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Two Party System as Polyarchy with Inner Party (intelligence agencies) playing the role of kingmaker

Version 2.7 (Apr 4, 2020)

The USA is essentially a single party state -- it is governed by the Neoliberal Party with two factions "soft neoliberals" (Democratic Party) and "hard neoliberals" (Republican Party). Existence of  "Pepsi" and "Coca-Cola" parties is enforced by "First after the post rule"   and is just a sophisticated variant of "divide and conquer" strategy. It could have been used by the USSR leadership  instead of one party system. Intelligence agencies play important  role in selection of two candidate for Presidential elections, representing a hidden third, "Inner Party," which is exerting significant control on the selection of candidates  and in case of Trump was engaged in derailing first his candidacy and then his Presidency

News American Polyarchy is not Democracy Recommended Books Recommended Links Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ? Russiagate -- the attempt to entrap Trump with Russia ties by CIA, FBI, MI6 and Clinton mafia Steele dossier Ukraine-gate as Russiagate 2.0 Alexander Vindman
Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking Anti Trump Hysteria Adam Schiff Witch Hunt Nancy Pelosi impeachment gambit Was Eric Ciaramella a part of Obama/Brennan "Trump Task force" ? Blob attacks Trump: Viper nest of neocons in state department fuels Ukraingate Brennan elections machinations Rigging the elections and money in US politics
US Presidential Elections of 2020 Tulsi Gabbard Elizabeth Warren Donald Trump Bernie Sanders: A turncoat socialist Creepy neocon Joe Biden and fleecing of Ukraine  Kamala Harris: The Wicked Witch of the American corporate feminism FBI Mayberry Machiavellians: CIA globalists dirty games against Sanders and Trump Bait and Switch
Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump Populism The Deep State The Iron Law of Oligarchy Andrew McCabe and his close circle of "fighters with organized crime" Strzok-gate Special Prosecutor Mueller and his fishing expedition MSM as attack dogs of color revolution
Lesser evil trick of legitimizing neoliberal politicians in US elections Myth about intelligent voter November 2016 as a referendum on neoliberal globalization1 American Polyarchy is not Democracy Nationalism as a reaction to Neoliberalism induced decline of standards of living Blowback against neoliberal globalization Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Non-Interventionism as a political force Corporatism
Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking US anti war movement Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Corporatist Corruption Paleoconservatism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Libertarian Philosophy Pathological Russophobia of the US elite
Predator state Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders and blaming Vladimir Putin National Security State  American Exceptionalism Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Pluralism as a myth
Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS Electoral College US Presidential Elections of 2016 as a referendum on neoliberal globalization US Presidential Elections of 2012 Mayberry Machiavellians Politically Incorrect Humor Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
"There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man."

-- Gore Vidal

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

-- Leonard Pinkney

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

-- Daniel Estulin

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

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

 

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

Summary

"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

Mark Curtis

The USA the center of a global neoliberal empire, much like Rome was the center of Roman empire.  Empire is incomparable with the democracy, so the democracy does not exists on the federal level. The empire is ruled by an oligarchy, but major oligarchic groups have differing bases of power and wealth.  There are two competing groups:

While all of the oligarchs share the imperative of maintaining the oligarchy itself and expanding the empire that they control, their interests begin to diverge outside of those issues. In particular, finance oligarchs and real estate oligarchs have a natural antagonism. Similar antagonism also exists between the finance oligarchs and the fixed-capital oligarchs. Current imperial policy strongly favors the finance oligarchs. The other oligarchs are willing to accept that so long as the economy continues to grow in real terms, but that stopped happening around 2008 when the USA economy entered the phase of "secular stagnation". Because of this we are now seeing growing infighting between those two groups, with Trump being on the side of the second, less powerful non-finance group.  But finance oligarchs staged a counterattack. That explains Russiagate and Ukrainegate.

Polyarchy is distinct from oligarchy in sense that while few men (the elite) still selects candidates for the office (and in this sense population is deprived on any substantial choice) there are regular national elections which serve the purpose of "approving" one of the preselected by the elite candidates (aka lesser evilism) providing a patina of legitimacy to the elite rule.

While it is common to refer to the USA political regime as a financial oligarchy, in reality it is a polyarchy. Polyarchy is distinct from oligarchy in sense that while few men (the elite) still selects candidates for the office (and in this sense population is deprived on any substantial choice)  there area regular national elections which serve the purpose of  "approving" one of the preselected by the elite candidates (aka lesser evilism) providing a patina of legitimacy to the elite rule.

So the main purpose of election is not an actual choice of candidate who reflects the wishes of the majority of population, but the legitimization of one of two already pre-selected by oligarchy candidates, both of whom in case of election will  pursue the policies beneficial only to the group of oligarchs which put them in power. Often at the expense of all other groups, and first of all lower middle and working class. According to Wikipedia:

According to William I. Robinson, it is a system where small group actually rules on behalf of capital, and majority’s decision making is confined to choosing among selective number of elites within tightly controlled elective process. It is a form of consensual domination made possible by the structural domination of the global capital which allowed concentration of political powers.[7]

... ... ...

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."[11]

Also, it is being promoted by the transnational elites in the South as a different form from the authoritarianism and dictatorship to the North as a part of Democracy Promotion.[12] Robinson argues that this is to cultivate transnational elites who will open up their countries following transnational agenda of neoliberalism where transnational capital mobility and globalized circuits of production and distribution is established. For example, it was promoted to Nicaragua, Chile, Haiti, the Philippines, South Africa and the former Soviet Bloc countries.[13]

Oligarchs are not simply rich persons. They are are rich person who got their fortune due to political connections or former position in government,  and then use their fortune to solidify their political influence.  So they are inherently powerful political players.  And the first thing oligarchy controls is elections. The reason that the financial oligarchy who now is in power in the USA don’t want free elections and tries to suppress candidates preferred by population (like Bernie Sanders in 2016 and 2020) is they know that if they had free election, the people would vote for candidates pledging to confiscate their property and increase taxation of the rich.

All countries are vulnerable to the hijacking of political power by  financial oligarchy and connected to them special interests groups trying to obtain monopoly profits and prevent competition. In the USA since 1980, the year neoliberalism won in the USA, financial oligarchy, associated with it the military industrial complex, including intelligence  agencies (which lately became a formidable political force; almost like a kingmaker), the medical-industrial complex, together exert enormous political power to suck out more and more of our national wealth.

The numbers have become incredible: over $1 trillion a year for “defense” and nearly 20 percent (over $3.5 trillion) of our gross national product spending for medical costs, more than twice the percentage of many advanced European nations.  At the same time the USA government proved to be completely unprepared to the pandemic of COVID-19.

The record share of mostly parasitic financial industry in the national GDP is just an overt manifestation of the redistribution of wealth up under neoliberalism.  Total compensation of financial intermediaries (profits, wages, salary and bonuses) hit in 2018  $1.4 trillion. That's nine percent of National GDP instead of usual one to two percent in the past. Wall Street, for the last thirty years or so, has been skimming prodigiously from the top.   Phillipon calculates the excess income consumed by the finance sector totals 2 percent of GDP (Graph How the Financial Sector Consumed America’s Economic Growth):

All together, Phillipon calculates the excess income consumed by the finance sector totals 2 percent of GDP, “an annual misallocation of resources of about $280 billions for the U.S. alone.” If accurate, that figure suggests an extraordinary redistribution of the national wealth—from the pockets of the debtors and middle class investors who need it most, straight into the bank accounts of America’s financial elite.



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[Apr 02, 2020] There is ZERO DIFFERENCE between the ENTIRE Democratic party and RUNOS - because they are the same crooked, corrupt and terrible people. Same scam artists. Same criminals.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... And now you are hoping the Bushites team up with Democrats. Let me tell you something. THEY ALREADY ARE AND HAVE BEEN. Most of the Bush family and their admins voted for Clinton. ..."
"... One of my far left Bernie buddies said something interesting ..."
"... . "The Democrats have embraced hypocrisy. They hated Nixon and loved Obama. Both did the exact same thing. One got busted. Democrats hated the Bush family, but love the Clintons and the Democrat establishment. THEY ARE THE SAME DAMN PEOPLE. There are 3 groups of people in the US. Trump supporters, Bernie supporters and the domestic enemy establishment." ..."
Apr 02, 2020 | thehill.com

Gee Money 10 hours ago • edited

The Dems will give Rino lawmakers a choice in two weeks. Drop Donny or get on the unemployment line in November. I wonder what the GOP will decide.

Don Draighneaux Gee Money10 hours ago
I ain't giving them a choice, I'm giving them the boot

215 days until Correction Day

Je vois tout Gee Money10 hours ago
Investigate everyone of them for crimes against America and Americans.
Tyye Gee Money10 hours ago
They will take their "socialist" government welfare and still vote for Trump to own the libs...
Durwood McElroy Gee Money10 hours ago
You just Freudianly said something interesting. As a former Democrat, I am proud of NEVER have voted for anyone named "Bush". The entire family is as crooked as it gets. The entire anti-Trump, never Trumping RINOs are led by the Bushes and their crooked apologists, like Bill "I love me some Bush Oil Wars" Kristol.

How much did the Bush family throw at Jebby, in hopes he get the nomination in 2016? I think it was $150m in Iowa alone?

And now you are hoping the Bushites team up with Democrats. Let me tell you something. THEY ALREADY ARE AND HAVE BEEN. Most of the Bush family and their admins voted for Clinton.

There is ZERO DIFFERENCE between the ENTIRE Democratic party and RUNOS - because they are the same crooked, corrupt and terrible people. Same scam artists. Same criminals.

Thanks for pointing it out. One of my far left Bernie buddies said something interesting . "The Democrats have embraced hypocrisy. They hated Nixon and loved Obama. Both did the exact same thing. One got busted. Democrats hated the Bush family, but love the Clintons and the Democrat establishment. THEY ARE THE SAME DAMN PEOPLE. There are 3 groups of people in the US. Trump supporters, Bernie supporters and the domestic enemy establishment."

He is more correct than I am

[Apr 02, 2020] We have two discredited old parties, incapable of dealing with the crises facing them, attempting to revive the only ideas that have ever galvanised the US public in their lifetimes: opposition to communism and the racism which underlay just about every US military adventure since 1945

Highly recommended!
Apr 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Apr 1 2020 20:48 utc | 38

US Politicians never forget that for the past seventy years russophobia and sinophobic racism- both of which have deep roots in the culture- formed the bases of the ideology of anti-communism.

The Democrats, totally discredited by the 2016 Election campaign and decades of Clinton/Obama swings towards the right and away from the old New Deal constituencies, began by accusing Trump of colluding with the Russians- who most of the DNC deliberately suggested, and probably genuinely thought, were Communists.

Trump's response is now to revive the anti-Peoples Republic witch-hunts of the past to use against the Democrats.

We have two discredited old parties, incapable of dealing with the crises facing them, attempting to revive the only ideas that have ever galvanised the US public in their lifetimes: opposition to communism and the racism which underlay just about every US military adventure since 1945 - the all purpose anti-gook racism that saw them through the wars against Japan, Korea, IndoChina and the People's Republic.

It is going to make the spectacle of two monkeys throwing shit at each other seem positively restrained - the Democrats howling about Russia and the Republicans, reverting to type, starting up lynch mobs against China.

[Mar 31, 2020] The Covid-19 pandemic is the physical manifestation of a deeper disease plaguing the West: Class Warfare

The US government was caught without pants. No supply of masks. Can you imagine that for a country with trillion military budget.
Notable quotes:
"... Take a look around: Unemployment may reach 30%. The poor are starting to protest–actually strike! GM, Amazon, Chicago Teacher's Union, GE, Instacart ..."
"... As jobs were outsourced to slave labor camps in China and elsewhere, the rich and privileged smiled as their portfolios grew, as CEO raked in the cash and then buried it in off-shore accounts. ..."
"... When the working class complained about jobs being lost, factories being closed, it was told to get a better education, to make itself valuable to the bosses. What a joke! ..."
"... The DNC always plays footsie with the rich as does the GOP–equal plunderers. Universal Health Care is just too expensive! Their all monsters, crafty grifters. ..."
"... The mass media, now firmly serve the DNC and the GOP, studiously ignore this rot. A rotten building will fall. Times up. Game is Over. ..."
Mar 31, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
The Covid-19 pandemic is the physical manifestation of a deeper disease plaguing the West: Class Warfare. The veil has been lifted. Social distancing, a legitimate response to Covid-19, predominately affects the working class.

Fortunately, Covid-19 is an equal opportunity plague: As the rich and powerful congratulated each other, as they moved among the rightfully adoring crowds oops, I think I caught something! Just hazards of the games they play. Certainly, it was never contracted on the factory floor.

Suddenly the rich and privileged claim they are in the same boat. Really? Mega-yachts are handy get-aways, as are well-protected island boltholes.

And who is supposed to do the nasty work, who has little opportunity to run and hide, who must do the the work that makes actual existence possible? Not the rich.

Who can work from home and not lose his or her job?

Rich and powerful women now have to cut their own nails! Oh, the shame of it. They have to dye their own hair–coif themselves! What no colorist?

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics-news/friends-cant-get-nails-done-coronavirus-fox-news-973716/

The rich and powerful want the poor to go back to work. Who else will make them money? Who else will save the Stock Market? Meanwhile, the poor are losing their jobs; they do not have fall-back pensions or able to take advantage of Capital Gains. How will they pay their rent? Their bills? Their healthcare? Their debts?

Take a look around: Unemployment may reach 30%. The poor are starting to protest–actually strike! GM, Amazon, Chicago Teacher's Union, GE, Instacart

As jobs were outsourced to slave labor camps in China and elsewhere, the rich and privileged smiled as their portfolios grew, as CEO raked in the cash and then buried it in off-shore accounts.

When the working class complained about jobs being lost, factories being closed, it was told to get a better education, to make itself valuable to the bosses. What a joke!

When many tried to get an education, they were faced with absurd college costs, incredible debt, and thanks to those in control an inability to declare bankruptcy! Thanks, Joe.

And now, ever thoughtful Nancy Pelosi wants to reward the rich and privileged with ta ta!.., a lifting of the Salt Cap.

The DNC always plays footsie with the rich as does the GOP–equal plunderers. Universal Health Care is just too expensive! Their all monsters, crafty grifters.

Meanwhile, economists sang the praises of Free Trade. The GOP loved it; the DNC loved it. Neo-liberalism: the goose that always lays the golden eggs.

The mass media, now firmly serve the DNC and the GOP, studiously ignore this rot. A rotten building will fall. Times up. Game is Over.

likbez , March 31, 2020 9:27 pm

Thank you Stormy,

A very good analysis. A lot of emotions too ;-)

When the working class complained about jobs being lost, factories being closed, it was told to get a better education, to make itself valuable to the bosses. What a joke!

Neoliberalism is an ideology make on a set of myths. In other words this is a secular religion.

The DNC always plays footsie with the rich as does the GOP–equal plunderers. Universal Health Care is just too expensive! Their all monsters, crafty grifters.

No question they are. That's by design. The key role of DNC is to squash political forces to the left of Clinton faction, and to neutralize/coopt politicians which do not support the neoliberal/neocon consensus.

Meanwhile, economists sang the praises of Free Trade. The GOP loved it; the DNC loved it. Neo-liberalism: the goose that always lays the golden eggs.

Neoliberal revolution which culminated in the election of Reagan (which started under Carter) was a coup d'état by financial oligarchy. It signified that the New Deal consensus was broken and countervailing forces were weakened enough to ensure the success of the coup.

One thing with which I respectfully disagree:

The mass media, now firmly serve the DNC and the GOP, studiously ignore this rot. A rotten building will fall. Times up. Game is Over.

Not sure the game is over. I do not see powerful enough social forces that can oppose financial oligarchy. The anger does built up, but it is powerless. And their control of the state is absolute (which also means the control of intelligence agencies).

The population is brainwashed and disunited via identity politics.

In modern USA society that means that any attempt to build such a coalition with be squashed by the national security state.

[Mar 30, 2020] Dirty tricks the US politicians play with the US electorate

Mar 30, 2020 | www.unz.com

Curmudgeon , says: Show Comment March 26, 2020 at 4:44 pm GMT

The worst parts of these briefings are when Trump, or Pompeo, speak about the US "leadership" as if the entire planet was desperately expecting the US to help.

It seems to me, that you really do not have a good understanding of the American political system and its leadership. In short, it breaks down into this:
– the message is mostly for your supporters, who will support you regardless of what you do;
– your opponents will never agree with you, so fuck them;
– keep messaging the undecided or soft vote on how great the country, and by extension you personally, are, hoping they buy in.

The leadership of every country

showmethereal , says: Show Comment March 29, 2020 at 3:34 am GMT
@plantman Never underestimate the arrogance of US political leadership Look how long troops have been in Afghanistan It's like a disease

[Mar 29, 2020] The grand betrayal of Tulsi Gabbard

Was she bought or threatened or what?
Notable quotes:
"... Because Biden is the ultimate "anti-Gabbard", she should have endorsed either Bernie, or even Trump, but instead she endorsed a morally corrupt warmonger, a total pawn for the MIC. ..."
"... What, exactly, did Tulsi owe to Bernie? I don’t recall him defending her from the Russiagate bots – even Yang did far more of that than Bernie. ..."
"... Bernie had instead been too busy sucking up to the young careerist SJWs in his movement and to the Russiagate freaks, rather appropriate that he was Russiagated out of the nomination, LOL. ..."
"... Very sad to see. I just figure they got to her in some way through blackmail, threatening her family, etc. Seems rather out of character otherwise. The description of Biden is apt, real scum he is. ..."
"... The virus, whatever it’s origin, has provided the opportunity to revoke whatever is left of the rights of the populace, the best since 9-11. ..."
"... Biden was main actor in starting two wars. War in Libya and war in Syria . On top of it Biden did have a fishy deals in Ukraine and China. ..."
"... She could have waited until the bitter end to endorse the Democratic candidate, if she wanted to keep her word. Or she could have not done so, in the same way that a soldier need not follow an illegal order, or anyone with a conscience would avoid endorsing a committed and repeated warmonger. ..."
"... It is academic for me to argue which party is the dumbest, since I believe both are part of the Deep State. But currently the dems have it over the repubs in stupidity. Gabbard was the best in a horrible lineup. She was a one trick pony…antiwar…but a great trick. I know about the promise to endorse the nominee…but Biden is brain dead. ..."
Mar 29, 2020 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

It was pretty clear to most observers that Tulsi Gabbard, being the only real "peace candidate" would never be allowed to get the nomination, nevermind make it into the White House. It was also clear that Tulsi, for all her very real qualities, simply did not have what it takes to take on "The Swamp". Still, in spite of this all, her candidacy and campaign were like a huge pitcher of cool water in the middle of an immense and dry desert. Her uniqueness amongst all the candidate is what make her betrayal even more painful for those who respected or even supported her. Once it became clear that she would never get the nomination, not only did she not run as an independent (something which Hillary seems to fear a lot), she endorsed Uncle Joe, the clearly senile, totally corrupt and generally repugnant frontman for the Clinton gang. This endorsement of Biden is something which she did not have to do, but she did it.

When the DNC stole the nomination from Sanders, he did not lead a protest or run as an independent, he endorsed Hillary. I always considered him a fraud for this (and many other) reasons. Now Tulsi Gabbard is doing the same thing, which probably is a good indicator that the Democratic Party is evil and corrupt to the core, which is hardly big news, but which is dramatically confirmed by Gabbard's profoundly immoral decision. Why do I say that?

Because Biden is the ultimate "anti-Gabbard", she should have endorsed either Bernie, or even Trump, but instead she endorsed a morally corrupt warmonger, a total pawn for the MIC.

At the end of the day, she mostly betrayed herself, and that is the saddest aspect of this debacle.


Anatoly Karlin , says: • Website Show Comment March 25, 2020 at 11:34 pm GMT

What, exactly, did Tulsi owe to Bernie? I don’t recall him defending her from the Russiagate bots – even Yang did far more of that than Bernie.

Bernie had instead been too busy sucking up to the young careerist SJWs in his movement and to the Russiagate freaks, rather appropriate that he was Russiagated out of the nomination, LOL.

All the candidates, including Tulsi, had committed to supporting the winner and Bernie’s odds by the time Tulsi endorsed Biden were very close to zero. It is ironic, as noted by Michael Tracey, that it is generally Tulsi’s most eager supporters who were most inclined to dismiss her own words.

anonymous [400] • Disclaimer , says: Show Comment March 26, 2020 at 12:20 am GMT

she mostly betrayed herself,

Very sad to see. I just figure they got to her in some way through blackmail, threatening her family, etc. Seems rather out of character otherwise. The description of Biden is apt, real scum he is.

The virus, whatever it’s origin, has provided the opportunity to revoke whatever is left of the rights of the populace, the best since 9-11.

Turkey lacks either the will, or the capability

At this point they probably have way lower capability than their numbers suggest. They’ve had enough to deal with just Kurd guerillas. Their approach is NATO style throwing a lot of ordinance at targets. Don’t count on them for anything.

Zarathustra , says: Show Comment March 26, 2020 at 4:09 am GMT
Trump will wipe the floor with Biden. Biden was main actor in starting two wars. War in Libya and war in Syria . On top of it Biden did have a fishy deals in Ukraine and China.

Biden is a dead duck with slow wit. He has no chance.

Antiwar7 , says: Show Comment March 26, 2020 at 8:25 am GMT
@Anatoly Karlin

She could have waited until the bitter end to endorse the Democratic candidate, if she wanted to keep her word. Or she could have not done so, in the same way that a soldier need not follow an illegal order, or anyone with a conscience would avoid endorsing a committed and repeated warmonger.

der einzige , says: • Website Show Comment March 26, 2020 at 10:29 am GMT
This is my comment from a year ago, if Saker censor read it, he wouldn’t be surprised. It just means his “analysis” is worth shit.
How can anyone who is a CFR member or serves two rounds in Iraq based on Colin Powell be anyone good? How the fuck?

https://www.unz.com/tsaker/the-tulsi-gabbard-phenomenon-as-a-diagnostic-tool/#comment-3042562

All his writing (description of the facts (after the facts) of what everyone can see) brings nothing and any forecasts are wrong (love for Tulsi, fall of Ukraine, nuclear war threatening as an excuse for Russia’s submission to the Empire).

Saker was over when he began to censor those who disagree with him and who, as you can see, are right. Pride walks before falling. Fuck him and his great Tulsi love!

Realist , says: Show Comment March 26, 2020 at 12:26 pm GMT
@Anatoly Karlin

It is academic for me to argue which party is the dumbest, since I believe both are part of the Deep State. But currently the dems have it over the repubs in stupidity. Gabbard was the best in a horrible lineup. She was a one trick pony…antiwar…but a great trick. I know about the promise to endorse the nominee…but Biden is brain dead.

gepay , says: Show Comment March 26, 2020 at 4:52 pm GMT
If I had known that she had promised to endorse the Democratic nominee I would never have had thoughts about her candidacy. since she was my choice based on her anti regime change stance I knew she didn’t have a chance. She had watched Bernie get deprived of the nomination in 2016. It was worrisome that she was a former CFR member. It didn’t bother me that she didn’t get into 9/11 as that is death for anyone who wants the system to take them seriously. It did bother me that she didn’t confront the Israeli – whatever you want to call it. Especially as the media ignored her and the party worked against her. She was an attractive candidate and seemed sincere but the Dem voters never considered her. so fooled again. then again we here all know that the President only has so much power against the national security evolving police state and MIC and global deep state. If they use it then they only have to watch the Zapruder film for their near future or their loved ones.
vot tak , says: Show Comment March 26, 2020 at 7:21 pm GMT
“she should have endorsed either Bernie, or even Trump,”

Even the likud quisling trump? And this would be less of a betrayal than endorsing biden? In what delusional alternative universe?

William H Warrick III MD , says: Show Comment March 26, 2020 at 10:06 pm GMT
Tulsi’s problem is that she thinks GIs SHOULD NOT REFUSE TO DEPLOY OUTSIDE OF THE COUNTRY LIKE WE DID 53 YEARS AGO. She thinks THEY HAVE A DUTY TO GO!!! She probably doesn’t even know who Smedley Butler is. She wants to end the Regime Change Wars but has no idea how to do it!!! So now she is supporting a Warmonger who just had a #Me To charge and his accuser has been labeled a RUSSIAN AGENT AND WAS DOXXED.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/14tfnIkQ-qU?feature=oembed

John Chuckman , says: • Website Show Comment March 27, 2020 at 11:21 am GMT
“At the end of the day, she mostly betrayed herself, and that is the saddest aspect of this debacle.”
It would be sad in everyday life, but national politics and everyday life have almost nothing in common.
And that is all the truer when discussing the national politics of the United States, which may fairly be characterized as ruthless and totally corrupt.
Tulsi Gabbard is a young, intelligent, appealing woman who wants a political career ahead of her.
Her prospects would instantly drop to zero if she did not endorse the party’s candidate.
I find it disappointing that she did so, but I find the entire American political scene disappointing.
I am not even clear why a person like Tulsi would want to run in the United States.
Perhaps it indicates an underlying level of naivete?
Still some lingering belief in the high school civics class vision of American politics?
Stuff about guys in frock coats pledging their sacred honor?
Bringing good intentions to Washington is bit like Jesus’s statement about throwing pearls before swine.
I am not even sure what Tulsi was doing because her ability to change anything important is also about zero – even in the imaginary world of becoming president.
The game is fixed. The stakes are so immense with just the military/security arm of the establishment burning through a trillion dollars a year.
It virtually all exists to serve plutocrats and empire.
None of those powerful people want a “change” candidate.
The last president who actually thought he could challenge the American establishment left half his head on a street in Dallas.
Anonymous [425] • Disclaimer , says: Show Comment March 28, 2020 at 3:46 pm GMT
@AKAHorace Not a chance. Joe Biden represents the old Neo-liberal wing of the Democratic party. Tulsi is an anti-war progressive.

The other thing you have to consider is Joe is old and senile. It is not certain he would finish out his 4-year term if elected. The DNC will make sure they pick someone they are willing to see in power in case Joe bows out. There were paranoid rumors that it would be HRC but I don’t think this will fly with the public. Most likely a moderate woman. Kamala Harris (in a cynical bid to get the Black vote). Amy Klobuchar.

Johnwho , says: Show Comment March 29, 2020 at 8:58 am GMT
Whether Tulsi ‘had what it takes’ to ‘drain the swamp’ will never be known. The DNC made sure to take away her voice from the debates after she wiped the floor with Kamala Harris in an early debate. She got next to no publicity from the msm, but she was certainly better than any of the alternatives.
Like you, I was very disappointed when she supported Biden the war monger and fraud artist.
Ghali , says: Show Comment March 29, 2020 at 10:16 am GMT
Regarding Tulsi Gabbard, from the begining, I was (possibly) the only person who thought she was completely Fake . She is full of American B ** S “Patriotism” a.k.a. Fascism. I mean, if she is quitting politics, she should have endorsed Sanders and starves the self-promoted Zionist, warmongering, corrupt Biden of crucial votes in several progressive counties in the US.
George , says: Show Comment March 29, 2020 at 10:37 am GMT
@Anatoly Karlin Was Bernie ever a ‘real’ candidate? Black Agenda Report had doubts in 2016.

Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders: Sheepdogging for Hillary and the Democrats in 2016
https://blackagendareport.com/bernie-sanders-sheepdog-4-hillary

Medicare for All is not a popular issue with democrats.

Nevada culinary union lays into Sanders supporters after health care backlash
The powerful group said the candidate’s backers attacked it for criticizing Sanders’ “Medicare for All” proposal.

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/12/bernie-sanders-nevada-culinary-union-114687

Bernie still has up to $18,772,698 of campaign funds he gets to keep with strings attached
https://www.opensecrets.org/members-of-congress/summary?cid=N00000528

Tulsi Gabbard, the white man’s candidate.

What We Know About Tulsi Gabbard’s Base
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-we-know-about-tulsi-gabbards-base/

I sent some money to Gabbard and have no regrets. The American people betrayed her not the other way around. Why shouldn’t she endorse Biden, an endorsement* is a meaningless gesture, political survival is the most important thing for her. Thanks for trying Tulsi.

* In the US an endorsement only has meaning if the endorser has some sort of political machine to get a candidate elected or at least raise money. Gabbard had none except maybe veterans.

The Alarmist , says: Show Comment March 29, 2020 at 10:49 am GMT

When the DNC stole the nomination from Sanders, he did not lead a protest or run as an independent, he endorsed Hillary. I always considered him a fraud for this (and many other) reasons.

We should cut both Bernie and Tulsi some slack; when you go up against a machine whose principle actors have a documented triple-digit body-count, you either kiss the ring or sleep with the fishes.

9/11 Inside job , says: Show Comment March 29, 2020 at 11:57 am GMT
Tulsi Gabbard was a “faux” anti-war candidate , when it became known that she was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations they scrubbed her name from the site.

I recently receive an email from her where she came out in support of warmonger Joe Biden and blamed Al Qaeda for the 9/11 false flag attacks

It’s all Kabuki theater and the democratic and republican parties operate like crime families and have proven once again that they are “two wings of the same bird of prey “. The US is a pathocracy, kakistocracy, cryptocracy, plutocracy all rolled into one.

Anon [378] • Disclaimer , says: Show Comment March 29, 2020 at 12:47 pm GMT
@Anatoly Karlin 1: She is a card carrying member of CFR.

2: She owed her supporters something, not fellow traveler Bernie.

I’ve always suspected that she is run by military intelligence.

KenH , says: Show Comment March 29, 2020 at 4:19 pm GMT

Now Tulsi Gabbard is doing the same thing, which probably is a good indicator that the Democratic Party is evil and corrupt to the core

The Tulsitards will get mad at you but she exposed herself as a fraud. Biden’s been a big warmonger on the left and she endorsed him. Biden is one of the biggest assholes in the swamp and attacks and insults voters who asks him fair questions and she calls him a unifier.

If Bernie was for real then he’d run as an independent instead of cucking and endorsing Biden.

[Mar 29, 2020] Its somewhat bemusing that we discuss American politics ad nauseam, when it's been amply demonstrated that voters in the USA cannot make changes to government policy through their electoral process.

Notable quotes:
"... Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence . ..."
"... The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism." [Emphasis mine] ..."
Mar 29, 2020 | www.unz.com

PTG Mann , says: Show Comment March 28, 2020 at 5:11 am GMT

"The historical unity of the ruling classes is realized in the State." – Antonio Gramsci

Its somewhat bemusing that we discuss American politics ad nauseam, when it's been amply demonstrated that voters in the USA cannot make changes to government policy through their electoral process.

In fact, I would contend that American democracy has been non-existant since the JFK assassination (57 years after the event with no charges having been laid) which was essentially a coup d'état

Don't believe me? Read it and weep

A 2014 study from Princeton University spells bad news for American democracy – namely, that it no longer exists:

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens – Martin Gilens & Benjamin I. Page

"Each of 4 theoretical traditions in the study of American politics -- which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, and 2 types of interest-group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism -- offers different predictions about which sets of actors have how much influence over public policy: average citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented.

A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. We report on an effort to do so, using a unique data set which includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues.

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence .

The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism." [Emphasis mine]

Ref: https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-

Cyrano , says: Show Comment March 29, 2020 at 4:48 am GMT
@PTG Mann This is my attempt to shed some light on the "democracy" reality show. In grade 11 I had a subject called Marxism. Yes, I did study Marxism for 1 year only – in high school. One of the benefits of living in a "communist" country, I guess.

My Marxism professor, when he talked about capitalism, always used USA as an example. Not because he was impressed with them, but because he believed that it was a common knowledge that US was running the most austere form of capitalism possible. It's still like that today, they are just using multiculturalism as a smoke screen to cover up the fact that their capitalism is the most severe that they could get away with. And the stupid Europeans copy them, believing that multiculturalism is what makes a country truly liberal. Sure.

Another interesting thing that I remember from my high school Marxism classes is that they taught us that US has 2 types of elites. 1.Regular elites 2. Political elites. The regular elites are the real elites, the economic ones, the real movers and shakers. The political elites are just domestic help, a hired nobodies who do the rich men's bidding. The lines between these 2 are almost never crossed. As many perks as there are to becoming political elite, the benefits that you can milk from this new-found bonanza can never amount to the point of making you qualified to join the real – economic elites. And it goes vice versa as well. Economic elites usually don't have the interest (unless you are senile old guy like Bloomberg) to waste time on personally participating in politics – it just doesn't pay well enough by their standards. Of course, there are always exceptions – Donald Trump. That's why the real elites hate him so much. Because he wants to sit on 2 chairs, to belong to both the real elites and the political ones as well. The idea behind the political elites is to pay them so you can influence them and tell them what to do. How do you influence someone who doesn't really qualify as a hired help, who is one of you? It makes it more difficult to boss around. I am not saying that Trump is unbossable, the problem is that the real elites can't stomach the fact that Trump wants to boss THEM. Unforgivable.

The "democracy" has always been a pipe-dream, designed to prevent the rich f ** ks getting at each other throats, more than anything else. That's why voting and elections are just a mirage, political elites are not elected by voters, they are elected by the real (economic) elites. That's why they throw millions of dollars on campaigns and lobbies and so on. So they can have the final say about how things should be done, and not leave it to the political "elites" initiatives.

Trump proved that the move from the economic elites into political elites is feasible, even though it can be very unpopular with the economic elites, but the move from political elites into real elites is almost impossible – despite occasional valiant efforts – like Joe Biden and his son. The political elites simply lack any real cashable skills that are required in order to make tons of money and qualify for the prestigious club of real (economic) elites.

Sure the political elites can make a lot of money, but only from the perspective of the poor. The money that the political elites make compared to the economic ones – is pocket change. This is actually one of the positives of the American system, people who are interested in making really big money, don't usually go into politics, because there are much more and better ways to make more money. This is actually a feature of most of the developing countries – where there is almost no distinction between real elites and political elites and the only way to make money is to go into politics, and use corruption as a driving force for becoming rich.

Sure the political elites can accomplish relative financial successes as well, and sometimes this can get to their heads, making them delusional, like when Hillary – white trash herself– called her own people – deplorables. The "democracy" pipe dream serves another purpose – to create the illusion that the real elites (the rich) and the poor are in the same predicament together – suffering under the unscrupulous political elites. Yeah, right.

The other thing that people talk a lot about is communist propaganda. Sure there was some of it. Having experienced living in both systems – capitalism and "communism" – I can say that there is a big difference between capitalist and communist propaganda. Communist propaganda was more of the wishful thinking type, trying to cover up reality because they wished things could be better. Capitalist propaganda is much more sinister. The sole purpose of existence of capitalist propaganda is not because they want things to be different and better, but because they want things to stay the same as long as possible. The purpose of the capitalist propaganda is to impede progress. Communists at least felt bad that their system wasn't good enough to satisfy all the needs of the people. Capitalists have no such qualms. The message that they convey through their "democracy" is that this is as good as it's going to get, so you better get used to it. No regrets, no attempts to make things better.

It's funny that they bothered to teach us about different kinds of American elites way back in high school, like that was going to have any practical application in our lives. It's also unusual that I remember it, because I wasn't a particularly good student in any subject, including Marxism. Maybe the reason why I remember it, is because after all these years it still rings true.

Hans Vogel , says: Show Comment March 29, 2020 at 8:41 am GMT
Most discussions about and references to the US two-party system presidential elections remain oblivious to the fact that for all practical purposes the US has only one political party.

The US has the exact same political system that Mexico had for decades under the PRI: the party elite decided on who was going to be the next president and then organized elections. The US is essentially a none-party state (just read or reread Michael Parenti's Democracy for the Few ).

The fact that the American voter can choose between a psychopath like Mrs. Clinton and a guy like Trump, or between Trump and a senile moron like Biden (as may be the case this year), merely serves to prove that the real political decisions are not made by the president and that he is just a figurehead.

How can it be that a country with 330 million people cannot select even moderately intelligent, decent, capable candidates for the highest office?

It is a good sign that most Americans understand this and don't bother to vote. Democracy is a fake anyway, because if our votes would really count, we wouldn't have the right to vote.

[Mar 21, 2020] Tulsi Gabbard says insider traders should be 'investigated prosecuted,' as Left and Right team up on profiteering senator

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "better prepared than ever ..."
"... "akin to the 1918 pandemic." ..."
"... "Congress/staff who dumped stocks after private briefings on impending coronavirus epidemic should be investigated and prosecuted for insider trading," ..."
"... "Members of Congress should not be allowed to own stocks." ..."
"... "stomach churning," ..."
"... "For a public servant it's pretty hard to imagine many things more immoral than doing this," ..."
"... "Richard Burr had critical information that might have helped the people he is sworn to protect. But he hid that information and helped only himself." ..."
"... "If you find out about a nation-threatening pandemic and your first move is to adjust your stock portfolio you should probably not be in a job that serves the public interest," ..."
"... "calling for immediate investigations" ..."
"... "for possible violations of the STOCK Act and insider trading laws." ..."
"... Think your friends would be interested? Share this story! ..."
Mar 21, 2020 | www.rt.com

In a rare moment of bipartisanship, commenters from all sides have demanded swift punishment for US senators who dumped stock after classified Covid-19 briefings. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has called for criminal prosecution. As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) has received daily briefings on the threat posed by Covid-19 since January. Burr insisted to the public that America was ready to handle the virus, but sold up to $1.5 million in stocks on February 13, less than a week before the stock market nosedived, according to Senate filings . Immediately before the sale, Burr wrote an op-ed assuring Americans that their government is "better prepared than ever " to handle the virus.

Also on rt.com Liberal icon Sean Penn wants a 'compassionate' army deployment to fight Covid-19

After the sale, NPR reported that he told a closed-door meeting of North Carolina business leaders that the virus actually posed a threat "akin to the 1918 pandemic." Burr does not dispute the NPR report.

In a tweet on Saturday, former 2020 presidential candidate and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called for criminal investigations. "Congress/staff who dumped stocks after private briefings on impending coronavirus epidemic should be investigated and prosecuted for insider trading," she wrote.

