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Two Party System as Polyarchy

News Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Recommended Books Recommended Links US Presidential Elections of 2016 Jeb "Wolfowitz Stooge" Bush Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Bernie Sanders
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite The Deep State Myth about intelligent voter  American Exceptionalism Nation under attack meme  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Pluralism as a myth
Principal-agent problem Corporatist Corruption Predator state Media-Military-Industrial Complex Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Corporatism National Security State  
Libertarian Philosophy Ethno-lingustic Nationalism   Neoliberalism US Presidential Elections of 2012 Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
"There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man."

-- Gore Vidal

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

-- Leonard Pinkney

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

-- Daniel Estulin


Introduction

Two party system invented by elite of Great Britain proved to be perfect for inverted totalitarism type of regimes, including the US neoliberalism.  Conversion of system of governance to "deep state" essentially make elections optional, but they still continue to exist in an emasculated "two parties system" form.

The term “Deep State” was coined in Turkey and is said to be a system composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services, military, security, judiciary and organized crime. In British author John le Carré’s latest novel, A Delicate Truth, a character describes the Deep State as

“… the ever-expanding circle of non-governmental insiders from banking, industry and commerce who were cleared for highly classified information denied to large swathes of Whitehall and Westminster.”

The term means an association of elements of government. security services, parts of top-level figures of financial oligarchy and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process.

In other words this is a hidden set of political actors and powerful institutions that are concealed within the wider, “visible” state which, essentially, took over the functions of traditional state, leaving such organization of Executive branch, President, congress and courts mainly ceremonial role. Such transformation is well explained by the The Iron Law of Oligarchy and in various forms happened in Third Reigh, the USSR, Turkey, China and many other countries.

Two party system is a very elegant trick that conceals and project a single party of oligarchy as two distinct parties and distract voters from any serious issues with meaningless cat fight between two during elections. In Lifting the Veil they mention one of the meaning of the term polyarchy is the system where voters are limited to voting between two pre-selected representatives of the oligarchy:

polyarchy: A system where the participation of masses of people is limited to voting among one or another representatives of the elite in periodic elections. Between elections the masses are now expected to keep quiet, to go back to life as usual while the elite make decisions and run the world until they can choose between one or another elite another four years later.

So polyarchy is a system of elite rule, and a system of elite rule that is little bit more soft-core than the elite rule that we would see under a military dictatorship. But what we see is that under a polyarchy the basic socio-economic system does not change, it does not become democratized.

▬William I. Robinson, Behind the Veil, Minute 1:29:15

That is the essence of two party system as implemented in the USA, Great Britain, Canada and several other countries. When, in the 1940s, Joseph Schumpeter argued that ordinary citizens should limit their participation in a democracy to electing its leaders, he was effectively arguing for polyarchy. Here is how Wikipedia defined the term (polyarchy):

In a discussion of contemporary British foreign policy, Mark Curtis stated that "polyarchy is generally what British leaders mean when they speak of promoting 'democracy' abroad.

This is a system in which a small group actually rules and mass participation is confined to choosing leaders in elections managed by competing elites." [8]

The whole idea (the rotation of the pre-selected representative of elite at the top) is somewhat similar to an intro marketing course on how to sell bogus products to gullible consumers forcing them to make adverse selection.

There is also related issue of information asymmetry between voters and elite (represented by Party functionaries). In reality, Democratic Party in not a separate party, but an integral part of the two prong bait-and-switch system with a special function of preventing meaningful reform. In other words in two party system both parties are essentially are two branches of a single party, the party of oligarchy.

But each branch in two party system (let's call them for simplicity Democrats and Republican parties as in the USA) has it's own "hidden" political function.

If the selection of candidates is performed strictly by the party machine (and according to the The Iron Law of Oligarchy, the party machine has innate tendency to self-organize into oligarchy), then subsequent elections is a pure formality, much like in the USSR. Or, more precisely, a political farce because the real voters are limited to top 1% who decide what candidates are selected within each party political machine (or, more correctly, the top 0.01%). In no way elections can be called democratic is public is completely disenfranchised in selection of the candidate. In this sense calling the US election democratic is pure hypocrisy of the ruling elite, who controls the MSM, and by extension the political discourse. This is a perfect trap, out of which there is no escape.

"Surface state" vs "deep state"

The USA political system does not have a single government. It actually has two distinct governments. They are called "surface state" or Madisonians and "deep state" or Trumanites (national security establishment in alliance with selected members of financial oligarchy, media owners and technocrats). It was Truman who signed National Security Act of 1947  which created major three letter agencies (CIA, DOD, FBI and NSA).

Simplifying the complex relation between those two US governments (sometimes Madisonians fight back and have Trumanites to make a temporary retreat) we can say that:

Conversion of system of governance to "deep state" which happened in the USA almost immediately after 1947 essentially made elections optional, but they still continue to exist as a ceremonial function for the sake of providing the legitimacy in an emasculated "two parties system" form.  While relationship is more complex then simple dominance, in essence "deep state" is the tail that wag the dog. And JFK assassination meant first of all the triumph of "deep state" over "surface state". In this sense 9/11 was just the last nail in the coffin of democracy.

The term “Deep State” was coined in Turkey (and actually Wikipedia discusses only it) but it is widespread modern phenomenon which can also be found in most other states. The term means a shadow alliance of elements of government. security services, selected top-level figures of financial oligarchy, media and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process. As any elite dominance project it is deeply anti-democratic although it uses fig leaf of democracy for foreign expansion via color revolutions and wars. 

Like in Third Reich this dominance is supported by relentless propaganda and brainwashing with mechanisms polished since Reagan to perfection. There is now no problem to create an "enemy of the people" when the elite wants and it does not matter which country or individual is selected as an enemy. The essence of elite politics in this area was best formulated by Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

In other words this is a hidden set of political actors and powerful institutions that are concealed within the wider, “visible” state which, essentially, took over the functions of traditional state, leaving such organization of Executive branch, President, congress and courts mainly ceremonial role. Such transformation is well explained by the The Iron Law of Oligarchy and in various forms happened in Third Reich, the USSR, Turkey, China and many other countries.

Here is how The American Conservative covers this topic:

Steve Sailer links to this unsettling essay by former career Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren, who says the “deep state” — the Washington-Wall-Street-Silicon-Valley Establishment — is a far greater threat to liberty than you think. The partisan rancor and gridlock in Washington conceals a more fundamental and pervasive agreement.

Excerpts:

These are not isolated instances of a contradiction; they have been so pervasive that they tend to be disregarded as background noise. During the time in 2011 when political warfare over the debt ceiling was beginning to paralyze the business of governance in Washington, the United States government somehow summoned the resources to overthrow Muammar Ghaddafi’s regime in Libya, and, when the instability created by that coup spilled over into Mali, provide overt and covert assistance to French intervention there. At a time when there was heated debate about continuing meat inspections and civilian air traffic control because of the budget crisis, our government was somehow able to commit $115 million to keeping a civil war going in Syria and to pay at least £100m to the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters to buy influence over and access to that country’s intelligence. Since 2007, two bridges carrying interstate highways have collapsed due to inadequate maintenance of infrastructure, one killing 13 people. During that same period of time, the government spent $1.7 billion constructing a building in Utah that is the size of 17 football fields. This mammoth structure is intended to allow the National Security Agency to store a yottabyte of information, the largest numerical designator computer scientists have coined. A yottabyte is equal to 500 quintillion pages of text. They need that much storage to archive every single trace of your electronic life.

Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose. My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an “establishment.” All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. In terms of its scope, financial resources and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude.
 

More:

Washington is the most important node of the Deep State that has taken over America, but it is not the only one. Invisible threads of money and ambition connect the town to other nodes. One is Wall Street, which supplies the cash that keeps the political machine quiescent and operating as a diversionary marionette theater. Should the politicians forget their lines and threaten the status quo, Wall Street floods the town with cash and lawyers to help the hired hands remember their own best interests. The executives of the financial giants even have de facto criminal immunity. On March 6, 2013, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder stated the following: “I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.” This, from the chief law enforcement officer of a justice system that has practically abolished the constitutional right to trial for poorer defendants charged with certain crimes. It is not too much to say that Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State and its strategies, if for no other reason than that it has the money to reward government operatives with a second career that is lucrative beyond the dreams of avarice — certainly beyond the dreams of a salaried government employee. [3]

The corridor between Manhattan and Washington is a well trodden highway for the personalities we have all gotten to know in the period since the massive deregulation of Wall Street: Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner and many others. Not all the traffic involves persons connected with the purely financial operations of the government: In 2013, General David Petraeus joined KKR (formerly Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) of 9 West 57th Street, New York, a private equity firm with $62.3 billion in assets. KKR specializes in management buyouts and leveraged finance. General Petraeus’ expertise in these areas is unclear. His ability to peddle influence, however, is a known and valued commodity. Unlike Cincinnatus, the military commanders of the Deep State do not take up the plow once they lay down the sword. Petraeus also obtained a sinecure as a non-resident senior fellow at theBelfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. The Ivy League is, of course, the preferred bleaching tub and charm school of the American oligarchy.

Lofgren goes on to say that Silicon Valley is a node of the Deep State too, and that despite the protestations of its chieftains against NSA spying, it’s a vital part of the Deep State’s apparatus. More:

The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction. Washington is the headquarters of the Deep State, and its time in the sun as a rival to Rome, Constantinople or London may be term-limited by its overweening sense of self-importance and its habit, as Winwood Reade said of Rome, to “live upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face.”

Read the whole thing.  Steve Sailer says that the Shallow State is a complement to the Deep State. The Shallow State is, I think, another name for what the Neoreactionaries call “The Cathedral,” defined thus:

The Cathedral — The self-organizing consensus of Progressives and Progressive ideology represented by the universities, the media, and the civil service. A term coined by blogger Mencius Moldbug. The Cathedral has no central administrator, but represents a consensus acting as a coherent group that condemns other ideologies as evil. Community writers have enumerated the platform of Progressivism as women’s suffrage, prohibition, abolition, federal income tax, democratic election of senators, labor laws, desegregation, popularization of drugs, destruction of traditional sexual norms, ethnic studies courses in colleges, decolonization, and gay marriage. A defining feature of Progressivism is that “you believe that morality has been essentially solved, and all that’s left is to work out the details.” Reactionaries see Republicans as Progressives, just lagging 10-20 years behind Democrats in their adoption of Progressive norms.

You don’t have to agree with the Neoreactionaries on what they condemn — women’s suffrage? desegregation? labor laws? really?? — to acknowledge that they’re onto something about the sacred consensus that all Right-Thinking People share. I would love to see a study comparing the press coverage from 9/11 leading up to the Iraq War with press coverage of the gay marriage issue from about 2006 till today. Specifically, I’d be curious to know about how thoroughly the media covered the cases against the policies that the Deep State and the Shallow State decided should prevail. I’m not suggesting a conspiracy here, not at all. I’m only thinking back to how it seemed so obvious to me in 2002 that we should go to war with Iraq, so perfectly clear that the only people who opposed it were fools or villains. The same consensus has emerged around same-sex marriage. I know how overwhelmingly the news media have believed this for some time, such that many American journalists simply cannot conceive that anyone against same-sex marriage is anything other than a fool or a villain. Again, this isn’t a conspiracy; it’s in the nature of the thing. Lofgren:

Cultural assimilation is partly a matter of what psychologist Irving L. Janis called “groupthink,” the chameleon-like ability of people to adopt the views of their superiors and peers. This syndrome is endemic to Washington: The town is characterized by sudden fads, be it negotiating biennial budgeting, making grand bargains or invading countries. Then, after a while, all the town’s cool kids drop those ideas as if they were radioactive. As in the military, everybody has to get on board with the mission, and questioning it is not a career-enhancing move. The universe of people who will critically examine the goings-on at the institutions they work for is always going to be a small one. As Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

A more elusive aspect of cultural assimilation is the sheer dead weight of the ordinariness of it all once you have planted yourself in your office chair for the 10,000th time. Government life is typically not some vignette from an Allen Drury novel about intrigue under the Capitol dome. Sitting and staring at the clock on the off-white office wall when it’s 11:00 in the evening and you are vowing never, ever to eat another piece of takeout pizza in your life is not an experience that summons the higher literary instincts of a would-be memoirist. After a while, a functionary of the state begins to hear things that, in another context, would be quite remarkable, or at least noteworthy, and yet that simply bounce off one’s consciousness like pebbles off steel plate: “You mean the number of terrorist groups we are fighting is classified?” No wonder so few people are whistle-blowers, quite apart from the vicious retaliation whistle-blowing often provokes: Unless one is blessed with imagination and a fine sense of irony, growing immune to the curiousness of one’s surroundings is easy. To paraphrase the inimitable Donald Rumsfeld, I didn’t know all that I knew, at least until I had had a couple of years away from the government to reflect upon it.

When all you know is the people who surround you in your professional class bubble and your social circles, you can think the whole world agrees with you, or should. It’s probably not a coincidence that the American media elite live, work, and socialize in New York and Washington, the two cities that were attacked on 9/11, and whose elites — political, military, financial — were so genuinely traumatized by the events.

Anyway, that’s just a small part of it, about how the elite media manufacture consent. Here’s a final quote, one from the Moyers interview with Lofgren:

BILL MOYERS: If, as you write, the ideology of the Deep State is not democrat or republican, not left or right, what is it?

MIKE LOFGREN: It’s an ideology. I just don’t think we’ve named it. It’s a kind of corporatism. Now, the actors in this drama tend to steer clear of social issues. They pretend to be merrily neutral servants of the state, giving the best advice possible on national security or financial matters. But they hold a very deep ideology of the Washington consensus at home, which is deregulation, outsourcing, de-industrialization and financialization. And they believe in American exceptionalism abroad, which is boots on the ground everywhere, it’s our right to meddle everywhere in the world. And the result of that is perpetual war.

This can’t last. We’d better hope it can’t last. And we’d better hope it unwinds peacefully.

I, for one, remain glad that so many of us Americans are armed. When the Deep State collapses — and it will one day — it’s not going to be a happy time.

Questions to the room: Is a Gorbachev for the Deep State conceivable? That is, could you foresee a political leader emerging who could unwind the ideology and apparatus of the Deep State, and not only survive, but succeed? Or is it impossible for the Deep State to allow such a figure to thrive? Or is the Deep State, like the Soviet system Gorbachev failed to reform, too entrenched and too far gone to reform itself? If so, what then?

The second important thinker in this area is  Professor Michael J. Glennon who wrote the book  “National Security and Double Government.”

Here is how Amazon reviewer Mal Warwick summarized the book in his review written on December 22, 2014

Who makes national security decisions? Not who you think!

Why does Barack Obama's performance on national security issues in the White House contrast so strongly with his announced intentions as a candidate in 2008? After all, not only has Obama continued most of the Bush policies he decried when he ran for the presidency, he has doubled down on government surveillance, drone strikes, and other critical programs.

Michael J. Glennon set out to answer this question in his unsettling new book, National Security and Double Government. And he clearly dislikes what he found.

The answer, Glennon discovered, is that the US government is divided between the three official branches of the government, on the one hand — the "Madisonian" institutions incorporated into the Constitution — and the several hundred unelected officials who do the real work of a constellation of military and intelligence agencies, on the other hand. These officials, called "Trumanites" in Glennon's parlance for having grown out of the national security infrastructure established under Harry Truman, make the real decisions in the area of national security. (To wage the Cold War, Truman created the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of Defense, the CIA, the NSA, and the National Security Council.) "The United States has, in short," Glennon writes, "moved beyond a mere imperial presidency to a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of U.S. national security policy. . . . The perception of threat, crisis, and emergency has been the seminal phenomenon that has created and nurtures America's double government." If Al Qaeda hadn't existed, the Trumanite network would have had to create it — and, Glennon seems to imply, might well have done so.

The Trumanites wield their power with practiced efficiency, using secrecy, exaggerated threats, peer pressure to conform, and the ability to mask the identity of the key decision-maker as their principal tools.

Michael J. Glennon comes to this task with unexcelled credentials. A professor of international law at Tufts and former legal counsel for the Senate Armed Services Committee, he came face to face on a daily basis with the "Trumanites" he writes about. National Security and Double Government is exhaustively researched and documented: notes constitute two-thirds of this deeply disturbing little book.

The more I learn about how politics and government actually work — and I've learned a fair amount in my 73 years — the more pessimistic I become about the prospects for democracy in America. In some ways, this book is the most worrisome I've read over the years, because it implies that there is no reason whatsoever to think that things can ever get better. In other words, to borrow a phrase from the Borg on Star Trek, "resistance is futile." That's a helluva takeaway, isn't it?

On reflection, what comes most vividly to mind is a comment from the late Chalmers Johnson on a conference call in which I participated several years ago. Johnson, formerly a consultant to the CIA and a professor at two campuses of the University of California (Berkeley and later San Diego), was the author of many books, including three that awakened me to many of the issues Michael Glennon examines: Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis. Johnson, who was then nearly 80 and in declining health, was asked by a student what he would recommend for young Americans who want to combat the menace of the military-industrial complex. "Move to Vancouver," he said.

Here is how Christopher Bellavita in Homeland Security Watch summarize an interesting discussion at Cato think tank which I highly recommend to watch:

Why has American national security policy changed so little from the Bush administration to the Obama

That’s the question Michael J. Glennon asks in his book “National Security and Double Government.”

His answer: national security policy is determined largely by “the several hundred managers of the military, intelligence, diplomatic, and law enforcement agencies who are responsible for protecting the nation and who have come to operate largely immune from constitutional and electoral restraints.” The president, congress and the courts play largely a symbolic role in national security policy, Glennon claims.

You can read a Harvard National Security Journal article that outlines Glennon’s argument at this link: http://harvardnsj.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Glennon-Final.pdf.  The paper is not an especially easy read, but I found it to be well researched and – for  me – persuasive.

His book adds more analysis to the argument, using (from Graham Allison’s Essence of Decision) the rational actor model, the government politics model, and the organizational behavior model. Glennon extends that framework by discussing culture, networks, and the myth of alternative competing hypotheses.  The book is richer, in my opinion.  But the core of Glennon’s position is in the paper.

This link takes you to a video of Glennon talking about his book at the Cato Institute: http://www.cato.org/events/national-security-double-government (the talk starts at the 5:20 mark).

From the Cato site:

In National Security and Double Government, Michael Glennon examines the continuity in U.S. national security policy from the Bush administration to the Obama administration. Glennon explains the lack of change by pointing to the enervation of America’s “Madisonian institutions,” namely, the Congress, the presidency, and the courts. In Glennon’s view, these institutions have been supplanted by a “Trumanite network” of bureaucrats who make up the permanent national security state. National security policymaking has been removed from public view and largely insulated from law and politics. Glennon warns that leaving security policy in the hands of the Trumanite network threatens Americans’ liberties and the republican form of government.

Some blurb reviews:

“If constitutional government is to endure in the United States, Americans must confront the fundamental challenges presented by this chilling analysis of the national security state.”
Bruce Ackerman

“Glennon shows how the underlying national security bureaucracy in Washington – what might be called the deep state – ensures that presidents and their successors act on the world stage like Tweedledee and Tweedledum.”
John J. Mearsheimer

“National Security and Double Government is brilliant, deep, sad, and vastly learned across multiple fields–a work of Weberian power and stature. It deserves to be read and discussed. The book raises philosophical questions in the public sphere in a way not seen at least since Fukuyama’s end of history.”
David A. Westbrook

“In our faux democracy, those we elect to govern serve largely ornamental purposes, while those who actually wield power, especially in the realm of national security, do so chiefly with an eye toward preserving their status and prerogatives. Read this incisive and richly documented book, and you’ll understand why.”
Andrew J. Bacevich

“…Michael Glennon provides a compelling argument that America’s national security policy is growing outside the bounds of existing government institutions. This is at once a constitutional challenge, but is also a case study in how national security can change government institutions, create new ones, and, in effect, stand-up a parallel state….”
Vali Nasr

“Instead of being responsive to citizens or subject to effective checks and balances, U.S. national security policy is in fact conducted by a shadow government of bureaucrats and a supporting network of think tanks, media insiders, and ambitious policy wonks. Presidents may come and go, but the permanent national security establishment inevitably defeats their efforts to chart a new course….”
Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renee Belfer

I’ve spoken to three people I consider to be members of the “shadow national security state.”   One person said Glennon’s argument is nothing new.  The second told me he’s got it exactly right.  The third said it’s even worse.

You are irrelevant: Instead of Trump's "you are fired", party apparatchiks create the situation in which regular members are really irrelevant

In this sense "regular" voters are irrelevant and play role of extras in the game of the elite (which might include power struggle between various factions). They will always face an adverse selection between between bad for their interests candidate and even worse, often disastrous candidate.

For example, between Obama (who in reality is closer to Bush III then many people think) and close to the Tea Party candidate. The choice is clear and wrong as neither candidate represents interests of the voters. So majority of "regular" voters is automatically disenfranchised by party machine in a very fundamental way. Exectly like in should be according to the The Iron Law of Oligarchy

Moreover, in this situation the vote for any third candidate automatically became a vote for Tea Party (remembers the role supporters of Ralph Nader played in the election if Bush II in Florida). So electorate is in not only held hostage by two (pre-selected by oligarchy) candidates and is allowed only to chose between them. They are royally punished for disobedience.

Again, the classic example of this mechanism in action was the role of Nader in Gore vs. Bush election. This is the key mechanism of “managed democracy” or, as it is also called, the “inverted totalitarianism”.

All mechanisms discussed about that "winner takes all" election system profoundly and fundamentally is nothing but a subtle and elegant way of enforcement of the rule of oligarchy in the form of polyarchy, with the only difference from military dictatorship (which represents the extreme form of the elite rule) that there is no dictator for life. But it's the same iron fist (in a velvet glove). Which is a definite improvement over military dictatorship, but this is not that big an improvement. You are still tightly controlled, but instead of brute force financial or other indirect methods are used. It is not an improvement even in comparison with Soviet Politburo election of the General Secretary of CPSU, although it definitely more entertaining and has better PR potential.

i would like to stress that in a very deep sense, so called "government by the people" in case of two party system is not that different than heredity monarchal or autocratic rule, or, for a change, rule of the Soviet Politburo. This also means that Constitution became just a peace fo paper, document which is optional and redundant for ruling elite as George Bush aptly demonstrated.

Constitutional provisions can't be controlled in any meaningful way if rulers are completely detached from the voters. So voters and their interests can be abused in whatever way oligarchy wishes. To lessen the pain they can be distracted by throwing them like a bone for the dog artificial issues like homosexual marriage and deciding key economic and political issues in private. Selection of the agenda is the privilege of ruling class and always was.

Ordinary people had no say then or now. and with two part system this is by design. According to John Jay, America’s first Supreme Court chief justice, the nation should be governed by people who owned it.

Illusion of democracy

The simple plurality voting system is a single-winner voting system also called winner-takes-all or first-past-the-post. The latter term is an analogy to horse racing, where the winner of the race is the first to pass a particular point (the "post") on the track, after which all other runners automatically lose.

Elections in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada belong to this category. In this type of voting there is no requirement that the winner gain an absolute majority of votes. And as we demonstrated above such system automatically means the rule of oligarchy. On the current stage of development of the USA political system this is financial oligarchy because the social system that exists in the USA now is neoliberalism. The latter automatically makes the whole social system prone to deep and devastating crises. And that increases demand for guard labor and militarization of police. In a very fundamental way rulers are much more afraid of proles in neoliberal regime then under New Deal regime.

Duverger's law is a principle which asserts that any plurality voting system elections naturally impose a two-party system That means that single-winner voting system essentially hand all the power to the elite as it is elite that controls the electability of candidates from both parties. The discovery of this tendency is attributed to Maurice Duverger, a French sociologist who observed the effect and recorded it in several papers published in the 1950s and 1960s.

In the course of further research, other political scientists began calling the effect a "law" or principle. Duverger's law suggests a nexus or synthesis between a party system and an electoral system: only a proportional representation (PR) system creates the electoral conditions necessary to foster to foster smaller parties development while a plurality system marginalizes smaller political parties, resulting in what is known as a two-party system.

only a proportional representation (PR) system creates the electoral conditions necessary to foster smaller parties development while a plurality system marginalizes smaller political parties, resulting in what is known as a two-party system.

At the same time, a two party system provides a pretty realistic illusion of democracy and is actually remarkably effective both in enforcing the rule of oligarchy and preserving this illusion. A perfect system for a small group to rule, as all “mass participation” is confined to choosing between two preselected by party brass candidates. In other word elections are just a puppet show controlled by oligarchy much like elections controlled by party nomenklatura of the USSR when only a single candidate existed, but still elections were called and votes were counted. Actually the fact that they did not adopt a two party system this is a testament of the ideological rigidity of the USSR nomenklatura, as such a system is perfectly compatible with a totalitarian society and is essence is a small, insignificant (but very elegant and deceptive) variation of the one party rule.

In addition “Winner takes all” system automatically, by design, co-opts small parties into either Democratic Party or Republican Party camp, before they can get any level of maturity. That means that, unfortunately, within the “winner takes all” framework emergence of third party is temporal as they are quickly co-opted into one of two wings of the establishment party. The latter can well be "the War Party" as jingoism is the credo of both Democrats and Republicans, and in many cases it is difficult to understand who is more jingoistic.

A two party system as a mediator between conflicting interests of factions of the elite

In Golden Rule Thomas Ferguson argues the US two party system functions as a mediator between conflicting business interests. Between two parts of the ruling elite.

Rodolfo Lazo de la Vega

Democracy, Capitalism & the State, December 27, 2010

This review is from: Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems (American Politics and Political Economy Series) (Paperback)

The central foundational principle of the capitalist nation-state is that it is a reflection of its economic constituencies. Those who own and control the means of production shape the state in the form that they desire. This truism - that money runs politics - is the central argument of Thomas Ferguson's "Golden Rule." He begins by asking what are political parties? They are organizations composed of blocs of major investors who come together to advance favored candidates in order to control the state. They do this through direct cash contributions and by providing organizational support through the making available of sources of contacts, fundraisers and institutional legitimation. Candidates are invested in like stocks. For them electoral success is dependent on establishing the broadest base of elite support. Candidates whom have best *internalized* investor values see their "portfolios" grow exponentially at the expense of candidates who have not internalized these values. So what you have is a filtering system in which only the most indoctrinated and business friendly of the intellectual class advance to state power. The higher you go up the ladder the more you've appealed to elite interests. Representatives of the major investors are also often chosen to fill political appointments after a favored candidate has achieved office. This political-economic model helps explain why the state largely functions to serve elite business interests on the domestic and international stages.

Of course, corporate interests vary and evolve. Capital-intensive corporations tend to invest in Democratic politicians. Labor-intensive corporations tend to invest in Republicans. That's because capital-intensive corporations can afford to sit in a party which also represent organized labor. The AFL-CIO rarely poses a threat to Wall Street; and vice-versa. So what would we expect from a system like this? One thing we would expect is that on issues which the public cares about but on which there is cross-party investor agreement no party competition will take place. That means that the issues the public is most interested in will not appear on the agenda. The polls have been pretty consistent on this point. Major public interest revolves around issues having to do with trade agreements, in favor of a single-payer health care system, increased spending for education, slashing the Pentagon budget and many other issues. At times the population has been able to organize successfully and force popular issues onto the agenda despite business opposition.

Ferguson details how the growth, development and fall of major industries correspond to the growth, development, and fall of their political parties. He examines the rise and fall of five major investment bloc party systems - the Federalist vs. Jeffersonian, the Jacksonian, the Civil War party system, the system of 1896 and the New Deal. The latter is dealt with in much detail.

The book, while highly informative, is not without its flaws. Ferguson's prose is obtuse and very, very dry. The charts are helpful but the ideas could have been presented in a more compact form. Regardless of these reservations, this book is very important for an understanding of how our political system functions and deserves a large audience, discussion and action.

One of early proponents of "elite [dominance] theory" James Burnham in his book, The Machiavellians, argued and developed his theory that the emerging new élite would better serve its own interests if it retained some democratic trappings — two party system, illusion of "free press" and a controlled "circulation of the elites."

Notes on Republican Party

As Anatol Leiven noted:

...the Republican Party is really like an old style European nationalist party. Broadly serving the interests of the moneyed elite but spouting a form of populist gobbledygook, which paints America as being in a life and death, struggle with anti-American forces at home and abroad.

It is the reason for Anne Coulter, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. That is the rhetoric of struggle acts as a cover for political policies that benefit a few and lay the blame for the problems of ordinary Americans on fictitious entities.

The main side effects of the nationalism are the current policies which shackles America to Israel uncritically despite what that country might and how its actions may isolate America from the rest of the world. It also justifies America on foreign policy adventures such as the invasion of Iraq.

In terms of the two-party system, Republicans are avid, pitiless, intolerant, unbending, predatory, anti-democratic, iron-willed ideologues who’ve sold out to big business while courting big religion.

Democrats ape them, thus creating a one-party climate that fulfills the wishes of corporate "citizens" and transnational elite (becoming this way just another neoliberal party), systematically neglecting the needs of the middle class (lower classes never have any meaningful political representation, so nothing changed for them). That combination produces an apathetic electorate which completely lost hope in the political process. This is the essence of "inverted totalitarism".

Note on Democratic Party

Democratic Party after Clinton became Republican Party light, the party of Wall Street, that has nothing to do with labor movement, which previously was its base. The reasoning is that labor is nowhere to go in any case, so it is safe for democratic establishment to serve financial oligarchy.

The current democratic president would be viewed as a moderate republican just 30-50 years ago, as politically he is positioned to the right in comparison with Dwight D. Eisenhower. Just compare his famous warning about Military-Industrial Complex and Obama behavior during Snowden revelations of NSA total surveillance regime. Even Nixon, who finished Vietnam war is in some major aspects to the left of Clinton and Obama. Note how unceremoniously Obama dumped labor immediately after being reelected for the second term.

Essentially under Obama the USA two party system became undistinguishable in its major features from the USSR one party system, as behind the façade of two parties there is a single party, the party of oligarchy, the party of top 0.01% much like CPSU was the party of Soviet nomenklatura, which was hostile to the interests of middle class of the USSR (which is perfectly provable by the very low standard living of the middle class in the USSR).

Democracy promotion as used by the USA foreign policy
is actually a promotion of polyarchy

This oligarchy system was actively promoted in third world countries via so called color revolutions. Democracy promotion term in the US foreign policy is nothing but promotion of polyarchy. It is the policy that strives to put pro-Western elite groups and large international companies in power using variety of "grey area" methods which come short of armed apprising against the demonized "evil" regime. That was very successful policy in post USSR space with Ukraine and Georgia as two prominent examples.

After such a revolution a new, more pro-Western part of the elite (lumpenelite) comes to power and exercise often brutal monopoly power in the interests of the USA and transnational corporations. Typically privatization of the county is in the cards. Which regimes of Boris Yeltsin, Viktor Yushchenko and Mikheil Saakashvili demonstrated all too well. Also important that as 1965 CIA report about Philippines stresses that "The similarity of the parties, nevertheless encourages moderation, readiness to compromise, and lack of dogmatism in the political elite". Philippines were a key client regime in 1950th and 1960th with Clark Air Base and Subtic Naval Base to be the largest military facilities outside US mainland (Promoting polyarchy globalization ... - William I. Robinson (p. 120))

Here is one Amazon review of the book:

Brilliant exposition of US policy and the global order June 12, 2001

By Geoff Johnson

Format:Paperback

In this difficult but extremely provocative and scholarly work, William I. Robinson presents a new model for understanding US foreign policy and the emergent global society as a whole. The crux of his thesis is this: US foreign policy has changed in the last twenty years or so from open support of authoritarian regimes in countries where the US has economic and/or strategic interests to a program of "democracy promotion" that strives to place minority elite groups who are responsive to the interests of the United States and transnational capital at the head of the political, economic, and civic structures of "third world" countries.

Contrary to popular opinion (and that of much of academia), the real goal of democracy promotion, or what Robinson refers to as "promoting polyarchy", is not the promotion of democracy at all, but rather the promotion of the interests of an increasingly transnational elite headed by the US who seek open markets for goods and an increase in the free flow of capital. This marks a conscious shift in foreign policy in which the US now favors "consensual domination" by democratically elected governments rather than authoritarian leaders and the type of "crony capitalism" made famous by the likes of Ferdinand Marcos and Anastacio Somoza.

The first sections of the book introduce numerous theoretical concepts (drawing heavily on the theories of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, in particular his theory of hegemony) that are crucial to the understanding of the text. I personally found these sections extremely difficult but well worth the time it takes to read certain parts several times. Robinson then goes on to document four case studies-- the Phillipines, Chile, Nicaragua, and Haiti-- each of which fleshes out his conceptual framework in much more concrete terms. The result is a disturbing picture of US foreign policy and the current direction of "globalization." I would highly recommend this to anyone with a strong interest in foreign affairs and/or the future of humanity.

Here is an interesting review of Wolin's book: Inverted Totalitarianism in the US

The US is a self-declared empire that scholars have labeled a “superpower” since it achieved military and cultural hegemony in a “unipolar moment” at the “end of history” while seeking “full-spectrum dominance” of land, sea, air, cyberspace and outer space, as stated in the Department of Defense’s Joint Vision 2020.

In order to impede the Soviet Union’s imperial projects, the US likewise slung itself astride the globe using multilateral institutions, spy networks and covert operations which produced a “Cold War” that eliminated the idea of peacetime and demanded permanent military mobilization bolstered by the military-industrial-congressional complex while placing citizens on high alert against nuclear threats and a domestic infestation of “reds” that excused the government’s surveillance of citizens.

The Constitution, which limits power, and a democracy, which requires local control and citizen empowerment, are both profaned by superpower, which defies limits in its quest for global supremacy, overshadowing localities and overpowering citizens while projecting power outward and inward simultaneously.

To describe this configuration, the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin coined the term “inverted totalitarianism.”

In old totalitarianism, the state dominated the economy while iconic demagogues who permanently held office mobilized citizens and openly flaunted the blanketing power of the new order they were imposing. With inverted totalitarianism, the economy dominates the state wherein temporary “representatives” serve a permanent corporate regime that demobilizes citizens while claiming to protect individual liberty by reducing state power, thus concealing the totalitarian character.

In terms of the two-party system, Republicans are avid, pitiless, intolerant, unbending, predatory, anti-democratic, iron-willed ideologues who’ve sold out to big business while courting big religion, and Democrats ape them, thus creating a one-party climate that fulfills the wishes of corporate “citizens” while systematically neglecting the needs of regular citizens, producing an apathetic electorate that’s lost hope in the political process.

State power is legitimated by media events called “elections” that elites have learned to control through finance, marketing and media ownership, while politicians accept bribes called “contributions” that are considered “speech” – as defined by the Supreme Court, effectively using “free speech” to silence the citizenry while replacing constituents with lobbyists.

Citizens fear job loss and benefit loss due to downsizing and outsourcing, which maximize “efficiency,” while the government shreds social safety nets for the sake of “efficiency,” leaving citizens vulnerable and yet unable to protect themselves when states outlaw collective bargaining, thus criminalizing worker self-defense.

Contrary to popular belief, slashing federal programs enhances state power by making government less unwieldy and easier to control since it dilutes public involvement, thus depleting public power and solidifying executive power.

The idea of democracy is emptied of substance and used as a slogan to justify military invasion, occupation and torture while the doctrine of “preemptive war” renders all acts of aggression as defensive and undertaken for the sake of insuring “stability.” For example, deference to US demands and the protection of corporate assets – in a war against terrorism that lacks a specific geographic location and thus requires the globe-girdling ability to strike anywhere anytime.

Instead of a Politburo circulating state propaganda that touts one political ideology, the corporate media feigns democratic debate that features “both sides” who are portrayed as extreme opposites but actually reflect a slim range of political discourse, thus giving the appearance of freedom while relying on White House, State Department and Pentagon spokespeople to supply the “official” version of political affairs, which are broadcast into every home through television, thus manipulating the public rather than including them.

Democracy functions as a useful myth that obscures the totalitarian atmosphere in which citizens feel politically impotent and fearful as they are dwarfed by giant, rigid, top-heavy bureaucracies that respond to the protocols of a corporate state that collaborates with telecommunications companies to monitor the population and develop detailed digital profiles of citizens while local police forces cooperate with federal law enforcement agencies, augmenting the burgeoning prison industry as the state loosens laws that forbid army soldiers from patrolling US streets.

The corporate state defunds public programs and forces everything into the market, including health, education, social security, pensions, public broadcasting, prisons, water, soldiers, surveillance and national intelligence, while businesses commodify the environment and patent DNA.

Two Party System as an enabler of the Quiet Coup:
privatization by the elite of the whole country

In the “democracy” that America has evolved to, money counts more than people. In past elections, the votes were counted, now they are going to start weighing them.

America The Counter-Revolution - Salem-News.Com

“(T)he rich elites of (the USA) have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens … the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot. Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it.”

-- Mike Lofgren

Two party system also makes possible a very interesting recent phenomenon, which started under Reagan (or may be Nixon) and first fully demonstrated itself after the dissolution of the USSR: a deep split between the elite and the rest of population to the extent that the country because a hostage of the elite which now behave like a brutal occupiers, not as compatriots. In other work the self-serving(aka greedy) elite with its neoliberal ideology emerged as much more formidable threat to democracy then communist ideology of the past. Neoliberalism not only defeated Marxism, it also decimated the US labor movement. Neoliberalism is in essence transnational, so Marxist slogan "proletarians of all countries unite" materialized in a form "elite of all countries unite" ;-). and that spells deep troubles for the 99% of the USA population as labor arbitrage is used to lower their living standard.

Being transnational they treat their "host" country as occupiers. Their allegiance is with transnational elite not with old ("national") bourgeoisie. In some countries like Russia under Putin national bourgeoisie (and imprisonment of Khodorkovky was a watershed invent in this respect as it prevented sell-out of Russian oil reserves to the US corporations) managed partially displace transnational elite form command hights but it remain to be seen how stable this regime is.

They now crave for "materialization" of their status in a form of great wealth and reject moral and cultural values of the past. This was first noticed by Christopher Lasch in 1994 when he published his groundbreaking book The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy. This was partly due to the book prophetic recognition that the elites of this country (and indeed the developed world) -- the professionals, top managers (upper-middle class and higher) -- were pulling away from the rest of the pack, tacitly renouncing their stake in and responsibility to society social contract, and slowly changing the rules of the game to increate economic inequality and appropriate the large share of society wealth. Tyler Durden writes Zero Hedge on Feb. 15, 2013, that 1% of Americans control over 40% of the United States’ wealth. But those making $10 million or more a year pay an average income tax rate of only 19%, less then people who are making 60K a year. As an old-school conservative, Lasch considered excessive economic inequality to be intrinsically undesirable: the difficulty of limiting the influence of wealth suggests that wealth itself needs to be limited.

Since the Reagan administration the USA has indeed accomplished a successful transformation to an effective One Party State with the financial oligarchy instead of Soviet nomenklarura and Wall Street instead of the Communist Party of the USSR. As Soviet nomenklatura had shown to the surprised world at one moment the elite can just privatize the whole country (with active participation of KGB which in theory should protect the regime). In other words the objective of the elite and their political handmaidens became to discredit and destroy the traditional nation state and auction its resources to themselves. This new ruling caste, schooled separately, brought up to believe in fairytales, lives in a world of its own, from which it can project power without understanding or even noticing the consequences. A removal from the life of the rest of the nation is no barrier to the desire to dominate it. In fact it appears to be associated with a powerful, almost psychopathic sense of entitlement. This transition of elite (which now is first and foremost financial elite) into brutal occupiers of their own country was recently popularized by Professor Simon Johnson under then name of "Quiet Coup":

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government -- a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. ...

…the American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital -- a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. The banking-and-securities industry has become one of the top contributors to political campaigns, but at the peak of its influence, it did not have to buy favors the way, for example, the tobacco companies or military contractors might have to. Instead, it benefited from the fact that Washington insiders already believed that large financial institutions and free-flowing capital markets were crucial to America’s position in the world.

At least since Reagan years we’ve been witnessing a quiet, slow-motion coup d’etat whose purpose is to repeal every bit of progressive legislation since the New Deal and entrench the privileged positions of the wealthy and powerful — who haven’t been as wealthy or as powerful since the Gilded Age of the late 19th century. As professor Reich noted:

Its techique is to inundate America with a few big lies, told over and over (for example, the debt is Obama’s fault and it’s out of control; corporations and the very rich are the “job creators” that need tax cuts; government is the enemy, and its regulations are strangling the private sector; unions are bad; and so on), and tell them so often they’re taken as fact.

Then having convinced enough Americans that these lies are true, take over the White House, Congress, and remaining states that haven’t yet succumbed to the regressive right (witness Tuesday’s recall election in Wisconsin).

Preventing meaningful reform

Two party system proved to be ideal instrument for preventing any meaningful social and political reform as recent political history of the USA aptly demonstrates. Here are some relevant comments from Naked Capitalism forums:

kievite

I am pretty pessimistic about the current situation. There are some tectonic forces at work and politicians can do only so much to try to prevent an earthquake.

One aspect of the problem is that the society became way too complex.

Tainter in his book suggested that as societies become more complex, the costs of meeting new challenges increase, until there comes a point where extra resources devoted to meeting new challenges produce diminishing and then negative returns.

The USA has an interesting twist in this regard which make some form of drastic change more plausible: Republican Party. The current Republican Party (aka wrecking crew) is a textbook demonstration of the forces that prevent any meaningful reform. Democratic Party is another part of the same bait-and-switch system.

The amount of resources diverted to military industrial complex and financial companies probably serve as another severe limitation on what can be done to prevent new crisis.

And with 40% of population believing that Saddam was instrumental in 9/11 the chances of political change are slim. Looks like country is pretty evenly divided and multi-year brainwashing can’t be reverted until the current generation pass away.

Rampant unemployment and absence of meaningful jobs creation are two features that make the current situation unsustainable.

Simple solutions like some form of fascism are definitely becoming more attractive in this atmosphere. So we can be sure that attempts to explore this opportunity will be made. Clerical fascism is one possibility.

High unemployment is a powerful catalyst of mass support of any radical ideology.

Actually the beginning of this century looks in many ways similar to the beginning of the previous century. And we know how things developed in the previous century. We just do not know the form “change we can believe in” will take.

kievite:

Actually splitting UR into two parties which are just replica of the USA structure with Democratic/Republican parties is a fascinating idea. As the USA experience proved it can be pretty stable politically as one branch of the same “united oligarchy party” would marginalise left and the other can marginalise extreme right.

As Gore Vidal said

“There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man.”

This might be an interesting political innovation for Russia: substituting single party regime with the “dualism without choice” (or “choice we can believe in” if we use politically correct language ;-) . This dual party structure can serve as a powerful force for marginalising opposition both on left and right. reform. In this case both parties are the necessary and vital parts of the same bait-and-switch system.

As for Medvedev actions I think that few people either in mass population or elite forgot economical and political rape of Russia under Yeltsin.

As unforgettable George W. Bush said: “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

A popular mock word for “democrats” — “der’mokcats” and for “liberals” — “liberasts” reflects the common attitude after Yeltsin reforms.

Among interesting attempt to explain the current electoral situation provided in "American Revolution Today- First Principles and Basic Precepts " have some merits:

What does the prospect of Revolution mean today in The United States? Well, the very fact that today we are a nation, whereas in the late eighteenth century our forefathers were simply a collection of subject farmers and tradesmen inhabiting a colonial outpost of The British Empire, puts us in a very different set of circumstances than our predecessors. And yet some of the very same intolerable conditions that impelled our colonial ancestors to revolt against an arbitrary and unresponsive British crown exist today.

In fact, if anything, the tax burden you and I face now is greater by a substantial sum than what existed at the outset of The American Revolution when the cry "Taxation Without Representation" was the clarion call for defiance against The British Crown. More troubling perhaps is that those individuals that stand today at the head of our leading institutions of public life, whether they be the Treasury Secretary, Federal Reserve Bank Chairman, Senior Congressmen and women, and even The President, seem every bit as disinterested in honestly addressing our legitimate concerns, and in answering our probing questions, as any eighteenth century British Parliamentarian or exhalted royal head of state were in addressing the complaints of the colonialists.

Some might offer that the answer to such a lamentable state of affairs is to simply replace, via the ballot box, recalcitrant and unresponsive leaders. Regrettably, it is the opinion of American Revolution Today that the mechanisms of government are now so deeply flawed, so intractably corrupt, that no such simple remedy is possible were it even allowed. In truth, it is the view of American Revolution Today that:

  1. The United States Federal Government, functioning primarily on behalf of monied interests, particularly big banking and Wall Street, has become a nemesis of "We The People."
  2. The entrenched two party system comprised of Democrats and Republicans is, in the main, obstructive of reform, and, by definition, utterly opposed to anything resembling revolutionary change.
  3. At this juncture, traditional means of political self determination may not be the way forward, but in any case, we at American Revolution Today are convinced that no candidate from either the Democratic or Republican parties should receive support; any affiliation with the two party system almost assures that such a candidacy would ultimately be antithetical to government benefiting "We The People."

Following on from that, no candidate who runs for Federal public office that does not feature the following planks in their campaign platform will be deemed suitable for election.

A.) Term limits
B.) Campaign Finance Reform
C.) Shortened Election Cycles
D.) Cessation of "Redistricting"
E.) Full Audit of The Federal Reserve
F.) The restoration of constitutional mandate for congressional control of U.S. currency.
G.) An end to further raising of the debt ceiling
H.) Immediate removal of all troops, personnel, and material from Iran and Afghanistan
I.) Replacement of income tax and estate taxes with new levies on consumption, and amended levies on capital gains by individuals and corporations.
J.) Health care reform that is first and foremost free market based with no governmental bias towards "Big Pharma" or the insurance industry.
K.) A multi-generational program designed to return some "reasonable sum" of manufacture back to the United States
L.) The complete overhaul of such government agencies as the SEC, The Bureau of Labor and Statistics, and Homeland Security, to name but a few.
M.) Full investigations of those individuals in and out of government who are alleged to have engaged in criminal activity associated with the collapse of various large banking concerns and quasi government agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
N.) An end to the entire "alphabet soup" of programs funneling money to too big to be allowed to exist parasitic institutions such as AIG, BOA, GS, Citicorp, and JPM.
O.) A restoration of mark to market accounting standards, and the cessation of the writing of any more "standard performance contracts" aka OTC derivatives, until such time as a regulated exchange is instituted for their trade.
P.) A complete rollback of all cap and trade legislation.

If you are in agreement with the ideas and political initiatives expressed here, and feel as we do, join us in making the Second American Revolution a reality. Join us in reestablishing a nation where The Constitution is fully respected, and where good government is defined as one that governs least and always on behalf of the greater good.

Honest Elections Myth

Here is characterization by the USA MSM of the particular foreign election

They have the right to have an honest elections... We will have to disagree on the scale of the electoral fraud – from what I can see , the “elections”: were a total , crudely executed sham

In fact this characterization if perfectly applicable to the US elections as well. In fact elections are always stolen from people by oligarchy. There was an excellent observation here:

There’s no real skill in convincing people that they’re unhappy with the current state of affairs, and to set visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads (if I may be seasonal for a moment).

Everybody feels they’re entitled to something better, and the only thing left to do is identify the person or persons standing in the way of their getting it.

But everybody who isn’t a dolt usually says at some point, “Uhhh….how’s that going to work?”

I would add my two cents.

  1. When we face critic of elections who claim they are dishonest that classic Russian question arise " Who are the judges?" (Griboedov) .

    Judges are representatives of several political forces:

    Typically none of them is better then "current corrupt regime". That supports that statement that means that taking into account the alternative, the word democracy here is used as a Trojan force for regime change with the hope that the next regime will more suitable for geo-political security interests of the USA and Western Europe.

  2. Absolutization of the idea of "honest election" is nothing but dirty PR trick. I would remind here old, but still relvant work of Robert Michels who became famous for his formuation of "Iron law of oligarchies": He demostrated (in 1911 !) that the idea of "honest election" is a myth the covers the universal trend of democratic organizations towards oligarchy. And that elections are form of civilised struggle of different oligarchic groups represented by party functionaries for power. Which in turn represent so called "leading families". The latter is one (a) that develops, retains and renews its wealth over a number of generations; (b) in which some children in each generation secure good positions in the various elites of society; and (c) where the family holds together as a network for information on and influence over the development of a local community or ─ in certain cases ─ the country as a whole. More than one thinks, the history of Europe and America in the past century has consisted of the history of the leading families.

  3. It's natural that like after any dirty football game the fans of the winning team call it brutal but honest and fans of the losing team "dirty and dishonest". As there are some objective criteria of the level of "dirty tricks" played in election people who try to absolutize the idea of "honest election" are crooks who want to "rock the boat". .

Credibility trap of two party system

Credibility trap of one party system is well known. Two party system is more resilient in this respect but is not totally immune to credibility trap.

A credibility trap [in two party sytem] is a situation in which the regulatory, political and/or the informational functions of a society have been thoroughly taken in by a corrupting influence and a fraud, so that one cannot address the situation without implicating, at least incidentally, a broad swath of the power structure and the status quo who at least tolerated it, if not profited directly from it, and most likely continue to do so.

This lead to an interesting situation when voting became a special type of entertainment aptly described in John Chuckman Nov 6, 2013 essay HOW AMERICA LEARNED TO PLAY GOD

Just as there is a natural cycle in the life of great industries – the scores of early American car manufacturers are now reduced to a few functioning as an oligopoly, an historical pattern repeated in industry after industry – there appears to be a life cycle for a government organized like that of the United States. The duopoly which runs the American government consists of two parties which differ in almost no particulars except some social issues, but even that difference is rather a sham because the American government no longer has any interest in social issues. It is concerned overwhelmingly with representing and furthering the interests of the nation’s three great power centers of the military-industrial-intelligence complex. Social issues now are soap-box stuff for street-corner politicians and members of NGOs.

But in any case, all players in this political duopoly, no matter to which office they may be elected, know they can never challenge the immense authority and virtual omnipresence of America’s military, intelligence, corporate hierarchies and special interests like the Israel Lobby, powerful anti-democratic institutions which literally shape the space America’s politicians must inhabit.

Americans today quite simply could not vote in an informed manner if they wanted to do so (and many are not interested in voting at all, as we shall see): they are completely in the dark as to what happens inside their government, both its operations within the country and in international affairs. No one knows the full extent of spending on intelligence, nor do they know what dark programs are underway. No one knows the full extent of spending on the military, nor do they know to what questionable tasks it is being put around the world. No one knows the immense extent and complexity of lobbying and special interests in the American government. And of course no one is privy to the planning and operations of the great corporations, nor do they know anything of the dealings and financing arrangements between those corporations (or the wealthy individuals who own and run them) and the people’s supposed representatives, who all must spend a substantial part of their time just raising money for the next election (the average American Senator is said to spend two-thirds of his or her time doing just that).

Americans’ votes in elections have become to a remarkable extent meaningless, although an elaborate political stage play keeps the appearance of meaning and keeps those interested in politics involved and entertained. Almost certainly as a result of sensing how little their votes count, Americans often simply do not vote and do so in increasing numbers. The further down the political totem pole you go from the presidential elections which generate the most noise owing to the obscene amounts of money spent on marketing and advertising, the greater is this truth. Maybe 60% vote for president, a minority vote in other national elections, and a tiny fraction vote in state and local elections.

This vacuum is filled with Big Intelligence which become one of the "king makers":

The record of arrogance and abuse by security organizations, such as CIA or the FBI, is long and costly, filled with errors in judgment, abuse of power, incompetence, and immense dishonesty. Owing to the black magic of classified secrecy, much of the record involves projects about which we will never know, but even what we do know about is distressing enough. And I’m not sure that it can be any other way so long as you have Big Intelligence. Apart from Big Intelligence’s own propensity towards criminal or psychopathic behavior, one of the great ironies of Big Intelligence is that it will always agree to bend, to provide whatever suppressions and fabrications are requested by political leaders working towards the aims of the other great anti-democratic institutions, the military and the corporations. This became blindingly clear in the invasion of Iraq and, even before that, in the first Gulf War.

Among other things they provide powerful filtering system so that none undesirable slips into important office:

America’s political system, honed and shaped over many decades, fits comfortably with these institutions. National elections are dominated by a two-party duopoly (being kept that way through countless institutional barriers deliberately created to maintain the status quo) , both these parties are dominated by huge flows of campaign contributions (contributions which form what economists call an effective barrier to entry against any third party seriously being able to compete), both parties embrace much the same policies except for some social issues of little interest to the establishment, and election campaigns are reduced to nothing more than gigantic advertising and marketing operations no different in nature to campaigns for two national brands of fast food or pop. It takes an extremely long time for a candidate to rise and be tested before being trusted with the huge amounts of money invested in an important campaign, and by that time he or she is a well-read book with no surprising chapters.

If for any reason this political filtering system fails, and someone slips through to an important office without having spent enough time to make them perfectly predictable, there still remains little chance of serious change on any important matter. The military-industrial-intelligence complex provides a molded space into which any newcomer absolutely must fit. Just imagine the immense pressures exerted by the mere presence of senior Pentagon brass gathered around a long polished oak table or a table surrounded by top corporate figures representing hundreds of billions in sales or representatives or a major lobbying group (and multi-million dollar financing source for the party). We see the recent example of popular hopes being crushed after the election of Obama, a man everyone on the planet hoped to see mend some of the ravages of George Bush and Dick Cheney. But the man who once sometimes wore sandals and bravely avoided a superfluous and rather silly flag pin on his lapel quickly was made to feel the crushing weight of institutional power, and he bent to every demand made on him, becoming indistinguishable from Bush. Of course, the last president who genuinely did challenge at least some of the great institutional powers, even to a modest extent, died in an ambush in Dallas.

Disenfranchised Voters

Here are pretty typical comments about the recent Congress election in The Guardian (Oct 30, 2014):

UNOINO

It makes no difference to our Handlers whether we vote for Tweedledee or Tweedledum. None whatsoever because our Handlers own them both. Now, back to work.

jeni popa

All parties aside, the right hand still has to work with the left hand. Try using just one hand, not much gets done, right ? Now try together, thank you.

Stephen_Sean -> jeni popa

Sometimes one hand is all that is required, but I see your point.

UNOINO -> jeni popa

At the moment one force is controlling both hands. They are essentially both doing the same thing. What we need is a third hand, so to speak. A third party.

Wiscot -> UNOINO

If there is one thing that will always unite Republicans and Democrats at all levels of government, it is the desire to keep it a two-party system. Any third party will be marginalized by whatever means possible. They know that people hate Congress so much that any reasonable alternative would get votes. The Establishment will always protect itself.

"Myth about intelligent/rational voter"

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

Two books on the subject that deserve attention are

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicole

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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[Aug 27, 2015] Why Biden Would Be a TERRIBLE President

Aug 27, 2015 | Zero Hedge

Able Ape

If Joe is smart, he certainly hides it well....

Bay Area Guy

I can imagine a debate between Republican candidate Trump and Democratic candidate Biden would be incredibly entertaining. Between bluster and malaprops, the pay per view take could be enormous.

Spiritof42

By now, we should be beyond thinking about who is terrible and who makes a better president. I dream of living long enough to see the DC establishment go broke and lose its legitimacy.

From the establishment point of view, Biden would make a fine president. I believe he graduated dead last in college. He got this far on charm and good looks.

Urban Redneck

His official nickname for DECADES while in the Senate was THE SENATOR FROM MBNA (now BofA).

MBNA/FAUXCAHONTAS '16 - give the fucking retard sheeple what they deserve.

And to all that bitches fan boys at ZH - if she isn't sucking Brian Moynihan's cock like the banker whore she actually is - then why isn't she out shouting No Way, No How! to suggestions of MBNA/FAUXCAHONTAS '16 in the press?

(That should balance out my 2 critiques of the replitards the last few days - equal opportunity bigotry is a blast... and they make is sooooo easy these days...)

DaveyJones

Why Biden Would be a Terrible President"

Because He's Biden

If was listeneing to the news on Guatemala as they heroically attempt to prosecute and punish they're political leaders for years of theft, murder and deception and I laughed thinking we'd never see indictments in Texas or Illinois for the last two criminal regimes here. Do you think there's a connection between that phenomenon and the fact that we propped up their murderers down south

Tarzan

Biden is not considering a run, he's being recruited to run, huge difference. He wouldn't even give it a second thought (running against Billary) if it weren't for the panic by the pundits over her debacle of a campaign.

The pundits are trying to spoon feed the American people their choice and we're having non of it!

Jeb is a complete failure, polling in 3rd, with nearly half the support of Ben Carson, yet they talk over Ben as if Jeb is on Trumps heels, Trumps only competition.

They're pretending Clinton/Bush are the peoples front runners while a load mouth billionaire who speaks his mind with no PC constraints and a socialist promising to punish the rich and be the people's Santa Clause pack the house at every event!

Clinton/Bush, What were they thinking? They can hardly pack a tiny room. It's pathetic!

It's hilarious watching the pundits artificially prop up the Elite's lap dogs, hoping the people will capitulate. Almost as if we're watching the DOW, scratching our heads in wonder at the minipulation.

The Elite are finding the people harder and harder to control. If the people pit together two outsiders in the General election they will crap their pants and Marshal law would cancel the election.

Can you say King Obama without crying?


[Aug 23, 2015] Trump-Kane If I don't look after the interests of the underprivileged ...

Aug 16, 2015 | M of A

The U.S. presidential campaign season is usually a drag. It is much too long and the lies and false promises get so obvious that refuting them is no fun and senseless.

But watching Donald Trump is fun. He seems to be unbriefed and says whatever he thinks in that moment. His foreign policy opinions are refreshing. Here he is bashing the Saudis:

Trump called on Riyadh to share its vast wealth with the U.S. in exchange for the alliance between the two nations.
"They make a billion dollars a day," he told host Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press." "Saudi Arabia, if it weren't for us, they wouldn't be here," Trump said. "They wouldn't exist."
"They should pay us," he added. "Like it or don't like it, people have backed Saudi Arabia. What I really mind though is we back it at tremendous expense. We get nothing for it."

The Saudis would of course disagree. The U.S. weapons industry is making lots of profits by selling its useless junk to the Saudis and other Gulf countries. But anyway this point is smart.

"Look, Saudi Arabia is going to be in big trouble pretty soon," he added. "And they're going to need help. I think Saudi Arabia is a major target, a major target."

I agree.

Trump does not care about the Ukraine joining NATO. He seems to find it a rather useless country. He is right in that too. No wonder Trump was rated public enemy no. 9 and a "Kremlin agent" on some Ukrainian list.

The Republican party apparatus will do everything to make a Trump candidacy impossible and to put one of its pliant usual suspects into the front position. But Trump could run on his own. And that would mean more fun.

Someone compared Trump to the Citizen Kane character in the 1941 Orson Wells movie. Citizen Kane was a portrait of the rightwing newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. In the Cítizen Kane movie there is a line that Donald Trump would probably use to explain why he is running at all. Mr. Kane therein says of himself:

Charles Foster Kane is a scoundrel, his paper should be run out of town; a committee should be formed to boycott him. You may, if you can form such a committee, put me down for a contribution of one thousand dollars. On the other hand, I am the publisher of the Inquirer! As such, it is my duty - and I'll let you in on a little secret, it's also my pleasure - to see to it that the decent, hard-working people in this community aren't robbed blind by a pack of money-mad pirates just because - they haven't anybody to look after their interests. I'll let you in on another little secret, Mr. Thatcher. I think I'm the one to do it; you see, I have money and property. If I don't look after the interests of the underprivileged, maybe somebody else will - maybe somebody without any money or property - and that would be too bad...
Posted by b at 02:06 PM | Comments (78)

Chuck Roste | Aug 16, 2015 2:54:14 PM | 1

Trump continues to be the devil to the Republican establishment and a foil to the plans to use a gigantic presidential field of freaks, zealots, warmongers, psychopaths and a token black, Hispanic and woman to allow the Bush restoration to take place. After Trumpzilla's latest round of comments in the Chuck Todd interview on Press the Meat the big donors have to be reading the riot act to hapless dolt Reince Priebus. They threw.it all at Trump over the ginned up controversy about the phantom comment over Megyn Kelly's vaginal excretions and he emerged unscathed and more popular than ever. Trump isn't going away of his own volition. He may however want to read up on what happens to those who cross the Bush crime family though because there are probably already contingency plans in the works to remove him as a threat to "Jeb!" If he doesn't self immolate.

MRW | Aug 16, 2015 2:57:49 PM | 2

"They make a billion dollars a day," he proclaims.

The US federal government pays for Saudi Arabian oil with US reserve currency keystrokes.

We get their resources. They get our keystrokes. Not a bad deal. For us.

Since we pay in USD, those dollars can't leave the US banking system. Therefore, the Saudis buy our treasury securities (equiv. to a Bank CD) and park their treasury securities in their 'savings account'* at the NY Fed.

Trump doesn't have a clue what he is talking about, but he'll relieve the drudgery of another presidential campaign with his antics and total lack of understanding of how the federal monetary system works for a while. I agree with his single-payer health care idea, tho'.
=======================

* Technically called a (Federal Reserve) Securities Account.

MRW | Aug 16, 2015 3:13:00 PM | 3

Trump- saying this shows he has no clue:


"They should pay us," he added. "Like it or don't like it, people have backed Saudi Arabia. What I really mind though is we back it at tremendous expense. We get nothing for it."
Doesn't this guy read? Whoever wrote Confessions of an Economic Hitman described in some detail how the US Treasury--Executive Branch--made a special deal with the Saudis to funnel a lot of their oil profits during the late 70s and 80s through the US Treasury to avoid having to involve Congress (Legislative Branch).

That's how Bechtel and Halliburton built Saudi Arabia's infrastructure with SA money, and no congressional interference. Kissinger promised in 1975 to keep the price of oil high. No skin off the federal government's back. With oil now firmly denominated in USD--gold standard was over internationally on August 15, 1971--the US reserve currency status was assured, which was Kissinger's point in agreeing to keep prices high.

Piotr Berman | Aug 16, 2015 3:42:04 PM | 4

Trump is incredibly tacky, perhaps more narcistic than the average politician (but not a total outlier in that group), and his business acumen is a mixed story: on the negative side, he was bankrupt more than once, on the positive side, a lesser man would be out of business, in other words, he knows how to scrape and recover. And he knowns that there are times to splurge and times to pinch pennies.

Apparently, so far he runs rather thrifty campaign and spends much less time on fundraising than his staff was recommending. He is clearly too poor to pay for the campaign all by himself, but once his brand is solid enough there will be enough donations from fellow rich people loath to miss the boat that he will get back the money he loaned to his campaign. This is what Trump knows best.

Concerning "unorthodox/misguided policy positions", Trump gives positive surprises. Wall on Mexican border is GOP staple, the original part is demagogical promise that he will make Mexico to pay for it. The idea that USA needs some kind of protectionism/tariffs to preserve the industrial base raised hackles, but I personally think that this is precisely what is needed. In the link, he was accused of being ignorant on Ukraine, and I am not sure. First, he has central-European/Slavic family connections, his daughter name is Ivanka, the region is not the other side of the Moon to him. Second, the question is not "do you want X" (unless X stinks as such) but "how much are you ready to pay for X". And we can make a quick rundown: unique or widely marketable industrial products (NO, except for weapons that require cooperation with Russia), minerals (NO), agricultural products (grain and other stuff, the other stuff is more marketable in Russia than in the West), vacation properties (Russians took the best ones). Nothing too enticing yet.

The quality of the management team: freshly improved by a bunch of guys fired from their positions in Georgia, most famous of the fact that their proved that a small country can wage a direct war with Russia (without "and win" part). Since those losers represent an improvement over the local talent, hm. Stability: volunteer battalions shlep around the country, sometimes shooting, sometimes making something more hilarious, and if so inclined, fight rebels in the East. Since they disagree with each other, the threat to the central government is so far minor.

Balance sheet: previous government "ruined the country" and as a result, the external debt was so-so, now "Greek trajectory" is reproduced, rescue loans increase the debt while the size of economy spirals down. Good news: Ukraine is able to collapse the exchange rate and collapse internal consumption so the balance of payment is not as bad as in Greece. Bad news: shlepping volunteer battalion object to the sensible step to reduce the consumption, so it is not clear how long it can last.

Conclusions: the deal makes no sense without some creative approaches. Swap Ukraine for Detroit?

tom | Aug 16, 2015 3:57:56 PM | 5

Depending how much suspicion and anger there is of the two big criminal parties in the US, Trump getting kicked out of the Republican Party could be the huge push that he could claim that he is outside the corrupt system.
'Since they kicked him out from the Republican Party, he must be outside the insider corruption', idiots will tell themselves.

But that is is only from the right, fascist or middle perspective. He has no pull with a left wing due to his racist, misogynist and warmongering from the Reich side.

colinjames | Aug 16, 2015 3:59:13 PM | 6

At this point, anything that shakes up the selection er election while providing some dang fine entertainment in the process can only be a good thing. And his candor about how politicians are bought and sold was an invaluable service.

Hopefully he assumed some light on more uncomfortable truths, and I do agree a small plane crash or untimely heart attack might be headed his way if he were a real threat to the establishment.

Rg an LG | Aug 16, 2015 4:02:12 PM | 8

I think I agree with many of the points listed THUS far. I am particularly in agreement with the fact that the Donald had best watch his back regarding the Familia Bush. Living near Tx and the machinations of that particular gang, it is never far-fetched to find the Bush Gang up to their eye-balls with the Saudi's (who the Donald may have offended), the CIA and the rest of the dark underbelly of the American Way of ... death?/life?

I will predict that unless something transpires to make Jeb impossible, remember what happened in 2000 ... the Bush gang always get their way. I'm not sure how Clinton got past them in 1992, but I'm sure they didn't really object. Maybe Poppy didn't really want the job. Maybe it is better to operate from the shadows with his cronies than to be the front man. In that case, Hillary is a seriously acceptible option.

Vintage Red | Aug 16, 2015 5:12:14 PM | 9

@Rg an LG, 8:

"remember what happened in 2000 ... the Bush gang always get their way. I'm not sure how Clinton got past them in 1992, but I'm sure they didn't really object."

The Democrats got past them in '92 and '96 because of Perot splitting the Republican "base" (such as it is), the same Trump threatens to do. They did object but their revenge was not denied, only delayed till the PNAC coup of 2000, brewed to perfection during those eight years.

