Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Lesser evil  trick of legitimizing disastrous,
corrupt neoliberal politicians in US elections

News American Polyarchy is not Democracy Recommended Books Recommended Links US Presidential Elections of 2016 Donald Trump Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Bernie Sanders
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite The Deep State Demexit: Abandonment of Democratic party by working class and lower middle class Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Pluralism as a myth
Principal-agent problem Corporatist Corruption Predator state Media-Military-Industrial Complex Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Ethno-lingustic Nationalism Corporatism National Security State Neocons
Neoliberalism Media-Military-Industrial Complex  American Exceptionalism Myth about intelligent voter Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Mayberry Machiavellians Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Most people are not getting that they are duped.  "Lesser evil" is a story told to herd the masses. If there are two neoliberal politicians, both are corrupt. Neither intends to deliver anything to you on net; they are competing to deliver you on the plate to their corporate masters. You can chose only the sauce under which you will delivered.  

I am not enthusiastic about this proposed distinction between "hard" and "soft" neoliberalism. Ideologically, conservative libertarians have been locked in a dialectic with the Clintonite / Blairite neoliberals - that's an old story, maybe an obsolete story, but apparently not one those insist on seeing neoliberalism as a monolithic lump fixed in time can quite grasp, but never mind.

Good cop, bad cop. Only, the electorate is carefully divided so that one side's good cop is the other side's bad cop, and vice versa.

bruce wilder 09.01.16 at 7:09 pm
Hillary Clinton is engaging in politics and she's teh most librul librul evah! Why isn't that enough? It is not her fault, surely, that the devil makes her do unlibrul things - you have to be practical and practically, there is no alternative. We have to clap louder. That's the ticket!

 

Superdelegate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In American politics, a "superdelegate" is a delegate to the Democratic National Convention that is seated automatically and chooses for whom they want to vote. These Democratic Party superdelegates include distinguished party leaders and elected officials, including all Democratic members of the House and Senate and sitting Democratic governors. Other superdelegates are chosen during the primary season. Democratic superdelegates are free to support any candidate for the nomination.

This contrasts with convention "pledged" delegates that are selected based on the party primaries and caucuses in each U.S. state, in which voters choose among candidates for the party's presidential nomination. Because they are free to support anyone they want, superdelegates could potentially swing the results to nominate a presidential candidate that did not receive the majority of votes during the primaries.

At least in name, superdelegates are not involved in the Republican Party nomination process. There are delegates to the Republican National Convention that are seated automatically, but they are limited to three per state, consisting of the state chairsperson and two district-level committee members. Republican Party superdelegates are obliged to vote for their state's popular vote winner under the rules of the party branch to which they belong.[1]

Although the term superdelegate was originally coined and created to describe a type of Democratic delegate, the term has become widely used to describe these delegates in both parties,[2] even though it is not an official term used by either party.

... ... ...

For Democrats, superdelegates fall into two categories:

For Republicans, there are delegates in each state, consisting of the state chairman and two RNC committee members. However, according to the RNC communications director Sean Spicer, convention rules obligate those RNC members to vote according to the result of primary elections held in their states.

... ... ...

Democratic Party rules distinguish pledged and unpledged delegates. Pledged delegates are selected based on their announced preferences in the contest for the presidential nomination. In the party primary elections and caucuses in each U.S. state, voters express their preference among the contenders for the party's nomination for President of the United States. Pledged delegates supporting each candidate are chosen in approximate ratio to their candidate’s share of the vote. They fall into three categories: district-level pledged delegates (usually by congressional districts);[4] at-large pledged delegates; and pledged PLEO (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) delegates.

In a minority of the states, delegates are legally required to support the candidate to whom they are pledged.[5] In addition to the states' requirements, the party rules state (Rule 12.J): "Delegates elected to the national convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them."[3]

By contrast, the unpledged PLEO delegates (Rule 9.A) are seated without regard to their presidential preferences, solely by virtue of being current or former elected officeholders and party officials. Many of them have chosen to announce endorsements, but they are not bound in any way. They may support any candidate they wish, including one who has dropped out of the presidential race.[6] The other superdelegates, the unpledged add-on delegates (Rule 9.B), who need not be PLEOs, are selected by the state parties after some of the pledged delegates are chosen,[3] but they resemble the unpledged PLEO delegates in being free to vote as they wish.

... ... ...

At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, superdelegates cast approximately 823.5 votes, with fractions arising because superdelegates from Michigan, Florida, and Democrats Abroad are entitled to half a vote each. Of the superdelegates' votes, 745 are from unpledged PLEO delegates and 78.5 are from unpledged add-on delegates, although the exact number in each category is subject to events.


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NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Feb 19, 2018] The Free Market Threat to Democracy by John Weeks

Notable quotes:
"... In addition, financial capital leads to inequality, and that inequality, as you've seen in the United States and in Europe and many other places, it increases. And suddenly, not suddenly, but bit by bit, people begin to realize that they aren't getting their share and that means that the government, to protect capitalism, must use force to maintain the order of financial capital. And I think Trump is the fulfillment of that, and I think there are other examples too which I can go into. So, basically, my argument is that with the rise of finance and its unproductive activities, you've got the decline in living standards of the vast majority, and in order to maintain order in such a system where people no longer think that they're sort of getting their share, and so justice doesn't become, a just distribution doesn't become the reason why people support this system, increasingly it has to be done through force. ..."
"... I think that as The Real News has pointed out, that many of Trump's policies appear just to be more extreme versions of things that George Bush did, and in some cases not that much different from what Barack Obama did. ..."
"... The difference with Trump is, he has complete contempt for all of those constraints. That is, he is an authoritarian. I don't think he's a fascist, not yet, but he is an authoritarian. He does not accept that there are constraints which he should respect. There are constraints which bother him, and he wants to get rid of them, and he actually takes steps to do so. ..."
"... Erdoğan so infamously said? "Democracy is like a train. You take it to where you want to go and then you get off." No. Progressive view is that democracy is what it's all about. Democracy is the way that we build the present and we build a future. ..."
"... I think that the struggle in the United States is extremely difficult because of the role of the big money and the media, which you know more about than I do. But it is a struggle which we have to keep at, and we have to be optimistic about it. It's a good bit easier over here, but as we saw, and you reported, during the last presidential election, a progressive came very close to being President of the United States. That, I don't think was a one-off event, not to be repeated. I think it lays the basis for hope in the future. ..."
"... The democratic nation-state basically operates like a criminal cartel, forcing honest citizens to surrender large portions of their wealth to pay for stuff like roads and hospitals and schools. ..."
"... Any hierarchic system will be exploited by intelligent sociopaths. Systems will not save us. ..."
"... What I gleaned from my quick Wikiread was the apparent pattern of economic inequality causing the masses to huddle in fear & loathing to one corner – desperation, and then some clever autocrat subverts the energy from their F&L into political power by demonizing various minorities and other non-causal perps. ..."
"... Like nearly every past fascism emergence in history, US Trumpismo is capitalizing on inequality, and fear & loathing (his capital if you will) to seize power. That brings us to Today – to Trump, and an era (brief I hope) of US flirtation with fascism. Thank God Trump is crippled by a narcissism that fuels F&L within his own regime. Otherwise, I might be joining a survivalist group or something. :-) ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. This Real News Network interview with professor emeritus John Weeks discussed how economic ideology has weakened or eliminated public accountability of institutions like the Fed and promote neo[neo]liberal policies that undermine democracy.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/o9bXo1f5r0I

SHARMINI PERIES: It's The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. The concept of the [neo]liberal democracy is generally based on capitalistic markets along with respect for individual freedoms and human rights and equality in the face of the law. The rise of financial capital and its efforts to deregulate financial markets, however, raises the question whether [neo]liberal democracy is a sustainable form of government. Sooner or later, democratic institutions make way for the interests of large capital to supersede.

Political economist John Weeks recently gave this year's David Gordon Memorial Lecture at the meeting of the American Economic Association in Philadelphia where he addressed these issues with a talk titled, Free Markets and the Decline of Democracy. Joining us now is John Weeks. He joins us from London to discuss the issues raised in his lecture. You can find a link to this lecture just below the player, and John is, as you know, Professor Emeritus of the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and author of Economics of the 1%: How Mainstream Economics Serves the Rich, Obscures Reality and Distorts Policy. John, good to have you back on The Real News.

JOHN WEEKS: Thank you very much for having me.

SHARMINI PERIES: John, let me start with your talk. Your talk describes a struggle between efforts to create a democratic control over the economy and the interest of capital, which seeks to subjugate government to the interest, its own interest. In your assessment, it looks like this is a losing battle for democracy. Explain this further.

JOHN WEEKS: Yeah, so I think that Marx in Capital, in the first volume of Capital, refers to a concept called bourgeois right, by which he meant that, you said it in the introduction, that in a capitalist society there is a form of equality that mimics the relationship of exchange. Every commodity looks equal in exchange and there is a system of ownership that you might say is the shadow of that. I think more important, in the early stages of development of capitalism, of development of factories, that those institutions or those factories prompted the growth of trade unions and workers' struggles in general. Those workers' struggles were key to the development, or further development of democracy, freedom of speech, a whole range of rights, the right to vote.

However, with the development of finance capital, you've got quite a different dynamic within the capitalist system. Let me say, I don't want to romanticize the early period of capitalism, but you did have struggles, mass struggles for rights. Finance capital produces nothing productive, it doesn't do anything productive. So, what finance capital does basically is it redistributes the income, the wealth, the, what Marx would call the surplus value, from other sectors of society to itself. And it employs relatively few people, so that dynamic of the capital, industrial capital, generating its antithesis So, that a labor movement doesn't occur under financial capital.

In addition, financial capital leads to inequality, and that inequality, as you've seen in the United States and in Europe and many other places, it increases. And suddenly, not suddenly, but bit by bit, people begin to realize that they aren't getting their share and that means that the government, to protect capitalism, must use force to maintain the order of financial capital. And I think Trump is the fulfillment of that, and I think there are other examples too which I can go into. So, basically, my argument is that with the rise of finance and its unproductive activities, you've got the decline in living standards of the vast majority, and in order to maintain order in such a system where people no longer think that they're sort of getting their share, and so justice doesn't become, a just distribution doesn't become the reason why people support this system, increasingly it has to be done through force.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, John. Before we get further into the relationship between neo[neo]liberalism and democracy, give us a brief summary of what you mean by neo[neo]liberalism. You say that it's not really about deregulation, as most people usually conceive of it. If that's not what it's about, what is it, then?

JOHN WEEKS: I think that if you think about the movements in the United States, and as much as I can, I will take examples from the United States because most of your listeners will be familiar with those, beginning in the early part of the twentieth century, in the United States you have reform movements, the breaking up of the large monopolies, tobacco monopoly, a whole range of Standard Oil, all of that. And then of course under Roosevelt you began to get the regulation of capital in the interests of the majority, much of that driven by Roosevelt's trade union support. So, that was moving from a system where capital was relatively unregulated to where it was being regulated in the interests of the vast majority. I also would say, though, I won't go into detail, to a certain extent it was regulated in the interest of capital itself to moderate competition and therefore, I'd say, ensure a relatively tranquil market environment.

Neo[neo]liberalism involves not the deregulation of the capitalist system, but the reregulation of it in the interest of capital. So, it involves moving from a system in which capital is regulated in the interests of stability and the many to regulation in a way that enhances capital. These regulations, to get specific about them, restrictions on trade unions, as you, on Real News, a number of people have talked about this. The United States now have many restrictions on the organizing of trade unions which were not present 50 or 60 years ago, making it harder to have a mass movement of labor against capital, restrictions on the right to demonstrate, a whole range of things. Then within capital itself, the regulations on the movement of capital that facilitate speculation in international markets. We have a capitalism in which the form of regulation is shifted from the regulation of capital in the interest of labor to regulation of capital in the interest of capital.

SHARMINI PERIES: John, give us a brief summary of the ways in which neo[neo]liberalism undermines democracy.

JOHN WEEKS: Well, I think that there are many examples, but I'm going to focus on economic policy. For an obvious case is the role of the Central Bank, in the case of the United States' Federal Reserve System, in which reducing its accountability to the public, one way you can do that is by assigning goals to it, such as fighting inflation, which then override other goals. Originally, the Federal Reserve System, its charter, or I'll say its terms of reference, if you want me to use that phrase, included full employment and a stable economy. Those have been overridden in more recent legislation, which puts a great emphasis on the control of inflation. Control of inflation basically means maintaining an economy at a relatively high level of unemployment or part-time employment, or flexible employment, where people have relatively few rights at work. And that the Central Bank becomes a vehicle for enforcing a neo[neo]liberal economic policy.

Second of all, probably most of your viewers will not remember the days when we had fixed exchange rates. We had a world of fixed exchange rates in those days that represented the policy, which government could use to affect its trade and also affect its domestic policy. There have been deregulation of that. We now have floating exchange rates. That takes away a tool, an instrument of economic policy. And in fiscal policy, there the, here it's more ideology than laws, though there are also laws. There's a law requiring that the government balance its budget, but more important than that, the introduction into the public consciousness, I'd say grinding into the public consciousness, the idea that deficits are a bad thing, government debt is a bad thing, and that's a completely neo[neo]liberal ideology.

In summary, one way that the democracy has been undermined is to take away economic policy from the public realm and move it to the realm of experts. So, we have certain allegedly expert guidelines that we have to follow. Inflation should be low. We should not run deficits. The national debt should be small. These are things that are just made up ideologically. There is no technical basis to them. And so, in doing that, you might say, the term I like to use is, you decommission the democratic process and economic policy.

SHARMINI PERIES: John, speaking of ideology, in your talk you refer to the challenge that fascism posed or poses to neo[neo]liberal democracies. Now, it is interesting when you take Europe into consideration and National Socialist in Germany, for example, appeal mostly to the working class, as does contemporary far-right leaders in Poland and Hungary, that they support more explicit neo[neo]liberal agendas. Why would people support a neo[neo]liberal agenda that exasperate inequalities and harm public services that they depend on, including jobs?

JOHN WEEKS: I think that to a great extent it is country-specific, but I can make generalizations. First of all, I'm talking about Europe, because you raised a case in some European countries, and then I'll make some comments about the United States and Trump, if you want me to. I think in Europe, a combination of three things resulted in the rise of fascism and authoritarian movements which are verging on fascism. One is that the European integration project, which let me say that I have supported, and I would still prefer Britain not to leave the European Union, but nevertheless, the European Union integration project has been a project run by elites.

It has not been a bottom-up process. It has been a process very much run by elite politicians, in which they get together in closed door, and they make policies which they subsequently announce, and many of the decisions they come to being extremely, the meaning of them being extremely opaque. So, therefore, you have the development in Europe of the European Union which, not from the bottom up, but very much from the top down. You might suggest from the top, but I'm not sure how much goes down. That's one.
The second key factor, I would say, for about 20 years in European integration, it was relatively benign elitism because it was social democratic, it had the support of the working class, or the trade unions, at any rate. Then, increasingly, it began to become neo[neo]liberal. So, you have an elite project which was turning into a neo[neo]liberal project. Specifically, what I mean by neo[neo]liberal is where they're generating flexibility rules for the labor market, austerity policies, bank, balanced budgets, low inflation, the things I was talking about before.

Then the third element, toxic, the most toxic of them, but the other, they're volatile, is the legacy of fascism in Europe. Every European country, with the exception of Britain, had a substantial fascist movement in the 1920s and 1930s. I can go into why Britain didn't sometime. It had to do with the particular class struggle of the, I mean, class structure of Britain. Poland, ironically enough, though, is one of them. It was overrun by the Nazis, and occupied, and incorporated into the German Reich. Ironically, it had a very right-wing government with a lot of sympathies towards fascism when it was invaded in the late summer of 1939.

France had a strong fascist movement. Of course, Italy had a fascist government, and Hungary, where now you have a right-wing government, a very strong fascist movement. The incorporation of these countries into the Soviet sphere of influence, or the empire, as it were, did not destroy that fascism. It certainly suppressed it, but it didn't destroy it. So, as soon as the European project began to transform into a neo[neo]liberal project, and that gathered strength in the early 1990s, I mean, the neo[neo]liberal aspect of the European Union gathered strength in the early 1990s, exactly when you were getting the "liberation" of many countries from Soviet rule. And so, when you put those together, it led to, It was a rise of fascism waiting to happen and now it is happening.

SHARMINI PERIES: John, earlier, you said you'll factor in Trump. How does Trump fit into this phenomena?

JOHN WEEKS: I think that as The Real News has pointed out, that many of Trump's policies appear just to be more extreme versions of things that George Bush did, and in some cases not that much different from what Barack Obama did. Now, though I wouldn't go too deeply into that, I think that that is the most serious offenses by Obama that have been carried on by Trump have to do with the use of drones and the military. But at any rate, but there's a big difference from Trump. For the most part, the previous Republican presidents, and Democratic presidents, accepted the framework of, the formal framework of [neo]liberal democracy in the United States. That is, formally accepted the constraints imposed by the Constitution.

Now, of course, they probably didn't do it out of the goodness of their heart. They did it because they saw that the things that they wanted to achieve, the neo[neo]liberal goals that they wanted to achieve were perfectly consistent with the Constitution's framework and guarantees of rights and so on, that most of those rights are guaranteed in a way that's so weak that you didn't have to repeal the first 10 Amendments of the Constitution in order to have repressive policies.

The difference with Trump is, he has complete contempt for all of those constraints. That is, he is an authoritarian. I don't think he's a fascist, not yet, but he is an authoritarian. He does not accept that there are constraints which he should respect. There are constraints which bother him, and he wants to get rid of them, and he actually takes steps to do so. What you have in Trump, I think, is a sea change. You have a, we've had right-wing presidents before, certainly. What the difference with Trump is, he is a right-wing president that sees no reason to respect the institutions of democratic government, or even, you might say, the institution of representative government. I won't even use a term as strong as "democratic." That lays the basis for an explicitly authoritarian United States, and I'd say that we're beginning to see the vehicle by which this will occur, the restriction on voting rights. Of course, that was going on before Trump, it does in a more aggressive way. I think the, soon, we will have a Supreme Court that will be quite lenient with his tendency towards authoritarian rule.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, John. Let's end this segment with what can be done. I mean, what must be done to prevent neo[neo]liberal interests from undermining democracy? And who do you believe is leading the struggle for democracy now, and what is the right strategy that people should be fighting for?

JOHN WEEKS: Well, one thing, I think, where I'd begin is that I think progressives, as The Real News represents, and Bernie Sanders, and all the people that support him, and Jeremy Corbyn over here, I'll come back to talk about a bit about Jeremy. We must be explicit that we view democracy, by which we mean the participation of people at the grassroots, their participation in the government, we view that as a goal. It's not merely a technique, or a tool which, what was it that Erdoğan so infamously said? "Democracy is like a train. You take it to where you want to go and then you get off." No. Progressive view is that democracy is what it's all about. Democracy is the way that we build the present and we build a future.

I'm quite fortunate in that I live in perhaps the only large country in the world where there's imminent possibility of a progressive, left-wing, anti-authoritarian government. I think that is the monumental importance of Jeremy Corbyn and his second-in-command, John McDonnell, and others like Emily Thornberry, who is the Foreign Secretary. These people are committed to democracy. In the United States, Bernie Sanders is committed to a democracy, and a lot of other people are too, Elizabeth Warren. So, I think that the struggle in the United States is extremely difficult because of the role of the big money and the media, which you know more about than I do. But it is a struggle which we have to keep at, and we have to be optimistic about it. It's a good bit easier over here, but as we saw, and you reported, during the last presidential election, a progressive came very close to being President of the United States. That, I don't think was a one-off event, not to be repeated. I think it lays the basis for hope in the future.

... ... ...


JTMcPhee , February 17, 2018 at 9:35 am

"Informed speculation" with lots of footnotes and offshoots in this Reddit skein: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/1llyf7/about_how_much_in_todays_money_was_30_pieces_of/

"A lot of money" in those days- Some say JI "bought land" with the shekels. An early form of asset swap? A precursor to current financialist activities?

WobblyTelomeres , February 17, 2018 at 10:44 am

Good article. If it were any bleaker, I'd suspect Chris Hedges having a hand in writing it.

The democratic nation-state basically operates like a criminal cartel, forcing honest citizens to surrender large portions of their wealth to pay for stuff like roads and hospitals and schools.

There it is, the Gorgon Thiel, surrounded by terror and rout.

James T. Cricket , February 18, 2018 at 3:46 am

I suppose you've read this.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/10/sam-altmans-manifest-destiny

Here's a quote:

"Altman felt that OpenAI's mission was to babysit its wunderkind until it was ready to be adopted by the world. He'd been reading James Madison's notes on the Constitutional Convention for guidance in managing the transition. 'We're planning a way to allow wide swaths of the world to elect representatives to a new governance board,' he said."

I was having trouble choosing which of the passages in this article to provide a mad quote from. Some other choices were
Altman's going to work with the Department of Defense, then help defend the world from them.
Or:
OpenAI's going to take over from humans, but don't worry because they're going to make it (somehow) so OpenAI can only terminate bad people. Before releasing it to the world.
Or:
Altman says 'add a 0 to whatever you're doing but never more than that.'

But if this sort of wisdom (somehow) doesn't work out well for everybody and the world collapses, he's flying with Peter Thiel in the private jet to the New Zealand's south island to wait out the Zombie Apocalypse on a converted sheep farm. (Before returning to the Valley work with more startups?)

These are your new leaders, people

David , February 17, 2018 at 7:56 am

I think it's revealing that the only type of democracy discussed, in spite of the title, is "[neo]liberal democracy", which the host describes as "based on capitalistic markets along with respect for individual freedoms and human rights and equality in the face of the law."

I've always argued that [neo]liberal democracy is a contradiction in terms, and you can see why from that quotation. [neo]liberalism (leaving aside special uses of the term in the US) is about individuals exercising their personal economic freedom and personal autonomy as much as they can, with as little control by government as possible.

But given massive imbalances in economic power, the influence of media-backed single issue campaigns and the growth of professional political parties, policy is decided by the interventions of powerful and well-organised groups, without ordinary people being consulted. At the end, Weeks does start to talk of grassroots participation, but seems to have no more in mind than a campaign to get people to vote for Sanders in 2020, which hardly addresses the problem. The answer, if there is one, is a system of direct democracy, involving referendums and popular assemblies chosen at random.

This has been much talked about, but since you would have the entire political class against you, it's not going to happen. In the meantime, we are stuck with [neo]liberal democracy, whose contradictions, I'm afraid are becoming ever more obvious.

JTMcPhee , February 17, 2018 at 8:45 am

"Contradictions?" One question for me at least would be whether the features and motions of the current regime are best characterized as "contradictions." If so, to what? And implicit in the use of the word is some kind of resolution, via actual class conflict or something, leading to "better" or at least "different." All I see from my front porch is more of the same, and worse. "The Matrix" in that myth gave some comforting illusions to the mopery. I think the political economy/collapsed planet portrayed in "Soylent Green" is a lot closer to the likely endpoints.

At least in the movie fable, the C-Suite-er of the Soylent Corp. as the lede in the film, was sickened of what he was helping to maintain, and bethought himself to blow his tiny little personal whistle that nobody would really hear, and got axed for his disloyalty to the ruling collective. I doubt the ranks of corporatists of MonsantoDuPont and LockheedMartin and the rest include any significant numbers of folks sickened by "the contradictions" that get them their perks and bennies and power (as long as they color inside the lines.)

Eustache De Saint Pierre , February 17, 2018 at 9:33 am

I hope I am way off the mark, but within that genre & in terms of where we could be heading, the film " Snowpiercer " sums it up best for me- a dystopian world society illustrated through the passengers on one long train.

Michael C , February 17, 2018 at 8:46 am

Thanks for the Real News Network for covering issues that never see the light of day on the corporate media and never mentioned by the Rachel Maddow's of the "news" shows.

torff , February 17, 2018 at 10:02 am

Can we please put a moratorium on the term "free market"? It's a nonsense term.

Yves Smith Post author , February 17, 2018 at 6:59 pm

Yes, I wrote about that at length in ECONNED. I kept the RNN headline, which used it, but should have put "free market" in quotes.

Katz , February 18, 2018 at 11:09 am

I actually like the term and find it useful, insofar as it describes an ideology -- as oposed a real political-economic arrangement. The presence of "free markets" may not be a characteristic of the neo[neo]liberal phase, but the belief in them sure is.

(Which is not to say there aren't people who don't believe in free markets but do invoke them rhetorically for other ends. That's a feature of many if not most successful ideologies.)

Jim Haygood , February 17, 2018 at 10:59 am

' Originally, the Federal Reserve charter included full employment and a stable economy. Those have been overridden in more recent legislation, which puts a great emphasis on the control of inflation.

Eh, this is fractured history. The Fed was set up in 1913 as a lender of last resort -- a discounter of government and private bills.

In late 1978 Jimmy Carter signed the Humphrey Hawkins Act instructing the Fed to pursue three goals: stable prices, maximum employment, and moderate long-term interest rates, though the latter is rarely mentioned now and the Fed is widely viewed as having a dual mandate.

The Fed's two percent inflation target it simply adopted at its own initiative -- it's not enshrined in no Perpetual Inflation Act.

' We had a world of fixed exchange rates which government could use to affect its trade and also affect its domestic policy. We now have floating exchange rates. That takes away a tool. '

LOL! This is totally inverted and flat wrong. The Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system prevented radical monetary experiments such as QE which would have broken the peg. Nixon unilaterally suspended fixed exchange rates in 1971 because he was unwilling to take the political hit of formally devaluing the dollar (or even more unlikely, sweating out Vietnam War inflation with falling prices to maintain the peg).

Floating rates are a new and potentially lethal monetary tool which have produced a number of sad examples of "governments gone wild" with radical monetary experiments and currency swings. Bad boys Japan & Switzerland come readily to mind.

To render history accurately requires getting hands dirty with dusty old books. Icky, I know. :-(

RBHoughton , February 17, 2018 at 6:24 pm

Yes but globalisation meant that all central banks and finance ministers had to act concertedly as in G-20 and similar meetings. While we may talk of floating exchange rates, each country fixes its interest rate to maintain parity with the others. Isn't that so?

Yves Smith Post author , February 17, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Ahem, you skip over that the full employment goal was added to the Fed mandate in 1946, long before the inflation goal was added.

The Rev Kev , February 17, 2018 at 7:29 pm

I think that the key piece of info is that the Federal Reserve was created on December 23rd, 1913. That sounds like that it was slipped in the legislative back door when everybody was going away for the Christmas holidays.

Steven Greenberg , February 17, 2018 at 11:26 am

===== quote =====
Second of all, probably most of your viewers will not remember the days when we had fixed exchange rates. We had a world of fixed exchange rates in those days that represented the policy, which government could use to affect its trade and also affect its domestic policy. There have been deregulation of that. We now have floating exchange rates. That takes away a tool, an instrument of economic policy. And in fiscal policy, there the, here it's more ideology than laws, though there are also laws. There's a law requiring that the government balance its budget, but more important than that, the introduction into the public consciousness, I'd say grinding into the public consciousness, the idea that deficits are a bad thing, government debt is a bad thing, and that's a completely neo[neo]liberal ideology.
===== /quote =====

This makes absolutely no sense and seems to have the case exactly backward. Our federal government has no rule that the budget must be balanced. Fixed exchange rates were not a tool that could be used to affect trade and domestic policy in a good way.

Lee Robertson , February 17, 2018 at 11:42 am

Any hierarchic system will be exploited by intelligent sociopaths. Systems will not save us.

Susan the other , February 17, 2018 at 1:29 pm

I enjoyed John Weeks' point of view. He's the first person I've read who refers to the usefulness of a fixed exchange rate. Useful for a sovereign government with a social spending agenda. We have always been a sovereign government with a military agenda which is at odds with a social agenda.

Guns and butter are a dangerous combination if you are dedicated to at least maintaining the illusion of a "strong dollar." That's basically what Nixon finessed. John Conally told him not to worry, we could go off the gold standard and it wasn't our problem since we were the reserve currency – it was everybody else's problem and we promptly exported our inflation all around the world. And now it has come home to roost because it was fudging and it couldn't last forever.

Much better to concede to some fix for the currency and maintain the sovereign power to devalue the dollar as necessary to maintain proper social spending. I don't understand why sovereign governments cannot see that a deficit is just the mirror image of a healthy social economy (Stephanie Kelton).

And to that end "fix" an exchange rate that maintains a reasonable purchasing power of the currency by pegging it to the long term health of the economy. What we do now is peg the dollar to a "basket of goods and services"- Ben Bernanke. That "basket" is effectively "the market" and has very little to do with good social policy.

There's no reason we can't dispense with the market and simply fiat the value of our currency based on the social return estimated for our social investments. Etc. Keeping the dollar stubbornly strong is just tyranny favoring those few who benefit from extreme inequality.

ebbflows , February 17, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Bancor. Then some got delusions of grandeur.

albert , February 17, 2018 at 2:23 pm

" Democracy is not under stress – it's under aggressive attack, as unconstrained financial greed overrides public accountability ."

I request a lessatorium* on the term 'democracy', because there aren't any democracies. Rather than redefine the term, why not use a more accurate one, like 'plutocracy', or 'corporatocracy'.
-- -- -- -
* It's like a moratorium, you just do less of it.

Paul Cardan , February 17, 2018 at 2:37 pm

What is this democracy of which you speak?

Tomonthebeach , February 17, 2018 at 4:30 pm

I had not given much thought to "Fascist" until the term was challenged as a synonym for "bully." So, I started reading Wikipedia's take on Fascismo. What I discovered was the foremost, my USA education did not teach jack s -- about Fascism – and I went to elite high school in libr'l Chicago.

Is Fascism right or left? Does it matter? What goes around comes around.

What I gleaned from my quick Wikiread was the apparent pattern of economic inequality causing the masses to huddle in fear & loathing to one corner – desperation, and then some clever autocrat subverts the energy from their F&L into political power by demonizing various minorities and other non-causal perps.

Like nearly every past fascism emergence in history, US Trumpismo is capitalizing on inequality, and fear & loathing (his capital if you will) to seize power. That brings us to Today – to Trump, and an era (brief I hope) of US flirtation with fascism. Thank God Trump is crippled by a narcissism that fuels F&L within his own regime. Otherwise, I might be joining a survivalist group or something. :-)

Synoia , February 17, 2018 at 6:32 pm

Left and right are more line circle that a line.

I view the extreme left and extreme right, meeting somewhere, hidden, at the back of a circle.

c_heale , February 17, 2018 at 7:29 pm

I always believed this too!

+1

flora , February 17, 2018 at 8:01 pm

Neoliberalism involves not the deregulation of the capitalist system, but the reregulation of it in the interest of capital. So, it involves moving from a system in which capital is regulated in the interests of stability and the many to regulation in a way that enhances capital.

Prominent politicians in the US and UK have spent their entire political careers representing neoliberalism's agenda at the expense of representing the voters' issues. The voters are tired of the conservative and [neo]liberal political establishments' focus on neoliberal policy. This is also true in Germany as well France and Italy. The West's current political establishments see the way forward as "staying the neoliberal course." Voters are saying "change course." See:

'German Politics Enters an Era of Instability' – Der Speigel

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-political-landscape-crumbling-as-merkel-coalition-forms-a-1193947.html

[Feb 19, 2018] Russian Meddling Was a Drop in an Ocean of American-made Discord by AMANDA TAUB and MAX FISHER

Highly recommended!
Very weak analysis The authors completely missed the point. Susceptibility to rumors (now called "fake new" which more correctly should be called "improvised news") and high level of distrust to "official MSM" (of which popularity of alternative news site is only tip of the iceberg) is a sign of the crisis and tearing down of the the social fabric that hold the so social groups together. This first of all demonstrated with the de-legitimization of the neoliberal elite.
As such attempt to patch this discord and unite the US society of fake premises of Russiagate and anti-Russian hysteria look very problematic. The effect might be quite opposite as the story with Steele dossier, which really undermined credibility of Justice Department and destroyed the credibility o FBI can teach us.
In this case claims that "The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan " are just s a sign of rejection of neoliberalism by voters. Nothing more nothing less.
Notable quotes:
"... It has infected the American political system, weakening the body politic and leaving it vulnerable to manipulation. Russian misinformation seems to have exacerbated the symptoms, but laced throughout the indictment are reminders that the underlying disease, arguably far more damaging, is all American-made. ..."
"... A recent study found that the people most likely to consume fake news were already hyperpartisan and close followers of politics, and that false stories were only a small fraction of their media consumption. ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

That these efforts might have actually made a difference, or at least were intended to, highlights a force that was already destabilizing American democracy far more than any Russian-made fake news post: partisan polarization.

"Partisanship can even alter memory, implicit evaluation, and even perceptual judgment," the political scientists Jay J. Van Bavel and Andrea Pereira wrote in a recent paper . "The human attraction to fake and untrustworthy news" -- a danger cited by political scientists far more frequently than orchestrated meddling -- "poses a serious problem for healthy democratic functioning."

It has infected the American political system, weakening the body politic and leaving it vulnerable to manipulation. Russian misinformation seems to have exacerbated the symptoms, but laced throughout the indictment are reminders that the underlying disease, arguably far more damaging, is all American-made.

... ... ...

A recent study found that the people most likely to consume fake news were already hyperpartisan and close followers of politics, and that false stories were only a small fraction of their media consumption.

Americans, it said, sought out stories that reflected their already-formed partisan view of reality. This suggests that these Russians efforts are indicators -- not drivers -- of how widely Americans had polarized.

That distinction matters for how the indictment is read: Though Americans have seen it as highlighting a foreign threat, it also illustrates the perhaps graver threats from within.

An Especially Toxic Form of Partisanship

... ... ...

"Compromise is the core of democracy," she said. "It's the only way we can govern." But, she said, "when you make people feel threatened, nobody compromises with evil."

The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan is in many ways just a faint echo of the partisan anger and fear already dominating American politics.

Those emotions undermine a key norm that all sides are served by honoring democratic processes; instead, they justify, or even seem to mandate, extreme steps against the other side.

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

In taking this approach, the Russians were merely riding a trend that has been building for decades. Since the 1980s , surveys have found that Republicans and Democrats' feelings toward the opposing party have been growing more and more negative. Voters are animated more by distrust of the other side than support for their own.

This highlights a problem that Lilliana Mason, a University of Maryland political scientist, said had left American democracy dangerously vulnerable. But it's a problem driven primarily by American politicians and media outlets, which have far louder megaphones than any Russian-made Facebook posts.

"Compromise is the core of democracy," she said. "It's the only way we can govern." But, she said, "when you make people feel threatened, nobody compromises with evil."

The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan is in many ways just a faint echo of the partisan anger and fear already dominating American politics.

Those emotions undermine a key norm that all sides are served by honoring democratic processes; instead, they justify, or even seem to mandate, extreme steps against the other side.

