesianism, social democracy, the welfare state – both saved capitalism from itself and effectively rendered themselves superfluous.

    If [neo]liberal public policy intellectuals are unable develop "a clear program to refashion capitalism and globalization for the twenty-first century," Rodrik warns, "the field will be left wide open for populists and far-right groups who will lead the world – as they always have – to deeper division and more frequent conflict."

    If current trends continue, not only will there be a class inversion among the white supporters of the Democratic Party , but the party will become increasingly dependent on a white upper middle class that has isolated itself from the rest of American society.

    Instead of serving as the political arm of working and middle class voters seeking to move up the ladder, the Democratic Party faces the prospect of becoming the party of the winners, in collaboration with many of those in the top 20 percent who are determined to protect and secure their economic and social status.

    In an interview published by Vox.com on Aug. 8, Robert Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard, described the consequences of the emergence of "liberal cosmopolitans, really the upper and middle class of America," who are

    increasingly disconnected from working-class America. I mean that in a very specific sense. Our residences are increasingly segregated by class. Our schools are increasingly segregated by class. Our extended families are increasingly separated by class.

    Writing in Politico magazine in May , Michael Lind, also a fellow at New America, argues that this cultural conflict created the political environment that made the Trump phenomenon possible in the first place:

    Most culture-war conflicts involve sexuality, gender, or reproduction. Social issues spurred a partisan realignment by changing who considered themselves Democrats and Republicans. Over decades, socially conservative working-class whites migrated from the Democratic Party to join the Republican Party, especially in the South. Socially moderate Republicans, especially on the East Coast, shifted to the Democratic coalition.

    The result, in Lind's view, is an emerging Republican Party dominated by

    working-class whites, based in the South and West and suburbs and exurbs everywhere. They will favor universal, contributory social insurance systems that benefit them and their families and reward work effort - programs like Social Security and Medicare. But they will tend to oppose means-tested programs for the poor whose benefits they and their families cannot enjoy.

    This shift, Lind points out, will powerfully alter the Democratic coalition, too. The Democrats will become

    even more of an alliance of upscale, progressive whites with blacks and Latinos, based in large and diverse cities. They will think of the U.S. as a version of their multicultural coalition of distinct racial and ethnic identity groups writ large. Many younger progressives will take it for granted that moral people are citizens of the world, equating nationalism and patriotism with racism and fascism.

    From this vantage point, Trump and the pro-social insurance populist right that has emerged in much of Europe are as much the result of the vacuum created by traditional liberal political parties as they are a function of the neglect of working class interests by conservatives.

  • Matthew Carnicelli is a trusted commenter Brooklyn, New York 5 hours ago

    Tom, I keep reading these elite analyses of the political restructuring that the Drumpf campaign is allegedly ushering in - and yet fail to see where the actual institutional support for these policies will come from within the Republican Party.

    Paul Ryan is still talking down Social Security and Medicare, and he is considered the GOP's intellectual leader. Drumpf was recently quoted as agreeing with Ryan's critique of Social Security.

    The conservative think tanks like AEI and Heritage still have Social Security and Medicare within their crosshairs - and are still peddling the same old supply side snake oil, as is Drumpf with his tax plan. And Drumpf's plan can only be paid for by savage cuts in every other area of the Federal budget.

    The problem with this entire argument is that Drumpf believes in nothing but "winning" - and will say absolutely anything to win, anything at all, even if it has a snowball's chance of hell of finding support with the Republican Party.

    If Drumpf managed to win the Presidency, his single term (and he would only get one) would either be the mother of all political train wrecks - or a complete and utter repudiation of everything he ran on as a candidate, aside from the racism, xenophobia, and collective insanity that has overtaken the right.

    As a person far more comfortable parsing zeitgeist, let me suggest that it's a terrible idea to draw conclusions while in the middle of a wave that you've yet to even identify.

    HDNY is a trusted commenter New York, N.Y. 3 hours ago

    The Times has reverted to its previous position of pretending that Bernie Sanders and his millions of supporters don't exist. This article pretends all Democrats are willful Clinton supporters and that Republicans are forced between choosing Donald Trump's Republican Party or Hillary Clinton's Democratic Party.

    The Times' editors' refusal to give credibility to the Sanders campaign actually shows their complicity in making the Democratic Party more elitist, more corporate and Wall St. oriented, and less involved with the needs of the poor and lower middle classes. Now they are bequeathing that emphasis to Trump, still refusing to acknowledge the impact of the Sanders campaign and its supporters.

    What's even odder is that the article points out the Republican 'Reformocons', a group that made a far less significant impact on this election than did Bernie Sanders.

    The good points made in this article are lost by painting the American political scene with such a broad brush. The Times needs to pay more attention to what's really happening in this country.

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  • Paul Wortman East Setauket, NY 2 hours ago

    "A pox on both their houses." What we have seen over the past 30 years is the end of the social balance between Big Business, Big Government and Big Labor. Today it we have one force--that of the corporate goliaths--in control of government through their funding of politicians who have worked to eliminate labor as a force. If their is one critique on the Bernie Sanders left and the Donald Trump right, it's been the almost total disenfranchisement of working Americans. While the focus is on trade agreement written in secret by corporations, it needs to focus of workers who can bargain collectively to ensure they share in their productivity gains and whose rights are protected from the "race-to-the-bottom" trade agreements. Both political parties have failed here and neither the new Trump right nor the Sanders left have put forward a real pro-worker, pro-Big Labor agenda. If workers are left behind, as we've seen in the rise of communism in the past, we have immense social unrest. And, until we remove the corporate choke-hold on Big Government by getting money out of politics, we will continue to move away from the balance of social forces essential to a viable democracy toward an oligarchy either by an autocratic Trump or a Wall Street corporate Clinton.

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  • James Lee Arlington, Texas 3 hours ago

    The main conclusion of the studies cited by Professor Edsall seems to center on the inability of either political party to mobilize the long-term support of the white working class. The Republicans remain in thrall to corporate America, as reflected in Paul Ryan's stubborn attachment to discredited supply-side nostrums. The Democrats, although still committed to a higher minimum wage and the social safety net, focus their policies on helping the middle and professional classes.

    The main responsibility for this situation falls on the Democrats. The GOP never represented the interests of the working class, but FDR's party had achieved political dominance by doing so. In the 1960s, LBJ made the momentous decision to stake his party's future on support of the civil right's revolution, a choice he believed would alienate the white south for a generation.

    At the same time, however, he launched his war on poverty, a program with the potential to unite the interests of black Americans with those of the white working class, in the south as well as elsewhere. The failure of that ambitious initiative, caused in part by the diversion of resources and political energy to the war in Vietnam, soured the Democratic leadership after 1968 on expensive programs designed to help the very groups gloabalization would threaten.

    The Clintons won in 1992 by jettisoning their party's social democratic agenda. Even Bernie Sanders paid attention mainly to the needs of the middle class.

