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

Version 2.4 (Nov  21, 2016)

The USA is a single party state -- it is governed by the Neoliberal party with two factions "soft neoliberals" (Democratic Party) and "hard neoliberals" (Republican Party). Existence of  "Pepsi" and "Coca-Cola" parties in the USA is just a sophisticated variant of "divide and conquer" strategy and could have been used by the USSR leadership  instead of one party system. 

News American Polyarchy is not Democracy Recommended Books Recommended Links Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ? Steele dossier Donald Trump -- a former (for the duration of elections) fighter against excesses of neoliberal globalization Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Understanding Hillary Clinton email scandal Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Neocons foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Bernie Sanders The Deep State Anti Trump Hysteria Demexit
Neocons Obama: a yet another Neocon Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Media-Military-Industrial Complex  New American Militarism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking
Predator state Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders and blaming Vladimir Putin National Security State  American Exceptionalism Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Pluralism as a myth
Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Corporatist Corruption Paleoconservatism Corporatism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Hillary Clinton email scandal: Timeline and summary "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry  Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS
Myth about intelligent voter Electoral College Non-Interventionism 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

“The only people truly bound by campaign promises are the voters who believe them.”

Christopher Hitchens, The Quotable Hitchens from Alcohol to Zionism: The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens  

 

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 three letter agencies like CIA exist?  Probably not as "deep state" sooner or later (usually sooner)  makes surface state just an instrument for providing legitimacy of deep state rule.

Presedent Truman probably did not suspect that by sighing  the National Security Act of 1947  he signed a death sentence tothe form of democracy that the USA was having up to 1950th.

As part of the U.S. Cold War strategy, Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 and reorganized military forces by merging the Department of War and the Department of the Navy into the National Military Establishment (later the Department of Defense) and creating the U.S. Air Force. The act also created the CIA and the National Security Council.[135] In 1952, Truman secretly consolidated and empowered the cryptologic elements of the United States by creating the National Security Agency (NSA).

Since JFK assassination we can talk about "inverted totalitarism" (The term introduced by late Professor Sheldon Wolin)  as the form on government which  become entrenched on on federal level (the related term if the "deep state"), while remnants of democracy are delegated to state and local levels.  Growth of power of intelligence agencies inevitably makes them political players. Nowhere it was more clear then in 2016 Presendential electio, when by derailing Sanders FBI essenatially ensure Trump win and then in cooperation of other againces (and first of all CIA Brennan) lauched a color regoluation againast Trump trying to deposer him vi Special Procecutor mechnism.

Does  the "the first after the post" rule along with enforcing two party system on the population also is instrumental with establishing slightly camouflaged one party state with two "Pepsi" vs. "Coca Cola"  parties which serve as a spoilers for those to the left or the right of the center, subverting and emasculating new social movements into their (currently neoliberal) stagnant and elite oriented framework. The effect is so profound that it created the impression that "first after the post" can't be used in any country pretending to be a democracy? 

There are also addition questions:

  1. Is existence  of military-industrial complex, and, especially, such part of MIC as huge and essentially uncontrolled intelligence agencies compatible with democracy? Ever since the inception of the Central Intelligence Agency America has been battling a force that exists with a written charter to undermine and undo ever single fundamental principle of representational democracy in America and elsewhere replacing it with an ugly cold-skinned changeling covertly overseen by its CIA creators and their sponsors.
  2. Does absence of limits of the term of senators subvert democracy ?  If so what should be the maximum term. Is "gerontocracy" in the US congress  represents positive, or highly negative. Is role of money in elections forces senators to serve effectively as representatives of corporations which reside in the states, not the states themselves  ? 
  3. Is official lobbing including lobbying by organization which are clearly supported by foright  state such as AIPAC ?
  4. Is "money as a free speech" principle compatible with democracy?  Or does it mean "one dollar-one vote" regime?

The fact that parties represent interests radically different from interests of their voters is not new.  As George Washinton put it:

 "However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion." President George Washington Farewell Address | Saturday, September 17, 1796

Later the same idea was later coined as the "iron law of oligarchy". So on federal level neither republic, not democracy exists. We level in empire with no participatory democracy (unless voting to the lesser  evil of two preselected by the elite candidate can be viewed as a democracy).  In latest Presidential election it was intelligence agencies who were kingmakers, derailing Sanders. But it still exists on local level below the level of state, although even there financial oligarchy managed to spoil the broth -- on municipal level it is bankers who control the politics as they are interested in loans for public projects.

In other word decomicatinc elements in the neoliberal political system are just facade for the  dictatorship of financial oligarchy. And pretty brutal one (The Saker - The Unz Review, Feb 23, 2018):

But first, full disclosure: I don’t have much faith in the so-called “democratic process”. Just look at the EU and tell me: do you really believe that the people in power represent the will and interests of the people who, supposedly, elected them? There are exceptions, of course, Switzerland is probably one of the comparatively most democratic countries out there, but mostly what we see is that western democracies are run by gangs of oligarchs and bureaucrats who have almost nothing in common with the people they are supposed to represent. As for the US, for decades now every time the people voted for “A” they always got “non-A” as a result. It is almost comical.

So here is my personal conclusion: democracies are political systems in which the real ruling elites hide behind an utterly fake appearance of people power. Putting it differently, the “democratic process” is the device by which the real and hidden rulers of the world (or “worldwide behind the scenes powers“, to use the expression of Ivan Il’in), legitimize their power and prevent their overthrow. This is the same technique followed by used car dealerships when they place tens, sometimes, hundreds of US flags on their lots before a car sale: it’s just a basic trick to induce the ‘correct’, patriotic, state of mind.

This is also the reason why there are elections every 4 years in the US: the more illegitimate and despotic any putatively “democratic” regime is, the more often it will organize elections to, so to speak, “increase the dose” of patriotically-induced stupor in its people and give them the illusion that the regime is legitimate, their opinion matters and all is well.

Finally, when needed, slogans such as “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others” are used to put to sleep those who might have doubts. In terms of real people power “democracies” are probably the least truly democratic regimes imaginable simply because they are by far the most capable of hiding who really runs the country and where their real centers of power are. Do I really need to add that the worst kind of “democracy” is the capitalist one? You disagree? Then why do you think that Mayer Amschel Rothschild allegedly declared “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!“? Nowhere is the concentration of capital easier to achieve than in a society which makes it possible for the real ruling class to hide its power behind a screen of electoral farces.

As Sheldon  Wolin put it, all we have under neoliberalism is inverted totalitarism and a nationally security state with modem equivalent of STASI level of total surveillance  instead of democracy.  The neoliberal elite firmly guar the levers of power and  try to eliminate any challenger before it represent a real political threat to the neoliberal social system. Even minor  threats are mercilessly squashed. Look at what  happened to Trump.

Democracy for whom?

Another important question is "democracy for whom?". There is always a large part of society (say bottom 80% or even 90%)  living under the dictatorship (for lower 50% this is even worse -- neo-slavery as  "debt slaves" or "wage slaves"), struggling to meet ends and thus excluded from the democratic process. Moreover,  most of the US population spend their life under authoritarian rule: those who are parts of the military, who work in large corporation, or government. How they can behave in a democratic way if they are conditioned and adapted to the strict authoritarian rule at work ?  

Another large question: can  a typical American understand whom he/she is voting for in the environment of pretty sophisticated propaganda and systematic betrayal of election promises (in this repect Trump is not different  from Barak Obama) as a political norm ("change we can believe in" )? 

Add to this completely brainwashed population ready to vote against their economic interests and  for indefinite and costly wars for the expansion of the global neoliberal empire led by the USA. For example,  despicable warmonger, war criminal(with destruction of Libya and  Syria under  the belt), staunch neoliberal Hillary Clinton was so detached from reality that it hurts. Despite clear signs of the deep systemic crisis of neoliberalism in the USA and closely related process of de-legitimization of neoliberal elite (look what percentage of the Americans trust Congress)  all she wanted is to kick the neoliberal can down the road. And still almost half of the country voted for her.

Also there is no rules that the candidate can not betray all his election time promises. Any level of betrayal is OK, as parties in reality do not control the  behaviour of their leaders as long as they remain on neoliberal platform,  and they and stay in office. Recent example of Clinton, Bush II, Obama and Trump are clear demonstration of the gap between election platform and actual governance.

In case of Trump and Obama this was a complete betrayal. In a way Trump is Republican Obama -- a person with almost zero political experience  who due to the lack of personal political history during elections was able to pretend to be the politician, while he clearly is not -- he is a marionette of MIC (much like Barak was marionette of CIA; just look at "very close" and pretty unusual relations  between him and Brennan) as well as Brannan role in color revolution against  Trump

What is the level of interest  of average middle class American in real information about Washington  political machinery and neoliberal social system

Poor people are automatically excluded from politics. most of their energy needs to be  spend on task related to mere survival and desperate attempt to spread their meager paycheck to the next without falling into the laps of loan sharks.

Middle class can afford attempts to analyze the political situation and personal efforts to understand the political system in which they live. And because of that can  have informed political opinion. Theoretically. In reality there also many obstacles here.  One  fundamental obstacle is so called The iron law of oligarchy.  The second, related, is the existence of the deep state.

First of all let me ask a simple question: What is the level of interest  in governance of an average middle class American (lower class with McJobs most of the time is too preoccupied with survival to be able to particulate in political activity), if they are brainwashed 24 x 7 by neoliberal propaganda  which tries to distract them from discussing and understanding any serious issue facing the USA. 

Also  the middle class in not uniform. There is substantial caste of Americans deeply connected with the imperial state (servants of the empire so to speak) and they also represent  a political force with interests different form the average middle class American. There are roughly three contractors (28,626) for every U.S. army member (9,800) in Afghanistan. On April 5, Adm. Michael Rogers, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, declared during a Senate hearing that contractors made up 25 percent of his workforce (Foreign Policy). They have their own opinion and interest in such issues as permanent war for permanent peace.  And without draft this issue does not touch too deeply ordinary middle class American, who do not need to fight and die for the empire.

The second  factor is constant brainwashing be neoliberal MSM. Unless a person make a conscious effort to exclude them and rely of alternative media he/she can't form any informed political opinion.  You will almost never even her the  term "neoliberalism" in neoliberal MSM like NYT or WaPo or CNN or MSNBC. This is a taboo.  But you will hear a lot about "evil Russians" or "evil Chinese" which is a perfect distraction, a smoke screen, designed to hide the real problems facing the US society after 40 years of dominance of neoliberalism as a social system.

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 even more efficiently that 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.  

The "first after the post" system "by design" provides a very effective suppression of any third party, preventing any chance of maturing such a political force.  Emerging parties are cooped iether under Democratic or Republic umbrella and then emasculated.  This mechanism is no less effective the Soviet one party rule, but more subtle, requires less violence and suppression of dissidents, and more acceptable to the population. Which is all what is needed to continuation of the rule of the oligarchy.  The same is true for the parties themselves. Iron law of oligarchy was actually discovered by observing the evolution of the political party leadership.

Revolutionary situation after 2008 is connected with discreditation of neoliberal ideology

The situation when the current (neoliberal) ruling elite (or in less politically correct term oligarchy) experienced difficulties with the continuation of its rule and the existing methods of suppression and indoctrination of the lower part population stop working is called  "revolutionary situation".  In 2008 the protest was squashed by electing "Trojan horse" Obama, who proved to be the king of "bait and switch" maneuver. Some signs of this situation were observable in the USA in 2016 which led to the election of what  a person who like Obama pretended  essentially to be an independent candidate slightly (at least formally) opposing the most negative effects of neoliberalism on population (anti-globalization stance, accent of creation jobs within the USA, etc) -- Donald Trump.  Who later proved to be Republican version of Obama. Not without help of "deep state" which launched unprotected and well coordinated company of leaks and 24 x 7 negative news to discredit his personality and administration. Going as far as in a very elegant really Machiavellian way  using fake accusations ("Russiagate) appointing a special prosecutor using Obama/Hillary supporters in the Judicial department (effectively coup d'état as special procedure is big burden which effectively paralyses any administration and Clinton presidency had shown). And when it did not work, they tried to accuse him of being racist (using  1 Charlottesville events) or even insane person. Looks like for Trump, even if he has some intention to implement anti-neoliberal measures -- the resistance proved to be way too strong and such intension did not last even half a year.  Bombing Syria army air field with Tomahawks was an early signal of surrender.  Removing Bannon, and adding troops to Afghan war make this turn around and betrayal of Trump voters in best Obama style virtual certainty.

It was clear that there is a widespread feeling among the majority of the US population now that the current neoliberal system of governance, installed by victorious neoliberals after 1980, is wrong and unjust. And when the people do not wouldn't like to live under the current system, and the ruling oligarchy can't continue to rule using the same methods and its brainwashing/propaganda does not work anymore " a revolutionary situation, a rare moment when "the change we can believe in" becomes possible arise. Not the con that the king of "bait and switch" maneuver Obama sold to the US lemmings in 2008 and then in 2012, but the "real" change; which can be for the good or bad. Stability of the society also has its great value. As Chinese curse state it succinctly "May you live in interesting times".

 In such cases, the ruling elite typically decides to unleash a foreign war and use "rally around the flag" effect  to suppress dissent and to restore the control (that's the real meaning of Samuel Johnson quote "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"). But in this particular case the USA already is in engaged in several wars (or occupations), so the nostalgia for good time what the USSR existed proved to be irresistible. And the pitch level of anti-Russian propaganda in 2016-2017 in neoliberal MSM suggest that a large part of the US elite decided to "waive a dead chicken" (actually Hillary made Russophobia a part of her election campaign, effectively unleashing a new neo-McCarthyism campaign in the USA).  As John Kenneth Galbraith noted “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.

People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.” --  John Kenneth Galbraith

In 2016 we saw an attempt by oligarchy to rig the elections despite growing populism, at all cost. Throwing  Sanders under the bus represented exactly this maneuver.  The were not stopped even by the fact that they are promoting a deeply criminal and candidate with serious health problems ("We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality") The level of propaganda displayed in 2015-2016 election cycle by neoliberal MSM might well outdo the levels achieved by communist propagandists in during best days of the USSR.  And that happened because this time there is a slight chance that the election are not about choosing "soft neoliberal" vs. "hard neoliberal" but "soft neoliberal"  vs. (at least partially) "paleoconservative" (or "bustard neoliberal" ;-) who during election campaign rejects the idea of neoliberal globalization and by extension the necessity of fighting constant wars for the expansion of the US led global neoliberal empire.   But later quickly recognized that this heresy is not acceptable in the corridors of Washington deep state and can be harmful for his health ;-). The hissy fit in neoliberal media and the emergence of certain figures from the intelligence agencies on an "avanscena" as the leaders of "color revolution" against Trump (so called "Purple revolution") were to be expected but  caught Trump absolutely unprepared.

There is also an interesting question what kind of democracy the competition  of "Democratic Neoliberals" ("soft neoliberal/closet neocons) and "Republican Neoliberals: ("hard core" neoliberal/open neocons) in the USA demonstrates. And not only "democracy for whom" -- it is clear that this is the democracy for the top 1% or, at best, top 20% of population. a more interesting observation is that  as Trump election has shown, neoliberals like Bolsheviks in the past are ready to go to extreme methods including coup d'état to preserve their power, the democracy be damned.  

Also interesting were the methods of indoctrination of population which were borrowed by the USA neoliberals from the Soviet experience, which  were practiced from 1980th.  They use university course in economics in the same (or more correctly slightly more subtle; using mathematics as smoke screen for indoctrination into neoliberal ideology)  way Soviet universities use the course of philosophy. In the USSR the courses of philosophy and political economy were obligatory for all university students and people did read both Marx and Lenin; but there were problem with indoctrination as Soviet society did not correspond to Marx expectations  -- as Marx famously said he was not a Marxist.  The same to a certain extent is true for Lenin, who was essentially a bridge between Marxism and national socialism.  This problem was solved by carefully pre-selecting "classics" works to only a small "legitimate" emasculated subset that was in like with Bolshevism.  Neoclassical economy in the USA plays exactly the same role and is even worse. At least with some effort Soviet  student can get all the  works of Marx and Lenin. Here, in the USA, chances to read Keynes and other "deviant" economists for university students are virtually zero. They are completely distracted from fundamental issues by high doze of mathematics (misused and abused -- called mathiness). Which  is used as smoke  screen which hide the poverty of ideas of neo-classical economy.

But deteriorating economy and stagnation does make neoliberal propaganda less effective.  Like people of the USSR were listening to BBC and Voice of America at night, despite jamming, thinking people in the  USA are resort of alternative sources of news or even, God forbid, visit "naked capitalism", RT, or other "disapproved" by  neoliberal propagandists sites. Even thoroughly brainwashed the USA population, who like member of high demand cult now internalized postulates of neoliberalism like dogmas of some civil religion (displacing Christianity, so much about fake myth the USA is Christian nation; it is not) , started to have doubts.  Alternative sources of information in 2016-2017 started to play such and outside role that the company about "fake news" was launched to suppress them. They did not stop people from reading, say, Guardian, RT, unz.com, American conservative, Asia Times, to name a few.

But still the general level  political education of US votes leave much to be desired and is probably as low if not lower that it was in the USSR (due to obsessive emphasis on the works of Marx and Lenin soviet voters with university education usually have strong doubt about soviet system ). Let's honestly ask yourselves  what percentage of US voters can list key proposition of paleoconservative political platform vs. neoliberal platform. Or define what the term "neoliberal" means. It is difficult also because the terms "neoliberalism" and "Paleoconservatism" are expunged from MSM. Like Trotsky writings were in the USSR. Assuming that this might well be the key difference between two frontrunner in the last Presidential race, this is really unfortunate.

The myth about intelligent voters

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

In any case one amazing fact happened during this election: republican voters abandoned Republican brass and flocked to Trump, while Democratic voters abandoned Democratic neoliberals and flocked to Sanders (although DNC managed to fix primaries, and then engaged in anti-Russian hysteria to hide this criminal fact).  See Trump vs. The REAL Nuts for an informed discussion of this phenomenon.

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

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

But at the same time the struggle for political equality which is often associative with the word "democracy" is a vital human struggle, even if democracy itself is an unachievable and unrealistic ideal (see The Iron Law of Oligarchy).  In some sense too much talk about Democracy is very suspect and just characterize the speaker as a hypocrite with probably evil intentions, who probably is trying to mask some pretty insidious plans with "democracy promotion" smokescreen.

The same is true for countries.  Especially for those which use  "export of democracy" efforts to mask their imperial ambitions. As in 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 achieved by nomenklatura in Soviet Union outside of "Stalinism" period.  Can you imagine the situation in the USSR when members of the ruling communist party were prohibited to show their affiliation with the Communist Party 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 "presstitutes" instead of political 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%.

Neoliberalism divides the society in  two classes like in old, good Marxism

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 political 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 ("Bread and circuses") See Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges.  In this sense the role of the election is not election of the candidate of people want but legitimizing the candidate the oligarchy pre-selected. . They  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.

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.

Corporation as the role model for government under neoliberalism excludes the possibility of democracy

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.

The great propaganda mantra of neoliberal governance is "wealth maximization". Which proved to be very seductive 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.

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. 

The difference between democrats and republicans as (at least partially) the difference in the level of authoritarianism of two factions of the same "Grand neoliberal Party of the USA"

Both Democratic Party and Republican arty in the USA are neoliberal parties. So effectively we have one-party system skillfully masked as duopoly ;-). Communists could use the same trick, by having the part Socialist internationalists worker-peasants party of the USSR and Democratic internationalists peasant-worker party of the USSR, with leaders wet kissing each other behind the curtain as is the case in the USA. In the USA we have Cola/Pepsi duopoly that is sold as the shining example of democracy, although just the rule "the first after the post" prevents democracy from functioning as it eliminates minorities from governance. 

Political atmosphere at the USA since Reagan, when Republican drifted right and Democrats were bought by Wall Street really reminds me the USSR.  But still those parties reflect two different strata of the US population, which according to Marc J. Hetherington and Jonathan D. Weiler book Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics in the level of authoritarianism (for example, as measured by F-scale.). Many Republican politicians can be classified as Double High Authoritarians.

If we assume that this is true, the large part of "verge issues" that so skillfully played in each election, and using which allow the elite to avoid addressing any fundamental issues facing the nation, such as race, gay marriage, illegal immigration, and the use of force to resolve security problems -- reflect differences in individuals' levels of authoritarianism. This makes authoritarianism an especially compelling explanation of contemporary American politics.

Events and strategic political decisions have conspired to make all these considerations more salient. While the authors acknowledge that authoritarianism is not the only factor determining how people vote, it does offer a an important perspective : a large part (at least white Americans) flock to the particular party based on proximity to their own level authoritarianism and corresponding worldview of the party.  In other words  the percentage of authoritarian/non-authoritarian personality in the population allow to predict, at least in part,  voting behavior of the USA "white block" electorate.

Can the republic survive under Trump ?

Mu impression is that it too late to worry about the survival of the republic under Trump. Republic was lost long ago. According to Sheldon Wolin we live in a neoliberal empire at least since Bush II administration and even since  Reagan.  Essentially the collapse of the USSR was the death  sentence to the republic and at this point transformation of it into empire was quick and irreversible as there were no longer countervailing forces to slow down  this process.  Which is not a completely bad thing for citizens in the USA, unless it collapses like all empires. Which might happen when gas reaches $11 per gallon (in way this is petro-empire) or some other calamity. Sheldon Wolin (which book I strongly recommend to re-read) called this imperial social system that  emerged "inverted totalitarism". So Trump was elected way too late to participate in the destruction of the American republic. At best Trump put the final nail in the coffin of the American republic. Kind of parody on Julius Caesar:
During his early career, Caesar had seen how chaotic and dysfunctional the Roman Republic had become. The republican machinery had broken down under the weight of imperialism, the central government had become powerless, the provinces had been transformed into independent principalities under the absolute control of their governors, and the army had replaced the constitution as the means of accomplishing political goals. With a weak central government, political corruption had spiraled out of control, and the status quo had been maintained by a corrupt aristocracy, which saw no need to change a system that had made its members rich...
But the deep state was in ascendance since Truman (who can be viewed as the father of national security state). So dismounting of the republic was a long continues process with temporary reversal after Church commission, when the power of intelligence agencies were temporary curtailed and they were put under more close control of Senate and House. But later a new "neoliberal" deep state  emerged under Reagan and those gains were reversed.  I personally view Trump as a Bush III.  But resilience of US political system might prevent  the worst outcome -- a war with Russia or China. 

I would prefer if Sanders were elected. But FBI pushed him under the bus by exonerating Hillary. I think the USA now badly need a "New New Deal", biot some crazr "chrstria capitalism that Bannon professed (see Bannonism).  But the question is: "What social forces will support it ?" I see no strong social forces able to take on entrenched "corporatism" -- a merger of  Wall Street and MIC interests and corresponding economic power.  Add to this Silicon valley and unprecedented capability of surveillance.  In the absence of alternatives, the crisis of neoliberalism became  a chronic one.

Russiagate as a sign of the crisis of neoliberal empire

In this sense the "Russiagate" campaign might be interpreted as an attempt of the neoliberal elite to rally people around the flag and hide Hillary political fiasco due to the crisis of neoliberalism. The later led to the surprise victory of Trump, because the voters rejected establishment candidate.  Also as for the level of warmongering Hillary probably is close or surpass Trump.   So in a way  the US voters were put by FBI between Scylla and Charybdis.   Of course,  Russians are not saints and they are an obstacle on the path to global US led neoliberal empire, but still I think that the whole thing is overdone.

A  good (IMHO) overview of our current political can be found in London review of books. See What We Don t Talk about When We Talk about Russian Hacking by Jackson Lears

American politics have rarely presented a more disheartening spectacle. The repellent and dangerous antics of Donald Trump are troubling enough, but so is the Democratic Party leadership’s failure to take in the significance of the 2016 election campaign. Bernie Sanders’s challenge to Hillary Clinton, combined with Trump’s triumph, revealed the breadth of popular anger at politics as usual – the blend of neoliberal domestic policy and interventionist foreign policy that constitutes consensus in Washington. Neoliberals celebrate market utility as the sole criterion of worth; interventionists exalt military adventure abroad as a means of fighting evil in order to secure global progress. Both agendas have proved calamitous for most Americans. Many registered their disaffection in 2016. Sanders is a social democrat and Trump a demagogic mountebank, but their campaigns underscored a widespread repudiation of the Washington consensus.
Of course,  for correct framework we need to refer to classic Sheldon Wolin book. As he pointed out merge of corporate power with the ascendance of the "deep state" and technological progress proved to be an unstoppable factor that doomed the New Deal. Also defeated financial sector borrowed Bolsheviks methods and created "professional counter-revolutionaries" via think tanks, subservient press, etc. Milton Friedman Chicago school and Monte Perelin society were probably the most famous promoters of neoliberalism.  See also The Quiet Coup - Simon Johnson - The Atlantic
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[Aug 18, 2018] Corporate Media the Enemy of the People by Paul Street

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The dominant corporate U.S. media routinely exaggerates the degree of difference and choice between the candidates run by the nation's two corporate-dominated political organizations, the Democrats and the Republicans. It never notes that the two reigning parties agree about far more than they differ on, particularly when it comes to fundamental and related matters of business class power and American Empire. It shows U.S. protestors engaged in angry confrontations with police and highlights isolated examples of protestor violence but it downplays peaceful protest and never pays serious attention to the important societal and policy issues that have sparked protest or to the demands and recommendations advanced by protest movements. ..."
"... Newscasters who want to keep their careers afloat learn the fine art of evasion with great skill they skirt around the most important parts of a story. With much finesse, they say a lot about very little, serving up heaps of junk news filled with so many empty calories and so few nutrients. Thus do they avoid offending those who wield politico-economic power while giving every appearance of judicious moderation and balance. It is enough to take your breath away ..."
"... In U.S. "mainstream" media, Washington's aims are always benevolent and democratic. Its clients and allies are progressive, its enemies are nefarious, and its victims are invisible and incidental. The U.S. can occasionally make "mistakes" and "strategic blunders" on the global stage, but its foreign policies are never immoral, criminal, or imperialist in nature as far as that media is concerned. This is consistent with the doctrine of "American Exceptionalism," according to which the U.S., alone among great powers in history, seeks no selfish or imperial gain abroad. It is consistent also with "mainstream" U.S. media's heavy reliance on "official government sources" (the White House, the Defense Department, and the State Department) and leading business public relations and press offices for basic information on current events. ..."
"... U.S. citizens regularly see images of people who are angry at the U.S. around the world. The dominant mass media never gives them any serious discussion of the US policies and actions that create that anger. Millions of Americans are left to ask in childlike ignorance "Why do they hate us? What have we done?" ..."
"... If transmitting Washington's lies about Iraq were something to be fired about, then U.S. corporate media authorities would have to get rid of pretty much of all their top broadcasters. ..."
"... The U.S. corporate media's propagandistic service to the nation's reigning and interrelated structures of Empire and inequality is hardly limited to its news and public affairs wings. Equally if not more significant in that regard is that media's vast "entertainment" sector, which is loaded with political and ideological content ..."
"... Seen broadly in its many-sided and multiply delivered reality, U.S. corporate media's dark, power-serving mission actually goes further than the manufacture of consent. A deeper goal is the manufacture of mass idiocy, with "idiocy" understood in the original Greek and Athenian sense not of stupidity but of childish selfishness and willful indifference to public affairs and concerns. (An "idiot" in Athenian democracy was characterized by self-centeredness and concerned almost exclusively with private instead of public affairs.). As the U.S. Latin Americanist Cathy Schneider noted, the U.S.-backed military coup and dictatorship headed by Augusto Pinochet "transformed Chile, both culturally and politically, from a country of active participatory grassroots communities, to a land of disconnected, apolitical individuals"[7] – into a nation of "idiots" understood in this classic Athenian sense. ..."
"... To be sure, a narrow and reactionary sort of public concern and engagement does appear and take on a favorable light in this corporate media culture. It takes the form of a cruel, often even sadistically violent response to unworthy and Evil Others who are perceived as failing to obey prevalent national and neoliberal cultural codes. Like the U.S. ruling class that owns it, the purportedly anti-government corporate media isn't really opposed to government as such. It's opposed to what the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu called "the left hand of the state" – the parts of the public sector that serve the social and democratic needs of the non-affluent majority. ..."
"... The generation of mass idiocy in the more commonly understood sense of sheer stupidity is also a central part of U.S. "mainstream" media's mission. Nowhere is this more clearly evident than in the constant barrage of rapid-fire advertisements that floods U.S. corporate media. ..."
"... There's nothing surprising about the fact that the United States' supposedly "free" and "independent" media functions as a means of mass indoctrination for the nation's economic and imperial elite ..."
"... A second explanation is the power of advertisers. U.S. media managers are naturally reluctant to publish or broadcast material that might offend the large corporations that pay for broadcasting by purchasing advertisements. ..."
"... A third great factor is U.S. government media policy and regulation on behalf of oligopolistic hyper-concentration. The U.S. corporate media is hardly a "natural" outcome of a "free market." It's the result of government protections and subsidies that grant enormous "competitive" advantages to the biggest and most politically/plutocratically influential media firms. ..."
"... In this writer's experience, the critical Left analysis of the U.S. "mainstream" media as a tool for "manufacturing consent" and idiocy developed above meets four objections from defenders of the U.S. media system, A first objection notes that the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times (FT), the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and other major U.S. corporate media outlets produce a significant amount of, informative, high-quality and often candid reporting and commentary that Left thinkers and activists commonly cite to support their cases for radical and democratic change. ..."
"... The observation that Leftists commonly use and cite information from the corporate media they harshly criticize is correct but it is easy to account for the apparent anomaly within the critical Left framework by noting that that media crafts two very different versions of U.S. policy, politics, society, "life," and current events for two different audiences. Following the work of the brilliant Australian propaganda critic Alex Carey, we can call the first audience the "grassroots."[14] It comprises the general mass of working and lower-class citizens. ..."
"... The second target group comprises the relevant political class of U.S. citizens from at most the upper fifth of society. This is who reads the Times, the Post, WSJ, and FT, for the most part. Call this audience (again following Carey) the "treetops": the "people who matter" and who deserve and can be trusted with something more closely approximating the real story because their minds have been properly disciplined and flattered by superior salaries, significant on-the-job labor autonomy, and "advanced" and specialized educational and professional certification. ..."
"... To everyday Americans' credit, corporate media has never been fully successful in stamping out popular resistance and winning over the hearts and minds of the U.S. populace. ..."
"... The U.S. elite is no more successful in its utopian (or dystopian) quest to control every American heart and mind than it is in its equally impossible ambition of managing events across a complex planet from the banks of the Potomac River in Washington D.C ..."
Aug 18, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

"Homeland" Distortion

Consistent with its possession as a leading and money-making asset of the nation's wealthy elite, the United States corporate and commercial mass media is a bastion of power-serving propaganda and deadening twaddle designed to keep the U.S. citizenry subordinated to capital and the imperial U.S. state. It regularly portrays the United States as a great model of democracy and equality. It sells a false image of the U.S. as a society where the rich enjoy opulence because of hard and honest work and where the poor are poor because of their laziness and irresponsibility. The nightly television news broadcasts and television police and law and order dramas are obsessed with violent crime in the nation's Black ghettoes and Latino barrios, but they never talk about the extreme poverty, the absence of opportunity imposed on those neighborhoods by the interrelated forces of institutional racism, capital flight, mass structural unemployment, under-funded schools, and mass incarceration. The nightly television weather reports tells U.S. citizens of ever new record high temperatures and related forms of extreme weather but never relate these remarkable meteorological developments to anthropogenic climate change.

The dominant corporate U.S. media routinely exaggerates the degree of difference and choice between the candidates run by the nation's two corporate-dominated political organizations, the Democrats and the Republicans. It never notes that the two reigning parties agree about far more than they differ on, particularly when it comes to fundamental and related matters of business class power and American Empire. It shows U.S. protestors engaged in angry confrontations with police and highlights isolated examples of protestor violence but it downplays peaceful protest and never pays serious attention to the important societal and policy issues that have sparked protest or to the demands and recommendations advanced by protest movements.

As the prolific U.S. Marxist commentator Michael Parenti once remarked, US "Newscasters who want to keep their careers afloat learn the fine art of evasion with great skill they skirt around the most important parts of a story. With much finesse, they say a lot about very little, serving up heaps of junk news filled with so many empty calories and so few nutrients. Thus do they avoid offending those who wield politico-economic power while giving every appearance of judicious moderation and balance. It is enough to take your breath away." [1]

Selling Empire

U.S. newscasters and their print media counterparts routinely parrot and disseminate the false foreign policy claims of the nation's imperial elite. Earlier this year, U.S. news broadcasters dutiful relayed to U.S. citizens the Obama administration's preposterous assertion that social-democratic Venezuela is a repressive, corrupt, and authoritarian danger to its own people and the U.S. No leading national U.S. news outlet dared to note the special absurdity of this charge in the wake of Obama and other top U.S. officials' visit to Riyadh to guarantee U.S. support for the new king of Saudi Arabia, the absolute ruler of a leading U.S. client state that happens to be the most brutally oppressive and reactionary government on Earth.

In U.S. "mainstream" media, Washington's aims are always benevolent and democratic. Its clients and allies are progressive, its enemies are nefarious, and its victims are invisible and incidental. The U.S. can occasionally make "mistakes" and "strategic blunders" on the global stage, but its foreign policies are never immoral, criminal, or imperialist in nature as far as that media is concerned. This is consistent with the doctrine of "American Exceptionalism," according to which the U.S., alone among great powers in history, seeks no selfish or imperial gain abroad. It is consistent also with "mainstream" U.S. media's heavy reliance on "official government sources" (the White House, the Defense Department, and the State Department) and leading business public relations and press offices for basic information on current events.

As the leading Left U.S. intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman showed in their classic text Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), Orwellian double standards are rife in the dominant U.S. media's coverage and interpretation of global affairs. Elections won in other countries by politicians that Washington approves because those politicians can be counted on to serve the interests of U.S. corporations and the military are portrayed in U.S. media as good and clean contests. But when elections put in power people who can't be counted on to serve "U.S. interests," (Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro for example), then U.S. corporate media portrays the contests as "rigged" and "corrupt." When Americans or people allied with Washington are killed or injured abroad, they are "worthy victims" and receive great attention and sympathy in that media. People killed, maimed, displaced and otherwise harmed by the U.S. and U.S. clients and allies are anonymous and "unworthy victims" whose experience elicits little mention or concern.[2]

U.S. citizens regularly see images of people who are angry at the U.S. around the world. The dominant mass media never gives them any serious discussion of the US policies and actions that create that anger. Millions of Americans are left to ask in childlike ignorance "Why do they hate us? What have we done?"

In February of 2015, an extraordinary event occurred in U.S. news media – the firing of a leading national news broadcaster, Brian Williams of NBC News. Williams lost his position because of some lies he told in connection with the U.S. invasion of Iraq. A naïve outsider might think that Williams was fired because he repeated the George W. Bush administration's transparent fabrications about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and Saddam's supposed connection to 9/11. Sadly but predictably enough, that wasn't his problem. Williams lost his job because he falsely boasted that he had ridden on a helicopter that was forced down by grenade fire during the initial U.S. invasion. If transmitting Washington's lies about Iraq were something to be fired about, then U.S. corporate media authorities would have to get rid of pretty much of all their top broadcasters.

More than Entertainment

The U.S. corporate media's propagandistic service to the nation's reigning and interrelated structures of Empire and inequality is hardly limited to its news and public affairs wings. Equally if not more significant in that regard is that media's vast "entertainment" sector, which is loaded with political and ideological content but was completely ignored in Herman and Chomsky's groundbreaking Manufacturing Consent. [3] One example is the Hollywood movie "Zero Dark Thirty," a 2012 "action thriller" that dramatized the United States' search for Osama bin-Laden after the September 11, 2001 jetliner attacks. The film received critical acclaim and was a box office-smash. It was also a masterpiece of pro-military, pro-CIA propaganda, skillfully portraying U.S. torture practices "as a dirty, ugly business that is necessary to protect America" (Glenn Greenwald[4]) and deleting the moral debate that erupted over the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques." Under the guise of a neutral, documentary-like façade, Zero Dark Thirty normalized and endorsed torture in ways that were all the more effective because of its understated, detached, and "objective" veneer. The film also marked a distressing new frontier in U.S. military-"embedded" filmmaking whereby the movie-makers receive technical and logistical support from the Pentagon in return for producing elaborate public relations on the military's behalf.

The 2014-15 Hollywood blockbuster American Sniper is another example. The film's audiences is supposed to marvel at the supposedly noble feats, sacrifice, and heroism of Chris Kyle, a rugged, militantly patriotic, and Christian-fundamentalist Navy SEALS sniper who participated in the U.S. invasion of Iraq to fight "evil" and to avenge the al Qaeda jetliner attacks of September 11, 2001. Kyle killed 160 Iraqis over four tours of "duty" in "Operational Iraqi Freedom." Viewers are never told that the Iraqi government had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks or al Qaeda or that the U.S. invasion was one of the most egregiously criminal and brazenly imperial and mass-murderous acts in the history of international violence. Like Zero Dark Thirty's apologists, American Sniper's defenders claim that the film takes a neutral perspective of "pure storytelling," with no ideological bias. In reality, the movie is filled with racist and imperial distortions, functioning as flat-out war propaganda.[5]

These are just two among many examples that could be cited of U.S. "entertainment" media's regular service to the American Empire. Hollywood and other parts of the nation's vast corporate entertainment complex plays the same power-serving role in relation to domestic ("homeland") American inequality and oppression structures of class and race. [6]

Manufacturing Idiocy

Seen broadly in its many-sided and multiply delivered reality, U.S. corporate media's dark, power-serving mission actually goes further than the manufacture of consent. A deeper goal is the manufacture of mass idiocy, with "idiocy" understood in the original Greek and Athenian sense not of stupidity but of childish selfishness and willful indifference to public affairs and concerns. (An "idiot" in Athenian democracy was characterized by self-centeredness and concerned almost exclusively with private instead of public affairs.). As the U.S. Latin Americanist Cathy Schneider noted, the U.S.-backed military coup and dictatorship headed by Augusto Pinochet "transformed Chile, both culturally and politically, from a country of active participatory grassroots communities, to a land of disconnected, apolitical individuals"[7] – into a nation of "idiots" understood in this classic Athenian sense.

In the U.S., where violence is not as readily available to elites as in 1970s Latin America, corporate America seeks the same terrible outcome through its ideological institutions, including above all its mass media. In U.S. movies, television sit-coms, television dramas, television reality-shows, commercials, state Lottery advertisements, and video games, the ideal-type U.S. citizen is an idiot in this classic sense: a person who cares about little more than his or her own well-being, consumption, and status. This noble American idiot is blissfully indifferent to the terrible prices paid by others for the maintenance of reigning and interrelated oppressions structures at home and abroad.

A pervasive theme in this media culture is the notion that people at the bottom of the nation's steep and interrelated socioeconomic and racial pyramids are the "personally irresponsible" and culturally flawed makers of their own fate. The mass U.S. media's version of Athenian idiocy "can imagine," in the words of the prolific Left U.S. cultural theorist Henry Giroux "public issues only as private concerns." It works to "erase the social from the language of public life so as to reduce" questions of racial and socioeconomic disparity to "private issues of individual character and cultural depravity. Consistent with "the central neoliberal tenet that all problems are private rather than social in nature," it portrays the only barriers to equality and meaningful democratic participation as "a lack of principled self-help and moral responsibility" and bad personal choices by the oppressed. Government efforts to meaningfully address and ameliorate (not to mention abolish) societal disparities of race, class, gender, ethnicity, nationality and the like are portrayed as futile, counterproductive, naïve, and dangerous.[8]

To be sure, a narrow and reactionary sort of public concern and engagement does appear and take on a favorable light in this corporate media culture. It takes the form of a cruel, often even sadistically violent response to unworthy and Evil Others who are perceived as failing to obey prevalent national and neoliberal cultural codes. Like the U.S. ruling class that owns it, the purportedly anti-government corporate media isn't really opposed to government as such. It's opposed to what the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu called "the left hand of the state" – the parts of the public sector that serve the social and democratic needs of the non-affluent majority. It celebrates and otherwise advances the "right hand of the state"[9]: the portions of government that serve the opulent minority, dole out punishment for the poor, and attacks those perceived as nefariously resisting the corporate and imperial order at home and abroad. Police officers, prosecutors, military personnel, and other government authorities who represent the "right hand of the state" are heroes and role models in this media. Public defenders, other defense attorneys, civil libertarians, racial justice activists, union leaders, antiwar protesters and the like are presented at best as naïve and irritating "do-gooders" and at worst as coddlers and even agents of evil.

The generation of mass idiocy in the more commonly understood sense of sheer stupidity is also a central part of U.S. "mainstream" media's mission. Nowhere is this more clearly evident than in the constant barrage of rapid-fire advertisements that floods U.S. corporate media. As the American cultural critic Neil Postman noted thirty years ago, the modern U.S. television commercial is the antithesis of the rational economic consideration that early Western champions of the profits system claimed to be the enlightened essence of capitalism. "Its principal theorists, even its most prominent practitioners," Postman noted, "believed capitalism to be based on the idea that both buyer and seller are sufficiently mature, well-informed, and reasonable to engage in transactions of mutual self-interest." Commercials make "hash" out of this idea. They are dedicated to persuading consumers with wholly irrational claims. They rely not on the reasoned presentation of evidence and logical argument but on suggestive emotionalism, infantilizing manipulation, and evocative, rapid-fire imagery.[10]

The same techniques poison U.S. electoral politics. Investment in deceptive and manipulative campaign commercials commonly determines success or failure in mass-marketed election contests between business-beholden candidates that are sold to the audience/electorate like brands of toothpaste and deodorant. Fittingly enough, the stupendous cost of these political advertisements is a major factor driving U.S. campaign expenses so high (the 2016 U.S. presidential election will cost at least $5 billion) as to make candidates ever more dependent on big money corporate and Wall Street donors.

Along the way, mass cognitive competence is assaulted by the numbing, high-speed ubiquity of U.S. television and radio advertisements. These commercials assault citizens' capacity for sustained mental focus and rational deliberation nearly sixteen minutes of every hour on cable television, with 44 percent of the individual ads now running for just 15 seconds. This is a factor in the United States' long-bemoaned epidemic of "Attention Deficit Disorder."

Seventy years ago, the brilliant Dutch left Marxist Anton Pannekoek offered some chilling reflections on the corporate print and broadcast media's destructive impact on mass cognitive and related social resistance capacities in the United States after World War II:

"The press is of course entirely in hands of big capital [and it] dominates the spiritual life of the American people. The most important thing is not even the hiding of all truth about the reign of big finance. Its aim still more is the education to thoughtlessness. All attention is directed to coarse sensations, everything is avoided that could arouse thinking. Papers are not meant to be read – the small print is already a hindrance – but in a rapid survey of the fat headlines to inform the public on unimportant news items, on family triflings of the rich, on sexual scandals, on crimes of the underworld, on boxing matches. The aim of the capitalist press all over the world, the diverting of the attention of the masses from the reality of social development, nowhere succeed with such thoroughness as in America."

"Still more than by the papers the masses are influenced by broadcasting and film. These products of most perfect science, destined at one time to the finest educational instruments of mankind, now in the hands of capitalism have been turned into the strongest means to uphold its rule by stupefying the mind. Because after nerve-straining fatigue the movie offers relaxation and distraction by means of simple visual impressions that make no demand on the intellect, the masses get used to accepting thoughtlessly all its cunning and shrewd propaganda. It reflects the ugliest sides of middle-class society. It turns all attention either to sexual life, in this society – by the absence of community feelings and fight for freedom – the only source of strong passions, or to brute violence; masses educated to rough violence instead of to social knowledge are not dangerous to capitalism "[11]

Pannekoek clearly saw an ideological dimension (beyond just diversion and stupefaction) in U.S. mass media's "education to thoughtlessness" through movies as well as print sensationalism. He would certainly be impressed and perhaps depressed by the remarkably numerous, potent, and many-sided means of mass distraction and indoctrination that are available to the U.S. and global capitalist media in the present digital and Internet era.

The "entertainment" wing of its vast corporate media complex is critical to the considerable "soft" ideological "power" the U.S. exercises around the world even as its economic hegemony wanes in an ever more multipolar global system (and as its "hard" military reveals significant limits within and beyond the Middle East). Relatively few people beneath the global capitalist elite consume U.S. news and public affairs media beyond the U.S., but "American" (U.S.) movies, television shows, video games, communication devices, and advertising culture are ubiquitous across the planet.

Explaining "Mainstream" Media Corporate Ownership

There's nothing surprising about the fact that the United States' supposedly "free" and "independent" media functions as a means of mass indoctrination for the nation's economic and imperial elite. The first and most important explanation for this harsh reality is concentrated private ownership – the fundamental fact that that media is owned primarily by giant corporations representing wealthy interests who are deeply invested in U.S. capitalism and Empire. Visitors to the U.S. should not be fooled by the large number and types of channels and stations on a typical U.S. car radio or television set or by the large number and types of magazines and books on display at a typical Barnes & Noble bookstore. Currently in the U.S., just six massive and global corporations – Comcast, Viacom, Time Warner, CBS, The News Corporation and Disney – together control more than 90 percent of the nation's print and electronic media, including cable television, airwaves television, radio, newspapers, movies, video games, book publishing, comic books, and more. Three decades ago, 50 corporations controlled the same amount of U.S. media.

Each of the reigning six companies is a giant and diversified multi-media conglomerate with investments beyond media, including "defense" (the military). Asking reporters and commentators at one of those giant corporations to tell the unvarnished truth about what's happening in the U.S. and the world is like asking the company magazine published by the United Fruit Company to the tell the truth about working conditions in its Caribbean and Central American plantations in the 1950s. It's like asking the General Motors company newspaper to tell the truth about wages and working conditions in GM's auto assembly plants around the world.

As the nation's media becomes concentrated into fewer corporate hands, media personnel become ever more insecure in their jobs because they have fewer firms to whom to sell their skills. That makes them even less willing than they might have been before to go outside official sources, to question the official line, and to tell the truth about current events and the context in which they occur.