[Feb 17, 2018] Delegitimization of ruling elite is an approriate word for the current crisis

Notable quotes:
"... This rings true as well; "The implications for the future of the American republic were terrifying, Tesich concluded. His words are haunting to read today: We are rapidly becoming prototypes of a people that totalitarian monsters could only drool about in their dreams. All the dictators up to now have had to work hard at suppressing the truth. We, by our actions, are saying that this is no longer necessary, that we have acquired a spiritual mechanism that can denude truth of any significance. In a very fundamental way we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world." ..."
"... This also applies to the UK. What goodwill, mythology ("worldliness, pragmatism") etc. that was attached by continentals to the UK has been "exploded". ..."
"... Lately, I've detected a certain sense of malaise among my fellow citizens. In my opinion, it's long been apparent that this won't end well. All of these factors points to a day of reckoning that is rapidly approaching. Perhaps the prevalence of school shootings is acting as the proverbial canary in the coal mine? ..."
"... Don't think that the elite have not noticed the way things are moving. In my own line of work I interact with the 1% on a regular basis. I can tell you that even though they are doing better that ever, there is a sense of discreet terror. It's obvious when they discuss all the ways that they're trying to replicating their own advantages in the education of their little darlings. ..."
"... I think it's dawning on us that we're not re-experiencing the moment before the election of Franklin Roosevelt, and the beginning of the New Deal, we're actually just now realizing the necessity of the daunting task of organizing, which makes our times resemble 1890 more than 1935. ..."
"... Even if it takes half as much time to defeat the Robber Barons this go-round, many of us will not see anything resembling ' victory ' in our lifetimes, so we have to make adjustments in our expectations, and accept the monumental nature of the tasks ahead. ..."
"... I think delegitimization is upon us. General malaise is nearly to the point of a general strike. The house of cards is in a slow motion but certain wind storm. Those thousand dollar checks at Wal-Mart payday will vanish overnight while the wealthy reap tax benefits for years on end. We are down to the twenty seven percent (Dems) waging false battles with the twenty six percent (Reps). Only the 47 percent rest of us will grow in numbers from here on out. ..."
"... The Anglo-American countries can not be anything but in a class of their own. They include the mother country with former colonies, some especially successful, and rule the world by virtue of language, wealth and, often necessarily, violence, almost always gratuitous. ..."
"... Violence has an effect on peoples lives at both the giving and receiving ends. ..."
"... Image you are in Baghdad on the glorious, glittering night of Shock and Awe to get a feel for things. That happened when the US was supposedly great. ..."
"... Intelligence makes us pessimists, and our will makes us optimists. ..."
"... But Trump is not the problem here, only the Front Man for something larger. Even during the early oughts one could perceive a fundamental societal drift, empowered by a 'conservative' (read: fascist) willingness to do whatever was necessary in pursuit of their particular vision. It is not a vision of returning disempowered white folks to some rosy past that never existed; I sense a more feudal vision, with princes and lords in gated communities, with peasants conned into doing their bidding, every day being fleeced even further. ..."
"... The angst feels not like the angst of an impending, singular catastrophe, but rather the angst of decline. There's a late empire feel to the current mood: leaders without agency, more interested in their own, internal sense of normalcy and maintaining their perches, perches that increasingly feel pointless as they're all just listless figureheads doing what the Magister Militum tells them to do. ..."
"... The military feels all-encompassing yet simultaneously incapable of exercising its will in the theater of war, so dispersed and aimless, as the missions are no longer about winning wars but about resume building ..."
"... Civililizations don't collapse like falling off a table. They stress resources of materials and people and such stresses build and build. This has serious psychological impacts. ..."
"... The moderate catastrophic disasters like Trumps election cause much bigger disruptions to the civilizational equilibrium, but only for a time. We all know deep inside that what comes next in Brexit or say Trumps removal will actually be worse than what we have now. ..."
"... For me the frame changed with the restart of the Cold War. I remember "Duck and Cover, McCarthyism, John Birchers, and Who Lost China". It has all come back. The Democrats are idiots for scapegoating Russia. President Donald Trump is incompetent. ..."
"... Jones Marathon ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

HopeLB , February 16, 2018 at 8:43 am

All of the warnings, predictions, knowledge, tech advances and humor of sci-fi, real science, history, and literature alike has boiled down to this? This low quality "news" that reports on the latest predictable, preventable outrage/injustice when it not intentionally turning up the hysteria/fear tuner? It's like living in a simulation of a society ruled by the insane and hearing about its unwinding day after day.

This rings true as well; "The implications for the future of the American republic were terrifying, Tesich concluded. His words are haunting to read today: We are rapidly becoming prototypes of a people that totalitarian monsters could only drool about in their dreams. All the dictators up to now have had to work hard at suppressing the truth. We, by our actions, are saying that this is no longer necessary, that we have acquired a spiritual mechanism that can denude truth of any significance. In a very fundamental way we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world."

https://www.thenation.com/article/post-truth-and-its-consequences-what-a-25-year-old-essay-tells-us-about-the-current-moment/

Yeat's captures the inexorable feel of our times perfectly;

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

THE SECOND COMING

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Colonel Smithers , February 16, 2018 at 9:04 am

Thank you.

This also applies to the UK. What goodwill, mythology ("worldliness, pragmatism") etc. that was attached by continentals to the UK has been "exploded".

This makes me wonder whether the US will exist in its current form. Is it desirable? Genuine questions from someone who visits annually, including "fly over", and enjoys doing so. I don't see the UK existing as currently constituted much beyond the next decade.

camelotkidd , February 16, 2018 at 8:42 am

Lately, I've detected a certain sense of malaise among my fellow citizens. In my opinion, it's long been apparent that this won't end well. All of these factors points to a day of reckoning that is rapidly approaching. Perhaps the prevalence of school shootings is acting as the proverbial canary in the coal mine?

Don't think that the elite have not noticed the way things are moving. In my own line of work I interact with the 1% on a regular basis. I can tell you that even though they are doing better that ever, there is a sense of discreet terror. It's obvious when they discuss all the ways that they're trying to replicating their own advantages in the education of their little darlings.

Watt4Bob , February 16, 2018 at 8:45 am

I'm starting to think that what we are experiencing is the realization that we've spent way too much time expecting that explaining our selves, our diverse grievances, and our political insights would naturally result in growing an irresistible movement that would wash over, and cleanse our politics of the filth that is the status quo.

It is sobering to realize that it took almost four decades for the original Progressive Era organizers to bring about even the possibility of change.

I think it's dawning on us that we're not re-experiencing the moment before the election of Franklin Roosevelt, and the beginning of the New Deal, we're actually just now realizing the necessity of the daunting task of organizing, which makes our times resemble 1890 more than 1935.

Government by the people, and for the people has been drowned in the bath-tub, and the murderers have not only taken the reigns of power, but have convinced half the population that their murderous act represents a political correction that will return America to greatness.

It remains to be seen whether we will find it in our hearts to embrace both the hard, and un-glamorous work of relieving the pain inflicted by the regime that has engulfed us, and the necessity of embracing as brothers and sisters those who haven't yet realized that it is the rich and powerful who are the problem, and not all the other poor and oppressed.

The difficulty of affecting political change might be explained the way Black-Smiths describe their problem;

Life so short the craft so long to learn.

Even if it takes half as much time to defeat the Robber Barons this go-round, many of us will not see anything resembling ' victory ' in our lifetimes, so we have to make adjustments in our expectations, and accept the monumental nature of the tasks ahead.

Eureka Springs , February 16, 2018 at 10:32 am

"that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

A nice excerpt from the non-binding Gettysburg address. Too bad he was referring to a system of governance which never existed.

In a conversation with several friends yesterday.. all of us found among our greatest despairs the behavior of our long time friends who are Democrats. Much more pig-headed and determined to stay that way than Republicans ever were during the Bush Jr. years. Pretending we live in some sort of system (much less a party) which could or would possibly represent. Seemingly incapable of listening, blinded by delusion and propaganda demanding anyone in their presence double down on what's failed so many of us for far longer than we have lived.

All of us men in our fifties. Hard working. None of us had kids of our own, but several are in relationships with women who did. None of us have anything close to high living standards. Barely getting by now with great uncertainty ahead. Hell, we all own our homes outright, drive ten to twenty year old cars, buy most clothes second hand, grow much of our own food, cut our own firewood, several live off the grid entirely. Only one has access to health care and that's because he's on disability due to spinal injury on the job and an inherited heart condition. He's also the only one who might be able to get by in 'retirement' years on what he will receive. Every one of the rest of us realized if we lose our current jobs we would be hard pressed to replace them at half the income we have now.

I went to orientation for jury duty this week. Out of a hundred and fifty people I was the only man wearing a button down shirt and a sport coat. The only man who removed his hat in the courtroom. And I felt like a freak. It was all I could do to not ask the judge about jury nullification. The only reason I held back is because I knew every citizen in the joint just wanted out of there.

I think delegitimization is upon us. General malaise is nearly to the point of a general strike. The house of cards is in a slow motion but certain wind storm. Those thousand dollar checks at Wal-Mart payday will vanish overnight while the wealthy reap tax benefits for years on end. We are down to the twenty seven percent (Dems) waging false battles with the twenty six percent (Reps). Only the 47 percent rest of us will grow in numbers from here on out.

Watt4Bob , February 16, 2018 at 11:20 am

Only the 47 percent rest of us will grow in numbers from here on out.

So there is our hope. Personally, I suspect that Trump's working-class supporters will join us sooner than the deluded, diehard Clintonista faction of the democratic base. And let's hope the false battles don't turn into real battles. It's obvious there are some who would love to have us throwing rocks at each other, or worse.

juliania , February 16, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Yes, indeed, you have it. Delegitimization is the appropriate word. My thought on seeing the headline that 17 died in the Florida school shooting was how many months to go before the school year ends. I won't read anything about the shooter, or the deaths, or the bravery and self sacrifice. There have been too many; there will be far too many more.

It is an end-of-Vietnam moment. It is a moment for poems such as the above mentioned, and for me T.S.Eliot's 'Four Quartets'.

Petter , February 16, 2018 at 8:45 am

Book: The Administration of Fear – Paul Virilio. From the back cover: We are facing the emergence of a real, collective madness reinforced by the synchronization of emotions: the sudden globalization of affects in real time that hits all of humanity at the same time, and in the name of Progress. Emergency exit: we have entered a time of general panic.
-- --

suffer , February 16, 2018 at 8:46 am

what is your suffering of choice?

http://mentalfloss.com/article/58230/how-tell-whether-youve-got-angst-ennui-or-weltschmerz

Colonel Smithers , February 16, 2018 at 8:51 am

Thank you to Yves and the NC community.

Perhaps because I live in the UK, I echo particularly what Clive, Windsock and Plutonium Kun say.

Having spent much of the winter in Belgium, Mauritius, Spain and France, so none Anglo-Saxon, it was a relief to get away from the UK in the same way as JLS felt. Although these countries have their issues, I did notice their MSM appear not as venal as the UK and US MSM and seem more focused on local bread and butter. Brexit and Trump were mentioned very briefly, the latter nothing as hysterical and diversionary as in the UK and US. There were little identity politics on parade. Locals don't seem as worn out, in all respects, as one observes in Blighty.

With regard to PK's reference about Pearl Harbour, I know some well informed remainers who want a hard Brexit just for the relief that it will bring. Others, not necessarily remainers, have no idea what's going on and think Trump is a bigger threat. I must confess to, often, sharing what the former think, if only to bring the neo-liberal house down once and for all.

All this makes me think whether anglo-saxon countries are in a class of their own and how, after Brexit, the EU27 will evolve, shorn of the UK. This is not to say that the UK (the neo-liberal bit) is the only rotten apple in the EU.

If it was not for this site and community, I know of no other place where I would get a better source of news, insight and sanity. I know a dozen journalists, mainly in London, well and echo what Norello said.

Quentin , February 16, 2018 at 11:43 am

The Anglo-American countries can not be anything but in a class of their own. They include the mother country with former colonies, some especially successful, and rule the world by virtue of language, wealth and, often necessarily, violence, almost always gratuitous.

Violence has an effect on peoples lives at both the giving and receiving ends. What was this school shooting? The 13th or something since the beginning of the year. War. Nuclear war. A fear of war is the undertone which has been droning (!) on long before Donald Trump took power. Image you are in Baghdad on the glorious, glittering night of Shock and Awe to get a feel for things. That happened when the US was supposedly great.

LizinOregon , February 16, 2018 at 11:33 pm

Is pretending all is well a rational defense against the overwhelming feeling that there is nothing an individual can do to deflect the trajectory we are on? And the emotional energy it takes to keep up that pretense is exhausting.

Jane , February 16, 2018 at 9:30 am

I understand she's eager to leave but where to?! Isnt everywhere infected with this angst?

Yves Smith Post author , February 16, 2018 at 12:13 pm

She spends a lot of time in Asia .

Steve , February 16, 2018 at 9:37 am

I think for myself and others that the complete hopelessness of our situation is starting to take more of a toll. The amount of personal and social capital used to finally get some sanity back in government after Bush and the disastrous wasted opportunity of Obama that led to Trump is overwhelming. The complete loss of fairness is everywhere and my pet one this week is how Experian after losing over 200 million personal financial records is now advertising during the Olympics as the personal security service experts instead of being prosecuted out of business.

DJG , February 16, 2018 at 9:52 am

Yesterday was peculiar, Yves Smith. You should have sent me an e-mail! My colleagues were having meltdowns (overtired, I think). My computers were glitchy. The WWW seemed to switch on and off all day long. I am of a mind that it has to due with the false spring: We had a thaw in Chicago.

Like Lambert, and I won't speak for Lambert, who can speak for himself, I am guardedly optimistic: I have attended Our Revolution meetings here in Chicago as well as community meetings. There are many hardworking and savvy people out there. Yet I also believe that we are seeing the collapse of the old order without knowing what will arise anew. And as always, I am not one who believes that we should advocate more suffering so that people "learn their lesson." There is already too much suffering in the world–witness the endless U.S. sponsored wars in the Middle East. (The great un-covered story of our time: The horrors of the U.S.-Israeli-Saudi sponsored massacres from Algeria to Pakistan.)

I tend to think that the Anglo-American world is having a well-deserved nervous breakdown.

I note on my FB page that a "regular Democrat" is calling for war by invoking Orwell. When someone has reached that point of rottenness, not even knowing that Orwell was almost by nature anti-war, the rot can only continue its collapse.

So I offer Antonio Gramsci, who in spite of everything, used to write witty letters from prison. >>

My state of mind brings together these two sentiments and surpasses them: I am pessimistic because of intelligence, but a willed optimist. I think, in every circumstance, of the worst scenario so I can marshal all of my reserves of will and be ready to overcome the obstacle. I never allow myself illusions, and I have never had disappointments. I am always specially armed with endless patience, not passive or inert, but patience animated by perseverance.
–Antonio Gramsci, letter to his brother Gennaro, December 1929. Translation DJG.

Every collapse brings intellectual and moral disorder in its wake. So we must foster people who are sober, have patience, who do not despair when faced with the worst horrors yet who do not become elated over every stupid misstep. Intelligence makes us pessimists, and our will makes us optimists.
–Antonio Gramsci, first Prison Notebook, 1929-1930. Translation DJG.

So: Commenting groundlings and comrades, we must be alert, somewhat severe in our judgments of people and of the news, and yet open to a revolution that includes bread and roses.

Eclair , February 16, 2018 at 11:52 am

Nice find, DJG: "Our intelligence makes us pessimists, and our will makes us optimists."

Too big for a bumper sticker . but good for a bedside table or the bathroom mirror. To remind us that, for the realists, being optimistic takes an effort of will, a determined reach every single morning to find just one small thing that will keep us going for that day and give us hope for the future. It could be a rosy sunrise, or the imminent arrival of a grandchild, or a packet of seeds ready to be sown. Or meeting a good friend for coffee, or mastering a new dance step or a difficult passage on the fiddle.

Not denial of the world's shameful faults and of our increasingly precarious position within it, but a refusal to allow them to grind us down completely.

Left in Wisconsin , February 16, 2018 at 2:34 pm

Intelligence makes us pessimists, and our will makes us optimists.

My favorite quote. What else is there?

And if you want to know who the enemy is, it is all those whose cure for what ails us is either "Just going on living your life (i.e. shopping)" or "just vote". I view the current period of disquiet and all of us wondering what we can and should do, and who will be alongside us, or opposed to us, when we do.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:22 pm

> Pessimism of the the intellect, optimism of the will

I think -- call me Pollyanna if you wish -- that optimism of the intellect is warranted as well. My only concern is that collapse will come (or be induced) when "the good guys,"* let us say, are still to weak to take advantage of the moment. That's why I keep saying that gridlock is our friend.

* Who in the nature of the case have been unaccustomed to wielding real power.

Eclair , February 16, 2018 at 6:08 pm

I have been fortunate, in the past decade, to have 'hung out' with lots of 20-somethings (and a few older beings) who have been passionately optimistic about what they can accomplish against the forces of darkness. From the environmentalists who are fighting the corporations who would build pipelines and LNG terminals to activists building tiny houses for the homeless and working with the city to find land to place them on, and those who happily get arrested for sleeping under a blanket, in protest against 'urban camping' bans, to a woman who for the last five years has served Friday night meals for all, on sidewalks in front of businesses supporting the urban camping ban.

And, I have been constantly in awe of those who, in the face of centuries of being relocated, dispossessed, despised and massacred, will not give up on protecting their lands and their way of life. These Lakota and Kiowa and Dineh people are truly optimistic that they will prevail. Or, perhaps fatalistic is a better description; hey know they may die trying.

The Rev Kev , February 16, 2018 at 9:57 am

Looks like this article has a lot of legs on it but will wait to read more commentator's thoughts and ideas before doing so myself. Too much to take in. In the meantime. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WatQeG5fMU

R , February 16, 2018 at 10:19 am

As a New Zealander living in the USA for around 7 years now (but routinely spending Christmas months back in NZ, and often multi month stints remote working in Europe) the 'tension' just living in the USA – NYC / LA is through the roof.

I can remember being in Vienna some time after trump won, a few days shy of returning to the US and wondering what the hell I was thinking – and that's related to people / media's reaction to trump just as much as trump being in charge.

It's hard to put your finger on exactly what it is – partly just the 'big metropolis' thing.. but there's also something else nasty in the air.

Similar (but amplified) feeling at work last week at the office as one quarter of the company were sacked on a days notice – a downsizing at a start up that supposedly has 'great culture'.

It's that nasty squeeze of fast capitalism I believe that has a grip on everyone's psyche – elevated fear levels, etc.

Re-read Ames' 'going postal' a few weeks back, which covers brilliantly the vicious cultural turn under Reagan.

Ps – Naked Capitalism has become my 'News refuge' having dropped off social media entirely, and wanting to avoid the general insanity of the news cycle but not disengage, thank you!

tegnost , February 16, 2018 at 10:22 am

It's not so much the presence of angst that I see, among my working brethren we're pretty numb to the current hopeless future and tend to focus instead on the present for efficiencies sake, for if one thinks too much about the hopeless future it's hard to get up and get going on fighting back the tide and muddling through the hopeless present that will be more hopeless if you don't do anything. (as an aside my opinion is that this psychology has much to do with the current homeless crisis it takes confidence to try and those who can delude themselves into doing so seem to be a little better off) But now the angst is in the the 10%er's in my acquaintance, who claim to be really worried about nuclear war. Not surprisingly they're mostly informed by npr, which as far as I can see makes people really stupid. The trump as crazy fascist narrative has them in it's clutches so much so that his weekend I had to give the "don't be too pessimistic b/c if the world doesn't end you will be unprepared for it, and if it ends who cares?" speech normally reserved for youngsters who see no point in trying due to end of the world thinking (as anecdote since when I was in college in the early '80's I was pretty certain there would be a nuclear war and made different choices than the best ones,, anyone remember the star wars missile defense system?). That said I think the "we're all gonna die" theme is just more bs sour grapes and more proof that the residence of hopelessness is actually the democrat partisans who refuse to live in the present, so denial is where they are at. But isn't that the thing about angst, it doesn't have to be real to effect one's life negatively, and I'm hearing it from people who I think should know better, but I read nc daily and live out in the woods (highly recommended, almost as good as being in another country as the rural areas of the US are actually another country) and npr was so unhinged this weekend that I felt that even the reporters were having a hard time mustering the outrage. As Hope said commenting on the uber series
"What a pleasure it is to read a genuine (and all too rare) piece of financial analysis."
I couldn't agree more, and I might send it on to a 10%er, but they seem kind of fragile lately and I don't know if they could handle "uber is a failing enterprise", they might not get out of bed

tegnost , February 16, 2018 at 1:31 pm

oops sorry that was hana not hope

Travis Bickle , February 16, 2018 at 10:22 am

Don't know if I'm any more sensitive than you guys, and I'm certainly not that good at articulating what's going in with something this subtle.

I will say that when the dogs stop barking its time to start getting REALLY worried. What we may now be hearing, or not hearing, may be a sign of fatigue, but more depressingly, impending resignation. EVERY day for the past year there's been yet another affront, and the opposition has been ineffective in any meaningful sense. Trump has apparently learned that the way to parry any thrust is to counter with something even more outrageous, literally in a matter of minutes. The initiative he is thus able to maintain is scary, and something I see no way to surmount.

But Trump is not the problem here, only the Front Man for something larger. Even during the early oughts one could perceive a fundamental societal drift, empowered by a 'conservative' (read: fascist) willingness to do whatever was necessary in pursuit of their particular vision. It is not a vision of returning disempowered white folks to some rosy past that never existed; I sense a more feudal vision, with princes and lords in gated communities, with peasants conned into doing their bidding, every day being fleeced even further.

Hence, having the means, though by no means being rich, I began my move off-shore over ten years ago. I now have 3 passports and permanent residency on as many continents. What Jerri-Lynn senses is very, very real, as I learned in the US over Xmas past in a series of vignettes I'll spare anyone reading this. I was sharing my experiences there to a local student recently (here in South America) who had once lived in the US and who continues to be enamored of the now frayed, and largely repudiated, American Dream. As I explained to him, it's not a pretty picture, and hardly one to succumb to.

My sense is that the media has succeeded in instilling into the North American zeitgeist a sense of the US being At War against the rest of the world, not unlike that of the mentality of Israel, which has a far more real situation to contend with. The tragedy, in the case of the US, is that it really, really does not have to be like this. This is a hole we have begun digging ourselves into only recently, as opposed to Israel, which at this point can hardly see the light of day.

At some point this mentality becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and while the US could easily turn itself around, the momentum is strong and decidedly in the other direction. The vision of the fascists and the imperatives of the media pretty much guarantee the US, and by extension the world, is on a collision course with negative time and space.

Left in Wisconsin , February 16, 2018 at 2:37 pm

Everything holds until it doesn't.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:30 pm

Herbert Stein disagrees with Godot's Vladimir: ""If something cannot go on forever, it will stop."

Andrew Watts , February 16, 2018 at 10:33 am

I'm probably the last person able to comment on this topic having spent the last three months ignoring the news and not even reading Naked Capitalism daily. I was never bothered by the big stories like the drama over North Korea which I thought of as nothing more than a psy-op incidentally aimed at the American populace. Nor did I find Liberal Hezbollah (The Resistance) or #Metoo to be anything more than a joke. I kinda suspected that American culture would be plagued by another round of hysterical superstition driven by Calvinist social-jihadism.

If there seems to be a lack of consequential events it's because history doesn't move as swiftly as we might want. It doesn't mean that we aren't moving towards more worldview shattering events which will challenge the ability of our body politic to react to them. The United States continues to collapse driven by external and internal factors. The lack of clarity and unity of action will eventually usher in the end of the empire aboard. The inability of our ruling class to respond to Trump's election in such a manner which would constructively restore faith in our institutions will only accelerate the process at home. There isn't a lack of stories which serve as a useful guide through history. The story about American troops being ambushed and dying in Niger was significant.

A few years before the Islamic State steamrolled through Iraq and Syria it was mostly unnoticed that the French were contending with rebels marauding through their African protection racket in Mali and the Central African Republic. The fact that the US is having to prop up the French and that the chaos has been migrating southward is significant especially given the economic factors at stake. Another story I found interesting was a recent DW article about the woeful state of readiness of the German military given it is assuming leadership of a prominent position in NATO. It notably reveals that in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis and euro crisis the Germans, but probably the European countries as a whole, have been strip-mining their military budgets which is something that America did during the Great Depression. I'm sure there is even more stories out there that are little pieces of a much larger puzzle but to be honest I've mostly spent my downtime playing video games.

Don't judge me.

Andrew Watts , February 16, 2018 at 9:16 pm

True enough. It shouldn't go unnoticed that Obama was calling for NATO nations to increase their military spending 'til they reach 2% of their GDP. The Germans wouldn't theoretically have any trouble meeting under normal circumstances. It's also a far cry from what Germany spent on the eve of both World Wars.

kareninca , February 16, 2018 at 8:58 pm

"Basically everything and anything anti-Republican & anti-Trump that gets published on Facebook gets re-posted on our church Facebook page."

Hmmm. Are you losing parishioners as a result? Or gaining them? It doesn't seem to me like what people would be looking for in a faith community – an overload of politics – but what do I know.

Oh, I see that you've already sort of answered that question.

CalypsoFacto , February 16, 2018 at 4:19 pm

the tendency to excessive rage when identity is questioned is a feature of narcissism. excessive, misplaced, out of proportion rage (at being denied what was expected, at being wrong, at being seen as incompetent, whatever conflicts with the rager's identity) is what this sounds like to me. which is I guess another form of not thinking enough, unfortunately narcissism isn't curable.

in fact so much of this thread makes me feel like we're all suffering a bit as grey rocks in a narcissistic abuse scenario. the narcissism is at the individual level and at the societal level; we're all just trying to keep our heads down and avoid the maelstrom, which keeps increasing in intensity to get our attention back.

freedeomny , February 16, 2018 at 11:36 am

What I have noticed is: a sense of powerlessness and not being able to control basic aspects of your life .that at any moment things could spiral widely out of control; people have become more enraged, meaner and feel they don't even have to be polite anymore (my friends and I have noticed this even with drivers); people who normally would be considered comfortable are feeling more and more financially insecure. Almost everyone I know feels this tension and is trying to figure out what they need to do to survive – I know several who are exploring becoming expats. I think we are rapidly moving towards a breaking point .

windsock , February 16, 2018 at 11:37 am

https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/cheer-up-the-apocalypse-isn-t-coming-and-life-s-getting-better-a3768606.html

PKMKII , February 16, 2018 at 11:58 am

The angst feels not like the angst of an impending, singular catastrophe, but rather the angst of decline. There's a late empire feel to the current mood: leaders without agency, more interested in their own, internal sense of normalcy and maintaining their perches, perches that increasingly feel pointless as they're all just listless figureheads doing what the Magister Militum tells them to do.

The military feels all-encompassing yet simultaneously incapable of exercising its will in the theater of war, so dispersed and aimless, as the missions are no longer about winning wars but about resume building. Same for the security agencies, whose invasive practices feel less like a preparation for a 1984-style security state, and more a cover for their own incompetence and inability to do proper legwork, as these mass shootings seem to inevitably come with the revelation about how authorities were alerted prior to the fact of the shooter's warning signs and did no follow up. Meanwhile, standards of living decline for the vast majority of Americans, the sense of national unity is eroding as regional and rural/urban identities are superseding that of country. Not to mention the slow simmer that is global warming and climate change.

So yeah, nothing that translates to a flashy headline or all-at-once collapse, but definitely an angst of a slow slide down, with too much resistance to the change needed to reverse it.

polecat , February 16, 2018 at 2:53 pm

My feeling is that the U$A, along with various sovereign entities around much the planet will, within a decade or so, cease to exist in their current form. When people coalesce and societies reform, is when one gets/is forced .. to choose their 'new' afilliation(s) !

It will be facinating to behold, if one is alive to partake in it ! As for positive, or negative outcomes who knows ?

Wyoming , February 16, 2018 at 12:01 pm

Yves

I believe that what is happening is that slowly but surely the numbers of people who are subconsciously reacting to the ongoing collapse of civilization are growing. They are uneasy, anxious, deflated, waiting for Godot, in depression and so on.

Civililizations don't collapse like falling off a table. They stress resources of materials and people and such stresses build and build. This has serious psychological impacts. Numbness to new is bad news. Or what used to be bad news has to be Trumped by exceedingly bad news before folks can rise to deal with them, but for a shorter time than they had the ability they used to. As the number of people grows who have reached their capacity to tolerate the stress we will find more and more of them just shut down as their subconscious tells them there is no point in caring anymore as things are just going to get worse.

We all see things getting worse.

So we have little collapses on a regular basis which hardly ruffle anyone's feathers anymore. The moderate catastrophic disasters like Trumps election cause much bigger disruptions to the civilizational equilibrium, but only for a time. We all know deep inside that what comes next in Brexit or say Trumps removal will actually be worse than what we have now. And we know that such will be the trend for the duration. Each time we seem to overcome a disaster we will be presented with another building disaster. A worse one. As we continue to stair step down the long slope that our civilization climbed during the renaissance and the enlightenment. Trump and Brexit are medium steps down.

The Black Swan is out there somewhere watching us. The big step down. We can feel it coming and we cannot stop it. We know that what seems bad now is going to be a lot worse in the future. We know this and it makes us helpless.

Skip above has the word on this.

"The centre does not hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world".

Oregoncharles , February 16, 2018 at 2:04 pm

"The Second Coming," 1919: http://www.potw.org/archive/potw351.html

akaPaul LaFargue , February 16, 2018 at 12:13 pm

The Worst Well-Being Year on Record for the U.S. – Gallup

"Americans' well-being took a big hit nationally in 2017, according to the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index, which recorded declines in 21 states. Why did well-being drop, and where were the declines most pronounced?"

OK- no endorsement from me re the validity of this Index, BUT the podcast raises an important point vis a vis 2009 downturn in their Index.

https://www.spreaker.com/user/gallupstrengthscenter/the-worst-well-being-year-on-record-for-

Loneprotester , February 16, 2018 at 12:20 pm

I think what we have here is a Mexican standoff the likes of which has perhaps never been seen. I am 51 years old. For most of my life there has been a polite changing of the guards to no great effect every four years. Trump rode into Washington on a bridge burning mission and all that has changed. Or were the bridges burned upon his approach, after which he was framed for the crime? This is the essence of the problem we face as a country, and the world watching on with bated breath.

I still do not know what is "true" about any of this "Russiagate" contretemps. Perhaps none of it. Perhaps all of it. I suspect both parties and candidates were hand fed dubious information then tried to hide the wrappers from the "authorities" who (naturally) were only interested in how any of it impacted them personally and institutionally, and so on and so forth, etc. etc.

But where does that get us a nation? If you are a child and you walk into your parent's bedroom to find your mother screwing the gardener you may be upset. But then if you run down the hall to your brother's room to tell him and find your father en flagrante with the nanny, well where do you go from there?

We have to find a way to deescalate with each other as Americans. I find myself repeatedly smiling blankly in conversations with family, friends, and strangers who will all equally complain vociferously about someone who is definitely destroying the planet/country/children. But that only gets you so far. If you do not engage after a few minutes you are viewed with great suspicion. And then only the strongest bonds of love can save you from being cast aside or worse.

Deescalate now. I'm gonna put it on a tshirt.

By the way, reading a lot of Jung right now. Anyone else?

Blitz , February 16, 2018 at 12:31 pm

For the better part of the last 45 years I have traveled the world, worked with individuals in different cultures, walked among and shared bread and stories with many people in their living quarters and the news of today is not so much (occasionally) about the depth of love that exists around the world but only about the evils we are told about in pages of the WaPo, NYTimes and even the WST. So sad because there is so much good to view but good rarely delivers headlines and headlines sell news and make journalists.

The news is slow because the liberal media just can't dig out that one great story or smokin' gun that brings down Trump & Co. This whole story is stale and at the point of "who cares" ..well, the liberals seem to be the only interested parties. I am not a Republican or Conservative or aligned with any party but an American who looks for the best talent of any party to represent us .citizens of the U.S.A. I laugh at the whole 'Russian Thing' . like this is NEW news when it's as old as the Roman Empire. There are many of us true Americans that if our democracy was every challenged, threatened or in trouble would rise up against any threat–and more than likely not with guns but with our minds, our knowledge and our ability to talk calmly and rationally rather than shout threats on Twitter.

The media needs to get over itself and quit trying to be the type of police we all despise .manipulated headlines are part of the problem with the 'stillness' today. If you can't dig up any worthy headlines that will sell the news, then go home and close the cover of your computer and find someone to hug ..God knows we can all use an extra level of love in today's seemingly gloomy lack of news world.

Wyoming , February 16, 2018 at 6:31 pm

Well put.

Clif , February 16, 2018 at 1:30 pm

a pretty good question in the face of all the noise.

i believe it is in response to the saturated level of cognitive dissonance. an inverse reaction to the lack of transparency and unresponsiveness of both commercial and governmental activities.

the sensitivity of untoward persuasion on social media an indication of the fallibility of the centralized narrative?

Jeremy Grimm , February 16, 2018 at 2:06 pm

I have felt an eery disquiet for the last several years, more or less since the year I retired. I think retirement finally offered me the time I needed to see and think about the world. For the last few years I have felt a strong need to move away to higher ground and a smaller community further out from the cities. Churchill's book title "Gathering Storm" seems apt, but war seems only one of the many possible storms gathering and I think one of the least likely at present although the actions and qualities of those who rule us make even nuclear war seem possible. And I take little comfort from learning how close we came to nuclear war in the past and how the unstable mechanisms guiding us toward this brink remain in place with new embellishments for greater instability.

The economy is ambling a drunkard's walk climbing a knife's edge. The Corporations remain hard at work consolidating and building greater monopoly power, dismantling what remains of our domestic jobs and industry, and building ever more fragile supply chains. The government is busy dismantling the safety net, deconstructing health care, public education and science, bolstering the wealth of the wealthy, and stoking foreign wars while a tiff between factions within those who rule us fosters a new cold war and an arms build-up including building a new nuclear arsenal. In another direction Climate Disruption shows signs of accelerating while the new weather patterns already threaten random flooding and random destruction of cities. It already destroyed entire islands in the Caribbean. The government has proven its inability and unwillingness to do anything to prepare for the pending disasters or help the areas struck down in the seasons past. The year of Peak Oil is already in our past and there is nothing to fill its place. The world populations continue to grow exponentially. Climate Disruption promises to reduce food production and move the sources for fresh water and the worlds aquifers are drying up. It's as if a whole flock of black swans is looking for places to land.

I quit watching tv, listening to the radio, and reading newspapers long ago. The news desert isn't new or peculiar to this moment. I haven't seen much of interest in the news from any source since the election. The noise of social media and celebrity news does seem turned up higher recently, although I base this judgment on occasional peeks at magazines or snatches of NPR. After the last election I gave up on the possibility that we still had a democracy in this country. Over the last several years I've had some expensive and unpleasant dealings with local government, the schools, law enforcement, the courts, and government agencies in helping one and then the other of my children through difficulties which confirmed in the particular all my worst beliefs about the decay of our government and legal systems. In short my personal anxiety has been at a high level for some time now and I can't say its peaked lately. I don't get out and around enough to get a good sense of how others feel and certainly can't judge whether this moment is a moment of peaking anxiety. When I've been in the City and nearby cities I've long had a feeling of passing through a valley between mountains of very dry tender. I hold my head low and walk quickly to my destinations. Every so often I warn my children to move out, but they don't listen.