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  • Eloise Freehold 2 hours ago

    We certainly hope so. Neither party represents the vast majority of citizens. Instead both major parties represent the interests of the elite, the financial elite, which populate the spectrum of what passes for political thought from extreme liberals, such as Soros, Holloywood and Ivy League tax-free endowments to extreme conservatives, such as Kochs and Limbaugh. From taxation, to trade policies to criminal justice applications to protection of banksters, the major parties are complicit in and responsible for the appalling state of our affairs. A wreck of an election that tarnishes their brands and ushers in alternatives is perhaps too much to expect; it is not however too much to hope for.

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  • Kim New York 2 hours ago

    Recking? More like exposing. No secret the Dems' all-inclusive rhetoric is just that RHETORIC. The party has abandoned the working class. Once American "middle class" was the pride of the world. But what was that "middle class"? It was working class with good jobs and homes, and with the opportunity of yet better life for their children. The only thing lacking was universal health care and inclusion of POC.
    But it never happened. After achieving this amazing success of turning working class into middle class, US has been steadily moving away from that ideal. Both parties have abandoned the working class. Even if the cue came from Reps, Democratic Leadership Council associated Dems (such as Clintons) have been outdoing Reps in the area of "free trade"(=losing manufacturing jobs), dismantling safety net in form of welfare, to make things worse reforming foster care to make taking children away from impoverished working class biological families easier. Dems have been paying lip service to idea of universal healthcare, affordable medications, affordable college, yet rely on the money from these industries. While Democratic rhetoric is inclusive of minorities, and they sponsor special programs for minorities, still not enough to offset the effect their policies on minorities ho are disproportionately represented in the working class. Externally Dems have been pursuing same imperialistic politics as Republicans. Clinton asking Kissinger for endorsement puts a seal on that.

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  • rareynolds Barnesville, OH 2 hours ago

    I am also puzzled by this column. The young want a New Deal type society. Also, it seems to me the much vaunted self-interest of the newly affluent Democrats would include shoring up the fortunes of the working class so as to increase the tax base to finance a more comfortable infrastructure and also to avoid having their own heads blown off by the mob.

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  • Chris Berlin 2 hours ago

    Yes, Donald Trump is wrecking both parties.

    The Republican Party for obvious reasons, but they've had it coming for a long time and deserve and need to be crushed.
    The Democratic Party almost got crushed as well in 2016, equally deserved, and only survived by rigging the nomination process for the status quo candidate, quelling the populist reform movement. The military industrial complex and Wall Street have now completely moved over to the traditional blue collar Democratic Party.

    There is a good chance the traditional Republican Party will not recover from the 2016 election, becoming a long-time minority party at the presidential election level.

    The base of the Democratic Party, Latinos, Blacks and young people might finally realize that electing Wall Street, elite Democrats is not the answer to the critical issues facing the nation.
    Once white working class people, equally disaffected with trade deals that ship their jobs overseas, with endless wars and military conflicts that are supported by both parties, join forces with the democratic base in 2020, there is a real prospect for a political realignment that could revolutionize American politics for decades to come.

    Thank you, Mr.Edsall, for this this very perceptive analysis of what is happening in the 2016 election.

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  • Marc Kagan NYC 1 hour ago

    As a first response, Bernie Sanders obviously would have been the remedy to the kind of Clintonite Democratic Party you are describing.
    Because there is a path toward a social, economic and cultural justice coalition that appeals to the working class and the casts swaths of college-educated who, due to financial pressures, are effectively working-class themselves.
    So close this year. Will we have another chance?

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  • Nightwatch Le Sueur MN 2 hours ago

    Both parties were beset by populist insurrections in the recently concluded primaries. The Democratic Party repulsed insurrectionist Sanders and dispatched him to the wilds of Vermont, never to be heard from again. But insurrectionist Trump stormed the Republican Party gates and now takes his insurrection into the general election contest.

    My point is, powerful populist movements attacked both parties from below. That could only happen because both parties were out of touch with a significant portion of the electorate. If Clinton wins in November, the establishment wins again and the populists will be sent away to brood. But this disconnection from the political establishment will surface again.

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  • EJS Granite City, Illinois 2 hours ago

    There's nothing particularly "bewildering" about the effects of the global economy. It is being structured heavily in favor of the rich and their multinational corporations, without regard for the economic well-being of the hundreds of millions of Americans being victimized. It's not difficult to understand the psychology of people being robbed with nowhere to turn because the perpetrators are both political parties using our government as their instrument. How does this article explain the Senator Bernie Sanders phenomenon? Bernie was a low profile, social democrat who received 46% of the Democratic vote. The Republicans are owned lock, stock and barrel by Organized Money and the only real hope is to recapture the Democratic Party.

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  • Michael Boston 1 hour ago

    No, I would say Hillary bears most of the responsibility for the schisms in the democratic party this election cycle, but, Democrats never pull together. We are famous for it.

    Hillary is a business-friendly economic-moderate. She and Susan Collins have more in common than Hillary has in common with Bernie Sanders and that angers a lot of liberals. I am old enough that I am used to it, and, in general, economically liberal democrats don't win the presidency even when they manage to win the nomination.

    Don't let perfection be the enemy of adequacy. Besides, is compromise really such a horrible thing?

  • !--
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  • Freedom Furgle WV 26 minutes ago

    What is happening to the democratic party seems very similar to what has been happening to the Labor party in the UK. At least until they elected the new leader of labor, Jeremy Corbyn.
    As an aside, this article was dull as dirt and felt like it was written on note cards.

  • Thomas McManus Springfield, NJ 27 minutes ago

    As members of the cosmopolitan elite intelligentsia Lee Drutman, Dani Rodrik, and Robert Putnam have an insular view of Amercia. Maybe they should spend some time living in a small town...

    [Aug 08, 2016] Full and unconditional capitulation of Sanders

    His campaign ended with him performing the classic role of shipdog for Hillary, who shares none of his ideas and economic policies. If this is not Obama style "bait and switch' I do not know what is...
    economistsview.typepad.com

    August 05, 2016

    Fred C. Dobbs :

    LA Times

    Bernie Sanders: I support Hillary Clinton. So should everyone who voted for me http://fw.to/mVDxuLJ

    The conventions are over and the general election has officially begun. In the primaries, I received 1,846 pledged delegates, 46% of the total. Hillary Clinton received 2,205 pledged delegates, 54%. She received 602 superdelegates. I received 48 superdelegates. Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee and I will vigorously support her.

    Donald Trump would be a disaster and an embarrassment for our country if he were elected president. His campaign is not based on anything of substance - improving the economy, our education system, healthcare or the environment. It is based on bigotry. He is attempting to win this election by fomenting hatred against Mexicans and Muslims. He has crudely insulted women. And as a leader of the "birther movement," he tried to undermine the legitimacy of our first African American president. That is not just my point of view. That's the perspective of a number of conservative Republicans.

    In these difficult times, we need a president who will bring our nation together, not someone who will divide us by race or religion, not someone who lacks an understanding of what our Constitution is about.

    On virtually every major issue facing this country and the needs of working families, Clinton's positions are far superior to Trump's. Our campaigns worked together to produce the most progressive platform in the history of American politics. Trump's campaign wrote one of the most reactionary documents.