Agreed that no matter how rich he is, he'd be smart to watch his back. Not being a typical oligarch working through cronies, the corporate media might not be able to "Howard Dean" him (he may be teflon to that), but other agencies might certainly "Paul Wellstone" him...

"the American Way of ... death?/life?"

Split the difference: the American Way of Undeath.

rufus magister | Aug 16, 2015 5:36:53 PM | 10

PB at 4 --

More hypotheticals? "He runs a thrifty campaign." Yeah, one he's willing to spend a billion on. Damn thrifty, that. He has an Czech ex-wife, so he's competent to deal with the Ukraine?

When I was a Ph.D. student in the field, it was axiomatic in Soviet and East European Studies -- emigres are the worst sources of reliable info. and analysis. They left for a reason, usually carry heavy baggage, and will tend to paint the bleakest, blackest picture possible. Typically, they sought to maneuver the US into carrying water for the restoration of the ancien regime.

If you doubt this, it's been the Ukrainian emigre community that is responsible for much of the state of our current policy in the region.

And where does he actually get his advice from? Courtesy of Crooks and Liars, it seems The Donald gets his info. on international affairs from Chuck Todd and John Bolton. So in the unlikely event he wins the Presidency, we are like totally freaking screwed.

Trump just lost whatever high ground he might have had when it comes to criticizing Jeb Bush if he thinks taking advice from an even bigger neocon like Bolton is a good idea. I'll be surprised if it makes one bit of difference to his supporters though. They like him because he's a flame thrower.

Familiarity seems to breed contempt in The Donald. He's a full-moon braying Tea Partier on Mexican immigration -- and those folks live and work among us, the country is just to the south. He says he's got thousands working for him, I guess he got the few that weren't rapists, theives, murderers, and litterbugs.

Surely you jest about the wall.

If we really don't want Mexican and other immigrants pouring over the border to do shit work for sub-minimum wages, maybe we should start arresting and imprisoning the petty-bourgeois Republican small-businessmen that hire them, and then whine about "loosing their country." And then legalize their status, so these "tired and huddled masses" can securely insist upon their human rights and dignity.

And by the way, the loss of the industrial base is due to the export of our industrial capacity, not cheap migrant labor doing construction and domestic work. Mexicans aren't undercutting domestic labor at USX or Chrysler. It's the tax, tariff, and industrial policies of our elite off-shoring production.

Why pay your neighbor a decent wage in a safe environment when you can run a hazardous sweatshop in Bangladesh and make the same or even more profit, and rid yourself of those pesky labor organizations in the bargain? Those displaced workers can be programmers. Oh, wait... Indians are cheaper now. Care to drive for Uber, then? Or rent out rooms to total strangers?

And you would expect him to be better on European policy because...?

Let's be fair, though. C&L is right, if he does win, it will be because of his bluster, not his thoughtful opinions on foreign and domestic policy.

Frankly, I think your biggest mistake was swallowing The Donald's self-promotion. Here's a nice corrective, Exposing How Donald Trump Really Made His Fortune: Inheritance from Dad and the Government's Protection Mostly Did the Trick. Aren't quotable bluster and and sympathetic PR wonderful?

Let's keep Detroit and send Trump to the Ukraine, shall we? Trump seems a natural successor to Poroshenko, who's got plenty of Americans, as well as Russian and Georgian emigres, on staff already.

Please, don't compare the Ukraine to Greece, its apples vs. oranges. The Ukraine is a reliable client, the IMF is already breaking their rules to finance the ongoing war. The discontent of the Greek masses poses a sharp challenge to the Eurozone and indeed, perhaps, to the whole rule of finance capital. To punish their bad taste in questioning Frankfurt's diktat, the troika tightened the fetters. Kid gloves for the former, the thumbscrews for the latter.

PS to Rg an LG, colinjames, & tom, 5-8 --

Folks, you are forgetting -- Trump is The Establishment. The whole freakin' lot of them, too. So please do enjoy the circus our elite has kindly put on for us. He continues to coarsen the political discourse and make genuine change impossible. Trump would accelerate, not reverse the decline. He is a Medici, not a Savonarola.

It's going to be fun watching Liberals twist and turn purple when Trump is found to be to the left of HRC on many issues or at least more moderate, such as on Russia.

Trump's attack on Latino immigrants may be the best thing that's happened for them now that Liberals will have to prove their support by actually doing something besides watching Obama oversee the arrest and deportation of millions.

Trump has already shown that the Political Class are nothing more than parasites so lets save time and money and have the real power, the Oligarchs run things directly.

Wayoutwest | Aug 16, 2015 6:57:39 PM | 11

guest77 | Aug 16, 2015 7:05:18 PM | 12

It is bound to happen that a few of the folks who have been allowed to make hundreds of millions and billions of dollars by this fucked up freak out of an economic system will start thinking they have other rights too, like political ones, etc.

I would like to think that this dripping, dangling, penis of a man, Donald Trump, would expose the USA for being an idiotic playground of rich buffoons. But unfortunately that is't what the USA is - not entirely anyway. The USA is a vicious, violent place where a guy like Donald Trump won't have the political weight of a dry leaf when the tremendous hurricane of the intelligence services and military industrial complex start blowing.

I agree with b, it is amusing. You're watching a man who believes all the propaganda that's been put out shoot off his mouth. But he doesn't know the real history, he doesn't know where the bodies are buried, and he doesn't have the real connections like the Bushes do. An idiot such as this cannot be President of the USA. Can you imagine President Trump try and deal with someone he doesn't have power over? Trump vs. Putin? Trump vs. Xi? No way.

This is just the first act of a long, long, loooong circus. Another bunch of theater to provide "teachable moments" to the rubes.

guest77 | Aug 16, 2015 7:14:54 PM | 13

Though it will be interesting if some weird hangup in Trump's ego propels him forward against the established political order to the point where the established order may have no choice except to do something really disgraceful.

Something about an immovable object meeting irresistible force, isnt' that the phrase?

This is certainly part of the neo-liberal dynamic I've been trying to describe: you make a large class of super-wealthy, insanely powerful people, you start pumping them full of propaganda about how their venal spasms of selfish greed is actually evidence that they are the apex of human morality doing god's work here on earth and ...
sure as shit they will begin to do battle amongst themselves. And then anything can happen, I'd guess.

guest77 | Aug 16, 2015 7:23:38 PM | 14

@rufus: "Folks, you are forgetting -- Trump is The Establishment."

Yes and no. He's certainly a part of the economic establishment, but as C. Wright Mills evidenced, the neo-liberal corporate establishment ain't the whole burrito.

Trump is a very definite "thing", but he isn't the whole thing. He can easily become a burr under the saddle of the RNC I think.

Anonymous | Aug 16, 2015 7:38:01 PM | 15

@8

"...Hillary is a seriously acceptable option."

Damn right she is. The left needs to not take its eye off the ball. Hillary's no one's choice in an ideal world. But she's the only thing standing in the way of a Bush revival. Another Bush in the White House - my God.

rufus magister | Aug 16, 2015 7:44:07 PM | 16

Wayout at 11 --

You don't seem to have noticed decades of demagoguery about race and immigration as part of the Rethuglicans "Southern Strategy." Why is Trump's really any different? He broadcast in plain what GOP has been transmitting in code.

Why would the odd random correct position disquiet the Democrats? For every decent idea, there are about a thousand howlers out of the Grand Old Party.

You should really give up posting random musings for effect and try to develop some actual sources of information and analysis. Less looking foolish and back-peddling, IMHO.

guest77 at 12 --

Don't underestimate the power of money to buy the needed NatSec connections -- Bolton knows where a few bodies are buried, I'd think.

I personally do not get the presumed hostility of the deep state to The Donald. As a plutocrat, we can be reasonably sure their interests are more in common than not -- that's who they defend, right?

Jebbie or HRC might be their preferred beards, but I'm sure they could work with The Donald if needed. You keep him as the loud-mouthed, unpredictable figurehead (could have tactical advantages in negotiations) and make sure he appoints the right people to responsible posts.

That he's not really suitable as a public sector manager or political negotiator is probably more to the point.

But of course, if once he's elected he tells the Congress "You're fired" and becomes the authoritarian many on the right are looking for, that won't matter. "The only restraint on Donald Trump will be voters, but Republican voters love authoritarian leaders." Not the "Man on the White Horse," but the "Man on the Black Balance Sheet."

rufus magister | Aug 16, 2015 8:14:49 PM | 17

g77 at 14 --

Ah, a trip down memory lane, Mills The Power Elite. Back before the "End of History," when liberal academics wanted to co-opt/denature the sociological analysis of Marx. Class analysis without class. A piece with Domhoff's Who Rules America?

So he's a parvenu, not old money. Skull and Bones will eventually get over it.

You're right about the self image -- "the apex of human morality doing god's work...."

fast freddy | Aug 16, 2015 8:55:37 PM | 18

of course, if once he's elected he tells the Congress "You're fired" and becomes the authoritarian many on the right are looking for, that won't matter. "The only restraint on Donald Trump will be voters, but Republican voters love authoritarian leaders." Not the "Man on the White Horse," but the "Man on the Black Balance Sheet."

Congress, primarily the House, fired itself 30yrs ago. The Senate - R or D majority matters not - serves at the beck and call of the MIC, AIPAC and Multinational Corporations.

The House is useless for the common citizen - and worse - enablers of destructive policy. Senate is totally corrupt, likewise most of the high courts.

It has been theorized that the train to hell runs more slowly when the D Party plays defense - pretending to oppose draconian republican shit.

Jeb! or Hillary - there won't be any change you can believe in.

fast freddy | Aug 16, 2015 9:15:16 PM | 19

(I am)-- "the apex of human morality doing god's work...." -Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman, Goldman Sachs

The Ant and The Grasshopper, Teach a man to fish, Grab those bootstraps, grab your ankles.

Conservative Philosophy requires two things for the common citizen to buy it:

He must be convinced that he has exceptional intelligence, skills, etc. He is an exceptional human being. (No vocational training for me!) USA is exceptional and number one. He is an arbiter of religious and moral virtue (Sundays, if no football).

He must be convinced that he was born on a level playing field with any given trust fund millionaire. (Every American is born with an equal opportunity for success!)

If things don't pan out, it is the fault of Mexicans, Blacks, Gays, Women, etc.

rufus magister | Aug 16, 2015 9:25:40 PM | 20

fast freddy at 18 --

I demur, they are still working but on verylight duty. Congress did stop Our Nobel Laureate from launching a war over his "red line" in Syria.

Frankly, I'd expect him to govern rather like Gov. LePage in Maine. Dismissing Congress outright is probably a bridge too far -- at this time.

Piotr Berman | Aug 16, 2015 9:33:07 PM | 21

Rufus magister: it remains a fact that "I do not care if Ukraine joins NATO" is the most sensible statement on Ukraine uttered by a Presidential candidate. (Strangely enough, there seems to be a conspiracy of silence around GOP number two in polls, phenomenally well funded Jeb Bush. What he said about trade is somewhat sensible too, at least he notices the problem. It is my sincere hope that he will win the nomination, but then again, I am not a friend of GOP. However, even a very primitive type of cost/gain calculations that Trump presents is an improvement in that party. If you want, say, Ukraine or a wall on the border, you need to think how much does it cost.

My provocative remark about Detroit and Ukraine had this hidden subtext: a region with problems presents very different values to different countries. Detroit area, and even the city presents some value to USA and it would be wise to invest something so it does not go to waste. For Russia, not so much. Reverse with Ukraine, especially the part that is called Novorossiya (by those who would call the other part Malorossiya). The analogy to Greece is important because both Ukraine and Greece are economic basket cases with some common reasons. The extend of the decline is similar. "The West" does not have a stellar record in putting such economies on sound footing. (Twenty years ago I thought that EU would know how to turn Kosovo into a thriving oasis of the Balkans, one can live, observe and learn.)

guest77 | Aug 16, 2015 10:27:20 PM | 22

Interesting points, well taken. I do find the social position of the Bush family to be extremely important to their power though. Sure, America has an interest in keeping the Saudis on their toes and in their place (a sort of geopolitical stress position, if you will) but you'll never hear a Bush talk bad about the Saudis because they are not just familiar politically, they are "come down to the ranch and a kiss hello" family friends.

The Bushes are real American royalty in the way the Kennedy were promoted as being... and then totally murdered/scandaled out of being. Donald Trump is a crass, obnoxious, self-inflated, tacky (thanks PB, excellent choice of words) idiot of a man, even as billionaires go.

I bet Jeb is pleased as punch to see The Donald both go after the Saudis and Hispanics, only if because now he can go back and say "see, you don't want this asshole to win the primaries, do you?" and pocket the checks.

C Wright Mills and Domhoff are both pretty excellent in my opinion, despite not being Marxists. Though your point on what I would consider McCarthyite repression of US Cold War intellectual life is well taken.

Here is Domhoff's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwKkg-h2-Nx2WouQp47yReg though I really recommend this Alternative Views episode: https://archive.org/details/AV_334-WHO_RULES_AMERICA-PART_I though its a bit dated.

Also very interesting - Alternative View's Frank Morrow does his interpretation of the same topic of "The US Power Structure": https://archive.org/details/AV_516-AMERICAN_POWER_STRUCTURE_UPDATE-PART_I

psychohistorian | Aug 16, 2015 10:33:20 PM | 23

Trump is providing some interesting speculative 2016 races like Trump/Sanders or even Trump/Hillary(the non-woman/woman).

The problem is that the global plutocrats own all the bull horns and as long as that continues the brainwashing and propaganda output will keep the zombies, zombies.

Here is a flight of fiction for us old folk, what would a Trump/JFK race look like today? When are going to stop believing the myth that anyone coming from inherited wealth is fit to lead anyone but their grandmother, like to the bathroom? It is amazing to watch Trump being accorded any level of respectability give his obvious racist and women demeaning attitudes. That said, I agree with rufus magister above that The Donald could be worked with by the GOP like puppet Ronnie Reagan. Or, The Donald will go the way of JFK, but for entirely different reasons.

All this while the potential human extinction clock from Fukushima, climate change, etc. keeps ticking.

rufus magister | Aug 16, 2015 10:38:55 PM | 24

PB at 21 --

I think you hid your subtext too well.

"Detroit has value, so invest." My calculus is much simpler -- the people who live there, like the rest of us, should not be screwed out of their work, their dignity, and their lives by plutocrats and their financiers looking for a "better business environment" in which to gorge on "above market" returns. Neo-liberal "investment" in projects for the 1 pct. will do nothing to help the masses ruined by de-industrialization.

There are superficial similarities between Greece and the Ukraine. Both have economic difficulties, which are to large degree due to the corruption of their ruling classes. But the theft of the collective property in the former Union is a much different, more pervasive and brutal sort of corruption than the routine tax-evasion and inside dealing of Greek shipowners and bankers.

And of course, the Ukraine had the Russian Federation willing to help out. But American manipulation, a naive middle class with fantasies of European integration, and a fascist putsch put paid to that idea.

Greece, with proper political and economic stewardship, could conceivably revive, even in the context of the Eurozone. Recovery from the civil war in the Ukraine will be much more difficult, politically, economically, and socially.

Rand Paul says sensible things (well, he used to, anyway) about foreign policy and the criminal justice system. But his libertarian economics is, shall we say, problematic. Trump might be right on the Ukraine, but does his base really give a rat's ass about that? Except as another (minor) bad thing about our "madrassa-educated" "Kenyan Mau-Mau" president, of course.

Benghazi and HRC's server are the big foreign policy issues in Tea Party circles. Bald misogyny, chauvinism, and immigrant-baiting got him the big applause, not nuance on international relations.

g77 at 22 --

Don't get me wrong, Mills and Domhoff both did good work, I have them both on the shelves 'round here somewhere (though not Domhoff's Who Rules America Now). At least they recognized their existence, instead of eliding it. We're all middle class here, right, even the millionaires (but not the poor, of course)? Their data is good, if I might put it in slightly different frame with different conclusions.

I really have to read another classic from that era, Hofstadter's "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life."

To be fair -- Ted Kennedy really scandaled himself out of it. And his sabotage of Carter in the name of his vain presidential hopes helped bring Reagan into power. I don't think the pressure of having to stand in for his three deceased elder brothers did his psyche any good (Joe Jr. being a war casualty; his loss forced JFK into politics).

The House of Bush are WASP old money, the House of Kennedy is Irish-Catholic new money. Both are American royalty, think York vs. Lancaster.

I was thinking more about post-Cold War triumphalism, but you do raise a good point about the difficulties posed by McCarthyism. They were hardly the only academics or politicians trying to navigate the mythical "Third Way" between capitalism and socialism.

rufus magister | Aug 16, 2015 11:07:19 PM | 25

rufus magister | Aug 16, 2015 11:16:57 PM | 26
ps to 55 -- My point being, back in the day, approve of his work or not, you had to deal with Marx. Now, not so much. "One World, One Market, One Ideology." To paraphrase O'Brien in 1984 -- If you want a view of the future, picture a Gucci loafer smashing a human face, forever.

Jackrabbit | Aug 17, 2015 12:25:21 AM | 27

Vintage Red | Aug 16, 2015 5:12:14 PM | 9

Yes, Interesting point about Ross Perot but this article by Mark Ames in Pando: Behind the scenes of the Donald Trump - Roger Stone show: Anti-establishment politics is a racket has a deeper account of the electorial shinanigans in US politics.

Jackrabbit | Aug 17, 2015 12:31:16 AM | 28

Re: rufus magister | Aug 16, 2015 5:36:53 PM | 10

Reading about his remarks is not sufficient.

I saw the interview where he said this. He was winging it. At first his answer was that he got his foreign policy ideas from "the shows" (meaning US political TV shows). Then he, when pressed, he mentioned two well-known Republican names.

My immediate thought was: he can't say that this go-to person on foreign policy is the Clintons.

C'mon! Is it really believable that he has not consulted ANYONE on foreign policy matters? Would any serious candidate act that way?

Joe Tedesky | Aug 17, 2015 12:35:34 AM | 29

I get annoyed seeing our politicians play the celebrity roll.

Like when they attend the White House Correspondence Dinner. Then I read some history that only goes to prove that this is nothing new. As far back as time began the psychopath of the tribe, has often been our leader. In fact probably more often than not.

So, is 'the Donald' a freak political accident? One thing for certain this isn't what Jeb was picturing. Jeb always knew he was going to have an up hill struggle just by being a Bush, but 'the Donald'? Do you think Jeb saw thus coming? I saw a poll today that showed Hillary 15 points in front of Bernie. Really, do Democrates think this will retain the White House? Some how I don't see Donald Trump going the distance, but if he were to, then I think he could beat Hillary. FOX news today showed Trump at 25% Bush at 9%. I want Oprah to run, and with Phil Donhue as VP!

james | Aug 17, 2015 12:37:48 AM | 30

thanks b..

thanks mrw for additional comments..

i seem to recall jackrabbit saying that trump is the spoiler for the republicans so hilary gets in.. or did i say that? i get bored with american politics.. i noticed the other day comments on usa political type threads outnumber comments on yemen being bombed to shit significantly. bottom line, i don't give much of a damn about american political soap opera.. having trump in the mix is mildly entertaining when i do peer into it..

Jackrabbit | Aug 17, 2015 12:39:49 AM | 31

follow-up to 27

Should've added that Mark Ames describes a history of candidates are encouraged to run so as to split the vote of the other party. And Roger Stone, who WAS Trumps campaign manager (before the Pando article was printed about a week or so ago) specialized in 'dirty tricks' like that going back to the Nixon White House.

Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 17, 2015 1:52:44 AM | 32

I'm not sure what % of US voters no longer bother voting but if only half of them consider themselves to be underprivileged, and Trump can persuade them that he's their candidate, and they should vote for him, he'll romp into the White House.

Jackrabbit | Aug 17, 2015 2:02:50 AM | 33

follow-up to 28

And I should make it clear: Trump didn't mention Bolton as someone that he has consulted but as some who he's heard speak on "the shows". Although he claims to 'like' Bolton, it seems that it would be more accurate to say that he respects him because Trump calls him a 'tough cookie'. One could well wonder if Trump was just serving up a name that he knows resonates with Republicans. I encourage everyone to watch it and judge for yourself (start at 7:46).

Note: The second name he gave, Colonel Jack Jacobs, is not as well known. He is an MSNBC military analyst and investment banker who served in Vietnam.

=

Todd asked, "Who do you talk to for military advice right now?"

Trump answered, "Well, I watch the shows. I mean, I really see a lot of great — you know, when you watch your show [NBC: Meet the Press], and all of the other shows, and you have the generals, and you have certain people –."

Todd continued, "But is there somebody, is there a go-to for you? Every presidential candidate has a go-to."

Trump answered, "Probably there are two or three. I like Bolton. I think he's a tough cookie, knows what he's talking about.

Todd: "You mean Ambassador Bolton?"

"Jacobs is a good guy –."

Trump: Nods.

Todd: "You mean Colonel Jack Jacobs?"

Trump: "Colonel Jack Jacobs is a good guy, and I see him on occasion."

Jackrabbit | Aug 17, 2015 2:35:36 AM | 34

james @30

It is difficult to say if he is a spoiler. Trump says that Hillary was "the worst" Sec. of State for example, and Trump was saying some of the same things with respect to the same issues years ago.

But then there is also:
1) Trump's bluster which hides a lack of seriousness on issues:
a) not understanding the benefits of the petro-dollar (as pointed out by MRW),
b) not consulting with foreign policy/military 'go-to' guys,
c) complaining about 'puppets' running for office but not putting forth any plan for election reform, etc;

2) Questions about his party loyalty that are raised by Republicans. Trump sidesteps questions about how close he is to the Clintons and democrats by saying that he gives to many politicians and that he 'ordered' Hillary to be at his wedding. That is not an answer.

3) How convenient it is for Hillary that she populists running to her left and right that are unlikely to win.

4) The unlikeliness that other oligarchs would be comfortable with one of their own in the White House. The current system works in a way that benefits all of them. A political family or pliable new-comer works for all of them.

5) Trump's having hired Roger Stone as his campaign manager. With Roger Stone's record, that was a huge blunder for any serious candidate.

6) Trump's ego. Does he really want to enmesh himself in the business of the nation? Is he so delusional that he thinks that there is no other way for him to effect change (with all his money) than to do the job himself? And that the "change" that he proposes is so much different that what the other candidates are proposing? (All the republicans seem very similar to me.)

rufus magister | Aug 17, 2015 8:12:46 AM | 35

jackrabbit at 33

Did you actually parse the quote you posted?

To me, this sounds like he's consulted with them. And he actually says he has met with Jacobs.

This comes after he tout watching the Sunday Morning Bobbleheads. I used to some years ago, religiously (it is Sunday morning), but then the BS got to high for my waders.

TODD: But is there somebody, is there a go-to for you? You know, every presidential candidate has a go-to...

TRUMP: Probably there are two or three. I mean, I like Bolton. I think he's a tough cookie, knows what he's talking about. Jacobs is a good guy... and I see him on occasion.

Russia Insider likes this site, but I stay away from the libertarians if at all possible. LewRockwell.com has a short consideration of Trumpian Foreign Policy, posted last Thursday. After praising The Donald as "enraging the Republican Party establishment" he then qualifies this.

That said, it was a little alarming to hear Trump say to Sean Hannity last night, "I like [John] Bolton" in response to a question about where he gets some of his policy ideas. He then said that if he is elected president, he would invade, conquer, and occupy Iran, confiscate their oil reserves, and use the money to give "millions — millions !!!" to "our veterans."

So it does not seem to me that he blurted out the first name that came to mind when Todd quizzed him. Looking at content, it certainly sounds like he's getting ideas from Bolton; war with Iran on behalf of Likud is a neo-con idee fixe.

I'm hardly the only observer to think so. See The Guardian as well.

john | Aug 17, 2015 8:19:33 AM | 36

in the coming months and years, as the US continues its slide into recession/depression, i think the issue of illegal immigration will alter to negligible. emigration funk has been in decline since the implosion in 2008.

when i was a poor carpenter in New Mexico my Mexican co-workers (i think they were all legal) religiously sent their savings back to the old country every month and they all went home themselves at every opportunity. not one of them was particularly enthusiastic about life in America.

yes, the largely rural, agrarian communities south of the border will be much better suited to deal with the new nearly jobless world on the horizon. hey, maybe they'll flock south instead, to Ciapas, captivated by the Subcomandante Marcos hologram.

...

We are going to keep the families together, but they have to go (Donald Trump)

la sagrada famiglia

35;The Graun is now a reliable Zionist publication,I wouldn't believe anything from Rusbriger?,another serial liar.But if Trump wants to go belly up,Bolton is the way to go.He might be the most clueless guy in politics,Mustache John.

dahoit | Aug 17, 2015 10:36:13 AM | 37

ben | Aug 17, 2015 11:30:03 AM | 39

Here's a first-hand fast freddy fact. One of the greatest lies about Obama is that he is soft on immigration. Obama has been a ruthless prick wherever immigrants are concerned. Dubya was absolutely wonderful by comparison.

fast freddy | Aug 17, 2015 10:55:43 AM | 38

"Even a broken clock is right twice a day." That old saying describes "the donald", to a tee.

Watching Trump is fun, but then, I always enjoyed Kabuki. The grass roots favorite, right now, in the game of American politics is Bernie Sanders, followed by the Empire's choice. Hillery Clinton. Those two, are the only serious Democratic contenders. Most of the Republican contenders are there to suck the air out of ANY real issues to be discussed. I think the Koch brothers, and their planned 900 million $ gift, will go for Scott Walker from Wisc.
This is just the first act of a long, long, loooong circus. Another bunch of theater to provide "teachable moments" to the rubes.

Yep!
guest 77 @ 12 said:"

fast freddy | Aug 17, 2015 11:42:54 AM | 41

Whoops, my above post shows my copy and paste skills suck. My last sentence was a quote from guest 77.

ben | Aug 17, 2015 11:33:09 AM | 40

31 - history of candidates encouraged to run so as to split the vote of the other party. And Roger Stone, who WAS Trumps campaign manager (before the Pando article was printed about a week or so ago) specialized in 'dirty tricks' like that going back to the Nixon White House.

Crooked and broke RWNJ Marco Rubio (used RNC credit card for living expenses). Bygones. For public consumption he is now the handsome and dapper Republican JFK.

If you believe the official black box numbers, Three way split race put Rubio in the Senate with 49 percent of the vote. Crist 30 and Meeks 20.

Closeted gay Governor Crist married a beard and switched from R to D to run for Senate.

Florida House Member Kendrick Meek was tainted with a fresh corruption kickback scandal.
(Cadillac and a 90K job for his mom). Bill Clinton and others asked the spoiler Meek to step down. But Obama and Biden stumped for him.

Doesn't take a vivid imagination to consider that Meek may have been paid to be spoiler.

Why would Obama and Biden stump for a known crook and a lousy candidate with no chance of winning? Because he was the bona fide Democrat? No. They hadn't supported Ned Lamont - Connecticut Democratic Primary winner. Lamont defeated Joe Lieberman. But for the general election The Machine supported Lieberman who had to run Independent. No Party Loyalty here.

Could it be that a powerful faction within the D Party coerced the Rubio Senate win just as it had done for the Lieberman win?

Noirette | Aug 17, 2015 12:18:50 PM | 42

Well Trump certainly is occupying the platforms, screen, air waves, blogs, etc.

This is distractive madness. Obama is still president for far more than a year. The Black lives Matter who disrupted the Sanders speech should address the present admin, which is, on the books, where the buck stops. Obama is 'black' last I read. Responsible ..according to many rubrics.

Concentrating on the 'new' candidate(s) is a cop out, organised by the media / gvmt. to distract.

As for Trump, on the immigrant (which is also 'race') issue end of things, saying he will build walls and deport 11 million ppl ( I read..), this is completely irrelevant. (He might be sincere, idk, as he is nuts.) Anybody truly interested in that issue needs to get their heads into US legislation, the management of illegals, their contribution to the economy, etc.

Populism often throws people into a time-warp or *twarp* (invented word.) The audience is thrown into a 'what we wish scenario' without any timeline, concrete steps, real moves, politics, etc. It is one of the characeristics of fascism, btw.

I have to say though that Trump being an economic populist is probably a good thing in the suicidal decrepit war-mongering ambiance. (Trade, win-win deals, whatever.) He believes in all that stuff and that it can override political aims that want to genocide, destroy and kill kill. Doomed to fail, of course. Nobody ever wanted Iraqis earning a decent wage at McDonalds.

Jackrabbit | Aug 17, 2015 1:46:29 PM | 43

rufus magister | Aug 17, 2015 8:12:46 AM | 35

The quote is just a shorthand. It is not as good as actually listening to what Trump said and how he said it. I added a link to the interview and included the point in the interview that Trump talks about Bolton.

In answer to Chuck Todd's question, Trump says he "listens to the shows" (Sunday morning talk shows). Then Todd more specifically: "Whose your go-to guy" and Trump responds "there's probably one or two." Then he mentions Bolton - saying he "likes" him and he is a "tough cookie" - a vageness that implies that Trump has merely seen him on Sunday talk shows.

THEN Trump mentions TWO other people. The first is Jacobs, which he sees "occasionally" (implying that he is not advising Trump), and the other is the Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - who Trump could not name. Trump happened to see a speech of his and he thinks he's a "good guy."

=

To me this reads as follows:

1) Trump hasn't consulted with anyone recently and no one that (that is acceptable to the Republican base) is advising his campaign on such issues.

2) Trump has been talking about foreign affairs/military issues like attacking ISIS and criticizing Hillary as "the worst "Secretary of State" without having spoken in depth with military analysts / foreign analysts. It's just all seat-of-the-pants for him.

Its still early in the race. We need to learn a lot more about each candidate. But Trump mulled running previously and has the money and connections that would make it easy to talk to people in important policy areas. So I find it strange that he would have such trouble with this question.

Wayoutwest | Aug 17, 2015 1:50:21 PM | 44

J@36

Do you mean that you were a poorly skilled or a poorly paid carpenter in NM or both?

I earned about $10/hr as a carpenter in NM in the mid '70s and it wasn't a union job.

NAFTA destroyed much of what was built in Mexico with the money sent by workers in the US but you are correct that these and other more self sufficient people will weather the coming crash better than most Amerikans who are almost totally dependent on the Beast.

john | Aug 17, 2015 3:59:50 PM | 45

Wayoutwest @ 44 asks:

Do you mean that you were a poorly skilled or a poorly paid carpenter in NM or both

i mean that it was paycheck to paycheck with the occasional bounce the years i spent as a carpenter in NM with a working wife and two young daughters.

ab initio | Aug 17, 2015 6:10:45 PM | 46

MRW @2

The federal government is a small buyer of Saudi crude. US refineries which are private businesses purchase way more crude.

The Saudis also convert a fair amount of USD they receive for their crude into other assets including stocks and bonds denominated in other currencies as well as real estate in Europe and Asia.

Note there is nothing precluding Saudis from selling their crude in other currencies as well as in barter trades. The Russians are selling their crude and natural gas in euros, rubles and also in yuan. Most crude sales are contractual and not sold in spot markets.

ab initio | Aug 17, 2015 6:13:59 PM | 47

Trump is appealing to those Americans who are falling behind and frustrated and tired of the duopoly who only serve the moneyed interests.

rufus magister | Aug 17, 2015 7:49:53 PM | 48

JR at 43 --

Well, I can't find a picture of them together (yet), but I do find a few items that suggest they have at least met.

Perhaps Donald the Fan-Boy had a nice little tete a tete at the NC GOP convention back in June, when he and Bolton were keynote speakers. Here's the local news, and here's the GOP.

The North Carolina Republican Party is thrilled to announce that Donald Trump and Ambassador John Bolton will be featured speakers at our 2015 State Convention.

Or maybe they were chillin' together at CPAC. Their speeches were about two hours apart. A link to Trump's is at the bottom of the page.

Intereting coincidence -- they were both on "On the Record" on 22 Feb. 2013. I don't get cable, and didn't sit through the episode, so I can't tell you if they were on simultaneously.

The reading seems to be fairly common, and not just with The Guardian (Bing it and see). Politics USA seems to share your reading, but the avowedly liberal site seems more interested in dismissing The Donald as political dead meat than in analyzing his appeal or connections..

Trump knows how to use to television to appeal to Republican voters, but there is very little behind the bluster….

What makes the Trump campaign so entertaining to watch is that he is flying by the seat of his pants, but a president can't "wing it," in the White House....

Anytime that Trump is asked a serious political question or is pushed for details, he falls flat on his face... [Doesn't really seem to matter to his peeps, though, does it?]

Trump's answer today provided more evidence that if wins the Republican nomination, he will be crushed by the Democratic nominee.

The WaPo has the same take, see their annotated transcript of Todd's interview.

And what does Bolton think about Trump? This is actually from 2011, he speaks of the 2012 election.

Buttressing his contention that this election cycle is different from previous cycles, Bolton cited Donald Trump as Exhibit A.

"Donald Trump has gone up but he's not going to stay up and he's not going to get the nomination," Bolton explained. "So it's a reflection, I think, of people who have very high determination to defeat Obama but are far from settled on where they want to go. So a name comes up and they say, 'ok, let's try that one.' And to me that's just a further piece of evidence that this cycle is going to go very differently than the past several."

So they move in the same circles and seem to share a mutual respect. Were he not on board with The Donald, I would expect Bolton to say so. See this from Foreign Policy, where he gave Huckabee a hand -- well, just the back of it -- back in 2008.

jfl | Aug 17, 2015 9:23:05 PM | 49

@42 noirette

Concentrating on the 'new' candidate(s) is a cop out, organised by the media / gvmt. to distract. ... The audience is thrown into a 'what we wish scenario' without any timeline, concrete steps, real moves, politics, etc. It is one of the characeristics of fascism, btw.

And it started in 2014. I don't follow the MSM, which may have preceeded, but around October 2014 at counterpunch. More than 2 years before the election.

It's as though the 'folks' are so much in denial at present that they have decided to live in a perpetual future ... b's latest post confirms that that is the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate's plan as well ... with Spielberg as the producer.

Everyone is just waiting till after the fact - TPP/WWIII/the privatization of the NSA - to see where they 'really' stand, I suppose.

guest77 | Aug 17, 2015 10:47:46 PM | 50

To paraphrase O'Brien in 1984 --c If you want a view of the future, picture a Gucci loafer smashing a human face, forever.

Hahaha - Excellent. Absolutely True. Very Funny. Thanks. That's in fact the perfect prose sentence to get across the exact feeling I felt when Greece was smacked into submission a couple of months ago. Soft technocrats and careless billionaires taking on the role formerly reserved for conquering generals after long battles, now complete in a couple of weeks time without even ruining one's man manicure.

"He then said that if he is elected president, he would invade, conquer, and occupy Iran, confiscate their oil reserves, and use the money to give "millions — millions !!!" to "our veterans."

Did he actually say this? Noirette seems to indicate no? If he did, it is one of the most nakedly fascistic statements I have ever heard a US politician make in the 21st century. It's like some idea that Mussolini would come up with and just like Mussolini to make a public boast of it. Also, I believe its a war crime to make such threats, isn't it?

fast freddy | Aug 18, 2015 12:26:13 AM | 51

Possible, perhaps likely, that John Bolton and Donald Trump became acquainted at Plato's Retreat, the popular swingers club that operated in New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0505/S00240.htm

MRW | Aug 18, 2015 12:44:09 AM | 52

ab initio | Aug 17, 2015 6:10:45 PM | 46

Not that small. They buy oil and gas the world over for their troops, trucks, ships, planes, bases, supply lines, military residencies and embassies. Still pay for it with keystrokes no matter who refined it.

Yeah, Saudis may convert their USD to assets and currencies other than US treasury securities, but no matter what they buy, the original USDs earned by the Saudi government and their banks stay in the US. By law. For example, let's say you're a Saudi prince who wants to buy an elegant property on Lake Como for Saudi government use, denominated in Swiss Francs. You—Mr. Saudi Prince--would instruct the Federal Reserve to convert USD$30 million (from your government's checking account, because individuals can't have accounts) to Swiss Francs and wire it to the seller in Switzerland.

The dollars never leave the US. The Fed wires the converted Swiss Francs to the seller's correpondent bank's Swiss Franc account at the Fed for onward forwarding by that bank to the seller's bank account overseas. The USDs never leave the US banking system.

g77 at 50 --

I hoped I'd get a laugh. I was afraid I'd gotten Orwell wrong.

Aren't all the generals technocrats and soon-to-be millionaires nowadays? At least here in the large, industrial states. I don't mind so much the technocrats, it's the careless billionaires you have to watch for. You need technocrats for complex organizations and social institutions. They will respond to the stated metrics, and regrettably, it's the billionaires that set them.

As to The Donald on his proposed war crime, well, again, I don't watch Hannity, nor did I chase down the clip , so I have to take LewRockwell.com at their word. I think him capable of saying and doing it.

I see the comparison to Mussolini's personality. Very different backgrounds, of course. It's arguable if Italian fascism was any more philosophically and scientifically grounded then The Donaldism.

noirette, jfl, 42 & 49 --

Yeah, why would we want to pay Trump any mind? Trump's money and media savvy make him a player. I mean, he's only the front-runner. Despite Fox trying to undercut him, and the Republican Inner Party trying to maneuver an acceptable candidate out of the process.

And that's actually the important part. For all of the work by the RNC to avoid the spectacle of their last presidential primary, the situation is now demonstrably worse than four years ago. The good doctor Frankenstein once again finds a problem with his tea-stained creation.

Even if he drops out of the race, his reception is an important data point on the ongoing radicalization of the Rethuglicans. Given the various dimensions involved, mapping it could take a little thought.

I think you're late in dating the opening of Campaign 2016. That was in November 2012.

rufus magister | Aug 18, 2015 12:51:26 AM | 53

rufus magister | Aug 18, 2015 1:03:37 AM | 54

fast freddy at 51 --

Sounds plausible, sure would make for some nice clips....

No, seriously. The NY Post quotes Buck Henry as saying "Everybody went there, whether they want to admit it or not...."

Vintage Red | Aug 18, 2015 2:07:34 AM | 56

ps -- We'll know for sure if DSK turns up as an adviser.

rufus magister | Aug 18, 2015 1:05:08 AM | 55

"He then said that if he is elected president, he would invade, conquer, and occupy Iran, confiscate their oil reserves, and use the money to give "millions — millions !!!" to "our veterans."

If these are Trump's words I have to wonder. Quite apart from questions of whether it constitutes a war crime or another of his fugue states, promising "millions" to millions of veterans amounts to a few bucks each. Whatever Trump's fantasy world, I have a hard time believing a billionaire wouldn't know he's at least an order of magnitude too low for this to make any financial sense. Either he's making an error comparable to that of Dr. Evil (Trump just waking from decades of suspended animation might explain a few things), or he is having a bit of a jest as he threatens to appropriate Iran's oil wealth, then distribute from the spoils millions to the masses while keeping trillions for himself.

rufus magister | Aug 18, 2015 8:30:47 AM | 57

Here are highlights from the transcript LewRockwell.com is sloppily conflating several points. Let's be fair, though, a read of the transcipt shows that with Trump bouncing around, this is easily done.

On Iran: "We have to go in — we have to stop, if we can, this deal from being made...."

On ISIS: "We have to go in. So I did not want to go in, but now it's totally messed up. Now you have ISIS -- and others, but you have ISIS cutting off Christians' heads and others. They cut off anybody's head. They're drowning them. They're cutting off their heads. We have to go in with force. We have to take the oil because the oil is their source of wealth."

Note that before that bit, he is talking about Iran, so maybe both ISIS's Areas of Control as well as Iran need invading.

Asked about where he get political counsel from, he says "You know, I listen to your show. I listen to other shows. I see some very smart guys on the shows. I like Bolton. I like a lot of the guys that you have and that, frankly, I see on other networks."

He adds that he depends on "some very smart people in my organization" and his children the most.

Piotr Berman | Aug 18, 2015 9:48:09 AM | 58

One can pull isolated utterances of Trump as less crazy than his competitors. For example, the most educated among them, brain surgeon Dr. Carson advocates flat tax as most close to the Biblical idea of tithing. "The Earth is flat and so should be our taxes." By the way of contrast, Trump is against:"If I make a billion dollars and somebody else is making $100, and he's paying $10 and I'm paying -- to me, I don't know. I like somewhat of a graduation. What you have now is a system that's too complicated. " Note that he resisted a temptation to compute 10% of one billion, you do not want arithmetic mistakes in front of national TV. So you see an actually sensible stand -- progressive tax, nicely called "graduated" not to offend conservatives, and neatly packaged for morons. And he computed 10% if $100 in public, all by himself, and that makes him tower over the mediocre field.

That said, it reminds a youtube video I have seen recently. I young British hipster comments on the scandal of that day, something that Min. Lavrov muttered during a joint press conference with his Saudi guest and colleague, and which his translators left out. What did he say? The Briton dwells on Lavrov's facial expression which were surprisingly varied during the speech of his colleague. Gloom? Disgust? Stomach ache? The young Briton commented that as he does not know Russian he does not what Lavrov said, but it is clear what he wanted to say.

Here Trump replies to the question whom he would put in his cabinet: "We use the guy that gives, you know, $50,000 to a Bush or to a Hillary, and they become secretary of this, or they -- it's ridiculous. I would use the greatest minds. I know the best negotiators. I'm in New York. I know the good ones, the bad ones.

I always say, I know the ones that are no good that people think are good. I know people that you've never heard of that are better than all of them. I would put people in charge of these massive economic machines."

Actually, this sounded great, if we want to get rid of Washington insiders we need some sharp guys from New York. No pandering to peasants! Onwards to Iowa State Fair!

ab initio | Aug 18, 2015 5:25:25 PM | 60

Bolton,a tough indigestible stale cookie,made mush by Zionist milk.
All these warmongers are about as tough as wet paper bags.

dahoit | Aug 18, 2015 11:37:34 AM | 59

MRW @52

What is the point you are trying to make about USD staying in the US? Currency bills don't have to stay inside a border. And the same goes for EUR, GBP, CNY, CHF, etc. Crude producers can and do price contracts in several currencies as well as using varied terms. China does trade in many currencies too.

If a currency is convertible it makes no difference.

And by the way in the example you provide the Fed cannot wire Swiss Francs unless it has bought it by exchanging dollars. And where would they buy CHF? In the forex market. Banks trade trillions in currencies every day.

Skip | Aug 18, 2015 6:49:11 PM | 61

The Republican leadership proved in 2012, that partnered with voting machine manufacturers, they were ready, willing and able to steal any Republican primary election (or caucus) necessary to get Shit Romney nominated.

Here's an article that describes the concept for the statistically challenged like me: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByJAC-sfXwumZzI2bVlON2VTMnFyYVZZSnpDYnNyQQ/edit?pli=1

Interestingly, the 100% sole recipient of all these shenanigans was Willard Mitt Romney. All other candidates suffered from the charade. So these people care not who's in the driver's seat. They poison the count to their liking.

Piotr Berman | Aug 19, 2015 2:12:25 AM | 62

Wayoutwest: Trump has already shown that the Political Class are nothing more than parasites so lets save time and money and have the real power, the Oligarchs run things directly.

History shows that there are problems with "oligarchs running things directly". By the definition, "oligos = few", there is a number of oligarchs and they do not agree with each other on everything. If they have power DIRECTLY, then they can fund their own battalions, and in the spirit of competition, we get a number of those. Then an oligarch displeased by some banking regulation, without any doubt manipulated by his adversaries, send few companies of soldiers to remove regulators from his bank, and make a show of force in front of Finance Ministry. But his adversaries bring their own troops to the capital. Then some banks get vandalized by wee bombs made with TNT. Welcome to Kiyiv. It is much more orderly in Moscow where oligarchs have to plead their cases before authorities, private battalions are not tolerated (so oligarchs have to do with smallish detachments of armed body guards.

Hey skippy, glad to see you here.

Jackrabbit | Aug 19, 2015 2:27:22 AM | 63

Jackrabbit | Aug 19, 2015 3:25:55 AM | 64

Trump: Part of the problem
Sanders: too timid

With respect to oligarchy, it is difficult to raise awareness/support from the public until economic conditions are disastrous. I think that one reason for this is that activists often frame problems in ways that are not engaging and even self-defeating. Examples:

- Socialists often denounce capitalism despite the public's skepticism of alternatives to capitalism. (over-reaching);

- Reformers often focus on a narrow (e.g. financial regulation) issue or a specific event (e.g. Fukusima);

- Activists often focus on wrongs done to a certain group (e.g. Minorities).

- Politicians pull punches (e.g. attack "inequality" not oligarchy).


In any case, those who have an understanding of how oligarchy (aka "crony capitalism) operates have not made a convincing case to the public. Much of the public still think that oligarchy's benefits outweigh the drawbacks and/or that oligarchy is an intrinsic and even necessary feature of a capitalist system.

Oligarchy is a CHOICE, and one that has terrible consequences for those that are subject to its effects. As far as I can tell (via observation over many years), there is a direct relationship between the strength of oligarchy and problems like:

- pollution/environmental destruction;

- austerity/poverty/despair;

- social conflict/divisiveness;

- undue control of information/propaganda;

- restriction of civil liberties/militarism;

- the general inhumanity/excesses related to a permanent/semi-permanent overclass and underclass;

- and more.


The plight of countries like Ukraine and Greece are extreme examples of the evils that accompany oligarchy. Given the millions that suffer or die (e.g suicide, toxins, war) from this choice, oligarchy fits the definition of a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimes_against_humanity">Crime Against Humanity (CAH)*.

Furthermore, 'calling out' oligarchy as a CAH would elevate the issue in the public's eyes and spark debate on necessary reforms of tax and campaign finance laws.

Oligarchics like to hide behind a veneer of democracy. Compliant governments claim the legitimacy of a democracy but operate to satisfy the needs of their oligarchy. This system is so entrenched that only a dramatically improved public awareness/understanding has any hope of effecting change.

Instead of supporting an oligarch like Trump, who has nevertheless done a service by raising awareness of the problem (calling his political opponents "puppets"), it would be far more preferable to build an anti-oligarch movement that may (eventually) free humanity from the parasites and pretenders that plague us. And I doubt very much that Sanders is the guy that could lead that movement as his dedication to the Democratic Party/establishment is too strong.

=

* Note:
Defining oligarchy as a CAH:
(1) doesn't criminalize wealth. Governments can choose how best to avoid oligarchy. Nevertheless, there doesn't appear to be any benefit to society when individuals are allowed to amass more than a few hundred million dollars/euro of wealth.

(2) doesn't imply that all oligarchs or officials in an oligarchical political system are criminals. Only policymakers that enact laws to create or protect an oligarchic system would be subject to criminal prosecution.

PS http://www.alternet.org/story/145667/the_economic_elite_have_engineered_an_extraordinary_coup%2C_threatening_the_very_existence_of_the_middle_class">I am not the first to call oligarch-related effects a CAH (and there may be others). And don't miss http://greenspansbodycount.blogspot.com/">Greenspan's Body Count.

BLOCKQOTE | Aug 19, 2015 3:59:40 AM | 65

Trump: Part of the problem
Sanders: too timid

Saunders: Even more a "part of the problem" than Trump

Saunders is already a corrupt elected official and is already financed by Arms Companies.

To see someone write so many words, and not even bother to mention that Bernie Saunders, given his easily-available voting record in the Senate, is PROVABLY a warmongering scumbag, makes ya wonder about either their agenda, their honesty, or their level of intelligence.

MRW | Aug 19, 2015 6:16:57 AM | 66

ab initio @60

What's my point?

You wrote: The Saudis also convert a fair amount of USD they receive for their crude into other assets including stocks and bonds denominated in other currencies as well as real estate in Europe and Asia. and Note there is nothing precluding Saudis from selling their crude in other currencies as well as in barter trades.

Doesn't make any difference what the Saudis buy with their USD. The USD the Saudis receive for their oil from all countries worldwide comes from here, and stays here. The Saudis have three choices with their USD at the Fed: exchange the USD for Riyals (SAR) on the open market and wire them home, buy US goods with the money, or move their USD from their checking account at the Fed to their savings account and buy US treasury securities. That's it.

No one pays for their oil in US hard currency. (1) There's a $10,000 limit on physical dollars leaving this country (each instance), and (2) most countries want to hold onto their foreign currency (USD hard cash) to exchange for their citizens. The total amount of physical dollars in existence is about 11%-12%. Outside the USA, Russian citizens hold the most according to the Federal Reserve a few years ago, although that may have changed with countries like Ecuador using the USD.

The Saudis aren't going to price their oil in Yuan unless they want (or need) Yuan. (Ditto other currencies) Do they? Is there a great bond market for Yuan that would keep their oil sales to China liquid? I'm not aware of one yet, so that would mean Saudi Arabia would have to do the exchanging to get the Yuan into the currency it wants; why would it do that instead of asking for it upfront? The Brits opened the first Chinese bond market only last year. Can't compare that with the US treasury securities market, which is trading around $750 billion/day, and is highly liquid.

And by the way in the example you provide the Fed cannot wire Swiss Francs unless it has bought it by exchanging dollars.
Exactly, which is why the dollars remain here. But it would be the buyer (Saudi Govt in my example) who initiated the USD/CHF exchange first on the open market and the Fed that wires it to the seller's correspondent Swiss bank at the Federal Reserve for onward forwarding to the seller, something that the Fed would do as US banker for the Saudi Govt. (The Fed only has four clients: US govt, US banks, Foreign Govts, Foreign banks.)
Jackrabbit: Much of the public still think that oligarchy's benefits outweigh the drawbacks and/or that oligarchy is an intrinsic and even necessary feature of a capitalist system.

We would need some more precise definition, but I would agree that under a reasonable definition, oligarchy is an intrinsic, and even necessary, feature of capitalism. Capitalism has its ruling class, and within that class it is "one dollar, one vote". And most of those dollars is in the hands of a minority within that class. Moreover, in the near future it is hard to see a reasonable alternative, it is more like "does power give money or money give power". For that reason, I would advocate to "focus on a narrow (e.g. financial regulation) issue or a specific event (e.g. Fukushima)".

More precisely, I would focus on cases of clear divergence of interest between companies and individuals. Clearly, individuals have to work somewhere, and buy something, so they need companies in various ways, so there exists a convergence of interests. But it does not imply deference to corporate requests on each and every issue, and there are systemic ways in which companies work against individuals. For example, we cannot carry all needed cash around, so we need some banking/payment system, and the owners of that system effectively touch almost any movement of cash that we make, say, a withdrawal from ATM. Large associations like Visa/Mastercards to a degree function as a private tax system, and if that system could operate according to their wishes they would take trillions. Luckily, their rapacity puts them in conflict with other oligarchs so it is not that bad, but clearly it could be better.

Piotr Berman | Aug 19, 2015 8:02:17 AM | 67

fast freddy | Aug 19, 2015 8:43:57 AM | 68

Most Americans will, when prompted, within two seconds, jump to the defense of the super rich, and concurrently, bash the government.

They defend the rich because they believe:

the free market (markets fallacy) fairy tale wherein every American has a relatively equal chance to become rich.
the rich earned their money and no one has a right to take away anyone else's money (and give it to someone else).
the rich are job creators.

They bash the government because the government:

makes them pay taxes
imposes excessive regulation and restrictions on the rich (hindering job creation).
gives their tax money to black or brown people who get everything for free.

They like Wars because it's a team sport.

Jackrabbit | Aug 19, 2015 1:20:19 PM | 70

Anonymous @15 said: " Hillary's no one's choice in an ideal world. But she's the only thing standing in the way of a Bush revival. Another Bush in the White House - my God."

You'll forgive me for not seeing the qualitative difference between the Bush and Clinton dynasties. Both represent an antidemocratic aristocracy if nothing else-- and their foreign and domestic policies have been fairly indistinguishable. One fox does not break into a henhouse to save the chickens from being eaten by another fox.

As far as the Trump campaign is concerned, it is amusing although some suspect there might be more sinister motives than a simple lark by the idle riche.

Monolycus | Aug 19, 2015 11:05:30 AM | 69

Piotr Berman | Aug 19, 2015 8:02:17 AM | 67

Our current system of virtually unlimited accumulation of wealth PLUS virtually unlimited political donations means that a few oligarchs can get together and choose the next President. By all accounts, this is what happened with Obama (to the great consternation of the Clintons).

Setting tight limits on the accumulation of wealth and political donations would GREATLY diminish the ability to select election winners and influence candidates once they ARE elected. Still, there is no guaranty. But raising the issue to one of CAH means that if some finds a way around the rules, they would still be subject to legal jeopardy.

@69

Trump could see this election as his last chance to take on the challenge of a run for the presidency and he could actually have some affection for the country that helped him to become wealthy. When if ever have we read of a professional politician or oligarch reporting for jury duty? I don't think anyone can truthfully call Trump 'Idle' and this run may have been a lark but I think he is very surprised by the growing support for his campaign.

The real entertainment is being offered by the political minions who are running around as if their hair were on fire trying to counter this unplanned insurgency. The link above shows just how paranoid and desperate they have become now channeling Birthers or Truthers to make their feeble attacks.

Wayoutwest | Aug 19, 2015 1:39:20 PM | 71

jfl | Aug 19, 2015 4:38:31 PM | 72

@69 monolycus

Just read the headline. I thought the same about Romney's campaign in 2012. There's not a dime's worth of difference in the outcome, although there's a couple of buck's worth in style, for the fashion conscious.

ben | Aug 19, 2015 8:26:07 PM | 74

If I may put it simply and clearly. There are notable differences between Democrat and Republicans. Both will f*** over, but the D's are far more liberal with the lube.

Neither of the status quo parties will produce fundamental change. Which one in office will be more effective in preventing, forestalling, undermining, and reversing change? Mildly delusional is better than bat-shit crazy.

I would add, if you are content to choose from the lesser of two evils, all you get offered is evils.

Properly organized, something like the Sanders campaign might be a good step away from finance capitalism. But in as much as he has forsworn a third party candidacy -- unlike Trump -- "One Step Forward, Two Steps Backwards."

BTW, that was a revealing clip -- Trump, stern, self-possessed as the debate audience booed his refusal to pledge not to run as an independent.

And speaking of Trump -- Bolton was speaking of Trump on Fox. I'm not sitting through it myself, but I'm thinking it's not a slap-down.

In a "Meet the Press" interview, Trump said that he would deploy U.S. troops to Iraq to seize ISIS-held oil fields, in order to choke the financial spigot that fuels the terror group.

Bolton agreed that it's going to take strong American leadership - and a much more comprehensive plan than what President Obama has put forth - to stop ISIS.

And why not say nice things about someone who gave your PAC money? The WaPo behaves like real journalists with a list of The Donalds political contributions. The list makes for interesting reading, as it tells an enlightening tale. He's gone from bipartisan to beyond the fringe.

Submitted for your approval -- a grand to Steve Lonegan, the Garden State's most prominent ultra-rightist, a perennial (losing) candidate, in 2014. Same year Bolton got 5G's for his abortive presidential run, via a PAC.

rufus magister | Aug 19, 2015 8:00:58 PM | 73

@ 69& 73: I agree.

Monolycus | Aug 20, 2015 5:21:50 AM | 75

Wayoutwest @ 71 asked: "When if ever have we read of a professional politician or oligarch reporting for jury duty?"

It happens rarely enough that my cynical first impression upon hearing about it was that it must have been deliberately finagled in order to get him off the stumping/fundraising circuit for a bit, or to be spun into a campaign liability if he got out of serving it.

MRW | Aug 20, 2015 7:42:09 AM | 76

@67,
We would need some more precise definition, but I would agree that under a reasonable definition, oligarchy is an intrinsic, and even necessary, feature of capitalism.

Hunh? You're confusing governance and economics.

Under no reasonable definition is oligarchy a necessary feature of capitalism. Oligarchy is a necessary feature of fascism.

MRW | Aug 20, 2015 7:48:00 AM | 77

@ fast freddy | Aug 19, 2015 8:43:57 AM | 68,

No truer words, Freddy. Especially this:

They bash the government because the government:

makes them pay taxes
imposes excessive regulation and restrictions on the rich (hindering job creation).
gives their tax money to black or brown people who get everything for free.

They like Wars because it's a team sport.

Jackrabbit | Aug 20, 2015 11:22:19 AM | 78

MRW | Aug 20, 2015 7:42:09 AM | 76

I'm not confusing governance and economics but I probably should've better explained the assumption that I make about how they are connected.

The economically powerful have the means to influence government. In this way, economics 'seeps' into governance.

How they apply that influence is also clear:
- reducing nominal tax rates;
- making taxes as regressive as possible (flat tax!);
- adding/safeguarding lucrative tax loopholes;
- obtaining bailouts / leniency when they get into trouble;
- obtaining pork-barrel or sweetheart deals;
- business friendly laws;
- maximizing trade opportunities;
- immigration that keeps wages down and people divided;
- austerity;
- strong policing, to protect property and minimize protest;
- etc.

Governance is just another market. I think many understand by now that markets need to be regulated or they are subject to manipulation.

[Aug 23, 2015] Trump says tax code is letting hedge funds 'get away with murder'

Aug 23, 2015 | Reuters

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump blasted hedge fund managers on Sunday as mere "paper pushers" who he said were "getting away with murder" by not paying their fair share of taxes.

In a telephone interview on CBS's "Face the Nation," Trump vowed to reform the tax laws if elected and said the current system was harming middle class Americans who currently faced higher tax rates than traders on Wall Street.

"The hedge fund guys didn't build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky," Trump said.

"They are energetic. They are very smart. But a lot of them - they are paper-pushers. They make a fortune. They pay no tax. It's ridiculous, ok?"

Trump's comments were referring to the so-called "carried interest loophole" - a provision in the tax code which allows private equity and hedge fund managers pay taxes at the capital gains rate instead of the ordinary income rate. Many fund managers are in the top income bracket, but the capital gains tax bracket is only 20 percent. While these individuals are also required to pay an additional 3.8 percent surtax on their net investment income, this total rate is still far lower than the 39.6 percent rate that top wage earners must pay on their ordinary income.

"Some of them are friends of mine. Some of them, I couldn't care less about," Trump said. "It is the wrong thing. These guys are getting away with murder. I want to lower the rates for the middle class."

[Aug 23, 2015]Carter, Reagan, and Machiavelli - The New York Times

Rex Nutting has a very nice article about the reality of Jimmy Carter's presidency, which has been distorted out of recognition by the myth of Saint Reagan. As he points out, Carter presided over faster average job growth and lower unemployment than Reagan; unfortunately for Carter, his timing was bad, with vigorous growth for most of his presidency but a recession at the end.

Or to be more specific: the Federal Reserve put the US economy through the wringer from 1979 to 1982 in order to bring inflation down. Carter presided over the first part of that double-dip recession, and got wrongly blamed for it; Reagan presided over the second part, and wrongly got credit for the later recovery.

What you see in all this is the remarkable political dominance of recent rates of change over even medium-term comparisons. The chart shows real median family income, which rose a lot through 1979, and was still far from having returned to that peak by the end of Reagan's first term. Nonetheless, Carter was booted from office amid derision — "are you better off now than you were four years ago?" (actually yes), while Reagan won a landslide as a triumphant economic savior.

But Machiavelli knew all about this:

Hence it is to be remarked that, in seizing a state, the usurper ought to examine closely into all those injuries which it is necessary for him to inflict, and to do them all at one stroke so as not to have to repeat them daily.

Make sure that the bad stuff happens early in your rule; then you can claim credit when things get better, even if you leave the nation in a worse condition than it was when you arrived.

John is a trusted commenter Hartford

Carter does get something of a bum rap from the Stalinist history re-writers of the Republican party who have made the most absurd claims for Reagan (of which the attempts to elevate him to the same status as FDR is only the most ridiculous). That said there was undoubtedly a malaise in the air in late 1980 and there was little doubt Carter was doomed because of it. He had several considerable achievements including Camp David and the appointment of Volcker (who was ultimately dropped by Reagan in favor of Easy Al) but in truth, although he wasn't Hoover, he was at best an average president as indeed was Reagan despite the efforts to beatify him. Carter was probably done in by the quality of his team and something of a penchant for micro management. He certainly didn't commit any crimes while he was president as Reagan did, nor triple the debt, and he's probably one of the most decent people to occupy the office in US history. The fundamental problem is that the qualities of St Francis of Assisi are not ideally suited to the practice of politics while principles of government outlined by Machiavelli are.
John Lentini Big Pine Key, FL
One more helicopter on the hostage rescue mission might have saved us the ravages of Reagan.

Spencer England Woburn, MA 01801

Do not forget that Carter started a lot of the deregulation, airlines and trucking, for example, that tht Republicans try to take credit for. Especially those trying to make Ronnie into a saint.

John Foelster, Philadelphia, PA 14 hours ago

My impression of Reagan and Carter is that they are the 20th Centurys Andrew Johnson and Grant.

Johnson was controversial during his term of office but came to be admired enormously by the Lost Cause school of Historiography for opposing Reconstruction and the Radical Republicans, for their horrible presumption in trying to treat the Freedman like human beings. Hes now generally recognized as a racist incompetent.

Grant was a fundamentally decent human being who had a terrible reputation for circumstances largely outside of his control, whose Presidency is no longer thought of as being as bad as Early 20th Century Historians thought.

Hopefully the reputations of Reagan and Carter will be transformed by the historians of coming decades.

Side note, why am I forbidden from using apostrophes?

Rakesh, Fl

Of all the presidents I have lived under Carter was the best president. He did more solid economic reforms(deregulation etc), recognized the problems with an imported oil dependency, saw the benefits of harnessing solar energy. He was left with wringing out the ill effects of stagflation, he rebuilt the military that was run down, he gave some meaning to American moral power. He, not Reagan convinced the Germans to upgrade the US missiles in Europe. His big mistake was putting Brzezinski in charge of Foreign policy. He is the only ex president not to become a money grubbing salesman.

Stephen, RI

Or, you know, you could consider the obvious reason: Americans are pretty stupid. A majority still believe humans and dinosaurs coexisted. Almost 2/3rds can't name two of the three branches of government.

Americans overwhelmingly wanted to bomb Ukraine more the less well they could locate it on a map. They elected Reagan, a B list movie star who costarred with a chimpanzee, who went on to illegally sell arms to Iran, fund South American death squads, arm the Taliban, and shoot down a civilian airliner killing everyone on board. They elected George W. Bush, a man who said he wanted OBGYNs to be able to practice their love of women, said that "Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?", who blatantly lied us into a four trillion dollar decade long war, increased the deficit 1.8 trillion dollars, oversaw the worst disaster response in U.S. history, and who sat idly by during the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.

They almost elected Sarah Palin, a woman who couldn't name a single newspaper she reads. They elected Michelle Bachmann, who thinks mass transit is a liberal plot, Ted Cruz, who thinks the U.N. is trying to steal U.S. golf courses, and James Inhofe, who thinks that snowballs disprove climate science. Ben Carson thinks affordable healthcare is worse than slavery. Huckabee thinks taxing pimps is our way to prosperity. Jeb Bush forced women to publish their sexual histories ahead of adoption, even if they were raped.

Pick up a newspaper.

Tim, Sutherlin 1 day ago

Didn't Carter put Volker in the Chairmanship of Fed? So.....

jmc, Stamford 1 day ago

Politifact of Wisconsin has done a reprise http://bit.ly/1PqO16w of just of few the "mostly false" claims by Paul Ryan about almost anything you can think of from Social Security to budget cuts to Medicare.

The truth is not in these people. heir followers are ignorant or worse.

I remember eight years of crazy before Carter.

Richard Nixon, Treasonous dealings with Vietnam during election. Watergate, Six years and many thousands of dead in Vietnam. A president and vice president forced to resign for official corruption. A criminal conspiracy that included Watergate, the Saturday Night Massacre, , 69 administration officials charged and 48 convicted, most sent to jail. Economic disaster, Secret bombings of Cambodia. Actively subverting governments in Portugal, Chile, Mozambique, Angola and more. Student Killings. Henry Kissinger, war criminal. Wage and Price Controls. 0verheated economy, inflation, stagflation. Patty Hearst.

Uniformed snipers all around the White House and rooftops Helicopters ferrying secret visitors. Air conditioning up, fireplaces lit. Paranoia ruled.

Hapless Jerry Ford. Nixon Pardon. Grand jury felony indictments avoided. "Whip Inflation Now," the infamous WIN button. Leave inflation and recession to someone else.

LBJ mixed triumph with Vietnam. Nixon began 8 years of uncharted hell, a harbinger of today's vicious and vindictive GOP.

Jimmy Carter was a cool drink of water on a hot day after all that.

Win no matter how began.

nastyboy, california 1 day ago

"Rex Nutting has a very nice article about the reality of Jimmy Carter's presidency, which has been distorted out of recognition by the myth of Saint Reagan."

morally, carter was/is far more saintly than reagan or any other president in the past 80 years or so. in this sense reagan doesn't even come close to carter. jimmy had some issues of continuing u.s. support for some brutal, genocidal governments but was one of our least violent presidents ever. morally and ethically he was out of his element as president.

Mark Shapiro, Chicago

Another reason that Reagan is so overrated and Carter so underrated:

the continuous operation of a huge conservative PR machine. The plutocracy has always had -- and will always have -- powerful PR operatives, but the Lewis Powell memo of 1971 really got it revved up. Now they have many think tanks, publications, talk radio, all of faux news, many Koch foundations and the tea party, big chunks of mainstream reporting, and now unlimited campaign funding.

The list keeps growing.

They have the means, motive, and opportunity to lionize plutocracy.

James Lee, Arlington, Texas

Carter also never received proper credit for his foreign policy achievements because of the failure to rescue the hostages. That humiliation displaced, in the public mind, the memory of the Camp David Accords and the agreement ceding control of the Panama Canal to its rightful owners. While the second achievement was not particularly popular at the time, it avoided a serious breech of relations between the U.S. and Panama. The first agreement ended hostility between Israel and Egypt, a significant step toward at least the possibility of peace in the Middle East.

Va Dawg, Virginia 1 day ago

Even more infuriating: Carter - in appointing Volcker - ought to get more credit than Reagan for taming inflation. And Carter wasn't a chickenhawk.

craig geary, redlands, fl 1 day ago
The day that Reagan took office the total US debt, accumulated from George Washing thru Jimmy Carter was $1 trillion. 17 debt ceiling increases and 96 months later the US debt was $2.9 trillion, a 190% increase.