VietnamVet , February 16, 2018 at 10:11 pm

This is an excellent post and valid observations. Things don't seem right. I blame old age and being awaken by F-16s on combat patrols out of Andrews. For me the frame changed with the restart of the Cold War. I remember "Duck and Cover, McCarthyism, John Birchers, and Who Lost China". It has all come back. The Democrats are idiots for scapegoating Russia. President Donald Trump is incompetent. Scott Pruitt must fly first class because he cannot sit next to riff-raft like me who worked at his Agency for 37 years and hear that he has sold out the earth for short term gain and profit. America is at war, inside and out, with no way of winning.

The Rev Kev , February 16, 2018 at 10:15 pm

I am going to try to see if I can make sense of what has been happening the past few years but I could easily be as wrong as the next person but will try nonetheless. In reading the comments I can see the tension seeping through so to try to come to terms with it I will use the US as my focus though I could just as easily be talking about any other western country like the UK, Germany, Australia, France, etc. The US though is at the forefront of these changes so should be mentioned first.

The American people are now in what the military call a fire-sac and the door has been slammed shut behind them. What is more, I think they realize it. A few threads need mentioning here. A study that came out last year showed that what Americans wanted their government to do never becomes a consideration unless it aligned what some upper echelon also wanted. People want a military pull-back but are ignored and now find that American troops are digging into Syria and are scattered in places like Africa with the military wanting to go head-to-head with North Korea, Russia, China and a host of other nations. It has become blatantly obvious too that their vaunted free media has become little more than Pravda on the Potomac and in fact has aligning with the wealthy against the interests of the American people. The media is even helping bring in censorship as they know that their position is untenable. The entire political establishment is now recognized as a rigged deck with radical neoliberal politicians in charge and at the last election the best candidates that they could find out of 330 million Americans were Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The massive industry that built America has been mostly disassembled and shipped overseas and without the wealth and skills that it generated, infrastructure has been left to rack and ruin when it should be a core government function. Climate change cannot be ignored anymore and is starting to bite. Even the Pentagon is realising that some of its vaunted bases will be underwater in decades. I am sure other commentators can list yet more trends here but you get the picture.

OK, so there are massive problems but they can be faced and taken on but here is the kicker. The political establishment in your country does not want anything to change but to keep doing what is generated these problems. There is too much money at stake to change for them. In fact, one of the two presidential candidates in 2016 was specifically chosen to keep things going they way that they are. So where does that leave the American people? British officers have always been taught that when their men were complaining and bitching, that that was how it was but when the men were very quiet, that was the time to watch them carefully. I think something similar is at work here. It has not yet coalesced but what I think we are seeing is the beginnings of a phase shift in America. The unexpected election of Trump was a precursor but as nothing changed after he was elected the pressure is still building.

Now here is the part where I kick over everybody's tea wagon. In looking for a root cause to how all these challenges are being pushed down the road to an even worse conclusion, I am going to have to say that the problem lies in the fact that representative democracy no longer works. In fact, the representatives in the form of Senators, Reps, Judges and even the President have been almost totally dislocated from the will of the people. The connection is mostly not there anymore. It is this disconnection that is frustrating change and is thus building up pressure. I am all for democracy but the democracy we have is not the only form there is of democracy. There are others.
What this means is that somehow this is going to have to be changed and if not done peacefully, then I suspect that it will be done in some other way. That lull in the news may represent a general milling around if you will until some unknown catalyst appears to give the beginnings of a push in another direction. How it will work out in practice I do not know but if a mass of independents were elected in your mid-terms then that may be a good sign of change coming. If both parties clamp down and continue to keep all others out and continue with neoliberal policies, well, game on.

Erling , February 16, 2018 at 10:28 pm

We have for the last generation or two, (maybe three?) been relentlessly conditioned (name your puppet-master of choice) to equate happiness and contentment with the never ending pursuit of keeping up with the Joneses. The competitive underpinnings encouraging our participation in this futile contest fit well with our innate drives for "success". The race was over-subscribed by throngs of enthusiastic participants yearning for glory.

For decades many of us did well. We ran strong and felt rewarded with the material enhancements to our lives, which encouraged many of us to run faster, even if that motivation was rooted more in the fear of being passed by Ron and Nancy Jones than it was for improving our chances of ending up on the podium.

Even though we never seemed to catch or pass Ron or Nancy, surely they must have been out there ahead in the haze somewhere? After all, this was the race that we so eagerly had trained for. Plus, life was going well while we chased, so we figured it was a fruitful one to be a part of. All the effort and toil would be worth it in the end.

The slow arc of realization and barely perceptible sense over time (coupled with the self delusion that comes with resisting acceptance) that we have been duped that this Jones Marathon has actually been taking place on a treadmill which gradually (hardly noticeable, but cumulatively significant) has been ratcheted up in both speed and incline, has now hit home. We have been running for years, but going nowhere. We can't find the stop button, and don't even want to think what will happen to us if we were to slow down or stop running! Problem is not only are we are growing physically weary, we are dejected and defeated in spirit knowing that all our efforts have yielded little other than illusionary gains.

[Feb 17, 2018] Neo-McCarthyite Hysteria at US Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

Notable quotes:
"... The concern of the American ruling class is not Russian or Chinese "subversion," but the growth of social opposition within the United States. The narrative of "Russian meddling" has been used to justify a systematic campaign to censor the Internet and suppress free speech. ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

The concern of the American ruling class is not Russian or Chinese "subversion," but the growth of social opposition within the United States. The narrative of "Russian meddling" has been used to justify a systematic campaign to censor the Internet and suppress free speech.

Senator Mark Warner

The performance of Senator Mark Warner , the ranking Democrat on the committee, was particularly obscene. Warner, whose net worth is estimated at $257 million, appeared to be doing his best impersonation of Senator Joe McCarthy . He declared that foreign subversion works together with, and is largely indistinguishable from, "threats to our institutions from right here at home."

Alluding to the publication of the so-called Nunes memo, which documented the fraudulent character of the Democratic-led investigation of White House "collusion" with Russia, Warner noted,

"There have been some, aided and abetted by Russian Internet bots and trolls, who have attacked the basic integrity of the FBI and the Justice Department."

Responding to questioning from Warner, FBI Director Christopher Wray praised the US intelligence agencies' greater "engagement" and "partnership" with the private sector, concluding,

"We can't fully police social media, so we have to work with them so that they can police themselves."

Wray was referring to the sweeping measures taken by social media companies, working directly with the US intelligence agencies, to implement a regime of censorship, including through the hiring of tens of thousands of "content reviewers," many with intelligence backgrounds, to flag, report and delete content.

The assault on democratic rights is increasingly connected to preparations for a major war, which will further exacerbate social tensions within the United States. Coats prefaced his remarks by declaring that "the risk of inter-state conflict, including among great powers, is higher than at any time since the end of the Cold War."

As the hearing was taking place, multiple news outlets were reporting that potentially hundreds of Russian military contractors had been killed in a recent US air strike in Syria. This came just weeks after the publication of the Pentagon's National Defense Strategy, which declared,

"Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security."

However, the implications of this great-power conflict are not simply external to the US "homeland." The document argues that "the homeland is no longer a sanctuary," and that "America is a target," for "political and information subversion" on the part of "revisionist powers" such as Russia and China.

Since "America's military has no preordained right to victory on the battlefield," the only way the US can prevail in this conflict is through the "seamless integration of multiple elements of national power," including "information, economics, finance, intelligence, law enforcement and military."

In other words, America's supremacy in the new world of great-power conflict requires the subordination of every aspect of life to the requirements of war. In this totalitarian nightmare, already far advanced, the police, the military and the intelligence agencies unite with media and technology companies to form a single seamless unit, whose combined power is marshaled to manipulate public opinion and suppress political dissent.

The dictatorial character of the measures being prepared was underscored by an exchange between Wray and Republican Senator Marco Rubio , who asked whether Chinese students were serving as spies for Beijing.

"What is the counterintelligence risk posed to US national security from Chinese students, particularly those in advanced programs in the sciences and mathematics?" asked Rubio.

Wray responded that

"the use of nontraditional collectors, especially in the academic setting, whether it's professors, scientists, students, we see in almost every field office that the FBI has around the country, not just in major cities, small ones as well, basically every discipline."

This campaign, with racist overtones, recalls the official rationale -- defense of "national security" -- used to justify the internment of some 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry during the Second World War.

In its open letter calling for a coalition of socialist, antiwar and progressive websites against Internet censorship, the World Socialist Web Site noted that

"the ruling class has identified the Internet as a mortal threat to its monopolization of information and its ability to promote propaganda to wage war and legitimize the obscene concentration of wealth and extreme social inequality."

It is this mortal threat -- and fear of the growth of class conflict -- that motivate the lies and hypocrisy on display at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

The original source of this article is World Socialist Web Site Copyright © Andre Damon , World Socialist Web Site , 2018

[Feb 16, 2018] The Pathetic Inadequacy of the Trump Opposition The American Conservative by Paul Brian

Notable quotes:
"... Dancing With The Stars ..."
"... The Washington Post. ..."
"... Paul Brian is a freelance journalist. He has reported for BBC, Reuters, and Foreign Policy, and contributed to the Week, The Federalist, and others. He covered the fledgling U.S. alt-right at a 2014 conference in Hungary as well as the 2015 New Hampshire primary, and also made a documentary about his time living in the Republic of Georgia in 2012. You can follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian or visit his website www.paulrbrian.com . ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The hawks and internationalists who set our house on fire don't now deserve the contract to rebuild it.

While it may have significant popular support, much of the anti-Trump "Resistance" suffers from a severe weakness of message. Part of the problem is with who the Resistance's leading messengers are: discredited neoconservative poltroons like former president George W. Bush, unwatchable alleged celebrities like Chelsea Handler, and establishment Republicans who routinely slash and burn the middle class like Senator Jeff Flake. Furthermore, what exactly is the Resistance's overriding message? Invariably their sermonizing revolves around vague bromides about "tolerance," diversity, unrestricted free trade, and multilateralism. They routinely push a supposed former status quo that was in fact anything but a status quo. The leaders of the Resistance have in their arsenal nothing but buzzwords and a desire to feel self-satisfied and turn back to imagined pre-Trump normality. A president like Donald Trump is only possible in a country with opposition voices of such subterranean caliber.

Remember when Trump steamrolled a crowded field of Republicans in one of the greatest electoral upsets in American history? Surely many of us also recall the troupes of smug celebrities and Bushes and Obamas who lined up to take potshots at Trump over his unacceptably cruel utterances that upset their noble moral sensibilities? How did that work out for them? They lost. The more that opposition to Trump in office takes the same form as opposition to him on the campaign trail, the more hypocritical and counterproductive it becomes. Further, the resistance to Trump's policies is coming just at the moment when principled opposition most needs to up its game and help turn back the hands of the Doomsday Clock. It's social conservatives who are also opposed to war and exploitation of the working class who have the best moral bona fides to effectively oppose Trump, which is why morally phrased attacks on Trump from the corporate and socially liberal wings of the left, as well as the free market and interventionist conservative establishment, have failed and will continue to fail. Any real alternative is going to have to come from regular folks with hearts and morals who aren't stained by decades of failure and hypocrisy.

A majority of Democrats now have favorable views of George W. Bush, and that's no coincidence. Like the supposedly reasonable anti-Trump voices on their side, Bush pops up like a dutiful marionette to condemn white supremacy and "nativism," and to reminisce about the good old days when he was in charge. Bush also lectures about how Russia is ruining everything by meddling in elections and destabilizing the world. But how convincing is it really to hear about multilateralism and respect for human rights from Bush, who launched an unnecessary war on Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and left thousands of American servicemen and women dead and wounded? How convincing is it when former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, who famously remarked that an estimated half a million Iraqis dead from our 1990s sanctions was "worth it," haughtily claims that she's "offended" by Trump's travel ban ? "Offended" -- is that so, Madame Secretary? I have a feeling millions of Muslims in the Middle East may have also been "offended" when people like you helped inflame their region and turned it into an endless back-and-forth firestorm of conflict between U.S.-backed dictators and brutal jihadists, with everyone else caught in between.

Maybe instead of being offended that not everyone can come to America, people like Albright, Kerry, and Bush shouldn't have contributed to the conditions that wrecked those people's homes in the first place? Maybe the U.S. government should think more closely about providing military aid to 73 percent of the world's dictatorships? Sorry, do excuse the crazy talk. Clearly all the ruthless maneuvering by the U.S. and NATO is just being done out of a selfless desire to spread democratic values by raining down LGBT-friendly munitions on beleaguered populations worldwide. Another congressman just gave a speech about brave democratic principles so we can all relax.

Generally, U.S. leaders like to team up with dictators before turning on them when they become inconvenient or start to upset full-spectrum dominance. Nobody have should been surprised to see John Kerry fraternizing in a friendly manner with Syrian butcher Bashar al-Assad and then moralistically threatening him with war several years later, or Donald Rumsfeld grinning with Saddam Hussein as they cooperated militarily before Rumsfeld did an about-face on the naïve dictator based on false premises after 9/11. Here's former president Barack Obama shaking Moammar Gaddafi's hand in 2009 . I wonder what became of Mr. Gaddafi?

It's beyond parody to hear someone like Bush sternly opine that there's "pretty clear evidence" Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Even if that were deeply significant in the way some argue, Bush should be the last person anyone is hearing from about it. It's all good, though: remember when Bush laughed about how there hadn't been weapons of mass destruction in Iraq at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2004? It's all just a joke; don't you get it? (Maybe Saddam Hussein had already used all the chemical weapons the U.S. helped him get during the 1980s on Iran in the Iran-Iraq War, which killed over one million people by the time the coalition of the willing came knocking in 2003). That's the kind of thing people like Bush like to indirectly joke about in the company of self-satisfied press ghouls at celebratory dinners. However, when the mean man Mr. Trump pals around with Russian baddie Vladimir Putin, mistreats women, or spews out unkind rhetoric about "shitholes," it's far from a joke: it's time to get out your two-eared pink hat and hit the streets chanting in righteous outrage.

To be fair, Trump is worthy of opposition. An ignorant, reactive egotist who needs to have his unfounded suppositions and inaccuracies constantly validated by a sycophantic staff of people who'd be rejected even for a reality show version of the White House, he really is an unstable excuse for a leader and an inveterate misogynist and all the other things. Trump isn't exactly Bible Belt material despite his stamp of approval from Jerry Falwell Jr. and crew; in fact he hasn't even succeeded in getting rid of the Johnson Amendment and allowing churches to get more involved in politics, one of his few concrete promises to Christian conservatives. He's also a big red button of a disaster in almost every other area as commander-in-chief.

Trump's first military action as president reportedly killed numerous innocent women and children (some unnamed U.S. officials claim some of the women were militants) as well as a Navy SEAL. Helicopter gunships strafed a Yemeni village for over an hour in what Trump called a "highly successful" operation against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). A senior military official felt differently, saying that "almost everything went wrong." The raid even killed eight-year-old American girl Nawar al-Awlaki, daughter of previously killed extremist leader Anwar al-Awlaki, whose other innocent child, 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was also droned while eating outdoors at a restaurant in 2010 (with several friends and his 17-year-old cousin). The Obama administration dismissed Abdulrahman's death at the time as no big deal .

The list goes on with the Trump administration, a hollow outfit of Goldman Sachs operatives and detached industry and financier billionaires helping out their hedge fund friends and throwing a small table scrap to the peasants every now and then. As deformed babies are born in Flint, Michigan , Ivanka grandstands about paid parental leave . Meanwhile, Trump and Co. work to expand the war in Afghanistan and Syria. It's a sad state of affairs.

So who are the right voices to oppose the mango man-child and his cadre of doddering dullards? Not degenerate celebrities, dirty politicians of the past, or special interest groups that try to fit everyone into a narrow electoral box so mainline Democrats can pass their own version of corporate welfare and run wars with more sensitive rhetoric and politically correct messaging. Instead, the effective dissidents of the future will be people of various beliefs, but especially the pro-family and faith-driven, who are just as opposed to what came before Trump as they are to him. The future of a meaningful political alternative to the underlying liberalism, materialism, and me-first individualism on the left and right will revolve around traditionalists and pro-family conservative individuals who define their own destinies instead of letting themselves be engineered into destinies manufactured by multinational corporations and boardroom gremlins with diversity outreach strategies. It's possible, for example, to be socially conservative, pro-worker, pro-environment, and anti-war. In fact, that is the norm in most countries that exist outside the false political paradigm pushed in America.

If enough suburbanite centrists who take a break from Dancing With The Stars are convinced that Trump is bad because George W. Bush and Madeleine Albright say so, it shows that these people have learned absolutely nothing from Trump or the process that led to him. These kind of resistors are the people nodding their heads emphatically as they read Eliot Cohen talk about why he and his friends can't stomach the evil stench of Trump or Robert Kagan whine about fascism in The Washington Post. Here's a warning to good people who may not have been following politics closely prior to Trump: don't get taken in by these charlatans. Don't listen to those who burned your town down as they pitch you the contract to rebuild it. You can oppose both the leaders of the "Resistance" and Trump. In fact, it is your moral duty to do so. This is the End of the End of History As We Know It, but there isn't going to be an REM song or Will Smith punching an alien in the face to help everyone through it.

Here's a thought for those finding themselves enthusiastic about the Resistance and horrified by Trump: maybe, just maybe , the water was already starting to boil before you cried out in pain and alarm.

Paul Brian is a freelance journalist. He has reported for BBC, Reuters, and Foreign Policy, and contributed to the Week, The Federalist, and others. He covered the fledgling U.S. alt-right at a 2014 conference in Hungary as well as the 2015 New Hampshire primary, and also made a documentary about his time living in the Republic of Georgia in 2012. You can follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian or visit his website www.paulrbrian.com .


Fran Macadam February 16, 2018 at 1:14 pm

Trump is definitely a castor oil antidote. But if not him, then them.
Frank , says: February 16, 2018 at 1:19 pm
Now this is TAC material!
Kent , says: February 16, 2018 at 1:48 pm
"The future of a meaningful political alternative to the underlying liberalism, materialism, and me-first individualism on the left and right will revolve around traditionalists and pro-family conservative individuals who define their own destinies instead of letting themselves be engineered into destinies manufactured by multinational corporations and boardroom gremlins with diversity outreach strategies."

They will have to lose their faith in "Free Market God" first. I don't believe that will happen.

Aaron Paolozzi , says: February 16, 2018 at 2:56 pm
I enjoyed the heat. The comments made are on point, and this is pretty much what my standard response to reactionary trump dissidents are. Trump is terrible, but so is what came before him, he is just easier to dislike.

Keep it coming.

One Guy , says: February 16, 2018 at 3:16 pm
Even with inadequate opposition, Trump has managed to be the most unpopular president after one year, ever. I'm guessing this speaks to his unique talent of messing things up.
RVA , says: February 16, 2018 at 4:11 pm
Wow! Paul! Babylon burning. Preach it, brother! Takes me back to my teenage years, Ramparts 1968, as another corrupt infrastructure caught fire and burned down. TAC is amazing, the only place to find this in true form.

Either we are history remembering fossils soon gone, or the next financial crash – now inevitable with passage of tax reform (redo of 2001- the rich got their money out, now full speed off the cliff), will bring down this whole mass of absolute corruption. What do you think will happen when Trump is faced with a true crisis? They're selling off the floorboards. What can remain standing?

And elsewhere in the world, who, in their right mind, would help us? Good riddance to truly dangerous pathology. The world would truly become safer with the USA decommissioned, and then restored, through honest travail, to humility, and humanity.

You are right. Be with small town, front porch, family and neighborhood goodness, and dodge the crashing embers.

The Flying Burrito Brothers: 'On the thirty-first floor a gold plated door
Won't keep out the Lord's burning rain '

God Bless.

Donald , says: February 16, 2018 at 5:50 pm
I agree with Frank. This was great.

The depressing thing to me is how hard it is to get people to see this. You have people who still think Trump is doing a great job and on the other side people who admire the warmongering Resistance and think Hillary's vast experience in foreign policy was one of her strengths, rather than one of the main reasons to be disgusted by her. Between the two categories I think you have the majority of American voters.

[Feb 16, 2018] Is Donald Trump Morphing Into A Neocon Interventionist by Doug Bandow

One year later we can say with confidence, yes he morphed into a neocon in foreign policy.
What is especially bad is that Trump executed "bait and switch" maneuver as smoothly as Obama. Devastating.
Notable quotes:
"... So now it gets me thinking like this: Who are Mr. Bandow's clients today? ..."
"... Some say that the reason for Trump's total reversal of his campaign-position on Russia is the American Deep State (the U.S. aristocracy and its agents). I agree with that view. ..."
"... I believe the American people are beginning to realize the CIA has the obsession for multiple, unending wars all for the benefit of Wall Street. ..."
"... It appears "military-industrial complex" or "deep state" refuses to take step back and insists on sucking more money from taxpayers. On first glance all is great for them, bombing of Middle East will continue, and so will military expansion at cost of civilian programs. However, ramifications to rest of the world should not be dismissed. EU countries are divided on following Washington hard line against Russia or diverge with USA. Currently, EU is cracking and might fall apart. Some in USA would cheer it but in long run it will mean loss of strongest US supporter against China. Regarding Middle East, Trump punished victims of AlQaeda and did nothing against financiers of AlQaeda, which will only increase local tensions. So indeed, not a great start... ..."
"... While I basically agree that Trump is not following through on his campaign, we must keep in mind that the campaign of his opponent was for MUCH more of the same, new wars, vastly increased fighting in current wars. So more of the same is in fact a big step down from the alternative. ..."
"... Stop those wars. They don't serve us. ..."
"... Trump's a liar, and his whole campaign was a calculated fraud from the beginning. We're the victims of a "bait-and-switch" scam. ..."
"... Because he lied. Just like he lied about draining the swamp and just restocked it with new varmints from Goldman Sachs and even an ex-Soros employee. Nothing new for me. Been watching elections for about 60 years and this is same ole. America can't take much more of this before it collapses and splits apart. The world isn't going to take much more from dc either. God help us. We are in a pickle! ..."
Apr 20, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

Why Is Trump Abandoning the Foreign Policy that Brought Him Victory The National Interest Blog

Candidate Donald Trump offered a sharp break from his predecessors. He was particularly critical of neoconservatives, who seemed to back war at every turn.

Indeed, he promised not to include in his administration "those who have perfect resumes but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war." And he's generally kept that commitment, for instance rejecting as deputy secretary of state Elliot Abrams, who said Trump was unfit to be president.

Substantively candidate Trump appeared to offer not so much a philosophy as an inclination. Practical if not exactly realist, he cared more for consequences than his three immediate predecessors, who had treated wars as moral crusades in Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. In contrast, Trump promised: "unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct."

Yet so far the Trump administration is shaping up as a disappointment for those who hoped for a break from the liberal interventionist/neoconservative synthesis.

The first problem is staffing. In Washington people are policy. The president can speak and tweet, but he needs others to turn ideas into reality and implement his directives. It doesn't appear that he has any foreign policy realists around him, or anyone with a restrained view of America's international responsibilities.

Rex Tillerson, James Mattis and H. R. McMaster are all serious and talented, and none are neocons. But all seem inclined toward traditional foreign policy approaches and committed to moderating their boss's unconventional thoughts. Most of the names mentioned for deputy secretary of state have been reliably hawkish, or some combination of hawk and centrist-Abrams, John Bolton, the rewired Jon Huntsman.

Trump appears to be most concerned with issues that have direct domestic impacts, and especially with economic nostrums about which he is most obviously wrong. He's long been a protectionist (his anti-immigration opinions are of more recent vintage). Yet his views have not changed even as circumstances have. The Chinese once artificially limited the value of the renminbi, but recently have taken the opposite approach. The United States is not alone in losing manufacturing jobs, which are disappearing around the world and won't be coming back. Multilateral trade agreements are rarely perfect, but they are not zero sum games. They usually offer political as well as economic benefits. Trump does not seem prepared to acknowledge this, at least rhetorically. Indeed he has brought on board virulent opponents of free trade such as Peter Navarro.

The administration's repudiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was particularly damaging. Trump's decision embarrassed Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who had offered important economic concessions to join. More important, Trump has abandoned the economic field to the People's Republic of China, which is pushing two different accords. Australia, among other U.S. allies, has indicated that it now will deal with Beijing, which gets to set the Pacific trade agenda. In this instance, what's good for China is bad for the United States.

In contrast, on more abstract foreign policy issues President Trump seems ready to treat minor concessions as major victories and move on. For years he criticized America's Asian and European allies for taking advantage of U.S. defense generosity. In his March foreign policy speech, he complained that "our allies are not paying their fair share." During the campaign he suggested refusing to honor NATO's Article 5 commitment and leave countries failing to make sufficient financial contributions to their fate.

Yet Secretaries Mattis and Tillerson have insisted that Washington remains committed to the very same alliances incorporating dependence on America. Worse, in his speech to Congress the president took credit for the small uptick in military outlays by European NATO members which actually began in 2015: "based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning" to "meet their financial obligations." Although he declared with predictable exaggeration that "the money is pouring in," no one believes that Germany, which will go from 1.19 to 1.22 percent of GDP this year, will nearly double its outlays to hit even the NATO standard of two percent.

Trump's signature policy initiative, rapprochement with Russia, appears dead in the water. Unfortunately, the president's strange personal enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin undercut his desire to accommodate a great power which has no fundamental, irresolvable conflicts with the America. Contrary to neocon history, Russia and America have often cooperated in the past. Moreover, President Trump's attempt to improve relations faces strong ideological opposition from neoconservatives determined to have a new enemy and partisan resistance from liberal Democrats committed to undermining the new administration.

President Trump also appears to have no appointees who share his commitment on this issue. At least Trump's first National Security Adviser, Mike Flynn, wanted better relations with Russia, amid other, more dubious beliefs, but now the president seems alone. In fact, Secretary Tillerson sounded like he was representing the Obama administration when he demanded Moscow's withdrawal from Crimea, a policy nonstarter. Ambassador-designate Huntsman's views are unclear, but he will be constrained by the State Department bureaucracy, which is at best unimaginative and at worst actively obstructionist.


taavitheman , March 10, 2017 4:04 PM

"Unfortunately, the president's strange personal enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin undercut his desire to accommodate a great power which has no fundamental, irresolvable conflicts with the America."

I did my due diligence on the writer after this absolutely baffling argument that has no basis on certain fundamental laws of geopolitics. Referring to this: https://www.bloomberg.com/n...

So now it gets me thinking like this: Who are Mr. Bandow's clients today? Figures...

Eric Zuesse , March 14, 2017 8:24 AM

Some say that the reason for Trump's total reversal of his campaign-position on Russia is the American Deep State (the U.S. aristocracy and its agents). I agree with that view.

Sarastro92 Eric Zuesse , March 19, 2017 11:43 AM

And other say you're a sap for believing a bunch of half-baked one-liners that Trump often contradicted in the same sentence... He never had a coherent policy on anything, no less foreign policy... so don't complain now that he's showing his true colors

tom Eric Zuesse , March 19, 2017 10:28 AM

The USA should FORCE other nations to use DIPLOMACY as a means to preventing wars. If they don't, they lose all support, financial and otherwise, from the USA. This would include Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The only thing Trump should take a look at in all this is the INHUMANE policies that previous administrations have used to placate the military/industrial clique's appetite for money and blood! If it's going to be "America First" for Trump's administration, it better start diverting this blood money to shore up America's people and infrastructures!

America2028 , March 12, 2017 1:19 PM

Most of these issues come down to the fact that President Trump doesn't have anything resembling a "grand strategy", or even a coherent foreign policy. His views are often at odds with each other (his desire to counter China economically and his opposition to the TPP, for example), and I suspect that most were motivated by a desire to get votes more than any kind of deep understanding of global affairs.

R. Arandas , March 10, 2017 9:36 PM

Most of his supporters, at least from what I can tell, are actually quite resolutely against entering a new war, and are strongly condemnatory of the neo-conservatism that involved the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In fact, according to the polls taken at the time, more Democrats favored military intervention in Syria than Republicans did.

olde reb R. Arandas , March 21, 2017 5:53 PM

I believe the American people are beginning to realize the CIA has the obsession for multiple, unending wars all for the benefit of Wall Street.

Ref. http://farmwars.info/?p=15338 . A FACE FOR THE SHADOW GOVERNMENT

mladenm , March 11, 2017 8:45 AM

It appears "military-industrial complex" or "deep state" refuses to take step back and insists on sucking more money from taxpayers. On first glance all is great for them, bombing of Middle East will continue, and so will military expansion at cost of civilian programs. However, ramifications to rest of the world should not be dismissed. EU countries are divided on following Washington hard line against Russia or diverge with USA. Currently, EU is cracking and might fall apart. Some in USA would cheer it but in long run it will mean loss of strongest US supporter against China. Regarding Middle East, Trump punished victims of AlQaeda and did nothing against financiers of AlQaeda, which will only increase local tensions. So indeed, not a great start...

Mark Thomason , March 11, 2017 11:13 AM

While I basically agree that Trump is not following through on his campaign, we must keep in mind that the campaign of his opponent was for MUCH more of the same, new wars, vastly increased fighting in current wars. So more of the same is in fact a big step down from the alternative.

That does not excuse doing more of the same, but just asserts that we did get some of what we voted for/against.

We should get the rest of it. Stop those wars. They don't serve us.

richardvajs Guest , March 19, 2017 1:46 PM

There are similarities between Trump and Putin . The GOP and its rich corporate members have decided to use Trump as the oligarchs in Russia used Yeltsin. The oligarchs used a drunken Yeltsin to pry the natural resources out of the public commons for the grabbing by the oligarchs. Likewise, our rich are going to use an unwitting Trump to lower their taxes to nothing while delivering austerity to the 99%.
To the oligarchs' surprise and dismay, Yeltsin's incompetence led to Putin and his scourge of the oligarchs. So will Trump's incompetence lead to the end of our system of crony capitalism and the rebirth of socialism such as the New Deal, and higher taxes.
The crooked bastards can never be satisfied even with 3/4 ths of the whole pie, so no-one should pity them for being hoisted on their own petard.

Asia at War , April 30, 2017 12:52 AM

Trump forgot what he promised to the people. He sold his soul to the devil. I hope he doesn't send more of our children to die for the "Deep state."

Doug Nusbaum , March 21, 2017 5:17 PM

I'm sorry --- Trump had a foreign policy? As near as I can tell, he just said whatever the crowd in front of him wanted to hear. Or do you have evidence to the contrary? Remember that this is a man who can be shown, in his own words, to have been on all sides of almost every issue, depending on the day of the week, and the phase of the moon.

Stefan Reich , March 20, 2017 6:13 AM

You really take all that time to analyze the guy instead of just seeing he is a madman? Wouldn't that be faster?

gentry_gee , March 20, 2017 3:41 AM

He, they, the US, that is, must obey Israel. Israel wants Assad gone in the end for their territorial expansion. It also helps the oil companies and isolates Russia further into a geostrategic corner.

dieter heymann , March 19, 2017 11:58 AM

This headline is way over the top. The first and foremost foreign policy statement which brought numerous voters to Trump was the US-Mexico wall and at least some of that wall will be constructed. Hence it is the only promise which has not (yet) changed except for who will pay for it.

OBTUSEANGLE , March 19, 2017 9:39 AM

The truth can be buried, but eventually it will be exposed. Only a matter of time.

Harold Smith , March 19, 2017 12:34 AM

Why must we give Trump the benefit of the doubt and assume that his campaign presentations were made in good faith? That is a very generous assumption.

There's a simple and more logical explanation for what's going on with "foreign policy" in the "Trump" administration: Trump's a liar, and his whole campaign was a calculated fraud from the beginning. We're the victims of a "bait-and-switch" scam.

freewheelinfranklin543 , March 18, 2017 4:03 PM

Because he lied. Just like he lied about draining the swamp and just restocked it with new varmints from Goldman Sachs and even an ex-Soros employee. Nothing new for me. Been watching elections for about 60 years and this is same ole. America can't take much more of this before it collapses and splits apart. The world isn't going to take much more from dc either. God help us. We are in a pickle!

dieter heymann , March 18, 2017 9:35 AM

The fundamental problem of exonerating Trump and blaming this non-reversal on the non-existing "deep state" is believing that anything a candidate said on the campaign trail can be executed when that candidate becomes president. Such reversal has happened so frequently in our history that it is truly amazing that " he does not do what he promised" still has adherents.

There is no reversal. I see reality clashing with words. I do not blame Trump for reversals. I see some shift from unrealistic to more realistic. It is called learning on the job.

Elelei Guhring , March 11, 2017 8:06 AM

Every political position on the planet is stuck in the 80s. There is no one with a will to change what is happening, mostly because no one wants to get tarred and feathered once the:

a) economy implodes upon itself in the most glorious Depression to ever happen, and;

b) world war 3 erupts but engaging such a variety of opponents, from Islam to China and Russia and even minor trivial players such as North Korea, and;

c) civil disobedience in the western world rivals that of even third world revolutions as people revolt against a failure to protect them from Islamic violence, to preserve their standard of living and their perceived futures. Lots of change coming, but nothing that any politician is promising.

Politicians are dinosaurs. We are entering a world where large numbers of people will make things happen. It's called Democracy.

An Eastern European , March 11, 2017 2:10 AM

Trump will remain close to Putin ideologically and he might continue to admire the man as a strong leader BUT there is one thing that neither Putin nor Trump can change and it is that Russia and America are natural rivals. Geopolitics. Land vs Sea. Eurasia vs Atlantic. Heartland vs Outer Rim.

Trump is hawk, don't be mislead. You cannot have a great country if you're not willing to kill and die for it. Russia knows that. Which is why Putin made Russia great again after the horror of the Yeltsin years. Now America knows that too.

[Jan 31, 2018] Is Trump yet another "bait and switch" artist?

Jan 31, 2018 | www.unz.com

Seamus Padraig , Next New Comment January 31, 2018 at 8:37 am GMT

@Harold Smith

That was always one of the things that most unnerved me about Trump from the start: what, exactly, motivated him to run? (The other thing about him that bothered me was his overweening Zionism.) The idea that he was some kind of plant certainly did occur to me, but the MSM didn't treat him the way they usually treat 'The Chosen One'. Compare him with the treatment the MSM gave that other 'outside, nontradional' candidate, Emmanuel Macron.

So what did motivate Trump? Ego? Vainglory? Some burning conviction somewhere? I still don't know. One way or the other, though, I'm pretty sure that MAGA is dead.

Harold Smith , Next New Comment January 31, 2018 at 3:09 pm GMT
@Seamus Padraig

"So what did motivate Trump? Ego? Vainglory? Some burning conviction somewhere? I still don't know."