Advertisers

A second explanation is the power of advertisers. U.S. media managers are naturally reluctant to publish or broadcast material that might offend the large corporations that pay for broadcasting by purchasing advertisements. As Chomsky has noted in a recent interview, large corporations are not only the major producers of the United States' mass and commercial media. They are also that media's top market, something that deepens the captivity of nation's supposedly democratic and independent media to big capital:

"The reliance of a journal on advertisers shapes and controls and substantially determines what is presented to the public the very idea of advertiser reliance radically distorts the concept of free media. If you think about what the commercial media are, no matter what, they are businesses. And a business produces something for a market. The producers in this case, almost without exception, are major corporations. The market is other businesses – advertisers. The product that is presented to the market is readers (or viewers), so these are basically major corporations providing audiences to other businesses, and that significantly shapes the nature of the institution."[12]

At the same time, both U.S. corporate media managers and the advertisers who supply revenue for their salaries are hesitant to produce content that might alienate the affluent people who count for an ever rising share of consumer purchases in the U.S. It is naturally those with the most purchasing power who are naturally most targeted by advertisers.

Government Policy

A third great factor is U.S. government media policy and regulation on behalf of oligopolistic hyper-concentration. The U.S. corporate media is hardly a "natural" outcome of a "free market." It's the result of government protections and subsidies that grant enormous "competitive" advantages to the biggest and most politically/plutocratically influential media firms. Under the terms of the 1934 Communications Act and the 1996 Telecommunications Act, commercial, for-profit broadcasters have almost completely free rein over the nation's airwaves and cable lines. There is no substantive segment of the broadcast spectrum set aside for truly public interest and genuinely democratic, popular not-for profit media and the official "public" broadcasting networks are thoroughly captive to corporate interests and to right-wing politicians who take giant campaign contributions from corporate interests. Much of the 1996 bill was written by lobbyists working for the nations' leading media firms. [13]

A different form of state policy deserves mention. Under the Obama administration, we have seen the most aggressive pursuit and prosecution in recent memory of U.S. journalists who step outside the narrow parameters of pro-U.S. coverage and commentary – and of the whistleblowers who provide them with leaked information. That is why Edward Snowden lives in Russia, Glenn Greenwald lives in Brazil, Chelsea Manning is serving life in a U.S. military prison, and Julian Assange is trapped in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. A leading New York Times reporter and author, James Risen, has been threatened with imprisonment by the White House for years because of his refusal to divulge sources.

Treetops v. Grassroots Audiences

In this writer's experience, the critical Left analysis of the U.S. "mainstream" media as a tool for "manufacturing consent" and idiocy developed above meets four objections from defenders of the U.S. media system, A first objection notes that the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times (FT), the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and other major U.S. corporate media outlets produce a significant amount of, informative, high-quality and often candid reporting and commentary that Left thinkers and activists commonly cite to support their cases for radical and democratic change. Left U.S. media critics like Chomsky and Herman are said to be hypocrites because they obviously find much that is of use as Left thinkers in the very media that they criticize for distorting reality in accord with capitalist and imperial dictates.

The observation that Leftists commonly use and cite information from the corporate media they harshly criticize is correct but it is easy to account for the apparent anomaly within the critical Left framework by noting that that media crafts two very different versions of U.S. policy, politics, society, "life," and current events for two different audiences. Following the work of the brilliant Australian propaganda critic Alex Carey, we can call the first audience the "grassroots."[14] It comprises the general mass of working and lower-class citizens. As far as the business elites who own and manage the U.S. mass media and the corporations that pay for that media with advertising purchases are concerned, this "rabble" cannot be trusted with serious, candid, and forthright information. Its essential role in society is to keep quiet, work hard, be entertained (in richly propagandistic and ideological ways, we should remember), buy things, and generally do what they're told. They are to leave key societal decisions to those that the leading 20th century U.S. public intellectual and media-as-propaganda enthusiast Walter Lippman called "the responsible men." That "intelligent," benevolent, "expert," and "responsible" elite (responsible, indeed, for such glorious accomplishments as the Great Depression, the Vietnam War, the invasion of Iraq, the Great Recession, global warming, and the rise of the Islamic State) needed, in Lippman's view, to be protected from what he called "the trampling and roar of the bewildered herd."[15] The deluded mob, the sub-citizenry, the dangerous working class majority is not the audience for elite organs like the Times, the Post, and the Journal.

The second target group comprises the relevant political class of U.S. citizens from at most the upper fifth of society. This is who reads the Times, the Post, WSJ, and FT, for the most part. Call this audience (again following Carey) the "treetops": the "people who matter" and who deserve and can be trusted with something more closely approximating the real story because their minds have been properly disciplined and flattered by superior salaries, significant on-the-job labor autonomy, and "advanced" and specialized educational and professional certification. This elite includes such heavily indoctrinated persons as corporate managers, lawyers, public administrators, and (most) tenured university professors. Since these elites carry out key top-down societal tasks of supervision, discipline, training, demoralization, co-optation, and indoctrination – all essential to the rule of the real economic elite and the imperial system – they cannot be too thoroughly misled about current events and policy without deleterious consequences for the smooth functioning of the dominant social and political order. They require adequate information and must not be overly influenced by the brutal and foolish propaganda generated for the "bewildered herd." At the same time, information and commentary for the relevant and respectable business and political classes and their "coordinator class" servants and allies often contains a measure of reasoned and sincere intra-elite political and policy debate – debate that is always careful not to stray beyond narrow U.S. ideological parameters. That is why a radical Left U.S. thinker and activist can find much that is of use in U.S. "treetops" media. Such a thinker or activist would, indeed, be foolish not to consult these sources.

"P"BS and N"P"R

A second objection to the Left critique of U.S. "mainstream" media claims that the U.S. public enjoys a meaningful alternative to the corporate media in the form of the nation's Public Broadcasting Service (television) and National Public Radio (NPR). This claim should not be taken seriously. Thanks to U.S. "public" media's pathetically weak governmental funding, its heavy reliance on corporate sponsors, and its constant harassment by right wing critics inside and beyond the U.S. Congress, N"P"R and "P"BS are extremely reluctant to question dominant U.S. ideologies and power structures.

The tepid, power-serving conservatism of U.S. "public" broadcasting is by longstanding political and policy design. The federal government allowed the formation of the "public" networks only on the condition that they pose no competitive market or ideological challenge to private commercial media, the profits system, and U.S. global foreign policy. "P"BS and N"P"R are "public" in a very limited sense. They not function for the public over and against corporate, financial, and imperial power to any significant degree.

"The Internet Will Save Us"

A third objection claims that the rise of the Internet creates a "Wild West" environment in which the power of corporate media is eviscerated and citizens can find and even produce all the "alternative media" they require. This claim is misleading but it should not be reflexively or completely dismissed. In the U.S. as elsewhere, those with access to the Internet and the time and energy to use it meaningfully can find a remarkable breadth and depth of information and trenchant Left analysis at various online sites. The Internet also broadens U.S. citizens and activists' access to media networks beyond the U.S. – to elite sources that are much less beholden of course to U.S. propaganda and ideology. At the same time, the Internet and digital telephony networks have at times shown themselves to be effective grassroots organizing tools for progressive U.S. activists.

Still, the democratic and progressive impact of the Internet in the U.S. is easily exaggerated. Left and other progressive online outlets lack anything close to the financial, technical, and organizational and human resources of the corporate news media, which has its own sophisticated Internet. There is nothing in Left other citizen online outlets that can begin to remotely challenge the "soft" ideological and propagandistic power of corporate "entertainment" media. The Internet's technical infrastructure is increasingly dominated by an "ISP cartel" led by a small number of giant corporations. As the leading left U.S. media analyst Robert McChesney notes:

"By 2014, there are only a half-dozen or so major players that dominate provision of broadband Internet access and wireless Internet access. Three of them – Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast – dominate the field of telephony and Internet access, and have set up what is in effect a cartel. They no longer compete with each other in any meaningful sense. As a result, Americans pay far more for cellphone and broadband Internet access than most other advanced nations and get much lousier service These are not 'free market' companies in any sense of the term. Their business model, going back to pre-Internet days, has always been capturing government monopoly licenses for telephone and cable TV services. Their 'comparative advantage' has never been customer service; it has been world-class lobbying.' [16]

Along the way, the notion of a great "democratizing," Wild West" and "free market" Internet has proved politically useful for the corporate media giants. The regularly trumpet the great Internet myth to claim that the U.S. public and regulators don't need to worry about corporate media power and to justify their demands for more government subsidy and protection. At the same time, finally, we know from the revelations of Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and others that the nation's leading digital and Internet-based e-mail (Google and Yahoo), telephony (e.g. Verizon), and "social network" (Facebook above all) corporations have collaborated with the National Security Agency and with the nation's local, state, and federal police in the surveillance of U.S. citizens' and activists' private communications.[17]

Solutions

The fourth objection accuses Left media critics of being overly negative, "carping" critics who offer no serious alternatives to the nation's current corporate-owned corporate-managed commercial and for-profit media system. This is a transparently false and mean-spirited charge. Left U.S. media criticism is strongly linked to a smart and impressive U.S. media reform movement that advances numerous and interrelated proposals for the creation of a genuinely public and democratically run non-commercial and nonprofit U.S. media system. Some of the demand and proposals of this movement include public ownership and operation of the Internet as a public utility; the break-up of the leading media oligopolies; full public funding of public broadcasting; limits on advertising in commercial media; the abolition of political advertisements; the expansion of airwave and broadband access for alternative media outlets; publicly-funded nonprofit and non-commercial print journalism; the abolition of government and corporate surveillance, monitoring, and commercial data-mining of private communication and "social networks."[18] With regard to the media as with numerous other areas, we should recall Chomsky's sardonic response to the standard conservative claim that the Left offers criticisms but no solutions: "There is an accurate translation for that charge: 'they present solutions and I don't like them.'"[19]

A False Paradox

The propagandistic and power-serving mission and nature of dominant U.S, corporate mass media might seem ironic and even paradoxical in light of the United States' strong free speech and democratic traditions. In fact, as Carey and Chomsky have noted, the former makes perfect sense in light of the latter. In nations where popular expression and dissent is routinely crushed with violent repression, elites have little incentive to shape popular perceptions in accord with elite interests. The population is controlled primarily through physical coercion. In societies where it is not generally considered legitimate to put down popular expression with the iron heel of armed force and where dissenting opinion is granted a significant measure of freedom of expression, elites are heavily and dangerously incentivized to seek to manufacture mass popular consent and idiocy. The danger is deepened by the United States' status as the pioneer in the development of mass consumer capitalism, advertising, film, and television. Thanks to that history, corporate America has long stood in the global vanguard when it comes to developing the technologies, methods, art, and science of mass persuasion and thought control.[20]

It is appropriate to place quotation marks around the phrase "mainstream media" when writing about dominant U.S. corporate media. During the Cold War era, U.S. officials and media never referred to the Soviet Union's state television and radio or its main state newspapers as "mainstream Russian media." American authorities referred to these Russian media outlets as "Soviet state media" and treated that media as means for the dissemination of Soviet "propaganda" and ideology. There is no reason to consider the United States' corporate and commercial media as any more "mainstream" than the leading Soviet media organs were back in their day. It is just as dedicated as the onetime Soviet state media to advancing the doctrinal perspectives of its host nation's reigning elite -- and far more effective.

Its success is easily exaggerated, however. To everyday Americans' credit, corporate media has never been fully successful in stamping out popular resistance and winning over the hearts and minds of the U.S. populace. A recent Pew Research poll showed that U.S. "millennials" (young adults 18-29 years old) have a more favorable response to the word "socialism" than to "capitalism" – a remarkable finding on the limits of corporate media and other forms of elite ideological power in the U.S. The immigrant worker uprising of May 2006, the Chicago Republic Door and Window plant occupation of 2008, the University of California student uprisings of 2009 and 2010, the Wisconsin public worker rebellion in early 2011, the Occupy Movement of late 2011, and Fight for Fifteen (for a $15 an hour minimum wage) and Black Lives Matter movements of 2014 and 2015 show that U.S. corporate and imperial establishment has not manufactured anything like comprehensive and across the board mass consent and idiocy in the U,S. today. The U.S. elite is no more successful in its utopian (or dystopian) quest to control every American heart and mind than it is in its equally impossible ambition of managing events across a complex planet from the banks of the Potomac River in Washington D.C. The struggle for popular self-determination, democracy, justice, and equality lives on despite the influence of corporate media.

[Aug 18, 2018] Sanders behaviour during election is suspect, unless you assume he acted as sheep dog for hillary

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Why didn't Sanders complain about DNC-Hillary collusion (he knew about it well before she captured the nomination - MSM didn't publicize it until after she had won). ..."
"... Why didn't Sanders make a big deal of Hillary's winning 6 of 6 coin tosses during the Iowa primaries. Character was an issue from the start of the race. Trump would later lambast "crooked Hillary". ..."
Aug 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Aug 17, 2018 8:59:57 PM | 48

lysias @41

There were only two populists in the race: Trump and Sanders. One on Hillary's left (sheep-dogging voters to Hillary) and one on Hillary's right (Trump).

Why did any of the other 18 republicans turn populist? Why didn't they wait so long to complain about the coverage being provided to Trump?

Why were Republicans so adamantly against Trump after he won the nomination? Many said that they prefered Hillary - whom they had claimed to hate so much only months before? Answer: Trump had to be an outsider. That's what makes the populist so compelling. He has to be seen as taking on the establishment.

After such a contentious race, why did Trump quickly say that there would be no prosecution of Hillary? He has proven to be petty and vain yet he was so quick to forgive the Clintons?

Why did Trump wait so long to fire Comey? It's almost like it was timed for Comey to hand the baton to a special prosecutor.

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Here's a few more questions (of many many other questions)

dumbass , Aug 17, 2018 9:41:12 PM | 53

>> Why did/didn't Sanders

Good questions. Asking them sequentially leads even a dumbass like me to conclude Sanders is a fraud.

Unfortunately, most Sanders supporters probably don't remember the issues long enough to reevaluate them collectively. Each issue appears to them during "the news cycle" as some one-off foible -- considered as misdemeanors and then forgotten before the next one occurs and thus never assembled mentally as evidence for a larger felony case.

[Aug 17, 2018] Voter Fatigue Why Brenda from Bristol wouldn't complain if she knew what Americans have to put up with

Aug 17, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

Leo Casey 08.13.18 at 1:44 pm

Harry @ 25:

I would make a few points.

First, the problem of money in American politics is not a problem of government interference in electoral politics, but the opposite, the paucity of government regulation which has created an "anything goes" environment in terms not only of the amounts of money, but of dark money in particular. I agree that the US is much worse than UK and other Western democracies in this regard, but that it precisely because the other nations have much more meaningful government regulations on how campaigns are financed, how much money is spent, who can donate, etc. Not so the US. Ackerman's complaint of "government interference" seems perversely wrong here, in a long tradition of perversely Left syndicalist takes on American politics. It does seem to me that there is sufficient common good interest in having a democratic process for the election of government, if only for legitimacy purposes, for 'rules of the road' to be legislated, and that the US needs more -- not less -- of these rules. The 15th, 17th, 19th, 23rd, 26th Amendments and the Voting Rights Act was precisely the sort of "government interference" in elections which is not only desirable, but absolutely necessary.

Second, the complaint from the Left in NY -- at least from some of the Bernie forces -- is that the law doesn't make it easy enough to become a Democrat and vote in the primary. (In NY, one has to register in a party months in advance to vote in a primary.) Some even argue that you shouldn't have to be a Democrat to vote in the Democratic primary. That is, the complaint cuts against the argument that "government interference" takes the form of forcing parties to accept members. While I have some sympathy for the position that it is too hard to register in time to vote in a NY primary, I find that idea of completely open primaries, in which anyone can vote, as antithetical to any meaningful system of political parties, and to create all sorts of openings for mischievous voters whose sole purpose is to have the opposing party field its weakest candidate. The California system of an all party primary is one variant of this idea, and it leaves open the real possibility -- as almost happened this year -- of what is clearly the majority political party not having a candidate in the general election simply because more candidates from its party run in the election.

There is a general problem on the Left of looking at these rules only in terms of what maximizes our vote, rather than democratic principle. To wit, it would be a lot easier for the Bernie forces to promote the position that so-called super-delegates to the Democratic Party convention (largely elected officials) are undemocratic, as they were not elected as delegates in a primary, if they were not at the very same time promoting caucuses, which clearly cut down significantly on the rate of participation of voters, but produced many more Bernie delegates. It can't be what helps our cause is democratic, and what hurts it is undemocratic.

[Aug 15, 2018] Running Scared by Anthony King

This is an old, second rate article (the author ignores the control of Wall Street and special interests in the Us politics) but some ideas still make sense.
If we assume that politicians in the USA are mostly agents of special interests, their preoccupation with elections is very understandable. This is about their source of income and status in the society. Other people decide their agenda, so they can save time on this and concentrate on deceiving of voters in oder they reelected them.
Neoliberal system "one dollar one vote" actually completely excludes "ordinary" voters from political process so the author concerns about excessive influence of voters is clearly a dilution. As Mark Twain aptly noted a honest US politician is one that after he/she was bought stays bought.
Jan 01, 1997 | www.zerohedge.com

America's permanent election campaign, together with other aspects of American electoral politics, has one crucial consequence, little noticed but vitally important for the functioning of American democracy. Quite simply, the American electoral system places politicians in a highly vulnerable position. Individually and collectively they are more vulnerable, more of the time, to the vicissitudes of electoral politics than are the politicians of any other democratic country. Because they are more vulnerable, they devote more of their time to electioneering, and their conduct in office is more continuously governed by electoral considerations. I will argue that American politicians' constant and unremitting electoral preoccupations have deleterious consequences for the functioning of the American system. They consume time and scarce resources. Worse, they make it harder than it would otherwise be for the system as a whole to deal with some of America's most pressing problems.

... ... ...

POLITICS and government in the United States are marked by the fact that U.S. elected officials in many cases have very short terms of office and face the prospect of being defeated in primary elections and have to run for office more as individuals than as standard-bearers for their party and have continually to raise large sums of money in order to finance their own election campaigns. Some of these factors operate in other countries. There is no other country, however, in which all of them operate, and operate simultaneously. The cumulative consequences, as we shall see, are both pervasive and profound.

a short term of office for House members, they were setting a precedent that has been followed by no other major democratic country. In Great Britain, France, Italy, and Canada the constitutional or legal maximum for the duration of the lower house of the national legislature is five years. In Germany and Japan the equivalent term is four years. Only in Australia and New Zealand, whose institutions are in some limited respects modeled on those of the United States, are the legal maximums as short as three years. In having two-year terms the United States stands alone.

Members of the Senate are, of course, in a quite different position. Their constitutionally prescribed term of office, six years, is long by anyone's standards. But senators' six-year terms are not all they seem. In the first place, so pervasive is the electioneering atmosphere that even newly elected senators begin almost at once to lay plans for their re-election campaigns. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan , of New York, recalls that when he first came to the Senate, in 1977, his colleagues when they met over lunch or a drink usually talked about politics and policy. Now they talk about almost nothing but the latest opinion polls. In the second place, the fact that under the Constitution the terms of a third of the Senate end every two years means that even if individual senators do not feel themselves to be under continuing electoral pressure, the Senate as a whole does. Despite the Founders' intentions, the Senate's collective electoral sensibilities increasingly resemble those of the House.

Most Americans seem unaware of the fact, but the direct primary -- a government-organized popular election to nominate candidates for public office -- is, for better or worse, an institution peculiar to the United States. Neither primary elections nor their functional equivalents exist anywhere else in the democratic world. It goes without saying that their effect is to add a further dimension of uncertainty and unpredictability to the world of American elective politicians.

In most other countries the individual holder of public office, so long as he or she is reasonably conscientious and does not gratuitously offend local or regional party opinion, has no real need to worry about renomination. To be sure, cases of parties refusing to renominate incumbent legislators are not unknown in countries such as France, Germany, and Canada, but they are relatively rare and tend to occur under unusual circumstances. The victims are for the most part old, idle, or alcoholic.

The contrast between the rest of the world and the United States could hardly be more striking. In 1978 no fewer than 104 of the 382 incumbent members of the House of Representatives who sought re-election faced primary opposition. In the following three elections the figures were ninety-three out of 398 (1980), ninety-eight out of 393 (1982), and 130 out of 409 (1984). More recently, in 1994, nearly a third of all House incumbents seeking re-election, 121 out of 386, had to face primary opposition, and in the Senate the proportion was even higher: eleven out of twenty-six. Even those incumbents who did not face opposition could seldom be certain in advance that they were not going to. The influence -- and the possibility -- of primaries is pervasive. As we shall see, the fact that incumbents usually win is neither here nor there.

To frequent elections and primary elections must be added another factor that contributes powerfully to increasing the electoral vulnerability of U.S. politicians: the relative lack of what we might call "party cover." In most democratic countries the fate of most politicians depends not primarily on their own endeavors but on the fate -- locally, regionally, or nationally -- of their party. If their party does well in an election, so do they. If not, not. The individual politician's interests and those of his party are bound together.

In contrast, America's elective politicians are on their own -- not only in relation to politicians in most other countries but also in absolute terms. Party is still a factor in U.S. electoral politics, but it is less so than anywhere else in the democratic world. As a result, American legislators seeking re-election are forced to raise their own profiles, to make their own records, and to fight their own re-election campaigns.

If politicians are so vulnerable electorally, it may be protested, why aren't more of them defeated? In particular, why aren't more incumbent congressmen and senators defeated? The analysis here would seem to imply a very high rate of turnover in Congress, but in fact the rate -- at least among incumbents seeking re-election -- is notoriously low. How can this argument and the facts of congressional incumbents' electoral success be reconciled?

This objection has to be taken seriously, because the facts on which it is based are substantially correct. The number of incumbent congressmen and senators defeated in either primary or general elections is low. But to say that because incumbent members of Congress are seldom defeated, they are not really vulnerable electorally is to miss two crucial points. The first is that precisely because they are vulnerable, they go to prodigious lengths to protect themselves. Like workers in nuclear-power stations, they take the most extreme safety precautions, and the fact that the precautions are almost entirely successful does not make them any less necessary.

... ... ...

Congressional staffs have grown at roughly the same rate, the new buildings having been built mainly to house the staffs. In 1957 the total number of people employed by members of the House and Senate as personal staff was 3,556. By 1991 the figure had grown to 11,572 -- a more than threefold increase within the political lifetime of many long-serving members. Last year the total number of people employed by Congress in all capacities, including committee staffs and the staffs of support agencies like the Congressional Research Service, was 32,820, making Congress by far the most heavily staffed legislative branch in the world.

... ... ...

Finally, many commentators -- and the majority of the American public -- strongly back the newest and most fashionable item on the "making democracy work better" agenda: the imposition of term limits on both state and federal elected officials, notably members of Congress. But the great majority of those who favor term limits, true to the American democratic tradition, are less concerned with good government and the public interest as such than with the present generation of politicians' alleged lack of responsiveness to the mass of ordinary people. At the center of this argument is the idea that the United States is now governed by an unresponsive, self-perpetuating, and increasingly remote class of professional politicians, a class that ought to be replaced as soon as possible by "citizen legislators" -- men and women who will serve the people simply because they are the people. As one advocate of term limits puts it, ordinary people -- the proposed citizen legislators of the future -- "know things about life in America that people who have lived as very self-important figures in Washington for thirty years have no way of knowing or have forgotten."

... ... ...

The idea that the system suffers from the excessive power of interest groups, however, needs to be taken seriously. Jonathan Rauch, in his recent book , argues persuasively that America's interest groups have become larger, more numerous, and more powerful over the past three decades, to the point that they now have the capacity to prevent the government from doing almost anything that would disadvantage or offend any of the clients they represent -- taking in, as it happens, virtually the whole American population.

... ... ...

A similar case could be made for extending the term of senators to eight years, with half the Senate retiring or running for re-election every four years. If the terms of members of both houses were thus extended and made to coincide, the effect in reducing America's never-ending election campaign would be dramatic.

There is much to be said, too, for all the reasons mentioned so far, for scaling down the number of primary elections. They absorb extravagant amounts of time, energy, and money; they serve little democratic purpose; few people bother to vote in them; and they place additional and unnecessary pressure on incumbent officeholders. Since the main disadvantage of primaries is the adverse effect they have on incumbents, any reforms probably ought to be concerned with protecting incumbents' interests.

... ... ..

Nevertheless, there is an alternate case for term limits, based not on American politicians' alleged lack of responsiveness to the voters but on their alleged overresponsiveness to the voters and [especially] interest groups in order to secure their own re-election.

... ... ...

The Atlantic Monthly; January 1997; Running Scared; Volume 279, No. 1; pages 41-61

[Aug 14, 2018] The demise of another Bernie Sanders fraud - World Socialist Web Site

By Patrick Martin 9 August 2018
Notable quotes:
"... Thus ends another episode in the seemingly interminable serial, "Bernie Sanders Tries, and Fails, to Put a Progressive Coat of Paint on the Democratic Party." Since he rocketed to political prominence in 2016 in his challenge to Hillary Clinton, the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, Sanders has played this role again and again. ..."
"... First, he appeals to the idealism of young people and the economic grievances of working people, claiming to represent a genuine alternative to the domination of American politics by the oligarchy of "millionaires and billionaires." Then he diverts those who have responded to his campaign back into the existing political framework, endorsing whatever right-wing hack emerges from the Democratic wing of the corporate-controlled two-party system. ..."
"... In the 2018 campaign, where he is not a candidate except for reelection in Vermont, Sanders has endorsed and campaigned for a number of supposedly left-wing candidates in the Democratic primaries, always based on the same pretense, that the Democratic Party can be reformed and pushed to the left, that this party of corporate America can be transformed into an instrument of social reform and popular politics. ..."
"... The requirements for receiving Sanders' support and that of "Our Revolution," the political operation formed by many of his 2016 campaign staffers, are not very demanding. The self-proclaimed socialist does not demand that his favored candidates oppose capitalism or pay lip service to socialism -- and almost none of them do. ..."
"... In other words, Sanders uses the image of radicalism and opposition to the status quo that surrounded his 2016 campaign to lend support to very conventional, pro-capitalist candidates, whose policies are well within the mainstream of the Democratic Party -- a party whose leadership has embraced most of the measures cited above, secure in the knowledge that it will not keep a single one of these promises and can always blame the Republicans for blocking them. ..."
"... In Michigan, Sanders spoke at rallies for El-Sayed, and his supporters were quite active on college campuses and on social media, mobilizing support among young people. But as in 2016, there was little effort to reach the working class, particularly minority workers in Detroit, Flint, Saginaw and other devastated industrial cities. ..."
"... Sanders and the supposedly "left" Democrats he promotes all fervently support the trade union bureaucracy, which is working overtime this year to prevent strikes by angry and militant workers -- as at United Parcel Service -- and to isolate, terminate and betray them where they break out -- as with the state-wide teachers' strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona earlier this year. ..."
"... Under these conditions, the Democratic Party is not a party that can or will can carry out social reforms in order to save capitalism, as in Roosevelt's day. It is a party that will carry out the dictates of the ruling class for war and austerity while using the services of "left" politicians like Sanders to confuse and disorient working people and youth. ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed went down to a double-digit defeat Tuesday in the Democratic primary, overwhelmed by the near-unanimous support of the Democratic Party establishment for former state senator Gretchen Whitmer. The daughter of former Blue Cross/Blue Shield CEO Richard Whitmer won every county in the state and will go on to face Republican State Attorney General Bill Schuette in the November general election.

In a tweet to his supporters, El-Sayed declared: "The victory was not ours today, but the work continues. Congratulations to @gretchenwhitmer on her primary win. Tomorrow we continue the path toward justice, equity and sustainability."

When tomorrow came, however, that "path" led to a unity luncheon at which El-Sayed and the third candidate in the race, self-funding millionaire Shri Thanedar, pledged their full support to Whitmer. "Today we all retool and figure out how we make sure that Bill Schuette does not become governor. I'm super committed to that," El-Sayed said. "Never has it been more important to have a Democrat lead state government."

Thus ends another episode in the seemingly interminable serial, "Bernie Sanders Tries, and Fails, to Put a Progressive Coat of Paint on the Democratic Party." Since he rocketed to political prominence in 2016 in his challenge to Hillary Clinton, the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, Sanders has played this role again and again.

First, he appeals to the idealism of young people and the economic grievances of working people, claiming to represent a genuine alternative to the domination of American politics by the oligarchy of "millionaires and billionaires." Then he diverts those who have responded to his campaign back into the existing political framework, endorsing whatever right-wing hack emerges from the Democratic wing of the corporate-controlled two-party system.

In 2016, this involved appealing to his supporters to back Hillary Clinton, the candidate of Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus. The Clinton campaign refused to make the slightest appeal to the working class in order to preserve its support within corporate America and, in the process, drove millions of desperate workers to stay home on Election Day or vote for Trump, allowing the billionaire demagogue to eke out an Electoral College victory.

In the 2018 campaign, where he is not a candidate except for reelection in Vermont, Sanders has endorsed and campaigned for a number of supposedly left-wing candidates in the Democratic primaries, always based on the same pretense, that the Democratic Party can be reformed and pushed to the left, that this party of corporate America can be transformed into an instrument of social reform and popular politics.

The requirements for receiving Sanders' support and that of "Our Revolution," the political operation formed by many of his 2016 campaign staffers, are not very demanding. The self-proclaimed socialist does not demand that his favored candidates oppose capitalism or pay lip service to socialism -- and almost none of them do.

Their platforms usually include such demands as raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, implementing "Medicare for all," interpreted in various fashions, establishing free public college education for families earning less than $150,000 a year, and enacting universal pre-K education. They usually promise not to accept corporate money and to support campaign finance reform.

These Sanders-backed candidates, like Sanders himself in 2016, have very little to say about foreign policy and make no appeal whatsoever to the deep anti-war sentiment among American youth and workers. There is no discussion of Trump's threats of nuclear war. As for trade war, most, like Sanders himself, embrace the economic nationalism that is the foundation of Trump's trade policy.

In other words, Sanders uses the image of radicalism and opposition to the status quo that surrounded his 2016 campaign to lend support to very conventional, pro-capitalist candidates, whose policies are well within the mainstream of the Democratic Party -- a party whose leadership has embraced most of the measures cited above, secure in the knowledge that it will not keep a single one of these promises and can always blame the Republicans for blocking them.

In Michigan, Sanders spoke at rallies for El-Sayed, and his supporters were quite active on college campuses and on social media, mobilizing support among young people. But as in 2016, there was little effort to reach the working class, particularly minority workers in Detroit, Flint, Saginaw and other devastated industrial cities.

Sanders and the supposedly "left" Democrats he promotes all fervently support the trade union bureaucracy, which is working overtime this year to prevent strikes by angry and militant workers -- as at United Parcel Service -- and to isolate, terminate and betray them where they break out -- as with the state-wide teachers' strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona earlier this year.

The real attitude of Sanders and El-Sayed to genuine socialism was made clear when they sought to ban supporters of the Socialist Equality Party and SEP candidate for Congress Niles Niemuth from distributing leaflets and holding discussions outside campaign rallies for El-Sayed.

This year, Sanders has been campaigning with a sidekick, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America who won the Democratic congressional nomination in the 12th District of New York, defeating incumbent Representative Joseph Crowley, the fourth-ranking member of the Democratic leadership in the House.

Ocasio-Cortez campaigned for El-Sayed in Michigan and also for several congressional candidates, including Brent Welder in Kansas and Cori Bush in Missouri, who also went down to defeat on August 7. Like Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez claims that the Democratic Party can be transformed into a genuinely progressive "party of the people" that will implement social reforms.

But at age 28, Ocasio-Cortez has less practice in performing the song-and-dance of pretending to be independent of the Democratic Party establishment while working to give it a left cover and prop it up. She was clumsier in her execution, attracting notice as she walked back a campaign demand to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and sought to downplay her previous criticism of Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people.

After her campaign swing through the Midwest, Ocasio-Cortez traveled to the Netroots Nation conference in New Orleans, an annual assemblage of the left flank of the Democratic Party. She told her adoring audience that her policies were not radical at all, but firmly in the Democratic mainstream. "It's time for us to remember that universal college education, trade school, a federal jobs guarantee, a universal basic income were not all proposed in 2016," she said. "They were proposed in 1940, by the Democratic president of the United States."

The reference to Franklin D. Roosevelt was inadvertently revealing. Roosevelt adopted reform policies, including many of those suggested by the social democrats of his day such as Norman Thomas. He was no socialist, but rather a clever and conscious bourgeois politician who enacted limited reforms in a deliberate effort to save the capitalist system.

Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez likewise seek to save the capitalist system, but under conditions where no such reforms are possible. The American ruling class no longer dominates the world economy, but is beset by powerful rivals in both Europe and Asia. It is pouring resources into the military to prepare for world war. And at home, even the most modest measures run up against the intransigent opposition of the super-rich, who control both parties and demand even greater wealth for themselves at the expense of working people.

Under these conditions, the Democratic Party is not a party that can or will can carry out social reforms in order to save capitalism, as in Roosevelt's day. It is a party that will carry out the dictates of the ruling class for war and austerity while using the services of "left" politicians like Sanders to confuse and disorient working people and youth.

Thus, at Netroots Nation, the assembled "left" Democrats gave a loud ovation to Ocasio-Cortez, but also to Gina Ortiz Jones, the Democratic nominee in the 23rd Congressional District of Texas, also young, nonwhite and female. Ortiz Jones has another characteristic, however. She is a career Air Force intelligence officer who was deployed to Iraq, South Sudan and Libya -- all the scenes of US-instigated bloodbaths.

Ortiz Jones is one of nearly three dozen such candidates chosen to represent the Democratic Party in contested congressional districts around the country. Another such candidate is Elissa Slotkin, who won the Democratic nomination Tuesday in Michigan's Eighth Congressional District. Slotkin served three tours with the CIA in Baghdad before being promoted to high-level positions in the Pentagon and the Obama-era National Security Council.

The fake leftism of Bernie Sanders in alliance with the CIA: That is the formula for the Democratic Party in 2018.

[Aug 14, 2018] Technocrats Rule Democracy Is 'OK' As Long As The People Rubberstamp Our Leadership

Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Technocrats rule the world, East and West alike.

We are in a very peculiar ideological and political place in which Democracy (oh sainted Democracy) is a very good thing, unless the voters reject the technocrat class's leadership. Then the velvet gloves come off. From the perspective of the elites and their technocrat apparatchiks, elections have only one purpose: to rubberstamp their leadership.

As a general rule, this is easily managed by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising and bribes to the cartels and insider fiefdoms who pony up most of the cash.

This is why incumbents win the vast majority of elections. Once in power, they issue the bribes and payoffs needed to guarantee funding next election cycle.

The occasional incumbent who is voted out of office made one of two mistakes:

1. He/she showed a very troubling bit of independence from the technocrat status quo, so a more orthodox candidate is selected to eliminate him/her.

2. The incumbent forgot to put on a charade of "listening to my constituency" etc.

If restive voters can't be bamboozled into passively supporting the technocrat status quo with the usual propaganda, divide and conquer is the preferred strategy. Only voting for the technocrat class (of any party, it doesn't really matter) will save us from the evil Other : Deplorables, socialists, commies, fascists, etc.

In extreme cases where the masses confound the status quo by voting against the technocrat class (i.e. against globalization, financialization, Empire), then the elites/technocrats will punish them with austerity or a managed recession. The technocrat's core ideology boils down to this:

1. The masses are dangerously incapable of making wise decisions about anything, so we have to persuade them to do our bidding. Any dissent will be punished, marginalized, censored or shut down under some pretext of "protecting the public" or violation of some open-ended statute.

2. To insure this happy outcome, we must use all the powers of propaganda, up to and including rigged statistics, bogus "facts" (official fake news can't be fake news, etc.), divide and conquer, fear-mongering, misdirection and so on.

3. We must relentlessly centralize all power, wealth and authority so the masses have no escape or independence left to threaten us. We must control everything, for their own good of course.

4. Globalization must be presented not as a gargantuan fraud that has stripmined the planet and its inhabitants, but as the sole wellspring of endless, permanent prosperity.

5. If the masses refuse to rubberstamp our leadership, they will be punished and told the source of their punishment is their rejection of globalization, financialization and Empire.

Technocrats rule the world, East and West alike. My two favorite charts of the outcome of technocrats running things to suit their elite masters are:

The state-cartel-crony-capitalist version: the top .1% skim the vast majority of the gains in income and wealth. Globalization, financialization and Empire sure do rack up impressive gains. Too bad they're concentrated in the top 1.%.

The state-crony-socialist version: the currency is destroyed, impoverishing everyone but the top .1% who transferred their wealth to Miami, London and Zurich long ago. Hmm, do you discern a pattern here in the elite-technocrat regime?

Ideology is just a cover you slip over the machine to mask what's really going on.

* * *

My new book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com .

[Aug 12, 2018] People who vote for Greens in 2018 have a fundamental disagreement with the two party system and lesser-evilism, and relish in the opportunity to express that disagreement.

Notable quotes:
"... @gjohnsit ..."
"... @gjohnsit ..."
"... @lizzyh7 ..."
Aug 12, 2018 | caucus99percent.com
HenryAWallace on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 1:32pm
Dembots have always hated the left, including the left

@gjohnsit

of their own party, more than they hated Republicans. They were willing to go right, both because they themselves like rightist policies and because they thought they could pick up indy and Republican votes. However, they were not willing to go left. And look at the results! Historic numbers of Republicans elected at local state and federal levels and despite all their concerted efforts, a clown defeating atheir Fair Lady. So, what will they do? Probably double and triple down on neoliberalism. Again.

lotlizard on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 8:24pm
It's Democrats' subconscious internalization of Marketing 101.

@gjohnsit
The Democrats see Republicans as appealing to a different target demographic entirely, e.g. "normie" whites as opposed to the Dems' "woke" persons of color.

The Greens, on the other hand, are the Democrats' direct competitors for the same demographics.

lizzyh7 on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 12:44pm
These privileged rich bastards

need to STFU and go the hell away. Alyssa Milano, looking at you here but you surely are not alone. One more B list actor looking to stay relevant. I know I've said it before but I really DO hate these people more than I hate Repugnants and for me, that's one hell of a lot of hate.

PennBrian on Fri, 08/10/2018 - 1:58am
@lizzyh7 Absolutely agree. I'm

@lizzyh7 Absolutely agree. I'm numb to Republicans at this point; they are what they are. The corporate Democrats and their misguided army of smug "not very bright" dead-enders are more acutely annoying.

detroitmechworks on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 1:07pm
If you stop thinking of it as a party and start thinking of it..

as a cult it makes all sorts of sense. Cults reserve their deepest hatred not for the enemy but for heretics. Greens often are ex-Democrats, therefore heretics, therefore...

PennBrian on Fri, 08/10/2018 - 2:05am
No one ever points out the

No one ever points out the obvious to these people:

If 60+ million people hadn't wasted their ballots voting for a doomed failed candidate in 2016 then Jill Stein would be our president today, not Donald Trump.

[Aug 09, 2018] Now national during elections The FBI and CIA set the preferable candidate and call the shots

That's a clear exaggeration: after the neoliberal ideology went source in 2008, the power of CIA and friends to brainwash public greatly diminished...
Aug 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

prusmc , Website Next New Comment August 8, 2018 at 2:07 pm GMT

@Gordo

Chittum's work makes more sense than either of the books reviewed here. The two books discussed above are good for the Harry Potter set but in no way conform to 2018 reality.
I frequently reread Chittum's work and am amazed at how he correctly analyzed the future into what is contemporary USSA.
LOOK NO further, than the incipient election of a reparation Democrat governor in Georgia and a like minded legislature,come November, for validation of Chittum's hypotheses. The one weakness in his predictions is the belief that there will be a patriotic core in the local police and national military that could be relied on to protect the lives and property of traditional Americans. This just won't happen. The FBI, CIA, ATFE, Homeland Security Police and like activities set the pace, call the shots and control the funds and the locals provide a conditioned response.
Chittum writing 20 years back could not see the rise of the mass surveillance and correct thought propagation that we increasingly welcome or endure today.
My bet is Unz Review will totally access denied after the massive Democrat election gains in November.

[Aug 09, 2018] Institutionalizing Intolerance Bullies Win, Freedom Suffers When We Can't Agree To Disagree by John Whitehead

Notable quotes:
"... Silencing unpopular viewpoints with which the majority might disagree -- whether it's by shouting them down, censoring them, muzzling them, or criminalizing them -- only empowers the controllers of the Deep State. ..."
"... It's political correctness disguised as tolerance, civility and love, but what it really amounts to is the chilling of free speech and the demonizing of viewpoints that run counter to the cultural elite. ..."
"... Instead of intelligent discourse, we've been saddled with identity politics, "a safe space from thought, rather than a safe space for thought." ..."
Aug 09, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech." ― Benjamin Franklin

What a mess.

As America has become ever more polarized, and those polarized factions have become more militant and less inclined to listen to - or even allow for the existence of - other viewpoints, we are fast becoming a nation of people who just can't get along.

Here's the thing: if Americans don't learn how to get along - at the very least, agreeing to disagree and respecting each other's right to subscribe to beliefs and opinions that may be offensive, hateful, intolerant or merely different - then we're going to soon find that we have no rights whatsoever (to speak, assemble, agree, disagree, protest, opt in, opt out, or forge our own paths as individuals).

In such an environment, when we can't agree to disagree, the bullies (on both sides) win and freedom suffers.

Intolerance, once the domain of the politically correct and self-righteous, has been institutionalized, normalized and politicized. Even those who dare to defend speech that may be unpopular or hateful as a constitutional right are now accused of " weaponizing the First Amendment ."

On college campuses across the country, speakers whose views are deemed "offensive" to some of the student body are having their invitations recalled or cancelled, being shouted down by hecklers, or forced to hire costly security details. As The Washington Post concludes, " College students support free speech -- unless it offends them ."

At Hofstra University, half the students in a freshman class boycotted when the professor assigned them to read Flannery O'Connor's short story "Artificial Nigger." As Professor Arthur Dobrin recounts, "The boycotters refused to engage a writer who would use such an offensive word. They hadn't read the story; they wouldn't lower themselves to that level. Here is what they missed: The story's title refers to a lawn jockey, a once common ornament of a black man holding a lantern. The statue symbolizes the suffering of an entire group of people and looking at it bring a moment of insight to a racist old man."

... ... ...

What we have instead is regulated, controlled speech, and that's a whole other ballgame.

Just as surveillance has been shown to " stifle and smother dissent, keeping a populace cowed by fear ," government censorship gives rise to self-censorship, breeds compliance, makes independent thought all but impossible, and ultimately foments a seething discontent that has no outlet but violence.

The First Amendment is a steam valve. It allows people to speak their minds, air their grievances and contribute to a larger dialogue that hopefully results in a more just world.

When there is no steam valve - when there is no one to hear what the people have to say - frustration builds, anger grows and people become more volatile and desperate to force a conversation. By bottling up dissent, we have created a pressure cooker of stifled misery and discontent that is now bubbling over and fomenting even more hate, distrust and paranoia among portions of the populace.

Silencing unpopular viewpoints with which the majority might disagree -- whether it's by shouting them down, censoring them, muzzling them, or criminalizing them -- only empowers the controllers of the Deep State.

Even when the motives behind this rigidly calibrated reorientation of societal language appear well-intentioned -- discouraging racism, condemning violence, denouncing discrimination and hatred -- inevitably, the end result is the same: intolerance, indoctrination and infantilism.

It's political correctness disguised as tolerance, civility and love, but what it really amounts to is the chilling of free speech and the demonizing of viewpoints that run counter to the cultural elite.

We've allowed ourselves to be persuaded that we need someone else to think and speak for us. And we've allowed ourselves to become so timid in the face of offensive words and ideas that we've bought into the idea that we need the government to shield us from that which is ugly or upsetting or mean.

The result is a society in which we've stopped debating among ourselves, stopped thinking for ourselves, and stopped believing that we can fix our own problems and resolve our own differences.

In short, we have reduced ourselves to a largely silent, passive, polarized populace incapable of working through our own problems with each other and reliant on the government to protect us from our fears of each other.

... ... ...

Instead of intelligent discourse, we've been saddled with identity politics, "a safe space from thought, rather than a safe space for thought."

Safe spaces.

[Aug 08, 2018] There is only mass media, corporate media, or presstitute media, and superficial variations of the corporate welfare-warfare party.

Aug 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

Justsaying


Inserted into embryos via germline genetic engineering, this patented DNA produces "clears"
The review points to some Freudian element in fantasizing on the eclipse of the imperial hegemony via internal strife. Regardless, genetic engineering on such a massive scale as to produce millions of citizens programmed to become so utterly obsequious would be an inefficient and cost-prohibitive strategy to accomplish that feat. Besides the "antisocial elements" who participate in the civil war against their engineered counterparts may also have the wherewithal to control and direct their servile combatants who at any rate are unlikely to offer much resistance. A far more efficient method of thought control and indoctrination via the MSM and the education system is already well under way. The results are already on display given the near deafening silence obtaining in the face of successive American leaders' criminal behaviors at home and genocidal frenzies abroad.

Given the stability of the political duopoly that is in power in the US, no signs --- no matter how feeble --- of the status quo changing are in evidence. The idea of global hegemony is far from being comprehensively accomplished. But most indications are that no credible resistance is likely to emerge to counter the relentless march of the Empire toward its ends.

jacques sheete , Next New Comment August 8, 2018 at 1:00 pm GMT

Nice summary, except that there is no "MSM," and there is no true duopoly. There is only mass media, corporate media, or presstitute media, and superficial variations of the corporate welfare-warfare party.

A far more efficient method of thought control and indoctrination via the MSM and the education system is already well under way. The results are already on display given the near deafening silence obtaining in the face of successive American leaders' criminal behaviors at home and genocidal frenzies abroad. Given the stability of the political duopoly that is in power in the US, no signs -- no matter how feeble -- of the status quo changing are in evidence.