"Members of Congress should not be allowed to own stocks."

Congress/staff who dumped stocks after private briefings on impending coronavirus epidemic should be investigated & prosecuted for insider trading (the STOCK Act). It is illegal & abuse of power. Members of Congress should not be allowed to own stocks. https://t.co/rbVfJxrk3r

-- Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) March 21, 2020

Burr was not the only lawmaker on Capitol Hill to take precautions, it was reported. Fellow Intelligence Committee member Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and her husband sold off more than a million dollars of shares in a biotech company five days later, while Oklahoma's Jim Inhofe (R) made a smaller sale around the same time. Both say their sales were routine.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Georgia) attended a Senate Health Committee briefing on the outbreak on January 24. The very same day, she began offloading stock, dropping between $1.2 and $3.1 million in shares over the following weeks. The companies whose stock she sold included airlines, retail outlets, and Chinese tech firm Tencent.

She did, however, invest in cloud technology company Oracle, and Citrix, a teleworking company whose value has increased by nearly a third last week, as social distancing measures forced more and more Americans to work from home. All of Loeffler's transactions were made with her husband, Jeff Sprecher, CEO of the New York Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) and Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) have joined the clamor of voices demanding punishment. Ocasio-Cortez described the sales as "stomach churning," while Omar reached across the aisle to side with Fox News' Tucker Carlson in calling for Burr's resignation.

I am 💯 with him on this 😱 https://t.co/Gbi3i2BagY

-- Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 20, 2020

"For a public servant it's pretty hard to imagine many things more immoral than doing this," Carlson said during a Friday night monolog. "Richard Burr had critical information that might have helped the people he is sworn to protect. But he hid that information and helped only himself."

As of Saturday, there are nearly 25,000 cases of Covid-19 in the US, with the death toll heading towards 300. Now both sides of the political aisle seem united in disgust at the apparent profiteering of Burr, Loeffler, and Feinstein.

Right-wing news outlet Breitbart savaged Burr for voting against the STOCK Act in 2012, a piece of legislation that would have barred members of Congress from using non-public information to profit on the stock market. At the same time, a host of Democratic figures - including former presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Kirsten Gillibrand - weighed in with their own criticism too.

"If you find out about a nation-threatening pandemic and your first move is to adjust your stock portfolio you should probably not be in a job that serves the public interest," Yang tweeted on Friday.

If you find out about a nation-threatening pandemic and your first move is to adjust your stock portfolio you should probably not be in a job that serves the public interest.

-- Andrew Yang🧢 (@AndrewYang) March 20, 2020

Watchdog group Common Cause has filed complaints with the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee "calling for immediate investigations" of Burr, Loeffler, Feinstein and Inhofe "for possible violations of the STOCK Act and insider trading laws."

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

[Mar 20, 2020] Such a nice Trojan Horse: How is it possible to morph from a Tulsi, to a Tulsigieg so fast??

Highly recommended!
Mar 20, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Ronald van Kemenade , 9 hours ago

After the DNC stabbing her in the back, she should have endorsed Trump.

Nate Hoffman , 11 hours ago

Great actress. Very convincing.

tim ahlf , 5 hours ago

Obama gave her a call like he did everybody else.

Rita Marie Kelley , 12 hours ago

Aloha will never be the same...

Jack Carvis , 1 hour ago

Every dem politician has a role(acting job) to play and she deserves the Oscar .

eancd , 6 hours ago

I guess they won't be calling Tulsi a Russian agent any more

State of Opportunity , 12 hours ago

She should've just endorsed Lindsey Graham.

TheNada73 , 5 hours ago

They made her an offer she can't refuse.

Bruce Liu , 3 hours ago

Tulsi is controlled opposition

[Mar 12, 2020] The Democratic Party Surrenders to Nostalgia by Bill Blum

Highly recommended!
Trump does not have a party with the program that at least pretends to pursue "socialism for a given ethnic group". He is more far right nationalist then national socialist. But to the extent neoliberalism can be viewed as neofascism Trump is neo-fascist, he definitly can be called a "national neoliberal."
Notable quotes:
"... I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket. ..."
"... Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory ..."
"... The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term. ..."
"... Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. ..."
"... An appeal to a frustrated middle class that is suffering from an economic crisis of humiliation and fear of the pressure exerted by lower social groups. ..."
"... Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles. ..."
"... Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions. ..."
"... Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age . ..."
Mar 11, 2020 | www.truthdig.com
Now that the Michigan Democratic primary is over and Joe Biden has been declared the winner , it's time to read the handwriting on the political wall: Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president, and Bernie Sanders will be the runner-up once again come the party's convention in July. Sanders might influence the party's platform, but platforms are never binding for the nominee. Sanders has lost, and so have his many progressive supporters, myself included.

I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket.

Funded by wealthy donors, run by Beltway insiders and aided and abetted by a corporate media dedicated to promoting the notion that Sanders was " unelectable ," the Democratic Party never welcomed Sanders as a legitimate contender. Not in 2016 and not in 2020. In several instances, it even resorted to some good old-fashioned red-baiting to frighten voters; the party is, after all, a capitalist institution. Working and middle-class families support the Democrats largely because they have no other place to go on Election Day besides the completely corrupt and craven GOP.

Now we are left with Donald Trump and Biden to duke it out in the fall. Yes, it has come to that.

In terms of campaign rhetoric and party policies, the general election campaign will be a battle for America's past far more than it will be a contest for its future. The battle will be fueled on both sides by narratives and visions that are illusory, regressive and, in important respects, downright dangerous.

Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory that ignores our deeply entrenched history of patriarchal white supremacy and brutal class domination.

The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term.

As the celebrated Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote in 1935 , fascism "is a historic phase of capitalism the nakedest, most shameless, most oppressive and most treacherous form of capitalism." Trumpism, along with its international analogs in Brazil, India and Western Europe, neatly accords with Brecht's theory.

Trumpism similarly meets the definition of fascism offered by Robert Paxton in his classic 2004 study, " The Anatomy of Fascism ":

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

Trump and Trumpism similarly embody the 14 common factors of fascism identified by the great writer Umberto Eco in his 1995 essay, Ur Fascism :

Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles.

To grasp what neoliberalism means, it's necessary to understand that it does not refer to a revival of the liberalism of the New Deal and New Society programs of the 1930s and 1960s. That brand of liberalism advocated the active intervention of the federal government in the economy to mitigate the harshest effects of private enterprise through such programs as Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Medicare, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That brand of liberalism imposed high taxes on the wealthy and significantly mitigated income inequality in America.

Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions.

Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age .

As transformational a politician as Barack Obama was in terms of race, he too pursued a predominantly neoliberal agenda. The Affordable Care Act, Obama's singular domestic legislative achievement, is a perfect example of neoliberal private-public collaboration that left intact a health industry dominated by for-profit drug manufacturers and rapacious insurance companies, rather than setting the stage for Medicare for All, as championed by Sanders.

Biden never tires of reminding any audience willing to put up with his gaffes, verbal ticks and miscues that he served as Obama's vice president. Those ties are likely to remain the centerpiece of his campaign, as he promises a return to the civility of the Obama era and a restoration of America's standing in the world.

History, however, only moves forward. As charming and comforting as Biden's imagery of the past may be, it is, like Trump's darker outlook, a mirage. If Trump has taught us anything worthwhile, it is that the past cannot be replicated, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.

[Mar 09, 2020] The One-Choice Election by Chris Hedges

Highly recommended!
Sanders is not a panacea. He is a sheep dog. But neoliberal oligarchs and the Deep State are afraid of sheep dog too. They need puppets.
Bernie Sanders is actually trying to save the Democratic Party from irrelevance. But irrelevance does not bother party bureaucracy and Clintons who still rule the party that much: all they want is money and plush positions.
Notable quotes:
"... Only one thing matters to the oligarchs. It is not democracy. It is not truth. It is not the consent of the governed. It is not income inequality. It is not the surveillance state. It is not endless war. It is not jobs. It is not the climate. It is the primacy of corporate power -- which has extinguished our democracy and left most of the working class in misery -- and the continued increase and consolidation of their wealth. ..."
"... Sanders was a dutiful sheepdog, attempting to herd his disgruntled supporters into the embrace of the Clinton campaign. At his moment of apostasy, when he introduced a motion to nominate Clinton, his delegates had left hundreds of convention seats empty. ..."
"... Sanders refused to support the lawsuit brought against the Democratic National Committee for rigging the primaries against him. ..."
"... Sanders misread the Democratic Party leadership, swamp creatures of the corporate state. He misread the Democratic Party, which is a corporate mirage. Its base can, at best, select preapproved candidates and act as props at rallies and in choreographed party conventions. The Democratic Party voters have zero influence on party politics or party policies. Sanders' naivete, and perhaps his lack of political courage, drove away his most committed young supporters. These followers have not forgiven him for his betrayal. They chose not to turn out to vote in the numbers he needs in the primaries. They are right. He is wrong. We need to overthrow the system, not placate it. ..."
"... Trump and Biden are repugnant figures, doddering into old age with cognitive lapses and no moral cores. Is Trump more dangerous than Biden? Yes. Is Trump more inept and more dishonest? Yes. Is Trump more of a threat to the open society? Yes. Is Biden the solution? No. ..."
"... Biden represents the old neoliberal order . He personifies the betrayal by the Democratic Party of working men and women that sparked the deep hatred of the ruling elites across the political spectrum. He is a gift to a demagogue and con artist like Trump, who at least understands that these elites are detested. Biden cannot plausibly offer change. He can only offer more of the same. And most Americans do not want more of the same. The country's largest voting-age bloc, the 100 million-plus citizens who out of apathy or disgust do not vote, will once again stay home. This demoralization of the electorate is by design. It will, I expect, give Trump another term in office. ..."
Mar 09, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

There is only one choice in this election. The consolidation of oligarchic power under Donald Trump or the consolidation of oligarchic power under Joe Biden. The oligarchs, with Trump or Biden, will win again. We will lose. The oligarchs made it abundantly clear, should Bernie Sanders miraculously become the Democratic Party nominee, they would join forces with the Republicans to crush him. Trump would, if Sanders was the nominee, instantly be shorn by the Democratic Party elites of his demons and his propensity for tyranny. Sanders would be red-baited -- as he was viciously Friday in The New York Times' " As Bernie Sanders Pushed for Closer Ties, Soviet Union Spotted Opportunity " -- and turned into a figure of derision and ridicule.

The oligarchs preach the sermon of the least-worst to us when they attempt to ram a Hillary Clinton or a Biden down our throats but ignore it for themselves. They prefer Biden over Trump, but they can live with either.

Only one thing matters to the oligarchs. It is not democracy. It is not truth. It is not the consent of the governed. It is not income inequality. It is not the surveillance state. It is not endless war. It is not jobs. It is not the climate. It is the primacy of corporate power -- which has extinguished our democracy and left most of the working class in misery -- and the continued increase and consolidation of their wealth. It is impossible working within the system to shatter the hegemony of oligarchic power or institute meaningful reform. Change, real change, will only come by sustained acts of civil disobedience and mass mobilization, as with the yellow vests movement in France and the British-based Extinction Rebellion . The longer we are fooled by the electoral burlesque, the more disempowered we will become.

I was on the streets with protesters in Philadelphia outside the appropriately named Wells Fargo Center during the 2016 Democratic Convention when hundreds of Sanders delegates walked out of the hall. "Show me what democracy looks like!" they chanted, holding Bernie signs above their heads as they poured out of the exits. "This is what democracy looks like!"

Sanders' greatest tactical mistake was not joining them. He bowed before the mighty altar of the corporate state. He had desperately tried to stave off a revolt by his supporters and delegates on the eve of the convention by sending out repeated messages in his name -- most of them authored by members of the Clinton campaign -- to be respectful, not disrupt the nominating process and support Clinton. Sanders was a dutiful sheepdog, attempting to herd his disgruntled supporters into the embrace of the Clinton campaign. At his moment of apostasy, when he introduced a motion to nominate Clinton, his delegates had left hundreds of convention seats empty.

After the 2016 convention, Sanders held rallies -- the crowds pitifully small compared to what he had drawn when he ran as an insurgent -- on Clinton's behalf. He returned to the Senate to loyally line up behind Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, whose power comes from his ability to funnel tens of millions of dollars in corporate and Wall Street money to anointed Democratic candidates. Sanders refused to support the lawsuit brought against the Democratic National Committee for rigging the primaries against him. He endorsed Democratic candidates who espoused the neoliberal economic and political positions he claims to oppose. Sanders, who calls himself an independent, caucused as a Democrat. The Democratic Party determined his assignments in the Senate. Schumer offered to make Sanders the head of the Senate Budget Committee if the Democrats won control of the Senate. Sanders became a party apparatchik.

Sanders apparently believed that if he was obsequious enough to the Democratic Party elite, they would give him a chance in 2020 , a chance they denied him in 2016. Politics, I suspect he would argue, is about compromise and the practical. This is true. But playing politics in a system that is not democratic is about being complicit in the charade. Sanders misread the Democratic Party leadership, swamp creatures of the corporate state. He misread the Democratic Party, which is a corporate mirage. Its base can, at best, select preapproved candidates and act as props at rallies and in choreographed party conventions. The Democratic Party voters have zero influence on party politics or party policies. Sanders' naivete, and perhaps his lack of political courage, drove away his most committed young supporters. These followers have not forgiven him for his betrayal. They chose not to turn out to vote in the numbers he needs in the primaries. They are right. He is wrong. We need to overthrow the system, not placate it.

Sanders is wounded. The oligarchs will go in for the kill. They will subject him to the same character assassination, aided by the courtiers in the corporate press, that was directed at Henry Wallace in 1948 and George McGovern in 1972, the only two progressive presidential candidates who managed to seriously threaten the ruling elites since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The feckless liberal class, easily frightened, is already abandoning Sanders, castigating his supporters with their nauseating self-righteousness and championing Biden as a political savior.

Trump and Biden are repugnant figures, doddering into old age with cognitive lapses and no moral cores. Is Trump more dangerous than Biden? Yes. Is Trump more inept and more dishonest? Yes. Is Trump more of a threat to the open society? Yes. Is Biden the solution? No.

Biden represents the old neoliberal order . He personifies the betrayal by the Democratic Party of working men and women that sparked the deep hatred of the ruling elites across the political spectrum. He is a gift to a demagogue and con artist like Trump, who at least understands that these elites are detested. Biden cannot plausibly offer change. He can only offer more of the same. And most Americans do not want more of the same. The country's largest voting-age bloc, the 100 million-plus citizens who out of apathy or disgust do not vote, will once again stay home. This demoralization of the electorate is by design. It will, I expect, give Trump another term in office.

By voting for Biden , you endorse the humiliation of courageous women such as Anita Hill who confronted their abusers. You vote for the architects of the endless wars in the Middle East. You vote for the apartheid state in Israel. You vote for wholesale surveillance of the public by government intelligence agencies and the abolition of due process and habeas corpus. You vote for austerity programs, including the destruction of welfare and cuts to Social Security . You vote for NAFTA, free trade deals, de-industrialization, a decline in wages, the loss of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs and the offshoring of jobs to underpaid workers who toil in sweatshops in China or Vietnam. You vote for the assault on public education and the transfer of federal funds to for-profit and Christian charter schools. You vote for the doubling of our prison population, the tripling and quadrupling of sentences and huge expansion of crimes meriting the death penalty. You vote for militarized police who gun down poor people of color with impunity. You vote against the Green New Deal and immigration reform. You vote for limiting a woman's right to abortion and reproductive rights. You vote for a segregated public-school system in which the wealthy receive educational opportunities and poor people of color are denied a chance. You vote for punitive levels of student debt and the inability to free yourself of debt obligations through bankruptcy . You vote for deregulating the banking industry and the abolition of Glass-Steagall. You vote for the for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical corporations and against universal health care. You vote for bloated defense budgets. You vote for the use of unlimited oligarchic and corporate money to buy our elections. You vote for a politician who during his time in the Senate abjectly served the interests of MBNA , the largest independent credit card company headquartered in Delaware, which also employed Biden's son Hunter.

There are no substantial political differences between the Democrats and Republicans. We have only the illusion of participatory democracy. The Democrats and their liberal apologists adopt tolerant positions on issues regarding race, religion, immigration, women's rights and sexual identity and pretend this is politics. The right wing uses those on the margins of society as scapegoats. The culture wars mask the reality. Both parties are full partners in the reconfiguration of American society into a form of neofeudalism. It only depends on how you want it dressed up.

"By fostering an illusion among the powerless classes" that it can make their interests a priority, the Democratic Party "pacifies and thereby defines the style of an opposition party in an inverted totalitarian system," political philosopher Sheldon Wolin writes.

The Democrats will once again offer up a least-worst alternative while, in fact, doing little or nothing to thwart the march toward corporate totalitarianism. What the public wants and deserves will again be ignored for what the corporate lobbyists demand. If we do not respond soon to the social and economic catastrophe that has been visited on most of the population, we will be unable to thwart the rise of corporate tyranny and a Christian fascism.

We need to reintegrate those who have been pushed aside back into the society, to heal the ruptured social bonds, to give workers dignity, empowerment and protection. We need a universal health care system, especially as we barrel toward a global pandemic. We need programs that provide employment with sustainable wages, job protection and pensions. We need quality public education for all Americans. We need to rebuild our infrastructure and end the squandering of our resources on war. We need to halt corporate pillage and regulate Wall Street and corporations. We need to respond with radical and immediate measures to curb carbon emissions and save ourselves from ecocide and extinction. We don't need a "Punch and Judy" show between Trump and Biden. But that, along with corporate tyranny, is what we seem fated to get, unless we take to the streets and tear the house down.

[Mar 09, 2020] There are no options left for neoliberal Dems. Biden is a typical political Zugzwang. The only hope is Coronavirus (as an act of God). Otherwise it looks like they already surrendered elections to Trump.

Highly recommended!
Mar 09, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , March 9, 2020 12:11 pm

> Listen to Cornel West for a real understanding of what has happened and what are our options.

There are no options left for neoliberal Dems. This is a typical political Zugzwang. The only hope is Coronavirus (as an act of God). Otherwise it looks like they already surrendered elections to Trump.

Biden is a dead end into which neoliberal Dems drove themselves.
See, for example

https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2020/march/on-super-Tuesday

A possibility remains, therefore, that the Democrats will conduct a 'brokered convention'. Secondary candidates like Buttigieg and Warren had lately put themselves in the anti-popular posture of endorsing such a proceeding (though there's been nothing like it since the 1950s): at a brokered convention, a candidate with a solid plurality can be denied the nomination on the first ballot and defeated later by a coalition.

If Biden now runs far ahead of Sanders, he may sew it up in advance.

On the other hand, his verbal gaffes (announcing himself a candidate for the Senate rather than the presidency; saying 'I was a Democratic caucus') and his fabricated or false memories (a non-existent arrest in South Africa for demonstrating against the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela) have exposed a cognitive fragility that some people fear could make him ridiculous by November.

A Biden-Trump contest in 2020 would resemble Clinton-Trump in at least one respect. It would be a case, yet again, of the right wing of the Democratic Party making the conventional choice against the party's own insurgent energy.

The Democrats and their media outworks are treating Latinos, African Americans and whites as separate nations. Women are a nation, too – parsed (where useful) as Latino, African American or white.

So the answer to Trump's divide and conquer comes in the form of these college-certified categories that self-divide and surrender.

The only other weapon of note has been an attempted revival of the Cold War. On 23 February, the New York Times led with two anti-Sanders hatchet jobs, targeting him as both a destroyer of the Democratic Party and a possible Russian agent

But the mainstream media and their captive party, the party and its captive media, show no sign of letting up the pressure. A recent leak from a misinterpreted fragment of a report by the Director of National Intelligence became a two-day Red Scare

The truth is that the corporate-liberal media are comfortable with the Trump presidency. They have prospered wonderfully from his entertainment value, even as they staked out a high ground in the anti-Trump 'resistance'. It will be hard to deny the plausibility of the charge likely to issue soon from the Sanders campaign, namely that 'the fix is in'; and that, once more, the people are being denied their proper voice – at first through an organised propaganda campaign that was fed into debates as well as news coverage, and at last through public co-ordination by the party establishment to guide Democrats into the one acceptable box.

[Mar 07, 2020] The Neoliberal Plague by Rob Urie

Highly recommended!
Creating employment insecurity was the entire point of neoliberal reforms such as outsourcing, de-skilling and contingent employment. Neoliberal theory had it that desperate workers work both longer and harder. And they die younger.
We can view "Creepy Joe" and Trump as representatives of "neoliberal plague" The slogan should be " No Pasaran " ( Dolores Ibárruri's famous battlecry appeal for the defense of the Second Spanish Republic)
Notable quotes:
"... For those who aren't familiar with Albert Camus' The Plague , disparate lives are brought together during a plague that sweeps through an Algerian city. ..."
"... Through the virus, a new light is being shone on four decades of neoliberal reorganization of political economy. The combination of widespread economic marginalization and a lack of paid time off means that sick and highly contagious workers will have little economic choice but to spread the virus. And the insurance company pricing mechanism intended to dissuade people from overusing health care ('skin in the game') means that only very sick people will 'buy' health care they can't afford. ..."
"... If this last part reads like (Ayn) Randian social theory as interpreted by a budding sociopath in the basement of his dead parent's crumbling tract home, it is basic neoliberal ideology applied to circumstances that we can see playing out in real time. ..."
"... While the American response to the Coronavirus threat seems to be less than robust, there was a near instantaneous response from the Federal Reserve to a 10% decline in stock prices. ..."
"... If priorities seem misplaced, you haven't been paying attention. The statistics on suicides, divorces, drug addiction and self-destructive behavior that result from the loss of employment were understood and widely published by the early 1990s, at the peak of that era's round of mass layoffs. Creating employment insecurity was the entire point of neoliberal reforms such as outsourcing, de-skilling and contingent employment. Neoliberal theory had it that desperate workers work both longer and harder. And they die younger. ..."
"... But how likely is it that people will 'demand' too much healthcare? The starting position of Obamacare was that the American healthcare system provided half the benefit at twice the price of comparable systems. ..."
"... Milton Friedman, one of the founders of neoliberalism through the Mont Pelerin Society, produced a long career's worth of half-baked garbage economics. On the rare occasions when he wasn't helping Chilean fascists toss students out of airplanes in flight, he was pawning his infantile theories off on future Chamber of Commerce and ALEC predators. His positivism was already known to be a farce when he took it up. Here is a primer that explains why it is, and always will be, a farce. ..."
Mar 07, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

For those who aren't familiar with Albert Camus' The Plague , disparate lives are brought together during a plague that sweeps through an Algerian city. Today, by way of the emergence of a lethal and highly communicable virus (Coronavirus), we -- the people of the West, have an opportunity to reconsider what we mean to one another. The existential lesson is that through dread and angst we can choose to live, with the responsibilities that the choice entails, or just fade away.

Through the virus, a new light is being shone on four decades of neoliberal reorganization of political economy. The combination of widespread economic marginalization and a lack of paid time off means that sick and highly contagious workers will have little economic choice but to spread the virus. And the insurance company pricing mechanism intended to dissuade people from overusing health care ('skin in the game') means that only very sick people will 'buy' health care they can't afford.

Market provision of virus test kits, vaccines and basic sanitary aids will, in the absence of government coercion, follow the monopolist's model of under-provision at prices that are unaffordable for most people. The most fiscally responsible route, in the sense of assuring that the rich don't pay taxes, is to let those who can't afford health care die. If this means that tens of millions of people die unnecessarily, markets are a harsh taskmaster. ( 3.4% mortality rate @ 2X – 3X the contagion rate of the Spanish Flu @ 4 X 1918 population).

If this last part reads like (Ayn) Randian social theory as interpreted by a budding sociopath in the basement of his dead parent's crumbling tract home, it is basic neoliberal ideology applied to circumstances that we can see playing out in real time. According to Ryan Grim of The Intercept, Bill Clinton eliminated the ' reasonable pricing ' requirement for drugs made by companies that receive government funding. This has bearing on both commercially developed Coronavirus test kits and vaccines.

Leaving aside technical difficulties that either will or won't be resolved, how would any substantial portion of the 80% of the population that lives hand-to-mouth be effectively quarantined when losing an income creates a cascade effect of evictions, foreclosures, starvation, repossessions, shut-off utilities, etc.? The current system conceived and organized to make desperate and near desperate workers labor with the minimum of pay and benefits is a public health disaster by design.

While the American response to the Coronavirus threat seems to be less than robust, there was a near instantaneous response from the Federal Reserve to a 10% decline in stock prices. The same Federal Reserve that has been engineering a non-stop rise in stock prices since Wall Street was bailed out in 2009 knows perfectly well how narrowly stock ownership is concentrated amongst the rich -- it publishes the data. It quickly lowered the cost of financial speculation as the cost of Coronavirus tests and a vaccine -- and the question of who will bear them, remain indeterminate.

If priorities seem misplaced, you haven't been paying attention. The statistics on suicides, divorces, drug addiction and self-destructive behavior that result from the loss of employment were understood and widely published by the early 1990s, at the peak of that era's round of mass layoffs. Creating employment insecurity was the entire point of neoliberal reforms such as outsourcing, de-skilling and contingent employment. Neoliberal theory had it that desperate workers work both longer and harder. And they die younger.

The brutality of the logic used by the Obama administration in constructing the ACA, Obamacare, is worthy of exploration. The premise behind the 'skin in the game' idea is neoliberalism 101, developed by a founder of neoliberalism, economist Milton Friedman, to ration health care. The basic idea is that without a price attached to it, people will 'demand' more health care than they need. That from a public health perspective, oversupplying health care is better than undersupplying it, is ignored under the premise that public health concerns are communistic. (Read Friedman).

But how likely is it that people will 'demand' too much healthcare? The starting position of Obamacare was that the American healthcare system provided half the benefit at twice the price of comparable systems. Through the 'market' pricing mechanism that existed, the incentive was for people to avoid purchasing healthcare because it was / is wildly overpriced. Not considered was that through geographical and specialist 'natural monopolies,' health care providers had an incentive to undersupply health care by providing high-margin services to the rich.

Furthermore, why would a healthcare system be considered from the perspective of individual users? In contrast to the temporal sleight-of-hand where Obamacare 'customers' are expected to anticipate their illnesses and buy insurance plans that cover them, the entire premise of health insurance is that illnesses are unpredictable. Isn't the Coronavirus evidence of this unpredictable nature? And through the nature of pandemics, it is known that some people will get sick and other people won't. Not known is precisely who will get sick and who won't.

While there are public health emergency provisions in Obamacare that may or may not be invoked, why does it make sense in any case to require that people anticipate future illnesses? Such a program isn't health care and it isn't even health insurance. It is gambling. Guess right and you live. Guess wrong and you die. Why should we be guessing at all? Prior to Obamacare, health insurance companies gamed the system with life and death decisions. In true neoliberal fashion, Obamacare randomized the process as health insurers continue to game the system.

As I understand it, the public health emergency provision in Obamacare might cover virus testing and the cost of a vaccine if one is ever found. Great. What about care? How many readers chose a plan that covers Coronavirus? How many days can you go without a paycheck if you get sick or are quarantined? Who will take care of your children and for how long? How will you pay your rent or mortgage? Who will deliver groceries to your house and how will you pay for them? How will you make the car payment before they repossess it and how will you get to work without it if you recover?

The rank idiocy -- and the political content, of the frame of individual 'consumers' overusing health care quickly devolves to the fact that some large portion of the American people can't afford to go to the doctor when they need to. Even if they can afford the direct costs, they can't afford the indirect costs. When Obamacare was passed, the U.S. had the worst health care outcomes among rich countries. Ten years later, the U.S. has the worst healthcare outcomes among rich countries . And medical bankruptcies are virtually unchanged since Obamacare was passed.

The reason for focusing on Obamacare is it is the system through which we encounter the Coronavirus. In the narrow political sense of getting a health care bill passed, Obamacare may or may not have been 'pragmatic.' In a public health care sense, it is a disaster decades in the making. The problem wasn't / isn't Mr. Obama per se. It is the radical ideology behind it that was posed as pragmatism. Mr. Obama's success was to get a bill passed -- a political accomplishment. It wasn't to create a functioning healthcare system.

The otherworldly nature of neoliberal theory has led to a most brutal of social philosophies. Mr. Obama later put his energy into lengthening drug company patents to give drug companies an economic advantage provided by the government. Economist Dean Baker has made a career out of hammering this general point home. Michael Bloomberg benefited from government support for both technology and finance. His fortune of $16 billion in 2009 followed stock prices higher to land him at $64.2 billion in 2020.

Donald Trump inherited a large fortune that likewise followed stock and Manhattan real estate prices higher. Both he and Mr. Bloomberg could have put their early fortunes into passive portfolios and received the returns that they claim to be the product of superior intelligence and hard work. Analytically, if the variability of these fortunes tracks systemic, rather than personal, factors, then systemic factors explain them. The same is true of most of the great fortunes of the epoch of finance capitalism that began around 1978.

The point of merging these issues is that they represent flip sides of the neoliberal coin. In a broad sense, neoliberalism is premised on economic Darwinism, the quasi-religious (it isn't Darwin) idea that people land where they deserve to land in the social order. This same idea, that systemic differences in economic outcomes are evidence of systemic causes, applies here. However, differences in intelligence, initiative and talent don't map to systemic outcomes , meaning that concentrated wealth isn't a reward for these.

The ignorant brutality of this system appears to be on its way to getting a reality check through a tiny virus. Unless the Federal government figures this out really fast, most of the bodies will be carried out of poor and working class neighborhoods like mine. Few here have health insurance and most health care providers in the area don't take the insurance they do have. More than a day away from work and many of my neighbors will no longer have jobs. Evictions are a regular state of affairs in good times. There are no resources to facilitate a larger-picture response.

Liberalism, of which neoliberalism is a cranky cousin, lives through a patina of pragmatism until the nukes start flying or a virus hits. Getting healthcare 'consumers' to consider their market choices follows a narrow logic up to the point where none of the choices are relevant to a public health emergency. One I plus another I plus another I doesn't equal us. The fundamental premise of neoliberalism, the Robinsonade I, has always been a cynical dodge to let rich people keep their loot.

The mortality rate and contagion factor recently reported for Coronavirus (links at top) place it above the modern benchmark of the Spanish Flu of 1918 in terms of potential lethality. What should make people angry is how the reconfiguration of political economy intended to make a few people really rich has put the rest of us at increased risk. These are real people's lives and they matter.

Finally, for students of neoliberalism: there is no conflation of neoliberalism with neoclassical economics here. Milton Friedman, one of the founders of neoliberalism through the Mont Pelerin Society, produced a long career's worth of half-baked garbage economics. On the rare occasions when he wasn't helping Chilean fascists toss students out of airplanes in flight, he was pawning his infantile theories off on future Chamber of Commerce and ALEC predators. His positivism was already known to be a farce when he took it up. Here is a primer that explains why it is, and always will be, a farce.

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is published by CounterPunch Books.

[Mar 04, 2020] Russiagate should be viewed as classic, textbook case of gaslighting and projecting election interference

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I tried to sorta warm people on other sites that while they were looking for Russians at the front door, the gop was coming in the bad door for some rather nasty election interference. ..."
"... Of course what we are seeing now is democrats cheating other democrats. But that reality will never be acknowledged because, hey, it never happened before. Just unintentional mistakes like in Iowa (farm folk cheating -- no way) or Brooklyn. ..."
Mar 04, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

MrWebster on Wed, 03/04/2020 - 1:00pm

What you describe is probably why Russiagate spread so easily to so many people. Nothing happened in previous elections? Everything you describe never happened as you point out. The American electoral system was and is pristine and virginal.

Until the Russians came and destroyed American democracy through social media themes, memes, and retweets.

The American electoral system was never brutally corrupted by rigged votes, voter suppression on the scale of hundreds of thousands, deliberately miscounted votes, voter fraud, etc. Americans never did to each other anything as bad as what the Russians did to Americans.

Of course, for me never worked as I worked in primaries of a democratic machine dominated city. I tried to sorta warm people on other sites that while they were looking for Russians at the front door, the gop was coming in the bad door for some rather nasty election interference.

Of course what we are seeing now is democrats cheating other democrats. But that reality will never be acknowledged because, hey, it never happened before. Just unintentional mistakes like in Iowa (farm folk cheating -- no way) or Brooklyn.

[Mar 03, 2020] Super Tuesday Bernie vs The DNC Round Two

Highly recommended!
Mar 03, 2020 | off-guardian.org

No matter who comes away with the nomination, it has to be asked "was any of this process legitimate?". We know from a plethora of examples that US elections are not fair. They border on meaningless most of the time. The DNC's doubly so, having argued in court they have no duty to be fair.

Any result, then, you could safely assume was contrived, for one reason or another.

If the Buttigieg-Klobuchar-Biden gambit works, we end up with Trump vs. Biden. And, realistically, that means a second Trump term.

Biden is possibly senile and definitely creepy . Watching him shuffle and stutter through a Presidential campaign would be almost cruel.

Politically, he has all of Hillary's weaknesses, being a big-time establishment type with a pro-war record, without even the "I have a vagina" card to play.

He'll get massacred.

Is that the plan?

There's more than enough signs that Trump has abandoned all the policies that made him any kind of threat to the political establishment. Four years on: no wars ended, no walls built, no swamp drained. Just more of the same. He's an idiot who talked big and got co-opted. It happens.

The Senate and other institutions might talk about Trump being a criminal or an idiot or a "Nazi", but the reality is he's barely perceptibly different from any other POTUS this side of JFK.

#TheResistance was a puppet show. A weak game played for toy money. When it really counts, they're all in it together. Biden getting on the ticket would be a public admittance of that. It would mean the DNC is effectively throwing the fight. Trump is a son of a bitch, but he's their son of a bitch. And that's much better than even the idea of President Bernie.

... ... ...

falcemartello ,

Does it really matter?
Empire of kaos will never move one inch to change the status quo.
The quaisi fascist state that most western /antlantacist nations have become it will make no difference
Gianbattista Vico"Their will always be an elite class" Punto e basta.
Name me one politico that made any difference to we the sheeple in the modern era.
If someone were to mention FDR I will scream.
Aldo Moro got murdered by the deep state for only suggesting to make a pact with Berlinguer the head of Il Partito Communista Italiano.

[Mar 03, 2020] Let s Talk About Your Alleged #Resistance by Joe Giambrone

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Clinton also lied to the country about "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in Iraq and voted for that obviously illegal war. This after 8 years of her husband's genocidal sanctions killed a minimum of 500,000 innocent Iraqi children . ..."
"... What Bernie Sanders suffered and endured in 2016 was outrageous. Yet, he persisted and to this day attempts to help common Americans as much as he can. He does what he believes to be the right thing. His integrity and his record of fighting for working Americans are not the points of contention in this race. ..."
"... Today, however, Senator Bernie Sanders is the only Democrat who beats Trump in poll after poll . The only one. This is no small matter. Trump needs to be beaten in the tangled Electoral College, where a simple numerical victory isn't enough. ..."
"... Bernie is the best choice, but it is interesting that you brought up the genocidal sanctions on Iraq. Bernie supported those sanctions. He also supported the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 which reaffirmed US support for the sanctions even after 500,000 children had been killed. ..."
"... Well, the BBC is bigging up Joe Biden right now, yet another of its ridiculous pieces of propaganda utterly devoid of its duty to serve its license payors, who are the British people, not the neoconservative banking elite. ..."
"... How interesting, it's Obama who gave the "cue" for Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Beto, Rice, and the entire slippery gang to circle the wagons in support of the most reactionary warmongering candidate running. The same Obama who released drones every Tuesday morning killing brown and blacks throughout the Middle East and Africa– the majority of slaughtered were innocent women and children. ..."
"... The desperation of the national security state is reflected by The DNC's Shenanigans. The security state would rather promote a crooked, warmongering, lying, racist who barely can put together two logical thoughts then accept a candidate who represents a hopeful future for the next generation. ..."
"... The DNC's message is very clear– they're a "private party" and the working-class are NOT invited. ..."
"... But this by far is the most frightening thought, Biden, does not have all his marbles–it's obvious–we can only guess it's some type of dementia. So if Biden, slides through deploying a multitude of underhanded machinations and becomes the nominee, Trump, will make mincemeat of him during the debates. ..."
"... I'm not in the Orange Baboon's Fan Club, but I find it sad and a little bit pathetic the way people still invest their hopes and put their faith in figures like Bernie, Tulsi or Jezza. Bernie got shafted in 2016 and just saluted smartly and fell into line behind Crooked Hillary. When she lost, he started singing from the approved hymn sheet. The evil Putin stole the election for Kremlin Agent Trump. He has been parroting the same nonsense for the past 4 years. ..."
"... Jeez people get a clue. How many times do you need to fall for the "this candidate is so much better and will solve everything" ruse? Remember Obama? The exact same bullshit was going around back then. ..."
"... We have hope😁 . We have change😁 . We have hope and change you can believe in😁 . Well, yeah, we all know what happened during Obombers 8 years. The entire thing is nothing but Kabuki theatre. For all those still believing the United States is a democracy. ..."
"... 'In the democratic system, the necessary illusions cannot be imposed by force. Rather, they must be instilled in the public mind by more subtle means. A totalitarian state can be satisfied with lesser degrees of allegiance to required truths. It is sufficient that people obey; what they think is a secondary concern. But in a democratic political order, there is always the danger that independent thought might be translated into political action, so it is important to eliminate the threat at its root. ..."
"... Debate cannot be stilled, and indeed, in a properly functioning system of propaganda, it should not be, because it has a system-reinforcing character if constrained within proper bounds. What is essential is to set the bounds firmly. Controversy may rage as long as it adheres to the presuppositions that define the consensus of elites, and it should furthermore be encouraged within these bounds, thus helping to establish these doctrines as the very condition of thinkable thought while reinforcing the belief that freedom reigns ..."
"... Every opportunity to push back Neo liberalism should be taken. ..."
"... Once again, Mark Twain sums up my feeling: "If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it." ..."
"... Where's yours? That's impertinent. Our voting process was programmed, close to 100% by two guys, at one point not many years ago, with the same last name, the brothers Urosevich. The machine owners claim that, as it is their proprietary software, the public is excluded from the vote-counting. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Editor Joe Giambrone

In 2016, Hillary Clinton deserved to lose, and she did. Her deception, her cheating in the primary elections , was well-documented, despicable, dishonest, untrustworthy. Her money-laundering scheme at DNC should have been prosecuted under campaign finance laws.