Several lines of reasoning point me to the conclusion that Orange Clown is a "deep cover" or "sleeper" agent that's been "waiting in the wings" for his Zionist masters' call.

I believe that the political ascendancy of Orange Clown should be seen as a sign of Zionist desperation.

Anyway, one valid line of reasoning, IMO, is to rule out anything else. At 70 years old, Orange Clown is no spring chicken. So why would he run run NOW?

If he had actually followed through on his campaign rhetoric, or at least some of it, he'd be considered a true American hero, IMO. He's going to finally get us out of NATO? He's going to pull out of the hopeless war in Afghanistan and cut out the costly and self-destructive nation building crap? He's going to collaborate with Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth and finally investigate the worst crime in U.S. history?

If so he'd go down in history as a modern American revolutionary. The guy that single-handedly saved America from the "beast". And he's going to begin this herculean task at the age 70 years old? Seriously? How many historical examples are there where a 70 year old all of a sudden became a political visionary and led a revolution?

He's at the age where most people suffer cognitive decline, prostate problems, etc., but he's going to square off against "the powers that be", put himself at risk of assassination and lead a revolution in American politics? I just can't accept that.

Okay, but what about if he wanted to be president "just for a taste of power"? And that's a fair question, IMO.

That may explain why he wouldn't necessarily give a damn about following through on his campaign promises, but it doesn't explain why he would reverse himself on everything of major

[Jan 27, 2018] Mainstream Media and Imperial Power

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In my experience as a journalist, the public have always been ahead of the media. And yet, in many news outlets there has always been a kind of veiled contempt for the public. You find young journalists affecting a false cynicism that they think ordains them as journalists. The cynicism is not about the people at the top, it's about the people at the bottom, the people that Hillary Clinton dismissed as "irredeemable." ..."
"... CNN and NBC and the rest of the networks have been the voices of power and have been the source of distorted news for such a long time. They are not circling the wagons because the wagons are on the wrong side. These people in the mainstream have been an extension of the power that has corrupted so much of our body politic. They have been the sources of so many myths. ..."
"... Media in the West is now an extension of imperial power. It is no longer a loose extension, it is a direct extension. Whether or not it has fallen out with Donald Trump is completely irrelevant. It is lined up with all the forces that want to get rid of Donald Trump. He is not the one they want in the White House, they wanted Hillary Clinton, who is safer and more reliable. ..."
"... I have found that those who voted for Clinton are very quick to swallow what mainstream media has to say, and those that voted for Trump, at this moment, hold the media in contempt, however they also very willingly accept Trump's policies and his lies ..."
"... I would like to add, that In the US most of Americans are usually ignorant of politics and government. Many believe that their votes are unlikely to change the outcome of an election and don't see the point in learning much about the subject. So we have a country of people with little political knowledge and little ability to objectively evaluate what they do know. ..."
Jan 27, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Randy Credico: A lot of mainstream journalists complain when Trump refers to them as the enemy of the people, but they have shown themselves to be very unwilling to circle the wagons around Assange. What is the upshot for journalists of Assange being taken down?

John Pilger: Trump knows which nerves to touch. His campaign against the mainstream media may even help to get him re-elected, because most people don't trust the mainstream media anymore.

In my experience as a journalist, the public have always been ahead of the media. And yet, in many news outlets there has always been a kind of veiled contempt for the public. You find young journalists affecting a false cynicism that they think ordains them as journalists. The cynicism is not about the people at the top, it's about the people at the bottom, the people that Hillary Clinton dismissed as "irredeemable."

CNN and NBC and the rest of the networks have been the voices of power and have been the source of distorted news for such a long time. They are not circling the wagons because the wagons are on the wrong side. These people in the mainstream have been an extension of the power that has corrupted so much of our body politic. They have been the sources of so many myths.

This latest film about The Post neglects to mention that The Washington Post was a passionate supporter of the Vietnam War before it decided to have a moral crisis about whether to publish the Pentagon Papers. Today, The Washington Post has a $600 million deal with the CIA to supply them with information.

Media in the West is now an extension of imperial power. It is no longer a loose extension, it is a direct extension. Whether or not it has fallen out with Donald Trump is completely irrelevant. It is lined up with all the forces that want to get rid of Donald Trump. He is not the one they want in the White House, they wanted Hillary Clinton, who is safer and more reliable.

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of "Flashpoints" on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom . You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net .


Annie , January 24, 2018 at 3:29 pm

I've always liked Mr. Pilger, and Mr. Parry, of course, and Hedges and so on However in this statement made by Mr. Pilger, "Trump knows which nerves to touch. His campaign against the mainstream media may even help to get him re-elected, because most people don't trust the mainstream media anymore." I would really disagree based on my own personal experiences. I have found that those who voted for Clinton are very quick to swallow what mainstream media has to say, and those that voted for Trump, at this moment, hold the media in contempt, however they also very willingly accept Trump's policies and his lies, like his climate change denial and his position on Iran. It's more about taking sides then it is in being interested in the truth.

Annie , January 24, 2018 at 4:33 pm

I would like to add, that In the US most of Americans are usually ignorant of politics and government. Many believe that their votes are unlikely to change the outcome of an election and don't see the point in learning much about the subject. So we have a country of people with little political knowledge and little ability to objectively evaluate what they do know.

Joe Tedesky , January 24, 2018 at 6:28 pm

You got that right Annie. In fact I know people who voted for Hillary, and they wake up every morning to turn on MSNBC or CNN only to hear what Trump tweeted, because they like getting pissed off at Trump, and get even more self induced angry when they don't hear his impeachment being shouted out on the screen.

I forgive a lot of these types who don't get into the news, because it just isn't their thing I guess, but I get even madder that we don't have a diversified media enough to give people the complete story. I mean a brilliant media loud enough, and objective enough, to reach the mass uncaring community. We have talked about this before, about the MSM's omission of the news, as to opposed just lying they do that too, as you know Annie, and it's a crime against a free press society. In fact, I not being a lawyer, would not be surprised that this defect in our news is not Constitutional.

Although, less and less people are watching the news, because they know it's phony, have you noticed how political our Late Night Talk Show Host have become? Hmmm boy, sometimes you have to give it to the Deep State because they sure know how to cover the market of dupes. To bad the CIA isn't selling solar panels, or something beneficial like that, which could help our ailing world.

We are living in a Matrix of left vs right, liberal vs conservative, all of us are on the divide, and that's the way it suppose to be. You know I don't mean that, but that's what the Deep State has done to us, for a lack of a better description of their evil unleashed upon the planet.

I like reading your thoughts, because you go kind of deep, and you come up with angles not thought of, well at least not by me so forgive me if I reply to often. Joe

Annie , January 24, 2018 at 10:18 pm

I know I keep referring to Facebook, but it really allows you to see how polarized people have become. Facebook posts political non issues, but nonetheless they will elicit comments that are downright hateful. Divide and conquer is something I often think when I view these comments. I rarely watch TV, but enough to see how TV Talk Show hosts have gotten into the act, and Trump supplies them with an endless source of material, not that their discussing core issues either.

I don't remember whether I mentioned this before in a recent article on this site, but when a cousin posts a response to a comment I made about our militarism and how many millions have died as a result that all countries do sneaky and underhanded things, I can only think people don't want to hear the truth either, and that's why most are so vulnerable to our propaganda, which is we are the exceptional nation that can do no wrong. Those who are affluent want to maintain the status quo, and those that live pay check to pay check are vulnerable to Trump's lies, and the lies of the Republican party whose interest lie with the top 1 percent.

Kiza , January 25, 2018 at 12:36 am

Talking about lies you mention only Trump and the Republicans Annie. Is this because the Democrats are such party of criminals that you consider them worth mentioning only in the crime chronic not in the context of lies?

About that "Climate Change" religion of yours: how much does it make sense that people around US are freezing but TPTB still want to tax fossil fuels, the only one thing which can keep people warm? Does that not look to your left-wing mind as taking from the poor to give to the Green & Connected ? Will a wind-turbine or a solar-panel keep you warm on a -50 degree day? I am yet to live to see one green-scheme which is not for the benefit of the Green & Connected, whilst this constant braying about global warming renamed into climate change is simply as annoying as the crimes of the Israelis hidden by the media (Did you see that photo of a 3-year old Palestinian child whose brain was splattered out by an Israeli sniper's bullet? She must have been throwing stones or slapping Israeli soldiers, right?).

I am not a US voter and I do not care either way which color gang is running your horrible country, because it always turns out the same. But the blatant criminality of your Demoncrats is only surpassed by their humanitarian sleaze – they always bomb, kill and rape for the good of humanity or for the greenery or for some other touchy-feelly bull like that, which the left-wing stupidos can swallow.

Annie , January 25, 2018 at 2:15 am

Oh, Kiza, are you one of those people that patrol the internet for people who dare mention climate change? I have no intentions of changing your mind on the subject, even though my background is in environmental science with a Masters degree in the subject. I am not a registered democrat, but an independent and didn't vote for Clinton, or Trump. I'm too much of a liberal. I'm very aware of the many faults of the democratic party, and you're right about them. They abandoned their working class base decades ago and they pretty much shun liberals within their own party, and pander to the top 10 percent in this country. Yes, both parties proclaim their allegiance to their voting base, but both parties are lying, since in my opinion their base is the corporate world and that world pretty much controls their agenda, and both parties have embraced the neocons that push for war.

P. S. However being fair, the Republican base is the top 1 percent in this country.

Kiza , January 25, 2018 at 6:46 am

Hello again Annie, thank you for your response. I must admit that your mention of climate change triggered an unhappy reaction in me, otherwise I do think that our views are not far from each other. Thank you for not trying to change my mind on climate change because you would not have succeeded no matter what your qualifications are. My life experience simply says – always follow the money and when I do I see a climate mafia similar to the MIC mafia. I did think that the very cold weather that gripped US would reduce the climate propaganda, but nothing can keep the climate mafia down any more – the high ranked need to pay for their yachts and private jets and the low ranks have to pay of their house mortgages. But I will never understand why the US lefties are so dumb – to be so easily taken to imperial wars and so easily convinced to tax the 99% for the benefit of 1% yet again. Where do you think the nasty fossil fuel producers will find the money to pay for the taxes to be or already imposed? Will they sacrifice their profits or pay the green taxes from higher prices?

Other than this, I honestly cannot see any difference between the so called Democrats and the so called Republicans (you say that the Republicans are for the 1%). Both have been scrapping the bottom of the same barrel for their candidates, thus the elections are always a contest between two disasters.

Sam F , January 25, 2018 at 7:02 am

Good that you both see the bipartisan corruption and can table background issues.

Joe Tedesky , January 25, 2018 at 9:09 am

Yeah Sam I was impressed by their conversation as well. Joe

Bob Van Noy , January 25, 2018 at 11:05 am

I agree, an excellent thread plus a civil disagreement. In my experience, only at CN. Thanks to all of you.

Realist , January 25, 2018 at 1:04 pm

I am with you, Annie, when you state that "They [the Democrats] abandoned their working class base decades ago and they pretty much shun liberals within their own party, and pander to the top 10 percent in this country." And yet they are so glibly characterised as "liberal" by nearly everyone in the media (and, of course, by the Republicans). Even the Nate Silver group, whom I used to think was objective is propagating the drivel that Democrats have become inexorably more liberal–and to the extreme–in their latest soireé analysing the two parties:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/is-the-democratic-party-getting-more-extreme/

In reality, the Dems are only "liberal" in contrast to the hard right shift of the Republicans over the past 50-60 years. And what was "extreme" for both parties is being sold to the public as moderate and conventional by the corporate media. It's almost funny seeing so much public policy being knee-jerk condemned as "leftist" when the American left became extinct decades ago.

Virginia , January 25, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Annie, it's not just the Democrats who are bought and paid for.

Annie , January 25, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Virginia, I didn't say that only the democrats were bought and paid for, but said, " yes, both parties proclaim their allegiance to their voting base, but both parties are lying, since in my opinion their base is the corporate world and that world pretty much controls their agenda, and both parties have embraced the neocons that push for war." I also mentioned that the republicans pander to the top 1 percent in this country.

Virginia , January 25, 2018 at 3:04 pm

And my reply was meant to say,

It's not just the Democrats who pander to the 1% who have bought and paid for them!

NeoCons and NeoLiberals -- same thing!

Otherwise, yep!

[Jan 23, 2018] FBI Says It has lost five months of text messages between Peter Strzok And Lisa Page - Jay Sekulow - YouTube

Notable quotes:
"... If the FBI keeps losing stuff they need to hire a security guard to keep it safe. Come on! Start charging these people with treason and this will stop!! ..."
"... I wonder what their plan is when they really have to arrest someone? lol It ain't gonna happen. Theatric, scripted politics. It's like a bad reality show. Compare criminal politics to the sitcom Gilligan's Island. They never get rescued, and criminal politicians never see jail time.  ..."
Jan 23, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Michelle The Security Guard , 17 minutes ago (edited)

If the FBI keeps losing stuff they need to hire a security guard to keep it safe. Come on! Start charging these people with treason and this will stop!!

THERE ARE NO TEXTS MISSING!

DETECTIVES GET SEARCH WARRANTS FOR TEXT MESSAGES ALL THE TIME! WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE ANY DIFFERENT!

mrmavaw70 , 1 hour ago

I wonder what their plan is when they really have to arrest someone? lol It ain't gonna happen. Theatric, scripted politics. It's like a bad reality show. Compare criminal politics to the sitcom Gilligan's Island. They never get rescued, and criminal politicians never see jail time. 

[Jan 20, 2018] What Is The Democratic Party ? by Lambert Strether

Highly recommended!
"Institutionally, the Democratic Party Is Not Democratic"
Very apt characterization "the Democratic Party is nothing more than a layer of indirection between the donor class and the Democratic consultants and the campaigns they run;" ... " after all, the Democratic Party -- in its current incarnation -- has important roles to play in not expanding its "own" electorate through voter registration, in the care and feeding of the intelligence community, in warmongering, in the continual buffing and polishing of neoliberal ideology, and in general keeping the Overton Window firmly nailed in place against policies that would convey universal concrete material benefits, especially to the working class"
Notable quotes:
"... That said, the revivification of the DNC lawsuit serves as a story hook for me to try to advance the story on the nature of political parties as such, the Democratic Party as an institution, and the function that the Democratic Party serves. I will meander through those three topics, then, and conclude. ..."
"... What sort of legal entity is ..."
"... Political parties were purely private organizations from the 1790s until the Civil War. Thus, "it was no more illegal to commit fraud in the party caucus or primary than it would be to do so in the election of officers of a drinking club." However, due to the efforts of Robert La Follette and the Progressives, states began to treat political parties as "public agencies" during the early 1890s and 1900s; by the 1920s "most states had adopted a succession of mandatory statutes regulating every major aspect of the parties' structures and operations. ..."
"... While 1787 delegates disagreed on when corruption might occur, they brought a general shared understanding of what political corruption meant. To the delegates, political corruption referred to self-serving use of public power for private ends, including, without limitation, bribery, public decisions to serve private wealth made because of dependent relationships, public decisions to serve executive power made because of dependent relationships, and use by public officials of their positions of power to become wealthy. ..."
"... Two features of the definitional framework of corruption at the time deserve special attention, because they are not frequently articulated by all modern academics or judges. The first feature is that corruption was defined in terms of an attitude toward public service, not in relation to a set of criminal laws. The second feature is that citizenship was understood to be a public office. The delegates believed that non-elected citizens wielding or attempting to influence public power can be corrupt and that elite corruption is a serious threat to a polity. ..."
"... You can see how a political party -- a strange, amphibious creature, public one moment, private the next -- is virtually optimized to create a phishing equilibrium for corruption. However, I didn't really answer my question, did I? I still don't know what sort of legal entity the Democratic Party is. However, I can say what the Democratic Party is not ..."
"... So the purpose of superdelegates is to veto a popular choice, if they decide the popular choice "can't govern." But this is circular. Do you think for a moment that the Clintonites would have tried to make sure President Sanders couldn't have governed? You bet they would have, and from Day One. ..."
"... More importantly, you can bet that the number of superdelegates retained is enough for the superdelegates, as a class, to maintain their death grip on the party. ..."
"... could have voluntarily decided that, Look, we're gonna go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way. ..."
"... That's exactly ..."
"... Functionally, the Democratic Party Is a Money Trough for Self-Dealing Consultants. Here once again is Nomiki Konst's amazing video, before the DNC: https://www.youtube.com/embed/EAvblBnXV-w Those millions! That's real money! ..."
"... Today, it is openly acknowledged by many members that the DNC and the Clinton campaign were running an operation together. In fact, it doesn't take much research beyond FEC filings to see that six of the top major consulting firms had simultaneous contracts with the DNC and HRC  --  collectively earning over $335 million since 2015 [this figure balloons in Konst's video because she got a look at the actual budget]. (This does not include SuperPACs.) ..."
"... One firm, GMMB earned $236.3 million from HFA and $5.3 from the DNC in 2016. Joel Benenson, a pollster and strategist who frequents cable news, collected $4.1m from HFA while simultaneously earning $3.3 million from the DNC. Perkins Coie law firm collected $3.8 million from the DNC, $481,979 from the Convention fund and $1.8 million from HFA in 2016. ..."
"... It gets worse. Not only do the DNC's favored consultants pick sides in the primaries, they serve on the DNC boards so they can give themselves donor money. ..."
"... These campaign consultants make a lot more money off of TV and mail than they do off of field efforts. Field efforts are long-term, labor-intensive, high overhead expenditures that do not have big margins from which the consultants can draw their payouts. They also don't allow the consultants to make money off of multiple campaigns all in the same cycle, while media and mail campaigns can be done from their DC office for dozens of clients all at the same time. They get paid whether campaigns win or lose, so effectiveness is irrelevant to them. ..."
"... the Democratic Party is nothing more than a layer of indirection between the donor class and the Democratic consultants and the campaigns they run; ..."
"... the Democratic Party -- in its current incarnation -- has important roles to play in not expanding its "own" electorate through voter registration, in the care and feeding of the intelligence community, in warmongering, in the continual buffing and polishing of neoliberal ideology, and in general keeping the Overton Window firmly nailed in place against policies that would convey universal concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. ..."
"... the bottom line is that if Democratic Party controls ballot access for the forseeable future, they have to be gone through ..."
"... In retrospect, despite Sanders evident appeal and the power of his list, I think it would have been best if their faction's pushback had been much stronger ..."
Jan 15, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

An alert reader who is a representative of the class that's suing the DNC Services Corporation for fraud in the 2016 Democratic primary -- WILDING et al. v. DNC SERVICES CORPORATION et al., a.k.a. the "DNC lawsuit" -- threw some interesting mail over the transom; it's from Elizabeth Beck of Beck & Lee, the firm that brought the case on behalf of the (putatively) defrauded class (and hence their lawyer). Beck's letter reads in relevant part:

... ... ...

[Jan 14, 2018] How The Social Order Crumbles

Social order crumbles then the elite became detached from common people and distrusted by them, as the US neoliberal elite now is. Trump elections were mostly semi-conscious protest against the neoliberal elite which was symbolized by Hillary candidacy.
The problem with the article is that the author mixed liberalism and neoliberalism: Liberalism and neoliberalism are opposite. Neoliberalism has nothing to do with Christianity. It is, in essence, a Satan-worshiping cult ("greed is good"). The fact that it is dominant in the USA and Western Europe suggests that we can talk about persecution of Christians under neoliberalism.
That's why neoliberal elite resorted to Russophobia -- to rally the nation against the flag and to hash the distrust with anti-Russian hysteria.
Notable quotes:
"... It has been observed many times that liberalism is mostly a secularized version of Christianity; there's a lot of truth to that. ..."
"... Why Liberalism Failed ..."
Jan 14, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

I disagree. The problems in liberalism didn't show up until now because most people in liberal democratic countries took the Judeo-Christian moral framework for granted. If the human rights (for example) that liberalism enshrines are something real, then they have to be grounded in something transcendent. It has been observed many times that liberalism is mostly a secularized version of Christianity; there's a lot of truth to that.

As I read Why Liberalism Failed , I take Deneen as saying that liberalism had to fail because at its core it stands for liberating the individual from an unchosen obligation. Ultimately, it forms consumers, not citizens.

I don't see Deneen airbrushing the good parts of liberalism from history, but rather honing his critique on what he believes are its structural flaws that make it unsustainable. His critique is strong, certainly, and I think dead-on, in that he sees that liberalism cannot generate within itself the virtues it needs to survive.

Deneen's critique is also matter-of-fact. Free markets are a core part of the liberal democratic model, but given the globalized nature of the economy, and rapid technological changes, we have to face the possibility that liberalism as we have understood it is inadequate to provide for the good of workers left behind by these changes.

If we have neglected the moral order embedded within liberalism itself, on what basis can we regain it? I keep going back to Adams's line about our Constitution is only good for a "moral and religious people," because self-government by the people can only work for people who possess the virtues to govern their own passions. This says to me that to perceive and to achieve the virtues embedded within liberalism, one has to be oriented towards a sense that there really are moral and religious truths beyond ourselves that bind our conduct.

Liberalism has degenerated into Justice Anthony Kennedy's famous line:

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.

I think most Americans today would not get what the problem is with that definition. You can't support a governing order based on something that weak. That, I believe, is Patrick Deneen's overall point.

E.J. Worthing January 12, 2018 at 7:08 pm

"If prudence and temperance are synonyms for modesty and self-restraint – the rising generation of Americans has utterly abandoned these values."

They are not synonyms. Prudence is appropriate concern for the future. It has nothing to so with modesty. Temperance has to do with appropriate self-restraint. It is not temperate to constrain oneself in a way that causes oneself senseless suffering. That is what some conservatives are asking people who don't fit into traditional gender categories to do.

Feel better, Rod!

Dale McNamee , says: January 12, 2018 at 9:05 pm
John Adams' quote says it all !

We are no longer a moral and religious people

To paraphrase C.S. Lewis comment in his "Abolition of Man" essay : "We ridicule morality and religion and we are surprised what takes its place "

Abelard Lindsey , says: January 12, 2018 at 11:33 am
I believe Brooks is more correct than Deneen. Robert Heinlein always made the point that liberty was not compatible with ignorance and ineptitude. Rather, liberty and self-ownership requires a certain level of competence. Competent people are capable of self-rule. Incompetent people are not. The problem with Deneen's ideas is that they force the competent people to surrender a certain measure of liberty and self-ownership in order to "accommodate" and "fit in" with the less competent, and that is a trade off that people like myself will never accept in a million years. In other words, Deneen does not speak for competent individuals such as myself. Hence, his ideas could never work for the likes of myself.

I believe the only solution, and a partial one at that (there is no such thing as a perfect solution as perfection does not exist in nature) is radical decentralization on a global scale. I call this the "thousand state sovereignty" model or the "21st century Westphalis". Some might even call it the "Snow Crash" scenario. This is where conventional nation-states and institutions fade away and new ones based more on networks of individual with common interests, objectives, and character traits form. The more competent members of the human race, who have no need to give up classical liberalism and individual self-ownership are able to form their own societies politically and culturally autonomous from the rest of the human species. Other factions of humanity can do the same thing. Call it "GTOW" on a global scale. Hence, the nation-state will decline in relative importance and the city-state will come back into vogue.

I believe this is the ONLY pathway forward to a better world for everyone. It does have the advantage of being a "positive-sum" solution, as most everyone gets what they want. Positive-sum solutions are always superior to zero-sum solutions, which are really negative-sum solutions.

Erik , says: January 12, 2018 at 11:40 am
Even John Locke, who is basically the father of liberalism, said that the state "need not tolerate" atheism because a state cannot rely on enforcement mechanisms alone to ensure proper civic behavior. A citizen must have a healthy fear of some form of divine retribution as guarantor of his behavior. It's possible, of course, to develop some form of morality based in natural reason that can ensure proper behavior, but I think Locke was onto something in his exhortation that the law alone is not enough.
E.J. Worthing , says: January 12, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Based on Brooks's summary, Deenen appears to believe that people in ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and medieval times were more virtuous than people are in contemporary America.

That is not a reasonable thing to think. Maybe people in contemporary America have different vices than people did in past societies. But vice is part of the human condition, and people in America have not stopped caring for virtue. We value the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance as much as ever (though our understanding of what these virtues require has changed in some ways).

We also continue to value kindness, though Catholic teaching regards kindness as a theological virtue. True, as religious adherence has declined, some have joined the cult of Ayn Rand. But a culture of charity flourishes among secular people. Witness the growth of the effective altruism movement.

The only traditional Christian virtues that are now widely rejected are those specifically concerning religious belief and those that concerned sexual morality. Even if you think that sexual purity is a virtue (I don't), regarding it as among the most important virtues has never been reasonable.

C. L. H. Daniels , says: January 12, 2018 at 12:06 pm
As another writer somewhere wrote on the topic of Deneen's book (or perhaps it was a quote from the book itself, I don't remember), liberalism has until now been surviving by spending down the store of accumulated moral norms and civic mindedness that it inherited from its pre-modern progenitors. But since it cannot replenish those stores, it is essentially starving itself of that which it needs to survive. Eventually we (the people) will forget those things, and as norms break down and social trust diminishes toward the point of anarchy, we will beg for the state to step in and protect us from our fellow citizens. And that is when liberalism will give way to authoritarianism in what I'm sure will be an irony appreciated by almost no one when it actually happens.
Siarlys Jenkins , says: January 12, 2018 at 2:12 pm
I'm afraid our gracious host has affirmed David Brooks in the substance of Rod's stated disagreement. The Judeo-Christian moral order is as good as any moral order, and better than most in significant aspects. Its probably not the only one that would work, but if liberalism is a secular version of Christianity, then Brooks is right.

As a critic of liberalism from the left, but a sadder and wiser adherent of constitutional liberty after flirting in theory with Bolshevism, I think the word "liberal" is overplayed here. Liberalism is a political expression of laissez-faire capitalism. The concept of individual liberty, and the concept of ordered liberty, are not the exclusive province of liberalism.

Colonel Bogey provides a modest case in point. He is an advocate of the divine right of kings and monarchical superiority to any parliament the king may deign to authorize although he comfortably enjoys the privileges of living in a federal republic that prohibits any hereditary nobility. Colonel Bogey is no liberal, yet he is an enemy of the most viable alternatives to liberalism.

Embedded within liberalism the the emancipation of the self from constraint. How do you maintain tradition in such a culture?

The murderer is unregulated capitalism a la Ronald Reagan, just as Reagan was the murderer of the Savings and Loans, a true Mr. Potter. If the only virtue is getting rich at the expense of the general community, and only a few make it, what do faith, family, and tradition have to do with it? Now if the union hall was a center of social life, not only for you but for your entire family, and solidarity was woven into the fabric of your life, things might be different.

Only certain selves are liberated from restraint by liberalism. It also, historically speaking, involves the subordination of the employee to the employer, and the consumer to the purveyor of shoddy goods at exorbitant prices. Which has a morally degrading effect on both the dominant and the oppressed classes. The faux-left dismissal of the "working class," or to indulge a politically correct euphemism, the "white working class," is just another variant on the traditional class distinctions in liberalism.

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.

Nothing wrong with that statement, per se. The problem is overlooking that "one's own concept" is not binding on anyone else, nor does a law of general application have to bend and twist to accommodate each and every "own concept" every individual may have. Which is why Lawrence was valid, Windsor plausible and Obergefell a terribly sloppy application of generally valid constitutional principles.

Brendan , says: January 12, 2018 at 6:16 pm
The problem with Brooks is that he fails to realize that the things he treasures -- personal virtue, community, self-restraint, temperance and so on -- are not actually creations of liberalism, nor are they necessary products of it. To a large degree these came from the pre-existing culture(s) that came to the US before the founding from non-liberal societies. Included among these was, of course, Christianity as a prominent influence on values, virtues, community and so on. Liberalism was draped over this, but it doesn't create this, and none of this is inherent in liberalism. The liberal system in America has "free ridden" on these inherited aspects, which stem from non-liberal sources, for pretty much the entire history of the country. But they didn't come from liberalism.

The very things that Brooks values the most do not themselves come from liberalism, and it is far from clear, particularly as Western liberalism reaches its particularly illiberal/hegemonic phase culturally, actively seeking to strictly limit the permitted influence of these things which glued the society together for most of our history but did not stem from liberalism itself, that liberalism is the best system in which to preserve or even practice these things moving forward. I think a part of Brooks's brain senses this, but he is so committed to liberalism -- or at least so fearful of potential alternatives -- that although he sees the problem (much of his column writing bemoans the loss of these things, really), he can't really bring himself to see that liberalism is fundamentally indifferent as to whether the things that David Brooks so cherishes fade into the mists of history completely, so long as the absolute prioritization of individual freedom of action remains paramount.

It's unfortunate, really, because it makes a lot of what he writes rather painful to read, sadly.

[Jan 14, 2018] The U.S. is "owned" whole and complete. At the risk of repeating thy self; They've got a giant segment of the population duped into believing they live in a democracy, and some of them are just dumb enough to waste their time voting

Notable quotes:
"... Come on dude. I mean, I really like your stuff, but get with the times -- the U.S. is "owned" whole and complete. At the risk of repeating thy self; They've got a giant segment of the population duped into believing they live in a democracy, and some of them are just dumb enough to waste their time voting. ..."
"... America is like a religion -- you are required to "believe", because the reality is absent of any kind of deity. ..."
"... If only, Americans could get the kind of understanding of how the owners think of them -- contemptuous at best -- needed for certain tasks, but expendable if required -- basically, not well liked. Akin to a dirty, smelly employee that keeps showing up as not to get fired. ..."
Jan 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Biff , January 14, 2018 at 6:06 am GMT

to finally restore the sovereignty of the US to the people of the US

Come on dude. I mean, I really like your stuff, but get with the times -- the U.S. is "owned" whole and complete. At the risk of repeating thy self; They've got a giant segment of the population duped into believing they live in a democracy, and some of them are just dumb enough to waste their time voting.

The owners throw the elected(owned prostitutes) officials a bone now and then, but that's all they get. If there ever was a corporate house negro, Obama, and the rest of them are it, and Trump has had his dumb ass neoconed from day one.

America is like a religion -- you are required to "believe", because the reality is absent of any kind of deity.

If only, Americans could get the kind of understanding of how the owners think of them -- contemptuous at best -- needed for certain tasks, but expendable if required -- basically, not well liked. Akin to a dirty, smelly employee that keeps showing up as not to get fired.

[Jan 14, 2018] Democracy in crisis? What democracy? There has not been a democracy for quite some time. by Cloudchopper

Jan 13, 2018 | therealnews.com

Cloudchopperan hour ago

Democracy in crisis? What democracy? There has not been a democracy for quite some time. Matter of fact it turned into a corporate oligarchy ruled by them, Wall Street and the Pentagon and not to forget Israel.

If Trump is messing with this so called democracy so be it. He is the bull walking through the delicate china closet the shadow rulers have set up for a long time. He smashes most of all those delicate dishes who really did not help the regular people at all. They were just there on display as teasers. Well Trump is smashing things left and right. "Racism" is being so overdone that it is becoming ridiculous and that real racism is still being hidden. Don't know about Bannon, never cared or paid much attention to him nor Breitbart news.

But believe me democracy is not in crisis because of Trump. There had to be a real democracy to begin with in order to be in crisis. What's in crisis is the two party system, the oligarchy, the false prophets, the media and the exceptionalism of the USA. All good things to have a crisis over and change things towards a new awakening.

John Ellis5 hours ago .

SHIT-HOLE DEMOCRACY --- ROOT CAUSE

● Republicans are top 25% of society who own 75% of wealth.
● Democrats are educated middle-class who own 25% of wealth.
● Working-poor are uneducated bottom 50% who refuse to vote until they stop getting shit upon. see more

PrMaine 9 hours ago

they all overestimated the American people.

That is true if the election really reflected the will of the American people. But do our elections do that?

Although we have all been indoctrinated into believing that we have the best democracy in the world, do our elections really reflect what the people want? Even if we believe the counting of votes to be accurate , we know that many citizens are denied their right to vote by manipulation of the voting rolls, voter intimidation, or the engineering of long lines.

But even if these issues are ignored, there is the two-party system that makes it so easy for big money and in particular big media to ensure that we do not get to choose from candidates that we would really want. A good step in moving toward a multi-party system would be to adopt some voting system that would encourage a multi-party system.

Democracy in America? We should work to give it a try.

NoDifference PrMaine7 hours ago

It's a good point. You figure that, at best, maybe 60 or 70 per cent of voters actually participate in an election. Then, out of that, it takes only 50%+1 to win. That means that a seat can be won with as little as perhaps 35% of all voters casting ballots.

However, first-past-the-post vote calculations are not an absolute impediment to winning elections. In Seattle, there is a socialist on the city council. In Minneapolis, another socialist came extremely close to a win there also. And the example of Canada's CCF/NDP cannot be ignored. All of these examples are in the context of first-past-the-post.

Now, I am firmly in favor of RCV. But we will probably only get RCV once the American Left gets itself to a position of power where it can make that kind of reform reality. The duopoly powers will not concede this to us gleefully, unless they see an opportunity to benefit from it somehow, such as gaming the system somehow (maybe setting off competition on the Left to ensure a win for the Right during a prolonged period of Rightwing solidarity as sometimes happens... like right now). I urge people to learn about the rise of the NDP even if they do not believe it to be a legitimate Left party (and there is plenty to support the impression that it has drifted to the center, sadly). I urge people to closely and carefully the Sawant win in Seattle. We can learn from these historical lessons.

We could be winning far more often and deeply if we just had something like RCV, like Proportional Representation (PR). But we don't. And the fact we don't have them should be that much more fuel for ignition. We must start winning. I always suggest starting at the bottom, not the top, where the Left could make inroads far more easily than attempting heroic battles with the duopoly at the highest levels of government. Over time, our presence would strengthen and our local efforts would weave a strong fabric of regional and maybe federal parties.

Getting depressed by the unfairness of the electoral college should move us in efforts to abolish it (and that is happening, btw). But at the same time, it should not be discouraging us from doing sensible things, like organizing local campaigns, taking over city halls, disrupting city planning departments and planning committees, and beginning to build what will one day become a national presence.

Yes, we should definitely give democracy a try. And we could be trying, mostly, at the local level with an eye toward eventual coalescence into more regional bodies of power. It has been done, and we would be wise to examine thoroughly how it was done and how we could improve that process.

NoDifference9 hours ago

Bannon's "far right Leninism" does not read well the first time, or the second time, or as many times as I read and re-read that phrase. I wish writers for the Left press would take the time to carefully proofread their own work before posting.

Yeah, I think I get what the author meant , but maybe it would have read more easily if it had been written something like "the Bannon version of authoritarianism" (or whatever it is the author precisely meant). It would have been clearer and not have appeared to conflate a rather Leftish ideology with some form of RW extremism.