    Clinton understands that Citizens United has undermined our democracy. She will nominate justices who are prepared to overturn that Supreme Court decision, which made it possible for billionaires to buy elections. Her court appointees also would protect a woman's right to choose, workers' rights, the rights of the LGBT community, the needs of minorities and immigrants and the government's ability to protect the environment.

    Trump, on the other hand, has made it clear that his Supreme Court appointees would preserve the court's right-wing majority.

    Clinton understands that in a competitive global economy we need the best-educated workforce in the world. She and I worked together on a proposal that will revolutionize higher education in America. It will guarantee that the children of any family in this country with an annual income of $125,000 a year or less – 83% of our population – will be able to go to a public college or university tuition free. This proposal also substantially reduces student debt.

    Trump, on the other hand, has barely said a word about higher education.

    Clinton understands that at a time of massive income and wealth inequality, it is absurd to provide huge tax breaks to the very rich.

    Trump, on the other hand, wants billionaire families like his to enjoy hundreds of billions of dollars in new tax breaks.

    Clinton understands that climate change is real, is caused by human activity and is one of the great environmental crises facing our planet. She knows that we must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and move aggressively to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

    Trump, on the other hand, like most Republicans, rejects science and the conclusions of almost all major researchers in the field. He believes that climate change is a "hoax," and that there's no need to address it.

    Clinton understands that this country must move toward universal healthcare. She wants to see that all Americans have the right to choose a public option in their healthcare exchange, that anyone 55 or older should be able to opt in to Medicare, and that we must greatly improve primary healthcare through a major expansion of community health centers. She also wants to lower the outrageously high cost of prescription drugs.

    And what is Donald Trump's position on healthcare? He wants to abolish the Affordable Care Act, throw 20 million people off the health insurance they currently have and cut Medicaid for lower-income Americans.

    During the primaries, my supporters and I began a political revolution to transform America. That revolution continues as Hillary Clinton seeks the White House. It will continue after the election. It will continue until we create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent – a government based on the principle of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.

    I understand that many of my supporters are disappointed by the final results of the nominating process, but being despondent and inactive is not going to improve anything. Going forward and continuing the struggle is what matters. And, in that struggle, the most immediate task we face is to defeat Donald

    [Aug 08, 2016] Clinton-Trump Neoliberalism a Media Critique

    Notable quotes:
    "... The Muppet Show ..."
    "... Andrew Stewart is a documentary film maker and reporter who lives outside Providence. His film, AARON BRIGGS AND THE HMS GASPEE, about the historical role of Brown University in the slave trade, is available for purchase on Amazon Instant Video or on DVD. ..."
    www.counterpunch.org
    July 21, 2016

    Bill Clinton, who is certainly savvy of the media as an engine of electioneering, knew exactly what he was doing when he called Donald Trump up in spring 2015 to tell him he might have a shot as a political candidate. Clinton knew that the public had as much interest in his wife as a chance for staph infection. Try as they might since 2012, they never were able to tap into a public interest in the idea of President Hillary. The book tours were stilted, boring affairs that would make Tolstoy complain about the length. The pathetic attempts by David Brock and Media Matters to imitate Alexander Cockburn's brand of media critique were the internet equivalent of an inflatable sex toy. Sidney Blumenthal's ridiculous impersonation of Arthur Schlesinger Jr., going on television to lecture about the implosion of the Republicans in comparison to the collapse of the Whigs and implying, by extension, that his candidate was akin to Lincoln, had all the sincerity of Bugs Bunny planting a kiss on Yosemite Sam.

    A lifelong union man and Vietnam vet friend of mine put it best, "It's her election to lose and she is doing a phenomenal job of it." Hell, an ornery New Deal-Great Society Pentagon Keynesian with a harsh Brooklyn accent and all the style of Statler and Waldorf on The Muppet Show nearly wiped the floor of the electoral stage with her upholstered behind! This was National Lampoon's Presidential Campaign from the start.

    ... ... ...

    Return to the propaganda model provided by Chomsky and Herman:

    -How will this impact ownership?

    -How will this impact our advertisers?

    -How will this impact the willingness of our regular sources, such as the White House or 10 Downing Street, to provide us with information?

    -What sort of 'flak', negative reactions, will we get from our consumers and particularly those consumers within the established power structure?

    -Can the subject(s) of this story be presented in a fashion that would be broadly described as either anti-Communist or based on notions of fear so to preserve the credibility and unchallenged authority of the power structure?

    The media has been the sole party that is responsible for both the hegemony of neoliberalism and the rise of Trump. Both are instances of how they serve their advertisers.

    Let us consider the former for a moment. The case of the public pension heist that was perpetrated in Rhode Island is illustrative. John Arnold, an Enron alumnus, donated good money to PBS so to get a false-flag "pension crisis" narrative put on the NewsHour broadcasts that everyone thought were "neutral". The public pension systems in America are simply one of the largest reserves of capital in America at a value total of $4 trillion. Arnold then made a series of campaign donations to up-and-coming politicians like then-Treasurer and now-Governor Gina Raimondo, who in turn "reformed" the pension system, investing it in high-stakes high-fee hedge funds, effectively activating a pipeline from the public pocket into Wall Street. Of course this was not new for PBS, their support of neoliberalism dates back at least to when they gave that quack Milton Friedman a ten-part television series. It was PBS in the 1970's that flooded the airwaves with the grammar of seemingly-sane neoliberalism while the advertisers took up the frontal action of extolling "markets" and their infinite wisdom. Simultaneously the United States engaged in a new Cold War, restarted by Carter after the detente policies of Nixon, so to thoroughly demonize not just "Communism" (though the Soviet system was everything but that by the end) but anything remotely akin to "central planning in the economy" (which was called welfare state Keynesian economics when my grandparents were birthing Baby Boomers). Here, in order to keep funding coming through major donors, a taxpayer-supported public broadcasting system engaged in a wholesale fraud that attempted to rob those same taxpayers of literally multi-trillions of dollars on behalf of a swindler and con man who I have been unable to discern ever having an actual job. We should understand this media assault as a frontal attack by capital on our social safety net. Return to the propaganda model provided by Chomsky and Herman:

    -How will this impact ownership?

    -How will this impact our advertisers?

    -How will this impact the willingness of our regular sources, such as the White House or 10 Downing Street, to provide us with information?

    -What sort of 'flak', negative reactions, will we get from our consumers and particularly those consumers within the established power structure?

    -Can the subject(s) of this story be presented in a fashion that would be broadly described as either anti-Communist or based on notions of fear so to preserve the credibility and unchallenged authority of the power structure?

    The media has been the sole party that is responsible for both the hegemony of neoliberalism and the rise of Trump. Both are instances of how they serve their advertisers.