I said, "No, there is a great difference. Taft is amiable imbecility. Wilson is willful and malicious imbecility and I prefer Taft."
Roosevelt then said : "Pettigrew, you know the two old parties are just alike. They are both controlled by the same influences, and I am going to organize a new party " a new political party " in this country based upon progressive principles.

"[Teddy]Roosevelt then said : "Pettigrew, you know the two old parties are just alike. They are both controlled by the same influences "
- R. F. Pettigrew, "Imperial Washington," The story of American Public life from 1870 to 1920 ( 1922 ), p 234

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt/search?q1=amiable;id=yale.39002002948025;view=1up;seq=7;start=1;sz=10;page=search;orient=0

" the major political parties have not represented a real political issue since the 1860s. These parties have not stood for opposite political principles; they have differed only about methods."
Rose Wilder Lane Give Me Liberty 1936 , p 49

https://mises.org/system/tdf/Give%20Me%20Liberty_3.pdf?file=1&type=document

[Aug 08, 2018] Why do the masses allow themselves to be politically swindled?)

Aug 08, 2018 | www.goodreads.com

"National Socialism made use of various means in dealing with various classes, and made various promises depending upon the social class it needed at a particular time. In the spring of 1933, for example, it was the revolutionary character of the Nazi movement that was given particular emphasis in Nazi propaganda in an effort to win over the industrial workers, and the first of May was "celebrated," but only after the aristocracy had been appeased in Potsdam. To ascribe the success solely to political swindle, however, would be to become entangled in a contradiction with the basic idea of freedom, and would practically exclude the possibility of a social revolution. What must be answered is: Why do the masses allow themselves to be politically swindled? The masses had every possibility of evaluating the propaganda of the various parties. Why didn't they see that, while promising the workers that the owners of the means of production would be disappropriated, Hitler promised the capitalists that their rights would be protected?"
Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

[Aug 08, 2018] Imagine what is coming in the United States where the simmering hatreds are invited and exploited by not three distinct groups, but hundreds.

Notable quotes:
"... At some point the Western Powers decided the that old Communist Apparachik Milosevic would be the Bad Guy and the Croatian freedom-loving "our bastards" the good guys to be internationally recognized and thus enflamed the passion of secession. The thing just flew apart. And afterwards we had to bomb the country in order to save it. ..."
Aug 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

Sic Semper , Next New Comment August 8, 2018 at 1:37 pm GMT

I vividly recall the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. I was nine-years-old and we were not wired for cable then. There also was no remote control for the 27″ Zenith color console. I was forced to watch some of the coverage for those reasons. Sarajevo was held up as a utopian city where Serbs, Croats and Muslims all lived in a beautiful city peacefully.

It was so beautiful said the announcers. And in less than a decade that Olympic stadium was turned into a cemetery as those peaceful Croats, Serbs and Muslims slaughtered each other. Once the Soviet Army withdrew from Yugoslavia and the nation disintegrated back into its ethnic lines, the killings started.

Imagine what is coming in the United States where the simmering hatreds are invited and exploited by not three distinct groups, but hundreds. Image what is to come when "historically aggrieved" peoples who have been weaponized for generations to despise their non-homogenous neighbors.

The erasure of common nationhood and the instilling of grievance as a caste system will see the US descend into chaotic slaughter the likes of which have never been seen before.

When Pakistan separated from India after the British pulled out, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus slaughtered each other, stopping trains filled with refugees being repatriated into their new nations and slaughtering every one of them. Americans have been so denuded of historical understanding that these histories are unknown.

The malevolence of humanity seething just under the surface until the opportunity arises for it to burst forth is forgotten by placated propagandized people. What people in world history have been more propagandized and placated than Americans who have been viewing carefully crafted scripts since their eyes were first able to focus on a tv screen and whose desperately poor are morbidly obese?

Stocking a warehouse to the rafters with volatile materials, packing them in so tightly until they near critical mass, now add in some agitation – and light a match. The most devastating weapon ever devised in not the hydrogen bomb, it is a population bomb. A 100 megaton nuclear weapon destroys cleanly – one flash and a wind storm – it's all over aside from lingering sunshine units. In a thousand years the land will forget what had happened.

A population bomb where the very people have been weaponized will prove far more devastating and remain scarring the land for eons and that common memory lives on in the survivors igniting anew every few decades.

El Dato , Next New Comment August 8, 2018 at 2:04 pm GMT
@Sic Semper

Once the Soviet Army withdrew from Yugoslavia and the nation disintegrated back into its ethnic lines, the killings started.

That never happened though because the Soviet Army was never in Yugoslavia in the first place. It was Tito who maintained order with an iron fist.

At some point the Western Powers decided the that old Communist Apparachik Milosevic would be the Bad Guy and the Croatian freedom-loving "our bastards" the good guys to be internationally recognized and thus enflamed the passion of secession. The thing just flew apart. And afterwards we had to bomb the country in order to save it.

I vaguely remember a pretty explanation in First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia by David N. Gibbs

Chris Mallory , Next New Comment August 8, 2018 at 2:31 pm GMT
@John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

Secession was about slavery. The war was started by Lincoln for economic reasons.

jacques sheete , Next New Comment August 8, 2018 at 2:35 pm GMT
@Heisendude

How can there be a second civil war when the US never had one civil war?!

The so called Am Rev could, in many ways, be considered a "civil" war, and you are correct that the War of Northern Bankers Against Southern Planters was not a "civil war" but essentially another war of conquest and centralization and concentration of wealth in the hands of ever fewer.

In my opinion, as such concentration proceeds, it inevitably corrupts the morals and values (if any), of a polity and to me, it's pretty obvious that it's proceeding as expected and at an ever increasing rate.

[Aug 08, 2018] The Constitution looked fairly good on paper, but it was not a popular document; people were suspicious of it, and suspicious of the enabling legislation that was being erected upon it

Aug 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

Anon [370] Disclaimer , Next New Comment August 8, 2018 at 6:35 am GMT

The three most likely ways the United States will descend into tyranny, from most likely to least likely are the following:

1. Continuous immigration makes the country a de facto one party state; the democrats win congress and the presidency and retain it through successive election cycles, all legitimized through the fig leaf of democratic voting.

With electoral checks removed, radical leftists will rescind most American rights such as free speech and association – tacitly, they won't directly say that's what they are doing, rather they will present it with terms like "hate crime" and the like. Say the wrong thing, and you will get fired, your bank will deny you service, and you will be subject to international media scorn. They'll start with traditionally "right wing" freedoms like gun rights, speech, and religious affiliation. But they'll move on to internet anonymity and the secret ballot.

Expect endless media-generated witch trials of dissenters and two minute orgies of hate for white Caucasians, and to a lesser extent, East Asians.

Expect a security state that monitors and records EVERYTHING you do for future use against you should it be necessary – phone calls, internet usage, public travel via CCTV and automobile/cell phone tracking (they already do that) perhaps even what you do in your own home via technologies that can see through walls, record through television and computer cameras and mics, and inquiries to personal AI assistants like Siri. Quantum computer-based AI will additionally be able to track down internet posters through sophisticated mathematical analysis, encryption breaking, and grammar/syntax analysis.

Future development of AI makes brainwashing and propaganda easier than anyone could have previously imagined. This works miracles at controlling the population for a while, but even AI can't erase day-to-day multicultural tensions through personal interactions. People begin disbelieving everything they see and hear from the media. Ironically, this presents propaganda opportunities for foreign governments against the US population.

The country will become increasingly ungovernable. The corrupt oligarchical media, owned and controlled by individuals loyal to the democrat party, lie endlessly on their behalf. The internet is eventually censored using "harassment" and "hate speech" as a pretext. Those who oppose this are labeled supporters of hate – a derivation of the "think of the children" fallacy.

The US tries to counter a rising China militarily but fails. America's military isn't committed; it's just a job in a country no one has any true loyalty to anymore (like the Roman Empire in the early fifth century). There may be a battle over Taiwan that the US navy loses. A multicultural US population has no desire to fight a protracted war with a determined, nationalist and nearly homogeneous China, so the US backs off after a single humiliating sea battle. The event presages a new Chinese century much like US entry into WWI marked a new era or the Russo-Japanese war marked the end of Western military hegemony for the first time since the end of the Middle Ages.

Sensing a sea change, Asian governments like Japan begin rapprochement with China. US alliances falter in Asia.

As SJWs take over Hollywood and churn out leftist agitprop, new centers of culture and entertainment pop up in China. Just as the Russians hoarded Western pop music during the Cold War, many white Americans do the same with Chinese movies and books – their own movies and books being uninteresting propaganda (see the downfall of the US comic book industry for an example of what is to come) – and sometimes even racist anti-white trash.

Diversity (non-white) efforts cripple US industry. Meritorious China becomes even more economically dominant than expected at American expense.

US financial life is punctuated by continual boom/bust cycles as minorities use the government to re-appropriate wealth for themselves at the expense of white Caucasians (see Zimbabwe and South Africa's looming land grab). We saw something like this with the housing crisis of 2008-9: George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy urged banks to lower lending standards for poor minorities; Wall Street got in on the act and, predictably, people with low incomes couldn't pay back what they owed and the system came crashing down as a result. Expect this to be a more frequent staple of future American life.

The US's financial stability is threatened when massively expensive social programs – ineptly thought out and implemented – drive up the federal deficit to record highs; the government raises taxes to cover the losses. This works for a time, but there is only so high taxes can be raised before the economy suffers. A sovereign debt crisis looms. The country becomes ever more socialist.

Racial tensions reach a boiling point as intractable racial disparities in everything remain. Whites begin leaving for Eastern, Western Europe and eventually China and Japan once their populations fall enough for those countries to change their immigration laws. This brain drain crushes the United States.

US standing in the world falls dramatically as Europeans recoil in horror at the prospect of their own people's looming – similar – fate. Democracy is discredited world wide. Elections still happen, but in many places they simply serve as propaganda to legitimize ruling regimes.

The US attempts to solve its problems by picking fights with smaller countries, the logic being that the population will rally around the flag in response, distracting everyone from internal strife. These military adventures will not go well, leading to increasing internal unrest.

The elite will engage in a Cold War with Russia because the Russians are white; the belief among the establishment is that this will distract America's majority minorities from attacking white Americans, the country's single most valuable resource. This leads to a series of dangerous standoffs and, perhaps, even war.

By 2060, the US is much weakened. China has an economy 3-4x larger than the total US economy. China has military bases in most of South America and perhaps even Mexico. China also has a military that dwarfs the US military in technological sophistication, size, and overall determination.

By 2070, the US ends up like the Soviet Union: a powerful external entity (China) foments rebellion among different groups; the country, poor and defeated, splits up. 300 years wasn't a bad run.

2. The democrats take back all branches of government in 2020. By 2028, it is apparent that no Republican can win the White House ever again. One of the Red States secedes. The US military, purged of patriotic white men and filled with immigrant scabs, brutally attacks said Red State; Obama did something very similar when he started filling the military with immigrants. Also, one poll after Charlottesvile indicated that the vast majority of the military would favor using the national guard to shut down those protestors, so they definitely aren't on our side (your feelings about the protestors and their views are irrelevant, but the sentiment expressed by the military in regards to the expression of constitutionally-protected public beliefs is astonishing); don't be surprised when the military does whatever the democrats demand in the future, including shooting protestors or putting down rebellions with force.

This is not a civil war because you don't have a situation where groups fight over control of the government. This is a massacre perpetrated by the left and it's been building for years now – from "punch a Nazi" and encouraging violence against Sarah Huckabee to antifa terrorist attacks on protestors and doxxing dissenters.

Future historians (Chinese and Indian) will wonder why Red States didn't break off sooner when they had the chance. They will point out that a frog put in a pot won't leap out if the temperature is raised slowly. They will use this to remind themselves that democracy is ultimately a fool's errand.

3. Some patriotic element of the Deep State concocts a plan for Trump to remain president permanently. The 2020 election is called off. The democrat party is banned and voting is limited to republicans. The government works to reverse the country's looming demographic disaster.

CCZ , Next New Comment August 8, 2018 at 7:04 am GMT
Peter Turchin, author of "Ages of Discord: A Structural Demographic Analysis of American History" (2016) has examined the "demographic, social, and political trends that changed direction from favorable to unfavorable in America around the 1970s" and has concluded that "in the United States social instability and political violence would peak in the 2020s."

He agrees that high levels of immigration and economic inequality breed "popular immiseration (the stagnation and decline of living standards and the declining fiscal health of the state )" and that in periods when economic inequality is high ("disintegrative phases") socio-economic well being and political cooperation plummet. Most importantly, he cites "the key role of "elite overproduction" in "driving waves of political violence, both in historical societies and in our own." [United States]

"Increasing inequality leads not only to the growth of top fortunes; it also results in greater numbers of wealth-holders. Rich Americans tend to be more politically active than the rest of the population. In technical terms, such a situation is known as 'elite overproduction'. Elite overproduction generally leads to more intra-elite competition which is followed by ideological polarization and fragmentation of the political class. the more contenders there are, the more of them end up on the losing side. A large class of disgruntled elite-wannabes, often well-educated and highly capable, has been denied access to elite positions."

"The victory of Donald Trump changes nothing in this equation. The 'social pump' creating new aspirants for political offices continues to operate at full strength. In addition to politically ambitious multi-millionaires, the second important source of such aspirants is U.S. law schools, which every year churn twice as many law graduates as there are job openings for them, about 25,000 "surplus" lawyers, many of whom are in debt. It is emblematic that the 2016 election pitted a billionaire against a lawyer."

jacques sheete , Next New Comment August 8, 2018 at 1:06 pm GMT
@Anon

The three most likely ways the United States will descend into tyranny, from most likely to least likely are the following:

Will descend?

Done deal. What do you think the constitution was all about?

The Constitution looked fairly good on paper, but it was not a popular document; people were suspicious of it, and suspicious of the enabling legislation that was being erected upon it. There was some ground for this. The Constitution had been laid down under unacceptable auspices; its history had been that of a coup d'état.

It had been drafted, in the first place, by men representing special economic interests. Four-fifths of them were public creditors, one-third were land speculators, and one-fifth represented interests in shipping, manufacturing, and merchandising. Most of them were lawyers. Not one of them represented the interest of production -- Vilescit origine tali. (the dice were loaded from the start)

Albert Jay Nock, Liberty vs. the Constitution: The Early Struggle

mises.org/daily/4254

Furthermore, we know, historically, that only a small portion even of the people then existing were consulted on the subject, or asked, or permitted to express either their consent or dissent in any formal manner.

-Lysander Spooner, No Treason: No. VI, The Constitution of No Authority, p1. (1870)

http://files.libertyfund.org/files/2194/Spooner_1485_Bk.pdf

[Aug 08, 2018] Civil War II Coming, by Kevin Barrett - The Unz Review

Aug 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

In El-Akkad's dystopian vision, the War on Muslims mutates into the War on Southerners -- but has nothing to do with race. Instead, the Yankee Terror State turns its savagery against the New Rebels of the Free Southern States because those good ole boys and girls (of all shades of skin pigmentation and sexual preference) refuse to give up fossil fuels, choosing instead to secede from the Union.

Al-Akkad's vision of blue vs. red global-warming-driven war run amok in a near-future America that has completely forgotten about the whole concept of race is surprisingly plausible, at least while you are reading it. (Civil War I, after all, was really about economics not race , so why shouldn't Civil War II also be over an economic issue?) The plot turns on the adventures of Sarat, a young Red State woman of mixed and meaningless (near-black Chicano and po' white trash) ancestry who awakens politically and goes after the Blue State occupiers in pretty much the same way the Iraqi resistance went after George W. Bush's storm troopers.

... ... ...

C.J. Hopkins offers a deeper, more accurate, vastly funnier, more genuinely subversive vision. His far-future America, which bears an uncanny resemblance to our nightmarish present, features drone-patrolled hyper-surveiled cities, each of which is divided by an Israeli-style Wall complete with Israeli-style checkpoints and incursions featuring Israeli-style killings of hapless untermenschen. But instead of Israelis vs. Palestinians, the divide here is between the Normals on one side of the wall and the Anti-Socials on the other. The Normals -- good corporate citizens who are submitting to pharmaceutical and genetic correction so they can work and consume and conform and live meaningless lives like everybody else without batting an eyelash -- are conditioned to fear and loathe the Antisocials, who retain enough humanity to rebel, in whatever pathetically insignificant way, against corporatist dystopia.

Zone 23 , like American War , imagines the future as post-racial: Hopkins' Normal vs. Antisocial divide isn't about race. But it is, nonetheless, very much about behavioral genetics. In this (not so) far future, the Hadley Corporation of Menomonie, Wisconsin has developed a variant-corrected version of the MAO-A gene. Inserted into embryos via germline genetic engineering, this patented DNA produces "clears": people who are intelligent but incurious, incapable of emotionally-driven fight-or-flight aggression (including the most common defensive variety), "easily trained, highly responsive to visual and verbal commands," and so on. In other words, perfect corporate citizens!

The corporatist state naturally strives to perfect itself, imposing a "final solution" to the ASP (anti-social person) problem by mandating that henceforth no non-genetically-engineered babies may be born. The result is a very one-sided "race war" in which a few antisocial malcontents try to hold out against what amounts to a genocide against "uncorrected" humanity. The plot follows two of those ASP antiheroes as they throw rocks at the Israeli bulldozer of corporatist genocide.

Hopkins' ferociously funny yarn is not just a satire on our ever-worsening techno-dystopia. In imagining a genetic basis to the difficulties many of us experience adjusting to hyperconformist "technologically-enhanced" lifestyles, and in portraying individuals struggling and flailing against the uber-civilization around them like flies caught a spider web, Zone 23 resonates with the great critiques of technological civilization .

[Aug 08, 2018] "The Utility of White-Bashing"

Aug 08, 2018 | www.theatlantic.com

[ The Atlantic ]. More on Sarah Jeong.

"The people I've heard archly denounce whites have for the most part been upwardly-mobile people who've proven pretty adept at navigating elite, predominantly white spaces. A lot of them have been whites who pride themselves on their diverse social circles and their enlightened views, and who indulge in their own half-ironic white-bashing to underscore that it is their achieved identity as intelligent, worldly people that counts most, not their ascribed identity as being of recognizably European descent." • Also "Asian American professional," although when you think about it, "Asia American" is a pretty problematic ascribed identity.

[Aug 07, 2018] Identity politics is a part of the ruling neoliberal class ideology

The best-case scenario looking forward is that Donald Trump is successful with rapprochement toward North Korea and Russia and that he throws a monkey wrench into the architecture of neoliberalism so that a new path forward can be built when he's gone. If he pulls it off, this isn't reactionary nationalism and it isn't nothing.
Notable quotes:
"... Here's the rub: Mr. Trump's critique of neoliberalism can accommodate class analysis whereas the Democrats' neoliberal globalism explicitly excludes any notion of economic power, and with it the possibility of class analysis. To date, Mr. Trump hasn't left this critique behind -- neoliberal trade agreements are currently being renegotiated. ..."
Aug 07, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The rich have use identity wedge as a powerful tool to suppress class straggle:


Carey , August 3, 2018 at 9:58 pm

Donald Trump and the American Left, by Rob Urie:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/08/03/donald-trump-and-the-american-left/

Some "light bulb" moments in this article, for me anyway

Carey , August 3, 2018 at 10:51 pm

I thought this part of Urie's piece was especially good:

Left apparently unrecognized in bourgeois attacks on working class voters is that the analytical frames at work -- classist identity politics and liberal economics, are ruling class ideology in the crudest Marxian / Gramscian senses. The illusion / delusion that they are factually descriptive is a function of ideology, not lived outcomes.

Here's the rub: Mr. Trump's critique of neoliberalism can accommodate class analysis whereas the Democrats' neoliberal globalism explicitly excludes any notion of economic power, and with it the possibility of class analysis. To date, Mr. Trump hasn't left this critique behind -- neoliberal trade agreements are currently being renegotiated.

Asserting this isn't to embrace economic nationalism, support policies until they are clearly stated or trust Mr. Trump's motives. But the move ties analytically to his critique of neoliberal economic policies. As such, it is a potential monkey wrench thrown into the neoliberal world order. Watching the bourgeois Left put forward neoliberal trade theory to counter it would seem inexplicable without the benefit of class analysis.

JBird , August 4, 2018 at 12:35 am

Bourgeois left? Would it not be more accurate to say the bourgeois liberals? Although there is a continuum, not sharp lines.

Carey , August 4, 2018 at 12:41 am

Yes, bourgeois liberals would be more accurate, and that conflation really
annoys me. Good catch.

[Aug 05, 2018] How identity politics makes the Left lose its collective identity by Tomasz Pierscionek

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The identity politics phenomenon sweeping across the Western world is a divide and conquer strategy that prevents the emergence of a genuine resistance to the elites. ..."
"... Each subgroup, increasingly alienated from all others, focuses on the shared identity and unique experiences of its members and prioritises its own empowerment. Anyone outside this subgroup is demoted to the rank of ally, at best. ..."
"... Precious time is spent fighting against those deemed less oppressed and telling them to 'check their privilege' as the ever-changing pecking order of the 'Oppression Olympics' plays out. The rules to this sport are as fluid as the identities taking part. One of the latest dilemmas affecting the identity politics movement is the issue of whether men transitioning to women deserve recognition and acceptance or 'whether trans women aren't women and are apparently " raping ..."
"... It is much easier to 'struggle' against an equally or slightly less oppressed group than to take the time and effort to unite with them against the common enemy - capitalism. ..."
"... There is a carefully crafted misconception that identity politics derives from Marxist thought and the meaningless phrase 'cultural Marxism', which has more to do with liberal culture than Marxism, is used to sell this line of thinking. Not only does identity politics have nothing in common with Marxism, socialism or any other strand of traditional left-wing thought, it is anathema to the very concept. ..."
"... 'An injury to one is an injury to all' has been replaced with something like 'An injury to me is all that matters'. No socialist country, whether in practice or in name only, promoted identity politics. Neither the African and Asian nations that liberated themselves from colonialist oppression nor the USSR and Eastern Bloc states nor the left-wing movements that sprung up across Latin America in the early 21st century had any time to play identity politics. ..."
"... The idea that identity politics is part of traditional left-wing thought is promoted by the right who seek to demonise left wing-movements, liberals who seek to infiltrate, backstab and destroy said left-wing movements, and misguided young radicals who know nothing about political theory and have neither the patience nor discipline to learn. The last group seek a cheap thrill that makes them feel as if they have shaken the foundations of the establishment when in reality they strengthen it. ..."
"... Identity politics is typically a modern middle-class led phenomenon that helps those in charge keep the masses divided and distracted. ..."
"... Think your friends would be interested? Share this story! ..."
"... Tomasz Pierscionek is a doctor specialising in psychiatry. He was previously on the board of the charity Medact, is editor of the London Progressive Journal and has appeared as a guest on RT's Sputnik and Al-Mayadeen's Kalima Horra. ..."
Aug 05, 2018 | www.rt.com
The identity politics phenomenon sweeping across the Western world is a divide and conquer strategy that prevents the emergence of a genuine resistance to the elites. A core principle of socialism is the idea of an overarching supra-national solidarity that unites the international working class and overrides any factor that might divide it, such as nation, race, or gender. Workers of all nations are partners, having equal worth and responsibility in a struggle against those who profit from their brain and muscle.

Capitalism, especially in its most evolved, exploitative and heartless form - imperialism - has wronged certain groups of people more than others. Colonial empires tended to reserve their greatest brutality for subjugated peoples whilst the working class of these imperialist nations fared better in comparison, being closer to the crumbs that fell from the table of empire. The international class struggle aims to liberate all people everywhere from the drudgery of capitalism regardless of their past or present degree of oppression. The phrase 'an injury to one is an injury to all' encapsulates this mindset and conflicts with the idea of prioritising the interests of one faction of the working class over the entire collective.

Since the latter part of the 20th century, a liberally-inspired tendency has taken root amongst the Left (in the West at least) that encourages departure from a single identity based on class in favour of multiple identities based upon one's gender, sexuality, race or any other dividing factor. Each subgroup, increasingly alienated from all others, focuses on the shared identity and unique experiences of its members and prioritises its own empowerment. Anyone outside this subgroup is demoted to the rank of ally, at best.

At the time of writing there are apparently over 70 different gender options in the West, not to mention numerous sexualities - the traditional LGBT acronym has thus far grown to LGBTQQIP2SAA . Adding race to the mix results in an even greater number of possible permutations or identities. Each subgroup has its own ideology. Precious time is spent fighting against those deemed less oppressed and telling them to 'check their privilege' as the ever-changing pecking order of the 'Oppression Olympics' plays out. The rules to this sport are as fluid as the identities taking part. One of the latest dilemmas affecting the identity politics movement is the issue of whether men transitioning to women deserve recognition and acceptance or 'whether trans women aren't women and are apparently " raping " lesbians'.

The ideology of identity politics asserts that the straight white male is at the apex of the privilege pyramid, responsible for the oppression of all other groups. His original sin condemns him to everlasting shame. While it is true that straight white men (as a group) have faced less obstacles than females, non-straight men or ethnic minorities, the majority of straight white men, past and present, also struggle to survive from paycheck to paycheck and are not personally involved in the oppression of any other group. While most of the world's wealthiest individuals are Caucasian males, millions of white men exist who are both poor and powerless. The idea of 'whiteness' is itself an ambiguous concept involving racial profiling. For example, the Irish, Slavs and Ashkenazi Jews may look white yet have suffered more than their fair share of famines, occupations and genocides throughout the centuries. The idea of tying an individual's privilege to their appearance is itself a form of racism dreamed up by woolly minded, liberal (some might say privileged) 'intellectuals' who would be superfluous in any socialist society.

Is the middle-class ethnic minority lesbian living in Western Europe more oppressed than the whitish looking Syrian residing under ISIS occupation? Is the British white working class male really more privileged than a middle class woman from the same society? Stereotyping based on race, gender or any other factor only leads to alienation and animosity. How can there be unity amongst the Left if we are only loyal to ourselves and those most like us? Some 'white' men who feel the Left has nothing to offer them have decided to play the identity politics game in their search of salvation and have drifted towards supporting Trump (a billionaire with whom they have nothing in common) or far-right movements, resulting in further alienation, animosity and powerlessness which in turn only strengthens the position of the top 1%. People around the world are more divided by class than any other factor.

It is much easier to 'struggle' against an equally or slightly less oppressed group than to take the time and effort to unite with them against the common enemy - capitalism. Fighting oppression through identity politics is at best a lazy, perverse and fetishistic form of the class struggle led by mostly liberal, middle class and tertiary-educated activists who understand little of left-wing political theory. At worst it is yet another tool used by the top 1% to divide the other 99% into 99 or 999 different competing groups who are too preoccupied with fighting their own little corner to challenge the status quo. It is ironic that one of the major donors to the faux-left identity politics movement is the privileged white cisgender male billionaire George Soros , whose NGOs helped orchestrate the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine that gave way to the emergence of far right and neo-nazi movements: the kind of people who believe in racial superiority and do not look kindly on diversity.

There is a carefully crafted misconception that identity politics derives from Marxist thought and the meaningless phrase 'cultural Marxism', which has more to do with liberal culture than Marxism, is used to sell this line of thinking. Not only does identity politics have nothing in common with Marxism, socialism or any other strand of traditional left-wing thought, it is anathema to the very concept.

'An injury to one is an injury to all' has been replaced with something like 'An injury to me is all that matters'. No socialist country, whether in practice or in name only, promoted identity politics. Neither the African and Asian nations that liberated themselves from colonialist oppression nor the USSR and Eastern Bloc states nor the left-wing movements that sprung up across Latin America in the early 21st century had any time to play identity politics.

The idea that identity politics is part of traditional left-wing thought is promoted by the right who seek to demonise left wing-movements, liberals who seek to infiltrate, backstab and destroy said left-wing movements, and misguided young radicals who know nothing about political theory and have neither the patience nor discipline to learn. The last group seek a cheap thrill that makes them feel as if they have shaken the foundations of the establishment when in reality they strengthen it.

Identity politics is typically a modern middle-class led phenomenon that helps those in charge keep the masses divided and distracted. In the West you are free to choose any gender or sexuality, transition between these at whim, or perhaps create your own, but you are not allowed to question the foundations of capitalism or liberalism. Identity politics is the new opiate of the masses and prevents organised resistance against the system. Segments of the Western Left even believe such aforementioned 'freedoms' are a bellwether of progress and an indicator of its cultural superiority, one that warrants export abroad be it softly via NGOs or more bluntly through colour revolutions and regime change.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Tomasz Pierscionek is a doctor specialising in psychiatry. He was previously on the board of the charity Medact, is editor of the London Progressive Journal and has appeared as a guest on RT's Sputnik and Al-Mayadeen's Kalima Horra.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT. Read more

Soros & the £400k Question: What constitutes 'foreign interference' in democracy? UK Labour cruising towards split over Israel-Palestine

[Aug 05, 2018] Bernie Sanders did everything he was told he should do. He supported the Democratic establishment candidate, and now he believes the Russiagate story.

Notable quotes:
"... While you are at it, you might also want to come up with an improved definition of "treason": something better than " a skeptical attitude toward preposterous, unproven claims made by those known to be perpetual liars. ..."
"... So you plan to continue this McCarthy Russian BS? You didn't speak out when you got cheated in the primaries, and you didn't seem to care that Hillary was using her own paid troll army. Integrity matters Bernie and you are losing yours. ..."
"... You stopped speaking for me and millions of others when you caved to crooked HRC. No it was NOT clear that Russia was "deeply involved in the election. What is CLEAR is your betrayal of your followers and cover up of the election fraud perpetrated by DNC! Everybody knows... ..."
"... Bernie, that's MIC propaganda. Stop helping it. There are millions of reasons Trump should not be president. We don't need a hyped up corporate fairytale to make that point https://t.co/7FAwb47LtB ..."
"... Democratic party jingoism in 2020 will be extra-ordinary with candidates each trying to out do each other how they will fuck over Putin and the Russian nation. There will be a shit load of public loyalty testing against any third party candidate by the democrats. ..."
Aug 05, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

It has been clear to everyone (except Donald Trump) that Russia was deeply involved in the 2016 election and intends to be involved in 2018. It is the American people who should be deciding the political future of our country, not Mr. Putin and the Russian oligarchs.

-- Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 16, 2018

However, Sanders had already committed the unforgivable sin of criticizing the Democratic establishment candidate from the left. There is simply no way of coming back from that treason.

Despite his stance, Sanders has also been constantly presented as another Russian agent, with the Washington Post (11/12/17) asking its readers, "When Russia interferes with the 2020 election on behalf of Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders, how will liberals respond?" The message is clear: The progressive wave rising across America is and will be a consequence of Russia, not of the failures of the system, nor of the Democrats.

It isn't just progressive politicians that are all traitors. Movements like Black Lives Matter are also traitors for Russia.

Slate: Russian Trolls Were Obsessed With Black Lives Matter
CNN: Her son was killed -- then came the Russian trolls
NY Times: The Propaganda Tools Used by Russians to Influence the 2016 Election

snoopydawg on Sat, 08/04/2018 - 6:32pm
Bernie's tweet is hysterical
It is the American people who should be deciding the political future of our country, not Mr. Putin and the Russian oligarchs.

Hey, Bernie. The American people were the ones who should have decided who won the primary, not Hillary, the DNC and the delegates. That you are blaming Her loss on Russia instead of admitting that the American people rejected her makes you nothing more than a democratic puppet. How embarrassing for you.

Every Black voter should abandon the DP until they apologize for their disrespect for the BLM and saying that they only started protesting cops killing Blacks because Russia manipulated them into doing so.

Eichenwald thinks that our intelligence agencies are patriots who have spent their lives working on keeping us safe does he? I agree with Dmitry Orlov's take on them.

US Intelligence Community is Tearing the Country Apart from the

The objective of US intelligence is to suck all remaining wealth out of the US and its allies and pocket as much of it as possible while pretending to defend it from phantom aggressors by squandering nonexistent (borrowed) financial resources on ineffective and overpriced military operations and weapons systems. Where the aggressors are not phantom, they are specially organized for the purpose of having someone to fight: "moderate" terrorists and so on.

....

the US intelligence community has been doing a wonderful job of bankrupting the country and driving it toward financial, economic and political collapse by forcing it to engage in an endless series of expensive and futile conflicts -- the largest single continuous act of grand larceny the world has ever known. How that can possibly be an intelligent thing to do to your own country, for any conceivable definition of "intelligence," I will leave for you to work out for yourself.

While you are at it, you might also want to come up with an improved definition of "treason": something better than " a skeptical attitude toward preposterous, unproven claims made by those known to be perpetual liars. "

And let's not forget how many coups and false flag events they had a hand in creating that have cost so much misery and death.

One major advancement in their state of the art has been in moving from real false flag operations, à la 9/11, to fake false flag operations, à la fake East Gouta chemical attack in Syria (since fully discredited). The Russian election meddling story is perhaps the final step in this evolution: no New York skyscrapers or Syrian children were harmed in the process of concocting this fake narrative, and it can be kept alive seemingly forever purely through the furious effort of numerous flapping lips.

It is now a pure confidence scam. If you are less then impressed with their invented narratives, then you are a conspiracy theorist or, in the latest revision, a traitor.

The real puppets are the ones who believe in this silly story that Russia is pulling Trump's strings and that the GOP are also Russian puppets. Good grief!

snoopydawg on Sat, 08/04/2018 - 6:55pm
The first tweet shows how people twist events

The others show that there are others out there that have seen through this propaganda crap. I'd like to see the breakdown of Hillary supporters that believe Russia Gate and the Bernie supporters that don't. Most of the Trump supporters think it's phony so what made Hillary's believe in something that everyone should be laughing at?

You deserve a lot of credit. Russia interfered in your favor, yet you are man enough to admit that they interfered. Thank you Bernie!

-- Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) February 16, 2018

So you plan to continue this McCarthy Russian BS? You didn't speak out when you got cheated in the primaries, and you didn't seem to care that Hillary was using her own paid troll army. Integrity matters Bernie and you are losing yours.

-- Underdawg47 (@Underdawg47) February 17, 2018

You stopped speaking for me and millions of others when you caved to crooked HRC. No it was NOT clear that Russia was "deeply involved in the election. What is CLEAR is your betrayal of your followers and cover up of the election fraud perpetrated by DNC! Everybody knows...

-- Logan (@KOMBUCHABABY) February 17, 2018

Bernie, that's MIC propaganda. Stop helping it. There are millions of reasons Trump should not be president. We don't need a hyped up corporate fairytale to make that point https://t.co/7FAwb47LtB

-- SanBernieDingDong (@noreallyhowcome) February 17, 2018

MrWebster on Sat, 08/04/2018 - 7:19pm
2020 dem candidates will try to out do each other on Russia

Democratic party jingoism in 2020 will be extra-ordinary with candidates each trying to out do each other how they will fuck over Putin and the Russian nation. There will be a shit load of public loyalty testing against any third party candidate by the democrats.

The democrats (and media cohorts) have become an apocolyptic death cult. The language that comes from them is infused with the language of conspiracies, violence, treason, aggression and demonization.

And here is the thing, Bernie to survive electorally will have to become a cult member. Effectively he will have to be pro-war with Russia. He will be giving from the the Left supposed support for aggressive action andmilitarism toward Russia.

I fear that if a democrat becomes president in 2020 (it won't be Bernie), is elected president that in the year of the midterms in 2022, the US will start a real war with Russia which has a highly likehood of going nuclear.

[Aug 03, 2018] Donald Trump might be a symptom that neoliberal system is about to collapse

Amazing interview.
We are in the point when capitalist system (which presented itself as asocial system that created a large middle class) converted into it opposite: it is social system that could not deliver that it promised and now want to distract people from this sad fact.
The Trump adopted tax code is a huge excess: we have 40 year when corporation paid less taxes. This is last moment when they need another gift. To give them tax is crazy excess that reminding Louis XV of France. Those gains are going in buying of socks. And real growth is happening elsewhere in the world.
After WW2 there were a couple of decades of "golden age" of US capitalism when in the USA middle class increased considerably. That was result of pressure of working class devastated by Great Depression. Roosevelt decided that risk is too great and he introduced social security net. But capitalist class was so enraged that they started fighting it almost immediately after the New Deal was introduced. Business class was enrages with the level of taxes and counterattacked. Tarp act and McCarthyism were two successful counterattacks. McCarthyism converting communists and socialists into agents of foreign power.
The quality of jobs are going down. That's why Trump was elected... Which is sad. Giving your finger to the neoliberal elite does not solve their problem
Notable quotes:
"... Finally, if everybody tries to save themselves (protection), we have a historical example: after the Great Depression that happened in Europe. And most people believe that it was a large part of what led to WWII after WWI, rather than a much saner collective effort. But capitalism doesn't go for collective efforts, it tends to destroy itself by its own mechanisms. There has to be a movement from below. Otherwise, there is no counter force that can take us in another direction. ..."
"... When Trump announced his big tariffs on China, we saw the stock market dropped 700 points in a day. That's a sign of the anxiety, the danger, even in the minds of capitalists, about where this is going. ..."
"... Everything is done to avoid asking the question to what degree the system we have in place - capitalism is its name - is the problem. It's the Russians, it's the immigrants, it's the tariffs, it's anything else, even the pornstar, to distract us from the debate we need to have had that we haven't had for a half a century, which puts us in a very bad place. We've given a free pass to a capitalist system because we've been afraid to debate it. And when you give a free pass to any institution you create the conditions for it to rot, right behind the facade. ..."
"... The Trump presidency is the last gasp, it's letting it all hang out. A [neoliberal] system that's gonna do whatever it can, take advantage of this moment, grab it all before it disappears. ..."
Jul 10, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

In another interesting interview with Chris Hedges, Richard Wolff explains why the Trump presidency is the last resort of a system that is about to collapse:

Finally, if everybody tries to save themselves (protection), we have a historical example: after the Great Depression that happened in Europe. And most people believe that it was a large part of what led to WWII after WWI, rather than a much saner collective effort. But capitalism doesn't go for collective efforts, it tends to destroy itself by its own mechanisms. There has to be a movement from below. Otherwise, there is no counter force that can take us in another direction.

So, absent that counter force we are going to see this system spinning out of control and destroying itself in the very way its critics have for so long foreseen it well might.

When Trump announced his big tariffs on China, we saw the stock market dropped 700 points in a day. That's a sign of the anxiety, the danger, even in the minds of capitalists, about where this is going. If we hadn't been a country with two or three decades of a middle class - working class paid really well - maybe we could have gotten away with this. But in a society that has celebrated its capacity to do what it now fails to do, you have an explosive situation.

Everything is done to avoid asking the question to what degree the system we have in place - capitalism is its name - is the problem. It's the Russians, it's the immigrants, it's the tariffs, it's anything else, even the pornstar, to distract us from the debate we need to have had that we haven't had for a half a century, which puts us in a very bad place. We've given a free pass to a capitalist system because we've been afraid to debate it. And when you give a free pass to any institution you create the conditions for it to rot, right behind the facade.

The Trump presidency is the last gasp, it's letting it all hang out. A [neoliberal] system that's gonna do whatever it can, take advantage of this moment, grab it all before it disappears.

In France, it was said 'Après moi, le déluge' (after me the catastrophe). The storm will break.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/60FrsWm9OAc

[Aug 03, 2018] Trumpism and the Politics of Distrust

Aug 03, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

We have lost some of our democratic habits -- indeed, in many ways we are losing our very cohesion as a society. But I frame the question very differently.

I know a bunch of Trump supporters. Some of them are intellectuals who write for places like TAC . But most are not. Neither are any of them raving bigots or knuckle-dragging neanderthals, and all of them read the news, though with vastly less obsessiveness than people who work in the business.

None of them "like" things like "unremitting chaos, lies, ignorance, trash-talking vulgarity, legislative failure" or collusion with foreign governments. Some of them minimize some of these things at least some of the time -- and I myself have been known to derive a kind of pleasure from the absurdity of a figure like Mooch. But this isn't what the people who I know who voted Trump voted for , nor is it why they continue to be happy with their vote -- which, however unhappy they are with how the administration is conducting itself, most of them still are.

Rather, the commonality among those who voted for Trump is their conviction that the Democratic party's leadership is utterly bankrupt, and, to one degree or another, so is the Republican leadership. And that assessment hasn't changed one iota since the election.


SDS August 1, 2017 at 12:29 pm

"They are, however, people who have lost trust in the individuals and institutions who are most alarmed about Trump: the political establishment, the press, etc. And so, on a relative basis, they'd rather continue to put their trust in Trump."

That last line does not follow .We have lost trust in all of the others; so would rather see what Trump does; not that we have any trust in him to do the right thing

THAT would be ridiculous; especially after the last six months.

Will Harrington , says: August 1, 2017 at 12:37 pm
Hmmm. Populism can not govern or build institutions by its very nature? I can't help but read that as saying the plebeians are so incompetent and stupid that only the elites are capable of governing. As for the American people taking a turn to authoritarianism. This is possible, after all, our Federal government has spent most of the last century increasing their control over many of the aspects of our lives and stretching the limits of the Constitution beyond any recognition. We have been prepared to accept authoritarianism. Increasingly we have had an authoritarian presidency that surveils its own people and has usurped regulatory and warmaking authority from the Congress. The Federal government has created, out of whole cloth, a role for itself in public education. Do not blame the populace for being what the elite has spent a century shaping them to be.
I am convinced that the saber rattling and fear-mongering concerning Korea, Iran, and Russia are not happening because we have any reason to be particularly concerned about these countries or because they threaten our interests. No, this is the way a corrupt and ineffective regime distracts its citizens from its own failings. Lets be clear, this would be happening even if She-who-shall-not-be-named had one the Presidency.
JonF , says: August 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm
Whatever happened to "trust but verify"?
OK, a bunch of people did the political equivalent of a Hail Mary play in voting for Trump. But now that the ball has not only fallen short but gone way out of bounds and beaned some spectators in the stands shouldn't they be revoking that trust and casting around for someone else to represent them? Why stick with a sinking ship?
JessicaR , says: August 1, 2017 at 1:25 pm
https://www.aol.com/article/news/2016/11/11/why-veterans-voted-donald-trump-swing-states/21603486/

There is strong evidence to suggest that one factor in Trump's victory was distrust of US foreign policy. The link above is to an article about exit polls showing Trump won the veteran's vote 2:1 over Hillary Clinton.

Not long ago, a study by two academicians found that Trump carried counties with high casualties in the Iraq war: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2989040

People don't regret their votes for Trump because if they had voted for Clinton, they or their loved ones would be coming home in body bags–or minus body parts.

As bad as Trump is, his foreign policy instincts are less hawkish than Clinton's–witness his decision to end the CIA funding of Syrian insurgents.

Trump's behavior is certainly "unpresidential" and chaotic. It is also less horrible than war by many orders of magnitude.

Kevin , says: August 1, 2017 at 1:29 pm
"The politically relevant, and profoundly disturbing, fact is precisely the opposite of the conventional wisdom: After six months of unremitting chaos, lies, ignorance, trash-talking vulgarity, legislative failure, and credible evidence of a desire to collude with a hostile foreign government to subvert an American election, President Trump's approval rating is astonishingly high -- with something between one-third and two-fifths of the American people apparently liking what they see and hear from the White House"

But George W Bush at his nadir averaged 26% approval, and that's seven years in, during an epic economic collapse, a catastrophic war, and a host of other disasters. Trump is not THAT far away from that average.

There is simply a line beyond which a president can't decline unless he murders and eats a puppy in public, and I see no reason to presume that we can judge that Trump hit his bottom six months in, when the economy is decent and no non-self inflicted crisis looming.

I'd also add that while all your friends have different reasons to stay aboard the Trump train, all of them sound like high information, fairly ideological voters. This is probably not the profile of Trump voters set to vote for The Rock in 2020

c matt , says: August 1, 2017 at 2:23 pm
Well, when a building is rotten to the core, the only thing you can do is raze it to the ground to start rebuilding. Our government has long passed its sell-by date. Really, expecting a political solution to arise from a government controlled system such as ours does not border on insanity – it completely crosses that border in leaves it miles in the dust. Witness our insane Congress voting by a 98% margin to inflict sanctions based upon absolute crock. But then the US has never let reality get in the way of statesmenshowmanship. We get what we deserve, good and hard.
polistra , says: August 1, 2017 at 2:57 pm
You're OK until the last line. "And populism by its very nature cannot build institutions, cannot govern "

You're still using the Deepstate definition of populism. In fact populists want only one thing: We think the government of THIS country should serve the interests of the people of THIS country.

It's perfectly possible to govern by this rule. FDR did it magnificently.

Why did it work for FDR? Because he was determined to BREAK the monopolies and forces that acted contrary to the interests of the people, and because governments BELOW the Federal level were still strong. When he closed the banks for several months, cities and Chambers of Commerce jumped in immediately to develop scrip systems.

Thanks to an unbroken series of evil judges and presidents after WW2, local governments and institutions are dead or dying. Even if a competent and determined populist tried to close down banks or Amazon or the "health" insurance system, there would be no organized way to replace them.

Jones , says: August 1, 2017 at 2:59 pm
What exactly did these people think a Clinton administration would do? What nightmarish dystopia did they see coming around the bend? And what do you think -- were their perceptions of America's future under a Clinton administration accurate, or at least close to the mark? And if so, why?
Jones , says: August 1, 2017 at 3:01 pm
Also, I get that people have lost trust in mainstream institutions. What makes them think that Trump is trustworthy in comparison? Why do they have more trust in Trump than in the institutions? And does that seem reasonable?
Heyseed , says: August 1, 2017 at 3:06 pm
I didn't vote for Trump: His rhetorical style turns me cold; I don't like his position on many issues, or his general governing philosophy, to the extent he can be said to have one. But, BUT, I sure as Hell did not vote for Hilary Clinton(I voted for Johnson and Weld, who were obvious non-starters from the word Go. I might possibly have voted for Trump if it had looked like the election might be close in Illinois, but since the Chicago Machine had already stolen it for HRC, I could salve my conscience and vote for Johnson.

Clinton was the status quo candidate, and since I did not desire "more of the same", governmentally, Trump and his circus are preferable to Clinton and whatever cabal she would have assembled to run the country.