[Dec 31, 2017] Maybe Trump was the deep state candidate of choice? Maybe that s why they ran Clinton against him rather than the more electable Sanders? Maybe that s why Obama started ramping up tensions with Russia in the early fall of 2016 – to swing the election to Trump (by giving the disgruntled anti-war Sanders voters a false choice between Trump or war with Russia?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Stop right there. Rather than the generously imply that Trump had good intentions in the first place, isn't it time to at least consider the possibility that Trump's campaign was a calculated "bait and switch" fraud from the beginning? ..."
"... Not "paranoid" but "PNAC" as in PNAC manifesto for world domination and control ..."
"... "It is plainly obvious that the Neocons are now back in total control of the White House, Congress and the US corporate media. Okay, maybe things are still not quite as bad as if Hillary had been elected, but they are bad enough to ask whether a major war is now inevitable next year." ..."
"... "Rather than generously imply that Trump had good intentions in the first place, isn't it time to at least consider the possibility that Trump's campaign was a calculated "bait and switch" fraud from the beginning?" ..."
"... A point that cannot be made often enough, IMO. Trump is the Republican Bill Clinton. ..."
"... Maybe it's time for Americans to admit that their quadrennial Mr. America contest amounts to little more than a "suck Satan's c *** " audition for the deep state, and that the contestants have no qualms about getting on their knees. It is far more comforting to believe that "your" guy was subverted after the (s)election, but that's not how it actually works. ..."
"... I'm imagining a bumper sticker with Trump's laughing face and a sad-looking deplorable in a baseball cap, with the caption "Bait and Switch- the American Way." Someone also once suggested "There are two kinds of Republicans: millionaires and suckers." ..."
Dec 31, 2017 | www.unz.com

Harold Smith , December 29, 2017 at 7:00 pm GMT

"Not only has the swamp easily, quickly and totally drowned Trump "

Stop right there. Rather than the generously imply that Trump had good intentions in the first place, isn't it time to at least consider the possibility that Trump's campaign was a calculated "bait and switch" fraud from the beginning?

"Furthermore, the Trump Administration now has released a National Security Strategy which clearly show that the Empire is in 'full paranoid' mode."

Not "paranoid" but "PNAC" as in PNAC manifesto for world domination and control.

"It is plainly obvious that the Neocons are now back in total control of the White House, Congress and the US corporate media. Okay, maybe things are still not quite as bad as if Hillary had been elected, but they are bad enough to ask whether a major war is now inevitable next year."

Maybe Trump was the "deep state" candidate of choice? Maybe that's why they ran Clinton against him rather than the more electable Sanders? Maybe that's why Obama started ramping up tensions with Russia in the early fall of 2016 – so as to swing the election to Trump (by giving the disgruntled anti-war Sanders voters a false choice between Trump or war with Russia?

Lana Kane , December 30, 2017 at 2:27 am GMT
@Harold Smith

"Rather than generously imply that Trump had good intentions in the first place, isn't it time to at least consider the possibility that Trump's campaign was a calculated "bait and switch" fraud from the beginning?"

A point that cannot be made often enough, IMO. Trump is the Republican Bill Clinton.

Maybe it's time for Americans to admit that their quadrennial Mr. America contest amounts to little more than a "suck Satan's c *** " audition for the deep state, and that the contestants have no qualms about getting on their knees. It is far more comforting to believe that "your" guy was subverted after the (s)election, but that's not how it actually works.

I'm imagining a bumper sticker with Trump's laughing face and a sad-looking deplorable in a baseball cap, with the caption "Bait and Switch- the American Way." Someone also once suggested "There are two kinds of Republicans: millionaires and suckers."

[Dec 26, 2017] As we move into 2018, I am swinging away from the Republicans. I don't support the Paul Ryan "Better Way" agenda. I don't support neoliberal economics by Brad Griffin

Dec 26, 2017 | www.unz.com

As we move into 2018, I am swinging away from the Republicans. I don't support the Paul Ryan "Better Way" agenda . I don't support neoliberal economics. I think we have been going in the wrong direction since the 1970s and don't want to continue going down this road.

Opioid Deaths:

As we all know, the opioid epidemic has become a national crisis and the White working class has been hit the hardest by it. It is a "sea of despair" out there .

[Dec 24, 2017] Congress in Search of a Bordello by James Petras

Dec 24, 2017 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

Presidential Leadership and Abuse in the Workplace

Several Presidents have been accused of gross sexual abuse and humiliation of office staff and interns, most ignobly William Jefferson Clinton. However, the Congressional Office of Compliance, in accord with the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 does not collect statistics on presidential abuses and financial settlements. Nevertheless, we can examine the number of Congressional victims and payments during the tenures of the various Presidents during the past 20 years. This can tell us if the Presidents chose to issue any directives or exercise any leadership with regard to stopping the abuses occurring during their administrations.

Under Presidents William Clinton and Barack Obama we have data for 12 years 1997-2000, and 2009-2016. Under President George W Bush and Donald Trump we have data for 9 years 2001-2008 and 2017.

Under the two Democratic Presidents, 148 legislative employees were abused and the Treasury paid out approximately $5 million dollars and under the Republican Presidents, 116 were abused and Treasury and over $12 million dollars was paid out.

Under the Democratic Presidents, the average number of abuse victims was 12 per year; under the Republicans the average number was 13 per year. As in the case of Congressional leadership, US Presidents of both parties showed remarkable bipartisan consistency in tolerating Congressional abuse.

Congressional Abuse: The Larger Meaning

Workplace abuse by elected leaders in Washington is encouraged by Party cronyism, loyalties and shameless bootlicking. It is reinforced by the structure of power pervasive in the ruling class. Congress people exercise near total power over their employees because they are not accountable to their peers or their voters. They are protected by their financial donors, the special Congressional 'judicial' system and by the mass media with a complicity of silence.

The entire electoral system is based on a hierarchy of power, where those on the top can demand subordination and enforce their demands for sexual submission with threats of retaliation against the victim or the victim's outraged family members. This mirrors a feudal plantation system.

However, like sporadic peasant uprisings in the Middle Ages, some employees rise up, resist and demand justice. It is common to see Congressional abusers turn to their office managers, often female, to act as 'capos' to first threaten and then buy off the accuser – using US taxpayer funds. This added abuse never touches the wallet of the abuser or the office enforcer. Compensation is paid by the US Treasury. The social and financial status of the abusers and the abusers' families remain intact as they look forward to lucrative future employment as lobbyists.

This does not occur in isolation from the broader structure of class and power.

The sexual exploitation of workers in the Halls of the US Congress is part of the larger socio-economic system. Elected officials, who abuse their office employees and interns, share the same values with corporate and cultural bosses, who exploit their workers and subordinates. At an even larger level, they share the same values and culture with the ImperialState as it brutalizes and rapes independent nations and peoples.

The system of abuse and exploitation by the Congress and the corporate, cultural, academic, religious and political elite depends on complicit intermediaries who frequently come from upwardly mobile groups. The most abusive legislators will hire upwardly mobile women as public relations officers and office managers to recruit victims and, when necessary, arrange pay-offs. In the corporate sphere, CEOs frequently rely on former plant workers, trade union leaders, women and minorities to serve as 'labor relations' experts to provide a progressive façade in order to oust dissidents and enforce directives persecuting whistleblowers. On a global scale, the political warlords work hand in glove with the mass media and humanitarian interventionist NGO's to demonize independent voices and to glorify the military as they slaughter resistance fighters, while claiming to champion gender and minority rights. Thus, the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was widely propagandized and celebrated as the 'liberation of Afghan women'.

The Congressional perverts have their own private, secret mission: to abuse staff, to nurture the rich, enforce silence and approve legislation to make taxpayers pay the bill.

Let us hope that the current ' Me Too !' movement against workplace sexual abuse will grow to include a broader movement against the neo-feudalism within politics, business, and culture and lead to a political movement uniting workers in all fields.

[Dec 23, 2017] Russiagate as bait and switch maneuver

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Gessen also worried that the Russia obsession was a deadly diversion from issues that ought to matter more to those claiming to oppose Trump in the name of democracy and the common good ..."
"... Frustrated Democrats hoping to elevate their election fortunes have a resounding message for party leaders: Stop talking so much about Russia. Rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare. ..."
Dec 23, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

Masha Gessen's Warning Ignored as Dreams of Trumpeachment Dance in Our Heads

Gessen felt that the Russiagate gambit would flop, given a lack of smoking-gun evidence and sufficient public interest, particularly among Republicans.

Gessen also worried that the Russia obsession was a deadly diversion from issues that ought to matter more to those claiming to oppose Trump in the name of democracy and the common good : racism, voter suppression (which may well have elected Trump , by the way), health care, plutocracy, police- and prison-state-ism, immigrant rights, economic exploitation and inequality, sexism and environmental ruination -- you know, stuff like that.

Some of the politically engaged populace noticed the problem early on. According to the Washington political journal The Hill , last summer ,

Frustrated Democrats hoping to elevate their election fortunes have a resounding message for party leaders: Stop talking so much about Russia. Rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare.

Here we are now, half a year later, careening into a dystopian holiday season. With his epically low approval rating of 32 percent , the orange-tinted bad grandpa in the Oval Office has won a viciously regressive tax bill that is widely rejected by the populace. The bill was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress whose current approval rating stands at 13 percent. It is a major legislative victory for the Republicans, a party whose approval rating fell to an all-time low of 29 percent at the end of September -- a party that tried to send a child molester to the U.S. Senate.

[Dec 23, 2017] Neither party is on our side. The establishment in both parties is crooked and corrupt.

Notable quotes:
"... Of course, the notion of 'reform' within the Democratic Party is an oxymoron. Its been around since Nader, when the corrupt-corporate Democrats tried to tell us that the way forward was to work within the corrupt-corporate Democratic Party and change things that way. ..."
"... And I see Steve Bannon trying to wage the fight within the Republican party that the fake-reformers in the Democrats never even tried . ie, numerous primary challenges to corrupt-corporate Democrats. ..."
"... Neither party represents any but the richest of the rich these days. Both parties lie to voters and try to pretend that they might actually give a damn about the rest of us. But the only sign of life that I see of anyone trying to fight back against this Bannon inside the Republicans. I'm not thrilled with Bannon, although he's not nearly as bad as the loony-lefties in the corrupt-corporate Democratic Party and their many satellites call him. But he's the only one putting up a fight. I just hope that maybe someone will run in primaries against the corrupt-corporate-Republicans who fake-represent the part of the map where I live. ..."
Dec 23, 2017 | www.unz.com

Liverpool , December 22, 2017 at 9:16 pm GMT

I was raised by Democrats, and used to vote for them. But these days, I think heck would freeze over before I'd vote Democrat again. From my point of view, Bernie tried to pull them back to sanity. But the hard core Clinton-corporate-corrupt Democrats have declared war on any movement for reform within the Democratic Party. And there is no way that I'm voting for any of these corrupt-corporate Democrats ever again.

Of course, the notion of 'reform' within the Democratic Party is an oxymoron. Its been around since Nader, when the corrupt-corporate Democrats tried to tell us that the way forward was to work within the corrupt-corporate Democratic Party and change things that way. We saw the way the corrupt-corporate Democrats colluded and rigged the last Presidential Primaries so that Corrupt-Corporate-Clinton was guaranteed the corrupt-corporate Democrat nomination. That's a loud and clear message to anyone who thinks they can achieve change within the corrupt-corporate-colluding-rigged Democratic Party.

Since I've always been anti-war, I've been forced to follow what anti-war movement there is over to the Republicans. And I see Steve Bannon trying to wage the fight within the Republican party that the fake-reformers in the Democrats never even tried . ie, numerous primary challenges to corrupt-corporate Democrats. That never happened, and by 2012 I was convinced that even the fake-reformers within the corrupt-corporate Democrats were fakes who only wanted fund-raising but didn't really fight for reform.

Neither party represents any but the richest of the rich these days. Both parties lie to voters and try to pretend that they might actually give a damn about the rest of us. But the only sign of life that I see of anyone trying to fight back against this Bannon inside the Republicans. I'm not thrilled with Bannon, although he's not nearly as bad as the loony-lefties in the corrupt-corporate Democratic Party and their many satellites call him. But he's the only one putting up a fight. I just hope that maybe someone will run in primaries against the corrupt-corporate-Republicans who fake-represent the part of the map where I live.

Neither party is on our side. The establishment in both parties is crooked and corrupt. Someone needs to fight them. And I sure as heck won't vote for the corrupt and the crooked. Since the Democrats are doubling down on corrupt and crooked and telling such big lies that even Goebbels would blush, it doesn't look like I'll ever vote Dem0crat again.

[Dec 16, 2017] The U.S. Is Not A Democracy, It Never Was by Gabriel Rockhill

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history. ..."
"... Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called "founding fathers," the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the "subordination" so necessary for politics. ..."
"... When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than "the filth of the common sewers" by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett. The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves -- meaning the overwhelming majority of the population -- were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President. ..."
"... It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: "it is not a democracy." George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as "a despotic aristocracy." ..."
"... When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a "democracy," there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name. In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term "democracy" to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. ..."
"... Slowly but surely, the term "democracy" came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos . Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare. ..."
"... In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary "democratic" publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a "democracy" because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives. ..."
"... To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected. ..."
"... It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America's Deadliest Export: Democracy , grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Gabriel Rockhill via Counterpunch.org,

One of the most steadfast beliefs regarding the United States is that it is a democracy. Whenever this conviction waivers slightly, it is almost always to point out detrimental exceptions to core American values or foundational principles. For instance, aspiring critics frequently bemoan a "loss of democracy" due to the election of clownish autocrats, draconian measures on the part of the state, the revelation of extraordinary malfeasance or corruption, deadly foreign interventions, or other such activities that are considered undemocratic exceptions . The same is true for those whose critical framework consists in always juxtaposing the actions of the U.S. government to its founding principles, highlighting the contradiction between the two and clearly placing hope in its potential resolution.

The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history.

What will be seen, however, if this record is soberly and methodically inspected, is that a country founded on elite, colonial rule based on the power of wealth -- a plutocratic colonial oligarchy, in short -- has succeeded not only in buying the label of "democracy" to market itself to the masses, but in having its citizenry, and many others, so socially and psychologically invested in its nationalist origin myth that they refuse to hear lucid and well-documented arguments to the contrary.

To begin to peel the scales from our eyes, let us outline in the restricted space of this article, five patent reasons why the United States has never been a democracy (a more sustained and developed argument is available in my book, Counter-History of the Present ).

To begin with, British colonial expansion into the Americas did not occur in the name of the freedom and equality of the general population, or the conferral of power to the people. Those who settled on the shores of the "new world," with few exceptions, did not respect the fact that it was a very old world indeed, and that a vast indigenous population had been living there for centuries. As soon as Columbus set foot, Europeans began robbing, enslaving and killing the native inhabitants. The trans-Atlantic slave trade commenced almost immediately thereafter, adding a countless number of Africans to the ongoing genocidal assault against the indigenous population. Moreover, it is estimated that over half of the colonists who came to North America from Europe during the colonial period were poor indentured servants, and women were generally trapped in roles of domestic servitude. Rather than the land of the free and equal, then, European colonial expansion to the Americas imposed a land of the colonizer and the colonized, the master and the slave, the rich and the poor, the free and the un-free. The former constituted, moreover, an infinitesimally small minority of the population, whereas the overwhelming majority, meaning "the people," was subjected to death, slavery, servitude, and unremitting socio-economic oppression.

Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called "founding fathers," the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the "subordination" so necessary for politics.

When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than "the filth of the common sewers" by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett. The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves -- meaning the overwhelming majority of the population -- were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President.

It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: "it is not a democracy." George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as "a despotic aristocracy."

When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a "democracy," there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name. In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term "democracy" to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. This began around the time of "Indian killer" Andrew Jackson's presidential campaign in the 1830s. Presenting himself as a 'democrat,' he put forth an image of himself as an average man of the people who was going to put a halt to the long reign of patricians from Virginia and Massachusetts. Slowly but surely, the term "democracy" came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos . Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare.

In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary "democratic" publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a "democracy" because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives.

However, even this hollow definition dissimulates the extent to which, to begin with, the supposed equality before the law in the United States presupposes an inequality before the law by excluding major sectors of the population: those judged not to have the right to rights, and those considered to have lost their right to rights (Native Americans, African-Americans and women for most of the country's history, and still today in certain aspects, as well as immigrants, "criminals," minors, the "clinically insane," political dissidents, and so forth). Regarding elections, they are run in the United States as long, multi-million dollar advertising campaigns in which the candidates and issues are pre-selected by the corporate and party elite. The general population, the majority of whom do not have the right to vote or decide not to exercise it, are given the "choice" -- overseen by an undemocratic electoral college and embedded in a non-proportional representation scheme -- regarding which member of the aristocratic elite they would like to have rule over and oppress them for the next four years. "Multivariate analysis indicates," according to an important recent study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, "that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. 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 [ ], but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy."

To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected.

It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America's Deadliest Export: Democracy , grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. The record on the home front is just as brutal. To take but one significant parallel example, there is ample evidence that the FBI has been invested in a covert war against democracy. Beginning at least in the 1960s, and likely continuing up to the present, the Bureau "extended its earlier clandestine operations against the Communist party, committing its resources to undermining the Puerto Rico independence movement, the Socialist Workers party, the civil rights movement, Black nationalist movements, the Ku Klux Klan, segments of the peace movement, the student movement, and the 'New Left' in general" ( Cointelpro: The FBI's Secret War on Political Freedom , p. 22-23).

Consider, for instance, Judi Bari's summary of its assault on the Socialist Workers Party: "From 1943-63, the federal civil rights case Socialist Workers Party v. Attorney General documents decades of illegal FBI break-ins and 10 million pages of surveillance records. The FBI paid an estimated 1,600 informants $1,680,592 and used 20,000 days of wiretaps to undermine legitimate political organizing."

... ... ...

[Dec 15, 2017] FBI Edits To Clinton Exoneration Go Far Beyond What Was Previously Known; Comey, McCabe, Strzok Implicated Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... In addition to Strzok's "gross negligence" --> "extremely careless" edit, McCabe's damage control team removed a key justification for elevating Clinton's actions to the standard of "gross negligence" - that being the " sheer volume " of classified material on Clinton's server. In the original draft, the "sheer volume" of material "supports an inference that the participants were grossly negligent in their handling of that information." ..."
"... It's also possible that the FBI, which was not allowed to inspect the DNC servers, was uncomfortable standing behind the conclusion of Russian hacking reached by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike. ..."
"... Johnson's letter also questions an " insurance policy " referenced in a text message sent by demoted FBI investigator Peter Strzok to his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page, which read " I want to believe the path you threw out to consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way he gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk." It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40...." ..."
"... One wonders if the "insurance policy" Strzok sent to Page on August 15, 2016 was in reference to the original counterintelligence operation launched against Trump of which Strzok became the lead investigator in "late July" 2016? Of note, Strzok reported directly to Bill Priestap - the director of Counterintelligence, who told James Comey not to inform congress that the FBI had launched a counterintelligence operation against then-candidate Trump, per Comey's March 20th testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. (h/t @TheLastRefuge2 ) ..."
"... That's not to say Hillary shouldn't have been prosecuted. But what we're seeing here looks like perfectly normal behavior once the decision has been made not to prosecute; get the statements to be consistent with the conclusion. In a bureaucracy, that requires a number of people to be involved. And it would necessarily include people who work for Hillary Clinton, since that's whose information is being discussed. ..."
"... And the stuff about how a foreign power might have, or might possibly have, accessed her emails is all BS too. We already know they weren't hacked, they were leaked. ..."
"... Maybe people who don't understand complicated organizations see something nefarious here, but nobody who does will. Nothing will come of this but some staged-for-TV dramatic pronouncements in the House, and on FOX News, and affiliated websites. There's nothing here. ..."
"... Debatable re. biggest story being kept quiet. The AWAN Brothers/Family is a Pakistani spy ring operating inside Congress for more than a decade, and we hear nothing. They had access to virtually everything in every important committee. They had access to the Congressional servers and all the emails. Biggest spy scandal in our nations hsitory, and........crickets. ..."
"... They have had a year to destroy the evidence. Why should the CIA controlled MSM report the truth? ..."
"... Precisely. That's actually a very good tool for decoding the Clintons and Obama. "You collaborated with Russia." Means "I collaborated with Saudi Arabia." It takes a little while and I haven't fully mastered it yet, but you can reverse alinsky-engineer their statements to figure out what they did. ..."
"... And get this, Flynn was set up! Yates had the transcript via the (illegal) FISA Court of warrant which relied on the Dirty Steele Dossier, when Flynn deviated from the transcript they charged him Lying to the FBI. Comey McCabe run around lying 24/7. Their is no fucking hope left! The swamp WINS ALWAYS. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

FBI Edits To Clinton Exoneration Go Far Beyond What Was Previously Known; Comey, McCabe, Strzok Implicated Tyler Durden Dec 15, 2017 10:10 AM 0 SHARES detailed in a Thursday letter from committee chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok

The letter reveals specific edits made by senior FBI agents when Deputy Director Andrew McCabe exchanged drafts of Comey's statement with senior FBI officials , including Peter Strzok, Strzok's direct supervisor , E.W. "Bill" Priestap, Jonathan Moffa, and an unnamed employee from the Office of General Counsel (identified by Newsweek as DOJ Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson) - in what was a coordinated conspiracy among top FBI brass to decriminalize Clinton's conduct by changing legal terms and phrases, omitting key information, and minimizing the role of the Intelligence Community in the email investigation. Doing so virtually assured that then-candidate Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted.

Heather Samuelson and Heather Mills

Also mentioned in the letter are the immunity agreements granted by the FBI in June 2016 to top Obama advisor Cheryl Mills and aide Heather Samuelson - who helped decide which Clinton emails were destroyed before turning over the remaining 30,000 records to the State Department. Of note, the FBI agreed to destroy evidence on devices owned by Mills and Samuelson which were turned over in the investigation.

Sen. Johnson's letter reads:

According to documents produced by the FBI, FBI employees exchanged proposed edits to the draft statement. On May 6, Deputy Director McCabe forwarded the draft statement to other senior FBI employees, including Peter Strzok, E.W. Priestap, Jonathan Moffa, and an employee on the Office of General Counsel whose name has been redacted. While the precise dates of the edits and identities of the editors are not apparent from the documents, the edits appear to change the tone and substance of Director Comey's statement in at least three respects .

It was already known that Strzok - who was demoted to the FBI's HR department after anti-Trump text messages to his mistress were uncovered by an internal FBI watchdog - was responsible for downgrading the language regarding Clinton's conduct from the criminal charge of "gross negligence" to "extremely careless."

"Gross negligence" is a legal term of art in criminal law often associated with recklessness. According to Black's Law Dictionary, gross negligence is " A severe degree of negligence taken as reckless disregard ," and " Blatant indifference to one's legal duty, other's safety, or their rights ." "Extremely careless," on the other hand, is not a legal term of art.

According to an Attorney briefed on the matter, "extremely careless" is in fact a defense to "gross negligence": "What my client did was 'careless', maybe even 'extremely careless,' but it was not 'gross negligence' your honor." The FBI would have no option but to recommend prosecution if the phrase "gross negligence" had been left in.

18 U.S. Code § 793 "Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information" specifically uses the phrase "gross negligence." Had Comey used the phrase, he would have essentially declared that Hillary had broken the law.

In addition to Strzok's "gross negligence" --> "extremely careless" edit, McCabe's damage control team removed a key justification for elevating Clinton's actions to the standard of "gross negligence" - that being the " sheer volume " of classified material on Clinton's server. In the original draft, the "sheer volume" of material "supports an inference that the participants were grossly negligent in their handling of that information."

Also removed from Comey's statement were all references to the Intelligence Community's involvement in investigating Clinton's private email server.

Director Comey's original statement acknowledged the FBI had worked with its partners in the Intelligence Community to assess potential damage from Secretary Clinton's use of a private email server. The original statement read:

[W]e have done extensive work with the assistance of our colleagues elsewhere in the Intelligence Community to understand what indications there might be of compromise by hostile actors in connection with the private email operation.

The edited version removed the references to the intelligence community:

[W]e have done extensive work [removed] to understand what indications there might be of compromise by hostile actors in connection with the personal e-mail operation.

Furthermore, the FBI edited Comey's statement to downgrade the probability that Clinton's server was hacked by hostile actors, changing their language from "reasonably likely" to "possible" - an edit which eliminated yet another justification for the phrase "Gross negligence." To put it another way, "reasonably likely" means the probability of a hack due to Clinton's negligence is above 50 percent, whereas the hack simply being "possible" is any probability above zero.

It's also possible that the FBI, which was not allowed to inspect the DNC servers, was uncomfortable standing behind the conclusion of Russian hacking reached by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike.

The original draft read:

Given the combination of factors, we assess it is reasonably likely that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton's private email account."

The edited version from Director Comey's July 5 statement read:

Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton's personal e-mail account.

Johnson's letter also questions an " insurance policy " referenced in a text message sent by demoted FBI investigator Peter Strzok to his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page, which read " I want to believe the path you threw out to consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way he gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk." It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40...."

One wonders if the "insurance policy" Strzok sent to Page on August 15, 2016 was in reference to the original counterintelligence operation launched against Trump of which Strzok became the lead investigator in "late July" 2016? Of note, Strzok reported directly to Bill Priestap - the director of Counterintelligence, who told James Comey not to inform congress that the FBI had launched a counterintelligence operation against then-candidate Trump, per Comey's March 20th testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. (h/t @TheLastRefuge2 )

Transcript , James Comey Testimony to House Intel Committee, March 20, 2016

The letter from the Senate Committee concludes; "the edits to Director Comey's public statement, made months prior to the conclusion of the FBI's investigation of Secretary Clinton's conduct, had a significant impact on the FBI's public evaluation of the implications of her actions . This effort, seen in the light of the personal animus toward then-candidate Trump by senior FBI agents leading the Clinton investigation and their apparent desire to create an "insurance policy" against Mr. Trump's election, raise profound questions about the FBI's role and possible interference in the 2016y presidential election and the role of the same agents in Special Counsel Mueller's investigation of President Trump ."

Johnson then asks the FBI to answer six questions:

  1. Please provide the names of the Department of Justice (DOJ) employees who comprised the "mid-year review team" during the FBI's investigation of Secretary Clinton's use of a private email server.
  2. Please identify all FBI, DOJ, or other federal employees who edited or reviewed Director Comey's July 5, 2016 statement . Please identify which individual made the marked changes in the documents produced to the Committee.
  3. Please identify which FBI employee repeatedly changed the language in the final draft statement that described Secretary Clinton's behavior as "grossly negligent" to "extremely careless. " What evidence supported these changes?
  4. Please identify which FBI employee edited the draft statement to remove the reference to the Intelligence Community . On what basis was this change made?
  5. Please identify which FBI employee edited the draft statement to downgrade the FBI's assessment that it was "reasonably likely" that hostile actors had gained access to Secretary Clinton's private email account to merely that than [sic] intrusion was "possible." What evidence supported these changes?
  6. Please provide unredacted copies of the drafts of Director Comey's statement, including comment bubbles , and explain the basis for the redactions produced to date.

We are increasingly faced with the fact that the FBI's top ranks have been filled with political ideologues who helped Hillary Clinton while pursuing the Russian influence narrative against Trump (perhaps as the "insurance" Strzok spoke of). Meanwhile, "hands off" recused Attorney General Jeff Sessions and assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein don't seem very excited to explore the issues with a second Special Counsel. As such, we are now almost entirely reliant on the various Committees of congress to pursue justice in this matter. Perhaps when their investigations have concluded, President Trump will feel he has the political and legal ammunition to truly clean house at the nation's swampiest agencies.

swmnguy -> 11b40 , Dec 15, 2017 4:42 PM

All I see in this story is that the FBI edits their work to make sure the terminology is consistent throughout. This is not a smoking gun of anything, except bureaucratic procedure one would find anywhere any legal documents are prepared.

That's not to say Hillary shouldn't have been prosecuted. But what we're seeing here looks like perfectly normal behavior once the decision has been made not to prosecute; get the statements to be consistent with the conclusion. In a bureaucracy, that requires a number of people to be involved. And it would necessarily include people who work for Hillary Clinton, since that's whose information is being discussed.

Now, if Hillary hadn't been such an arrogant bitch, we wouldn't be having this conversation. If she had just take the locked-down Android of iOS phone they issued her, instead of having to forward everything to herself so she could use her stupid Blackberry (which can't be locked down to State Dep't. specs), everything would have been both hunky and dory.

And the stuff about how a foreign power might have, or might possibly have, accessed her emails is all BS too. We already know they weren't hacked, they were leaked.

Maybe people who don't understand complicated organizations see something nefarious here, but nobody who does will. Nothing will come of this but some staged-for-TV dramatic pronouncements in the House, and on FOX News, and affiliated websites. There's nothing here.

youarelost , Dec 15, 2017 8:59 AM

What did Obozo know and when did he know it

E.F. Mutton -> youarelost , Dec 15, 2017 9:04 AM

False Flag time - distraction needed ASAP

Bigly -> E.F. Mutton , Dec 15, 2017 9:14 AM

We need to look for this as there are a LOT of people who need to be indicted and boobus americanus needs distraction.

My concern is that there are not enough non-corrupts there to handle and process the swamp as Trump did not fire and replace them 10 months ago.

shitshitshit -> Bigly , Dec 15, 2017 9:16 AM

I wonder how high will this little game go...

That obongo of all crooks is involved is a sure fact, but I'd like to see how many remaining defenders of the cause are still motivated to lose everything for this thing...

In other terms, what are the defection rates in the dem party, because now this must be an avalanche.

cheka -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 9:45 AM

applied neo-bolshevism

macholatte -> cheka , Dec 15, 2017 10:23 AM

I am tired of this shit. Aren't you?

Please, EVERYONE with a Twitter account send this message Every Day (tell your friends on facebook):

Mr. President, the time to purge the Obama-Clinton holdovers has long passed. Please get rid of them at once. Make your base happy. Fire 100+ from DOJ - State - FBI. Hire William K. Black as Special Prosecutor

send it to:

@realDonaldTrump
@PressSec
@KellyannePolls
@WhiteHouse


Does anybody know how to start an online petition?
Let's make some NOISE!!

Bay of Pigs -> macholatte , Dec 15, 2017 12:02 PM

Sadly, I don't see this story being reported anywhere this morning. Only the biggest scandal in American history. WTF?

11b40 -> Bay of Pigs , Dec 15, 2017 1:22 PM

Debatable re. biggest story being kept quiet. The AWAN Brothers/Family is a Pakistani spy ring operating inside Congress for more than a decade, and we hear nothing. They had access to virtually everything in every important committee. They had access to the Congressional servers and all the emails. Biggest spy scandal in our nations hsitory, and........crickets.

Of course, they may all be related, since Debbie Wasserman-Shits brought them in and set them up, then intertwined their work in Congress with their work for the DNC.

grizfish -> Bay of Pigs , Dec 15, 2017 1:53 PM

They have had a year to destroy the evidence. Why should the CIA controlled MSM report the truth? It's just like slick willy. Deny. Deny. Deny.

ThePhantom -> grizfish , Dec 15, 2017 3:35 PM

The Media is "in on it" and just as culpabale.... everyone's fighting for their lives.

grizfish -> Bay of Pigs , Dec 15, 2017 4:29 PM

Just more theater. Throwing a bone to the few citizens who think for themselves. Giving us false hope the US legal system isn't corrupt. This will never be prosecuted, because the deep state remains in control. They've had a year to destroy the incriminating evidence.

Lanka -> macholatte , Dec 15, 2017 2:27 PM

Tillerson is extremely incompetent in housecleaning. He needs to be replaced by Fred Kruger, Esq.

TerminalDebt -> cheka , Dec 15, 2017 12:43 PM

I guess we know now who the leaker was at the FBI and on the Mule's team

Joe Davola -> TerminalDebt , Dec 15, 2017 1:27 PM

I'm guessing the number of leakers is bigger than 1

eclectic syncretist -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 10:01 AM

What's next? The FBI had Seth Rich killed? Is that why Sessions and everyone else appears paralyzed? How deep does this rabbit hole go?

Overfed -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 10:58 AM

I'm sure that Chaffets and Gowdy will hand down some very stern reprimands.

Mr. Universe -> Overfed , Dec 15, 2017 11:24 AM

Ryan and his buddies in Congress will make strained faces (as if taking a dump) and wring their hands saying they must hire a "Special" Investigator to cover up this mess.

Duane Norman -> Mr. Universe , Dec 15, 2017 11:31 AM

http://fmshooter.com/claiming-fbis-reputation-integrity-not-tatters-comp...

Yeah, but it won't make a difference.

Gardentoolnumber5 -> Overfed , Dec 15, 2017 3:12 PM

Chaffets left Congress because he couldn't get any more help from Trump's DOJ than he did from Obama's. Sad, as he was one of the good guys. imo

ThePhantom -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 3:38 PM

did you notice the story yesterday about "Russian hacker admits putin ordered him to steal dnc emials" ? someones worried about it....

grizfish -> ThePhantom , Dec 15, 2017 4:38 PM

They tweet that crap all the time. Usually just a repeat with different names, but always blaming a Ruskie. About every 6 months they hit on a twist in the wording that causes it to go viral.

Bush Baby -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 11:37 AM

Before Trump was elected , I thought the only way to get our country back was through a Military Coup, but it appears there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.

eclectic syncretist -> Bush Baby , Dec 15, 2017 11:57 AM

I wonder if that light is coming from the soon to be gaping hole in the FBI's asshole when the extent of this political activism by the agency eventually seeps into the public conciousness.

rccalhoun -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 12:43 PM

you can't clean up a mess of this magnitude. fire everyone in washington---senator, representative, fbi, cia, nsa ,etc and start over---has NO chance of happenning

the only hope for a non violent solution is that a true leader emerges that every decent person can rally behind and respect, honor and dignity become the norm. unfortunately, corruption has become a culture and i don't know if it can be eradicated

Lanka -> rccalhoun , Dec 15, 2017 2:31 PM

Just expose the Congress, McCabe, Lindsey, McCabe, Clinton, all Dem judges, Media, Hollywood, local government dems as pedos; that will half-drain the swamp.

shankster -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 4:11 PM

Does the US public have a consciousness?

lew1024 -> Bush Baby , Dec 15, 2017 2:54 PM

If Trump gets the swamp cleaned without a military coup, he will be one of our greatest Presidents. There will be people who hate that more than they hate being in jail.

checkessential -> BennyBoy , Dec 15, 2017 1:00 PM

And they say President Trump obstructed justice for simply asking Comey if he could drop the Michael Flynn matter. Wow.

TommyD88 -> checkessential , Dec 15, 2017 1:09 PM

Alinsky 101: Accuse your opponent of that which you yourself are doing.

Overfed -> redmudhooch , Dec 15, 2017 2:47 PM

Getting rid of the FBI (and all other FLEAs) would be a good thing for all of us.

A Sentinel -> TommyD88 , Dec 15, 2017 2:13 PM

Precisely. That's actually a very good tool for decoding the Clintons and Obama. "You collaborated with Russia." Means "I collaborated with Saudi Arabia." It takes a little while and I haven't fully mastered it yet, but you can reverse alinsky-engineer their statements to figure out what they did.

lurker since 2012 -> checkessential , Dec 15, 2017 4:09 PM

And get this, Flynn was set up! Yates had the transcript via the (illegal) FISA Court of warrant which relied on the Dirty Steele Dossier, when Flynn deviated from the transcript they charged him Lying to the FBI. Comey McCabe run around lying 24/7. Their is no fucking hope left! The swamp WINS ALWAYS.