    Let us consider the former for a moment. The case of the public pension heist that was perpetrated in Rhode Island is illustrative. John Arnold, an Enron alumnus, donated good money to PBS so to get a false-flag "pension crisis" narrative put on the NewsHour broadcasts that everyone thought were "neutral". The public pension systems in America are simply one of the largest reserves of capital in America at a value total of $4 trillion. Arnold then made a series of campaign donations to up-and-coming politicians like then-Treasurer and now-Governor Gina Raimondo, who in turn "reformed" the pension system, investing it in high-stakes high-fee hedge funds, effectively activating a pipeline from the public pocket into Wall Street. Of course this was not new for PBS, their support of neoliberalism dates back at least to when they gave that quack Milton Friedman a ten-part television series. It was PBS in the 1970's that flooded the airwaves with the grammar of seemingly-sane neoliberalism while the advertisers took up the frontal action of extolling "markets" and their infinite wisdom. Simultaneously the United States engaged in a new Cold War, restarted by Carter after the detente policies of Nixon, so to thoroughly demonize not just "Communism" (though the Soviet system was everything but that by the end) but anything remotely akin to "central planning in the economy" (which was called welfare state Keynesian economics when my grandparents were birthing Baby Boomers). Here, in order to keep funding coming through major donors, a taxpayer-supported public broadcasting system engaged in a wholesale fraud that attempted to rob those same taxpayers of literally multi-trillions of dollars on behalf of a swindler and con man who I have been unable to discern ever having an actual job. We should understand this media assault as a frontal attack by capital on our social safety net. Return to the propaganda model provided by Chomsky and Herman:

    -How will this impact ownership?

    -How will this impact our advertisers?

    -How will this impact the willingness of our regular sources, such as the White House or 10 Downing Street, to provide us with information?

    -What sort of 'flak', negative reactions, will we get from our consumers and particularly those consumers within the established power structure?

    -Can the subject(s) of this story be presented in a fashion that would be broadly described as either anti-Communist or based on notions of fear so to preserve the credibility and unchallenged authority of the power structure?

    The media has been the sole party that is responsible for both the hegemony of neoliberalism and the rise of Trump. Both are instances of how they serve their advertisers.

    Let us consider the former for a moment. The case of the public pension heist that was perpetrated in Rhode Island is illustrative. John Arnold, an Enron alumnus, donated good money to PBS so to get a false-flag "pension crisis" narrative put on the NewsHour broadcasts that everyone thought were "neutral". The public pension systems in America are simply one of the largest reserves of capital in America at a value total of $4 trillion. Arnold then made a series of campaign donations to up-and-coming politicians like then-Treasurer and now-Governor Gina Raimondo, who in turn "reformed" the pension system, investing it in high-stakes high-fee hedge funds, effectively activating a pipeline from the public pocket into Wall Street. Of course this was not new for PBS, their support of neoliberalism dates back at least to when they gave that quack Milton Friedman a ten-part television series. It was PBS in the 1970's that flooded the airwaves with the grammar of seemingly-sane neoliberalism while the advertisers took up the frontal action of extolling "markets" and their infinite wisdom. Simultaneously the United States engaged in a new Cold War, restarted by Carter after the detente policies of Nixon, so to thoroughly demonize not just "Communism" (though the Soviet system was everything but that by the end) but anything remotely akin to "central planning in the economy" (which was called welfare state Keynesian economics when my grandparents were birthing Baby Boomers). Here, in order to keep funding coming through major donors, a taxpayer-supported public broadcasting system engaged in a wholesale fraud that attempted to rob those same taxpayers of literally multi-trillions of dollars on behalf of a swindler and con man who I have been unable to discern ever having an actual job. We should understand this media assault as a frontal attack by capital on our social safety net. Trump is a rear-guard assault, though it seems now with Mike Pence on the ticket Wall Street feels more comfortable. The media props him up in the way it propped up "terrorists" to justify the militarizing of the police and the shredding of the Bill of Rights and habeas corpus. He scares well-intentioned but still-racist white liberals into a self-aggrandizing pity party wherein they will say anything and everything about how we just must elect Hillary Clinton. They fail to recognize and accept that Clinton has been targeting the Social Security system for privatization for decades, best illustrated in a fantastic essay by Robin Blackburn I have been re-reading and circulating on an almost daily basis this year. The Democratic Party platform plank supporting Social Security seems as adamantine as wet toilet paper, capital wants that public resource on Wall Street and Obama himself has been making moves over the last eight years to actualize that plan. Trump scares the sheep into the wolf's den while Bernie Sanders barks at them should they go astray. And Trump is only able to do that with the aid and support of a corporate media that throws up a farcical wall of integrity and objectivity so to actualize it.

    This is the synthesis of Trump and Clinton in the montage Eisenstein described. Both are pro-war, anti-Social Security, racist, misogynist, awful people. One and the same in almost every sense.

    Andrew Stewart is a documentary film maker and reporter who lives outside Providence. His film, AARON BRIGGS AND THE HMS GASPEE, about the historical role of Brown University in the slave trade, is available for purchase on Amazon Instant Video or on DVD.

    [Aug 08, 2016] the idea of voting third party to vote your conscience and register your disgust with the two evils

    economistsview.typepad.com

    JohnH said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...

    Yeah, right! With Gary Johnson, Libertarian, nipping at his heels, a surge in third party voting is going to help the Donald! [NOT!] If anything, discouraging people from voting third party is going to help Trump.

    But apparently Fred C. Dobbs doesn't like the idea of voting third party to vote your conscience and register your disgust with the two evils...

    [Aug 08, 2016] Washington political mess: Internet rumors for the curious

    Notable quotes:
    "... Who knows if he'll embrace better relations with Russia...? We don't. You cant know. He's all over the shop. We do know trigger-happy-hitlery's objectives though. That I would probably vote for him if I were a US citizen doesn't say anything about me, it speaks more about the state of decay the American political system is in - in dire need of a coup, a radical. ..."
    "... The Don's security detail need to be very wary of any grassy knolls. ..."
    www.moonofalabama.org
    ProPeace | Aug 7, 2016 10:39:36 AM | 60

    ...
    As Hillary Clinton's Democratic Party's "motion to dismiss" was nearing to be heard by the US Federal Court, this report notes, the main witness for JamPAC was attorney Lucas-but who, according to the Washington D.C. police report, was mysteriously discovered dead on 2 August: "R-1 reports she arrived home at 1913 hours and located her boyfriend Subject-1 laying unconscious on the bathroom floor. R-1 immediately called 911.DCFD Engine 9 responded and found no signs consistent with life. Subject-1 remained on scene".

    With attorney Lucas now being the latest victim of Hillary Clinton's "killing spree", this report says, the lawsuit against her Democratic Party will now be postponed because he is unable to testify, and it may be dismissed entirely because his testimony was so crucial as to if proper service was made or not-and that the Clinton cabal "obviously" knew about beforehand when filing their motion a fortnight before his death.

    As to how Hillary Clinton's cabal is able to accomplish their "Night of the Long Knives" murderous acts, this report continues, is due to the "assassin network" established by what the SVR labels as one of the most feared CIA operatives ever encountered by Russian intelligence-former CIA director, and deputy director, Mike Morell.

    Director Morell, this report explains, joined the CIA in 1980 and became an important operative in "Operation Cyclone" that sought to destroy the government of Afghanistan that had been aligned with the then Soviet Union.