Eureka College guy cheerleader, WW II dodger , Reagan found it necessary to: Arm the Afghan fundamentalists who changed their name to Taliban, arm Saddam Hussein, shoot down Iran Air 655, fund death squads in El Salvador, genocide in Guatemala, arm and fund the Contra terrorists, invade Grenada, refurbish WW II battleships, at $300M a pop, and "invest" hundreds of billions in a chimera know as Star Wars.

The republican saint, in his own words, "I don't worry about the federal debt. It's big enough to take care of itself."

Ronald Reagan

The Athenian, Athens, Oh 3 hours ago

Recall, also, selling arms to Iran to get off-the-books cash to fund the Contras.

larry, U.S.

You make a good point that economic circumstances favored Reagan getting the credit for things he didn't achieve, and Carter failing to get credit for what he did. But I think the myth of Saint Reagan has had an even larger effect. Repeat something over & over enough times on a media channel watched as much as Fox, or a radio channel listened to as much as Clear Channel, and people think it's Gospel-- even if they are not Christian Right people. Progressives need something just as large, as consistently progressive, as expert in messaging & as well financed, to get our views heard just as clearly as the Right's views.

Spencer England, Woburn, MA 01801

But Reagan also negotiated with Iran to release the hostages immediately after he took office.

Within three months large scale shipments of US military equipment started to flow. Of course the two were not connected, right?

Bob Dobbs, Santa Cruz, CA

I remember how eager George W. Bush's administration was to declare recession early in its first term when there wasn't one: fake crises are the easiest to solve. And of course gave political cover for their plans to "grow the economy"/hand Wall Street everything it wanted.

Jim Hansen, is a trusted commenter California

Carter's problem was that he was not Machiavellian enough. He was much too honest, much too sincere, and he was always trying to do the right thing...how silly.

Carter was too good of a man to be president...and he should have sent more helicopters.

Noni Mausa, Hennepin County, MN

Another advantage of doing all the bad stuff at once, is that those who would oppose you will have their energies divided and thus reduced, their complaints and injuries will compete with each other for attention and redress, and confusion among the general public will allow the injuries to become "old news" in a surprisingly short span of time.

Here in Canada, Harper is a master of this approach. He's only been PM for eight years, only had a majority since 2011, yet tore down a surprising number of national institutions with not a trace of shame. There are times when cleverness in our "princes" is a serious flaw.

[Aug 23, 2015] Clinton Takes Soft Swipe at Shortermism

Interview was conducted by SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN
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"...Short-termism is a term used to describe how corporations run to create short-term profit for shareholders at the expense of long-term investment. Clinton's proposal, which her own campaign describes as progressive, would raise capital gains rates to up to six years on top of income bracket taxpayers, and according to her proposal encourage investment in communities that need it the most."
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"...CEOs, if they're able to raise the price of their stocks, they're able to raise their bonuses and their incomes. And this is a big factor explaining the huge increase in inequality in the top 1 percent, or 0.01 percent, whose pay is 300, 400 times the average worker's pay. It also helps to explain why there's been relatively little investment, despite the massive increases in profits and CEO pay over the last several decades."
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"...But what Bill Lazonick has proposed is actually making them illegal, these kinds of manipulative short-term buybacks. That kind of policy would be a lot stronger. Of course, the CEOs that support Hillary Clinton would in no way support that, but perhaps that's something that Bernie Sanders can come out in favor of. "
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"...what they do is rather than spending money on R and D and invest in skill training for workers, it just gives the money back to the rich shareholders and the CEOs by raising the stock price. So what we find is that some of these companies who have massive profits, they go to the government to say, you know, they want the government to invest in research and development and so forth. But in fact the corporations themselves could do that with their own profits, but instead of doing that they're giving it back to the shareholders and manipulating their stock prices so the CEOs can make a killing. "
Aug 23, 2015 | therealnews.com

Short-termism is a term used to describe how corporations run to create short-term profit for shareholders at the expense of long-term investment. Clinton's proposal, which her own campaign describes as progressive, would raise capital gains rates to up to six years on top of income bracket taxpayers, and according to her proposal encourage investment in communities that need it the most.

PERIES: So Jerry, tell us first about what short-termism is, and why it's so important for the campaign.

EPSTEIN: Right. So this is an issue, a term that's been around for at least several decades. It refers to the orientation of CEOs of corporations, non-financial and financial corporations both, trying to make the quick buck, making their business decisions based on what will generate short-run returns, primarily to raise the value of their stock prices rather than thinking about the long term, and making the long-term investments that really contribute to economic growth, productivity growth, innovation.

Now, why do CEOs do this? Well, a main reason is that their pay is based on stock options and other things linked to the stock market. So CEOs, if they're able to raise the price of their stocks, they're able to raise their bonuses and their incomes. And this is a big factor explaining the huge increase in inequality in the top 1 percent, or 0.01 percent, whose pay is 300, 400 times the average worker's pay. It also helps to explain why there's been relatively little investment, despite the massive increases in profits and CEO pay over the last several decades.

PERIES: So then why is this advantageous for her, given that most of her support and perhaps dollars is going to come from Wall Street? And of course the CEOs themselves have a lot to say in terms of those contributions. Why is it advantageous for her to address this short-termism?

EPSTEIN: Well, I think this issue has, as I said, been around for a while. It's clearly linked up to this huge issue of growing inequality brought to the fore by the Occupy Wall Street movement and others. So this is a way for her to talk about an issue that's out there even in the business world. Even in the world of financial and non-financial managers who have been decrying this for a long time. So this is a way for her to make a mark, to make a stamp on this issue. But unfortunately the policies that she has proposed really aren't very strong and really won't do a lot about it.

It's good that she's actually getting this back on the agenda, but it's kind of a cheap shot in the sense that what she's proposing isn't going to really do all that much about it.

PERIES: The two main candidates, Clinton as well as Bernie Sanders, are all beginning to address this issue. How do they differ and where would you put your dollars behind?

EPSTEIN: Well this issue of short-termism has been addressed by Bernie Sanders with respect to Wall Street. And in particular he has proposed what's called a financial transactions tax, which is a tax that was first proposed by John Maynard Keynes in the 1930s, and my colleague Bob Pollin has proposed it and analyzed it, Dean Baker. Many others have analyzed it. And this is a tax on short-term trading in stock markets and securities markets that will raise the cost of those kinds of trades, discourage this kind of churning and short-term trading without at the same time discouraging long-term investments.

Now, Bernie Sanders has not actually addressed this broader issue of short-termism with respect to non-financial corporations and CEOs, and indeed it would be a good idea for, for him to do so. Hillary Clinton, in her speech, in decrying what she calls quarterly capitalism--that is, CEOs [of] non-financial corporations who are concerned about the profitability and the stock price over each quarter, as you said in your intro proposed raising the capital gains tax on investments held for less than a year. Try to get CEOs to have a much more long-term orientation.

The problem is that most of her policies really don't have much teeth, as economist Bill Lazonick who is at the University of Massachusetts Lowell has written about. Lazonick has pointed out that one of the big problems with short-termism is the fact that corporations use stock buybacks. That is, they take their profits and rather than reinvesting them in the corporation, increasing training, increasing wages, they use this money to buy back the stock. That's a way of raising the stock price. That's a way of benefiting financial institutions that own stock, benefiting CEOs. And what Hillary Clinton has done is said there should be more transparency about these stock buybacks.

But what Bill Lazonick has proposed is actually making them illegal, these kinds of manipulative short-term buybacks. That kind of policy would be a lot stronger. Of course, the CEOs that support Hillary Clinton would in no way support that, but perhaps that's something that Bernie Sanders can come out in favor of.

PERIES: Jerry, we know that many corporations such as AT&T and Fiverr spend more on buybacks than R and D. Do stock buybacks generate useful value for our economy or not?

EPSTEIN: Well according to Bill Lazonick, who again I think is the top expert on this topic, the answer is no. what they do is rather than spending money on R and D and invest in skill training for workers, it just gives the money back to the rich shareholders and the CEOs by raising the stock price. So what we find is that some of these companies who have massive profits, they go to the government to say, you know, they want the government to invest in research and development and so forth. But in fact the corporations themselves could do that with their own profits, but instead of doing that they're giving it back to the shareholders and manipulating their stock prices so the CEOs can make a killing.

So no, these kinds of buybacks in most cases have very little social benefit. It would be better for corporations to use this money to raise productivity and raise wages and skills for workers.

Gerald Epstein is codirector of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) and Professor of Economics. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University. He has published widely on a variety of progressive economic policy issues, especially in the areas of central banking and international finance, and is the editor or co-editor of six volumes.

Rob

If Clinton became president she would be an Obama clone. Loads of liberal rhetoric with Wall st. policies. More of the same.

Powerofmind

I hope people don't get their hopes up about Mrs. Clinton doing anything about stock buybacks, it's just rhetoric, pure and simple

itsthethird > William W Haywood

Exactly thus a need for economic revolution to change division of resources and power to conform with 21st century advances whereby no longer labor or earnings for shareholders the means of distribution but community based systems with shared ownership responsibility to replace capitalist liability protections and cost externalization. Starting with banking reforms ending with personal identification reforms whereby individualism reflects fact that all earth is more an organism than property to be owned or controlled for private gains. There can be no individualism without community success and no advances of social gains without acknowledgement that nothing works in isolation. Today oligarchs control most all gains made possible by technology to expand ownership control over earth for private progeny not for all. What technology is shared is shared for ownership apartheid for oligarchy class which desires to maintain advantage gained over generations or expand same regardless of social costs such as austerity, war, murder, imprisonment etc. Oligarchs won't surrender without great social costs demanded. However the greater the costs imposed greater resistance expands until critical point of collapse then oligarchs may become more reasonable when systems are failing or maybe not.

Bernie Karpf

Ok.....Hillary Clinton is making bogus promises to re-configure the financial accounting tricks of the wealthy. Well, why shouldn't she? She represents them!

itsthethird

Corporatism controls world markets thus the populations governments which requires majority of shares held publicly be owned or controlled by corporate interests representing oligarchy controlled ownership which empowers oligarchs with extra-ordinary powers over government representation whereby pretense of elections simply give illusion of representation. How can public be represented when federal reserve banking cartel controls nations debt costs thus government? Banking cartels rule not citizens, citizens merely pay the bills. So is it any wonder that oligarchs favor short term gains over long term national equity?

[Aug 22, 2015]How Complex Systems Fail

"...This is really a profound observation – things rarely fail in an out-the-blue, unimaginable, catastrophic way. Very often just such as in the MIT article the fault or faults in the system are tolerated. But if they get incrementally worse, then the ad-hoc fixes become the risk (i.e. the real risk isn't the original fault condition, but the application of the fixes)."
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"...It is that cumulative concentration of wealth and power over time which is ultimately destabilizing, producing accepted social norms and customs that lead to fragility in the face of both expected and unexpected shocks. This fragility comes from all sorts of specific consequences of that inequality, from secrecy to group think to brain drain to two-tiered justice to ignoring incompetence and negligence to protecting incumbents necessary to maintain such an unnatural order."
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"...The problem arises with any societal order over time in that corrosive elements in the form of corruptive behavior (not principle based) by decision makers are institutionalized. I may not like Trump as a person but the fact that he seems to unravel and shake the present arrangement and serves as an indicator that the people begin to realize what game is being played, makes me like him in that specific function."
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".... . .but it is also true that the incentives of the capitalist system ensure that there will be more and worse accidents than necessary, as the agents involved in maintaining the system pursue their own personal interests which often conflict with the interests of system stability and safety."
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"...Globalization factors in maximizing the impact of Murphy's Law..."
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"...Operators or engineers controlling or modifying the system are providing feedback. Feedback can push the system past "safe" limits. Once past safe limits, the system can fail catastrophically Such failure happen very quickly, and are always "a surprise"."
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"...Where one can only say: "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do""
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"...The Iron Law of Institutions (agents act in ways that benefit themselves in the context of the institution [system], regardless of the effect those actions have on the larger system) would seem to mitigate against any attempts to correct our many, quickly failing complex social and technological systems."
Aug 21, 2015 | naked capitalism
August 21, 2015 by Yves Smith

Lambert found a short article by Richard Cook that I've embedded at the end of the post. I strongly urge you to read it in full. It discusses how complex systems are prone to catastrophic failure, how that possibility is held at bay through a combination of redundancies and ongoing vigilance, but how, due to the impractical cost of keeping all possible points of failure fully (and even identifying them all) protected, complex systems "always run in degraded mode". Think of the human body. No one is in perfect health. At a minimum, people are growing cancers all the time, virtually all of which recede for reasons not well understood.

The article contends that failures therefore are not the result of single causes. As Clive points out:

This is really a profound observation – things rarely fail in an out-the-blue, unimaginable, catastrophic way. Very often just such as in the MIT article the fault or faults in the system are tolerated. But if they get incrementally worse, then the ad-hoc fixes become the risk (i.e. the real risk isn't the original fault condition, but the application of the fixes). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windscale_fire#Wigner_energy documents how a problem of core instability was a snag, but the disaster was caused by what was done to try to fix it. The plant operators kept applying the fix in ever more extreme does until the bloody thing blew up.

But I wonder about the validity of one of the hidden assumptions of this article. There is a lack of agency in terms of who is responsible for the care and feeding of complex systems (the article eventually identifies "practitioners" but even then, that's comfortably vague). The assumption is that the parties who have influence and responsibility want to preserve the system, and have incentives to do at least an adequate job of that.

There are reasons to doubt that now. Economics has promoted ways of looking at commercial entities that encourage "practitioners" to compromise on safety measures. Mainstream economics has as a core belief that economies have a propensity to equilibrium, and that equilibrium is at full employment. That assumption has served as a wide-spread justification for encouraging businesses and governments to curtail or end pro-stability measures like regulation as unnecessary costs.

To put it more simply, the drift of both economic and business thinking has been to optimize activity for efficiency. But highly efficient systems are fragile. Formula One cars are optimized for speed and can only run one race.

Highly efficient systems also are more likely to suffer from what Richard Bookstaber called "tight coupling." A tightly coupled system in one in which events occur in a sequence that cannot be interrupted. A way to re-characterize a tightly coupled system is a complex system that has been in part reoptimized for efficiency, maybe by accident, maybe at a local level. That strips out some of the redundancies that serve as safeties to prevent positive feedback loops from having things spin out of control.

To use Bookstaber's nomenclature, as opposed to this paper's, in a tightly coupled system, measures to reduce risk directly make things worse. You need to reduce the tight coupling first.

A second way that the economic thinking has arguably increased the propensity of complex systems of all sorts to fail is by encouraging people to see themselves as atomized agents operating in markets. And that's not just an ideology; it's reflected in low attachment to institutions of all sorts, ranging from local communities to employers (yes, employers may insist on all sorts of extreme shows of fealty, but they are ready to throw anyone in the dust bin at a moment's notice). The reality of weak institutional attachments and the societal inculcation of selfish viewpoints means that more and more people regard complex systems as vehicles for personal advancement. And if they see those relationships as short-term or unstable, they don't have much reason to invest in helping to preserving the soundness of that entity. Hence the attitude called "IBY/YBG" ("I'll Be Gone, You'll Be Gone") appears to be becoming more widespread.

I've left comments open because I'd very much enjoy getting reader reactions to this article. Thanks!

James Levy August 21, 2015 at 6:35 am

So many ideas….
Mike Davis argues that in the case of Los Angeles, the key to understanding the city's dysfunction is in the idea of sunk capital – every major investment leads to further investments (no matter how dumb or large) to protect the value of past investments.

Tainter argues that the energy cost (defined broadly) of maintaining the dysfunction eventually overwhelms the ability of the system to generate surpluses to meet the rising needs of maintenance.

Goldsworthy has argued powerfully and persuasively that the Roman Empire in the West was done in by a combination of shrinking revenue base and the subordination of all systemic needs to the needs of individual emperors to stay in power and therefore stay alive. Their answer was endlessly subdividing power and authority below them and using massive bribes to the bureaucrats and the military to try to keep them loyal.

In each case, some elite individual or grouping sees throwing good money after bad as necessary to keeping their power and their positions. Our current sclerotic system seems to fit this description nicely.

Jim August 21, 2015 at 8:15 am

I immediately thought of Tainter's "The Complex of Complex Cultures" when I starting reading this. One point that Tainter made is that collapse is not all bad. He presents evidence that the average well being of people in Italy was probably higher in the sixth century than in the fifth century as the Western Roman Empire died. Somewhat like death being necessary for biological evolution collapse may be the only solution to the problem of excessive complexity.

xxx August 22, 2015 at 4:39 am

Tainter insists culture has nothing to do with collapse, and therefore refuses to consider it, but he then acknowledges that the elites in some societies were able to pull them out of a collapse trajectory. And from the inside, it sure as hell looks like culture, as in a big decay in what is considered to be acceptable conduct by our leaders, and what interests they should be serving (historically, at least the appearance of the greater good, now unabashedly their own ends) sure looks to be playing a big, and arguably the defining role, in the rapid rise of open corruption and related social and political dysfunction.

Praedor August 21, 2015 at 9:19 am

That also sounds like the EU and even Greece's extreme actions to stay in the EU.

jgordon August 21, 2015 at 7:44 am

Then I'll add my two cents: you've left out that when systems scale linearly, the amount of complexity, and points for failure, and therefore instability, that they contain scale exponentially–that is according to the analysis of James Rickards, and supported by the work of people like Joseph Tainter and Jared Diamond.

Ever complex problem that arises in a complex system is fixed with an even more complex "solution" which requires ever more energy to maintain, and eventually the inevitably growing complexity of the system causes the complex system to collapse in on itself. This process requires no malignant agency by humans, only time.

nowhere August 21, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Sounds a lot like JMG and catabolic collapse.

jgordon August 21, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Well, he got his stuff from somewhere too.

Synoia August 21, 2015 at 1:26 pm

There are no linear systems. They are all non-linear because the include a random, non-linear element – people.

Jim August 21, 2015 at 2:26 pm

Long before there were people the Earth's eco-system was highly complex and highly unstable.

Ormond Otvos August 21, 2015 at 4:37 pm

The presumption that fixes increase complexity may be incorrect.

Fixes should include awareness of complexity.

That was the beauty of Freedom Club by Kaczinsky, T.

JTMcPhee August 21, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Maybe call the larger entity "meta-stable?" Astro and geo inputs seem to have been big perturbers. Lots of genera were around a very long time before naked apes set off on their romp. But then folks, even these hot, increasingly dry days, brag on their ability to anticipate, and profit from, and even cause, with enough leverage, de- stability. Good thing the macrocosms of our frail, violent, kindly, destructive bodies are blessed with the mechanisms of homeostasis.

Too bad our "higher" functions are not similarly gifted… But that's what we get to chat about, here and in similar meta-spaces…

MikeW August 21, 2015 at 7:52 am

Agree, positive density of ideas, thoughts and implications.

I wonder if the reason that humans don't appreciate the failure of complex systems is that (a) complex systems are constantly trying to correct, or cure as in your cancer example, themselves all the time until they can't at which point they collapse, (b) that things, like cancer leading to death, are not commonly viewed as a complex system failure when in fact that is what it is. Thus, while on a certain scale we do experience complex system failure on one level on a daily basis because we don't interpret it as such, and given that we are hardwired for pattern recognition, we don't address complex systems in the right ways.

This, to my mind, has to be extended to the environment and the likely disaster we are currently trying to instigate. While the system is collapsing at one level, massive species extinctions, while we have experienced record temperatures, while the experts keep warning us, etc., most people to date have experienced climate change as an inconvenience — not the early stages of systemwide failure.

Civilization collapses have been regular, albeit spaced out, occurrences. We seem to think we are immune to them happening again. Yet, it isn't hard to list the near catastrophic system failures that have occurred or are currently occurring (famines, financial markets, genocides, etc.).

And, in most systems that relate to humans with an emphasis on short term gain how does one address system failures?

Brooklin Bridge August 21, 2015 at 9:21 am

Good-For-Me-Who-Effing-Cares-If-It's-Bad-For-You-And-Everyone-Else

would be a GREAT category heading though it's perhaps a little close to "Imperial Collapse"

Whine Country August 21, 2015 at 9:52 am

To paraphrase President Bill Clinton, who I would argue was one of the major inputs that caused the catastrophic failure of our banking system (through the repeal of Glass-Steagall), it all depends on what the definition of WE is.

jrs August 21, 2015 at 10:12 pm

And all that just a 21st century version of "apres moi le deluge", which sounds very likely to be the case.

Oregoncharles August 21, 2015 at 3:55 pm

JT – just go to the Archdruid site. They link it regularly, I suppose for this purpose.

Jim August 21, 2015 at 8:42 am

Civilizational collapse is extremely common in history when one takes a long term view. I'm not sure though that I would describe it as having that much "regularity" and while internal factors are no doubt often important external factors like the Mongol Onslaught are also important. It's usually very hard to know exactly what happened since historical documentation tends to disappear in periods of collapse. In the case of Mycenae the archaeological evidence indicates a near total population decline of 99% in less than a hundred years together with an enormous cultural decline but we don't know what caused it.

As for long term considerations the further one tries to project into the future the more uncertain such projections become so that long term planning far into the future is not likely to be evolutionarily stable. Because much more information is available about present conditions than future conditions organisms are probably selected much more to optimize for the short term rather than for the largely unpredicatble long term.

Gio Bruno August 21, 2015 at 1:51 pm

…it's not in question. Evolution is about responding to the immediate environment. Producing survivable offspring (which requires finding a niche). If the environment changes (Climate?) faster than the production of survivable offspring then extinction (for that specie) ensues.

Now, Homo sapien is supposedly "different" in some respects, but I don't think so.

Jim August 21, 2015 at 2:14 pm

I agree. There's nothing uniquely special about our species. Of course species can often respond to gradual change by migration. The really dangerous things are global catastrophes such as the asteroid impact at the end of the Cretaceous or whatever happened at the Permian-Triassic boundary (gamma ray burst maybe?).

Ormond Otvos August 21, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Interesting that you sit there and type on a world-spanning network batting around ideas from five thousand years ago, or yesterday, and then use your fingers to type that the human species isn't special.

Do you really think humans are unable to think about the future, like a bear hibernating, or perhaps the human mind, and its offspring, human culture and history, can't see ahead?

Why is "Learn the past, or repeat it!" such a popular saying, then?

diptherio August 21, 2015 at 9:24 am

The Iron Law of Institutions (agents act in ways that benefit themselves in the context of the institution [system], regardless of the effect those actions have on the larger system) would seem to mitigate against any attempts to correct our many, quickly failing complex social and technological systems.

jgordon August 21, 2015 at 10:40 am

This would tend to imply that attempts to organize large scale social structures is temporary at best, and largely futile. I agree. The real key is to embrace and ride the wave as it crests and callapses so its possible to manage the fall–not to try to stand against so you get knocked down and drowned. Focus your efforts on something useful instead of wasting them on a hopeless, and worthless, cause.

Jim August 21, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Civilization is obviously highly unstabe. However it should remembered that even Neolithic cultures are almost all less than 10,000 years old. So there has been little time for evolutionary adaptations to living in complex cultures (although there is evidence that the last 10,000 years has seen very rapid genetic changes in human populations). If civilization can continue indefinitely which of course is not very clear then it would be expected that evolutionary selection would produce humans much better adapted to living in complex cultures so they might become more stable in the distant future. At present mean time to collapse is probably a few hundred years.

Ormond Otvos August 21, 2015 at 4:50 pm

But perhaps you're not contemplating that too much individual freedom can destabilize society. Is that a part of your vast psychohistorical equation?

washunate August 21, 2015 at 10:34 am

Well said, but something I find intriguing is that the author isn't talking so much about civilizational collapse. The focus is more on various subsystems of civilization (transportation, energy, healthcare, etc.).

These individual components are not inherently particularly dangerous (at a systemic/civilizational level). They have been made that way by purposeful public policy choices, from allowing enormous compensation packages in healthcare to dismantling our passenger rail system to subsidizing fossil fuel energy over wind and solar to creating tax incentives that distort community development. These things are not done for efficiency. They are done to promote inequality, to allow connected insiders and technocratic gatekeepers to expropriate the productive wealth of society. Complexity isn't a byproduct; it is the mechanism of the looting. If MDs in hospital management made similar wages as home health aides, then how would they get rich off the labor of others? And if they couldn't get rich, what would be the point of managing the hospital in the first place? They're not actually trying to provide quality, affordable healthcare to all Americans.

It is that cumulative concentration of wealth and power over time which is ultimately destabilizing, producing accepted social norms and customs that lead to fragility in the face of both expected and unexpected shocks. This fragility comes from all sorts of specific consequences of that inequality, from secrecy to group think to brain drain to two-tiered justice to ignoring incompetence and negligence to protecting incumbents necessary to maintain such an unnatural order.

Linus Huber August 21, 2015 at 7:05 pm

I tend to agree with your point of view.

The problem arises with any societal order over time in that corrosive elements in the form of corruptive behavior (not principle based) by decision makers are institutionalized. I may not like Trump as a person but the fact that he seems to unravel and shake the present arrangement and serves as an indicator that the people begin to realize what game is being played, makes me like him in that specific function. There may be some truth in Thomas Jefferson's quote: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." Those presently benefiting greatly from the present arrangement are fighting with all means to retain their position, whether successfully or not, we will see.

animalogic August 22, 2015 at 2:18 am

Well said, washunate. I think an argument could be run that outside economic areas, the has been a drive to de-complexity.
Non economic institutions, bodies which exist for non market/profit reasons are or have been either hollowed out, or co-opted to market purposes. Charities as vast engines of self enrichment for a chain of insiders. Community groups, defunded, or shriveled to an appendix by "market forces". The list goes on…and on.
Reducing the "not-market" to the status of sliced-white-bread makes us all the more dependant on the machinated complexities of "the market"….god help us….

Jay Jay August 21, 2015 at 8:00 am

Joseph Tainter's thesis, set out in "The Collapse of Complex Societies" is simple: as a civilization ages its use of energy becomes less efficient and more costly, until the Law of Diminishing Returns kicks in, generates its own momentum and the system grinds to a halt. Perhaps this article describes a late stage of that process. However, it is worth noting that, for the societies Tainter studied, the process was ineluctable. Not so for our society: we have the ability -- and the opportunity -- to switch energy sources.

Moneta August 21, 2015 at 5:48 pm

In my grandmother's youth, they did not burn wood for nothing. Splitting wood was hard work that required calories.

Today, we heat up our patios at night with gas heaters… The amount of economic activity based on burning energy not related to survival is astounding.

A huge percentage of our GDP is based on economies of scale and economic efficiencies but are completely disconnected from environmental efficiencies.

This total loss is control between nature and our lifestyles will be our waterloo .

TG August 21, 2015 at 8:20 am

An interesting article as usual, but here is another take.

Indeed, sometimes complex systems can collapse under the weight of their own complexity (Think: credit default swaps). But sometimes there is a single simple thing that is crushing the system, and the complexity is a desperate attempt to patch things up that is eventually destroyed by brute force.

Consider a forced population explosion: the people are multiplied exponentially. This reduces per capita physical resources, tends to reduce per-capita capital, and limits the amount of time available to adapt: a rapidly growing population puts an economy on a treadmill that gets faster and faster and steeper and steeper until it takes superhuman effort just to maintain the status quo. There is a reason why, for societies without an open frontier, essentially no nation has ever become prosperous with out first moderating the fertility rate.

However, you can adapt. New technologies can be developed. New regulations written to coordinate an ever more complex system. Instead of just pumping water from a reservoir, you need networks of desalinization plants – with their own vast networks of power plants and maintenance supply chains – and recycling plans, and monitors and laws governing water use, and more efficient appliances, etc.etc.

As an extreme, consider how much effort and complexity it takes to keep a single person alive in the space station.

That's why in California cars need to be emissions tested, but in Alabama they don't – and the air is cleaner in Alabama. More people needs more controls and more exotic technology and more rules.

Eventually the whole thing starts to fall apart. But to blame complexity itself, is possibly missing the point.

Steve H. August 21, 2015 at 8:30 am

No system is ever 'the'.

Jim Haygood August 21, 2015 at 11:28 am

Two words, Steve: Soviet Union.

It's gone now. But we're rebuilding it, bigger and better.

Ormond Otvos August 21, 2015 at 4:54 pm

If, of course, bigger is better.

Facts not in evidence.

Ulysses August 21, 2015 at 8:40 am

"But because system operations are never trouble free, human practitioner adaptations to changing conditions actually create safety from moment to moment. These adaptations often amount to just the selection of a well-rehearsed routine from a store of available responses; sometimes, however, the adaptations are novel combinations or de novo creations of new approaches."

This may just be a rationalization, on my part, for having devoted so much time to historical studies– but it seems to me that historians help civilizations prevent collapse, by preserving for them the largest possible "store of available responses."

aronj August 21, 2015 at 8:41 am

Yves,

Thanks for posting this very interesting piece! As you know, I am a fan Bookstaber's concept of tight coupling. Interestingly, Bookstaber (2007) does not reference Cook's significant work on complex systems.

Before reading this article, I considered the most preventable accidents involve a sequence of events uninterrupted by human intelligence. This needs to be modified by Cook's points 8, 9. 10 and 12.

In using the aircraft landing in the New York river as an example of interrupting a sequence of events, the inevitable accident occurred but no lives were lost. Thus the human intervention was made possible by the unknowable probability of coupling the cause with a possible alternative landing site. A number of aircraft accidents involve failed attempts to find a possible landing site, even though Cook's point #12 was in play.

Thanks for the post!!!!!

Brooklin Bridge August 21, 2015 at 8:47 am

A possible issue with or a misunderstanding of #7. Catastrophic failure can be made up of small failures that tend to follow a critical path or multiple critical paths. While a single point of origin for catastrophic failure may rarely if ever occur in a complex system, it is possible and likely in such a system to have collections of small failures that occur or tend to occur in specific sequences of order. Population explosion (as TG points out) would be a good example of a failure in a complex social system that is part of a critical path to catastrophic failure.

Such sequences, characterized by orders of precedence, are more likely in tightly coupled systems (which as Yves points out can be any system pushed to the max). The point is, they can be identified and isolated at least in situations where a complex system is not being misused or pushed to it's limits or created due to human corruption where such sequences of likelihood may be viewed or baked into the system (such as by propaganda->ideology) as features and not bugs.

Spring Texan August 21, 2015 at 8:53 am

I agree completely that maximum efficiency comes with horrible costs. When hospitals are staffed so that people are normally busy every minute, patients routinely suffer more as often no one has time to treat them like a human being, and when things deviate from the routine, people have injuries and deaths. Same is true in other contexts.

washunate August 21, 2015 at 10:40 am

Agreed, but that's not caused by efficiency. That's caused by inequality. Healthcare has huge dispariaties in wages and working conditions. The point of keeping things tightly staffed is to allow big bucks for the top doctors and administrators.

susan the other August 21, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Yes. When one efficiency conflicts with and destroys another efficiency. Eq. Your mother juggled a job and a family and ran around in turbo mode but she dropped everything when her kids were in trouble. That is an example of an efficiency that can juggle contradictions and still not fail.

JTMcPhee August 21, 2015 at 11:38 am

Might this nurse observe that in hospitals, there isn't and can't be a "routine" to deviate from, no matter how fondly "managers" wish to try to make it and how happy they may be to take advantage of the decent, empathic impulses of many nurses and/or the need to work to eat of those that are just doing a job. Hence the kindly (sic) practice of "calling nurses off" or sending them home if "the census is down," which always runs aground against a sudden influx of billable bodies or medical crises that the residual staff is expected to just somehow cope with caring for or at least processing, until the idiot frictions in the staffing machinery add a few more person-hours of labor to the mix. The larger the institution, the greater the magnitude and impact (pain, and dead or sicker patients and staff too) of the "excursions from the norm."

It's all about the ruling decisions on what are deemed (as valued by where the money goes) appropriate outcomes of the micro-political economy… In the absence of an organizing principle that values decency and stability and sustainability rather than upward wealth transfer.

Will August 21, 2015 at 8:54 am

I'll join the choir recommending Tainter as a critical source for anybody interested in this stuff.

IBG/YBG is a new concept for me, with at least one famous antecedent. "Après moi, le déluge."

diptherio August 21, 2015 at 9:17 am

The author presents the best-case scenario for complex systems: one in which the practitioners involved are actually concerned with maintaining system integrity. However, as Yves points out, that is far from being case in many of our most complex systems.

For instance, the Silvertip pipeline spill near Billings, MT a few years ago may indeed have been a case of multiple causes leading to unforeseen/unforeseeable failure of an oil pipeline as it crossed the Yellowstone river. However, the failure was made immeasurably worse due to the fact that Exxon had failed to supply that pump-station with a safety manual, so when the alarms started going off the guy in the station had to call around to a bunch of people to figure out what was going on. So while it's possible that the failure would have occurred no matter what, the failure of the management to implement even the most basic of safety procedures made the failure much worse than it otherwise would have been.

And this is a point that the oil company apologists are all too keen to obscure. The argument gets trotted out with some regularity that because these oil/gas transmission systems are so complex, some accidents and mishaps are bound to occur. This is true–but it is also true that the incentives of the capitalist system ensure that there will be more and worse accidents than necessary, as the agents involved in maintaining the system pursue their own personal interests which often conflict with the interests of system stability and safety.

Complex systems have their own built-in instabilities, as the author points out; but we've added a system of un-accountability and irresponsibility on top of our complex systems which ensures that failures will occur more often and with greater fall-out than the best-case scenario imagined by the author.

Brooklin Bridge August 21, 2015 at 9:42 am

As Yves pointed out, there is a lack of agency in the article. A corrupt society will tend to generate corrupt systems just as it tends to generate corrupt technology and corrupt ideology. For instance, we get lots of little cars driving themselves about, profitably to the ideology of consumption, but also with an invisible thumb of control, rather than a useful system of public transportation. We get "abstenence only" population explosion because "groath" rather than any rational assessment of obvious future catastrophe.

washunate August 21, 2015 at 10:06 am

Right on. The primary issue of our time is a failure of management. Complexity is an excuse more often than an explanatory variable.

abynormal August 21, 2015 at 3:28 pm

abynormal
August 21, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Am I the only hearing 9″Nails, March of the Pigs

Aug. 21, 2015 1:54 a.m. ET

A Carlyle Group LP hedge fund that anticipated a sudden currency-policy shift in China gained roughly $100 million in two days last week, a sign of how some bearish bets on the world's second-largest economy are starting to pay off.
http://www.wsj.com/articles/hedge-fund-gains-100-million-in-two-days-on-bearish-china-bet-1440136499?mod=e2tw

oink oink is the sound of system fail

Oregoncharles August 21, 2015 at 3:40 pm

A very important principle:

All systems have a failure rate, including people. We don't get to live in a world where we don't need to lock our doors and banks don't need vaults. (If you find it, be sure to radio back.)

The article is about how we deal with that failure rate. Pointing out that there are failures misses the point.

cnchal August 21, 2015 at 5:05 pm

. . .but it is also true that the incentives of the capitalist system ensure that there will be more and worse accidents than necessary, as the agents involved in maintaining the system pursue their own personal interests which often conflict with the interests of system stability and safety.

How true. A Chinese city exploded. Talk about a black swan. I wonder what the next disaster will be?

hemeantwell August 21, 2015 at 9:32 am

After a skimmy read of the post and reading James' lead-off comment re emperors (Brooklin Bridge comment re misuse is somewhat resonant) it seems to me that a distinguishing feature of systems is not being addressed and therefore being treated as though it's irrelevant.

What about the mandate for a system to have an overarching, empowered regulatory agent, one that could presumably learn from the reflections contained in this post? In much of what is posted here at NC writers give due emphasis to the absence/failure of a range of regulatory functions relevant to this stage of capitalism. These run from SEC corruption to the uncontrolled movement of massive amount of questionably valuable value in off the books transactions between banks, hedge funds etc. This system intentionally has a deliberately weakened control/monitoring function, ideologically rationalized as freedom but practically justified as maximizing accumulation possibilities for the powerful. It is self-lobotomizing, a condition exacerbated by national economic territories (to some degree). I'm not going to now jump up with 3 cheers for socialism as capable of resolving problems posed by capitalism. But, to stay closer to the level of abstraction of the article, doesn't the distinction between distributed opacity + unregulated concentrations of power vs. transparency + some kind of central governing authority matter? Maybe my Enlightenment hubris is riding high after the morning coffee, but this is a kind of self-awareness that assumes its range is limited, even as it posits that limit. Hegel was all over this, which isn't to say he resolved the conundrum, but it's not even identified here.

Ormond Otvos August 21, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Think of Trump as the pimple finally coming to a head: he's making the greed so obvious, and pissing off so many people that some useful regulation might occur.

Another thought about world social collapse: if such a thing is likely, (and I'm sure the PTB know if it is, judging from the reports from the Pentagon about how Global Warming being a national security concern) wouldn't it be a good idea to have a huge ability to overpower the rest of the world?

We might be the only nation that survives as a nation, and we might actually have an Empire of the World, previously unattainable. Maybe SkyNet is really USANet. It wouldn't require any real change in the national majority of creepy grabby people.

Jim August 21, 2015 at 9:43 am

Government bureaucrats and politicians pursue their own interests just as businessmen do. Pollution was much worst in the non-capitalist Soviet Union, East Germany and Eastern Europe than it was in the Capitalist West. Chernobyl happened under socialism not capitalism. The present system in China, although not exactly "socialism", certainly involves a massively powerful govenment but a glance at the current news shows that massive governmental power does not necessarily prevent accidents. The agency problem is not unique to or worse in capitalism than in other systems.

Holly August 21, 2015 at 9:51 am

I'd throw in the theory of cognitive dissonance as an integral part of the failure of complex systems. (Example Tarvis and Aronon's recent book: Mistakes Were Made (But Not by me))

We are more apt to justify bad decisions, with bizarre stories, than to accept our own errors (or mistakes of people important to us). It explains (but doesn't make it easier to accept) the complete disconnect between accepted facts and fanciful justifications people use to support their ideas/organization/behavior.

craazymann August 21, 2015 at 10:03 am

I think this one suffers "Metaphysical Foo Foo Syndrome" MFFS. That means use of words to reference realities that are inherently ill-defined and often unobservable leading to untestable theories and deeply personal approaches to epistemological reasoning.

just what is a 'complex system"? A system implies a boundary — there are things part of the system and things outside the system. That's a hard concept to identify — just where the system ends and something else begins. So when 'the system' breaks down, it's hard to tell with any degree of testable objectivity whether the breakdown resulted from "the system" or from something outside the system and the rest was just "an accident that could have happened to anybody'"

maybe the idea is; '"if something breaks down at the worst possible time and in a way that fkks everything up, then it must have been a complex system". But it could also have been a simple system that ran into bad luck. Consider your toilet. Maybe you put too much toilet paper in it, and it clogged. Then it overflowed and ran out into your hallway with your shit everywhere. Then you realized you had an expensive Chinese rug on the floor. oh no! That was bad. you were gonna put tthat rug away as soon as you had a chance to admire it unrolled. Why did you do that? Big fckk up. But it wasn't a complex system. It was just one of those things.

susan the other August 21, 2015 at 12:14 pm

thanks for that, I think…

Gio Bruno August 21, 2015 at 2:27 pm

Actually, it was a system too complex for this individual. S(He) became convinced the plumbing would work as it had previously. But doo to poor maintenance, too much paper, or a stiff BM the "system" didn't work properly. There must have been opportunity to notice something anomalous, but appropriate oversight wasn't applied.

Oregoncharles August 21, 2015 at 3:29 pm

You mean the BM was too tightly coupled?

craazyman August 21, 2015 at 4:22 pm

It coould happen to anybody after enough pizza and red wine

people weren't meant to be efficient. paper towels and duct tape can somettmes help

This ocurred to me: The entire 1960s music revolution would't have happened if anybody had to be efficient about hanging out and jamming. You really have to lay around and do nothing if you want to achieve great things. You need many opportunities to fail and learn before the genius flies. That's why tightly coupled systems are self-defeating. Because they wipe too many people out before they've had a chance to figure out the universe.

JustAnObserver August 21, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Excellent example of tight coupling: Toilet -> Floor -> Hallway -> $$$ Rug

Fix: Apply Break coupling procedure #1: Shut toilet door.
Then: Procedure #2 Jam inexpensive old towels in gap at the bottom.

As with all such measures this buys the most important thing of all – time. In this case to get the $$$Rug out of the way.

IIRC one of Bookstaber's points was that that, in the extreme, tight coupling allows problems to propagate through the system so fast and so widely that we have no chance to mitigate before they escalate to disaster.

washunate August 21, 2015 at 10:03 am

To put it more simply, the drift of both economic and business thinking has been to optimize activity for efficiency.

I think that's an interesting framework. I would say effeciency is achieving the goal in the most effective manner possible. Perhaps that's measured in energy, perhaps labor, perhaps currency units, but whatever the unit of measure, you are minimizing that input cost.

What our economics and business thinking (and most importantly, political thinking) has primarily been doing, I would say, is not optimizing for efficiency. Rather, they are changing the goal being optimized. The will to power has replaced efficiency as the actual outcome.

Unchecked theft, looting, predation, is not efficient. Complexity and its associated secrecy is used to hide the inefficiency, to justify and promote that which would not otherwise stand scrutiny in the light of day.

BigEd August 21, 2015 at 10:11 am

What nonsense. All around us 'complex systems' (airliners, pipelines, coal mines, space stations, etc.) have become steadily LESS prone to failure/disaster over the decades. We are near the stage where the only remaining danger in air travel is human error. We will soon see driverless cars & trucks, and you can be sure accident rates will decline as the human element is taken out of their operation.

tegnost August 21, 2015 at 12:23 pm

see fukushima, lithium batteries spontaneously catching fire, financial engineering leading to collapse unless vast energy is invested in them to re stabilize…Driverless cars and trucks are not that soon, tech buddies say ten years I say malarkey based on several points made in the article, while as brooklyn bridge points out public transit languishes, and washunate points out that trains and other more efficient means of locomotion are starved while more complex methods have more energy thrown at them which could be better applied elsewhere. I think you're missing the point by saying look at all our complex systems, they work fine and then you ramble off a list of things with high failure potential and say look they haven't broken yet, while things that have broken and don't support your view are left out. By this mechanism safety protocols are eroded (that accident you keep avoiding hasn't happened, which means you're being too cautious so your efficiency can be enhanced by not worrying about it until it happens then you can fix it but as pointed out above tightly coupled systems can't react fast enough at which point we all have to hear the whocoodanode justification…)

susan the other August 21, 2015 at 12:34 pm

And the new points of failure will be what?

susan the other August 21, 2015 at 3:00 pm

So here's a question. What is the failure heirarchy. And why don't those crucial nodes of failsafe protect the system. Could it be that we don't know what they are?

Moneta August 22, 2015 at 8:09 am

While 90% of people were producing food a few decades ago, I think a large percentage will be producing energy in a few decades… right now we are still propping up our golf courses and avoiding investing in pipelines and refineries. We are still exploiting the assets of the 50s and 60s to live our hyper material lives. Those investments are what gave us a few decades of consumerism.

Now everyone wants government to spend on infra without even knowing what needs to go and what needs to stay. Maybe half of Californians need to get out of there and forget about building more infra there… just a thought.

America still has a frontier ethos… how in the world can the right investments in infra be made with a collection of such values?

We're going to get city after city imploding. More workers producing energy and less leisure over the next few decades. That's what breakdown is going to look like.

Moneta August 22, 2015 at 8:22 am

Flying might get safer and safer while we get more and more cities imploding.

Just like statues on Easter Island were getting increasingly elaborate as trees were disappearing.

ian August 21, 2015 at 4:02 pm

What you say is true, but only if you have a sufficient number of failures to learn from. A lot of planes had to crash for air travel to be as safe as it is today.

wm.annis August 21, 2015 at 10:19 am

I am surprised to see no reference to John Gall's General Systematics in this discussion, an entire study of systems and how they misbehave. I tend to read it from the standpoint of managing a complex IT infrastructure, but his work starts from human systems (organizations).

The work is organized around aphorisms — Systems tend to oppose their own proper function — The real world is what it is reported to the system — but one or two from this paper should be added to that repertoire. Point 7 seems especially important. From Gall, I have come to especially appreciate the Fail-Safe Theorem: "when a Fail-Safe system fails, it fails by failing to fail safe."

flora August 21, 2015 at 10:32 am

Instead of writing something long and rambling about complex systems being aggregates of smaller, discrete systems, each depending on a functioning and accurate information processing/feedback (not IT) system to maintain its coherence; and upon equally well functioning feedback systems between the parts and the whole — instead of that I'll quote a poem.

" Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; "

-Yates, "The Second Coming"

flora August 21, 2015 at 10:46 am

erm… make that "Yeats", as in W.B.

Steve H. August 21, 2015 at 11:03 am

So, naturalists observe, a flea
Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em,
And so proceed ad infinitum.

– Swift

LifelongLib August 21, 2015 at 7:38 pm

IIRC in Robert A. Heinlein's "The Puppet Masters" there's a different version:

Big fleas have little fleas
Upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas
And so, ad infinitum.

Since the story is about humans being parasitized and controlled by alien "slugs" that sit on their backs, and the slugs in turn being destroyed by an epidemic disease started by the surviving humans, the verse has a macabre appropriateness.

LifelongLib August 21, 2015 at 10:14 pm

Original reply got eaten, so I hope not double post. Robert A. Heinlein's (and others?) version:

Big fleas have little fleas
Upon their backs to bite 'em
And little fleas have lesser fleas
And so ad infinitum!

Lambert Strether August 21, 2015 at 10:26 pm

The order Siphonoptera….

Oregoncharles August 21, 2015 at 10:59 pm

"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?"

I can't leave that poem without its ending – especially as it becomes ever more relevant.

Oldeguy August 21, 2015 at 11:02 am

Terrific post- just the sort of thing that has made me a NC fan for years.
I'm a bit surprised that the commentators ( thus far ) have not referred to the Financial Crisis of 2008 and the ensuing Great Recession as being an excellent example of Cook's failure analysis.

Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera's

All The Devils Are Here www.amazon.com/All-Devils-Are-Here-Financial/dp/159184438X/

describes beautifully how the erosion of the protective mechanisms in the U.S. financial system, no single one of which would have of itself been deadly in its absence ( Cook's Point 3 ) combined to produce the Perfect Storm.

It brought to mind Garett Hardin's The Tragedy Of The Commons https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons . While the explosive growth of debt ( and therefore risk ) obviously jeopardized the entire system, it was very much within the narrow self interest of individual players to keep the growth ( and therefore the danger ) increasing.

Ormond Otvos August 21, 2015 at 5:14 pm

Bingo. Failure of the culture to properly train its members. Not so much a lack of morality as a failure to point out that when the temple falls, it falls on Samson.

The next big fix is to use the US military to wall off our entire country, maybe include Canada (language is important in alliances) during the Interregnum.

Why is no one mentioning the Foundation Trilogy and Hari Seldon here?

Deloss August 21, 2015 at 11:29 am

My only personal experience with the crash of a complex, tightly-coupled system was the crash of the trading floor of a very big stock exchange in the early part of this century. The developers were in the computer room, telling the operators NOT to roll back to the previous release, and the operators ignored them and did so anyway. Crash!

In Claus Jensen's fascinating account of the Challenger disaster, NO DOWNLINK, he describes how the managers overrode the engineers' warnings not to fly under existing weather conditions. We all know the result.

Human error was the final cause in both cases.

Now we are undergoing the terrible phenomenon of global warming, which everybody but Republicans, candidates and elected, seems to understand is real and catastrophic. The Republicans have a majority in Congress, and refuse–for ideological and monetary reasons–to admit that the problem exists. I think this is another unfolding disaster that we can ascribe to human error.

Ormond Otvos August 21, 2015 at 5:17 pm

"Human error" needs unpacking here. In this discussion, it's become a Deus ex Humanitas. Humans do what they do because their cultural experiences impel them to do so. Human plus culture is not the same as human. That's why capitalism doesn't work in a selfish society.

Oldeguy August 21, 2015 at 5:52 pm

" capitalism doesn't work in a selfish society "
Very true, not nearly so widely realized as it should be, and the Irony of Ironies .

BayesianGame August 21, 2015 at 11:48 am

But highly efficient systems are fragile. Formula One cars are optimized for speed and can only run one race.

Another problem with obsessing about (productive or technical) efficiency is that it usually means a narrow focus on the most measured or measurable inputs and outputs, to the detriment of less measurable but no less important aspects. Wages are easier to measure than the costs of turnover, including changes in morale, loss of knowledge and skill, and regard for the organization vs. regard for the individual. You want low cost fish? Well, it might be caught by slaves. Squeeze the measurable margins, and the hidden margins will move.

Donw August 21, 2015 at 3:18 pm

You hint at a couple fallacies.

1) Measuring what is easy instead of what is important.
2) Measuring many things and then optimizing all of them optimizes the whole.

Then, have some linear thinker try to optimize those in a complex system (like any organization involving humans) with multiple hidden and delayed feedback loops, and the result will certainly be unexpected. Whether for good or ill is going to be fairly unpredictable unless someone has actually looked for the feedback loops.

IsabelPS August 21, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Very good.

It's nice to see well spelled out a couple of intuitions I've had for a long time. For example, that we are going in the wrong direction when we try to streamline instead of following the path of biology: redundancies, "dirtiness" and, of course, the king of mechanisms, negative feedback (am I wrong in thinking that the main failure of finance, as opposed to economy, is that it has inbuilt positive feedback instead of negative?). And yes, my professional experience has taught me that when things go really wrong it was never just one mistake, it is a cluster of those.

downunderer August 22, 2015 at 3:52 am

Yes, as you hint here, and I would make forcefully explicit: COMPLEX vs NOT-COMPLEX is a false dichotomy that is misleading from the start.

We ourselves, and all the organisms we must interact with in order to stay alive, are individually among the most complex systems that we know of. And the interactions of all of us that add up to Gaia are yet more complex. And still it moves.

Natural selection built the necessary stability features into our bodily complexity. We even have a word for it: homeostasis. Based on negative feedback loops that can keep the balancing act going. And our bodies are vastly more complex than our societies.

Society's problem right now is not complexity per se, but the exploitation of complexity by system components that want to hog the resources and to hell with the whole, quite exactly parallel to the behavior of cancer cells in our bodies when regulatory systems fail.

In our society's case, it is the intelligent teamwork of the stupidly selfish that has destroyed the regulatory systems. Instead of negative feedback keeping deviations from optimum within tolerable limits, we now have positive feedback so obvious it is trite: the rich get richer.

We not only don't need to de-complexify, we don't dare to. We really need to foster the intelligent teamwork that our society is capable of, or we will fail to survive challenges like climate change and the need to sensibly control the population. The alternative is to let natural selection do the job for us, using the old reliable four horsemen.

We are unlikely to change our own evolved selfishness, and probably shouldn't. But we need to control the monsters that we have created within our society. These monsters have all the selfishness of a human at his worst, plus several natural large advantages, including size, longevity, and the ability to metamorphose and regenerate. And as powerful as they already were, they have recently been granted all the legal rights of human citizens, without appropriate negative feedback controls. Everyone here will already know what I'm talking about, so I'll stop.

Peter Pan August 21, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Formula One cars are optimized for speed and can only run one race.

Actually I believe F1 has rules regarding the number of changes that can be made to a car during the season. This is typically four or five changes (replacements or rebuilds), so a F1 car has to be able to run more than one race or otherwise face penalties.

jo6pac August 21, 2015 at 1:41 pm

Yes, F-1 allows four power planets per-season it has been up dated lately to 5. There isn't anything in the air or ground as complex as a F-1 car power planet. The cars are feeding 30 or more engineers at the track and back home normal in England millions of bit of info per second and no micro-soft is not used but very complex programs watching every system in the car. A pit stop in F-1 is 2.7 seconds anything above 3.5 and your not trying hard enough.

Honda who pride themselves in Engineering has struggled in power planet design this year and admit they have but have put more engineers on the case. The beginning of this Tech engine design the big teams hired over 100 more engineers to solve the problems. Ferrari throw out the first design and did a total rebuild and it working.

This is how the world of F-1 has moved into other designs, long but a fun read.
http://www.wired.com/2015/08/mclaren-applied-technologies-f1/

I'm sure those in F-1 system designs would look at stories like this and would come to the conclusion that these nice people are the gate keepers and not the future. Yes, I'm a long time fan of F-1. Then again what do I know.

The sad thing in F-1 the gate keepers are the owners CVC.

Brooklin Bridge August 21, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Interesting comment! One has to wonder why every complex system can't be treated as the be-all. Damn the torpedos. Spare no expense! Maybe if we just admitted we are all doing absolutely nothing but going around in a big circle at an ever increasing speed, we could get a near perfect complex system to help us along.

Ormond Otvos August 21, 2015 at 5:21 pm

If the human race were as important as auto racing, maybe. But we know that's not true ;->

jo6pac August 21, 2015 at 5:51 pm

In the link it's the humans of McLaren that make all the decisions on the car and the race on hand. The link is about humans working together either in real race time or designing out problems created by others.

Marsha August 21, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Globalization factors in maximizing the impact of Murphy's Law:

  1. Meltdown potential of a globalized 'too big to fail' financial system associated with trade imbalances and international capital flows, and boom and bust impact of volatile "hot money".
  2. Environmental damage associated with inefficiency of excessive long long supply chains seeking cheap commodities and dirty polluting manufacturing zones.
  3. Military vulnerability of same long tightly coupled 'just in time" supply chains across vast oceans, war zones, choke points that are very easy to attack and nearly impossible to defend.
  4. Consumer product safety threat of manufacturing somewhere offshore out of sight out of mind outside the jurisdiction of the domestic regulatory system.
  5. Geographic concentration and contagion of risk of all kinds – fragile pattern of horizontal integration – manufacturing in China, finance in New York and London, industrialized mono culture agriculture lacking biodiversity (Iowa feeds the world). If all the bulbs on the Christmas tree are wired in series, it takes only one to fail and they all go out.

Globalization is not a weather event, not a thermodynamic process of atoms and molecules, not a principle of Newtonian physics, not water running downhill, but a hyper aggressive top down policy agenda by power hungry politicians and reckless bean counter economists. An agenda hell bent on creating a tightly coupled globally integrated unstable house of cards with a proven capacity for catastrophic (trade) imbalance, global financial meltdown, contagion of bad debt, susceptibility to physical threats of all kinds.

Synoia August 21, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Any complex system contains non-linear feedback. Management presumes it is their skill that keeps the system working over some limited range, where the behavior approximates linear. Outside those limits, the system can fail catastrophically. What is perceived as operating or management skill is either because the system is kept in "safe" limits, or just happenstance. See chaos theory.

Operators or engineers controlling or modifying the system are providing feedback. Feedback can push the system past "safe" limits. Once past safe limits, the system can fail catastrophically Such failure happen very quickly, and are always "a surprise".

Synoia August 21, 2015 at 1:43 pm

All complex system contain non-linear feedback, and all appear manageable over a small rage of operation, under specific conditions.

These are the systems' safe working limits, and sometimes the limits are known, but in many case the safe working limits are unknown (See Stock Markets).

All systems with non-linear feedback can and will fail, catastrophically.

All predicted by Chaos Theory. Best mathematical filed applicable to the real world of systems.

So I'll repeat. All complex system will fail when operating outside safe limits, change in the system, management induced and stimulus induced, can and will redefine those limits, with spectacular results.

We hope and pray system will remain within safe limits, but greed and complacency lead us humans to test those limits (loosen the controls), or enable greater levels of feedback (increase volumes of transactions). See Crash of 2007, following repeal of Glass-Stegal, etc.

Brooklin Bridge August 21, 2015 at 4:05 pm

It's Ronnie Ray Gun. He redefined it as, "Safe for me but not for thee." Who says you can't isolate the root?

Synoia August 21, 2015 at 5:25 pm

Ronnie Ray Gun was the classic example of a Manager.

Where one can only say: "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do"

Oregoncharles August 21, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Three quite different thoughts:

First, I don't think the use of "practitioner" is an evasion of agency. Instead, it reflects the very high level of generality inherent in systems theory. The pitfall is that generality is very close to vagueness. However, the piece does contain an argument against the importance of agency; it argues that the system is more important than the individual practitioners, that since catastrophic failures have multiple causes, individual agency is unimportant. That might not apply to practitioners with overall responsibility or who intentionally wrecked the system; there's a naive assumption that everyone's doing their best. I think the author would argue that control fraud is also a system failure, that there are supposed to be safeguards against malicious operators. Bill Black would probably agree. (Note that I dropped off the high level of generality to a particular example.)

Second, this appears to defy the truism from ecology that more complex systems are more stable. I think that's because ecologies generally are not tightly coupled. There are not only many parts but many pathways (and no "practitioners"). So "coupling" is a key concept not much dealt with in the article. It's about HUMAN systems, even though the concept should apply more widely than that.

Third, Yves mentioned the economists' use of "equilibrium." This keeps coming up; the way the word is used seems to me to badly need definition. It comes from chemistry, where it's used to calculate the production from a reaction. The ideal case is a closed system: for instance, the production of ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen in a closed pressure chamber. You can calculate the proportion of ammonia produced from the temperature and pressure of the vessel. It's a fairly fast reaction, so time isn't a big factor.

The Earth is not a closed system, nor are economies. Life is driven by the flow of energy from the Sun (and various other factors, like the steady rain of material from space). In open systems, "equilibrium" is a constantly moving target. In principle, you could calculate the results at any given condition , given long enough for the many reactions to finish. It's as if the potential equilibrium drives the process (actually, the inputs do).

Not only is the target moving, but the whole system is chaotic in the sense that it's highly dependent on variables we can't really measure, like people, so the outcomes aren't actually predictable. That doesn't really mean you can't use the concept of equilibrium, but it has to be used very carefully. Unfortunately, most economists are pretty ignorant of physical science, so ignorant they insistently defy the laws of thermodynamics ("groaf"), so there's a lot of magical thinking going on. It's really ideology, so the misuse of "equilibrium" is just one aspect of the system failure.

Synoia August 21, 2015 at 5:34 pm

Really?

"equilibrium…from chemistry, where it's used to calculate the production from a reaction"

That is certainly a definition in one scientific field.

There is another definition from physics.

When all the forces that act upon an object are balanced, then the object is said to be in a state of equilibrium.

However objects on a table are considered in equilibrium, until one considers an earthquake.

The condition for an equilibrium need to be carefully defined, and there are few cases, if any, of equilibrium "under all conditions."

nat scientist August 21, 2015 at 7:42 pm

Equilibrium ceases when Chemistry breaks out, dear Physicist.

Synoia August 21, 2015 at 10:19 pm

Equilibrium ceases when Chemistry breaks out

This is only a subset.

Oregoncharles August 21, 2015 at 10:56 pm

I avoided physics, being not so very mathematical, so learned the chemistry version – but I do think it's the one the economists are thinking of.

What I neglected to say: it's an analogy, hence potentially useful but never literally true – especially since there's no actual stopping point, like your table.

John Merryman August 21, 2015 at 3:09 pm

There is much simpler way to look at it, in terms of natural cycles, because the alternative is that at the other extreme, a happy medium is also a flatline on the big heart monitor. So the bigger it builds, the more tension and pressure accumulates. The issue then becomes as to how to leverage the consequences. As they say, a crisis should never be wasted. At its heart, there are two issues, economic overuse of resources and a financial medium in which the rent extraction has overwhelmed its benefits. These actually serve as some sort of balance, in that we are in the process of an economic heart attack, due to the clogging of this monetary circulation system, that will seriously slow economic momentum.

The need then is to reformulate how these relationships function, in order to direct and locate our economic activities within the planetary resources. One idea to take into consideration being that money functions as a social contract, though we treat it as a commodity. So recognizing it is not property to be collected, rather contracts exchanged, then there wouldn't be the logic of basing the entire economy around the creation and accumulation of notational value, to the detriment of actual value. Treating money as a public utility seems like socialism, but it is just an understanding of how it functions. Like a voucher system, simply creating excess notes to keep everyone happy is really, really stupid, big picture wise.

Obviously some parts of the system need more than others, but not simply for ego gratification. Like a truck needs more road than a car, but an expensive car only needs as much road as an economy car. The brain needs more blood than the feet, but it doesn't want the feet rotting off due to poor circulation either.
So basically, yes, complex systems are finite, but we need to recognize and address the particular issues of the system in question.

Bob Stapp August 21, 2015 at 5:30 pm

Perhaps in a too-quick scan of the comments, I overlooked any mention of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's book, Antifragile. If so, my apologies. If not, it's a serious omission from this discussion.

Local to Oakland August 21, 2015 at 6:34 pm

Thank you for this.

I first wondered about something related to this theme when I first heard about just in time sourcing of inventory. (Now also staff.) I wondered then whether this was possible because we (middle and upper class US citizens) had been shielded from war and other catastrophic events. We can plan based on everything going right because most of us don't know in our gut that things can always go wrong.

I'm genX, but 3 out of 4 of my grandparents were born during or just after WWI. Their generation built for redundancy, safety, stability. Our generation, well. We take risks and I'm not sure the decision makers have a clue that any of it can bite them.

Jeremy Grimm August 22, 2015 at 4:23 pm

The just-in-time supply of components for manufacturing was described in Barry Lynn's book "Cornered" and identified as creating extreme fragility in the American production system. There have already been natural disasters that shutdown American automobile production in our recent past.

Everything going right wasn't part of the thinking that went into just-in-time parts. Everything going right — long enough — to steal away market share on price-point was the thinking. Decision makers don't worry about any of this biting them. Passing the blame down and golden parachutes assure that.

flora August 21, 2015 at 7:44 pm

This is really a very good paper. My direct comments are:

point 2: yes. provided the safety shields are not discarded for bad reasons like expedience or ignorance or avarice. See Glass-Steagall Act, for example.

point 4: yes. true of all dynamic systems.

point 7: 'root cause' is not the same as 'key factors'. ( And here the doctor's sensitivity to malpractice suits may be guiding his language.) It is important to determine key factors in order to devise better safety shields for the system. Think airplane black boxes and the 1932 Pecora Commission after the 1929 stock market crash.

Jay M August 21, 2015 at 9:01 pm

It's easy, complexity became too complex. And I can't read the small print. We are devolving into a world of happy people with gardens full of flowers that they live in on their cell phones.

Ancaeus August 22, 2015 at 5:22 am

There are a number of counter-examples; engineered and natural systems with a high degree of complexity that are inherently stable and fault-tolerant, nonetheless.

1. Subsumption architecture is a method of controlling robots, invented by Rodney Brooks in the 1980s. This scheme is modeled on the way the nervous systems of animals work. In particular, the parts of the robot exist in a hierarchy of subsystems, e.g., foot, leg, torso, etc. Each of these subsystems is autonomously controlled. Each of the subsystems can override the autonomous control of its constituent subsystems. So, the leg controller can directly control the leg muscle, and can override the foot subsystem. This method of control was remarkably successful at producing walking robots which were not sensitive to unevenness of the surface. In other words, the were not brittle in the sense of Dr. Cook. Of course, subsumption architecture is not a panacea. But it is a demonstrated way to produce very complex engineered systems consisting of many interacting parts that are very stable.

2. The inverted pendulum Suppose you wanted to build a device to balance a pencil on its point. You could imagine a sensor to detect the angle of the pencil, an actuator to move the balance point, and a controller to link the two in a feedback loop. Indeed, this is, very roughly, how a Segway remains upright. However, there is a simpler way to do it, without a sensor or a feedback controller. It turns out that if your device just moves the balance point sinusoidaly (e.g., in a small circle) and if the size of the circle and the rate are within certain ranges, then the pencil will be stable. This is a well-known consequence of the Mathieu equation. The lesson here is that stability (i.e., safety) can be inherent in systems for subtle reasons that defy a straightforward fault/response feedback.

3. Emergent behavior of swarms Large numbers of very simple agents interacting with one another can sometimes exhibit complex, even "intelligent" behavior. Ants are a good example. Each ant has only simple behavior. However, the entire ant colony can act in complex and effective ways that would be hard to predict from the individual ant behaviors. A typical ant colony is highly resistant to disturbances in spite of the primitiveness of its constituent ants.

4. Another example is the mammalian immune system that uses negative selection as one mechanism to avoid attacking the organism itself. Immature B cells are generated in large numbers at random, each one with receptors for specifically configured antigens. During maturation, if they encounter a matching antigen (likely a protein of the organism) then the B cell either dies, or is inactivated. At maturity, what is left is a highly redundant cohort of B cells that only recognize (and neutralize) foreign antigens.

Well, these are just a few examples of systems that exhibit stability (or fault-tolerance) that defies the kind of Cartesian analysis in Dr. Cook's article.

Marsha August 22, 2015 at 11:42 am

Glass-Steagall Act: interactions between unrelated functionality is something to be avoided. Auto recall: honking the horn could stall the engine by shorting out the ignition system. Simple fix is is a bit of insulation.

ADA software language: Former DOD standard for large scale safety critical software development: encapsulation, data hiding, strong typing of data, minimization of dependencies between parts to minimize impact of fixes and changes. Has safety critical software gone the way of the Glass-Steagall Act? Now it is buffer overflows, security holes, and internet protocol in hardware control "critical infrastructure" that can blow things up.

[Aug 22, 2015] The Democratic Party's Hillary Trap

"...there is nothing Hillary can do to halt the investigations, or plug the leaks"
"...Joe would certainly be up for Chauvinist of the Year 2015. And other problems would arise for a Biden candidacy."
Aug 22, 2015 | The American Conservative
While perhaps too early for Democratic elites to panic and begin bailing out on Hillary Clinton's campaign as a doomed vessel, they would be well advised not to miss any of the lifeboat drills. For Hillary's campaign is taking on water at a rate that will sink her, if the leakage does not stop, and soon.

Initially, the issue of Hillary and the emails she sent and received as secretary of state seemed too wonkish, too complex, too trivial a matter to sink a candidacy as strong as hers. Her nomination was considered as assured as any since Vice President Richard Nixon ran unopposed in 1960.