Ramesees -> BaBaBouy , Dec 15, 2017 9:31 AM

I have - it's was NBC Nightly News - they spent time on the damning emails from Strozk. Maybe 2-3 minutes. Normal news segment time. Surprised the hell out of me.

A Sentinel -> Ramesees , Dec 15, 2017 2:14 PM

Someone probably got fired for that.

ThePhantom -> Ramesees , Dec 15, 2017 3:41 PM

the "MSM" needs to cover their own asses ...like "an insurance policy" just in case the truth comes out... best to be seen reporting on the REAL issue at least for a couple minutes..

[Oct 30, 2017] Democrats Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them

Notable quotes:
"... The Republican Party is home to many a vile reactionary, but its principal function is, and long has been, to serve the most odious wing of the American ruling class. ..."
"... Being unfit and unprepared for the office he suddenly found himself holding, Trump had no choice but to call on seasoned Republican apparatchiks for help. Thus he ended up empowering the very people he had beaten into submission months before. ..."
"... Thus the Republican Party and the Donald became locked together in a bizarre marriage of convenience. Their unholy aliance has by now become a nightmare for all concerned. ..."
"... Moreover, with each passing day, the situation becomes more fraught – to the point that even Republican Senators, three of them so far, have already said "enough." ..."
"... Vice President Mike Pence, his constitutionally prescribed successor, is an opportunist too, but he is also a dedicated theocrat and a thoroughgoing reactionary. A skilled casting director could not have come up with a more suitable vector for spreading the plagues that Republican donors like the Koch brothers seek to let loose upon the world. ..."
"... With Pence in the Oval Office, the chances of nuclear annihilation would diminish, but everything else would be worse. Trump is temperamentally unable to play well with the denizens of the "adult daycare center" that official Washington has become. On the other hand, because his effect on people is more soporific than terrifying, and because he is, by nature, a "pragmatic" conservative -- a mirror image of what Clinton purported to be -- Pence could end up doing more to undermine progress than Trump could ever imagine. ..."
"... Therefore, Trump's demise, though necessary, would be a mixed blessing, at best. ..."
"... After all, Democrats are part of the problem too -- arguably, the major part – and they can hardly remain entirely indifferent to the concerns of voters who lean left. ..."
Oct 30, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

The Republican Party is home to many a vile reactionary, but its principal function is, and long has been, to serve the most odious wing of the American ruling class.

Before Hillary Clinton threw away a sure victory last November, Donald Trump was well on the way to blowing that dreadful party apart.

No credit is due him, however. The harm he was on track for causing was unintended. Trump was not trying to do the GOP in; he was only promoting his brand and himself.

However, by stirring up longstanding rifts between the party's various factions, he effectively put himself on the side of the angels. Without intending anything of the sort, and without even trying, Trump turned himself into a scourge upon America's debilitating duopoly party system.

As Election Day approached, it was unclear whether the GOP's Old Guard would ever be able to put their genteel thing -- their WASPish Cosa Nostra -- back together again.

With Hillary Clinton in the White House, their odds were maybe fifty-fifty. Had the Democrats nominated a less inept Clintonite like Joe Biden or an old school liberal like Bernie Sanders, their odds would have been worse.

But then, to nearly everyone's surprise, including his own, Trump won -- or, rather, Clinton lost, taking many a Democrat down with her. The debacle wasn't entirely her fault. For years, the Democratic National Committee had been squandering its resources on getting Democratic presidents elected, leaving down ticket Democrats wallowing in malign neglect.

And so, for a while, it looked like the GOP would not only survive Trump, but would thrive because of him.

Even so, Republicans were not exactly riding on Trump's coattails. The party's grandees had problems with the Donald, as did comparatively sane Republican office holders and office seekers; so did Republican-leaning voters in the broader electorate. But with Clinton flubbing so badly, none of this mattered.

Being unfit and unprepared for the office he suddenly found himself holding, Trump had no choice but to call on seasoned Republican apparatchiks for help. Thus he ended up empowering the very people he had beaten into submission months before.

Thus the Republican Party and the Donald became locked together in a bizarre marriage of convenience. Their unholy aliance has by now become a nightmare for all concerned.

Moreover, with each passing day, the situation becomes more fraught – to the point that even Republican Senators, three of them so far, have already said "enough."

Republicans continue to run the House and the Senate, and they occupy hosts of other top government offices, but the Republican Party has gone into damage control mode. It had little choice, inasmuch as its Trump induced, pre-election trajectory is back on track.

After only a brief hiatus, the chances are therefore good once again that if the country and the world survive Trump, he will be remembered mainly for destroying the party that Abraham Lincoln led a century and a half ago.

This is therefore a good time to give Republicans space to destroy themselves and each other, cheering them on from the sidelines – especially as they turn on Trump and he turns on them.

Saving the world from that menace is plainly of paramount importance, but it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the alternative is arguably even more unpalatable. Trump is an accidental malefactor; he goes where self-interest leads him. Vice President Mike Pence, his constitutionally prescribed successor, is an opportunist too, but he is also a dedicated theocrat and a thoroughgoing reactionary. A skilled casting director could not have come up with a more suitable vector for spreading the plagues that Republican donors like the Koch brothers seek to let loose upon the world.

With Pence in the Oval Office, the chances of nuclear annihilation would diminish, but everything else would be worse. Trump is temperamentally unable to play well with the denizens of the "adult daycare center" that official Washington has become. On the other hand, because his effect on people is more soporific than terrifying, and because he is, by nature, a "pragmatic" conservative -- a mirror image of what Clinton purported to be -- Pence could end up doing more to undermine progress than Trump could ever imagine.

Therefore, Trump's demise, though necessary, would be a mixed blessing, at best.

Trump is not likely to "self-impeach" any time soon; and. at this point, only persons who have the ear of Republican bigwigs can do much of anything to hasten his departure from the scene. But there are other ways to "deconstruct" the duopoly party system -- as Trump's fascisant, pseudo-intellectual (formerly official, now unofficial) advisor, Steve Bannon might infelicitously put it.

After all, Democrats are part of the problem too -- arguably, the major part – and they can hardly remain entirely indifferent to the concerns of voters who lean left. ... ... ... ANDREW LEVINE is the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press

[Oct 12, 2017] Are those my words coming out of Steve Bannons mouth? by Thomas Frank

Like Obama before him Trump proved to be a very talented "bat and switcher".
Notable quotes:
"... Donald Trump's presidential campaign took this cynical strategy farther than any of his Republican predecessors, openly reaching out to alienated working-class voters, the backbone of so many left-wing protest movements. ..."
"... Trump told us he was going to do something about Nafta, a left-wing bête noir since the 1990s. He promised to revive Glass Steagall. He claimed to care so very, very much about the people of the deindustrialized zones whose sufferings have been so thoroughly documented by left-wing authors. ..."
"... When Sanders decided to support HRC, I figured nothing will ever change. He built up a lot of hope (as did Obama), only to pull the rug out at the eleventh hour. ..."
"... Moving to the far towards the "progressive" left, the Democratic party abandoned the working and middle classes in favor of the coastal well to do city dwellers while trying to appeal to the "oppressed identity" single issue "groups". ..."
"... People got tired of losing their jobs to "globalization", with the government deciding what they can do with policies of "diversity", which is essentially a quota system, and with having ideologues and bureaucrats decide what is good or bad for them. ..."
"... If we lost the base of the Democratic party it wasn't because it was stolen from us. It was because it was given away. We started giving it away when we learned the wrong lesson after Ronald Reagan and thought that we had to move to the right with Bill Clinton to win the presidency. ..."
"... Clinton is the ultimate Swamp Creature,and large reason for her loss is that she spent more time with her high dollar donors then in swing states. How do you think the "Clinton Foundation" got so big? ..."
"... So the Democrats embraced the moneyed establishment because they felt they had to to win, while the Republicans denounced that same establishment but only as part of a bait-and-switch strategy. Meanwhile the establishment hedges their bets and wins no matter what the election outcome. ..."
"... I agree, the New Deal was quite leftist, in the sense that it acknowledged the crisis which had struck the working class. It's atypical in the history of the Democratic Party, which has been devoted to advancing the interests of U.S. corporations and since the Clinton years, those of multinational business consortia. But even the New Deal was a far cry from a revolutionary call to arms. In fact, it was meant to curtail such agitation. Roosevelt said as much. ..."
"... There is no left movement in Washington. Each is going after money from lobbyists. I just see the USA rapidly consuming itself and fragmenting. It has poor social, medical, policing programs. And it continues to digest itself in petty hate between the Democrats and Republicans. It really has no serious governance and worse its flagship superior court is now being sold to capitalism ..."
"... Identity politics is what the oligarchy is using to divide us. I just think it is counterproductive to battle each other when the upward mobility is being taken from us. I wish others could see it. ..."
"... Immigration restrictionists in the US have for decades fought the corporate establishment. In fact, we have fought what are probably the most powerful coalitions of special interests in human history, coalitions of corporate predators, Big Labor, Big Religion, Big Media, and Big Government. ..."
"... There are plenty of populists in the Republican Party, but the governing portion of the party is solidly neocon. Hence the battle between President Trump and the "17 intelligence agencies," and the remarkable undermining of Trump's foreign policy proposals by his own cabinet. ..."
"... Just as the progressive base of the Democratic Party is suppressed by the corporatists at the DNC and other centralized party organs, the Republican base is a captive to its Washington elite power brokers. ..."
"... Apparently 'isolationism' now means simply advocating for some restraint on endless global US military interventionism, hundreds and hundreds of bases in 80+ countries, and trillion dollar 'defence' budgets. ..."
"... I'll take an isolationist over a neo-con any day. ..."
"... The "traditional base" of the Democratic Party was destroyed long ago by de-industrialisation, hollowing of labor law, and now by opioids of the masses. The present day DNC is run by and for their army of contractors, lobbyists, bunglers, and wreckers. ..."
"... I hate to say it to you, but Trump voters who live in Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Iowa weren't looking for upscale living and calling for lower corporate taxes etc. One out of four WV residents are living under economic distress. They just want decent jobs and a government that represents working people, not the wealthy. ..."
Oct 12, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Oct 6, 2017

here's was a moment in Steve Bannon's recent 60 Minutes inter view when the former presidential advisor was asked what he's done to drain "the swamp," the Trumpists' favorite metaphor for everything they hate about Washington DC. Here was Bannon's reply: "The swamp is 50 years in the making. Let's talk about the swamp. The swamp is a business model. It's a successful business model. It's a donor, consultant, K Street lobbyist, politician ... 7 of the 9 wealthiest counties in America ring Washington, DC."

With a shock of recognition I knew immediately what Bannon meant, because what he was talking about was the subject matter of my 2008 book, The Wrecking Crew – the interconnected eco-system of corruption that makes Washington, DC so rich.

The first chapter of my book had been a description of those wealthy counties that ring Washington, DC: the fine cars, the billowing homes, the expense-account restaurants. The rest of the book was my attempt to explain the system that made possible the earthly paradise of Washington and – just like Steve Bannon – I did it by referring to a business model: the political donors and the K Street lobbyists, who act in combination with politicians of the Tom DeLay variety.

My critique of Washington was distinctly from the left, and it astonished me to hear something very close to my argument coming from the mouth of one of the nation's most prominent conservatives. But in fact, Bannon has a long history of reaching out to the left – you might say, of swiping its populist language and hijacking its causes.

In this space back in February, for example, I described Bannon's bizarre 2010 pseudo-documentary about the financial crisis, which superficially resembles actual documentaries, but which swerves to blame this failure of the deregulated financial system on the counterculture of the 1960s.

Bannon's once-famous denunciation of Wall Street banks for their role in the financial crisis is another example. His fondness for the author Christopher Lasch is also revealing. As was his admiring phone call with Robert Kuttner, a well-known liberal editor, which happened just before Bannon left his high-ranking White House job in August.

Mimicry is supposed to be a form of flattery, right

Dig a little deeper, and it sometimes seems like the history of the populist right – with its calls to "organize discontent" and its endless war against "the establishment" and the "elites" – is nothing but a history of reformatting left-wing ideas to fit the needs of the billionaire class. Think of Ronald Reagan's (and Mike Pence's) deliberate reprise of Franklin Roosevelt. Or the constant echoes of Depression-era themes and imagery that one heard from the Tea Party movement.

Donald Trump's presidential campaign took this cynical strategy farther than any of his Republican predecessors, openly reaching out to alienated working-class voters, the backbone of so many left-wing protest movements.

Trump told us he was going to do something about Nafta, a left-wing bête noir since the 1990s. He promised to revive Glass Steagall. He claimed to care so very, very much about the people of the deindustrialized zones whose sufferings have been so thoroughly documented by left-wing authors.

So many fine, militant words. So many clarion calls rousing the people against corrupt elites. And now comes Steve Bannon, the terror of the Republican establishment, hectoring us about "the swamp" with ideas so strikingly similar to my own.

Look at deeds rather than words, however, and it seems as though Trump and his gang have been using The Wrecking Crew more as a how-to guide than anything else. In that book, for example, I pointed out that one of the hallmarks of modern conservative governance is the placement of people who are hostile to the mission of federal agencies in positions of authority in those very agencies.

This is an essential component of the Washington corruption Bannon loves to deplore – and yet this is precisely what Bannon's man Trump has done. Betsy DeVos, a foe of public schools, is running the Department of Education. Scott Pruitt, a veteran antagonist of the EPA, has been put in charge of the EPA. Rick Perry now runs the Department of Energy, an agency he once proposed to abolish.

Another characteristic of the DC wrecking crew is a war on competence within the Federal bureaucracy – and that, too, is back on, courtesy of the folks who rallied you against corruption so movingly last year.

Lobbying ? The industry appears to be gearing up for a return of its Reagan-era golden age. In the early days of the administration, lobbyists were appointed en masse to team Trump and a brigade of brash new K Street personalities is rising up to replace the old guard.

Privatization? The people in DC are trying it again, and this time on a gigantic scale. Trump's ultra-populist infrastructure promise now seems to be little more than a vast scheme for encouraging investment firms to take over the country's highways and bridges. Even the dreams of privatized war are back, brought to you courtesy of the enterprising Erik Prince, a familiar face from the worst days of the Iraq war.

Above it all towers the traditional Republican ideal of business-in-government. "The government should be run like a great American company," is how Jared Kushner puts it this time around; and with his private-jet-set cabinet Donald Trump is going to show the nation exactly what that philosophy looks like.

All the elements are here. The conclusion is unquestionable. The wrecking crew is back.

And why is it back? Because, among other things, Republicans are better at fulminating against the wrecking crew than are Democrats. Maybe that's because Democratic leaders feel it's inappropriate to use such blunt and crude language.

Maybe that's because, for 40 years or so, the leadership faction of the Democratic Party has been at war with its own left wing, defining us out of the conversation, turning a deaf ear to our demands, denouncing populism even as the right grabbed for it with both hands. Either way, the Democrats seem to have no intention of changing their approach now.

Maybe we on the left should take consolation in the things Steve Bannon says. Our own team may not listen to us, but at least there's someone out there in a position of power who apparently does. And mimicry is supposed to be a form of flattery, right?

No. All this is happening for one reason only: to steal the traditional base of the Democratic Party out from under us. That it will also enrich countless contractors and lobbyists and bunglers and wreckers is just a bonus.

Thomas Frank is a Guardian columnist

Thirdparty -> bh_two , 9 Oct 2017 04:04

Right. The traditional base of the Democratic Party stopped supporting it when it was taken over by right-wingers like the Clintons.
Thirdparty , 9 Oct 2017 04:01
On running the government like a business: That is exactly what the Trump regime is doing. Their business model is the mob. And to be fair, the idea of running government like a business makes precisely as much sense as running a business like a government.
Aligarter , 9 Oct 2017 03:15
Steve Bannon is part of the plan to de-democratize the USA and Republicans can only do that by lying on an industrial scale, which they do very efficiently and effectively. Why the need? Because although they are good at destruction, they are no good at all at building the nation or government.

The First Rule of Marketing says that if you give people what they want, they will give you dollars. The billionaires who fund the Republicans again and again do so not because they believe in good government, or have the slightest concern for the wealth, health and defense of the nation, but because they get what they want. It's a purchasing contract.

bh_two , 9 Oct 2017 01:27
"....to steal the traditional base of the Democratic Party out from under us"

They aren't your servants to do your bidding and wait your table. Nor your political property. There is no more similarity of average working blokes to self-infatuated intellectuals of "the left" than a potato to a hubcap.

Working people left the party because they plainly are no longer welcome except during the brief hours when the polls are open.

curiouswes -> HauptmannGurski , 9 Oct 2017 01:22

What are we at?

I haven't the vaguest idea. When Sanders decided to support HRC, I figured nothing will ever change. He built up a lot of hope (as did Obama), only to pull the rug out at the eleventh hour.

MD1212a , 8 Oct 2017 21:32
Moving to the far towards the "progressive" left, the Democratic party abandoned the working and middle classes in favor of the coastal well to do city dwellers while trying to appeal to the "oppressed identity" single issue "groups". The only answer it presented to all problems was more government control over the economy and over all aspects of people's life. People got tired of losing their jobs to "globalization", with the government deciding what they can do with policies of "diversity", which is essentially a quota system, and with having ideologues and bureaucrats decide what is good or bad for them.
DocDiv -> curiouswes , 8 Oct 2017 20:16
TPP was a secret deal, which had written into it, its own right to trump the legal systems of signatory countries with TPP-sponsored arbitration and even mediation judgments. Trump saw that off on his first day.
Lyndon Watson , 8 Oct 2017 20:02
If we lost the base of the Democratic party it wasn't because it was stolen from us. It was because it was given away. We started giving it away when we learned the wrong lesson after Ronald Reagan and thought that we had to move to the right with Bill Clinton to win the presidency.

It was later given away when we didn't accomplish much when we had the majorities in the House, Senate and Presidency back in 2008. If Trump picked up our message it was because he took it, it was because it was just sitting there waiting to be picked up.

Cas Ann -> J.K. Stevens , 8 Oct 2017 19:20
Nonsense. Clinton is the ultimate Swamp Creature,and large reason for her loss is that she spent more time with her high dollar donors then in swing states. How do you think the "Clinton Foundation" got so big?
JohnCan45 , 8 Oct 2017 17:11
So the Democrats embraced the moneyed establishment because they felt they had to to win, while the Republicans denounced that same establishment but only as part of a bait-and-switch strategy. Meanwhile the establishment hedges their bets and wins no matter what the election outcome.
curiouswes -> stderr2 , 8 Oct 2017 16:51

Conservatives argue against identity politics.

That is a good message. I'll be more supportive of the conservatives when they actually practice what they preach. But please don't get me wrong. Not all conservatives are into white supremacy. The problem I see is that if one is a white supremacist, the conservatives don't publicly denounce that position. It makes many people of color feel alienated by conservatism. At least the left openly denounces white supremacy. The right praises MLK but doesn't condemn those in Charlotteville. They had a right to protest and the left shouldn't have tried to silence them. However it was identity politics. They wouldn't be protecting the open display of the confederacy if they weren't into identity politics. That message seems to get lost as conservatism frowns on identity politics.

I don't know what that refers to.

NAFTA passed under Clinton , but more importantly, so did the Uruguay Round of GATT. When the Senate passed that (the House passed it to but technically the House doesn't ratify treaties), it severely curtailed the USA's ability to negotiate our own trade deals. All members of the WTO are vulnerable to financial penalties if any member nation tries to override the rulings set by the WTO. Not only did Ralph Nader recognize this as a problem and try to run for president because of it, so did Pat Buchanan. Buchanan saw this as lost sovereignty (in his words). Both Nader and Buchanan were of course unsuccessful because we vote in an FPTP voting system which tends to eliminate third parties form being successful.

The point is that Clinton forced Congress to pass the legislation just like Paulson forced Congress to approve a bailout of the banks during the financial crisis. It wasn't really all the republicans fault, but the oligarchy would have taken down the global economy if it didn't get bailed out. Anyway the WTO has a policy on dumping:

If a company exports a product at a price lower than the price it normally charges on its own home market, it is said to be "dumping" the product. The WTO Agreement does not regulate the actions of companies engaged in "dumping". Its focus is on how governments can or cannot react to dumping -- it disciplines anti-dumping actions, and it is often called the "Anti-dumping Agreement".

both dems and reps rant and rave about China dumping steel but nothing ever gets done to stop it because the WTO is there protecting China (or american companies making steel in China). Either way the american steel worker gets screwed in the process and that is why populists hate globalism. The American worker knows he's getting screwed but he may not be aware of the mechanism by which he is getting screwed. The media rarely talks about the WTO because if the American worker knew how he was getting screwed, he'd be screaming to get out of the WTO. Typically he only knows his jobs are gone and where they are. However it was Clinton who did this and the idea that anybody would even think of putting HRC back in the white house while she is still married to that dude is due to utter ignorance of the fact of what he did when he was there the first time.

I think both Clinton and W should be in jail, but this isn't about W.

budhudnut -> curiouswes , 8 Oct 2017 16:39
I agree, the New Deal was quite leftist, in the sense that it acknowledged the crisis which had struck the working class. It's atypical in the history of the Democratic Party, which has been devoted to advancing the interests of U.S. corporations and since the Clinton years, those of multinational business consortia. But even the New Deal was a far cry from a revolutionary call to arms. In fact, it was meant to curtail such agitation. Roosevelt said as much.
ID6995146 , 8 Oct 2017 16:15
There is no left movement in Washington. Each is going after money from lobbyists. I just see the USA rapidly consuming itself and fragmenting. It has poor social, medical, policing programs. And it continues to digest itself in petty hate between the Democrats and Republicans. It really has no serious governance and worse its flagship superior court is now being sold to capitalism. Capitalism will fail as predicted by Marx and those who really know about it. It is our children who will pick up the tab if they can survive.
stderr2 -> curiouswes , 8 Oct 2017 15:19
> Identity politics is what the oligarchy is using to divide us.

Conservatives argue against identity politics. I don't know what the oligarchy is supposed to be, in the context of the US. People in power often came from varied backgrounds, not usually all that rich backgrounds.

> upward mobility is being taken from us

Upward from what? If you are poor, there's a lot of upward that might be possible, but if you are middle class, whatever that means, you can't have everyone moving up or the definition of middle class would change to them.

> The worst thing that happened to us, happened under Clinton

I don't know what that refers to. Welfare reform? Various changes to banking regulations? Allowing bin Laden to hit us again and again but instead of doing what needed to be done, frolicking with a young frisky intern in the Oval Office? I doubt Bush Sr would've done that.

stderr2 -> curiouswes , 8 Oct 2017 15:12
> However if you stand up for the rights of one group and ignore the rights of another today some people still don't "get it".

They don't get what? When someone protests in the street, whether they are sweetness and light or racist or whatever, they have the right to protest. Plenty of people would argue that "hate speech" should be banned, them defining what "hate speech" means, of course. These people are arguing against settled constitutional law.

> I tend to think the US citizen should be protected by the bill of rights and not necessarily those here illegally.

Yet not protecting everyone with due process, for example, is a violation of constitutional law.

curiouswes -> stderr2 , 8 Oct 2017 14:49
I consider myself a populist. Not exactly from the left but certainly more left that right. Identity politics is what the oligarchy is using to divide us. I just think it is counterproductive to battle each other when the upward mobility is being taken from us. I wish others could see it. The worst thing that happened to us, happened under Clinton, but rest assured; HW Bush would have done it had he won the election in 92.
budhudnut -> curiouswes , 8 Oct 2017 13:10
My point was that calling the Democratic Party a leftist party requires a notion of that term drained of real meaning. The Democratic Party has always upheld the supremacy of capital and the necessity of forestalling a revolution. I realize that in the United States plenty of people regard President Obama and Hillary Clinton as communists, but that's simply a measure of how far to the right political discourse stands there. The American left was eliminated from public life in the 1940s and 1950s with the suppression of the Communist Party, the purging of the unions and professions, and strict mass indoctrination of the citizenry. And whenever new manifestations of leftist energy have appeared, they have been met with unremitting hostility from liberal and conservative centers of power.

Finally, the Democratic Party is a party not just of capital, but of empire. This was never more true than in last year's election, in which Donald Trump was able to appeal to marginal voters on the ambiguous claim that he was less warlike than Secretary Clinton. No, there's nothing in the two party set-up which expresses the basic demands of the modern left- an end to imperialism, nationalization of key industries, and so on. And when people restrict their political thinking to the narrow range offered by a business oligopoly, they're going to be misreading their own reality.

lsjogren -> dallasdunlap , 8 Oct 2017 10:27
The Republican Party has a big problem in that its agenda has at best a small grassroots following of perhaps 10% of the populace.

Meantime, populist-nationalism is in sync with the views of I would estimate at least 50% of the US citizenry and perhaps as much as 60%. (the other 30% of the public are "progressives")

The establishment has maintained power by default. When our political system offers only a choice between a "progressive" Democrat and an establishment Repubilcan, many voters choose the latter as the lesser evil.

If and when voters actually are offered a genuine choice at the ballot box, watch out. I think you will start seeing this played out on a grand scale in the 2018 and 2020 Republican primaries.

lsjogren , 8 Oct 2017 10:22
Fighting the corporate establishment has never been the exclusive province of the left.

Immigration restrictionists in the US have for decades fought the corporate establishment. In fact, we have fought what are probably the most powerful coalitions of special interests in human history, coalitions of corporate predators, Big Labor, Big Religion, Big Media, and Big Government.

This movement is one of the grassroots pillars fueling Bannonism.

dallasdunlap , 8 Oct 2017 09:03
There are plenty of populists in the Republican Party, but the governing portion of the party is solidly neocon. Hence the battle between President Trump and the "17 intelligence agencies," and the remarkable undermining of Trump's foreign policy proposals by his own cabinet.

Just as the progressive base of the Democratic Party is suppressed by the corporatists at the DNC and other centralized party organs, the Republican base is a captive to its Washington elite power brokers.

budhudnut , 8 Oct 2017 06:26
Thomas Frank's interesting and thoughtful pieces on the failure- or refusal- of the Democratic Party to come to terms with the depths of voter disaffection form an interesting contrast with the Guardian's DNC-supplied outlook. I suppose that's why he's been hired, to take up all that slack as the paper trudges ever rightward. Here's a link to an extended recent interview he gave with Paul Jay at The Real News.

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=832&Itemid=74&jumival=1649

Christopher Oxley , 7 Oct 2017 16:53
Populist movements typically tend to involve more focus on complaining and raging about problems than coming up with any real solutions for them, so it doesn't really matter whether members self-identify as coming from the left or right. Given the Trump campaign was all about manipulation anyway, with Trump just a puppet to distract the public from seeing the corprate take-over of the state, it's not surprising they used a populist rhetoric, as seen in shock doctrine, that inherent rage blinds them from seeing they are being manipulated.
Ben Groetsch -> sludgeco , 7 Oct 2017 15:48
The last time the Democrats actually offered something to the American people was the War on Poverty and Civil Rights legislation by President Johnson in the 1960s. Other than the Democrats have been acting like an extended PR arm of corporate America by performing sideshows on social issues while failing to address the needs of working families. I clearly don't buy into the notion that the Democrats are a tad better than the Republicans. No, the Democrats need to be radically to the left like Bernie Sanders, not moderate Republican lite such as Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. This country simply cannot continue electing conservative governments all the time in Washington DC.
sparkylab -> JoeintheMidwest , 7 Oct 2017 12:50
Apparently 'isolationism' now means simply advocating for some restraint on endless global US military interventionism, hundreds and hundreds of bases in 80+ countries, and trillion dollar 'defence' budgets.
JoeintheMidwest -> PennyCarter , 7 Oct 2017 12:25
A broken clock is right twice a day. Yes, Republican isolationists are the only ones in their primarily interventionist party to ever make a principled critique of endless U.S. wars abroad. Sadly, the Democrats are, with some honorable exceptions like Dennis Kucinich, as committed to these endless wars as their partners across the aisle. This is one of the many reasons why Hillary Clinton lost. However, Buchanan's xenophobia makes his brand of anti-imperialism shallow--he still thinks "Western civilization" is superior to other cultures, and has denied the genocide against Native Americans. His views about Jews are also rather creepy. That said, I'll take an isolationist over a neo-con any day.
money777 , 7 Oct 2017 07:21
There is divisive manipulation on the left and the right, the pundits blame each other to keep America divided. The right stereotypes the left while the left stereotypes the right . The working class crazy white guy is oppressing the hispanic and blacks while the blacks and hispanic oppress the working class white. The left pundits make fun of the working class while the right pundits make fun of the left pundits. Both sides are entralled by business interests aka socoio-political interests. Afterall, this is a business world where ppl have to put food on the table.America is on the verge of becoming as divided as america was prior to the civil war. What am i supposed to do? Join the resistence of division taking place on the left and the right? Protest against another american at a divided left vs. right rally? Resistence is futile because resistence leads to more division.

Excuse my unedites grammar semtence structure lack of sense and not serious online comment

Ponderbelle -> America_Loves_Trump , 7 Oct 2017 05:16
Trump can't stop calling others names - with the absurd stance that he must bully people to create a sense of self respect.

Those who support Trump or Bannon generally have in common a refusal to see any viewpoint other than their own. They'll find a way to make most any belief, policy or decision which T&B uphold, look justified or non-offensive in motives.

Trump runs every which way, so, there are bound to be a few things one finds agreeable (even from the left). Bannon thinks democracy does not work. He'd like to see the federal government crash.

In fact, The USA has no true democracy. Like many developed nations we are under the total rule of organized business. Profit is superior and normalized whereas basic human needs are for the highest bid competition. Greed older than Methuselah's first breakfast. Bannon doesn't have a vision for the betterment and uplift of society any more than anyone else. Who cannot can see corporate greed has its tentacles around us? The common person on the street knows the scheme. What to do about it finds us in the land of inertia. Next crash (it is coming) the panicked cry for bailouts will be near impossible to put-up with. With billions on the planet we are in new territory, as to resources and competition. A system which cannot survive with its hand in our pocket while claiming free market enterprise will even out the system on balance - meaning for investors, and head in sand more of the same.

ID6823856 , 7 Oct 2017 04:10
The "base" of the Democratic party is now the same get rich ideologues of Clinton-ism who are happy to lobby and privatise with as much enthusiasm as any right wing Republican/Conservative/Tea Party ideologue. Every administration, Republican or Democratic, from Clinton, to Bush, to Obama, has held to the same policies of the Reagan administration. The "traditional base" of the Democratic Party was destroyed long ago by de-industrialisation, hollowing of labor law, and now by opioids of the masses. The present day DNC is run by and for their army of contractors, lobbyists, bunglers, and wreckers.
rogerscorpion , 7 Oct 2017 04:06
Mr. Frank, I found it surprising that you mentioned both Betsy de Vos and Erik Prince -- but didn't mention the fact that they are siblings.
PeterOrmonde , 7 Oct 2017 03:45
Yep - the big mistake with critters like Bannon is to ignore or dismiss everything they say and fail to detect what resonance they are striking with what audience.

But it's awkward when you just read them and recognise grains of truthiness - they see the same problems it's just their solutions are all wrong. But they are actually cutting the left's grass - pinching the alienation and discontent that rightly belongs to progress, no? Now the NRA have got 'em - not even the GOP.

Be yer unfinished civil war this... grinding away slowly ... so now the whole place is riven by fear and suspicion - of race, wealth, cities, the guvvermint, of anything and everything really. A deeply traumatised culture you've got sitting down there - victims real and imagined wandering about and none of it getting fixed at all..

Not everyone or everywhere - but the most fearful and angry cluster are centred on the underlying issues of the era of Lincoln. Trump is speaking for and to them. There can be no more nonsense about lone gunmen - this is now part of US culture - systemic and systematic.

Yer 500 kiddies are just the price of open-carry freedoms according to the Vegas mayor. All the same old folk-wisdoms: can't have laws that stop bad people being bad?... why should the 1% of evildoers dictate our liberties?

But of course they do. That is how all laws work, whether murder or shoplifting - everyone shows their bags. In fact they are arguing for lawlessness - vigilantism and John Wayne cowboy myths. That's the Trump/Bannon audience ... National Enquirer readers packing heat .

Gonna get ugly before it's fixed.

Maury A. Bousson , 7 Oct 2017 02:42
#TheHouseAlwaysWins The author gets so close to putting his finger on the problem and then at the last moment swerves off into partisan rhetoric. Wake up dude! Both of the things you think are opposite sides are out to get us.
eastbayradical -> newyorkred , 7 Oct 2017 02:24
The list below delineates the policies and initiatives that Hillary Clinton supported over course of her political career (including as a loyal First Lady to Bill Clinton). They help explain the depressed voter enthusiasm and turnout for the Dems among many of the groups to whom you say Frank, as a "well-to-do white man" pining for "white working class revolution," owes an apology:

--Deregulation of the investment banks (and against reinstatement of Glass--Steagall)
--Deregulation of the telecommunications industry
--Deregulation of derivatives
--The destruction of welfare (which has caused the numbers living in extreme poverty to double since its passage)
--The Omnibus Crime Bill (increased the prison population massively)
--NAFTA
--The sanctions regime against Iraq of the 1990s that killed 500,000 Iraqi children ("it was worth it," said her friend Madeline Albright)
--The Defense of Marriage Act
--CAFTA (granted stealthy support)
--TPP
--Fracking
--The objectively-racist death penalty
--The private prison industry
--The Patriot Act
--The Iraq War
--The bombing of Libya
--Military intervention in Syria
--Israel's starvation blockade and blitzkrieg against Gaza
--The right-wing coup in Honduras
--Investor-friendly repression and cronyism in Haiti
--A 31 cents/hour minimum wage in Haiti (and against attempts to raise it)
--The recently announced 20 year, $1,000,000,000,000 (trillion) upgrade of the US's nuclear arsenal
--Historically-high numbers of deportations under the Obama Adm.
--Oil drilling in the Arctic
--The fight against free public university tuition
--The fight against single-payer health care
--Acceptance of tens of millions of dollars of corporate money
--Credit-card industry favored bankruptcy laws
--The bail-out of Wall Street

suddenoakdeath -> James F. , 7 Oct 2017 01:24
....and America was convinced Trump cared about them, so says Thomas Frank.
Alex W -> Ben Groetsch , 6 Oct 2017 21:21
If you think America is bad, then try living in the UK. The UK is a hotbed of religious nutters. Just look at Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, David Cameron, and Theresa May.

The UK still has a "state-established" church (the Church of England). The UK's national anthem ' God Save the Queen ' mentions 'God' over 30 different times. And most British schools are still faith-based and funded by the church. Also, abortion and gay marriage are still banned in some parts of the UK, such as Northern Ireland.