    Morell's main duties within the CIA during the early 1980's, this report details, was in establishing a network whereby terrorists, assassins and weapons were able to flow freely between the United States, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan-and was aided by one of his top Pakistani operatives Khizr Khan-about whom the SVR previously reported on, and as we detailed in our report US Media Support Of Khizr Khan Who Enabled 9/11, Boston Marathon And San Bernardino Terror Attacks Stuns Russia.

    So entrenched was Morell in the CIA's "active terror network", this report continues, he was not only present with President Bush during the 11 September 2001 (9/11) attacks, he was, also, present when President Obama ordered the killing of CIA operation Tim Osman-otherwise known as Osama bin Laden.

    With Morell being a "diehard supporter" of Hillary Clinton, and responsible for the lies she told about the Benghazi terror attack, this report continues, in 2013 he left the CIA a month after Clinton resigned as Secretary of State and founded a mysterious private intelligence company called Beacon Global Strategies LLC (BGS) where he is listed as a "Senior Consular".

    Beacon Global Strategies, however, this report details, is far from a "normal" private intelligence company as the SVR categorizes it as an "assassination/propaganda" organization created expressly for the use and protection of top American elites and whose funding came from Claude Fontheim, a former Clinton adviser who now serves as a lobbyist to the US-China Exchange Foundation, a nonprofit reportedly used by Chinese government officials and Hong Kong tycoons to shape American policy toward China-and whose clients, including Hillary Clinton, include Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
    ...

    Noirette | Aug 7, 2016 10:56:44 AM | 61

    james @ 4. Digging a bit deeper we might want to characterize the fundamental nature of the US Empire or err 'Pax Amerikana.' This is actually, for me, very difficult to do, as compared, say to the British Empire. How to describe it fully?

    Chatter about AFRICOM, a 1000 military bases, Wall Street, the destruction of Lybia, etc. isn't explanatory enough.

    Part of the problem is that much is hidden from sight (Deep State shadow dealings), and the 'rule based' aspect is (post WW2 structure, UN, EU, etc.) very strong, with the rules moot, applied selectively through arm-twisting, etc. Coupled with another aspect, i.e. the prevalent US-W ideology, which is a kind of end-of-history dictate: free-market capitalism of a kind, pro-"democracy", 'freedom' from despots, dictators, God anointed/religious rule, very narrow personal 'freedom' (identity politics, sexual mores, social rising thru competition, etc.) This system easily manipulates ppl into an Orwellian space (more J. Huxley in fact.)

    It also has many characteristics of Mafia-type arrangements, a criminal class dominating, aspect not much discussed. The upshot: the system is opaque, secretive and highly complex. In its multiple ramifications, intersections amongst them (military, Gvmt/politics, security, finance, corporate, media, int'l relations..) Power of whatever kind (military, media, whatever) is only effective when it can coordinate with others to effect control. (Imagine a mess of a systemic diagram with 100s of boxes, nodes, heavy and light arrows.) Not looking good for the US at present.

    Trump is proposing (provided we read his confused comments, pronoucements, at face value, and interpret) a simplification of the system, which is the only thing to do with complex systems that get out of hand. (Turn off district 3, put all efforts into fixing pipelines in 1..)

    Others in their own ways are doing the same. Le Pen with 'New Nationalism', even ISIS in way (long story, as supported by outsiders…) Sanders is a different case - he tried once again to exploit the 'hopie changie' with a 'harking back to the past' - a 'new' New Deal - while not adressing any vital issues in any way.

    - not shilling for the Donald - attention should be put on non-est. candidates, music of the future.

    MadMax2 | Aug 7, 2016 11:43:18 AM | 63

    @61 Noirette

    One coup deserves another. You're right about how the establishment is not able to correct it's path without a radical shift, a guy like Sanders would have been absorbed and subverted - he offered merely band aid solutions. Ron Pauls platform may well have worked...his 'End The Fed' policy attacked a pillar, a thick root cause of how the establishment is able to baffle with bullshit.

    In some way, The Don's schizophrenic-stream-of-consciousness delivery is perfect for much the subliminally mindf*cked US electorate. He gives all the sound bites a host of large demographics need, let's just throw a tonne of shit out there now, see what happens, and tighten up the message later on. Even if he contradicts what he says the very next moment he opens his mouth it doesn't matter...his charisma can counter that most of the time.

    Who knows if he'll embrace better relations with Russia...? We don't. You cant know. He's all over the shop. We do know trigger-happy-hitlery's objectives though. That I would probably vote for him if I were a US citizen doesn't say anything about me, it speaks more about the state of decay the American political system is in - in dire need of a coup, a radical.

    The Don's security detail need to be very wary of any grassy knolls.

    james | Aug 7, 2016 12:39:58 PM | 66

    @61 noirette/63 madmax/65 jfl - noirette- i like the way you process all the myriad ways of considering the american empire... i do the same. it's impossible to come up with a clear vision of how it works, which is one ongoing part of it - to remain a mystery.. it will always be a part of a process of change too.

    whether some force/s have hi-jacked the usa for their own narrower agenda - it sure appears that way to me.. trump appears to offer a spontaneous response to ordinary americans place in a country spiraling out of the realm it was thought to be (out of control basically), not that any one view on a country remains static.. the idea of the simplicity of his message with regard to foreign policy is appealing.. what he would do in power is more of an unknown then what history tells us hillary clinton will do... i would be voting for trump if i was in the usa, partly the msm witch hunt on him which i think in my own way is more of those mysterious forces behind the scene guiding the usa into an ever widening ditch of it's own making, leaving many more people to suffer or worse.. thanks for everyone's comments..

    [Aug 07, 2016] In Response to Trump, Another Dangerous Movement Appears

    Financial oligarchy now is really afraid of losing power... They have weak neocon stooge Hillary -- an old woman with frail health, blood clots in the brain and probably other unknown to public ailments. And will fight back tooth and nail to preserve it. Like trump said -- expect the elections to be rigged.
    June 30, 2016 | Rolling Stone

    In "How American Politics Went Insane," Brookings Institute Fellow Jonathan Rauch spends many thousands of words arguing for the reinvigoration of political machines, as a means of keeping the ape-citizen further from power.

    He portrays the public as a gang of nihilistic loonies determined to play mailbox baseball with the gears of state.

    "Neurotic hatred of the political class is the country's last universally acceptable form of bigotry," he writes, before concluding:

    "Our most pressing political problem today is that the country abandoned the establishment, not the other way around."

    Rauch's audacious piece, much like Andrew Sullivan's clarion call for a less-democratic future in New York magazine ("Democracies end when they are too democratic"), is not merely a warning about the threat posed to civilization by demagogues like Donald Trump. It's a piece that praises Boss Tweed's Tammany Hall (it was good for the Irish!), the smoke-filled room (good for "brokering complex compromises"), and pork (it helps "glue Congress together" by giving members "a kind of currency to trade").

    Rauch even chokes multiple times on the word "corruption," seeming reluctant to even mention the concept without shrouding it in flurries of caveats. When he talks about the "ever-present potential for corruption" that political middlemen pose, he's quick to note the converse also applies (emphasis mine):

    "Overreacting to the threat of corruption… is just as harmful. Political contributions, for example, look unseemly, but they play a vital role as political bonding agents."