But since it was revealed that as secretary of state she used a private server for her emails, located in her home in Chappaqua, the bleeding of public trust has been unabated. Her tortured explanation as to why she installed her own server only raised suspicions. Her erasure of 30,000 "personal emails," her initial refusal to turn her server over to State, her denials she ever received confidential information, her wiping of the server clean, her stonewalling, have all ravaged her reputation for truthfulness. And truthfulness was never Bill or Hillary's long suit.

And the issue of Clintonian entitlement and privilege has arisen again.

For Hillary showed a casualness in handling the nation's secrets that would have cost a civil servant at State, Defense or CIA his or her security clearance and job. And they would be facing charges and potentially jail time. Indeed, now that Justice and the FBI have been called in to look at Hillary's handling of state secrets, it is not impossible that at the end of this road lies a federal indictment.

Should that happen, her campaign and career would be over. And should that indictment come later rather than sooner, the Democratic Party could be headed into the election of 2016 led by a Brooklyn-born septuagenarian Socialist.

Every day that new revelations come about Hillary and her emails, and every week that passes between now and when the filing deadlines for the primaries begin to fall, this becomes a real possibility. Again, the problem here for Hillary and the Democratic Party is that the investigators at Justice, the FBI, and in a hostile Congress and the media, are far from wrapping this up.

They all have their teeth in it, and they are not going away. And there is nothing Hillary can do to halt the investigations, or plug the leaks, or, it seems, to change the subject. What, really, is the relevance of her $350 billion plan to get the super-rich to pay off student loans, if Hillary is being lawyered up?

The Democratic Party is approaching the fail-safe point. If it appears that Hillary is headed for the knacker's yard, then to whom do the Democratic elites turn, and, equally important, when do they move?

For they cannot wait too long.

Hence, a "Draft Biden" movement has begun, and veterans of President Obama's campaigns are signing on. Yet the vice president should think long and hard about whether and when he plunges into the Democratic race. For his announcement of availability would be a signal that Joe Biden thinks Hillary is politically dead, or close to it, and he is coming in to drop the hammer.

This would be seen as act of crass political opportunism, seizing upon Hillary's travails, shouldering her aside, and seizing a nomination millions of Democrats have long believed was hers by right.

How would the millions of Democratic women who have looked forward to the first woman president respond to Biden's barreling in and finishing her off? How enthusiastic would those women and feminists be for a Candidate Biden who had delivered the deathblow to Hillary and blocked for another decade any chance of a woman as president?

Joe would certainly be up for Chauvinist of the Year 2015. And other problems would arise for a Biden candidacy.

Would Bill and Hillary Clinton be out there stumping to help Joe win the presidency, when both had dreamed of her having it?

Joe would have to beat Bernie Sanders and rout the Elizabeth Warren liberals. He would have to woo back the big contributors in the Jewish community who believe Barack Obama and John Kerry threw Israel and Bibi under the bus to cut a deal that empowers the world's leading "state sponsor of terrorism."

If Joe is having second thoughts about getting in, who can blame him? As the old saw goes, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket."

But for Democrats, such counsel comes too late. Hillary is carrying their basket of eggs, and slipping all over the sidewalk. If they procrastinate in designating someone else to catch the basket if it falls, they get Bernie. But if they move too soon, they will be charged with sabotaging the last best chance for America to elect a woman president.

A nice problem for those ubiquitous cable TV talking heads who identify themselves as "Democratic strategists."

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. Copyright 2015 Creators.com

[Aug 19, 2015] Musing on Right-Wing Affinity Fraud in Politics and Economics...

Aug 19, 2015 | Economist's View

Brad DeLong:

Musing on Right-Wing Affinity Fraud in Politics and Economics...: One reaction to the rise of Donald Trump in Republican presidential primary polls has been the extraordinary hurry with which many other candidates have fallen all over themselves to endorse self-deportation.

Note, however, that by "self-deportation" I do not mean what Mitt Romney meant by the phrase: make life so unpleasant for undocumented immigrants in the United States that they decide to leave. What I mean by "self-deportation" is candidates adopting policies that would deport themselves.

Piyush Jindal's parents were Indian citizens in the United States on student visas. Ted Cruz was born in Canada to a Cuban-citizen father. Both of Marco Rubio's parents were Cuban citizens when he was born. Columba Bush--wife of JEB! Bush--was born a Mexican citizen in Mexico, and Wikipedia at least claims that as of her wedding she did not speak English.

Yet all are now denouncing as unforgivably lax the birthright citizenship constitutional guarantee and the naturalization laws by which they or their spouse claim American citizenship.

This is affinity fraud: saying, "I'm just like you! I think as you do! I hate immigrants! Why, I'd have applauded if the U.S. were to have deported me as a baby!" And the very non-sensicality of the claim is what makes it more credible.

But the most interesting thing to me this morning is that this sort of affinity fraud--pretending to believe, or convincing even oneself that one does believe, patently unbelievable things in order to demonstrate group allegiance--is the way America's right-wing is carrying on its internal and external discussion of economics. Paul Krugman provides three examples:

(1) Claiming to believe or actually convincing oneself that inflation is just around the corner...

(2) Claiming to believe or even believing that recessions are outbreaks of collective laziness on the part of workers and collective forgetting on the part of entrepreneurs...

(3) Claiming to believe or actually believing that doubling down on failed intellectual bets is the right strategy--that if statistical tests reject your models, so much the worse for statistical tests because the models are good...

More from Paul Krugman:

Pension-cutters and Privatizers, Oh My: I wrote Monday about the strange phenomenon of Republicans lining up to propose cuts to Social Security, a deeply unpopular policy that is, however, also a really bad idea. How unpopular? Lee Drutman has the data: only 6 percent of American voters support Social Security cuts, while a majority want it increased. I argued that this apparent act of political self-destructiveness probably reflected an attempt to curry favor with wealthy donors, who are very much at odds with the general public on this issue:...

Now we have another example: Marco Rubio has announced his health care plan, and it involves (a) greatly shrinking the tax deductibility of employer health benefits and (b) turning Medicare into a voucher system. Part (a) is favored by many economists, although I would argue wrongly, but would be deeply unpopular; part (b) is really terrible policy — proposed precisely at the moment when Medicare is showing that it can control costs better than private insurers! — and also deeply unpopular.

The strategy here, surely, is to propose things that voters would hate if they understood what was on the table, but hope that Fox News plus "views on shape of planet differ" reporting elsewhere will keep them confused, while at the same time pleasing mega-donors. It might even work, especially if Trump can be pushed out of the picture and the Hillary-hatred of reporters overcomes professional scruples. But it's still amazing to watch.

'Tax cuts for the wealthy will help you too!' worked pretty well as a deception, so why not try it elsewhere?

mulp said in reply to pgl...

If only we had had a Reagan era (Jan 6, 1983) transportation bill in 2009 that hiked taxes 125% to a 40 cent per gallon Federal gas tax with no other changes other that authorizing it all be spent...

The States would be forced to follow with State gas tax hikes of similar size to raise the matching funds for transportation projects. 50% on maintenance projects, and 100% on feeders to the 10% match on new highways, similar initial builds like commuter rail or even HSR.

It starts with tax hikes which will absolutely be spent building capital no matter what.

Higher profits from price hikes will not be spent building capital assets if that would force down prices.

pgl said in reply to mulp...

Found it - inflation adjusted Federal gasoline tax:

http://mobikefed.org/2012/03/federal-gas-tax-it-historic-high-or-low

In today's terms, it was once $0.30 but had dropped to $0.10 by 1981. Reagan's increase brought it back to $0.20. The 1993 increase almost restored the $0.30 level but has not been adjusted since. We need to raise the Federal tax to at least $0.30 and then index it.


Julio said in reply to JohnH...

You say:
"...forced to keep working because the yields on their retirement plans are so low due to Fed policy"

So,
1) Their retirement plans are invested in bonds (rather than stocks which according to you are raking it in because of the Fed); presumably this is safer than stocks,
2) Their bonds are getting low interest rates, which are not enough for them to live on if they retire,
3) Therefore the Fed should be providing them with high interest rates (assuming it has that power which is another discussion),
4) But inflation is terrible for them as it would reduce their purchasing power.

So, according to you the Fed needs to generate high real interest rates, i.e. high rates but low inflation, so the savings in peoples' retirement accounts will be enough for them to live on.

Do I understand you correctly?

anne said in reply to Julio...

Nicely explained.

JohnH said in reply to Julio...

Stiglitz on the cost of Fed policy:

"There was a cost, however: all those retired individuals who had invested prudently in government bonds suddenly saw their incomes disappear. In this way, there was a large transfer of wealth from the elderly to the government, and from the government to the bankers. But little mention of the harm to the elderly was made, and little was done to offset it.

The lower interest rates might have dampened spending in other ways. Persons nearing retirement, seeing that they would have to put away that much more in safe government bonds to get the retirement income they desired, would have to save more. As would parents saving to put their kids through school. Even cursory attention to the distributional consequences of such policies would have raised doubt about the effectiveness of the low interest rate policy." [Price of Inequality]

It seems that a lot of 'liberal' economists just can't wrap their heads around the fact that low interest rates are no free lunch--there are costs.


ilsm said...

War is peace.

Chamberlain should have chosen to fight at Munich.

Every diplomacy is appeasement.

War with Iran is peace.......

Keep the masses befuddled arguing among themselves about: who runs women uteruses, the scary minorities who deserve to be gunned down almost daily, the lucky ducky poor and sneaking immigrant.

If the masses were settled enough to think critically the guillotine would be brought out.

Belief is reality, Galileo should have got more than house arrest.

ilsm said in reply to ilsm...

Epistemological closure is the only safe course.

anne said in reply to ilsm...

Every diplomacy is appeasement....

[ Clever. ]

ilsm said in reply to anne...

Blowing things up, war is only option in the GOP's scheme for foreign affairs.

"Diplomacy is appeasement" is a little less catchy than "war is peace".

mulp said in reply to anne...

Trump is simply the ultimate conservative Republican promising to deliver free lunches to everyone who is a real American.

And he argues his billions prove he can deliver his promised free lunches because he chose to be rich, the size of his riches proves he is more capable of delivering on his promises than anyone else.

Conservatives have long argued that wealth is the reward for choosing to be better at everything than anyone else who is poorer.

How can a Walker, who argues that teachers are paid more than they are worth because of evil unions, but CEOs of corporations deserve to be paid hundreds of millions because they deliver a thousand times more than teachers do, fail to concede to Trump who is worth ten billion, or is it twenty billion now, based on Trump being better than Walker because Trump is much richer.

pgl said...

Trump as a populist? Check out the survey of where people stand on Social Security (keep as is or even increase it captures 94%) and immigration (mixed):

http://www.vox.com/2015/8/18/9172653/trump-populism-immigration

Trump trumps the Republican elite. But Bernie trumps them all!

[Aug 16, 2015] Liar, Liar, Pantsuit On Fire

"...And we are expected to believe that there were no data backups? So if in the (Not too uncommon) event that she had a hard drive fail, the US Secretary of State would have been totally unable to function? "
Zero Hedge

TeamDepends

... won't care because truth is subordinate to the cause.

philipat

And we are expected to believe that there were no data backups? So if in the (Not too uncommon) event that she had a hard drive fail, the US Secretary of State would have been totally unable to function?

Yeah, sure....And also, having decided to operate as she did, then ALL of the data on that server belongs to the Government and it is for the Government, not Hilary, to decide what is personal and can be returned to her.

Many of us in business use two email accounts, one for business and one (Generally in the cloud) for personal mails so not backed-up with Company data.

The fact that she chose not to do so strongly suggests that she made the choice knowing in advance that she was always going to delate anything she wanted.

I also wonder which data is potentially the most embarassing for Hills, is it the details of the CIA operation in Benghazi or her correspondence with Huma?

TruxtonSpangler

Believe me yet that shes throwing the election, giving her superpac money to Fauxcahontas in exchange for not being investigated when Warren is Pres?

philipat

Now that WOULD be ironic because most of that money came from Wall St and the same Banks that Pocahontas would (Hopefully) go after......

TheReplacement

You don't know that Fauxbaby made her money representing those Wall Streeters in court? All this drama is just entertainment for the masses. It means nothing. No matter who wins, the bankers will still be in control.

Wake up. Ain't nobody gonna go after anybody unless it is us.

TruxtonSpangler

Fauxcahontas wont go after wallstreet, thats all populist rhetoric. Same shit, different politician. This time is different!

macholatte

Civil Forfeiture is the thing the Clintons fear the most. Hillary could do a Martha Stewart on her head just as long as she knew ther'd be a couple hundred mil waiting for her when she got out. Bill is a trinket.

Is that the smell of another Presidential Pardon?

Obama and the Clintons: Top Dems mingle on Martha's Vineyard

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_DEM_2016_CLINTON_OBAMA?SITE=AP...

PlayMoney

with a couple of decades with the feds you are correct she cannot determine what to delete. The archivist for state makes that desicion. A half a dozen statutes she ignored and trust me she knew better. Using private email she was supposed to either forward it to her govt account (she didn't have) or print out a hard copy and present to archivist within 20 days. The other gem when she put out the memo not to use personal emails to everyone in state, while she was using personal emails....a goodie.

JustObserving

The NSA has something on everyone on this planet. Bernie is doomed for his position on Snowden:
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said Edward Snowden was defending Americans' freedoms when he leaked classified information about the National Security Agency's intelligence gathering.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/06/snowden-clemency-sa...

FireBrander

You obviously didn't live through Bills Presidency.... Clintons THRIVE on scandal... they overload the publics senses with so much scandal people start to believe none of it is true.

Funny.... twice I typed "Clintons" and then 'sc' and the autocomplete suggested 'scandal' :)

ebworthen

"I did not have sex with that Woman."

you enjoy myself

I wonder if she doesn't actually escape this. The intelligence community takes security very seriously, and her crimes are both serious and numerous. Her breaches were so reckless and incompetent (both the deliberate and unintentional ones) that the odds that all of her emails have been compromised by at least Russia and China (and who knows who else) are just under 100%. The IC knows this already. So while laws are normally for the little people I have a hard time believing the IC will look the other way when, were she to win the office, it's a near certainty she's going to get blackmailed, and blackmailed effectively.

Plus, how is the IC going to maintain info security discipline when everyone sees that someone basically crapped all over every law/policy related to classified material, but got off because of who she is. That's not going to go over well even someone as revered as Gen Petraeus gets prosecuted for a fraction of what Hillary did.

[Aug 16, 2015] The #1 Reason Why Donald Trump Is What America Needs (And Deserves) by Simon Black via SovereignMan.com,

"...Even IF he is just another tool of control placed in front of us for the illusion of choice I would rather he be the one over any of those others choices. At least then I could feel like I was being beaten by a competent and worth adversary. "
Aug 16, 2015 | Zero Hedge
Submitted by Simon Black via SovereignMan.com,

Just a few weeks ago, US talk show host Stephen Colbert was asked if he thought that Donald Trump had a chance of becoming President of the United States.

Colbert responded sincerely. "Honestly, he could. And that's not an opinion of Trump. That's my opinion of our nation."

He's right. The Land of the Free may very well be ready for something completely different. And Trump certainly seems able to deliver.

He is, after all, unique in his field. Donald Trump has never served in politics, and his blunt style is almost the exact opposite of every other major candidate.

But there's one thing that really sets him apart, that, in my opinion, makes him the most qualified person for the job:

Donald Trump is an expert at declaring bankruptcy.

When the going gets tough, Trump stiffs his creditors. He's done it four times!

Candidly, this is precisely what the Land of the Free needs right now: someone who can stop beating around the bush and just get on with it already.

As history shows, a default is inevitable. The calculus is quite simple: when governments take on too much debt, they start having to divert a huge amount of their tax revenue just to pay interest. This means that, at a minimum, the government has to sacrifice many of the promises they made to their citizens. They cut other programs in order to have enough money to pay interest. But that's not too popular. So instead they typically just borrow more money… until they're borrowing money just to pay interest on money they've already borrowed. This makes the problem exponentially worse. Debt skyrockets. And soon the government is spending more on interest payments than national defense. (The US is almost at this point).

Eventually a bankrupt government has no choice: either default on their bondholders, or default on the obligations they made to their citizens. Or both.

This could take the form of a 'selective default'. For example, the US government could default on the $2.4 trillion that it owes the Federal Reserve. Or the $1.2 trillion that it owes China. These are both possibilities. But the prospect of default on "risk free" US government bonds would throw the global financial system into a tailspin; not to mention it would be the final nail in the coffin for the US dollar's dominant reserve status.

Fortunately there are easier options for Uncle Sam. The biggest debts that are owed by the US government are the obligations they owe to you.

Specifically, all the benefits like Social Security and Medicare they promised to American taxpayers. The US government's own numbers estimate these obligations at nearly $42 TRILLION, completely dwarfing what they owe China, or anyone else. Then there's the obligation they have to preserve the purchasing power of the $12 trillion held by the American people. That's the current value of the money supply in the United States right now.

History shows that debasing a nation's currency is one of the easiest and most effective ways for bankrupt governments to plunder their citizens' wealth, little by little over time.

As I explain in today's podcast, the hard reality that most people don't seem to get is that the US government is bankrupt. This isn't some wild assertion or conspiracy theory; their own financial statements show that the government's 'net worth' is NEGATIVE $17.7 trillion. And yes, the US is already borrowing money just to pay interest. In fact the combined expenses of interest on the debt plus mandatory entitlements like Social Security nearly exceed their entire tax revenue.

In other words, you could eliminate nearly everything we think of as government– the EPA, the IRS, Homeland Security, etc. and it wouldn't make a dent in the national debt.

When things get this dire, it doesn't matter who sits in the chair.

You might as well elect a chimpanzee in the hopes that Mister Bubbles might accelerate the decline. Donald Trump may very well be that chimpanzee. Especially given his unparalleled experience in declaring bankruptcy.

Nations that pass the economic point of no return can't rebuild until they hit rock bottom. And the US is way past that point. So let's get on with it already and hit the reset button.

TheRideNeverEnds

Even IF he is just another tool of control placed in front of us for the illusion of choice I would rather he be the one over any of those others choices. At least then I could feel like I was being beaten by a competent and worth adversary.

I remain skeptical of him and his true intentions though I feel he is the most genuine of any of them. Unfortunately the real truth of anything like this is only known in retrospect if ever so will any of them even try to do any of what they say were they to be elected? Nobody really knows and only time will tell.

[Aug 15, 2015]Hillary Clinton still Democrats' prize fighter despite setbacks and Sanders

Lauren Gambino from guardian's manilla envelope brigade.
.
"...It's interesting to observe the various "theories" which the punditocracy have advanced to explain Sander's rapid advancement. "
.
"...Rich people are forcing this woman down everyone's throats. We can only hope the gag reflex is strong enough to overcome this crime against democracy."
.
"..."Strategists agree Hillary is the strongest candidate" -standard corporate media talk, meaning Hillary has the most corporate money, so she is the favored candidate. Even though she has no grassroots support."
.
"...Hillary is a sly, calculating and power-obsessed individual, who does not deserve the Democrat nomination. Apart from finishing a law-degree, what has she ever accomplished?"
.
"...Hillary is the anointed candidate of the Democratic power brokers because she is the darling of Wall St. and large corporations. She has mountains of money, but little support amongst the grassroots. Bernie Sanders draws crowds of 25,000 while Hillary can't draw flies."

The Guardian


camerashy 15 Aug 2015 12:27

Just more biased crap from Guardian! What they're saying is that they prefer a Clinton win as opposed to Sanders! A totally neo-liberal paper ... Fecking Guardian!


martinleroy
15 Aug 2015 12:25

Really, maybe, after you unplug from mainstream propaganda channels like MSNBC or the N.Y.Times. The American people are sick of slick wily and his gangsta moll. After the heart break of the bankers Boy who was not just a tool and a fool the American voter is not going to let mainstream media or foreign toads with no skin in the game call the shot this election. Why are you writing this piece anyways. Your just misleading people about something (premise) so vague, her seemingly unfazed lead for hearts and minds so far ahead of the game that I can't wonder what kind of proof this piece and the writer are. Stick to stabbing whistle blowers in the back.

bcarey 15 Aug 2015 12:20

If Miss Hillary gets the dem nomination, I hope she has to face Trump in the national.
She will be destroyed.
I'm still a Sanders fan, but if it is the choice between Miss Hillary and Trump.....


Have you all been watching Trump's speeches lately.... in their entirety?
Impressive.

It's very hard to ague with this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w0MD0-vbu8

It might be time to start re-thinking this....

gunnison 15 Aug 2015 12:15

It's interesting to observe the various "theories" which the punditocracy have advanced to explain Sander's rapid advancement.

Almost all commentary in the media consists of narratives about Hillary's vulnerabilities arising from her rather high "negatives", and while this is certainly a factor, it may well not be the controlling dynamic.

Bernie burst on the national scene not with any particular charismatic qualities—he's not photogenic especially, nor is he a breathtaking orator—but with a solid message about democracy and economic justice arising out of 20-something years of political experience and, rare in a politician, a solid ideological consistency.

So how about starting to analyze this situation in terms of Bernie's strengths more than in terms of Clinton's weaknesses?

He's serving up something that people like. They like it enough that they're lining up to volunteer for his campaign from coast to coast. This has nothing to do with Clinton. Nothing.

CriticAtLarge 15 Aug 2015 12:14

Hillary Clinton is stale, tired, a retread, but she is the only one standing between a Republican and the White House . But how big will this email problem get? Will Al Gore have to step in? Will it be Gore vs Bush again and will they have to recount the votes in Florida? Will it be deja vu all over again?

Anthony Irwin 15 Aug 2015 12:12

Rich people are forcing this woman down everyone's throats. We can only hope the gag reflex is strong enough to overcome this crime against democracy.

BarberGuy 15 Aug 2015 11:54

I despise her. And I can not believe the Democrats refuse to abandon her sinking ship when Sanders is rising up and actually expouses the ideals their party claims to fight for.

tommanleysays 15 Aug 2015 11:44

In June when Hillary Clinton announced her platform, we find it is a steal from Bernie's platform: Dos, so we need H Clinton when she has no original ideas and what she decides to stand for is already covered by Sanders
Hillary Clinton's platform were entirely items Bernie Sanders had already put forward in HIS platform ~
Rebuilding Our Crumbling Infrastructure
Reversing Climate Change/
Raising the Minimum Wage
Pay Equity for Women Workers/
Making College Affordable for All
Taking on Wall Street

KriticalThinkingUK 15 Aug 2015 11:42

"many strategists...... do not see Sanders as a viable threat"

fuck them...thats just what they said about Corbyn over here in UK...but we've got the elitist neo-con bastards on the run...good luck with Sanders to ALL our GOOD US friends!

RickrInSF 15 Aug 2015 11:37

"Now, by all metrics, the former secretary of state retains a historically strong lead in the race to secure her party's nomination. She is well ahead of the other declared candidates in terms of poll numbers, money and endorsements."

All metrics? Poll numbers change as the election gets closer, and poll numbers are dependent on the questions asked (try polling the policies that Clinton stands for against the policies that Sanders stands for, or better yet try informing the population what the policies are instead of simply reporting who is ahead in the horse race). Money and endorsements are controlled by corporations and the dem establishment.

So the only thing that "all (the) metrics" proves is that our democracy has very little to do with an informed popular vote and has everything to do the powers that be wanting to keep power.

Samsamuel 15 Aug 2015 11:32

clinton has name recognition only. when it comes to true enthusiasm, bernie is the man who hits the ball out of the park. but, the media is obsessed with clinton. why? because she has millions in superPAC money that she will be funneling into the media pockets. when you see all these pro-clinton pieces, to me it only says: follow the $.

LetThemSnortCoke -> lellel 15 Aug 2015 11:31

The manilla envelope brigade.

furiouspurpose 15 Aug 2015 11:00

Analysis: Hillary Clinton still Democrats' prize fighter despite setbacks and Sanders

Analysis eh?

...many strategists, including Wilson, do not see Sanders as a viable threat.

Erm, that the Graun's 'analysis' is it?


phillharmonic 15 Aug 2015 10:52

"Strategists agree Hillary is the strongest candidate" -standard corporate media talk, meaning Hillary has the most corporate money, so she is the favored candidate. Even though she has no grassroots support.


LaVieEstBelle88 15 Aug 2015 10:41

Hillary is a sly, calculating and power-obsessed individual, who does not deserve the Democrat nomination.

Apart from finishing a law-degree, what has she ever accomplished? Her tenure as Secretary of State was a shambles, in particular her poor handling of the Benghazi incident, and her setting up a personal server and email to circumvent legislation aimed at ensuring transparency in government was deplorable.

I hope she looses and looses big time.


Danish5666 15 Aug 2015 10:33

America has a long and time honored tradition of scraping the bottom of the barrel, when it comes to electing presidents, such "giants" like R. Reagan, B. Clinton, G. Bush Sr. and Jr., B. Obama comes to mind. So electing H. Clinton would make sense.

Pete Shoults 15 Aug 2015 10:12

It appears the establishment has decided it's time for an establishment Republican president for awhile to maintain the faltering illusion that the US remains a constitutional republic. Because Clinton is surely unelectable in the general election for myriad reasons. So, keep playing along, brain dead partisans. The trick is on all of us and you are the useful idiots enabling your oppressors.

HiramsMaxim 15 Aug 2015 10:09

Dear Friends in the UK,

Thank you for your interest in the US Presidential elections. Please remember, they are over a year off. Almost nothing happening today will have any real relevance by November of next year.

There is one exception. I understand that The Guardian is very supportive of the Democratic Party Establishment, but it is not really that in touch with the country. Mrs. Clinton's campaign is done. When 60+% of the country thinks you are untruthful and dishonest, it is almost impossible to recover. When an Independent Socialist from Vermont (who only got elected because a GOP buffoon thought he did not heed the NRA's endorsement) is leading in State polls, it's over.

Mrs. Clinton's chances of winning the nomination (much less Presidency) are about zero. She will step aside by the end of the year.

Yours truly,

The US.

haroldclurman 15 Aug 2015 10:04

""If there is no Joe Biden, it is likely Hillary Clinton," said Hank Sheinkopf, a New York Democratic strategist and former aide to President Bill Clinton."

They are scared of Sanders. Let's face it Hillary just doesn't have what it takes. Much too compromised over the years and now still bought off. One can see it in what she says and how she says it. Even her body language is phony. Sanders is going to win the Presidency.


phillharmonic 15 Aug 2015 09:40

Hillary is the anointed candidate of the Democratic power brokers because she is the darling of Wall St. and large corporations. She has mountains of money, but little support amongst the grassroots. Bernie Sanders draws crowds of 25,000 while Hillary can't draw flies. But the possibility of a real progressive like Bernie getting the Demo nomination is unthinkable to the corporate whores who run the Democratic Party and the corporate media. So the media props up Hillary as the "strongest"(most moneyed) candidate. Wait till the primaries start- then the weakness of Queen Hillary will be obvious.

Meanwhile the corporate media will either ignore Bernie or attack him. The corporations who run America want Hillary.

[Aug 12, 2015]The Macroeconomic Divide

"...Too much of macro is ideologically driven conjecture, or worse. None of it rises to the level of demonstrated reliability necessary to ethically inform decision-making. Confronting that reality and the limits of the profession's knowledge and ability, and reining-in it's obsession to intervene in things it doesn't actually understand except at a political level - that will permit the profession to at long last begin to honor its highest ethical duty ... 'First, do no harm.'"
Economist's View
Paul Krugman:
Trash Talk and the Macroeconomic Divide: ... In Lucas and Sargent, much is made of stagflation; the coexistence of inflation and high unemployment is their main, indeed pretty much only, piece of evidence that all of Keynesian economics is useless. That was wrong, but never mind; how did they respond in the face of strong evidence that their own approach didn't work?
Such evidence wasn't long in coming. In the early 1980s the Federal Reserve sharply tightened monetary policy; it did so openly, with much public discussion, and anyone who opened a newspaper should have been aware of what was happening. The clear implication of Lucas-type models was that such an announced, well-understood monetary change should have had no real effect, being reflected only in the price level.
In fact, however, there was a very severe recession — and a dramatic recovery once the Fed, again quite openly, shifted toward monetary expansion.
These events definitely showed that Lucas-type models were wrong, and also that anticipated monetary shocks have real effects. But there was no reconsideration on the part of the freshwater economists; my guess is that they were in part trapped by their earlier trash-talking. Instead, they plunged into real business cycle theory (which had no explanation for the obvious real effects of Fed policy) and shut themselves off from outside ideas. ...

RogerFox said...

Both sides in this macro cat-fight have succeeded in demolishing the credibility of their opponents, at the expense of being demolished themselves - meaning none of them are left standing in the eyes of anyone except their own partisan groupies, who are well-represented on this site. That's nothing but good.

Too much of macro is ideologically driven conjecture, or worse. None of it rises to the level of demonstrated reliability necessary to ethically inform decision-making. Confronting that reality and the limits of the profession's knowledge and ability, and reining-in it's obsession to intervene in things it doesn't actually understand except at a political level - that will permit the profession to at long last begin to honor its highest ethical duty ... 'First, do no harm.'

RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to RogerFox...

Confronting that reality and the limits of the profession's knowledge and ability, and reining-in it's obsession to intervene in things it doesn't actually understand except at a political level - that will permit the profession to at long last begin to honor its highest ethical duty ... 'First, do no harm.'

[That is some pretty ironic BS that you are totin' around. The profession does a very good job of NOT intervening in things that any one with half a brain should understand. How on earth do you think the 2008 financial crisis ever even happened? Economists could not intervene because they had black swans squatting on their hands, particularly those economist like Greenspan and Bernanke that were actually in a position to do something to prevent the crisis. Krugman wrote some articles warning about the risk, but undersold his case even to himself. Only Mike Stathis (an investments adviser and trader - not an economist) formally warned (in America's Financial Apocalypse: How to Profit from the Next Great Depression. 2006. ISBN 978-0-9755776-5-3) of the full scope of the coming disaster and that formal warning came a bit late and was almost entirely ignored. Nouriel Roubini (a.k.a. Doctor Doom), who is an economist, ran Stathis a close second on getting it correct. Dean Baker, also an economist, was in there too. It was entirely ignored by Greenspan and Bernanke, although I believe they knew what was going to happen but would rather clean up the mess than stop the party and get blamed for the fallout.

After the crisis several economists recognized the scale of the necessary stimulus to get the economy back on track, but a world of idiots, some of whom you may know, precluded an adequate response to prevent prolonged high unemployment.

Are you a market trader or just a rich man's tool? Anything else would make you just a plain ol' fool.]

DrDick said in reply to RogerFox...

"Both sides in this macro cat-fight have succeeded in demolishing the credibility of their opponents"

You, on the other hand. never had any credibility to begin with.

"Confronting that reality and the limits of the profession's knowledge and ability, and reining-in it's obsession to intervene in things it doesn't actually understand except at a political level"

You might take your own advice, as it is evident that you know nothing about economics or policy.

Peter K. said in reply to RogerFox...

Partisan groupies? Nope. We're the objective ones in this discussion.

Mr. Fox has no criteria upon which to judge and measure things, so of course he has no basis to criticize.

"First do no harm." How can you tell that harm has been done when you don't believe in anything?

You automatically believe that taking no action and the sin of omission is the better choice? But you have no basis on which to make that assumption.

"First do no harm" when it comes to government policy is conservative propaganda.

Paine said in reply to RogerFox...

If rog refuses to entertain any notion of macro nautic efficacy

He. Has taken his position
And perhaps he ought to be left to
sit on it
as long as he likes

However

If he has a test of say Lerner's
fiscal injections model he'd like to propose
A test that if past would change is mind

> Paine said in reply to Paine ...

Cockney takes over
when I sez his
it comes out is

RogerFox said in reply to Paine ...

I don't have a dog in this fight - but I do know that it's dangerously irresponsible and unprofessional to offer advice, or act on it, unless there is adequate evidence to justify the opinion that the advice will not plausibly make the situation worse than it is otherwise destined to be. The compiled track record of all theories of macro demonstrate that none of them yet meet that test - and this ongoing internecine cat-fight has done much to reinforce that view IMO.

Academics need to understand what real economy people who give advice professionally know very well - that an idea or theory could well be right and beneficial isn't enough to justify acting on it without proper consideration to the consequences should the approach prove to be wrong. Candidly assessing down-side risks seems to be anathema to all academics - almost as if they regard the entire matter as some sort of affront to their dignity.

The Crash of '08 and the Crash of '29 both happened, with academic macro-mavens leading us straight into both of them - eyes wide shut. Better for everyone if they'd just kept their mouths shut too.

pgl:

"In the early 1980s the Federal Reserve sharply tightened monetary policy; it did so openly, with much public discussion, and anyone who opened a newspaper should have been aware of what was happening. The clear implication of Lucas-type models was that such an announced, well-understood monetary change should have had no real effect, being reflected only in the price level.In fact, however, there was a very severe recession — and a dramatic recovery once the Fed, again quite openly, shifted toward monetary expansion. These events definitely showed that Lucas-type models were wrong, and also that anticipated monetary shocks have real effects."

Note Krugman is referring to the 2nd Volcker monetary restraint which happened under Reagan's watch. Rusty needs to get his calendar out as he thinks this was all Carter. Actually Volcker was following the advise of JohnH. How did the early 1980's work out for workers?

Back in 1982/3 I heard some economist seriously saying that this recession was due to some notion that people still had high expected inflation. When I asked them WTF - they response was the Reagan deficits.

Yes macroeconomics confuses some people terribly. Look at a lot of the comments here for how confused some people get.

Paine said in reply to pgl...

Confused or partisan ?

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke said...

No divide
Comment on 'The Macroeconomic Divide'

Keynes's employment function was indeed incomplete (2012). So far, Lucas/Sargent had a point. But the NAIRU expectation-wish-wash was even worse. So far, Krugman has a point. The deeper reason is that economics not only has no valid employment theory but that it is a failed science.

Neither the loudspeakers of the profession nor the representative economists of the various schools have a clue about how the actual economy works. What unites the camps is scientific incompetence.*

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

References
Kakarot-Handtke, E. (2012). Keynes's Employment Function and the Gratuitous Phillips Curve Desaster. SSRN Working Paper Series, 2130421: 1–19. URL http://ssrn.com/abstract=2130421

*For details see the cross-references
http://axecorg.blogspot.com/2015/07/incompetence-cross-references.html

Trumping the Party and the Pollsters

"..."If they are not clinging to Jesus, then what are they clinging to?" The promise of a free lunch. That is the thing Reagan and his economists sold America, the promise of a free lunch."
"...Trump supporters are mad at the system. Not that they have any ideas that will improve things. They simply want to protest. They are not happy with the way things are."
"..."And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle-aged, middle-class, middle-income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family and American values and character."..."
"...I guess it's poetic justice. When the Republican party sold its soul to the devil for Southern white voters, it not only got a whole bunch of racists but a whole bunch of Jacksonian democrats. Trump is talking like any number of Southern politicians who used to combine support for Jim Crow with populist talk and the distribution of goodies. There is, it turns out, a constituency for a left-wing way of being right wing, for adding a dollop of socialism to your nativism, which is why "keeping the government's hands off my Medicare" makes perfectly good political sense. No wonder Trump had nice things to say about single payer. "
"...I'd say both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are capitalizing on the electorate's disgust with establishment politics. Trump in particular is a comical larger-than-life figure. Heck, the Italians expressed their disgust by electing a porn star ("la ciccolina")."

Bruce Bartlett:

Will Donald Trump Crack-up the Republican/Tea Party Alliance?: ... It appeared that Trump was the favored candidate of Fox News before the debate... Trump was clearly shocked by the sharpness of the questions at the debate...

With Trump and Fox now on opposite sides and the Republican establishment eager to quash his threat to run next year as a third party candidate, which would virtually guarantee a Democratic victory, conservatives began to choose sides. Erick Erickson, a paid Fox contributor who runs the politically powerful RedState website, publicly disinvited Trump to an Atlanta gathering at which most other Republican candidates appeared.

Of particular interest, I think, is that two of talk radio's most powerful voices, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, quickly came to Trump's defense. I suspect this was as much a market-driven decision as an honest personal one – talk radio has long catered to the more downscale, less educated wing of conservatism, where most Trump supporters dwell. Whatever else one thinks of Limbaugh and Levin, they are enormously useful allies in the sort of fight Trump is waging.

It is too soon to know whether Trump is in this for the long haul, but I would not underestimate his ego or willingness to spend freely from his vast fortune to secure the Republican nomination. Early signs are that his support remains firm in post-debate polls and he is still leading the pack. If the Republican field stays divided, preventing consolidation around the strongest non-Trump candidate, one cannot dismiss his chances of success.

Of more importance to me is that if the forces for and against Trump play out as they have so far, with Fox and Tea Party leaders siding with the GOP establishment while talk radio and large numbers of the Tea Party grassroots are committed to Trump, we may see the crackup of the Republican coalition that controls Congress, many state legislatures and governorships. The Tea Party will go down in history as just another populist movement that lacked staying power and Donald Trump will be its William Jennings Bryan.

Paul Krugman:

Tea and Trumpism: Memo to pollsters: while I'm having as much fun as everyone else watching the unsinkable Donald defy predictions of his assured collapse, what I really want to see at this point is a profile of his supporters. What characteristics predispose someone to like this guy, as opposed to accepting the establishment candidates? ...

OK, here's my guess: they look a lot like Tea Party supporters. And we do know a fair bit about that group.

First of all, Tea Party supporters are for the most part not working-class, at least in the senses that group is often defined. They're relatively affluent, and not especially lacking in college degrees.

So what is distinctive about them? Alan Abramowitz:

While conservatism is by far the strongest predictor of support for the Tea Party movement, racial hostility also has a significant impact on support.

So maybe Trump's base is angry, fairly affluent white racists — sort of like The Donald himself, only not as rich? And maybe they're not being hoodwinked? ...

Again, this is just guesswork until we have a real profile of typical Trump supporter. But for what it's worth, I think the Trump phenomenon is much more grounded in fundamentals than the commentariat yet grasps.

Posted by Mark Thoma on Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at 12:33 AM in Politics | Permalink Comments (75)

Mitch said...

I like Bruce Bartlett since he has the capacity to change his mind when confronted by facts, but what is so appealing about conservatism...that people gravitate to?

What are they clinging to?

I mean.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdcGoBOsaQM

If they are not clinging to Jesus, then what are they clinging to?

RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to Mitch...

George Wallace

mulp said in reply to Mitch...

"If they are not clinging to Jesus, then what are they clinging to?"

The promise of a free lunch.

That is the thing Reagan and his economists sold America, the promise of a free lunch.

If we get rid of unions, they you will be paid more and get richer because the union bosses will not be taking a big chunk of your paycheck to make themselves rich.

If we cut taxes, you will have more money in your pocket and you will also get more free services once the private sector does what government does cheaper.

If we deregulate the banks then your mortgage interest rates will fall below the interest rate cap imposed by the Fed and the banks will pay higher interest on your savings than the Fed allows with the interest rate cap.

If we deregulate the banks and make loan sharking legal, you will be able to borrow money without a job or assets to get rich.

If we eliminate capital gains taxes then the price on your house will increase to infinity even if the roof caves in because capital always gain value if the government does not tax it.

If we get rid of the EPA, then everything will be cheaper and your getting richer from paying less will mean less pollution because pollution falls with wealth.

If lazy incompetent government workers are fired, they will start new businesses and create wealth by creating millions of jobs - just look at K Street.

The way to get rich is to go into debt.

The reason you are worse off under Republicans is because of liberals.

The reason you are worse off under Republicans is because of minorities.

The solution to every problem is more guns.

The solution to every problem is more prisons.

The solution to every problem is lower taxes.

The solution to every problem is less government and more prisons.

The solution to every problem is no accountability.

Trump is the ultimate conservative Republican.

Gridlock said in reply to mulp...

The solution to every problem is to drop more bombs or start another war.

Fixed it.

bakho said...

Obama told the activists who elected him in 2008 to go home and leave politics to the elected.
The TeaParty has remained active. They are organized in opposition to Obama. The will remain in protest against the RINOs. The religious right has social organizations in the megachurches. In the Midwest, there has been infighting between mainstream GOP who run local govt and Tea Party and Religious Right.

Mitch said in reply to bakho...

"Obama told the activists who elected him in 2008 to go home and leave politics to the elected."

He did? Plus what more do you want from him, besides single payer?

Peter K. said in reply to bakho...

"Obama told the activists who elected him in 2008 to go home and leave politics to the elected."

I don't buy that. He regularly says if you want a President or Congress to do something, you have to push him to do it.

He absolves himself for not doing more by blaming his supporters for not pushing him more.

Peter K. said in reply to Peter K....

FDR and LBJ had large Democratic majorities and progressive movements pushing them.

mulp said in reply to EMichael...

Progressives pushed Republicans more than they did Democrats in the 60s of both centuries.

In fact, today's Republicans and Tea Party are opposed to everything Republicans were for and did from 1860 to 1990, relabeling Republicans before 1970 as RINOs. Even Reagan is a RINO, requiring a history rewrite by conservatives which Bartlett has persisted in refuting.

I grew up when the big evil agency was the Republican created ICC. Then once it was gone, it was the Republican created EPA tasked with overseeing the Republican created EIS. We have the Republican created gun control. The Republican created 14th amendment is the latest thing to come under attack. And the Voting Rights Act that would never have passed without Republicans.

bakho said in reply to Peter K....

This is why 2010 was such a disaster. The OFA was nowhere to be found when it came to backing local candidates in local elections. Obama has not done party building. This is why he gets GOP Congress to thwart his policy. It is a profound lack of effort in the off years of 2010 and 14.

DFA stuck around after 2004 and did a lot of candidate training and party building. Which is why we saw gains in 06 and a Dem Congress.

EMichael said in reply to bakho...

Or it could have been an off election year that favored a GOP incensed by a black man in the White House.

Peter K. said in reply to EMichael...

And/or it was the lamest recovery on record as Obama appointed Bernanke and Geither in a "unity" government strategy.

The Fed hasn't hit their inflation ceiling target for 38 consecutive months.

As soon as growth returned, Geithner and company turned to deficit reduction and austerity. The deficit went from 10 percent to around 2.3 percent or less now. That's austerity.

Shouldn't do that until we have full employment and rising wages.

There's no evidence we'd get behind the curve on inflation or that deficit reduction helps much with growth.

Reduce the deficit and pay down the debt once the output gap is closed and inflation is above target.

Obama screwed the pooch on macro policy and lost Congress because of it.

Yeah the deficit and inflation are way down.

Yeah Trump is leading the Republican primary as the voters are raging.

mulp said in reply to Peter K....

So, why haven't progressives rallied like the Tea Party and Red State to defeat the Republicans in Congress and the State legislatures who are killing jobs left and right in attempts to create a depression so Republicans can argue they need to be given the White House and supermajorities in Congress to create wealth for all?

Where are the progressives in Kansas? On buses out of the State abandoning Kansas to the old people soon to be on Social Security and Medicare?

What about Texas? Where are the progressives in Texas? Hoping for an Obama military coup to send all the Republicans in Texas to gitmo?

Mike Sparrow said in reply to The Rage...

Basically this. Lets note, Trump only looks good because of the insane amount of candidates so far. It doesn't start to get real until NH. Once the number consolidates down and corporate money finds homes, you will get a new lineup.

  • I can't see the zionist wing that Huckabee/Carson represent going with Trump despite his best attempts to look like it.
  • Then we have Rubio/Christie who are Bush's cousins. Once their support flows into Bush, but will be the nominee.

The Democrats themselves, don't have any real progressives much left. Sanders is the only real one I see and he really isn't a Democrat. Everybody is waiting for Joe Biden to crash the Clinton party. If she can't rally support, that crashing may come sooner than thought.

Eric377 said in reply to EMichael...

Plenty of voters might have been incensed by a black man in the White House, yet that doesn't mean the 2010 election favored them particularly. The district lines had not been redrawn for that election and demographic trends that augmented the supposedly non-conservative population continued operating. I don't know what happened exactly, but Obama was no blacker in 2010 or 2014 than in 2008 or 2012.

ilsm said in reply to bakho...

OFA was a downer in '14. 19% of US voters who are tea baggers won the US house!

Dem hesitation to support Obomber on Iran means I DO NOT DO ANYTHING FOR DEMS in '16!

likbez said in reply to ilsm...

O'bomber is a neocon. That's why such people as Hillary or Victoria Nuland got to their positions in state Department.
http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/foreign-policy/item/1400-the-bush-obama-neocon-doctrine

==== quote ====
It's official: When it comes to foreign policy, Barack Obama's first term is really George W. Bush's third. Bill Kristol, son of the late neoconservative godfather Irving Kristol and editor of the Weekly Standard, declared that Obama is "a born-again neocon" during a March 30 appearance on the Fox News Channel's Red Eye w/Greg Gutfeld. Kristol's remark came in the context of a discussion of Obama's consultation with Kristol and other influential columnists prior to his March 28 address to the nation about his military intervention in Libya. Gutfeld quizzed Kristol about the President's asking him for "help" with his speech. Kristol denied that Obama had sought his help. Instead, Kristol said,
In case anyone missed the significance of Kristol's comment, Gutfeld made it clear: "We've got the drones. We've got military tribunals. We've got Gitmo. We're bombing Libya. People who voted for Obama got four more years of Bush."

Kristol agreed, adding: "What's the joke — they told me if I voted for McCain, we'd be going to war in a third Muslim country…. I voted for McCain and we're doing it."

=== end of quote ===

In his economic policies he is a neoliberal.
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/06/23/obamas-neoliberal-endgame/
=== quote ===
Of course, the acknowledged master of racialized triangulation is the misleader in chief, Barack Obama whose service to elites was crucially enabled by liberals besotted by the prospect of an African American presidency, enthusiastically projecting all manner of left identitarian fantasies on to him-despite all evidence that he was committed to the corporate center right governance which has been the hallmark of his administration.

Those who had warned of this materializing hoped that the TPA, provoking Obama's shameless attacks on the Democratic labor base and sullenly dishonest smears of Elizabeth Warren, would finally open the eyes of liberals to who they were dealing with.

No such luck. It's a safe bet that the President will have some of his waning moral authority restored by Charleston. Demands from the black lives matter movement to "respect black leadership" will be cynically exploited by a ruling elite which recognized from the very beginning the unique value of cultivating multiculturally diverse spokespersons fronting for their neoliberal product line.

The strategy was first deployed by New York City mayor David Dinkins who was able to sell his candidacy to the establishment on the grounds that his left-liberal base, rather than rebel against his treasonous embrace of neoliberalism, would "take it from me."

Let's hope Barack Obama's presidency will be seen as marking the zenith of this strategy.
=== end of quote ===

Second Best said...

'They [Tea Partiers} do not want a third party and say they usually or almost always vote Republican. The percentage holding a favorable opinion of former President George W. Bush, at 57 percent, almost exactly matches the percentage in the general public that holds an unfavorable view of him.'

---

The rise of TrumpW! over Jeb! would flame out as a third party.

mulp said in reply to Second Best...

Oh, I bet a lot of Tea Party people want a third party, but only if the third party wipes away every sign of Obama, Clinton, LBJ, JFK, and FDR so they will be able to retire tax free on their private Social Security and Medicare entitlements, free to enjoy their US private sector manufactured computers, flat panel TVs, GPS, and cell phones.

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to e abrams...

(You won't be hearing from them, exactly.)

Donald Trump Defiantly Rallies a New
'Silent Majority' http://nyti.ms/1fySKYo
NYT - NICHOLAS FANDOS - JULY 11

PHOENIX — Donald Trump, the real estate mogul and reality television star who has taken center stage in the race for the Republican presidential nomination this week, delivered a rambling monologue on Saturday, dismissing a long list of critics — including Jeb Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Macy's — while rallying what he termed a new silent majority of voters.

Mr. Trump had less to say about immigration, the topic on which his comments have garnered so much attention, than about those who have criticized him. For more than an hour, he ticked through a list of businesses and candidates who have tried to censure him since his long-shot campaign began three weeks ago, and made light of their practices and intelligence.

"How can I be tied with this guy?" Trump said of Mr. Bush, whom many consider the Republican front-runner. "He's terrible. He's weak on immigration."

The speech had a distinctly celebratory air as Mr. Trump lauded the "massive" crowds he has drawn and the attention he has brought to immigration and other issues that he said "weak" politicians were afraid to address. ...

Benedict@Large said...

Best commentary yet.

"Donald Trump cuts through the ideological haze of American politics and exposes its underlying truth, the truth of enjoyment. Where other candidates appeal to a fictitious unity or pretense of moral integrity, he displays the power of inequality. Money buys access -- why deny it?" ... "In a plutocracy, the plutocrats rule. The Republicans don't like Trump because he doesn't hide this point under flag and fetus. For him, flag and fetus are present, but incidental to his politics of truth. Those with money win. Those without it lose. Winners get to do whatever they want. Losers get done to. ... This is his politics of enjoyment."

http://jdeanicite.typepad.com/i_cite/2015/08/trump-candidate-of-truth.html

bakho said...

Trump supporters are mad at the system. Not that they have any ideas that will improve things. They simply want to protest. They are not happy with the way things are.

Trump gives them the, "I will fix the things that you are not happy with." He trashes the opposition. He learned it all with the WWF smack down. No other GOP pol wants to go No Holds Barred with the Donald. But the Donald's fans would love a good trash talk session.

EMichael said...

Steve Schmidt said exactly the same thing on Maher. Our government is incompetent and people are mad. Course, no policies have as yet followed, although Trump actually said he would replace Obamacare with "something terrific"(actual quote).

It is the same campaign(though up a notch) as the GOP has been running for decades, and it was depicted accurately in "The American President" two decades ago:

" I've known Bob Rumson for years, and I've been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn't get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob's problem isn't that he doesn't get it. Bob's problem is that he can't sell it! We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them.

And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle-aged, middle-class, middle-income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family and American values and character."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112346/quotes

Jim Harrison said...

I guess it's poetic justice. When the Republican party sold its soul to the devil for Southern white voters, it not only got a whole bunch of racists but a whole bunch of Jacksonian democrats. Trump is talking like any number of Southern politicians who used to combine support for Jim Crow with populist talk and the distribution of goodies. There is, it turns out, a constituency for a left-wing way of being right wing, for adding a dollop of socialism to your nativism, which is why "keeping the government's hands off my Medicare" makes perfectly good political sense. No wonder Trump had nice things to say about single payer.

mulp said in reply to Jim Harrison...

No, their doom was sealed when they caved to and hugged Grover Norquist. Grover Norquist has been promising free lunches for decades.

Demand tax cuts to destroy government and then you will instantly become a billionaire.

Adam Eran said...

I'd say both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are capitalizing on the electorate's disgust with establishment politics. Trump in particular is a comical larger-than-life figure. Heck, the Italians expressed their disgust by electing a porn star ("la ciccolina").

The Rage said in reply to Adam Eran...

The electorate's beliefs are not that different than the establishments on several fronts. That is the dirty secret of modern day America. Huffing and puffing with little content.

Jim Harrison said...

A couple of questions:' Is Trump worse than Berlusconi? Are Italians stupider than Americans? Why can't Trump win? After all, we sort of elected Bush.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

(Ooooh! Ooooh!)

Donald Trump Lays Out His Plans,
Part 1: The Economy, Immigration, Health Care Reform
http://nation.foxnews.com/2015/08/12/donald-trump-lays-out-his-plans-part-1-economy-immigration-health-care-reform

Fox News - August 12, 2015

Don't miss Part 2 of Sean Hannity's interview with Donald Trump tonight on 'Hannity' at 10 ET!

lower middle class said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...

Not only will Trump get Mexico to pay for the wall with cash (or tarrifs if necessary), but he will also take our manufacturing jobs back from them because they need us.

I wonder what the tariff will be on oil imports from Mexico?

The Rage said in reply to lower middle class...

Mexico has little of our "manufacturing".

The Rage said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...

Trump uses Mexico as a cover for that most of the illegal immigration is coming from Asia right now(besides his clothing business........ah, people don't listen). Mexican illegal immigration is down more than the total decline since 2007 and will probably fall further. The "wall" is just a scam. I bet there are some people in Mexico who would love that wall.

Lets note Bernie Sanders has rejected visa programs for legal immigrants several times on the cost reduction game they impose. Trump doesn't have that virtue.

The Rage said...

People forget FDR was influenced by Jacksonian democracy merged in with 100 more years of industrial capitalism's failings. So FDR took nativism and socialism=the new deal. In Germany they called it National Socialism. White's get a huge lift while blacks get left behind. The historical trend of unemployment was fairly similar up until then. Then after the New Deal, it separated.

The progressive is more a linage from Mills with some socialism mixed in. National Socialism is more a linage from Carlyle, Ruskin and Morris.

Mr. Bill said...

I proclaim that Bernie Sanders has established intellectual authority. The message he brings is music to this FDR Democrat, progressive.

Mike Sparrow said in reply to Mr. Bill...

Does Bernie support Jim Crow like FDR? Wilson was a "progressive" as well. The modern Democratic party didn't start until Harry Truman.....who FDR didn't want as VP.

ilsm said in reply to Mike Sparrow...

True, Truman integrated the national security establishment (army) right before he turned it into a huge trough (possibly by accident).

David said...

I hate stupid, anachronistic comments about FDR. He was faced with an enormous crisis and to use his political capital the best he could. If he had gone all in abolishing Jim Crow he would have been a one term president and the depression would worsened. Communism would have been on the table.

[Aug 12, 2015] Unwavering Fealty to a Failed Theory

"...Looking beyond the rhetoric and individual policies, however, lies the Republican Party's major problem: unwavering fealty to trickle-down economics. Virtually all Republicans since Ronald Reagan was elected president have run on a platform of supply-side policies, and the 2016 election will be no different. But it should be, because there is now a growing recognition that trickle-down economics has failed...."
.
"...Republican economic "thinking" is akin to a religion. No deviation from the gospel is allowed or you become an apostate.
Like Huckabee, who is running for president, believes that the world (universe?) is only 6500 years old. "

.
"...Just as FDR laid out the solution in 1935: you start by paying workers to build productive assets that will earn the money needed to pay the workers."
Aug 12, 2015 | Economist's View
Bad economic theory (but good if you are rich) has trickled down to this cycle's Republican presidential candidates:
Unwavering Fealty to a Failed Theory, by David Madland, US News and World Report: With their first debate set for tonight, Republican candidates have been trying mightily to claim they can help address the economic problems most Americans face. ...

While Jeb Bush declared in February that "the opportunity gap is the defining issue of our time," more recently he's been forced to backtrack from his statement that Americans "need to work longer hours" in order to boost their incomes. Sen. Marco Rubio's argument that if the United States is to "remain an exceptional nation, we must close this gap in opportunity," rings a bit hollow next to his tax plan that disproportionately benefits the wealthy. Gov. Scott Walker says he wants to help families achieve the "American Dream," but thinks the minimum wage is "lame," has stripped the words "living wage" from state laws, and has attacked workers' right to join together to collectively bargain for better wages.

Looking beyond the rhetoric and individual policies, however, lies the Republican Party's major problem: unwavering fealty to trickle-down economics. Virtually all Republicans since Ronald Reagan was elected president have run on a platform of supply-side policies, and the 2016 election will be no different. But it should be, because there is now a growing recognition that trickle-down economics has failed....

Posted by Mark Thoma on Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 10:16 AM in Economics, Politics, Taxes | Permalink Comments (21)

pgl :

The following is exactly right. We should note that a few pretend progressives around here are praising Jeb! for this 4% proposal even if what Jeb! is really proposing is the same old Art Laffer lies:

"Looking beyond the rhetoric and individual policies, however, lies the Republican Party's major problem: unwavering fealty to trickle-down economics. Virtually all Republicans since Ronald Reagan was elected president have run on a platform of supply-side policies, and the 2016 election will be no different. But it should be, because there is now a growing recognition that trickle-down economics has failed due to the fact that it rests on a fundamentally flawed premise. Trickle-down economics, the misguided theory that has controlled economic policymaking for more than three decades, is built on the idea that high levels of economic inequality are good. Tax cuts for the rich and less regulation of business supposedly provide incentives for the wealthy to invest and work more. Enabling "job creators" to get richer helps us all, the theory goes. So the fact that the top 1 percent now take home a greater share of the nation's income than they ever have, while incomes for the typical household are lower than they were in 1989, is not a problem in this way of thinking. In the trickle-down mindset, these facts are seen as good for the economy."

mulp said in reply to JohnH...

I see you, JohnH are equally brainwashed or brain damaged by the dominant free lunch economics principles that avoids the TANSTAAFL nature of the dismal science.

You stated absolutely nothing as an alternative that works because you do not want to pay anything, but just want a free lunch.

Just as FDR laid out the solution in 1935: you start by paying workers to build productive assets that will earn the money needed to pay the workers.

Given government is putting people to work who the private sector will not pay, the way they get paid is with taxes and fees associated with the things they build.

Conservatives call it tax and spend, but its really invest and tax.

Republicans totally oppose the bill that Reagan spoke of glowingly in 1983 which hiked taxes 125% to pay to create probably a million jobs building transportation capital assets.

Obama picked up the conservative free lunch alternative to invest and tax: public private partnerships. But conservatives expecting free lunch political solutions realized it was just dismal science: corporations would be collecting tolls that are higher than taxes would be to pay for monopoly profits.

Taxes and fees need to be higher on everyone.

Sorry Bernie, TANSTAAFL - taxing the rich is not the solution.

djb :

so much of this seems to come from the impact of Milton Friedman

his academic papers may have be somewhat restrained, but when you see him on tape talking, he sounds just like any supply sider or right wing politician talking today

especially negative on any possibility of fiscal interventions, and ridicules the concept that interventions can improve aggregate demand and thus the economy

according to Keynes, Ricardo did not believe that inadequate aggregate demand was even possible

David :

I don't think the appeal of trickle down is based on econ or empirical evidence, and as such whether it fails or not is completely irrelevant to the right.

It is a perversion of identity politics as a moral prejudice. Rich people by dint of their wealth are superior and poor people are inferior and deserve their lot. Race is key here. Poor Southern whites on Medicaid and food stamps vote against their interest bc they're not those people.

It's always divide and conquer with the right.

Fred C. Dobbs

(This ought to be a prominent Dem issue,
but it isn't. Why is that? The GOPsters
will pervert it, make it about turning
1%ers into .01%ers)

Why the New Research on Mobility Matters:
An Economist's View http://nyti.ms/1F0ZQQb
via @UpshotNYT - Justin Wolfers - May 4

Hundreds of studies have demonstrated that the odds of economic success vary across neighborhoods. The far more difficult question is whether that's because neighborhoods nurture success (or failure), or whether they just attract those who would succeed (or fail) anyway.

A new study by the Harvard economists Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren, when read in combination with an important study they wrote with Lawrence Katz, makes the most compelling case to date that good neighborhoods nurture success. ...

http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/

http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/images/nbhds_exec_summary.pdf

reason :

How about an alternative, bubble up economics. Money doesn't flow down - it flows UP. Spread money around and it will spent on things that companies owned by the wealthy produce, instead of concentrating on cutting costs, those companies can concentrate instead on increasing productivity and expanding production. The trick is that the market will pick the best producers, but the best producers of WHAT. Goods for everyman or trinkets for the wealthy.

gunste :

Republican economic "thinking" is akin to a religion. No deviation from the gospel is allowed or you become an apostate.
Like Huckabee, who is running for president, believes that the world (universe?) is only 6500 years old.

[Aug 10, 2015] Bernie Sanders secures first endorsement from national trade union

"...I keep wondering if these self-appointed Black Lives Matter agitators are being secretly paid by the Clinton campaign. Particularly since they don't seem to be disrupting any Clinton appearances."
Aug 10, 2015 | The Guardian

National Nurses United, which has 185,000 members nationally and is the profession's largest representative, announced its backing for Sanders at a rally with him in Oakland, California.


Sarcastocles 10 Aug 2015 20:49

I live in Portland and volunteered at the Sanders event yesterday. I can say for a fact that the number given by this article is low. My role as a volunteer gave me opportunity to see both the inside of the venue, and what was happening outside during much of the event.
The listed capacity for the Moda Center is 19,980, and the Moda Center filled to the point that the Fire Marshall ordered no more be admitted.
More, the overflow venue was also overwhelmed. There were thousands of people who stayed outside the venue, and watched the speech be broadcast, while thousands more showed up and then left when they learned that there was just no more room.
The official estimate I've seen is 28,000, and from what I saw, I honestly think that was about right.

http://portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/269002-143736-sanders-rally-you-have-done-it-better-than-anyone-else

Other than that nitpick, great article.


LilMissFunkySoul -> bcarey 10 Aug 2015 20:14

bcarey, this is monumental, truly!

The key, I believe, is integrity, honesty, and genuine respect (which Bernie has in spades) even in the face of differences, which in turn generates the same back and makes it possible to work together for the common good. I don't think it is possible to reach the far right at this point in time but I don't think it is necessary to. It is the center Republicans who are reachable who we should all be reaching out to. I think we all need to be mindful of this (and I am talking to myself here too), and think about the ways in which we can, in our own conversations, lessen the polarization and divisiveness, so we can hear each other better and relate better.

I think we need to start changing the conversation, start transforming away it from the Left-Right paradigm where we've been stuck for a long time now.


aethelraed 10 Aug 2015 20:07

"More 'radical' policies??? The Guardian seems hell-bent on becoming a propaganda machine for Clinton, and never misses a chance to suggest that Sanders is a wide-eyed radical. He's not. More progressive, perhaps, in a tradition with a long American past, but hardly radical. Guardian writers are just accepting conventional spin and calling it reporting. It's shameful. Clinton has done nothing but run after positions that Bernie has always held -- trying to catch up to those radical ideas, I guess.


DesertPear 10 Aug 2015 19:03

Corporate-owned media says the Democrats must accept that Trump is a "serious candidate," in a line-up of complete losers. Why is Bernie Sanders being labeled unelectable when the race has hardly started? The media will continue to marginalize him--if we get money out of politics, the corporate media will stand to lose a lot of $$. He's perfectly suited to be a viable candidate--compare to ANY of the GOP clowns.


MountainMan23 10 Aug 2015 19:02

How in the hell can the media (and I'm looking at YOU, Guardian) call Sanders' policy proposals "more radical" than Hillary's?

Why not "more sensible" or "more democratic" or "more in line with the International Decalaration of Human Rights" or just plain "more humane"?

And why, when comparing the Nurses' union endorsement of Sanders with the Teachers' union endorsement of Clinton, does The Guardian NOT point out that the Nurses' union's endorsement reflects the opinion of their rank and file, while the Teachers' union's endorsement was a backroom deal orchestrated by their soldout leadership with NO consultation with the rank and file, who revolted en masse via social media to voice their disapproval after their "leadership" sold them out?

spartacus41 -> Djinn666 10 Aug 2015 18:50

I read somewhere that Senator Sanders does not accept donations from corporations. Maybe someone in the States can say whether that is true.

LostintheUS -> Gene Dexterd 10 Aug 2015 18:27

I think the people disrupting Bernie's speeches are political sabotage, because otherwise they make no sense.

BeesBreeze0 10 Aug 2015 18:25

Bernie Sanders policies are mainstream. What is radical is the pace and degree to which greedy individuals have sold the idea that caring for every citizen, in a responsible way, is radical. What is radical and corrosive is lack of funds for taking responsible care of infrastructure, including the educational infrastructure which, in the past, was top tier. Bernie Sanders supports free public education for every student who has worked hard in school to earn the grades that demonstrate they have comprehended, internalized and can use the subject matter they have studied.
There is no other candidate who stands for my values, the kind of family values Bernie Sanders supports; paid maternity leave, paid vacation, any 40 hour work week enough to support a family. These are policies that allow an infant to bond with their mother; children to grow with the presence and guidance of their parents, and parents with the time and rejuvenation time to live a long and healthy life to support their family. There is nothing we do that is more important than forming loving relationships with each other starting at birth.

Dushyant Parkhi -> elaine layabout 10 Aug 2015 18:03

The average donation to bernie is less than 50 dollars, what power broker ?

elaine layabout -> Djinn666 10 Aug 2015 17:52

Sanders had power brokers? You mean the man who refuses to take a dime of Super PAC money and is challenging the appointed Democratic Party candidate?

Get a clue.

bcarey -> Whitt 10 Aug 2015 17:14

I keep wondering if these self-appointed Black Lives Matter agitators are being secretly paid by the Clinton campaign. Particularly since they don't seem to be disrupting any Clinton appearances.

Been thinking the same thing.
They're probably not paid since that would be too risky. There's something else she may have promised their leaders.
They remind me of the Tea Baggers during a previous election.

bcarey -> LilMissFunkySoul 10 Aug 2015 17:10

people are starting to get wise to the fact that many many American women on the left end of the political spectrum (wherever they fall on it) care, above all, about having a quality candidate to get behind. One who will advocate for the 99% of humans in this country, whatever their political persuasion, who have gotten the shaft over the last 30 years, and we don't give a crap about the gender of the candidate.

There is something else happening, too: Some center Republicans also want to vote for Bernie.

bcarey -> Laffincrow 10 Aug 2015 17:08

Independents and Republicans who want to vote for Bernie must change their party before the Democratic primary so they can vote for him then. It takes 5 minutes, if that, to do.

(And, yes, there are some center Republicans who also support Bernie.)

Sam Sammitysam 10 Aug 2015 17:05

That's good news. But if Trumka endorses clinton he deserves to get his union members asses kicked into the dirt again. And he will. To endorse clinton is just stupid. The unions will have another obama to deal with.

Djinn666 10 Aug 2015 17:00

Bernie has ambitions, but so does Hillary and if past results are any indication of future actions, nothing either candidate promises will pass until heavily edited to reward their power brokers.

Guy Freewood -> hellofrom 10 Aug 2015 16:14

Without socialism, capitalism evolves into a feudal aristocracy that eventually collapses. The truth is we require a balance. Without social programs disease would spread, crime would escalate and our infrastructure would crumble. To exclaim socialism is dead is to ignore that it is a fundamental part of government in all advanced democracies in the world.