You claim that the elite "inevitably" run the machinery of government, but it's worth noting that once upon a time in America, most of the people in government were political appointees who could be sent packing(along with their bosses) by the voters. Nowadays, the 'elite' which runs government is dug in pretty much permanently, and the same people will be, in practice, running the government no matter who wins the next election, or the one after that

Hilary Clinton was forthrightly the candidate of the permanent, un-elected bureaucracy, and Trump, well, didn't seem to be. The choice was between Trump, whose actual position on the size of government was not clear, and Hilary Clinton who was actually promising to make government bigger, more centralized, more expensive and less responsive. I'm not sorry Trump won however distasteful he and his henchmen are to me.

Michael R Honohan , says: August 1, 2017 at 3:57 pm
I too had a friend who was a huge Ron Paul supporter who not only backed Trump, but became a major apologist for him ever since. The man ran two back to back campaigns in Georgia for US Senate, the Ron Paul mold. Now, no on his original team will give him the time of day. Those who tried to get some sense into him, have been closed off.

As a libertarian, I am no more afraid of the left or the right. In fact, listening to the right rant about the left yields a lot of ignorance, disinformation and paranoia: stock in trade for right wing propaganda. But I am disturbed when people spend years fighting for liberty suddenly joined Cult 45 that has no sense of liberty Ron Paul or his followers would recognize.

But Trump fit the bankrupt GOP. Lest we forget, those 49 GOP Senators who voted for "skinny repeal" (even the name is joke!) never gave a moment's consideration to the bill written by Rand Paul that covers the conservative attributes of free markets and self-determination. Lest we also forget that Rand is not only one of the few legit conservatives, but a doctor and the son of doctor or former Congressman. Those credentials alone would have been enough if GOP was actually interested being conservative. Apparently, Trumpism is what the GOP is about and 49 of them proved it.

ojc , says: August 1, 2017 at 4:43 pm
I think that you have identified a problem that transcends Trump and his opponents. Vitriolic partisanship is one thing. At various points in our history, we have had some nasty spells of polarization. The deeper problem that the institutions of public life are now losing their very legitimacy.

Legitimacy is something deeper than mere approval. It relies upon the unspoken acceptance of political and institutional norms.

We are clearly in the process of publicly reevaluating and even rejecting these norms. The birthers questioning Obama's background and "not my president" folks do not view their oppponents as legitimate, if mistaken. In the case of Trump and the radical left, they contest the legitimacy of the other side even participating in the process, a process by the way to which they owe no fealty.

Whine Merchant , says: August 1, 2017 at 5:42 pm
"We had to destroy the village to save it."

Where have we heard that line before??

Cash , says: August 1, 2017 at 5:58 pm
Nothing wrong with America that couldn't be fixed, one, by making voting mandatory, and two, by having top two vote getters in primary face each other in the general.

We'd have a moderate politics with elected officials clustering slightly right and left of the center.

cka2nd , says: August 1, 2017 at 6:32 pm
Speaking as a Commie Pinko Red, I still prefer Trump as President over Clinton, precisely because he is doing so much to undermine America's "leadership" in world affairs. He's still a murderous imperialist, maybe even just as much as she would have been, but there's just so much more damage that she could have done making bi-partisan deals with the GOP for the benefit of Wall Street and the insurance industry.

The movement against GOPcare – Trumpcare wasn't really a fair name for the wet dreams of Paul Ryan and Conservative, Inc. – probably couldn't have been so effective or flew under the radar of the establishment tools running the Democratic Party and its media mouthpieces if a Democrat was in the White House and the various beltway "movement" honchos had had their precious seat at the table where they could have rolled over for the Democratic president of the moment.

bt , says: August 1, 2017 at 6:41 pm
The biggest problem is what comes after Trump for the GOP?

He's kicked off a process for the GOP that will be very difficult to manage going forward. He showed that outright racism, sexism, continuous lying, even treasonous collusion with Russia to subvert our election is just fine with the Republican Party. How does the GOP sell family values to their 'base' after they all lined up with Donald j Trump, serial wife-cheater and money-launderer?

It will be hard for anyone to forget that any of this happened.

Consider this: 8 years of W Bush yielded the first black President – It really could not have happened if W hadn't burned the house down. What comes after Trump?

FiveString , says: August 1, 2017 at 7:52 pm
I'm a very middle-class worker in the IT sector where most of my coworkers have been sensible, but my weekend hobby of playing music has put me in contact (largely via Facebook) with many Trump supporters who do happen to be knuckle-dragging neanderthals. They generally don't read; their "news" comes from partisan demagogues on the radio or TV. If I give one the benefit of the doubt and share an article from, say, The American Conservative -- "The Madness of King Donald" was a favorite -- it's been all too common to receive a childish/hate-filled meme in response. Bigots are legion: I've unfriended the raving variety, and unfollowed the milder dog-whistlers. These deplorables have in fact been emboldened by the current POTUS.

But I get your point. I abhor the current duopoly, but it could be fixed if thinking citizens wanted to put in some effort. So, it's depressing in a different kind of way that so many thoughtful and well-read Americans are so cynical about state of US politics that they are fine with Trump wrecking it.

Barry , says: August 1, 2017 at 8:23 pm
"Rather, the commonality among those who voted for Trump is their conviction that the Democratic party's leadership is utterly bankrupt, and, to one degree or another, so is the Republican leadership. And that assessment hasn't changed one iota since the election."

They are people who were full of it beforehand, and as the evidence rolls in, they just sink deeper into lies.

MarkW , says: August 1, 2017 at 8:38 pm
Linker's quote "a desire to collude" you reference later as "collusion". The first instance is an attempt to broaden the charge from collusion, the second instance is a (sloppy?) change in language.
Mdet , says: August 1, 2017 at 9:31 pm
@Will Harrington, "Populism can not govern or build institutions by its very nature? I can't help but read that as saying the plebeians are so incompetent and stupid that only the elites are capable of governing."

I read that statement as "Once you are governing, once you are the one(s) in a position of power, then by definition you have become 'the elite' and are no longer 'a plebeian'". Populists, by definition, are the people who call for the tearing down of institutions that make up the status-quo, and elites, by definition, are the people who build and maintain status-quo institutions. At least in my eyes, "being a populist" and "governing institutions" are mutually exclusive.

Frank Lettucebee , says: August 2, 2017 at 12:46 am
Since the conservative party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower was invaded by the right wingers and became the party of Jefferson Davis and John Wilkes Booth, the goal has been to tarnish all concept of a functioning a democracy and a government is built to work for the people, of the people, and by the people. The right wing main tactic is lies and just get people riled up so that they don't realize and oblivious to the fact that America has slipped from capitalism to corporatism; from a capitalist democracy to a caste based plutocracy run for the sole benefit of the oligarchs who bought this country.

Don Trump is the embodiment and distillation of the right winger and their economic and social cultural policies. He is not an alternative or antidote to the Republicans or Democrats.

Cal , says: August 2, 2017 at 2:04 am
" Is he happy with Trump? No -- he's especially unhappy with the number of Goldman bankers Trump appointed to senior economic posts, but more generally he acknowledges that the government is in chaos and that Trump is not bringing the change he hoped for. But he doesn't regret his vote, and he prefers the chaos of Trump to business-as-usual under either the Democrats or the Republicans. And if Trump winds up discrediting the Federal government generally, that's fine with him."

I didn't vote this election because I didn't like either candidate. I had been promoting 'America First' as a rallying cry for a candidate for years but Trump wasnt exactly the kind of leader I had in mind for it.
But I'm with the guy above -- if chaos will bust up the musical chair dual monarchies of the dems and repubs and the corrupt status quo government bring it on.

Pear Conference , says: August 2, 2017 at 6:23 am
I think the Democratic nominee in 2020 should be O.J. Simpson.

The reason is that I have lost trust in the media and the elites that are most alarmed about O.J. Simpson.

Kurt Gayle , says: August 2, 2017 at 8:37 am
A somewhat related question, Noah: If you had been a young man living in China on August 1, 1927, do you think you would have joined the People's Liberation Army?
connecticut farmer , says: August 2, 2017 at 9:50 am
Originally I wanted to sit out this past election but gave in to peer pressure. And I regret this. Trump? Clinton? Johnson? Stein? All were mediocre. Clinton/Trump were the two worst candidates that the "major" parties have ever produced in my lifetime. It was with fear and trepidation that I voted for Trump, notwithstanding that I fundamentally agreed with him on the issues of immigration and the need for a reduced American role in global affairs. In the end, I rationalized this (wasted) vote based upon the notion that not only had his opponent committed a felony (detouring government emails) but also because (as others have pointed out) she was the candidate of the status quo, the "permanent bureaucracy", Big Finance etc. etc. The fact that Trump actually won surprised me, but only moderately, because as terrible a candidate as he was, his opponent was even worse.

What has transpired since his election comes as no surprise. Had Clinton been elected conditions would have only been mirror imaged, such being the state of things in this once-great republic. I continue to maintain that the two-party system is archaic and has to go. Whether a multi-party system would be better, I don't know. Perhaps we have reached a point where the country is simply ungovernable. Perhaps more responsibility should be returned to state and local government (Jefferson would have approved). Again, I don't know.

What I do know is that the current system is dysfunctional.

And that, my friends, is why we have a real estate/TV personality as President.

wallysdaughter , says: August 2, 2017 at 12:40 pm
i am neither an establishment voter, or a member of the media/press. i am deeply worried where the man (trump) is taking this nation. the gop is complicit in this chaos as they see trump as a rubber stamp for their plutocratic agenda. i don't know what it will take to right the ship of state
EliteCommInc. , says: August 3, 2017 at 7:49 am
I don't regret my vote. And I ave had issues with my choice before and after the election. The sky is not even close to falling as predicted. And the democracy you claim is at threat may very well be, but it's from the current executive. And nothing thus far suggests that it will.

I m not going to dismiss the caterwauling liberals have been making since the campaign or the election as major distraction to governance.

And by the way there remain not a twiddle's evidence that the WH prior to the election colluded to undermine the US in any manner. It's time to cease throwing that out as sauce for the goose.

I think I agree with all four of your "freinds". I am very fond of the establishment, they have their place. What they provide in cohesion, stability and continuity is valuable to the state. But they appear to be want for any level of substance, depth thereof or moral consistency (if any at all). The double standards they hold themselves, their donors and connections on issues and accountability is unsustainable in a democracy as I think you understand it.

When I was laid out in the ER, I found myself wrestling with my own position on healthcare. The temptations are great to bend the guide as to my own conditions -- but I don't think I could so with a clear conscience. I am nor sot sure that what we haven't lost is a sense of conscience -- that sense that truth overrides immediate gain. I don't think the US can survive as the US if the leadership is bent on holding themselves to a standard not available to the country's citizens.

"Is he happy with Trump? No -- he's especially unhappy with the number of Goldman bankers Trump appointed to senior economic posts, but more generally he acknowledges that the government . . ."

And the discredited notions that

1. the rich know how to run an economy effectively and

2. that a rise in the market is a sign of economic health.

Brendan Sexton , says: August 3, 2017 at 10:48 am
Pear Conference captures perfectly the 'thinking' i have heard from more than one Trump voter. This is 'reasoning'?
If there is one system in America that needs blowing up to start over it might be our education system. I am generally supportive of public ed, and i am impressed by some of the commitment and inventiveness i see among the proposers of various alternatives to public ed. So, some folks are trying, even sometimes succeeding, but we have managed to arrive at a point in our culture where we have elected a President whose election success depended more than anything else on a public who have lost the ability to think critically. (if they ever had it, of course)
Yes I know the other one got more votes, by a lot. And i know that this other candidate was oddly not at all an attractive alternative. I know all that, but still, a huge fraction of the voting population–a fraction large enough to make themselves now THE base the government is playing to–is a group who could not/would not see this con-job coming? There was every opportunity to use actual logic and facts to reach a voting decision, but these millions of voters chose instead to go with various variations on the theme of 'they all stink, so i'm using my vote to poke a stick in their eyes." Or, as Pear satirized, "I hate/mistrust the elites and they like almost anybody else other than my guy, so I'm gonna turn my country over to the most vulgar non-elite pig the system can come up with."
There is talk now about the damage he can do to American politics and sense of community, but I think he may be more symptom than cause. We don't value the things we thought were a standard part of the American process: truthfulness, kindness, authenticity, devotion to the common good. We value, it turns out, showmanship, machismo, crass shows of wealth and power, and ..I can't go on.
I'm not sure how we got here, but I know the institutions held in high regard on this site, such as church, and some factors we all put our faith in such as increasing levels of education, turn out not to matter so much as we had thought. It is going to take some hard work and more than a little time to recover from this sickness in the country's soul.
Fran Macadam , says: August 3, 2017 at 11:43 am
"Trump supporters are just like people who are outraged by something and show it by rioting and burning down their own neighborhoods." – Greg in PDX

The antifas rioting and destroying in Portland also got very violent when some old folks held a peaceful rally for Trump there.

Oh, sorry. I forgot that when "progressives" disagree with someone, they consider that merely disagreeing with them constitutes "violence" against their "safe space" and they are compelled to go out and punch or shoot people.

Fran Macadam , says: August 3, 2017 at 11:47 am
"Nothing wrong with America that couldn't be fixed, one, by making voting mandatory"

Right, and by making public disclosure of who you voted for mandatory as well!

Just don't be the first to stop clapping.

Fran Macadam , says: August 3, 2017 at 11:50 am
Those calling for a soft coup to reinstate elite status quo leaders against the election results are the ones who are profoundly anti-democratic.
Grumpy Old Man , says: September 5, 2017 at 8:33 pm
No reason why populism couldn't govern. Huey Long was a damn effective governor of Louisiana. Send the whole Acela Corridor élite to Saddam's woodchipper and the country would noodle along just fine. I'm not for state violence, and yet the fantasy gives me a frisson. Forgive me, a sinner.

[Aug 03, 2018] The elites "have no credibility left by David North and Chris Hedges

Notable quotes:
"... War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, The Death of the Liberal Class ..."
"... Empire of Illusion: the End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt ..."
"... Wages of Rebellion: the Moral Imperative of Revolt ..."
"... Do not significantly alienate those upon whom we depend for money and access! ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
Oct 06, 2017 | www.unz.com

On Monday, WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North interviewed Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, lecturer and former New York Times correspondent. Among Hedges' best-known books are War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, The Death of the Liberal Class , Empire of Illusion: the End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt , which he co-wrote with the cartoonist Joe Sacco, and Wages of Rebellion: the Moral Imperative of Revolt .

In an article published in Truthdig September 17 , titled "The Silencing of Dissent," Hedges referenced the WSWS coverage of Google's censorship of left-wing sites and warned about the growth of "blacklisting, censorship and slandering dissidents as foreign agents for Russia and purveyors of 'fake news.'"

Hedges wrote that "the Department of Justice called on RT America and its 'associates' -- which may mean people like me -- to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. No doubt, the corporate state knows that most of us will not register as foreign agents, meaning we will be banished from the airwaves. This, I expect, is the intent."

North's interview with Hedges began with a discussion of the significance of the anti-Russia campaign in the media.

David North: How do you interpret the fixation on Russia and the entire interpretation of the election within the framework of Putin's manipulation?

Chris Hedges: It's as ridiculous as Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. It is an absolutely unproven allegation that is used to perpetuate a very frightening accusation -- critics of corporate capitalism and imperialism are foreign agents for Russia.

I have no doubt that the Russians invested time, energy and money into attempting to influence events in the United States in ways that would serve their interests, in the same way that we have done and do in Russia and all sorts of other countries throughout the world. So I'm not saying there was no influence, or an attempt to influence events.

But the whole idea that the Russians swung the election to Trump is absurd. It's really premised on the unproven claim that Russia gave the Podesta emails to WikiLeaks, and the release of these emails turned tens, or hundreds of thousands, of Clinton supporters towards Trump. This doesn't make any sense. Either that, or, according to the director of national intelligence, RT America, where I have a show, got everyone to vote for the Green Party.

This obsession with Russia is a tactic used by the ruling elite, and in particular the Democratic Party, to avoid facing a very unpleasant reality: that their unpopularity is the outcome of their policies of deindustrialization and the assault against working men and women and poor people of color. It is the result of disastrous trade agreements like NAFTA that abolished good-paying union jobs and shipped them to places like Mexico, where workers without benefits are paid $3.00 an hour. It is the result of the explosion of a system of mass incarceration, begun by Bill Clinton with the 1994 omnibus crime bill, and the tripling and quadrupling of prison sentences. It is the result of the slashing of basic government services, including, of course, welfare, that Clinton gutted; deregulation, a decaying infrastructure, including public schools, and the de facto tax boycott by corporations. It is the result of the transformation of the country into an oligarchy. The nativist revolt on the right, and the aborted insurgency within the Democratic Party, makes sense when you see what they have done to the country.

Police forces have been turned into quasi-military entities that terrorize marginal communities, where people have been stripped of all of their rights and can be shot with impunity; in fact over three are killed a day. The state shoots and locks up poor people of color as a form of social control. They are quite willing to employ the same form of social control on any other segment of the population that becomes restive.

The Democratic Party, in particular, is driving this whole Russia witch-hunt. It cannot face its complicity in the destruction of our civil liberties -- and remember, Barack Obama's assault on civil liberties was worse than those carried out by George W. Bush -- and the destruction of our economy and our democratic institutions.

Politicians like the Clintons, Pelosi and Schumer are creations of Wall Street. That is why they are so virulent about pushing back against the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. Without Wall Street money, they would not hold political power. The Democratic Party doesn't actually function as a political party. It's about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out. They are props in the sterile political theater.

These party elites, consumed by greed, myopia and a deep cynicism, have a death grip on the political process. They're not going to let it go, even if it all implodes.

DN: Chris, you worked for the New York Times . When was that, exactly?

CH: From 1990 to 2005.

DN: Since you have some experience with that institution, what changes do you see? We've stressed that it has cultivated a constituency among the affluent upper-middle class.

CH: The New York Times consciously targets 30 million upper-middle class and affluent Americans. It is a national newspaper; only about 11 percent of its readership is in New York. It is very easy to see who the Times seeks to reach by looking at its special sections on Home, Style, Business or Travel. Here, articles explain the difficulty of maintaining, for example, a second house in the Hamptons. It can do good investigative work, although not often. It covers foreign affairs. But it reflects the thinking of the elites. I read the Times every day, maybe to balance it out with your web site.

DN: Well, I hope more than balance it.

CH: Yes, more than balance it. The Times was always an elitist publication, but it wholly embraced the ideology of neo-conservatism and neoliberalism at a time of financial distress, when Abe Rosenthal was editor. He was the one who instituted the special sections that catered to the elite. And he imposed a de facto censorship to shut out critics of unfettered capitalism and imperialism, such as Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn. He hounded out reporters like Sydney Schanberg, who challenged the real estate developers in New York, or Raymond Bonner, who reported the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador.

He had lunch every week, along with his publisher, with William F. Buckley. This pivot into the arms of the most retrograde forces of corporate capitalism and proponents of American imperialism, for a time, made the paper very profitable. Eventually, of course, the rise of the internet, the loss of classified ads, which accounted for about 40 percent of all newspaper revenue, crippled the Times as it has crippled all newspapers. Newsprint has lost the monopoly that once connected sellers with buyers. Newspapers are trapped in an old system of information they call "objectivity" and "balance," formulae designed to cater to the powerful and the wealthy and obscure the truth. But like all Byzantine courts, the Times will go down clinging to its holy grail.

The intellectual gravitas of the paper -- in particular the Book Review and the Week in Review -- was obliterated by Bill Keller, himself a neocon, who, as a columnist, had been a cheerleader for the war in Iraq. He brought in figures like Sam Tanenhaus. At that point the paper embraced, without any dissent, the utopian ideology of neoliberalism and the primacy of corporate power as an inevitable form of human progress. The Times , along with business schools, economics departments at universities, and the pundits promoted by the corporate state, propagated the absurd idea that we would all be better off if we prostrated every sector of society before the dictates of the marketplace. It takes a unique kind of stupidity to believe this. You had students at Harvard Business School doing case studies of Enron and its brilliant business model, that is, until Enron collapsed and was exposed as a gigantic scam. This was never, really, in the end, about ideas. It was about unadulterated greed. It was pushed by the supposedly best educated among us, like Larry Summers, which exposes the lie that somehow our decline is due to deficient levels of education. It was due to a bankrupt and amoral elite, and the criminal financial institutions that make them rich.

Critical thinking on the op-ed page, the Week in Review or the Book Review, never very strong to begin with, evaporated under Keller. Globalization was beyond questioning. Since the Times , like all elite institutions, is a hermetically sealed echo chamber, they do not realize how irrelevant they are becoming, or how ridiculous they look. Thomas Friedman and David Brooks might as well write for the Onion .

I worked overseas. I wasn't in the newsroom very much, but the paper is a very anxiety-ridden place. The rules aren't written on the walls, but everyone knows, even if they do not articulate it, the paper's unofficial motto: Do not significantly alienate those upon whom we depend for money and access! You can push against them some of the time. But if you are a serious reporter, like Charlie Leduff, or Sydney Schanberg, who wants to give a voice to people who don't have a voice, to address issues of race, class, capitalist exploitation or the crimes of empire, you very swiftly become a management problem and get pushed out. Those who rise in the organization and hold power are consummate careerists. Their loyalty is to their advancement and the stature and profitability of the institution, which is why the hierarchy of the paper is filled with such mediocrities. Careerism is the paper's biggest Achilles heel. It does not lack for talent. But it does lack for intellectual independence and moral courage. It reminds me of Harvard.

DN: Let's come back to this question of the Russian hacking news story. You raised the ability to generate a story, which has absolutely no factual foundation, nothing but assertions by various intelligence agencies, presented as an assessment that is beyond question. What is your evaluation of this?

CH: The commercial broadcast networks, and that includes CNN and MSNBC, are not in the business of journalism. They hardly do any. Their celebrity correspondents are courtiers to the elite. They speculate about and amplify court gossip, which is all the accusations about Russia, and they repeat what they are told to repeat. They sacrifice journalism and truth for ratings and profit. These cable news shows are one of many revenue streams in a corporate structure. They compete against other revenue streams. The head of CNN, Jeff Zucker, who helped create the fictional persona of Donald Trump on "Celebrity Apprentice," has turned politics on CNN into a 24-hour reality show. All nuance, ambiguity, meaning and depth, along with verifiable fact, are sacrificed for salacious entertainment. Lying, racism, bigotry and conspiracy theories are given platforms and considered newsworthy, often espoused by people whose sole quality is that they are unhinged. It is news as burlesque.

I was on the investigative team at the New York Times during the lead-up to the Iraq War. I was based in Paris and covered Al Qaeda in Europe and the Middle East. Lewis Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle and maybe somebody in an intelligence agency, would confirm whatever story the administration was attempting to pitch. Journalistic rules at the Times say you can't go with a one-source story. But if you have three or four supposedly independent sources confirming the same narrative, then you can go with it, which is how they did it. The paper did not break any rules taught at Columbia journalism school, but everything they wrote was a lie.

The whole exercise was farcical. The White House would leak some bogus story to Judy Miller or Michael Gordon, and then go on the talk shows to say, 'as the Times reported .' It gave these lies the veneer of independence and reputable journalism. This was a massive institutional failing, and one the paper has never faced.

DN: The CIA pitches the story, and then the Times gets the verification from those who pitch it to them.

CH: It's not always pitched. And not much of this came from the CIA. The CIA wasn't buying the "weapons of mass destruction" hysteria.

DN: It goes the other way too?

CH: Sure. Because if you're trying to have access to a senior official, you'll constantly be putting in requests, and those officials will decide when they want to see you. And when they want to see you, it's usually because they have something to sell you.

DN: The media's anti-Russia narrative has been embraced by large portions of what presents itself as the "left."

CH: Well, don't get me started on the American left. First of all, there is no American left -- not a left that has any kind of seriousness, that understands political or revolutionary theories, that's steeped in economic study, that understands how systems of power work, especially corporate and imperial power. The left is caught up in the same kind of cults of personality that plague the rest of society. It focuses on Trump, as if Trump is the central problem. Trump is a product, a symptom of a failed system and dysfunctional democracy, not the disease.

If you attempt to debate most of those on the supposedly left, they reduce discussion to this cartoonish vision of politics.

The serious left in this country was decimated. It started with the suppression of radical movements under Woodrow Wilson, then the "Red Scares" in the 1920s, when they virtually destroyed our labor movement and our radical press, and then all of the purges in the 1950s. For good measure, they purged the liberal class -- look at what they did to Henry Wallace -- so that Cold War "liberals" equated capitalism with democracy, and imperialism with freedom and liberty. I lived in Switzerland and France. There are still residues of a militant left in Europe, which gives Europeans something to build upon. But here we almost have to begin from scratch.

I've battled continuously with Antifa and the Black Bloc. I think they're kind of poster children for what I would consider phenomenal political immaturity. Resistance is not a form of personal catharsis. We are not fighting the rise of fascism in the 1930s. The corporate elites we have to overthrow already hold power. And unless we build a broad, popular resistance movement, which takes a lot of patient organizing among working men and women, we are going to be steadily ground down.

So Trump's not the problem. But just that sentence alone is going to kill most discussions with people who consider themselves part of the left.

The corporate state has made it very hard to make a living if you hold fast to this radical critique. You will never get tenure. You probably won't get academic appointments. You won't win prizes. You won't get grants. The New York Times , if they review your book, will turn it over to a dutiful mandarin like George Packer to trash it -- as he did with my last book. The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison!

Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors.

DN: What about the impact that you've seen of identity politics in America?

CH: Well, identity politics defines the immaturity of the left. The corporate state embraced identity politics. We saw where identity politics got us with Barack Obama, which is worse than nowhere. He was, as Cornel West said, a black mascot for Wall Street, and now he is going around to collect his fees for selling us out.

My favorite kind of anecdotal story about identity politics: Cornel West and I, along with others, led a march of homeless people on the Democratic National Convention session in Philadelphia. There was an event that night. It was packed with hundreds of people, mostly angry Bernie Sanders supporters. I had been asked to come speak. And in the back room, there was a group of younger activists, one who said, "We're not letting the white guy go first." Then he got up and gave a speech about how everybody now had to vote for Hillary Clinton. That's kind of where identity politics gets you. There is a big difference between shills for corporate capitalism and imperialism, like Corey Booker and Van Jones, and true radicals like Glen Ford and Ajamu Baraka. The corporate state carefully selects and promotes women, or people of color, to be masks for its cruelty and exploitation.

It is extremely important, obviously, that those voices are heard, but not those voices that have sold out to the power elite. The feminist movement is a perfect example of this. The old feminism, which I admire, the Andrea Dworkin kind of feminism, was about empowering oppressed women. This form of feminism did not try to justify prostitution as sex work. It knew that it is just as wrong to abuse a woman in a sweatshop as it is in the sex trade. The new form of feminism is an example of the poison of neoliberalism. It is about having a woman CEO or woman president, who will, like Hillary Clinton, serve the systems of oppression. It posits that prostitution is about choice. What woman, given a stable income and security, would choose to be raped for a living? Identity politics is anti-politics.

DN: I believe you spoke at a Socialist Convergence conference where you criticized Obama and Sanders, and you were shouted down.

CH: Yes, I don't even remember. I've been shouted down criticizing Obama in many places, including Berkeley. I have had to endure this for a long time as a supporter and speech writer for Ralph Nader. People don't want the illusion of their manufactured personalities, their political saviors, shattered; personalities created by public relations industries. They don't want to do the hard work of truly understanding how power works and organizing to bring it down.

DN: You mentioned that you have been reading the World Socialist Web Site for some time. You know we are quite outside of that framework.

CH: I'm not a Marxist. I'm not a Trotskyist. But I like the site. You report on important issues seriously and in a way a lot of other sites don't. You care about things that are important to me -- mass incarceration, the rights and struggles of the working class and the crimes of empire. I have read the site for a long time.

DN: Much of what claims to be left -- that is, the pseudo-left -- reflects the interests of the affluent middle class.

CH: Precisely. When everybody was, you know, pushing for multiculturalism in lead institutions, it really meant filtering a few people of color or women into university departments or newsrooms, while carrying out this savage economic assault against the working poor and, in particular, poor people of color in deindustrialized pockets of the United States. Very few of these multiculturalists even noticed. I am all for diversity, but not when it is devoid of economic justice. Cornel West has been one of the great champions, not only of the black prophetic tradition, the most important intellectual tradition in our history, but the clarion call for justice in all its forms. There is no racial justice without economic justice. And while these elite institutions sprinkled a few token faces into their hierarchy, they savaged the working class and the poor, especially poor people of color.

Much of the left was fooled by the identity politics trick. It was a boutique activism. It kept the corporate system, the one we must destroy, intact. It gave it a friendly face.

DN: The World Socialist Web Site has made the issue of inequality a central focus of its coverage.

CH: That's why I read it and like it.

DN: Returning to the Russia issue, where do you see this going? How seriously do you see this assault on democratic rights? We call this the new McCarthyism. Is that, in your view, a legitimate analogy?

CH: Yes, of course it's the new McCarthyism. But let's acknowledge how almost irrelevant our voices are.

DN: I don't agree with you on that.

CH: Well, irrelevant in the sense that we're not heard within the mainstream. When I go to Canada I am on the CBC on prime time. The same is true in France. That never happens here. PBS and NPR are never going to do that. Nor are they going to do that for any other serious critic of capitalism or imperialism.

If there is a debate about attacking Syria, for example, it comes down to bombing Syria or bombing Syria and sending in troops, as if these are the only two options. Same with health care. Do we have Obamacare, a creation of the Heritage Foundation and the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, or no care? Universal health care for all is not discussed. So we are on the margins. But that does not mean we are not dangerous. Neoliberalism and globalization are zombie ideologies. They have no credibility left. The scam has been found out. The global oligarchs are hated and reviled. The elite has no counterargument to our critique. So they can't afford to have us around. As the power elite becomes more frightened, they're going to use harsher forms of control, including the blunt instrument of censorship and violence.

DN: I think it can be a big mistake to be focused on the sense of isolation or marginalization. I'll make a prediction. You will have, probably sooner than you think, more requests for interviews and television time. We are in a period of colossal political breakdown. We are going to see, more and more, the emergence of the working class as a powerful political force.

CH: That's why we are a target. With the bankruptcy of the ruling ideology, and the bankruptcy of the American liberal class and the American left, those who hold fast to intellectual depth and an examination of systems of power, including economics, culture and politics, have to be silenced. (Republished from World Socialist Web Site by permission of author or representative)


JackOH , October 9, 2017 at 11:08 am GMT

I'm a moderate admirer of Chris Hedges, but he is really cooking in this interview. Too much to praise here, but his thinking that corporations, the mainstream media, and the academy can and do successfully "game" dissent by suppression, divide and conquer, co-optation, and so on, is spot on.
Albertde , October 9, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT
Good but not great interview with Chris Hodges: he manages to talk about an amorphous elite without identifying any of them and not a word about Israel. So pseudo-good roally
alexander , October 9, 2017 at 4:30 pm GMT
I think this was an excellent discussion, and I would like to thank you both for having it, and sharing it.

Among the crises effecting the United States, the one effecting us most profoundly is the absence of any accountability for the crimes committed by our oligarchic class.

Addressing this issue is ground zero for any meaningful change.

If there is no accountability for their crimes , there will be no change.

Certainly the greatest among these crimes was(is) defrauding the nation into " a war of aggression". which, being the supreme international crime, should be met with harsh prison sentences for all who promoted it.

It is important for everyone to recognize just how much damage these policies have done to the country, not just in terms of our collective morale or our constitutional mandates,not just in terms of our international standing on universal principles of legality and justice, but our long term economic solvency as a nation.

The "exceptionalism" of our "war of aggression" elites has completely devastated our nation's balance sheet.

Since 9-11, our national debt has grown by a mind numbing "fourteen and a half trillion dollars".. nearly quadrupling since 1999.

This unconscionable level of "overspending" is unprecedented in human history.

Not one lawmaker, not one primetime pundit, nor one editorialist (of any major newspaper), has a CLUE how to deal with it.

Aside from the root atrocity in visiting mass murder on millions of innocents who never attacked us (and never intended to) which is a horrible crime in and of itself,

There is the profound crisis , in situ , of potentially demanding that 320 million Americans PAY FOR THE WARS OUR ELITES LIED US INTO .

This is where the rubber meets the road for our "war of aggression-ists ", gentlemen.

This is the "unanimous space" of our entire country's population on the issue of "no taxation without representation".

WHOSE assets should be made forfeit to pay for these wars .The DECEIVERS or the DECEIVED ?

Ask "The People" ..and you will find your answer .very fast.

No wonder our "elites" are terrified to discuss this .

Absolutely terrified.

exiled off mainstreet , October 10, 2017 at 1:27 am GMT
I agree with the general tenor of this article and would further state that in addition to the Iraq thing which was a war crime and eliminated any shreds of legitimacy retained by the yankee regime that the Libya overthrow and destruction, a war crime of historic proportions, and the use of that overthrow to provide major support to the barbaric element in Syria expose the yankee regime as an enemy of civilization with all that entails, including questions of whether, absent any legitimacy, the regime's continued existence itself does not constitute a major threat.
The elements in the article discussing and exposing the New York Times and its role as an integral part of the power structure should be read and remembered by all.
Grandpa Charlie , October 10, 2017 at 6:10 am GMT

How do you interpret the fixation on Russia and the entire interpretation of the election within the framework of Putin's manipulation?

Chris Hedges: It's as ridiculous as Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. It is an absolutely unproven allegation that is used to perpetuate a very frightening accusation -- critics of corporate capitalism and imperialism are foreign agents for Russia.

With all due respect for Chris Hedges, who is doubtless a courageous journalist and an intelligent commentator, I would suggest that what is also and most ridiculous is the thought that it is only agents of Israel that have suborned the neocon faction within USA's government and 'Deep State' (controllers of MSM). Or is this OT? I don't think so, because if we are to discuss the anti-Russia campaign realistically, as baseless in fact, and as contrived for an effect and to further/protect some particular interests, we can hardly avoid the question: Who or what interest is served by the anti-Russia campaign?

Who or what interest is served by anti-Russia propaganda other than, or in addition to, just the usual MIC suspects, profiteering corporations who want to keep a supposed need for nuclear weapons front and center in the minds of Congress? Cui bono?

To be clear: I suggest that neocon office-holders within USA's government or within the Deep State (controllers of MSM) are foreign agents for at least three nations: the People's Republic of China,the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Israel.

(I would compare USA now with Imperial China in its declining years when it was being sold piecemeal to all the great powers of Europe.)

Who benefits from this situation and how do they benefit? All three of these countries are deeply involved in suborning members of Congress and others within the government of the USA, yet none of the three is mentioned in such a connection by the MSM or by officials of the Executive. Thus, it is beneficial to them to have suspicion thrown onto Russia and thus investigative attention deflected from themselves. A few public figures (e.g., Philip Giraldi) have made such allegations respecting Israel, more public figures have made such suggestions respecting Saudi Arabia, but very few have made the allegations in the case of the PRC.

Let's think about this in the context of history, beginning with the Vietnam War. When USA got involved in Vietnam -- which involvement began during the days of Eisenhower/Dulles -- probably the primary interest groups that swayed USA global/foreign policy were the Vatican and the China Lobby. The interests of these two lobbies converged in Vietnam. From the RC side, consider an historical event that is unknown practically to any Americans under the age of 60 or 70, namely, Operation Passage to Freedom, 1954-55.

"The period was marked by a CIA-backed propaganda campaign on behalf of South Vietnam's Roman Catholic Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem. The campaign exhorted Catholics to flee impending religious persecution under communism, and around 60% of the north's 1 million Catholics obliged." (Wikipedia: Operation Passage to Freedom )

From the side of the China Lobby – avoiding the matter of JFK's planning to dump USA involvement in Vietnam after the 1964 election – what we saw in the early years of USA's involvement, 1965-1969, was a period in which the China Lobby could push an agenda that included widening the Vietnam campaign into southern China, particularly to include the tungsten mining operations supposedly owned by K.C. Wu. Tungsten at that time was considered as having tremendous strategic value, centering on, but not limited to, its essential use in the filaments of incandescent light-bulbs. It became clear after the Tet Offensive that the entire strategy of reopening the Chinese civil war, capturing the tungsten, etc, could make sense only if Chang Kai Shek's KMT would commit its troops in huge numbers, virtually all of its troops, on the ground in Vietnam (which would have brought in huge numbers of PRC troops on the other side) -- it became, to borrow one of Nixon's favorite phrases, "perfectly clear" that expansion into southern China and capture of the tungsten operations there were not in the cards. When Kissinger talked up his 'realpolitik', what he really meant was the politics of surrendering to Beijing. So, Nixon in July 1969, recognizing that there was nothing to be gained by the loss of life and expenditure of every form of capital, ordered first of many troop withdrawals from Vietnam. It was all a done deal as of Kissinger taking over as National Security Adviser, January 1969 -- everything but the tears.

Now, patience, dear reader, this is all leading up to a certain crucial event that took place in 1971 -- namely, Kissinger's secret trip to Beijing in July (1971) to arrange for everything regarding what amounted to a surrender to the PRC, except the end of the Vietnam War. The documents are still unavailable as classified Top Secret or whatever, but clearly, China had no interest in seeing an end to the Vietnam War, because both parties – Vietnam and USA – were adversaries of China. (Let them knock each other out!) Most likely, Zhou talked Henry into doing what he could to prolong USA's involvement in the Vietnam War, not to shorten it. See, including between the lines, National Security Archives:

http://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB66/

As noted, this stuff is mostly unavailable to us, the public, but it is clear that USA's 'leaders' (Nixon and Kissinger) wanted to make kissy-kissy with Zhou Enlai, and it was all arranged including George H. W. Bush's appointment as USA's first 'Ambassador' (in all but name) to Beijing, and including giving China's permanent seat on the UNSC to Beijing and otherwise selling out the old China Lobby. I call it the 'old China Lobby' because part of what was arranged was that the old China Lobby would be taken over by the New China lobby, complete with all the payola channels into Congress and the Deep State.

Now, I think, we arrive at today, 2017, and the failure of Trump to act on his campaign promises to oppose China in any way. Maybe he thought about it for a minute, but he was surrounded by neocons, who were already on the payroll of the PRC -- if not taking direct orders from the Standing Committee of the CCP, then at least promised to avoid offending the interests of the PRC -- on pain of losing regular paychecks from Beijing into their secret Grand Cayman accounts.

What I would like to say to Hedges. and others like him, is just this:

THEY say that you are foreign agents for Russia? Time to use a little judo on them: time for YOU to speak truth that THEY are foreign agents for the People's Republic of China.

And don't forget this potent phrase: YET NONE DARE CALL IT TREASON!

AB_Anonymous , October 11, 2017 at 5:24 am GMT

"The elite has no counterargument to our critique. So they can't afford to have us around. As the power elite becomes more frightened, they're going to use harsher forms of control, including the blunt instrument of censorship and violence."

Precisely! What makes it even worse, they will be pushing this new pretexts for control sloppy (as in Vegas) and in a hurry. Which will make them look even more ridiculous and due to the lack of time will force to act even more stupid, resulting in an exponential curve of censorship, oppression and insanity. And that's there the maniacal dreams of certain forces to start a really big war in the Middle East (with or without attacking North Korea first) may come true.

Anonymous Disclaimer , October 11, 2017 at 6:03 am GMT
@Grandpa Charlie

"avoiding the matter of JFK's planning to dump USA involvement in Vietnam after the 1964 election – "

Now that's a lie. This part is a lie. Or it is carefully crafted ex post hoc mythology a la Camelot, the Kennedy Mystique.

FACT: JFK was a Cold War Hawk and during his administration increased nuclear arms higher than Ike and until Reagan.

JFK during his administration increased the number of "advisers" to a higher number than Ike.

William F. Buckley pointedly asked Senator Robert Kennedy in the mid. '60′s "So, was there any thought of the White House pulling out [of Vietnam]?

RFK: No. There never was.

If anything, had he lived to see a second term, most likely US involvement in Vietnam would have escalated as much as under LBJ, perhaps with the same disastrous results, perhaps not. But JFK was no peacenik dove.

Mr. Hedges comes across as a total whackjob, and makes Bill Moyers appear to be a gentle moderate in comparison. That he thinks so highly of race man BLM supporter Cornell West speaks volumes of naivety to the nth degree. A total cuck without even knowing it, nay, totally appreciative of being a cuck and it appears to be his hope that one day his cardinal sin of being white will be purged by peoples of color, who are his true moral and intellectual betters in every step of the way.

OilcanFloyd , October 11, 2017 at 10:45 am GMT
I agree that the Russia fixation is garbage, but explaining the populist revolt without touching on the major issue of forced demographic and cultural change through legal and illegal immigration is dishonest. Almost everyone who isn't an immigrant or the descendant or relative of a post-65 immigrant is pissed off beyond words about this! How did you miss the popular response to Trump's promises to "deport them all," end birthright citizenship and chain migration, build a wall etc.? Without those promises, he wouldn't have made it to the debates.

I'm also not sure how welfare has been stripped. What programs aren't available?

I'm not sure how to lower black incarceration rates. Having taught in inner-city schools and worked in the same environment in other jobs, I know that crime and dysfunction are through the roof. I can only imagine what those communities would be like if the predators and crooks that are incarcerated were allowed to roam free.

Greg Bacon , Website October 11, 2017 at 11:13 am GMT

Chris Hedges: It's as ridiculous as Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. It is an absolutely unproven allegation that is used to perpetuate a very frightening accusation -- critics of corporate capitalism and imperialism are foreign agents for Russia.

Is this the same Chris Hedges that wrote those articles in November 2001 that Saddam and al Qaeda were in cahoots, which led to the illegal 2003 invasion?

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/newswar/part1/wmd.html

Tell me Chris, did you know about the CIA pollution then or just find out lately? And correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you also write NYT articles in the Fall of 2002 saying that Saddam had WMD's?

Again, getting your tips from the CIA? Ever hear of 'Operation Mockingbird?"

jacques sheete , October 11, 2017 at 11:20 am GMT

It is the result of the transformation of the country into an oligarchy.

That's cringe-worthy.

Transformation into an oligarchy? Transformation ??? I like Hedges' work, but such fundamental errors really taint what he sez.

The country was never transformed into an oligarchy; it began as one.

In fact, it was organized and functioned as a pluto-oligarchy right out of the box. In case anyone has the dimness to argue with me about it, all that shows is that you don't know JS about how the cornstitution was foisted on the rest of us by the plutoligarchs.

"An elective despotism was not the government we fought for "

-Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XIII, 1782 . ME 2:163

The Elites "Have No Credibility Left"

Guess what, boys and girls Why did they have any to begin with?

Where do people get their faith? WakeTF up, already!! (Yes, I'm losing it. Because even a duumbshit goy like myself can see it. Where are all you bright bulb know-it-alls with all the flippin answers???)

jacques sheete , October 11, 2017 at 11:35 am GMT

Newspapers are trapped in an old system of information they call "objectivity" and "balance," formulae designed to cater to the powerful and the wealthy and obscure the truth.

It's amazing that here we are, self-anointed geniuses and dumbos alike, puttering around in the 21st century, and someone feels the necessity to point that out. And he's right; it needs to be pointed out. Drummed into our skulls in fact.

Arrrgggghhhh!!! Jefferson again.:

Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day.

Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, 14 June 1807

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendI_speechs29.html

More deja vu all over again and again. Note the date.:

"This is a story of a powerful and wealthy newspaper having enormous influence And never a day out of more than ten thousand days that this newspaper has not subtly and cunningly distort the news of the world in the interest of special privilege. "

Upton Sinclair, "The crimes of the "Times" : a test of newspaper decency," pamphlet, 1921

https://archive.org/stream/crimesofthetimes00sincrich/crimesofthetimes00sincrich_djvu.txt

Stephen Paul Foster , Website October 11, 2017 at 12:01 pm GMT
"The serious left in this country was decimated. It started with the suppression of radical movements under Woodrow Wilson, then the "Red Scares" in the 1920s, when they virtually destroyed our labor movement and our radical press, and then all of the purges in the 1950s. For good measure, they purged the liberal class -- look at what they did to Henry Wallace."

Look what they did to Henry Wallace -- Are you kidding me? Wallace was a Stalinist stooge, too treasonous even for his boss, FDR, although the bird brain Eleanor loved him. The guy was so out of touch with reality that after the Potemkin tour of the Gulag that Stalin gave him during WWII he came back raving about how swell it was for the lunch-bucket gang in Siberia. He also encouraged FDR to sell out the Poles to Stalin

jacques sheete , October 11, 2017 at 12:08 pm GMT
I find it most fascinating that none of what Hedges says is news, but even UR readers probably think it is. Here's an antidote to that idea.

The following quote is from Eugene Kelly who's excoriating government press releases but the criticism applies as well to the resulting press reports. I found the whole article striking.:

Any boob can deduce, a priori, what type of "news" is contained in this rubbish.

-Eugene A. Kelly, Distorting the News, The American Mercury, March 1935 , pp. 307-318

http://www.unz.org/Pub/AmMercury/

I'd like good evidence that the situation has improved since then. Good luck.

polistra , Website October 11, 2017 at 1:29 pm GMT
Hedges doesn't seem to understand that the "Resistance" is openly and obviously working FOR Deepstate. They do not resist wars and globalism and monopolistic corporations. They resist everyone who questions the war. They resist nationalism and localism.

Nothing mysterious or hidden about this, no ulterior motive or bankshot. It's explicitly stated in every poster and shout and beating.

[Aug 02, 2018] MAGA was a bait and switch trick: The Trump election campaign rallying cry was to make America great again, but Trump actions are to revert the government and tax system to when America wasn't that great.

Aug 02, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Iskiab -> SILVERGEDDON Thu, 08/02/2018 - 18:47 Permalink

One thing I don't understand about MAGA. The rallying cry is to make America great again, but the actions are to revert the government and tax system to when America wasn't that great.

The height of American civilization was the 50s or 60s, but all the actions are to bring the state back to how it was in pre-WW1 or the 1920s. It was the stronger labour controls and high taxes of the 50s that coincided with American dominance. The kind that if someone tried to introduce them today they'd be called socialist.

chippers -> Iskiab Thu, 08/02/2018 - 18:57 Permalink

never mind the 1920s, are you sure he is not actually aiming for 1900 that is , before the trust busting times

inhibi -> Iskiab Thu, 08/02/2018 - 18:58 Permalink

I agree.