Her record of warmongering and gleefully gloating over death and destruction was also well established. On national TV she bragged about the mutilation of Moammar Qaddafi: "We came, we saw, he died!"

Clinton also lied to the country about "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in Iraq and voted for that obviously illegal war. This after 8 years of her husband's genocidal sanctions killed a minimum of 500,000 innocent Iraqi children .

This person was undeserving of anyone's support.

What Bernie Sanders suffered and endured in 2016 was outrageous. Yet, he persisted and to this day attempts to help common Americans as much as he can. He does what he believes to be the right thing. His integrity and his record of fighting for working Americans are not the points of contention in this race.

His opponents have instead opted for every nonsensical conspiracy theory and McCarthyite smear they can concoct, including the most ridiculous of all: the Putin theory , without a single shred of evidence to support it.

Today, however, Senator Bernie Sanders is the only Democrat who beats Trump in poll after poll . The only one. This is no small matter. Trump needs to be beaten in the tangled Electoral College, where a simple numerical victory isn't enough.

Bernie wins, and he has the best overall shot of changing the course of history, steering America away from plutocracy and fascism.

That crucial race is happening right now in the primaries . If Bernie Sanders doesn't secure 50% of all delegates, then DNC insiders have already signaled that they will steal the nomination and give it to someone else -- who will lose to Trump. The real election for the future of America is on Super Tuesday.

It's either Trump or Bernie. That's your choice. Your only choice.

Where is your so-called "#Resistance" now?


Ben Barbour ,

Bernie is the best choice, but it is interesting that you brought up the genocidal sanctions on Iraq. Bernie supported those sanctions. He also supported the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 which reaffirmed US support for the sanctions even after 500,000 children had been killed.

Bernie also voted for Clinton's 1999 bombing campaign on Kosovo.

All that said, yes, Bernie is the best option.

Rhys Jaggar ,

Well, the BBC is bigging up Joe Biden right now, yet another of its ridiculous pieces of propaganda utterly devoid of its duty to serve its license payors, who are the British people, not the neoconservative banking elite.

When they spout bullshit that 20% of UK workers could miss work 'due to coronavirus', when we have had precisely 36 deaths in a population of 65 million plus, you know that like climate change, they spout the 1% probability as the mainstream narrative .

It just shows what folks are up against when media is so cravenly serving those who do not pay them.

Charlotte Russe ,

"If Bernie Sanders doesn't secure 50% of all delegates, then DNC insiders have already signaled that they will steal the nomination and give it to someone else -- who will lose to Trump. The real election for the future of America is on Super Tuesday."

While Bernie spent more than three decades advocating for economic social justice Biden spent those same three decades promoting social repression."

"The 1990s saw Biden take aim at civil liberties, authoring anti-terror bills that, among other things, "gutted the federal writ of habeas corpus," as one legal scholar later reflected. It was this earlier legislation that led Biden to brag to anyone listening that he was effectively the author of the Bush-era PATRIOT ACT, which, in his view, didn't go far enough. He inserted a provision into the bill that allowed for the militarization of local law enforcement and again suggested deploying the military within US borders."

How interesting, it's Obama who gave the "cue" for Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Beto, Rice, and the entire slippery gang to circle the wagons in support of the most reactionary warmongering candidate running. The same Obama who released drones every Tuesday morning killing brown and blacks throughout the Middle East and Africa– the majority of slaughtered were innocent women and children.

The desperation of the national security state is reflected by The DNC's Shenanigans. The security state would rather promote a crooked, warmongering, lying, racist who barely can put together two logical thoughts then accept a candidate who represents a hopeful future for the next generation.

The DNC's message is very clear– they're a "private party" and the working-class are NOT invited. In fact, they're saying more than that–if uninvited workers and the marginalized dare to enter they'll be tossed out on their arse

In plain sight the mainstream media news is telling millions that NO one can stop the military/security/surveillance/corporate state from their stranglehold over the corrupt political duopoly.

I say fight and don't give-up! Be prepared–organize a million people march and head to Milwaukee– the future of the next generation is on the line.

But this by far is the most frightening thought, Biden, does not have all his marbles–it's obvious–we can only guess it's some type of dementia. So if Biden, slides through deploying a multitude of underhanded machinations and becomes the nominee, Trump, will make mincemeat of him during the debates.

But if Biden, makes it to the Oval Office he'll be "less" than a figurehead. Biden, will be as mentally acute as the early bird diner in a Florida assisted living facility after a recent stroke. The national security state will seize control– handing the "taxidermied Biden" a pen to idiotically sign off on their highly insidious agenda ..

Ken Kenn ,

Pretty straightforward for me ( I don't know about Bernie? ) but if the Super delegates and the DNC hierarchy decide to hand the nomination over to Biden then Bernie should stand as an independent. At least even in defeat a left marker would be placed on the US political table away from the Corporate owners and the shills that hack for them in the media and elsewhere. At least ordinary US people would know that someone is on their side.

Corbyn in the UK was described as a ' Marxist' by the Tories and the unquestioning media. Despite all that ' Marxist ' Labour got 33% of the vote. People will vote for a ' socialist '

Charlotte Ruse ,

Unfortunately, Bernie won't abandon the Democratic Party. However, there's a ton of Bernie supporters who will vote Third Party if Bernie doesn't get the nomination.

paul ,

I'm not in the Orange Baboon's Fan Club, but I find it sad and a little bit pathetic the way people still invest their hopes and put their faith in figures like Bernie, Tulsi or Jezza. Bernie got shafted in 2016 and just saluted smartly and fell into line behind Crooked Hillary. When she lost, he started singing from the approved hymn sheet. The evil Putin stole the election for Kremlin Agent Trump. He has been parroting the same nonsense for the past 4 years.

That's when he hasn't been shilling for regime change wars in Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and elsewhere against "communist dictators."

Bernie will get shafted again shortly and fall into line behind Epstein's and Weinstein's best mate Bloomberg or Creepy Joe, or Pocahontas, or whoever.

If by some miracle they can't quite rig it this time and Bernie gets the nomination, the DNC will just fail to support him, and allow Trump to win. They would rather see Trump than Bernie in the White House.

Just like Starmer, Thornberry, Phillips and all the Blairite Backstabber Friends of Israel were more terrified of seeing Jezza in Number Ten than any Tory.
Dr. Johnson said that getting remarried represented the triumph of hope over experience.

The same applies to people expecting any positive change from people like Bernie, Tulsi, or Jezza.

The system just doesn't allow it.

pete ,

Jeez people get a clue. How many times do you need to fall for the "this candidate is so much better and will solve everything" ruse? Remember Obama? The exact same bullshit was going around back then.

Gezzah Potts ,

We have hope😁 . We have change😁 . We have hope and change you can believe in😁 . Well, yeah, we all know what happened during Obombers 8 years. The entire thing is nothing but Kabuki theatre. For all those still believing the United States is a democracy.

clickkid ,

"The real election for the future of America is on Super Tuesday." Sorry Joe, but where have you been for the last 50 years" Elections are irrelevant. Events change the world – not elections. The only important aspect of an election is the turnout. If you vote in an election, then at some level you still believe in the system.

Willem ,

Sometimes Chomsky can be useful

'In the democratic system, the necessary illusions cannot be imposed by force. Rather, they must be instilled in the public mind by more subtle means. A totalitarian state can be satisfied with lesser degrees of allegiance to required truths. It is sufficient that people obey; what they think is a secondary concern. But in a democratic political order, there is always the danger that independent thought might be translated into political action, so it is important to eliminate the threat at its root.

Debate cannot be stilled, and indeed, in a properly functioning system of propaganda, it should not be, because it has a system-reinforcing character if constrained within proper bounds. What is essential is to set the bounds firmly. Controversy may rage as long as it adheres to the presuppositions that define the consensus of elites, and it should furthermore be encouraged within these bounds, thus helping to establish these doctrines as the very condition of thinkable thought while reinforcing the belief that freedom reigns.'

If true, the question is, what are we not allowed to say? Or is Chomsky wrong, and are we allowed to say anything we like since TPTB know that words cannot, ever, change political action as for that you need power and brutal force, which we do not have and which, btw Chomsky advocates to its readers not to try to use against the nation state?

So maybe Chomsky is not so useful after all, or only useful for the status quo.

Chomsky's latest book, sold in book stores and at airports, where, apparantly, opinions of dissident writers whose opinions go beyond the bounds of the consensus of elites, are sold in large amounts to marginalize those opinions out of society, is called 'Optimism over despair', a title stolen from Gramsci who said: 'pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.'

But every time I follow Chomsky's reasoning, I end in dead end roads of which it is quite hard to find your way out. So perhaps I should change that title into 'nihilism over despair'. If you follow Chomsky's reasoning

clickkid ,

Your Chomsky Quote: "'In the democratic system, the necessary illusions cannot be imposed by force. .. " Tell that to the Yellow Vests.

ajbsm ,

Despite the deep state stranglehold .on the whole world there seems to be a 'wind' blowing (ref Lenin) of more and more people turning backs on the secret service candidates – not just in America. Power, money and bullying will carry on succeeding eventually the edifice is blown away – this will probably happen, it will be ugly and what emerges might not even be better(!) But the current controllers seem to have a sell by date.

Ken Kenn ,

I'm not convinced of the theory that the more poor/whipped/ spat upon people become the more likely they are to revolt. A revolution can only come about when the Bourgeoisie can no longer continue to govern in the old way. In other words it becomes more than a want – more of a necessity of change to the ordinary person.

We have to remember that in general ( it's a bit of a guess but just to illustrate a point ) that a small majority of people in any western nation are reasonably content – to an extent. They are not going to rock the boat that Kennedy tried to make the tide rise for or that Thatcher and her mates copied with home owner ship and the right to get into serious debt. This depends on whether you had/have a boat in the first place. If not you've always been drowning in the slowly rising tide.

Sanders as I've said before is not Castro. He has many faults but in a highly parameterised p Neo liberal economic loving political and media world he is the best hope. Not great stuff on offer but a significant move away from the 1% and the 3% who work for them ( including Presidents and Prime Misister ) so even that slight shift is plus for the most powerful country on planet earth.

I have in the past worked alongside various religious groups as an atheist as long as they were on the right( or should that be left?) side on an issue.

Now is not the time for the American left to play the Prolier than though card.

Every opportunity to push back Neo liberalism should be taken.

wardropper ,

I'm not convinced of the theory that the more poor/whipped/ spat upon people become the more likely they are to revolt. But didn't the Storming of the Bastille happen for that very reason? I think people are waiting for just one spark to ignite their simmering fury – just one more straw to break the patient camel's back. Understandably, the "elite" (which used to mean exalted above the general level) are in some trepidation about this, but, like all bullies their addiction to the rush of power goes all the way to the bitter end – the bitter end being the point at which their target stands up and gives them a black eye. It's almost comical how the bully then becomes the wailing victim himself, and we have all seen often enough the successfully-resisted dictatorial figure of authority resorting to the claim that he is now being bullied himself. But this is a situation of his own making, and our sympathy for him is limited by our memory of that fact.

Ken Kenn ,

Where's the simmering fury in the West. U.S. turnout is pathetically low. Even in the UK the turnout in the most important election since the First World War was 67%. I see the result of the " simmering fury " giving rise to the right not the left. Just that one phrase or paragraph of provocative words will spark the revolution?

... ... ...

wardropper ,

My point, which I thought I made clearly enough, was that the fury is simmering , and waiting for a catalyst. I also think an important reason for turnout being low is simply that people don't respond well to being treated like idiots by an utterly corrupt establishment. They just don't want to participate in the farce.

Once again, Mark Twain sums up my feeling: "If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it."

I'm not trying to be argumentative, and, like you, I am quite happy to back Sanders as by far the best of a pretty rotten bunch. Perhaps China is indeed leading in many respects right now, but becoming Chinese doesn't seem like a real option for most of us at the moment . . . Incidentally I have been to China and I found the people there as interesting as people anywhere else, although I particularly enjoyed the many things which are completely different from our western cultural roots.

Rhisiart Gwilym ,

Speaking of the Clintons' death toll, didn't Sanders too back all USAmerica's mass-murdering, armed-robbery aggressions against helpless small countries in recent times? And anyway, why are we wasting time discussing the minutiae of the shadow-boxing in this ridiculous circus of a pretend-democratic 'election'? Watching a coffin warp would be a more useful occupation.

I go with Dmitry Orlov's reckoning of the matter: It doesn't matter who becomes president of the US, since the rule of the deep state continues unbroken, enacting its own policies, which ignore the wishes of the common citizens, and only follow the requirements of the mostly hyper-rich gics (gangsters-in-charge) in the controlling positions of this spavined, failing empire. (My paraphrase of Dmitry.)

USPresidents do what their deep-state handlers want; or they get impeached, or assassinated like the Kennedy brothers. And they all know this. Bill Hick's famous joke about men in a smoke-filled room showing the newly-'elected' POTUS that piece of film of Kennedy driving by the grassy knoll in Dealy Plaza, Dallas, is almost literally true. All POTUSes understand that perfectly well before they even take office.

Voting for the policies you prefer, in a genuinely democratic republic, and actually getting them realised, will only happen for USAmericans when they've risen up and taken genuine popular control of their state-machine; at last!

Meanwhile, of what interest is this ridiculous charade to us in Britain (on another continent entirely; we never see this degree of attention given to Russian politics, though it has a much greater bearing on our future)? Our business here is to get Britain out of it's current shameful status, as one of the most grovelling of all the Anglozionist empire's provinces. We have a traitorous-comprador class of our own to turn out of power. Waste no time on the continuous three-ring distraction-circus in the US – where we in Britain don't even have a vote.

wardropper ,

The upvotes here would seem to show what thinking people appreciate most. Seeing through the advertising bezazz, the cheerleaders and the ownership of the media is obviously a top priority, and I suspect a large percentage of people who don't even know about the OffG would agree.

John Ervin ,

Where's yours? That's impertinent. Our voting process was programmed, close to 100% by two guys, at one point not many years ago, with the same last name, the brothers Urosevich. The machine owners claim that, as it is their proprietary software, the public is excluded from the vote-counting. And that much still holds true. Game. Set. Match. Any questions?

Antonym ,

What Bernie Sanders suffered and endured in 2016 was outrageous.

US deep state ate him for breakfast in 2016: they would love him to become string puppet POTUS in 2020. Trump is more difficult to control so they hate him.

John Ervin ,

Just one more Conspiracy Realist, eh! When will we ever learn? "The deep state ate him for breakfast in 2016 ." That gives some sense of the ease with which they pull strings, nicely put. One variation on the theme of your metaphor: "They savored him as one might consume a cocktail olive at an exclusive or entitled soirée."

It is painfully clear by any real connection of dots that he is simply one of their stalking horses for other game. And that Homeland game (still) doesn't know whether a horse has four, or six, legs.

*****

"Puppet Masters, or master puppets?"

Antonym ,

It is painfully clear that US Deep state hates Trump simply by looking at the Russiagate they cooked him up.

Fair dinkum ,

The US voters have surrounded themselves with a sewer, now they have to swim in it.

[Mar 03, 2020] It is shocking to see such a disgusting piece of human garbage like Joe Biden get so many working class voters to vote for him. Biden has never missed a chance to stab the working class in the back in service to his wealthy patrons.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It's astonishing that so many people will just blindly accept what they are told, that Biden is. "moderate." Biden is so far to the right, he makes Nixon look like Trotsky. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

TG , Mar 3 2020 22:02 utc | 56

Yet another circus. The proles get to scream and holler, and when all is done, the oligarchy gets the policies it wants, the public be damned. Our sham 'democracy' is a con to privatize power and socialize responsibility.

Although it is shocking to see such a disgusting piece of human garbage like Joe Biden get substantial numbers of people to vote for him. Biden has never missed a chance to stab the working class in the back in service to his wealthy patrons.

The issue is not (for me) his creepiness (I wouldn't much mind if he was on my side), nor even his Alzheimer's, but his established track record of betrayal and corruption.

From wiping out the ability of regular folks to declare bankruptcy (something supported by our founding fathers who were NOT socialists), to shipping our industrial base to communist China (which in less enlightened days would have been termed treason), to spending tens of trillions of dollars bailing out and subsiding the big banks (that's not a misprint), to supporting "surprise medical billing," to opening the borders to massive third-world immigration so that wages can be driven down and reset and profits up (As 2015 Bernie Sanders pointed out), Backstabbing Joe Biden is neoliberal scum pure and simple.

It's astonishing that so many people will just blindly accept what they are told, that Biden is. "moderate." Biden is so far to the right, he makes Nixon look like Trotsky. Heck, he makes Calvin Coolidge look like Trotsky.

Mao , Mar 3 2020 22:01 utc | 55

Ian56:

Joe Biden is a crook and a con man.

He has been lying his whole life.

Claimed in his 1988 Campaign to have got 3 degrees at college and finished in top half of his class.

Actually only got 1 degree & finished 76th out of 85 in his class.

[VIDEO]

https://twitter.com/Ian56789/status/1234914227963518977

[Mar 03, 2020] Russia isn't backing Sanders and Trump as much as hoping for chaos

Highly recommended!
This is simply pretty dirty and pretty effective propaganda trick. And it make intelligence agencies the third political party participating in the USA elections. With the right of veto.
Mar 03, 2020 | www.usatoday.com

Based on the tone of Tuesday's Democratic debate, you would think the Kremlin has already determined the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Former Vice President Joe Biden said Russians are "engaged now, as I speak, in interfering in our election." Billionaire Tom Steyer said there is "an attack by a hostile foreign power on our democracy right now." Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg charged that Russia was backing Sen. Bernie Sanders , I-Vt., to ensure a Trump victory in November.

Clearly, the Russia scaremongering is in full swing. Last week's intelligence community testimony that the Kremlin is backing President Donald Trump made headline news. Another report emerged alleging Moscow is backing Sanders . Biden claimed that Bernie-backing Russian bots have been attacking him on Facebook. And Hillary Clinton told a foreign audience that " Russians are back in our cyber systems ," and that "anyone who tries to deny it" is living in a "sad dreamworld."

... ... ...

But the Russian interference narrative has become entrenched. When intelligence community election expert Shelby Pierson speculated to the House Intelligence Committee in a closed-door meeting that Russia was trying to help President Trump get reelected, it quickly leaked, became a front-page story in The New York Times and precipitated the usual outrage. It took a few days for the less dramatic truth to catch up -- that there was no evidence for the "misleading" supposition that the Kremlin is pro-Trump; at best Russia may have a "preference" for a "deal-maker."

However, it is not clear how Russia would benefit from a Trump second term, since the first one has not worked out well for them. President Trump has imposed sanctions on Russia , expelled Russian diplomats , sent arms to Ukraine , sold Patriot missiles to Poland , undercut Russia's natural gas markets in Europe, pursued strategic nuclear modernization while not rushing to renew the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and even killed hundreds of Russian mercenaries in Syria.

[Mar 03, 2020] Whacking Rich is a reminder to Sanders what the party establishmen is capable of

Highly recommended!
Mar 03, 2020 | www.unz.com

An alternative view that has been circulating for several years suggests that it was not a hack at all, that it was a deliberate whistleblower-style leak of information carried out by an as yet unknown party, possibly Rich, that may have been provided to WikiLeaks for possible political reasons, i.e. to express disgust with the DNC manipulation of the nominating process to damage Bernie Sanders and favor Hillary Clinton.

There are, of course, still other equally non-mainstream explanations for how the bundle of information got from point A to point B, including that the intrusion into the DNC server was carried out by the CIA which then made it look like it had been the Russians as perpetrators. And then there is the hybrid point of view, which is essentially that the Russians or a surrogate did indeed intrude into the DNC computers but it was all part of normal intelligence agency probing and did not lead to anything. Meanwhile and independently, someone else who had access to the server was downloading the information, which in some fashion made its way from there to WikiLeaks.

Both the hack vs. leak viewpoints have marshaled considerable technical analysis in the media to bolster their arguments, but the analysis suffers from the decidedly strange fact that the FBI never even examined the DNC servers that may have been involved. The hack school of thought has stressed that Russia had both the ability and motive to interfere in the election by exposing the stolen material while the leakers have recently asserted that the sheer volume of material downloaded indicates that something like a higher speed thumb drive was used, meaning that it had to be done by someone with actual physical direct access to the DNC system. Someone like Seth Rich.

... ... ...

Given all of that back story, it would be odd to find Trump making an offer that focuses only on one issue and does not actually refute the broader claims of Russian interference, which are based on a number of pieces of admittedly often dubious evidence, not just the Clinton and Podesta emails.

Which brings the tale back to Seth Rich. If Rich was indeed responsible for the theft of the information and was possibly killed for his treachery, it most materially impacts on the Democratic Party as it reminds everyone of what the Clintons and their allies are capable of.

It will also serve as a warning of what might be coming at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee in July as the party establishment uses fair means or foul to stop Bernie Sanders. How this will all play out is anyone's guess, but many of those who pause to observe the process will be thinking of Seth Rich.


plantman , says: Show Comment February 29, 2020 at 9:35 pm GMT

Excellent roundup.

I don't ascribe to the idea that the intel agencies kill American citizens without a great deal of thought, but in Rich's case, they probably felt like they had no choice. Think about it: The DNC had already rigged the primary against Bernie, the Podesta emails had already been sent to Wikileaks, and if Rich's cover was blown, then he would publicly identify himself as the culprit (which would undermine the Russiagate narrative) which would split the Democratic party in two leaving Hillary with no chance to win the election.

I can imagine Hillary and her intel connections looking for an alternative to whacking Rich but eventually realizing that there was no other way to deflect responsibility for the emails while paving the way for an election victory.

If Seth Rich went public, then Hillary would certainly lose.

I imagine this is what they were thinking when they decided there was really only one option.

james charles , says: Show Comment February 29, 2020 at 11:14 pm GMT
"I have watched incredulous as the CIA's blatant lie has grown and grown as a media story – blatant because the CIA has made no attempt whatsoever to substantiate it. There is no Russian involvement in the leaks of emails showing Clinton's corruption."
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/12/cias-absence-conviction/

"The FBI Has Been Lying About Seth Rich"
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

niteranger , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 12:08 am GMT
@plantman It's more than Hillary losing. It would have been easy to connect the dots of the entire plot to get Trump. Furthermore, it would have linked Obama and his cohorts in ways that the country might have exploded. This was the beginning of a Coup De'tat that would have shown the American political process is a complete joke.

... ... ...

Carlton Meyer , says: Website Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 1:04 am GMT
To understand why the DNC mobsters and the Deep State hate him, watch this great 2016 interview where Assange calmly explains the massive corruption that patriotic FBI agents refer to as the "Clinton Crime Family." This gang is so powerful that it ordered federal agents to spy on the Trump political campaign, and indicted and imprisoned some participants in an attempt to pressure President Trump to step down. It seems Trump still fears this gang, otherwise he would order his attorney general to drop this bogus charge against Assange, then pardon him forever and invite him to speak at White House press conferences.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_sbT3_9dJY4?feature=oembed

Ron Unz , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:18 am GMT
Well, here was my own take on the controversy a couple of years ago, and I really haven't seen anything to change my mind:

Well, DC is still a pretty dangerous city, but how many middle-class whites were randomly murdered there that year while innocently walking the streets? I wouldn't be surprised if Seth Rich was just about the only one.

Julian Assange has strongly implied that Seth Rich was the source of the DNC emails that cost Hillary Clinton the presidency. So if Seth Rich died in a totally random street killing not long afterward, isn't that just the most astonishing coincidence in all of American history?

Consider that the leaks effectively nullified the investment of the $2 billion or so that her donors had provided, and foreclosed the flood of good jobs and appointments to her camp-followers, not to mention the oceans of future graft. Seems to me that's a pretty good motive for murder.

Here's my own plausible speculation from a couple of months ago:

Incidentally, I'd guess that DC is a very easy place to arrange a killing, given that until the heavy gentrification of the last dozen years or so, it was one of America's street-murder capitals. It seems perfectly plausible that some junior DNC staffer was at dinner somewhere, endlessly cursing Seth Rich for having betrayed his party and endangered Hillary's election, when one of his friends said he knew somebody who'd be willing to "take care of the problem" for a thousand bucks

https://www.unz.com/announcement/new-software-releaseopen-thread/#comment-1959442

https://www.unz.com/isteve/was-seth-rich-murdered-by-the-russians-the-democratic-elite-or-the-democratic-base/#comment-2069185

Let's say a couple of hundred thousand middle-class whites lived in DC around then, and Seth Rich was about the only one that year who died in a random street-killing, occurring not long after the leak.

Wouldn't that seem like a pretty unlikely coincidence?

Mustapha Mond , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:45 am GMT
"If Rich was indeed responsible for the theft of the information and was possibly killed for his treachery ."

Heroism is the proper term for what Seth Rich did. He saw the real treachery, against Bernie Sanders and the democratic faithful who expect at least a modicum of integrity from their Party leaders (even if that expectation is utterly fanciful, wishful thinking), and he decided to act. He paid for it with his life. A young, noble life.

In every picture I've seen of him, he looks like a nice guy, a guy who cared. And now he's dead. And the assholes at the DNC simply gave him a small plaque over a bike rack, as I understand it.

Seth Rich: American Hero. A Truth-Teller who paid the ultimate price.

Great reporting, Phil. Another home run.

(And thanks to Ron for chiming in. Couldn't agree more. As a Truth-Teller extraordinaire, please watch your back, Bro. And Phil, too. You both know what these murderous scum are capable of.)

Biff , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:46 am GMT
When the FBI doesn't fully investigate a crime(DNC-emails/9-11/JFK-murder) the only conclusion is " coverup ".
John Chuckman , says: Website Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 7:31 am GMT
I suppose American security services could have been involved.

That would explain the poor police investigation and lack of information and questions answered.

But Hillary and her dirty associates were quite capable of hiring a hit.

That would also explain the lack of information, since DC, unlike any other city, is literally controlled by the Federal government.

This is a very vicious woman despite her clownishly made-up face.

Her words after Gaddafi's murder were chilling.

She is said to have been responsible too for pressuring for the final push to get Waco out of the headlines. 80 folks incinerated.

She also joked about Assange, "can't we just drone him or something?"

And there was the dirty business at Benghazi.

She is indeed a woman capable of anything. A contemporary Borgia.

Daniel Rich , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 9:33 am GMT
Because the {real} killers of JFK, MLK and RFK were never detained and jailed/hanged, why would one expect a lesser known, more ordinary individual's murder [Seth] to be solved?
hobo , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 10:27 am GMT
Seymour Hersh, in a taped phone conversation, claimed to have access to an FBI report on the murder. According to Hersh, the report indicated tha FBI Cyber Unit examined Rich's computer and found he had contacted Wikileaks with the intention of selling the emails.

Seymour Hersh discussing Wikileaks DNC leaks Seth Rich & FBI report ( 7 min)

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZJpQPGeUeQY?feature=oembed

Antiwar7 , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 10:33 am GMT
Another reason Assange may not want to reveal it, if Seth Rich was a source for Wikileaks, could be that Seth Rich didn't act alone, and revealing Seth's involvement would compromise the other(s).

Or it could simply be that Wikileaks has promised to never reveal a source, even after that source's death, as a promise to future potential sources, who may never want their identities revealed, to avoid the thought of embarrassment or repercussions to their associates or families.

Incidentally, they only started really going after Assange after the Vault 7 leaks of the CIA's active bag of software tricks. I think, for Assange's sake, they should instead have held on to that, and made it the payload of a dead man's switch.

Chet Roman , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 11:05 am GMT
I'm not sure how credible the source is but Ellen Ratner, the sister of Assange's former lawyer and a journalist, told Ed Butowsky that Assange told her that it was Seth Rich. She asked Butowsky to contact Rich's parents. She confirms the Assange meeting in an interview, link below. Butowsky does not seem to be a credible source but Ratner does. If it was Seth Rich then I have no doubt that his brother knows the details and the family does not want to lose another son.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_YyuWpjTbg0?feature=oembed

The story has gone nowhere.

Chet Roman , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 11:42 am GMT
"According to Assange's lawyers, Rohrabacher offered a pardon from President Trump if Assange were to provide information that would attribute the theft or hack of the Democratic National Committee emails to someone other than the Russians."

Not to quibble on semantics but Rohrabacher met with Assange to ask if he would be willing to reveal the source of the emails then Rohrabacher would contact Trump and try to make deal for Assange's freedom. Rohrabacher clarified that he never talked to Trump or that he was authorized by Trump to make any offer.

The MSM has been using the "amnesty if you say it was not the Russians" narrative to hint at a coverup by Russian agent Trump. Normal for the biased MSM.

Giraldi's link "Assange did not take the offer" has nothing to do with Rohrabacher's contact. It's just a general piece on Assange acting as a journalist should act.

https://www.rohrabacher.com/news/my-meeting-with-julian-assange

Alfred , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 12:01 pm GMT
@plantman I can imagine Hillary and her intel connections looking for an alternative to whacking Rich

Have you never had to deal with a psychopath? That is not the way they reason.

She would have done it in the "national interest"

DaveE , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 2:21 pm GMT
I'm of the opinion Ron Unz seems to share, that Rich was not a particularly "big hitter" in the DNC hierarchy and that his murder was more likely the result of a very nasty inter-party squabble. I seem to recall a LOT of very nasty talk between the Jewish neocons in the Bush era and the decent, traditional "small-government" style Republicans who greatly resented the neocons' hijacking of the GOP for their demonic zionist agenda.

Common sense would suggest that the zionist types who have (obviously) hijacked the DNC are at least as nasty and ruthless as the neocons who destroyed any decency or fair-play within the GOP. It's not exactly hard to believe that these Murder, Inc. types (also lefties of their era) wouldn't hesitate to whack someone like Rich for merely uttering a criticism of Israel, for example.

Hell, Meyer Lansky ordered the hit-job on Bugsy Seigel for forgetting to bring bagels to a sit-down ! There was a great web-site by a mobster of that era, long since taken down, who described the story in detail. I forget the names .. but I'll see if I can't find a copy of some of the pieces posted at least a decade ago .

It's not exactly hard to imagine some very nasty words being exchanged between the Rahm Emmanuel types and decent Chicago citizens, for example, who genuinely cared for their city and weren't afraid of The Big Jew and his mobster cronies . to their detriment I'm sure.

We're talking about organized crime, here, folks. The zionists make the so-called (mostly fictitious) Sicilian Mafia look like newborn puppies. They wouldn't hesitate to whack a guy like Rich for taking their favorite space in the bicycle rack.

Rev. Spooner , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:27 pm GMT
@John Chuckman A long time ago I read in the London Guardian ( before it's reputation was in tatters) that the witch kept a list of all who pissed her off and updated it every night.
A quick search and here it is https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jan/14/hillary-clinton-hitlist-spreadsheet-grudge
Altai , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:33 pm GMT
My only trouble with the Seth Rich thing is, it seems a bit extreme, they seem quite callous in murdering foreigners but US citizens in the US who are their staffers? If they really were prepared to go out and kill in this way, they're be a lot more suspicious deaths.

What makes the case most compelling is the very quick investigation by police that looks like they were told by somebody concerned about how the whole thing looked to close up the case nice and quickly. That and the fact that he was shot in the back, which doesn't make sense for an attempted robbery turned murder.

However, it may also be that as in so many cities in the US, murder clearance rates for street shootings (Little forensic evidence, can only go by witness accounts or through poor alibis from usual suspects and their associates. In this case there is also no connection between Rich and any possible shooter with no witnesses.) are just so very low that DC police don't bother and Seth Rich's death just happened to be one such case that attracted some scrutiny.

But then maybe for the reasons above a place like DC is perfect to just murder somebody on the street and that's why they were so brazen about it.

Ron Unz , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:47 pm GMT
@Altai

Seth Rich's death just happened to be one such case that attracted some scrutiny.

Well, upthread someone posted a recording of a Seymour Hersh phone call that confirmed Seth Rich was the fellow who leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks, thereby possibly swinging the presidential election to Trump and overcoming $2 billion of Democratic campaign advertising.

Shortly afterwards, he probably became about the only middle-class white in DC who died in a "random street killing" that year. If you doubt this, see if you can find any other such cases that year.

I think it is *extraordinarily* unlikely that these two elements are unconnected and merely happened together by chance.

[Feb 28, 2020] Chas Freeman America in Distress The Challenges of Disadvantageous Change

Highly recommended!
I think everybody should listen the initial 47 minutes
Notable quotes:
"... Wanted to add that the malaise that is gripping the U.S. institutions is completely visible, it is not the opaque and obsequies portrait drawn by the punditry, news organizations, and elites. Seems most obvious to those of us outside the beltway that can clearly delineate between the failure of DC and the projections and marketing to the population that passes as wonky prose. Stupidity lacks the clarity, but brings the temerity making the facade not so subtle. ..."
"... Literally the only endorsement I've heard of Tulsi Gabbard - and a strikingly convincing one ..."
"... Isn't it just a question of the profits in the military business? ..."
Feb 24, 2020 | www.youtube.com

https://youtu.be/mvILLCbOFo4

In the United States and other democracies, political and economic systems still work in theory, but not in practice. Meanwhile, the American-led takedown of the post-World War II international system has shattered long-standing rules and norms of behavior. The combination of disorder at home and abroad is spawning changes that are increasingly disadvantageous to the United States. With Congress having essentially walked off the job, there is a need for America's universities to provide the information and analysis of international best practices that the political system does not.

Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. is a senior fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, ambassador to Saudi Arabia (during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm), acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and Chargé d'affaires at both Bangkok and Beijing. He began his diplomatic career in India but specialized in Chinese affairs. (He was the principal American interpreter during President Nixon's visit to Beijing in 1972.)

Ambassador Freeman is a much sought-after public speaker (see http://chasfreeman.net ) and the author of several well-received books on statecraft and diplomacy. His most recent book, America's Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East was published in May 2016. Interesting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of Prestige, appeared in March 2013. America's Misadventures in the Middle East came out in 2010, as did the most recent revision of The Diplomat's Dictionary, the companion volume to Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy. He was the editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on "diplomacy."

Chas Freeman studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and in Taiwan, and earned an AB magna cum laude from Yale University as well as a JD from the Harvard Law School. He chairs Projects International, Inc., a Washington-based firm that for more than three decades has helped its American and foreign clients create ventures across borders, facilitating their establishment of new businesses through the design, negotiation, capitalization, and implementation of greenfield investments, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, franchises, one-off transactions, sales and agencies in other countries.


Trade Prosper , 3 days ago (edited)

Well worth the watch and hope more see it, especially the presentation in the initial 47 minutes. We Americans take our deficits and the $ as the reserve currency far too lightly.

strezztechnoid , 2 days ago

Wanted to add that the malaise that is gripping the U.S. institutions is completely visible, it is not the opaque and obsequies portrait drawn by the punditry, news organizations, and elites. Seems most obvious to those of us outside the beltway that can clearly delineate between the failure of DC and the projections and marketing to the population that passes as wonky prose. Stupidity lacks the clarity, but brings the temerity making the facade not so subtle.

yes it's me , 3 days ago

Literally the only endorsement I've heard of Tulsi Gabbard - and a strikingly convincing one

Bob Trajkoski , 3 days ago

Way the US is Warmongering state and threat to humanity, on the planet.? Nukes in the hand's of gangsters

strezztechnoid , 2 days ago (edited)

No, not mercenaries, this is a protection racket. The U.N. address in late 2018 by the President (the laughter spoke volumes) was about as insightful as a "goodfellas" scene where the shakedown of the little guy is highlighted. It was the speeches by other countries at the meeting that was most informative.

A definitive pullback from U.S. hegemony was palpable, real, and un-moderated. Large and small countries all expressed an unwillingness to be held under the thumb of the global bully. This is the result of having an over abundance of a particle within D.C.; not the electron, photon, or neutron...but the moron.

Frank , 3 days ago

Aura of imperial purpose.

Dan Good , 7 hours ago

Isn't it just a question of the profits in the military business?

[Feb 26, 2020] Elections as a form of class war

Highly recommended!
Feb 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Cynthia , Feb 26 2020 22:23 utc | 55

karlof1 @49

You are right about it being a class war. It is this class war that the neoliberal establishment does not want us to see, hence creating other divisions such as racial, gender/trans, religious, etc. so we fight one another instead of uniting and fighting them.

When the many shades of surveillance are added in to your establishment existential threat, the Matrix feels really close at hand.

My guess is that your understanding stems from years of paying attention. Do you have any recommendations for sites that have helped?

I take it that your support of Bernie, with his imperfections, is due to you seeing him as a possible shift in the neoliberal order. My concern is that his imperfections are also baggage that is keeping people from supporting him - the woke agenda, panicky human-caused climate change agenda, supporting most of the MIC agenda. The first two are areas in which debate has been/is being shut down, which is a real red flag.

Thank you for any reply, or none. I always appreciate the big picture.

karlof1 , Feb 26 2020 23:04 utc | 60

Cynthia @55--

I'm a historian by training focusing on the Outlaw US Empire and everything related, which is a very wide field of inquiry. Yes, I started out paying attention as an adolescent during the 1960s with 1968 being a very important year for me. I'd read the Warren Commission Report a year earlier and thus began my real education. I passed out flyers for RFK in 1968 prior to the California Primary and watched again as the cities burned earlier that Spring. I pursued a career and tried to find love, but after 20 years I returned to college. Aside from college libraries, various alt-websites have served well over the years--Z-net, CommonDreams, The Oil Drum, MoA--along with a mixture of news sites that are nowadays all based in Russia or China. The one person I've learned more from online is Dr. Michael Hudson, whose Super Imperialism I bought and read after it was published during my senior high school year. And Noam Chomsky, not so much from his prose but from all the sources he consulted. Yes, I'm an end note and bibliography junkie. Solitude and time to study were also important assets. Knowing I was being lied to by Media and politicos was also helpful and thus made me seek out an objective historical narrative whereby I discovered I wasn't alone in my quest. Currently, Hudson's historical big picture is the one in which I believe the most merit lies--4,000+ years of Class War between creditors and debtors frames the West's existence, including its religions, which are its longest lasting institutions. And I highly value genuine discourse with associates.