    The basic thrust is that shadowy back-room mechanisms, which Rauch absurdly describes as being relics of a lost era, have a positive role and must be brought back.

    He argues back-room relationships and payoffs at least committed the actors involved to action. Meanwhile, all the transparency and sunshine and access the public is always begging for leads mainly to gridlock and frustration.

    In one passage, Rauch blames gridlock on the gerrymandering that renders most congressional elections meaningless. In a scandal that should get more media play, Democrats and Republicans have divvied up territory to make most House districts "safe" for one party or another. Only about 10 to 20 percent of races are really contested in any given year (one estimate in 2014 described an incredible 408 of the 435 races as "noncompetitive").

    As Rauch notes, meaningless general elections make primaries the main battlegrounds. This puts pressure on party candidates to drift to extremes...

    ... ... ...

    But it's all bull.

    Voters in America not only aren't over-empowered, they've for decades now been almost totally disenfranchised, subjects of one of the more brilliant change-suppressing systems ever invented.

    We have periodic elections, which leave citizens with the feeling of self-rule. But in reality people are only allowed to choose between candidates carefully screened by wealthy donors. Nobody without a billion dollars and the approval of a half-dozen giant media companies has any chance at high office.

    People have no other source of influence. Unions have been crushed. Nobody has any job security. Main Street institutions that once allowed people to walk down the road to sort things out with other human beings have been phased out. In their place now rest distant, unfeeling global bureaucracies.

    Has a health insurance company wrongly denied your sick child coverage? Good luck even getting someone on the phone to talk it over, much less get it sorted out. Your neighborhood bank, once a relatively autonomous mechanism for stimulating the local economy, is now a glorified ATM machine with limited ability to respond to a community's most basic financial concerns.

    One of the underpublicized revelations of the financial crisis, for instance, was that millions of Americans found themselves unable to get answers to a simple questions like, "Who holds the note to my house?"

    People want more power over their own lives. They want to feel some connection to society. Most particularly, they don't want to be dictated to by distant bureaucrats who don't seem to care what they're going through, and think they know what's best for everyone.

    These are legitimate concerns. Unfortunately, they came out in this past year in the campaign of Donald Trump, who'd exposed a tiny flaw in the system.

    People are still free to vote, and some peculiarities in the structure of the commercial media, combined with mountains of public anger, conspired to put one of the two parties in the hands of a coverage-devouring billionaire running on a "Purge the Scum" platform.

    Donald Trump is dangerous because as president, he'd likely have little respect for law. But a gang of people whose metaphor for society is "We are the white cells, voters are the disease" is comparably scary in its own banal, less click-generating way.

    These self-congratulating cognoscenti could have looked at the events of the last year and wondered why people were so angry with them, and what they could do to make government work better for the population.

    Instead, their first instinct is to dismiss voter concerns as baseless, neurotic bigotry and to assume that the solution is to give Washington bureaucrats even more leeway to blow off the public. In the absurdist comedy that is American political life, this is the ultimate anti-solution to the unrest of the last year, the mathematically perfect wrong ending.

    Trump is going to lose this election, then live on as the reason for an emboldened, even less-responsive oligarchy. And you thought this election season couldn't get any worse.

    [Aug 07, 2016] Democrats Will Learn All the Wrong Lessons From Brush With Bernie

    "Democratic voters tried to express these frustrations through the Sanders campaign, but the party leaders have been and probably will continue to be too dense to listen."
    Notable quotes:
    "... But to read the papers in the last two days is to imagine that we didn't just spend a year witnessing the growth of a massive grassroots movement fueled by loathing of the party establishment, with some correspondingly severe numerical contractions in the turnout department (though she won, for instance, Clinton received 30 percent fewer votes in California this year versus 2008, and 13 percent fewer in New Jersey). ..."
    "... The twin insurgencies of Trump and Sanders this year were equally a blistering referendum on Beltway politics. ..."
    June 9, 2016 | Rolling Stone

    Hohmann's thesis was that the "scope and scale" of Clinton's wins Tuesday night meant mainstream Democrats could now safely return to their traditional We won, screw you posture of "minor concessions" toward the "liberal base."

    Hohmann focused on the fact that with Bernie out of the way, Hillary now had a path to victory that would involve focusing on Trump's negatives. Such a strategy won't require much if any acquiescence toward the huge masses of Democratic voters who just tried to derail her candidacy. And not only is the primary scare over, but Clinton and the centrist Democrats in general are in better shape than ever.

    "Big picture," Hohmann wrote, "Clinton is running a much better and more organized campaign than she did in 2008."

    Then there was Jonathan Capehart, also of the Post, whose "This is how Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are the same person" piece describes Sanders as a "stubborn outsider" who "shares the same DNA" as Donald Trump. Capeheart snootily seethes that both men will ultimately pay a karmic price for not knowing their places.

    "In the battle of the outsider egos storming the political establishment, Trump succeeded where Sanders failed," he wrote. "But the chaos unleashed by Trump's victory could spell doom for the GOP all over the ballot in November. Pardon me while I dab that single tear trickling down my cheek."

    If they had any brains, Beltway Dems and their clucky sycophants like Capeheart would not be celebrating this week. They ought to be horrified to their marrow that the all-powerful Democratic Party ended up having to dig in for a furious rally to stave off a quirky Vermont socialist almost completely lacking big-dollar donors or institutional support.

    They should be freaked out, cowed and relieved, like the Golden State Warriors would be if they needed a big fourth quarter to pull out a win against Valdosta State.

    But to read the papers in the last two days is to imagine that we didn't just spend a year witnessing the growth of a massive grassroots movement fueled by loathing of the party establishment, with some correspondingly severe numerical contractions in the turnout department (though she won, for instance, Clinton received 30 percent fewer votes in California this year versus 2008, and 13 percent fewer in New Jersey).

    The twin insurgencies of Trump and Sanders this year were equally a blistering referendum on Beltway politics. But the major-party leaders and the media mouthpieces they hang out with can't see this, because of what that friend of mine talked about over a decade ago: Washington culture is too far up its own backside to see much of anything at all.

    In D.C., a kind of incestuous myopia very quickly becomes part of many political jobs. Congressional aides in particular work ridiculous hours for terrible pay and hang out almost exclusively with each other. About the only recreations they can afford are booze, shop-talk, and complaining about constituents, who in many offices are considered earth's lowest form of life, somewhere between lichens and nematodes.

    It's somewhat understandable. In congressional offices in particular, people universally dread picking up the phone, because it's mostly only a certain kind of cable-addicted person with too much spare time who calls a politician's office.

    "Have you ever called your congressman? No, because you have a job!" laughs Paul Thacker, a former Senate aide currently working on a book about life on the Hill. Thacker recounts tales of staffers rushing to turn on Fox News once the phones start ringing, because "the people" are usually only triggered to call Washington by some moronic TV news scare campaign.

    In another case, Thacker remembers being in the office of the senator of a far-Northern state, watching an aide impatiently conduct half of a constituent phone call. "He was like, 'Uh huh, yes, I understand.' Then he'd pause and say, 'Yes, sir,' again. This went on for like five minutes," recounts Thacker.