Forget Donald Trump.... the UK is far more religious & dangerous.

askzippy , 6 Oct 2017 21:09
Lol, yeah it's only the Rs that do bad stuff in DC. HRC was the Queen of the system described above. An article designed to confuse those without eyes to see.

The interesting thing for me is the hate levels on the left which appear to be almost off the scale at the moment. Identity politics seems to have a deep hold on your hearts.

sejong , 6 Oct 2017 20:55
The national of USA should be changed from bald eagle to lone wolf. Forget e pluribis unum. War of all against all.
Alex W -> Sharon Sekhon , 6 Oct 2017 20:04
The U.S. is more liberal & secular than ever. The election of Trump doesn't change that. According to a 2011 Pew Report , the U.S. now has the 3rd largest atheist population in the world -- after China & Japan. On top of that, a 2015 Gallup Poll found that 60% of Americans would vote for an atheist President -- a record number that continues to grow every year.

Additionally, gay marriage is legal in all 50 U.S. states. Marijuana is legal & taxed in 8 U.S. states. Euthanasia (assisted suicide) is legal in 6 U.S states -- including California (the largest state in America with over 40 million people). Even prostitution is legal & regulated in some U.S. states, such as Nevada!

*Sign into Youtube to watch this video about legal American brothels.

The U.S. constitution guarantees separation of Church & State -- unlike the UK, which still has a "state-established" church (the Church of England).

kmacafee -> Attu de Bubbalot , 6 Oct 2017 19:53
Not really. They will be defeated in the next election and they are already facing charges and prison time. This will not end with a bang, but with a whimper and whining like you've never heard. There are many more in the one percent and the top 10% who are already disgusted with Mercer, Koch, Trump and the whole Putin cabal. Evil is evil and splashing some fake christianity on their hitler speeches is not fooling anyone but the already fooled; and they are a small lot getting smaller every single day.
Zepp -> NYbill13 , 6 Oct 2017 18:21
Most of Bannon's story about dear old dad is pure crap. He was already a right wing film-maker before the 2008 meltdown, and dear old dad would still have his money if he had listened to his two financier sons instead of the cable TV idiot Cramer. AT&T, in case you haven't heard, came through the crash intact.
colacj , 6 Oct 2017 18:16
15 billion dollars worth of missiles being sold to Saudi Arabia ........ while a few days ago Saudi Arabia goes to Moscow and talks to putin which is the first tie ever.......... so we sold them weapons to what , aim at us........
Ben Groetsch -> MTavernier , 6 Oct 2017 18:15
So, do you preferred two thirds of the American population to live on welfare aid like Medicaid which doesn't even covered dental and eye exams? As much you don't like the GOP approach to healthcare reform, the Democrats would rather bailed out the insurance industry by making consumers to buy unaffordable coverage and public assistance programs and refused to embraced Bernie Sanders approach to universal healthcare. The Democratic Party simply has no ideas, just empty tough talk against the President.
Ben Groetsch -> Social36 , 6 Oct 2017 18:10
I hate to say it to you, but Trump voters who live in Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Iowa weren't looking for upscale living and calling for lower corporate taxes etc. One out of four WV residents are living under economic distress. They just want decent jobs and a government that represents working people, not the wealthy.

[Oct 12, 2017] The proletariat, or at least the opioid threatened, white and marginalized cadre on show in the Rust belt states, probably thought they had their man in DJT because he said what it took to get himself elected in the vernacular they prefer, feeling its authenticity made them look honest.. Ha!

Oct 12, 2017 | discussion.theguardian.com

Ben Groetsch -> Sharon Sekhon , 6 Oct 2017 18:02

So, you're suggesting that Frank's political instincts are all wrong when he first wrote his book thesis on "What's the matter with Kansas," which lays out the scanting indictment of the pro-corporate wing of the Democratic Party and their wealthy supporters. Here's the reality that you Clinton bots don't understand: the rest of the country is like Kansas, not glamour LA or Wall Street NYC. People work in blue collar and grey collar professions, have modest wealth, and some are involved in trade unions. Many don't have a college degree; many also have no desires to go to a liberal arts school or state public university. Nearly eighty percent of middle America have a high school diploma. Only thirty percent have a college BA degree, and less than five percent have a advanced degree in Law or PH'D. Those numbers haven't changed since the 1960s. And yet, the corporate ruling class which showers money to both political parties have been selling the public a bill of false promises and lies about the necessary of getting a college degree in order to find gainful employment with living wages. Sorry, there isn't no living wage jobs. Our industrialized state has been devalued by NAFTA, a pro-corporate trade deal signed by Bill Clinton in the 1990s, had destroyed the fabric of mostly blue collar communities in middle America. Both Democrats and Republicans all conspired to gut the entire working classes out of the middle class status and into the underclass welfare state as a whole---first with welfare reform in the 1990s, followed by Bush era tax cuts, getting rid of Glass-Stegeall, awarding companies with job outsourcing, failure to provide affordable housing to the needy while selling risky sub-prime mortgages, making our higher educational system as a luxury commodity, destroying our pension system and replacing it with an inadequate 401K retirement package, allowing the one percent to hide their money overseas in tax haven accounts, subsidizing the rich, and control the media through corporate consolidation. We no longer have the ability to innovate, produce, or create a thriving working class middle. Instead, corporate dominance in our politics and our legal system makes it almost impossible to generate a fair, diverse, and expanding opportunities economy on the basis of progressive regulations that is desperately needed.

What Frank had in mind is what the donor class within the Democratic Party is scared about. That is, working people are being shoved aside due to the power of money in government, and yet the Democratic Party has to changed its tune in order to regain the working class voters in middle America.

Ben Groetsch , 6 Oct 2017 17:39
Well, Bannon is partly right given the fact that our government has been at the wheel of powerful lobbyists and wealthy donors for so long. However, given the dysfunctional and unfortunate circumstances surrounding the Trump Administration in DC, the Democrats seem to appear as aloof and tone deaf with the American people----a state of utter denial regarding a major political party that just lost the Presidential election to a dingbat D list reality tv star and real estate tycoon who has the mindset of a spoiled child.

The true reason behind Bannon's conquest for political votes is that the working class here in the US have been totally neglected and left behind by eight years of Obama and the last two terms of Bush Jr from the previous decade. Working people want actual middle class jobs and a shot of a decent life in retirement, not welfare checks from the government.

fabfreddy -> CivilDiscussion , 6 Oct 2017 17:05
Is that just about everybody? Or do you think there are people that wouldn't want to be billionaires?
Rollmeover , 6 Oct 2017 16:56
Democrats are so disorganized that to elect them is folly. We already have disorganization. Trump will win a second term.
chunki , 6 Oct 2017 16:55
The Left in English-speaking countries has been overtaken by upper-middle class people who are obsessed with sexual identity and race. They are snobby towards working class people and will abuse them as racist when they talk about problems with immigration or other social groups with different coloured skin. I moved from the first group into the second, and I know working class people are no more prejudiced than upper-middle class, but they don't have the vocabulary to express it in a way that "educated" people will recognise.
This snobbery towards possible complexities in the life of working class people is damning leftwing parties to continual oblivion.
(Working class people use blunt language, but they apply it to themselves equally. Those higher up the social ladder are not used to hearing that type of language.)
jackrousseau -> EyeFullEnt , 6 Oct 2017 14:14
Did anything I say indicate I support Trump? I described his administration as an economically centrist "kleptocracy". Trump Jr. taking thinly veiled payoffs on the speaking/grift circuit is par for the course.

Though, I imagine Trump Jr. commands significantly less than Chelsea Clinton ($65,000 as of 2015). http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/chelsea-clinton-speaking-fee-university-missouri-119580

And I imagine it's only a matter of time before we also see Obama's children "speaking" for thinly veiled payoffs. One already scored an prestigious internship with the socially progressive Weinstein Company. And Michelle's currently getting in excess of $200,000 for 1hr speeches. https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/05/02/michelle-obama-s-speaker-fee-is-as-much-as-some-former-president/22065295 /

...All enough to make someone a little cynical about American politics.

America_Loves_Trump -> EyeFullEnt , 6 Oct 2017 11:44
More misinformed nonsense.

In fact, Breitbart gets criticism on the right for being too gung ho in embracing Israel. Steve Bannon quotes that give some of his supporters pause are things like "no media outlet is more pro-Israel than Breitbart". I guess politics is a factor but most of us don't like all the money we give them and how a major reason that the Muslim world is so angry at the Western one is it's unflinching backing of Israel, no matter how much of the West Bank they encroach upon, among other things.

The idea that Breitbart is anti-Semitic is an absurd Media Matters talking point going back to an article calling Bill Kristol a "Renegade Jew". The article was, obviously, written by a Jew. And the thrust of the article was that Bill Kristol (and others) making attempts to steal the Republican nomination from Trump (as the Dems had from Bernie Sanders) would ultimately harm Israel. So it was a Jew calling a Jew a Renegade Jew for making a decision he believed was bad for the Jewish homeland.

I know it's all very confusing but hopefully that's cleared up now.

TheRexican , 6 Oct 2017 11:31
"I did it by referring to a business model: the political donors and the K Street lobbyists, who act in combination with politicians of the Tom DeLay variety."

There are almost no members of Congress who are of any other sort than the "Tom Delay" variety you refer to. Very nearly every single member is corrupt. The game is ruined. Perhaps an end to gerrymandering (if we shoudl be so fortunate) will allow some mechanism for changing the guard in Congress. We need to remove them all. They sold us out and we need to exile them for life.

Don't think your rep is any better. This keeps us stuck.

America_Loves_Trump -> charlieblue , 6 Oct 2017 11:10
I don't JUST yell Hillary. I also mentioned Obama and the rest of the criminals who make up the Democratic Party. Whose list of proven criminality is simply staggering enough before you get in to the mountains of very damning circumstantial stuff that begs investigation.

And when I mention the Democrats, you act as if it's some irrelevent non sequitur. IT IS NOT. Please remember that the choice was Trump OR Hillary. So whenever people lament how apparently terrible the President who has brought us 3.1% GDP growth for the first time in years and well over a million new jobs along with finally insisting that the law needs to be enforced for the first time in 8 years, the issue of the alternative to this IS of course relevant.

As I said: Clinton is a part of the establishment. A real swamp monster. One of the really big stinking ones, with huge wads of cash stuck to her blood soaked claws. Trump is not. And by the very low bar set by the past few Presidents, just not being more of the same is an improvement.

And by the way, Hillary Clinton did commit multiple felonies. The private server = felony (whether "intent" was there or not, that was an irrelevant muddying of the waters). The storing and forwarding of classified info on this server = felony (whether or not she, after decades in government understood that (C) meant classified as it always had all along).

You've got your head in the sand, pal

Whiplashed -> America_Loves_Trump , 6 Oct 2017 10:53
You seem to be taking Clinton Cash as evidence of something, but that is just a piece of propaganda meant to sway the election. Where are your reputable sources?
boilingriver -> America_Loves_Trump , 6 Oct 2017 10:51
There are some great videos on Youtube where he talks about economics.
HAHA yes where he deliberately lies about the cause of 2008.

Where he is now silent on cohn who is now in charge of economic policy.

So, while Cohn was overseeing one team inside Goldman Sachs preoccupied with implementing the big short, he was in regular contact with others scrambling to offload its subprime inventory. One Goldman trader described the mortgage-backed securities they were selling as "shitty." Another complained in an email that they were being asked to "distribute junk that nobody was dumb enough to take first time around." A December 28 email from Fabrice "Fabulous Fab" Tourre, a Goldman vice president later convicted of fraud, instructed traders to focus on less astute, "buy and hold" investors rather than "sophisticated hedge funds" that "will be on the same side of the trade as we will."
https://theintercept.com/2017/09/17/goldman-sachs-gary-cohn-donald-trump-administration /

Then there is Mnuchin( Treasury secretary) the foreclosure king, who made a fortune on taking peoples home, some for $1 mistake.

Why did republicans mot make up some laws to put them into prison. Why are they silent now when trump is deregulating by executive order.

Talk about fake outrage putting in the people who caused the problems as the solutions.

America_Loves_Trump -> NYbill13 , 6 Oct 2017 10:12
Spoken from someone who has obviously never listened to what Steve Bannon said or his message.

You obviously don't know, for example, that his Dad - a union guy - lost half of his life savings in the crash of 2008.

And you do not have a single quote where you can attribute "master race" stuff to Bannon. That's literally a smear based on nothing, created by the Clinton people as revenge for his role in the absolutely devastating expose Clinton Cash.

Those of us paying attention understand what he is: an unbelievably bright guy who was the first man who successfully harnessed the informed outrage of the alternative media to have an impact in national politics. He and Trump beat the rigging and achieved for the socially conservative anti-deepstate people what Bernie Sanders was unable to achieve on the Left... if he ever really had the stomach for the fight in the first place.

LittleTomcat , 6 Oct 2017 09:28
"That it will also enrich countless contractors and lobbyists and bunglers and wreckers is just a bonus." Mmmm, maybe not a bonus so much as the objective, perhaps? As an aside, the method of installing nomenclature to control agencies, such as the agency responsible for granting broadcast licences, was described, if I recall correctly, in Josef Korbel's 1959 "The Communist Subversion of Czechoslovakia, 1938-1948". For a funny take on the privatisation of perpetual military conflict, Christopher Buckley's "They Eat Puppies, Don't They?" might provide a laugh, if you don't think about how closely it matches reality.
oiler , 6 Oct 2017 07:03
The proletariat, or at least the opioid threatened, white and marginalized cadre on show in the Rust belt states, probably thought they had their man in DJT because he said what it took to get himself elected in the vernacular they prefer, feeling its authenticity made them look honest.. Ha! But look! They are no different from other vulnerables after all, and they will be and are, being screwed over accordingly. Turkeys and Christmas, Foxes and henhouses, its all been said and now its being done: educate yourselves, folks.. before its too late.
HilltopRide , 6 Oct 2017 06:30
Yep, judge em solely on their actions. Trump is about entrenching the corporate coup d'etat. Expanding the swamp, not draining it. The question is now, after Citizens United and with a conservative SCOTUS in perpetuity, whether it's too wide and deep ever to be drained.

[Jul 13, 2017] Progressive Democrats Resist and Submit, Retreat and Surrender by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "Have you ever met or talked to any Russian official or relative of any Russian banker, or any Russian or even read Gogol, now or in the past?" ..."
"... Progressives joined the FBI/CIA's 'Russian Bear' conspiracy: " Russia intervened and decided the Presidential election" – no matter that millions of workers and rural Americans had voted against Hillary Clinton, Wall Street's candidate and no matter that no evidence of direct interference was ever presented. Progressives could not accept that 'their constituents', the masses, had rejected Madame Clinton and preferred 'the Donald'. They attacked a shifty-eyed caricature of the repeatedly elected Russian President Putin as a subterfuge for attacking the disobedient 'white trash' electorate of 'Deploralandia'. ..."
"... Progressive demagogues embraced the coifed and manicured former 'Director Comey' of the FBI, and the Mr. Potato-headed Capo of the CIA and their forty thugs in making accusations without finger or footprints. ..."
"... Then Progressives turned increasingly Orwellian: Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more! ..."
"... Progressives, under Obama, supported seven brutal illegal wars and pressed for more, but complained when Trump continued the same wars and proposed adding a few new ones. At the same time, progressives out-militarized Trump by accusing him of being 'weak' on Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. They chided him for his lack support for Israel's suppression of the Palestinians. They lauded Trump's embrace of the Saudi war against Yemen as a stepping-stone for an assault against Iran, even as millions of destitute Yemenis were exposed to cholera. The Progressives had finally embraced a biological weapon of mass destruction, when US-supplied missiles destroyed the water systems of Yemen! ..."
"... Thank you for putting your finger on the main problem right there in the first paragraph. There were exceptions of course. I supported Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic Primary that gave us the first black etc. But I never voted for Obama. Throughout the Cheney Admin I pleaded with progressives to bolt the party. ..."
"... This is an excellent summary of the evolution of "progressives" into modern militarist fascists who tolerate identity politics diversity. There is little to add to Mr. Petras' commentary. ..."
"... Barak Obama is America's biggest con man who accomplished nothing "progressive" during eight years at the top, and didn't even try. (Obamacare is an insurance industry idea supported by most Republicans, which is why it recently survived.) Anyone who still likes Obama should read about his actions since he left office. Obama quickly signed a $65 million "book deal", which can only be a kickback since there is no way the publisher can sell enough books about his meaningless presidency to justify that sum. Obama doesn't get royalties based on sales, but gets the money up front for a book he has yet to write, and will have someone do that for him. (Book deals and speaking fees are legal forms of bribery in the USA.) ..."
"... Then Obama embarked on 100 days of ultra expensive foreign vacations with taxpayers covering the Secret Service protection costs. He didn't appear at charity fundraisers, didn't campaign for Democrats, and didn't help build homes for the poor like Jimmy Carter. He returns from vacation this week and his first speech will be at a Wall Street firm that will pay him $400,000, then he travels to Europe for more paid speeches. ..."
"... They chose power over principles. Nobel War Prize winner Obomber was a particularly egregious chameleon, hiding his sociopathy through two elections before unleashing his racist warmongering in full flower throughout his second term. ..."
"... Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act ..."
Jul 10, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction

Over the past quarter century progressive writers, activists and academics have followed a trajectory from left to right – with each presidential campaign seeming to move them further to the right. Beginning in the 1990's progressives mobilized millions in opposition to wars, voicing demands for the transformation of the US's corporate for-profit medical system into a national 'Medicare For All' public program. They condemned the notorious Wall Street swindlers and denounced police state legislation and violence. But in the end, they always voted for Democratic Party Presidential candidates who pursued the exact opposite agenda.

Over time this political contrast between program and practice led to the transformation of the Progressives. And what we see today are US progressives embracing and promoting the politics of the far right.

To understand this transformation we will begin by identifying who and what the progressives are and describe their historical role. We will then proceed to identify their trajectory over the recent decades.

Progressives by Name and Posture

Progressives purport to embrace 'progress', the growth of the economy, the enrichment of society and freedom from arbitrary government. Central to the Progressive agenda was the end of elite corruption and good governance, based on democratic procedures.

Progressives prided themselves as appealing to 'reason, diplomacy and conciliation', not brute force and wars. They upheld the sovereignty of other nations and eschewed militarism and armed intervention.

Progressives proposed a vision of their fellow citizens pursuing incremental evolution toward the 'good society', free from the foreign entanglements, which had entrapped the people in unjust wars.

Progressives in Historical Perspective

In the early part of the 20th century, progressives favored political equality while opposing extra-parliamentary social transformations. They supported gender equality and environmental preservation while failing to give prominence to the struggles of workers and African Americans.

They denounced militarism 'in general' but supported a series of 'wars to end all wars' . Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson embodied the dual policies of promoting peace at home and bloody imperial wars overseas. By the middle of the 20th century, different strands emerged under the progressive umbrella. Progressives split between traditional good government advocates and modernists who backed socio-economic reforms, civil liberties and rights.

Progressives supported legislation to regulate monopolies, encouraged collective bargaining and defended the Bill of Rights.

Progressives opposed wars and militarism in theory until their government went to war.

Lacking an effective third political party, progressives came to see themselves as the 'left wing' of the Democratic Party, allies of labor and civil rights movements and defenders of civil liberties.

Progressives joined civil rights leaders in marches, but mostly relied on legal and electoral means to advance African American rights.

Progressives played a pivotal role in fighting McCarthyism, though ultimately it was the Secretary of the Army and the military high command that brought Senator McCarthy to his knees.

Progressives provided legal defense when the social movements disrupted the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

They popularized the legislative arguments that eventually outlawed segregation, but it was courageous Afro-American leaders heading mass movements that won the struggle for integration and civil rights.

In many ways the Progressives complemented the mass struggles, but their limits were defined by the constraints of their membership in the Democratic Party.

The alliance between Progressives and social movements peaked in the late sixties to mid-1970's when the Progressives followed the lead of dynamic and advancing social movements and community organizers especially in opposition to the wars in Indochina and the military draft.

The Retreat of the Progressives

By the late 1970's the Progressives had cut their anchor to the social movements, as the anti-war, civil rights and labor movements lost their impetus (and direction).

The numbers of progressives within the left wing of the Democratic Party increased through recruitment from earlier social movements. Paradoxically, while their 'numbers' were up, their caliber had declined, as they sought to 'fit in' with the pro-business, pro-war agenda of their President's party.

Without the pressure of the 'populist street' the 'Progressives-turned-Democrats' adapted to the corporate culture in the Party. The Progressives signed off on a fatal compromise: The corporate elite secured the electoral party while the Progressives were allowed to write enlightened manifestos about the candidates and their programs . . . which were quickly dismissed once the Democrats took office. Yet the ability to influence the 'electoral rhetoric' was seen by the Progressives as a sufficient justification for remaining inside the Democratic Party.

Moreover the Progressives argued that by strengthening their presence in the Democratic Party, (their self-proclaimed 'boring from within' strategy), they would capture the party membership, neutralize the pro-corporation, militarist elements that nominated the president and peacefully transform the party into a 'vehicle for progressive changes'.

Upon their successful 'deep penetration' the Progressives, now cut off from the increasingly disorganized mass social movements, coopted and bought out many prominent black, labor and civil liberty activists and leaders, while collaborating with what they dubbed the more malleable 'centrist' Democrats. These mythical creatures were really pro-corporate Democrats who condescended to occasionally converse with the Progressives while working for the Wall Street and Pentagon elite.

The Retreat of the Progressives: The Clinton Decade

Progressives adapted the 'crab strategy': Moving side-ways and then backwards but never forward.

Progressives mounted candidates in the Presidential primaries, which were predictably defeated by the corporate Party apparatus, and then submitted immediately to the outcome. The election of President 'Bill' Clinton launched a period of unrestrained financial plunder, major wars of aggression in Europe (Yugoslavia) and the Middle East (Iraq), a military intervention in Somalia and secured Israel's victory over any remnant of a secular Palestinian leadership as well as its destruction of Lebanon!

Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act, thereby opening the floodgates for massive speculation on Wall Street through the previously regulated banking sector. When President Clinton gutted welfare programs, forcing single mothers to take minimum-wage jobs without provision for safe childcare, millions of poor white and minority women were forced to abandon their children to dangerous makeshift arrangements in order to retain any residual public support and access to minimal health care. Progressives looked the other way.

Progressives followed Clinton's deep throated thrust toward the far right, as he outsourced manufacturing jobs to Mexico (NAFTA) and re-appointed Federal Reserve's free market, Ayn Rand-fanatic, Alan Greenspan.

Progressives repeatedly kneeled before President Clinton marking their submission to the Democrats' 'hard right' policies.

The election of Republican President G. W. Bush (2001-2009) permitted Progressive's to temporarily trot out and burnish their anti-war, anti-Wall Street credentials. Out in the street, they protested Bush's savage invasion of Iraq (but not the destruction of Afghanistan). They protested the media reports of torture in Abu Ghraib under Bush, but not the massive bombing and starvation of millions of Iraqis that had occurred under Clinton. Progressives protested the expulsion of immigrants from Mexico and Central America, but were silent over the brutal uprooting of refugees resulting from US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the systematic destruction of their nations' infrastructure.

Progressives embraced Israel's bombing, jailing and torture of Palestinians by voting unanimously in favor of increasing the annual $3 billion dollar military handouts to the brutal Jewish State. They supported Israel's bombing and slaughter in Lebanon.

Progressives were in retreat, but retained a muffled voice and inconsequential vote in favor of peace, justice and civil liberties. They kept a certain distance from the worst of the police state decrees by the Republican Administration.

Progressives and Obama: From Retreat to Surrender

While Progressives maintained their tepid commitment to civil liberties, and their highly 'leveraged' hopes for peace in the Middle East, they jumped uncritically into the highly choreographed Democratic Party campaign for Barack Obama, 'Wall Street's First Black President'.

Progressives had given up their quest to 'realign' the Democratic Party 'from within': they turned from serious tourism to permanent residency. Progressives provided the foot soldiers for the election and re-election of the warmongering 'Peace Candidate' Obama. After the election, Progressives rushed to join the lower echelons of his Administration. Black and white politicos joined hands in their heroic struggle to erase the last vestiges of the Progressives' historical legacy.

Obama increased the number of Bush-era imperial wars to attacking seven weak nations under American's 'First Black' President's bombardment, while the Progressives ensured that the streets were quiet and empty.

When Obama provided trillions of dollars of public money to rescue Wall Street and the bankers, while sacrificing two million poor and middle class mortgage holders, the Progressives only criticized the bankers who received the bailout, but not Obama's Presidential decision to protect and reward the mega-swindlers.

Under the Obama regime social inequalities within the United States grew at an unprecedented rate. The Police State Patriot Act was massively extended to give President Obama the power to order the assassination of US citizens abroad without judicial process. The Progressives did not resign when Obama's 'kill orders' extended to the 'mistaken' murder of his target's children and other family member, as well as unidentified bystanders. The icon carriers still paraded their banner of the 'first black American President' when tens of thousands of black Libyans and immigrant workers were slaughtered in his regime-change war against President Gadhafi.

Obama surpassed the record of all previous Republican office holders in terms of the massive numbers of immigrant workers arrested and expelled – 2 million. Progressives applauded the Latino protestors while supporting the policies of their 'first black President'.

Progressive accepted that multiple wars, Wall Street bailouts and the extended police state were now the price they would pay to remain part of the "Democratic coalition' (sic).

The deeper the Progressives swilled at the Democratic Party trough, the more they embraced the Obama's free market agenda and the more they ignored the increasing impoverishment, exploitation and medical industry-led opioid addiction of American workers that was shortening their lives. Under Obama, the Progressives totally abandoned the historic American working class, accepting their degradation into what Madam Hillary Clinton curtly dismissed as the 'deplorables'.

With the Obama Presidency, the Progressive retreat turned into a rout, surrendering with one flaccid caveat: the Democratic Party 'Socialist' Bernie Sanders, who had voted 90% of the time with the Corporate Party, had revived a bastardized military-welfare state agenda.

Sander's Progressive demagogy shouted and rasped on the campaign trail, beguiling the young electorate. The 'Bernie' eventually 'sheep-dogged' his supporters into the pro-war Democratic Party corral. Sanders revived an illusion of the pre-1990 progressive agenda, promising resistance while demanding voter submission to Wall Street warlord Hillary Clinton. After Sanders' round up of the motley progressive herd, he staked them tightly to the far-right Wall Street war mongering Hillary Clinton. The Progressives not only embraced Madame Secretary Clinton's nuclear option and virulent anti-working class agenda, they embellished it by focusing on Republican billionaire Trump's demagogic, nationalist, working class rhetoric which was designed to agitate 'the deplorables'. They even turned on the working class voters, dismissing them as 'irredeemable' racists and illiterates or 'white trash' when they turned to support Trump in massive numbers in the 'fly-over' states of the central US.

Progressives, allied with the police state, the mass media and the war machine worked to defeat and impeach Trump. Progressives surrendered completely to the Democratic Party and started to advocate its far right agenda. Hysterical McCarthyism against anyone who questioned the Democrats' promotion of war with Russia, mass media lies and manipulation of street protest against Republican elected officials became the centerpieces of the Progressive agenda. The working class and farmers had disappeared from their bastardized 'identity-centered' ideology.

Guilt by association spread throughout Progressive politics. Progressives embraced J. Edgar Hoover's FBI tactics: "Have you ever met or talked to any Russian official or relative of any Russian banker, or any Russian or even read Gogol, now or in the past?" For progressives, 'Russia-gate' defined the real focus of contemporary political struggle in this huge, complex, nuclear-armed superpower.

Progressives joined the FBI/CIA's 'Russian Bear' conspiracy: "Russia intervened and decided the Presidential election" – no matter that millions of workers and rural Americans had voted against Hillary Clinton, Wall Street's candidate and no matter that no evidence of direct interference was ever presented. Progressives could not accept that 'their constituents', the masses, had rejected Madame Clinton and preferred 'the Donald'. They attacked a shifty-eyed caricature of the repeatedly elected Russian President Putin as a subterfuge for attacking the disobedient 'white trash' electorate of 'Deploralandia'.

Progressive demagogues embraced the coifed and manicured former 'Director Comey' of the FBI, and the Mr. Potato-headed Capo of the CIA and their forty thugs in making accusations without finger or footprints.

The Progressives' far right - turn earned them hours and space on the mass media as long as they breathlessly savaged and insulted President Trump and his family members. When they managed to provoke him into a blind rage . . . they added the newly invented charge of 'psychologically unfit to lead' – presenting cheap psychobabble as grounds for impeachment. Finally! American Progressives were on their way to achieving their first and only political transformation: a Presidential coup d'état on behalf of the Far Right!

Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!

In return, President Trump began to 'out-militarize' the Progressives by escalating US involvement in the Middle East and South China Sea. They swooned with joy when Trump ordered a missile strike against the Syrian government as Damascus engaged in a life and death struggle against mercenary terrorists. They dubbed the petulant release of Patriot missiles 'Presidential'.

Then Progressives turned increasingly Orwellian: Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more!

Progressives, under Obama, supported seven brutal illegal wars and pressed for more, but complained when Trump continued the same wars and proposed adding a few new ones. At the same time, progressives out-militarized Trump by accusing him of being 'weak' on Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. They chided him for his lack support for Israel's suppression of the Palestinians. They lauded Trump's embrace of the Saudi war against Yemen as a stepping-stone for an assault against Iran, even as millions of destitute Yemenis were exposed to cholera. The Progressives had finally embraced a biological weapon of mass destruction, when US-supplied missiles destroyed the water systems of Yemen!

Conclusion

Progressives turned full circle from supporting welfare to embracing Wall Street; from preaching peaceful co-existence to demanding a dozen wars; from recognizing the humanity and rights of undocumented immigrants to their expulsion under their 'First Black' President; from thoughtful mass media critics to servile media megaphones; from defenders of civil liberties to boosters for the police state; from staunch opponents of J. Edgar Hoover and his 'dirty tricks' to camp followers for the 'intelligence community' in its deep state campaign to overturn a national election.

Progressives moved from fighting and resisting the Right to submitting and retreating; from retreating to surrendering and finally embracing the far right.

Doing all that and more within the Democratic Party, Progressives retain and deepen their ties with the mass media, the security apparatus and the military machine, while occasionally digging up some Bernie Sanders-type demagogue to arouse an army of voters away from effective resistance to mindless collaboration.

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

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WorkingClass > , July 12, 2017 at 9:21 pm GMT

But in the end, they always voted for Democratic Party Presidential candidates who pursued the exact opposite agenda.

Thank you for putting your finger on the main problem right there in the first paragraph. There were exceptions of course. I supported Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic Primary that gave us the first black etc. But I never voted for Obama. Throughout the Cheney Admin I pleaded with progressives to bolt the party.

This piece accurately traces the path from Progressive to Maoist. It's a pity the Republican Party is also a piece of shit. I think it was Sara Palin who said "We have two parties. Pick one." This should be our collective epitaph.

exiled off mainstreet > , July 12, 2017 at 11:20 pm GMT

This is an excellent summary of the evolution of "progressives" into modern militarist fascists who tolerate identity politics diversity. There is little to add to Mr. Petras' commentary.

alan2102 > , July 13, 2017 at 2:04 am GMT

EXCELLENT.

Astuteobservor II > , July 13, 2017 at 5:17 am GMT

at this point, are they still progressives though? they are the new far right

CCZ > , July 13, 2017 at 5:30 am GMT

"Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!"

Perhaps the spirit of Senator Joseph McCarthy is joyously gloating as progressives (and democrats) take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

Carlton Meyer > , Website July 13, 2017 at 5:56 am GMT

The great Jimmy Dore is a big thorn for the Democrats. From my blog:

Apr 29, 2017 – Obama is Scum!

Barak Obama is America's biggest con man who accomplished nothing "progressive" during eight years at the top, and didn't even try. (Obamacare is an insurance industry idea supported by most Republicans, which is why it recently survived.) Anyone who still likes Obama should read about his actions since he left office. Obama quickly signed a $65 million "book deal", which can only be a kickback since there is no way the publisher can sell enough books about his meaningless presidency to justify that sum. Obama doesn't get royalties based on sales, but gets the money up front for a book he has yet to write, and will have someone do that for him. (Book deals and speaking fees are legal forms of bribery in the USA.)

Then Obama embarked on 100 days of ultra expensive foreign vacations with taxpayers covering the Secret Service protection costs. He didn't appear at charity fundraisers, didn't campaign for Democrats, and didn't help build homes for the poor like Jimmy Carter. He returns from vacation this week and his first speech will be at a Wall Street firm that will pay him $400,000, then he travels to Europe for more paid speeches.

Obama gets over $200,000 a year in retirement, just got a $65 million deal, so doesn't need more money. Why would a multi-millionaire ex-president fly around the globe collecting huge speaking fees from world corporations just after his political party was devastated in elections because Americans think the Democratic party represents Wall Street? The great Jimmy Dore expressed his outrage at Obama and the corrupt Democratic party in this great video.

jilles dykstra > , July 13, 2017 at 6:27 am GMT

Left in the good old days meant socialist, socialist meant that governments had the duty of redistributing income from rich to poor. Alas in Europe, after 'socialists' became pro EU and pro globalisation, they in fact became neoliberal. Both in France and the Netherlands 'socialist' parties virtually disappeared.
So what nowadays is left, does anyone know ?

Then the word 'progressive'. The word suggests improvement, but what is improvement, improvement for whom ? There are those who see the possibility for euthanasia as an improvement, there are thos who see euthanasia as a great sin.

Discussions about left and progressive are meaningless without properly defining the concepts.

Call me Deplorable > , July 13, 2017 at 12:06 pm GMT

They chose power over principles. Nobel War Prize winner Obomber was a particularly egregious chameleon, hiding his sociopathy through two elections before unleashing his racist warmongering in full flower throughout his second term. But, hey, the brother now has five mansions, collects half a mill per speech to the Chosen People on Wall Street, and parties for months at a time at exclusive resorts for billionaires only.

Obviously, he's got the world by the tail and you don't. Hope he comes to the same end as Gaddaffi and Ceaușescu. Maybe the survivors of nuclear Armageddon can hold a double necktie party with Killary as the second honored guest that day.

Seamus Padraig > , July 13, 2017 at 12:10 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra

Discussions about left and progressive are meaningless without properly defining the concepts.

Properly defining the concepts would impede the system's ability to keep you confused.

Seamus Padraig > , July 13, 2017 at 12:16 pm GMT

Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson embodied the dual policies of promoting peace at home and bloody imperial wars overseas.

You left out the other Roosevelt.

Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act

Hilarious!

Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more!

This is a huge myth. All that really happened is that the INS changed some of its internal terminology to make it sound as though they were deporting more people: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2014/04/21/lies-damned-lies-and-obamas-deportation-statistics/?utm_term=.7f964acd9b0d

Stephen Paul Foster > , Website July 13, 2017 at 1:28 pm GMT

The Progressives now, failing electorally, are moving on to physical violence.