[Feb 26, 2020] A serious US politician has to demonstrate a large capacity for betrayal.

Highly recommended!
Feb 26, 2020 | www.unz.com

Levtraro , says: Show Comment February 25, 2020 at 6:52 pm GMT

I suspect his open-borders advocacy and Russia-bashing too are lies; these are lines of defence against internal forces. It makes sense for him to take those positions while he seeks the nomination. If he gets it, he can betray those positions. A serious politician has to demonstrate a large capacity for betrayal. At the end of the day, he is a hardened politician like the rest.

[Feb 25, 2020] The Democrats' Quandary In a Struggle Between Oligarchy and Democracy, Something Must Give by Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is "and forgive them their debts": Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year ..."
"... Until Nevada, all the presidential candidates except for Bernie Sanders were playing for a brokered convention. The party's candidates seemed likely to be chosen by the Donor Class, the One Percent and its proxies, not the voting class (the 99 Percent). If, as Mayor Bloomberg has assumed, the DNC will sell the presidency to the highest bidder, this poses the great question: Can the myth that the Democrats represent the working/middle class survive? Or, will the Donor Class trump the voting class? ..."
"... This could be thought of as "election interference" – not from Russia but from the DNC on behalf of its Donor Class. That scenario would make the Democrats' slogan for 2020 "No Hope or Change." That is, no from today's economic trends that are sweeping wealth up to the One Percent. ..."
"... But in the wake of Sanders' landslide victory in Nevada, a brokered convention would mean the end of the Democrat Party pretense to represent the 99 Percent. The American voting system would be seen to be as oligarchic as that of Rome on the eve of the infighting that ended with Augustus becoming Emperor in 27 BC. ..."
"... Today's pro-One Percent media – CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times ..."
"... History of Rome ..."
"... History of Rome ..."
"... Some on Resistance Twitter claim that if Sanders is the nominee, Trump will win a 48 sweep. Possible, but very unlikely. But if it did happen, the MSM would once again dismiss his program as being completely unacceptable to the voting class, and Sanders would trudge back to Vermont never to be heard from again. ..."
"... So if his program requires a decade long follow through, what are the least bad outcomes? If the D's deprive him of the nomination at the convention, even though he has far and away more pledged delegates, the MSM cannot dismiss his program as it would in the two previous scenarios, and his program would live to fight another day. ..."
"... Trump may or may not win. But if he does, the best he can hope for is a skin-of-his-teeth victory. Seriously, he lost the popular vote by a ton to Hillary freaking Clinton. ..."
"... And stuff is beginning to crumble around him on the Right. The Dow drops. Oops Richie Rich gets uneasy. ..."
"... I was more than a little honked when Sanders appeared to roll over and support HRC in 2016 in spite of the obvious fraud perpetrated on him and his supporters, not to mention the subsequent treatment they received at the hands of the DNC and Tom Perez. ..."
"... I find myself wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea for Sanders and his supporters to make it absolutely clear their attempts to work within 'the system' are finished if they are robbed again; maybe even starting work immediately on establishing a party not controlled by Wall Street lickspittle or knuckle-dragging no-nothings? ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is "and forgive them their debts": Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year

To hear the candidates debate, you would think that their fight was over who could best beat Trump. But when Trump's billionaire twin Mike Bloomberg throws a quarter-billion dollars into an ad campaign to bypass the candidates actually running for votes in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, it's obvious that what really is at issue is the future of the Democrat Party. Bloomberg is banking on a brokered convention held by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in which money votes. (If "corporations are people," so is money in today's political world.)

Until Nevada, all the presidential candidates except for Bernie Sanders were playing for a brokered convention. The party's candidates seemed likely to be chosen by the Donor Class, the One Percent and its proxies, not the voting class (the 99 Percent). If, as Mayor Bloomberg has assumed, the DNC will sell the presidency to the highest bidder, this poses the great question: Can the myth that the Democrats represent the working/middle class survive? Or, will the Donor Class trump the voting class?

This could be thought of as "election interference" – not from Russia but from the DNC on behalf of its Donor Class. That scenario would make the Democrats' slogan for 2020 "No Hope or Change." That is, no from today's economic trends that are sweeping wealth up to the One Percent.

All this sounds like Rome at the end of the Republic in the 1st century BC. The way Rome's constitution was set up, candidates for the position of consul had to pay their way through a series of offices. The process started by going deeply into debt to get elected to the position of aedile, in charge of staging public games and entertainments. Rome's neoliberal fiscal policy did not tax or spend, and there was little public administrative bureaucracy, so all such spending had to be made out of the pockets of the oligarchy. That was a way of keeping decisions about how to spend out of the hands of democratic politics. Julius Caesar and others borrowed from the richest Bloomberg of their day, Crassus, to pay for staging games that would demonstrate their public spirit to voters (and also demonstrate their financial liability to their backers among Rome's One Percent). Keeping election financing private enabled the leading oligarchs to select who would be able to run as viable candidates. That was Rome's version of Citizens United.

But in the wake of Sanders' landslide victory in Nevada, a brokered convention would mean the end of the Democrat Party pretense to represent the 99 Percent. The American voting system would be seen to be as oligarchic as that of Rome on the eve of the infighting that ended with Augustus becoming Emperor in 27 BC.

Today's pro-One Percent media – CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times have been busy spreading their venom against Sanders. On Sunday, February 23, CNN ran a slot, "Bloomberg needs to take down Sanders, immediately."[1]Given Sanders' heavy national lead, CNN warned, the race suddenly is almost beyond the vote-fixers' ability to fiddle with the election returns. That means that challengers to Sanders should focus their attack on him; they will have a chance to deal with Bloomberg later (by which CNN means, when it is too late to stop him).

The party's Clinton-Obama recipients of Donor Class largesse pretend to believe that Sanders is not electable against Donald Trump. This tactic seeks to attack him at his strongest point. Recent polls show that he is the only candidate who actually would defeat Trump – as they showed that he would have done in 2016.

The DNC knew that, but preferred to lose to Trump than to win with Bernie. Will history repeat itself? Or to put it another way, will this year's July convention become a replay of Chicago in 1968?

A quandary, not a problem . Last year I was asked to write a scenario for what might happen with a renewed DNC theft of the election's nomination process. To be technical, I realize, it's not called theft when it's legal. In the aftermath of suits over the 2016 power grab, the courts ruled that the Democrat Party is indeed controlled by the DNC members, not by the voters. When it comes to party machinations and decision-making, voters are subsidiary to the superdelegates in their proverbial smoke-filled room (now replaced by dollar-filled foundation contracts).

I could not come up with a solution that does not involve dismantling and restructuring the existing party system. We have passed beyond the point of having a solvable "problem" with the Democratic National Committee (DNC). That is what a quandary is. A problem has a solution – by definition. A quandary does not have a solution. There is no way out. The conflict of interest between the Donor Class and the Voting Class has become too large to contain within a single party. It must split.

A second-ballot super-delegate scenario would mean that we are once again in for a second Trump term. That option was supported by five of the six presidential contenders on stage in Nevada on Wednesday, February 20. When Chuck Todd asked whether Michael Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar would support the candidate who received the most votes in the primaries (now obviously Bernie Sanders), or throw the nomination to the super-delegates held over from the Obama-Clinton neoliberals (75 of whom already are said to have pledged their support to Bloomberg), each advocated "letting the process play out." That was a euphemism for leaving the choice to the Tony-Blair style leadership that have made the Democrats the servants' entrance to the Republican Party. Like the British Labour Party behind Blair and Gordon Brown, its role is to block any left-wing alternative to the Republican program on behalf of the One Percent.

This problem would not exist if the United States had a European-style parliamentary system that would enable a third party to obtain space on the ballots in all 50 states. If this were Europe, the new party of Bernie Sanders, AOC et al. would exceed 50 percent of the votes, leaving the Wall Street democrats with about the same 8 percent share that similar neoliberal democratic parties have in Europe ( e.g ., Germany's hapless neoliberalized Social Democrats), that is, Klobocop territory as voters moved to the left. The "voting Democrats," the 99 Percent, would win a majority leaving the Old Neoliberal Democrats in the dust.

The DNC's role is to prevent any such challenge. The United States has an effective political duopoly, as both parties have created such burdensome third-party access to the ballot box in state after state that Bernie Sanders decided long ago that he had little alternative but to run as a Democrat.

The problem is that the Democrat Party does not seem to be reformable. That means that voters still may simply abandon it – but that will simply re-elect the Democrats' de facto 2020 candidate, Donald Trump. The only hope would be to shrink the party into a shell, enabling the old guard to go way so that the party could be rebuilt from the ground up.

But the two parties have created a legal duopoly reinforced with so many technical barriers that a repeat of Ross Perot's third party (not to mention the old Socialist Party, or the Whigs in 1854) would take more than one election cycle to put in place. For the time being, we may expect another few months of dirty political tricks to rival those of 2016 as Obama appointee Tom Perez is simply the most recent version of Florida fixer Debbie Schultz-Wasserman (who gave a new meaning to the Wasserman Test).

So we are in for another four years of Donald Trump. But by 2024, how tightly will the U.S. economy find itself tied in knots?

The Democrats' Vocabulary of Deception

How I would explain Bernie's program. Every economy is a mixed economy. But to hear Michael Bloomberg and his fellow rivals to Bernie Sanders explain the coming presidential election, one would think that an economy must be either capitalist or, as Bloomberg put it, Communist. There is no middle ground, no recognition that capitalist economies have a government sector, which typically is called the "socialist" sector – Social Security, Medicare, public schooling, roads, anti-monopoly regulation, and public infrastructure as an alternative to privatized monopolies extracting economic rent.

What Mr. Bloomberg means by insisting that it's either capitalism or communism is an absence of government social spending and regulation. In practice this means oligarchic financial control, because every economy is planned by some sector. The key is, who will do the planning? If government refrains from taking the lead in shaping markets, then Wall Street takes over – or the City in London, Frankfurt in Germany, and the Bourse in France.

Most of all, the aim of the One Percent is to distract attention from the fact that the economy is polarizing – and is doing so at an accelerating rate. National income statistics are rigged to show that "the economy" is expanding. The pretense is that everyone is getting richer and living better, not more strapped. But the reality is that all the growth in GDP has accrued to the wealthiest 5 Percent since the Obama Recession began in 2008. Obama bailed out the banks instead of the 10 million victimized junk-mortgage holders. The 95 Percent's share of GDP has shrunk.

The GDP statistics do not show is that "capital gains" – the market price of stocks, bonds and real estate owned mainly by the One to Five Percent – has soared, thanks to Obama's $4.6 trillion Quantitative Easing pumped into the financial markets instead of into the "real" economy in which wage-earners produce goods and services.

How does one "stay the course" in an economy that is polarizing? Staying the course means continuing the existing trends that are concentrating more and more wealth in the hands of the One Percent, that is, the Donor Class – while loading down the 99 Percent with more debt, paid to the One Percent (euphemized as the economy's "savers"). All "saving" is at the top of the pyramid. The 99 Percent can't afford to save much after paying their monthly "nut" to the One Percent.

If this economic polarization is impoverishing most of the population while sucking wealth and income and political power up to the One Percent, then to be a centrist is to be the candidate of oligarchy. It means not challenging the economy's structure.

Language is being crafted to confuse voters into imagining that their interest is the same as that of the Donor Class of rentiers , creditors and financialized corporate businesses and rent-extracting monopolies. The aim is to divert attention from voters' their own economic interest as wage-earners, debtors and consumers. It is to confuse voters not to recognize that without structural reform, today's "business as usual" leaves the One Percent in control.

So to call oneself a "centrist" is simply a euphemism for acting as a lobbyist for siphoning up income and wealth to the One Percent. In an economy that is polarizing, the choice is either to favor them instead of the 99 Percent.

That certainly is not the same thing as stability. Centrism sustains the polarizing dynamic of financialization, private equity, and the Biden-sponsored bankruptcy "reform" written by his backers of the credit-card companies and other financial entities incorporated in his state of Delaware. He was the senator for the that state's Credit Card industry, much as former Democratic VP candidate Joe Lieberman was the senator from Connecticut's Insurance Industry.

A related centrist demand is that of Buttigieg's and Biden's aim to balance the federal budget. This turns out to be a euphemism for cutting back Social Security, Medicare and relate social spending ("socialism") to pay for America's increasing militarization, subsidies and tax cuts for the One Percent. Sanders rightly calls this "socialism for the rich." The usual word for this is oligarchy . That seems to be a missing word in today's mainstream vocabulary.

The alternative to democracy is oligarchy. As Aristotle noted already in the 4 th

Confusion over the word "socialism" may be cleared up by recognizing that every economy is mixed, and every economy is planned – by someone. If not the government in the public interest, then by Wall Street and other financial centers in their interest. They fought against an expanding government sector in every economy today, calling it socialism – without acknowledging that the alternative, as Rosa Luxemburg put it, is barbarism.

I think that Sanders is using the red-letter word "socialism" and calling himself a "democratic socialist" to throw down the ideological gauntlet and plug himself into the long and powerful tradition of socialist politics. Paul Krugman would like him to call himself a social democrat. But the European parties of this name have discredited this label as being centrist and neoliberal. Sanders wants to emphasize that a quantum leap, a phase change is in order.

If he can be criticized for waving a needlessly red flag, it is his repeated statement that his program is designed for the "working class." What he means are wage-earners and this includes the middle class. Even those who make over $100,000 a year are still wage earners, and typically are being squeezed by a predatory financial sector, a predatory medical insurance sector, drug companies and other monopolies.

The danger in this terminology is that most workers like to think of themselves as middle class, because that is what they would like to rise into. That is especially he case for workers who own their own home (even if mortgage represents most of the value, so that most of the home's rental value is paid to banks, not to themselves as part of the "landlord class"), and have an education (even if most of their added income is paid out as student debt service), and their own car to get to work (involving automobile debt).

The fact is that even $100,000 executives have difficulty living within the limits of their paycheck, after paying their monthly nut of home mortgage or rent, medical care, student loan debt, credit-card debt and automobile debt, not to mention 15% FICA paycheck withholding and state and local tax withholding.

Of course, Sanders' terminology is much more readily accepted by wage-earners as the voters whom Hillary called "Deplorables" and Obama called "the mob with pitchforks," from whom he was protecting his Wall Street donors whom he invited to the White House in 2009. But I think there is a much more appropriate term: the 99 Percent, made popular by Occupy Wall Street. That is Bernie's natural constituency. It serves to throw down the gauntlet between democracy and oligarchy, and between socialism and barbarism, by juxtaposing the 99 Percent to the One Percent.

The Democratic presidential debate on February 25 will set the stage for Super Tuesday's "beauty contest" to gauge what voters want. The degree of Sanders' win will help determine whether the byzantine Democrat party apparatus that actually will be able to decide on the Party's candidate. The expected strong Sanders win is will make the choice stark: either to accept who the voters choose – namely, Bernie Sanders – or to pick a candidate whom voters already have rejected, and is certain to lose to Donald Trump in November.

If that occurs, the Democrat Party will evaporate as its old Clinton-Obama guard is no longer able to protect its donor class on Wall Street and corporate America. Too many Sanders voters would stay home or vote for the Greens. That would enable the Republicans to maintain control of the Senate and perhaps even grab back the House of Representatives.

But it would be dangerous to assume that the DNC will be reasonable. Once again, Roman history provides a "business as usual" scenario. The liberal German politician Theodor Mommsen published his History of Rome in 1854-56, warning against letting an aristocracy block reform by controlling the upper house of government (Rome's Senate, or Britain House of Lords). The leading families who overthrew the last king in 509 BC created a Senate chronically prone to being stifled by its leaders' "narrowness of mind and short-sightedness that are the proper and inalienable privileges of all genuine patricianism."[2]

These qualities also are the distinguishing features of the DNC. Sanders had better win big!

________________

[1] https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/22/opinions/bloomberg-needs-to-take-down-sanders-lockhart/index.html . Joe Lockhart, opinion. For the MSNBC travesty see from February 23, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/02/23/msnbc-full-blown-freakout-mode-bernie-sanders-cements-status-democratic-frontrunner, by Jake Johnson.

[2]Mommsen, History of Rome , 1911: 268.


divadab , February 25, 2020 at 7:55 am

I wonder how much of the rot at the top of the Dem party is simple dementia. By the age of 70, half of people have some level of dementia. Consider Joe Biden – is anyone in the public sphere going to state the obvious – that he has dementia and as such is unfit for office?

Fred1 , February 25, 2020 at 8:32 am

First, my priors. I voted for Sanders in 2016, will vote for him in 2020, and expect him to be elected president. Further I believe that where we find ourselves today is the result of at least 40 years of intentional bi-partisan policies. Both parties are responsible.

If Sanders, upon being elected, were able to snap his fingers and call into existence his entire program, it would immediately face a bi-partisan opposition that would be funded by billions of dollars, which would be willing to take as long as necessary, even decades, to roll it back.

Just electing Sanders is only the first step. There must be a committed, determined follow through that must be willing to last decades as well for his program to stick. And there will be defeats along the way.

Several observations. If Hillary had beaten Trump, Sanders would have trudged back to Vermont and would never have been heard from again. The MSM would have dismissed his program as being completely unacceptable to the voting class. But she didn't, so here we are, which is fantastic.

Some on Resistance Twitter claim that if Sanders is the nominee, Trump will win a 48 sweep. Possible, but very unlikely. But if it did happen, the MSM would once again dismiss his program as being completely unacceptable to the voting class, and Sanders would trudge back to Vermont never to be heard from again.

So if his program requires a decade long follow through, what are the least bad outcomes? If the D's deprive him of the nomination at the convention, even though he has far and away more pledged delegates, the MSM cannot dismiss his program as it would in the two previous scenarios, and his program would live to fight another day.

If he loses to Trump, but closely, which can mean a lot of different things, his program would live to fight another day. Moreover, if the D's are seen to actively collude with Trump, this less bad outcome would be even better.

I am an old geezer and don't expect to live long enough to see how all of this plays out. But I am very optimistic about his program's long term prospects. There is only one bad outcome, a Trump 48 state sweep, which I consider very unlikely. But most importantly, the best outcome, his election, and the two least bad outcomes, the D's stealing the nomination from him or his losing a close general election, all still will require a decades long commitment to make his program permanent.

I wish I were younger.

a different chris , February 25, 2020 at 8:55 am

>a Trump 48 state sweep

Where do people get this? Take a deep breath. Trump may or may not win. But if he does, the best he can hope for is a skin-of-his-teeth victory. Seriously, he lost the popular vote by a ton to Hillary freaking Clinton.

And stuff is beginning to crumble around him on the Right. The Dow drops. Oops Richie Rich gets uneasy.

Hammered by a 5 star general. The Deplorables kids were raised to look up to generals, not New Yawk dandys. How does this affect them? And it's still February.

Sailor Bud , February 25, 2020 at 8:34 am

Just an FYI: The five-volume Mommsen "History of Rome" referenced in the text is available in English on Project Gutenberg, free and legal to download. Probably everyone here knows this, but just in case

Dan , February 25, 2020 at 8:44 am

How about Bernie call himself "Roosevelt Democrat" instead of "Democratic Socialist". It would give all those in the senior demographic a better understanding of what Sander's policies mean to them as opposed to the scary prospect of the "Socialist" label.

Oxley Creek Boy , February 25, 2020 at 10:12 am

The Democrats should have been slowly disarming the word "socialist" for at least the last decade. In principle, it's not difficult – as Michael Hudson says – "Every economy is a mixed economy" – and in a very real sense everyone's a socialist (even if only unconsciously). I'm not saying that bit of rhetorical jujitsu would magically turn conservative voters progressive but you'll never get to the point where you can defend socialist programs on the merits if you always dodge that fight. It's just a shame that Bernie Sanders has to do it all in a single election cycle and I don't think choosing a different label now would help him much.

flora , February 25, 2020 at 11:37 am

He could even compare himself to the earlier Roosevelt: Teddy Roosevelt.

By 1900 the old bourbon Dem party was deeply split between its old, big business and banking wing – the bourbons – and the rising progressive/populist wing. It was GOP pres Roosevelt who first pushed through progressive programs like breaking up railroad and commodity monopolies, investigating and regulating meat packing and fraudulent patent medicines, etc. Imagine that.

lyman alpha blob , February 25, 2020 at 1:30 pm

I just finished Stoller's book Goliath and according to him, Teddy wasn't quite as progressive as we are often led to believe. He wasn't so much opposed to those with enormous wealth – he just wanted them to answer to him. He did do the things you mentioned, but after sending the message to the oligarchs, he then became friendly with them once he felt he'd brought them to heel. He developed quite the soft spot for JP Morgan, according to Stoller.

TR wanted to be the Boss, the center of attention with everyone looking up to him. As one of his relatives said, he wanted to be the baby at every christening and the corpse at every funeral.

I find Bernie to be a lot more humble.

Balakirev , February 25, 2020 at 12:51 pm

I have a sense that changing his party affiliation label at any point in time since Sanders began running for president in 2016 would be a godsend to his enemies in both hands of the Duopoly. They'd tar him loudly as a hypocrite without an ounce of integrity, using personal politics to distract from the issues.

Meanwhile, we can expect to see the Socialist (and Communist, and Russia-Russia-Russia) nonsense reiterated as long as Sanders has strong visibility. He's extremely dangerous to both parties and their owners. I don't' believe the DNC will let him take the convention, but if he does, I'll bet the Dems give him minimal support and hope he fails–better the devil you know, etc.

political economist , February 25, 2020 at 9:56 am

It's time to put your money in reality futures by putting all that you can into supporting Bernie, AOC, etc. and all your local candidates that support at least democratic socialism and ourrevolution the DSA Justice Dems or other groups that have people but need money. I was having a conversation with a friend who was complaining that he was getting too many emails from Bernie asking for money after he had given the campaign a "modest amount". My suggestion was in honor of his children and grandchildren he should instead GIVE 'TIL IT FEELS GOOD. My spouse and I, I told him, gave the max to Bernie and now we don't give upset when he asks for more. There will likely never be a moment like this in history and there may not be much of a history if things go the wrong way now. He agreed.

Debra D. , February 25, 2020 at 10:11 am

Exactly right. I gave Bernie the max in 2019 and will keep giving throughout 2020. This campaign is about not just me, but all of us. It's now. We must fight for this change as has always been the historical precedent.

BillC , February 25, 2020 at 11:55 am

OK, you two gave me the push I needed to max out my contributions to Bernie too. Let's hope Bernie's (oops OUR) bandwagon keeps gathering steam!

Arizona Slim , February 25, 2020 at 12:41 pm

Another 2019 Bernie maxer here.

I feel blessed to have been able to give at this level. And I believe that I did this for a lot of people who aren't able to donate at all.

steven , February 25, 2020 at 11:13 am

I was more than a little honked when Sanders appeared to roll over and support HRC in 2016 in spite of the obvious fraud perpetrated on him and his supporters, not to mention the subsequent treatment they received at the hands of the DNC and Tom Perez.

I am coming to understand that might have been necessary within the context of one last desperate attempt to work with the Democratic party. But now I find myself wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea for Sanders and his supporters to make it absolutely clear their attempts to work within 'the system' are finished if they are robbed again; maybe even starting work immediately on establishing a party not controlled by Wall Street lickspittle or knuckle-dragging no-nothings?

Little as it has been the answer has a lot to do with my willingness to pour more money into repetitively self-defeating behavior.

HotFlash , February 25, 2020 at 12:49 pm

Bernie is a long-distance runner and strategizes like one. First work on finishing your races. Then worry about where you place.

Debra R. , February 25, 2020 at 11:28 am

I am a somewhat old geezer, too, who caucused for Bernie in 2016 and 2020. This article is very good and helps me understand why I feel the way I do. I was disappointed in Obama, who didn't follow through on the things I cared about, and I was devastated when Clinton was crowned the Democratic nominee well before the Convention, all the while holding onto a smidgen of hope that somehow Bernie would pull through as the nominee.

I was ecstatic when Bernie announced his candidacy for 2020. He is our only hope, and now we have a second chance. But now I am spending half my time screaming at people on tv and online who can't even hear me, and even if they could, they don't give a s–t what I think. It's Clinton 2.0–same thing all over again, four years later. Just who do these people (DNC, MSM, and others with a voice) think they are, to decide for the Democratic voters which candidate will be the nominee, who won't be the nominee, without regard to what the voters want? They are a bunch of pompous as–s who have some other motive that I am not savvy enough to understand. Is it about money in their pockets or what?

It should be as simple as this–Bernie is leading in the polls, if they are to be believed, and good people of all demographics want him to be our next President. He is a serious contender for the nomination. Show the man some much-earned respect and put people on MSM and publish articles by writers who help us understand what the anti-Bernie panic is about and why we shouldn't panic. Help us to explain his plans if he hasn't explained it thoroughly enough instead of calling him crazy. But to dismiss him as if he has the plague is not furthering the truth, and it is a serious injustice to the voting public. Naked Capitalism can't do it alone.

HotFlash , February 25, 2020 at 12:58 pm

There is a lot of good analysis out there, mainly on Youtube. I particularly like The Hill's Rising. A young progressive Democrat and a young progressive Republican (who even knew there was such a thing!) 'splain a lot of the antipathy. Another good source is Nomiki Konst, who is working on reforming the Dem party from within. Here she talks to RJ Eskow about how the DNC is structured and how she hopes to provide tools for rank-and-file Dems to wrest the levers of power from the establishment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ7wm6DCPV4

notabanktoadie , February 25, 2020 at 12:32 pm

Private sector cannot operate without same. Harrold

The problem is that the population, including FDR in his time, have been duped into believing that the private sector REQUIRES government privileges for private depository institutions, aka "the banks."

So currently we have no truly private sector to speak of but businesses and industry using the public's credit but for private gain.

Susan the other , February 25, 2020 at 12:16 pm

Last night's Democracy Now was interesting. Amy seems to be less of a commie hater than she recently was with her participation in the Russia-Russia-Russia smears against Trump. She held court last night with Paul Krugman and Richard Wolff discussing just exactly what "socialism" means. It was a great performance.

Krug seemed a little shellshocked about the whole discussion and he said we shouldn't even use the term "socialism" at all because all the things Bernie wants are just as capitalist – that capitalism encompasses socialism. But he stuttered when he discussed "single-payer" which he claimed he supported – his single payer is like Pete Buttigieg's single-payer-eventually. He tried to change the subject and Amy brought him straight back.

Then Wolff, who was in excellent form, informed the table that "socialism" is a moveable feast because it can be and has been many things for the advancement of societies, etc. But the term always means the advancement of society. Then Krug dropped a real bomb – he actually said (this is almost a quote) that recently he had been informed by Powell that debt isn't really all that important.

Really, Krug said that. And he tried to exetend that thought to the argument that anybody can provide social benefits – it doesn't require a self-proclaimed "socialist".

Richard Wolff confronted that slide with pointing out that it hasn't happened yet – and he left Krug with no excuses. It was quite the showdown. Nice Richard Wolff is so firmly in Bernie's camp.

Krug looked evasive – and I kept wishing they had invited Steve Keen to participate.

[Feb 25, 2020] The Economic Anxiety Hypothesis has Become Absurd(er)

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The key promise of neoliberalism, which came to power in the USA in 1980 with the election of Reagan (aka "the Quiet Coup") was that "the rising tide lifts all boats." -- the redistribution of the wealth up somehow will lift the standard of living of lower strata of the population too. This was a false promise from the very beginning (like everything about neoliberalism, which is based on lies and fake economics in any case). So anger accumulated and now became the key factor in elections. This anger is directed against the neoliberal establishment. ..."
"... The anger toward immigrants is, in fact, a displaced and projected anger against the elimination of meaningful and well-paid jobs and replacing them with McJobs, the process that was the key factor in lowering the standard of living of the bottom 80% of the population. ..."
"... The other part of this anger is directed toward the USA financial oligarchy (personified by such passionately hated figures as Lloyd "we are doing God's" Blankfein, private equity sharks, and figures like Wexner/Epstein) and "political establishment" the key figures of which many people would like to see hanging from street lamp posts (remember "Lock her up" movement in 2016). ..."
"... That's why the neoliberal establishment was forced to use to dirty tricks like Russiagate to patch the cracks in the neoliberal façade. ..."
"... In Marxist terms, the USA entered the period called the "revolutionary situation" when the ruling neoliberal elite couldn't govern "as usual" and "the deplorable" do not want to live "as usual". The situation when according to Hegel, "quantity turns into quality," or as Marx said "ideas become a material force when they grip the mind of the masses." ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

I am old enough to remember when many very serious people ascribed the rise of Donald Trump to economic anxiety. The hypthesis never fit the facts (his supporters had higher incomes on average than Clinton's) but it has become absurd. The level of self reported economic anxiety is extraordinarily low

Gallup reports "Record High optimism about Personal Finances in U.S." with 74% predicting they will be better off next year.

Yet now the Democratic party has an insurgent candidate candidate in the lead. I hasten to stress that I am not saying Sanders supporters have much in common with Trump supporters (young vs old, strong hispanic support vs they hate Trump etc etc etc). But both appeal to anger and advocate a radical break with business as usual. Both reject party establishments. Also Warren if a little bit less so.

Trump's 2016 angry supporters still support him *and* they are still angry. He remains unpopular in spite of an economy performing very well (and perceived to be performing very well).

Whatever is going on in 2020, it sure isn't economic anxiety.

Yet there is clearly anger and desire for radical change.

I don't pretend to understand it, but I think it probably has a lot to do with relative economic performance and increased inequality. I can't understand why the reaction of so many Americans to this would be to hate immigrants and vote for Trump, but, then I don't watch Fox News.

One other thing which it isn't is rejection of the guy who came before Trump. Obama has a Real Clear Politics average favorable rating of 59% and unfavorable of 36.1 % vastly vastly better than any currently active politician. (Sanders is doing relatively very well at net -2.7 compared to Obama's + 22.9) He is not rejected. He is not considered a failure. Yet only a small majority is interested in any sort of going back to the way things were.


likbez , February 25, 2020 12:37 am

Robert ,

Trump's 2016 angry supporters still support him *and* they are still angry.

Many Trump "angry supporters" in 2016 used to belong to "anybody but Hillary" class (and they included a noticeable percentage of Bernie supporters, who felt betrayed by DNC) .

They are lost for Trump as he now in many aspects represents the "new Hillary" and the slogan "anybody but Trump" is growing in popularity. Even among Republicans: Trump definitely already lost a large part of anti-war Republicans and independents. As well as. most probably, a part of working class as he did very little for them outside of effects of military Keynesianism.

I suspect he also lost a part of military voters, those who supported Tulsi. They will never vote for Trump.

He also lost a part of "technocratic" voters resentful of the rule of financial oligarchy (anti-swampers), as his incompetence is now an undisputable fact.

He also lost Ron Paul's libertarians, who voted for him in 2016.

How "Coronavirus recession", if any, might affect 2020 elections is difficult to say, but in any case this is an unfavorable for Trump event.

EMichael , February 25, 2020 10:39 am

"I can't understand why the reaction of so many Americans to this would be to hate immigrants and vote for Trump, but, then I don't watch Fox News."

Coming to you since 1965. It's just that immigrants are now added to blacks. Trump took 50 years of the Southern Strategy, took the dogwhistles completely out of the closet and wore his racism right on his chest. Helped that he had over 50 years of experience as a racist, it came naturally to him.

And he attracted a new rw base, those who were not satisfied with dog whistles and/or did not hear them.

likbez , February 25, 2020 12:19 pm

I don't pretend to understand it, but I think it probably has a lot to do with relative economic performance and increased inequality.

It is actually very easy to understand: the middle class fared very poorly since 1991. See https://www.cnbc.com/id/44962589 . Now "the chickens come home to roost," so to speak.

The key promise of neoliberalism, which came to power in the USA in 1980 with the election of Reagan (aka "the Quiet Coup") was that "the rising tide lifts all boats." -- the redistribution of the wealth up somehow will lift the standard of living of lower strata of the population too. This was a false promise from the very beginning (like everything about neoliberalism, which is based on lies and fake economics in any case). So anger accumulated and now became the key factor in elections. This anger is directed against the neoliberal establishment.

The anger toward immigrants is, in fact, a displaced and projected anger against the elimination of meaningful and well-paid jobs and replacing them with McJobs, the process that was the key factor in lowering the standard of living of the bottom 80% of the population.

The other part of this anger is directed toward the USA financial oligarchy (personified by such passionately hated figures as Lloyd "we are doing God's" Blankfein, private equity sharks, and figures like Wexner/Epstein) and "political establishment" the key figures of which many people would like to see hanging from street lamp posts (remember "Lock her up" movement in 2016).

Resentment against spending huge amounts of money for wars for sustaining and enlarging the global USA-centered neoliberal empire is another factor. In this sense, impoverishment and shrinking of the middle class in the USA is similar to the same impoverishment during the last days of the British colonial empire.

That's why the neoliberal establishment was forced to use to dirty tricks like Russiagate to patch the cracks in the neoliberal façade.

In Marxist terms, the USA entered the period called the "revolutionary situation" when the ruling neoliberal elite couldn't govern "as usual" and "the deplorable" do not want to live "as usual". The situation when according to Hegel, "quantity turns into quality," or as Marx said "ideas become a material force when they grip the mind of the masses."

In 2016 that resulted in the election of Trump.

Add to this the fact that the neoliberal establishment (represented by both parties) now is clearly anti-social (the fact that a private equity shark Romney was a presidential candidate and then was elected as senator tells a lot about the level of degradation) and is unwilling to solve burning problems with medical insurance, minimal wage and other "the New Deal" elements of social infrastructure.

Democratic Party platform now is to the right of Eisenhower republicans.

That dooms the party candidates like CIA-democrat Major Pete, or "the senator from the credit card companies" Biden, and create an opening for political figures like Sanders (which are passionately hated by DNC)

[Feb 23, 2020] Looks like the USA intelligence (or, more correctly semi-intelligence) agencies work directly from KGB playbook or Bloomberg as Putin's Trojan Horse in 2020 elections

Highly recommended!
Surprising lack on intelligence in intelligence community. But after Brennan and "ruptured" Pompeo as CIA chiefs who would be surprised?" Or more correctly utter despise of ordinary Americans: 'nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people' ~ H L Mencken.
But seriously, if Putin does now have the power to decide US elections, he simply makes his preferred choice one day before the election. There is no reason to open cards right now. You could not make this up. What we have now is Government by Gossip and Innuendo with intelligence crooks on the frontline of spreading the disinformation.
Notable quotes:
"... The PUTIN's aim is to sow distrust among the US population. The USA, a peaceful civilized society with apparently no internal conflicts maintains a similar peaceful empire for the benefit of all humanity. ..."
"... The impersonate evil of the PUTIN has of course every intention to destroy the present state of tranquility and therefore aims to destruct the undisputed peaceful leader of this empire by sowing internal conflict. ..."
"... The concept of democracy was invented by the Kremlin, to sow discord ..."
"... The concept of democracy was invented by the Kremlin, to sow discord ..."
Feb 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

A careful reading of the news provides that Mike Bloomberg, who had two Russian grandfathers, is Putin's asset.

Consider:

Lawmakers Are Warned That Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump - New York Times , February 20 2020

Rather than impersonating Americans as they did in 2016, Russian operatives are working to get Americans to repeat disinformation , the officials said. That strategy gets around social media companies' rules that prohibit "inauthentic speech."

It is Bloomberg, working as a Russian operative, who pays the trolls that repeat disinformation.

Twitter suspends 70 pro-Bloomberg 'spam' accounts - The Hill , February 21, 2020

The temporary employees recruited by Bloomberg's camp are given the title "deputy field organizer" and make $2,500 a month to promote his White House bid among their followers . The employees can choose to use campaign-approved language in their posts.

Twitter said the practice violated its "Platform Manipulation and Spam Policy," which was established in 2019 to respond to Russia's expansive troll network that was tapped in 2016 to meddle in the U.S. elections.

Bernie Sanders briefed by U.S. officials that Russia is trying to help his presidential campaign - Washington Post , February 21 2020

In that closed hearing for the House Intelligence Committee, lawmakers were also told that Sanders had been informed about Russia's interference. The prospect of two rival campaigns both receiving help from Moscow appears to reflect what intelligence officials have previously described as Russia's broader interest in sowing division in the United States and uncertainty about the validity of American elections.

Here are Bloomberg's behind the scene machinations which are sowing division and uncertainty about the validity of American elections. This is exactly what Russia wants.

Bloomberg quietly plotting brokered convention strategy - Politico , February 20, 2020

Mike Bloomberg is privately lobbying Democratic Party officials and donors allied with his moderate opponents to flip their allegiance to him -- and block Bernie Sanders -- in the event of a brokered national convention.
...
It's a presumptuous play for a candidate who hasn't yet won a delegate or even appeared on a ballot. And it could also bring havoc to the convention , raising the prospect of party insiders delivering the nomination to a billionaire over a progressive populist.

Lock him up!


Peter | Feb 22 2020 10:27 utc | 4

Mike Bloomberg Is Putin's Agent

This should have been obvious for some time.

The PUTIN's aim is to sow distrust among the US population. The USA, a peaceful civilized society with apparently no internal conflicts maintains a similar peaceful empire for the benefit of all humanity.

The impersonate evil of the PUTIN has of course every intention to destroy the present state of tranquility and therefore aims to destruct the undisputed peaceful leader of this empire by sowing internal conflict.

This is why from Sanders to Warren to Gabbard to Bloomberg to Trump everyone is on the PUTIN payroll or subconsciously exposed to some mind controlling rays he sends via satellite to the USA.

The PUTIN is the invention by the Russian Federation after their successful evil attempt to evade the good intentions of the EMPIRE to embrace Russia in its sphere of peaceful tranquility.