" Indeed, socialism sounds good but, when practiced, leads to disaster"

Im sure the author is thinking of Venezuela. But Venezuela, like all of South America, is a cartel infested, militaristic, corrupt country run by a megalomaniac. It's more oligarch than socialist.

He should ask the question: if socialism in a stable society, like say Sweden, means free health care & education, why do people say the US has a low tax rate? Just add that cost right to your taxes, and bim bam boom the US tax rate is probably more than a 100%, because, lets be honest, the average $55k/year for a family of 4 will NEVER EVER cover the $1 million it would take to send your kids to college debt free.

. . . _ _ _ . . . Thu, 08/02/2018 - 18:29 Permalink

Pretty subtle anti-Trump article.

[Jul 31, 2018] The Schizophrenic Deep State is a Symptom, Not the Disease

Notable quotes:
"... If we understand the profound political disunity fracturing the nation and its Imperial Project, we understand the Deep State must also fracture along the same fault lines. ..."
"... profound political disunity within the elites ..."
"... divided Deep State ..."
"... divided Deep State ..."
"... profound political disunity ..."
"... maximize my personal profit by whatever means are available ..."
"... rentier rackets ..."
Jul 31, 2018 | russia-insider.com

The Schizophrenic Deep State is a Symptom, Not the Disease "a key feature of the Roman Empire in its final slide to collapse ... shared values and consensus which had held the Empire's core together dissolved, leaving petty fiefdoms to war among themselves for what power and swag remained." Charles Hugh Smith 16 hours ago | 2,256 80 Western Collapse If we understand the profound political disunity fracturing the nation and its Imperial Project, we understand the Deep State must also fracture along the same fault lines.

If we consider the state of the nation from 40,000 feet, several key indicators of profound political disunity within the elites pop out:

1. The overt politicization of the central state's law enforcement and intelligence agencies: it is now commonplace to find former top officials of the CIA et al. accusing a sitting president of treason in the mainstream media. What was supposed to be above politics is now nothing but politics.

2. The overt politicization of the centralized (corporate) media: evidence that would stand up in a court of law is essentially non-existent but the interpretations and exaggerations that fit the chosen narrative are ceaselessly promoted--the classic definition of desperate propaganda by those who have lost the consent of the governed.

Psychopaths with no moral principles

The nation's elites are not just divided--they're exhibiting signs of schizophrenic breakdown : disassociation and a loss of the ability to discern the difference between reality and their internal fantasies.

I've been writing about the divided Deep State for a number of years, for example, The Conflict within the Deep State Just Broke into Open Warfare . The topic appears to be one of widespread interest, as this essay drew over 300,000 views.

It's impossible to understand the divided Deep State unless we situate it in the larger context of profound political disunity , a concept I learned from historian Michael Grant, whose slim but insightful volume The Fall of the Roman Empire I have been recommending since 2009.

As I noted in my 2009 book Survival+ , this was a key feature of the Roman Empire in its final slide to collapse. The shared values and consensus which had held the Empire's core together dissolved, leaving petty fiefdoms to war among themselves for what power and swag remained.

A funny thing happens when a nation allows itself to be ruled by Imperial kleptocrats: such rule is intrinsically destabilizing, as there is no longer any moral or political center to bind the nation together. The public sees the value system at the top is maximize my personal profit by whatever means are available , i.e. complicity, corruption, monopoly and rentier rackets , and they follow suit by pursuing whatever petty frauds and rackets are within reach: tax avoidance, cheating on entrance exams, gaming the disability system, lying on mortgage and job applications, and so on.

But the scope of the rentier rackets is so large, the bottom 95% cannot possibly keep up with the expanding wealth and income of the top .1% and their army of technocrats and enablers, so a rising sense of injustice widens the already yawning fissures in the body politic.

Meanwhile, diverting the national income into a few power centers is also destabilizing , as Central Planning and Market Manipulation (a.k.a. the Federal Reserve) are intrinsically unstable as price can no longer be discovered by unfettered markets. As a result, imbalances grow until some seemingly tiny incident or disruption triggers a cascading collapse, a.k.a. a phase shift or system re-set.

As the Power Elites squabble over the dwindling crumbs left by the various rentier rackets, there's no one left to fight for the national interest because the entire Status Quo of self-interested fiefdoms and cartels has been co-opted and is now wedded to the Imperial Oligarchy as their guarantor of financial security.

The divided Deep State is a symptom of this larger systemic political disunity. I have characterized the divide as between the Wall Street-Neocon-Globalist Neoliberal camp--currently the dominant public face of the Deep State, the one desperately attempting to exploit the "Russia hacked our elections and is trying to destroy us" narrative--and a much less public, less organized "rogue Progressive" camp, largely based in the military services and fringes of the Deep State, that sees the dangers of a runaway expansionist Empire and the resulting decay of the nation's moral/political center.

What few observers seem to understand is that concentrating power in centralized nodes is intrinsically unstable. Contrast a system in which power, control and wealth is extremely concentrated in a few nodes (the current U.S. Imperial Project) and a decentralized network of numerous dynamic nodes.

The disruption of any of the few centralized nodes quickly destabilizes the entire system because each centralized node is highly dependent on the others. This is in effect what happened in the 2008-09 Financial Meltdown: the Wall Street node failed and that quickly imperiled the entire economy and thus the entire political order, up to and including the Global Imperial Project.

Historian Peter Turchin has proposed that the dynamics of profound political disunity (i.e. social, financial and political disintegration) can be quantified in a Political Stress Index, a concept he describes in his new book Ages of Discord .

If we understand the profound political disunity fracturing the nation and its Imperial Project, we understand the Deep State must also fracture along the same fault lines. There is no other possible output of a system of highly concentrated nodes of power, wealth and control and the competing rentier rackets of these dependent, increasingly fragile centralized nodes.

[Jul 31, 2018] The whole corrupt, crazy political process is a distraction from our real problems, and an endless maze of futility.

Notable quotes:
"... The whole corrupt, crazy political process is a distraction from our real problems, and an endless maze of futility. The illusion of democracy is collapsing all around us, and safety lies in abandoning it. ..."
"... Agreed. Our entire national political debate is a theater of smoke and mirrors. The facts most obvious and degrading to the national interest are ignored at all costs, e.g., an out of control military-industrial-intelligence complex that now swallows up an obscene $1 trillion annually (including "defense related expenditures"). ..."
"... My plans for the upcoming Democratic primary in Florida: I will write "none of these clowns" at the top of the ballot. ..."
"... I tend to think that the Cold War bankrupted us as well as the Soviets, but we just haven't figured it that out yet. ..."
"... Most of the human race has been speeding towards the cliff at 100 mph like Thelma and Louise. Certainly America has been. It's getting ever closer. We will get there. Don't expect Zeno's paradox to save us. ..."
"... I share your setiment about the Democrats but voting for Republicans just because is equally foolish. Why support banning labor unions, corporate very expensive health care, greatly reducing and eventually eliminating social security and Medicare, privitzing all public infrastructure and bailing out wall Street at all cost. I could go on but you get the idea. Vote for candidates that stand for the American people and have the guts to stand up to the elites. If no such candidates exist in a particular election don't vote simple as that. ..."
"... tealing a "none of the above" write-in requires the ballot be destroyed, so it can provide a paper trail and/or a potential theft exposure point. ..."
"... I am a registered Democrat; I will NOT be voting for them this fall. They no longer have any credibility with me. Rachel helped them shoot themselves in the foot as far as I'm concerned. How are they any different from neocons??? I'm grateful WikiLeaks pulled off their mask. I'm a historian and know a lot of both CIA and Russian history and am not buying Russiagate or Democrats. ..."
"... I like that, the "Demented-crats"! They are so completely clueless, in their overpaid bubbles, nothing to say about the Race-to-the-Bottom, Hunger Games society they have helped create. ..."
"... The loyal shrills to Clinton? Those aren't progressives. ..."
"... As Jimmy Dore keeps telling us: the Democratic leadership, which is totally corporatist and neocon, would rather lose to the GOP candidate than to see a progressive or liberal Democrat win the office. The Dems have no independent policies of their own and are merely enablers to make sure that the hard right agenda always prevails. ..."
"... And I see Bernie Sanders was spewing this neo-McCarthyite crap on a Sunday morning talk show earlier this week. He really should know better. ..."
"... Isaac Christiansen observes that "As Democrats seek to shift blame away from the discontent with our economic system, their party and their chosen Neoliberal candidate, we are told that Trump came to power almost solely due to Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election." ..."
"... Remember how the entire anti-Russian theme began? The Clinton team used Russia as their excuse for losing 2016. It didn't get much attention at first because the party/candidate that loses inevitably blames someone or something other than the candidate/party. But the Democrats ran with it from there, using much of the media marketed to liberals to build the Russian Tale. The most insane thing about the claims that Russia hacked voting machines for Trump, etc.: In spite of much Dem voter opposition to the Clinton right wing, H. Clinton got the most votes. (Did Russia do that, and if so, why?) Trump is president because of our antiquated electoral college process. Meanwhile, while Dems ramble on about a Putin/Trump bromance, the sane world has watched as Trump set the stage for our final war, US vs. Russia and China. ..."
"... Everything gets conspicuously twisted by a biased media, yet no one (of consequence) says anything about that. Even as Trump gets bashed, he gets cheered whenever he does something dangerous and stupid, such as launching missiles in the aftermath of an obvious false flag incident. We see the matrix being blatantly and clumsily spun right before our eyes and nobody says a word about the emperor's nakedness. ..."
"... It is time for the progressives to flee the Democratic party en masse and go their own way. ..."
"... "One quarter of all the Democratic challengers in competitive House districts have military-intelligence, State Department or NSC backgrounds. This is by far the largest subcategory of Democratic candidates." ..."
"... We haven't seen any progressives in years. Progressive politics isn't a new invention. In the US, it goes back at least to the early 1900s. It's about building a better nation from the bottom up -- legit aid for the poor at one end, firm restraints in the rich at the other end.We have nothing like that today. This isn't about "political purity," but about not calling an apple an armadillo. ..."
Jul 31, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

mike k , July 27, 2018 at 8:39 am

The whole corrupt, crazy political process is a distraction from our real problems, and an endless maze of futility. The illusion of democracy is collapsing all around us, and safety lies in abandoning it. We need a new way of thinking and acting that clearly and directly sees our problems and deals with them. Politics as now understood is a dead end.

Heather S. , July 28, 2018 at 10:36 am

Agreed. Our entire national political debate is a theater of smoke and mirrors. The facts most obvious and degrading to the national interest are ignored at all costs, e.g., an out of control military-industrial-intelligence complex that now swallows up an obscene $1 trillion annually (including "defense related expenditures"). Even the fact that we no longer live in a democracy but an oligarchy, according to objective studies and noted commentators, including former president Carter, is never commented upon by the miscreant pundits posing as reporters (Hayes, Maddow, Anderson, Cuomo, et al).

Realist , July 27, 2018 at 6:33 am

My plans for the upcoming Democratic primary in Florida: I will write "none of these clowns" at the top of the ballot. Under that I will write "Stop the warmongering and phony Russia-bashing. Stop the obstructionism just to damage Trump and exonerate Hillary for losing a poorly-run campaign. I cannot vote for my party this November, and never again until you stop trying to run to the right of the Republicans." Maybe someone reading the ballot will pass the message on to the party leadership and adjustments will at least be considered.

If not, eff 'em. We will be better off sweeping corrupt corporatist cronies of Hillary, like Wasserman-Schultz, out of congress. Then there will be no doubt that the GOP needs to go too, after they use their mandate to totally wreck all before them, and maybe, after a few election cycles, some third party representing the interests of the people rather than Wall Street and the MIC can emerge. Maybe the Greens and the Libertarians can become at least equal players with the corporatist Dems and GOPers.

Somebody new is going to have to preside over the coming economic and societal collapse, and do we want that to be the military, the police and the spooks? That is who will seize power (not just covertly but overtly) if the usually mercenary politicians cannot effect some workable changes.

Broompilot , July 27, 2018 at 7:01 pm

Like the Eastern Roman Empire, we could wax and wane for 1000 years with the power we possess. Or, like the Soviet Union, we could suffer an economic collapse over a decade throwing a large percentage of us into poverty.

I tend to think that the Cold War bankrupted us as well as the Soviets, but we just haven't figured it that out yet.

Realist , July 27, 2018 at 9:48 pm

"I tend to think that the Cold War bankrupted us as well as the soviets, but we just haven't figured that out yet."

Because we prefer to blow off science and empirically-supported concepts like the first law of thermodynamics which states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, just transferred or changed in form.

We choose to believe that we can endlessly create money, which is a token representing access to available stored energy, out of nothing by issuing debt. Even if the tokens are infinite, on a finite planet the available energy is certainly not.

Most of the human race has been speeding towards the cliff at 100 mph like Thelma and Louise. Certainly America has been. It's getting ever closer. We will get there. Don't expect Zeno's paradox to save us.

Ma Laoshi , July 27, 2018 at 5:37 am

We are long past the point that this extreme Russophobia has revealed itself to be plain old race hatred. These bouts of hysteria have always been part of the American DNA, and it has been most instructive how fast and seamless the switch has been from Muslims to Russians as the hated. Other. Progressives have solemnly declared themselves to be the good guys without much introspection, so one would expect them to be more susceptible to this bigotry, not less; a more astute observer might have asked "When will the machine turn on me next?", as is of course already happening to Sanders and others.

Yes RussiaGating is a losing strategy, but most of the evidence is that progressives ARE losers. So there's no surprise that they're falling for it, and little to indicate that they deserve any better.

Mike , July 26, 2018 at 11:43 pm

Never voted for Republican congressmen in the past. Never. This time I will. Democrats are the party of open borders and war. Now they want conflict with Russia over this ginned up fake investigation. They don't represent working people any more. I don't even think they put AMERICANS over illegal immigrants. Why is it wrong that people should be forced to obey immigration law? The laws for citizens are enforced. Never thought I'd vote Republican.

Torture This , July 27, 2018 at 9:18 am

I can't think of any reason to vote for 99.9% of the Democrats. The more everyone including the media lies about Russia, the more I empathize with them.

I'd guess the business owners that rely on illegals vote for Republicans because they're business owners. We need to eat and they need to make more money than they deserve so neither party is going to stand in the way of it as long as they bribe their politicians and anybody else that feels entitled to free stuff. Democrats won't get rid of ICE soon, if ever.

Nearly all people coming from the South are escaping conditions we've created and are granted asylum when allowed to make their case in court.

I think treating defenseless people terribly to show how mean we can be is wrong.

Freedomlover , July 28, 2018 at 8:05 am

Mike,

I share your setiment about the Democrats but voting for Republicans just because is equally foolish. Why support banning labor unions, corporate very expensive health care, greatly reducing and eventually eliminating social security and Medicare, privitzing all public infrastructure and bailing out wall Street at all cost. I could go on but you get the idea. Vote for candidates that stand for the American people and have the guts to stand up to the elites. If no such candidates exist in a particular election don't vote simple as that.

glitch , July 28, 2018 at 11:28 am

If you can't vote third party write in none of the above on a paper ballot. If those aren't options spoil your ballot but turn it in. Not voting doesn't register your disdain, it's easier for them to ignore as apathy. And non votes can be spoofed (stolen). S tealing a "none of the above" write-in requires the ballot be destroyed, so it can provide a paper trail and/or a potential theft exposure point.

Diana Lee , July 26, 2018 at 10:20 pm

I am a registered Democrat; I will NOT be voting for them this fall. They no longer have any credibility with me. Rachel helped them shoot themselves in the foot as far as I'm concerned. How are they any different from neocons??? I'm grateful WikiLeaks pulled off their mask. I'm a historian and know a lot of both CIA and Russian history and am not buying Russiagate or Democrats.

Jessika , July 26, 2018 at 9:33 pm

I like that, the "Demented-crats"! They are so completely clueless, in their overpaid bubbles, nothing to say about the Race-to-the-Bottom, Hunger Games society they have helped create.

Meanwhile, over in Russia, the government with leadership of Vladimir Putin has increased the Russians' standard of living, much as was done for Americans under FDR and the New Deal. (Never a word about the 80+ governments the USA/CIA has destabilized or directly overthrown, including Russia's -- oh no! We're exceptional, didn't you know?)

William , July 26, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Yea, I don't get it. Who the hell do you consider to be the progressives!?! Most people I know who consider themselves to be progressives aren't all wrapped up in the Russian narrative. The loyal shrills to Clinton? Those aren't progressives. Clinton herself pretty much backed away from that stamp during the election cycle. Pelosi has quite obviously made it clear she can't even see that side of the fence. Or will she allow it the light of day. In case you missed it, there's a war on progressives going on. And we aren't allowed in that club over there. I follow a hand full of Green Party sites on face hack, and they aren't having the Russia did it by any means. Only those loyal to the liberal democrats have the ignorance to bellow out the talking points and support for Sanders. Yea, those people that wouldn't give him the light of day during that same election cycle when we thought he was a progressive. Easy Bob! Just a hic cup. I hope! Rest peacefully!

Realist , July 27, 2018 at 6:46 am

As Jimmy Dore keeps telling us: the Democratic leadership, which is totally corporatist and neocon, would rather lose to the GOP candidate than to see a progressive or liberal Democrat win the office. The Dems have no independent policies of their own and are merely enablers to make sure that the hard right agenda always prevails. They are a sham party. Enough "blue dogs" and GOP-light types always win as Democrats to ensure that no progressive legislation will ever be enacted even when "the party" has 60% majorities in both houses -- as they did in Obama's first term. This is by design. Even the putative Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama functioned as center-right Republicans. Obama said as much. Clinton didn't have to as his policies were all reactionary and brought us to the impending economic collapse.

Zim , July 26, 2018 at 5:39 pm

Looks like the Inauthentic Opposition Party is gearing up for another ass whooping at the polls. The hypocrisy, the cluelessness is astounding.

JMG , July 26, 2018 at 5:33 pm

From this excellent Norman Solomon's article:

"As The Hill newspaper reported this week under the headline "Most Americans Back Trump's Call for Follow-Up Summit With Putin," 54 percent of respondents favored plans for a second summit. "The survey also found that 61 percent of Americans say better relations with Russia are in the best interest of the United States.""

This is very important.

Poll: Most Americans back Trump's call for follow-up summit with Putin | TheHill
http://thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/398370-majority-of-americans-support-follow-up-summit-with-putin-poll

Jay , July 26, 2018 at 5:24 pm

And I see Bernie Sanders was spewing this neo-McCarthyite crap on a Sunday morning talk show earlier this week. He really should know better.

Realist , July 27, 2018 at 7:01 am

He's been co-opted. He's been told that the blame will be his when the Democratic Party collapses unless he works like hell to keep his sheep in the fold. He's following orders from the DNC which believes that the party's last best hope for a comeback, indeed to stave off annihilation, is to keep bashing Putin and Trump because they have no policies, no credibility and no candidates that the people eagerly want to get behind. They think that lies and war are the winning combination. How did that work out for LBJ, Bushdaddy, and Dubya's organisation?

mrtmbrnmn , July 26, 2018 at 5:15 pm

Ever since the Bonnie & Clyde Clinton years, the sclerotic Establishment Dementedcrats have essentially despised their base. They only speak AT them. Never FOR them. Or else they SCOLD them or simply IGNORE them. I hope now they are beginning to FEAR them.

jose , July 26, 2018 at 4:22 pm

Personally speaking, I am yet to see any serious evidence against allege Russia meddling in US elections. And I am not alone in this regard; For instance, according to counterpunch news, " The decision to blame Russian meddling for Hillary Clinton's electoral loss was made in the immediate aftermath of the election by her senior campaign staff." According to Mike Whitney, "So far, no single piece of evidence has been made public proving that the Trump campaign joined with Russia to steal the US presidency."

Isaac Christiansen observes that "As Democrats seek to shift blame away from the discontent with our economic system, their party and their chosen Neoliberal candidate, we are told that Trump came to power almost solely due to Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election." I reckon that any rational person should believe any Russian interference in US electoral system only when presented with real iron-clad prove. Otherwise, it would be foolhardy to accept at face value speculations and innuendo of a foreign interference that purportedly put Trump in the White House.

DH Fabian , July 26, 2018 at 3:28 pm

Well, a couple of issues here. Liberals have not been about economic justice, but about protecting the advantages of the middle class (with an occasional pat on the head to min. wage workers). They've forgotten that we're over 20 years into one hell of a war on the poor. Not everyone can work, and there aren't jobs for all. The US began shipping out jobs in the '80s, ended actual welfare aid in the '90s -- lost over 6 million manufacturing jobs alone since 2000. What is" justice" for today's jobless poor?

Remember how the entire anti-Russian theme began? The Clinton team used Russia as their excuse for losing 2016. It didn't get much attention at first because the party/candidate that loses inevitably blames someone or something other than the candidate/party. But the Democrats ran with it from there, using much of the media marketed to liberals to build the Russian Tale. The most insane thing about the claims that Russia hacked voting machines for Trump, etc.: In spite of much Dem voter opposition to the Clinton right wing, H. Clinton got the most votes. (Did Russia do that, and if so, why?) Trump is president because of our antiquated electoral college process. Meanwhile, while Dems ramble on about a Putin/Trump bromance, the sane world has watched as Trump set the stage for our final war, US vs. Russia and China.

Realist , July 27, 2018 at 7:09 am

"Meanwhile, while Dems ramble on about a Putin/Trump bromance, the sane world has watched as Trump set the stage for our final war, US vs. Russia and China."

So very right. Everything gets conspicuously twisted by a biased media, yet no one (of consequence) says anything about that. Even as Trump gets bashed, he gets cheered whenever he does something dangerous and stupid, such as launching missiles in the aftermath of an obvious false flag incident. We see the matrix being blatantly and clumsily spun right before our eyes and nobody says a word about the emperor's nakedness.

Skip Scott , July 26, 2018 at 2:27 pm

It is time for the progressives to flee the Democratic party en masse and go their own way. If they haven't learned anything from the 2016 election, they are doomed. The DNC has a stranglehold on the Progressive movement, and sheep dog Bernie will once again herd them over to the corporate sponsored candidate in the end. For the midterms, this is what the Democrats have planned:

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/03/07/dems-m07.html

"One quarter of all the Democratic challengers in competitive House districts have military-intelligence, State Department or NSC backgrounds. This is by far the largest subcategory of Democratic candidates."

The Green Party has a truly Progressive platform on Domestic and Foreign policy, and are our only hope at this point. They just need the right standard bearers to break through the MSM censorship. If they could get a charismatic candidate for President in 2020 and break the 15% threshold for the debates, the American people would finally see that they really do have a choice for a better future.

DH Fabian , July 26, 2018 at 3:36 pm

We haven't seen any progressives in years. Progressive politics isn't a new invention. In the US, it goes back at least to the early 1900s. It's about building a better nation from the bottom up -- legit aid for the poor at one end, firm restraints in the rich at the other end.We have nothing like that today. This isn't about "political purity," but about not calling an apple an armadillo.

It's true that the Green Party platform does include legitimatrely addressing poverty, but perhaps understandably, this fact was swept under the carpet during their 2016 campaign.

will , July 26, 2018 at 8:32 pm

"We haven't seen any progressives in years" Apparently you don't get out much.

hetro , July 26, 2018 at 4:14 pm

Skip, let's hope we don't have the "hold your nose and vote Democrat" arguments again, with Greens as a vote for Trump (or Putin?). Interestingly, the following poll from FOX news indicates the strum und feces hysteria of the current Democratic machine may not be working out all that well, as 7 in 10 respondents here indicate the political atmosphere in the US at this time is "overheated."

Well, a good deal of that overheat is coming from the "them Russians them Russians" meme continually pushed -- and way over the top for most American people trying to "have a great day!" This poll does indicate Dems are ahead at this point, and in the past several election cycles there has been a regular switch every two years in congressional domination.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07/12/fox-news-poll-democrats-ahead-in-election-enthusiasm-interest-and-vote.html

Miranda Keefe , July 26, 2018 at 4:59 pm

"The Green Party has a truly Progressive platform on Domestic and Foreign policy, and are our only hope at this point."

The Green Party is a Capitalist party, just the kindest and gentlest Capitalism of any of the Capitalist parties with the most stringent leash on the mad killer dog that is Capitalism and the best safety net for those chased off the cliff by that mad killer dog.

For those of us who see that Capitalism is the problem, that makes voting Green actually a lesser evil choice. If we're going to vote lesser evil, we might as well vote for the most progressive Democrats, or even centrist ones when they're running against fire breathing Randian Republicans who combine that with a Fundamentalist Christian Theocratic agenda (a combination that makes no sense, but who said the GOP makes sense?)

There are few viable Socialist parties in the US anymore. The biggest jettisoned Socialism nearly 50 years ago when it also jettisoned actually being a political party and decided to just be a lobby group within the Democratic Party. The only political heir of Eugene V. Debs, the Socialist Party USA, is now a fringe group whose national conventions are more like a picnic gathering of a few friends. The other organizations that seem more viable are actually Trotskyite groups, and Trotsky was not non-violent at all, which I am.

I am really at a lost what to do as far as the less important task of voting (which is less important than ongoing activism.) I just did my primary ballot. We've got this terrible top two primary, a system that basically kills movement building.

I could have voted for Gigi Ferguson, the independent, who was endorsed by the Green Party, running for senate against NeoLiberal phony environmentalist Maria Cantwell and not the poser, who said he was Green, (parties have no say in candidates' statements of which party they prefer,) but is for privatizing Social Security. But I instead voted for Steve Hoffman, the only avowed Socialist on the ballot in any race, even though his Freedom Socialist Party is Troskyite.

I voted for Stoney Bird, a real Green, running against TPP loving and indefinite detention loving and NeoLiberal anti-Single Payer Rick Larsen for Congress.

My state legislation had two positions. In one I voted for Alex Ramel, an ecological activist, over the preferred establishment choice of Identity Politics candidate (tribal,) Debra Lekanoff. In the other the incumbent, Jeff Morris, another establishment Democrat, ran unopposed. I wrote in "None." (Morris having the same family name as my mother's maiden name didn't affect me at all.)

But it was all an exercise in futility, voting for my conscience as much as possible. I have little doubt that none of my choices, except maybe Ramel, will make it to the top two. Cantwell and Larsen are shoo-ins and they'll surely face the establishment GOP candidate. Thus cutting out all other options in the Fall.

I'll have to write in my choices then. Oh well.

maryam , July 27, 2018 at 4:54 am

Over here in Europe (not UK) and faced with the similar problem of inapt candidates, we sometimes need to vote creatively: so we vote, of course, but choose to make the ballot sheet invalid. this way our voice is noted and we show that we care about the electoral process, while it also makes clear that we do not care much about the cabdidate(s). "we" will vote, but "they" are not very trustworthy.

MBeaver , July 27, 2018 at 8:12 am

Yep. We in Germany had that lesson already. The Green party was one of the most corrupt one when they finally got elected into the government. They also harmed the social systems massively and supported the first offensive war with German support since WW2. Even as opposition they show all the time how much they lie about their true intentions.
They are not an option, because they are hypocrites.

ronnie mitchell , July 27, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Interesting comment with some good information that I appreciate.\ I live in Bellingham and have filled out my vote for Stony Bird over Rick Larsen whom I truly despise. In fact in previous election cycles I voted for Mike Lapointe instead but he quit running more than a few years ago so the last time I just left it blank and the same goes for the general election vote for Congress.
With the TPP issue Rick Larsen had a townhall meeting at City hall building which was packed and he starts off by saying he hasn't read any of the text of the TPP yet so he was free from answering most questions however he would be checking it out BUT no there would be no further meeting before the voting. In other words he was giving us NOTHING.
I had been part of the protesters outside his fundraising gathering (private and by invitation only) and have been to his local office many times (it's two blocks from where I live) and when myself and a small group were in opposition to building the largest coal terminal in north America at Cherry Point. He would never say he was against it or for it but his fundraisers were backers of the terminal and as each of our group stepped forward to give a statement to his office workers on the issue (Rick was in DC,aka District of Corruption at the time) they just politely listened but neither recorded nor wrote down ANYTHING we said.
The list is long regarding issues on which he is on the opposite side of his constituents wishes and at one gathering was smugly dismissive of requests to represent the votes of the people and not use his super delegate status(not Democratic) to endorse Hillary Clinton because votes in Caucuses were overwhelmingly for Sen. Sanders.
I could go on but it would be too long of a comment but you've given me some good ideas for other choices on the ballot which I needed in particular with Maria Cantwell whom (like fellow neoliberal Patty Murray) I have refused to support in the last two elections.For one of many examples of why, one big one was their stand against importing cheaper medicines from Canada which was word for word straight out of the Big PHarma handbook of talking points, but they DID get quite a lot of flak for it.

I'll look into some of your other suggestions as well before I turn in this ballot, thanks for your comment.

TS , July 27, 2018 at 4:06 am

> Skip Scott

> If they could get a charismatic candidate for President in 2020 and break the 15% threshold for the debates,

And what makes you think the people who decide wouldn't simply shift the goalposts?

Skip Scott , July 27, 2018 at 2:48 pm

I'm sure that would be attempted, but with a strong candidate hopefully there'd be enough of a fuss made to get them to back off. I'd also like to dream that some of the more progressive Democrats in congress would see the writing on the wall, and declare themselves Greens. That'd give us a toehold in two branches of government. I know I'm being overly optimistic, but it keeps me away from the whiskey bottle.

Piotr Berman , July 28, 2018 at 3:06 pm

I have some misgivings to "eco politics", I am not sure to what extend they apply to Greens, and I am sorry to say, liberals have a knack to pick the worst parts of any progressive idea.

Any goal has to consider trade-off. If we think that emitting carbon to the atmosphere is a major problem, solutions must follow economic calculus. Instead, there was two much stress on "aesthetic solutions" and sometimes scientifically unsound solutions. For example, aesthetic solution is electric vehicles, but hybrid vehicles offer a much smaller cost per amount of carbon that is saved, only when majority of vehicles already gain from regenerative braking and having engines work only in fuel optimal conditions (battery absorbing surplus or augmenting the engine power when the amount of needed power is outside parameters optimal for the internal combustion engine) you may get better cost from electric engines.

Or excluding nuclear power from the "approved solutions". One of my many objections on "Republicans on energy" that they promised a few times to be "rational" but they never delivered.

Philosophically, there should be a fat carbon tax and social policies and subsidies to avoid poor people to loose.

"Hyperrational" progressive approach would be to make a balance: as a society, where do we waste, and where do we spent too little.

1. Military/foreign policy. In aggregate, spendings are huge and nobody is overly proud from the results. An open question if this category of spending should be decreased by 50% or 75%, if we proceed in stages we can reach satisfactory point. Mind you, the largest ticket items are improving nuclear weapons or conventional weapon systems that are needed against very few most sophisticated adversaries who also waste resources. USA, Russia, China, the rest of NATO etc. could agree to some disarmament, Russia and China actually accelerated weapon development in response to "Let America dominate forever" policies, bad news are they they do it for less money.

2. Medical robbery complex. Private insurance and lack of costs control leads to spending on medical care around 18% of GDP rather than 10%. This waste is actually larger than all spending on defense.

3. Infrastructure (large public role) and other capital investments (small public role but essential fiscal policies and "thoughtful protectionism"), we spent too little, can be covered by a part of 1 and 2.

I could continue with "hyperrational progressive manifesto" but I will give one example. Enforcing labor standards may eliminate 90% of illegal employment without walls, concentration camps for aliens etc. Some industries cannot make it without cheap illegal aliens, if they REALLY cannot, workers should work legally in their home countries and resulting imports should be encouraged. If picking carrots is too expensive in USA, we may get them from other countries in Western Hemisphere. On that note, lately there are enough jobs in USA, but native born citizens do not flock to carrot picking, they would rather have jobs that required large capital investments and there are too few of those.

Hyperrational rhetoric can borrow from libertarians: if our allies do not feel secure when they spend X times more than their regional adversaries (especially if we add our own regional expenditures), that says that money alone cannot cure their "secure feeling" deficit and we and they are already spending too much. We do not need to hate or demean anyone to reach such conclusions.

Skip Scott , July 29, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Piotr-

I am all in favor of rational solutions to our environmental problems. The problem is the entrenched power of the existing exploitive industries. An incredible amount of progress could be made through on-site power generation and energy efficient building design.

I'm am not in favor of current nuclear power plants, but I am not opposed to research, and I've heard good things about recent designs, especially thorium nukes. I am no engineer, but if we had safe nukes, we could go with hydrogen fuel cells for automobiles. There are plenty of other creative ideas as well for things such as localized food production.

If we find common purpose with the Libertarians to stop the war machine, the amount of energy and resources and creative potential to bring humanity forward would be tremendous. First we have to stop the war machine, and then we can argue about the extent of the role of government in a free society.

[Jul 31, 2018] Trump Has a Grand Strategy, He Wants to Do a 'Reverse Nixon' -- Partner Russia for an Alliance against China

Jul 31, 2018 | russia-insider.com

In a conversation with the Financial Times last week, Henry Kissinger made a highly significant remark about President Donald Trump's attempt to improve the United States' relations with Russia. The conversation took place in the backdrop of the Helsinki summit on July 16. Kissinger said: "I think Trump may be one of those figures in history who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretences. It doesn't necessarily mean that he knows this, or that he is considering any great alternative. It could just be an accident."

Kissinger did not elaborate, but the drift of his thought is consistent with opinions he has voiced in the past – the US' steady loss of influence on global arena, rise of China and resurgence of Russia necessitating a new global balance .

As far back as 1972 in a discussion with Richard Nixon on his upcoming trip to China, signifying the historic opening to Beijing, Kissinger could visualize such a rebalancing becoming necessary in future. He expressed the view that compared with the Soviets (Russians), the Chinese were "just as dangerous. In fact, they're more dangerous over a historical period." Kissinger added, "in 20 years your (Nixon's) successor, if he's as wise as you, will wind up leaning towards the Russians against the Chinese."

Kissinger argued that the United States, which sought to profit from the enmity between Moscow and Beijing in the Cold War era, would therefore need "to play this balance-of-power game totally unemotionally. Right now, we need the Chinese to correct the Russians and to discipline the Russians." But in the future, it would be the other way around.

Of course, Kissinger is not the pioneer of US-Russia-China 'triangular diplomacy'. It is no secret that in the 1950s, the US did all it could to drive a wedge between Mao Zedong and Nikita Khrushchev. The accent was on isolating "communist China". Khrushchev's passion for 'peaceful co-existence' following his summit with Dwight Eisenhower in 1959 at Camp David became a defining moment in Sino-Soviet schism.

But even as Sino-Soviet schism deepened (culminating in the bloody conflict in Ussuri River in 1969), Nixon reversed the policy of Eisenhower and opened the line to Beijing, prioritizing the US' global competition with the Soviet Union. The de-classified Cold-War archival materials show that Washington seriously pondered over the possibility of a wider Sino-Soviet war. One particular memorandum of the US State Department recounts an incredible moment in Cold War history – a KGB officer querying about American reaction to a hypothetical Soviet attack on Chinese nuclear weapons facilities.

Then there is a memo written for Kissinger's attention by then influential China watcher Allen S. Whiting warning of the danger of a Soviet attack on China. Clearly, 1969 was a pivotal year when the US calculus was reset based on estimation that Sino-Soviet tensions provided a basis for Sino-American rapprochement. It led to the dramatic overture by Nixon and Kissinger to open secret communications with China through Pakistan and Romania.

Now, this recapitulation is useful today, because Trump's moves so far are indicative of an agenda to revert to the Eisenhower era – containment of China by forging an alliance with Russia .

Will Putin fall for Trump's bait? Well, it depends. To my mind, there is no question Putin will see a great opening here for Russia. But it will depend on what's on offer from the US. Putin's fulsome praise for Trump on North Korean issue and the latter's warm response was a meaningful exchange at Helsinki, has been a good beginning to underscore Moscow's keenness to play a broader role in the Asia-Pacific.

Beijing must be watching the 'thaw' at Helsinki with some unease. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson welcomed the Helsinki summit. But the mainstream assessment by Chinese analysts is that nothing much is going to happen since the contradictions in the US-Russia relations are fundamental and Russophobia is all too pervasive within the US establishment.

The government-owned China Daily carried an editorial – Has the meeting in Helsinki reset US-Russia relations? – where it estimates that at best, " Helsinki summit represents a good beginning for better relations between the US and Russia." Notably, however, the editorial is pessimistic about any real US-Russia breakthrough, including on Syria, the topic that Putin singled out as a test case of the efficacy of Russian-American cooperation.

On the other hand, the Chinese Communist Party tabloid Global Times featured an editorial giving a stunning analysis of what has prompted Trump to pay such attention ("respect") to Russia -- China can learn from Trump's respect for Russia . It concludes that the only conceivable reason could be that although Russia is not an economic power, it has retained influence on the global stage due to military power:

Trump has repeatedly stressed that Russia and the US are the two biggest nuclear powers in the world, with their combined nuclear arsenal accounting for 90 percent of world's total, and thus the US must live in peace with Russia. On US-Russia relations, Trump is clearheaded.

On the contrary, if the US is piling pressure on China today, it is because China, although an economic giant, is still a weak military power. Therefore:

China's nuclear weapons have to not only secure a second strike but also play the role of cornerstone in forming a strong deterrence so that outside powers dare not intimidate China militarily Part of the US' strategic arrogance may come from its absolute nuclear advantage China must speed up its process of developing strategic nuclear power Not only should we possess a strong nuclear arsenal, but we must also let the outside world know that China is determined to defend its core national interests with nuclear power.

Indeed, if the crunch time comes, China will be on its own within the Kissingerian triangle. And China needs to prepare for such an eventuality. On the other hand, China's surge to create a vast nuclear arsenal could make a mockery of the grand notions in Moscow and Washington that they are the only adults in the room in keeping the global strategic balance.


Source: Indian Punchline

[Jul 31, 2018] The lesser of two evils is still evil. And Trump isn't all that much less evi

Notable quotes:
"... He is the perfect Rorschach candidate, revealing more about his supporters than about his true nature: the picture means whatever *you* say it means. ..."
Jul 31, 2018 | akacatholic.com
  1. my2cents March 8, 2016 If it comes down to Hillary vs. TRUMP, then I'm with TRUMP. If it comes down to Hillary vs. GODZILLA, I'm with GODZILLA. It's called simplified politics! Log in to Reply
    • phlogiston March 9, 2016 If it comes down to Trump vs. Clinton, I will find a third party candidate to vote for or write-in Donald Duck. The lesser of two evils is still evil. And Trump isn't all that much less evil. Log in to Reply
  2. CraigV March 8, 2016 That's a good summary of the Trump phenomena.

    I believe this nation crossed the Rubicon long ago and is coming under judgement. That said, I'll likely pull the lever for Trump as a vote against political correctness, and in the off chance he really does go after the globalists. Heck, maybe he'll go all in and blow the lid off the 9-11 fiasco. I'm not holding my breath though.
    At the end of the day, it may all be moot anyway. 2017 marks the 100 year anniversary of Fatima after all. Log in to Reply

  3. Alarico March 8, 2016 It's in Trump's approach to foreign relations that he shows himself to be more mature and less shackled than his Republican competitors. It's always shocking to hear Ted Cruz bluster from out of the blue for the "'unapologetical' (sic) defence of Israel" in his stump speeches, and to imagine the likes of an apostate like Glenn Beck nodding his head at that. There is really something deviant and diabolical about Protestants' understanding of the 'end times'. There is a real need for theological correction on what the New Testament books, and St. Paul's letters in particular, really meant by Jerusalem, actually, figuratively and in the anagogical sense. If only Catholics had not become so disoriented by the heresies of Vatican II. Log in to Reply
  4. LeGrandDerangement March 8, 2016 I'm not looking for a Savior We've already got one. But I delight in the hatred that Trump inspires among thoes whose foreign policy positions have landed us in this mess, both the Pantsuited Neocon and the Israel-First Neocons. Log in to Reply
  5. Servant of Our Lady March 8, 2016 Brilliant, brilliant post, Mr. Kokx. Our breakfast conversation was just this topic -- that Trump may be going against the New World Order, but he is NOT Catholic. So, what to do about that? What to think? You have added to our conversation which is continuing during lunch. (Home schooled and home from college for spring break children) Thank you so very much for the Catholic clarity and for putting all this into a Catholic perspective.
    Until I read that end where your name was written, I thought that Louie was writing this. Log in to Reply
    • my2cents March 8, 2016 We already had a Catholic president and the Kennedys did nothing for Catholic causes. Quite the opposite, to be sure. Log in to Reply
  6. A Catholic Thinker March 8, 2016 Spot-on analysis. Log in to Reply
  7. Maxime_N_DiGent March 8, 2016 Trump uses a variety of rhetorical devices to mask the fact that he seldom says anything specific. He employs the same language that salesmen are taught in their training: flattering, inclusive, yet implying that those who don't "buy" are somehow deficient, evasive as to details. He is the perfect Rorschach candidate, revealing more about his supporters than about his true nature: the picture means whatever *you* say it means.

    I certainly don't think he is Hitler. I do think that conditions here are comparable to those in Germany before Hitler's rise to power. After almost eight years of a weak and waffling president, people long for a forceful leader. In such a time, extreme caution and careful discernment are only prudent. Log in to Reply

  8. my2cents March 8, 2016 Interesting –Fox News interview. Trump not a part of secret societies according to Newt Gingrich. Sounds like a good thing, no??
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1ndVffmYHI&ebc=ANyPxKrir-RxX0N3NutOgcuFAeH01eyPvi9AaLWBQy_Eq0y3bqqGsNm_T1KyRk0AIPkxod2-QG737avMxnSQ4pS2vkvNTDqcoA Log in to Reply
  9. Lynda March 9, 2016 Newt Gingrich is part of the secretive NWO club. He is an insider. Log in to Reply
  10. cmsgret March 9, 2016 I'm for Trump because the next president will decide the Supreme Court. Pres. Trump can nominate Cruz. Those in the Senate who hate Cruz will say: Yes. We hate him and good riddance. Those of us who have learned the hard way not to trust lawyers, will breathe a sigh of relief. Whatever else happens to the muscular march of globalism, the Supreme Court will not be the last straw. Log in to Reply
  11. phlogiston March 9, 2016 " the terrorist attacks Israelis commit against Palestinians on an almost daily basis " Huh? Pardon me, but when was the last time an Israeli blew himself up in a West bank marketplace? How can a thinking individual look at the genocide being committed against Christians in the Middle East and not understand that the so-called "Palestinians" are simply the ideological kin of ISIS? Only their immediate targets differ. Log in to Reply
    • Johnno March 10, 2016 The Israeli's may not be blowing themselves up, but they sure will blow up marketplaces and the entire city block and rain white phosphorus down on an entire crowd of people amongst other atrocities. That's when they're not enforcing curfews that no Palestinian could leave their home thanks to snipers on the rooftops, as they broadcast hardcore pornography on their TV channels to insult & psychologically torture them.

      In fact more and more one comes to believe that the 'terrorists' are very useful to Israel and provides them with convenient excuses to continue to grab land illegally and ethnically cleanse the Palestinians out of existence. After all HAMAS itself owes it origin to Israeli help as has been documented.

      The enemy of our enemy is not necessarily our friend. And given documentation that certain Zionists have long planned to create a 'Greater Israel' one which involves breaking up the entire Middle East into separate warring states too busy killing each other to be a threat to Israel, one recalls that 'I.S.I.S.' also used to be the apt acronym of the 'Israeli Secret Intelligence Services.' Curious given it's an established fact that America has been training, funding and arming ISIS forces and allegedly also even being so kind as to have fighter jets escort their oil to their friends in Turkey. Log in to Reply

      • Truth Seeker March 13, 2016 Well said, sir. Another point I would like to bring up is that many in Middle East do not hate the west for it's freedoms but because for the past 100 years Western powers have been bombing them, creating refugees and helping tyrants and dictators to come to power. While Islam is a religion of war, the resentment has another component to it that the Western media shamelessly ignores. Log in to Reply
  12. crawler March 10, 2016 Pat Buchanan for President! Log in to Reply
  13. Johnno March 10, 2016 I know Catholics obviously like the pro-life Ted Cruise, but he committed to being part of the establishment that is inevitably leading us to hell, and therefore voting for him will not fix the problems.

    Trump on the other hand, whatever his suspicious and unsavory past behavior, does however have the right enemies – virtually all of the establishment democrats, republicans and the mainstream media and liberals from tech giants to celebrities.

    Either he is truly someone who will bring them down or we're witnessing the most impressive display of reverse psychology marketing.

    What he 'promises' are a few things that might really change things:
    – Auditing the Federal Reserve
    – Publishing the censored documents from the 9/11 commission
    – Investigating Hillary Clinton

    This very likely has all sides of the aisle shaking in their shoes. And wonders whether or not he'll even be successful, but let's consider this.

    Exposing the truth behind 9/11, the Federal Reserve and more could very well 'destroy' the American government, which may mean a lot of heads rolling if hypothetically Trump can deliver.

    I'm betting a lot of those heads are the same ones forming part of the hydra comprising the LGBT and Abortion Stasi. Which means taking out the head honchos and the money interests is also strategically to the Pro-Life/Traditional Marriage Choir's advantage. Just in a more round-about way. Log in to Reply

  14. john6 March 11, 2016 NWO just 1 of its many tentacles is the banking system
    http://youtu.be/UrJGlXEs8nI Log in to Reply
  15. Kurt Homan March 15, 2016 I have not been following the presidential debates, but I have always been uneasy about Trump simply because I had assumed because of his mass wealth that he was a member of the illuminati global elites. After hearing recently that Anti-Pope, Biblical False Prophet Francis has publicly spoken out against Trump, I am now open to considering voting for him at election time. The global elites, through their now Freemason controlled Vatican were able to steal the Chair of Peter from our True Pope Benedict XVI, and put their man Francis in place are preparing the world for the Anti-Christ to soon step out onto the world stage. May God have Mercy on us all !!!