[Aug 10, 2015] The Assault On Donald Trump Shows That The 2 Party System Is Really A 1 Party System

"...I'm not so sure that Trump is not controlled by the elite. They are getting better and better with the fake anti-establishment candidates. If he wins the election, we'll know that he is another puppet."
Aug 10, 2015 | Zero Hedge
Submitted by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

Were you sickened by the Republican debate the other night? The hype leading up to the debate was unbelievable. Never before had there been so much interest in a debate this early in an election season, and it turned out to be the most watched program on Fox News ever. A record-shattering 24 million Americans tuned in, and what they witnessed was an expertly orchestrated assault on Donald Trump. From the very first moments, every question that was launched at Trump was an "attack question". And then the laughable "focus group" that followed was specifically designed to show that "ordinary people" were "changing their minds" about Trump. By the end of the evening, it was abundantly clear that Fox News had purposely intended to try to destroy Trump's candidacy.

And of course Fox News is far from alone. Every mainstream news outlet in the entire country is running anti-Trump news stories every single day. Virtually every other presidential candidate in both parties is attacking him, and virtually every "political expert" from across the political spectrum is trashing his chances of success.

So why is this happening?

Normally, candidates that are not part of the "establishment" do not pose much of a threat. In order to win elections in this country, especially on a national level, you need name recognition and you need lots and lots of money.

Donald Trump has both, and no matter what you may think of him you have to admit that he has star power.

And he was never supposed to run for president. You see, the truth is that only members of "the club" are allowed to play. The elite very carefully groom their candidates, and they are usually able to maintain a very tight grip on both major political parties.

This two-headed abomination that we call a "two party system" is in reality just a one party system. Yes, many Democrats and many Republicans really do hate one another, but at the end of the day there is very little difference between the two parties. That is why nothing ever really seems to change no matter who gets elected. George W. Bush continued almost all of Bill Clinton's policies, and Barack Obama has continued almost all of George W. Bush's policies. When they are running for office, they tell us what they think we want to hear, but once they get to D.C. they do exactly what the establishment wants them to do.

Donald Trump, whether you love him or you hate him, is a threat to this system. He is not controlled by the elite, and he does and says all sorts of things that drive the elite absolutely nuts.

If he was polling below 5 percent that wouldn't be a problem. At first, the mainstream media attempted to portray him as a joke that would never get any real support. But since then, Trump has proven that he is a serious candidate with some very serious ideas about how to fix this country. Now that he is receiving far, far more support than the establishment choice (Jeb Bush), he must be destroyed.

I can promise you right now that the Republican establishment will pull out every dirty trick in the book to keep Donald Trump from getting the Republican nomination.

And if Donald Trump runs as an independent, the elite will move heaven and earth to keep him out of the White House.

This isn't even just about Trump. If Ben Carson starts getting too much support, he will be destroyed too. This is how presidential elections in America work.

What we witnessed during the Fox News debate the other night was not an accident. The goal was to make Jeb Bush look good and to make Donald Trump look bad. The following comes from Mike Adams

But the one thing that really stood out was the total fraud of what Fox News pulled off. It was clear from the first five minutes that Fox News had pre-arranged softball questions for Jeb Bush to highlight his "heroic actions" and accomplishments. Meanwhile, the kinds of questions directed to Donald Trump were all thinly veiled accusations and insults, designed to attack Trump on issues that had nothing to do with running the country.

The typical questions went something like this: (paraphrased)

  • Fox News: "Jeb Bush, how did you get to be such an amazing leader?"
  • Fox News: "Donald Trump, why do you hate women?"

As if a debate with totally contrived questions wasn't enough, Fox News also had a pre-arranged assembly of apparently "ordinary citizens" who were asked, after the debate, how many of them now hated Donald Trump.

And even when "the debate" was over, the assault continued. If you have not seen the disgraceful "focus group interview" which Frank Luntz orchestrated, you can check it out below…

I just about fell out of my chair when I saw that.

Virtually everyone in the "focus group" that Frank Luntz put together supposedly had a positive view of Donald Trump before the debate, and then almost every single one of them supposedly become Trump haters during the course of the two hour debate.

I am sure that they were hoping that everybody in the viewing public would "come to their senses" and become Jeb Bush supporters.

But of course post-debate polling shows that is not happening at all.

The Drudge Report conducted a flash poll immediately following the debate, and a whopping 44.67 percent of those that responded said that Trump won the debate.

Ted Cruz was in second place with 14.31 percent.

Jeb Bush got a measly 2.07 percent.

A Newsmax survey came up with similar results…

  • Donald Trump: 38 percent
  • Ted Cruz: 15.5 percent
  • Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson: 10.2 percent
  • Florida Sen. Marco Rubio: 9.7 percent
  • Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul: 9.3 percent
  • Ohio Gov. John Kasich: 4.9 percent
  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: 4.5 percent
  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: 3.5 percent
  • Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush: 2.5 percent
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: 1.4 percent

And a survey conducted by Time Magazine also produced similar findings. Donald Trump got 47 percent, Ben Carson was in second place with 11 percent, and Jeb Bush got 4 percent.

But Donald Trump is not going to be the Republican nominee.

Unless something goes horribly, horribly wrong for the Republican establishment, Jeb Bush is going to be the nominee.

We have a system that is deeply, deeply broken and that does not reflect the will of the people.

This was illustrated by one of the questions that Trump was asked during the debate

BAIER: Mr. Trump, it's not just your past support for single-payer health care. You've also supported a host of other liberal policies….You've also donated to several Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton included, and Nancy Pelosi. You explained away those donations saying you did that to get business-related favors. And you said recently, quote, "When you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do."

TRUMP: You'd better believe it.

BAIER: — they do?

TRUMP: If I ask them, if I need them, you know, most of the people on this stage I've given to, just so you understand, a lot of money.

TRUMP: I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people, before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me. And that's a broken system.

The really amazing thing is that nobody up on that stage disputed that what Trump was saying was true.

It is very well understood by our politicians that when they get big checks from the elite for their campaigns that certain things are expected from them in return.

Our government does not reflect the will of the people and it hasn't for a very long time.

Instead, it reflects the will of the elite, and the American people are getting sick and tired of it.

Right now, surveys show that Donald Trump has far more support than any other Republican candidate.

But he is not going to be the Republican nominee. The Republican establishment will make sure of that.

There is still the possibility that Trump could run as an independent. That would be an extremely tough road, but on Sunday he sounded very open to the possibility

The political hurricane that is Donald Trump didn't recede over the weekend, even in the face of a rising tide of criticism from Republican rivals about his attack on Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.

Instead, the celebrity billionaire insisted in a string of interviews on Sunday TV shows that he had done nothing wrong, that "only a deviant" would interpret his words in an offensive way, and that he is leaving open the possibility of running an independent campaign for the White House if the GOP doesn't treat him "fairly."

"I do have leverage and I like having leverage," Trump declared on CBS' Face the Nation on a morning that also included interviews with ABC's This Week, CNN's State of the Union and NBC's Meet the Press.

This is a scenario that I discussed in my previous article entitled "Republican Operatives Plot To Sabotage Trump – But That Could Turn Him Into Their Worst Nightmare". Personally, I believe that Donald Trump will decide to run as an independent when it becomes clear to him that the Republican establishment is going to prevent him from winning the nomination at all costs.

But I could be wrong.

remain calm

This article is spot on. The elites have their hooks in all the other candidates, except Trump and he beats to the tune of his own drum. The elites are deathly afraid that he will not do what JPM and GS and the fed want, or at the very least be very disruptive to the establishment. They know he is not a one day or one week or not even a one month wonder. He is a thorn in their ass that will be very hard to get out.

The problem for Trump supporters (me included) is he is very easy to egg on and will say some explosive things that are not well thought out

The good thing about Trump is he is the right man for the right time. I think between now and Nov 2016 the worldss finanacial markets are going to take a shit, no ordinary shit, but the mother of all shits and he will be the best man without a doudt to negotiate our way through the turmoil. So he wins by a landslide. It is not going to be even close and beyond what any one can conceive of today.

froze25

Rand Paul 2016, not the same as Ron but there is no way in hell that being raised by a man like Ron Paul doesn't rub off on you.


J S Bach

"But he is not going to be the Republican nominee. The Republican establishment will make sure of that."

The article has that spot on. Even if Trump got 99% favorable opinion, the Establishment would nix him. Proof is in the recent drubbing of Ron Paul. Anyone who dares to buck the corrupt system is given the chopping block. This is precisely why change will only come from without - not within the system. Had the original intent of the Founding Fathers been adhered to (a tiny Federal Government and more powerful sovereign states), this monstrosity never would have arisen. The creation of the Federal Reserve was the beginning of the end for this Republic when a bottomless well of counterfeit money could be doled out in the form of coersion and extortion to the states. It always comes back to the money... who issues it and thus - controls it. Whatever entity emerges from the coming chaos, this overarching situation must be addressed and rectified.

Trump can still run as an independent candidate... then they'll bring on the reliable Dibold machines to count the votes.

Hot Shakedown

Spot on. You are absolutely correct. Either he is fortunate and gets "Ron Pauled"...or he is less fortunate and he gets "Breitbarted".

realmoney2015

Come on Tylers. We here expect you to be different than the msm. Everyday there are multiple trump articles. If the establishment really didn't like Trump and his poll numbers, they would ignore him like they did Ron Paul.

I keep thinking that today will be the day that at least here at ZH, Trump won't dominate the coverage. How about a Rand Paul article thrown in once in awhile. You know most of use here like guns and don't want them restricted. We also don't trust bankers and want the fed closed down.

I'm left to wonder how much money Tylers are getting from the establishment to appear like an alternative site.

bunnyswanson -> realmoney2015

Boohoo. Donald does not need anyone's money. Rose Perot met that criteria. We see what happened to him. He warned us. That sucking sound was the sound of our jobs. It's hardly time to ignore him when so many people are just waking up to the same.

Just be glad the wild-eyed lesbians and fags aren't featured in fullblown lip locks like creatures who have just escaped Hollywood - ISIS's US location. Now that, I could understand.

Fukushima Fricassee

It was an Obvious attack on Trump from the start and ongoing . Megan Kelly is a real feminist bitch. Fire that stupid twit Trump was not the one who jilted her so her anger was missguided . That women is an idiot and far stupid to realize she was fucking with the american people, tax payers, not just Trump. Boycott Fox and piss on both parties.

LetThemEatRand

"witnessed was an expertly orchestrated assault on Donald Trump"

I enjoy watching Trump cause aggravation to the status quo so I admit I lean in his favor on this (though I will never, ever vote for him due to his support for the Fed and MIC), but it's overstating Fox's case to say the attack was "expertly ochestrated."

Fox has always been amateur hour, as are all of the cable news networks. But they all speak to an audience that isn't exactly cerebral. So they get away with it. Trump for good or bad has struck a nerve with the average Joe who is sick of the current system that would tell us that Bush and Clinton are foregone conclusions. Fox playing favorites to Jeb Bush while trying to marginalize Trump was so obvious that even a child could see it.

ToSoft4Truth -> LetThemEatRand

"Most of the people on this stage I've given to, a lot of money," Trump

richiebaby

Trump not committing to support whoever wins the Republican nomination was an obvious message to the GOP & Kock brothers to support him or he will run as an independent and take the GOP down along with the Kock brothers $Billion dollars

JustObserving

"There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat."

Gore Vidal

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.

H. L. Mencken

silverer

Screw you Fox news. You are not an "alternative" news station. You are a wolf in sheep's clothing.

LetThemEatRand

Fox is by far the highest rated cable news network on television, and has been for a long time. What amazes me is that they can still get away with calling themselves alternative media. Kind of like how Limbaugh still plays the "little old me" card and people buy it. It's nice to see people finally waking up to this. To the exent the Donald in all of his narcissistic glory brought the truth to light that Fox is an arm of the oligarchs, he's done us all a service.

gregga777

The rich, their POSEDs* and POSERs*, the Corporations and the elites are the enemy of the American People. Rupert Murdoch is a member of the rich oligarchy. He and FOX News are mortal enemies of the American People. They and their entire families must be destroyed to save America and the American People.

*POSEDs—Pile Of Stinkin' Excrement Democrats
**POSERs—Pile Of Stinkin' Excrement Republicans

Fuck every last one of the, with a rusty bayonet! Then spike their heads on pikes around the DC beltway! Sic semper tyrannis!

starman

Hm ? I love it let's do a third party! Sick of the old shit anyway! TRUMP!

gregga777'

You may not believe in Class Warfare. But, you had better believe that the rich are sure as Hell waging Class Warfare against the American People! They are doing through the Bush's, the Clinton's, the buffoon Affirmative Action Barry Soetoro, and all the rest of the POSEDs* and POSERs** in the One-Party Dictatorship.

*POSEDs—Pile Of Stinkin' Excrement Democrats
**POSERs—Pile Of Stinkin' Excrement Republicans

Ms No

Ten bucks says if Trump got into office (which would never happen) and Bush was his vice that he would end up in a wheelchair with a pen taped to his hand and kept out of sight.... like they probably did to Reagan. I am not huge fan of Reagan but when your vice pres used to run the CIA things are probably not going to go very well for you. In this case it would be the son of the guy who used to run the CIA.

The CIA is the first organization that needs to be abolished, it is the deep state.

The Count

"The CIA is the first organization that needs to be abolished, it is the deep state"....

That's exactly what JFK tried and look what happened to him.

Pumpkin

The people hate politicians. No honest man has a chance against them. They lie, steal, take bribes, have no morals, and certainly some of them have even murdered. Trump is no angel, be he is not a life time POS politician. He only is on top because he is one ruthless SOB. He is the king of self promotion, and his competition SUCKS! The rupublicans and democrats have ran the country in the fucking ground for the last 100 years. They gave away the power to coin money and regulate it to a bunch of Satanist bankers. Trump, if he is not a plant, will end up in the white house or dead or both.

gregga777

Trump will NEVER be allowed to become President.

(1) All elections in the United States are rigged with predetermined winners;
(2) Hillary has already been elected;
(3) I do not believe that Trump is suicidal, but if he is;
(4) Trump will be suicided were the impossible to occur with him elected to the Presidency;

Don't labor under the illusion that Trump will somehow save America. It ain't never going to happen! Only concerted ACTION by the American People can save America! Don't participate in fraudulent elections! Take action NOW People of America!

Pazuzu

Nobody in their right mind would want to be President in 2016. The debate looked like a mixture of the Miss America pageant and Jerry Springer and the 'contestants' all pretty much deserve to be in charge when it all turns to shit and gets on everybody. But if Trump can make America believe that he's worth $10 billion then maybe he can convince America it's not bankrupt. I need those plates kept spinning to give me more prep time. I was late to get my wakeup call.

Berspankme

Jeb Bush is such a cunt they can't sell him to the people.

Jack Burton

"A record-shattering 24 million Americans tuned in"

Yes, of course they did. These 24 million can be counted on to think as one hive mind. Trained for years by the FOX news system. Nobody does mind control or propaganda like FOX. They have perfected a system that can call on it's faithful. That number is just about 25 Million American true believers, who actually think FOX is news and is fair and balanced. To make a mental leap like that requires a fully engaged Orwellian Double Think mind, to be able to deny any reality that is not politically correct for the FOX brand of conservatism. A mixture of mainline Dixie www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaeu3f_j9Vc , and:


A total slavish belief in corporate supermacy and the military industrial empire. Along with deep hate for non whites and non conservative Christians.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind this bunch. But I do believe it is fair to point out their beliefs, and FOX's power over their minds.

LetThemEatRand

And who would have ever guessed that a casino owning real estate magnate who calls himself the most "militaristic" guy in history would be the one to successfully peel off the Fox veneer. It's a crazy world.

Phillyguy

We have the Trumpster and the group of LOSERS. The problem for corporate media, including Fox, the GOP and Dems is that voters are tired of the same old story and "pay to play" politics. At least Trump says it like it is and this is reason he is leading in polls. The more corporate media goes after Trump, the more popular he www.counterpunch.org/2015/08/10/swan-song-for-the-donald-gop-party-bosse...

The Count

The Matrix will never allow an outsider to become president. Look at 95 percent of the press photos used - they all make Trump look like a loon. EXACTLY the same thing they did with Ron Paul a couple years ago. The military industrial complex together with jewish controlled high finance + main stream media want to make absolutelty sure nobody will spoil their nice little racket (enslavement of the US population).

TheAntiProgressive

One has only to reflect on the TEA party movement in which I was involved back a few years. The establishment ganged up to attack the TEA party. The majroity of the meetings I was involved in dealt with educating people on the Constitution, trying to explain the economics of the national debt and organizing candidate debates in order to understand the politicos up for election and to hold them accountable for their promise (lies). God forbid. The Kochs weren't around with bags of cashola.

The TEA party was attacked by the Democrats of course, the MSM, the President who would have thought, the Republican establishment which was a double take, then the systemic bureaucracy like the IRS and other alphabet agencies depending on the percieved "offender". When the whole system comes down on your head, you go hide. Which I chose to do, but I still support as best I can those that will undermine this corrupt, criminal system that is "governing us". I like Donald for his bombast and Cruz for his substance even with his wifey resigning from the squid. Cruz doesn't like the Progressive establishment and I hate them. They are killing the brand called America.

boodles

I was doing the same thing and saw what you're describing. Makes me hate the establishment.

John Law Lives

The article is on the money (imo). The same exact thing happened to Pat Buchanan in 1996 after he won the New Hampshire GOP Primary. The GOP establishment pulled out one dirty trick after another to crush him while they supported Bob Dole.

ozzzzo

I'm not so sure that Trump is not controlled by the elite. They are getting better and better with the fake anti-establishment candidates. If he wins the election, we'll know that he is another puppet.

stocks up every...

Once again the sheeple have had the wool pulled over their eyes. The Donald is the elite, supported by the elite with his reality show, beauty pageant and New York real estate. The establishment opposition to him is to convince you that a member of the elite is not elite and a man of the people. During the debate, Trump told everybody how he buys politicians thus proving he is part of the establishment. The elite know that the people want a maverick, and that is exactly what they are giving us. Trump is a fraud.

[Aug 09, 2015] Donald Trump jab at Megyn Kelly may be beginning of end for GOP frontrunner

"...As much as I dislike Trump, I dislike even more, the endless demonisation behaviour that this newspaper is always doing. If it is not Russell Brand, Nigel Farage, Alex Hammond, SNP, it is Donald Trump. I now struggle to see much difference in any of the neo-liberalist media's output. Just report the news. Immigration is a very serious issue in the US, as well as Europe. Let's have a meaningful debate about it, without this demonising of the messenger on a daily basis."
Aug 09, 2015 | The Guardian

Wordblind parcela 9 Aug 2015 16:25

Reagan had as much influence on the US ecomony as he did with the universe. He was paid to do what he was told and the US people clapped the incredulous show.

Elizabeth Thorne parcela 9 Aug 2015 16:23

Yeah, I'm astounded by his achievements. Took anti-intellecutalism and made it the basis for "American Exceptionalism" which has eroded everyone's quality of life and people still talk about his accomplishments. Nearly got us into WWIII (Thatcher's assessment), actually believed we could win it and just roll right on, and consulted astrologers for policy decisions.


lids luke towner 9 Aug 2015 16:21

Err yes, he is proposing tariffs...Cruz is polling 7% best will in the world and all that. Bankers must be getting a bit angtsy judging by the vitriol.

The Don is the anti-establishment candidate. Even better that he is running on his own money...


artbriar john2047 9 Aug 2015 16:17

Naaaawwww... Palin is a gun toting teabagger and Donald Trump is a "Ronald Reagan" evolutionary candidate, former democrat, dealmaker, with a desire to Make America Strong again.


eldudeabides 9 Aug 2015 16:12

As much as I dislike Trump, I dislike even more, the endless demonisation behaviour that this newspaper is always doing. If it is not Russell Brand, Nigel Farage, Alex Hammond, SNP, it is Donald Trump. I now struggle to see much difference in any of the neo-liberalist media's output.

Just report the news.

Immigration is a very serious issue in the US, as well as Europe. Let's have a meaningful debate about it, without this demonising of the messenger on a daily basis.


parcela 9 Aug 2015 16:12

I think Trump would make a great president; I remember those who derided Reagan only to be astounded by his achievements..


carlsven 9 Aug 2015 15:44

Is there any actual evidence or is this just more babble from "experts"?

Trump is polling at almost twice the nearest, Jeb Bush, and far ahead of any of the others. Lots of people identifying as women on comment boards supporting or at least no-big-deal-ing his comments to Ms. Kelly. The man who claimed this was a bridge too far is known for his use of the term feminazi, maybe "women" are not expecting to find angels in this group and are smart enough to let the dust settle before deciding who will be best.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/2016_republican_presidential_nomination-3823.html

[Aug 09, 2015] Republican Presidential candidates debate

"...Trump went after the slimy whoring GOP media establishment on national TV. That takes ovaries. "
"...It turns out Trump was right. His toughest opponents Thursday night weren't the candidates up on stage, but the Fox News moderators, who went right after him—none with more gusto than Kelly…"
yuan, Fri, 8/7/2015 - 3:22 pm

Current results for Time "Who won the debate poll":

Donald Trump(47222 Votes)47%
Jeb Bush(4434 Votes)4%
Ben Carson(11048 Votes)11%
Chris Christie(2563 Votes)3%
Ted Cruz(5307 Votes)5%
Mike Huckabee(2811 Votes)3%
John Kasich(9320 Votes)9%
Rand Paul(5157 Votes)5%
Marco Rubio(10942 Votes)11%
Scott Walker(1250 Votes)1%

poicv2.0, Fri, 8/7/2015 - 3:33 pm

Fox News Poll: New high for Trump, new low for Clinton | Fox News

Clearly they called Democrats when they polled the numbers for Trump
And they called Republicans when they polled the numbers for Clinton.

Mike_PNW wrote on Fri, 8/7/2015 - 3:38 pm

interesting from the Breitbart link:

A few hours before Thursday's Fox News debate, a friend of Donald Trump's confided to me that Trump was nervous. Not about the competition—he could handle them. No, Trump worried about Fox News, and in particular, debate moderator Megyn Kelly. She'd been hammering him all week on her show, and he was certain she was out to get him. He'd canceled a Fox News appearance on Monday night, the friend said, in order to avoid her. (Trump's spokeswoman wouldn't confirm or deny this.)

It turns out Trump was right. His toughest opponents Thursday night weren't the candidates up on stage, but the Fox News moderators, who went right after him—none with more gusto than Kelly…

But Trump saw her coming a mile away and cut her off.

Blackhalo wrote on Fri, 8/7/2015 - 3:39 pm (in reply to...)

Mike_PNW wrote:

impressed by Trump

Q: You've also supported a host of other liberal policies, you've also donated to several Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton included, Nancy Pelosi. You explained away those donations saying you did that to get business related favors. And you said recently, quote, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.

TRUMP: You better believe it... I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people. Before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me. And that's a broken system.

That is an impressive answer.

yuan wrote on Fri, 8/7/2015 - 3:42 pm (in reply to...)

Liz said she came away impressed by Trump... So who knows...maybe he did win.

Trump went after the slimy whoring GOP media establishment on national TV. That takes ovaries.


JP wrote on Fri, 8/7/2015 - 3:43 pm (in reply to...)

Blackhalo wrote:

That is an impressive answer.

I think the word is chutzpah: "I bribed public officials, and then took advantage of it. That's so broken that you should vote for me."

yuan wrote on Fri, 8/7/2015 - 3:50 pm (in reply to...)

They are as stupid as the people who watch their station.

Ignorance and close-mindedness can turn people of relatively normal intelligence into simpletons.

yuan wrote on Fri, 8/7/2015 - 3:54 pm (in reply to...)

LOL, let's see how the slimy whoring Democrat media establishment handles the Democratic debates.

Bernie is going to thrown this nation for a loop when millions of people learn, for the first time, that socialism is not maoist-communist-stalinist totalitarianism.

yuan wrote on Fri, 8/7/2015 - 4:00 pm

Roots of Reaganolatry - The New York Times

We might also note that Reagan's attempt to change the nature of the US welfare state was, in the light of history, a failure. Remember, he once crusaded against Medicare as a program that would destroy freedom; he came into office with the intention of dismantling Social Security. But he left with both programs intact (thanks, in part, to a big increase in payroll taxes during his time in office) — and now we have a more or less universal health insurance system.

Ruh-roh Krugman is attacking Saint Ronnie again.

Counterpointer wrote on Fri, 8/7/2015 - 4:01 pm

Big smile

I saw a political cartoon yesterday this side of the dateline featuring Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton on the phone colluding, Trump wondering whether he was overplaying it, and her saying "no, all good, keep it up...".

C

Rickkk wrote on Fri, 8/7/2015 - 4:05 pm

The GOP Primary Debate, In Five Clips

08/07/2015

"Thursday's debate was, well, a spectacle. What else can you call two hours of Donald Trump being The Donald, Rand Paul eye rolls, teased appearances of God and a Chris Christie shouting match?

Check out the five clips that sum up the absurdity of the GOP primary debate, and prepare yourselves for the next 458 days of presidential election shenanigans."

Rickkk wrote on Fri, 8/7/2015 - 4:07 pm

Jeb Bush Is 'Not Sure' We Need Women's Health Funding; I'm Not Sure We Need Jeb Bush | Kathleen Turner

08/06/2015 10:59 am EDT

"Jeb Bush said earlier this week that not only does he want to obliterate Planned Parenthood but he is "not sure we need half a billion dollars for women's health issues" at all.

Ah, yes. "Women's issues." What a trivial distraction from the real issues facing America.

When women started pointing out to Bush that they actually think women's health is pretty important, the presidential candidate claimed that he "misspoke." But a look at his record as governor of Florida shows that he probably meant exactly what he said.

What Bush seems to be proposing is a large-scale version of what he did in Florida, which was to divert money from Planned Parenthood to abstinence-only education programs. He also poured millions of taxpayer dollars into "crisis pregnancy centers" that exist solely to mislead women about abortion, all while implementing disastrous policies for real health care providers."

Rickkk wrote on Fri, 8/7/2015 - 4:09 pm

Morning Joe To Elizabeth Warren: 'Stop Insulting Our Intelligence'

08/04/2015 03:32 PM EDT

tg wrote on Fri, 8/7/2015 - 4:14 pm
Barbara Tuchman's writings describe in great details how the intricate interlocking of opposing military alliances paved the road to Europe's annihilation and its subsequent fading from History.
We are now at the beginning of August 2015. The NATO Alliance now stands on deck as it readies itself to increase its operations in the Middle East. This time however, and for the first time since the end of the Cold War, it is confronted by an equally formidable array of potential adversaries who are determined to protect their own respective interests in the Levant.
The recent declarations bearing on the establishing of a " Islamic State-free zone" some 25 miles into Syrian territory are constitutive of a direct violation of the UN Charter's article 2(4) provisions: Not only the UN Security Council did not authorize this measure, such policy could hardly be deemed to fall within the ambit of the doctrine of self-defense.
Failing to fit within these two exceptions to the UN Charter's general prohibition on the use of force, the establishing of a de facto No Fly Zone over Syria could very well stand as a prelude to a major escalation of violence which could lead to a global conflagration.

The Road to Empire Overreach Is Fraught With Calamities - The Unz Review

Blackhalo wrote on Fri, 8/7/2015 - 4:28 pm (in reply to...)

yuan wrote:

a bonafide member of the ruling class.

FDR was a traitor to his class. Could we hope for the same from Trump? i.e. Single-payer, min wage high enough to make median wage = average wage, etc?

tg wrote on Fri, 8/7/2015 - 4:38 pm
Why Let ex-Presidents Cash in? | Steven Strauss

"Not a bad gig," thinks Trump.

poicv2.0, Fri, 8/7/2015 - 4:50 pm

LOL

Dilbert

bearly Fri, 8/7/2015 - 5:24 pm, (in reply to...)

Blackhalo wrote:

FDR was a traitor to his class. Could we hope for the same from Trump? i.e. Single-payer, min wage high enough to make median wage = average wage, etc?

Did FDR have global wage arbitrage undermining wages and economic prosperity for the 99% ?

[Aug 08, 2015] David Sirota Hillary Clinton Is Running Away from Her Free Trade Record

"...She's in a tight spot. Obama has been a major force behind TPP and as part of her job as Sec State she pushed for it, now she had to try to get elected and TPP is not a voter winner"
"...In a nutshell this explains H.Clinton's dilemma: acknowledge her role in destroying the middle class voter or deny her role in these trade deals and be labeled untrustworthy."
"...The comments about Hillary Clinton bring to mind a statement Dick Nixon made to the press when he lost the California race for governor in 1962 "Just think of what you're going to be missing. You won't have Nixon to kick around any more…" What will you do when you don't have HC to kick around any more? The level and mentality of some of the comments is positively jaw dropping."
"...I think the comments are much more about an appropriate context on which to view Hillary. They can get nasty, but she's earned it, along with many others. If you ain't pissed of about what is being done and has been done, you are either corrupt, beaten down/given up or just plain delusional about the realities we face."

Aug 08, 2015 | naked capitalism
davidly

I seriously doubt that Clinton will sink or swim because of any of her stated opinions twixt now and the nomination. If the DLC (the PTB or whoever) decides the disgust-factor among the electorate is too high, then somebody else will get the nod. People vote how they are told; a look at the list of US presidents alone should prove that, otherwise it might be instructive to more closely examine the history of the primary process. Horse race indeed. The narrative for the current president was being written for the people to react to, not the other way around.

Anyway, this trade deal comes down to the acquiescence of some ostensible leaders of other countries, I suppose, but in the US, whether it's Jeb or Joe, or Rand-y or Rubio… be it the Don or the Hills that has the ayes, it's a done deal. It might even be one of the current president's last signatures — other than to pardon a few financial war criminals.

Praedor

She's in a tight spot. Obama has been a major force behind TPP and as part of her job as Sec State she pushed for it, now she had to try to get elected and TPP is not a voter winner. She could try to tweak the truth by saying she changed her mind on the trade deals and opposes them (and pisses off Obama who she will be seeking to get strong backing from), she could do what she's doing and do what politicians do: lie her ass off. She's doing the late in a way to try to not piss off Obama.

She should have tweaked the truth and at least said she's opposed to aspects of the deals: ISDS and the overly cozy Big Pharma language AT LEAST. Maybe it would be enough, though not for me.

NotTimothyGeithner

I think changing her mind on 90's Era trade deals might have flown in 2008 if she didn't vote for a few as Senator, but she's 67 not a naive kid and "free trade" isn't new.

The sentencing standards were so egregious and not couched in promises of international feel goods that she can't get away from that either.

I think there is room to change one's mind, but there needs to be the appearance of a genuine change or results have to be produced. Short of shedding "Obama Plus" and denouncing Bill and her whole campaign staff and donors, she has no chance except for ignorance on the part of voters.

Larry

This is why Clinton could not beat Obama the first time around. Obama was a cipher with no record of long term malfeasance. Clinton has been in the national spotlight for long with such a long trail of dishonest behavior that she has no credibility with anyone outside of Democratic true believers. Nearly everything that comes out of Hillary's mouth is a lie and shiftless, even that's when she's even capable of taking a position. Look at her stance on the Keystone pipeline. Hey, wait until I'm president, then I'll tell you what I think.

optimader

she has no credibility with anyone outside of Democratic true believers

And so her position on TPP is irrelevant when it time to vote.

Sam adams

In a nutshell this explains H.Clinton's dilemma: acknowledge her role in destroying the middle class voter or deny her role in these trade deals and be labeled untrustworthy.

NotTimothyGeithner

My belief is Hillary was given a chance to control the narrative, but she announced her "tea with the commoners" strategy instead of a coronation when voters are expecting a candidate of Hillary's stature and resources (she's been out of work for three years now, so she has the time) who has been running for President since 1998 to have a vision for the country beyond she's doin' it for her grandmother, a woman, who would be very proud of her.

Hillary didn't speak and didn't seem to grasp her record would speak for herself.

Pelham

The Clinton scorecard: Pro-free trade, pro-immigration, pro-ACA. Credibility near zero.

The Trump scorecard: Anti-free trade, anti-immigration, anti-ACA but pro-single payer. Credibility unknown.

Advantage Trump.

Sluggeaux

she has no chance except for ignorance on the part of voters

And hoping that most of them walk away, discouraged by all the "After Citizens United it's just an oligarchy, so your vote doesn't count!" talk by Party tambourine-bashers.

This is more of that classic "I didn't inhale" prevarication so typical of Hill and Bill's generational cohort (not just the Dems; that dry drunk occupying the White House from 2001-2008 was the worst of the lot).

tegnost

Funny how no one wants to own the TPP, I even saw an article recently claiming something along the lines of big business didn't really want tpp they were just going along to get along but I can't find it now…figured it was just a smoke screen to get people to focus on something…anything…, else but all told it's a sign of weakness.

Pelham

I saw the same article. Might've been on Bloomberg.

hunkerdown

Sounds like they want to hide the other two.

Vatch

Good point. The flailing TPP campaign got them Trade Promotion Authority, which will help them get TTIP and TiSA passed.

unique 201

Obama has too much on Hillary Clinton. She must do as Obama tells her to do. Hillary is not in a good spot with her personal assistant Huma Abedin and her
mother, both of whom are members of the Muslim Sisterhood and whose father is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Nothing that Hillary has ever done has
been done for the Middle Class. Hillary only does for herself, her family and now her Foundation.

As Secretary of State why would she think it would be alright to take donations from countries and people all over the world for her Clinton Foundation.
Even Donald Trump as a Businessman donated to the Foundation so Hillary would do what he wanted her to do when he wanted her to it.

MBm

The comments about Hillary Clinton bring to mind a statement Dick Nixon made to the press when he lost the California race for governor in 1962 "Just think of what you're going to be missing. You won't have Nixon to kick around any more…"
What will you do when you don't have HC to kick around any more?
The level and mentality of some of the comments is positively jaw dropping.

hidflect

We'll find the next worst mendacious, lying, ethics-free scumbag to kick in the head. There's no limit to the supply.

Ian

I think the comments are much more about an appropriate context on which to view Hillary. They can get nasty, but she's earned it, along with many others. If you ain't pissed of about what is being done and has been done, you are either corrupt, beaten down/given up or just plain delusional about the realities we face.

[Aug 08, 2015] The Republican Candidates Agree that the System is Rigged for the Rich By William K. Black

August 7, 2015 | neweconomicperspectives.org

The Republican debate last night revealed one area of broad agreement among Americans – we now live in a system of crony capitalism that is systematically rigged to favor the ultra-wealthy. That is all the more remarkable as an admission because the Republican candidates are overwhelmingly (and increasingly) funded by the ultra-wealthy. It is also remarkable because the Republican policy prescription for crony capitalism is to make the ultra-wealthy wealthier at the expense of the American people. This last point is logical, but obscene.

This article focuses on the broad agreement among Republican candidates for the presidency that the system is rigged on behalf of the wealthy, particularly those in finance, and that this harms our economy, people, and democracy. Exhibit one, of course, is Donald Trump.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, you talk a lot about how you are the person on this stage to grow the economy. I want to ask you about your business record. Trump corporations — Trump corporations, casinos and hotels, have declared bankruptcy four times over the last quarter-century.

In 2011, you told Forbes Magazine this: "I've used the laws of the country to my advantage." But at the same time, financial experts involved in those bankruptcies say that lenders to your companies lost billions of dollars.

Question sir, with that record, why should we trust you to run the nation's business?

Trump's defense of his actions serves as an indictment of the tactics of wealthy investors. Indeed, Trump indicts "everybody," particularly "the greatest" (wealthiest) investors.

TRUMP: Because I have used the laws of this country just like the greatest people that you read about every day in business have used the laws of this country, the chapter laws, to do a great job for my company, for myself, for my employees, for my family, et cetera.

His reference to "chapter laws" means "bankruptcy" filings to avoid repaying debts owed to lenders by Trump companies. By having his companies repeatedly file for bankruptcy, Trump was able to force their creditors to write down those debts by huge amounts. It is notable that Trump celebrates this as a tactic that "everybody," particularly "the greatest" use to become exceptionally wealthy.

TRUMP: Excuse me, what am I saying? Out of hundreds of deals that I've done, hundreds, on four occasions I've taken advantage of the laws of this country, like other people. I'm not going to name their names because I'm not going to embarrass, but virtually every person that you read about on the front page of the business sections, they've used the law.

The difference is, when somebody else uses those laws, nobody writes about it. When I use it, they say, "Trump, Trump, Trump." The fact is, I built a net worth of more than $10 billion. I have a great, great company. I employ thousands of people. And I'm very proud of the job I did.

Again Chris, hundreds and hundreds of deals. Four times, I've taken advantage of the laws. And frankly, so has everybody else in my position.

Trump claims that he has a net worth of "more than $10 billion," and brags that he built up this net worth in part by stiffing his creditors repeatedly by defaulting and declaring bankruptcy even though he purportedly had ample wealth to repay his companies' loans.

Why is it morally OK for someone as wealthy as Trump to avoid repaying corporate debts? Because "everyone" "in my position" (investors of enormous wealth) has "taken advantage of the laws." That is the reasoning of an eight-year old – "everybody" does it. But Trump then added an even more revealing "moral" basis for repeatedly refusing to pay his companies' debts. The entities he was stiffing were evil – they were giant banks. Trump's moral outrage is directed at those that criticize his moral choices. Notice the enthusiastic response of the Republican crowd to Trump's "moral reasoning."

TRUMP: Let me just tell you about the lenders. First of all, these lenders aren't babies. These are total killers. These are not the nice, sweet little people that you think, OK?

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

You know, I mean you're living in a world of the make-believe, Chris, you want to know the truth.

(APPLAUSE)

Trump was not called out by Fox for the obvious logical flaw in his "moral reasoning." If it is a great thing to be wealthy because it creates jobs, when a serial corporate dead beat like Trump repeatedly declares bankruptcy and refuses to pay corporate debts he is making other people (creditors – and those the creditors lend to) less wealthy and destroying jobs. That should harm the economy. The Republican audience also missed the logical flaw – it loved Trump's response. Indeed, even when Trump blundered and unintentionally showed how destructive crony capitalism is the audience reaction was to praise him for profiting while the people suffered.

And I had the good sense to leave Atlantic City, which by the way, Caesars just went bankrupt. Every company, Chris can tell you, every company virtually in Atlantic City went bankrupt.

(LAUGHTER)

Every company.

And let me just tell you. I had the good sense, and I've gotten a lot of credit in the financial pages, seven years ago I left Atlantic City before it totally cratered, and I made a lot of money in Atlantic City, and I'm very proud of it. I want to tell you that. Very, very proud of it

The wealthy get even wealthier even when local economies "totally cratered." The wealthy simply had the companies they control declare bankruptcy and stiffed the lenders. The wealthy whose depredations cause the local economy to "crater" even expect praise for being the first to desert the collapsing city.

The use of bankruptcy has several major domestic policy applications – and the Republicans and conservative "blue dog" Democrats have been on the side of the wealthy and against the people in each case. First, for decades, bankruptcy has been used "strategically" by major corporations to escape contracts with unions and minimize tort liability for killing hundreds of thousands of workers and consumers. Second, the bankruptcy laws were "reformed" in 2005 to make it extraordinarily difficult for students to ever escape the burden of student loans and get the normal "fresh start" that is the premise of the bankruptcy laws. Third, the "reformed" bankruptcy law allows the owners of second (vacation) homes to take advantage of the "cram down" option to greatly reduce their mortgage debt – but bans the owners of a single home used a the principal residence from doing so. President Obama tried to change this provision of the bankruptcy laws in 2009, but was blocked by the Republicans and "blue dogs" in the Senate.

In the international sphere, the Republican candidates routinely denounce Greece for seeking debt write downs. Even the IMF admits that the debt is unsustainable and that the effort to collect the full debt will prevent any strong Greek economic recovery and continue enormous human suffering. No Republican candidate at the debate criticized Trump's serial refusals to pay his corporations' debts.

Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas, unintentionally stressed the massive and growing income and wealth inequalities in America

HUCKABEE: Well, you ask about how we fund it. One of the reasons that Social Security is in so much trouble is that the only funding stream comes from people who get a wage. The people who get wages is declining dramatically. Most of the income in this country is made by people at the top who get dividends and — and capital gains.

The obvious problem is that Huckabee's proposed solution – the oxymoronic "Fair Tax"– makes those inequalities worse. Huckabee proposes a federal sales tax with a "prebate" for those in poverty. The problem is that the tiny percentage of "people at the top," who receive "most of the income" while wage income for the vast majority of Americans is (according to Huckabee) "declining dramatically," spend vastly less of their income on consumption than do working and middle class Americans. As a result, they would pay, proportionally, a far smaller percentage of their income (and a vastly smaller percentage of their wealth) under the proposed sales tax. Federal taxes on the working and middle classes would go up substantially under a "revenue neutral" "Fair Tax." Huckabee, and the debate audience that thundered its applause, ignored these facts. Arkansas is rated as having the eleventh most regressive tax system in America – and its legislature and Governor are working together to make it far more regressive.

HUCKABEE: The fair [tax] transforms the process by which we fund Social Security and Medicare because the money paid in consumption is paid by everybody, including illegals, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, all the people that are freeloading off the system now.

(APPLAUSE)

That's why it ought to be a transformed system.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: All right. Enough.

(APPLAUSE)

Huckabee is wrong about taxes on consumption. First, while they are more difficult to evade, they are often evaded through fraud – and the wealthy are the experts at such evasion. Second, only consumption in the United States would be subject to the tax, so "drug dealers" and other wealthy white-collar criminals who take their money abroad would avoid the tax. Indeed, Huckabee's proposal would create an incentive to wealthy criminals to defraud in America and spend the proceeds abroad. The banksters have vastly greater criminal proceeds than the "prostitutes" and "pimps."

Senator Marco Rubio continued the theme of decrying crony capitalism – and making proposals to make it worse.

Now, the big companies that have connections with Washington, they can affect policies to help them, but the small companies like the one Tania is talking about, they're the ones that are struggling.

The first thing we need to do is we need to even out the tax code for small businesses so that we lower their tax rate to 25 percent, just as we need to lower it for all businesses.

We need to have a regulatory budget in America that limits the amount of regulations on our economy. We need to repeal and replace Obamacare and we need to improve higher education so that people can have access to the skills they need for 21st century jobs.

And last but not least, we need to repeal Dodd-Frank. It is eviscerating small businesses and small banks.

(APPLAUSE)

20 — over 40 percent of small and mid-size banks that loan money to small businesses have been wiped out over the — since Dodd-Frank has passed. We need to repeal and replace Dodd-Frank. We need to make America fair again for all businesses, but especially those being run by small business owners.

Track Rubio's "logic." (His numbers are wrong.) The "big companies" control "Washington." (That includes the House and the Senate, which are both controlled by Republicans.) Rubio, however, makes no proposal to break that dominance. Indeed, he does the opposite. He promises to "repeal Dodd-Frank" – and offers no alternative beyond the ultra-vague term "replace." I too am deeply critical of Dodd-Frank, but it does at least seek to restrict the power and risks posed by the "big companies" – the systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs) made up of our largest and most criminal banks. But Rubio suggests nothing to limit the control of "big companies" and the SDIs over "Washington." Instead, he tries to blame Dodd-Frank for the fact that the SDIs increasingly dominate banking. That is bizarre, unless he is arguing that it is so weak because it fails to eliminate SDIs that it needs to be replaced by far tougher regulation that would eliminate the SDIs.

Rubio's statement implies that there was a startling drop in the number of banks after the passage of Dodd-Frank in 2010. The reality is more complex and refutes Rubio's claims. The number of independent banks has been falling since the late 1960s – a half century. The rate at which independent banks have disappeared for any has been greater in several periods in the past (see Figure 1 of the Fed article). The single most important direct cause is deregulation, specifically, the removal of restrictions on interstate banking and branches. The most important indirect cause of the sharp fall in the number of banks since the late 1960s is deregulation. Deregulation indirectly led to the rise of the SDIs. Indeed, by Clinton's administration deregulation was designed to aid the dominance of the SDIs. The five largest U.S. banks conduct over 90% of all derivatives trades in the U.S. Only a subset of the largest U.S. banks engaged in any huge investment banking after the effective repeal of Glass-Steagall. The result is that even conservative finance scholars now admit that there is no "free market" in finance and can never be as long as the SDIs exist. The independent banks cannot compete with the SDIs except in very local, niche markets. Before and after the passage of Dodd-Frank they are gobbled up by mergers.

The Fed article shows that regulatory costs are not driving the continuing consolidation of banking.

According to data from the Reports on Condition and Income (or "Call Reports"), the ratio of non-interest expenses to assets for banks with less than $1 billion in assets did not change significantly from 2007 through 2013.

Note that the Fed study, improperly and implicitly, assumed that if compliance costs increased that fact proved that bank efficiency was reduced by regulation. That cannot be assumed. Improved compliance with regulatory requirements for sound underwriting, for example, would have added immensely to bank profitability.

The SDIs have not only the explicit government subsidy of deposit insurance, but also the even larger implicit federal subsidy of "too big to fail." But those subsidies only begin to capture the SDIs' true power. As Rubio stressed, the "big companies" dominate "Washington" and no one serious doubts that the SDIs are the most dominant of the "big companies" in "Washington." More recently, we have also seen the rise of "too big to prosecute." That doctrine has destroyed all accountability.

The Dog that Didn't Bark – No Demand for Accountability for Banksters

It is remarkable that a Republican debate run by Fox had the perfect issue with which to bash the Democrats, including Presidents Obama and Clinton, and refused to even mention it. There was not a word criticizing Clinton's deregulation or Obama's refusal to prosecute the elite banksters that led the fraud epidemics that caused the Great Recession. Instead, the candidates are committed to creating more criminogenic environments through the three "de's" – deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization.

Tim Ward , August 7, 2015 at 4:54 pm |
According to Minsky, government operates from an allocation of the surplus (in a capitalist system, with no state productive industry). But who has the surplus. Labor? No. The oligarchs have the surplus. But the tax laws help the rich evade taxation. Qualified dividends. Tax free munis. Accelerated depreciation schedules on property. Unearned income classed as 'return of capital'. &c. And what do the rich do? Capital flight. Offshore tax havens.

Economist James S. Henry has studied some of this, and the numbers are huge. But he hasn't studied this for the US, I believe. http://taxjustice.blogspot.ch/2012/07/the-price-of-offshore-revisited-and.html

Taxing labor is economically destructive. By the Iron Law of Wages, labor can't really be claimed to hold surplus. Thus consumption taxes on labor consumption are also senseless.

[Aug 01, 2015] Looks like the .1% don't want Trump or HRC but want a Bush III tool.

pgl said...

In political news, HRC raises $15 million while Jeb! raises $103 million:

https://www.yahoo.com/politics/democrats-far-behind-gop-in-raising-money-for-16-125516484431.html

Yep - the 1% are trying to buy the White House.

ilsm said in reply to pgl...

If the .1% don't want Trump.....

but want a Bush III tool.

[Jul 31, 2015] Jeremy Corbyns Labour leadership bid has a momentum even he didnt expect

"...As for the "guardian hymn sheet" - nearly of their commentators have in meltdown at the prospect of a corbyn led labour party ditching (failed) neo-liberalism."
.
"...Rather excited by a labour leader for once, the amount of spin and rhetoric thrown at Corbyn recently, suggests what the ruling elite think of him (he's a threat). "
.
"...The propaganda weapon that faces any Labour administration is formidable as the Tory driven media constantly undermines any concerted efforts to ensure that a fair and just society is created for the many rather than the few."
.
"...The media play a massive part in how they portray/present (particularly Labour) Politicians to the electorate - whether it's to continually show an embarrasing snap-shot of Miliband munching on a bacon butty, or as you say they chose to make Corbyn look like a "beardy sandal wearer" (a la the original JC, eh?). Generally, the electorate have to base their decision making on how politicians are represented in the media."
.
"..."Jeremy Corbyn is sort of the Bernie Sanders of UK but might actually become labor leader. I have to say I really like his economic ideas" ..."
.
"...Well, I think that's a mis-characterisation - in the much part created & amplified by an establishment, sychophantic right wing London based media. If you actually look at what Corbyn has to say it's pretty moderate; society & people focused & doesn't at all necessarily mean, as a policy outcome, fiscal or economic recklessness. Corbyn's position is pretty well considered & he doesn't do cheap populism."
.
"...The neo - liberal "democracies" in Europe ( or shall we just call them the German Federal State) are scared witless of the left and will do anything to crush it because they know that austerity is not the way forward to prosperity but is instead an economic mechanism to preserve the status quo...."
.
"...Politics is about unifying OTHERWISE diverse interest groups, and APPARENT diverse opinions."
.
"...The fact that capitalism cannot provide half-decent jobs for millions does not mean the working class has disappeared. A third of the electorate do not vote at all - largely because of the sentiment that they are all bastards and there is no point."
.
"...On a superficial level, you can tell Corbyn is the only candidate that doesn't advocate free-market capitalism by his refusal to adopt the uniform of the business classes. The fact that politicians now need to dress like financial advisors in order to have perceived credibility is another example of the corruption of neoliberalism."
.
"...... And then the Milliband - let alone Corbyns - face a five-year hatchet job by the Daily Mail et al, the swinging middle Englanders will sniff and wonder what that weirdo is all about, before driving out of their banal semi-detached homes in their banal semi-detatched communities to put a cross in the Conservative box for that forthright blonde chap, or that tough economic decisions fellow we've heard so many good things about."
.
"...Voters are largely lead by propaganda; and the Tories are much better at that (and have 90% of the media in their pocket; or vice versa)."
.
"...The strong right wing press and media have at all times suffocated any socialist aspirations, and never gave it a chance to really get going and in the process kept very intelligent men like Foot and Benn always struggling to get their sound policies over . The Bankers and big business and those who controlled them always made it their goal to discredit anyone who had the temerity to espouse policies the would be beneficial to the working man/woman in the UK."
Jul 31, 2015 | theguardian.com
Jeremy Corbyn regards it as a badge of honour: Tony Blair's barb that anyone voting for the insurgent candidate needs a heart transplant. It is only a matter of time before T-shirts start appearing with the slogan "I need a transplant". They might need a lot of them.

Corbyn's campaign for the Labour leadership is gathering a momentum even he did not anticipate at the outset. "The events we organise ourselves are getting bigger and bigger," Corbyn says. When he held his first rally in Birkenhead on 9 July, he attracted a more than respectable audience of 350. The numbers have been steadily growing since. He is due to speak in Liverpool this weekend, with an audience of more than 800 anticipated and an overspill room booked.

On Tuesday evening, the contender attracted more than 400 for a Q&A session in Luton, and an hour later, beginning at 9pm, he addressed a capacity crowd of 800 at London's Bloomsbury Baptist church, with others listening via a loudspeaker outside.

Corbyn said that last Saturday he did a formal meeting in Warrington and followed it up with an informal gathering of supporters in a pub garden in central Manchester. Even though the latter had been largely unpublicised, he said between 350 and 400 turned up.

On Wednesday he won the backing of Unison, one of the biggest unions in the country. He already has the backing of Unite, the biggest.

Win or lose the leadership ballot, Corbyn has brought excitement to what was otherwise shaping up as a dull campaign.

Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership bid has a momentum even he didn't expect

Related: Why smart Tories should not be smug about Labour's Corbyn-mania | Matthew d'Ancona

JamesSilkDavey -> fatdaddyyork 31 Jul 2015 04:59

"No future for labour in being a watered down version of the Tories though."

There's a mile of difference between Social Democracy, Blair/Brown style, and this lot.

People here can't see that. Voters can, thankfully.

JamesSilkDavey -> Sue Dockett 31 Jul 2015 04:57

"Would you care to remind me how that turned out for the people of Britain? "

3 million unemployed, sink schools and sink estates, privatisation of public assets that British people had paid for and allowing the nation's wealth to be transferred to foreign ownership, failure to support manufacturing industry, all-out attack on the unions, allowing an American citizen to control large parts of the British media, abolishing the GLC, cosying up to Pinochet and rescuing Mark Thatcher from the desert"

And the electorate liked it. Or at least preferred it to what Labour offered in '92. You people really don't get it, do you? Neoliberalism delivered a significant increase in GDP, and the /majority/ of the country enjoyed those benefits. The Tories understand this. They understand that if you make people in the middle, and the old, feel they are on their side, then they win enough votes to get elected.

It's democracy. People vote for parties that make them richer. They don't care very much about the people at the bottom (who, lets be absolutely clear, lost a lot in the 80s)

Given that New Labour was a bloody miracle. They managed to keep getting elected, not crash the economy AND tackle the very things that you are complaining about (particularly sink schools and sink estates, and to some extent, though not enough, the income of the bottom 20%)

We are never going to live in a socialist utopia because voters are largely selfish. That doesn't mean you can't build a realistic social democratic alternative which seeks to redress the balance. I think it can certainly be done better than New Labour did it (the absence of a meaningful industrial strategy was the major weakness, as they were beguiled by 'services') but New Labour are a hell of a lot better than OsBo.

Dan Jarvis, to pick a name at random, could run on a broadly 'Blair-like' platform, win, and invest in schools, social care and housing.

Or BoJo could win and take us back, as someone said, to the 1880s.

JamesSilkDavey -> bolshevik96 31 Jul 2015 04:34

The neoliberal democracies of Europe keep voting for neoliberal parties. The threatening parties are nationalists. Socialists are nowhere.

There are three plausible political models for the UK. Social democracy (some form of 'Blair+Brownism, if you will), Conservatism and Nationalism, as presented by UKIP.

Socialism is not on the map.


JohnIgbino -> elay55 31 Jul 2015 03:09

It is still divisive, but not as much as it was in the 1950s and the 1960s. In the 1960s when I benefited from the expansion of education and subsequently went to university only 12% of the population went to university. Today there are wide ranging routes leading to university and many individuals and groups who would not otherwise have had the opportunity to gain the experience of a university education can now do so. In this sense the spirit of the 1960s persists.

But I should point out to you that the liberalisation of access to education had nothing to do with Rightwingers. Indeed, they vehemently opposed the policy. The people who fought for the liberalisation would be vilified today as Leftwingers. So when you come on this platform and begin to argue as you have been doing you demonstrate that you do not know how the post-World War 11 social policies and subsequent liberalisation of access to education helped this country to compete internationally, particularly against the country's War Allies.

Nathon -> packc47 31 Jul 2015 03:09

Attlee won over a million more votes than Churchill in 1951. He still lost the election, because of FPTP.

Even if Labour pulls back the 2 million votes it currently lags behind the Tories, it won't be matter a single shit if those votes aren't in the right places. Seats win elections, not absolute vote numbers or share. This is FPTP. And the seats that matter, the ones that will decide the next election, are the English marginals currently held by the Tories.

I have still to hear any of Corbyn's supporters even recognize this as an issue, let alone come up with a coherent plan for addressing it. It's all "win back voters from the SNP", "win back voters from the Greens", "gain back the real Labour votes Blair lost" etc. Such things will plump up our numbers nicely in already safe seats. But they will not make the blindest bit of difference in the marginal seats we have to win.


ariseandresist -> Finite187 30 Jul 2015 21:57

Well, I think that's a mis-characterisation - in the much part created & amplified by an establishment, sychophantic right wing London based media. If you actually look at what Corbyn has to say it's pretty moderate; society & people focused & doesn't at all necessarily mean, as a policy outcome, fiscal or economic recklessness. Corbyn's position is pretty well considered & he doesn't do cheap populism.


IrishIain -> Finite187 30 Jul 2015 19:50

people who didn't vote don't count

They didn't count, they can still count in 2020 and they represent a much bigger pool of potential support than a handful of swing voters in key marginals. Convincing a significant number of them to vote next time could make all the difference if you can pull it off.

It was a perfectly legitimate result

I'm not denying that in any way, I was merely pointing out that if you can convince non-voters to vote that far out weighs the potential number of swing voters amongst those who always do.

The main reason Labour voters switched to UKIP was immigration, and Corbyn's brand of socialism has nothing to say on this.

I still don't buy that. Immigration increases pressure on housing and (downward) pressure on wages. I'm sure there are racists who just don't like immigrants, but for most it is, or so I like to think, a proximate issue and ultimately wages and housing are what they really care about. A more equitable distribution of profits and more social housing provision are precisely what Corbyn's brand of socialism is offering and are directed at the ultimate problems, not dog whistles around the proximate ones.

Do I think Corbyn has all the answers? Not even close. Do I think Cooper would make a better PM? Yes, most likely. Have Cooper, Burnham or Kendall got what it takes to win a general election? Don't make me laugh.

I can't honestly see any of the four of them winning in 2020. Corbyn's vanishing to none chance is better than the other three's snowflake in hell chance. We need another Labour leader who can actually inspire people, the apathetic non-voter more than the swing voter, to vote for the party. Corbyn, for all his faults, might just pull that off. The rest of them couldn't inspire me to kick for the surface if I was drowning.


bolshevik96 30 Jul 2015 19:48

J.C is doing well because he offers what the other candidates cannot - clear blue water between the Labour Party and the Tories. Why are so many senior Labour figures frightened of the word "socialism"?...

They`re supposed to believe in it.... or has the right`s demonization of it seeped so far into the national consciousness that even the Labour Party won`t countenance it.

The neo - liberal "democracies" in Europe ( or shall we just call them the German Federal State) are scared witless of the left and will do anything to crush it because they know that austerity is not the way forward to prosperity but is instead an economic mechanism to preserve the status quo....

opinyunated2 30 Jul 2015 19:08

There is difference between firing up 300,000 left Leaning students, and others to the cause and persuading the 60 odd million to vote for a left leaning government. Does anyone remember th effect that Michael Foot had on labour when he elated leader. Canada is about to move left to the NDP this Fall but the NDP is moving to the centre ground vacated by the Tories. activist may feel good into UK. However this JC (The London one) will simply lead them into the wilderness not the promise land.


THKMTL margsmeanders 30 Jul 2015 18:14

As Sue says , The labour party was destroyed by the gang of four . It isn't necessary to listen to idiots , anyone who has thought things out for themselves, knows precisely what parrots will say before they have begun.

And everything you have said is totally predictable cliche ! Politics is about unifying OTHERWISE diverse interest groups, and APPARENT diverse opinions.

Should you decide to stop listening and actually think instead , you might realize that there is only one' right' . There is absolutely no honour in tolerating wrongs in the name 'everyone has a right to the' wrong ' opinion. They absolutely do not.


sillylittleman Sowester 30 Jul 2015 17:59

There is a lot that can happen between now and 2020. Also there really is not a "working class" any more - at least not in the way there was in the 1970's and 80's
.
The fact that capitalism cannot provide half-decent jobs for millions does not mean the working class has disappeared. A third of the electorate do not vote at all - largely because of the sentiment that they are all bastards and there is no point.

Sue Dockett -> JamesSilkDavey 30 Jul 2015 17:33

Blair destroyed Labour credibility through the lies over WMD and taking us into an illegal war ignoring all opposition. That is why he is toxic. Even a 3 legged brain dead donkey could have won the election for Labour in 1997 the Tories were so unpopular. Despite a decreasing vote Labour were still able beat the Tories and even now are only taking 36.5% of vote. It is the supporters labour lost because of Blair we need to recruit not Tory voters who will never vote labour.


Sue Dockett El Zorro 30 Jul 2015 17:28

Why is it that the success of someone classed as "left wing" will destroy party unity? It seems the "right" impales itself on its inability to work as a team unless they get their way all the time. The gang of four did more to damage Labour in '83 than foots dufflecoat or the policies.


jimmyonebomb -> bushwoodcountryclub 30 Jul 2015 14:55

Public opinion/centre ground/general consensus etc, these aren't things that are static and constant, nor are they things that are naturally ingrained in people.

They are ingrained in them largely through what they are told through media. The centre ground/ overton window whatever you want to call it moves and shifts with the times largely dependent on who is pushing what agenda forward and outlets they have he backing of to push it out. Does he have no attraction, or is it cos people only really get messages put to them that he is a raving communist who wants to re-nationalise every corner shop, and are constantly told over and over that he is unelectable without really explaining why? Surely the decision whether somone is unelectable or not is down to the electorate, not for a few 'experts' to keep constantly telling us who is and who isn't.


Gregory Dance -> FelseEngland 30 Jul 2015 14:20

Dear False England, following the right wing nut bags who hypnotised the Blairites into selling their souls and taking the nation to hell is not on Corbyn's menu and if you had any sense not on yours either!


Gregory Dance 30 Jul 2015 14:17

Corbyn is popular because he speaks straight and has an ordinary unpolished honest persona. People recognise this as a valuable and rare person in the commons because most of the others are .... well .... lying devious crap really!

The rule of thumb - If a 'leader' or political manifesto has to be heavily marketed and repeatedly polished to make it shine, its a fraud (lipstick on a pig comes to mind), trying appear acceptable to what they hope is an undiscerning rabble.


guydabored76 JamesSilkDavey 30 Jul 2015 11:40

Nonsense. Milliband was constantly derided and labelled as a left-wing extremist. An objective analysis of the policies he advocated shows that claim to be false. We live in a plutocracy and the plutocrats want to make sure that the neoliberal consensus can never be challenged. People are waking-up to this reality, I believe, hence Corbyn's popularity.


VinceDaFox 30 Jul 2015 11:29

Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership bid has a momentum even he didn't expect

Is this cutting-edge news any more? I see Corbyn's popularity as a product of the relief felt by the marginalized, ignored and excluded of the Labour movement who see just a glimmer of hope that they might just get their party back from the slick political consultants of the Blairites. It's been a long time.


guydabored76 JamesSilkDavey 30 Jul 2015 11:25

They were persuaded to vote for Cameron, a vacuous, establishment functionary with a studied look of authority on his face as he recites scripts then quickly disappears before anyone can ask him a question because then, his inadequacy would be evident. Why did the cretin avoid the election TV debates?


DaleCooperFIB JamesSilkDavey 30 Jul 2015 11:21

BTW, I voted Green in the last GE too. Mainly because the bulk of their policies were more Labour-like than Labour's.
I'm hoping Corbyn will take Labour back to the centre/left and return to policies similar to the Green's.


El Zorro 30 Jul 2015 11:15

Another Day, another union endorsement of Mr. J. Corbyn!

Will it undercut the other "more mainstream" candidates when so many larger Trades Unions and constituency labour parties are flocking to the outsider? He was supposed to be a bit of an outlier, wasn't he? You can see that Corbyn is campaigning with less pressure, more assurance because of that, as if to say: "nobody expects me to win, but it's nice if I do! But in the meantime, let's have a conversation." His demeanour has helped him too. He seems calm, unruffled, affable (so far). Is there a softness in his rivals' appeal that they've not been able to break through in the same way? If yes, that can't bode well for a leader who is starting so far behind the Tories.

But ... I wonder if it could severely impale Labour Party unity? If not physically rupturing the organization, but internally. Would centrist swing or independent voters become alienated by this hard-left turn & flock over to revive the Liberal Democrats? ... Ed Miliband allegedly ushered in many more left-leaning MPs than in the Blair-era, surely Corbyn would do the same (even if he's not elected and/or is merely a caretaker leader)? Is this the Labour Party having a summer tantrum after the election & say, "you might not like us or even have voted for us, but we are who we are! So deal with it!"

Whoever triumphs, I hope they can get their act together because the thought of ANOTHER decade of cuts, austerity and cutting off opportunities for the young at the knees is especially depressing and bleak. :-(


DaleCooperFIB JamesSilkDavey 30 Jul 2015 11:03

Sorry JamesSilkDavey, but I have to disagree with you. The media play a massive part in how they portray/present (particularly Labour) Politicians to the electorate - whether it's to continually show an embarrasing snap-shot of Miliband munching on a bacon butty, or as you say they chose to make Corbyn look like a "beardy sandal wearer" (a la the original JC, eh?).

Generally, the electorate have to base their decision making on how politicians are represented in the media.


LeonardPynchon -> ds9074 30 Jul 2015 11:00

Yes thanks I understand how it works - I have fully paid back the student loan I took out years ago.

Ironic that the Tories constantly bemoan the disincentivizing effects of taxing the wealthy - why wouldn't this be equally disincentivizing? Seems to me that discouraging poorer students from going to University is the only possible reason for doing/supporting this.

Bizarre also that you believe this does not amount to a debt - the money is loaned and then repaid is it not? I clearly remember it coming out of my bank account on a monthly basis.

The IFS notes that 'The poorest 40% of students going to university in England will now graduate with debts of up to £53,000 from a three-year course, rather than up to £40,500. In return for an extra £766 per year in cash while studying.'

That's £12,500 more - a significant sum.

The government's decision to scrap maintenance grants and replace them with loans while increasing the debt burden faced by poorer students will do little to improve the public finances, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, as only around a quarter of the loans will be repaid. Furthermore the IFS concludes that the decision to freeze the repayment threshold at £21,000 for 5 years rather than allow it to increase with inflation will see graduation repayments increase by £3,800 on average.

So a negligible effect on the public finances but a considerable debt laid specifically on the poorest students - why would the Tories do this?


guydabored76 30 Jul 2015 10:38

On a superficial level, you can tell Corbyn is the only candidate that doesn't advocate free-market capitalism by his refusal to adopt the uniform of the business classes. The fact that politicians now need to dress like financial advisors in order to have perceived credibility is another example of the corruption of neoliberalism.


godforbidowright BrigadierCrispbread 30 Jul 2015 10:35

The vestiges are alive and well. But the Westminster is quite happy to plod on without rocking the boat too much, first past the post, dodgy bicameral chambers reigning supreme in our top-heavy state...

... And then the Milliband - let alone Corbyns - face a five-year hatchet job by the Daily Mail et al, the swinging middle Englanders will sniff and wonder what that weirdo is all about, before driving out of their banal semi-detached homes in their banal semi-detatched communities to put a cross in the Conservative box for that forthright blonde chap, or that tough economic decisions fellow we've heard so many good things about.

And that'll be that.


uuuuuuu -> TheMarxOfProgress 30 Jul 2015 10:34

Voters are largely lead by propaganda; and the Tories are much better at that (and have 90% of the media in their pocket; or vice versa). For the same reason Putin is also leading the polls in Russia by a huge margin.

if you can win two elections on the basis of a factual lie ("Labour spent too much") then you must be good at propaganda.


DaleCooperFIB 30 Jul 2015 10:25

Corbyn may not win the next GE (as he doesn't fit the media's identikit PM profile), but if he becomes Labour leader he will help restore it's position to the centre/left and create a real alternative for the electorate.