    Finally, the aide firmly hung up the phone, reared back and pointed accusingly at the receiver. "And you are from fucking Missouri!" he shouted. "Why are you calling me?"

    These stories are funny, but they also point to a problem. Since The People is an annoying beast, young pols quickly learn to be focused entirely on each other and on their careers. They get turned on by the narrative of Beltway politics as a cool power game, and before long are way too often reaching for Game of Thrones metaphors to describe their jobs. Eventually, the only action that matters is inside the palace.

    [Aug 07, 2016] The Return of Lesser Evilism

    Notable quotes:
    "... Roe v. Wade ..."
    "... To Kill a Mockingbird ..."
    "... Ugh. Hey, Jonathan: Voters don't want candidates who agree with them about everything. They just want one who isn't going to completely take them for granted. If that's become too much to ask, maybe there's something wrong with the Democratic Party, not people like Ralph Nader or Bernie Sanders. ..."
    "... As of June 6th, Hillary Clinton had won nearly 13 million primary votes, while Trump had gotten some 11.5 million. ..."
    www.rollingstone.com

    Rolling Stone

    Jonathan Chait of New York magazine wrote a column about Ralph Nader this morning that uses some interesting language. Noting that it's now been 16 years since Nader ran for president and garnered enough dissenting votes to help elect George W. Bush, he wrote (emphasis mine):

    Instead of a reality check for the party, it'll be smugness redoubled

    "That is enough time for Nader to confess his role in enabling one of the most disastrous presidencies in American history, or at least to come up with a better explanation for his decision. Instead, Nader has repeated his same litany of evasions, most recently in an interview with Jeremy Hobson on WBUR, where he dismissed all criticisms of his 2000 campaign as 'fact deprived.'"

    Nader refuses to confess! What is this, the Spanish Inquisition? Fetch the comfy chair!

    It would be foolish to argue that Nader's run in 2000 didn't enable Bush's presidency. Though there were other factors, Nader's presence on the ballot was surely a big one.

    But the career Democrats of the Beltway and their buddies in the press have turned the Nader episode into something very like the creation story of the Third Way political movement. And like many religious myths, it's gotten very tiresome.

    The Democratic Party leaders have trained their followers to perceive everything in terms of one single end-game equation: If you don't support us, you're supporting Bush/Rove/Cheney/Palin/Insert Evil Republican Here.

    That the monster of the moment, Donald Trump, is a lot more monstrous than usual will likely make this argument an even bigger part of the Democratic Party platform going forward.

    It's a sound formula for making ballot-box decisions, but the people who push it never seem content to just use it to win elections. They're continually trying to make an ethical argument out of it, to prove people who defy The Equation are, whether they know it or not, morally wrong and in league with the other side.

    Beltway Democrats seem increasingly to believe that all people who fall within a certain broad range of liberal-ish beliefs owe their votes and their loyalty to the Democratic Party.

    That's why, as a socially liberal person who probably likes trees and wouldn't want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, Nader's decision to take votes from the party-blessed candidate Gore is viewed not as dissent, but as a kind of treason.

    The problem with this line of thinking is that there's no end to it. If you think I owe you my vote because I recycle and enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird, you're not going to work very hard to keep it. That's particularly true if the only standard you think you need to worry about is not being worse than Donald Trump, which is almost the same as no standard at all.

    This is why the thinking within the Democratic Party has gotten so flabby over the years. It increasingly seems to rejoice in its voters' lack of real choices, and relies on a political formula that requires little input from anyone outside the Beltway.

    It's heavily financed by corporate money, and the overwhelming majority of its voters would never cast a vote for the nut-bar God-and-guns version of Republicanism that's been their sole opposition for decades.

    So the party gets most of its funding without having to beg for it door to door, and it gets many of its votes by default. Except for campaign-trail photo ops, mainstream Democrats barely need to leave Washington to stay in business.

    Still, the Democratic Leadership Council wing of the Democrats have come to believe they've earned their status, by being the only plausible bulwark against the Republican menace.

    This sounds believable because party officials and pundits like Chait keep describing critics of the party as far-leftists and extremists, whose platform couldn't win a national election.

    Dissenting voices like this year's version of Nader, Bernie Sanders, are inevitably pitched as quixotic egotists who don't have the guts to do what it takes to win. They're described as just out for 15 minutes of fame, and maybe a few plaudits from teenagers and hippies who'll gush over their far-out idealism.

    But that characterization isn't accurate. The primary difference between the Nader/Sanders platform and the Gore/Clinton platform isn't rooted in ideology at all, but money.

    The former camp refuses to be funded by the Goldmans and Pfizers of the world, while the latter camp embraces those donors. That's really all this comes down to. There's nothing particularly radical about not taking money from companies you think you might need to regulate someday. And there's nothing particularly centrist or "realistic" about taking that same money.

    When I think about the way the Democrats and their friends in the press keep telling me I owe them my vote, situations like the following come to mind. We're in another financial crisis. The CEOs of the ten biggest banks in America, fresh from having wrecked the economy with the latest harebrained bubble scheme, come to the Oval Office begging for a bailout.

    In that moment, to whom is my future Democratic president going to listen: those bankers or me?

    It's not going to be me, that's for sure. Am I an egotist for being annoyed by that? And how exactly should I take being told on top of that that I still owe this party my vote, and that I should keep my mouth shut about my irritation if I don't want to be called a Republican-enabler?

    The collapse of the Republican Party and its takeover by the nativist Trump wing poses all sorts of problems, not the least of which being the high likelihood that the Democrats will now get even lazier when it comes to responding to their voters' interests. The crazier the Republicans get, the more reflexive will be the arguments that we can't afford any criticism of Democrats anymore, lest we invite in the Fourth Reich.

    I didn't vote for Nader in 2000, and I don't have a problem with anyone arguing this coming Election Day that we shouldn't all do whatever we can to keep Donald Trump out of office.

    What's problematic is the way Beltway media types are forever turning postmortems on the candidacies of people like Nader or Sanders into parables about the perils of voting your conscience, when what we're really talking about is the party's unwillingness to untether itself from easy money. This is how Chait sums up Nader (again, emphasis mine):

    "Nader goes on to defend his idiosyncratic belief that people are under no obligation to consider real-world impacts in their voting behavior. Vote for a third-party candidate, write in a candidate, follow your own conscience: 'I think voters in a democracy should vote for anybody they want, including write in or even themselves. I don't believe in any kind of reprimand of voters who stray from the two-party tyranny.'

    "Why should people vote for candidates at all? Since, by definition, the person we most closely agree with is ourselves, why not just write your own name in every time?"

    Ugh. Hey, Jonathan: Voters don't want candidates who agree with them about everything. They just want one who isn't going to completely take them for granted. If that's become too much to ask, maybe there's something wrong with the Democratic Party, not people like Ralph Nader or Bernie Sanders.

    As of June 6th, Hillary Clinton had won nearly 13 million primary votes, while Trump had gotten some 11.5 million.