[Jul 30, 2018] Jeff Bezos Paper Tells You Not To Worry About Those Billionaires

Looks like a lot of people now have doubts about the legitimacy of neoliberal social system.
Jul 30, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

buzzsaw99 Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:04 Permalink

The fact that Mark Zuckerberg is so rich is annoying, and his separateness from Main Street may not be a great thing socially, but in an economic sense, his fortune did not "come from" the paychecks of ordinary workers...

It damn sure did. It came straight out of their pension funds. Thousands of pension funds across the world bought faang stocks and those workers will be getting fucked in the end while while zuck heads back to hawaii with their money. look at elon, his company hasn't made dime one in profit but he is a billionaire. amzn, with a p/e of 228. they didn't get that p/e without millions of ordinary folk buying their overpriced stock. it is pure ponzi-nomics with fascist overtones and the maggots are cashing out big time.

divingengineer -> buzzsaw99 Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:14 Permalink

The greatest fortunes in history have been built in the last 10 years with 0% interest rates. You were spot on about pensions, they were the casualties, almost every private pension in the country bankrupted by 0% rates so that these fucks could amass unimaginable wealth.

Now the filthy commoner scum have the audacity to suggest that they should pay taxes on it. Where will the madness end?

cankles' server -> divingengineer Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:24 Permalink

Very soon.

A big reveal of corruption is happening before the end of the month.

The didn't do a half billion dollar renovation on Gitmo for nothing. It's for the treasonous scum that will be on trial in military tribunals.

same2u -> divingengineer Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:35 Permalink

All my friends Jews knew this was going to happen. They were buying stocks like crazy when I was telling them to buy gold and get ready for a big reset that never happened. Ten years later they are all multimillionaires and I lost half of my money buying gold...

buzzsaw99 -> divingengineer Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:42 Permalink

institutions bought their shares with real earned money. bezos did not. as far as i'm concerned being a ceo is a license to steal. bezos damn sure didn't earn that money because he is smarter or works harder than anyone else. look at how he treats his workers. what an asshole.

james diamond squid -> buzzsaw99 Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:48 Permalink

everyone wants to have an IPO or be in on an IPO, so they can dump their shares on a patsy at a later date

Zorba's idea -> divingengineer Sun, 07/29/2018 - 14:09 Permalink

True! The Elites have rigged the system...natural for them to rape our ASSets.

SocratesSolutions -> buzzsaw99 Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:43 Permalink

It's even worse than that. So much worse. Facebook was stolen by the Satanic Judaic Zionist crowd. Research it. Another gentleman invented it. The Jews stole it, like they've stolen pretty much everything else. No wonder Napoleon said that "The Jews are the master robbers of the modern age". And beyond the criminal vile theft, you have what they are using it for. And that is?

Using it for the 911'd cows in America. And that is you. The Satanic Jews are murdering you and robbing you blind. They 911'd you physically with the Twin Towers. Now they're doing it mentally and financially with Facebook, a control system grid -- a gate to herd cattle which they view you as. They are herding you. You'll be 911'd again in larger and larger numbers until the Satanic Judaic is removed from the World Stage.

Here is the real creator of Facebook: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJ4KRts8RFc

Zuckerberg is a planted punk Zionist spook. You're going to have to clear the world of all of these Satanic Judaic ladies and gentlemen. First the idea needs to come in to show how and why. This is underway.

divingengineer Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:08 Permalink

Sickening wealth and sickening poverty, all on display only feet apart on the West Coast.

I don't know the answer, neither do they, but they better figure something out and quick if they know what's good for them.

FORCE Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:10 Permalink

Amerikan pauper-proles;let them eat cake-apps

same2u Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:12 Permalink

Ever since the housing crisis I been waiting for the world to become a better place. I see now that I been fooling myself into believing that we live in a civilized and honest world. Nobody gives a shit about anyone nor anything, people only care about themselves...

divingengineer -> same2u Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:17 Permalink

How do we turn these viscous billionaire dogs on each other rather than on us?

We need to figure out how to play the game like they play it on us.

[Jul 29, 2018] The 4 Types Of Constitutional Crises by Julia Azari and Seth Masket

Feb 09, 2017 | fivethirtyeight.com

... ... ...

Political and legal observers generally divide constitutional crises into four categories:

1. The Constitution doesn't say what to do.

The U.S. Constitution is brief and vague. (Compare it to a state constitution sometime.) This vagueness has one major advantage: It makes an 18th-century document flexible enough to effectively serve a 21st-century society. But sometimes the Constitution leaves us without sorely needed instructions, such as when William Henry Harrison became the first president to die in office in 1841. At the time, it wasn't clear whether the vice president should fully assume the office or just safeguard the role until a new president could somehow be chosen. (It wasn't until 1967 that the 25th amendment officially settled the question.) When Vice President John Tyler took over, no one was sure if he was the real president or merely the acting president, nor was anyone certain what should happen next. Tyler asserted that he was, in fact, the new president, and since then, vice presidents who have had to step into service as chief executive have been treated as fully legitimate, but early confusion took its toll on the perceived legitimacy of Tyler's presidency.

In this way, informal precedents and practices have filled in many of the gaps in the Constitution's text over time. Constitutional amendments have also clarified issues such as succession rules and term limits.

So what could cause this kind of constitutional crisis during Trump's presidency? One area where the Constitution has never been clarified -- much to the chagrin of advocates for a limited presidency -- is the question of emergency powers . The Constitution is completely silent on what powers the president has to respond to crises, although some scholars argue that protecting the nation in a state of emergency is an inherent power of the chief executive. Plenty of presidents have interpreted it this way -- Abraham Lincoln did when he suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War, for example, as did Harry Truman when he tried to seize the steel mills during the Korean War. 1

It's worth noting that both of these claims were rejected by the Supreme Court, but Lincoln didn't comply , leaving it up to Congress to rein him in. That might have been a constitutional crisis in its own right, but there was already another one going on (the Civil War).

Trump, for his part, has talked a lot about terrorist attacks, even suggesting that the media might be covering them up . Given presidents' history of using crises and threats to shore up their emergency powers, it's easy to imagine that in the wake of a terrorist attack or war, Trump might enact policies that would lead Congress or the courts to challenge whether he had the authority to take those actions. That would be a constitutional crisis.

2. The Constitution's meaning is in question.

Sometimes the Constitution's attempt to address an issue is phrased in a way that could allow multiple interpretations, leaving experts disagreeing about what it means and making it difficult or impossible to address a pressing problem. In this way, both the Great Depression and the Civil War created constitutional crises. The problem sparked by the Civil War is obvious: The fight rested on a bunch of unsettled constitutional questions , the biggest of which was about slavery and the federal government's ability to control it, a subject on which the Constitution was silent. And while the Constitution provided information on how a state could join the union, it didn't say whether one could leave it or how it would go about doing so. It obviously took a war to resolve this crisis.

When it comes to the Great Depression, the issue is harder to see. By the time Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president in 1932, there were calls for the president to declare martial law to more forcefully address the economic situation because, well, people were starving and homeless. Contemporary interpretations of the Constitution offered very limited views about how the federal government could intervene in the economy, limits FDR wasn't inclined to heed. Indeed, the Supreme Court overturned many of the New Deal's main provisions . In 1937, Roosevelt threatened to change the makeup of the court, asking Congress to add seats (which is within their power) so that he could pack the court with new appointees who were more likely to vote his way. (The Constitution is notably silent on the proper number of seats on the court -- a fact Merrick Garland surely knows by now.) Roosevelt argued that the people had elected him twice and had installed a Democratic Congress, thus endorsing his new vision for economic regulation. Even though the court-packing plan did not violate any specific provision of the Constitution, many felt Roosevelt was abusing the Constitution's vagueness to claim near-dictatorial powers, creating a crisis . Ultimately, several sitting justices chose to side with FDR's economic plans, and the president backed off on his court-packing proposal.

Presidential politics frequently spur constitutional conflict when Congress feels the executive branch has claimed too much power. Congress censured Andrew Jackson for taking aggressive steps to destroy the Second Bank of the United States instead of waiting for its charter to expire. Clashes over war powers are common enough that Congress, overriding Richard Nixon's veto, enacted the War Powers Resolution in 1973 in an effort to lay out a procedure for the president to notify Congress when American troops are sent into a conflict. But these clashes rarely rise to the level of a constitutional crisis, even though experts consistently warn about increasing, unchecked executive power.

Trump has only been in office for three weeks, so it's hard to say how this type of constitutional crisis might come up during his presidency. So far, Trump has relied heavily on executive orders and hasn't revealed much in the way of a legislative agenda. The main controversies of his administration thus far have been over the substance of his actions, and the immigration order was blocked mainly on the grounds that it violated the constitutional rights of individuals, not that it represented executive overreach. But if Trump goes too far in issuing executive orders that affect domestic politics, or if he takes heavy-handed action with the states, the overreach question could come up.

Another possible crisis that would fall into this category: impeachment. It doesn't come up all that often, but one source of constitutional confusion is the impeachment clause in Article II, Section 4 , which states, "The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." What are "high crimes and misdemeanors?" The nation debated this during the Clinton impeachment but didn't really get any closer to a definition. Since there's little agreement about the conditions under which a president can be removed from office, we might be in for a constitutional crisis if the House attempts to initiate the impeachment process. Then again, maybe not. The criteria are murky, but the process for removal is clear: If the House drafts articles of impeachment and the Senate votes to convict, the president is out. If he refuses to leave, however, that would certainly spark a constitutional crisis.

3. The Constitution tells us what to do, but it's not politically feasible.

This category of constitutional crisis can crop up when presidential elections produce contested and confusing results. In the 2000 presidential election, when George W. Bush and Al Gore were separated by just a few hundred votes in Florida, the tipping-point state whose electoral votes would determine the winner, the state's election results remained contested for weeks due to a number of irregularities and a secretary of state who seemed determined to cut a recount short. In theory, the Constitution allowed for various solutions to this problem: Congress could have decided which of Florida's electors to recognize, or Congress could have determined that neither candidate had achieved a majority in the Electoral College and let the House of Representatives decide on a president (per the process spelled out in the 12th Amendment ). Such outcomes, while certainly constitutional, would have been politically infeasible, creating a significant legitimacy crisis for the new president.

The last time the House of Representatives chose a president was in 1824 , and this decision was widely decried as corrupt and created a massive backlash against John Quincy Adams' administration. In 2000, the Supreme Court stepped in instead, cutting the recount short . The court's decision ended the dispute in Bush's favor, and Gore gave a televised statement announcing that while he disagreed with the decision, he would accept it. In this case, the court arguably created a constitutional crisis by stepping in where it wasn't technically needed, but Gore's acceptance of the decision defused the situation. Had Gore refused to abide by the decision, the crisis could have become far more serious.

In a somewhat similar case, the results of the 1876 election were hotly disputed when Democrat Samuel Tilden won a majority of the popular vote but enough state delegations remained in dispute to deny him a majority of the Electoral College. Congress appointed a 15-member special commission to address the growing crisis. Members came up with a compromise under which Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes would become the president, but Union soldiers would be withdrawn from Southern states, effectively ending the post-Civil War Reconstruction period . This election remains possibly the most disputed presidential contest to date.

It's fair to ask whether these sorts of crises are even constitutional in nature -- just because we don't want to follow the Constitution doesn't mean there's a constitutional crisis. But if following the Constitution is impractical, that is itself a form of crisis. Presumably, we won't encounter an election-related constitutional crisis of this type until 2020.

However, other scenarios might create a similar dilemma. There has been a lot of talk about the 25th amendment , which allows other governing officials to remove the president and put the vice president in charge. Like most of the Constitution, there's some room for interpretation, but this kind of removal is definitely established in the text. It's possible to imagine a situation in which the Cabinet decides this is the best course of action but faces hurdles in selling it to the millions of voters who chose Trump in November, sparking a crisis.

Related: Politics Podcast Politics Podcast: Trump vs. The Judge -- Vol. II 4. Institutions themselves fail.

The Constitution's system of checks and balances sets the various branches against each other for the laudable purpose of constraining tyranny. However, due to partisan polarization, individual corruption, or any number of other reasons, sometimes the political institutions in these arrangements fail, sending the governmental system into a crisis. This was the type of constitutional crisis commentators were seemingly referring to in describing reports that Customs and Border Protection agents (members of the executive branch) weren't following orders from the judicial branch.

In theory, clashes between different parts of government could regularly produce constitutional crises, but in reality, they often don't. Had Nixon ignored the Supreme Court ruling ordering him to turn over tapes of conversations he had recorded in the Oval Office, that would have been a huge crisis of this genre. But he didn't.

Government shutdowns are a milder example. During the brief shutdowns in the Clinton and Barack Obama years, some government functions remained in place, and in both cases, agreements were eventually reached. But these situations illustrate how the Constitution doesn't always provide safeguards or guidelines for making a decision when governing bodies reach a stalemate. The provisions of the Constitution set up political incentives for elected leaders to ensure that the government runs. When these don't work, there's not much recourse.


True constitutional crises are rare. The Constitution is set up so that power is shared between the president, Congress and the courts, and between the federal government and the states. This cuts down on vacuums where no one has clear authority, instead creating situations where multiple people or institutions are empowered to act. Serious constitutional crises occur when our institutions are rendered ineffective, which is usually about politics more than process, and often has less to do with how institutions were designed than with how legitimate they are perceived to be.

The last type of constitutional crisis -- when different parts or branches of government are at loggerheads -- might be the one we are most likely to see during Trump's administration. If Trump continues to strain democratic norms and push political boundaries, Congress, the courts or even members of his own administration could push back. Those conflicts could be resolved deliberately and thoughtfully, with an eye toward what the founders would do. Or not. Footnotes

  1. It's worth noting that both of these claims were rejected by the Supreme Court, but Lincoln didn't comply , leaving it up to Congress to rein him in. That might have been a constitutional crisis in its own right, but there was already another one going on (the Civil War).
Julia Azari is an associate professor of political science at Marquette University. Her research interests include the American presidency, political parties, and political rhetoric. She is the author of "Delivering the People's Message: The Changing Politics of the Presidential Mandate." @julia_azari Seth Masket is a professor of political science and director of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver, specializing in political parties, state legislatures and campaigns and elections. He is the author of "The Inevitable Party: Why Attempts to Kill the Party System Fail and How they Weaken Democracy."

[Jul 29, 2018] It s Official The US is in a Constitutional Crisis

Notable quotes:
"... AG Sessions allowed a special investigation into the new President while allowing rogue actors from the Obama Administration to lead the investigation. ..."
"... Former FBI Director and Dirty Cop Robert Mueller was selected to lead the investigation. Mueller had a history of allowing Clinton and Obama related scandals to dissolve. ..."
"... arose or may arise ..."
Jul 29, 2018 | www.thegatewaypundit.com

It's Official: The US is in a Constitutional Crisis – Only President Trump Can Save the Nation Now! The US is now in a constitutional crisis. Yesterday Attorney General Sessions announced that he was refusing to set up a special investigation into FBI and DOJ wrongdoing even though the evidence of corruption, illegalities and cover ups of Obama and Clinton scandals is rampant. A year ago Sessions had no problem with the creation of an unconstitutional investigation into President Trump when no crimes were committed.

Mueller's illegal Trump-Russia investigation moves on while investigations into obvious corruption and criminal activities in Obama's FBI, DOJ and State Department are ignored. We asked in October what does the deep state have on AG Sessions causing him to ignore the constitution and his duty to serve the American people? It's now clear that Sessions must go and a new team be brought in to clean up the FBI, DOJ and other deep state led government departments.

How did we get here?

During the 2016 election one of the biggest chants at Trump rallies was – Drain the swamp!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZDGJB_jXK_o

Americans were tired of the corruption and criminal acts perpetrated by the government under the Obama administration but no one guessed how corrupt it really was. The sinister Obama administration had the audacity to spy on the Trump campaign using the entire apparatus of the US government and then framed the incoming President once he won.

AG Sessions allowed a special investigation into the new President while allowing rogue actors from the Obama Administration to lead the investigation.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/10519515222215526?pubid=ld-5132-3666&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thegatewaypundit.com&rid=duckduckgo.com&width=820

Former FBI Director and Dirty Cop Robert Mueller was selected to lead the investigation. Mueller had a history of allowing Clinton and Obama related scandals to dissolve. Emailgate, Fast and Furious, the Clinton Foundation, Clinton emails, Uranium One, and the IRS scandal all fizzled with no wrong doing identified over Mueller's years with the FBI. Mueller also was best friends with disgraced and fired leaker former FBI Director James Comey. Mueller should have never taken the job to lead the investigation due to his numerous conflicts of interest.

We know that the FBI had an investigation into the Clintons and money they received from Russia in return for giving Russia 20% of all US uranium. Prior to the Obama administration approving the very controversial Uranium One deal in 2010, the FBI had evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were involved in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering in order to benefit Vladimir Putin. The FBI approved the deal anyway. We also know that Rosenstein and Mueller were the ones who allowed the Uranium One deal to go forward. This was the real Russia collusion story involving the US government.

Mueller brought in a team of Obama and Clinton lackeys to form his investigative team who had no intention of performing an independent and objective investigation. The entire team is corrupt lefties who have represented the Clinton Foundation or let Hillary go in her obvious crimes related to her email scandal. This included the texting FBI scoundrels Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Some suspect that their efforts are as much to cover past wrong doings as to frame the current President for unethical acts.

https://video.insider.foxnews.com/v/video-embed.html?video_id=5670575240001&loc=thegatewaypundit.com&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thegatewaypundit.com%2F2018%2F03%2Fits-official-the-us-is-in-a-constitutional-crisis-only-president-trump-can-save-the-nation%2F&_xcf=

We know that Mueller's team illegally obtained emails related to the Trump transition team as reported in December and these emails were protected under attorney-client privilege. Mueller and his entire team should have resigned after this but the investigation moves on.

Unconstitutionality of the Mueller Investigation

Not only is the Mueller investigation corrupt, it is unconstitutional. We learned in January that Paul Manafort was suing Mueller, Rosenstein and Sessions as Head of the DOJ due to the Mueller investigation being unconstitutional.

Gregg Jarrett at FOX News wrote when initially Mueller brought charges against Manafort that Mueller is tasked with finding a crime that does not exist in the law. It is a legal impossibility. He is being asked to do something that is manifestly unattainable. In addition Jarrett stated-

As I pointed out in a column last May, the law (28 CFR 600) grants legal authority to appoint a special counsel to investigate crimes. Only crimes. He has limited jurisdiction. Yet, in his order appointing Mueller as special counsel (Order No. 3915-2017), Rosenstein directed him to investigate "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump." It fails to identify any specific crimes, likely because none are applicable.

Manafort sued the DOJ, Mueller and Rosenstein because what they are doing is not supported by US Law as noted previously by Jarrett. Manafort's case argues in paragraph 33 that the special counsel put in place by crooked Rosenstein gave crooked and criminal Mueller powers that are not permitted by law –

But paragraph (b)(ii) of the Appointment Order purports to grant Mr. Mueller further authority to investigate and prosecute " any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation." That grant of authority is not authorized by DOJ's special counsel regulations. It is not a "specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated." Nor is it an ancillary power to address efforts to impede or obstruct investigation under 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).

In addition to Jarrett and Manafort's arguments above, Robert Barnes wrote this past week at Law and Crimes that –

Paul Manafort's legal team brought a motion to dismiss on Tuesday, noting that Rosenstein could not appoint Mueller to any investigation outside the scope of the 2016 campaign since Sessions did not recuse himself for anything outside the campaign. I agree with this take on Mueller's authority. If we follow that argument that would mean Sessions himself has exclusive authority to appoint a special counsel for non-collusion charges, and Sessions has taken no such action. Sessions himself should make that clear to Mueller, rather than await court resolution. Doing so would remove three of the four areas of inquiry from Mueller's requested interview with President Trump.

Sessions formally notifying Mueller that he does not have authority to act outside of campaign-related cases and cases related to obstruction of Mueller's investigation would be doing what the Constitution compels: enforcing the Appointments Clause of the Constitution. Additionally, Sessions notifying Mueller that he does not have authority to act outside of campaign-related cases would be exercising Sessions' court-recognized Constitutional obligation to "direct and supervise litigation" conducted by the Department of Justice. Furthermore, Sessions notifying Mueller that he does not have authority to act outside of campaign-related cases protects against the inappropriate use of the federal grand jury that defendant Manafort now rightly complains about.

Sessions limiting Mueller to the 2016 campaign would also be restoring confidence in democratic institutions, and restore public faith that democratically elected officials.

One thing to remember about Sessions' recusal : Sessions only recused himself from "any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States." This recusal letter limits the scope of Sessions' recusal to the 2016 campaigns; it does not authorize Sessions' recusal for anything beyond that. Constitutionally, Sessions has a " duty to direct and supervise litigation" conducted by the Department of Justice. Ethically, professionally, and legally, Sessions cannot ignore his supervisory obligations for cases that are not related to the "campaigns for President."

Not only is the Mueller investigation run by former FBI and DOJ criminals and bad cops but it is unconstitutional in the way it was created and in the way it is currently being managed outside the scope of Sessions' recusal while incorporating Sessions duties as AG.

The only solution

There's a lot of speculation from some Americans and Trump supporters who believe that AG Sessions is behind the scenes working on cleaning the swamp, but this is all speculation. Little if any evidence supports these hopes.

We must look at the facts. Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. Rosenstein was somehow recommended and hired as Assistant AG. With a background of multiple conflicts of interest related to Uranium One and having signed off on at least one FISA warrant to spy on candidate and future President Trump, Rosenstein never should have been appointed. In spite of his conflicts, Rosenstein hired Mueller to investigate President Trump and continues in his oversight role. Sessions', Rosenstein's and Mueller's actions are unethical, illegal and unconstitutional.

We are currently in a constitutional crisis. AG Sessions will not uphold the law. He must be replaced with an aggressive, competent and fair AG who will uphold the constitution. This is something we haven't had in at least a decade.

Only President Trump can save America. Only President Trump can replace AG Sessions and now it's time.

jacobum Lee Lilly 4 months ago ,

You're right. But the reality is being right doesn't do squat for Sessions very little credibility. For good reason...his actions merit distrusting him. It's the height of arrogance and simply smells to high heaven that a "Man of the highest integrity"...would knowingly allow himself to be confirmed one day and recuse himself the next day......without first telling his boss the POTUS.

That excuse dog is not going to hunt no matter how long or whomever blows that dog whistle. It's an insult to not only the intelligence of folks but their common sense as well.
Bluntly, he is a disaster for the country and POTUS. The problem is NO THINKING ADULT TRUST SESSIONS ANY FARTHER THAN THEY CAN THROW HIM! What he did disqualifies him for the position he took under false pretenses. That is is Deception...not...Integrity. PERIOD!

We are in a war. Nice guys don't win wars. They clean up afterwards. He acts like Mr Magoo and not the nations Chief Law Enforcement Officer. We are in a war and the equivalent of the Military Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Law Enforcement has gone missing.
Sessions is the classical..."Fool me once..your fault; Fool me twice, my fault"
My deadline for him is June 20, 2018 at the maximum. Nothing significant by then....it will be a confirmation he is part of the problem....and always has been....a plant of the "Deep State"

LEEPERMAX Susieq 4 months ago ,

"Bush Family Plant"
#FireSessions now.

Alti LEEPERMAX 4 months ago ,

Tom Fitton: "When you read the letter its pretty clear Huber isn't charged with prosecuting anyone. Sessions is not going to appoint a special counsel to investigate anything having to do with the Obama FBI or Hillary Clinton. I don't think [Huber] has empaneled a grand jury or is doing a prosecution, he's just looking at the record and may suggest additional resources. Nothing is going to be done. There is no public indication of any serious investigation by the DOJ."

Lee Lilly jacobum 4 months ago ,

Had I not come across the following, I would absolutely agree with you. But below is what is really occurring behind the scenes. They ARE fighting the Deep State which has existed for decades, but rest assured POTUS and his team of patriots are on it. If you take the time to really go through it, you can almost predict what POTUS will do next.

qanon.pub or qanonposts.com

It seems unbelievable at first but it checks out as the story unfolds and Q predicts things before they happen... Also, Trump has signalled the truth of it; do you think he said "tip top tippety top" just for the heck of it at Easter speech? (He was asked by an anon to use this in something to verify validity of Q.) It won't make sense unless you start at the beginning in Oct and read posts from there. (And disregard MSM reports that Q is false; if he was, why even bother trying to discredit?)

Think about it - is it like POTUS to keep someone so "obviously inept" around as Sessions? Does that really sound like POTUS? Trump and team have handled this beautifully...they even have conservatives screaming for Sessions' head. He is neither uninvolved nor clueless as is being portrayed. It's the Art of the Deal. Many are going down and POTUS and Q team are bringing us to it live through the posts.

I promise you, this will open your eyes to the long game that POTUS and Sessions are playing out. Check it out - it will be the best read of your life. So many things that never made sense, so many lies, massive corruption...be prepared.

Once you've gone through Q, you will truly know that POTUS meant every single word, literally, in this short link.

Every. Single. Word. ~ Enjoy, my friend

Play Hide
Sir_Tanly jacobum 4 months ago ,

Don knew of the recusal before the nomination. Betcha.

Alti Guest 4 months ago ,

After diligent study, I have come to the conclusion that this letter is a deceptively worded masterpiece (if you like being deceived).

robert v g Alti 4 months ago ,

I have a hunch you're right. Isn't Sessions just a long- time swamp politician/lawyer?

John Jensen Lee Lilly 4 months ago ,

Biggest problem after watching the video of Lou Dobbs tonight is that Rod Rosenstein is still acting in an oversite position. He will never let anyone be convicted of any crime because he is a sitting member of almost every crime that was committed. I don't think Sessions is that smart in the first place, I believe that Rosenstein is running the show and that is all it is a Dog and Pony show for the masses. All of them should be fired

Molon labe Lotsa Snuggs 4 months ago ,

Au contraire-All you Sessions sycophants are the ones who'll have an uncomfortably full stomach! That man's public actions are NOT those of a sly old law and order prosecutor maintaining "radio silence" while tirelessly working behind the scenes! They're the actions of a compromised Attorney General who is NOT performing his Constitutional duties and is actively covering for known lawbreakers and Obstructing Justice--NOT demanding it!!

[Jul 29, 2018] Is America on the Verge of a Constitutional Crisis? by Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes

Mar 17, 2018 | www.theatlantic.com

A quick search on Google Trends shows that public interest in constitutional crises has scaled up impressively in the time since Trump's election, with spikes in interest appearing at particularly fraught moments: the first travel ban, James Comey's firing, and several points at which Trump appeared to be on the brink of dismissing Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Now, with the firing of McCabe, the specter of constitutional crisis has reappeared.

The term "constitutional crisis" gets thrown around a lot, but it actually has no fixed meaning. It's not a legal term of art, though lawyers and law professors -- as well as political scientists and journalists -- sometimes use it as though it were. Saying that something is a constitutional crisis is a little like saying that someone is going through a "nervous breakdown" -- a term that does not map neatly onto any specific clinical condition, but is evocative of a certain constellation of mental-health emergencies. It's hard to define a constitutional crisis, but you know one when you see it. Or do you?

There have been various attempts to define the term over the years. Writing in the wake of the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, and the turmoil of the 2000 election, the political scientist Keith Whittington noted the speed with which commentators had rushed to declare the country on the brink of a constitutional crisis -- even though, as he pointed out, " the republic appears to have survived these events relatively unscathed ."

Whittington instead proposed thinking about constitutional crises as "circumstances in which the constitutional order itself is failing." In his view, such a crisis could take two forms. There are "operational crises," in which constitutional rules don't tell us how to resolve a political dispute; and there are "crises of fidelity," in which the rules do tell us what to do but aren't being followed. The latter is probably closest to the common understanding of constitutional crisis -- something along the lines of President Andrew Jackson's famous (if apocryphal) rejoinder to the Supreme Court, "[Justice] John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it." Or, to point to an example proposed recently by Whittington himself , such a crisis would result if congressional Republicans failed to hold Trump accountable for firing Mueller.

The constitutional scholars Sanford Levinson and Jack Balkin more or less agree with Whittington's typology, but add a third category of crisis : situations in which the Constitution fails to constrain political disputes within the realm of normalcy. In these cases, each party involved argues that they are acting constitutionally, while their opponent is not. If examples of the crises described by Whittington are relatively far and few between -- if they exist at all -- Levinson and Balkin view crises of interpretation as comparatively common. One notable example: the battle over secession that began the Civil War.

These three categorizations help show what a constitutional crisis could look like, but it's not entirely clear how they apply to the situation at hand. Whittington, Levinson and Balkin all agree that the notion of a constitutional crisis implies some acute episode -- a clear tipping point that tests the legal and constitutional order. But how do we know this presidency isn't just an example of the voters picking a terrible leader who then leads terribly? At what point does a bad president doing bad things become a problem of constitutional magnitude, let alone a crisis of constitutional magnitude? Indeed, it's hard to see a crisis when the sun is still rising every day on schedule, when nobody appears to be defying court orders or challenging the authority of the country's rule-of-law institutions, and when a regularly scheduled midterm election -- in which the president's party is widely expected to perform badly -- is scheduled for a few months from now. What exactly is the crisis here?

Another problem with thinking about America's current woes as a constitutional crisis involves the question of what comes next. That is, assume for a moment we are in some kind of constitutional crisis. So what? What exactly flows from that conclusion? Normally, constitutional conclusions imply certain prescribed outcomes. When a president is impeached, for example, the Senate must hold a trial to determine whether he or she should be removed from office. When serving a second term, a president is not allowed to run for a third term. But if one concludes that we are going through a constitutional crisis, what happens next? The label doesn't carry any obvious implication, let alone an action item. If it has value, its value is descriptive. It carries cultural and emotional weight but not much else.

Still another problem with the term is that the duration of the crisis is not clear. Does a constitutional crisis take place over days, weeks, or longer? Must it threaten in the immediate term to blow things up if it doesn't blow over or get resolved through some other process? (Think of the Cuban Missile Crisis, only in domestic constitutional terms.) Or can a constitutional crisis also take place in slow motion?

There's a better term for what is taking place in America at this moment: "constitutional rot."

Constitutional rot is what happens, the constitutional scholar John Finn argues, when faith in the key commitments of the Constitution gradually erode, even when the legal structures remain in place. Constitutional rot is what happens when decision-makers abide by the empty text of the Constitution without fidelity to its underlying principles. It's also what happens when all this takes place and the public either doesn't realize -- or doesn't care.


Quinta Jurecic is the managing editor of Lawfare.

Benjamin Wittes is the editor in chief of Lawfare and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

[Jul 29, 2018] The Putin-Trump Helsinki summit by The Saker

Notable quotes:
"... This is the proverbial case where the real " action is in the reaction " and, in this case, the reaction of the Neocon run US deep-state and its propaganda machine (the US corporate media) was nothing short of total and abject hysterics. ..."
"... What Trump is facing today is not a barrage of criticism but a very real lynch mob! And what is really frightening is that almost nobody dares to denounce that hysterical lynch mob for what it is. ..."
"... Even such supposed supporters of President Trump like Trey Gowdy who has fully thrown his weight behind the "Russia tried to attack us" nonsense . With friends like these... ..."
"... What has been taking place after this the summit is an Orwellian "two minutes of hatred" but now stretched well into a two weeks of hatred. And I see no signs that this lynch mob is calming down. In fact, as of this morning, the levels of hysteria are only increasing . ..."
"... By the way, these are typical Neocon-style tactics: double-down, then double-down again, then issue statements which make it impossible for you to back down, then repeat it all as many times as needed. This strategy is useless against a powerful and principled enemy, but it works miracles with a weak and spineless foe like Trump. ..."
"... The process which is taking place before our eyes splits the people of the US into two main categories: first, the Neocons and those whom the US media has successfully brainwashed and, second, everybody else. That second group, by the way, is very diverse and it includes not only bona fide Trump supporters (many of whom have also been zombified in their own way), but also paleo-conservatives, libertarians, antiwar activists, (real) progressives and many other groups. ..."
"... I am also guessing that a lot of folks in the military are watching in horror as their armed forces and their country are being wrecked by the Neocons and their supporters. Basically, those who felt "I want my country back" and who hoped that Trump would make that happen are now horrified by what is taking place. ..."
"... I believe that what we are seeing is a massive and deliberate attack by the Neocons and their deep state against the political system and the people of the United States. Congress, especially, is now guilty of engaging on a de-facto coup against the Executive on so many levels that they are hard to count (and many of them are probably hidden from the public eye) including repeated attempts to prevent Trump from exercising his constitutional powers such as, for example, deciding on foreign policy issues. ..."
"... By now there is overwhelming evidence that a creeping Neocon coup has been in progress from the very first day of Trump's presidency and that the Neocons are far from being satisfied with having broken Trump and taken over the de-facto power in the White House: they now apparently also want it de-jure too. ..."
"... From the Russian point of view, it matters very little whether Trump is removed from office or not – the problem is not one of personalities, but one of the nature of the AngloZionist Empire. ..."
"... the infighting of the US elites does and, if not, then at the very least the current crisis will further weaken the US, hence the Russian willingness to participate in this summit even if by itself this summit brought absolutely no tangible results: the action was in the reaction. ..."
"... The Deep State has opposed him at every turn, choosing to favor the policies of the Neocons and their enablers in the Democratic Party. Hence, having no team of his own, he has been saddled with personnel from the ranks of his most virulent enemies at every level. ..."
"... the Neocons and the Clinton gang are willing to say anything, no matter how destabilizing, to hurt Trump even if the US political system by itself is also put at risk. ..."
"... Saker, something is not adding up. If Trump is truly as pathetic a pushover, as "weak and spineless," as you say, why all the hysteria? If, on the other hand, he is a rather successful wrecking ball, already having put in jeopardy half the key resources of the empire, that's another story. ..."
"... He's laying waste to the Empire in the most peaceful process possible – in large part by so embarrassing the Empire's elites, allies and vassals that they withdraw first their active support, and then finally even their consent. Inducing hysteria, both foreign and domestic, is a non-trivial component of the forces giving the wrecking ball an extra push as it heads for the edifice. ..."
"... I don't think that Trump is the fool on the hill. I think that mostly all those around him are. The latest hysteria over Russia is not about any "meddling" in any "democracy". It's about throwing tantrums that Russia won't submit to US hegemony. In my opinion, they don't deserve to be in charge of their own country, let alone to be asking to be in charge of Russia. ..."
"... It is not just "unanimity of hatred and chaos", "abject hysterics", "hate-filled hysteria", "two minutes of hatred stretched well into a two weeks of hatred" etc. It's something else and, I feel, simply much worse and dangerous. ..."
Jul 29, 2018 | www.unz.com

Oh sure, there were a number of general statements made about "positive discussions" and the like, and some vague references to various conflicts, but the truth is that nothing real and tangible was agreed upon. Furthermore, and this is, I believe, absolutely crucial, there never was any chance of this summit achieving anything. Why? Because the Russians have concluded a long time ago that the US officials are " non-agreement capable " (недоговороспособны). They are correct – the US has been non-agreement capable at least since Obama and Trump has only made things even worse: not only has the US now reneged on Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (illegally – since this plan was endorsed by the UNSC ), but Trump has even pathetically backtracked on the most important statement he made during the summit when he retroactively changed his " President Putin says it's not Russia. I don't see any reason why it would be " into " I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia " (so much for 5D chess!).

If Trump can't even stick to his own words, how could anybody expect the Russians to take anything he says seriously?! Besides, ever since the many western verbal promises of not moving NATO east " by one inch eastward " the Russians know that western promises, assurances, and other guarantees are worthless, whether promised in a conversation or inked on paper. In truth, the Russians have been very blunt about their disgust with not only the western dishonesty but even about the basic lack of professionalism of their western counterparts, hence the comment by Putin about " it is difficult to have a dialogue with people who confuse Austria and Australia ".

It is quite obvious that the Russians agreed to the summit while knowing full well that nothing would, or even could, come out of it. This is why they were already dumping US Treasuries even before meeting with Trump (a clear sign of how the Kremlin really feels about Trump and the US).

So why did they agree to the meeting? Because they correctly evaluated the consequences of this meeting. This is the proverbial case where the real " action is in the reaction " and, in this case, the reaction of the Neocon run US deep-state and its propaganda machine (the US corporate media) was nothing short of total and abject hysterics. I could list an immense number of quotes, statements and declarations accusing Trump of being a wimp, a traitor, a sellout, a Putin agent and all the rest. But I found the most powerful illustration of that hate-filled hysteria in a collection of cartoons from the western corporate media posted by Colonel Cassad on this page:

https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/4330355.html

What we see today is a hate campaign against both Trump and Russia the likes of which I think the world has never seen before: even in the early 20th century, including the pre-WWII years when there was plenty of hate thrown around, there never was such a unanimity of hatred as what we see today. Furthermore, what is attacked is not just "Trump the man" or "Trump the politician" but very much so "Trump the President". Please compare the following two examples:

The US wars after 9/11: many people had major reservations about the wars against Afghanistan, Iraq and the entire GWOT thing. But most Americans seemed to agree with the "we support our troops" slogan. The logic was something along the lines of "we don't like these wars, but we do support our fighting men and women and the military institution as such". Thus, while a specific policy was criticized, this criticism was never applied to the institution which implement it: the US armed forces. Trump after Helsinki: keep in mind that Trump made no agreement of any kind with Putin, none. And yet that policy of not making any agreements with Putin was hysterically lambasted as a sellout. This begs the question: what kind of policy would meet with the approval of the US deep state? Trump punching Putin in the nose maybe? This is utterly ridiculous, yet unlike in the case of the GWOT wars, there is no differentiation made whatsoever between Trump's policy towards Putin and Trump as the President of the United States. There is even talk of impeachment, treason and "high crimes & misdemeanors" or of the "KGB" (dissolved 27 years ago but nevermind that) having a hand in the election of the US President.

What Trump is facing today is not a barrage of criticism but a very real lynch mob! And what is really frightening is that almost nobody dares to denounce that hysterical lynch mob for what it is. There are a few exceptions, of course, even in the media (I think of Tucker Carlson), but these voices are completely drowned out by the hate-filled shrieks of the vast majority of US politicians and journalists. Even such supposed supporters of President Trump like Trey Gowdy who has fully thrown his weight behind the "Russia tried to attack us" nonsense . With friends like these...

What has been taking place after this the summit is an Orwellian "two minutes of hatred" but now stretched well into a two weeks of hatred. And I see no signs that this lynch mob is calming down. In fact, as of this morning, the levels of hysteria are only increasing .

By the way, these are typical Neocon-style tactics: double-down, then double-down again, then issue statements which make it impossible for you to back down, then repeat it all as many times as needed. This strategy is useless against a powerful and principled enemy, but it works miracles with a weak and spineless foe like Trump. This is particularly true of US politicians and journalists who have long become the accomplices of the deep state (especially after the 9/11 false flag and its cover-up) and who now cannot back down under any circumstances or treat President Trump as a normal, regular, President. The anti-Trump rhetoric has gone way too far and the US has now reached what I believe is a point of no return.

The brewing constitutional crisis: the Neocons vs the "deplorables"

I believe that the US is facing what could be the worst crisis in its history: the lawfully elected President is being openly delegitimized and that, in turn, delegitimizes the electoral process which brought him to power and, of course, it also excoriates the "deplorables" who dared vote for him: the majority of the American people.

The process which is taking place before our eyes splits the people of the US into two main categories: first, the Neocons and those whom the US media has successfully brainwashed and, second, everybody else. That second group, by the way, is very diverse and it includes not only bona fide Trump supporters (many of whom have also been zombified in their own way), but also paleo-conservatives, libertarians, antiwar activists, (real) progressives and many other groups.

I am also guessing that a lot of folks in the military are watching in horror as their armed forces and their country are being wrecked by the Neocons and their supporters. Basically, those who felt "I want my country back" and who hoped that Trump would make that happen are now horrified by what is taking place.

I believe that what we are seeing is a massive and deliberate attack by the Neocons and their deep state against the political system and the people of the United States. Congress, especially, is now guilty of engaging on a de-facto coup against the Executive on so many levels that they are hard to count (and many of them are probably hidden from the public eye) including repeated attempts to prevent Trump from exercising his constitutional powers such as, for example, deciding on foreign policy issues. A perfect example of this can be found in Nancy Pelosi's official statement about a possible invitation from Trump to Putin:

"The notion that President Trump would invite a tyrant to Washington is beyond belief. Putin's ongoing attacks on our elections and on Western democracies and his illegal actions in Crimea and the rest of Ukraine deserve the fierce, unanimous condemnation of the international community, not a VIP ticket to our nation's capital. President Trump's frightened fawning over Putin is an embarrassment and a grave threat to our democracy. An invitation to address a Joint Meeting of Congress should be bipartisan and Speaker Ryan must immediately make clear that there is not – and never will be – an invitation for a thug like Putin to address the United States Congress."

Another example of the same can be found in the unanimous 98-0 resolution by the US Senate expressing Congress's opposition to the US government allowing Russia to question US officials. Trump, of course, immediately caved in, even though he had originally declared "fantastic" the idea of actually abiding by the terms of an existing 1999 agreement on mutual assistance on criminal cases between the United States of America and Russia. The White House "spokesperson", Sarah Sanders, did even better and stated : (emphasis added)

"It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it. Hopefully, President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt "

Talk about imperial megalomania! The US will not allow the Russians to interrogate anybody, but it wants Putin to extradite Russian citizens. Amazing

As for Nancy Pelosi, her latest "tweet" today is anything but subtle. It reads:

Every single day, I find myself asking: what do the Russians have on @realDonaldTrump personally, financially, & politically? The answer to that question is that only thing that explains his behavior & his refusal to stand up to Putin. #ABetterDeal.

Pretty clear, no? "Trump is a traitor and we have to stop him".

By now there is overwhelming evidence that a creeping Neocon coup has been in progress from the very first day of Trump's presidency and that the Neocons are far from being satisfied with having broken Trump and taken over the de-facto power in the White House: they now apparently also want it de-jure too. The real question is this: are there any forces inside the US capable of stopping the Neocons from completely taking all the reins of power and, if yes, how could a patriotic reaction to this Neocon coup manifest itself? I honestly don't know, but my feeling is that we might soon have a "President Pence" in the Oval Office. One way or another, a constitutional crisis is brewing.

What about the Russian interests in all this?

I have said it many times, Russia and the AngloZionist Empire (as opposed to the United States as a country) are at war, a war which is roughly 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% "kinetic". This is a very real war nonetheless and it is a war for survival simply because the Empire cannot allow any major country on the planet to be truly sovereign. Therefore, not only does the AngloZionist Empire represent an existential threat to Russia, Russia also represents an existential threat to the Empire. In this kind of conflict for survival there is no room for anything but a zero-sum game and whatever is good for Russia is bad for the US and vice-versa.

The Russians, including Putin, never wanted this zero-sum game, it was imposed upon them by the AngloZionists, but now that they have been forced into it, they will play it as hard as they can. It is therefore only logical to conclude that the massive systemic crises in which the Neocons and their crazy policies have plunged the US are to the advantage of Russia.

To be sure, the ideal scenario would be for Russia and the US (as opposed to the AngloZionst Empire) to work together on the very long list of issues where they share common interests. But since the Neocons have seized power and are sacrificing the US for the sake of their imperial designs, that is simply not going to happen, and the Russians understand that. Furthermore, since the US constitutes the largest power component of the AngloZionist Empire, anything weakening the US also thereby weakens the Empire and anything which weakens the Empire is beneficial for Russia (by the way, the logical corollary of this state of affairs is that the people of the US and the people of Russia have the same enemy – the Neocons – and that makes them de-facto allies).

It is not my purpose here to discuss when and how the Neocons came to power in the US, so I will just say that the delusional policies followed by the various US administrations since at least 1993 (and, even more so, since 2001) have been disastrous for the United States and could be characterized as one long never-ending case of imperial hubris (to use the title of here ). The long string of lost wars and foreign policy disasters are a direct result of this lack of even basic expertise. What passes for "expertise" today is basically hate-filled hyperbole and warmongering hysterics, hence the inflation in the paranoid anti-Russian rhetoric.

The US armed forces are only good at three things: wasting immense sums of money, destroying countries and alienating the rest of the planet. They are still the most expensive and bloated armed forces on the planet, but nobody fears them anymore (not even relatively small states, nevermind Russia or China). In technological terms, the Russians (and to a somewhat lesser degree the Chinese) have found asymmetrical answers to all the key force planning programs of the Pentagon and the former US superiority in the air, on land and on the seas is now a thing of the past. As for the US nuclear triad, it is still capable of accomplishing its mission, but it is useless as an instrument of foreign policy or to fight Russia or China (unless suicide is contemplated).

[Sidebar: this inability of the US military to achieve desired political goals might explain why, at least so far, the US has apparently given up on the notion of a Reconquista of Syria or why the Ukronazis have not dared to attack the Donbass. Of course, this is too early to call and these zigs might be followed by many zags, especially in the context of the political crisis in the US, but it appears that in the cases of the DPRK, Iran, Syria and the Ukraine there is much barking, but not much biting coming from the supposed sole "hyperpower" on the planet] The US is now engaged in simultaneous conflicts not only with Iran or Russia but also with the EU and China. In fact, even relationships with vassal states such as Canada or France are now worse than ever before. Only the prostituted leaders of "new Europe", to use Rumsfeld's term , are still paying lip service to the notion of "American leadership", and only if they get paid for it.

The US "elites" and the various interest groups they represent have now clearly turned on each other which is a clear sign that the entire system is in a state of deep crisis: when things were going well, everybody could get what they wanted and no visible infighting was taking place. The Israel Lobby has now fully subordinated Congress, the White House, and the media to its narrow Likudnik agenda and, as a direct result of this, the US has lost all their positions in the Middle-East and the chorus of those with enough courage to denounce this Zionist Occupation Government is slowly but steadily growing (at least on the Internet). Even US Jews are getting fed up with the now openly Israeli apartheid state (see here or here ). By withdrawing from a long list of important international treaties and bodies (TPP, Kyoto Protocol, START, ABM, JCPOA. UNESCO, UN Human Rights Council, etc.) the United States has completely isolated themselves from the rest of the planet. The ironic truth is that Russia has not been isolated in the least, but that the US has isolated itself from the rest of the planet.