If one of the more media friendly faces (Jarvis, Cooper, Burnham, Umunna) work with Corbyn in repairing the Labour party, there may be a slight chance of avoiding a further Tory term in office.

The Cons only look after a select few of the population, so God help the poor, the sick, the disabled, students, the NHS, etc if the Tories do win again.

q321gg8cla -> cpslashm 30 Jul 2015 09:32

The unions exist to stop workers becoming slaves. Thatcher smashed the mining unions because she hated the fact that the Miners had through their brotherhood in appalling work conditions, created health, education and welfare systems for their communities. Also Britain has an outdated and farcical class system and any group who can provide an alternative social model of equality and benefit to the working class, the poor, the homeless gets battered because it threatens the Conservative Political model of the BEEHIVE

AvidViewer 30 Jul 2015 09:32

Frankie Boyle's piece earlier in the week raised a smile, and this from Dan Hodges may do the same (except for the heading and the final line, which suggest that Hodges doesn't quite get what he is joking about):

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/11772481/The-Labour-party-is-a-joke.-We-should-stop-taking-it-seriously.html


RadioPartizan -> ID635255522172 30 Jul 2015 09:18

For millions of people - and the numbers grow greater every day - austerity is not "abstract" its a very real and savage attack on their standard of living - pushing many of them over the edge. Osbourne's budget will make millions of people - working people - thousands of pounds worse off every year (im one of them) - in addition you have services being slashed to breaking point, a housing crisis and a whole generation of under 25s being kicked to shit (tuition fees, stopping of housing benefit, exclusion from minimum wage, work fare). At the same as these privations they see tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations being enabled to dodge their tax bill.

Is there enough affected to defeat the tories in the next election? I dont know. Will they support a labour party that sits on its hands rather than fight their corner? Will they bollocks.

As for the "guardian hymn sheet" - nearly of their commentators have in meltdown at the prospect of a corbyn led labour party ditching (failed) neo-liberalism.


unlywnted gaitero 30 Jul 2015 09:17

"Not sure whether it is hilarious or tragic how closely the pro-COrbyn comments on here match the pro-Farage comments in Torygraphland threads."
You're in some fair measure right but it is neither hilarious nor tragic but positively uplifting that people are spontaneously aroused from Left and Right to oppose the stale, status quo neoliberal political views of the established parties and MSM and how interesting to observe the MSM attacking both Farage and Corbyn along similar spurious lines.


Tim Veater 30 Jul 2015 09:10

People are crying out for an antidote to Blair, his public relation acolytes and reincarnations. Corbyn has been uniformly castigated by 'new labour' and 'right wing' types, which must speak in his favour. I, in common with many I suggest, know little about him, but in just one appearance in a recent Question Time he impressed and put the other panellists in the shade. He appeared refreshingly free of slogans and the image-maker's mark. They clearly thought he wasn't worth bothering about, although they are probably clustering now. I hope he has the sense to reject them and their dark arts. He spoke rationally, calmly and with an authority that offered at last, a promise of true opposition to the patently selfish money-only ideology of the present government. In fact it may indeed have been a glimmer of the idealism embedded in the original Labour pioneers, long since buried in the sediment of a corrupt international capitalism.


cpslashm 30 Jul 2015 09:06

One question: in a re-nationalised country, what would Jeremy Corbyn do to prevent the re-emergence of powerful unions where a few thousand, unelected by the rest of the population, can bring the country to its knees by industrial inaction? I lived through these power games where some far-off "dispute" in transport, energy, health or education screwed up ordinary people's lives. When Thatcher broke the unions, many breathed a sigh of relief but the management culture which was a major reason for the disputes wasn't touched. Corbyn may want a fairer society but will he prevent unionised unfairness?


MysteryMachines 30 Jul 2015 09:01

Rather excited by a labour leader for once, the amount of spin and rhetoric thrown at Corbyn recently, suggests what the ruling elite think of him (he's a threat).

Could he win a general election? If a lizard masquerading in human skin (Cameron) can why can Corbyn not?

First things first, he needs to get elected leader, after that one step at a time.

Feeling hopeful.


Mal Evans JohnJDuffy 30 Jul 2015 08:40

Corbyn has an ace up his sleeve, though. Well, not so much up his sleeve, it's actually on full display. Young people who have never voted have a keen eye that sees the cruel Conservative ideology underpinning the atrocious Tory policies that are devastating the already destitute and vulnerable. They are angry and they are flocking to Labour to register as supporters and members of the party. There's a huge appetite there for social justice and a determination to oust the Tories from government whenever the opportunity arises.

It's really good to see our young people becoming engaged in such a way but if the successful candidate for the Labour leadership doesn't accommodate the desire for the ideological change these young people demand they will be punished for it with falling membership rolls and at the ballot box.


johngwalia 30 Jul 2015 08:39

It would appear that Blair was also convinced that it was his charisma that got him his landslide victory in 1997. Nothing to do with the fact that the Tories had dug their own grave and buried themselves in sleaze. So much so even diehard Tories never went to the polls. He could have done so much good instead he chose to do harm at the bequest of the US. Currying favour it is called which did well for him personally.

The propaganda weapon that faces any Labour administration is formidable as the Tory driven media constantly undermines any concerted efforts to ensure that a fair and just society is created for the many rather than the few.


cherryredguitar robertdr 30 Jul 2015 08:39

JC excites the labour left and political activists, but will horrify the greater electorate.

As the Indy pointed out, a majority of the greater electorate support many of Corbyn's policies, including renationalisation, rent controls and a 75% tax rate for those who are earning over £1m.

andrewdoddsuk Attmtihss 30 Jul 2015 08:38

You meant that whenever a vaguely left-wing government is elected nowadays, it immediately comes under sustained attack from high finance? Regardless of the actual policies enacted.


computer8000 30 Jul 2015 08:30

Why has Tony Blair jumped into all this ? Talks of Heart transplant ! Seems to have got insane. Must have been paid because he speaks only when paid huge sums for his speeches. He should be in the International court of Justice at Hague and be tried for the destruction of mankind when was a prime Minister.
The other Labour candidates besides Corby lack gravity and would not command leadership.


THKMTL 30 Jul 2015 08:18

Power does not exist in the Gov . The gov. cannot rule without a compliant, lobotomized by the diseducation system, general public. The most important thing ( as J.C. said) is to create a means for discussion , and a channel for high- profile REAL public opinion, which did not exist before his gratifying and uniquely honourable attempt to do so

... ... ...

continue in pride and confidence.


prosep 30 Jul 2015 08:10

Who knows, this could be the beginnings of a Socialist renaissance that could have been lying dormant until the Scots took some action and banished a pseudo Labour party to the verve of extinction in Scotland, and will probably finish off the job come next may, with the two recent shocking abstentions uppermost in their minds.

The strong right wing press and media have at all times suffocated any socialist aspirations, and never gave it a chance to really get going and in the process kept very intelligent men like Foot and Benn always struggling to get their sound policies over . The Bankers and big business and those who controlled them always made it their goal to discredit anyone who had the temerity to espouse policies the would be beneficial to the working man/woman in the UK.

The younger voter could be the springboard for this seismic change in UK politics and one should not be surprised by this as it is patently obvious to all and sundry the past 40 years have been a failure for the ordinary person with the rich getting richer and poverty in the UK taking a firm grip on, yes, even those who are in work, with the Joseph Rowntree foundation stating over half of the 13 million people classed as in poverty in this, one of the wealthiest countries in the world today, are in actual fact working .

Thatchers main aim, if not whole raison d'etre, was to destroy the unions, and in doing so left the poor worker practically defenseless and open to exploitation, and as always happens if the opportunity is there, the bosses will exploit it, and before you start screaming nonsense, just how much of the welfare bill goes indirectly to the employers in the way of the state subsidising THEIR workers, and you can already hear the rumblings of discontent at the modest rise the Government have said they must pay .

But alas this is all pie in the sky as even if Corbyn was to win, he would have to leave the Labour party and start a new one, as it seems no one is prepared to work with him, so in essence, this my friends is just wishful thinking.


Cicero001 30 Jul 2015 07:41

Corbyn is a breath of fresh air and just what the Labour party and the UK needs. A real alternative to the austerity-loving elitist landed gentry that govern us aka the Tory party.

Even if he's not going to win the 2020 election he at least will offer an alternative view in UK politics and that can only be a good thing.

The nation needs an opposition that is completely opposed to the ruling party to give the voters a real choice.

The public have complained that there was no point in voting as all the parties were the same...well not any more!

Labour tried being Tory-Lite and it got them trounced at the election...if the voters want Tory policies they will vote for the real Tory party not a bunch of Red-Tory wannabes!!

It's time Labour got back to the Left of centre and to their true roots. Time to throw the 'Nu-Labour' experiment and it's adherents into the political dustbin.

Corbyn has my vote!


MissingInActon 30 Jul 2015 07:39

As they say across the pond, do the math.
This piece has 4,114 comments as I write, and other pieces on JC have been racking the numbers up for a while. The Mail is finding every angle they can on him, trying to do him down without much support from their readers, and has gone as far as finding the market vendor who sells him his vests. The Indy has one story and a vid on the front page, and the Mirror has dug up the old 'bigger than Jesus' tag based on his google ranking.
He has the media profile he needs to start, and manage, the debate he wants. If that debate happens across the country, I think he'll be a happy man. If Labour choose anyone else, they'll be seen as deliberately picking a second-rater. John McTiernan may not give a damn about the grassroots but, come polling day, they have the last word.
Right now, JC is that word.

[Jul 31, 2015] The Fed & The Donald

July 29, 2015 | Macro Allocation Inc.

Donald Trump's ascendance as the early GOP front-runner is symbolic of a greater global trend: growing pushback against institutional political and economic power.

To many centrist politicians and mainstream political observers, Donald Trump is a boastful, insensitive egomaniac spouting populist rhetoric. Whether such a characterization is true is not worthy of debate, which may explain why the rantings of enraged career political pundits have no impact on Mr. Trump's popularity among Republican voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and across America. It seems no amount of ink or air time spent tarring and feathering Trump's reputation sticks; in fact it seems to help Teflon Don in the polls, where he leads a crowded field of career politicians.

Donald Trump is a threat not only to the nattering nabobs in the press corps and the Republican Party. His day in the sun may be symbolic of a broader dynamic: the declining power held by historically powerful institutions. Ask yourself if Trump's campaign is making a mockery of the political process or exposing the mockery that the political process has become. A not-insignificant percentage of Americans away from the coasts, are looking past his utter lack of decorum and political savvy to hitch their wagons to his outrage.

Let's forget, for a moment, about our personal politics, preferred policies, and individual candidates we may be excited to elect. Are we supposed to forget that the Supreme Court, through its 2010 decision that corporate donors should be treated legally as individual donors under the First Amendment, effectively subordinated individual voters into mere supporting targets to which political aspirants have to appeal? Most importantly, are we supposed to nod our bobble heads in agreement with the heads of the national parties to choose a candidate they find acceptable based on which will appeal to the best funded special interests?

Is anyone really polling in favor of Donald Trump or is he conveniently filling the role of the not-so-quiet counterfactual?

I recently texted one of the premier Sunday morning political pundits with these thoughts and he texted back:

"That's what I am arguing internally. This is the country's collective middle finger to Washington."

As an investment strategist and consultant observing our current global economy and markets, it is difficult not to extrapolate this sense of helplessness against powerful institutions. Tell us again why six years of central bank financial repression is serving the interests of the greater factors-of-production? As investors, should we care about widening wealth and income gaps that are clearly part-and-parcel with central bank policies devoted to maintaining asset values (see here and here)?

Should we expect free, democratic markets that create, form and price capital efficiently - not that treat financial assets as balance sheet collateral for credit?

Who can voters elect to again have an economy that puts producers over rentiers, or to have markets that price value? I'm sure it's not Donald Trump (a rentier's rentier!), but I'm also sure it's not the heads of the Democrat and Republican Parties. Who can investors elect to keep the rentier thing going? Is that really what investors should want? It's complicated.

[Jul 30, 2015] MeiN CoiF! Zero Hedge

"...She tried to outdo Bill's $200 haircut, but he held up air traffic on the east coast for two hours, so he is still ahead."
"...She failed the bar exam. http://www.buzzfeed.com/deenashanker/fail-the-bar-become-president We're ruled by elite morons."
"...You don't have to be smart to be a politician, all you need to be is "Willing to give the banksters what they want." "

ChanceIs

No, no. The haircut was only $100. Hillary had to cough up another $500 because the Secret Service had to close down the rest of th salon for security reasons. She had to compensate the owners for the lost business from all of the empty chairs and idle beauticians.

Just kidding.

Actually, I wasn't. It wasn't the Secret Service at all. It was Hillary not wanting to suffer the indignity of being coiffed next to mere mortal in an adjacent chair. You knw...the other clients would see how much gray she really has and talk to Matt Drudge.

I always love how Drudge finds the photos showing the most wrinkles.

MontgomeryScott

Is anyone old enough to remember the time, about 3 weeks after 1992 selection, that Hitlery's masochist Boi-toy Bill (three weeks after taking office in his first term) made LAX shut down for an hour while he got his hair cut (on Air Force One, on the runway)? Seems there was this rise to impeach him in the Senate after he sold the Long Beach (CA) Naval Shipyards to COSCO (actually, he LEASED them to the civilian operations sector of the Chinese Communist People's Liberation Army, but why split hairs). It served him WELL to get the attention diverted from his FIRST presidential scandal, though.

Hitlery is doing some 'pre-selection' diversion, here...

NICE hairdo, WB. I think I see a family/pod/nest of vultures in her hair, though.

AN INSIDE JOB? HOW DARE YOU! HOW DARE YOU!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx4dM5KoqU0

Lumberjack

"You Can Legally Bribe a Government Official" http://www.globalresearch.ca/you-can-legally-bribe-a-government-official/5465490

Janine Jackson interviewed investigative reporter Lee Fang about Washington's revolving door for the July 24 CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

Janine Jackson: When Eric Holder first joined law firm Covington & Burling in 2001, he was coming from a stint as deputy attorney general under Bill Clinton. So it's no wonder that when Holder went to the Obama administration as attorney general, the folks at Covington kept his seat warm.

...JJ: Well, when you talk about Eric Holder going from Covington & Burling to the White House back to Covington & Burling back to the White House back to Covington & Burling, the response from many could be summed up, I think, as "duh." I mean, some of us don't forget 1992 Hillary Clinton saying, "For goodness sakes, you can't be a lawyer if you don't represent banks."…

Nobody For President

I was laughing at the title before I even got to the site.

She tried to outdo Bill's $200 haircut, but he held up air traffic on the east coast for two hours, so he is still ahead.

Reaper

Hitlery needed affirmative action and a stuck up coif for her SS admission. She failed the bar exam. http://www.buzzfeed.com/deenashanker/fail-the-bar-become-president

We're ruled by elite morons.

ThrowAwayYourTV

You don't have to be smart to be a politician, all you need to be is "Willing to give the banksters what they want."

MeiN CoiF! Zero Hedge


ChanceIs

No, no. The haircut was only $100. Hillary had to cough up another $500 because the Secret Service had to close down the rest of th salon for security reasons. She had to compensate the owners for the lost business from all of the empty chairs and idle beauticians.

Just kidding.

Actually, I wasn't. It wasn't the Secret Service at all. It was Hillary not wanting to suffer the indignity of being coiffed next to mere mortal in an adjacent chair. You knw...the other clients would see how much gray she really has and talk to Matt Drudge.

I always love how Drudge finds the photos showing the most wrinkles.

MontgomeryScott

Is anyone old enough to remember the time, about 3 weeks after 1992 selection, that Hitlery's masochist Boi-toy Bill (three weeks after taking office in his first term) made LAX shut down for an hour while he got his hair cut (on Air Force One, on the runway)? Seems there was this rise to impeach him in the Senate after he sold the Long Beach (CA) Naval Shipyards to COSCO (actually, he LEASED them to the civilian operations sector of the Chinese Communist People's Liberation Army, but why split hairs). It served him WELL to get the attention diverted from his FIRST presidential scandal, though.

Hitlery is doing some 'pre-selection' diversion, here...

NICE hairdo, WB. I think I see a family/pod/nest of vultures in her hair, though.

AN INSIDE JOB? HOW DARE YOU! HOW DARE YOU!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx4dM5KoqU0

Lumberjack

"You Can Legally Bribe a Government Official" http://www.globalresearch.ca/you-can-legally-bribe-a-government-official/5465490
Janine Jackson interviewed investigative reporter Lee Fang about Washington's revolving door for the July 24 CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

Janine Jackson: When Eric Holder first joined law firm Covington & Burling in 2001, he was coming from a stint as deputy attorney general under Bill Clinton. So it's no wonder that when Holder went to the Obama administration as attorney general, the folks at Covington kept his seat warm.

...JJ: Well, when you talk about Eric Holder going from Covington & Burling to the White House back to Covington & Burling back to the White House back to Covington & Burling, the response from many could be summed up, I think, as "duh." I mean, some of us don't forget 1992 Hillary Clinton saying, "For goodness sakes, you can't be a lawyer if you don't represent banks."…

Nobody For President

I was laughing at the title before I even got to the site.

She tried to outdo Bill's $200 haircut, but he held up air traffic on the east coast for two hours, so he is still ahead.

Reaper

Hitlery needed affirmative action and a stuck up coif for her SS admission. She failed the bar exam. http://www.buzzfeed.com/deenashanker/fail-the-bar-become-president

We're ruled by elite morons.

ThrowAwayYourTV

You don't have to be smart to be a politician, all you need to be is "Willing to give the banksters what they want."

Could Trump Win Zero Hedge

07/28/2015 16:45 -0400

Submitted by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

The American political class has failed the country, and should be fired. That is the clearest message from the summer surge of Bernie Sanders and the remarkable rise of Donald Trump.

Sanders' candidacy can trace it roots back to the 19th-century populist party of Mary Elizabeth Lease who declaimed:

"Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master."

"Raise less corn and more hell!" Mary admonished the farmers of Kansas.

William Jennings Bryan captured the Democratic nomination in 1896 by denouncing the gold standard beloved of the hard money men of his day: "You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."

Sanders is in that tradition, if not in that league as an orator. His followers, largely white, $50,000-a-year folks with college degrees, call to mind more the followers of George McGovern than Jennings Bryan.

Yet the stagnation of workers' wages as the billionaire boys club admits new members, and the hemorrhaging of U.S. jobs under trade deals done for the Davos-Doha crowd, has created a blazing issue of economic inequality that propels the Sanders campaign.

Between his issues and Trump's there is overlap. Both denounce the trade deals that deindustrialized America and shipped millions of jobs off to Mexico, Asia and China. But Trump has connected to an even more powerful current.

That is the issue of uncontrolled and illegal immigration, the sense America's borders are undefended, that untold millions of lawbreakers are in our country, and more are coming. While most come to work, they are taking American jobs and consuming tax dollars, and too many come to rob, rape, murder and make a living selling drugs.

Moreover, the politicians who have talked about this for decades are a pack of phonies who have done little to secure the border.

Trump boasts that he will get the job done, as he gets done all other jobs he has undertaken. And his poll ratings are one measure of how far out of touch the Republican establishment is with the Republican heartland.

When Trump ridicules his rivals as Lilliputians and mocks the celebrity media, the Republican base cheers and laughs with him.

He is boastful, brash, defiant, unapologetic, loves campaigning, and is putting on a great show with his Trump planes and 100-foot-long stretch limos. "Every man a king but no man wears a crown," said Huey Long. "I'm gonna make America great again," says Donald.

Compared to Trump, all the other candidates, including Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, are boring. He makes politics entertaining, fun.

Trump also benefits from the perception that his rivals and the press want him out of the race and are desperately seizing upon any gaffe to drive him out. The piling on, the abandonment of Trump by the corporate elite, may have cost him a lot of money. But it also brought him support he would not otherwise have had.

For no group of Americans has been called more names than the base of the GOP. The attacks that caused the establishment to wash its hands of Trump as an embarrassment brought the base to his defense.

But can Trump win?

If his poll numbers hold, Trump will be there six months from now when the Sweet 16 is cut to the Final Four, and he will likely be in the finals. For if Trump is running at 18 or 20 percent nationally then, among Republicans, it is hard to see how two rivals beat him.

For Trump not to be in the hunt as the New Hampshire primary opens, his campaign will have to implode, as Gary Hart's did in 1987, and Bill Clinton's almost did in 1992.

Thus, in the next six months, Trump will have to commit some truly egregious blunder that costs him his present following. Or the dirt divers of the media and "oppo research" arms of the other campaigns will have to come up with some high-yield IEDs.

Presidential primaries are minefields for the incautious, and Trump is not a cautious man. And it is difficult to see how, in a two-man race against the favorite of the Republican establishment, he could win enough primaries, caucuses and delegates to capture 50 percent of the convention votes.

For almost all of the candidates who will have dropped out by then will have endorsed the last man standing against Trump. And should Trump be nominated, his candidacy would make Barry Goldwater look like the great uniter of the GOP.

Still, who expected Donald Trump to be in the catbird seat in the GOP nomination run before the first presidential debate? And even his TV antagonists cannot deny he has been great for ratings.

[Jul 27, 2015] Clinton Favorability Plunges, Sanders Surges Amid Classified Emails Scandal

Zero Hedge

Despite all her proclamations of new fairness doctrines, false promises of her truthfulness, and exclamations of 'everyday Americanism' Hillary Rodham Clinton is seeing her favorability ratings collapse. As populist as she dares to be, in the face of her donating captors, it appears the everyday American just isn't buying it as Gallup reports just 43% Americans view her favorably (down from 66% just a few years ago) while none other than Bernie Sanders is bounding up the popularity ladder, rising from 12% to 24% favorability in recent weeks.

Via Gallup,

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' favorable rating among Americans has doubled since Gallup's initial reading in March, rising to 24% from 12% as he has become better known. Hillary Clinton's rating has slipped to 43% from 48% in April. At the same time, Clinton's unfavorable rating increased to 46%, tilting her image negative and producing her worst net favorable score since December 2007.

JustObserving

just 43% Americans view her favorably

Isn't that 44% too many?

Obama is always the most admired man in this world in Gallup polls

We will never run out of idiots in the land of the free.

Psychopath Hillary sees great humor in Gaddafi's gruesome death: We came, we saw, he died
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y

ebworthen

Time for another "dark horse" (pun intended) DEM candidate to steal Hillary's thunder.

Younger, female, and with hints of pan-sexuality...Susan Rice?

Ralph Spoilsport

This guy at the NY Post thinks she's toast. He thinks Valerie Jarret was the leak about the emails and that the White House let her do it.

http://nypost.com/2015/07/26/hillary-has-a-dangerous-enemy-in-the-obama-...

Berspankme

I am sure the leaks come from the white house too. They own the MSM and nothing gets printed without white house okay. They don't want hilary and they are determined to deep six the bitch

LetThemEatRand

"Sanders is still an unknown to a majority of Americans, with just 44% able to rate him compared with Clinton's 89%."

I wonder why. Even ZH barely covers him. I've seen probably 10 Trump stories in the last week here, several Clinton stories, and zero (hedge) Sanders stories until now.

theTribster

Yep, exactly what I've been thinking. Would be nice to see a little love in Bernie's drection, a man with integrity (and lots of it) and some good ideas - but mostly a guy that listens to and works for us.

LetThemEatRand

My interest in Bernie is the same as Trump. They are both spoilers, and they say some truth in the process (Trump very obviously ignores the Fed and is a NeoCon, and Bernie has the problem of thinking taxation is the answer to everything). I'd like to see the MSM and certainly alternative media like ZH give both good coverage so people can hear what they are saying. Maybe someone worth electing would emerge if the vote for the banker candidates were truly split among both Teams.

CHC

I would absolutely LOVE to see Hillary just totally crash and burn! I'd be delighted if she's actually charged with violating a federal law - that would be so damn awesome. That would definitely do something to restore a little faith in our judicial system, but I'm definitely not holding my breath on that. CRASH AND BURN YOU TELETUBBY!

LetThemEatRand

Assume for a moment that Trump is the Ross Perot of the Red Team candidate this election (think George Bush against Bill Clinton). Sanders could play the same role for Hillary or other Blue Team candidate, splitting the Blues. MSM including Fox and other supposedly conservative media can't get enough of Trump (same for ZH for that matter). Not so much for Bernie. What does that tell you about who "they" want to win.

Baby Eating Dingo22

Funny how Sanders gest bashed here

He represents everything that most here clamor for


1.He is not a sell-out to party or lobbyists
2.He has been honest and consistent about his position his entire career
3.He will out the Fed
4.He will out the banksters
5.He will FINALLY aim the printers where they should have ben aimed 10 years ago. Directly at Americans and not to Wall Street

The ones that don't support him seem to think that someone should come in and stop the printing and we'll be on way to recovery. That's wrong. We're broke 20 times over. The debt's NEVER being paid back.

Let Bernie print until the reset. At least the banksters and Fed will be cut down to size and the 99% can prosper in the meantime

theTribster

Agrred. There is a lot more to this country's problems then our financial system, military - healthcare - good jobs - judicial - corruption everywhere, etc. There is no reason he can't win - it isn't all about money, he needs enough to communicate nationally which he has and more is coming. An amazing fact, there is a national Bernie meeting on the 29th, I looked at how many places around my zip (outside Philly within 50 miles) where the meeting was being held - 192! That's incredible. I then looked at our other locations (Wildwood Crest, Key Colony Beach) and both had 96 and 52 respectively. That is amazing, there is a lot more to Bernie then we know - the polls are corrupt (no surprise) as is the media - Lies and omissions...

Berspankme

Bernie and Trump tapping into pissed off americans

Nutflush60

George Will once called George Wallace's 68 campaign a warnings signal for Deomcrats. Both parties are now warnedt there are lot of angry people out there.

She has the money and organization, but I think the phoniness of Hillary will be so evident to her borderline supporters as time goes on,

Would love to see Kasich pick up mometum for the Repubs.

Bazza McKenzie

Jarrett is busy doing that. The Obama crime family is in the process of obliterating the older Clinton crime family. Then they'll pop up Joe as the Obama family's candidate.

Clinton can either sulk off with her corrupt millions or get charged. That's the path they're taking her down. And that's why the MSM is running stories critical of Clinton. They would be too afraid to do so if they thought there was any chance of her getting the nomination and being elected.

holdbuysell

To dog pile on the rabbit:

Hillary Clinton Exposed:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mYW5nmS9ps&feature=youtu.be

PlayMoney

This is why we need her http://sweetness-light.com/archive/barbara-olson-on-hillarys-cattle-futures

[Jul 26, 2015] Donald Trump's Top 30 Insults

"...In a Time of Universal Deceit — Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act. -- George Orwell "
"... "You mean George Bush sends our soldiers into combat, they are severely wounded, and then he wants $120,000 to make a boring speech to them?""
"...Not that Trump is right or electable - but he's calling out the mealy-mouthed pandering politically correct make everyone like us while screwing everyone over process that is the joke of a government populated by a bunch of ass clowns - so no wonder Trump resonates."
"... "I honestly can't think of a single person I'd call a "statesman" these days. " ... joseJimenez: "Well, that is because you can only lower the bar so much then anything gets thru. Obama comes to mind."
"...At this time in history, we have long passed the point of no return. Who is president just doesn't matter anymore. The Neoliberal ideology has destroyed every social fabric. What matters is to further internalize profit and socialize cost. Yes, We Can.
"
Jul 26, 2015 | Zero Hedge
In no particular order...
  1. Former President George W. Bush: "You mean George Bush sends our soldiers into combat, they are severely wounded, and then he wants $120,000 to make a boring speech to them?" asked Trump on July 9, after reports the former president charged a vets group for a speech. "Bush didn't have the IQ [to be president]," he added on June 16.
  2. Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) — "I'm not a big fan. The last thing we need is another Bush," Trump said on June 16. Trump's account also retweeted an insult to Bush's wife on July 4th: "@RObHeilbron: @realDonaldTrump #JebBush has to like the Mexican Illegals because of his wife." It was later deleted.
  3. Hillary Clinton — "Hillary Clinton was the worst secretary of State in the history of the United States," Trump told Business Insider. His account on April 16 also retweeted an attack on Clinton: "@mplefty67: If Hillary Clinton can't satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?" Trump said a campaign staffer was responsible and deleted the tweet.
  4. Anderson Cooper — "What a waste of time being interviewed by@andersoncooper when he puts on really stupid talking heads like Tim O'Brien-dumb guy with no clue!" Trump tweeted on July 22 after his interview with the CNN anchor. During his interview, Trump told Cooper: "The people don't trust you and the people don't trust the media."
  5. Bill Cosby — Trump said he believed the sexual assault allegations against the comedian, calling him "guilty as hell." "I've known him, and I've never liked him," Trump said in a July radio interview. "I think he is a highly overrated guy, both in talent and in many other ways,"
  6. Des Moines RegisterAfter the paper called on Trump to drop out, he dismissed it as a "sophomoric editorial" and called their coverage "uneven and inconsistent, but far more importantly, very dishonest."
  7. Forbes Magazine "Why does a failed magazine like @Forbes constantly seek out trivial nonsense? Their circulation way down. @Clare_OC," Trump tweeted on July 9.
  8. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) —"What a stiff, what a stiff, Lindsey Graham. By the way he has registered zero in the polls," Trump said, at a campaign speech in Bluffton, S.C. on July 21. "A total lightweight. In the private sector, he couldn't get a job. Believe me. Couldn't get a job. He couldn't do what you people did. You're retired as hell and rich. He wouldn't be rich; he'd be poor." Trump also shared Graham's personal cellphone number and said he had begged him to help get on Fox News's "Fox and Friends." "What's this guy, a beggar? He's like begging me to help him with [the show] 'Fox and Friends.'" Trump said of Graham on "CBS This Morning," on July 21.
  9. Jonah Goldberg — "Jonah Goldberg @JonahNRO of the once great @NRO#National Review is truly dumb as a rock. Why does @BretBaier put this dummy on his show?" Trump tweeted, criticizing the conservative columnist on April 20.
  10. Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman — Trump said the Mexican drug lord would be no match for him. "Can you envision Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton negotiating with 'El Chapo', the Mexican drug lord who escaped from prison? ...Trump, however, would kick his ass!" he tweeted on July 12. Trump later called in the FBI after a death threat from a Twitter account associated with Guzman.
  11. Arianna Huffington — "The liberal clown @ariannahuff told her minions at the money losing @HuffingtonPost to cover me as entertainment. I am #1 in Huff Post Poll," Trump tweeted on July 18.
  12. Penn Jillette — After the magician and comedian criticized Trump, he responded on July 16, tweeting: "I hear @pennjillette show on Broadway is terrible. Not surprised, boring guy (Penn). Without The Apprentice, show would have died long ago." He then followed up with, "I loved firing goofball atheist Penn @pennjillette on The Apprentice. He never had a chance. Wrote letter to me begging for forgiveness."
  13. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) — "What people don't know about Kasich- he was a managing partner of the horrendous Lehman Brothers when it totally destroyed the economy!" Trump tweeted on May 20.
  14. Charles Krauthammer"One of the worst and most boring political pundits on television is @krauthammer. A totally overrated clown who speaks without knowing facts," Trump tweeted about the conservative writer and Fox News contributor on June 4. A tweet a day later called him a "dumpy political pundit" and took issue with Krauthammer's support for the Iraq war. Krauthammer brought on Trump's ire by mocking his then-low standing in the polls.
  15. Bill Kristol — When the Weekly Standard editor belittled Trump's chances against Hillary, Trump responded on July 23, tweeting, "Bill, your small and slightly failing magazine will be a giant success when you finally back Trump. Country will soar!"
  16. Mitt Romney — "Why would anybody listen to @MittRomney? He lost an election that should have easily been won against Obama. By the way, so did John McCain!" Trump tweeted of the 2012 Republican nominee on July 18.
  17. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) "He's not a war hero," Trump said at a rally on July 18. "He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured." This followed a July 16 tweet saying, "@SenJohnMcCain should be defeated in the primaries. Graduated last in his class at Annapolis--dummy!" The insults came after McCain said Trump had "fired up the crazies" on immigration.
  18. ...
  19. Mexico — Trump lambasted the southern neighbor. "The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems," he said on May 30 at his campaign launch. "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." The remarks led a number of businesses to cut their ties with him. He doubled down after the escape of a top drug kingpin. "It's a corrupt place," Trump said on July 17. "It's a terrible court system." "Let's put it this way," he added, "I'm not going to Mexico."
  20. President Obama — Trump has long said he is not sure Obama was born in the U.S. and slammed his policies, calling him the "worst ever president." Obama hit back at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner, mocking Trump who was in attendance. But Trump hasn't let up. During the Baltimore riots in April this year he tweeted: "Our great African American President hasn't exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore!" He also Obama to leave office early and golf on one of his many courses. "If he'd like to play, that's fine. In fact, I'd love for him to leave early and play. That'd be a very good thing," he said at his campaign launch in June. After the Chattanooga shooting, Trump pressed Obama to lower the flag for the victims. "We have a president who just can't say a few words: 'Put the flags at half-mast for the five Marines that were just killed.' Why? Why? Why?" Trump said at a South Carolina rally on July 21. "It's almost like, does he read the papers? Does he watch television?"
  21. ...
  22. Former Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) — Perry has been a tough critic of Trump's rhetoric on immigration. "Rick Perry failed at the border. Now he is critical of me. He needs a new pair of glasses to see the crimes committed by illegal immigrants," Trump tweeted on July 5th. On July 16, he added, "@GovernorPerry failed on the border. He should be forced to take an IQ test before being allowed to enter the GOP debate." "He's doing very poorly in the polls. He put on glasses so people will think he's smart. And it just doesn't work! You know people can see through the glasses," Trump said at a rally on July 21.
  23. Former Gov. George Pataki (R-N.Y.) — Trump tweeted that Pataki "couldn't be elected dog catcher if he ran again—so he didn't!" Trump tweeted July 1. He followed up with: ".@GovernorPataki was a terrible governor of NY, one of the worst -- would've been swamped if he ran again!"
  24. Karl Rove — Trump went off on the Republican strategist's record in 2012 record. "@KarlRove wasted $400 million + and didn't win one race—a total loser. @FoxNews," he tweeted on July 16, followed by "Irrelevant clown @KarlRove sweats and shakes nervously on @FoxNews as he talks 'bull' about me. Has zero cred. Made fool of himself in '12." Trump even called out the network: "@FoxNewsYou shouldn't have @KarlRove on the air—he's a clown with zero credibility—a Bushy!"
  25. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — "[Sanders] knows the country is ripped off. And I know the country is being ripped off," Trump told The Hill on July 23. "The difference is that I can do something about it and he can't. He'll never be able to negotiate with China."
  26. Republican National Committee — "The RNC has not been supportive. They were always supportive when I was a contributor. I was their fair-haired boy," Trump toldThe Hill on July 23. "The RNC has been, I think, very foolish."
  27. Chuck Todd —"I hear that sleepy eyes @chucktodd will be fired like a dog from ratings starved Meet The Press? I can't imagine what is taking so long!" Trump tweeted on July 12 about the "Meet the Press" host.
  28. ...
  29. The Wall Street JournalTrump has had a long feud with owner Rupert Murdoch. After the paper questioned his candidacy, Trump tweeted on July 20: "The ever dwindling @WSJ which is worth about 1/10 of what it was purchased for, is always hitting me politically. Who cares!"
  30. Juan Williams — "@TheJuanWilliams you never speak well of me & yet when I saw you at Fox you ran over like a child and wanted a picture," tweeted Trump on July 3 of the Fox personality.

realmoney2015

"Hillary Clinton was the worst secretary of State in the history of the United States," - Donald Trump

So why does he give her foundation money? Why did he support her 2008 campaign. Was it bad judgement and now he has changed his ways and learned his lesson? Or is this all for show to win support? Until he admits he was wrong and made a mistake, I will assume he is still a clinton supporter.

ctiger2

Ummm... cause Trump realizes you have to BUY influence in a fascist faux constitutional republic with rigged democratic elections? Like the bankers Trump funds both sides.

buzzsaw99

Gonzales: There is one question, Inspector Callahan: Why do they call you "Dirty Harry"?

De Georgio: Ah that's one thing about our Harry, doesn't play any favorites! Harry hates everybody: Limeys, Micks, Hebes, Fat Dagos, Niggers, Honkies, Chinks, you name it.

Gonzales: How does he feel about Mexicans?

De Georgio: Ask him.

Harry Callahan: Especially Spics.

Normalcy Bias

What about some of the comments Trump made about Rosie O'Donnell when they were having a flame war? Funny stuff...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d32577Hom08

elegance

That is fucking brilliant! Comedy gold. I do want that guy to be US president. Only candidate I follow on twitter.

ebworthen

It is refreshing to hear someone say what they think.

Not that Trump is right or electable - but he's calling out the mealy-mouthed pandering politically correct make everyone like us while screwing everyone over process that is the joke of a government populated by a bunch of ass clowns - so no wonder Trump resonates.

realmoney2015

But he has never mentioned the federal reserve or the bankers that actually control those politicians. Until we end the fed no major positive changes will happen.


chunga

Lucy promises this time she won't pull the football away so the few remaining voters, once again, go for the kick.

I honestly can't think of a single person I'd call a "statesman" these days.

joseJimenez

Well, that is because you can only lower the bar so much then anything gets thru. Obama comes to mind.

Lumberjack

The video is hysterical but remembering how birds of a feather act, one has to wonder.

http://dailybail.com/home/giuliani-tells-don-imus-i-wouldnt-lock-up-jami...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IrE6FMpai8

mamasan

In a Time of Universal Deceit — Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act. -- George Orwell

Omega_Man

Believe it or not. USA's only chance is with Donald.

If the mainstream zio media attacks him so much - well there is your answer.

If he is elected he should take great care... remember, someone made the decision in Dallas in November 22, 1963 to use the convertible limo... it was not by coincidence.

dogfish

The USA cant be saved. its suicidal.

joseJimenez

I have been thinking the same thing for a while. We know the scumbags that run this won't like a loose cannon

reader2010

Americans need more entertainment from public discourse if there's any.

At this time in history, we have long passed the point of no return. Who is president just doesn't matter anymore. The Neoliberal ideology has destroyed every social fabric. What matters is to further internalize profit and socialize cost. Yes, We Can.


Speech Teddy Roosevelt Gave Right After Getting Shot...

by Henry Blodget

Oct. 14, 2011 | Business Insider

Given the tension in the country today over inequality, greed, corporate influence over politics, taxes, regulation, etc., it seems worth noting that these issues aren't exactly new.

The recent extremes of corporate power and profitability juxtaposed with super-high unemployment and stagnant wages have just made them hit a boiling point.

So it's worth revisiting a famous populist speech Teddy Roosevelt gave in 1912, when similar issues plagued the country.

What's remarkable about the speech is not that Roosevelt gave it.

It's that he gave it a few minutes after getting shot by some anarchist who was pissed off that he was running for a third term.

The assassin's bullet hit Roosevelt in the chest. Before it reached his skin, however, it hit the pages of the speech he was planning to give, which were in his vest pocket. The bullet penetrated the pages, but they slowed it down. When the bullet finally hit Teddy Roosevelt, therefore, it was going too slowly to kill him.

So he insisted on making the speech.

And here it is:

"It Takes More Than That to Kill a Bull Moose":
The Leader and The Cause*

* Address at Milwaukee, Wis., October, 14, 1912. Just before entering the auditorium at Milwaukee, an attempt was made on Colonel Roosevelt's life. The above speech is from a stenographic report, differing considerably from the prepared manuscript.

[TR was shot in an assassination attempt by John Schrank, who had been having disturbing dreams about TR's predecessor, William McKinley and also thought that no president should serve more than two terms.
Schrank spent the rest of his life in a mental institution. No one came to visit him. He died shortly after Franklin Delano Roosevelt, TR's fifth cousin, was elected to a third term. Schrank had stalked TR for thousands of miles before getting a clear shot at him in Milwaukee. Schrank was caught on the spot.]

Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose. But fortunately I had my manuscript, so you see I was going to make a long speech, and there is a bullet - there is where the bullet went through - and it probably saved me from it going into my heart. The bullet is in me now, so that I cannot make a very long speech, but I will try my best.

And now, friends, I want to take advantage of this incident to say a word of solemn warning to my fellow countrymen. First of all, I want to say this about myself: I have altogether too important things to think of to feel any concern over my own death; and now I cannot speak to you insincerely within five minutes of being shot. I am telling you the literal truth when I say that my concern is for many other things. It is not in the least for my own life. I want you to understand that I am ahead of the game, anyway. No man has had a happier life than I have led; a happier life in every way. I have been able to do certain things that I greatly wished to do, and I am interested in doing other things. I can tell you with absolute truthfulness that I am very much uninterested in whether I am shot or not. It was just as when I was colonel of my regiment. I always felt that a private was to be excused for feeling at times some pangs of anxiety about his personal safety, but I cannot understand a man fit to be a colonel who can pay any heed to his personal safety when he is occupied as he ought to be with the absorbing desire to do his duty.

I am in this cause with my whole heart and soul. I believe that the Progressive movement is making life a little easier for all our people; a movement to try to take the burdens off the men and especially the women and children of this country. I am absorbed in the success of that movement.

Friends, I ask you now this evening to accept what I am saying as absolutely true, when I tell you I am not thinking of my own success. I am not thinking of my life or of anything connected with me personally. I am thinking of the movement. I say this by way of introduction, because I want to say something very serious to our people and especially to the newspapers. I don't know anything about who the man was who shot me to-night. He was seized at once by one of the stenographers in my party, Mr. Martin, and I suppose is now in the hands of the police. He shot to kill. He shot - the shot, the bullet went in here - I will show you.

I am going to ask you to be as quiet as possible for I am not able to give to challenge of the bull moose quite as loudly. Now, I do not know who he was or what he represented. He was a coward. He stood in the darkness in the crowd around the automobile and when they cheered me, and I got up to bow, he stepped forward and shot me in the darkness.

Now, friends, of course, I do not know, as I say, anything about him; but it is a very natural thing that weak and vicious minds should be inflamed to acts of violence by the kind of awful mendacity and abuse that have been heaped upon me for the last three months by the papers in the interest of not only Mr. Debs but of Mr. Wilson and Mr. Taft.

Friends, I will disown and repudiate any man of my party who attacks with such foul slander and abuse any opponent of any other party; and now I wish to say seriously to all the daily newspapers, to the Republicans, the Democrat, and Socialist parties, that they cannot, month in month out and year in and year out, make the kind of untruthful, of bitter assault that they have made and not expect that brutal, violent natures, or brutal and violent characters, especially when the brutality is accompanied by a not very strong mind; they cannot expect that such natures will be unaffected by it.

Now, friends, I am not speaking for myself at all, I give you my word, I do not care a rap about being shot; not a rap.

I have had a good many experiences in my time and this is one of them. What I care for is my country. I wish I were able to impress upon my people -- our people, the duty to feel strongly but to speak the truth of their opponents. I say now, I have never said one word one the stump against any opponent that I cannot defend. I have said nothing that I could not substantiate and nothing that I ought not to have said -- nothing that I -- nothing that, looking back at, I would not say again.

Now, friends, it ought not to be too much to ask that our opponents -[speaking to some one on the stage]-I am not sick at all. I am all right. I cannot tell you of what infinitesimal importance I regard this incident as compared with the great issues at stake in this campaign, and I ask it not for my sake, not the least in the world, but for the sake of common country, that they make up their minds to speak only the truth, and not use that kind of slander and mendacity which if taken seriously must incite weak and violent natures to crimes of violence. Don't you make any mistake. Don't you pity me. I am all right. I am all right and you cannot escape listening to the speech either.

And now, friends, this incident that has just occurred - this effort to assassinate me- emphasizes to a peculiar degree the need of the Progressive movement. Friends, every good citizen ought to do everything in his or her power to prevent the coming of the day when we shall see in this country two recognized creeds fighting one another, when we shall see the creed of the "Havenots" arraigned against the creed of the "Haves." When that day comes then such incidents as this to-night will be commonplace in our history. When you make poor men - when you permit the conditions to grow such that the poor man as such will be swayed by his sense of injury against the men who try to hold what they improperly have won, when that day comes, the most awful passions will be let loose and it will be an ill day for our country.

Now, friends, what we who are in this movement are endeavoring to do is forestall any such movement for justice now - a movement in which we ask all just men of generous hearts to join with the men who feel in their souls that lift upward which bids them refuse to be satisfied themselves while their countrymen and countrywomen suffer from avoidable misery. Now, friends, what we Progressives are trying to do is to enroll rich or poor, whatever their social or industrial position, to stand together for the most elementary rights of good citizenship, those elementary rights which are the foundation of good citizenship in this great Republic of ours.

(At this point a renewed effort was made to persuade Mr. Roosevelt to conclude his speech.)

My friends are a little more nervous than I am. Don't you waste any sympathy on me. I have had an A-1 time in life and I am having it now.

I never in my life was in any movement in which I was able to serve with such whole-hearted devotion as in this; in which I was able to feel as I do in this that common weal. I have fought for the good of our common country.

And now, friends, I shall have to cut short much of that speech that I meant to give you, but I want to touch on just two or three points.

In the first place, speaking to you here in Milwaukee, I wish to say that the Progressive party is making its appeals to all our fellow citizens without any regard to their creed or to their birthplace. We do not regard as essential the way in which a man worships his God or as being affected by where he was born. We regard it as a matter of spirit and purpose. In New York, while I was police commissioner, the two men from whom I got the most assistance were Jacob Riis, who was born in Denmark, and Arthur von Briesen, who was born in Germany - both of them as fine examples of the best and highest American citizenship as you could find in any part of this country.

I have just been introduced by one of your own men here - Henry Cochems. His grandfather, his father, and that father's seven brothers, all served in the United States army, and they entered it four years after they had come to this country from Germany. Two of them left their lives, spent their lives, on the field of battle. I am all right - I am a little sore. Anybody has a right to be sore with a bullet in him. You would find that if I was in battle now I would be leading my men just the same. Just the same way I am going to make this speech.

At one time I promoted five men for gallantry on the field of battle. Afterward in making some inquiries about them I found that two of them were Protestants, two Catholic, and one a Jew. One Protestant came from Germany and one was born in Ireland. I did not promote them because of their religion. It just happened that way. If all five of them had been Jews I would have promoted them, or if all five of them had been Protestants I would have promoted them; or if they had been Catholics. In that regiment I had a man born in Italy who distinguished himself by gallantry; there was another young fellow, a son of Polish parents, and another who came here when he was a child from Bohemia, who likewise distinguished themselves; and friends, I assure you, that I was incapable of considering any question whatever, but the worth of each individual as a fighting man. If he was a good fighting man, then I saw that Uncle Sam got the benefit of it. That is all.

I make the same appeal to our citizenship. I ask in our civic life that we in the same way pay heed only to the man's quality of citizenship, to repudiate as the worst enemy that we can have whoever tries to get us to discriminate for or against any man because of his creed or birthplace.

Now, friends, in the same way I want out people to stand by one another without regard to differences or class or occupation. I have always stood by labor-unions. I am going to make one omission to-night. I have prepared my speech because Mr. Wilson had seen fit to attack me by showing up his record in comparison with mine. But I am not going to do that to-night. I am going to simply speak of what I myself have done and what I think ought to be done in this country of ours.

It is essential that here should be organizations of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize. My appeal for organized labor is two-fold; to the outsider and the capitalist I make my appeal to treat the laborer fairly, to recognize the fact that he must organize that there must be such organization, that the laboring man must organize for his own protection, and that it is the duty of the rest of us to help him and not hinder him in organizing. That is one-half appeal that I make.

Now, the other half is to the labor man himself. My appeal to him is to remember that as he wants justice, so he must do justice. I want every labor man, every labor leader, every organized union man, to take the lead in denouncing disorder and in denouncing the inciting of riot; that in this country we shall proceed under the protection of our laws and with all respect to the laws, I want the labor men to feel in their turn that exactly as justice must be done them so they must do justice. They must bear their duty as citizens, their duty to this great country of ours, and that they must not rest content unless they do that duty to the fullest degree.

I know these doctors, when they get hold of me, will never let me go back, and there are just a few more things that I want to say to you.

And here I have got to make one comparison between Mr. Wilson and myself, simply because he has invited it and I cannot shrink from it. Mr. Wilson has seen fit to attack me, to say that I did not do much against the trusts when I was President. I have got two answers to make to that. In the first place what I did, and then I want to compare what I did when I was President with what Mr. Wilson did not do when he was governor.

When I took the office the antitrust law was practically a dead letter and the interstate commerce law in as poor a condition. I had to revive both laws. I did. I enforced both. It will be easy enough to do now what I did then, but the reason that it is easy now is because I did it when it was hard.

Nobody was doing anything. I found speedily that the interstate commerce law by being made perfect could be made a most useful instrument for helping solve some of our industrial problems. So with the antitrust law. I speedily found out that almost the only positive good achieved by such a successful lawsuit as the Northern Securities suit, for instance, was in establishing the principle that the government was supreme over the big corporation, but by itself that the law did not accomplish any of the things that we ought to have accomplished; and so I began to fight for the amendment of the law along the lines of the interstate commerce law, and now we propose, we Progressives, to establish and interstate commission having the same power over industrial concerns that the Interstate Commerce Commission has over railroads, so that whenever there is in the future a decision rendered in such important matters as the recent suits against the Standard Oil, the Sugar - no, not that - Tobacco - Tobacco Trust - we will have a commission which will see that the decree of the court is really made effective; that it is not made a merely nominal decree.

Our opponents have said that we intend to legalize monopoly. Nonsense. They have legalized monopoly. At this moment the Standard Oil and Tobacco Trust monopolies are legalized; they are being carried on under the decree of the Supreme Court. Our proposal is really to break up monopoly. Our proposal is to lay down certain requirements, and then to require the commerce commission - the industrial commission - to see that the trusts live up to those requirements. Our opponents have spoken as if we were going to let the commission declare what those requirements should be. Not at all. We are going to put the requirements in the law and then see that the commission requires them to obey that law.

And now, friends, as Mr. Wilson has invited the comparison, I only want to say this: Mr. Wilson has said that the States are the proper authorities to deal with the trusts. Well, about eighty percent of the trusts are organized in New Jersey. The Standard Oil, the Tobacco, the Sugar, the Beef, all those trusts are organized in the state of New Jersey and the laws of New Jersey say that their charters can at any time be amended or repealed if they misbehave themselves and give the government ample power to act about those laws, and Mr. Wilson has been governor a year and nine months and he has not opened his lips. The chapter describing what Mr. Wilson has done about trusts in New Jersey would read precisely like a chapter describing snakes in Ireland, which ran: "There are no snakes in Ireland." Mr. Wilson has done precisely and exactly nothing about the trusts.

I tell you, and I told you at the beginning, I do not say anything on the stump that I do not believe. I do not say anything I do not know. Let any of Mr. Wilson's friends on Tuesday point out one thing or let Mr. Wilson point out one thing that he has done about the trusts as governor of New Jersey.

And now, friends, there is one thing I want to say especially to you people here in Wisconsin. All that I have said so far is what I would say in any part of the Union. I have a peculiar right to ask that in this great contest you men and women of Wisconsin shall stand with us. You have taken the lead in progressive movements here in Wisconsin. You have taught the rest of us to look to you for inspiration and leadership. Now, friends, you have made that movement here locally. You will being doing a dreadful injustice to yourselves; you will be doing a dreadful injustice to the rest of us throughout the Union, if you fail to stand with us now that we are making this national movement. What I am about to say now I want yo to understand. If I speak of Mr. Wilson I speak with no mind of bitterness. I merely want to discuss the difference of policy between the Progressive and the Democratic party and to ask you to think for yourselves which party you will follow. I will say that, friends, because the Republican party is beaten. Nobody needs to have any idea that anything can be done with the Republican party.

When the Republican party - not the Republican party - when the bosses in control of the Republican party, the Barneses and Penroses, last June stole the nomination and wrecked the Republican party for good and all - I want to point out to you that nominally they stole that nomination from me, but it was really from you. They did not like me, and the longer they live the less cause they will have to like me. But while they don't like me, they dread you. You are the people that they dread. They dread the people themselves, and those bosses and the big special interests behind them made up their mind that they would rather see the Republican party wrecked than see it come under the control of the people themselves. So I am not dealing with the Republican party. There are only two ways you can vote this year. You can be progressive or reactionary. Whether you vote Republican or Democratic it does not make a difference, you are voting reactionary.

Now, the Democratic party in its platform and through the utterances of Mr. Wilson has distinctly committed itself to the old flintlock, muzzle-loaded doctrine of States' rights, and I have said distinctly we are for people's rights. We are for the rights of the people. If they can be obtained best through National Government, then we are for national rights. We are for people's rights however it is necessary to secure them.

Mr. Wilson has made a long essay against Senator Beveridge's bill to abolish child labor. It is the same kind of argument that would be made against our bill to prohibit women from working more than eight hours a day in industry. It is the same kind of argument that would have to be made; if it is true, it would apply equally against our proposal to insist that in continuous industries there shall be by law one day's rest in seven and three-shift eight-hour day. You have labor laws here in Wisconsin, and chamber of commerce will tell you that because of that fact there are industries that will not come to Wisconsin. They prefer to stay outside where they can work children of tender years, where they can work women fourteen and sixteen hours a day, where if it is a continuous industry, they can work men twelve hours a day and seven days a week.

Now, friends, I know that you of Wisconsin would never repeal those laws even if they are at your commercial hurt, just as I am trying to get New York to adopt such laws even though it will be to the New York's commercial hurt. But if possible I want to arrange it so that we can have justice without commercial hurt, and you can only get that if you have justice enforced nationally. You won't be burdened in Wisconsin with industries not coming to the State if the same good laws are extended all over the other States. Do you see what I mean? The States all compete in a common market; and it is not justice to the employers of a State that has enforced just and proper laws to have them exposed to the competition of another State where no such laws are enforced. Now, the Democratic platform, and their speakers declare we shall not have such laws. Mr. Wilson has distinctly declared that we shall not have a national law to prohibit the labor of children, to prohibit child labor. He has distinctly declared that we shall not have a law to establish a minimum wage for women.

I ask you to look at our declaration and hear and read our platform about social and industrial justice and then, friends, vote for the Progressive ticket without regard to me, without regard to my personality, for only by voting for that platform can you be true to the cause of progress throughout this Union.

Thanks to reader Bob Sharak for sending the speech along.

[Jul 26, 2015] Hillary Clinton aides Wall Street links raise economic policy doubts

"...Hillary Clinton is Wall St.'s contingency plan. No matter who wins, republican or democrat, they're still the real winner."
.
"...She is a hypocrite on her knees to the rich she sucks on, failing in the fight for the rights of regular Americans who need her to stand up for them.
.
On the horizon is the end of America presented to us by Republican candidates -Scott Walker- a wholly terrifying, destructive authoritarian candidate and Bush who wants a war with Iran just because war runs in his family. Neoliberalism their secret philosophy, means wealth rules and crushes every government protection or benefit in the name of freedom from all regulation, enabling unlimited profit for the un-taxable rich with nothing but corporate slavery and the underclass for the American people. That's what Republicans and their handlers call true freedom. Freedom from the ability to resist the rape of the people and planet by the psychopathic rich.
.
1 in 5 children are hungry now, the hungrier we all get the weaker we all are. Bow down now and worship the job creators for they provide us with the heaven of low wage work. We owe them the deepest respect, tax breaks and perfect lives while they find a million new ways to undermine everything that makes us human beings, teaching us to be psychopathic like them selfish, vengeful, dishonest, racist and just plain murderous.
.
The Republicans, as the face of the oligarchy, will no doubt legislate a "final solution" to the black problem, the brown problem and the moslem problem, establishing white supremacy as their assumed right as God's representatives on earth.
.
Citizens United has unleashed the psychopathic society and it like a smiling BTK killer will rip the guts out of America and turn it into a killing field.
Nobody seems to be reacting to the American progression toward the ultimate terror state, their heads buried in their media asses cannot see anything wrong. In 2017 Oligarchs with the finest military in the world at their disposal will be ready to kill in the name of peace, new markets and new profit.
.
We have taken leave of our senses - if we elect ANY Republican we have signed our own death warrant. "
The Guardian

Both Nides and Hormats have a strong history of taking pro-business stances on financial regulation and other issues near and dear to progressives. While at Morgan Stanley, which received a federal bailout, Nides pushed for the Obama administration to "find the right balance" in avoiding criticism of Wall Street in the aftermath of the financial crisis. He also played an important role in the Bill Clinton administration lobbying members of Congress to vote for Nafta in 1993.

Hormats, who has been described as Clinton's "economic guru", boasted of the Clinton State Department's support of the business community in a 2013 interview. He is also on the record being supportive of partial privatization of social security. Hormats also touted the benefits of "widescale deregulation" in the 1990s and strongly supported increased trade with China.

Nides, in particular, has played a major role in Clinton's current campaign. He has been one of the campaign's top bundlers of contributions and responsible for raising over $100,000 for the former secretary of state. He has been tipped as a future White House chief of staff in a Clinton administration. Further, employees of Morgan Stanley, where Nides serves as vice-chairman, have given Clinton more than $90,000 in the past quarter. This is more than every Republican candidate combined has received from the firm.

Sroka said: "Democrats want and the American people need a president who truly understands that the problem isn't that Wall Street firms or even Wall Street front groups like the Third Way have too little power in Washington, and that one very easy way to curb Wall Street's insatiable greed is to make sure that their former employees aren't on your payroll advising you."

Sroka was echoed by Kurt Walters, spokesman for the progressive campaign finance reform group Rootstrikers, who expressed his trepidation about potential staffers in a Clinton administration based on her past track record. "There's a lot of interest in the kind of people Secretary Clinton would hire in the executive branch, but the reality is she's already been in the executive branch and she surrounded herself with Wall Street insiders."

Profhambone -> 2miners 26 Jul 2015 12:55

It will be hard but he has principles and he presents a plan: tax the wealthy, stop the overseas empire building, infrastructure investment for re-building the middle class, bring back Glass-Steagall, cut defense, increase education. People want something other than the misty wishy-washy promise of illusion which the Clintons and the Bushes excel in doing.

Profhambone -> Cayce Jones 26 Jul 2015 12:50

But the point is Hillary is already owned by Big Business. We can't take much more from these vampires. The middle class is drying out and blowing away. If Hillary has no objection to the revolving door then she is just another illusion like Obama turned out to be....

peacefulmilitant 26 Jul 2015 12:43

Clinton is very wealthy and her son-in-law is a banker. What links do people expect her to have?

Ann Blasius -> Cayce Jones 26 Jul 2015 12:41

Both sides of the aisle are owned by Wall Street. That's why this country is in the shape it's in.

Joseph DeLassus 26 Jul 2015 12:29

If Bernie Sanders or Martin O'Malley start to rise more in the polls the Clinton people will try and paint them as far left wild eyed radicals. But if you examine the things Sanders and O'Malley stand for they are no different than mainstream Democratic proposals before Bill Clinton took the party to the right and closer to Wall Street. So it makes progressive ideas seem extreme. They are not. What is extreme is the way in which big money interests controls all three branches of government and intends to keep it that way.

CivilDiscussion 26 Jul 2015 12:05

Yeah, yeah -- but she might, maybe, possibly support an increased minimum wage, maybe extended out over ten years or so -- doesn't that make her progressive and a big champion of the working class? Just as her precious hubby, and Barack Obama, the first priority is to elect a Democrat so they can save us from those awful Republicans. NO, we have had enough of fake liberals who are bankrolled by bankers. Why not just support the GOP who at least tells that they want to make the rich richer and don't pussyfoot around and pretend to like the non-rich? But Hillary is a -- woman -- how can we not see what a fantastic thing that is? First a black president who loves bankers, then a woman president who loves bankers. Isn't that progress? No matter that most Americans are sinking into poverty and unemployment. This is the party of FDR now.

Shizz MacDribble -> 2miners 26 Jul 2015 11:48

At the moment, it is the Obama administration DOJ that is saying Clinton may have broken the law using her private email account to send classified messages. Yeah. You read that right. The Department of Justice under a democratic administration is now investigating Clinton for possible criminal activities. Sure, they will probably whitewash the whole thing in the end. The average person has little to no concept that the SMTP or POP3 they use to send their "private" emails are not secure protocols. They don't know the meaning of transmission control protocol. You can include the majority of people investigating the issue in the group of the networking ignorant. And don't try to throw any BS arguments about TLS or SSL at me. If one is using a private account or, as in Clinton's case, not using the government network, then copies of the messages one sends can still be on every public email relay along the way. In that case, all any militants would need to intercept the classified information in those emails is one IT person at any one of the relay points. In the end, the citizenry will just shrug all of this off and, yeah, it will be another waste of time and money. It will mostly be wasted because justice will not be served and the U.S. public will continue being duped by its servants. There are no new stories. Nothing ever changes. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

MadHatterSays -> veloboldie 26 Jul 2015 11:33

Hillary Clinton is Wall St.'s contingency plan. No matter who wins, republican or democrat, they're still the real winner.

Cayce Jones 26 Jul 2015 11:32

While the article notes campaign contributions by Wall Street, it fails to mention how much money has been given to Super PACs. Jeb Bush has received over $100 million in Super PAC funds, while Hillary's total is $15 million.
She has raised much more in direct campaign contributions. The difference between the campaign money and the Super PAC money is that we can look at the FEC filings and see the names of who has contributed. The fact that Hillary's funding is much more transparent should not be used against her.
Cruz and Rubio each have over $30 million in Super PAC money. And these PACs don't have to reveal who is giving them the money. The comparison between how much Morgan Stanley has given in campaign money to Democrats versus Republicans is a very small part of the picture, because Morgan Stanley could have contributed millions to any of these Super PACs and nobody will know.

2miners 26 Jul 2015 11:12

And the link to Wall St. for our current president, Obama's 2008 campaign received $42 million — "more than any other candidate in history" — from "Wall Street bankers and financial insiders."

Newsworthy piece my arse.

mallakhan123 26 Jul 2015 10:53

Money in politics will kill us all. Hillary is foolish. If she had rejected the big money and gone to the people like Bernie Sanders has done, she could have won easily, but now she is exposed as a shill for big money, everybody loses. She is a hypocrite on her knees to the rich she sucks on, failing in the fight for the rights of regular Americans who need her to stand up for them.

On the horizon is the end of America presented to us by Republican candidates -Scott Walker- a wholly terrifying, destructive authoritarian candidate and Bush who wants a war with Iran just because war runs in his family. Neoliberalism their secret philosophy, means wealth rules and crushes every government protection or benefit in the name of freedom from all regulation, enabling unlimited profit for the un-taxable rich with nothing but corporate slavery and the underclass for the American people. That's what Republicans and their handlers call true freedom. Freedom from the ability to resist the rape of the people and planet by the psychopathic rich.

1 in 5 children are hungry now, the hungrier we all get the weaker we all are. Bow down now and worship the job creators for they provide us with the heaven of low wage work. We owe them the deepest respect, tax breaks and perfect lives while they find a million new ways to undermine everything that makes us human beings, teaching us to be psychopathic like them selfish, vengeful, dishonest, racist and just plain murderous.

The Republicans, as the face of the oligarchy, will no doubt legislate a "final solution" to the black problem, the brown problem and the moslem problem, establishing white supremacy as their assumed right as God's representatives on earth.

Citizens United has unleashed the psychopathic society and it like a smiling BTK killer will rip the guts out of America and turn it into a killing field.
Nobody seems to be reacting to the American progression toward the ultimate terror state, their heads buried in their media asses cannot see anything wrong. In 2017 Oligarchs with the finest military in the world at their disposal will be ready to kill in the name of peace, new markets and new profit.
We have taken leave of our senses - if we elect ANY Republican we have signed our own death warrant. And Hillary, she will be the face of a loving grandma on a Hallmark card as the climate ,like a mad dog, eats us alive.

allymaxy Tom Voloshen 26 Jul 2015 10:37

The Roosevelt's belonged to the 1% of their time but their wealth was not held against them because they were populists and were trusted.

HC makes unforced errors that for someone who's been running for the top job for 30 years are confounding and hard to understand.

For someone schooled in politics and the way Washington works one would think she would do everything possible so as not to give ammunition to her opponents.

HC never should have had a server in her home and now should turn it over to the FBI. But she fights for herself more than she would fight for ordinary Americans, and the electorate doesn't trust her.

She is also running one of the most lackluster campaigns in recent history. That's why progressives are looking at Bernie.

If you want to revisit an inspired speech by a progressive known to voters for years, read Teddy Roosevelt's 1912 speech to a crowd in Milwaukee right after he was shot in the chest. Roosevelt's heart was in the right place, but we can't say the same about Hillary's.

http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-the-famous-populist-speech-teddy-roosevelt-gave-right-after-getting-shot-2011-10

DatelessNerd bcarey 26 Jul 2015 09:54

Historically, Clinton's list of top contributors has read like a Wall Street Who's Who: https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cycle=Career&cid=n00000019

PatrickTrombly 26 Jul 2015 09:37

Wall Street is Wall Street.

About what will you "confront them" exactly?

Do you even know what it is that they do that adversely affects Main Street?

Don't give us meaningless phrases like "insatiable greed" or "unfettered capitalism" or "shadow banking" or "risky derivatives." Explain it.

Not a trick question. There is an answer. But if you don't know it, you can't fix the problem.

Hint - what was materially "exotic" about an "exotic" mortgage. And no, it wasn't interest only for 2 years - all 30 year loans are almost i/o at first.

Hint - what is the real reason that Warren can't break up "money center banks?" What function do they perform?

Hint - what slogan popular among the OWS protesters would, if acted upon in 2001, have prevented the housing bubble, crash and crisis?

Wall Street is the channel through which the policies that produce booms and busts, and that have transformed the US from a savings based economy to a debt based economy, flow.

Those policies are called

Open
Market
Operations

in order to artificially reduce interest rates. They print money and use it to buy securities from the big banks. Or they lend it to the big banks at 0.25%.The big banks get the money when it's still worth something.

elboberto -> mcgarnicle 26 Jul 2015 09:30

She chose corporate lawyering as a way of life before politics. Her Daughter worked a short time in that world. Son-in-law comes from Goldman Sachs and runs a hedge "fund." He comes from a similar Democrat family who got into politics and made their money off politics and political ties just like the Clintons. Wall Street and the financial industry are a large and integral part of her social, political and financial life. She is not going to do anything to change that arrangement.