Bad PUTIN.

Christoph , Feb 22 2020 12:54 utc | 14

"The prospect of two rival campaigns both receiving help from Moscow appears to reflect what intelligence officials have previously described as Russia's broader interest in sowing division in the United States and uncertainty about the validity of American elections" WaPo, 2/21/20.

This level if clinical delusion is reminiscent of the Führer's last days in the bunker.

How about free passage to (swampy) Latin America?

Brendan , Feb 22 2020 13:10 utc | 15
I know, I know, it's a waste of time trying to ridicule the media when they're already doing that to themselves. Satire is definitely dead when the Washington Post reports about "two rival campaigns both receiving help from Moscow". WaPo's attempts to explain that the purpose of this bizarre behavior is "sowing division" makes it look even more incredible.
/div> The concept of democracy was invented by the Kremlin, to sow discord .

Posted by: bjd , Feb 22 2020 13:13 utc | 16

The concept of democracy was invented by the Kremlin, to sow discord .

Posted by: bjd | Feb 22 2020 13:13 utc | 16

Trailer Trash , Feb 22 2020 13:49 utc | 23
>How about free passage to (swampy) Latin America?
> Posted by: Christoph | Feb 22 2020 12:54 utc | 14

I'm thinking the Bermuda Triangle would fit right in with their magical thinking and mad delusions.

Jackrabbit , Feb 22 2020 13:58 utc | 24
Bloomberg + Trump = Checkmate?

Trump will say b writes "fake news" .

Damn you Putin!

!!

jared , Feb 22 2020 14:02 utc | 25
Perhaps the intelligence community would just tell us who we should vote for so as not to fall into Putins trap.

[Feb 23, 2020] Welcome to the American Regime

Highly recommended!
Feb 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

4 hours ago

Is America a 'regime'?

In the language of the American Oligarchy and it's tame and owned presstitutes on the MSM, any country targeted for destabilisation, destruction and rape – either because it doesn't do what America tells it do (Russia), because it has rich natural resources or has a 'socialist' state (Venezuela) or because lunatic neo-cons and even more lunatic Christian Evangelicals (hoping to provoke The End Times ) want it to happen (Syria and Iran) – is first labelled as a 'regime'.

That's because the word 'regime' is associated with dictatorships and human rights abuses and establishing a non-compliant country as a 'regime' is the US government's and MSM's first step at manufacturing public consent for that country's destruction.

Unfortunately if you sit back and talk a cool-headed, factual look at actions and attitudes that we're told constitute a regime then you have to conclude that America itself is 'a regime'.

So, here's why America is a regime:

4 hours ago

America's Military is Killing – Americans!

In 2018, Republicans (AND Democrats) voted to cut $23 billion dollars from the budget for food stamps (42 million Americans currently receive them).

Fats forward to 21 December 2019 and Donald Trump signed off on a US defense budget of a mind boggling $738 billion dollars.

To put that in context  --  the annual US government Education budget is sround $68 billion dollars.

Did you get that  --  $738 billion on defense, $68 billion on education?

That means the government spends more than ten times on preparations to kill people than it does on preparing children for life in the adult world.

Wow!

How ******* psychotic and death-affirming is that? It gets even worse when you consider that that $716 billion dollars is only the headline figure – it doesn't include whatever the Deep State siphons away into black-ops and kick backs. And .America's military isn't even very good – it's hasn't 'won' a conflict since the second world war, it's proud (and horrifically expensive) aircraft carriers have been rendered obsolete by Chinese and Russian hypersonic missiles and its 'cutting edge' weapons are so good (not) that everyone wants to buy the cheaper and better Russian versions: classic example – the F-35 jet program will screw $1.5 TRILLION (yes, TRILLION) dollars out of US taxpayers but but it's a piece of **** plane that doesn't work properly which the Russians laughingly refer to as 'a flying piano'.

In contrast to America's free money for the military industrial complex defense budget, China spends $165 billion and Russia spends $61 billion on defense and I don't see anyone attacking them (well, except America, that is be it only by proxy for now).

Or, put things another way. The United Kingdom spent £110 billion on it's National Health Service in 2017. That means, if you get sick in England, you can see a doctor for free. If you need drugs you pay a prescription charge of around $11.50(nothing, if unemployed, a child or elderly), whatever the market price of the drugs. If you need to see a consultant or medical specialist, you'll see one for free. If you need an operation, you'll get one for free. If you need on-going care for a chronic illness, you'll get it for free.

Fully socialised, free at the point of access, healthcare for all. How good is that?

US citizens could have that, too.

Allowing for the US's larger population, the UK National Health Service transplanted to America could cost about $650 billion a year. That would still leave $66 billion dollars left over from the proposed defense budget of $716 billion to finance weapons of death and destruction   --  more than those 'evil Ruskies' spend.

The US has now been at war, somewhere in the world (i.e in someone elses' country where the US doesn't have any business being) continuously for 28 years. Those 28 years have coincided with (for the 'ordinary people', anyway) declining living standards, declining real wages, increased police violence, more repression and surveillance, declining lifespans, declining educational and health outcomes, more every day misery in other words, America's military is killing Americans. Oh, and millions of people in far away countries (although, obviously, those deaths are in far away countries and they are of brown-skinned people so they don't really count, do they?).

Time for a change, perhaps?

[Feb 23, 2020] Where Have You Gone, Smedley Butler The Last General To Criticize US Imperialism by Danny Sjursen

Here's a link to a free online copy of War is a Racket if anyone wants to read it. It's a short read. Pretty good too. https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html
From comments (Is the USA government now a "regime"): In 2018, Republicans (AND Democrats) voted to cut $23 billion dollars from the budget for food stamps (42 million Americans currently receive them). Regimes disobey international law. Like America's habit of blowing up wedding parties with drones or the illegal presence of its troops in Syria, Iraq and God knows where else. Regimes carry out illegal assassination programs – I need say no more here than Qasem Soleimani. Regimes use their economic power to bully and impose their will – sanctioning countries even when they know those sanctions will, for example, be responsible for the death of 500,000 Iraqi children (the 'price worth paying', remember?). Regimes renege on international treaties – like Iran nuclear treaty, for example. Regimes imprison and hound whistle-blowers – like Chelsea manning and Julian Assange. Regimes imprison people. America is the world leader in incarceration. It has 2.2 million people in its prisons (more than China which has 5 times the US's population), that's 25% of the world's prison population for 5% of the world's population, Why does America need so many prisoners? Because it has a massive, prison-based, slave labour business that is hugely profitable for the oligarchy.
Regimes censor free speech. Just recently, we've seen numerous non-narrative following journalists and organisations kicked off numerous social media platforms. I didn't see lots of US senators standing up and saying 'I disagree completely with what you say but I will fight to the death to preserve your right to say it'. Did you?
Regimes are ruled by cliques. I don't need to tell you that America is kakistocratic Oligarchy ruled by a tiny group of evil, rich, Old Men, do I?
Regimes keep bad company. Their allies are other 'regimes', and they're often lumped together by using another favourite presstitute term – 'axis of evil'. America has its own little axis of evil. It's two main allies are Saudi Arabia – a homophobic, women hating, head chopping, terrorist financing state currently engaged in a war of genocide (assisted by the US) in Yemen – and the racist, genocidal undeclared nuclear power state of Israel.
Regimes commit human rights abuses. Here we could talk about…ooh…let's think. Last year's treatment of child refugees from Latin America, the execution of African Americans for 'walking whilst black' by America's militarized, criminal police force or the millions of dollars in cash and property seized from entirely innocent Americans by that same police force under 'civil forfeiture' laws or maybe we could mention huge American corporations getting tax refunds whilst ordinary Americans can't afford decent, effective healthcare.
Regimes finance terrorism. Mmmm….just like America financed terrorists to help destroy Syria and Libya and invested $5 billion dollars to install another regime – the one of anti-Semites and Nazis in Ukraine…
Highly recommended!
Some comments edited for clarity...
Notable quotes:
"... But after retirement, Smedley Butler changed his tune. ..."
"... "I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service... And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers." ..."
"... Smedley Butler's Marine Corps and the military of his day was, in certain ways, a different sort of organization than today's highly professionalized armed forces. History rarely repeats itself, not in a literal sense anyway. Still, there are some disturbing similarities between the careers of Butler and today's generation of forever-war fighters. All of them served repeated tours of duty in (mostly) unsanctioned wars around the world. Butler's conflicts may have stretched west from Haiti across the oceans to China, whereas today's generals mostly lead missions from West Africa east to Central Asia, but both sets of conflicts seemed perpetual in their day and were motivated by barely concealed economic and imperial interests. ..."
"... When Smedley Butler retired in 1931, he was one of three Marine Corps major generals holding a rank just below that of only the Marine commandant and the Army chief of staff. Today, with about 900 generals and admirals currently serving on active duty, including 24 major generals in the Marine Corps alone, and with scores of flag officers retiring annually, not a single one has offered genuine public opposition to almost 19 years worth of ill-advised, remarkably unsuccessful American wars . As for the most senior officers, the 40 four-star generals and admirals whose vocal antimilitarism might make the biggest splash, there are more of them today than there were even at the height of the Vietnam War, although the active military is now about half the size it was then. Adulated as many of them may be, however, not one qualifies as a public critic of today's failing wars. ..."
"... The big three are Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson ; Vietnam veteran and onetime West Point history instructor, retired Colonel Andrew Bacevich ; and Iraq veteran and Afghan War whistleblower , retired Lieutenant Colonel Danny Davis . All three have proven to be genuine public servants, poignant voices, and -- on some level -- cherished personal mentors. For better or worse, however, none carry the potential clout of a retired senior theater commander or prominent four-star general offering the same critiques. ..."
"... Consider it an irony of sorts that this system first received criticism in our era of forever wars when General David Petraeus, then commanding the highly publicized " surge " in Iraq, had to leave that theater of war in 2007 to serve as the chair of that selection committee. The reason: he wanted to ensure that a twice passed-over colonel, a protégé of his -- future Trump National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster -- earned his star. ..."
"... At the roots of this system lay the obsession of the American officer corps with " professionalization " after the Vietnam War debacle. This first manifested itself in a decision to ditch the citizen-soldier tradition, end the draft, and create an "all-volunteer force." The elimination of conscription, as predicted by critics at the time, created an ever-growing civil-military divide, even as it increased public apathy regarding America's wars by erasing whatever " skin in the game " most citizens had. ..."
"... One group of generals, however, reportedly now does have it out for President Trump -- but not because they're opposed to endless war. Rather, they reportedly think that The Donald doesn't "listen enough to military advice" on, you know, how to wage war forever and a day. ..."
"... That beast, first identified by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is now on steroids as American commanders in retirement regularly move directly from the military onto the boards of the giant defense contractors, a reality which only contributes to the dearth of Butlers in the military retiree community. For all the corruption of his time, the Pentagon didn't yet exist and the path from the military to, say, United Fruit Company, Standard Oil, or other typical corporate giants of that moment had yet to be normalized for retiring generals and admirals. Imagine what Butler would have had to say about the modern phenomenon of the " revolving door " in Washington. ..."
"... Today, generals don't seem to have a thought of their own even in retirement. And more's the pity... ..."
"... Am I the only one to notice that Hollywood and it's film distributors have gone full bore on "war" productions, glorifying these historical events while using poetic license to rewrite history. Prepping the numbheads. ..."
"... Forget rank. As Mr Sjursen implies, dissidents are no longer allowed in the higher ranks. "They" made sure to fix this as Mr Butler had too much of a mind of his own (US education system also programmed against creative, charismatic thinkers, btw). ..."
"... Today, the "Masters of the Permawars" refer to the international extortion, MIC, racket as "Defending American Interests"! .....With never any explanation to the public/American taxpayer just what "American Interests" the incredible expenditures of American lives, blood, and treasure are being defended! ..."
"... "The Americans follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous." - Jospeh Goebbels ..."
"... The greatest anti-imperialist of our times is Michael Parenti: ..."
"... The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power. ..."
"... If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort. ..."
Feb 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Danny Sjursen via TomDispatch.com,

There once lived an odd little man - five feet nine inches tall and barely 140 pounds sopping wet - who rocked the lecture circuit and the nation itself. For all but a few activist insiders and scholars, U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Darlington Butler is now lost to history. Yet more than a century ago, this strange contradiction of a man would become a national war hero, celebrated in pulp adventure novels, and then, 30 years later, as one of this country's most prominent antiwar and anti-imperialist dissidents.

Raised in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and educated in Quaker (pacifist) schools, the son of an influential congressman, he would end up serving in nearly all of America's " Banana Wars " from 1898 to 1931. Wounded in combat and a rare recipient of two Congressional Medals of Honor, he would retire as the youngest, most decorated major general in the Marines.

A teenage officer and a certified hero during an international intervention in the Chinese Boxer Rebellion of 1900, he would later become a constabulary leader of the Haitian gendarme, the police chief of Philadelphia (while on an approved absence from the military), and a proponent of Marine Corps football. In more standard fashion, he would serve in battle as well as in what might today be labeled peacekeeping , counterinsurgency , and advise-and-assist missions in Cuba, China, the Philippines, Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, France, and China (again). While he showed early signs of skepticism about some of those imperial campaigns or, as they were sardonically called by critics at the time, " Dollar Diplomacy " operations -- that is, military campaigns waged on behalf of U.S. corporate business interests -- until he retired he remained the prototypical loyal Marine.

But after retirement, Smedley Butler changed his tune. He began to blast the imperialist foreign policy and interventionist bullying in which he'd only recently played such a prominent part. Eventually, in 1935 during the Great Depression, in what became a classic passage in his memoir, which he titled "War Is a Racket," he wrote:

"I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service... And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers."

Seemingly overnight, the famous war hero transformed himself into an equally acclaimed antiwar speaker and activist in a politically turbulent era. Those were, admittedly, uncommonly anti-interventionist years, in which veterans and politicians alike promoted what (for America, at least) had been fringe ideas. This was, after all, the height of what later pro-war interventionists would pejoratively label American " isolationism ."

Nonetheless, Butler was unique (for that moment and certainly for our own) in his unapologetic amenability to left-wing domestic politics and materialist critiques of American militarism. In the last years of his life, he would face increasing criticism from his former admirer, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the military establishment, and the interventionist press. This was particularly true after Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany invaded Poland and later France. Given the severity of the Nazi threat to mankind, hindsight undoubtedly proved Butler's virulent opposition to U.S. intervention in World War II wrong.

Nevertheless, the long-term erasure of his decade of antiwar and anti-imperialist activism and the assumption that all his assertions were irrelevant has proven historically deeply misguided. In the wake of America's brief but bloody entry into the First World War, the skepticism of Butler (and a significant part of an entire generation of veterans) about intervention in a new European bloodbath should have been understandable. Above all, however, his critique of American militarism of an earlier imperial era in the Pacific and in Latin America remains prescient and all too timely today, especially coming as it did from one of the most decorated and high-ranking general officers of his time. (In the era of the never-ending war on terror, such a phenomenon is quite literally inconceivable.)

Smedley Butler's Marine Corps and the military of his day was, in certain ways, a different sort of organization than today's highly professionalized armed forces. History rarely repeats itself, not in a literal sense anyway. Still, there are some disturbing similarities between the careers of Butler and today's generation of forever-war fighters. All of them served repeated tours of duty in (mostly) unsanctioned wars around the world. Butler's conflicts may have stretched west from Haiti across the oceans to China, whereas today's generals mostly lead missions from West Africa east to Central Asia, but both sets of conflicts seemed perpetual in their day and were motivated by barely concealed economic and imperial interests.

Nonetheless, whereas this country's imperial campaigns of the first third of the twentieth century generated a Smedley Butler, the hyper-interventionism of the first decades of this century hasn't produced a single even faintly comparable figure. Not one. Zero. Zilch. Why that is matters and illustrates much about the U.S. military establishment and contemporary national culture, none of it particularly encouraging.

Why No Antiwar Generals

When Smedley Butler retired in 1931, he was one of three Marine Corps major generals holding a rank just below that of only the Marine commandant and the Army chief of staff. Today, with about 900 generals and admirals currently serving on active duty, including 24 major generals in the Marine Corps alone, and with scores of flag officers retiring annually, not a single one has offered genuine public opposition to almost 19 years worth of ill-advised, remarkably unsuccessful American wars . As for the most senior officers, the 40 four-star generals and admirals whose vocal antimilitarism might make the biggest splash, there are more of them today than there were even at the height of the Vietnam War, although the active military is now about half the size it was then. Adulated as many of them may be, however, not one qualifies as a public critic of today's failing wars.

Instead, the principal patriotic dissent against those terror wars has come from retired colonels, lieutenant colonels, and occasionally more junior officers (like me), as well as enlisted service members. Not that there are many of us to speak of either. I consider it disturbing (and so should you) that I personally know just about every one of the retired military figures who has spoken out against America's forever wars.

The big three are Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson ; Vietnam veteran and onetime West Point history instructor, retired Colonel Andrew Bacevich ; and Iraq veteran and Afghan War whistleblower , retired Lieutenant Colonel Danny Davis . All three have proven to be genuine public servants, poignant voices, and -- on some level -- cherished personal mentors. For better or worse, however, none carry the potential clout of a retired senior theater commander or prominent four-star general offering the same critiques.

Something must account for veteran dissenters topping out at the level of colonel. Obviously, there are personal reasons why individual officers chose early retirement or didn't make general or admiral. Still, the system for selecting flag officers should raise at least a few questions when it comes to the lack of antiwar voices among retired commanders. In fact, a selection committee of top generals and admirals is appointed each year to choose the next colonels to earn their first star. And perhaps you won't be surprised to learn that, according to numerous reports , "the members of this board are inclined, if not explicitly motivated, to seek candidates in their own image -- officers whose careers look like theirs." At a minimal level, such a system is hardly built to foster free thinkers, no less breed potential dissidents.

Consider it an irony of sorts that this system first received criticism in our era of forever wars when General David Petraeus, then commanding the highly publicized " surge " in Iraq, had to leave that theater of war in 2007 to serve as the chair of that selection committee. The reason: he wanted to ensure that a twice passed-over colonel, a protégé of his -- future Trump National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster -- earned his star.

Mainstream national security analysts reported on this affair at the time as if it were a major scandal, since most of them were convinced that Petraeus and his vaunted counterinsurgency or " COINdinista " protégés and their " new " war-fighting doctrine had the magic touch that would turn around the failing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, Petraeus tried to apply those very tactics twice -- once in each country -- as did acolytes of his later, and you know the results of that.

But here's the point: it took an eleventh-hour intervention by America's most acclaimed general of that moment to get new stars handed out to prominent colonels who had, until then, been stonewalled by Cold War-bred flag officers because they were promoting different (but also strangely familiar) tactics in this country's wars. Imagine, then, how likely it would be for such a leadership system to produce genuine dissenters with stars of any serious sort, no less a crew of future Smedley Butlers.

At the roots of this system lay the obsession of the American officer corps with " professionalization " after the Vietnam War debacle. This first manifested itself in a decision to ditch the citizen-soldier tradition, end the draft, and create an "all-volunteer force." The elimination of conscription, as predicted by critics at the time, created an ever-growing civil-military divide, even as it increased public apathy regarding America's wars by erasing whatever " skin in the game " most citizens had.

More than just helping to squelch civilian antiwar activism, though, the professionalization of the military, and of the officer corps in particular, ensured that any future Smedley Butlers would be left in the dust (or in retirement at the level of lieutenant colonel or colonel) by a system geared to producing faux warrior-monks. Typical of such figures is current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Mark Milley. He may speak gruffly and look like a man with a head of his own, but typically he's turned out to be just another yes-man for another war-power -hungry president.

One group of generals, however, reportedly now does have it out for President Trump -- but not because they're opposed to endless war. Rather, they reportedly think that The Donald doesn't "listen enough to military advice" on, you know, how to wage war forever and a day.

What Would Smedley Butler Think Today?

In his years of retirement, Smedley Butler regularly focused on the economic component of America's imperial war policies. He saw clearly that the conflicts he had fought in, the elections he had helped rig, the coups he had supported, and the constabularies he had formed and empowered in faraway lands had all served the interests of U.S. corporate investors. Though less overtly the case today, this still remains a reality in America's post-9/11 conflicts, even on occasion embarrassingly so (as when the Iraqi ministry of oil was essentially the only public building protected by American troops as looters tore apart the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in the post-invasion chaos of April 2003). Mostly, however, such influence plays out far more subtly than that, both abroad and here at home where those wars help maintain the record profits of the top weapons makers of the military-industrial complex.

That beast, first identified by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is now on steroids as American commanders in retirement regularly move directly from the military onto the boards of the giant defense contractors, a reality which only contributes to the dearth of Butlers in the military retiree community. For all the corruption of his time, the Pentagon didn't yet exist and the path from the military to, say, United Fruit Company, Standard Oil, or other typical corporate giants of that moment had yet to be normalized for retiring generals and admirals. Imagine what Butler would have had to say about the modern phenomenon of the " revolving door " in Washington.

Of course, he served in a very different moment, one in which military funding and troop levels were still contested in Congress. As a longtime critic of capitalist excesses who wrote for leftist publications and supported the Socialist Party candidate in the 1936 presidential elections, Butler would have found today's nearly trillion-dollar annual defense budgets beyond belief. What the grizzled former Marine long ago identified as a treacherous nexus between warfare and capital "in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives" seems to have reached its natural end point in the twenty-first century. Case in point: the record (and still rising ) "defense" spending of the present moment, including -- to please a president -- the creation of a whole new military service aimed at the full-scale militarization of space .

Sadly enough, in the age of Trump, as numerous polls demonstrate, the U.S. military is the only public institution Americans still truly trust. Under the circumstances, how useful it would be to have a high-ranking, highly decorated, charismatic retired general in the Butler mold galvanize an apathetic public around those forever wars of ours. Unfortunately, the likelihood of that is practically nil, given the military system of our moment.

Of course, Butler didn't exactly end his life triumphantly. In late May 1940, having lost 25 pounds due to illness and exhaustion -- and demonized as a leftist, isolationist crank but still maintaining a whirlwind speaking schedule -- he checked himself into the Philadelphia Navy Yard Hospital for a "rest." He died there, probably of some sort of cancer, four weeks later. Working himself to death in his 10-year retirement and second career as a born-again antiwar activist, however, might just have constituted the very best service that the two-time Medal of Honor winner could have given the nation he loved to the very end.

Someone of his credibility, character, and candor is needed more than ever today. Unfortunately, this military generation is unlikely to produce such a figure. In retirement, Butler himself boldly confessed that, "like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical..."

Today, generals don't seem to have a thought of their own even in retirement. And more's the pity...

2 minutes ago
Am I the only one to notice that Hollywood and it's film distributors have gone full bore on "war" productions, glorifying these historical events while using poetic license to rewrite history. Prepping the numbheads.
14 minutes ago
TULSI GABBARD.

Forget rank. As Mr Sjursen implies, dissidents are no longer allowed in the higher ranks. "They" made sure to fix this as Mr Butler had too much of a mind of his own (US education system also programmed against creative, charismatic thinkers, btw).

The US Space Force has been created as part of a plan to disclose the deep state's Secret Space Program (SSP), which has been active for decades, and which has utilized, and repressed, advanced technologies that would provide free, unlimited renewable energy, and thus eliminate hunger and poverty on a planetary scale.

14 minutes ago
14 minutes ago

ALL wars are EVIL. Period .

29 minutes ago

Sadly enough, in the age of Trump, as numerous polls demonstrate, the U.S. military is the only public institution Americans still truly trust. Under the circumstances, how useful it would be to have a high-ranking, highly decorated, charismatic retired general in the Butler mold galvanize an apathetic public around those forever wars of ours. Unfortunately, the likelihood of that is practically nil, given the military system of our moment.

This is why I feel an oath keeping constitutionally oriented American general is what we need in power, clear out all 545 criminals in office now, review their finances (and most of them will roll over on the others) and punish accordingly, then the lobbyist, how many of them worked against the country? You know what we do with those.

And then, finally, Hollywood, oh yes I long to see that **** hole burn with everyone in it.

30 minutes ago
Republicrat: the two faces of the moar war whore.
32 minutes ago

Given the severity of the Nazi threat to mankind

Do tell, from what I've read the Nazis were really only a threat to a few groups, the rest of us didn't need to worry.

35 minutes ago
Today, the "Masters of the Permawars" refer to the international extortion, MIC, racket as "Defending American Interests"! .....With never any explanation to the public/American taxpayer just what "American Interests" the incredible expenditures of American lives, blood, and treasure are being defended!

Why are we sending our children out into the hellholes of the world to be maimed and killed in the fauxjew banksters' quest for world domination.

How stupid can we be!

41 minutes ago
(Edited) "Smedley Butler"... The last time the UCMJ was actually used before being permanently turned into a "door stop"!
49 minutes ago
He was correct about our staying out of WWII. Which, BTW, would have never happened if we had stayed out of WWI.
22 minutes ago
(Edited) Both wars were about the international fauxjew imposition of debt-money central bankstering.

Both wars were promulgated by the Financial oligarchyof New York. The communist Red Army of Russia was funded and supplied by the Financial oligarchyof New York. It was American Financial oligarchythat built the Russian Red Army that vexed the world and created the Cold War. How many hundreds of millions of goyim were sacrificed to create both the Russian and the Chinese Satanic behemoths.......and the communist horror that is now embedded in American academia, publishing, American politics, so-called news, entertainment, The worldwide Catholic religion, the Pentagon, and the American deep state.......and more!

How stupid can we be. Every generation has the be dragged, kicking and screaming, out of the eternal maw of historical ignorance to avoid falling back into the myriad dark hellholes of history. As we all should know, people who forget their own history are doomed to repeat it.

53 minutes ago
Today's General is a robot with with a DNA.
54 minutes ago
All the General Staff is a bunch of #asskissinglittlechickenshits
57 minutes ago
want to stop senseless Empire wars>>well do this

War = jobs and profit..we get work "THEY" get the profit.. If we taxed all war related profit at 99% how many wars would our rulers start? 1 hour ago

Here is a simple straightforward trading maxim that might apply here: if it works or is working keep doing it, but if it doesn't work or stops working, then STOP doing it. There are plenty of people, now poorer, for not adhering to that simple principle. Where is the Taxpayer's return on investment from the Combat taking place on their behalf around the globe? 'Nuff said - it isn't working. It is making a microscopic few richer & all others poorer so STOP doing it. 36 seconds ago We don't have to look far to figure out who they are that are getting rich off the fauxjew permawars.

How can we be so stupid???

1 hour ago

See also:

TULSI GABBARD

1 hour ago

The main reason you don't see the generals criticizing is that the current crop have not been in actual long term direct combat with the enemy and have mostly been bureaucratic paper pushers.

Take the Marine Major General who is the current commander of CENTCOM. By the time he got into the Iraq/Afghanistan war he was already a Lieutenant Colonel and far removed from direct action.

He was only there on and off for a few years. Here are some of his other career highlights aft as they appear on his official bio:

In short, these top guys aren't warriors they're bureaucrats so why would we expect them to be honest brokers of the truth?

51 minutes ago

are U saying Chesty Puller he's NOT? 1 hour ago
(Edited) The purpose of war is to ensure that the Federal Reserve Note remains the world reserve paper currency of choice by keeping it relevant and in demand across the globe by forcing pesky energy producing nations to trade with it exclusively.

It is a 49 year old policy created by the private owners of quasi public institutions called central banks to ensure they remain the Wizards of Oz doing gods work conjuring magic paper into existence with a secret spell known as issuing credit.

How else is a technologically advanced society of billions of people supposed to function w/out this divinely inspired paper?

1 hour ago

Goebbels in "Churchill's Lie Factory" where he said: "The Americans follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous." - Jospeh Goebbels, "Aus Churchills Lügenfabrik," 12. january 1941, Die Zeit ohne Beispiel

1 hour ago

The greatest anti-imperialist of our times is Michael Parenti:

Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become "commonwealths," and colonies become "territories" or "dominions" (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, "commonwealths" too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of "national defense," "national security," and maintaining "stability" in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.

https://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/imperialism.html

49 minutes ago
"Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders."

Why would it when they who control academia, media and most of our politicians are our enemies.

1 hour ago

"The big three are Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson ; ..."

Yep, Wilkerson, who leaked Valerie Plame's name, not that it was a leak, to Novak, and then stood by to watch the grand jury fry Scooter Libby. Wilkerson, that paragon of moral rectitude. Wilkerson the silent, that *******.

sheesh,

1 hour ago
(Edited)

" A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people."

James Madison Friday June 29, 1787

https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_629.asp

"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins." (Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment [I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789])

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendIIs6.html

1 hour ago

A particularly pernicious example of intra-European imperialism was the Nazi aggression during World War II, which gave the German business cartels and the Nazi state an opportunity to plunder the resources and exploit the labor of occupied Europe, including the slave labor of concentration camps. - M. PARENTI, Against empire

See Alexander Parvus

1 hour ago

Collapse is the cure. It's too far gone.

1 hour ago

Russia Wants to 'Jam' F-22 and F-35s in the Middle East: Report

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russia-wants-jam-f-22-and-f-35s-middle-east-report-121041

1 hour ago

ZH retards think that the American mic is bad and all other mics are good or don't exist. That's the power of brainwashing. Humans understand that war in general is bad, but humans are becoming increasingly rare in this world.

1 hour ago

The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.

If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort.

https://truthout.org/articles/the-dangers-of-american-fascism/

2 hours ago
The swamp is bigger than the military alone. Substitute Bureaucrat, Statesman, or Beltway Bandit for General and Colonel in your writing above and you've got a whole new article to post that is just as true.
2 hours ago
(Edited) War = jobs and profit..we get work "THEY" get the profit..If we taxed all war related profit at 99% how many wars would our rulers start?
2 hours ago [edited for clarity]
War is a racket. And nobody loves a racket more than Financial oligarchy. Americans come close though, that's why Financial oligarchy use them to project their own rackets and provide protection reprisals.

[Feb 21, 2020] Why Both Republicans And Democrats Want Russia To Become The Enemy Of Choice by Philip Giraldi

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Schiff insisted that Trump must be removed now to "assure the integrity" of the 2020 election. He elaborated somewhat ambiguously that "The president's misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won." Schiff also unleashed one of the most time honored but completely lame excuses for going to war, claiming that military assistance to Ukraine that had been delayed by Trump was essential for U.S. national security. He said "As one witness put it during our impeachment inquiry, the United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there, and we don't have to fight Russia here." ..."
"... Schiff, a lawyer who has never had to put his life on the line for anything and whose son sports a MOSSAD t-shirt, is one of those sunshine soldiers who finds it quite acceptable if someone else does the dying. Journalist Max Blumenthal observed that "Liberals used to mock Bush supporters when they used this jingoistic line during the war on Iraq. Now they deploy it to justify an imperialist proxy war against a nuclear power." Aaron Mate at The Nation added that "For all the talk about Russia undermining faith in U.S. elections, how about Russiagaters like Schiff fear-mongering w/ hysterics like this? Let's assume Ukraine did what Trump wanted: announce a probe of Burisma. Would that delegitimize a 2020 U.S. election? This is a joke." ..."
"... On Wednesday, Schiff maintained that "Russia is not a threat to Eastern Europe alone. Ukraine has become the de facto proving ground for just the types of hybrid warfare that the twenty-first century will become defined by: cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, efforts to undermine the legitimacy of state institutions, whether that is voting systems or financial markets. The Kremlin showed boldly in 2016 that with the malign skills it honed in Ukraine, they would not stay in Ukraine. Instead, Russia employed them here to attack our institutions, and they will do so again." Not surprisingly, if one substitutes the "United States" for "Russia" and "Kremlin" and changes "Ukraine" to Iran or Venezuela, the Schiff comment actually becomes much more credible. ..."
"... Donald Trump's erratic rule has certainly dismayed many of his former supporters, but the Democratic Party is offering nothing but another helping of George W. Bush/Barack Obama establishment war against the world. We Americans have had enough of that for the past nineteen years. Trump may indeed deserve to be removed based on his actions, but the argument that it is essential to do so because of Russia lurking is complete nonsense. Pretty scary that the apparent chief promoter of that point of view is someone who actually has power in the government, one Adam Schiff, head of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee. ..."
"... It is scary, but what else can Schiff say? They have no credible arguments against Trump, or for their own party. They are a bunch of lying scumbags that will kill, cheat, steal, mislead, carpet-bag and anything else unethical to achieve their sleazy goals. ..."
"... Since the US Sociopaths In Charge have totally Effed up the nation, and a significant portion of the world, they have to have SOMEBODY to blame. They certainly won't take the blame they deserve themselves. ..."
"... What the ZOG wants the ZOG gets ..."
"... It is appropriate to recall the words of Joseph Goebbels: "Give me the media, and I will make a herd of pigs from any nation," and pigs are easy to drive to the slaughterhouse. Only Russia can really resist such a situation in the world. Therefore, she is the enemy. ..."
"... The Centrist Democrats and Republicans want to paint the old school God and Country Conservatives Equality and Justice for the USA (Nationalist) into being Russian ..."
Feb 07, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

One of the more interesting aspects of the nauseating impeachment trial in the Senate was the repeated vilification of Russia and its President Vladimir Putin.

To hate Russia has become dogma on both sides of the political aisle, in part because no politician has really wanted to confront the lesson of the 2016 election, which was that most Americans think that the federal government is basically incompetent and staffed by career politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell who should return back home and get real jobs .

Worse still, it is useless, and much like the one trick pony the only thing it can do is steal money from the taxpayers and waste it on various types of self-gratification that only politicians can appreciate. That means that the United States is engaged is fighting multiple wars against make-believe enemies while the country's infrastructure rots and a host of officially certified grievance groups control the public space.

It sure doesn't look like Kansas anymore.

The fact that opinion polls in Europe suggest that many Europeans would rather have Vladimir Putin than their own hopelessly corrupt leaders is suggestive. One can buy a whole range of favorable t-shirts featuring Vladimir Putin on Ebay , also suggesting that most Americans find the official Russophobia narrative both mysterious and faintly amusing. They may not really be into the expressed desire of the huddled masses in D.C. to go to war to bring true U.S. style democracy to the un-enlightened.

One also must wonder if the Democrats are reading the tea leaves correctly. If they think that a slogan like "Honest Joe Biden will keep us safe from Moscow" will be a winner in 2020 they might again be missing the bigger picture. Since the focus on Trump's decidedly erratic behavior will inevitably die down after the impeachment trial is completed, the Democrats will have to come up with something compelling if they really want to win the presidency and it sure won't be the largely fictionalized Russian threat.

Nevertheless, someone should tell Congressman Adam Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, to shut up as he is becoming an international embarrassment. His "closing arguments" speeches last week were respectively two-and-a-half hours and ninety minutes long and were inevitably praised by the mainstream media as "magisterial," "powerful," and "impressive." The Washington Post 's resident Zionist extremist Jennifer Rubin labeled it "a grand slam" while legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called it "dazzling." Gail Collins of the New York Times dubbed it "a great job" and added that Schiff is now "a rock star." Daily Beast enthused that the remarks "will go down in history " and progressive activist Ryan Knight called it "a closing statement for the ages." Hollywood was also on board with actress Debra Messing tweeting "I am in tears. Thank you Chairman Schiff for fighting for our country."

Actually, a better adjective would have been "scary" and not merely due to its elaboration of the alleged high crimes and misdemeanors committed by President Trump, much of which was undeniably true even if not necessarily impeachable. It was scary because it was a warmongers speech, full of allusions to Russia, to Moscow's "interference" in 2016, and to the ridiculous proposition that if Trump were to be defeated in 2020 he might not concede and Russia could even intervene militarily in the United States in support of its puppet.

Schiff insisted that Trump must be removed now to "assure the integrity" of the 2020 election. He elaborated somewhat ambiguously that "The president's misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won." Schiff also unleashed one of the most time honored but completely lame excuses for going to war, claiming that military assistance to Ukraine that had been delayed by Trump was essential for U.S. national security. He said "As one witness put it during our impeachment inquiry, the United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there, and we don't have to fight Russia here."

Schiff, a lawyer who has never had to put his life on the line for anything and whose son sports a MOSSAD t-shirt, is one of those sunshine soldiers who finds it quite acceptable if someone else does the dying. Journalist Max Blumenthal observed that "Liberals used to mock Bush supporters when they used this jingoistic line during the war on Iraq. Now they deploy it to justify an imperialist proxy war against a nuclear power." Aaron Mate at The Nation added that "For all the talk about Russia undermining faith in U.S. elections, how about Russiagaters like Schiff fear-mongering w/ hysterics like this? Let's assume Ukraine did what Trump wanted: announce a probe of Burisma. Would that delegitimize a 2020 U.S. election? This is a joke."

Over at Antiwar Daniel Lazare explains how the Wednesday speech was "a fear-mongering, sword-rattling harangue that will not only raise tensions with Russia for no good reason, but sends a chilling message to [Democratic Party] dissidents at home that if they deviate from Russiagate orthodoxy by one iota, they'll be driven from the fold."

The orthodoxy that Lazare was writing about includes the established Nancy Pelosi/Chuck Schumer narrative that Russia invaded "poor innocent Ukraine" in 2014, that it interfered in the 2016 election to defeat Hillary Clinton, and that it is currently trying to smear Joe Biden. One might add to that the growing consensus that Russia can and will interfere again in 2020 to help Trump. Absent from the narrative is the part how the U.S. intervened in Ukraine first to remove its government and the fact that there is something very unsavory about Joe Biden's son taking a high-paying sinecure board position from a notably corrupt Ukrainian oligarch while his father was Vice President and allegedly directing U.S. assistance to a Ukrainian anti-corruption effort.

On Wednesday, Schiff maintained that "Russia is not a threat to Eastern Europe alone. Ukraine has become the de facto proving ground for just the types of hybrid warfare that the twenty-first century will become defined by: cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, efforts to undermine the legitimacy of state institutions, whether that is voting systems or financial markets. The Kremlin showed boldly in 2016 that with the malign skills it honed in Ukraine, they would not stay in Ukraine. Instead, Russia employed them here to attack our institutions, and they will do so again." Not surprisingly, if one substitutes the "United States" for "Russia" and "Kremlin" and changes "Ukraine" to Iran or Venezuela, the Schiff comment actually becomes much more credible.