In contrast, the Russians are capitalizing on every single US mistake – be it the carrier-centric navy, the unconditional support for Israel or the simultaneous trade wars with China and the EU. Much has been made of the recent revelation of new and revolutionary Russian weapon systems (see here and here ) but there is much more to this than just the deployment of new military systems and technologies: Russia is benefiting from the lack of any real US foreign policies to advance her own interests in the Middle-East, of course, but also elsewhere. Let's just take the very latest example of a US self-inflicted PR disaster – the following "tweet" by Trump: (CAPS in the original)

To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!

This kind of infantile (does he not sound like a 6 year old?) and, frankly, rather demented attempts at scaring Iranians (of all people!) is guaranteed to have the exact opposite effect from the one presumably sought: the Iranian leaders might snicker in disgust, or have a good belly-laugh, but they are not going to be impressed .

The so-called "allies" of the US will be embarrassed in the extreme to be "led" by such a primitive individual, even if they don't say so in public. As for the Russians, they will happily explore all the possibilities offered to them by such illiterate and self-defeating behavior.

Conclusion one: a useful summit for Russia

As a direct consequence of the Helsinki summit, the infighting of the US ruling classes has dramatically intensified. Furthermore, faced with a barrage of hateful attacks Trump did what he always does: he tried to simultaneously appease his critics by caving in to their rhetoric while at the same time trying to appear "tough" – hence his latest "I am a tough guy with a big red button" antics against Iran (he did exactly the same thing towards the DPRK). We will probably never find out what exactly Trump and Putin discussed during their private meeting, but one thing is sure: the fact that Trump sat one-on-one with Putin without any "supervision" from his deep-state mentors was good enough to create a total panic in the US ruling class resulting in even more wailing about collusion, impeachment, high crimes & misdemeanors and even treason. Again, the goal is clear: Trump must be removed.

From the Russian point of view, it matters very little whether Trump is removed from office or not – the problem is not one of personalities, but one of the nature of the AngloZionist Empire. The Russians simply don't have the means to bring down the Empire, but the infighting of the US elites does and, if not, then at the very least the current crisis will further weaken the US, hence the Russian willingness to participate in this summit even if by itself this summit brought absolutely no tangible results: the action was in the reaction.

Conclusion two: the Clinton gang's actions can result in a real catastrophe for the US

Trump's main goal in meeting with Putin was probably to find out whether there was a way to split up the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership and to back the Israeli demands for Syria. On the issue of China, Trump never had a chance since the US has really nothing to offer to Russia (whereas China and Russia are now locked into a vital symbiotic relationship ). On Syria, the Russians and the Israelis are now negotiating the details of a deal which would give the Syrian government the control of the demarcation line with Israel (it is not a border in the legal sense) and Trump's backing for Israel will make no difference. As for Iran, the Russians will not back the US agenda either for many reasons ranging from basic self-interest to respect for international law. So while Trump did the right thing in meeting with Putin, it was predictable at least under the current set of circumstances, that he would not walk away with tangible results.

For all his very real failings, Trump cannot be blamed for the current situation. The real culprits are the Clinton gang and the Democratic Party which, by their completely irresponsible behavior, are creating a very dangerous crisis for the United States: the Neocons and the Clinton gang are willing to say anything, no matter how destabilizing, to hurt Trump even if the US political system by itself is also put at risk. Furthermore, the Neocons have now completely flipped around the presumption of innocence – both externally (Russian "attack" on the US elections) and internally (Trump's "collusion" with Putin). As for Trump, whatever his good intentions might have been, he is weak and cannot fight the entire US deep state by himself. The Neocons and the US deep state are now on a collision course with Russia and the people of the United States and while Russia does have the means to protect herself from the Empire, it is unclear to me who, or what could stop the Neocons from further damaging the US. Deep and systemic crises often result in new personalities entering the stage, but in the case of the US, it is now undeniable that the system cannot reform


exiled off mainstreet , July 26, 2018 at 4:47 am GMT

All of this seems profoundly depressing, but it appears to be how things are. I was disappointed by Trump's efforts to cave into the deep state on his statements. The fact he can't even control his justice ministry reveals his weakness. I'm of the view history shows that once spy agencies reach a critical mass in power they become the absolute rulers of a structure and the rule of law becomes a facade, then is sidelined completely.
Anonymous [333] Disclaimer , July 26, 2018 at 10:55 am GMT
@exiled off mainstreet

Trump was a complete outsider to politics when he decided to run for the presidency in 2015. He had no team or political allies. He really didn't have much of a philosophy of governance, a solid foundation of history and facts, a first rate vocabulary or the debating skills of an 8th grader. He has consistently failed to win over any Democratic and probably not even a majority of Republican politicians.

The Deep State has opposed him at every turn, choosing to favor the policies of the Neocons and their enablers in the Democratic Party. Hence, having no team of his own, he has been saddled with personnel from the ranks of his most virulent enemies at every level.

His lack of knowledge and primitive persuasive skills, which might work in big business but not under the microscope of politics, have not won him any converts but only encouraged a vicious escalation of antipathy from his opponents, who, controlling the media from top to bottom, are openly calling him a traitor on no objective grounds, unless trying to do the job of the office, maintain the peace, and explore possible avenues for reducing international tensions is now considered treasonous. The charge of treason is clearly bombastic but with virtually everyone of influence nodding in agreement, it's difficult for the man to retain his credibility before the public.

Actually, a smidgen south of half the public are the only base of his support. And a very eclectic base they are, including numerous liberals, progressives, intellectuals and peaceniks, in addition to conservatives, Republicans and Libertarians, who prefer to deal with the real world rather than Hillary's deliberate misrepresentation of it.

Will that be enough for him to survive? The way the maniacs are raving in the media, expect the country to throw a big celebration if he gets "taken out" one way or another tomorrow. The situation is really dangerous and utterly shameful. Most of the blame goes to Hillary Clinton and her insurrectionists for not accepting the outcome of our system of ersatz "democracy." Her husband won with something like 43% of the popular vote in 1992. I'm pretty sure Trump had a higher number. Cry me a river, Hillary, but stop trying to destroy what you can't have like a petulant child.

(I'm a liberal Democrat.)

Johnny Rottenborough , Website July 26, 2018 at 11:20 am GMT
the logical corollary of this state of affairs is that the people of the US and the people of Russia have the same enemy – the Neocons – and that makes them de-facto allies

I think it would be more accurate to say that the people of Russia had the same enemy.

Anonymous [346] Disclaimer , July 26, 2018 at 1:37 pm GMT

By the way, these are typical Neocon-style tactics: double-down, then double-down again, then issue statements which make it impossible for you to back down, then repeat it all as many times as needed.

It's like trial lawyers say: if the facts are on your side and the law is not, then argue the facts; if the law is on your side and the facts are not, then argue the law; and if neither the facts nor the law are on your side, then bang your fists on the table and shout as loud as you can! That's exactly what the neo-clowns are doing here.

the Neocons and the Clinton gang are willing to say anything, no matter how destabilizing, to hurt Trump even if the US political system by itself is also put at risk.

All of which just helps to further discredit the empire. Even with all the insanity in the media, I still thank God every day that Hellary did not become president.

War for Blair Mountain , July 26, 2018 at 2:25 pm GMT
The Paradox:

The above h0moerotic caricature of Putin and Trump is quite revealing in what it tells us about what drives the emotional life of White Liberals and White Leftist. They are driven by powerful urges to impose homosexuality-pedophilia-pederasty on both Christian Russia and the Working Class Native Born White American Christians.

sarz , July 26, 2018 at 3:28 pm GMT
Saker, something is not adding up. If Trump is truly as pathetic a pushover, as "weak and spineless," as you say, why all the hysteria? If, on the other hand, he is a rather successful wrecking ball, already having put in jeopardy half the key resources of the empire, that's another story.
Carlo , July 27, 2018 at 12:08 am GMT
@sarz

I think because Trump postulated himself as a candidate, then got nominated the Republican candidate and worst of all, despite the huge campaign against him, won the elections, without the blessing of the Deep State and the neocons. So now they want to teach him (and anyone else who might think about doing the same) a lesson: "Anyone who tries to become president without our approval will be crushed", so it never happens again.

Erebus , July 27, 2018 at 2:12 am GMT
@sarz

something is not adding up. If Trump is truly as pathetic a pushover, as "weak and spineless," as you say, why all the hysteria?

And nobody seems to like him
They can tell what he wants to do
And he never shows his feelings

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning around

That Trump is a wrecking ball is a hypothesis I've held since the first GOP debate, when I also realized he would (probably) win not only the election, but may even succeed at the far more difficult challenge of bringing the Empire to a sufficiently soft landing that the nation survives. I'm less convinced of the latter now, largely because I underestimated the centrifugal forces driving the fault lines in the American body politic. The nation, tragically may not survive the Empire's twilight, but I've seen nothing that makes me want to change my hypothesis.

He's laying waste to the Empire in the most peaceful process possible – in large part by so embarrassing the Empire's elites, allies and vassals that they withdraw first their active support, and then finally even their consent. Inducing hysteria, both foreign and domestic, is a non-trivial component of the forces giving the wrecking ball an extra push as it heads for the edifice.

As for the summit, I frankly wouldn't be surprised to learn that much of it was staged for maximum hysteria-inducing effect. Their 2hrs spent alone probably was little more than comparing notes. After all, what can Trump promise that he can also deliver under the circumstances? He can only promise to keep doing what he's doing.

In any case, they both know the Empire has to go, and they both want the American nation to be a player after it goes. A vibrant America is as critical to the multipolar world as it is to Americans. Maybe more so.

Collusion? Maybe, but the Trump phenomena, IMHO, has all the earmarks of regime change done right. With or without collusion, the hystericals can't quite put their finger on what happened, which drives further hysteria, which pushes the wrecking ball even faster, which drives....

Franz , July 27, 2018 at 6:13 am GMT
now undeniable that the system cannot reform itself

Yes, Saker and that puts US politics behind European fascism of 70+ years ago. Mussolini was booted out by a fascist committee, Franco paved the way for a constitutional monarchy, but all Americans get is Bozo the Clown/President.

The destruction of the US working class amazes me in its absence from all serious debate. First subverted by the CIA then rendered null by outsourcing (which is still undercounted) the "deplorables" have no mechanism for resistence except the unthinkable one: Hope for total breakup of the United States. Or hope for a foreign invasion.

Makes one wonder. When Egyptians greeted Alexander the Great as a liberator as he conquered them, it was a fairly pungent comment on the ruling Persians. Will blue-collar former-Yanks be cheering for liberating Chinese or Russian troops anytime soon? Henry Kissinger once predicted something of the sort.

We do live in interesting times.

Cyrano , July 27, 2018 at 7:10 pm GMT
@Erebus

Well on the way, head in a cloud
The man of a thousand voices talking perfectly loud
But nobody ever hears him
Or the sound he appears to make
And he never seems to notice

He never listens to them
He knows that they're the fools
They don't like him

I don't think that Trump is the fool on the hill. I think that mostly all those around him are. The latest hysteria over Russia is not about any "meddling" in any "democracy". It's about throwing tantrums that Russia won't submit to US hegemony. In my opinion, they don't deserve to be in charge of their own country, let alone to be asking to be in charge of Russia.

All they come up with is terrible ideas which they in their generosity are way too eager to share with the world – against the wishes or the best interests of the world. Like the multiculturalism. It's bad enough that they came up with that awful idea, but then they had to force it down the throats of the stupid Europeans.

Then when Merkel showed enough brains to challenge their idea, they forced her to make 180 turn and to welcome over a 1 million refugees from the imperial misadventures.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/10/18/frum.merkel.multicultural

peterAUS , July 28, 2018 at 7:14 am GMT
Well, Saker did put, this time, some good points here. Of course, they were well mixed with the usual Kremlin propaganda, but that's now like "good morning" with his writing. Probably all public members of "Team Russia" have that clause in their contract. The usual spin "Russia is great, winning, and all is not only good but simply getting better for Kremlin and the Great Leader".

He does point to this "thing" with MSM and public figures in West re the summit. I agree, it's surreal. If I were watching this in a serious movie I'd change the channel/walk out. If I were reading a serious book with the "thing" as a part of the plot I'd stop reading. I think there IS something there.

It is not just "unanimity of hatred and chaos", "abject hysterics", "hate-filled hysteria", "two minutes of hatred stretched well into a two weeks of hatred" etc. It's something else and, I feel, simply much worse and dangerous.

I guess we have entered a zone beyond geopolitics into mass psychology. Not my area of expertise at all, but simply feel there is something there. It feels as watching, hard to express it, hysterical people? Now, on my level, whenever I dealt with such people I simply walked away, most of the time. A couple of times, when I couldn't walk away I simply floored them (or so I say). Both men and women (talking about being a gentleman , a). With women, it's even easier, just one strike, weak hand even. With men a full combination, even with a takedown and ..anyway. Joking. Sort of. Besides, I was younger then. But how can you take out people who control, in essence, US power, nuclear weapons in particular? You simply can't . That is what makes, IMHO, this so dangerous. I simply can't recollect anything similar in relationship between superpowers. I am not so optimistic re the collapse of The Empire, multipolar world etc.

This "thing" can, I concede, deliver a couple of goods: People, at last, realizing who, or better what, are our "betters". The real power of The Empire diminishing because of the mess and chaos those species ..created. Those two things creating an opportunity to, somehow, do something about this abomination.

But, and a big but, there is the flip there. People simply not paying attention. And, those hysterics really getting the levers of power in their hands. While they are in that state, that is.

As I've said several times here so far (doesn't matter a bit, of course) Trump supporters fucked up. Not him; he didn't expect to win and when he did he found himself in a really bad position. His supporters. As soon as he won they walked home. A mistake. A terrible mistake. I feel we'll all pay, dearly, for it.

[Jul 28, 2018] American Society Would Collapse If It Were not For These 8 Myths by Lee Camp

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Well, it comes down to the myths we've been sold. Myths that are ingrained in our social programming from birth, deeply entrenched, like an impacted wisdom tooth. These myths are accepted and basically never questioned. ..."
"... Our media outlets are funded by weapons contractors, big pharma, big banks, big oil and big, fat hard-on pills. (Sorry to go hard on hard-on pills, but we can't get anything resembling hard news because it's funded by dicks.) The corporate media's jobs are to rally for war, cheer for Wall Street and froth at the mouth for consumerism. It's their mission to actually fortify belief in the myths I'm telling you about right now. Anybody who steps outside that paradigm is treated like they're standing on a playground wearing nothing but a trench coat. ..."
"... The criminal justice system has become a weapon wielded by the corporate state. This is how bankers can foreclose on millions of homes illegally and see no jail time, but activists often serve jail time for nonviolent civil disobedience. Chris Hedges recently noted , "The most basic constitutional rights have been erased for many. Our judicial system, as Ralph Nader has pointed out, has legalized secret law, secret courts, secret evidence, secret budgets and secret prisons in the name of national security." ..."
"... This myth (Buying will make you happy) is put forward mainly by the floods of advertising we take in but also by our social engineering. Most of us feel a tenacious emptiness, an alienation deep down behind our surface emotions (for a while I thought it was gas). That uneasiness is because most of us are flushing away our lives at jobs we hate before going home to seclusion boxes called houses or apartments. We then flip on the TV to watch reality shows about people who have it worse than we do (which we all find hilarious). ..."
"... According to Deloitte's Shift Index survey : "80% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs" and "[t]he average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime." That's about one-seventh of your life -- and most of it is during your most productive years. ..."
"... Try maintaining your privacy for a week without a single email, web search or location data set collected by the NSA and the telecoms. ..."
Jul 27, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Lee Camp via TruthDig.com,

Our society should've collapsed by now. You know that, right?

No society should function with this level of inequality (with the possible exception of one of those prison planets in a "Star Wars" movie). Sixty-three percent of Americans can't afford a $500 emergency . Yet Amazon head Jeff Bezos is now worth a record $141 billion . He could literally end world hunger for multiple years and still have more money left over than he could ever spend on himself.

Worldwide, one in 10 people only make $2 a day. Do you know how long it would take one of those people to make the same amount as Jeff Bezos has? 193 million years . (If they only buy single-ply toilet paper.) Put simply, you cannot comprehend the level of inequality in our current world or even just our nation.

So shouldn't there be riots in the streets every day? Shouldn't it all be collapsing? Look outside. The streets aren't on fire. No one is running naked and screaming (usually). Does it look like everyone's going to work at gunpoint? No. We're all choosing to continue on like this.

Why?

Well, it comes down to the myths we've been sold. Myths that are ingrained in our social programming from birth, deeply entrenched, like an impacted wisdom tooth. These myths are accepted and basically never questioned.

I'm going to cover eight of them. There are more than eight. There are probably hundreds. But I'm going to cover eight because (A) no one reads a column titled "Hundreds of Myths of American Society," (B) these are the most important ones and (C) we all have other shit to do.

Myth No. 8 -- We have a democracy.

If you think we still have a democracy or a democratic republic, ask yourself this: When was the last time Congress did something that the people of America supported that did not align with corporate interests? You probably can't do it. It's like trying to think of something that rhymes with "orange." You feel like an answer exists but then slowly realize it doesn't. Even the Carter Center and former President Jimmy Carter believe that America has been transformed into an oligarchy : A small, corrupt elite control the country with almost no input from the people. The rulers need the myth that we're a democracy to give us the illusion of control.

Myth No. 7 -- We have an accountable and legitimate voting system.

Gerrymandering, voter purging, data mining, broken exit polling, push polling, superdelegates, electoral votes, black-box machines, voter ID suppression, provisional ballots, super PACs, dark money, third parties banished from the debates and two corporate parties that stand for the same goddamn pile of fetid crap!

What part of this sounds like a legitimate election system?

No, we have what a large Harvard study called the worst election system in the Western world . Have you ever seen where a parent has a toddler in a car seat, and the toddler has a tiny, brightly colored toy steering wheel so he can feel like he's driving the car? That's what our election system is -- a toy steering wheel. Not connected to anything. We all sit here like infants, excitedly shouting, "I'm steeeeering !"

And I know it's counterintuitive, but that's why you have to vote. We have to vote in such numbers that we beat out what's stolen through our ridiculous rigged system.

Myth No. 6 -- We have an independent media that keeps the rulers accountable.

Our media outlets are funded by weapons contractors, big pharma, big banks, big oil and big, fat hard-on pills. (Sorry to go hard on hard-on pills, but we can't get anything resembling hard news because it's funded by dicks.) The corporate media's jobs are to rally for war, cheer for Wall Street and froth at the mouth for consumerism. It's their mission to actually fortify belief in the myths I'm telling you about right now. Anybody who steps outside that paradigm is treated like they're standing on a playground wearing nothing but a trench coat.

Myth No. 5 -- We have an independent judiciary.

The criminal justice system has become a weapon wielded by the corporate state. This is how bankers can foreclose on millions of homes illegally and see no jail time, but activists often serve jail time for nonviolent civil disobedience. Chris Hedges recently noted , "The most basic constitutional rights have been erased for many. Our judicial system, as Ralph Nader has pointed out, has legalized secret law, secret courts, secret evidence, secret budgets and secret prisons in the name of national security."

If you're not part of the monied class, you're pressured into releasing what few rights you have left. According to The New York Times , "97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state cases end in plea bargains, with defendants pleading guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence."

That's the name of the game. Pressure people of color and poor people to just take the plea deal because they don't have a million dollars to spend on a lawyer. (At least not one who doesn't advertise on beer coasters.)

Myth No. 4 -- The police are here to protect you. They're your friends .

That's funny. I don't recall my friend pressuring me into sex to get out of a speeding ticket. (Which is essentially still legal in 32 states .)

The police in our country are primarily designed to do two things: protect the property of the rich and perpetrate the completely immoral war on drugs -- which by definition is a war on our own people .

We lock up more people than any other country on earth . Meaning the land of the free is the largest prison state in the world. So all these droopy-faced politicians and rabid-talking heads telling you how awful China is on human rights or Iran or North Korea -- none of them match the numbers of people locked up right here under Lady Liberty's skirt.

Myth No. 3 -- Buying will make you happy.

This myth (Buying will make you happy) is put forward mainly by the floods of advertising we take in but also by our social engineering. Most of us feel a tenacious emptiness, an alienation deep down behind our surface emotions (for a while I thought it was gas). That uneasiness is because most of us are flushing away our lives at jobs we hate before going home to seclusion boxes called houses or apartments. We then flip on the TV to watch reality shows about people who have it worse than we do (which we all find hilarious).

If we're lucky, we'll make enough money during the week to afford enough beer on the weekend to help it all make sense. (I find it takes at least four beers for everything to add up.) But that doesn't truly bring us fulfillment. So what now? Well, the ads say buying will do it. Try to smother the depression and desperation under a blanket of flat-screen TVs, purses and Jet Skis. Now does your life have meaning? No? Well, maybe you have to drive that Jet Ski a little faster! Crank it up until your bathing suit flies off and you'll feel alive !

The dark truth is that we have to believe the myth that consuming is the answer or else we won't keep running around the wheel. And if we aren't running around the wheel, then we start thinking, start asking questions. Those questions are not good for the ruling elite, who enjoy a society based on the daily exploitation of 99 percent of us.

Myth No. 2 -- If you work hard, things will get better.

According to Deloitte's Shift Index survey : "80% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs" and "[t]he average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime." That's about one-seventh of your life -- and most of it is during your most productive years.

Ask yourself what we're working for. To make money? For what? Almost none of us are doing jobs for survival anymore. Once upon a time, jobs boiled down to:

I plant the food -- >I eat the food -- >If I don't plant food = I die.

But nowadays, if you work at a café -- will someone die if they don't get their super-caf-mocha-frap-almond-piss-latte? I kinda doubt they'll keel over from a blueberry scone deficiency.

If you work at Macy's, will customers perish if they don't get those boxer briefs with the sweat-absorbent-ass fabric? I doubt it. And if they do die from that, then their problems were far greater than you could've known. So that means we're all working to make other people rich because we have a society in which we have to work. Technological advancements can do most everything that truly must get done.

So if we wanted to, we could get rid of most work and have tens of thousands of more hours to enjoy our lives. But we're not doing that at all. And no one's allowed to ask these questions -- not on your mainstream airwaves at least. Even a half-step like universal basic income is barely discussed because it doesn't compute with our cultural programming.

Scientists say it's quite possible artificial intelligence will take away all human jobs in 120 years . I think they know that will happen because bots will take the jobs and then realize that 80 percent of them don't need to be done! The bots will take over and then say, "Stop it. Stop spending a seventh of your life folding shirts at Banana Republic."

One day, we will build monuments to the bot that told us to enjoy our lives and leave the shirts wrinkly.

And this leads me to the largest myth of our American society.

Myth No. 1 -- You are free.

... ... ...

Try sleeping in your car for more than a few hours without being harassed by police.

Try maintaining your privacy for a week without a single email, web search or location data set collected by the NSA and the telecoms.

Try signing up for the military because you need college money and then one day just walking off the base, going, "Yeah, I was bored. Thought I would just not do this anymore."

Try explaining to Kentucky Fried Chicken that while you don't have the green pieces of paper they want in exchange for the mashed potatoes, you do have some pictures you've drawn on a napkin to give them instead.

Try running for president as a third-party candidate. (Jill Stein was shackled and chained to a chair by police during one of the debates.)

Try using the restroom at Starbucks without buying something while black.

We are less free than a dog on a leash. We live in one of the hardest-working, most unequal societies on the planet with more billionaires than ever .

Meanwhile, Americans supply 94 percent of the paid blood used worldwide. And it's almost exclusively coming from very poor people. This abusive vampire system is literally sucking the blood from the poor. Does that sound like a free decision they made? Or does that sound like something people do after immense economic force crushes down around them? (One could argue that sperm donation takes a little less convincing.)

Point is, in order to enforce this illogical, immoral system, the corrupt rulers -- most of the time -- don't need guns and tear gas to keep the exploitation mechanisms humming along. All they need are some good, solid bullshit myths for us all to buy into, hook, line and sinker. Some fairy tales for adults.

It's time to wake up.


bobcatz -> powow Fri, 07/27/2018 - 16:43 Permalink

Myth #9: America is not an Israeli colony

DingleBarryObummer -> bobcatz Fri, 07/27/2018 - 16:49 Permalink

#10: Muh 6 Gorillion

#11: Building 7

bfellow -> DingleBarryObummer Fri, 07/27/2018 - 16:55 Permalink

815M people chronically malnourished according to the UN. Bezos is worth $141B.

$141B / 815M people = $173 per person. That would definitely not feed them for "multiple years". And that's only if Bezos could fully liquidate the stock without it dropping a penny.

Author lost me right there.

Oldguy05 -> Oldguy05 Fri, 07/27/2018 - 22:25 Permalink

" Point is, in order to enforce this illogical, immoral system, the corrupt rulers -- most of the time -- don't need guns and tear gas to keep the exploitation mechanisms humming along. All they need are some good, solid bullshit myths for us all to buy into, hook, line and sinker. Some fairy tales for adults. "

Seems like there's tear gas in the air and guns are going to be used soon. The myths are dying on the tongues of the liars. Molon Labe!....and I'm usually a pacifist.

BennyBoy -> Nunny Fri, 07/27/2018 - 18:51 Permalink

"American Society Would Collapse If It Weren't For Invasions Of Foreign Countries, Murdering Their People, Stealing Their Oil Then Blaming Them For Making The US Do It."

Oldguy05 -> Nunny Fri, 07/27/2018 - 22:43 Permalink

Eisenhower's speeches were awesome and true. But he was right there doing the same shit. Was he feeling guilty in the end?

Proofreder -> vato poco Fri, 07/27/2018 - 18:39 Permalink

Freedom - just another word for nothing left to lose ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7hk-hI0JKw&list=RDEMoIkwgyb6gDyuA-bFyR

east of eden -> vato poco Fri, 07/27/2018 - 18:55 Permalink

Well, in a world driven by oil, it is entirely bogus to suggest that citizens have to work their asses off. That was the whole point of the bill of goods that was sold to us in the late 70's and early 80'. More leisure time, more time for your family and personal interests.

Except! It never happened. All they fucking did was reduce real wages and force everyone from the upper middle class down, into a shit hole.

But, they will pay for their folly. Guaran-fucking-teed.

TheEndIsNear -> HopefulCynical Fri, 07/27/2018 - 18:33 Permalink

As one who has hoed many rows of cotton in 115F temperatures as well as picking cotton during my childhood and early adolescence during weekends and school holidays, I concur. It was a very powerful inducement to get a good education back when schools actually taught things and did not tolerate backtalk or guff from students instead of babysitting them. It worked, and I ended up writing computer software for spacecraft, which was much fun than working in the fields.

[Jul 25, 2018] Republicans Begin Impeachment Proceedings Against Rosenstein

If Zero Hedge commenters represent a part of the US public opinion Clinton neoliberal are in real trouble. This is real situation when the elite can't goverm as usual
Notable quotes:
"... it does seem odd that Rosenstein was part of the plan to indict charges on Russians right before Trump met Putin since he met Trump earlier that week to discuss those plans ..."
"... Mule-face is just as conflicted... he applies and interviews for the FBI job, doesn't get it... then takes on an investigation of Trump??? Bullshiiiiiiiiit!!!! Special Counsel statutes are CLEAR... but Sessions is totally corrupt. ..."
"... For those of you who have not seen this...This has been in the works since April...... https://gosar.house.gov/uploadedfiles/criminal-referral.pdf ..."
"... Recuse himself? He violated US Code with improper appointment of Special Counsel. Don't even think he didn't know. That alone is enough for Malfeasance, Abuse of Office, and a mistrial for anything Bueller can get in front of a Judge. ..."
Jul 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

News of the resolution comes after weeks of frustration by Congressional investigators, who have repeatedly accused Rosenstein and the DOJ of "slow walking" documents related to their investigations. Lawmakers say they've been given the runaround - while Rosenstein and the rest of the DOJ have maintained that handing over vital documents would compromise ongoing investigations.

Not even last week's heavily redacted release of the FBI's FISA surveillance application on former Trump campaign Carter Page was enough to dissuade the GOP lawmakers from their efforts to impeach Rosenstein. In fact, its release may have sealed Rosenstein's fate after it was revealed that the FISA application and subsequent renewals - at least one of which Rosenstein signed off on , relied heavily on the salacious and largely unproven Steele dossier.

In late June, Rosenstein along with FBI Director Christopher Wray clashed with House Republicans during a fiery hearing over an internal DOJ report criticizing the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation by special agents who harbored extreme animus towards Donald Trump while expressing support for Clinton. Republicans on the panel grilled a defiant Rosenstein on the Trump-Russia investigation which has yet to prove any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

"This country is being hurt by it. We are being divided," Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said of Mueller's investigation. "Whatever you got," Gowdy added, " Finish it the hell up because this country is being torn apart. "

https://www.youtube.com/embed/4uN9uIqNqxg

Rosenstein pushed back - dodging responsibility for decisions made by subordinates while claiming that Mueller was moving "as expeditiously as possible," and insisting that he was "not trying to hide anything."

" We are not in contempt of this Congress, and we are not going to be in contempt of this Congress ," Rosenstein told lawmakers.

Congressional GOP were not impressed.

" For over eight months, they have had the opportunity to choose transparency. But they've instead chosen to withhold information and impede any effort of Congress to conduct oversight," said Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a sponsor of Thursday's House resolution who raised the possibility of impeachment this week. " If Rod Rosenstein and the Department of Justice have nothing to hide, they certainly haven't acted like it. " - New York Times (6/28/18)

And now, Rosenstein's fate is in the hands of Congress.

Occams_Razor_Trader -> El Oregonian Wed, 07/25/2018 - 19:43 Permalink

Nothing about filing a fraudulent FISA application and filing fraudulent successive renewals??

That's the treasonous part!

He's been treading water waiting for the "Blue Wave", the blue wave ain't a commin' Rosenshit.

Dickweed Wang -> New_Meat Wed, 07/25/2018 - 21:05 Permalink

I got directed to Meadows Twitter feed earlier and I couldn't believe some of the comments from the Hilary crowd. Either they actually believe the CNN/MSNBC "Russia did it" bullshit or they've decided to roll with that narrative regardless of what reality shows because they think it gives them some kind of leverage if they keep spewing those accusations. Those people are really sick in the head.

Hugh_Jorgan -> Dickweed Wang Wed, 07/25/2018 - 21:23 Permalink

I'll believe it when Rosenstein is actually removed. Anything short of the is potentially just more theater.

Free This -> Hugh_Jorgan Wed, 07/25/2018 - 21:27 Permalink

Get him out of there - just a bit outside - STRIKE!

nmewn -> Giant Meteor Wed, 07/25/2018 - 20:04 Permalink

Somewhat. Yes, sometimes cowards need a good swift kick in the ass to get em going...lol.

But you gotta place yourself into the mind of a bureautocracy kleptocrat like Rosenstein to discover where his head was at (or whatever bureaucrat, pick any one)...this was "business as usual"...for EIGHT SOLID YEARS they were able to delay/obstruct Congressional oversight at will into any number of things, from "recycled hard drives" to "rogue agents" to "smashed Blackberries" to "Bleachbit" to "illegal servers" to "spontaneous protests in Benghazi" to "Car Czars" to "the benign tracking of weapons into Mexico" (lol...my personal favorite) et fucking cetra so...there was no reason whatsoever that Rosenstein would suspect that oversight would..."change".

Well, it has ;-)

FIAT CON -> nmewn Wed, 07/25/2018 - 20:50 Permalink

And the biggest reason they were careless... "She wasn't supposed to lose"!

nmewn -> FIAT CON Wed, 07/25/2018 - 21:08 Permalink

Yes, dead on.

She-Was-Not-Supposed-To-Lose.

See, all of this nation ending angst, hate, ill-will, divide & conquer, the rending of clothes and gnashing of teeth could have been completely avoided if the People would have just complied with their betters, the elites, the educated, the non-deplorables and used that gift of, ahem, "democracy" (lol) that the rich & powerful are so insecure in trusting us with...none of this would have happened.

There would have been a "historic" coronation of our new Queen Hillary! There were royal wedding plans even!

And we, the deplorables, the plebes, the low-lifes, had to go and mess up their plans of sweeping it all under the rug ;-)

Giant Meteor -> chunga Wed, 07/25/2018 - 20:09 Permalink

Elections coming up ..

Why in the Sam hell do you think they're jawboning this thing to death ..

swmnguy Wed, 07/25/2018 - 19:39 Permalink

"They'll move to impeach Rosenstein just as they voted to repeal ObamaCare 50 times or however many. And, just like when they got the chance to re-do ObamaCare altogether and had not the foggiest notion what to do, if they get to impeach Rosenstein they won't have any idea how to proceed."

This ..
Damned Kabuki, will be answered! With more Kabuki ..

MoreFreedom -> Occams_Razor_Trader Wed, 07/25/2018 - 19:51 Permalink

Also a big problem, was his CHOICE to not recuse himself from being involved in appointing Mueller, when he was heavily involved in the investigations, such as signing a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign staff when there was allegedly (in the FISA warrant) Russian collusion.

Chupacabra-322 -> Occams_Razor_Trader Wed, 07/25/2018 - 20:37 Permalink

@ Occams,

July 25, 2018: Ep. 770 The Liberal Rage Machine

What is the swamp hiding? This latest revelation by Republicans looking into Spygate offers us some tantalizing clues. In this episode I address the growing efforts by the swamp to sweep the scandal under the rug.

https://www.bongino.com/july-25-2018-ep-770-the-liberal-rage-machine/

"Is they don't want to get into who pushed the Information into the Trump Team orbit. And, the questions surrounding Joseph Mizut. Who was the initiator, I should say, of the Papadopoulos, "they have dirt on Hillary story."

"If this guy was working for Western Intelligence Agencies, this whole case is going to explode." "It's already exploding. But it's going to explode at just Nuclear Levels." "Right?"

"Now they're starting to realize that, that may be a problem too. So, now there's a third track. The third track Joe, is going to be:

"Verification is not necessary." "They're starting to creep this out there now."

"Remember what I told you about the "Woods Procedure." "The Woods Procedure" is a procedure in the FBI & DOJ to verify information before it goes in front of the FISA Court, right?"

"The new line of attack is going to be:

"Well, that's really not necessary. This thorough verification of all the information." "Why they're going down that track I can't give you a conclusive explanation. I can only tell you that, my guess here, is that they're realizing that whatever fork they take in the road."

"Cater Paige who was spied on. With no verified information. Not good. Papadoplolus, who we Prosecuted despite the fact that a potential "Western Connected Intelligence Asset," pushed the information into Papadopoulos. Meaning he was framed. That's not good either."

"They know there's no way out. So what are they going to do? Now, they're going to push:

"Well, lets go back to Cater Paige. But let's say, "Alright, we may have made a mistake but Verification is really not necessary. We were really worried he (Carter Paige) was a terrorist or a spy. So we had to just run with it."

"Folks, they have no where to go."

"Now, how does this tie into the Bryon York piece. Remember, that they're are people up in the House. Nunes & other folks in these Committees. Don't forget this. They're folks, Republicans in the House & on the Senate side too who have seen the Declassified, Unredacted documents about why this whole case stated."

"They've seen that now. They haven't seen all of the DOJ or FBI records. That is where this fight is brewing. But the FISA application. They have seen most of what's in it. The redacted copy the one you've seen. Obviously, has blacked out information. Hence, the redactions. They dropped a hint yesterday. They want disclosed Joe. And, I'm quoting Bryon York here:

"What is on pages 10-12 & 17-34. of the FISA application."

"He says, this is York:

"That is certainly a tantalizing clue dropped by the House Intel Members. But it's not clear what is means. Comparing the relevant sections from the initial FISA application in October & the third renewal in June much appears the same. But in pages 10-12 the date the Republicans want redacted. Of the third renewal. There's a sightly different headline:

"The Russian Governments coordinated effort to influence the 2016 Presidential Election." Plus a footnote seven lines long that was not in the original."

"Folks, the Republicans know something. They have seen these redactions. now, based on some research. I can't tell you because I have not seen the unredacted copy of the document. I can only tell you based on research surrounding the case & some Information I've been working hard to develop. That it may disclose, those footnotes may disclose some connections for information streams. Again, that were not related to formal Intelligence Channels."

"In other words, the theory from the start that we've been operating on is that this case was not developed through standard protocol. If you develop Intelligence in a Five Eyes Country & Intelligence cooperated with the UNITED STATES against Donald Trump. You pass that information to your domestic Intelligence Agency who passes it Central Intelligence Agency. They vet the information before it makes it to the Presidents desk."

"That is not the way this case worked. May I suggest to you that the redactions describe other channels. Other channels of information that developed outside of those standard channels."

"Are we clear on this? I want to make clear what we're talking about. Standard way to do this is Intel Agency to Intel Agency. Vet it, vet the information, check the information before it makes it to the President. The only reason you would go outside of that network with Intelligence, specifically against a Political Candidate in the UNITED STATES is because you want to launder the information without vetting it. You want to clean it to make it seen legitimate."

"We already know, based on Public admissions by State Department Officials on the Obama Administration that they used The State Department. We already know, that there where people working for the Clinton Team that met with people on The State Department. May I suggest that this describes an alternative information channel outside of the standard "modus operandi" here that is going to expose The whole thing was an information laundering operation. The Republicans know something here folks."

"They know something.

mc888 -> Chupacabra-322 Wed, 07/25/2018 - 21:33 Permalink

Bongino is great. And now we're getting warm.

Woods procedure IS required, it's not optional. And we have the FBI self-admittedly not adhering to their own procedure. If they had, Steele would have been paid. The FBI stiffed him.

Further, it's the Judge's responsibility to insure the Prosecutors and Agents followed the procedure, and additionally that they vetted the sources - not just the informant. The informant's sources. They were criminally negligent on that point as well. The Judge was no victim here, the Judge had to be complicit in the conspiracy.

FVEY involvement is a whole 'nother can of worms.

https://www.puppetstringnews.com/blog/gchq-boss-left-in-2017-after-obam

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/03/28/five-eyes-allies-spy-

Totally illegal in their own country, so they have another country do it for them. Can it be prosecuted as Espionage? What about when it's used in Conspiracy to commit Sedition? What about failure to prosecute a crime of this magnitude, a direct attack on our govt by FVEY?

rtb61 -> Occams_Razor_Trader Wed, 07/25/2018 - 22:15 Permalink

What will the punishment be, nothing, be fired for incompetence, that's all. Why are they being stubborn dicks and not handing over the information because if fucking proves they are incompetent and gets them fired.

So either way they are fired, they just suck up more inflated salary for longer by holding off as long as they can and fuck everyone else, fuck the government, fuck Americans, fuck justice, they will stay there as long as they can sucking up quite a large salary well over $100,000 per year, plus perks, plus super and we are not talking dicking around for days but months.

Fired months and months later for not releasing the information versus fired within days of the information being released. As simple as that and as far as they are concerned fuck all other US citizens, they will not leave their spot at the trough of corruption until forced.

Donald J. Trump -> gatorengineer Wed, 07/25/2018 - 20:17 Permalink

Trump hired him but I don't think he's Trump's guy. Although it does seem odd that Rosenstein was part of the plan to indict charges on Russians right before Trump met Putin since he met Trump earlier that week to discuss those plans. It is all theater, you got that right, just not sure what the plot is.

Clinteastwood -> nmewn Wed, 07/25/2018 - 21:12 Permalink

Zerohedge readers might want to read this article from theconservativetreehouse.....Rosenstein and Sessions may be up to more than meets the eye; i.e., drain the swamp by catching the leakers:

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/07/24/corrupt-republican-senate-intelligence-committee-chairman-richard-burr-defending-fisa-application-trying-to-hide-ssci-involvement-in-fisa-spygate/

loveyajimbo -> Whoa Dammit • Wed, 07/25/2018 - 19:43 Permalink

Mule-face is just as conflicted... he applies and interviews for the FBI job, doesn't get it... then takes on an investigation of Trump??? Bullshiiiiiiiiit!!!! Special Counsel statutes are CLEAR... but Sessions is totally corrupt.

Whoa Dammit -> macholatte Wed, 07/25/2018 - 19:34 Permalink

Rosenstein signing off on the FISA documents means he should have recused himself from the Mueller investigation instead of overseeing it. That's what is going to take him down.

FIAT CON -> loveyajimbo Wed, 07/25/2018 - 20:28 Permalink

For those of you who have not seen this...This has been in the works since April...... https://gosar.house.gov/uploadedfiles/criminal-referral.pdf

mc888 -> Whoa Dammit Wed, 07/25/2018 - 20:07 Permalink

Recuse himself? He violated US Code with improper appointment of Special Counsel. Don't even think he didn't know. That alone is enough for Malfeasance, Abuse of Office, and a mistrial for anything Bueller can get in front of a Judge.

loveyajimbo -> macholatte Wed, 07/25/2018 - 19:41 Permalink

True... but WTF is Trump thinking??? He should use this action to FIRE Rosenstein's traitor's ass NOW. Include the useless Sessions and Wray and, obviously, McCabe and Ohr.

DiGenova for AG, David Clarke for FBI head... Maybe Andy McCarthy for new Special Counsel to prosecute Hillary and all the rest of the Barry Obongo criminals... especially pigfart Brennan.

[Jul 24, 2018] Bernie Sanders embraces the anti-Russia campaign by Patrick Martin

Notable quotes:
"... Sanders's support for the anti-Russia and anti-Wikileaks campaign is all the more telling because he was himself the victim of efforts by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party leadership to block his 2016 campaign. In June and July 2016, Wikileaks published internal Democratic emails in which officials ridiculed the Sanders campaign, forcing the DNC to issue a public apology: "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email." ..."
"... In the aftermath of his election campaign, Sanders was elevated into a top-level position in the Democratic Party caucus in the US Senate. His first response to the inauguration of Trump was to declare his willingness to "work with" the president, closely tracking remarks of Obama that the election of Trump was part of an "intramural scrimmage" in which all sides were on the same team. As the campaign of the military-intelligence agencies intensifies, however, Sanders is toeing the line. ..."
"... The Sanders campaign did not push the Democrats to the left, but rather the state apparatus of the ruling class brought Sanders in to give a "left" veneer to a thoroughly right-wing party. ..."
"... There is no contradiction between the influx of military-intelligence candidates into the Democratic Party and the Democrats' making use of the services of Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez to give the party a "left" cover. Both the CIA Democrats and their pseudo-left "comrades" agree on the most important questions: the defense of the global interests of American imperialism and a more aggressive intervention in the Syrian civil war and other areas where Washington and Moscow are in conflict. ..."
Jul 23, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders appeared on the CBS interview program "Face the Nation" Sunday and fully embraced the anti-Russia campaign of the US military-intelligence apparatus, backed by the Democratic Party and much of the media.

In response to a question from CBS host Margaret Brennan, Sanders unleashed a torrent of denunciations of Trump's meeting and press conference in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A preliminary transcript reads:

SANDERS: "I will tell you that I was absolutely outraged by his behavior in Helsinki, where he really sold the American people out. And it makes me think that either Trump doesn't understand what Russia has done, not only to our elections, but through cyber attacks against all parts of our infrastructure, either he doesn't understand it, or perhaps he is being blackmailed by Russia, because they may have compromising information about him.

"Or perhaps also you have a president who really does have strong authoritarian tendencies. And maybe he admires the kind of government that Putin is running in Russia. And I think all of that is a disgrace and a disservice to the American people. And we have got to make sure that Russia does not interfere, not only in our elections, but in other aspects of our lives."

These comments, which echo remarks he gave at a rally in Kansas late last week, signal Sanders' full embrace of the right-wing campaign launched by the Democrats and backed by dominant sections of the military-intelligence apparatus. Their opposition to Trump is centered on issues of foreign policy, based on the concern that Trump, due to his own "America First" brand of imperialist strategy, has run afoul of geostrategic imperatives that are considered inviolable -- in particular, the conflict with Russia.

Sanders did not use his time on a national television program to condemn Trump's persecution of immigrants and the separation of children from their parents, or to denounce his naming of ultra-right jurist Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, or to attack the White House declaration last week that the "war on poverty" had ended victoriously -- in order to justify the destruction of social programs for impoverished working people. Nor did he seek to advance his supposedly left-wing program on domestic issues like health care, jobs and education.

Sanders' embrace of the anti-Russia campaign is not surprising, but it is instructive. This is, after all, an individual who presented himself as "left-wing," even a "socialist." During the 2016 election campaign, he won the support of millions of people attracted to his call for a "political revolution" against the "billionaire class." For Sanders, who has a long history of opportunist and pro-imperialist politics in the orbit of the Democratic Party, the aim of the campaign was always to direct social discontent into establishment channels, culminating in his endorsement of the campaign of Hillary Clinton.

Sanders's support for the anti-Russia and anti-Wikileaks campaign is all the more telling because he was himself the victim of efforts by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party leadership to block his 2016 campaign. In June and July 2016, Wikileaks published internal Democratic emails in which officials ridiculed the Sanders campaign, forcing the DNC to issue a public apology: "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email."

In the aftermath of his election campaign, Sanders was elevated into a top-level position in the Democratic Party caucus in the US Senate. His first response to the inauguration of Trump was to declare his willingness to "work with" the president, closely tracking remarks of Obama that the election of Trump was part of an "intramural scrimmage" in which all sides were on the same team. As the campaign of the military-intelligence agencies intensifies, however, Sanders is toeing the line.

The experience is instructive not only in relation to Sanders, but to an entire social milieu and the political perspective with which it is associated. This is what it means to work within the Democratic Party. The Sanders campaign did not push the Democrats to the left, but rather the state apparatus of the ruling class brought Sanders in to give a "left" veneer to a thoroughly right-wing party.

New political figures, many associated with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) are being brought in for the same purpose. As Sanders gave his anti-Russia rant, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sat next to him nodding her agreement. The 28-year-old member of the DSA last month won the Democratic nomination in New York's 14th Congressional District, unseating the Democratic incumbent, Joseph Crowley, the fourth-ranking member of the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives.