Tom Voloshen 26 Jul 2015 09:24

The Clintons make hundreds of millions of dollars simply giving speeches and then talk about income inequality, how amusing.

wohlgemuth 26 Jul 2015 09:21

This is why no matter how progressive she tries to sound we are not trusting her. She has to call on Robert Reich or Stiglits (sp) or Krugman or David K. Johnson. There is NO Freemarket outside of the one percent, outside of the ones who hold the cash and the power.

[Jul 24, 2015] guaranteed retirement accounts

"The government would invest the money and guarantee a rate of return" So this is duplicate of TIPS with a twist: that money is going to WALL STREET one way or other.
Jul 24, 2015 | nakedcapitalism.com

Clinton advisor Teresa "Ghilarducci's big idea is to create government-run, guaranteed retirement accounts ("GRAs," for short). Taxpayers would be required to put 5 percent of their annual income into savings, with the money managed by the Social Security Administration. They could only opt out if their employer offered a traditional pension, and they wouldn't be able to withdraw the money as readily and early as with a 401(k). The government would invest the money and guarantee a rate of return, adjusted to inflation" [National Journal]. Because fiat money is only for banksters.

Push to lift minimum wage now "serious business" [New York Times].


jrs, July 24, 2015 at 2:15 pm

Alright policy. At a certain point does one really even want to know what the new thing they have for us to bend over for is? So WHERE is the money going to be "invested" in these new retirement plans. Yes I know it's possible to have a retirement plan without investing, it would be something like social security. But if that's what they wanted they could just increase social security, not propose a new plan (yes even increase funding but not while it covers current outgo at least). A new plan rather than expanded social security is entirely unnecessary so by proposing one they are up to no good. That money is going to WALL STREET one way or other.

... ... ...


Brindle, July 24, 2015 at 3:07 pm

The optics of this look like part of Clinton's feint left—for the base of the Dem party:

—For the Clinton campaign, Ghilarducci offers significant benefits, too. As Clinton tries to move away from the centrist economic legacy of her husband's administration, with its welfare reform and deregulation of banks, Ghilarducci offers a fresh take—and a fresh face—on economic-policy debates long dominated by a small, sharp-elbowed cast of white men who have advised the Clinton or Obama administrations.—

[Jul 24, 2015] Hillary Legal Troubles

"Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account" [New York Times]. National security stuff, of course, not privatization or corruption. "It is not clear if any of the information in the emails was marked as classified by the State Department when Mrs. Clinton sent or received them." But since Clinton privatized her server, it's a fair point that the potential is there.

[Jul 24, 2015] Justice Dept. Is Asked to Investigate Clinton Email By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and MATT APUZZO

Jul 24, 2015 | nytimes.com

Two inspectors general asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Hillary Clinton mishandled sensitive information on a private account, senior officials said.

[Jul 23, 2015] How Monsanto, Exxon Mobil, & Microsoft Lobbyists Are Bundling Funds For Hillary

Jul 23, 2015 | Zero Hedge
Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

The pantsuit revolutionary is at it again. Once again demonstrating her populist chops by employing the services of lobbyists to bundle millions in campaign funds. It's no wonder opinion polls on her have been plunging as of late.

We learn from Bloomberg that:

When Barack Obama was running for the presidency in 2008—and later for reelection in 2012—he promised he wouldn't take money from registered lobbyists, not even as bundlers. In the race to succeed him, Hillary Clinton is not following in his footsteps.

The former secretary of state raised more than $2 million from 40 "bundlers"—fundraisers who get their contacts to give to campaigns—who were also lobbyists, according to financial forms released Wednesday by the Federal Election Commission. In all, the Clinton campaign raised $46.7 million between the beginning of April and the end of June.

Clinton's bundlers include some familiar names: Jerry Crawford, an outside lobbyist to Monsanto and Iowa kingmaker, put together another $35,000 or so. Tony Podesta, a mega-lobbyist who co-founded the Podesta Group and is the brother of Clinton's campaign chair John, bundled almost $75,000.

Other bundlers lobby for big companies including Microsoft (Fred Humphries) and Exxon Mobil (Theresa Fariello) or industry groups including the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (Daphna Peled). Another group includes former staffers for prominent Democratic politicians (including President Clinton) and politicians themselves, including former South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges. Lobbyist bundlers don't have to disclose their employers, but the names appear on both Clinton's disclosures and 2015 lobbyist registrations.

She certainly knows how to diversify her portfolio when it comes to people who bribe U.S. Congress for a living.

Clinton was the only Democrat running for president to have declared lobbyist bundlers as of Thursday. Two Republicans candidates, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, also filed disclosures on lobbyist bundlers, with Bush raising more than $228,000 from eight lobbyist bundlers and Rubio raising more than $133,000 from three lobbyist bundlers.

Lobbyist participation in a campaign can be hard to avoid: Despite President Obama's promise, the New York Times found in 2011 that at least 15 of his bundlers had strong links to lobbyists, including "overseeing" them, even if they weren't registered themselves.

But hey,

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 1.09.30 PM

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For related articles, see:

[Jul 21, 2015] Donald Trump: A False Flag Candidate? by

"...The usual "mainstream" media tactics regarding a political outsider they hate is to ignore him or her: the example of Ron Paul should suffice to make this point. Indeed, Jon Stewart pointed this out in a memorable "Daily Show" segment, and it took Paul three runs for the White House to get their attention."
July 13, 2015 | antiwar.com

A warmongering racist lunatic lets loose – and he's crazy like a fox

That we have to take Donald Trump seriously confirms my longstanding prognosis that we've entered another dimension in which up is down, black is white, and reason is dethroned: in short, we're living in BizarroWorld, and the landscape is not very inviting. Yet explore it I must, since the reality TV star and professional self-promoter is rising in the polls, and garnering an inordinate amount of media attention – and whether the latter is responsible for the former is something I'll get into later, but for now let us focus on what practically no one else is paying much attention to, the Trumpian foreign policy.

... ... ...

On Iraq, The Donald makes much of his alleged opposition to the Iraq war – a position no one has documented to my satisfaction – but now that we're back there, what's Trump's plan? "We shouldn't have been there," he opines, and yet "once we were there, we probably should have stayed." While this may sound bafflingly counterintuitive, not to mention flat out contradictory, you have to remember two things: 1) In Bizarro World, contradictions do exist, A is B, and the sensible is the impossible, and 2) Similar things were said about the Vietnam war by politicians less obviously nutso than The Donald. As Murray Rothbard put it in a 1968 newspaper column he wrote for the Freedom Newspapers chain:

"A lot of people throughout the country are beginning to realize that getting into the Vietnam war was a disastrous mistake. In fact, hardly anyone makes so bold as to justify America's entrance into, and generation of, that perpetual war. And so the last line of defense for the war's proponents is: Well, maybe it was a mistake to get into the war, but now that we're there, we're committed, so we have to carry on.

"A curious argument. Usually, in life, if we find out that a course of action has been a mistake, we abandon that course and try something else. This is supposed to be the time-honored principle of 'trial and error.' Or if a business project or investment turns out to be an unprofitable venture, we abandon it and try investing elsewhere. Only in the Vietnam war do we suddenly find that, having launched a disaster, we are stuck with it forevermore and must continue to pour in blood and treasure until eternity."

I'm editing a new collection of Rothbard's work, entitled The Coming American Fascism and Other Essays, due out from the Ludwig von Mises Institute pretty soon, which is where I came upon this, and it got me to thinking: maybe it wasn't the 9/11 terrorist attacks that tore a hole in the space-time continuum and blew us into Bizarro World – maybe it happened much earlier.

At any rate, The Donald's bloviations about staying in Iraq are nothing new: the man is a veritable volcano of well-worn bromides which he keeps stored under his toupee and emits when the occasion calls for it. Which wouldn't distinguish him from most other politicians except for the fact that Trump's words might as well be coming out of the mouth of a twelve-year-old. For example, in spite of his alleged opposition to the Iraq war, in 2011 he told a reporter:

"I always heard that when we went into Iraq, we went in for the oil. I said, 'Eh, that sounds smart.'"

Which is precisely what a somewhat disturbed adolescent is wont to do: grab someone else's lunch money if he thinks he can get away with it. Elaborating on his larcenous plan in 2011, Trump averred:

"I very simply said that Iran is going to take over Iraq, and if that's going to happen, we should just stay there and take the oil. They want the oil, and why should we? We de-neutered Iraq, Iran is going to walk in, take it over, take over the second largest oil fields in the world. That's going to happen. That would mean that all of those soldiers that have died and been wounded and everything else would have died in vain – and I don't want that to happen. I want their parents and their families to be proud."

Just like the criminally-inclined parents of a juvenile delinquent would be proud of their son's very first bank heist. As Rothbard was fond of saying: "Are we to be spared nothing?"

Trump's foreign policy views belie his reputation as an unconventional politician who's willing to say what others don't dare even think to themselves. Indeed, he sounds like most of the other GOP presidential wannabes when it comes to the pending nuclear deal with Iran:

"Take a look at the deal [Obama's] making with Iran. [If] he makes that deal, Israel maybe won't exist very long. It's a disaster. We have to protect Israel. And we won't be using a man like Secretary Kerry that has absolutely no concept of negotiation, who's making a horrible and laughable deal."

Is Trump willing to go to war with Iran? He positively drools at the prospect:

"America's primary goal with Iran must be to destroy its nuclear ambitions. Let me put them as plainly as I know how: Iran's nuclear program must be stopped – by any and all means necessary. Period. We cannot allow this radical regime to acquire a nuclear weapon that they will either use or hand off to terrorists. Better now than later!"

And speaking of drooling, get this:

"Who else in public life has called for a preemptive strike on North Korea?"

I'm glad you asked. The answer is: Ashton Carter and William Perry, the former the current Secretary of Defense and the latter a former Secretary of Defense. In their jointly authored book, Carter and Perry claim then-President Bill Clinton was minutes away from authorizing just such a strike before Jimmy Carter called with the news that the North Koreans were willing to negotiate. And then there's Rep. Peter King, another loudmouth New Yorker in the Trump mold, not to mention James Woolsey, Bill Clinton's CIA Director, as well as this guy.

So you think Trump is crazy? He may well be, but he's just reflecting the general lunacy that afflicts large portions of the political class in this country. Far from opposing the elites, Trump is merely echoing – often caricaturing – their looniest effusions.

Speaking of loony effusions, Bill Kristol has said that he's sick of the "elite" media dissing Trump. Dan Quayle's Brain got out his neocon playbook to declare he's "anti-anti-Trump." Which is interesting, since the last time a Republican anti-immigration, anti-free trade candidate arose, Kristol and his fellow neocons were in a lather of fear and loathing: that's because Pat Buchanan was not only one of the dreaded "nativists," he was also militantly anti-interventionist. Buchanan dared to call out Israel's amen corner as the agitators for Gulf War I and its successor: for that, he was branded an "isolationist," a label affixed to him also on account of his economic nostrums. Yet those same nostrums, when given a far cruder expression by Trump, evince a kind of admiration in the Grand Marshall of the laptop bombardiers. And the reason for this is Trump's limning of the neocons' penchant for unabashed militarism and grandiose imperialism: The Donald told a Phoenix audience over the weekend that "I'm the most militaristic person in this room." And his prescription for what we ought to do to counter ISIS sounds like a Weekly Standard editorial:

"I say that you can defeat ISIS by taking their wealth. Take back the oil. Once you go over and take back that oil, they have nothing. You bomb the hell out of them, and then you encircle it, and then you go in. And you let Mobil go in, and you let our great oil companies go in. Once you take that oil, they have nothing left. I would hit them so hard. I would find you a proper general, I would find the Patton or MacArthur. I would hit them so hard your head would spin."

Finally, one has to wonder about the provenance of the Trump phenomenon. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, it's been attributed to a populist upsurge against the regnant elites, who are so out of touch with the people that they never saw what was coming. The media, we are told, are biased against Trump – this is one of The Donald's chief complaints – and now The People are rising up against the Washington-New York know-it-alls with their "big words" and pretentious airs.

Yet this analysis is lacking in one key ingredient: the facts. For the reality is that the media, far from ignoring Trump, have lavished so much attention on him that he's eating up coverage that would otherwise go to the rest of the crowded Republican field. And that may be a clue as to what's really going on here….

The usual "mainstream" media tactics regarding a political outsider they hate is to ignore him or her: the example of Ron Paul should suffice to make this point. Indeed, Jon Stewart pointed this out in a memorable "Daily Show" segment, and it took Paul three runs for the White House to get their attention. Trump has suffered no such fate: quite the opposite, in fact. The Donald's every demagogic pronouncement is faithfully recorded and broadcast far and wide. Over a hundred reporters crowded into his latest appearances in Las Vegas and Phoenix. Jeb Bush, for all the many millions stuffed into his campaign coffers, couldn't buy that kind of exposure.

... ... ...

As San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders points out, Trump is not really any kind of Republican, and, what's more, his links to the Clintons are well-documented and close:

"In 1987, Trump registered as a Republican in New York. But in 1999, he registered with the Independence Party. In 2001, he registered as a Democrat. In 2009 he was back in with the GOP.

"Hillary Rodham Clinton sat in the front row at Trump's 2005 wedding with Melania Knauss.

"According to Politico, Trump has donated more than $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

"In the 2006 cycle, Trump donated $5,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, $20,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, but only $1,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

"When Trump flirted with running for president in 2012, CNN reported he had given $541,650 to federal Democratic candidates and committees since 1990 – more than the $429,450 he contributed to GOP candidates and committees."

National Review's Jonah Goldberg rips the veil off Trump's alleged nativism in a by turns anguished-and-amused plea to his fellow conservatives not to be taken in by The Donald's act:

"You seem to think he's an immigration hardliner, and he's certainly pretending to be. But why can't you see through it? He condemned Mitt Romney as an immigration hardliner in 2012 and favored comprehensive immigration reform. He told Bill O'Reilly he was in favor of a 'path to citizenship' for 30 million illegal immigrants:

"Trump: 'You have to give them a path. You have 20 million, 30 million, nobody knows what it is. It used to be 11 million. Now, today I hear it's 11, but I don't think it's 11. I actually heard you probably have 30 million. You have to give them a path, and you have to make it possible for them to succeed. You have to do that.'

"Question: Just how many rapists and drug dealers did Donald Trump want to give green cards to?"

Trump has been playing the media with his supposed presidential ambitions for years, but it was clear then that it was just The Donald doing what he does best – promoting himself. So why now has he suddenly turned "serious"? I give that word scare quotes because 1) Serious is not a word one associates with a clown, and 2) It's not at all clear that, for all his megalomania, he really thinks he can win the White House. He may be a lunatic but he's far from stupid.

And so the question jumps out at us: Why now?

... ... ...

I've written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).

You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.

[Jul 20, 2015] Trumpism The Ideology - Jeffrey Tucker

Jul 20, 2015 | Liberty.me
It's not too interesting to say that Donald Trump is a nationalist and aspiring despot who is manipulating bourgeois resentment, nativism, and ignorance to feed his power lust. It's uninteresting because it is obviously true. It's so true that stating it sounds more like an observation than a criticism.

I just heard Trump speak live. It was an awesome experience, like an interwar séance of once-powerful dictators who inspired multitudes, drove countries into the ground, and died grim deaths.

His speech at FreedomFest lasted a full hour, and I consider myself fortunate for having heard it. It was a magnificent exposure to an ideology that is very much present in American life, though hardly acknowledged. It lives mostly hidden in dark corners, and we don't even have a name for it. You bump into it at neighborhood barbecues, at Thanksgiving dinner when Uncle Harry has the floor, at the hardware store when two old friends in line to checkout mutter about the state of the country.

The ideology is a 21st century version of right fascism — one of the most politically successful ideological strains of 20th century politics. Though hardly anyone talks about it today, we really should. It is still real. It exists. It is distinct. It is not going away. Trump has tapped into it, absorbing unto his own political ambitions every conceivable bourgeois resentment: race, class, sex, religion, economic. You would have to be hopelessly ignorant of modern history not to see the outlines and where they end up.

For now, Trump seems more like comedy than reality. I want to laugh about what he said, like reading a comic-book version of Franco, Mussolini, or Hitler. And truly I did laugh, as when he denounced the existence of tech support in India that serves American companies ("how can it be cheaper to call people there than here?" — as if he still thinks that long-distance charges apply).

Let's hope this laughter doesn't turn to tears.

As an aside, I mean no criticism of FreedomFest's organizer Mark Skousen in allowing Trump to speak at this largely libertarian gathering. Mark invited every Republican candidate to address the 2,200-plus crowd. Only two accepted. Moreover, Mark is a very savvy businessman himself, and this conference operates on a for-profit basis. He does not have the luxury of giving the microphone to only people who pass the libertarian litmus test. His goal is to put on display the ideas that matter in our time and assess them by the standards of true liberty.

In my view, it was a brilliant decision to let him speak. Lovers of freedom need to confront the views of a man with views like this. What's more, of all the speeches I heard at FreedomFest, I learned more from this one than any other. I heard, for the first time in my life, what a modern iteration of a consistently statist but non-leftist outlook on politics sounds and feels like in our own time. And I watched as most of the audience undulated between delight and disgust — with perhaps only 10% actually cheering his descent into vituperative anti-intellectualism. That was gratifying.

As of this writing, Trump is leading in the polls in the Republican field. He is hated by the media, which is a plus for the hoi polloi in the GOP. He says things he should not, which is also a plus for his supporters. He is brilliant at making belligerent noises rather than having worked out policy plans. He knows that real people don't care about the details; they only want a strongman who shares their values. He makes fun of the intellectuals, of course, as all populists must do. Along with this penchant, Trump encourages a kind of nihilistic throwing out of rationality in favor of a trust in his own genius. And people respond, as we can see.

So, what does Trump actually believe? He does have a philosophy, though it takes a bit of insight and historical understanding to discern it. Of course race baiting is essential to the ideology, and there was plenty of that. When a Hispanic man asked a question, Trump interrupted him and asked if he had been sent by the Mexican government. He took it a step further, dividing blacks from Hispanics by inviting a black man to the microphone to tell how his own son was killed by an illegal immigrant.

Because Trump is the only one who speaks this way, he can count on support from the darkest elements of American life. He doesn't need to actually advocate racial homogeneity, call for a whites-only sign to be hung at immigration control, or push for expulsion or extermination of undesirables. Because such views are verboten, he has the field alone, and he can count on the support of those who think that way by making the right noises.

Trump also tosses little bones to the Christian Right, enough to allow them to believe that he represents their interests. Yes, it's implausible and hilarious. But the crowd who looks for this is easily won with winks and nudges, and those he did give. At the speech I heard, he railed against ISIS and its war against Christians, pointing out further than he is a Presbyterian and thus personally affected every time ISIS beheads a Christian. This entire section of his speech was structured to rally the nationalist Christian strain that was the bulwark of support for the last four Republican presidents.

But as much as racialist and religious resentment is part of his rhetorical apparatus, it is not his core. His core is about business, his own business and his acumen thereof. He is living proof that being a successful capitalist is no predictor of one's appreciation for an actual free market (stealing not trading is more his style). It only implies a love of money and a longing for the power that comes with it. Trump has both.

What do capitalists on his level do? They beat the competition. What does he believe he should do as president? Beat the competition, which means other countries, which means wage a trade war. If you listen to him, you would suppose that the U.S. is in some sort of massive, epochal struggle for supremacy with China, India, Malaysia, and, pretty much everyone else in the world.

It takes a bit to figure out what the heck he could mean. He speaks of the United States as if it were one thing, one single firm. A business. "We" are in competition with "them," as if the U.S. were IBM competing against Samsung, Apple, or Dell. "We" are not 300 million people pursuing unique dreams and ideas, with special tastes or interests, cooperating with people around the world to build prosperity. "We" are doing one thing, and that is being part of one business.

In effect, he believes that he is running to be the CEO of the country — not just of the government (as Ross Perot once believed) but of the entire country. In this capacity, he believes that he will make deals with other countries that cause the U.S. to come out on top, whatever that could mean. He conjures up visions of himself or one of his associates sitting across the table from some Indian or Chinese leader and making wild demands that they will buy such and such amount of product else "we" won't buy their product.

Yes, it's bizarre. As Nick Gillespie said, he has a tenuous grasp on reality. Trade theory from hundreds of years plays no role in his thinking at all. To him, America is a homogenous unit, no different from his own business enterprise. With his run for president, he is really making a takeover bid, not just for another company to own but for an entire country to manage from the top down, under his proven and brilliant record of business negotiation, acquisition, and management.

You see why the whole speech came across as bizarre? It was. And yet, maybe it was not. In the 18th century, there is a trade theory called mercantilism that posited something similar: ship the goods out and keep the money in. It builds up industrial cartels that live at the expense of the consumer. In the 19th century, this penchant for industrial protectionism and mercantilism became guild socialism, which mutated later into fascism and then into Nazism. You can read Mises to find out more on how this works.

What's distinct about Trumpism, and the tradition of thought it represents, is that it is non-leftist in its cultural and political outlook and yet still totalitarian in the sense that it seeks total control of society and economy and places no limits on state power. The left has long waged war on bourgeois institutions like family, church, and property. In contrast, right fascism has made its peace with all three. It (very wisely) seeks political strategies that call on the organic matter of the social structure and inspire masses of people to rally around the nation as a personified ideal in history, under the leadership of a great and highly accomplished man.

Trump believes himself to be that man.

He sounds fresh, exciting, even thrilling, like a man with a plan and a complete disregard for the existing establishment and all its weakness and corruption. This is how strongmen take over countries. They say some true things, boldly, and conjure up visions of national greatness under their leadership. They've got the flags, the music, the hype, the hysteria, the resources, and they work to extract that thing in many people that seeks heroes and momentous struggles in which they can prove their greatness.

Think of Commodus (161-192 AD) in his war against the corrupt Roman senate. His ascension to power came with the promise of renewed Rome. What he brought was inflation, stagnation, and suffering. Historians have usually dated the fall of Rome from his leadership. Or, if you prefer pop culture, think of Bane, the would-be dictator of Gotham in Batman, who promises an end to democratic corruption, weakness, and loss of civic pride. He sought a revolution against the prevailing elites in order to gain total power unto himself.

These people are all the same. They are populists. Oh how they love the people, and how they hate the establishment. They defy all civic conventions. Their ideology is somewhat organic to the nation, not a wacky import like socialism. They promise greatness. They have an obsession with the problem of trade and mercantilist belligerence as the only solution. They have zero conception of the social order as a complex and extended ordering of individual plans, one that functions through freedom and individual rights.

This is a dark history and I seriously doubt that Trump himself is aware of it. Instead, he just makes it up as he goes along, speaking from his gut. This penchant has always served him well. It cannot serve a whole nation well. Indeed, the very prospect is terrifying, and not just for the immigrant groups and imports he has chosen to scapegoat for all the country's problems. It's a disaster in waiting for everyone.

Hillary Clinton turns up the heat as Iowa takes on general election feel

"...She's playing the fear-mongering, personality-based, empty rhetoric game and avoiding any substantive debate save that which she can promise without having to actually DO anything about. Such techniques always play well in Democracies until the bankruptcy of the policies brings about actual collapse."
"...Sadly, the majority of Americans continue to believe that "elections" matter and that their votes will shape the foundations of US society. In truth, the most critical decisions are made by the banker-funded think tanks and foundations such as the Atlantic Council, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, etc., in other words, by the unelected and unrepresentative "shadow government"."

The Guardian

mkenney63 18 Jul 2015 22:40

Hillary Clinton, Really? Just look at the political corruption we see every day and the many signs of coming collapse and ask yourself if we really want this corporate shill as our president. I will vote for Bernie Sanders no matter what. I believe in political revolution and we may be at the beginning of one now. The 1% have had their day; they've had their way with the reforms that are near and dear to progressives. It's time to stop the insanity of criminal capitalism and restore our country to the people.

sherlockh 18 Jul 2015 21:23

Providing free pizza--isn't that cheating? If Hillary provided a credible economic policy instead, maybe her supporters would be as enthusiastic as Bernie's.

Rob Sacher 18 Jul 2015 17:05

Bernie Sanders has introduced a bill in Congress that will tax investors when they buy shares of stock. That's a big mistake. Shares can always go down in value. Tax on profit, not on investment.

Some people say well, it's such a small tax. I say nonsense. All taxes eventually get raised. Some people say the tax is to stop high speed traders. I say say that may be true but there are plenty of regular guys who like to trade stock and make their living from that endeavor. And, since half of all seniors own stock, whenever they choose to sell one and buy another they will get taxed. No matter if they lose money on the stock, they still get taxed.

This is wrong.

The Republicans will crush Bernie on this issue. Seniors will never vote for a any new tax on their income. Remember, they are no longer working and live off of their investments.

Bernie supporters should get him to change that part of his bill but we know that will not happen.

kerfuffler -> Sam Sammitysam 18 Jul 2015 16:49

Hillary is unpopular, even amongst Democrats. Most stories about her inspire negative comments. For this reason she is unelectable.


H9ank 18 Jul 2015 16:30

Billary is a bad choice for many reason. Dishonest, seems to play with the boys in the backroom. Is not her own boss. Tries to appease the doubters with that open guile that is really an act. Is often two faced and reneges on her promises.

I like Sanders. I'm not sure he will survive. He may be more effective in Congress than as a prez.


VWFeature 18 Jul 2015 14:36

Listen to
Hilary Clinton @ 1:33
Bernie Sanders @ 2:10
Jim Webb @ 2:29

Bernie has the fire and deserves credit for putting forth a vision, but I want Jim Webb for VP to get all the legislation passed. (Like LBJ for JFK.) Webb isn't as dramatic as Bernie, but Webb got the Vietnam War Memorial changed to include a black and hispanic GI instead of three white guys, got the post-Iraq GI education bill passed- and was against the Iraq war from the beginning, based on expert knowledge of what the military can and can't do.

He's right there with Bernie on the issues, wrote a bill reforming the criminal justice system in the Senate, which was supported by the Marijuana Project, the National Sheriffs' Association, the ACLU, the American Bar Association and a hundred other organizations. It got filibustered, but he's asking the president to create the commission to make recommendations on finally fixing the criminal 'justice' system in the US.

He's nuanced, so he'll "deplore the institution of slavery but to try to understand those who served." defending the valor of Confederate (and Union) soldiers-he has ancestors who fought on both sides- while agreeing the Confederate flag shouldn't fly at any statehouse.

He deserves more attention.


Aldous0rwell 18 Jul 2015 13:47

She's playing the fear-mongering, personality-based, empty rhetoric game and avoiding any substantive debate save that which she can promise without having to actually DO anything about. Such techniques always play well in Democracies until the bankruptcy of the policies brings about actual collapse.


Weihan Xingqi 18 Jul 2015 13:25

Sadly, the majority of Americans continue to believe that "elections" matter and that their votes will shape the foundations of US society. In truth, the most critical decisions are made by the banker-funded think tanks and foundations such as the Atlantic Council, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, etc., in other words, by the unelected and unrepresentative "shadow government".


SJuniper 18 Jul 2015 13:22

How can ANYONE believe ANYTHING that Hillary the Horrible says, or that she actually believes anything that she is saying? In terms of actual accomplishments, Nixon would be an improvement over either Clinton, or Obama as well, for that matter. In spite of his nuttiness, I would vote for Rand Paul over Clinton. At least I think he actually believes what he says.


Ramus 18 Jul 2015 13:16

Bernie, unlike HRC and the rest of them does not have a PAC and does not take corporate money. So he is able to say what he thinks. And to my mind, what he thinks is correct. I don't know where HRC stands on Keystone, on TPP. I do know she voted to give George W. Bush the old blank check on 10/11/2002, and Bernie actually read all the information and decided to vote no. It is a matter of trust. HRC is funded by Citibank, Goldman - Go Bernie!


Nicko Thime -> Robert Saunders 18 Jul 2015 13:14

Walker has BURIED Wisconsin in debt, failed to deliver on his employment promises and wants to waste even more government money on drug testing welfare cases, which has proven to be expensive and futile elsewhere.

But what can you expect from somebody who has always lived on the gubbmint dime? Scott Walker has never worked in the private sector.


nnedjo 18 Jul 2015 12:53

Americans must be crazy to choose this woman to be president of the US. And, about the psychology of this lady also is no need to waste words, as she struggles to come to the same house in which her husband used to satisfy his perverse desires. Imagine a flood of memories that will overwhelm the mind of Mrs. Clinton, if one day she really went into the Oval Office. Could it possibly be called "post-traumatic marriage syndrome"? And out of that room she should manage such a powerful country as the US.
Another thing, Mrs. Clinton proved to be a liar no less than her husband Bill, judging at least, by this episode:
Hillary Clinton's Bosnia sniper story exposed

And unlike the scandals of her husband, who had resulted in only one stained blue dress, scandals in which she was involved had much more serious consequences, which led, among other things, to the murder of the US ambassador in Libya:

So, even if none of this had happened, Hillary Clinton had her chance to participate in the leadership of the United States, at least initially as first lady and then as US secretary of state. And if among the three hundred millions of Americans there is nobody better than her who would take the place of the President, this fact by itself speaks very badly about American democracy.


David Meyer -> Chris Silva 18 Jul 2015 12:44

It is indeed disturbing to watch Sanders and Clinton in action. The latter never says anything unless cornered. She'll spout every platitude ever heard by man. Sad. Sad. Sad.

Sanders on the other hand simply tells you what he thinks. And that, dear American citizen is why he can't win. But by God I'll work for him.


TerryinUSA 18 Jul 2015 12:20

Hillary Clinton is a psychopath and traitor. She belongs in prison, along with a lot of people occupying the US government.
"We came, we saw, he died." Then maniacal laughter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y


Chris Silva 18 Jul 2015 12:12

Did you even watch the event? HRC's speech was about as fiery as mayonnaise. She was wooden, vague and insincere.

Bernie Sanders carried the night. While the other candidates plagiarized his platform, Bernie took it a step further and explained exactly how he will accomplish his goals when he becomes president.

O'Malley and HRC paid people to stand outside with signs and chant:

Before the event, large groups of Clinton and O'Malley supporters gathered outside, chanting and holding signs. Some were paid by Clinton's campaign and by Generation Forward, a political action committee supporting O'Malley. Many said they were not allowed to speak to the media.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article27474967.html#storylink=cpy

Bernie Sanders' supporters are moved to do this by his honesty and integrity.

After the event the crowd swarmed Sanders while HRC disappeared. O'Malley and the rest were lucky if 3 or 4 people came to shake hands. One has to assume that writer of this article fell asleep during the event or is just biased and trying to manipulate readers by printing lies.


shininhstars122 Darryl Touchet 18 Jul 2015 12:02

An unobtainable dream? Hardly the bottom line is forty years of economic and political policy promoted by both parties have brought us to this point where a growing majority of Americans think America is in a downward spiral.

I disagree with that assessment as it is actually the forced fed narratives, and the painful realities of the choices we have allowed to be made in the name of our of democracy.

We can re-access our choices by questioning and challenging the special interests with out a revolution...its called throwing out the special interests and participating in our democracy in ways not ever seen in our country since the start pf the 20th century.

Most political leader can barely think beyond the next election cycle, we need leaders who can think about the next 25 to 50 years in our country.

Bernie Sanders is one such candidate.

Hilary Clinton is a plutocrat plain and simple and that is where her loyalties have and will always lie.


haroldclurman Xak999 18 Jul 2015 11:37

She voted for the Iraq War a position which to my mind does not make her the most qualified, in fact it makes her the least qualified. She also supported her husbands' NAFTA policy which sent millions of American jobs overseas, another position which the American electorate should disqualify her for the job of President. She's (imo) a betrayer to her generation and a part of the establishment for far too many years which has made our country ever more the poorer. She accepts monies from the banks for her campaign while Sen. Sanders does not and who in fact wants to break up the all too powerful banks. This is a stance which Ms Clinton will not take as she will not want to bite the hand that feeds her. This for any thinking person is a bribe. I don't want a worm for a president but a person who stands up in ACTION for what she or he believes in.


Beep Tomkens 18 Jul 2015 10:32

Clinton is a con woman, she's just not good at it. Bill and Podesta are doing a good job in obtaining and building the numbers of democratic voters. She is focused in gathering an American majority of voters, simple. She doesn't have to debate or appear and discuss anything with anyone and the democratic voter block has no questions for her. It's going to be a continuation of all the "Free Stuff" for minorities promise without having to say it. She's not running from State to State promising that , she is simply smiling and reinforcing the program. I doubt that she can get elected without publicly taking strong positions on just about every subject in pubic forums. She may, over the next year , avoid all public exposure and refuse to debate anyone if she is sure she has black , brown, yellow people and the female vote coupled with some white males. If every white male and female doesn't vote for a Republican then she will walk away with the White House and Bill Clinton will have a third term and run the country as a business for himself as he did the Secretary of State's Office.

Notice that she did not demand the vice presidency for Obama which would have set her up even more solid for the presidency, but she refused that and demanded the Secretary of State job which enabled her to sell influence.

panpipes 18 Jul 2015 09:51

I am suspicious of the way this was written. A paragraph talking about how Clinton having more visible supporters than O'Malley followed by an exact headcount for the Sanders supporters - seems like it was written in an attempt to put forward an impression that Clinton's support far outnumbered Sanders without actually saying that.

Profhambone NottaBot 18 Jul 2015 09:43

The citizens of the US Empire are not worldly enough or knowledgeable enough about their own history to NOT vote this unqualified person as President. And I believe she will be looking for a war to show her teeth to the world.


NottaBot 18 Jul 2015 09:37

Clinton lost in 2008 because she was a lousy candidate. Between then and now there's been the financial collapse, Occupy, and continuing revelations about Clinton herself, including the private email server, etc. As recently as a couple of years ago she was sucking down that good Goldman Sachs money, 250 grand a pop.

I just don't see how this creature of Wall St. will be able to win this time around. Even without a single gaffe it will be more of a struggle than she or other talking heads believe. Toss in some idiocy from Bill ("I gotta pay our bills!") or some other scandal or revelation about money and she's toast.

I do think it's high time for a woman to be president. But I want a woman who made her reputation based on honest hard work, not on being married to a former president. If that's all we needed to believe that things have changed and women are seen as an even footing with men, Pakistan would have to be counted as one of the most enlightened societies in the world! But just as B. Bhutto represented oligarchic continuation, NOT true women's equality in the political sphere, so another Clinton presidency would just be cementing the power and might of oligarchs and family here in the States.

No thanks. Give us a REAL woman candidate, please!


kjbessenjohnson 18 Jul 2015 09:09

Guardian editors: reading the comments across all of the Hillary articles implies that most of your readers believe that she's a corporate shill, and they're gonna vote for Bernie and really don't care what she has to say (or more accurately that she's going to say a bunch of progressive talking points now and ignore her campaign promises as soon as her hand hits the inaugural bible).

May I suggest keeping up with the times?

[Jul 14, 2015]Walker the Generic Hawk

Jul 14, 2015 | The American Conservative

If no one can describe Walker's foreign policy views in much detail, that's probably because they are unformed and very generic. He invokes Reagan every chance he gets, expresses hostility to diplomatic engagement, and is strongly opposed to ruling out any military options. Walker's foreign policy thus far is what one would get by recycling a handful of hawkish talking points that have circulated on cable news or in the conservative media over the last few years. When it comes to being prepared to be president, Walker simply isn't right now, but if his foreign policy statements are judged as a perfunctory box-checking exercise (which is how he seems to be treating them) he has been doing the bare minimum necessary.

When Walker has said anything on foreign policy subjects, the results have ranged from unimpressive to embarrassing, but his lack of a record could prove to be something of a blessing for his campaign

Fran Macadam, July 13, 2015 at 8:41 pm

These guys really don't have many ideas, beyond the unthinking positions they are willing to adopt if they think it can bring them power.

Whatever reasons do any of them have for running for President, beyond the desire they have to be top dog?

This is not a character trait that challenges the status quo donorist interests who own the duopoly, but seeks their approval, whatever drivel is offered up temporarily to the electorate.

seans, July 14, 2015 at 10:05 am

"He does not have to have deep experience. He just needs policies that make sense."

And who is going to give him his policies? More than likely is going to be the same cast of neocon characters that staffed the Bush II Administration because who else is he going to turn to? There simply any large grouping of Republican non-interventionists or realists to staff a Walker Administration so hardliners are going to take charge again and make the exact same mistake because they have repudiated nothing. Of what Walker has said on foreign policy is basic GOP boilerplate "we ave to get tough" which is easy to say until you have to decide between full engagement of military forces or stand down which Walker, politically, could not choose and would not given who he'll surround himself with. It will be Bush II all over again

bt, July 14, 2015 at 10:41 am

It is a little sad that generic toughness, unburdened with any actual experience in foreign affairs, is an ideal resume for a presidential candidate.

It is a recipe for allowing the military-industrial complex to do as it pleases. I am starting to think that Eisenhower's M-I complex is in fact today's Neocons – they are one and the same.

balconesfault, July 14, 2015 at 12:10 pm

@bt It is a recipe for allowing the military-industrial complex to do as it pleases

That's pretty much the marching orders for 95% of the GOP today, and 50% of the Dems to boot.

And given that anyone who doesn't give the MI complex everything it wants will immediately branded by the media (including … or especially .. the "liberal" Washington Post) as soft on defense …

And adding that anyone who doesn't give the MI complex everything it wants runs a massive risk of being labeled a traitor who sold America down the drain if anything happens in the world that we don't like …

And noting that our electorate seems wholly disinterested in punishing any legislator for pushing for higher defense spending (now, if they call for higher taxes to pay for that higher defense spending … that's a different issue) …

The game is pretty much wired to reward some level of subservience to the Neocon gameplan, be it whole on use of the plan (Bush), or select elements (Obama) … and to ridicule and punish those who reject Neocon dogma.


[Jul 14, 2015] Everybody loves Bernie Sanders – especially top Republican operatives

"...Republicans have little else than slanders of Clinton while pointing at Sanders and endlessly chanting their own message of exclusivity. "The poor, beleaguered rich people deserve their wealth and the rest of you deserve nothing." Throw in a crazy Donald Trump, another cunning Bush, a corrupt Sicillian bully, and a few nincompoops financed with billions of dollars of special interest money and suddenly HRC's message becomes the more politically viable. This is the state of American political discourse.

HRC better expresses the Republican message than Republicans themselves."

Jul 14, 2015 | The Guardian

lefthalfback2 14 Jul 2015 08:23

Geez a Republican operative calling somebody a "...cold, inauthentic fraud....".

And they say that Vaudville is dead.


catch18 14 Jul 2015 08:15

In the 2000 election, 537 votes gave George W. Bush a crucial and controversial victory in Florida.

Nader received almost 100,000 votes in Florida.

Bernie probably won't run as an independent. Although he has done so in the past.

Be careful Bernie.

MiltonWiltmellow 14 Jul 2015 08:15

"I don't know Bernie can play the role of Barack Obama in 2008 because he's a 70-something year-old curmudgeon." He added: "It becomes hard to beat a celebrity without a celebrity."

Of course if Republicans could deliver a message as resonant as Sanders, they wouldn't be Republicans.

Instead they must praise Sanders' because they have no effective political message of their own.

Republicans have little else than slanders of Clinton while pointing at Sanders and endlessly chanting their own message of exclusivity.

"The poor, beleaguered rich people deserve their wealth and the rest of you deserve nothing."

Throw in a crazy Donald Trump, another cunning Bush, a corrupt Sicillian bully, and a few nincompoops financed with billions of dollars of special interest money and suddenly HRC's message becomes the more politically viable.

This is the state of American political discourse.

HRC better expresses the Republican message than Republicans themselves.

This infuriates Republicans.

Thus Republicans must pray that Sanders can damage Clinton's political viability so that Americans forget about their own history of incompetence and cruelty.

kattw dectra 14 Jul 2015 07:56

Indeed. Trump is telling all the deep dark ideological truths of the republican party that make people wince to hear them. They've been hiding their emotions in the dark for so long, they can't stand to have them out in the open.

Sanders is telling the deep, bright truths of the democratic party that liberals have been longing for somebody to stand up and defend. They're not in the least bit embarrassed of their ideology. They've wanted somebody to talk about it for years.

Both men are saying what are in the hearts of the base they want to get votes from. Only one of those bases is happy to have the views discussed openly.


kattw 14 Jul 2015 07:53

See, here's the trick, Republicans. When you say bad things about Clinton? You're generally lying. Liberals are, by and large, smart enough that they can figure such things out. It's obvious what you're doing. As such, you don't effect anything but your own base - and driving frothing hateful idiots into a frothing round of hate is hardly an accomplishment.

When Sanders talks about her, he's being honest. He's saying things that are ACTUALLY wrong with her. Again: folks are smart enough to know the difference.

It's exactly like how you claim Obama is a Muslim/Socialist/etc. All false, all wrong, all obvious lies that merely hurt YOU, rather than the target. When folks complain about his drone program, on the other hand, at least it's something that actually exists.

Also: I'm sure republicans want Bernie to get the nod for exactly this reason. Can you imagine their glee at being able to use the 'socialist' pejorative, and NOT be reminded immediately that they are lying idiots who wouldn't know reality if it bit them on the nose AGAIN?


Book_of_Life Book_of_Life 14 Jul 2015 07:49

Turn the Pyramid upside down
PNAC NWO TTIP OWC OWG got to Go

jim6555 Sonegel 14 Jul 2015 07:48

The problem for Republicans is that in order to win early primaries in the conservative states of Iowa and South Carolina, they have to move to the very far right. In doing this, many candidates go against some of their beliefs. If they emerge victorious, they then have to begin moving back toward the political center to win the general election in November. Along the way, they often lose track of their personal principles and become willing to say anything to win the election. That's what seems to have happened to both John McCain and Mitt Romney and we will probably see the same phenomenon occurring in 2016. The media will often expose a candidate's flip flop on a position of importance. Voters are turned off by candidates who take one side of an issue in Alabama and the opposite side in New York. The Republican Party has to change the order of states in the early primaries if it ever wants to ever recapture the presidency.

Mike5000 14 Jul 2015 07:42

Clinton and her fellow Republicans in both parties still don't understand consistency and integrity.


Jay Smort 14 Jul 2015 07:35

How sad that the Republican operatives are so perplexed and fascinated. Shows how far gone they are from reality and honesty. What really impressed me with Sanders was his question that he posed at the start of his campaign. Can a politician, in this day and age, be elected who truly works for the people for the common good and isn't financed and spouts legislation written by wealthy corporations and billionaires? Even if Bernie doesn't get the nomination, he is pushing issues to the forefront and is acting as a healthy agent of political discussion unlike the ape who I shall not name.

blacksox666 14 Jul 2015 07:27

Bernie is the real deal and has a message that resonates with the people. Republican operatives should remember Tom Dewey and Harry Truman and think long and hard before they dismiss him. likewise, I think he would have very good coattails to carry people into office in the Congress. Hope so, anyhow. Hillary is old news and obviously doesn't have the middle class' problems in mind.

[Jul 14, 2015] Scott Walker: a candidate who embodies America's current partisan divisiveness

align="left">Scott Walter might eat Jeb! lunch ;-).
.
"...Weasily recognized as a lying, cheating little Koch sycophant, Walker may be "soup du jour", but there is a big difference to ruling Wisconsin and trying to rule America. Walker is dreadful for his state and would be a total disaster for America.

He will do well in the primaries because he has a boatload of money and what that money can buy behind him."
.
"...Walker DID set Wisconsin on a path to small government and personal freedom. Wisconsin WAS near the top of the heap in recovering from the recession. Walker changed all that - now it lags behind all of its neighbors by a substantial amount in nearly every category except incarceration rate, which is, somewhat amusingly, true of the US as a whole relative to most other developed countries."
.
"...Most successful countries have governments that do things for their people that businesses will never do in a million years. And many businesses do things to people (very efficiently) that should, but don't usually, get them locked up."
.
"...Walker: the man who managed to carry through on the republican threat of making sure that government couldn't function. Wisconsin, apparently, enjoys being worse off than it could be. And a lot of people in the US still seem to believe that the only way to be well off is to hit rock bottom and stay there. "

14 July 2015 | The Guardian

... ... ..


Why Walker's political underpinning should be so rigid is at least partly explained by the highly partisan nature of his politics: he appeals to half of the electorate because he is only talking to half the electorate. That syndrome was on full display Monday night at his campaign launch, where he thumped out a litany of rightwing conservative causes: his anti-abortion credentials; his championing of Wisconsin's version of the stand-your-ground laws made notorious through the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida; his signing of a concealed carry law that allows Wisconsinites to carry undercover guns; and of course his signature attack in 2011 on public sector unions and this year on their private sector equivalents with the so-called "right-to-work" legislation that prohibits requiring a worker to pay union dues.

It was all extremely well received by the devoted Walker supporters who crammed into the Waukesha County expo center on Monday wearing red, white and blue under a scorching sun. Walker was dressed to appeal to them, in a blue button-up shirt with no tie.

His rhetoric also spoke to popular conservative themes of marriage and family, a strong and aggressive military and local control of education. The crowd, gathered in the heart of the Republican stronghold of Waukesha, chanted and cheered as if on cue when the governor called for bold new leadership in Washington and "a president who will fight and win for them", an oblique reference to those union-busting battles.

Democrats who have witnessed Walker's uncompromising approach to leadership have been struck by how unflustered he is about the need to broaden his following. Peter Barca, the leader of the minority Democratic group in the Wisconsin assembly, told the Guardian that unlike most governors he had observed who made a point of building support over time, "this governor makes very little effort to try and build broader support. He governs with 52% or 53% of the electorate. He seems very comfortable with a very narrow base and doesn't even make overtures to win over more moderate voters."

Such an approach to politics – feed your base with red meat while virtually ignoring everybody else – may be enough to scrape to victory in successive elections in Wisconsin, and may yet work wonders in Iowa. But it presents Scott Walker, and his fellow Republicans, with a longer-term dilemma: are they happy to talk almost exclusively to themselves, knowing that such insularity might cost them the presidency?

Joe Marchand 14 Jul 2015 09:10

What he say is while his reforms were successfully implemented, they were disastrous for economic growth in Wisconsin. Furthermore, he is facing several investigations for corruption and appears to have a truckoad of closets containing skeletons. But I still think he'll win the nomination in the end precisely because he is so divisive. He'll try and tack to the centre once nominated, just as all the others plan to do.

khongor 14 Jul 2015 09:10

It's easier to judge Scott Walker's performance as governor than it is most governors, since there's such a good comparison right next door. Wisconsin and Minnesota are neighbors. They have similar industries, demographics, populations etc. They're a perfect case study for comparison. Conveniently, Minnesota is also run entirely by Democrats who have done things like raise taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans.
What has happened is fairly straightforward. Minnesota does better on job growth, income, percentage of citizens with health insurance, etc. If you can find one major category where Wisconsin is doing better than Minnesota, congrats.
Oh, and Minnesota has a budget surplus. Surplus. Wisconsin's tax cuts, even with massive service cuts, mean the state now has a massive budget deficit.
My hope is that everywhere Scott Walker goes on the campaign trail, somebody asks him why Minnesota is eating his state's lunch.

MKB1234 14 Jul 2015 09:06

Weasily recognized as a lying, cheating little Koch sycophant, Walker may be "soup du jour", but there is a big difference to ruling Wisconsin and trying to rule America. Walker is dreadful for his state and would be a total disaster for America.

He will do well in the primaries because he has a boatload of money and what that money can buy behind him. Don't rule him out just yet, but watch and learn and be ready to fight.

bren333 14 Jul 2015 09:05

Kind of wonder when, or even if, America will ever get over this small government thing.

Governments can be very inefficient, no question; but equating what's inefficient with what's unnecessary is really bizarre. When will this narrative end? It plainly doesn't work.

Most successful countries have governments that do things for their people that businesses will never do in a million years. And many businesses do things to people (very efficiently) that should, but don't usually, get them locked up.

kattw 14 Jul 2015 08:41

Walker DID set Wisconsin on a path to small government and personal freedom. Wisconsin WAS near the top of the heap in recovering from the recession. Walker changed all that - now it lags behind all of its neighbors by a substantial amount in nearly every category except incarceration rate, which is, somewhat amusingly, true of the US as a whole relative to most other developed countries.

Walker did exactly what he promised he would do: he shrank the government to the point where it could no longer function, and gave people the personal freedom to be as poor as they wanted to be. We should all take a good long look at his record while he runs. Not just the actions, but also the consequences.

Walker: the man who managed to carry through on the republican threat of making sure that government couldn't function. Wisconsin, apparently, enjoys being worse off than it could be. And a lot of people in the US still seem to believe that the only way to be well off is to hit rock bottom and stay there. Let's hope that enough people still instead equate success with prosperity to keep him OUT of high office.

Jul 12, 2015] Democracy in neoliberal society is illusive

"...As for democracy it does exists, but only for a tiny fraction of population — the elite and upper middle class. And this is nothing new. Historically democracy always existed mostly for the members of ruling class. For Greece that was class of slave-owners. Nothing essentially changed. This dream of "perfect democracy" is just a propaganda trick. And here you are right: "perfect democracy", "mass democracy" or "democracy for everybody" does not exist and never existed. Some strata of population and first of all low income strata historically were always excluded and marginalized. A simple question is: Does democracy exists if a party accepts $100K contributions?"
"...I agree, Anatoly. Western media networks have a wide variety of opinions on a limited number of issues only, and sing in startling unison on the some other extremely important matters. Wikileaks is a great example, the policy on Israel in the US is another."
"..."True democracy requires multi-party system." You are mixing apples and oranges. Democracy requires that citizens are equal before the law and have equal voting rights. By extension it leads to such thing as "tyranny of majority" which is inevitable (that's why Hegel prefer monarchy). Democracy also presuppose that alternative parties are not banned. But representation is completely another thing. If you are representing 3% of population and to get to Parliament requires 5% you are f*cked absolutely legitimately within this framework and can do nothing without undermining the notion of democracy as expressed. "

cartman, October 6, 2011 at 12:51 am

Slavic untermensch – especially Orthodox Christian ones – must be destroyed. Catholic Slavs are much easier to control. Witness that Poland has the presidency of the EU at the same time Merkel is giving ultimatums to the Serbs and German soldier are once again shooting Serbs at the border checkpoints (which are illegal under UNSC 1244). No matter what they say, it is totally irrelevant as a power.

kievite,October 5, 2011 at 11:23 pm

IMHO you are going a little bit too far both in regard of the value of Russian independence and existence of democracy.

As for independence. nobody cares too much about Russian independence as long as most oligarchs have London real estate, keep money in Western banks, teach children abroad in best colleges, etc.

As for democracy it does exists, but only for a tiny fraction of population — the elite and upper middle class. And this is nothing new. Historically democracy always existed mostly for the members of ruling class. For Greece that was class of slave-owners. Nothing essentially changed. This dream of "perfect democracy" is just a propaganda trick. And here you are right: "perfect democracy", "mass democracy" or "democracy for everybody" does not exist and never existed. Some strata of population and first of all low income strata historically were always excluded and marginalized. A simple question is: Does democracy exists if a party accepts $100K contributions?

But situation is more subtle. If the people's ability to vote candidates in and out of office has no meaningful influence on the decisions they make while in office, does democracy exist? The second important question is: "How much civil liberty and protection against government abuse remains in the system?"

In view of those arguments I think it is more correct to say that what in most cases what is sold under the marketing brand of "democracy" should be more properly be called "inverted totalitarism". Like with totalitarism the net effect is marginalization of citizens to control the direction of the nation through the political process. But unlike classic totalitarian states which rely on mobilization around charismatic leader, here a passive populace is preferred (famous "Go shopping" recommendation by Bush II after 9/11).

Barriers to participation like "management" of elections using two party system and by preselection of candidates by party machine are used as more subtle and effective means of control. Formally officials purport to honor electoral politics, freedom and the Constitution. In reality manipulation the levers of power excludes everybody but a tiny percentage of the population (oligarchy).

Like in classic totalitarism propaganda dispensed by schools and the media, not to mention the entertainment. The stress is on eliminating the audience for anybody who does not support the regime. Ideology is supported by powerful research institutions (aka "think tanks") and is adapted to modern realities by well paid "intellectual agents". Milton Friedman is a classic example. The goal is the same as in classic totalitarism: the dominance of official ideology, especially in schools and universities. But this is achieved without violent suppression of opposing views, mainly by bribing and ostracizing instead of the key ingredient of classical totalitarism — violence toward opponents.

AK (@sublimeoblivion),October 6, 2011 at 2:17 am

The part about media self-censorship is at least every bit as prevalent in "free" societies such as the US as in Russia. Noam Chomsky's concept of the propaganda mode cannot be mentioned enough. The latest example is how The Guardian and NYT – and remember, print newspapers everywhere are more sophisticated than TV – colluded in with-holding from publication many Wikileaks cables that cast a bad light on the power elites.

Another question is ask is, which of these countries has the most democracy – one where many policy decisions are based on the wishes of corporate lobbyists; and one where many policy decisions are made as per opinion polls and the interests of the "overwhelming majority." Much of the "free" West is in the former category; Russia and China are in the latter.

Reply

kievite,October 6, 2011 at 2:45 am

AK: "Noam Chomsky's concept of the propaganda mode cannot be mentioned enough"

I think the right term is "Manufactured Consent". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturing_Consent:_The_Political_Economy_of_the_Mass_Media

It describes five editorially-distorting filters applied to news reporting in mass media:

1. Size, Ownership, and Profit Orientation: The dominant mass-media outlets are large firms which are run for profit. Therefore they must cater to the financial interest of their owners – often corporations or particular controlling investors. The size of the firms is a necessary consequence of the capital requirements for the technology to reach a mass audience.

2. The Advertising License to Do Business: Since the majority of the revenue of major media outlets derives from advertising (not from sales or subscriptions), advertisers have acquired a "de-facto licensing authority".[1] Media outlets are not commercially viable without the support of advertisers. News media must therefore cater to the political prejudices and economic desires of their advertisers. This has weakened the working-class press, for example, and also helps explain the attrition in the number of newspapers.

3. Sourcing Mass Media News: Herman and Chomsky argue that "the large bureaucracies of the powerful subsidize the mass media, and gain special access [to the news], by their contribution to reducing the media's costs of acquiring [...] and producing, news. The large entities that provide this subsidy become 'routine' news sources and have privileged access to the gates. Non-routine sources must struggle for access, and may be ignored by the arbitrary decision of the gatekeepers."[2]

4. Flak and the Enforcers: "Flak" refers to negative responses to a media statement or program (e.g. letters, complaints, lawsuits, or legislative actions). Flak can be expensive to the media, either due to loss of advertising revenue, or due to the costs of legal defense or defense of the media outlet's public image. Flak can be organized by powerful, private influence groups (e.g. think tanks). The prospect of eliciting flak can be a deterrent to the reporting of certain kinds of facts or opinions.[2]

5. Anti-Communism: This was included as a filter in the original 1988 edition of the book, but Chomsky argues that since the end of the Cold War (1945–91), anticommunism was replaced by the "War on Terror", as the major social control mechanism.[3][4

kovane,October 6, 2011 at 7:25 am

I agree, Anatoly. Western media networks have a wide variety of opinions on a limited number of issues only, and sing in startling unison on the some other extremely important matters. Wikileaks is a great example, the policy on Israel in the US is another.

The real difficulty of politics is making weighted decisions that would be beneficial for the future of the country, listening both to lobbyist and the popular opinion. And mistakes can be made on both extremes. In retrospection, few would argue that the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act in the US was made under significant pressure of financial lobby and it seriously contributed to the 2008 meltdown. But populism is equally dangerous, as it is evidenced by Greece. Adopting policies only because they are popular, without considering the long term effect, can be a ruin of any country. Keeping a right balance between these two approaches is the key.

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grafomanka,October 6, 2011 at 9:57 am

'Managed democracy' is a front, and I would say it's kind of refreshing that we can stop living this hypocrisy now. And it's not because of Prokhorov and Kudrin, but because of bizzaro way in which Putin and Medvedev announced that they decided 'years ago'(!) about the job swap. And not even United Russia knew what was going on. What does it make United Russia then?

kovane,October 6, 2011 at 11:19 am

Democracy, first and foremost, is about the wishes of the voters. Putin can run all he wants, but if he doesn't get elected, their decision will be worth as much as my decision to run, for instance. And that's democracy and all that matters. By the way, why do you conclude that since Putin and Medvedev simply announced their decision, there were no consultations, etc?

yalensis,October 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm

@grafomanka: I don't think the main problem is what goes on within United Russia and how they internally pick their candidate. It is the job of any political party to nominate their best candidate who, in this case is obviously Putin. The real problem is that they are the ONLY viable political party. So, Russia is effectively a one-party system now. True democracy requires multi-party system.

grafomanka,October 6, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Yes, basically….

kievite, October 6, 2011 at 7:33 pm

"True democracy requires multi-party system."

You are mixing apples and oranges. Democracy requires that citizens are equal before the law and have equal voting rights. By extension it leads to such thing as "tyranny of majority" which is inevitable (that's why Hegel prefer monarchy). Democracy also presuppose that alternative parties are not banned.

But representation is completely another thing. If you are representing 3% of population and to get to Parliament requires 5% you are f*cked absolutely legitimately within this framework and can do nothing without undermining the notion of democracy as expressed.

Also you can have an illusory alternative parties system like the USA two party system with "winner takes all" provisions in each state which make success of the third party extremely unlikely. My impression is that the existing two party system in the USA is just an improved version of one party system that existed in the USSR with the only difference that that two wings of the same party (let's say that one that represents mainly Wall Street but is friendly to military-industrial and Energy complex and that other the represents mainly Military-industrial and Energy complex but also is quite friendly to Wall Street) are staging the theatrical battles to amuse the electorate.

I hope you are not proposing special anti-democratic regime of affirmative action to change that situation (as you might remember from Okudzhva song "A pryanikov sladkih vsegda ne hvataet na vseh").

grafomanka,October 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Two party system is just like 'upgraded' one party system. Right. But in one political change is possible, in the other it isn't.

yalensis,October 7, 2011 at 12:36 am

Ha ha! No, I do not believe USA 2-party system is true democracy. How can there be any democracy when 1% of the population owns 99% of all the wealth? Is ridiculous situation.

grafomanka, October 6, 2011 at 11:49 am

@kovane

They certainly pretended that there were consultations for the last 4 years, with Medvedev not ruling out that he's going to run, with the talk about some kind of modernizing fraction in the Kremlin.

Now it turned out that none of this was for real. I have more respect for Putin, at least he chose not to violate Russian constitution.

And about wishes of the votes, please. I read that opposition ads in some Russian regions were banned from state TV. Let's not pretend this is a democracy.

kovane,October 6, 2011 at 12:04 pm

So you suppose that if "elites" (that's a very democratic term, straight from the Constitution) were unanimously opposed to Putin's nomination, he would be running anyway? Just because he and Medvedev allegedly made the decision 4 years ago?

Yes, if Nemtsov's talking head was on every channel 24/7 then the opposition would have every chance to win the election. The Muslim Brothers in Egypt were banned altogether, let alone the access to media, but that didn't stop them from being the most popular movement. So let's not pretend that isn't a democracy, having own TV network is not one of the God-given rights last time I checked.

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grafomanka,October 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm

If you didn't mean consultations within the elites then what consultations did you have in mind?

TV coverage is crucially important, because as Kremlin PR masters know right TV coverage can add as much as 15-20% support to a party/candidate. And they have no competition. TV is used for black PR all the time. I don't think Egypt is the fair example, for many reasons, religious etc.

Putin is popular and quite probably Putin is what Russia needs now. It doesn't make Russia a democracy. Democracy is run on institutions, fair competition, public discussion….

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kovane,October 6, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I meant exactly consultations within elites, though "consultations" is a very unsuitable term. Maneuvering and falling behind the right candidate, that's how I would put it.

TV coverage is crucially important

That's what I wrote in the piece. And that's why the Kremlin controls TV so zealously.

Democracy is run on institutions, fair competition, public discussion

That's not democracy, that's a spherical model of democracy. Let's talk about two countries that are usually presented as model democracies, the UK and US. Does anybody discuss the policy on Israel in the US media? Did they discuss if the US should get into the war on Iraq? Bailout of the big banks in 2008? Or any major problem for that matter. And by being discussed I mean not presenting 1001 reason why it should be done. The UK mass media is even more pitiable in that regard. So, please, get off your high horse and stop gluing labels.

grafomanka,October 6, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I don't want to go into 'In America they…' If Russia is a democracy then where are the mechanisms for political change? They are technically there but in reality the Kremlin makes sure that they are useless. I certainly don't see anything democratic about how politics is handled.

Reply

kovane,October 7, 2011 at 8:49 am

Oh, no, you're not going to reduce it to lynching Negroes. The mechanism for political change is present in Russia, and you know it. When the citizens become dissatisfied with the government UR will be forced to make some changes. In many respect the Russian system is more responsive to negative tendencies in public sentiment, because UR can't shift blame on Democrats or Republicans or the Labour party. Whatever happens, everyone knows that's UR's fault.

yalensis,October 7, 2011 at 11:01 am

Well, this is how it is with artists, they experience everything in a vivid emotional manner and are not always rational thinkers. The good news is: Bondarchuk DID show up for work the following day (ergo, he was not whisked away to death star for torture by Putin). I like his rant, I like the way he talks. But I am still scratching my head: what specific policy changes is he asking for? If he decides to build his own faction within United Russia, then he will need a platform of proposed policies. Is not enough to show: "Look how brilliantly I am expressing my emotions! I should be the next Hamlet!"

apc27,October 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm

That desire for a "public discussion" is a common criticism of the way Putin makes decisions, as he seems to prefer to keep his cards close to his chest. Some "discussion" is necessary, but all too often there is that annoying Russian delusion that "any housewife can run a country", that dictates peoples' desire to discuss things, rather than any practical considerations.

The decision as to who will run for a president may have huge implications, but at the end of the day, it is a deeply personal one. What good would our uninformed discussions could have done, besides rocking the boat and setting the power elites on the course for a direct confrontation? Plus, its not as if people's opinions are not considered. There plenty of polls and, of course, the elections themselves where Russians can have their say.

People often use US as an example of the way democracy should work, but what they themselves do not appreciate is that only in US can such polarising and all encompassing "discussions" NOT lead to chaos and ruin.

marknesop,October 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm

The impression that running a country is little more complicated than baking a cake or changing a tire is common to a great deal wider group than Russians. Please don't think I'm endorsing politicians, but politics and government are their business and they typically have some educational background that suits them to the purpose. The notion that a farmer who spends 70% of his waking hours running a farm and doesn't have time to watch more than the local news can engage at an international level and make decisions that will affect complicated relationships of which he is not even aware is beyond silly. But people insist on the right to be involved with the political process without exercising their own due diligence of informing themselves on the issues, and persist with the fiction that anyone could do the job just as well. Anyone who thinks mistakes in that respect are of little consequence, and any damages caused by a foolish choice based on sloganeering and jingoism are easily repaired should review the G.W. Bush and Yeltsin presidencies.

Putin is largely respected and trusted by the Russian people because his policies have generally brought Russia success, and under his guidance Russia has prospered while avoiding most of the stumbling-blocks placed in its path. They believe he can continue this record of success, and they believe it more than they believe Boris Nemtsov could achieve a similar level of success. Nemtsov was a Deputy Prime Minister – it is unrealistic to imagine there is a significant group of voters who do not know who he is and his name on the ballot would be instantly recognizable to nearly all voters. Voting in Boris Nemtsov, or Kasyanov or Kasparov just to prove the validity of the multiparty system would have consequences far beyond the immediate.

Just once, I wish the government would not mess with Nemtsov – would allow him all the free advertising time he wanted and access to the voters as he pleased. Of course the government could not let him just blather and make shit up the way he does in his egregious "white papers", but rebuttal should be confined to calm, reasoned ripostes that do not attempt to overpower his message, rather offering citizens the opportunity to fact-check his claims. When Nemtsov still lost by a wide margin, as I'm sure he would, he would have to confront the fact that he has nothing to offer Russians but a big ego, a big aggreived pout and an inflated sense of self-worth.

yalensis,October 7, 2011 at 11:07 am

Why cannot a housewife run the country? Was Katherine the Great not a housewife before she became Emperess? Most historians agree she was pretty good ruler, except for that unpleasant business surrounding Pugachev uprising.

marknesop,October 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I assume you were joking, but ruling – as a member of the nobility – in days gone by is quite a bit different than ruling in the superpower age when all is comprised of alliances, "what have you done for me lately?" expectations and constant jockeying for advantage. Resolving international conflicts is unlikely to be brought about by challenging the enemy to a pie-making contest, winner take all. The more you don't possess any background knowledge in – political science, international affairs, foreign policy, trade….the more you must rely on advisors: and then, not only is the resulting policy not your own, you don't even understand it well enough to know if you've been sold a bag of shit that will have serious negative effects on the country.

George W. Bush is an excellent example of the radical pursuit of a narrow ideology that can result when someone is elected on his folksy charm and his devoutness, and not much else. He relied on a tight, like-minded circle of advisors to coalesce his opinions for him, decided things based on "gut feeling" rather than analysis and was not well-read in any subject except baseball despite having had the benefits of an excellent education. And he was a member of the political class!

While some modest, ordinary citizens might make excellent leaders on a community scale or with a simple problem in a subject with which they are acquainted, international politics are generally beyond them and they are not prepared for the infighting among their own political system that will make it difficult to get anything constructive done. I'm not suggesting ordinary citizens are too stupid to be politicians – merely that their life experiences have not prepared them for the political arena and I don't understand why anyone would invest their formative years in preparing for such a career (except that you can make quite a lot of money for doing little but talking and voting).

marknesop,October 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Sorry if I sound a little disillusioned with politics and politicians right now, but I'm still steaming after watching this video from Leos Tomicek's Austere Insomniac, which shows members of the European Parliament showing up at 7:00 AM just to enregister for the day – and pocket their 284-Euro allowance for doing so – and then buggering off for the weekend: many of them have their suitcases with them. I'm not sure what the language is, but it sounds like German and the film takes pains to point out EU Parliamentarians can earn more than Chancellor Merkel for basically doing dick-all. The reporter who is filming this gets kicked out by EU Parliament security.

marknesop,October 6, 2011 at 4:31 pm

"Democracy is run on institutions, fair competition, public discussion…."