    [Aug 06, 2016] Sanders supporters turn to Jill Stein: You should vote your conscience

    Hillary is a warmonger and is very dangerous in any high position in government (look how much damage she managed to do while being the Secretary of State), to say nothing about being POTUS. Among other things Hillary and just too old and too sick to be a President.
    Notable quotes:
    "... A vote for Stein is a vote against empire. It's a vote against the neocons and their plans to bring the entire world under our rule. ..."
    "... Look who Hillary picked as her VP! Look who she hired in her campaign. She doesn't give a damn. Instead of demanding the progressive vote to avoid disaster, have her change course and deserve that vote. People have had enough already. ..."
    "... Bernie Sanders sold out. Time to forget him and forget his advice, as the worst vote would be a vote for a neocon and the wars she would bring us. ..."
    "... I mean if this was a contest between Hitler and Stalin there would still be people asking others to vote for Stalin so that Hitler wasn't elected and arguing that voting for another candidate is wasting your vote. If you want to vote tactically, vote tactically, and if you want to vote for what you believe, vote for what you believe, but understand what you are saying and don't act as if there was any kind of moral obligation to vote for Clinton, because there isn't. ..."
    "... Independent studies and reports have proven that the primaries were rigged beyond any doubt. ..."
    "... Hillary's biggest supporters spend most of their time on Wall St, in oil companies, or in corrupt foreign governments. ..."
    "... There simply isn't any logic to this OMG Trump will be the worst thing ever. So one must then assume that the argument is created and perpetuated simply to manipulate and mislead. ..."
    "... Trump, a detestable person, would get very little of his extreme views passed. Clinton, a detestable person, would get very much of her extreme views passed. ..."
    "... Because Clinton is to the right of Obama (accurate provided you aren't a rabid partisan) she is far more likely to get every awful military action she wants. Since she's apparently the "pragmatic" one, how quickly do any of these policy proposals get watered down or gutted entirely in the name of compromise and political realities and "politics being the art of the possible"? ..."
    "... True. It ends here. A vote for Hillary is a vote that supports and condones the corruption of the DNC and Clinton 's campaign. Clearly, they had handicapped Sanders from the start. Starting with an 'insurmountable 400+ superdelegates before Bernie entered the race which the MSM, who, in collusion with the DNC, pushed as "an impossible lead to overcome" skewed the primaries results in favor of Clinton. ..."
    "... I won't vote for someone who has to nuance her answers when it comes to the way in which she's conducted herself during her tenure at the Department of State. This from a former Clinton supporter in 2008. ..."
    "... Glad to know that they would rather have a Trump presidency instead of banding together with the Dems. ..."
    "... Please see what you will be doing if Trump becomes president. He doesn't stand for ANYTHING that Bernie stands for. ..."
    "... Not this election. Certainly not the next election. Or the one after that. At least Hilly is Dem. Best laugh of the day. ..."
    The Guardian

    "But I am concerned that the DNC elected Hillary in the first place. Because they [Trump and Clinton] are either tied or she's even losing in some polls. Whereas Bernie consistently beat Trump by double digits [in hypothetical match-up polls]. We could win the House and the Senate back with those kind of numbers."

    ... ... ...

    "I've read hundreds of the DNC leaked emails. I feel that our votes were stolen. I don't think she won the primary fair and square. And if she had to cheat to do it, maybe she shouldn't become the first woman president."

    "I think by me voting for the third-party candidate, along with millions of other Bernie supporters, it will maybe show that the third party is possible in the future." JCDavis Tom J. Davis

    What has Jill Stein ever done that qualifies her to lead a large nation with international obligations and not just those to it's own citizens?

    A vote for Stein is a vote against empire. It's a vote against the neocons and their plans to bring the entire world under our rule.

    pdehaan -> Tom J. Davis

    It's quite something for democrats to demand the progressive votes for Hillary and trying to induce a guilt trip in order to avoid Trump from being elected.
    Why don't you demand Hillary Clinton to earn that vote?? For example, by having her guarantee in no uncertain means that she'll oppose TPP and associated trade deals in any form or fashion (instead of in it's current form)? Why don't you demand Hillary Clinton to be less hawkish and dangerous wrt foreign policy instead? Why don't you demand her to work towards a $15 minimum wage, income equality and social protection instead? It's very easy to demand one's vote just because the other side is even worse. This issue comes up every election and it's just maintaining the status quo.

    Look who Hillary picked as her VP! Look who she hired in her campaign. She doesn't give a damn. Instead of demanding the progressive vote to avoid disaster, have her change course and deserve that vote. People have had enough already.

    JCDavis -> palindrom

    Bernie Sanders sold out. Time to forget him and forget his advice, as the worst vote would be a vote for a neocon and the wars she would bring us.

    JCDavis -> davshev

    Think of it this way--Trump may be a clown, but Hillary is a warmonger who will bring us war with Russia. and a war with Russia will be a disaster for everyone. So if your vote for Stein gives us Trump, that is not as bad as it could be.

    cynictomato

    Oh Please! If you want to vote for Clinton just vote for her but let the rest do whatever they want. The idea that if you vote for another candidate besides the two main ones you are wasting your vote is what has turned the USA in a two party democracy and is detrimental for the citizens because the main parties only have to worry about presenting a better option than their rival, not about presenting a good candidate.

    I mean if this was a contest between Hitler and Stalin there would still be people asking others to vote for Stalin so that Hitler wasn't elected and arguing that voting for another candidate is wasting your vote. If you want to vote tactically, vote tactically, and if you want to vote for what you believe, vote for what you believe, but understand what you are saying and don't act as if there was any kind of moral obligation to vote for Clinton, because there isn't.

    BStroszek
    The idea that the Democratic National Committee, and the Clinton campaign, "rigged" the Democratic primary is fairly widespread

    It's not an IDEA it's a FACT. Independent studies and reports have proven that the primaries were rigged beyond any doubt. (Guardian please study these reports and write an in depth article on the rigged primaries)

    ErnaMsw -> Doggiedo

    On foreign policy, Clinton is certainly not "the much lesser threat to their ideology". She has made it clear that aggressive stance on Syria/Ukraine will be taken, increasing the odds of an uncontained global conflict.

    NoOneYouKnowNow -> kevdflb

    Hillary's biggest supporters spend most of their time on Wall St, in oil companies, or in corrupt foreign governments.

    mrmetrowest -> Iskierka

    Are Nader voters more responsible for Bush than the hundreds of thousands of Democrats that voted for him? Are they more responsible than the millions who stayed home? The 'Nader cost Gore the election' canard is one of the least logical pieces of conventional wisdom ever.

    Mrs Clinton is on record as supporting a no-fly zone in Syria - an act that will further embroil us in the Middle East and might get us into a blow-up with Russia. If this happens, are Clinton supporters willing to be responsible for her actions?

    Vote Green, if that's what your conscience says. The anti-Trump voters' moral position is less pure than they think; in four years they'll be voting against someone else. This goes on forever.

    mrmetrowest -> Rolf Erikson

    In 1964, voters were presented with a choice between LBJ and Goldwater. Goldwater was considered to hold extreme political v