Since then, Ocasio-Cortez has been given massive and largely uncritical publicity by the corporate media, summed up in an editorial puff piece by the New York Times that described her as "a bright light in the Democratic Party who has brought desperately needed energy back to New York politics "

Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders were jointly interviewed from Kansas, where the two appeared Friday at a campaign rally for James Thompson, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the US House of Representatives from the Fourth Congressional District, based in Wichita, in an August 7 primary election.

Thompson might appear to be an unusual ally for the "socialist" Sanders and the DSA member Ocasio-Cortez. His campaign celebrates his role as an Army veteran, and his website opens under the slogan "Join the Thompson Army," followed by pledges that the candidate will "Fight for America." In an interview with the Associated Press, Thompson indicated that despite his support for Sanders' call for "Medicare for all," and his own endorsement by the DSA, he was wary of any association with socialism. "I don't like the term socialist, because people do associate that with bad things in history," he said.

Such anticommunism fits right in with the anti-Russian campaign, which is the principal theme of the Democratic Party in the 2018 elections. As the World Socialist Web Site has pointed out for many months, the real thrust of the Democratic Party campaign is demonstrated by its recruitment as congressional candidates of dozens of former CIA and military intelligence agents, combat commanders from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and war planners from the Pentagon, State Department and White House.

There is no contradiction between the influx of military-intelligence candidates into the Democratic Party and the Democrats' making use of the services of Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez to give the party a "left" cover. Both the CIA Democrats and their pseudo-left "comrades" agree on the most important questions: the defense of the global interests of American imperialism and a more aggressive intervention in the Syrian civil war and other areas where Washington and Moscow are in conflict.

[Jul 24, 2018] The real face of Bernie Sanders

Notable quotes:
"... Rand Paul blocks Sanders's Russia resolution, calls it 'crazy hatred' against Trump ..."
Jul 24, 2018 | thehill.com

Rand Paul blocks Sanders's Russia resolution, calls it 'crazy hatred' against Trump By Jordain Carney

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday blocked a resolution from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that backed the intelligence community's assessment of Russian election interference and demanded President Trump speak with special counsel Robert Mueller .

Sanders asked for unanimous consent to try to pass his resolution, saying senators "must act" if they are "serious about preserving American democracy."

"The Congress must make it clear that we accept the assessment of our intelligence community with regard to Russian election interfering in our country and in other democracies," Sanders said during a Senate floor speech.

Under Senate rules, any one senator could block his request. "The hatred for the president is so intense that partisans would rather risk war than give diplomacy a chance," he said.

Paul questioned why senators would not want to have relations with Russia. "We should stand firm and say 'Stay the hell out of our elections,' but we should not stick our head in the ground and say we're not going to talk to them," he said.

But Sanders fired back that Paul's objection was unrelated to his resolution, which he noted doesn't push for cutting off talks with the Russians.

"What the senator said is totally irrelevant to what is in this resolution," Sanders said. The resolution comes as Congress is weighing how to push back against Russia after Trump sparked bipartisan backlash during his meeting with Putin on Monday in Helsinki, Finland.

Trump refused to condemn Russia for interfering in the 2016 presidential election during a joint press conference on Monday. He then tried to walk back his comments on Tuesday, saying he accepted the intelligence community's findings but added that "other people" could have been involved too.

[Jul 23, 2018] Report Former FBI Lawyer Lisa Page Revealed Under Oath That There Was No Basis for Mueller's Appointment

Notable quotes:
"... The Mueller special counsel investigation was launched to probe charges that the key FBI officials developing evidence in the case thought were baseless. That's a bombshell accusation that appears to have been confirmed by former FBI lawyer Lisa Page , according to John Solomon . It tends to confirm the suspicion that the Mueller probe is a cover-up operation to obscure the criminal use of counterintelligence capabilities to spy on a rival presidential campaign and then sabotage the presidency that resulted. ..."
"... she offered a bombshell confirmation of the meaning of one of the most enigmatic text messages that the public has seen (keep in mind that there are many yet to be released). ..."
"... The truth behind the Mueller probe is looking uglier and uglier. Pursuing bogus accusations without foundation is the very definition of a witch hunt – President Trump's term for Mueller's team of Hillary-supporters. ..."
"... We don't know anything at all about the activities of Utah U.S. attorney Peter Huber , who is investigating the potential abuse of U.S. intelligence apparatus for political purposes. That is the proper procedure for grand jury probes. But if Lisa Page is honestly answering questions under oath for a congressional committee, she probably is doing so in grand jury sessions, if summoned. ..."
Jul 23, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

By Thomas Lifson Global Research, July 23, 2018 American Thinker 20 July 2018

The Mueller special counsel investigation was launched to probe charges that the key FBI officials developing evidence in the case thought were baseless. That's a bombshell accusation that appears to have been confirmed by former FBI lawyer Lisa Page , according to John Solomon . It tends to confirm the suspicion that the Mueller probe is a cover-up operation to obscure the criminal use of counterintelligence capabilities to spy on a rival presidential campaign and then sabotage the presidency that resulted.

Earlier reports indicated that Page has been answering questions from the House Judiciary Committee quite frankly and may even have cut a deal selling out her ex-lover Peter Strzok over their professional misbehavior (and quite possibly worse) in targeting the campaign and presidency of Donald Trump with the intelligence-gathering tools of the FBI.

Last night, John Solomon of The Hill revealed that he has obtained information from sources who heard Page's testimony in two days of sworn depositions behind closed doors that she offered a bombshell confirmation of the meaning of one of the most enigmatic text messages that the public has seen (keep in mind that there are many yet to be released).

Writing in The Hill , Solomon explains :

[T]here are just five words, among the thousands of suggestive texts Page and Strzok exchanged, that you should read.

That passage was transmitted on May 19, 2017. "There's no big there there," Strzok texted.

The date of the text long has intrigued investigators: It is two days after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named special counsel Robert Mueller to oversee an investigation into alleged collusion between Trump and the Russia campaign.

Since the text was turned over to Congress, investigators wondered whether it referred to the evidence against the Trump campaign.

This month, they finally got the chance to ask. Strzok declined to say – but Page, during a closed-door interview with lawmakers, confirmed in the most pained and contorted way that the message in fact referred to the quality of the Russia case, according to multiple eyewitnesses.

The admission is deeply consequential. It means Rosenstein unleashed the most awesome powers of a special counsel to investigate an allegation that the key FBI officials, driving the investigation for 10 months beforehand, did not think was "there."

The truth behind the Mueller probe is looking uglier and uglier. Pursuing bogus accusations without foundation is the very definition of a witch hunt – President Trump's term for Mueller's team of Hillary-supporters.

We don't know anything at all about the activities of Utah U.S. attorney Peter Huber , who is investigating the potential abuse of U.S. intelligence apparatus for political purposes. That is the proper procedure for grand jury probes. But if Lisa Page is honestly answering questions under oath for a congressional committee, she probably is doing so in grand jury sessions, if summoned.

The glacial pace of this probe is frustrating for Trump-supporters. But doing it right and observing the ethical and legal constraints takes time and does not generate leaks. Nevertheless, I am deeply encouraged by this leak to Solomon, as it seems to indicate that the truth will come out.

Appearing on Hannity last night, Solomon elaborated: watch video here .

[Jul 23, 2018] Distraction. Trapped into Hating Donald Trump Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

Notable quotes:
"... This short communiqué is to my friends who are trapped in hating Donald Trump so much that any "alternative fact" (as long as it is against President Trump) is virtue to them. They are not realizing that the feud among the 1%, regardless of their Party affiliation is a family feud. The extreme right wing politicians and billionaires run both the Democratic and Republican parties. Their arguments are not about our state of healthcare, education or jobs. ..."
"... Massoud Nayeri is a graphic designer and an independent peace activist based in the United States. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research. ..."
Jul 23, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

Distraction. Trapped into Hating Donald Trump By Massoud Nayeri Global Research, July 23, 2018 Region: Russia and FSU , USA Theme: History , Media Disinformation

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above

This short communiqué is to my friends who are trapped in hating Donald Trump so much that any "alternative fact" (as long as it is against President Trump) is virtue to them. They are not realizing that the feud among the 1%, regardless of their Party affiliation is a family feud. The extreme right wing politicians and billionaires run both the Democratic and Republican parties. Their arguments are not about our state of healthcare, education or jobs.

Friends who are dissatisfied with the current political situation (instead of organizing against the reactionary policies of the current administration or question the congress for approving the Tax Cut for the rich) are competing in posting the Democratic Party hysteria against Russia on the social media. They are distracted by the false narrative that "American Democracy" is under "attack" by one man in Russia, President Putin who has Mr. Trump in his "pocket".

Those who believe such an absurd storyline rely on the U.S. Intelligence agencies reports and findings! These are the same agencies that informed Americans that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction. They are the same people who justified war against Iraq in 2003 which opened the gates of hell in that region for decades. Now, after they had succeeded in blowing up people and countries in the Middle East on false information, the ladies and gentlemen of the U.S. intelligence agencies have found a new bogeyman to scare the American people. This is just another DISTRACTION , period.

G7 Summit, Working People and Trumped-up "Peace"

The fascistic minded President of the U.S. is not in anybody's pocket. As a matter of fact, today it is the political pocket pickers in Washington who are robbing the American working people and holding us as hostages. When was the last time that you saw the White House or Congress address the working people's real needs and problems? Some friends are mesmerized by the nastiness of the 1% cultural values. However exposing Mr. Trump sexual affair with a "Porn Star" will not help the American people's struggle for the Minimum Wage or Protecting Environment, Immigration and so on. This is just another DISTRACTION .

Under bright light, President Trump and his opponents play out their childish, embarrassing show against each other in front of the corrupt media, while in the shadow of DISTRACTION they are limiting our FREEDOM OF SPEECH and taking away our democratic rights. Both parties are afraid of the energy and determination of workers, farmers, women and youth which eventually could challenge the entire existing miserable system. Historically, they are well aware of the potential of revolt by people who are organized and conscious. The ladies and gentlemen in charge of the U.S. foreign and domestic policy are incapable of solving our social or political problems; the only thing they are good at is to create decoys and DISTRACTION . The gossip shows on the corporate media are blindfolding us to see the slaughters in Gaza or Yemen or the devastating consequences of the Trump administration Trade War drive against the EU and China 1 on American farmers and workers.

Independent and democratic minded people SHOULD NOT take any side between the different factions of the 1%. We should not allow the 1% use us as their pawns to propagate their hate and disunity among people.

The White House and Congress are obsolete. Independent and democratic minded people should UNITE, ORGANIZE and seek a new operating system – a system that puts people's need over profit.

*

Massoud Nayeri is a graphic designer and an independent peace activist based in the United States. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

[Jul 23, 2018] The Democratic Party's Pitch to Billionaires by Eric Zuesse

Notable quotes:
"... The wing of the Democratic Party that looks for the dollars instead of the votes is called "The Third Way" and it presents itself as representing the supposedly vast political center, nothing "extremist" or "marginal." But didn't liberal Republicanism go out when Nelson Rockefeller did? Conservative Democrats are like liberal Republicans -- they attract flies and billionaires, but not many votes. And didn't the Rockefeller drug laws fill our prisons with millions of pathetic drug-users and small drug-dealers but not with the kingpins in either the narcotics business or the bankster rackets (such as had crashed the economy in 2008 -- and the Third Way Democrat who had been the exceptional politician and liar that was so slick he actually did attract many votes, President Barack Obama, told the banksters privately, on 27 March 2009, "I'm not out there to go after you. I'm protecting you." And, he did keep his promise to them, though not to his voters .) ..."
"... They want another Barack Obama. There aren't any more of those (unless, perhaps, Michelle Obama enters the contest). But, even if there were: How many Democrats would fall for that scam, yet again -- after the disaster of 2016? ..."
"... Maybe the Third Way is right, and there's a sucker born every minute. But if that's what the Democratic Party is going to rely upon, then America's stunningly low voter-participation rate is set to plunge even lower, because even more voters than before will either be leaving the Presidential line blank, or even perhaps voting for the Republican candidate (as some felt driven to do in 2016). ..."
"... Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity . He is a frequent contributor to Global Research. ..."
Jul 23, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

The wing of the Democratic Party that looks for the dollars instead of the votes is called "The Third Way" and it presents itself as representing the supposedly vast political center, nothing "extremist" or "marginal." But didn't liberal Republicanism go out when Nelson Rockefeller did? Conservative Democrats are like liberal Republicans -- they attract flies and billionaires, but not many votes. And didn't the Rockefeller drug laws fill our prisons with millions of pathetic drug-users and small drug-dealers but not with the kingpins in either the narcotics business or the bankster rackets (such as had crashed the economy in 2008 -- and the Third Way Democrat who had been the exceptional politician and liar that was so slick he actually did attract many votes, President Barack Obama, told the banksters privately, on 27 March 2009, "I'm not out there to go after you. I'm protecting you." And, he did keep his promise to them, though not to his voters .)

They're at it, yet again. On July 22nd, NBC News's Alex Seitz-Wald headlined "Sanders' wing of the party terrifies moderate Dems. Here's how they plan to stop it." And he described what was publicly available from the 3-day private meeting in Columbus Ohio of The Third Way, July 18-20, the planning conference between the Party's chiefs and its billionaires. Evidently, they hate Bernie Sanders and are already scheming and spending in order to block him, now a second time, from obtaining the Party's Presidential nomination. "Anxiety has largely been kept to a whisper among the party's moderates and big donors, with some of the major fundraisers pressing operatives on what can be done to stop the Vermonter if he runs for the White House again." This passage in Seitz-Wald's article was especially striking to me:

The gathering here was an effort to offer an attractive alternative to the rising Sanders-style populist left in the upcoming presidential race. Where progressives see a rare opportunity to capitalize on an energized Democratic base, moderates see a better chance to win over Republicans turned off by Trump.

The fact that a billionaire real estate developer, Winston Fisher, cohosted the event and addressed attendees twice, underscored that this group is not interested in the class warfare vilifying the "millionaires and billionaires" found in Sanders' stump speech.

"You're not going to make me hate somebody just because they're rich. I want to be rich!" Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, a potential presidential candidate, said Friday to laughs.

I would reply to congressman Ryan's remark: If you want to be rich, then get the hell out of politics! Don't run for President! I don't want you there! And that's no joke!

Anyone who doesn't recognize that an inevitable trade-off exists between serving the public and serving oneself, is a libertarian -- an Ayn Rander, in fact -- and there aren't many of those in the Democratic Party, but plenty of them are in the Republican Party.

Just as a clergyman in some faiths is supposed to take a vow of chastity, and in some faiths also to take a vow of poverty, in order to serve "the calling" instead of oneself, anyone who enters 'public service' and who aspires to "be rich" is inevitably inviting corruption -- not prepared to do war against it . That kind of politician is a Manchurian candidate, like Obama perhaps, but certainly not what this or any country needs, in any case. Voters like that can be won only by means of deceit, which is the way that politicians like that do win.

No decent political leader enters or stays in politics in order to "be rich," because no political leader can be decent who isn't in it as a calling, to public service, and as a repudiation, of any self-service in politics.

Republican Party voters invite corrupt government, because their Party's ideology is committed to it ("Freedom [for the rich]!"); but the only Democratic Party voters who at all tolerate corrupt politicians (such as Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York State) are actually Republican Democrats -- people who are confused enough so as not really to care much about what they believe; whatever their garbage happens to be, they believe in it and don't want to know differently than it.

The Third Way is hoping that there are enough of such 'Democrats' so that they can, yet again, end up with a Third Way Democrat being offered to that Party's voters in 2020, just like happened in 2016. They want another Barack Obama. There aren't any more of those (unless, perhaps, Michelle Obama enters the contest). But, even if there were: How many Democrats would fall for that scam, yet again -- after the disaster of 2016?

Maybe the Third Way is right, and there's a sucker born every minute. But if that's what the Democratic Party is going to rely upon, then America's stunningly low voter-participation rate is set to plunge even lower, because even more voters than before will either be leaving the Presidential line blank, or even perhaps voting for the Republican candidate (as some felt driven to do in 2016).

The Third Way is the way to the death of democracy, if it's not already dead . It is no answer to anything, except to the desires of billionaires -- both Republican and Democratic.

The center of American politics isn't the center of America's aristocracy. The goal of groups such as The Third Way is to fool the American public to equate the two. The result of such groups is the contempt that America's public have for America's Government . But, pushed too far, mass disillusionment becomes revolution. Is that what America's billionaires are willing to risk? They might get it.

*

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity . He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

[Jul 23, 2018] What was Obama's Involvement in SpyGate

This was attempt of entrapment on the part of Obama
Jul 23, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Clapper Defends Spying On Trump Campaign As 'A Legitimate Activity':

Bartiromo Lays Out Deep State Conspiracy | The Daily Caller:

operation Crossfire Hurricane:

Crossfire Hurricane:

FBI Agents Spill Beans on Comey & McCabe-Era Threats Against the President: "Trump and Friends Better Watch Their F*cking L..." – True PunditTrue Pundit:

The Important Questions About 'Spygate':

Clapper: Obama Didn't Know About FBI Spy | The Daily Caller:

Bongino: Democrats Won't Say 'Spy' Because It Implicates Obama:

London-to-Langley Spy Ring; The Roots Of Obamagate Become Clearer | Zero Hedge:

[Jul 23, 2018] Clapper Obama Was Behind The Whole Thing

Jul 23, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Sun, 07/22/2018 - 14:45 13.5K SHARES

Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper admitted in a CNN interview Saturday that former President Obama instigated the ongoing investigations into Donald Trump and those in his orbit.

Speaking with CNN 's Anderson Cooper, Clapper let slip:

If it weren't for President Obama we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set up a whole sequence of events which are still unfolding today including Special Counsel Mueller's investigation. President Obama is responsible for that. It was he who tasked us to do that intelligence community assessment in the first place.

me title=

Recall in May, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) fired off a letter to the Department of Justice demanding unredacted versions of text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and former bureau attorney Lisa Page, including one exchange which took place after Strzok had returned from London as part of the recently launched " Operation Crossfire Hurricane " referring to the White House "running" an unknown investigation .

Strzok had been in London to interview Australian ambassador Alexander Downer about a drunken conversation with Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who - after reportedly being fed information - mentioned Russia having Hillary Clinton's emails.

Strzok: And hi. Went well, best we could have expected. Other than [REDACTED] quote: " the White House is running this . " My answer, "well, maybe for you they are." And of course, I was planning on telling this guy, thanks for coming, we've got an hour, but with Bill [Priestap] there, I've got no control .

Page: Yeah, whatever (re the WH comment). We've got the emails that say otherwise.

And with Clapper's admission - it looks like Strzok's text stating "the White House is running this" may have been right on the money.

Update: Meanwhile, House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) told Fox's Maria Bartiromo that the American public needs to see an unredacted version of the Carter Page FISA application .

me title=

We can only imagine what's in there...

Tags Politics General Education Services Glasses, Spectacles & Contact lenses

FireBrander Sun, 07/22/2018 - 14:45 Permalink

1. They all believed the lie; Trump was not going to win...not even close.

2. No matter how criminal they became, Hillary's win would ensure everyone involved was rewarded.

3. Didn't work out, panic mode, everyone claiming innocence, Obama in hiding (smartest, most guilty, one of the bunch).

end.

css1971 -> FireBrander Sun, 07/22/2018 - 14:47 Permalink

You still hang for following orders.

evoila -> css1971 Sun, 07/22/2018 - 14:53 Permalink

No shit. Why else has Obama been pretty damn silent on this matter? Because it's presidential courtesy? No, it's because he's hiding skeletons.

macholatte -> bigkahuna Sun, 07/22/2018 - 14:56 Permalink

The entire Resistance & Russia hoax was designed to delay and obfuscate. Primary goal is to let the statute of limitations run and provide immunity where possible so the Criminal Elite can escape. Hitlary and her whole crew were immunized by Comey. Many others are likely free. This shit would not happen if we had a real attorney general and a real special prosecutor.

Free This -> powow Sun, 07/22/2018 - 18:30 Permalink

If it weren't for President Obama we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set up a whole sequence of events which are still unfolding today including Special Counsel Mueller's investigation. President Obama is responsible for that. It was he who tasked us to do that

intelligence community assessment in the first place.

Try then hang the skinny little faggot and his lapdog shitlery, NOW!

350 of 400 pages released by the DOJ were completely redacted ROFLMAO - they must really think we are dumbasses!

DaiRR -> Prosource Sun, 07/22/2018 - 19:54 Permalink

Thanks Clapper, you enemy of the people. You're scared shitless and your fellow obamaist pals are going to start pointing fingers just like you. James Comey, John Kerry, Andrew McCabe, John Brennan, and Susan Rice signed the FISA application against Carter Page just like you.

They should all go to the Big House along with you. Obamaists all. OBAMISM: Weaponizing government agencies to attack DemoRats political opponents like you and me. Remember and repeat that. Let the name Obama be reviled in American history for centuries to come. He earned it and deserves it.

[Jul 23, 2018] 'Progressives Are Putin Stooges' - How Centrists Will Help To Reelect Trump

Note: The term Progressive is now so mutilated that it's no longer effective as an identifier of political affiliation. To be a real Progressive: one must be Anti-War, except in the most dire of circumstances, which includes being Anti-Imperialist/Anti-Empire; 2nd, one must be Pro-Justice as in promoting Rule of Law over all else; 3rd, one must be tolerant and willing to listen to others; and 4th, work for Win-Win outcomes and denounce Zero-sum as the smoke screen for increasing inequality
Jul 23, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Russ , Jul 22, 2018 4:53:40 PM | 27
The so-called "insurgents" are no such thing. That's a standard Democrat scam to keep potential apostates roped in. Bernie Sanders always has been a con artist. Not that it's any secret: His entire senate record is of worthless grandstanding and zero real monkey-wrenching or grid-locking action .

As for his campaign, from day one he proclaimed he was a loyal Democrat soldier and that he would support Clinton and do all he could to deliver his supporters to her. He dutifully kept that promise. Along the way and since the 2016 election he's done zero toward building any kind of grassroots alternative. That's because he never intended to be part of any real alternative in the first place. And that's why the DNC always has supported his "independent" senate campaigns - he does an excellent con-job on behalf of their agenda.

And today he's fully on board with the Russiagate campaign, doing all he can to rope in "progressives" who might be having doubts about the anti-Russia lunacy. His usual job.

As for the latest wave of progressive heroes, for just one typical example I'll observe that Ocasio-Cortez immediately after her primary win lost no time scrubbing the anti-war plank from her site and publicly retracting her previous statements on behalf of the Palestinians. The Democrat con always runs like clock-work.

And as the post describes, with Russiagate the fake insurgents provide a new service to the Party: To serve as bogeymen for internally-directed Party propaganda, as an organizational vehicle to "get out the vote" among establishment loyalists.

There's no way forward with the Democrat Party. It always has been a death trap for all progressive, let alone radical aspirations. The Party and its partisans must politically perish completely, as a prerequisite for any good transformation of America.

[Jul 23, 2018] Did Bernie Sanders break down doors for new US socialist movement by Dave Lindorff

Notable quotes:
"... "democratic socialist," ..."
"... Dave Lindorff is an award-winning US journalist, former Asia correspondent for Business Week, and founder of the collectively-owned journalists' news site ThisCantBeHappening.net. ..."
Jul 23, 2018 | www.rt.com

Socialism as a political force has never had an easy time in the US, a country that mythologizes the go-it-alone entrepreneur and the iconoclastic loner. For a brief time in the period between the two world wars, socialism was popular enough among US workers that American Socialist Party leader Eugene Debs was able to win almost a million votes for president in 1912 (about 6 percent of the popular vote at that time). But after two brutal government anti-red campaigns in the '20s and '50s that included Debs' arrest, the blacklisting of many actors, teachers and journalists in the 1950s on charges of being Communists, and finally decades of government and media propaganda equating socialism with Communism, Bolshevism and Maoism, socialism has had few adherents and little public acceptance among most Americans.

Until now, that is.

Things started to change in late 2015 and the spring of 2016 when the independent US Senator Bernie Sanders, who has long called himself a "democratic socialist," surprised everyone by running a popular grass-roots primary campaign that nearly defeated Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. (Many believe hidden favoritism and sabotage by the leadership of the Democratic Party may have stolen that primary from Sanders.)

Now, in part because the Sanders campaign has made socialist ideas like national healthcare and free college education – once not on any Democratic candidate's campaign agenda – suddenly acceptable topics for political discourse, his millions of enthusiastic youthful supporters from that campaign are openly considering socialism as a possible answer to the economic problems they face.

Read more Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives for a signing of her new book 'What happened' at Barnes & Noble bookstore at Union Square in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., September 12, 2017. © Andrew Kelly Clinton's new book removes all doubt. She still has no idea why she lost

And as those young people, and older folks too, look for answers, more and more candidates are willing to espouse them. And like Ocasio-Cortez and the four socialists who won primaries in Pennsylvania, they are showing that proposing or supporting socialist programs, and even calling oneself a socialist, can be a winning strategy.

One sign that this sudden popularity of socialist politics and ideas is not just a short-time phenomenon is that it's showing up most among younger people, many of whom hadn't shown much interest in politics before. A Harvard University study published in April for example, found that 51 percent of those between the ages of 18-29 disliked capitalism, with a majority preferring socialism as a political system. A year earlier, the conservative magazine National Review wrote with alarm that in the wake of the Sanders campaign, a poll by the conservative American Culture and Faith Institute had found 40 percent of Americans saying they favored socialism over capitalism.

... ./.. ...

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Dave Lindorff is an award-winning US journalist, former Asia correspondent for Business Week, and founder of the collectively-owned journalists' news site ThisCantBeHappening.net.

[Jul 22, 2018] Nothing burger No proof of 'Spygate' from DOJ meeting

May 24, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Top congressional lawmakers and a White House attorney met with Justice Department officials on Thursday to discuss classified information about an FBI informant involved in the Donald Trump's campaign. For more on this, democratic strategist Robin Biro and republican strategist Scottie Nell Hughes join RT America's Ed Schultz.

Critical Mindset , 1 month ago

After Vietnam, the Pentagon realized their allowing the Press to have free-rein, and bringing the bloody truth to US living rooms was what turned the public against the War. Since then, reporters are "embedded" with units FAR from any real danger, and often used to put on theater for the corporate War-Machine. The same lesson has now been learned from 2016 Campaign. The free-rein of the Press gave Trump billions worth of free publicity. In 2020, we will see a very tight control on the corporate media's allocation to "Political Class'-Approved" candidates. Just wait, and see. The plutocrats have to make sure they maintain control of the propaganda. Trump was supposed to lose to HRC, as we all know. However, first, they needed him to run out other Republicans, hence the coverage. Unfortunately for the oligarchs, the actual voters threw a big wrench into their plan.

slosh11111420 , 1 month ago

There's more proof of "spy gate" then there is "Russian colusion"

Empire of Chaos , 1 month ago

Clapper and Comey both admitted that they spied on the Trump campaign, they just made it sound like its what goes on all of the time...yeah...the spies confessed yet no-one hears...

Trentsum , 1 month ago

Informant = Spy. Spygate confirmed.

Putin Puppet , 1 month ago (edited)

It was an "informant" not a spy. LOL

Justin Norton , 1 month ago

So if the goal was to hurt trumps campaign, why didn't they bring it to the public before the election? That'd be the way to hurt the trump campaign. The election is over, so it doesn't make sense that it was to hurt his campaign? I do believe trump didn't work with Russia to swing the election, but I do believe trump was working on shady deals to make money for himself. Trump is guilty of using the presidency for his personal gain, not guilty of cheating the election.

[Jul 22, 2018] Obama's Rasputin, Valerie Jarrett, Behind Spygate Flopping Aces

Notable quotes:
"... inside the campaign ..."
"... reporting the information ..."
Jul 22, 2018 | www.floppingaces.net
  1. Casey Buller

    Barack Hussein Obama's pot, cocaine, and vodka fried brain allowed him to assume the role of puppet President while Jarrett and others went about their systematic destruction of this nation. The Muslim brotherhood has been behind Obama since day one and he was chosen because establishment Republicans were to cowardly to oppose a black man.

    Reply May 25th, 2018 at 3:46 PM
  2. 6 Nanny G

    https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/04/comey_memos_show_valerie_jarretts_daughter_a_useful_tool_for_dems_at_cnn.html

    Memos out from former FBI Director James Comey show how useful a tool Valerie Jarrett's daughter, Laura Jarrett, was for the Hillary Clinton campaign while she was employed at CNN.

    Laura Jarrett was CNN's DOJ connection during all this time!

    CNN, it seems, helped orchestrate the set-up of President Trump when it pressed the then-FBI director to have a meeting with Trump so that the matter could be leaked and the press would have a credible reason to report as news all the otherwise slimy opposition research contained within the Steele dossier.

    Up until then, Fusion GPS, the purveyor of the unverified garbage written by its Moscow sources, was having a bad time getting anyone to print it in the press, and had shopped it around for a year, drawing no buyers.

    The press knew it was unverified garbage and didn't want to wreck its reputation by going there.

    But then Comey briefed Trump about the existence of the dossier, and suddenly the matter was leakable. And by an interesting coincidence, it was CNN that did the leak.

    Reply May 25th, 2018 at 5:48 PM
  1. Nanny G

    @ Greg : Not "no evidence," Greg.
    Let's do a reading lesson:
    Schiff:

    Nothing we heard today has changed our view that there's no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a spy in the Trump campaign, or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures and protocols.

    1. Dems (& Schiff) admit that there was an "informant" but refuse to allow the term "spy," though in this context it means the same thing.

    2. Schiff said Democrats merely said their "view"of the evidence has not changed. He did not say that "no evidence" existed as a matter of undisputed fact -- because the evidence is already public.

    3. Schiff said Democrats did not believe "the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a spy in the Trump campaign." He did not deny that a spy, or spies, might have been recruited from within the campaign.

    4. Schiff claims whatever spying (or "informing") took place was completely justified because it was within appropriate procedures and protocols. Sort of like how Clapper said our spying was for Trump's own good!

    Schiff uses the shifting goalpost. He only wants to talk about ONE possibility: the FBI placing a spy .
    BUT, his deliberate limit to just that omits the idea of the FBI recruiting a spy .

    When I listen to Schiff all I hear is a man who wants to keep this thing going no matter what.

    I guess he is in a safe congressional district, like Maxine Waters (American astronauts planted a flag on Mars) and Hank Johnson (More troops in Guam will cause it to tip over and capsize.)

    Reply May 25th, 2018 at 6:09 PM
  2. 9 Deplorable Me

    @ Nanny G : So, there were no spies and the spies were not doing anything wrong. Yep, that's liberal-speak. I don't think Greg could have phrased it better himself.

    2. Schiff said Democrats merely said their "view"of the evidence has not changed.

    Sort of like the liberals who cannot admit Hillary committed perjury even though there is video of it.

    Reply May 25th, 2018 at 6:18 PM
  1. 12 kitt

    Had this happened to the democrat candidate they would be singing a different tune with inflammatory adjectives galore.
    SPY definition: a person who secretly collects and reports information on the activities, movements, and plans of an enemy or competitor.
    synonyms: observe furtively, keep under surveillance/observation, surveil, watch, keep a watch on, keep an eye on.
    They can call it what they want the can deny it, but they wont request a review of the proceedures followed unredacted to determine if they were legal by the SCOTUS, oh no they wouldnt want that.

    Reply May 25th, 2018 at 8:57 PM
  2. 13 Deplorable Me

    @ Greg :

    Trump's spy-placed-inside-the-campaign accusation is a load of bullshit -- as any attentive observer had already figured out. The FBI had an informant, who simply gathered information that was voluntarily provided, and then reported what he learned.

    Oh. I see. So, no spying , just a paid informant mining information inside the campaign from members and reporting the information back to the organization that hired him. Oh, yeah. That's totally different from spying .

    Obama didn't have Trump's wires tapped in the Trump Tower, either -- an earlier, equally bogus allegation.

    So, you base all your trust, support and defense of this criminal regime on semantics? He did, indeed, conduct electronic surveillance (illegally) on people in Trump Towers.

    Reply May 26th, 2018 at 5:32 AM
  1. Nanny G

    @ Greg : http://www.floppingaces.net/most-wanted/7-ways-spy-in-chief-barack-obama-spied-on-donald-trump/
    People Trump's age use generic terms for what Obama et al., did to him and his campaign team, transition team and WH advisor team.
    "Wiretap."
    "Spy."
    Why would a guy with a life in business know all the technical terms for how they did it?

    Anyway, Schiff dissembled.
    Schiff parsed.
    Schiff misled.
    And you fell for it!

    Reply May 26th, 2018 at 2:14 PM

[Jul 22, 2018] James Clapper just stated that Obama asked for intelligence assessment...

The truth is not for cowards: Obama was in the center of "Russiagate" and pushed for illegal actions. Such a scoundrel.
"Unless we assume the FBI went completely rogue, it is inconceivable that the deployments of personnel to spy on the Trump campaign and make provocative contact with its lesser members could have occurred without the full knowledge and control of the occupants of the Oval Office." Jarrett and Obama are Behind Spygate
" In a Tuesday appearance on Fox News , Newt Gingrich said that he believed former President Barack Obama and some of his top officials – including Valerie Jarrett – were involved in spying on Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign[.] ..." Jarrett and Obama are Behind Spygate
"Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said Thursday he believes it's highly unlikely that President Obama did not know an FBI informant was in the Trump campaign."
Notable quotes:
"... If it weren't for President Obama we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set up a whole sequence of events which are still unfolding today including Special Counsel Mueller's investigation. President Obama is responsible for that. It was he who tasked us to do that intelligence community assessment in the first place. ..."
Jul 22, 2018 | twitter.com

cheech_wizard Sun, 07/22/2018 - 14:04

Permalink https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2018/07/obamas-former-director-of-nati

Clapper said --

If it weren't for President Obama we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set up a whole sequence of events which are still unfolding today including Special Counsel Mueller's investigation. President Obama is responsible for that. It was he who tasked us to do that intelligence community assessment in the first place.

Rita Moreau ‏ @ritmmor Replying to @prayingmedic

Rats are jumping ship and singing. Obamagate for sure. Biggest political spy scandal in history

[Jul 22, 2018] Giuliani suggests Obama, top intelligence officials knew of 'spygate'

May 27, 2018 | thehill.com

President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani suggested on Sunday that former President Obama and his top intelligence officials "knew" the FBI had used a top-secret informant to allegedly spy on Trump's 2016 campaign.

In an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis, Giuliani insisted that former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper were aware of the informant.

Giuliani also suggested that Brennan likely briefed Obama himself on the matter.

"Brennan and Clapper knew about it. Brennan briefed him every day, Obama -- well to the extent that he got briefed every day," Giuliani said. "You would have to have brought this up, wouldn't you? Gosh, I can't see how you would escape it."

Trump and his political allies have raised concerns in recent days that the FBI infiltrated his 2016 presidential campaign for political purposes.

The informant, identified in media reports as American professor Stefan Halper, reportedly met with three Trump campaign advisers -- George Papadopoulos, Carter Page and Sam Clovis -- during the 2016 presidential race.

[Jul 22, 2018] Jarrett and Obama are Behind Spygate by Daniel John Sobieski

Notable quotes:
"... Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in ..."
"... Magazine, and the Chicago ..."
"... among other publications. ..."
"... Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in ..."
"... Magazine, and the Chicago ..."
"... among other publications. ..."
Jul 22, 2018 | www.americanthinker.com

Unless we assume the FBI went completely rogue, it is inconceivable that the deployments of personnel to spy on the Trump campaign and make provocative contact with its lesser members could have occurred without the full knowledge and control of the occupants of the Oval Office.

Obama may claim a scandal-free administration, but after Fast and Furious, the targeting of the Tea Party by the IRS, the Benghazi cover-up, Hillary's emails, to name a few, Spygate is just the latest. I use the plural "occupants" because while Barack Hussein Obama may have been nominally the president of the United States, at the heart of every one of these scandals and virtually every administration move was Valerie Jarrett, who arguably could be considered our first female president . Jarrett, born in Iran to American parents, has been with the Obamas since her days as deputy chief of staff in the office of Chicago mayor Richard Daley, the younger. She hired Michelle Obama, then Michelle Robinson, to fill an opening in the mayor's office. As WikiLeaks describes the beginning of a long relationship (citations omitted):

In 1991, as deputy chief of staff to Mayor Richard Daley, Jarrett interviewed Michelle Robinson for an opening in the mayor's office, after which she immediately offered Robinson the job. Michelle Robinson asked for time to think and also asked Jarrett to meet Robinson's fiancé, Barack Obama. The three ended up meeting for dinner. After the dinner, Michelle took the job with the mayor's office, and Valerie Jarrett reportedly took the couple under her wing and "introduced them to a wealthier and better-connected Chicago than their own." Jarrett later took Michelle with her when Jarrett left the mayor's office to head Chicago's Department of Planning and Development.

The rest, as they say, is history. Not only did Valerie Jarrett become a mentor to the young Barack Obama, but she soon became what some have called Obama's Rasputin , someone who had more security than our personnel did in Benghazi.

She receives more protection than our Libyan ambassador, calls the president by his first name, dines and vacations with the First Family and had the power to call off three strikes against Osama bin Laden.

Ambassador Chris Stevens did not have a Marine detail in Benghazi, Libya. But White House senior adviser and Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett reportedly had a full Secret Service detail on vacation in Martha's Vineyard.

"Jarrett seems to have a 24-hour, around-the-clock detail, with five or six agents full time," Democratic pollster Pat Caddell said in an interview recently with Breitbart news. If Stevens had a similar escort, he'd probably be alive today. Such protection isn't usually available to senior advisers, but Jarrett is no ordinary adviser[.]

Indeed, she is not. She arguably has had more influence over Obama than anyone with the possible exception of Michelle Obama herself :

Her influence is shown by an account in Richard Miniter's book "Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him."

It relates that at the urging of Jarrett, Obama canceled the operation to kill Osama bin Laden on three occasions before finally approving the May 2, 2011, Navy SEAL mission. Seems she was concerned about the possible political harm to Obama if the mission failed[.] ...

Edward Klein, author of the best-selling book about Obama, "The Amateur," once asked Obama if he ran every decision by Jarrett, and the president responded, "Absolutely." A former foreign editor of Newsweek and editor of the New York Times Magazine, Klein describes Jarrett as "ground zero in the Obama operation, the first couple's friend and consigliere."

If Obama ran every decision past Jarrett, the decision to plant spies in the Trump campaign certainly was among the most important. Obama's legacy was important to Jarrett, perhaps even more important than to Obama himself. She had to preserve it and ensure that the fundamental transformation of America continued. If Hillary could not win, Trump must be destroyed.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich also finds it inconceivable that the spying operation was launched without Jarrett signing off on it :

In a Tuesday appearance on Fox News , Newt Gingrich said that he believed former President Barack Obama and some of his top officials – including Valerie Jarrett – were involved in spying on Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign[.] ...

"Presently, someone will figure out to ask what did Valerie Jarrett know and when did she know it?" Gingrich said. "What did Barack Obama know and when did he know it? Because what you're seeing happen is, on every single level – and this is what happens with really big scandals – they keep on folding and they keep on folding and they keep on folding."

Former press secretary Ari Fleischer agrees that such an operation could have been authorized only with the full knowledge of Jarrett and Obama :

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said Thursday he believes it's highly unlikely that President Obama did not know an FBI informant was in the Trump campaign.

"We need to know why did it begin, who authorized it and what role did Barack Obama have. Did he know the FBI had informants there? I'll guarantee you the answer is yes. No FBI would put informants in another presidential campaign without permission from the White House, including the president," he said on "Outnumbered."

Can it be believed that, as key players in the Obama administration like Strzok and Page, as well as FBI director James Comey , Deputy Director Andrew McCabe , number four at Justice Bruce Ohr, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and many others were linked in a vast criminal conspiracy to keep Hillary Clinton out of prison and Donald Trump out of the White House, Barack Obama was blissfully unaware of all this? Rather, it can be plausibly argued that he was orchestrating it – perhaps not directly or by explicit orders, but rather by discussing the threat to his legacy Trump represented with his progressive minions and then simply saying, as crime bosses throughout history have done, "You know what needs to be done. Do it."

This scandal did not occur in a vacuum any more than did the weaponizing of the IRS to target the Tea Party and other conservative groups before Obama's 2012 re-election campaign occurred in a vacuum. The agencies under Obama's control have been politicized before and used to intimidate and destroy his political opponents

This fish is also rotting from the head. Back in April 2016, President Obama gave an interview in which he seemed to have foreknowledge that Hillary Clinton would be exonerated for her "carelessness" and did not "intentionally" mishandle classified emails, words that Comey would use just a few months later:

President Obama said Sunday that Hillary Clinton showed "carelessness" by using a private email server, but he also strongly defended his former secretary of state, saying she did not endanger national security, while also vowing that an ongoing FBI investigation into the matter will not be tainted by politics.

In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Mr. Obama seemed to prejudge the outcome of the ongoing inquiry into Mrs. Clinton's email scandal, and he disputed the notion that any of the emails contained classified information of true importance.

"She would never intentionally put America in any kind of jeopardy," he said. "What I also know is that there's classified and then there's classified. There's stuff that is really top secret top secret, and then there's stuff that is being presented to the president, the secretary of state, you may not want going out over the wire."

National Review contributing editor Andrew McCarthy has long argued that Obama was the ringleader in obstructing justice in the Hillary email investigation:

From the first, these columns have argued that the whitewash of the Hillary Clinton-emails caper was President Barack Obama's call – not the FBI's, and not the Justice Department's[.] ... The decision was inevitable. Obama, using a pseudonymous email account , had repeatedly communicated with Secretary Clinton over her private, non-secure email account.

Why would Obama use a fake email account to communicate with Hillary Clinton? Granted, classified communications between a president and a secretary of state are normal, but not via a fake email account. Were they discussing the fix that was in during her email investigation? McCarthy suggests just such a reason :

If Clinton had been charged, Obama's culpable involvement would have been patent. In any prosecution of Clinton, the Clinton-Obama emails would have been in the spotlight. For the prosecution, they would be more proof of willful (or, if you prefer, grossly negligent) mishandling of intelligence. More significantly, for Clinton's defense, they would show that Obama was complicit in Clinton's conduct yet faced no criminal charges.

After Trump's victory, Jarrett moved in with Obama and Michelle in their new Washington-area home with the express purpose of organizing the "resistance." Obama's D.C. home was to serve as the nerve center to the resistance to the presidency of Donald Trump. As the Daily Mail reported:

Barack Obama is turning his new home in the posh Kalorama section of the nation's capital – just two miles away from the White House – into the nerve center of the mounting insurgency against his successor, President Donald J. Trump.

Obama's goal, according to a close family friend, is to oust Trump from the presidency either by forcing his resignation or through his impeachment.

And Obama is being aided in his political crusade by his longtime consigliere, Valerie Jarrett, who has moved into the 8,200-square-foot, $5.3-million Kaloroma mansion with the former president and Michelle Obama, long time best friends.

Her power and influence extended from staffing the White House to virtual veto power over foreign policy decisions. Valerie Jarrett undoubtedly had significant input into President Obama's Munich-like deal with Iran, which kicked the nuclear can down the road to assured detonation over Israel, which Iran continues to threaten to wipe off the map when it is not wishing "death to America." Her influence over President Obama is legendary:

The Iranian-born Jarrett (her parents were American-born expatriates) is the only staff member who regularly follows the president home from the West Wing to the residence and one of the few people allowed to call the president by his first name.

Noam Scheiber, writing in the November 9, 2014 New Republic, called Jarrett "The Obama Whisperer," noting her power and influence and the fear she instilled in other staffers:

Even at this late date in the Obama presidency, there is no surer way to elicit paranoid whispers or armchair psychoanalysis from Democrats than to mention the name Valerie Jarrett. Party operatives, administration officials – they are shocked by her sheer longevity and marvel at her influence. When I asked a longtime source who left the Obama White House years ago for his impressions of Jarrett, he confessed that he was too fearful to speak with me, even off the record.

This is not as irrational as it sounds. Obama has said he consults Jarrett on every major decision, something current and former aides corroborate. "Her role since she has been at the White House is one of the broadest and most expansive roles that I think has ever existed in the West Wing," says Anita Dunn, Obama's former communications director. Broader, even, than the role of running the West Wing. This summer, the call to send Attorney General Eric Holder on a risky visit to Ferguson, Missouri, was made by exactly three people: Holder himself, the president, and Jarrett, who were vacationing together on Martha's Vineyard[.] ...

Jarrett holds a key vote on Cabinet picks (she opposed Larry Summers at Treasury and was among the first Obama aides to come around on Hillary Clinton at State) and has an outsize [sic] say on ambassadorships and judgeships[.] ...

And Jarrett has been known to enjoy the perks of high office herself. When administration aides plan "bilats," the term of art for meetings of two countries' top officials, they realize that whatever size meeting they negotiate – nine by nine, eight by eight, etc. – our side will typically include one less foreign policy hand, because Jarrett has a standing seat at any table that includes the president.

Valerie Jarrett's hold over President Obama is as mysterious as it has proven dangerous. She is Obama's Rasputin and will have great influence as the former community organizer wages guerrilla warfare from his Washington, D.C. bunker, an operation that includes Spygate.

Correction: Valerie Jarret worked for Chicago Mayor Daley the younger

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor's Business Daily , Human Events , Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications. Unless we assume the FBI went completely rogue, it is inconceivable that the deployments of personnel to spy on the Trump campaign and make provocative contact with its lesser members could have occurred without the full knowledge and control of the occupants of the Oval Office.

Obama may claim a scandal-free administration, but after Fast and Furious, the targeting of the Tea Party by the IRS, the Benghazi cover-up, Hillary's emails, to name a few, Spygate is just the latest. I use the plural "occupants" because while Barack Hussein Obama may have been nominally the president of the United States, at the heart of every one of these scandals and virtually every administration move was Valerie Jarrett, who arguably could be considered our first female president .

Jarrett, born in Iran to American parents, has been with the Obamas since her days as deputy chief of staff in the office of Chicago mayor Richard Daley, the younger. She hired Michelle Obama, then Michelle Robinson, to fill an opening in the mayor's office. As WikiLeaks desc