Please provide an example of somewhere that occurs absent influence or interference by the party currently in power.

yalensis,October 7, 2011 at 12:42 am

…or absent influence of big money interests…

marknesop,October 6, 2011 at 4:25 pm

This is the crux of the argument for me – let's not pretend this is a democracy, but while we're caught up in the tide of refreshing honesty, let's stop pretending there is real democracy anywhere. In that light, Russia is no better and no worse than anywhere else, so let's stop with the finger-pointing and the self-righteous pontificating. I'm not opposed to criticism of Russia, provided it is not hypocritical or unfair.

The Italian papers wouldn't run a toothpaste ad without consulting their guidelines, because Berlusconi owns the media – but nobody suggests Italy isn't a democracy or is a managed democracy. In every country that exercises a simple vote and is not a monarchy, the leaders maneuver behind the scenes to gather more power for themselves and reduce or eliminate the possibility of successful challenge by opposition – by control of media outlets, by manufactured scandal and by inflation or fabrication of their own accomplishments. When everyone drops the pretense that they're a real democracy, the accusation that this country or that country oppresses its citizens by unduly and unfairly influencing their exercise of a free vote will lose its sting altogether. Hey, you, you're a crook – say, fellow crook; like to get together for a drink after work, and compare notes?

On the opposite pole of the argument are the voters, who don't know shit about governance or running a country, much less the nuances of international relationships and alliances, but are ready to vote for the leader with the best hair or the most affable public-speaking style. Let's not pretend that's democracy, either.

marknesop,October 7, 2011 at 12:04 am

There is no democracy anywhere – and hasn't been for a long time – like the idealized model you describe. I know you don't want to get involved in a Russia-vs-the USA discussion, but the USA sets itself up for just such a comparison by regularly expounding that American-style democracy is so wonderful they simply must export it to others, and by virtue of the fact that most of Russia's harshest critics are Americans or products of American agencies.

Russia is not an ideal democracy, as kovane already pointed out, in that not all parties have equal access to media and the ruling party has extensive control over both voting mechanisms and the rulebook for viability of new parties. However, the USA is similarly deficient in democratic values in that it uses gerrymandering, redistricting and voter disenfranchisement to manipulate the popular vote, and the current opposition seems perfectly willing to use the filibuster to crash the economy so that its chances of regaining power are improved. That's manifestly not what the electorate wants, since polls regularly reveal jobs and the economy as its biggest concerns.

Granted, that's the opposite problem to Russia – in that the opposition has too much power and can highjack every economic initiative by misusing the supermajority rule – but it ushers in what some analysts describe as "the normalization of extortion politics", and is plainly not democracy because party discipline supersedes loyalty to the constituent.

"Tame" media outlets like Fox News regularly report outright falsehoods, misstate the qualifications of their guests and frequently push made-up narratives as if they were real news – is that democracy?

grafomanka,October 7, 2011 at 9:22 am

Mark, in America Democrats and Republicans are locked in constant battle, and of course it has negative effects like extortion policies and Fox News. Maybe It's even too extreme and bad for the country. Quite probably Chinese with their 5-year plans will turn out to be more effective in governing because they're not locked in constant competition battle. But America is democracy and China isn't. Americans don't have it ideal, half of the country alienated when Bush became president. But it is democracy, power shifts, you can watch the daily show which takes a piss out of Fox News.

Foppe,October 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm

However nice TDS may be, it still behaves as though there are important differences between the two parties when, when it comes to (all-important) economic policy, there really isn't.

Both parties encourage outsourcing, both give huge subsidies to industries while cutting back on redistributive programs, neither party is willing to regulate and prosecute corrupt businesses/behavior (Cheney).. Certainly they differ a bit in the area of abortion/gay rights/etc., but they're doing as little as possible while still seeming distinct.

Reply

grafomanka,October 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm

They differ economically too, but both pander to big businesses, yes. I think if Russia had more diversified economy and more different big businesses maybe politics would be a different story. But when big business in the country are oil and gas, why wouldn't the elites collude instead of competing? Collusion makes more sense to them.

About 'made-up narratives' I think Americans arrived at the conclusion that it doesn't matter what you say as long as it evokes emotional response. In the end it's emotions that win elections, not rational thinking. That's why Sarah Palin, Fox News, etc feel that they can spawn any bullshit.

[Jul 12, 2015] Donald Trump is flaming right wing passions against "illegal" immigrants

Jul 11, 2015 | economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview

pgl said...

Donald Trump is flaming right wing passions against "illegal" immigrants. But guess who Trump hired to build some of his hotels and casinos - illegal immigrants. Do the Tea Party nitwits that now heart the DONALD know this?

400 ppm said in reply to pgl...


"
Donald Trump is flaming right wing passions against "illegal" immigrants. But guess who Trump
"
~~pgl~

Easy living within a land of plenty cuts lots of slack for each of us to become *mean spirited*. Perhaps if we concentrate less on our own economic imperfections but concentrate more on lifting people of other nations we could thus indirectly learn a modicum about our own system.

Good
luck
!

pgl said in reply to 400 ppm...

He is speaking in Las Vegas right now to the right wing crowd. Did Rusty write his critic of Obamacare? 3 accountants per doctor - really? I guess these accountants are working 10 hours a week.

djb said in reply to pgl...

he cares so much about workers, he put thousands of contractors in atlantic city out of business by not paying his bills

what I heard is he'd say go on and sue, I got better lawyers than you

EMichael said in reply to pgl...

Donald Trump is the greatest example in the world why the US should have an immense estate tax.

DrDick said in reply to EMichael...

Trump (or any of the Bushes) is the best argument for a 100% estate tax on estates over $1 million.

John Cummings said in reply to pgl...

Trump himself hires 'illegal' immigrant and indeed a rentier. Leftists should demand the end to all legal 'immigration'. Capitalism is what needs the extra labor, not socialism. This is why politics is dying. The dialect has twisted politics and idiots that agree with Trumps dialect, help propagate it.

Trump himself will be destroyed by the fall. IMO, he never wanted this and the contradictions will become apparent to obliterate him soon enough. I would not be surprised he is also a Clinton agent considering their past ties. He is tying up the GOP and wasting their time.

Brad said...

Got an idea. Let's end the subsidies to crony capitalist industries soooo supported by Bush, Romney, GOP and their ilk (petroleum, Big Sugar, Military Industrial Complex, etc.).

Romney screwed the FDIC out of $16M. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-federal-bailout-that-saved-mitt-romney-20120829

Bush family made its money initially trading with the WWII enemy and then built a fortune in petroleum, which was heavily subsidized. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/sep/25/usa.secondworldwar

Dick Cheney and his relationship with KBR-Halliburton, was the big winner in the Iraq war. http://www.ibtimes.com/winner-most-iraq-war-contracts-kbr-395-billion-decade-1135905

The real issue is not one of 'takers' or 'non-workers' but a 'smash and grab' scrum for WHO gets to be the REAL TAKERS and clearly the right wing GOP have a sense of entitlement to rip off the most and are incensed if they perceive anyone might need some social services!

What a joke!

pgl said in reply to Brad...

Hey! Their lawyers and lobbyists worked long hours to rig the system in their favor.

JF said...

"16 tons and what did I get?

Another day older and deeper in debt.

Oh, I owe my soul to the company store."


So this is the new thinking of the GOP? Produce more, work as many hours as needed, get paid no more than I'd planned on paying you. Good campaign platform. I can see how that will attract the attention of those who work for a living or worked decades before they were able to retire.

And better yet, if I get the 16 tons and I use even fewer workers (who really are indebted to me for getting a job), all the better. Good productivity metric. Just need fewer of them to work longer, harder too.

I can hear the music playing now as the GOP candidates take to the podium.

I just hope other US residents hear the doleful music too, and relate to it by voting a straight ticket for the other party.

JF said...

"don't you call me, I can't go"

The GOP platform is also designed to solve the Social Security accounting matter in the Jonathan Swift manner. Keep people working longer and harder, paying them so they can never get ahead, so they can never retire and claim any earnings via the social security system's support for the economy (and it is earned, a return on investment of the human capital).

John Cummings said...

Capitalism itself died in 1933. Governments saved it in Bernie Lomax form and now the Capitalists want to create the market state to bring Bernie back to life as a totalitarian force.

[Jul 12, 2015] Hillary Clinton and middle-class-out/progressive supply side economics proposals that Larry Summers floated for her at Davos

July 11, 2015 | economistsview.typepad.com

pgl said...

Jeb! "Work longer hours". Hillary?

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/hillary-clinton-economic-agenda-boosting-wages

Increase wage rates.

Peter K. said in reply to pgl...

"Clinton will lay out the themes of her economic plan in a speech Monday in New York. Clinton's campaign says in a preview on Saturday that the speech will emphasize the need for the real incomes of everyday Americans to rise steadily along with corporate profits and executive compensation."

Hopefully she does this. The question is how? Her speech at Roosevelt island just focused on stuff like tax breaks for small companies and profit-sharing.

Weak tea.

It rally depends on Yellen. I doubt Hillary will mention the Fed. She can increase the power of unions. I doubt she will mention that.

What did Bill Clinton campaign on? Not increasing wages. What was his record? An upward tick in the late 90s as Greenspan refused to raise rates?

JaaaaayCeeeee said in reply to Peter K....

I think Hillary Clinton will claim on Monday that it can be morning again in America for the middle class, with her middle-class-out/progressive supply side economics proposals that Larry Summers floated for her at Davos in January. Remember his "It Can Be Morning Again For The World's Middle Class" op-ed, in January 18th's links here at EV, one of several he wrote his "Report of the Commission on Inclusive Prosperity" published at the Center For American Progress?
https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/report/2015/01/15/104266/report-of-the-commission-on-inclusive-prosperity/

I remember, after skimming CAP's report, thinking it had some good ideas for lots of our problems, but ignored some of the most necessary reforms, and hand waved at others.

Although the CAP report had plenty of good proposals, like recommending step up basis reform and Obama's transfer pricing abuse proposed rule, it didn't seemt o have a goal of making the tax code progressive enough and taxing capital like labor, let alone addressing Stiglitz's proposed corporate tax reform or a financial transaction tax.

Although the CAP report proposed that Congress legislate more wage and benefit protections for workers, I don't remember anything contracting or about increasing disposable pay by improving work week/vacation/job sharing/vacation/leave, and paid family leave is not the whole package. The CAP reports praises more immigration to increase labor supply and output, with nothing about visa abuse.

The praise of trade pacts as how to raise wages, not only around the world but in the USA, with nothing about preventing these trade pacts from making current VISA abuse look timid, sounded as ill-advised as the CAP report's praise for the gig economy, with nothing more than a recommendation that another commission do studies on how to prevent labor exploitation in the gig economy. In fact, the only trade policy change proposal was to include rules against currency manipulation in trade treaties. After reading the CAP report, would a Clinton administration be much more helpful to labor than the Obama administration has been (yes, updating OT proposal is good, but look at the Obama administration on minimum wage and caregivers).

Summers' CAP report admits early on that because technology, we should not expect jobs for everyone at socially acceptable wages. The CAP report even claims that more technical and top-flight education will save workers, promoting the myth that more STEM pays more, without addressing why that's not what is happening, and we know why. These two are good examples of how the proposals sound good until you think about what is missing and whether it adds up to enough, or even deserves Larry Summers claiming it adds up to "progressive supply side economics".

No matter how long a laundry list of not-enough-to-turn-the-tide progressive proposals that Hillary Clinton's donors allow her, I can't see how the economic proposals that CAP prepared for Hillary add up to economic growth that is productive enough, stable enough, and sustainable enough to generate enough economic demand for full employment policy (not mentioned in the CAP report) and living wages. I wish I were and economics expert, and could write as well as that report, but even I can tell that it is missing some minimal requirements.

The CAP report is full of great little talking points, like convert mortgage interest and property tax deductions to tax credits and limit cap gains exclusions on castle flipping. and even on exec pay (don't remember even disclosure being mentioned, though). Even touts climate mitigation as an investment opportunity without cheerleading for public/private explicitly. Excellent descriptions of some problems, like, "the direct costs of top-end pay packages are relatively small as a portion of the economy, but the indirect effects of incentivizing managers on the basis of short-term stock performance have major implications for investment, innovation, and wage growth." Well, at least apart from the execrable "incentivizing".

The CAP report proposes card check, but only after proof of employer coercion in the election process which means that workers just have to hope that Larry Summers' counterpart in a big donor Democrat administration will have whole new levels of clout, new policies, enforcement, and resources, to counter that employers no longer follow the rules and don't pay for it, either?

It would be helpful if Hillary Clinton's economics speech Monday makes it hard to know if she agrees (is fully on board and ready to bully pulpit) or disagrees (thinks there's a third way still) on the following people's proposals: Joseph Stiglitz on corporate tax reform, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on a financial transaction tax and restoring a Glass-Steagall law, the House Progressive Caucus' "People's Budget" on income tax reform, Robert Reich on labor support, Dean Baker on prioritizing reducing our trade deficit and full employment policy (and the currency manipulation, treaty, and tax changes needed to solve these), Mark Thoma's deficit neutral fiscal stimulus as a million times more necessary than weaponized Keynes, Stiglitz/Baker on alternatives to our unsustainable patent funded pharma, and Krugman on VSP's.

The New York Times and Washington Post have said that Hillary Clinton's economic proposals will be based on the CAP "Inclusive prosperity" report, but her allies are smart enough to have held a couple for effect and make a couple sound more Bernie Sander-ish, but 'ish doesn't add up to progressive policies.

[Jul 12, 2015] Jeb and the Nation of Takers

economistsview.typepad.com

Paul Krugman:

Jeb and the Nation of Takers: Maybe we were unfair to Mitt Romney; Jeb "people should work longer hours" Bush is making him look like a model of empathy for the less fortunate. ...

But I think it's also important to understand where this is coming from. Partly it's Bush trying to defend his foolish 4 percent growth claim; but it's also, I'm almost certain, coming out of the "nation of takers" dogma that completely dominates America's right wing.

At my adventure in Las Vegas, one of the questions posed by the moderator was, if I remember it correctly, "What would you do about America's growing underclass living off welfare?" When I said that the premise was wrong, that this isn't actually happening, there was general incredulity — this is part of what the right knows is happening. ...

As I asked a few months ago, where are these welfare programs people are supposedly living off? TANF is tiny;... overall spending on "income security" has shown no trend at all as a share of GDP, with all the supposed growth in means-tested programs coming from Medicaid...

But isn't there an epidemic of people declaring themselves disabled? Actually, no..., if you look at age-adjusted disability rates, they have been flat or even declining...

But none of this will, of course, make any dent in the right-wing narrative: they just know that the rising number of bums on welfare is a problem, even though there basically isn't any welfare and there are no more bums than there ever were.

Brad

Got an idea. Let's end the subsidies to crony capitalist industries soooo supported by Bush, Romney, GOP and their ilk (petroleum, Big Sugar, Military Industrial Complex, etc.).

Romney screwed the FDIC out of $16M. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-federal-bailout-that-saved-mitt-romney-20120829

Bush family made its money initially trading with the WWII enemy and then built a fortune in petroleum, which was heavily subsidized. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/sep/25/usa.secondworldwar

Dick Cheney and his relationship with KBR-Halliburton, was the big winner in the Iraq war. http://www.ibtimes.com/winner-most-iraq-war-contracts-kbr-395-billion-decade-1135905

The real issue is not one of 'takers' or 'non-workers' but a 'smash and grab' scrum for WHO gets to be the REAL TAKERS and clearly the right wing GOP have a sense of entitlement to rip off the most and are incensed if they perceive anyone might need some social services!

What a joke!

Sandwichman

Not to overlook that even in trying to weasel out of his "people need to work longer hours" assertion, Governor Bush talked about people working 30 hours "getting in line and depending on government."
Sandwichman said in reply to Sandwichman...
John Pencavel, "The Productivity of Working Hours."

ABSTRACT: Observations on munition workers, most of them women, are organised to examine the relationship between their output and their working hours. The relationship is non-linear: below an hour's threshold, output is proportional to hours; above a threshold, output rises at a decreasing rate as hours increase. Implications of this finding for the estimation of labour supply functions are considered. The findings also link up with the current research on the effects of long working hours on accidents and injuries.

Links at: http://econospeak.blogspot.ca/2015/07/people-need-to-work-longer-shorter-hours.html#more

The Economist, December 9, 2014: Proof that you should get a life

But a new paper, by John Pencavel of Stanford University, also shows that reducing working hours can be good for productivity.

TIME, June 19, 2015: How to Unplug From Work

Productivity falls sharply after a 50-hour workweek, found Stanford economics professor John Pencavel. So connecting less is good for you and your company—though your boss may need convincing.

Financial Post, July 3, 2015: If we agree productivity has dropped despite working longer hours, how can we fix it?

Research shows working longer hours doesn't increase productivity. Economists have argued for some time working longer hours would negatively affect productivity. John Hicks, a British economist who looked at this issue in the 1930s, concluded that productivity declined as working hours increased. And John Pencavel of Stanford University showed in his research that reduced working hours can be good for productivity. The study found that productivity declined markedly after more than 50 hours a week and that the absence of a rest day (such as Sunday) damaged productivity.

New Zealand Herald, July 11. 2015: No winners in culture of overwork

Employee output falls sharply after a 50-hour working week and falls off the cliff after 55 hours, with those putting in 70 hours producing nothing more in those extra 15 hours, according to a recent study by John Pencavel of Stanford University. He says long hours are also connected to absenteeism and high employee turnover, and there are ancillary costs to employers such as providing light, heat, ventilation, and supervisory labour during those extra hours.

Human Resources Executive Online, February 5, 2015: Long Hours Lead to Lower Productivity

Research by Stanford University economics professor John Pencavel indicates there's a point of no return, if you will, when long hours and overwork become unproductive and unhealthy, and even have negative effects on your bottom line. So, counter to common thinking, your hardest workers may not be your best workers, not by a long shot.

The study—The Productivity of Working Hours, based on a review of much earlier research undertaken by investigators of the British Health of Munition Workers Committee during the First World War—finds employee output falls sharply after 50 hours of work in a week. After 55 hours, that output is fast becoming nonexistent, to the point that an employee working 70 hours in a week produces absolutely nothing between 55 and 70 hours, according to the research.

"Long weekly hours and long daily hours do not necessarily yield high output," Pencavel writes in his report, "and this implies that, for some employees engaged in certain types of work, their profit-maximizing employer [should] not be indifferent to the length of their working hours over a day or week."

This point has already been made in reports of fixed employment costs, where costs linked to the number of workers employed inclines a firm to extend workers' hours, he notes.

"[But] this paper," Pencavel writes, "has suggested a different reason for an optimizing employer to care about the length of working hours: employees at work for a long time may experience fatigue or stress that not only reduces [their] productivity, but also increases the probability of errors, accidents and sickness that impose costs on the employer.

"Unlike the case of fixed employment costs," he writes, "these concerns over work stress incline the firm not to extend the work hours of employees, but to curtail them. … This is certainly not a new argument, but it seems to have been neglected in contemporary models of labor markets. It implies that restrictions on working hours—those imposed by statute or those induced by setting penalty rates of pay for hours worked beyond a threshold, or those embodied in collective-bargaining agreements—may be viewed, not as damaging restraints on management, but as an enlightened form of improving workplace efficiency and welfare."

anne said in reply to Sandwichman...
New data:

http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=ANHRS

June 30, 2015

Average Annual Hours Worked per Employee, 2014

United States ( 1789)
OCED average ( 1770)

Australia ( 1664)
Austria ( 1629)
Belgium ( 1576)
Canada ( 1704)

Chile ( 1990)
Czech Republic ( 1776)
Denmark ( 1436)
Finland ( 1645)

France ( 1489)
Germany ( 1371)
Greece ( 2042)
Hungary ( 1858)

Iceland ( 1864)
Ireland ( 1821)
Israel ( 1853)
Italy ( 1734)

Japan ( 1729)
Korea ( 2163)
Luxembourg ( 1643)
Mexico ( 2228)

Netherlands ( 1425)
New Zealand ( 1762)
Norway ( 1427)
Poland ( 1923)

Portugal ( 1857)
Slovak Republic ( 1763)
Spain ( 1689)
Sweden ( 1609)

Switzerland ( 1568)
Turkey ( 1832)
United Kingdom ( 1677)

DrDick said in reply to Sandwichman...

This of course totally ignores the fact that Americans work longer hours than anyone else in the Developed world and that there nowhere in the US where working full-time at minimum wage pays enough to rent a two-bedroom apartment.

anne said...

http://www.cepr.net/publications/op-eds-columns/the-hard-work-election

July 10, 2015

Jeb Bush wants us to work more for the collective good. Who's the socialist now?
Americans already work more than our European counterparts, but the former governor wants to enact policies to force people to work even more hours.
By Dean Baker - Guardian

Governor Jeb Bush announced that he thinks people should work more hours in a campaign speech this week. This puts him in direct opposition to the two leading contenders on the Democratic side, both of whom are pushing proposals that will allow people to work less. This could mean that 2016 will be an election in which work hours play a central role.

Starting with Bush's position, the comment came in the context of a speech where he was listing the things that we need to do to reach his target of 4.0 percent annual GDP growth "as far as the eye can see." Bush said that we need to increase labor force participation, work longer hours, and increase productivity.

This is not the first time that Bush said that he thought people should work more. He previously argued for raising the normal retirement age for Social Security.

The sight of someone who was raised in privilege, and relied on family connections to make his careers in business and politics, telling the rest of the public they have to work more, will make good fodder for Governor Bush's political opponents. But this position is actually held by many people in policy circles in both political parties.

The argument is that we need more workers in order to sustain economic growth, even if almost no one thinks Bush's 4.0 percent growth target is remotely plausible. In particular, they argue that as we see an aging population, we will have to keep people working to older ages and get also to get more hours of work from them each year until they do retire.

This view is striking given that the United States and most of the rest of the world has been suffering from the opposite problem for the last eight years. The United States, Europe, and Japan all have fewer people working than would like to work because there is insufficient demand in the economy. The problem our economies are facing is that we don't have enough jobs.

In fact, one of the lines that is getting widely (and wrongly) repeated is that none of us will have work because robots are taking all the jobs. Obviously we can't both have a shortage of workers and a shortage of jobs at the same time.

While the robots taking all our jobs story is an exaggeration, the basic point is right. We are seeing rising productivity through time, which means that we can produce more goods and services with the same amount of work. This is the basis for rising living standards.

Historically, we have taken the benefits from higher productivity in both higher pay and more leisure. If we go back a century, work weeks of sixty or even seventy hours a week were common. While our workweek has been largely fixed at forty hours a week for the last seventy years, other countries have pursued policies to shorten the work week and/or work year. These policies include paid sick days, paid family leave, and paid vacation.

Several European countries have actively pushed policies of work sharing as an alternative to unemployment. In this case, the government compensates workers in part for a reduction in hours as opposed to paying unemployment insurance to someone who has lost their job. Germany has paved the path on this policy, which is an important factor in its 4.7 percent unemployment rate.

As a result of work sharing and other policies, the average worker in Germany puts in almost 25 percent fewer hours each year than workers in the United States, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Most other wealthy countries are close to Germany. In the Netherlands, the average work year is 21 percent shorter than in the United States. In Denmark, it is 20 percent shorter than in the United States.

The leading Democratic contenders are proposing policies to get the United States more in line with the rest of the world. Secretary Clinton has indicated she will support paid family leave and paid sick days, although she has not yet produced specific proposals. Senator Bernie Sanders, the other leading contender, also supports paid family leave and paid sick days. In addition, he recently put forward a proposal guaranteeing all workers two weeks a year of paid vacation. That might seem like small change compared to the five to six weeks a year that is now standard in Europe, but it would be a huge gain for tens of millions of workers.

There is a long way yet before the parties select their nominees, but if the general election ends up being a contest between Jeb Bush and either Clinton or Sanders, it will present the country with an unusually clear choice. We will have one candidate who wants people to work more hours and retire later, and another candidate who wants to put in place policies so that people can work less. That will make for an interesting election.

ilsm said in reply to anne...

Fascism is socialism for the 1%. The collective in fascism is the 1%.

cm said in reply to ilsm...

I don't know why everybody is so obsessed with the Fascism label. What we are discussing here has little to do with it.

likbez said in reply to cm...

I think you are wrong.

Fascism is a form of corporatism which remains a viable right wing program for setting up a highly centralized regime with militant nationalistic policies (especially external expansion), merge of industrial and financial corporations with the government, total population control, rigid control of MSM, and violent suppression of opposition.

But you need to understand that along with classic fascism, there are multiple mutations that are called by generic name of neofascism. For example some flavors of neofascism replace physical suppression of internal opposition with MSM dominance. Opposition is simply pushed out of media space and ignored, not physically suppressed. The idea of racial/ethnic purity can be replaced by cultural, by rejection of alternative culture/language in particular country; Spanish in the USA or Russian in Ukraine.

And as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity it is not that far from right wing Republican platform as we might wish.

The key question to you is: "Do we have an organized, committed nationalistic (and exceptionalism is a form of nationalism) militants, in alliance with traditional elites, who are ready to use violence without ethical or legal restraints for internal cleansing of the society and external expansion?"

And I would answer positively this question as far as external expansion goes.


Second Best said in reply to anne...

'Obviously we can't both have a shortage of workers and a shortage of jobs at the same time.'

It should be easy to swift boat Jeb Bush on a tacit admission that he is criticizing employers for not hiring more to work more hours for lack of sales, not employees voluntarily working less. The data is too strong to deny this in areas like the Beveridge Curve.

It won't happen because no challenger to Bush will advance a spending platform that hires more at higher hours, a third rail none of them will touch.

cm said in reply to Second Best...

Nobody is claiming a general shortage of workers. The claim is a shortage of suitably skilled workers. Including of course basic skills and professional attitude that should be expected to be readily available (and mostly is). And of course the unstated qualifiers "at a certain price point" and "willing to agree to all our terms".

In "tech", one significant "problem" is that general or even specialized competence is often not enough for a high level of proficiency - the worker also has to get up to speed on proprietary in house tech, learn their way around the complex processes and organizations, etc., which takes several months or even years. This is a considerable sunk cost and risk of having to do it over when the worker leaves. Company pensions/defined benefits as a means to bind workers to the company have been phased out, stock with vesting may work but is expensive at scale, and the next best thing is a work visa where the workers cannot just leave at will, or at least with nontrivial risk and hassle on their part (e.g. being forced to leave the country for a while to get a new visa).

Peter K. said...

Jeb!

Worse than Romney?

pgl said in reply to Peter K....

I thought being worse than Romney was impossible but Jeb! just may exceed "expectations".

Brad said...

Got an idea. Let's end the subsidies to crony capitalist industries soooo supported by Bush, Romney, GOP and their ilk (petroleum, Big Sugar, Military Industrial Complex, etc.).

Romney screwed the FDIC out of $16M. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-federal-bailout-that-saved-mitt-romney-20120829

Bush family made its money initially trading with the WWII enemy and then built a fortune in petroleum, which was heavily subsidized. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/sep/25/usa.secondworldwar

Dick Cheney and his relationship with KBR-Halliburton, was the big winner in the Iraq war. http://www.ibtimes.com/winner-most-iraq-war-contracts-kbr-395-billion-decade-1135905

The real issue is not one of 'takers' or 'non-workers' but a 'smash and grab' scrum for WHO gets to be the REAL TAKERS and clearly the right wing GOP have a sense of entitlement to rip off the most and are incensed if they perceive anyone might need some social services!

What a joke!

pgl said in reply to Brad...

Hey! Their lawyers and lobbyists worked long hours to rig the system in their favor.

JF said...

"16 tons and what did I get?

Another day older and deeper in debt.

Oh, I owe my soul to the company store."

So this is the new thinking of the GOP? Produce more, work as many hours as needed, get paid no more than I'd planned on paying you. Good campaign platform. I can see how that will attract the attention of those who work for a living or worked decades before they were able to retire.

And better yet, if I get the 16 tons and I use even fewer workers (who really are indebted to me for getting a job), all the better. Good productivity metric. Just need fewer of them to work longer, harder too.

I can hear the music playing now as the GOP candidates take to the podium.

I just hope other US residents hear the doleful music too, and relate to it by voting a straight ticket for the other party.

JF said...

"don't you call me, I can't go"

The GOP platform is also designed to solve the Social Security accounting matter in the Jonathan Swift manner. Keep people working longer and harder, paying them so they can never get ahead, so they can never retire and claim any earnings via the social security system's support for the economy (and it is earned, a return on investment of the human capital).

ilsm said in reply to JF...

How to fix entitlements: have them die before reaching SS age! As a matter of fact have them die cheap too.

The money is needed to buy F-35's to do fake missions with a plane that cannot do the fake missions.

If the US had half the $28T spend the past 70 years on the pentagon for the 99%..........

Brad said...

Speaking of more crony capitalist giveaways. Remember Bush's plan to privatize Social Security, in other words giving it to stock brokers WHO HAVE NO FIDUCIARY DUTY!

Dept. of Labor has proposed to making some retirement asset managers fidcuaires. http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20150515/FREE/150519925/dol-extends-comment-period-on-fiduciary-duty-proposal

Congress threatens to defund D. of Labor if the rule occurs! http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20150625/FREE/150629945/momentum-to-defund-dol-fiduciary-rule-seems-unstoppable

Think of how extreme this attempted giveaway was compared to anything related to the 'social safety net'!

It is "redistribution from the duped to the dupers"! http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/luigi.zingales/papers/research/Finance.pdf

DeDude said in reply to Brad...

Yes what an outrage to demand that retirement asset managers work for the best of the retirees, rather than the Wall Street banksters who bribe them to assist in the looting of their retirees. No wonder the banksters little GOP sock puppets are throwing a fit.

ilsm said in reply to JF...

How to fix entitlements: have them die before reaching SS age! As a matter of fact have them die cheap too.

The money is needed to buy F-35's to do fake missions with a plane that cannot do the fake missions.

If the US had half the $28T spend the past 70 years on the pentagon for the 99%..........

[Jul 11, 2015] Bernie Sanders Gets His Gun

Jul 7, 2015 | The American Conservative

After every election, the Democratic Party spends a lot of time wondering why it keeps losing the support of white working-class voters. Why would the white working class support Republican candidates and policies when those candidates and policies are so detrimental to their economic interests?

Some conclude that racism is the reason, and there's something to that. Others argue that such voters are being duped by the "culture war," and there's something to that, too. But could there also be something here about liberals and their claim to knowing what the Democratic base cares about? Perhaps, I wonder, the white working class might continue to side with the Republicans because liberal Democrats maintain a barely concealed contempt for the white working class, especially in the implication that those who care about guns are insane.

Fact is, the real issue in the gun debate is geography. Bernie Sanders knows it. Vermont is a rural state with relatively weak gun laws and relatively low rates of gun violence. Guns are normal. Meanwhile, most liberal Democrats, especially the ones who write for Slate and MSNBC, live in populous urban centers located on the east and west coasts, where in their experience having a gun makes no sense at all.

I'm not bothered by hypocrisy. What bothers me about this mainstream liberal reaction to Bernie Sanders's record on gun legislation is what it says about mainstream liberalism, especially its understanding of the values of the white working class, a bloc of voters that the Democratic Party still needs in order to advance a majoritarian agenda.

As a close friend of Sanders told National Journal: "He doesn't really care about guns. But he cares that other people care about guns. He thinks there's an elitism in the antigun movement." And he's right.

[Jul 11, 2015] Gaius Publius The Clinton Campaign Notices the Sanders Campaign, or How to Read the Media

Now we start to see dirty MSM games and tricks with election polls. It is well known that the key idea of polls is to influence electorate. Desirable result that conditions those who did not yet decided to vote "for the winner" can be achieved in a very subtle way. For example if electorate of one candidate is younger, you can run poll using landline phones. Gaius Publius provide a good analysis of now MSM sell establishment candidate to lemmings in his July 10, 2015 post in Naked capitalism blog (The Clinton Campaign Notices the Sanders Campaign, or How to Read the Media)
.
"...I don't think the Clinton herders care who actually votes, only who funds."
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"...HRC is the biggest threat to the Democrats winning the White House. She is so far to the right on almost every issue, she is the most unelectable of them all. I basically view her campaign as a front for Jeb!"
.
"...I will take at face value the statement that Sanders' personal views are a threat to the capitalists who control both major parties. But his strategy is not. In spite of his best intentions, he will end up being the sheepdog that makes sure the progressive movement stays in the Democratic Party (for the term "sheepdog" and supporting analysis see http://www.blackagendareport.com/bernie-sanders-sheepdog-4-hillary)."
nakedcapitalism.com

... ... ...

Taking Apart the Insider Game

The most important thing to consider when thinking about the Sanders campaign is this. Everyone else who's running, on both sides, is an insider playing within — and supporting — the "insider game," the one that keeps insiders wealthy and outsiders struggling, the one where the wealthy and their retainers operate government for their benefit only. What sets Sanders apart is his determination to dismantle that game, to take it apart and send its players home (back to the private sector) or to jail.

Two examples should make this clear. One is Fast Track and the "trade" agreements being forced upon us. The pressure to pass these agreements is coming equally from mainstream Democrats like Barack Obama, a "liberal," and from mainstream Republicans, supposed "conservatives." They may differ on "rights" policy, like abortion rights, but not on money matters. Trade agreements are wealth-serving policies promoted by people in both parties who serve wealth, which means most of them. People like Sanders, Warren and others, by contrast, would neuter these agreement as job-killing profit protection schemes and turn them into something else.

A second example involves Wall Street banks, in particular, a policy of breaking them up, reinstating Glass-Steagall, and prosecuting Wall Street fraud. Can you imagine any announced candidate doing any of these things, save Bernie Sanders?

In both of these cases, Sanders would aggressively challenge the insider profit-protection racket, not just give lip service to challenging it. Which tells you why he is so popular. Many of us in the bleachers have noticed the insider game — after all, it's been happening in front of us for decades— and most of us are done with it. Ask any Tea Party Republican voter, for example, what she thinks of the bank bailout of 2008-09. She'll tell you she hated it, whether she explains it in our terms or not.

And that's why Sanders, like Warren before him, draws such enthusiastic crowds. The pendulum has swung so far in the direction of wealth that the nation may well change permanently, and people know it. People are ready, just as they were in 2008, prior to eight years of betrayal. People have been discouraged about the chance for change lately, but they're ready for the real thing if they see it.

The Clinton Campaign Notices Sanders

There's been an attempt to downplay the Sanders candidacy since the beginning, to sink his campaign beneath a wave of silence. That ended a bit ago, and the press has begun to take notice, if snippily. Now the Clinton campaign is noticing, if the New York Times is to be believed. I found the following fascinating, for a number of reasons.

The piece first along with some news, then a little exegesis (my emphasis):

Hillary Clinton's Team Is Wary as Bernie Sanders Finds Footing in Iowa

The ample crowds and unexpectedly strong showing by Senator Bernie Sanders are setting off worry among advisers and allies of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who believe the Vermont senator could overtake her in Iowa polls by the fall and even defeat her in the nation's first nominating contest there.

The enthusiasm that Mr. Sanders has generated — including a rally attended by 2,500 people in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Friday — has called into question Mrs. Clinton's early strategy of focusing on a listening tour of small group gatherings and wooing big donors in private settings. In May, Mrs. Clinton led with 60 percent support to Mr. Sanders' 15 percent in a Quinnipiac poll. Last week the same poll showed Mrs. Clinton at 52 percent to Mr. Sanders's 33 percent.

"We are worried about him, sure. He will be a serious force for the campaign, and I don't think that will diminish," Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign's communications director, said Monday in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Some of Mrs. Clinton's advisers acknowledged that they were surprised by Mr. Sanders' momentum and said there were enough liberal voters in Iowa, including many who supported Barack Obama or John Edwards in 2008, to create problems for her there.

"I think we underestimated that Sanders would quickly attract so many Democrats in Iowa who weren't likely to support Hillary," said one Clinton adviser, who like several others spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly share views about the race. "It's too early to change strategy because no one knows if Sanders will be able to hold on to these voters in the months ahead. We're working hard to win them over, but yeah, it's a real competition there."

I don't want to quote the whole thing (well, I do, but I can't). So I encourage you to read it. There's much there worth noticing.

What to Look at When the Times Reports on Clinton

Now, some exegesis, meta-reading of the media, especially corporate media like the Times. My three main points are bulleted below.

  • First, when you expose yourself to any of the "liberal" U.S. outlets (as opposed to, say, The Guardian) be aware that because they are owned by establishment corporations they're already pro-Clinton. Subtly, not blatantly, but certainly.

    That sounds like prejudice, so let me explain. For one thing, neither the outlets nor their owning corporation can afford not to prepare their seat at the Clinton White House table. It's just a fact. Media want access and corporations want government to smile on their profit schemes. At this point, currying favor with Sanders is on no one's mind, and the Clintons are known to "have long memories … they punish their enemies and help their friends" (quoted here). The incentives are all aligned.

    But also, mainstream insider corporations are completely aligned with the insider game for the obvious reason — they're part of it. No one inside the game wants to see it damaged. Hayes and Maddow, as people, may or may not prefer Sanders over Clinton, but MSNBC has a clear favorite and if you listen carefully and consistently, it shows. Their owners, and all of the other big media owners, can't afford (literally afford, as in, there's major money at stake) to play this one straight. You may find some unskewed reporting, but not a lot of it.

    In the present instance, for example, I read the story above (click through for all of it) as being pro-Clinton, and in fact, most stories like these will be painted that way, with a light brush or a heavy one, for some time to come. If you don't spot this bias where present, you're not reading the story as written.

    In the same way that every New York Times story I read in the last two months, literally every one, used the inaccurate and propagandistic phrase "pro-trade Democrats" to describe Ron Wyden, Earl Blumenauer and the small handful of other Dems who defied their voters to support the White House and the wealthy — in that same way you'll have a hard time finding mainstream Sanders or Clinton coverage that doesn't in some way sell Clinton. If that's not a fact, I'll be eager to be proven wrong.

  • Second, be aware that much so-called reporting is the result of "placement," a term from advertising. Ad placement is when you buy space in a publication or media program into which you can put your message. Campaigns, among other entities, frequently do the same with reporters. The reporter offers space, a container, into which the campaign can put its message. (The reward is usually "access.")

    It's certainly true that many reporters and writers openly advocate; I'm often one of them and I'm not alone. But no one suspects open advocates of trickery. It's much more subtle, and dangerous for readers, when the advocacy is hidden, as it is in supposed "straight news" articles.

    In cases like these — certainly not all cases of reporting, but far too many — the reporter doesn't "get" the news. The news "gets" the reporter. A campaign's messenger comes to the reporter, offers the message, and the reporter builds a genuine and frequently interesting news story around it, including research from other sources, but always starting with the seed provided by the campaign or public official.

    In the present instance, the article above, you should therefore ask:

    • Is it really true that the Clinton campaign just now discovered Sanders' popularity and that he may be a threat?
    • Or could the following be true? That the Clinton campaign always knew a Warren-like opponent could gain ground but were publicly ignoring it; now, however, it's time to appear to be noticing, so they approached a reporter with their take on the Sanders surge.

    In other words, is the bolded part of the first sentence of the article its seed? Who approached whom? That first sentence again:

    The ample crowds and unexpectedly strong showing by Senator Bernie Sanders are setting off worry among advisers and allies of Hillary Rodham Clinton

    I don't have an answer to the bulleted questions above. Either could be correct. I'm a little suspicious though. First, by the obvious but subtle bias in the story — similar to the constant bias in all of the Times Fast Track reporting. Second, by the plurals above: "among advisers and allies of Hillary Rodham Clinton." This isn't one person speaking, but a coordinated effort by staffers and surrogates ("allies") to say a coordinated single thing to the Times reporters.

  • Third, I'm made suspicious by this, a little further down:

    "I think we underestimated that Sanders would quickly attract so many Democrats in Iowa who weren't likely to support Hillary," said one Clinton adviser, who like several others spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly share views about the race. "It's too early to change strategy because no one knows if Sanders will be able to hold on to these voters in the months ahead. We're working hard to win them over, but yeah, it's a real competition there."

    There's obvious messaging, especially in the last part of the paragraph. But look at the bolded part. Of those in the campaign, the only ones quoted in the article by name are Clinton herself and Jennifer Palmieri, who spoke, not to the reporters, but to "Morning Joe." Everyone else is off the record, speaking to these reporters "on the condition of anonymity to candidly share views about the race."

    "Candidly" implies leaking, not messaging or spin, and here's where the deception seems more clear. Have these reporters really found a minor army of leakers? If these are truly leakers, expect them to be fired soon.

    So, scenario one: Sanders is surging, the Clinton campaign is caught by surprise, and two Times reporters find a bunch of anonymous campaign leakers who say (paraphrasing), "Sure, Sanders caught us by surprise. We're aiming for one type of Democrat and he's getting the other type. It's too early to change strategy — the man could trip and fall — but yes, there's now competition."

    (Did you notice that part about two kinds of Democrat? The actual quote says: "We underestimated that Sanders would quickly attract so many Democrats in Iowa who weren't likely to support Hillary." I think the campaign knows exactly what kind of Democrat they were ignoring, and if you think about it carefully, you will too.)

    Or, scenario two: The Clinton campaign is ignoring the Warren wing, giving them nothing but platitudes and (as in the case of Fast Track) avoidance. Now the "Sanders surge" is in the news and the campaign has to respond. They get their message together — "Yes, we're surprised, and we have to admit that out loud. But it's early days, and if we keep getting reporters to say 'socialist' and 'anathema,' we won't have to counter his specifics with our specifics. So let's round up some reporters and get 'Morning Joe' on the phone."

    Did the reference to "socialist" and "anathema" surprise you? Read on.

  • Finally, because of the two points above, you'll find that in many cases the story supports the campaign, while justifying itself as "reporting." Both bolded pieces are important.

    Let's look at each element above. First, "the story supports the campaign":

    Those who see Mrs. Clinton as being at risk in Iowa say she is still far better positioned to win the nomination than Mr. Sanders, who lags by double digits in Iowa polling. He also has far less money than she does, and his socialist leanings are anathema to many Americans.

    In the first sentence the campaign is being subtly and indirectly quoted. But the bolded phrases above are pretty strong language in a sentence that isn't necessarily an indirect quote, and echoes open Clinton surrogates like Claire McCaskill. Even "leanings" lends an unsavory color, since it echoes the phrase "communist leanings."

    (The alternative to the last sentence above, by the way, and much more honestly sourced, would be something like this: "The anonymous campaign adviser also said, 'Frankly, we think if we just keep saying 'socialist' whenever we can, we won't have to change our strategy of being vague on the economic issues. At least we're sticking with that for now.'" I would buy that as excellent honest reporting.)

    Second, "justifying itself as reporting": Once you present the core message as provided by the messengers, the reporter can then call around for other, non-Clinton-sourced comment. Thus the quotes, much further down from Joe Trippi, Carter Eskew and the Sanders campaign.

    Add in a little of the reporters' own analysis, much of it good:

    "The enthusiasm that Mr. Sanders has generated — including a rally attended by 2,500 people in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Friday — has called into question Mrs. Clinton's early strategy of focusing on a listening tour of small group gatherings and wooing big donors in private settings."

    and you have the makings of a news story friendly to Clinton built around a news hook and potentially "placed" elements. The hook, the "placed" elements (if they were placed), and some original analysis go at the top, and the rest of the story is built to follow that.

Bottom Line

If you like this exercise in reading behind the media, please read the article again with the above thoughts in mind. Is this original reporting (i.e., reporters starting a conversation), or did the campaign make the first approach? Does the article carry Clinton water, subtly support the campaign? Are any opposing viewpoints featured at the top, or are they buried below the point where most people stop reading?

This Times story may be a completely honest exercise in independent journalism. There certainly is a Sanders phenomenon, and it's detailed honestly and factually, so there's value in reading it. But there's an obvious bias toward Clinton messaging in the reporters' own prose, so I'm suspicious, and you should be as well.

I'll also say that most stories about campaigns operate this way, as do many other news stories involving public figures. What will make reporting the Sanders campaign different is what I wrote above — Sanders wants to take apart the insider game. What major media outlet will help Sanders do that, will shut the door to corporate favors, media access and other prizes from a future Clinton administration, in order to be even-handed?

My guess is few or none.

Reader note: Gaius asked for me to allow comments on this post, so please have at it!

AJ, July 10, 2015 at 8:14 am

I was that Sanders rally in Council Bluffs. I follow politics especially on the left very closely so I didn't really come home with any thing new (besides some extra Bernie stickers). However, the crowd was huge and engaged. It almost had the feel of a big tent revival.

One issue that I've been thinking about lately that I haven't seen publicly addressed (except for in the comments on the 538 article Lambert posted yesterday) is how reliable do we think sine of these polling numbers are? Given that Sanders support definitely skews younger, would these people even be captured in telephone polls? I tend to think this is why the Greek vote was as big of a surprise as it was. I think there is a large going progressive part of the population (both on the US and abroad) that doesn't get picked up in the polling. If true, Sanders could be a lot closer to Clinton than these numbers suggest.


NotTimothyGeithner, July 10, 2015 at 9:06 am

Pollsters know this, but there are three kinds: the national subscription polls who just want to be relevant, paid polls, and the local reputation polls. Because of the distance to the election, there won't be good responses, and cell phone users have grown reliant on texting and are less likely to respond. The pollsters know this. Needless to say, the Quinnipiac poll should be disconcerting for the Clinton camp and the Democrats who thought Hillary would shower them with cash and appearances. That result means they see enough to make this claim even though they aren't quite on the ground the way a Roanoke College poll is in Virginia. The local reputation poll has a sense of the electorate because they've polled every local election while CNN was trying to interview Nessie.

There is dissatisfaction within Team Blue that Hillary Clinton can't bridge. There is a myth about Bill's magical campaign touch Democrats have internalized despite a lack of evidence, and I think Team Blue elites feel Obama failed them and want to bring Hillary in as a savior. Obviously, they weren't around in '94.


pat b, July 10, 2015 at 8:15 pm

Bill and Al ran a magical campaign in 92, but that was a long time ago, and they spent two decades
triangulating against the Base. Bill signed NAFTA and HRC spent 23 years defending it.

In 92 the clinton's were selling the dream of the 90's. Now, they are selling Windows 98.

Nick, July 10, 2015 at 10:26 am

Too bad young people have a horrible track record actually voting. Clinton knows the game well enough.

NotTimothyGeithner, July 10, 2015 at 11:11 am

Hillary is 8 years older, so are her core nostalgia supporters. Without a message for the now under 45 crowd, Hillary has lost 8 years worth of supporters to relative infirmity or death.

She didn't rally the crowds for Grimes, Landrieu, or Hagan. Shaheen was the incumbent she saved, but she was running against an unremarkable Massachusetts carpet bagger. I'm not certain the Democrats have ever left the Spring of '94.

vidimi, July 10, 2015 at 11:33 am

don't underestimate the number of young, white females voting clinton. it will be somewhere near all of them.

mn, July 10, 2015 at 11:43 am

What about college debt and the fact that there are no jobs. Gender seems to be a selling point, like race the last time. Not all younger females will be that stupid again.

NotTimothyGeithner, July 10, 2015 at 12:50 pm

Actually, Obama won younger females. Credit where credit is due. Gender may have affected older voters who come from an obviously more repressive era, but I suspect brand loyalty and legitimacy (it's her turn messaging), racism, and nostalgia played a hand in Clinton's 2008 support more than gender. If a 25 year old woman in 2008 didn't vote for Hillary, what has Hillary done to change her mind or attract the 17 year old from 2008? In many ways, Hillary has to replace 8 years of death to her base.

mn, July 10, 2015 at 1:01 pm

At that time people were saying to vote for Hillary because she would prop up destroyed 401ks (to me the mindless young voter). I fell for the hope and change b.s., I won't do that again. Long time Bernie fan.

As for my friends they are voting for Hillary because they don't think Bernie can win, others that hate her are sitting out. Yes, many females really do not like her. Love Ann Richards! RIP.

pat b, July 10, 2015 at 8:34 pm

The Silent Generation anchored Reagan and was much more conservative and risk averse then the Boomers of which Hillary is one. However, the issue isn't Hillary vs the GOP's aging angry silent generation types, it's more Hillary's aging Boomer female base vs the millenials who think the Boomers shafted them. It was the Boomers who benefited from cheap college tuition then voted in Reagan to cut taxes and dump these costs onto Gen X, GenY and the Millenials.

Paul Tioxon, July 10, 2015 at 11:14 pm

My point is that of the passing of an era. And not only in terms of voters,the army of the silent majority which saw the blue collar conservatives, the hard hats, the cops, leave the democrats en mass and the democrats having little to replace them. The defection of the dixiecrats from the dems to the republicans, as witnessed in the complete turnover of Texas to the republicans amalgamated what was a coalition into a choke hold from 1968 until 2008, with only 12 years dems in the WH only 2 dem presidents over 40 years. And of course, Clinton may as well have been George Bush for all that it mattered for domestic policies.

So Hillary and the dems do not have the army of voters against them that they used to have plus what ever momentarily disaffected Millenials seeking payback or another group to reinforce numbers making the republicans a majority party. They are not.
The point is that as your opposition declines in numbers as far as the ballot box goes, and your likely supporters increase, the odds favor your party as a majority.

http://www.people-press.org/2015/04/07/a-deep-dive-into-party-affiliation/

Millenials, according to Pew Polls, the 18-33 year olds, are 51% democrat/ leaning democrat vs 35% republican/leaning republican. Even though independent is now the largest of the 3 categories, leaning is the place to go when there is no alternative choice, apparently.

I am not sure the younger group is following the republican strategist wedge issue that the old people are stealing from the young with college debt, social security, Medicare being blamed for the diminished prosperity of the young. Trying to turn their grandparents who are retired after a lifetime of hard work into the new welfare queens is not getting the traction you would think. Apparently holding onto ritual Thanksgiving Day dinners and baking cookies around the holidays is more of a social bond than fabricated grievances by political consultants can even rend asunder. And of course, blood is thicker than water. Don't expect granny and pop pop to pushed off on an iceberg anytime soon because of college debt.

Praedor, July 10, 2015 at 11:07 am

What I see in this is the potential for a low turnout election. POTENTIAL. Those enthusiastic young voters, or the previously disgusted sideline sitters who have come out anew for Sanders (or previously for Warren) are NOT likely to shrug their shoulders and vote for Hillary if she ends up pulling in the pre-anointed crown. It's hard to get all fired up and enthusiastic about candidate A only to be stuck with candidate B who you weren't interested in before. This has the potential to really change things or gut the process of any participants except the true believer core of the Democrats.

Uahsenaa, July 10, 2015 at 8:51 am

I found this sentence to be rather curious: "Mrs. Clinton's advisers, meanwhile, have deep experience pulling off upsets and comeback political victories, and Mrs. Clinton often performs best when she is under pressure from rivals." The first part is unsubstantiated vaguery, but the second part is demonstrably untrue. Or, if not "untrue," then it implies that Sec. Clinton's "best" is still "loses." Also there's the earlier bit about Sanders being "untested" nationally, yet, when you parse that, you realize Ms. Clinton's "testedness" amounts to "lost to an insurgent candidate who had been in national politics for all of a few minutes."

Since I'm still somewhat skeptical of what a Sanders candidacy means, I am quite happy to see how, along with Bernie, others in various facets of government seem to be emboldened to fight back. TPA may have been a loss in the short term, but the administration was clearly taken aback by having to fight resistance at all. My hope is the Sanders campaign, at a bare minimum, will demonstrate how popular fighting back really is and stiffen the spines of those in government who want to do something but fear genuine reprisal.

NotTimothyGeithner, July 10, 2015 at 9:12 am

http://articles.latimes.com/1994-11-02/news/mn-57804_1_democratic-senate

Did you see the date? This article could be about 2014. There is a dangerous myth about the Clinton touch.

Uahsenaa, July 10, 2015 at 9:53 am

It's been surprising to me how willing Sec. Clinton has been to alienate core constituencies of the Democratic party. When O'Malley and Sanders came to Iowa City, they both reached out to local unions for support/attendance/whatever, but when Clinton came here on Tuesday, I found out about it when I showed up with my daughter for reading time at the library.

I hear again and again about the Clintons' political savvy, yet in practice I just don't see it.

They may be ruthless, but ruthless only gets you so far. She cannot take Democratic stalwarts for granted this election cycle, especially when the AFL-CIO went into open war with the administration over TPA.

Who does she think shows up for the polls in primary elections?

redleg, July 10, 2015 at 10:16 am

Hubris. I don't think the Clinton herders care who actually votes, only who funds.

DolleyMadison, July 10, 2015 at 11:22 am

EXACTLY.

flora, July 10, 2015 at 2:33 pm

Bill and Hill's speaking fees give a whole new meaning to "the Clinton touch."

TheCatSaid, July 10, 2015 at 2:09 pm

"Who does she think shows up for the polls in primary elections?"

This seems like the key question.

It's one thing to motivate people to vote for a presidential election, but motivating people to turnout for a primary might be different entirely. For example, do as many young voters and minority voters turn out for a primary? If not, what would it take to change this?

If Hillary feels she can control primary voters through local Democratic party machines, that might explain her standpoint.

Lambert Strether, July 10, 2015 at 2:24 pm

I wonder how effective the local Democratic party machines are, or whether Obama's reverse Midas touch destroyed them. (Certainly my own local machine is ineffectual, and the state party is corrupt (landfills)).

I wonder if there's a comparison to be made between ObamaCare signups and GOTV (I mean a literal one, in that the same apparatchiks would get walking around money for both, and the data might even be/have been dual-purposed). My first impulse is to say, if so, "Good luck, and let me know how that works out!" but I don't know how directly the metrics translate.

Jeremy Grimm, July 10, 2015 at 9:22 pm

For the last few years I have been a lowly member of the local Democratic Party machine, a volunteer co-precinct leader (though hardly similar to what a precinct leader used to be). The local party leadership and membership is old, late boomer, steadfast and immobile. Republican party opposition in this area is virtually non-existent so I have no idea how effective our local organization is as opposed to how skewed the demographics of my area. With little or no efforts, we consistently turn out a substantial Democratic vote. I believe the corruption of politics in my state, New Jersey, is justly famous. I have no idea what corruption might exist in my local township, though I am starting to wonder. As for President Obama's reverse Midas touch I live near the headquarters of several big pharmaceutical corporations. I am sure they have wide-open purses for both parties.

As of late last year, our organization has had few meetings and poor attendance at the one meeting I showed up for. I learned at that meeting, about a month ago, that several of the other precinct leads have resigned, though I don't know why. I am moving away and will also resign as of the end of this month.

I suspect our local organization will come out strongly in favor of Hillary Clinton though provide little in the way of support. When I raised concern about the TPA and TPP at the last meeting I attended and urged the other members of this supposedly political organization to call or write to our Representative … few of the members knew what I was talking about. The chair tried to rule my concern out of order though all other business was done and our Democratic Mayor, who is a member of the organization, suggested we should each hear views from both sides before deciding our individual stance on the TPA or TPP since there were arguments for both sides (even though the TPA was coming up for a vote in a few days). I should add a little context … this meeting consisted of the eleven or so people who showed up. In my experience this close watch over all dissent from local, state or national party line typified our organization. All questions other than very specific procedural questions and discussions were NOT welcome.

I can only speak of my own alienation from the Democratic Party, local, state and national. I voted for Obama with enthusiasm in 2008 but with disgust in 2012. I have been a Democrat since Adlai Stevenson II (though I was too young to vote for him). I will continue to register as a Democrat but I doubt many Democrats will receive my vote and certainly no Republicans. I have no plans to further participate in Party politics. I will vote for candidates I like but never again vote for the "lesser of two evils." I cannot gauge the extent to which my alienation typifies other Democrats since political discussions are generally considered impolite except among close friends.

Pissed Younger baby boomer, July 11, 2015 at 2:59 am

I am too disillusioned with the democratic party .where i live in Oregon ,my congressman is a blue dog dem. i called his a least five times to voice my opposition to TPP. A few months ago I signed up for phone town hall meeting .i never received an e-mail invitation .YES talking about suppressing dissent.i am considering switch to the greens or a socialist party. My fear i hope we do not become fascist country and three out of four congressmen vote for TPA and senator Wyden voted for it too.I also lost faith in the phony liberal media.

NotTimothyGeithner, July 11, 2015 at 9:33 am

The GOP organizes through churches and other outfits. Ted aren't as noticeable wherever one is, but the GOP isn't interested in turnout as much as making sure their people vote. They have minders who phish for potential voters. Why do women ever vote Republican? Because they have a club that demands it. Your area may be skewed but half of Dean's 50 state strategy was lifted from GOP election approaches.

Uahsenaa, July 10, 2015 at 4:30 pm

With the exception of Illinois, because Chicago, the state democratic parties in most midwestern states are in shambles, so the likelihood of the "machine" squeaking out a win is quite low. In the absence of that, what you have left are the institutions traditionally loyal to the D party who have been thrown under the bus so many times over the past 8 years, it's bewildering. I mentioned the AFL-CIO break with the administration over "trade," (scare quotes don't quite seem big enough) precisely because it seems to indicate a willingness to break from tradition, if an opportunity presents itself.

Now, I have no idea what things are like in the South, and those states plus NY/IL/CA might be enough to push Hillary through to the nomination. However, if she continues the way she has so far, the apparatus in a large number of states is not going to be enough to buttress her against popular grumbling.

John Zelnicker, July 10, 2015 at 8:45 pm

In Alabama the Democratic Party apparatus is a total mess and completely ineffectual. The party "leaders" spend most of their time protecting their little fiefdoms and fighting efforts to expand and diversify the membership of the statewide committees and local affiliates. In fact, it has gotten so bad that some activists are trying to set up independent Party committees to recruit candidates for local and state elections and run GOTV efforts.

C. dentata, July 10, 2015 at 10:49 am

I think it may not be pro-Clinton as much as anti-Sanders bias. The corporate media are certainly happy to ridiculously hype any of the nonstories about Hillary that Trey Gowdy feeds them.

anonymous123, July 10, 2015 at 11:07 am

It was really nice to see someone deconstruct this article. When I read it the other day I had the same thoughts go through my head about the overt messaging going on.

vidimi, July 10, 2015 at 11:29 am

pro-trade reminds me of pro-russian rebels. seems very likely that the chamber of commerce or state department or somesuch approached all editors and ordered them to use these two terms for their respective designees. classic propaganda tactic.

Vatch, July 10, 2015 at 12:14 pm

I expect to vote for Sanders in the primary, and for an as yet unknown third party candidate in the election. Obama and Bill Clinton have taught me that main stream Democratic politicians only differ from Republican politicians on a few social issues; on everything else they are the same. I refuse to knowingly vote for a voluntary agent of the oligarchs, which is what Hillary Clinton is.


flora , July 10, 2015 at 2:31 pm

Yes. Both the GOP and the DLC Dems agree on all major economic issues. The electioneering so far has been personality oriented. Jeb!, The Donald, Hillary!, etc.

Except for Sanders, who isn't running a personality campaign. He's talking about important economic issues in a way the others won't.

In the late '70s conventional wisdom solidified around the idea that economic stagnation was due to organized labor having too much economic power (true or not, my point isn't to re-argue that case). The 'Reagan revolution' promised to re-balance and right the economy by reining in organized labor.

Now organized money has too much economic power. It's harming the whole economy. Bernie is talking about reining in organized money. How do the other candidates deal with this without bursting their ideological bubble for the audience? The NYTimes article is a case in point.

Cano Doncha Know, July 11, 2015 at 5:31 am

HRC is the biggest threat to the Democrats winning the White House. She is so far to the right on almost every issue, she is the most unelectable of them all. I basically view her campaign as a front for Jeb!

cm, July 10, 2015 at 12:38 pm
Some laughable NY Times articles about their inability to write articles without relying on anonymous sources, despite their own (ignored) policies:

http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/18/the-times-used-25-unnamed-sources-in-7-days-a-reuters-critic-says/?_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/opinion/sunday/the-public-editor-the-disconnect-on-anonymous-sources.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/22/opinion/22pubed.html

Anarcissie, July 10, 2015 at 1:36 pm
If Sanders wins a few primaries, I would expect a moderate-bot to be trundled in. The Webb, for instance, has already been turned on and is humming, ready to go. (The O'Malley seems to have already burned through its batteries.)
NotTimothyGeithner, July 10, 2015 at 2:00 pm
The Webb? No, no, no, no, no. As a Webb primary voter, I can assure you the man has 0 personality and isn't a big campaigner. If the young Hillary supporters in NYC found Hillary uninspiring, they might collapse into a blob and just stop after listening to Webb. I just assumed he is running because he likes Iowa.

O'Malley has already attacked Sanders and doesn't pick up the Hillary experience narrative as well as having to roll out during the Baltimore protests.


Bob Richard, July 10, 2015 at 5:55 pm

Nothing GP is says about the Times article or reporting in general is wrong. But the MSM, including the Times reporter, is completely missing the real story of the Sanders campaign.

I will take at face value the statement that Sanders' personal views are a threat to the capitalists who control both major parties. But his strategy is not. In spite of his best intentions, he will end up being the sheepdog that makes sure the progressive movement stays in the Democratic Party (for the term "sheepdog" and supporting analysis see http://www.blackagendareport.com/bernie-sanders-sheepdog-4-hillary).

Like Ralph Nader before him, Sanders has a completely wrong approach to political parties. Nader understood that he needed to work outside the major party framework but did not understand that social movements don't just need popular candidates. They also need enduring organizations, which are called political parties. For most of his career, Sanders has been able work both sides of this fence, helping to create a state-level organization (the Progressive Party) in Vermont but also running with Democratic Party endorsements. This spring was a moment of truth for him. He has (or until now had) the stature to create a new political party, perhaps from scratch or perhaps by joining and helping build the Green Party. He chose to turn his back on the left.

The left needs a political party. Yes, I know, we have a two party system. But that is the problem. Believing that the two party system is an immutable law of nature is not part of any solution.

RPY, July 10, 2015 at 6:06 pm

Bernie I believe because of his message, is attracting people from both sides of the aisle. Everyday people who are tired of partisan politics and are just glad to hear someone willing to speak the truth of how screwed things are. From the corruption of wall street to the corruption of Washington, DC politics.

Lambert Strether, July 10, 2015 at 7:50 pm

Some of us on the left would rather deal with a straightforward reactionary who's honest about their intentions than backstabbing "Join the conversation" Democrats. I wonder if there's a similar dynamic on the right: They'd rather deal with an honest-to-gawd Socialist than McConnnell and Boehner (Exhibit A: TPP).

RPY, July 10, 2015 at 6:06 pm

Bernie I believe because of his message, is attracting people from both sides of the aisle. Everyday people who are tired of partisan politics and are just glad to hear someone willing to speak the truth of how screwed things are. From the corruption of wall street to the corruption of Washington, DC politics.

Lambert Strether, July 10, 2015 at 7:50 pm

Some of us on the left would rather deal with a straightforward reactionary who's honest about their intentions than backstabbing "Join the conversation" Democrats. I wonder if there's a similar dynamic on the right: They'd rather deal with an honest-to-gawd Socialist than McConnnell and Boehner (Exhibit A: TPP).

oho, July 11, 2015 at 2:36 pm

*** First, when you expose yourself to any of the "liberal" U.S. outlets (as opposed to, say, The Guardian) be aware that because they are owned by establishment corporations they're already pro-Clinton. ***

While the Guardian is nominally independent, it ain't much better at being "liberal" that the NYT.

Guardian editors like access to Westminster, their fellow Oxbridge alums and invites to cocktail parties in Kensington too.

[Jul 11, 2015] Neocon Kagan: Hillary Clinton Is One Of Us

"...In fact, HRC may be a better prospect for neocons, because they can distract the Dem base with how cool it is for a "strong woman" to send men into battle. Anyone opposed must be a misogynist/sexist pig. By contrast Jeb would be too obvious."
Jun 16, 2014 | moonofalabama.org

Here is the reason why Hillary Clinton should never ever become President of the United States.

A (sympathetic) New York Times profile of neocon Robert Kagan has this on Clinton II:

But Exhibit A for what Robert Kagan describes as his "mainstream" view of American force is his relationship with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who remains the vessel into which many interventionists are pouring their hopes. Mr. Kagan pointed out that he had recently attended a dinner of foreign-policy experts at which Mrs. Clinton was the guest of honor, and that he had served on her bipartisan group of foreign-policy heavy hitters at the State Department, where his wife worked as her spokeswoman.

"I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy," Mr. Kagan said, adding that the next step after Mr. Obama's more realist approach "could theoretically be whatever Hillary brings to the table" if elected president. "If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue," he added, "it's something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else."

Want more wars with terrible outcomes and no winner at all? Vote the neocon's vessel, Hillary Clinton.

Clinton, by the way, is also a coward, unprincipled and greedy. Her achievements as Secretary of State were about zero. Why would anyone vote for her?

Posted by b on June 16, 2014 at 09:09 AM | Permalink

Lysander | Jun 16, 2014 9:44:15 AM | 4

I'm afraid you focus too much on elections that have no meaning. It seems we may be cornered into choosing between HR Clinton and Jeb Bush. The latter, I'm sure, would earn equal praise from the Kagan clan. There is no prospect of a non-interventionist president. There is no prospect of a president that is not a Zionist stooge.

In fact, HRC may be a better prospect for neocons, because they can distract the Dem base with how cool it is for a "strong woman" to send men into battle. Anyone opposed must be a misogynist/sexist pig. By contrast Jeb would be too obvious.

dahoit | Jun 16, 2014 9:54:05 AM | 6

Personally, I don't think she is anyone to worry about gaining the office. Too much hatred of her by most Americans, from her serial lying to her terrible foreign policy, to her standing by bent dick, in her lust for power. She will be backed by feminazis,homonazis and zionazis(Kagan).

Not enough devil worshippers in America,at least not yet,and I believe Americans,from current events that our traitor MSM will be unable to counter with their usual BS,that we are down the rabbit hole of idiotic intervention,and we will end this nonsense,and return to worrying about America,not foreign malevolent monsters like Israel.
Well,I can at least hope,it springs eternal.

Earwig | Jun 16, 2014 9:58:14 AM |