The compulsion on the part of the Democrats to bring down Trump to avoid having to deal with their own failings has brought about a shift in their established foreign policy, placing the neocons and their friends back in charge. For Schiff, who has enthusiastically supported every failed American military effort since 9/11, today's Russia is the Soviet Union reborn, and don't you forget it pardner! Newsweek is meanwhile reporting that the U.S. military is reading the tea leaves and is gearing up to fight the Russians. Per Schiff, Trump must be stopped as he is part of a grand Russian conspiracy to overthrow everything the United States stands for. If the Kremlin is not stopped now, it's first major step, per Schiff, will be to "remake the map of Europe by dint of military force."

Donald Trump's erratic rule has certainly dismayed many of his former supporters, but the Democratic Party is offering nothing but another helping of George W. Bush/Barack Obama establishment war against the world. We Americans have had enough of that for the past nineteen years. Trump may indeed deserve to be removed based on his actions, but the argument that it is essential to do so because of Russia lurking is complete nonsense. Pretty scary that the apparent chief promoter of that point of view is someone who actually has power in the government, one Adam Schiff, head of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.


Chain Man , 10 hours ago link

If the USA doesn't have a bogey man to be afraid of, the USA might worry more and to insist on fixing the problems within the Nation.

So many of our politicians are guilty of allowing un constitutional on going act like the removal of Due Process of law for some people and the on going bailout of Global Markets with the US Dollar. The Patriot act and FISA Courts should have been gone.

J Frank Parnell , 11 hours ago link

I never saw the problem with Russians. They practice the same religion as I do and are mostly the same color...

Sid Finch , 10 hours ago link

Agreed. He seems as about as close as a leader can get to genuinely liking his country and people. It seems the ones here only give a **** about carbon, Central and South Americans, and cutting off my kids genitalia.

Archeofuturist , 11 hours ago link

Well let see.... Who has a historical beef with Russia and controls both parties. I wonder?

globalintelhub , 11 hours ago link

It is scary, but what else can Schiff say? They have no credible arguments against Trump, or for their own party. They are a bunch of lying scumbags that will kill, cheat, steal, mislead, carpet-bag and anything else unethical to achieve their sleazy goals. When Trump wins in a landslide in 2020, they will claim it's because the Russians 'fixed' the election, and the Democratic party will break into pieces arguing about how they failed and what they did wrong. See www.splittingpennies.com

Alice-the-dog , 11 hours ago link

Since the US Sociopaths In Charge have totally Effed up the nation, and a significant portion of the world, they have to have SOMEBODY to blame. They certainly won't take the blame they deserve themselves.

John Hansen , 10 hours ago link

Don't leave out Israel, they aren't the American peoples friend either.

motiveunclear , 13 hours ago link

There used to be this thing we don't hear used much anymore called "diplomacy" and another useful thing in international politics called "tact".

https://skulltripper.com/2020/01/18/statesmanship/

44magnum , 12 hours ago link

What the ZOG wants the ZOG gets

toady , 13 hours ago link

McCarthyism II. Will the US be able put down a second "red scare"? Tune in next week. Same bat time, same bat channel.

sillycat , 13 hours ago link

lots of words and no answer to the title question. Giraldi does not see the deep ideological problems: Russia is not trying to diversify into a PoC country, they do not worship gays and may be the only white people nation with sustaining birth rate. The US will go to war there is no way to let this continue.

hispanicLoser , 13 hours ago link

The level of Russia hate coming out of the dems is so much greater than that coming out of repubs that one can safely ignore this retarded article.

Jeffersonian Liberal , 12 hours ago link

True. But their hatred is pretended hatred. It is a form of projection.

Dan The Man , 13 hours ago link

Its our own fault.

The smart ppl are doing a lousy job of informing the dumb ones about accepted policy like "America Always Needs An Enemy". Smart ones understand that, and see the bigger game because of it.

We fight the dumb ones who believe Russian boogeyman crap, instead of helping them understand they are being misled on who the enemy really is. The dumb ones then fight back and further entrench that brainwashing.

vasilievich , 13 hours ago link

I'm trying to imagine the Russian Army marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. But first, across the Atlantic Ocean.

ombon , 13 hours ago link

It is appropriate to recall the words of Joseph Goebbels: "Give me the media, and I will make a herd of pigs from any nation," and pigs are easy to drive to the slaughterhouse. Only Russia can really resist such a situation in the world. Therefore, she is the enemy.

Dan The Man , 13 hours ago link

Coming Soon... Why the Gullibles Will Believe Anything

south40_dreams , 14 hours ago link

....and the many thieves are gulping at the money spigot.....time to shut that sucker OFF

whatisthat , 14 hours ago link

I would observe there is evidence the corrupt establishment has done more damage to the US than any other country could ever imagine...

Chain Man , 15 hours ago link

The Centrist Democrats and Republicans want to paint the old school God and Country Conservatives Equality and Justice for the USA (Nationalist) into being Russian. How dare we expect enforcement of the Laws on the books against them. They want to be deemed Royalty with all the Elitist Rights.

The old rally call about Russia was always Communist Russia but, they don't do that anymore? Why ? They love their Communist China wage slaves. The Centrist love Communist labor in the name of profits . Human rights be damned it's all about the Global Elitist to them now.

[Feb 19, 2020] During the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" was staged in the USA by "managerial elite" which like Soviet nomenklatura (which also staged a neoliberal coup d' tat) changed sides and betrayed the working class

Highly recommended!
This was an outright declaration of "class war" against working-class voters by a "university-credentialed overclass" -- "managerial elite" which changed sides and allied with financial oligrchy. See "The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite" by Michael Lind
Notable quotes:
"... By canceling the class compromise that governed the capitalist societies after World War II, the neoliberal elite saws the seed of the current populist backlash. The "soft neoliberal" backbone of the Democratic Party (Clinton wing) were incapable of coming to terms with Hillary Clinton's defeat -- the rejection of the establishment candidate by the US population and first of all by the working class. The result has been the neo-McCarthyism campaign and the attempt to derail Trump via color revolution spearheaded by Brennan-Obama factions in CIA and FBI. ..."
Feb 19, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , February 19, 2020 12:31 pm

Does not matter.

It looks like Bloomberg is finished. He just committed political suicide with his comments about farmers and metal workers.

BTW Bloomberg's plan is highly hypocritical -- like is Bloomberg himself.

During the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" was staged in the USA by "managerial elite" which like Soviet nomenklatura (which also staged a neoliberal coup d'état) changed sides and betrayed the working class.

So those neoliberal scoundrels reversed the class compromise embodied in the New Deal.

The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the neoliberal managerial class and financial oligarchy who got to power via the "Quiet Coup" was the global labor arbitrage in which production is outsourced to countries with lower wage levels and laxer regulations.

So all those "improving education" plans are, to a large extent, the smoke screen over the fact that the US workers now need to compete against highly qualified and lower cost immigrants and outsourced workforce.

The fact is that it is very difficult to find for US graduates in STEM disciplines a decent job, and this is by design.

Also, after the "Reagan neoliberal revolution" ( actually a coup d'état ), profits were maximized by putting downward pressure on domestic wages through the introduction of the immigrant workforce (the collapse of the USSR helped greatly ). They push down wages and compete for jobs with their domestic counterparts, including the recent graduates. So the situation since 1991 was never too bright for STEM graduates.

By canceling the class compromise that governed the capitalist societies after World War II, the neoliberal elite saws the seed of the current populist backlash. The "soft neoliberal" backbone of the Democratic Party (Clinton wing) were incapable of coming to terms with Hillary Clinton's defeat -- the rejection of the establishment candidate by the US population and first of all by the working class. The result has been the neo-McCarthyism campaign and the attempt to derail Trump via color revolution spearheaded by Brennan-Obama factions in CIA and FBI.

See also recently published "The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite" by Michael Lind.

One of his quotes:

The American oligarchy spares no pains in promoting the belief that it does not exist, but the success of its disappearing act depends on equally strenuous efforts on the part of an American public anxious to believe in egalitarian fictions and unwilling to see what is hidden in plain sight.

[Feb 16, 2020] Presidential elections is just an emotional sink for political energy and a very effective one

Highly recommended!
Feb 16, 2020 | off-guardian.org

clickkid ,

I refuse to show any interest in the so-called US presidential election.

If I have learned anything in 50 years of following politics, it is that it doesn't matter.

It is purely an emotional sink for political energy and a very effective one.

Amarka ,

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." – Karl Rove

[Feb 15, 2020] How does one say Adam Schiff without laughing? by title="View user profile." href="https://caucus99percent.com/users/alligator-ed">Alligator Ed

Highly recommended!
Feb 15, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

At the end of this essay, you may find a song which reasonably applies to Donald Trump directed to Democrats.

How does one say Adam Schiff without laughing? It's hard to continue typing while contemplating the Burbank Buffoon. Yet AS is making obscene flatus-like noises about impeachment 2.0. He and Nervous Nancy will conspire with chief strategist Gerald Nadler about extending the charges of 1.0 to 2.0.

Second verse
Same as the first

Obstructing leaking by firing leakers. That's one of the pending charges. Leutnant Oberst Vindman will be help up as the innocent victim of political retaliation. As I understand the military code of conduct, it says that the underling, Herr Oberst Vindman, went outside the chain of command and released classified information. In the military this is called insubordination, perhaps gross insubordination in view of the classified nature of the information.

Another charge to be filed on behalf of former Ambassador Yovanovich, is that her God-given Female rights were brutally violated as retaliation of advising Ukrainian officials to disregard Commander Cheeto.

There is no telling what additional non-crimes may be thrown at the feet at El Trumpo. All too horrible to contemplate--like someone throwing feces-contaminated dope needles onto Nervous Nancy's front lawn in Pacific Heights.

If this Shampeachment 2.0 (S2) occurs before November's election, Democrats will become as rare as dodo birds. If such proponents of S2 persist after the general election, they better have secure transportation to an extradition-free country.

If it gets bad enough, considering the Clinton Mafia's body count, would it be unreasonable to expect some untimely heart attacks and suicides with red scarves? On Clintonites? Soros et al.?

When the first shot and you don't kill the king, flee. But the DNC is going to attempt shot number 2. Trump WILL NEVER ALLOW A SECOND IMPEACHMENT TO OCCUR, no matter how patently worthless? Will the most powerful narcissist in the world allow the DNC / coup perpetrators to escaping Trumpian retribution?

Those doubting the Wrath of Q be prepared to be disabused of the impression that Q is pure fantasy. Fantasy--like GPS targeting a single small sniper drone to shoot someone from 3000 feet.

Sorry folks. I live in a swamp. I've stepped in shit with my eyes open. Many of you have too. Some of the excrement was of my own making.

Think about the singularly most effective and complex plot the world has ever seen, called 9/11. Think of the thousands of lives purposefully snuffed in then name of power and money. Call yourselves serfs--that's a euphemism. You--including me-- are nothing but ants. Goddam little ants that only Janes respect. There are no ascetic Janes in the penthouses of the elites.

But I digressed to the mysterious existence of morality in politics as a whole. Today's topic is more confined to the Democratic nomination.

Statement of Bias: Go Tulsi. Bravo Andy. The rest of you to the elsewhere--yeah, BS too.

The Dems are determined to grasp Defeat from the jaws of Defeat. Quite a trick. Like trying to borrow money from the Judge during a Bankruptcy trial.

I talked today with a freshman college student majoring in political science about her thought about the Shampeachment. She hadn't been paying attention. Not that I blame her. Her college freshman friend watched C-Span; wasn't impressed. We political aficionados know all about this political debauchery. If AS and NN attempt S2, expect many defections from the supporting vote.

Democrat respect has dwindled in the Independent sector. This is not to say the Repugnants are thereby more popular. They aren't. Trump is. Trump need that NH clown to challenge him in the Repugnant primary to prove exactly how powerful he is. Anybody notice who were in the audience, sitting nearby during Trump's post acquittal speech. Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham. The lamb and the lion laying together. They are both on the Trump Train. Even Richard Burr voted Trump in the impeachment. Mittens feared both his cojones would be excised if he voted against Trump on both counts. What a chickenheart.

But where are the Dems? Why, they are Here. Yes. Yes. And they are There. Yes. Yes. And they are Near. Yes. Yes. But....they are Far. Whither thou goest?

I refrain from pointed comments about AOC in further comments. The Squad is the iceberg floating away from the glacier which spawned it. Unsuitable to warm weather produced by political combat, the Squad faction will woke themselves up to dubious futures.

Establishment versus Bernie:

Not a contest. Spineless Bernie pretzelizes during first heated combat (which the Dem Debate Debacles were not). Won't take a second punch--the first during night 3 of the '16 DNC convention. Fist-shy now. Open Borders? WTF? Are you so nuts? If one offered a person the choice personal safety in their own homes and streets and free medical care for all--including the criminal aliens that A New Path Forward proposes--what do you think 85% of the public would choose?

Pandering.

The Left is also pushing strenuous avoidance of discussing issues in a platitude-depleted fashion. Yeah, Bernie's giving the same speech, with suitable modification, over 40 years. Consistency is a good thing, yeh? How about persistently beating your head with a hammer (while you still can)? Sounds like something Sun Tzu might not recommend.

Now, speaking of Las Vegas and the Nevada Primary. The culinary workers union will not endorse Bernie due to well-deserved or ill-deserved claims that M4A will abolish hard won union health benefits. And don't worry, the Shadow will be there, although Buttjiggle has now disavowed any further connection, along with David Plouffe.

Keeping the Bern off the campaign trail is going to infuriate the Woke Generation / Antifa. When--not if--the DNC cheats Bernie out of the nomination, if such proves necessary* will literally result in blood on the streets along with broken windows and flaming tires. Associate with that lot, eh? Given the choice of going into a biker bar, where brawls are always on the menu, or a discreet wine bar, which would one rather choose? Sorry, those are your only choices.

Nancy Pelosi, impressed by Arnold Schwarzenegger's former physical prowess, tears up her copy of the state of the union address. How decorous. How courteous. How polite. Seen around the world. Nigel Farage must be laughing his butt off, thinking about the shallow anti-Brexit campaigns against his were compared to our Coup. Nigel won. Trump . is. winning. Getting tired of winning yet?

I could go on for pages more of Dem stupidity, but why bother? Stupidity surrounds us.

Betting odds: DNC 1,999,999 to Bernie 1.

Place your bets.

For all the good it will do and I am sincere about this, I will vote Tulsi in the Dem primary.

Here is the song Dems need to heed. This is Donald Trump telling' y'all I'M NOT YOUR MAN

[Feb 15, 2020] Clearly the establishment has long since caught on to the fact that "the masses" dislike it, hence why they concentrate on the appearance of being anti-establishment

Highly recommended!
That was the dirty trick that secured wins for both Obama and Trump.
Feb 15, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Cynica , Feb 15 2020 20:03 utc | 39
Much noise has been made about Trump being elected due to anti-establishment sentiment. While certainly true, Trump's election is just one in a long line of seemingly anti-establishment candidates elected, after which it's more or less "business as usual".

Clearly the establishment has long since caught on to the fact that "the masses" dislike it, hence why they concentrate on the appearance of being anti-establishment.

Sadly, "the masses" get fooled time and time again. One can only marvel at how it keeps happening.

Veritas X- , Feb 15 2020 18:58 utc | 8
A picture is worth a 1,000 words: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2016/01/25/opinion/RFDBloomberg/RFDBloomberg-sfSpan.jpg

It's all theater for the masses. And little Mikey is just another frontman for the redshields/epstein-barr gang:
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/proxy/TpJyOTc7PeDS3-ZEI1kN5W4iobZmqut_rVn0D5UvEdUef_NkTa0AZjgyzJlDYy86gISq6Zztsc9cl9mFOAQjyCFAaJUTmqKj=s0-d

X-

[Feb 15, 2020] One face of the US voters desprations with establishment candidates

Highly recommended!
Feb 15, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Antoinetta III , Feb 15 2020 21:47 utc | 55

In the past several elections, in the space for "President," I wrote in - Vladimir Putin.

Antoinetta III

[Feb 09, 2020] What Separates Sanders From Warren (and Everybody Else)

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Of course, some may argue that one's class is based largely on her own experience and perspective, but this confuses psychological feelings with concrete social and economic realities. As C. Wright Mills pointed out in his classic study, "White Collar: The American Middle Classes," just because people "are not 'class conscious' at all times and in all places does not mean 'there are no classes' or that 'in America everybody is middle class.' " Although subjective feelings are no doubt important, to accept that everyone who identifies as middle class must be middle class is to disregard objective economic realities. ..."
"... The new middle class flourished until the capitalist class decided to revolt against the legacy of the New Deal toward the end of the 20th century. In the contemporary era, many who would have been middle-class in the postwar years have effectively been proletarianized once again, and economic inequality has returned pre-Great Depression heights. Proletarianization, Mills explained, "refers to shifts of middle-class occupations toward wage-workers in terms of: income, property, skill, prestige or power, irrespective of whether or not the people involved are aware of these changes. Or, the meaning may be in terms of changes in consciousness, outlook, or organized activity." ..."
Jan 16, 2020 | www.truthdig.com
In America, the term "middle class" has long been used to describe the majority of wage and salary earners, from those receiving a median annual income of around $50,000 to those who earn three or four times that amount. Whether Democrat or Republican, politicians from across the political aisle claim to represent the middle class -- that vast-yet-amorphous segment of the population where the managers and the managed all seem to fit together.

The term has always been somewhat problematic when it comes to politics. As Joan C. Williams observes in her 2017 book, "White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America," a "central way we make class disappear is to describe virtually everyone as 'middle class.' " The majority of Americans see themselves as middle class, including those in the top 10% earning several times the average income. According to Williams, a close friend of hers who "undoubtedly belonged to the top 1%" once referred to herself as middle class, a perspective that the author describes as "class cluelessness."

This cluelessness was also evident in a New York Times article last summer titled "What Middle Class Families Want Politicians to Know," which included interviews with a number of purportedly middle class families with household incomes of up to $400,000 (only one of the interviewees earned less than $100,000, with the average around $200,000).

The fact that people who earn a quarter-million dollars annually place themselves in the same category as those earning $70,000 tells us just how politically useless the term "middle class" has become in contemporary America. Even when we take into account geographic factors and fluctuations in the cost of living, there is little rational justification for categorizing a $60,000-a-year blue-collar worker with a lawyer or doctor earning in excess of $200,000.

Of course, some may argue that one's class is based largely on her own experience and perspective, but this confuses psychological feelings with concrete social and economic realities. As C. Wright Mills pointed out in his classic study, "White Collar: The American Middle Classes," just because people "are not 'class conscious' at all times and in all places does not mean 'there are no classes' or that 'in America everybody is middle class.' " Although subjective feelings are no doubt important, to accept that everyone who identifies as middle class must be middle class is to disregard objective economic realities.

One's class consciousness (or lack thereof) has important implications for one's political attitudes, and in America class consciousness has always been somewhat lacking compared to other countries. The United States has never had a true aristocratic class or feudal property relations like those in Europe, and in the 19th century, the "middle class" essentially stood for small capitalists and propertied farmers. Between the mid-19th century and mid-20th century, the country was transformed, in Mills' analysis, from a "nation of small capitalists into a nation of hired employees" -- a trend that sociologists call "proletarianization."

In the post-World War II era, thanks to the struggle of labor and the policies of the New Deal, which aimed to reduce inequality and mediate class tensions, many in the working class became comfortably middle class. In other words, the proletariat turned into a kind of "petty bourgeois," adopting the same values and attitudes as their employers, while accepting the status quo after a few adjustments. Ironically, this ended up undercutting more radical labor movements while preserving the economic system, which eventually came back to bite working people and their children.

The new middle class flourished until the capitalist class decided to revolt against the legacy of the New Deal toward the end of the 20th century. In the contemporary era, many who would have been middle-class in the postwar years have effectively been proletarianized once again, and economic inequality has returned pre-Great Depression heights. Proletarianization, Mills explained, "refers to shifts of middle-class occupations toward wage-workers in terms of: income, property, skill, prestige or power, irrespective of whether or not the people involved are aware of these changes. Or, the meaning may be in terms of changes in consciousness, outlook, or organized activity."

The proletarianization of the middle class over the past 50 years has had an enormously detrimental effect on communities across the country, but it has taken quite a while for many working people in America to recognize their new situation in terms of consciousness and outlook. The enduring popularity of the term "middle class" reflects this state of affairs.

In the Democratic primaries, only one candidate has deliberately chosen to use "working class" over "middle class." Not surprisingly, that candidate is Sen. Bernie Sanders. "I am a candidate of the working class," Sanders recently declared on Facebook. "I come from the working class. That is my background, that's who I am. I fought for the working class as a mayor, a Congressman and a Senator. And that is the kind of president that I will be." Sanders, whose campaign is 100% grassroots-funded, wrote in a column last week for the Des Moines Register, " our campaign is focused on making sure the government stops representing billionaires and start representing us -- the working class of this country."

Though it may seem like a somewhat trivial distinction, when we look at the rest of the Democratic field, it's clear that Sanders has indeed distinguished himself from the other top candidates. For example, Sanders' opponent Joe Biden frequently speaks of the middle class but rarely the working class. "This country wasn't built by Wall Street bankers and CEOs and hedge fund managers. It was built by the American middle class," Biden declares on his campaign website, where he says that the middle class "isn't a number," but a "set of values." (In a way this is correct, but not in the sense that Biden seems to think.)

On the more progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren's website, where she lists her numerous plans, one searches in vain for any references to the working class, though there are plenty to the middle class.

How much this actually matters is, of course, debatable, but the term "working class" undoubtedly has far more implications and political significance than "middle class," which, like many overused words in the political lexicon, has lost all meaning. By using "working class" instead, Sanders appears to be trying to increase class consciousness in America, where those in the ruling class have often demonstrated the highest level of class consciousness (never failing to use their abundant resources to protect and advance their own interests).

The more young and working-class people come to recognize their own situation and place in the 21st century American economy, the more they seem to embrace "socialist" policies that are rejected by "middle class" sensibilities.

In the Democratic primaries, only one candidate has made raising levels of class consciousness part of his campaign strategy, and in an election that could very well be determined by working-class voters, this may be the strategy to defeat Trump.

[Feb 09, 2020] Trump demand for 50% of Iraq oil revenue sound exactly like a criminal mob boss

Highly recommended!
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

Tucker , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm GMT

I've heard and read about a claim that Trump actually called PM Abdul Mahdi and demanded that Iraq hand over 50 percent of their proceeds from selling their oil to the USA, and then threatened Mahdi that he would unleash false flag attacks against the Iraqi government and its people if he did not submit to this act of Mafia-like criminal extortion. Mahdi told Trump to kiss his buttocks and that he wasn't going to turn over half of the profits from oil sales.

This makes Trump sound exactly like a criminal mob boss, especially in light of the fact that the USA is now the world's #1 exporter of oil – a fact that the arrogant Orange Man has even boasted about in recent months. Can anyone confirm that this claim is accurate? If so, then the more I learn about Trump the more sleazy and gangster like he becomes.

I mean, think about it. Bush and Cheney and mostly jewish neocons LIED us into Iraq based on bald faced lies, fabricated evidence, and exaggerated threats that they KNEW did not exist. We destroyed that country, captured and killed it's leader – who used to be a big buddy of the USA when we had a use for him – and Bush's crime gang killed close to 2 million innocent Iraqis and wrecked their economy and destroyed their infrastructure. And, now, after all that death, destruction and carnage – which Trump claimed in 2016 he did not approve of – but, now that Trump is sitting on the throne in the Oval office – he has the audacity and the gall to demand that Iraq owes the USA 50 percent of their oil profits? And, that he won't honor and respect their demand to pull our troops out of their sovereign nation unless they PAY US back for the gigantic waste of tax payers money that was spent building permanent bases inside their country?

Not one Iraqi politician voted for the appropriations bill that financed the construction of those military bases; that was our mistake, the mistake of our US congress whichever POTUS signed off on it.

melpol , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:41 pm GMT
...Trump learned the power of the purse on the streets of NYC, he survived by playing ball with the Jewish and Italian Mafia. Now he has become the ultimate Godfather, and the world must listen to his commands. Watch and listen as the powerful and mighty crumble under US Hegemony.
World War Jew , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT
Right TG, traditionally, as you said up there first, and legally too, under the supreme law of the land. Economic sanctions are subject to the same UNSC supervision as forcible coercion.

UN Charter Article 41: "The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations."

https://www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations/index.html

US "sanctions" require UNSC authorization. Unilateral sanctions are nothing but illegal coercive intervention, as the non-intervention principle is customary international law, which is US federal common law.

The G-192, that is, the entire world, has affirmed this law. That's why the US is trying to defund UNCTAD as redundant with the WTO (UNCTAD is the G-192's primary forum.) In any case, now that the SCO is in a position to enforce this law at gunpoint with its overwhelmingly superior missile technology, the US is going to get stomped and tased until it complies and stops resisting.

Charlie , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:53 pm GMT
@Tucker This idea that the US is any sort of a net petroleum exporter is just another lie.

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=268&t=6

In 2018 total US petroleum production was under 18 million barrels per day, total consumption north of 20 mmb/d. What does it matter if the US exports a bunch of super light fracked product the US itself can't refine if it turns around and imports it all back in again and then some.

The myths we tell ourselves, like a roaring economy that nevertheless generates a $1 trillion annual deficit, will someday come back to bite us. Denying reality is not a winning game plan for the long run.

Christophe GJ , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:00 pm GMT
I long tought that US foreign policies were mainly zionist agenda – driven, but the Venezuelan affair and the statements of Trump himself about the syrian oil (ta be "kept" (stolen)) make you think twice.

Oil seems to be at least very important even if it's not the main cause of middle east problems

So maybe it's the cause of illegal and cruel sanctions against Iran : Get rid of competitor to sell shale oil everywhere ?( think also of Norstream 2 here)

Watch out US of A. in the end there is something sometimes referred to as the oil's curse . some poor black Nigerians call oil "the shit of the devil", because it's such a problem – related asset Have you heard of it ? You get your revenues from oil easily, so you don't have to make effort by yourself. And in the end you don't keep pace with China on 5G ? Education fails ? Hmm
Becommig a primary sector extraction nation sad destiny indeed, like africans growing cafe, bananas and cacao for others. Not to mention environmental problems
What has happened to the superb Nation that send the first man on the moon and invented modern computers ?
Disapointment
Money for space or money for war following the Zio. Choose Uncle Sam !
Difficult to have both

OverCommenter , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:24 pm GMT
Everyone seems to forget how we avoided war with Syria all those years ago It was when John Kerry of all people gaffed, and said "if Assad gives up all his chemical weapons." That was in response to a reporter who asked "is there anything that can stop the war?" A intrepid Russian ambassador chimed in loud enough for the press core to hear his "OK" and history was averted. Thinking restricting the power of the President will stop brown children from dying at the hands of insane US foreign policy is a cope. "Bi-partisanship" voted to keep troops in Syria, that was only a few months ago, have you already forgotten? Dubya started the drone program, and the magical African everyone fawns over, literally doubled the remote controlled death. We are way past pretending any elected official from either side is actually against more ME war, or even that one side is worse than the other.

The problem with the supporters Trump has left is they so desperately want to believe in something bigger than themselves. They have been fed propaganda for their whole lives, and as a result can only see the world in either "this is good" or "this is bad." The problem with the opposition is that they are insane. and will say or do anything regardless of the truth. Trump could be impeached for assassinating Sulimani, yet they keep proceeding with fake and retarded nonsense. Just like keeping troops in Syria, even the most insane rabid leftoids are just fine with US imperialism, so long as it's promoting Starbucks, Marvel and homosex, just like we see with support for HK. That is foreign meddling no matter how you try to justify it, and it's not even any different messaging than the hoax "bring democracyhumanrightsfreedom TM to the poor Arabs" justification that was used in Iraq. They don't even have to come up with a new play to run, it's really quite incredible.

Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:44 pm GMT
@OverCommenter A lot of right-wingers also see military action in the Middle East as a way for America to flex its muscles and bomb some Arabs. It also serves to justify the insane defence budget that could be used to build a wall and increase funding to ICE.

US politics has become incredibly bi-partisan, criticising Trump will get you branded a 'Leftist' in many circles. This extreme bipartisanship started with the Obama birth certificate nonsense which was being peddled by Jews like Orly Taitz, Philip J. Berg, Robert L. Shulz, Larry Klayman and Breitbart news – most likely because Obama was pursuing the JCPOA and not going hard enough on Iran – and continued with the Trump Russian agent angle.

Now many Americans cannot really think critically, they stick to their side like a fan sticks to their sports team.

Weston Waroda , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 9:11 pm GMT
The first person I ever heard say sanctions are acts of war was Ron Paul. The repulsive Madeleine Albright infamously said the deaths of 500,000 Iranian children due to US sanctions was worth it. She ought to be tried as a war criminal. Ron Paul ought to be Secretary of State.

[Feb 07, 2020] Moving independents is the primary task for Sanders

Highly recommended!
Many independents will abandon Trump in 2020. Trump lost all anti-war independents faction, for sure. His openly pro-isreal position will cost him some nationalists.
I think Sanders can knockout Trump by appointing Tulsi as the VP.
Feb 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ObjectiveFunction , February 7, 2020 at 11:04 am

Sanders understands (as does Trump), that the 2020 battle is *not* for the 35-40% whose minds are basically made up at each end. Trying to win those over in any numbers (especially by shrieking invective at them) is a pathetic waste of time and effort.

The winning message must move the 20-30% of voters who either:

(a) voted Obama (hope, for something more than soothing patter) and then Trump (a giant stubby middle finger to the establishment).
(b) voted Obama in 2008 but have stayed at home since (what's the point? they're all lying scum)

Sanders simply doesn't bring socialism to America, because he doesn't have a New Deal (i.e. SocDem) party. That kind of movement will take time (and the upcoming global climatolo-economic crisis) to build up, under savage attack from the propertied unterests and continuously subverted by credentialed PMC weasels and Idpol misleadership grifters.

What Sanders the man *does* bring, today, is:

(1) unimpeachable integrity, steadfastness and sorely missed absence of smug BS and double talk;
(2) hardheaded enforcement of the existing laws of the land;
(3) delivery of universal Concrete Material Benefits© to the broad citizenry (not more 'GDP' gravy for the oligarchs) in finite time, freeing them to rejuvenate themselves, and over time, the Republic.

This last is vitally important, but must also be approached prudently lest the entire movement lose focus, overextend and fall prey to the next Trump .

IMHO, it must focus ruthlessly on delivering:

(a) single payer health care, to starve (if not incinerate) the bloated ticks gorging on the US health/elder 'care' . cesspool, I can't bring myself to call it a 'system'. This above all: without it, Americans simply can't compete in any world, walls and tariffs or not.

(b) *real* infrastructure, for the 80%. That's water and sewerage, cross-class public housing, and busways and light rail to coax Americans out of their cars and suburbs. It's not 5G, vanity EVs and high speed Acelas. And sorry Keynesians, shovel ready is a side benefit, not the primary purpose. There's a lot to do.

(c) an overhaul of American higher education (still rooted in 17th century divinity schools). Teaching (and medicine) must again become honored occupations in the country; administrators must give way to front line practitioners.

. Only then can Bernie move on to the more deeply embedded and multinational targets:

(a) big finance,
(b) extractive industries
(c) the MIC

These behemoths can really only be attacked during a time of crisis. Or they will simply crush their opponents like insects, or buy them off.

In the case of the MIC, Berniecrats will likely need to be content with strong reassertion of Federal oversight (more stick, less carrot), and disengagement from doing our 'allies' dirty work (Trump is already on that road, with one huge Ixception .)

Total dismantlement sounds very nice, but consider: whatever's left of US industrial power is concentrated in the MIC. America doesn't need to 'buy prosperity down at the armoury', but like FDR, Bernie and (Tulsi) will also need to have the keels laid down against whatever whirlwind we have reaped. Baring our breast and saying 'we deserve destruction for our sins' is a fatuous open invitation to fascism. FDR knew better.

[/rant]

[Feb 07, 2020] Sanders Called JPMorgan's CEO America's 'Biggest Corporate Socialist' Here's Why He Has a Point

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It is purely extractive ..."
"... By Paul Adler, Professor of Management and Organization, Sociology and Environmental Studies, University of Southern California. Originally published at The Conversation ..."
Feb 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. I wish Sanders would use even more pointed messaging, like "socialism for the rich". But for those who complain about Sanders not going after important targets, this slap back at Dimon, who criticized Sanders and socialism at Davos, shows that the Vermont Senator is landing punches, but choosing his fights carefully.

And banks are much bigger welfare queens than the public realizes. They get all sorts of subsidies, from underpriced deposit insurance to Federal guaranteed for most home mortgages to the Fed operating and backstopping the essential Fedwire system. These subsidies are so great that banks should not be considered to be private sector entities, yet we let them privatize their profits and socialize their train wrecks. As we wrote in 2010 :

More support comes from Andrew Haldane of the Bank of England, who in a March 2010 paper compared the banking industry to the auto industry, in that they both produced pollutants: for cars, exhaust fumes; for bank, systemic risk. While economists were claiming that the losses to the US government on various rescues would be $100 billion (ahem, must have left out Freddie and Fannie in that tally), it ignores the broader costs (unemployment, business failures, reduced government services, particularly at the state and municipal level). His calculation of the world wide costs:

.these losses are multiples of the static costs, lying anywhere between one and five times annual GDP. Put in money terms, that is an output loss equivalent to between $60 trillion and $200 trillion for the world economy and between £1.8 trillion and £7.4 trillion for the UK. As Nobel-prize winning physicist Richard Feynman observed, to call these numbers "astronomical" would be to do astronomy a disservice: there are only hundreds of billions of stars in the galaxy. "Economical" might be a better description.

It is clear that banks would not have deep enough pockets to foot this bill. Assuming that a crisis occurs every 20 years, the systemic levy needed to recoup these crisis costs would be in excess of $1.5 trillion per year. The total market capitalisation of the largest global banks is currently only around $1.2 trillion. Fully internalising the output costs of financial crises would risk putting banks on the same trajectory as the dinosaurs, with the levy playing the role of the meteorite.

Yves here. So a banking industry that creates global crises is negative value added from a societal standpoint. It is purely extractive . Even though we have described its activities as looting (as in paying themselves so much that they bankrupt the business), the wider consequences are vastly worse than in textbook looting.

Back to the current post. As to JP Morgan's socialism versus the old USSR's planned economy, one recent study which I cannot readily find due to the sorry state of Google offered an important correction to conventional wisdom.

Recall that Soviet Russia initially did perform extremely well, freaking out the capitalist world by industrializing in a generation. There was ample hand-wringing as to whether a less disciplined free enterprise system could compete with a command and control economy. Economists got a seat at the policy table out of the concern that capitalist economies needed expert guidance to assure that they could produce both guns and butter.

The study concluded that central planning had worked well in Soviet Russia initially, until the lower-level apparatchiks started gaming the system by feeding bad information so as to make their performance look better (for instance, setting way too forgiving production targets, or demanding more resources than they needed). The paper contended that the increasingly poor information about what was actually happening on the ground considerably undermined the central planning process. That is not to say there weren't also likely problems with motivation and overly rigid bureaucracies. But the evolution of modern corporations, of devaluing and ignoring worker input and treating them like machines that are scored against narrow metrics, looks as demotivating as the stereotypical Soviet factory.

Finally, this post conflates socialism, which includes New Deal-ish European style social democracy, with capitalist systems alongside strong social safety nets, which the public ownership and provision of goods and services. It should be noted that public ownership has regularly provided services like utilities very effectively.

By Paul Adler, Professor of Management and Organization, Sociology and Environmental Studies, University of Southern California. Originally published at The Conversation

Sen. Bernie Sanders called JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon the " biggest corporate socialist in America today " in a recent ad.

He may have a point – beyond what he intended.

With his Dimon ad, Sanders is referring specifically to the bailouts JPMorgan and other banks took from the government during the 2008 financial crisis. But accepting government bailouts and corporate welfare is not the only way I believe American companies behave like closet socialists despite their professed love of free markets.

In reality, most big U.S. companies operate internally in ways Karl Marx would applaud as remarkably close to socialist-style central planning. Not only that, corporate America has arguably become a laboratory of innovation in socialist governance, as I show in my own research .

Closet Socialists

In public, CEOs like Dimon attack socialist planning while defending free markets.

But inside JPMorgan and most other big corporations, market competition is subordinated to planning. These big companies often contain dozens of business units and sometimes thousands. Instead of letting these units compete among themselves, CEOs typically direct a strategic planning process to ensure they cooperate to achieve the best outcomes for the corporation as a whole .

This is just how a socialist economy is intended to operate. The government would conduct economy-wide planning and set goals for each industry and enterprise, aiming to achieve the best outcome for society as a whole.

And just as companies rely internally on planned cooperation to meet goals and overcome challenges, the U.S. economy could use this harmony to overcome the existential crisis of our age – climate change. It's a challenge so massive and urgent that it will require every part of the economy to work together with government in order to address it.

Overcoming Socialism's Past Problems

But, of course, socialism doesn't have a good track record.

One of the reasons socialist planning failed in the old Soviet Union, for example, was that it was so top-down that it lacked the kind of popular legitimacy that democracy grants a government. As a result, bureaucrats overseeing the planning process could not get reliable information about the real opportunities and challenges experienced by enterprises or citizens.

Moreover, enterprises had little incentive to strive to meet their assigned objectives, especially when they had so little involvement in formulating them.

A second reason the USSR didn't survive was that its authoritarian system failed to motivate either workers or entrepreneurs. As a result, even though the government funded basic science generously, Soviet industry was a laggard in innovation .

Ironically, corporations – those singular products of capitalism – are showing how these and other problems of socialist planning can be surmounted.

Take the problem of democratic legitimacy. Some companies, such as General Electric , Kaiser Permanente and General Motors , have developed innovative ways to avoid the dysfunctions of autocratic planning by using techniques that enable lower-level personnel to participate actively in the strategy process.

Although profit pressures often force top managers to short-circuit the promised participation, when successfully integrated it not only provides top management with more reliable bottom-up input for strategic planning but also makes all employees more reliable partners in carrying it out.

So here we have centralization – not in the more familiar, autocratic model, but rather in a form I call "participative centralization." In a socialist system, this approach could be adopted, adapted and scaled up to support economy-wide planning, ensuring that it was both democratic and effective.

As for motivating innovation, America's big businesses face a challenge similar to that of socialism. They need employees to be collectivist, so they willingly comply with policies and procedures. But they need them to be simultaneously individualistic, to fuel divergent thinking and creativity.

One common solution in much of corporate America, as in the old Soviet Union, is to specialize those roles , with most people relegated to routine tasks while the privileged few work on innovation tasks. That approach, however, overlooks the creative capacities of the vast majority and leads to widespread employee disengagement and sub-par business performance.

Smarter businesses have found ways to overcome this dilemma by creating cultures and reward systems that support a synthesis of individualism and collectivism that I call "interdependent individualism." In my research, I have found this kind of motivation in settings as diverse as Kaiser Permanent physicians , assembly-line workers at Toyota's NUMMI plant and software developers at Computer Sciences Corp . These companies do this, in part, by rewarding both individual contributions to the organization's goals as well as collaboration in achieving them.

While socialists have often recoiled against the idea individual performance-based rewards, these more sophisticated policies could be scaled up to the entire economy to help meet socialism's innovation and motivation challenge.

Big Problems Require Big Government

The idea of such a socialist transformation in the U.S. may seem remote today.

But this can change, particularly as more Americans, especially young ones, embrace socialism . One reason they are doing so is because the current capitalist system has so manifestly failed to deal with climate change.

Looking inside these companies suggests a better way forward – and hope for society's ability to avert catastrophe.


Colonel Smithers , February 7, 2020 at 5:21 am

Thank you, Yves.

Just to add, as a former bank and buy side lobbyist, the industry is not always opposed to regulation. It's a barrier to entry.

This post is on the money. Banksters and their clients love corporate welfare and socialism for the rich, especially when so much of, for example, UK QE "leaked" into asset bubbles in emerging markets, commodities and real estate.

You are right to say that Sanders should use more pointed language. Like Nina Turner, he should call out oligarchs. That term is used for Russians and Ukrainians, but never for the likes of Zuckerberg, Musk, Dimon, Blankfein, Schmidt, Branson, Dyson, Arnault et al. The term regime should also be used. If it's good enough to delegitimise certain governments, it's good enough to describe the Trump and Johnson administrations. After all, William Hague in talks with the US government called the British government the Brown regime.

Feynman and Haldane are mentioned above. It emerged this week that Dominic Cummings, Johnson's main adviser, is an admirer of both, regarding them as free thinkers and technicians of substance, and championed Haldane's candidacy to be Bank of England governor. Johnson sided with Chancellor Sajid Javid.

Ignacio , February 7, 2020 at 6:21 am

Sanders should use more pointed language or may be not for the moment. May be after the Super Tuesday. He is being careful and that is good IMO. He doesn't want to give excuses for easy attacks. I would say, instead of "socialism for the rich", "socialism for the 1%" or the 0,1% even better. Sounds more neutral. A comment yesterday linked an article comparing Sanders with Gandhi and others and I think it was well pointed. The quiet and careful revolution!

skippy , February 7, 2020 at 6:30 am

Attack the economics and not the strawmen.

pretzelattack , February 7, 2020 at 7:02 am

what do you think of american democracy? i think it would be a good idea.

ObjectiveFunction , February 7, 2020 at 11:04 am

Sanders understands (as does Trump), that the 2020 battle is *not* for the 35-40% whose minds are basically made up at each end. Trying to win those over in any numbers (especially by shrieking invective at them) is a pathetic waste of time and effort.

The winning message must move the 20-30% of voters who either:

(a) voted Obama (hope, for something more than soothing patter) and then Trump (a giant stubby middle finger to the establishment).
(b) voted Obama in 2008 but have stayed at home since (what's the point? they're all lying scum)

Sanders simply doesn't bring socialism to America, because he doesn't have a New Deal (i.e. SocDem) party. That kind of movement will take time (and the upcoming global climatolo-economic crisis) to build up, under savage attack from the propertied unterests and continuously subverted by credentialed PMC weasels and Idpol misleadership grifters.

What Sanders the man *does* bring, today, is:

(1) unimpeachable integrity, steadfastness and sorely missed absence of smug BS and double talk;
(2) hardheaded enforcement of the existing laws of the land;
(3) delivery of universal Concrete Material Benefits© to the broad citizenry (not more 'GDP' gravy for the oligarchs) in finite time, freeing them to rejuvenate themselves, and over time, the Republic.

This last is vitally important, but must also be approached prudently lest the entire movement lose focus, overextend and fall prey to the next Trump .

IMHO, it must focus ruthlessly on delivering:

(a) single payer health care, to starve (if not incinerate) the bloated ticks gorging on the US health/elder 'care' . cesspool, I can't bring myself to call it a 'system'. This above all: without it, Americans simply can't compete in any world, walls and tariffs or not.

(b) *real* infrastructure, for the 80%. That's water and sewerage, cross-class public housing, and busways and light rail to coax Americans out of their cars and suburbs. It's not 5G, vanity EVs and high speed Acelas. And sorry Keynesians, shovel ready is a side benefit, not the primary purpose. There's a lot to do.

(c) an overhaul of American higher education (still rooted in 17th century divinity schools). Teaching (and medicine) must again become honored occupations in the country; administrators must give way to front line practitioners.

. Only then can Bernie move on to the more deeply embedded and multinational targets:

(a) big finance,
(b) extractive industries
(c) the MIC

These behemoths can really only be attacked during a time of crisis. Or they will simply crush their opponents like insects, or buy them off.

In the case of the MIC, Berniecrats will likely need to be content with strong reassertion of Federal oversight (more stick, less carrot), and disengagement from doing our 'allies' dirty work (Trump is already on that road, with one huge Ixception .)

Total dismantlement sounds very nice, but consider: whatever's left of US industrial power is concentrated in the MIC. America doesn't need to 'buy prosperity down at the armoury', but like FDR, Bernie and (Tulsi) will also need to have the keels laid down against whatever whirlwind we have reaped. Baring our breast and saying 'we deserve destruction for our sins' is a fatuous open invitation to fascism. FDR knew better.

[/rant]

Harry Shearer , February 7, 2020 at 11:28 am

Anybody citing Kaiser Permanente as a good example of anything has never known a person subjected to their distinctive form of "care".

David J. , February 7, 2020 at 7:32 am

Sanders was pretty direct last night at the CNN Town Hall. Flat out calls Trump a socialist. (youtube link to the question.)

Also, stick around for his answer to Cooper's followup question. Gloves are off.

LowellHighlander , February 7, 2020 at 7:43 am

Paul Adler's post here reminds me of John Kenneth Galbraith's New Industrial State, except Professor Adler was referring to the financial (i.e. parasitical) sector of the economy. Am I off the mark in thinking this?

Mel , February 7, 2020 at 11:13 am

You're right on. Galbraith showed that planning comes naturally from very large projects. Soviets went to planning because they couldn't bet the entire national economy on some gut feeling -- they needed to know what would happen. Ditto the gigantic industries in what JKG called the Planning Sector in the west. Projects spending millions or billions of dollars over many years couldn't be left to chance. Eliminating chance meant imposing control, which the gigantic industries could try to do, helped by their access to gigantic capital, and which the Soviets had done with State power.

IMHO the modern FIRE sector arose from the old Planning Sector. They eliminated the uncertainties that complicated their planning; they cut their ties with physical processes that brought those uncertainties; they dumped physical industries onto throwaway economies overseas (that could be abandoned if they failed); they finally became pure businesses that dealt only with nice, clean contracts. No muss, no fuss, no bother.

Dirk77 , February 7, 2020 at 12:41 pm

So planning is a tool of any organization, yet is required more the larger it becomes? While planning may make sense for a company with a single product such as automobiles, does it make sense for a conglomerate? I mean I think the purpose of a conglomerate is to contain many diverse product sectors to reduce risk of the conglomerate as a whole to any one sector. In that way each sector does its own planning, but the conglomerate as a whole does not, apart from choosing which companies to buy and sell, which can be considered a different type of planning? In that way are the goals of society planning are different from the goals of conglomerate planning or that of smaller single product sector companies? Yet in spite of these differences the techniques of planning are the same? Is that the main point of Alder's article? Can someone explain please.

DSB , February 7, 2020 at 8:44 am

Dimon – billionaire bank manager.

chuck roast , February 7, 2020 at 8:46 am

If you surf around a bit you can find links to Bernie's views and support of worker co-ops. There is nothing on his website. In light the burgeoning Socialist smear tsunami, it is probably not something he wants to emphasize right now. Imagine someone getting up at a CNN Town Hall and asking him about his attitude towards worker cooperatives. (corporate heads explode on golf-courses all over America)

Stadist , February 7, 2020 at 10:03 am

Modern theses about leadership, expertise and management underline agile learning and self leadership to everyone himself and within team and then within larger entities. While I'm somewhat pessimistic about these corporate trends they still look like they would work much better with worker co-ops than in traditional top down owned corporations. Basically they are asking higher dedication from workers, but this only works really well if the profits are shared with workers in somewhat equitable manner in my opinion.

Also it seems common nowadays that many coding/programming companies, especially the highly productive ones seem to act more akin to co-ops than monolithically led traditional companies. The programmers are often engaged more to the company by giving or selling them shares, and if this happens in large scale the company ownership structure can skew more towards worker owned 'co-op'-like entity than more hierarchical traditional company, where owners and workers are usually clearly separated.

The Rev Kev , February 7, 2020 at 9:57 am

Be nice if one could have posted the Forbes 400 but, listed next to each entry, is the amount of money that they receive from the Federal government both directly and indirectly.

inode_buddha , February 7, 2020 at 12:38 pm

You might want to have a look at Open Secrets

https://www.opensecrets.org/

They conveniently list which money went where, and how the respective legislator voted.

notabanktoadie , February 7, 2020 at 10:23 am

Yves here. So a banking industry that creates global crises is negative value added from a societal standpoint. It is purely extractive. [bold in the original]

Which leads to this obvious question: Why should banks be privileged, explicitly or implicitly, in any way then?

E.g. why should we have only a SINGLE payment system (besides grubby physical fiat, paper bills and coins) that recklessly combines what should be inherently risk-free deposits with the inherently at-risk deposits the banks themselves create? I.e. why should a government privileged usury cartel hold the entire economy hostage?

a different chris , February 7, 2020 at 12:14 pm

If you mean "why" in the moral sense, which I believe you do, there is no answer.

If you mean why in the technical sense, examine this sentence:

>why should a government privileged usury cartel

It's not "government privileged", it owns the government. Anything the government is allowed to do outside of making Jamie Dimon et al richer are considered the actual privileges by this group, and can, will and have been retracted at will.

notabanktoadie , February 7, 2020 at 1:46 pm

If the banks cognitively "own" the government, it's because almost everyone believes TINA to government privileges for them.

This is disgracefully true of the big names of MMT, who should be working on HOW to abolish those privileges, not ignore or, in the case of Warren Mosler at least, INCREASE* them.

*e.g. unlimited, unsecured loans from the Central Bank to banks at ZERO percent.

Dirk77 , February 7, 2020 at 11:03 am

That neither extreme, capitalism or socialism, works, and that what is best for human society is some middle ground between the two is a very important message. So I'm very glad for this post. I realize that a black and white way of perceiving the world is an easy one. Yet as Alder points out, humans are both individuals and social beings. If people in this world could get back to thinking more like Ancient Greece in its appreciation for the golden mean, we would have a much better chance of surviving. Dispensing with all these useless socialism vs capitalism discussions would be a great time saver. I realize most people believe in some middle ground, yet making it explicit would simplify things quite a bit. As for the rest of the article, I need to think about it more. The corporate socialism idea does tie in with the link yesterday about limited liability.

a different chris , February 7, 2020 at 12:19 pm

>That neither extreme, capitalism or socialism, works,

Exactly! Because: There. Is. No. Economic. Equilibrium. Never was, never will be, anywhere and everywhere. Heck for billions of years, before humans existed let alone learned to talk, the world changed. Things developed, other things went extinct (although not in the heart-wrenching way of the Anthropocene, I personally am happy never to have met a T. Rex in truth), the way the world works even without us is continual change.

So adjust as necessary. Our healthcare system sucks, bring full bore socialism on it. Our corporate overlords suck, bring full bore free markets (kill patents to start) on them.

monday1929 , February 7, 2020 at 2:51 pm

You might want to re-think the "kill patents" idea. Our Founders liked them. I just had a patent "killed" by an examiner who "killed" 42 of 43 patents he examined. It was for a device which could be saving Corona/Flu victims Right Now. I am going to try to Donate the idea to Society, but preventing people from profiting from valid Novel ideas is not the solution. I realize Corporations abuse the Patent System, like every other thing they touch. But I am a low level individual who is trying to "innovate" and reduce illness. My main motivation was not monetary but it is always a factor.
I believe you have the wrong target on this issue.
My first rejection on a related patent was just received 2.5 years after initial filing. It took this long because the Govt. takes money from USPTO (which runs a surplus) and sends it to the General Fund. USA innovation friendly? Not the way I see it.

NoBrick , February 7, 2020 at 11:20 am

"But for those who complain about Sanders not going after important targets "

Consider the wisdom of Susan Webber:
"Wisdom of the CEO is comprimised work. These CEOs "know" that too much candor,
either individually or institutionally, is not a pro-survival strategy."

Diogenes , February 7, 2020 at 11:53 am

I think the comparison of banks to welfare queens is quite unfair.

To welfare queens, that is.

Assuming they exist outside of the sweaty PR fantasies of those of a certain political stripe, presumably even a welfare queen is not living 100% off of the munificence of the state, whereas the implied value of the "Too Big To Fail" guaranty subsidy was determined to be very nearly in the same amount as the annual profits of the recipient banks. In other words, they're complete wards of the state. Doesn't get much more socialistic than that.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2013-02-20/why-should-taxpayers-give-big-banks-83-billion-a-year-

In other words: "Socialism for me, markets for thee."

Susan the other , February 7, 2020 at 12:17 pm

Thank you, Yves for this post. Alder has very logical and accessible ideas. "Interdependent Individualism" is a good way to begin. When he says "socialists recoil against individual performance-based rewards" I can't help but think the rewards should be gifted from the workers to the bosses. Because that would be very change-promoting. Top down has a tendency to stagnate motivation – even offensively – like tossing them a few crumbs to keep them quiet. imo. This also really does sound Japanese. I'm not sure I can relate to the way they cooperate; from them there is not so much as a polite argument; certainly no sarcastic barbs. Americans are the exact opposite – we cooperate competitively in a sense. But Climate Change will dictate our direction regardless of decorum. My own sense of our dilemma is that "free market" corporations make their profits by extracting from labor and the exploitation of the environment, and by externalizing costs to society. Big disconnect. Huge, in fact. This is why "capitalism" has failed to address climate change. Anybody else notice that China has forbidden short selling as we speak? Just like the Fed did in 2009 with QE, etc. That's probably because if the economy crashes (regardless of how illogical it has become) it will take way too long to put back together. And there's work to be done. I remember Randy Wray dryly responding to Jacobin's criticism (of MMT) that the ideological socialists would rather see a bloody Marxist uprising than a peaceful evolution. I do think Wray is right on ideological blinders on both sides. One quibble I have with this very wise post is that it assumes (I think) that we cannot change our ways fast enough to mobilize adequately to address climate change. I think we've been doing it pretty aggressively since 2009. Literally a world war to control oil and maintain financial supremacy; serious consideration of our options by the political class (turning to MMT, etc.); slamming the breaks on trade and manufacturing; subsidizing essential industries. I'm sure there are other things going on under the radar. So I wouldn't discount our ability to mobilize – just our inability to admit it. Clearly we want to do things selectively.

a different chris , February 7, 2020 at 12:25 pm

>the Vermont Senator is landing punches, but choosing his fights carefully.

Yes, as Objective Function laid out nicely (funny word for this mess, but whatever) above – this isn't gonna be easy. If you hope to beat Mike Tyson in his prime, you don't start by trading heavy blows. Defeat him with small but continuous cuts from multiple directions.

twonine , February 7, 2020 at 12:30 pm

Speaking of Davos and Dimon, shouldn't that be "Biggest Corporate Criminals" ?

" senior leaders of three of the largest and most elite U.S. banks were serial criminals whose frauds are (we pray) without equal." -- William K. Black

monday1929 , February 7, 2020 at 2:34 pm

Wallstreet on parade website does great job laying out JPM's crime spree. They (JPM) just came off parole(?) in January on some Felony charges. Someone (Eliz. Warren?) might start a movement to prohibit public pensions / State and local Govts. from conducting business with any banks convicted of felonies or entering plea agreements more than, let's say, ten per year.
A convicted felon can not get a job at a bank run by a 22 times loser- Jamie Dimon, a fellow felon who should have some empathy.
Wallstreet on parade is one of few sites who discuss Citi's crimes, and the fact that the Federal Reserve tried to cover up (and succeeded until about 2012) the secret 2.5 TRILLIION in revolving loans provided to a bankrupt Citibank around 2009. This in addition to the hundreds of billions we did know about.
I do tend to harp on this because the felon Robert Rubin cost me about 500K in expired Put options on shittybank because of his blatant, felonious (per FCIC) lies right before the implosion. His referral for prosecution by the Financial Crises Inquiry Commission mysteriously withered away

[Jan 31, 2020] What's going on right now with Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton is the beginning of sticking the knife back into Bernie's back by Bill Martin What follows originates in some notes I made in response to one such woman who supports Bernie. There are two main points.

Highly recommended!
Jan 31, 2020 | off-guardian.org

1. What's going on right now with Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton is the beginning of sticking the knife back into Bernie's back. These two played a major role in doing that in 2016, and now they're getting the band back together again. Okay, that's no mystery.

The real question is, What are Bernie supporters and those who (one way or another) support the Democrats, going to do about it? When and if Warren and Clinton succeed in taking Bernie down–and of course Biden and the Obamas are onboard for this, as well–will Democrats (and Dem-supporting "leftists," etc.) be so blinded by TDS that they'll just say,

"Oh well, we still have to vote for " Warren, Biden, etc.?

I think this runs parallel to what some have said about "letting the CIA help with the impeachment"–it's truly delusional, reactionary stuff. Likewise, people getting in a huff because "Bernie called her a liar on national television." No problem, apparently, that Warren first called Bernie a liar. Even more, no problem that Warren's whole life and career is based on a lie–a lie that, even now, she justifies with bullshit about how she "just loves her family so much." Indeed, Hillary's intervention in the following days was very likely intended to take attention away from Warren's attack on Sanders, as well as, of course, to once again put HRC out there as the potential savior at the convention.

It seems to me that the lesson here is that, if Bernie doesn't get the nomination, no other candidate (from among the frontrunners) is acceptable, especially because of the role they will have played in taking down Bernie and his movement.

I have two basic reasons for hoping Sanders can get the nomination and that there could be a Trump/Sanders election:

i. For Sanders to get the nomination there will have to be a very strong, dedicated, and focused movement, which will essentially have to defeat the powers-that-be in the Democratic Party and in whatever one wants to call the agglomeration of power mechanisms that form the establishment and the State. Sanders will have to do what Trump did with the Republican Party in 2016, except with Sanders and the power structures he will be up against (and with which he is more compromised than Trump ever was), this will be much, much harder. I really don't think it can happen -- and we're seeing major moves in this effort toward eliminating Bernie just in the week that has passed since I started writing this. However, this does mean that, if Bernie can build (much further) and lead the movement to seriously address these power structures, and even beat them in some significant ways, then something tremendous will have been accomplished -- "the harder they come, the harder they fall," or at least I hope so. ii. Despite what you and many others say and (I feel) are a bit too desperate to think, Sanders does have some things in common with Trump, at least thematically -- and a lot of my arguments in my articles have to do with the importance of these themes being out there, in a way that they never would have been with any other Republican, Hillary Clinton or any of the other current frontrunners besides Sanders, and any of the other media with the very important exceptions of Tucker Carlson, Steve Hilton, and perhaps a couple others on Fox News (perhaps Laura Ingram) -- and this is not only something that the anti-Trumpers absolutely hate, they hate it so much that they can't even think about it.

That is, Trump and Sanders have in common that they 1) profess that they want to do things that improve the lives of ordinary working people, and 2) profess that they want to draw back militarism.

What I emphasize is that these terms would not even be on the table if it weren't for Trump -- and yes, to some extent if it weren't for Bernie, but there is a way in which Bernie can only be out there at all because Trump has put these things on the table.

A lot of blowback against my articles has been against my argument that getting these terms and the discourse around them on the table is very important, a real breakthrough, and a breakthrough that both clarifies the larger terms of things and disrupts the "smooth functioning" (I take this from Marcuse) of the neoliberal-neoconservative compact around economics and military intervention.

Okay, maybe I'm right about this importance, maybe I'm not -- that's an argument I've dealt with extensively in my articles and that I'll try to deal with definitively in further writing -- but certainly a very important part of not letting Sanders be taken down by the other frontrunners (and HRC, and other nefarious forces, with Warren playing a special "feminist" and Identity Politics role here -- a role that does nothing to help, and indeed does much to hurt, ordinary working people of all colors, genders, etc.) will be to further sharpen the general understanding of the importance of these themes.

Significantly, there is a third theme which has emerged since the unexpected election of Donald Trump -- unexpected at least by the establishment and the nefarious powers (though they were thinking of an "insurance policy"); on this theme, I don't know that Sanders can do much -- working with the Democratic Party, he is too implicated in this issue, and he does not have whatever "protection" Trump has here.

What I am referring to are those nefarious powers behind the establishment and the ruling class, and that have taken on a life of their own -- I don't mind calling this the Deep State, but one can just think about the "intelligence community" and especially the CIA.

Whatever -- the point is that Trump has had to call them out and expose them in ways that they obviously do not like, and also his agenda of a world where the U.S. gets along well-enough with China and Russia at least not to risk WWIII, or, perhaps more realistically, not to tip the balance of things such that Russia goes completely over to a full alliance with China, a "Eurasian Union," which both Putin and Xi have spoken about, is not to their liking.

Whether Sanders would call out these nefarious factors if he were in a position to do so, I don't know -- I don't have great confidence that he would -- but it is also the case that he is not in a position to do so, these powers can easily dispose of Sanders in ways that they haven't been able to, so far, with Trump.

If one does think these themes are important, especially the first two (with further discussion reserved regarding the powers-behind-the-powers), then I wish that Trump-haters would open their minds for a moment and think about what it apparently takes in our social system to even begin to get these themes on the table.

In any case, regarding Sanders, the movement he is building will have to go even further with the first two themes if Sanders is nominated, and at least go some distance in taking on the third theme. This applies even more if Sanders were to be elected. (This is where you might take a look at the 1988 mini-series, A Very British Coup -- except that how things go down in the U.S. will not be so "British.") Here again, though, if Sanders is to build a movement that can openly address these questions, this will be tremendous, a great thing.

So this is it in a nutshell: If Sanders were to be nominated, then there is the possibility, which everyone ought to work to make a reality, that we could have an election based around the questions, What can be done to improve the lives of ordinary working people?, and, What can be done to curb militarism and end the endless interventions and wars?


Antonym ,

Bernie is a nice guy – too nice: no match for the shark pools from Fairfax county, Lower Manhattan or the Clinton clan . The 2016 DNC candidate selection revelations proved this.

The only untainted strong Democratic candidate is Tulsi Gabbard, but she has all Establishments against her.

Fair dinkum ,

Since Reagan's Presidency, all US elections have been about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
The ship may be sinking slowly, but the outcome will be the same.

Gall ,

I'd say it was long before Ronnie got elected to office. Remember it was Carter and Zyb who got involved in the imperial quick sand of Afghanistan (mixing metaphors here) that is after being run out of 'Nam by a bunch of angry natives who had gotten tired of America "being a force for good" by reining "freedom and democracy" on them from the bomb bays of B 52s which I think is going to a be similar situation to what will soon happen in Iraq if we dawdle too long.

Elections have in reality become all pomp with no circumstance. Flip a coin and it always comes up heads. It's a stacked deck that public are asked to play every two years thinking the odds are in their favor when it never really is. Might as well head to Vegas following the dusty trail of Hunter S Thompson.

Charlotte Russe ,

It's not all that complicated Obama laid the groundwork ensuring Bernie's defeat when he interfered in deciding who would Chair the DNC. Tom Perez was Obama's pick. Bernie wanted Keith Ellison. Perez guaranteed neoliberal centrist Dems would maintain control. Tom Perez didn't disappoint– his nominations for the 2020 Democratic Convention standing committees are a like a who's who of centrism. Most of the folks on this "A list" would fit quite nicely in the Republican Party.

Bernie a FDR Democrat, is considered too radical by the wealthy who enjoy their Trumpian tax cuts and phony baloney stock market profits. If Trump, was just a bit less crude and not so overtly racist he'd be perfectly acceptable. Bernie, who thinks the working-poor are entitled to a living wage, healthcare, a college education, and clean drinking water is anathema to the affluent liberals who like everything just the way it is. They long for the Obama days when two wars were quietly expanded to seven, when the Wall Street crooks got a pass, and when health insurance lobbyists had their way with the federal government–the CIA was absolutely ecstatic with Obama. Trump was a bit of a speed bump for the security state, but nothing really threatening as he stuffed the pockets of the arms industry and the surveillance state with billions of working-class tax dollars. The Orangeman is having a few internecine battles with the intelligence agencies, but in the end they thoroughly had their way with the buffoon.

Bernie on the other hand, is a bit more complex. He can't be as easily attacked. Of course, the mainstream media news has all the usual Corbyn tricks in their bag, and Bernie could fall to the wayside like Corbyn if he's incapable of unapologetically fighting back. Bernie's working-class supporters want to see him give his attackers the one-two-punch and knock them out before the DNC Convention.

If Bernie manages to win numerous primaries the threat won't come from Warren or Hillary that's so 2016. The new insidious "Bernie enemy" is billionaire Bloomberg. Who is waiting in the wings If Biden takes a deep dive, Daddy Warbucks will make a play to cause a brokered convention. And that's when Perez and his Republican/Dems will takedown Bernie. Bernie's followers MUST come out swinging and not capitulate like they did last time. They have to force the issue, create a stir and threaten to abandon the Dems to start a Workers Third Party. Young progressives have this one big shot at making a difference, and they can't allow themselves to be sheepdogged into voting for another neoliberal who's
intent on maintaining the status quo. Remember, if you don't move forward you're actually moving backward into planetary ecocide.

Gall ,

Hey check this out. Seems the DNC is shaking in their boots about the possibility of a third party hijacking their "base":

https://www.mintpressnews.com/liberal-establishment-warning-third-parties-not-to-ruin-2020-election/264460/

Here's one from Whitney implying that they needn't worry because plans are in the works to install King Cyrus II as the permanent ruler with the help of his Zionist friends in the Department of Hebrew Security:

https://www.mintpressnews.com/liberal-establishment-warning-third-parties-not-to-ruin-2020-election/264460/

Even so it looks like Trump has decided to get rid of us noninterventionist and antiwar naysayers by fully bringing in the Dispensationalist Armageddon rapture embracing nut jobs who stand with the Talmudic genocidal racists in Israel who believe that Jesus Christ is boiling for an eternity in excrement and that his mother Mary was a whore:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52918.htm

I wish that this insanity was fantasy.

mark cutts ,

Hi Bill

we have witnessed in the UK the defamation of Corbyn the ' Left Disrupter ' as he wanted to throw back the normal state of political play.

He and the well meaning Labour Party was headed off at the pass.

We have to remember that the Ruling Class have to have fall back positions and that Biden is better than Bernie as is Warren and so on.

It appears to me that the DNC also has its fallback positions too and Bernie will be chopped by the Super Delegates once again on the altar of ' electabilty ' ( read any form of Socialism – American or British is not acceptatble to the PTB ) and that is how it may end.

The battle at the moment in the UK Labour Party is which leader will back up and support extra Parliamentary action in resistance to this very right wing Tory government?

In the US the thing is the same if Bernie doesn't get the nomination.

Personally I would think that he would be a plus ( despite his foreign policy views ) but remember that Trump was a maverick Republican yet I'm not sure that Sanders would veer over to that position.

If he did then the " action " part of the steep learning curve would have to kick in to defend him and more to the point his genuinely progressive policies.

In the UK now Corbyn as the personification of ' Socialist ' threat is no longer doorstepped by the British media.

Instead the installation of a Leftish Centrist by the media ( i.e. a person that is -no threat to the existing order ) is a requirement.

This is all under the guise of a " Strong Opposition " to the right wing government.

Warren – not Biden seems to be that kind of favourite for the Ruling Class should Trump fall.

We had Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair – you in the US will get Warren.

I wish Bernie and his backers weel but I don't see it happening.

Maybe Tulsi Gabbard in another 4 years?

She and AOC are very good But this is not their time.

Not yet.

Richard Le Sarc ,

When I think of how Corbyn refused to fight back against ENTIRELY mendacious and filthy vilification as an 'antisemite', I think it might be possible that the MOSSAD told him that if he resisted he might end up, dead in his bath, like John Smith.

bevin ,

Where the world weary gather to tell us how they have been let down.
Bill nails it here:
" i. For Sanders to get the nomination there will have to be a very strong, dedicated, and focused movement, which will essentially have to defeat the powers-that-be in the Democratic Party and in whatever one wants to call the agglomeration of power mechanisms that form the establishment and the State. Sanders will have to do what Trump did with the Republican Party in 2016, except with Sanders and the power structures he will be up against (and with which he is more compromised than Trump ever was), this will be much, much harder ."

Anyone who believes that elections, as such, lead to great changes needs a keeper. And one who can read the US Constitution aloud for preference.
But this is not to say that at a time like this-and there have been very few of them in US history- when there is the possibility of a major candidate challenging some of the bases of the ruling ideology-albeit by doing little more than running on a platform of refurbished Progressivism- there is really no excuse for not insisting that the challenge be made and the election played out.
Sanders is not just challenging the verities of neo-liberalism but, implicitly undermining the political consensus that has supported the Warfare State since 1948.
The thing about Bernie is that he is authenticated by the enemies that he has enrolled against him and the dramatic measures that they are taking against him. Among those enemies are the Black Misleadership Class, and the various other faux progressives who are revealing themselves to be last ditch defenders of the MIC, Israel- AIPAC is now 'all in' in Iowa and New Hampshire- and the Insurance industry. It is an indication of the simplicity of Bernie's political task that no section of Congress gives more support to the Healthcare scammers than the representatives of the community most deprived by the current system. If he manages to get through to the people and persuade them that he will fight for Free Healthcare for all and other basic and long overdue social and economic reforms he can break the hold that the political parties have over a system everyone understands is designed to make the rich-who own both parties- richer and the great majority poorer. That has been the way that things have been going in the USA for at least 45 years.

Gall ,

Here's the point you've missed here Bill and that Bernie had a mass appeal to the Independents that is until he sold out to the "Democratic" establishment which out of the two parties has to be the least democratic since it adopted the elitist and plutocratic Super Delegate system that can ride roughshod over the actual democratic will of the voters.

Of course a cosmetic change has been made that these delegates aren't allowed to vote until the Convention but as I said it is "cosmetic" since that was originally the way this undemocratic system was set up in the "Democratic" party until Hillary Clinton used it as a psychological weapon during that sham called a "primary" to convince the hoi polo that her nomination or more accurately coronation was already a foregone conclusion.

There is also another factor that most voters are not aware of and that is the so called "Democratic" party has come up with a dictatorial "by law" that can nullify the result of the primary if the candidate isn't considered "democratic" enough by the Chairman of the DNC which in Bernie's case is very possible since technically he is an Independent running as a "Democrat". This is what Lee Camp the "Nuclear Option".

Explained here in his inimitable style:

https://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/lee-camp-the-dncs-secret-nuclear-option-to-stop-bernie-sanders-and-what-we-can-do-about-it/

Personally I gave up on Bernie after he sold out and shilled for that warmongering harpy Hillary who if elected would accept it as a mandate to launch WW III while ironically trying to convince us all that the "noninterventionist", "antiwar" candidate was actually the greater of the two evils.

Yeah right.

Anyway no longer have any faith in the two party system. As far as I'm concerned they can both go to hell. I've already made my choice:

https://www.markcharles2020.com

He probably needs to adjust his message more to appeal to those of us who tend to be more Libertarian and is not exactly a Russell Means but with a little help from the American Indian Movement and others can probably "triangulate" his appeal to cover a broader political spectrum. Instead of what has been traditionally known as the "left".

Greg Bacon ,

After Obama, the golden liar and mass-murderer and now Tubby the Grifter, another liar and mass-murderer, I have no desire to vote in 2020, unless Tulsi is on the ticket.

If Sanders is smart and survives another back-alley mugging by the DNC and the Wicked Witch of the East, and gets the nod, he'll take on Tulsi–Mommy–as his VP.
If he does that, then Trump, Jared the Snake and Princess Bimbo will have to find another racket in 2021.

Gall ,

Yeah Trumpenstein is a far cry from the Silver Tongued Devil O-Bomb-em. Even so both of them sold us a bill of goods that neither of them delivered on.

But hey that's politics in America at least since Neoliberal prototype Wilson which is lie your ass off until you get elected at least.

Willem ,

Much magical thinking here.

If we act now and support Sanders things will change for the better?

I surely hope so, but hope and change is soo 2008.

And if the Hildebeast enters the race, life on earth will end?

Don't think so.

Perhaps we should do this different this time. Get away from the identity politics, look what is really needed, and demand for that, not caring about 'leadership'. You know, French yellow vests style. Actually if you look a little bit outside of the MSM bubble, you see demonstrations and people demanding better treatment from the government and corporations everywhere.

The US 2020 elections, will be a nothing burger I predict. Like all elections are nothing burgers and if they are not they will fake it, or call it 'populism' that needs to be stopped (and will be stopped).

I would have voted Sanders though, if I could vote for Sanders, Similar as I would have voted for Corbyn if I could have voted for Corbyn. Voting is a tic, a habit, an addiction that is difficult to get rid of, but deadly in the end since we have nothing to vote for, except to vote for more for them at the cost of everyone else, no matter what politicians say

It's liberating to lose some of your illusions and silly reflexes, although a bit painful in the beginning as is with all addictions. The story used to 'feel' so good.

See also https://act.represent.us/sign/the-problem/

Richard Le Sarc ,

If voting changed anything, it would be outlawed.

[Jan 29, 2020] Campaign Promises and Ending Wars

Highly recommended!
Jan 29, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

lizabeth Warren wrote an article outlining in general terms how she would bring America's current foreign wars to an end. Perhaps the most significant part of the article is her commitment to respect Congress' constitutional role in matters of war:

We will hold ourselves to this by recommitting to a simple idea: the constitutional requirement that Congress play a primary role in deciding to engage militarily. The United States should not fight and cannot win wars without deep public support. Successive administrations and Congresses have taken the easy way out by choosing military action without proper authorizations or transparency with the American people. The failure to debate these military missions in public is one of the reasons they have been allowed to continue without real prospect of success [bold mine-DL].

On my watch, that will end. I am committed to seeking congressional authorization if the use of force is required. Seeking constrained authorizations with limited time frames will force the executive branch to be open with the American people and Congress about our objectives, how the operation is progressing, how much it is costing, and whether it should continue.

Warren's commitment on this point is welcome, and it is what Americans should expect and demand from their presidential candidates. It should be the bare minimum requirement for anyone seeking to be president, and any candidate who won't commit to respecting the Constitution should never be allowed to have the powers of that office. The president is not permitted to launch attacks and start wars alone, but Congress and the public have allowed several presidents to do just that without any consequences. It is time to put a stop to illegal presidential wars, and it is also time to put a stop to open-ended authorizations of military force. Warren's point about asking for "constrained authorizations with limited time frames" is important, and it is something that we should insist on in any future debate over the use of force. The 2001 and 2002 AUMFs are still on the books and have been abused and stretched beyond recognition to apply to groups that didn't exist when they were passed so that the U.S. can fight wars in countries that don't threaten our security. Those need to be repealed as soon as possible to eliminate the opening that they have provided the executive to make war at will.

Michael Brendan Dougherty is unimpressed with Warren's rhetoric:

But what has Warren offered to do differently, or better? She's made no notable break with the class of experts who run our failing foreign policy. Unlike Bernie Sanders, and like Trump or Obama, she hasn't hired a foreign-policy staff committed to a different vision. And so her promise to turn war powers back to Congress should be considered as empty as Obama's promise to do the same. Her promise to bring troops home would turn out to be as meaningless as a Trump tweet saying the same.

We shouldn't discount Warren's statements so easily. When a candidate makes specific commitments about ending U.S. wars during a campaign, that is different from making vague statements about having a "humble" foreign policy. Bush ran on a conventional hawkish foreign policy platform, and there were also no ongoing wars for him to campaign against, so we can't say that he ever ran as a "dove." Obama campaigned against the Iraq war and ran on ending the U.S. military presence there, and before his first term was finished almost all U.S. troops were out of Iraq. It is important to remember that he did not campaign against the war in Afghanistan, and instead argued in support of it. His subsequent decision to commit many more troops there was a mistake, but it was entirely consistent with what he campaigned on. In other words, he withdrew from the country he promised to withdraw from, and escalated in the country where he said the U.S. should be fighting. Trump didn't actually campaign on ending any wars, but he did talk about "bombing the hell" out of ISIS, and after he was elected he escalated the war on ISIS. His anti-Iranian obsession was out in the open from the start if anyone cared to pay attention to it. In short, what candidates commit to doing during a campaign does matter and it usually gives you a good idea of what a candidate will do once elected.

If Warren and some of the other Democratic candidates are committing to ending U.S. wars, we shouldn't assume that they won't follow through on those commitments because previous presidents proved to be the hawks that they admitted to being all along. Presidential candidates often tell us exactly what they mean to do, but we have to be paying attention to everything they say and not just one catchphrase that they said a few times. If voters want a more peaceful foreign policy, they should vote for candidates that actually campaign against ongoing wars instead of rewarding the ones that promise and then deliver escalation. But just voting for the candidates that promise an end to wars is not enough if Americans want Congress to start doing its job by reining in the executive. If we don't want presidents to run amok on war powers, there have to be political consequences for the ones that have done that and there needs to be steady pressure on Congress to take back their role in matters of war. Voters should select genuinely antiwar candidates, but then they also have to hold those candidates accountable once they're in office.

[Jan 28, 2020] Sanders is like a geriatric Colonel Kurz, operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct by CJ Hopkins

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In any event, no matter who they nominate, they have no chance of winning in November. How could they, given the total stranglehold the Russians now have on American democracy? ..."
www.zerohedge.com

... ... ...

Resistance Non-Lethal Option No. 1 is winning the 2020 election, which isn't looking very promising. The Democratic Party is in shambles. According to the polls, their current front-runner is a senile, hair-sniffing, finger-sucking freak who never met a credit card company or a healthcare lobbyist he didn't like , and who rivals even Donald Trump when it comes to incoherent babbling.

Yes, that's right, folks, it's "Smilin' Joe" Biden, vanquisher of the razor-wielding, swimming-pool-gangster "Corn Pop " to the rescue!

As far as I've been able to gather, the plan is for Joe to out-"crazy" Trump (and thus win back the "bull goose loony" demographic) by going completely off his medication and having a series of scary-looking petit mal seizures on national television.

That is, unless the impossible happens, and Biden is vanquished by Bernie Sanders (a/k/a "The Magic Socialist" ), who Democratic Party bigwigs would sooner publicly immolate themselves than nominate, and who the corporate media are already accusing of being a lying, sexist. communist, crypto-Trump-loving, Jew-hating Jew .

Sanders, it seems, has gone totally "native." He's out there, in the heart of the American darkness, like a geriatric Colonel Kurz, operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct.

According to the latest reconnaissance, he is building another "revolutionary" army of fanatical, doped-up, hacky-sacking "socialists" that he will lead into the convention in July and deliver to Biden, or Elizabeth Warren, or whichever soulless corporate puppet the party honchos eventually nominate, and then obsequiously stump for them for the next five months. (Or, who knows, maybe Michael Bloomberg will put the Democrats out of their misery and just buy the party and nominate himself.)

The "Crush Bernie" movement is just getting started, but you can tell the Resistance isn't screwing around. Hillary Clinton just officially launched her national " Nobody Likes Bernie " campaign at the star-studded 2020 Sundance Film Festival .

Influential Jewish journalists like Bari Weiss and Jeffrey Goldberg , and Ronald Lauder's newly-founded Anti-Semitism Accountability Project , have been Hitlerizing him, or, rather, Corbynizing him.

Obama has promised to "stop him," if necessary.

MSNBC anchor Joy Reid brought on a professional " body language expert " to phrenologize Sanders "live" on the air and, as I said, they're just getting started.

In any event, no matter who they nominate, they have no chance of winning in November. How could they, given the total stranglehold the Russians now have on American democracy?

As Adam Schiff just reminded everyone , unless Donald Trump is removed from office, " we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won ," because at any moment Putin could order Trump to pressure the Ukrainian president into investigating Biden's son's corruption by refusing to fund the Ukrainian military's resistance to Putin's secret plot to occupy the entire Ukraine and use it as a covert base from which to launch an all-out thermonuclear war against the United States (which Putin already controls through his puppet, Trump, and his network of nefarious Facebook bots, which, according to this expert on NPR , are already brainwashing gullible Black people into voting for Bernie Sanders this time, or at least refusing to vote for Biden, like they refused to vote for Hillary last time which, OK, I know, that sounds kind of racist, but we're talking NPR here, folks. These people aren't racists. They're liberals!)

OK, I got a little lost there the point is, if the election goes ahead, and Trump doesn't have an embolism or something, odds are, we're looking at four more years of Putin-Nazi occupation. Which brings us to

Non-Lethal Option No. 2

Resistance Non-Lethal Option No. 2 is, of course, the current impeachment circus. I don't even know where to start with this one.

After three and a half years of corporate-media-manufactured mass hysteria and Intelligence Community propaganda designed to convince the American public that Donald Trump is a "Russian asset" (and possibly Putin's homosexual lover ) and also literally the Resurrection of Hitler, the Democrats are trying to impeach the man for something that most Americans either (a) believe is common practice among members of the political class, (b) don't entirely understand, or (c) do, but don't give a shit about.

Seriously, it's like they held a contest to see if anyone could think of something that would out-anticlimax the Mueller report, and this is what the winner came up with an over-acted, sanctimonious snooze-fest, the stakes of which could not possibly be lower.

Sure, the corporate media are doing their best to cover every twist and turn of the "drama" as if the fate of democracy were hanging in the balance, but everybody knows it's a joke or, all right, almost everybody .

... ... ...


[Jan 26, 2020] The Collapse of Neoliberalism by Ganesh Sitaraman

Highly recommended!
From the book The Great Democracy by Ganesh Sitaraman.
This is a very valuable article, probably the best written in 2019 on the topic, that discusses several important aspects of neoliberalism better then its predecessors...
Notable quotes:
"... For some, and especially for those in the millennial generation, the Great Recession and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started a process of reflection on what the neoliberal era had delivered. ..."
"... neoliberal policies had already wreaked havoc around the world ..."
"... "excessively rapid financial and capital market liberalization was probably the single most important cause of the crisis"; he also notes that after the crisis, the International Monetary Fund's policies "exacerbated the downturns." ..."
"... In study after study, political scientists have shown that the U.S. government is highly responsive to the policy preferences of the wealthiest people, corporations, and trade associations -- and that it is largely unresponsive to the views of ordinary people. The wealthiest people, corporations, and their interest groups participate more in politics, spend more on politics, and lobby governments more. Leading political scientists have declared that the U.S. is no longer best characterized as a democracy or a republic but as an oligarchy -- a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. ..."
"... Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism. ..."
"... neoliberalism's radical individualism has increasingly raised two interlocking problems. First, when taken to an extreme, social fracturing into identity groups can be used to divide people and prevent the creation of a shared civic identity. ..."
"... Demagogues rely on this fracturing to inflame racial, nationalist, and religious antagonism, which only further fuels the divisions within society. Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, thus indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism that further undermines the preconditions for a free and democratic society. ..."
"... The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy. ..."
"... They thought globalization was inevitable and that ever-expanding trade liberalization was desirable even if the political system never corrected for trade's winners and losers. They were wrong. These aren't minor mistakes. ..."
"... In spite of these failures, most policymakers did not have a new ideology or different worldview through which to comprehend the problems of this time. So, by and large, the collective response was not to abandon neoliberalism. After the Great Crash of 2008, neoliberals chafed at attempts to push forward aggressive Keynesian spending programs to spark demand. President Barack Obama's advisers shrank the size of the post-crash stimulus package for fear it would seem too large to the neoliberal consensus of the era -- and on top of that, they compromised on its content. ..."
"... When it came to affirmative, forward-looking policy, the neoliberal framework also remained dominant. ..."
"... It is worth emphasizing that Obamacare's central feature is a private marketplace in which people can buy their own health care, with subsidies for individuals who are near the poverty line ..."
"... Fearful of losing their seats, centrists extracted these concessions from progressives. Little good it did them. The president's party almost always loses seats in midterm elections, and this time was no different. For their caution, centrists both lost their seats and gave Americans fewer and worse health care choices. ..."
"... The Republican Party platform in 2012, for example, called for weaker Wall Street, environmental, and worker safety regulations; lower taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals; and further liberalization of trade. It called for abolishing federal student loans, in addition to privatizing rail, western lands, airport security, and the post office. Republicans also continued their support for cutting health care and retirement security. After 40 years moving in this direction -- and with it failing at every turn -- you might think they would change their views. But Republicans didn't, and many still haven't. ..."
"... Although neoliberalism had little to offer, in the absence of a new ideological framework, it hung over the Obama presidency -- but now in a new form. Many on the center-left adopted what we might call the "technocratic ideology," a rebranded version of the policy minimalism of the 1990s that replaced minimalism's tactical and pragmatic foundations with scientific ones. The term itself is somewhat oxymoronic, as technocrats seem like the opposite of ideologues. ..."
"... The technocratic ideology preserves the status quo with a variety of tactics. We might call the first the "complexity canard." ..."
"... The most frequent uses of this tactic are in sectors that economists have come to dominate -- international trade, antitrust, and financial regulation, for example. The result of this mind-set is that bold, structural reforms are pushed aside and highly technical changes adopted instead. Financial regulation provides a particularly good case, given the 2008 crash and the Great Recession. When it came time to establish a new regulatory regime for the financial sector, there wasn't a massive restructuring, despite the biggest crash in 70 years. ..."
"... Instead, for the most part, the Dodd-Frank Act was classically technocratic. It kept the sector basically the same, with a few tweaks here and there. There was no attempt to restructure the financial sector completely. ..."
"... The Volcker Rule, for example, sought to ban banks from proprietary trading. But instead of doing that through a simple, clean breakup rule (like the one enacted under the old Glass-Steagall regime), the Volcker Rule was subject to a multitude of exceptions and carve-outs -- measures that federal regulators were then required to explain and implement with hundreds of pages of technical regulations ..."
"... Dodd-Frank also illustrates a second tenet of the technocratic ideology: The failures of technocracy can be solved by more technocracy. ..."
"... Dodd-Frank created the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a government body tasked with what is called macroprudential regulation. What this means is that government regulators are supposed to monitor the entire economy and turn the dials of regulation up and down a little bit to keep the economy from another crash. But ask yourself this: Why would we ever believe they could do such a thing? We know those very same regulators failed to identify, warn about, or act on the 2008 crisis. ..."
"... In the first stage, neoliberalism gained traction in response to the crises of the 1970s. It is easy to think of Thatcherism and Reaganism as emerging fully formed, springing from Zeus's head like the goddess Athena. ..."
"... Early leaders were not as ideologically bold as later mythmakers think. In the second stage, neoliberalism became normalized. It persisted beyond the founding personalities -- and, partly because of its longevity in power, grew so dominant that the other side adopted it. ..."
"... Eventually, however, the neoliberal ideology extended its tentacles into every area of policy and even social life, and in its third stage, overextended. The result in economic policy was the Great Crash of 2008, economic stagnation, and inequality at century-high levels. In foreign policy, it was the disastrous Iraq War and ongoing chaos and uncertainty in the Middle East. ..."
"... The fourth and final stage is collapse, irrelevance, and a wandering search for the future. With the world in crisis, neoliberalism no longer has even plausible solutions to today's problems. ..."
"... The solutions of the neoliberal era offer no serious ideas for how to restitch the fraying social fabric, in which people are increasingly tribal, divided, and disconnected from civic community ..."
Dec 23, 2019 | newrepublic.com
Welcome to the Decade From Hell , our look back at an arbitrary 10-year period that began with a great outpouring of hope and ended in a cavalcade of despair. The long-dominant ideology brought us forever wars, the Great Recession, and extreme inequality. Good riddance.

With the 2008 financial crash and the Great Recession, the ideology of neoliberalism lost its force. The approach to politics, global trade, and social philosophy that defined an era led not to never-ending prosperity but utter disaster. "Laissez-faire is finished," declared French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan admitted in testimony before Congress that his ideology was flawed. In an extraordinary statement, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd declared that the crash "called into question the prevailing neoliberal economic orthodoxy of the past 30 years -- the orthodoxy that has underpinned the national and global regulatory frameworks that have so spectacularly failed to prevent the economic mayhem which has been visited upon us."

... ... ...

[Jan 25, 2020] Rabobank What If... The Protectionists Are Right And The Free Traders Are Wrong by Michael Every

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Yet it took until 1860 for the UK to fully embrace free trade, and even then the unpalatable historical record is that during this 'golden age', the British: Destroyed the Indian textile industry to benefit their own cloth manufacturers; Started the Opium Wars to balance UK-China trade by selling China addictive drugs; Ignored the Irish Potato Famine and continued to allow Irish wheat exports; Forced Siam (Thailand) to open up its economy to trade with gunboats (as the US did with Japan); and Colonized much of Africa and Asia. ..."
"... Regardless, the first flowering of free trade collapsed back into nationalism and protectionism - bloodily so in 1914. Free trade was tried again from 1919 - but burned-out even more bloodily in the 1930s and 1940s. After WW2, most developed countries had moderately free trade - but most developing countries did not. We only started to re-embrace global free trade from the 1990s onwards when the Cold War ended – and here it is under stress again. In short, only around 100 years in a total of 5,000 years of civilization has seen real global free trade, it has failed twice already, and it is once again coming under pressure. ..."
"... Of course, this doesn't mean liked-minded groups of countries with similar-enough or sympathetic-enough economies and politics should avoid free trade: clearly for some states it can work out nicely - even if within the EU one could argue there are also underlying strains. However, it is a huge stretch to assume a one-size-fits-all free trade policy will always work best for all countries, as some would have it. That is a fairy tale. History shows it wasn't the case; national security concerns show it can never always be the case; and Ricardo argues this logically won't be the case. ..."
Jan 25, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

"When I used to read fairy tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one!" (Alice in Wonderland, Chapter 4, The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill)

Submitted by Michael Every of Rabobank

2020 starts with markets feeling optimistic due to a US-China trade deal and a reworked NAFTA in the form of the USMCA. However, the tide towards protectionism may still be coming in, not going out.

The intellectual appeal of the basis for free trade, Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage, where Portugal specializes in wine, and the UK in cloth, is still clearly there. Moreover, trade has always been a beneficial and enriching part of human culture. Yet the fact is that for the majority of the last 5,000 years global trade has been highly-politicized and heavily-regulated . Indeed, global free-trade only began following the abolition of the UK Corn Laws in 1846, which reduced British agricultural tariffs, brought in European wheat and corn, and allowed the UK to maximize its comparative advantage in industry.

Yet it took until 1860 for the UK to fully embrace free trade, and even then the unpalatable historical record is that during this 'golden age', the British:

As we showed back in ' Currency and Wars ', after an initial embrace of free trade, the major European powers and Japan saw that their relative comparative advantage meant they remained at the bottom of the development ladder as agricultural producers, an area where prices were also being depressed by huge US output; meanwhile, the UK sold industrial goods, ran a huge trade surplus, and ruled the waves militarily. This was politically unsustainable even though the UK vigorously backed the intellectual concept of free trade given it was such a winner from it.

Regardless, the first flowering of free trade collapsed back into nationalism and protectionism - bloodily so in 1914. Free trade was tried again from 1919 - but burned-out even more bloodily in the 1930s and 1940s. After WW2, most developed countries had moderately free trade - but most developing countries did not. We only started to re-embrace global free trade from the 1990s onwards when the Cold War ended – and here it is under stress again. In short, only around 100 years in a total of 5,000 years of civilization has seen real global free trade, it has failed twice already, and it is once again coming under pressure.

What are we getting wrong? Perhaps that Ricardo's theory has major flaws that don't get included in our textbooks, as summarized in this overlooked quote

"It would undoubtedly be advantageous to the capitalists of England [that] the wine and cloth should both be made in Portugal [and that] the capital and labour of England employed in making cloth should be removed to Portugal for that purpose." Which is pretty much what happens today! However, Ricardo adds that this won't happen because "Most men of property [will be] satisfied with a low rate of profits in their own country, rather than seek a more advantageous employment for their wealth in foreign nations," which is simply not true at all! In other words, his premise is flawed in that:

As Ricardo's theory requires key conditions that are not met in reality most of the time, why are we surprised that most of reality fails to produce idealised free trade most of the time? Several past US presidents before Donald Trump made exactly that point. Munroe (1817-25) argued: " The conditions necessary for Free Trade's success - reciprocity and international peace - have never occurred and cannot be expected ". Grant (1869-77) noted "Within 200 years, when America has gotten out of protection all that it can offer, it too will adopt free trade".

Yet arguably we are better, not worse, off regardless of these sentiments – so hooray! How so? Well, did you know that Adam Smith, who we equate with free markets, and who created the term "mercantile system" to describe the national-protectionist policies opposed to it, argued the US should remain an agricultural producer and buy its industrial goods from the UK? It was Founding Father Alexander Hamilton who rejected this approach, and his "infant industry" policy of industrialization and infrastructure spending saw the US emerge as the world's leading economy instead. That was the same development model that, with tweaks, was then adopted by pre-WW1 Japan, France, and Germany to successfully rival the UK; and then post-WW2 by Japan (again) and South Korea; and then more recently by China, that key global growth driver. Would we really be better off if the US was still mainly growing cotton and wheat, China rice and apples, and the UK was making most of the world's consumer goods? Thank the lack of free trade if you think otherwise!

Yet look at the examples above and there is a further argument for more protectionism ahead. Ricardo assumes a benign global political environment for free trade . Yet what if the UK and Portugal are rivals or enemies? What if the choice is between steel and wine? You can't invade neighbours armed with wine as you can with steel! A large part of the trade tension between China and the US, just as between pre-WW1 Germany and the UK, is not about trade per se: for both sides, it is about who produces key inputs with national security implications - and hence is about relative power . This is why we hear US hawks underlining that they don't want to export their highest technology to China, or to specialize only in agricultural exports to it as China moves up the value-chain. It also helps underline why for most of the past 5,000 years trade has not been free. Indeed, this argument also holds true for the other claimed benefit of free trade: the cross-flow of ideas and technology. That is great for friends, but not for those less trusted.

Of course, this doesn't mean liked-minded groups of countries with similar-enough or sympathetic-enough economies and politics should avoid free trade: clearly for some states it can work out nicely - even if within the EU one could argue there are also underlying strains. However, it is a huge stretch to assume a one-size-fits-all free trade policy will always work best for all countries, as some would have it. That is a fairy tale. History shows it wasn't the case; national security concerns show it can never always be the case; and Ricardo argues this logically won't be the case.

Yet we need not despair. The track record also shows that global growth can continue even despite protectionism, and in some cases can benefit from it. That being said, should the US resort to more Hamiltonian policies versus everyone, not just China, then we are in for real financial market turbulence ahead given the role the US Dollar plays today compared to the role gold played for Smith and Ricardo! But that is a whole different fairy tale...

[Jan 23, 2020] An incredible level of naivety of people who still think that a single individual, or even two, can change the direction of murderous US policies that are widely supported throughout the bureaucracy?

Highly recommended!
The deep state clearly is running the show (with some people unexpected imput -- see Trump ;-)
Elections now serve mainly for the legitimizing of the deep state rule; election of a particular individual can change little, although there is some space of change due to the power of executive branch. If the individual stray too much form the elite "forign policy consensus" he ether will be JFKed or Russiagated (with the Special Prosecutor as the fist act and impeachment as the second act of the same Russiagate drama)
But a talented (or reckless) individual can speed up some process that are already under way. For example, Trump managed to speed up the process of destruction of the USA-centered neoliberal empire considerably. Especially by launching the trade war with China. He also managed to discredit the USA foreign policy as no other president before him. Even Bush II.
Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Trailer Trash , Jan 23 2020 18:30 utc | 44
>This is the most critical U.S. election in our lifetime
> Posted by: Circe | Jan 23 2020 17:46 utc | 36

Hmmm, I've been hearing the same siren song every four years for the past fifty. How is it that people still think that a single individual, or even two, can change the direction of murderous US policies that are widely supported throughout the bureaucracy?

Bureaucracies are reactionary and conservative by nature, so any new and more repressive policy Trumpy wants is readily adapted, as shown by the continuing barbarity of ICE and the growth of prisons and refugee concentration camps. Policies that go against the grain are easily shrugged off and ignored using time-tested passive-aggressive tactics.

One of Trump's insurmountable problems is that he has no loyal organization behind him whose members he can appoint throughout the massive Federal bureaucracy. Any Dummycrat whose name is not "Biden" has the same problem. Without a real mass-movement political party to pressure reluctant bureaucrats, no politician of any name or stripe will ever substantially change the direction of US policy.

But the last thing Dummycrats want is a real mass movement, because they might not be able to control it. Instead Uncle Sam will keep heading towards the cliff, which may be coming into view...


Per/Norway , Jan 23 2020 19:31 utc | 62

The amount of TINA worshipers and status quo guerillas is starting to depress me.
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE to believe A politician will/can change anything and give your consent to war criminals and traitors?
NO person(s) WILL EVER get to the top in imperial/vassal state politics without being on the rentier class side, the cognitive dissonans in voting for known liars, war criminals and traitors would kill me or fry my brain. TINA is a lie and "she" is a real bitch that deserves to be thrown on the dump off history, YOUR vote is YOUR consent to murder, theft and treason.
DONT be a rentier class enabler STOP voting and start making your local communities better and independent instead.

Per
Norway

Piotr Berman , Jan 23 2020 20:19 utc | 82
The amount of TINA worshipers and status quo guerillas is starting to depress me. <- Norway

Of course, There Is Another Way, for example, kvetching. We can boldly show that we are upset, and pessimistic. One upset pessimists reach critical mass we will think about some actions.

But being upset and pessimistic does fully justify inactivity. In particular, given the nature of social interaction networks, with spokes and hubs, dominating the network requires the control of relatively few nodes. The nature of democracy always allows for leverage takeover, starting from dominating within small to the entire nation in few steps. As it was nicely explained by Prof. Overton, there is a window of positions that the vast majority regards as reasonable, non-radical etc. One reason that powers to be invest so much energy vilifying dissenters, Russian assets of late, is to keep them outside the Overton window.

Having a candidate elected that the curators of Overton window hate definitely shakes the situation with the potential of shifting the window. There were some positive symptoms after Trump was elected, but negatives prevail. "Why not we just kill him" idea entered the window, together with "we took their oil because we have guts and common sense".

From that point of view, visibility of Tulsi and election of Sanders will solve some problems but most of all, it will make big changes in Overton window.

[Jan 21, 2020] WaPo columnist endorses all twelve candidates

Highly recommended!
Are WaPo and NYT both encouraging their readerships to split the 'Anybody But Bernie' vote six ways from Super Tuesday? Fantastic!
Jan 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Cassiodorus on Mon, 01/20/2020 - 11:44am Alexandra Petri tells us:

In a break from tradition, I am endorsing all 12 Democratic candidates.

Of course, this is a parody of the NYT's endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren , trying to encourage the "who cares about policy we want an identity-politics win" vote. Petri's funniest moment is:

One of two things is wrong with America: Either the entire system is broken or is on the verge of breaking, and we need someone to bring about radical, structural change, or -- we don't need that at all! Which is it? Who can say? Certainly not me, and that is why I am telling you now which candidate to vote for.

[Jan 12, 2020] US has been preaching human rights while mounting wars and lying.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Over $7 trillion spent while homelessness is rampant. Healthcare is unaffordable for the 99% of the population. ..."
Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 11 2020 17:48 utc | 201

At 2016, here is the long bombing list of the 32 countries by the late William Blum. Did I mention sanctions is an Act of War?

Little u.s. has been preaching human rights while mounting wars and lying. Albright thought the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children were worth it. !!! it was worth killings and maiming.

Over $7 trillion spent while homelessness is rampant. Healthcare is unaffordable for the 99% of the population.

The u.s. will leave Iraq and Syria aka Saigon 1975 or horizontal. It's over.

2020: u.s. Stands Alone.

Searching for friends. Now, after Russiagate here is little pompous: "we want to be friends with Russia." Sanctions much excepting we need RD180 engines, seizure of diplomatic properties. Who are you kidding?

"we seek a constructive and productive relationship with the Russian Federation".

What a bunch of hypocrites? How dare you criticize commenters who see little u.s. in the light of day, not a shining beacon on the hill..

[Jan 11, 2020] William Greider Knew What Ailed the Democratic Party by Katrina vanden Heuvel

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "When the party of activist government, faced with an epic crisis, will not use government's extensive powers to reverse the economic disorders and heal deepening social deterioration, then it must be the end of the line for the governing ideology inherited from Roosevelt, Truman and Johnson." ..."
"... Bill's frustration with what he referred to as "the rightward-drifting Democrats" ran deep. While his books often explored economic themes -- with particular brilliance in One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism (1997) and Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country (1987) -- he was at his finest when he wrote about the awful intersection of money and politics, in books such as Who Will Tell the People? The Betrayal of American Democracy (1992). ..."
"... Bill believed Wall Street money was corrupting American politics in general, and the Democratic Party in particular. Decades ago, during the Reagan interregnum, he warned that if the Democrats did not renew the robust commitment to economic justice that characterized FDR's tenure at its best, then surely right-wing populists would seize the opening. As always, whether he was writing for The Washington Post , Rolling Stone or The Nation (where he served as the ablest of all national affairs correspondents), Bill was right. ..."
"... The power arrangement resembles a shared monopoly, in which two companies have tacitly ceded territories to each other to avoid costly competition. ..."
"... Furthermore, the permanent hierarchy of both parties is dominated at the top by a network of pricey Washington lawyers and lobbyists who represent business interests and collaborate with one another on lobbying the government -- while pretending to be opponents. These inside players channel their corporate clients' money to the elected politicians. In effect, everyone is on the same side. ..."
Jan 01, 2020 | www.thenation.com

I knew Bill as a quick-witted comrade in the press corps of too many campaigns to count, a generous mentor, an ideological compatriot, and an occasional co-conspirator. He taught me to see politics not as the game that TV pundits discuss but as a high-stakes struggle for power in which the Democrats foolishly, and then dangerously, yielded far too much ground to increasingly right-wing Republicans. This son of the Depression era bemoaned the failure of the Democratic Party to make a New Deal–style response to the financial meltdown of 2008,

I knew Bill as a quick-witted comrade in the press corps of too many campaigns to count, a generous mentor, an ideological compatriot, and an occasional co-conspirator. He taught me to see politics not as the game that TV pundits discuss but as a high-stakes struggle for power in which the Democrats foolishly, and then dangerously, yielded far too much ground to increasingly right-wing Republicans.

This son of the Depression era bemoaned the failure of the Democratic Party to make a New Deal–style response to the financial meltdown of 2008, This son of the Depression era bemoaned the failure of the Democratic Party to make a New Deal–style response to the financial meltdown of 2008, explaining after the devastating Republican victories of 2010 , "When the party of activist government, faced with an epic crisis, will not use government's extensive powers to reverse the economic disorders and heal deepening social deterioration, then it must be the end of the line for the governing ideology inherited from Roosevelt, Truman and Johnson."

And, anticipating the rise of Donald Trump, he counseled that the void left by Democrats who pulled their punches would be filled by Republicans who would not hesitate to practice the crudest divide-and-conquer politics. And, anticipating the rise of Donald Trump, he counseled that the void left by Democrats who pulled their punches would be filled by Republicans who would not hesitate to practice the crudest divide-and-conquer politics.

Bill's frustration with what he referred to as "the rightward-drifting Democrats" ran deep. While his books often explored economic themes -- with particular brilliance in One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism (1997) and Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country (1987) -- he was at his finest when he wrote about the awful intersection of money and politics, in books such as Who Will Tell the People? The Betrayal of American Democracy (1992).

Bill believed Wall Street money was corrupting American politics in general, and the Democratic Party in particular. Decades ago, during the Reagan interregnum, he warned that if the Democrats did not renew the robust commitment to economic justice that characterized FDR's tenure at its best, then surely right-wing populists would seize the opening. As always, whether he was writing for The Washington Post , Rolling Stone or The Nation (where he served as the ablest of all national affairs correspondents), Bill was right.

More than 30 years ago, he recognized that "the two-party rivalry is not nearly as significant as it's made to appear" and counseled that

The power arrangement resembles a shared monopoly, in which two companies have tacitly ceded territories to each other to avoid costly competition.

Furthermore, the permanent hierarchy of both parties is dominated at the top by a network of pricey Washington lawyers and lobbyists who represent business interests and collaborate with one another on lobbying the government -- while pretending to be opponents. These inside players channel their corporate clients' money to the elected politicians. In effect, everyone is on the same side.

The parties have begun to delineate themselves a bit more in recent years. But not sufficiently, as Bill explained in scorchingly honest articles for The Nation . He spoke inconvenient truths about the roots of our current politics, especially when he explained that "the Democratic Party's crude betrayal of the working class was carried out by Bill Clinton and Al Gore when those 'New Democrats' won power in 1992. The Clinton-Gore administration swiftly enacted NAFTA, with Republican votes, sealing the deal with Republican policy-makers and selling out the remnants of organized labor." Bill recognized the necessity of understanding this history in order to explain the rise of Trump and Trumpism.

Above all, Bill argued that for Democrats to seize the high ground, morally and electorally, they had to stop being a "managerial party" and reacquaint themselves with the message FDR delivered during an epically successful 1936 reelection run. That was the year when Roosevelt declared that

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace -- business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me -- and I welcome their hatred.

I don't know if Bill had that FDR speech memorized. But he carried its spirit in his heart and soul. And he taught the rest of us to do the same. He appreciated the history, as all great journalists do. But there was a point to its recollection. He wanted people to think about how a genuine two-party system might work in the 21st century.

The better part of two decades ago, Bill pointed to the way out when he wrote, for The Nation , on Republican scheming to roll back the economic and social advances initiated by progressives during the 20th century. It was sound advice then. It is sounder advice now, as a great wrestling for the soul of the Democratic Party plays out in the fight for the 2020 nomination to take on Trump.

"Most elected Democrats, I think, now see their role as managerial rather than big reform, and fear that even talking about ideology will stick them with the right's demon label: 'liberal,'" he suggested. But, he continued,

If a new understanding of progressive purpose does get formed, one that connects to social reality and describes a more promising future, the vision will not originate in Washington but among those who see realities up close and are struggling now to change things on the ground. We are a very wealthy (and brutally powerful) nation, so why do people experience so much stress and confinement in their lives, a sense of loss and failure? The answers, I suggest, will lead to a new formulation of what progressives want.

The first place to inquire is not the failures of government but the malformed power relationships of American capitalism -- the terms of employment that reduce many workers to powerless digits, the closely held decisions of finance capital that shape our society, the waste and destruction embedded in our system of mass consumption and production. The goal is, like the right's, to create greater self-fulfillment but as broadly as possible. Self-reliance and individualism can be made meaningful for all only by first reviving the power of collective action.

My own conviction is that a lot of Americans are ready to take up these questions and many others. Some are actually old questions -- issues of power that were not resolved in the great reform eras of the past. They await a new generation bold enough to ask if our prosperous society is really as free and satisfied as it claims to be. When conscientious people find ideas and remedies that resonate with the real experiences of Americans, then they will have their vision, and perhaps the true answer to the right wing.

This was how Bill Greider told the people of the politics that must be. He wrote truthfully, boldly, consistently, without fear or favor, and without the empty partisanships of these awkward times. He was our North Star.

[Aug 30, 2017] The President of Belgian Magistrates - Neoliberalism is a form of Fascism by Manuela Cadelli

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... By Manuela Cadelli, President of the Magistrates' Union of Belgium ..."
"... Every totalitarianism starts as distortion of language, as in the novel by George Orwell. Neoliberalism has its Newspeak and strategies of communication that enable it to deform reality. In this spirit, every budgetary cut is represented as an instance of modernization of the sectors concerned. If some of the most deprived are no longer reimbursed for medical expenses and so stop visiting the dentist, this is modernization of social security in action! ..."
"... translated from French by Wayne Hall ..."
Aug 30, 2017 | www.defenddemocracy.press

By Manuela Cadelli, President of the Magistrates' Union of Belgium

The time for rhetorical reservations is over. Things have to be called by their name to make it possible for a co-ordinated democratic reaction to be initiated, above all in the public services.

Liberalism was a doctrine derived from the philosophy of Enlightenment, at once political and economic, which aimed at imposing on the state the necessary distance for ensuring respect for liberties and the coming of democratic emancipation. It was the motor for the arrival, and the continuing progress, of Western democracies.

Neoliberalism is a form of economism in our day that strikes at every moment at every sector of our community. It is a form of extremism.

Fascism may be defined as the subordination of every part of the State to a totalitarian and nihilistic ideology.

I argue that neoliberalism is a species of fascism because the economy has brought under subjection not only the government of democratic countries but also every aspect of our thought.

The state is now at the disposal of the economy and of finance, which treat it as a subordinate and lord over it to an extent that puts the common good in jeopardy.

The austerity that is demanded by the financial milieu has become a supreme value, replacing politics. Saving money precludes pursuing any other public objective. It is reaching the point where claims are being made that the principle of budgetary orthodoxy should be included in state constitutions. A mockery is being made of the notion of public service.

The nihilism that results from this makes possible the dismissal of universalism and the most evident humanistic values: solidarity, fraternity, integration and respect for all and for differences.

There is no place any more even for classical economic theory: work was formerly an element in demand, and to that extent there was respect for workers; international finance has made of it a mere adjustment variable.

Every totalitarianism starts as distortion of language, as in the novel by George Orwell. Neoliberalism has its Newspeak and strategies of communication that enable it to deform reality. In this spirit, every budgetary cut is represented as an instance of modernization of the sectors concerned. If some of the most deprived are no longer reimbursed for medical expenses and so stop visiting the dentist, this is modernization of social security in action!

Read also: The only real way to stop atrocities like the Manchester attack is to end the wars which allow extremism to grow

Abstraction predominates in public discussion so as to occlude the implications for human beings.

Thus, in relation to migrants, it is imperative that the need for hosting them does not lead to public appeals that our finances could not accommodate. Is it In the same way that other individuals qualify for assistance out of considerations of national solidarity?

The cult of evaluation

Social Darwinism predominates, assigning the most stringent performance requirements to everyone and everything: to be weak is to fail. The foundations of our culture are overturned: every humanist premise is disqualified or demonetized because neoliberalism has the monopoly of rationality and realism. Margaret Thatcher said it in 1985: "There is no alternative." Everything else is utopianism, unreason and regression. The virtue of debate and conflicting perspectives are discredited because history is ruled by necessity.

This subculture harbours an existential threat of its own: shortcomings of performance condemn one to disappearance while at the same time everyone is charged with inefficiency and obliged to justify everything. Trust is broken. Evaluation reigns, and with it the bureaucracy which imposes definition and research of a plethora of targets, and indicators with which one must comply. Creativity and the critical spirit are stifled by management. And everyone is beating his breast about the wastage and inertia of which he is guilty.

The neglect of justice

The neoliberal ideology generates a normativity that competes with the laws of parliament. The democratic power of law is compromised. Given that they represent a concrete embodiment of liberty and emancipation, and given the potential to prevent abuse that they impose, laws and procedures have begun to look like obstacles.

Read also: EU lies on Cyprus, Ireland, Portugal and Greece

The power of the judiciary, which has the ability to oppose the will of the ruling circles, must also be checkmated. The Belgian judicial system is in any case underfunded. In 2015 it came last in a European ranking that included all states located between the Atlantic and the Urals. In two years the government has managed to take away the independence given to it under the Constitution so that it can play the counterbalancing role citizens expect of it. The aim of this undertaking is clearly that there should no longer be justice in Belgium.

A caste above the Many

But the dominant class doesn't prescribe for itself the same medicine it wants to see ordinary citizens taking: well-ordered austerity begins with others. The economist Thomas Piketty has perfectly described this in his study of inequality and capitalism in the twenty-first century (French edition, Seuil, 2013).

In spite of the crisis of 2008 and the hand-wringing that followed, nothing was done to police the financial community and submit them to the requirements of the common good. Who paid? Ordinary people, you and me.

And while the Belgian State consented to 7 billion-euro ten-year tax breaks for multinationals, ordinary litigants have seen surcharges imposed on access to justice (increased court fees, 21% taxation on legal fees). From now on, to obtain redress the victims of injustice are going to have to be rich.

All this in a state where the number of public representatives breaks all international records. In this particular area, no evaluation and no costs studies are reporting profit. One example: thirty years after the introduction of the federal system, the provincial institutions survive. Nobody can say what purpose they serve. Streamlining and the managerial ideology have conveniently stopped at the gates of the political world.

The security ideal

Read also: DEMOCRATIC MENTAL HEALTH SOLIDARITY NETWORK

Terrorism, this other nihilism that exposes our weakness in affirming our values, is likely to aggravate the process by soon making it possible for all violations of our liberties, all violations of our rights, to circumvent the powerless qualified judges, further reducing social protection for the poor, who will be sacrificed to "the security ideal".

Salvation in commitment

These developments certainly threaten the foundations of our democracy, but do they condemn us to discouragement and despair?

Certainly not. 500 years ago, at the height of the defeats that brought down most Italian states with the imposition of foreign occupation for more than three centuries, Niccolo Machiavelli urged virtuous men to defy fate and stand up against the adversity of the times, to prefer action and daring to caution. The more tragic the situation, the more it necessitates action and the refusal to "give up" (The Prince, Chapters XXV and XXVI).

This is a teaching that is clearly required today. The determination of citizens attached to the radical of democratic values is an invaluable resource which has not yet revealed, at least in Belgium, its driving potential and power to change what is presented as inevitable. Through social networking and the power of the written word, everyone can now become involved, particularly when it comes to public services, universities, the student world, the judiciary and the Bar, in bringing the common good and social justice into the heart of public debate and the administration of the state and the community.

Neoliberalism is a species of fascism. It must be fought and humanism fully restored.

Published in the Belgian daily Le Soir, 3.3.2016

translated from French by Wayne Hall
Le néolibéralisme est un fascisme, par Manuela Cadelli

Continued at Polyarchy Bulletin, 2020

Recommended Books

The Myth of the Rational Voter Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies (New Edition) (9780691138732) Bryan Caplan Books

polyarchy participation and opposition - Robert Alan Dahl - Google Books

Promoting polyarchy Globalization, US Intervention, and Hegemony (Cambridge Studies in International Relations) by William I. Robinson Also at Google Books.

by

polyarchy Participation and Opposition Robert A. Dahl Amazon.com Books



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