See: http://fosterspeak.blogspot.com/2017/07/trumps-would-be-assassins.html

annamaria > , July 13, 2017 at 2:22 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer Obama, a paragon of American scoundrel

Anonymous IV > , July 13, 2017 at 2:49 pm GMT

@Seamus Padraig Agree on the bit about Obama as "deporter in chief." Even the LA Times had to admit this was misleading

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-obama-deportations-20140402-story.html

so it's not just conservative conspiracy theory stuff as some might argue.

Still, the overall point of this essay isn't affected all that much. Open borders is still a "right wing" (in the sense this author uses the term) policy–pro-Wall Street, pro-Big Business. So Obama was still doing the bidding of the donor class in their quest for cheap labor.

I've seen pro-immigration types try to use the Obama-deportation thing to argue that we don't need more hardcore policies. After all, even the progressive Democrat Obama was on the ball when it came to policing our borders, right?! Who needed Trump?

Agent76 > , July 13, 2017 at 3:28 pm GMT

"Who controls the issuance of money controls the government!" Nathan Meyer Rothschild

June 13, 2016 Which Corporations Control The World?

A surprisingly small number of corporations control massive global market shares. How many of the brands below do you use?

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44864.htm

"Control the oil, and you control nations. Control the food, and you control the people." Henry Kissenger

Alfa158 > , July 13, 2017 at 5:33 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer If Jimmy keeps up these attacks on Wall Street, the Banksters, and rent-seekers he is going to get run out of the Progressive movement for dog-whistling virulent Anti-Semitism. Look at how the media screams at Trump every time he mentions Wall Street and the banks.

yeah > , July 13, 2017 at 5:46 pm GMT

Mr. Petra has penned an excellent and very astute piece. Allow me a little satire on our progressive friends, entitled "The path to hell is paved with good intentions".

The early socialist/progressive travellers were well-intentioned but naïve in their understanding of human nature and fanatical about their agenda. To move the human herd forward, they had no compulsions about resorting to harsher and harsher prodding and whipping. They felt entitled to employ these means because, so they were convinced, man has to be pushed to move forward and they, the "progressives", were the best qualified to lead the herd. Scoundrels, psychopaths, moral defectives, and sundry other rascals then joined in the whipping game, some out of the sheer joy of wielding the whip, others to better line their pockets.

So the "progressive" journey degenerates into a forced march. The march becomes the progress, becoming both the means and the end at the same time. Look at the so-called "progressive" today and you will see the fanatic and the whip-wielder, steadfast about the correctness of his beliefs. Tell him/her/it that you are a man or a woman and he retorts "No, you are free to choose, you are genderless". What if you decline such freedom? "Well, then you are a bigot, we will thrash you out of your bigotry", replies the progressive. "May I, dear Sir/Madam/Whatever, keep my hard-earned money in my pocket for my and my family's use" you ask. "No, you first have to pay for our peace-making wars, then pay for the upkeep of refugees, besides which you owe a lot of back taxes that are necessary to run this wonderful Big Government of ours that is leading you towards greener and greener pastures", shouts back the progressive.

Fed up, disgusted, and a little scared, you desperately seek a way out of this progress. "No way", scream the march leaders. "We will be forever in your ears, sometimes whispering, sometimes screaming; we will take over your brain to improve your mind; we will saturate you with images on the box 24/7 and employ all sorts of imagery to make you progress. And if it all fails, we will simply pack you and others like you in a basket of deplorables and forget about you at election time."

TheJester > , July 13, 2017 at 6:18 pm GMT

Knowing who is "progressive" and know who is "far-right" is like knowing who is "fascist" and who is not. For obvious historical reasons, the Russian like to throw the "fascist" slogan against anyone who is a non-Russian nationalist. However, I accept the eminent historian Carroll Quigley's definition of fascism as the incorporation of society and the state onto single entity on a permanent war footing. The state controls everything in a radically authoritarian social structure. As Quigley states, the Soviet Union was the most complete embodiment of fascism in WWII. In WWII Germany, on the other hand, industry retained its independence and in WWII Italy fascism was no more than an empty slogan.

Same for "progressives". Everyone wants to be "progressive", right? Who wants to be "anti-progressive"? However, at the end of the day, "progressive" through verbal slights of hand has been nothing more than a euphemism for "socialist" or, in the extreme, "communist" the verbal slight-of-hand because we don't tend to use the latter terms in American political discourse.

"Progressives" morphing into a new "far-right" in America is no more mysterious than the Soviet Union morphing from Leninism to Stalinism or, the Jewish (Trotskyite) globalists fleeing Stalinist nationalism and then morphing into, first, "Scoop" Jackson Democrats and then into Bushite Republicans.

As you might notice, the real issue is the authoritarian vs. the non-authoritarian state. In this context, an authoritarian government and social order (as in communism and neoconservatism) are practical pre-requisites necessity to force humanity to transition to their New World Order.

Again, the defining characteristic of fascism is the unitary state enforced via an authoritarian political and social structure. Ideological rigor is enforced via the police powers of the state along with judicial activism and political correctness. Ring a bell?

In the ongoing contest between Trump and the remnants of the American "progressive" movement, who are the populists and who the authoritarians? Who are the democrats and who are the fascists?

I would say that who lands where in this dichotomy is obvious.

RobinG > , July 13, 2017 at 6:19 pm GMT

@Alfa158 Is Jimmy Dore really a "Progressive?" (and what does that mean, anyway?) Isn't Jimmy's show hosted by the Young Turks Network, which is unabashedly Libertarian?

Anyway, what's so great about "the Progressive movement?" Seems to me, they're just pathetic sheepdogs for the war-crazed Dems. Jimmy should be supporting the #UNRIG movement ("Beyond Trump & Sanders") for ALL Americans:

On 1 May 2017 Cynthia McKinney, Ellen Brown, and Robert Steele launched

We the People – Unity for Integrity.

The User's Guide to the 2nd American Revolution.

Death to the Deep State.

https://www.unrig.net/manifesto/

Ben Banned > , July 13, 2017 at 9:13 pm GMT

Petras, for some reason, low balls the number of people ejected from assets when the mafia came to seize real estate in the name of the ruling class and their expensive wars, morality, the Constitution or whatever shit they could make up to fuck huge numbers of people over. Undoubtedly just like 9/11, the whole thing was planned in advance. Political whores are clearly useless when the system is at such extremes.

Banks like Capital One specialize in getting a signature and "giving" a car loan to someone they know won't be able to pay, but is simply being used, shaken down and repossessed for corporate gain. " No one held a gun to their head! " Get ready, the police state will in fact put a gun to your head.

Depending on the time period in question, which might be the case here, more than 20 million people were put out of homes and/or bankrupted with more to come. Clearly a bipartisan effort featuring widespread criminal conduct across the country – an attack on the population to sustain militarism.

peterAUS > , July 13, 2017 at 10:05 pm GMT

@yeah Nice.

If I may add:
"and you also have to dearly pay for you being white male heterosexual for oppressing all colored, all the women and all the sexually different through the history".

"And if it all fails, we will simply pack you and others like you in a basket of deplorables and forget about you at election time. If we see that you still don't get with the program we will reeducate you. Should you resist that in any way we'll incarcerate you. And, no, normal legal procedure does not work with racists/bigots/haters/whatever we don't like".

Reg Cæsar > , July 14, 2017 at 1:19 am GMT

@CCZ

"Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!"
Perhaps the spirit of Senator Joseph McCarthy is joyously gloating as progressives (and democrats) take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee

which itself was a progressive invention. There was no "right wing" anywhere in sight when it was estsblished in 1938.

[Jul 02, 2017] Beyond Inauthentic Opposition by Paul Street

Notable quotes:
"... Des Moines Register's ..."
"... only a small part of politics ..."
"... not just once every four years ..."
"... secondary to serious political action ..."
"... two minutes once every two or four years. ..."
"... before and after those two minutes ..."
"... whoever is in the White House, in Congress, into changing national policy on matters of war and social justice ..."
"... people would blame the war on McCain and the Republicans and continue with the delusion that elections can be our salvation ..."
"... "whoever is in the White House, in Congress" to "chang[e] national policy on matters of war and social justice." ..."
"... cerdo por excelencia ..."
"... less than half that level ..."
Jun 30, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

The More Effective Evil

I've cast presidential ballots for the Green Party from the at least technically contested state of Iowa in the last three elections. I've long and consistently used a metaphor from the original version of Upton Sinclair's famous Socialist novel The Jungle, describing the Democrats as one of "two wings of the same [capitalist and imperialist] bird of prey."

I've distanced myself from Lesser-Evilism and written and spoken about some of the ways in which the dismal, dollar-drenched Dems (the DDDs) are the greater and (in Glen Ford's words) "more effective evil." The domestically (but not anti-imperially) leftish Bernie F-35 Sanders candidacy (which seduced even the officially Trotskyist group Socialist Alternative during last year's presidential primaries) could not entice me back into my parents' and grandparents' party. (Any slight chance Sanders had of getting me on board was lost by his refusal to meaningfully confront the Pentagon system, which undermines the nation's potential for social-democratic policy by sucking up more than half the nation's federal discretionary spending in the process of murdering and maiming millions around the world to maintain a global Empire that accounts for nearly half the planet's military spending and bears the planet's single largest institutional carbon footprint.)

In a forthcoming print essay on "The State of the Left," I approvingly quote James Kavanagh on the perfidy of the DDDs in California, where they hold the governor's office and both legislative houses and where top Dems recently shot down a single-payer health insurance care measure supported by 65% of that giant state's population, including 75% of its Democrats :

"This is the Democratic Party. Lying losers who will do anything to avoid taking an effective stance for a healthcare policy that would immediately solve one of the worst horrors American families face Passing single-payer in California and fighting for it everywhere else would guarantee the Democrats electoral victories. But they will not do it because they are fervent supporters of the capitalist market system in healthcare (and everything else), and they are corrupt agents of the health insurance and pharma industries Because it captures and cages the energies of so many well-meaning progressives, the Democratic Party is the most effective obstacle to, and enemy of, single-payer, and it has to be fought. This is not a Trump problem, and not a Republican problem, it's a bipartisan capitalist elite problem."

My sentiments, exactly. (What would the older Upton Sinclair, leader of the Depression-era End Poverty in California movement, say?)

Beyond Two Minutes Once Every Four Years: Voting v. Serious Political Action

So why did I check the Des Moines Register's final state poll to make sure that there was no real contest between the major party candidates in Iowa before making my third-party vote? Why would I have considered making myself vote "for" Democratic candidates I loathed (Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Hillary Clinton in 2016) if I thought it would have made any difference in which of the two major party candidates were going to prevail?

Part of the answer is that for me electoral politics is distantly secondary to long-haul social movement-building. I see voting (or not) as little more than a tactical adjunct to the primary task. It's not some terrible sin to not "vote your conscience," as if U.S. electoral politics had anything to do with morality and conscience. I agree wholeheartedly with something Noam Chomsky wrote on the eve of the 2004 presidential election:

"Americans may be encouraged to vote, but not to participate more meaningfully in the political arena. Essentially the election is a method of marginalizing the population. A huge propaganda campaign is mounted to get people to focus on these personalized quadrennial extravaganzas and to think, 'That's politics.' But it isn't. It's only a small part of politics The urgent task for those who want to shift policy in progressive direction – often in close conformity to majority opinion – is to grow and become strong enough so that that they can't be ignored by centers of power. Forces for change that have come up from the grassroots and shaken the society to its foundations include the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the women's movement and others, cultivated by steady, dedicated work at all levels, every day, not just once every four years election choices are secondary to serious political action . The main task is to create a genuinely responsive democratic culture, and that effort goes on before and after electoral extravaganzas, whatever their outcome" (emphasis added)

"Take the Bernie Sanders campaign," Chomsky told Abby Martin eleven years later. It "ought to be directed to sustaining a popular movement that will use the election as a kind of an incentive and then go on, and unfortunately it's not. When the election's over," Chomsky said, the movement is going to die a serious error. The only thing that's going to ever bring about any meaningful change is ongoing, dedicated, popular movements that don't pay attention to the election cycle."

"The really critical thing," the great American radical historian Howard Zinn once sagely wrote, "isn't who's sitting in the White House, but who is sitting in-in the streets, in the cafeterias, in the halls of government, in the factories. Who is protesting, who is occupying offices and demonstrating-those are the things that determine what happens."

However you vote (and I honestly don't know that my head could ever make my right hand mark a ballot for a Democrat again), the act takes two minutes once every two or four years. What do you do with the rest of your political life? As Zinn argued in a reflection on "the election madness" he saw "engulfing the entire society including the left" in the Obama-mad spring of 2008:

" before and after those two minutes [in a voting booth], our time, our energy, should be spent in educating, agitating, organizing our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the schools. Our objective should be to build, painstakingly, patiently but energetically, a movement that, when it reaches a certain critical mass, would shake whoever is in the White House, in Congress, into changing national policy on matters of war and social justice Historically, government, whether in the hands of Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, has failed its responsibilities, until forced to by direct action: sit-ins and Freedom Rides for the rights of black people, strikes and boycotts for the rights of workers, mutinies and desertions of soldiers in order to stop a war." (H. Zinn, "Election Madness," The Progressive , April 8, 2008)

Since I agree with Chomsky and Zinn, I do not morally fetishize the American ballot fox, which the Marxist historian Alan Dawley once aptly described as a "coffin of class consciousness."

To See That Things Still Suck with the Democrats in Office

Another part of the answer to the question of why I might try to make myself vote for a Democratic presidential candidate in a contested state also has nothing to do with what W.E.B. DuBois called "the game of lesser evils." There's a different, rarely noted strategic and radical case for wanting the Democratic wing of the capitalist-imperialist duopoly in office. It's about exposing the corporate and imperial Democrats for what they really are. Call it a vote for the hope of more radical and bipartisan disillusionment.

How are the Democrats best revealed and exposed as agents of the unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money and empire? Which is better for the development of "serious political action" (grassroots, and non-co-opt-able citizen and workers' activism and organization) beyond the masters' quadrennial electoral extravaganzas, radically regressive Republicans holding nominal power or dismal dollar Democrats sitting atop the symbolic ship of state?

On domestic political matters, at least (maters are least clear on foreign policy, I readily admit), the answer is the latter. I wanted Obama back in 2013 and Hillary back in 2017 (and might have tried to vote for them if I thought it would have made any difference) because of my sense that the presence of another white male Republican in the White House would just encourage liberals and progressives and others to blame everything wrong in America on "those insane evil Republicans." Bringing back a Republican to the White House, I reflected, would just reinforce the longstanding liberal claim that installing Democrats in power is the cure to the national malaise.

I want Americans (young ones above all) to come into regular visible contact with the bipartisan nature of the U.S. ruling class. I wanted them subjected to the reality that, to quote the Marxist commentator Doug Henwood in early 2008, "everything still pretty much sucks" when Democrats hold the top political offices – that the basic underlying institutional realities of capitalist and imperial rule stay the same. As the antiwar activist, author, and essayist Stan Goff wrote seven years ago, "I'm glad Obama was elected. Otherwise, people would blame the war on McCain and the Republicans and continue with the delusion that elections can be our salvation ."

My dark dialectical hope for Obama was born out to some extent by the remarkable rise and spread of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, which fed off youthful disillusionment with Obama and the Democrats-a bursting of political "hope" bubbles that followed two years after the bursting of the real estate and financial bubble to fuel disenchantment with the underlying profits system. We don't know how far Occupy would have gone had it not been crushed by the state, including Obama's Department of Homeland Security in collaboration with Democratic-run city governments across the country.

But Obama was at least for a time a great object lesson on how "everything still pretty much sucks" when Democrats hold down the White House. Eschewing the left-leaning progressive potential he was handed (Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and an angry, "pitchfork"-wielding populace at the gates), the nation's first half-white president and his neoliberal, Robert Rubin-appointed team followed George W. Bush in continuing to give the corporate-managed citizenry qua electorate what William Greider called "a blunt lesson about power, who has it and who doesn't. In a March 2009 Washington Post editorial titled "Obama Asked Us to Speak, Is He

Listening?" Greider wrote about how "Americans watched Washington rush to rescue the very financial interests that caused the catastrophe. They learned that government has plenty of money to spend when the right people want it. 'Where's my bailout,' became the rueful punch line at lunch counters and construction sites nationwide. Then to deepen the insult, people watched as establishment forces re-launched their campaign for 'entitlement reform' – a euphemism for whacking Social Security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid."

Americans also watched as Obama moved on to pass a health insurance reform, the so-called Affordable Care Act, that only the big insurance and drug companies could love, kicking the popular alternative (single payer "Medicare for All") to the curb while rushing to pass a program drafted by the Republican Heritage Foundation and first carried out in Massachusetts by the arch 1 percenter Mitt Romney. As Kavanagh points out, citing the work of Marcy Wheeler, Hillary Clinton "fatal slide in the [2016 presidential election] polls began before [James] Comey's notorious letter of October 28th, and coincided with the announcement, four days before, of steep Obamacare premium increases."

Californication: Can't Blame Republicans

With their killing of single-payer in California, that state's top Democrats distilled down their dismal, dollar-drenched dastardliness for millions to bitterly digest. So what if two-thirds of that giant jurisdiction's residents and three-fourths of its Democrats want a state version of Medicare for All? Who cares? Not California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Renden or his Governor Jerry Brown. "The dissembling Democrats," James Kavanagh observes, "are throwing away just about the most popular policy anyone could imagine something people are literally dying for" – this because of their transparent captivity to the big insurance and drug companies and their financial backers.

But here's the thing. The "Lying Losers" can't hide their cringing servility to their corporate masters quite so easily when they hold nominal power. They can try to blame the Republicans for their abject refusal to defy corporate donors and enact a critical policy backed by the popular majority, but that looks ridiculous when they hold the big legislative cards on "the Left Coast." They are exposed as servants of capital in sharper and bolder relief than if they were minority party.

I am reminded of a passage in Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto. Under the rule of "the bourgeoisie" (capitalism), Marx wrote, "all that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind." The profaning of the Democratic Party by "the bourgeoisie" – the drowning of all its heavenly progressive pretense in the "city waters of egotistical [capitalist] calculation" – is made most clear when the DDDs hold the reins of nominal power.

Left radicals like me want workers and citizens to grasp that the real taproot problem is not which of the two major party wings holds majority political office but the rule of capital and Empire behind the plutocratic charade that passes for "our great democracy." Having Democrats in office can assist because it helps bring that lesson home.

The Fake Resistance

The Inauthentic Opposition Party – as the late Sheldon Wolin rightly described the Democrats – is more adept at deadly and co-optive leftish-progressive affectation it is out of power and its leaders feel the need to deceptively pose as a party and movement of the people against the establishment. That's when the Democrats' populist and progressive masquerade is most dangerous and crippling. It's much easier to pose as an Opposition Party when you are out majority power in government.

Look at the current political situation in the U.S. The Twitter-addicted malignant narcissist and quasi-fascistic Donald Trump (talk about insane and evil) and the ever more radically right-wing Republican Party are straight out of central casting when it comes to making the neoliberal and imperial Democrats look decent, democratic, and progressive. It helps the leftish pose that the Republicans and their vast right-wing noise machine love to absurdly call the Democrats and just about everything else to the portside of Charles Grassley (e.g. the New York Times and the Washington Post) "The Left."

The Democrats have been seizing the moment to close off the potential for serious, actually Left opposition. With MSNBC's arch-Russophobe Rachel Madoff in the propaganda vanguard, Democratic elites have responded to the Trump ascendancy by concocting a fake "Resistance" movement. It's a curious formation, devoid of any real progressive meaning beyond "bipartisan" opposition to Donald Trump. "The Resistance" grants loyalty to Hillary Clinton, a One Percent champion and a leader in the War Party's calls for deadly confrontation with Russia and for regime change around the world. By Danny Haiphong's incisive account on Black Agenda Report:

"'the resistance' is entangled in the non-profit industrial complex and its attending Democratic Party paymasters. 'The Resistance' has significant support from the non-profit industrial complex and the Wall Street-stuffed coffers of the Democratic Party. Such support is evident in the organizations MoveOn.org, the Town Hall Project, and Indivisible. The Democratic think-tank Center for American Progress (CAP) assists each of these so-called anti-Trump focused organizations. On CAP's Board of Directors sits Democratic Party elites Madeline Albright and John Podesta Podesta was Hillary Clinton's campaign chair during her losing Presidential campaign in 2016. Leaked Podesta emails revealed that the Clinton campaign rigged the Democratic primaries against Bernie Sanders. They also outlined how Clinton used her extensive connections with Wall Street firms to expand the influence of the Clinton Foundation "

Indivisible: "A Devastating Impact"

With more than 6000 chapters by early February, the classic Astroturf organization "Indivisible," set up by two Democratic Congressional staffers, has worked to channel popular anger into manageable mainstream channels that offer no challenge to the nation's unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money, class, empire, race, gender, and ecocide. Indivisible talks about the need to get past "ideology" and unite Americans across partisan lines to "get big things done" through government – standard "pragmatic" neoliberal language. An activist and attorney from California's Monterey County recently wrote me on how Indivisible is a "mechanism for co-opting the anti-Trump resistance and channeling opposition to Trump into support for the Democratic Party." By the activist's account, Indivisible "has had a devastating impact on local organizing. A broad-based and diverse coalition was developing here in the first few months after the election; it collapsed as soon as Indivisible appeared." Further:

"Here in Monterey County, we were on our way to building a broad-based, inclusive and diverse progressive coalition. Then Indivisible came along and killed it. By the end of January, there were over a dozen Indivisible groups operating in this congressional district The largest one has a Facebook page with over 1000 members (huge by local standards). I was a member for a while, but I just couldn't stand it. [Democratic Congressman Jimmy] Panetta's very first vote as our new congressman was to condemn the UN for its stand against Israel's illegal settlements. This put Panetta in opposition to the state policy of the Obama administration and in support of Trump's position. When I asked on the Indivisible Facebook page if we intended to hold him accountable for this vote, several people tore me a new one. Indivisible is now promoting a June March for Truth,' calling for an independent commission to investigate Russiagate .the Indivisibles have pretty much acted like they are the only game in town and have managed to suck most of the oxygen out of the room. One of their big activities seems to be writing postcards to Panetta, Harris and Feinstein telling them what a great job they're doing.,"

"I had been involved in the local March for Science. A couple of weeks before the March, the planning committee was taken over by the Indivisibles. By this point, I'd had enough. I decided I just couldn't work with them and I dropped out. They ended up attracting about 1000 people (at least 900 of whom were white). An activist from Women's International League for Peace and Freedom wanted to give a short speech about the link between militarism and environmental destruction, but the organizers wouldn't let her It looks to me like Indivisible is a well-funded AstroTurf group. It walks and talks exactly like it would if it had been deliberately designed by some joint DNC-COINTELPRO committee to channel popular outrage into support for the Democratic Party and for a war with Russia. Locally, no other group has the resources to compete with them. I've learned a valuable lesson, but a bit too late, I fear. I naively thought that leftists could work in a united front with Democrats. I thought that Democrats could be part of a broader coalition. But, I underestimated the Democrats ability to co-opt the movement."

I've received similar reports from other correspondents. One of my favorite ones comes from South Florida, where an Indivisible chapter invited as a speaker its notorious right-wing corporate-Democratic Congressperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz – an arch-neoliberal Democrat who led the rigging of the primaries against Sanders as Democratic National Committee chair and who has openly pledged allegiance to big money campaign donors over single-payer health insurance. As Florida progressive Taylor Raines reported last May 2nd, "not only did this group invite one of the most divisive women in liberal politics to speak at their meeting, but they openly prepared to silence dissent by banning signs, and promptly removed protestors who spoke up against her." Any angry Floridian who had the accurate audacity to note that Wasserman-Schultz wing of the Democratic Party essentially elected Trump (Sanders would likely have defeated the orange-tinted beast) was evicted from the gathering – in the name of "one nation, under God, Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Such testimony jibes with my experience in and around the bright-blue campus town of Iowa City, where an initial upsurge of popular protest at Trump's election and inauguration collapsed in the spring as Russiagate took hold on CNN and MSNBC and in the New York Times and Washington Post. The local academic-professional class headed off on to their annual summer European vacations secure in the belief that those great progressive heroes the FBI and CIA and their corporate media allies would join with such left people's champions as Charles Schumer and Nancy ("we're capitalist and that's just the way it is") Pelosi would soon remove the Trump regime.

That's the Inauthentic Opposition Party (IOP) doing its job, a central part of which is functioning as a the "graveyard of social movements" – a role it plays even better when it is out of office than when it's in.

"You're Toast in 2020"

One thing that is particularly jarring about "Indivisible" is its claim to be non-partisan and beyond electoral politics when it clearly represents the reigning right and neoliberal wing of the Democratic Party and is gearing "progressive" energies for the Congressional and presidential election cycles.

I would not be surprised to learn that Indivisible or some other one of the Astroturf Democratic Party entities posting as grassroots movement recently put an angry citizen in a Town Hall meeting to finish his denunciation of Republicans' attempt to repeal Obamacare with the following threat to a GOP Senator: "pack your bags, you're toast in 2020" – when voters, the outraged citizen hopes, will put in a dismal dollar Democrat. In 2020? God how the election cycle rules consciousness – with its absurdly holy elevation of two minutes spent marking ballots for a narrowly pre-selected group of ruling class candidates. People need to connect with Chomsky and Zinn's call for movements that "shake the society to its foundations" (Chomsky) and compel "whoever is in the White House, in Congress" to "chang[e] national policy on matters of war and social justice."

At least that bitter armed lunatic James T. Hodgkinson – an epitome of the feckless and self-destructive rebellion that often occurs without attachment to a real popular movement – tried to make some vicious right-wing Congressmen (and one Tyson Foods lobbyist) into toast in the present moment, not three years from now. He had the wrong method but at least he fell off the election cycle trap.

Tres Cerdos Grandes

The major party confusion and related electoral obsession carries across national boundaries. Nobody made bigger fools out of themselves over the fake-progressive and fake-peacemaker promise of Barack Obama in 2008 than the Western Europeans. It was awesome to see Roger Waters brilliantly and epically skewer the nativist piggy-nesh of Trump before no less than 300,000 people in Mexico City's Zocalo Square last October , one month before the 2016 elections. The masses roared their approval as a giant Trump pig-blimp floated above the crowd and a colossal video-screen flashed images of Trump in drag and put up Spanish translations of some of the "Charade's" more absurd statements. But we might recall that it was the Democratic presidency of the neoliberal globalist uber- cerdo por excelencia Bill Clinton who mercilessly assaulted Mexican campesinos with the North American so called Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Bill Clinton then joined with the Republicans to begin construction of a great Wall on the southern U.S. border to stem the flow north of desperate economic refugees. And it was "free trade" Hillary Clinton who as Secretary of State sponsored the right-wing business coup that overthrew a democratically elected populist government in Honduras, which deepened misery in that nation to the point where tens of thousands of "unaccompanied minors" piled up on Mexico's southern border three summers ago – a crisis that continues to his day.

"We're Dying Out Here Enough with Russia!"

Even with Trump in the White House, the IOP's fake-progressive charade is now facing popular push-back. The Democrats and their many corporate media allies and faux peoples' "movement" (led by Indivisible) have advanced an all-too easy and convenient explanation for their epic electoral decline: it isn't about the dismal, dollar-drenched neoliberal inauthenticity of their purported progressivism, it's because of Russia and its dastardly chief Putin. The bear ate their homework. So what if there's been no real evidence of relevant Russian interference in "our" purported "great democracy"? It was just too irresistible to the DDDs: Russiagate was designed by Democratic Party elites (including John Podesta) from the night of Hillary Clinton's epic electoral fail to take the heat off the IOP's corporate and professional class nothingness and place all the blame for their outward "failure" (the "lying losers" continue to be very well paid for their sell-out – ask Obama) on a demonized foreign Other. It was crafted, among other things, to shut-down the progressive challenge within their own party

But now they've gone too far in playing the Russia card, perhaps.

The mad neo-McCarthyite Moscow obsession has moved them too far off issues that any self-respecting Left or even self-respecting liberal Opposition would be fighting on: racism, racist voter suppression (which may have elected Trump, by the way), the police and prison state. immigrant rights, economic exploitation and inequality, sexism, environmental ruination – stuff like that. According to the Washington political journal The Hill, "Frustrated Democrats hoping to elevate their election fortunes have a resounding message for party leaders: Stop talking so much about Russia, rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare." Imagine that. As the left writer Craig Gordon notes, the Democrats ae pissing in the wind of Russiagate while millions of ordinary working- and middle-class Americans are screaming like Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon "Hey, I'm Dying Over Here enough with Putin and Russia, we can't afford health care our jobs are in the tank."

Russiagate, it appears, may have been something of a xenophobic conspiracy trap for the Democrats themselves. Not that they care. The money keeps rolling in. Ask Obama, who is regularly rubbing progressives' face in the dirt and giving FOX News and Brietbart new talking points with his relentless big cash-in, telling us all that "nothing says Show Me the Money like POTUS on your resume."

"Ordinary Citizens Have No Influence"

Just what "great American democracy" was it that the IOP's bet noire Vladimir Putin supposedly intervened against, anyway? This is an ever more openly oligarchic nation where: the top tenth of the upper 1 Percent owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent; 15 million children – 21% of all U.S. children – live at less than the federal government's notoriously inadequate poverty level (more than 1 in 10 U.S. children ages 0-9 is living at less than half that level ); half the population is poor or near-poor and without assets; millions drink from poisoned water systems; an imperial military devours more than half of all discretionary federal spending and accounts for nearly half the world's military spending; more people are incarcerated (in extremely racially disproportionate ways) than in any nation in history (a curious achievement for the self-described homeland and headquarters of "liberty"); a deeply entrenched corporate and financial sector is leading the world over the environmental cliff through the championing of endless growth and attendant "anthropogenic" (really capitalogenic) climate destruction. A recent Harvard University survey finds that 51 percent than half of U.S. Millennials (18-to-29-year-olds) "do not support capitalism," intimately related to Harvard's finding that half of the cohort thinks "the American Dream is dead" for them.

You don't have to be a Leftist radical like the present writer to know that the United States' political order is a corporate and financial plutocracy. Just ask the establishment liberal political scientists Martin Gilens (Princeton) and Benjamin Page (Northwestern). Over the past three plus decades, these leading academic researchers determined three years ago, U.S. political system has functioned as "an oligarchy," where wealthy elites and their corporations "rule." Examining data from more than 1,800 different policy initiatives in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Gilens and Page found that wealthy and well-connected elites consistently steer the direction of the country, regardless of and against the will of the U.S. majority and irrespective of which major party holds the White House and/or Congress. "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy," Gilens and Page wrote , "while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence." As Gilens explained to the liberal online journal Talking Points Memo three years ago , "ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States."
The Kremlin didn't do that. U.S. capitalism did that.

The Main Left Deficit

Am I recommending that people vote for the IOP, he DDDs, in 2018 and 2020? No, not really. I can't tell people to do something I've never been able to do (well, except once, 2004, the first time I ever voted in a contested state). And I realize that my clever and dialectical if somewhat half-hearted argument for Dems in office doesn't really apply to foreign policy, intimately related to domestic oppression here in the "homeland" (a lovely imperial term). Let's get down to the "serious political action" Chomsky referred to 13 years ago – to movement-building beneath and beyond the quadrennial electoral spectacles. It's all rather moot in the absence of a real and serious grassroots Left in this country. The building of such a Left, it seems to me, is a project and task far closer to our real "sphere of influence" than the alternating problem of which of the two major-party wings hold most of the nation's elected offices.

In the year marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, it is worth remembering that Lenin's famous 1902 pamphlet What is to be Done? said nothing either on reforms under capitalism (or under Russian Tsarist rule) or on what an alternative, post-capitalist society might look like. It was focused entirely on the question of revolutionary organization: how to build such institutions and what they should look like.

The top thing missing in "The [U.S.] Left" (where is it, really?) isn't a positive policy agenda or a vision of an alternative society. The main deficit is institutional and organizational.

This gap must be addressed in what is still the world's most powerful and destructive capitalist state, in a time when five absurdly rich people now possess as much wealth as the bottom half of humanity and the U.S.-headquartered global profits system is speeding humanity to a lethal, Antarctic-dissolving 500 carbon parts per million by 2050 if not sooner. It's "socialism or barbarism if we're lucky" at this stage of capitalist ecocide. "The uncomfortable truth," Istvan Meszaros rightly argued 15 years ago, "is that if there is no future for a radical mass movement in our time, there can be no future for humanity itself." Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Paul Street

[Jun 21, 2017] If I see an article from Wapo or NYT or any of the other "msm", I don't read it. I stopped watching ANY tv, and exclusively read those who didn't lie about Iraq 2003

Jun 21, 2017 | www.unz.com

lavoisier June 21, 2017 at 10:14 am GMT

@Pissedoffalese

Disgusted "liberal". Am I even a "liberal" anymore? I loathe the I-word and the J-word now with a purple passion. If I see an article from Wapo or NYT or any of the other "msm", I don't read it. I stopped watching ANY tv, and exclusively read those who didn't lie about Iraq 2003. What the hell AM I? I despise Republicans, but the Dems didn't oppose their wars. Now I despise the Dems, and the right-wingnuts are starting to make sense. Is this cognitive dissonance? Bizzaro-world? I am one CONFUSED puppy.

Thank you PG Thoughtful comment.

The Democrats are every bit as much on board with the wars and the destruction of the working class as are the Republicans.

Where are the respectable liberals in this country?

I despise Democrats as you despise Republicans.

Now I despise them both. I have little loyalty for my government and do not trust anything that they do.

Our Republic is on life support.

[Jun 17, 2017] The Collapsing Social Contract by Gaius Publius

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze , expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era , there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it. ..."
"... Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur. ..."
"... But the elite aren't going to stand down, whatever that might mean. The elite aren't really the "elite", they are owners and controllers of certain flows of economic activity. We need to call it what it is and actively organize against it. Publius's essay seems too passive at points, too passive voice. (Yes, it's a cry from the heart in a prophetic mode, and on that level, I'm with it.) ..."
"... American Psycho ..."
"... The college students I deal with have internalized a lot of this. In their minds, TINA is reality. Everything balances for the individual on a razor's edge of failure of will or knowledge or hacktivity. It's all personal, almost never collective - it's a failure toward parents or peers or, even more grandly, what success means in America. ..."
"... unions don't matter in our TINA. Corporations do. ..."
"... our system promotes specialists and disregards generalists this leads to a population of individualists who can't see the big picture. ..."
"... That social contract is hard to pin down and define – probably has different meanings to all of us, but you are right, it is breaking down. We no longer feel that our governments are working for us. ..."
"... Increasing population, decreasing resources, increasingly expensive remaining resources on a per unit basis, unresolved trashing of the environment and an political economy that forces people to do more with less all the time (productivity improvement is mandatory, not optional, to handle the exponential function) much pain will happen even if everyone is equal. ..."
"... "Social contract:" nice Enlightment construct, out of University by City. Not a real thing, just a very incomplete shorthand to attempt to fiddle the masses and give a name to meta-livability. ..."
"... Always with the "contract" meme, as if there are no more durable and substantive notions of how humans in small and large groups might organize and interact Or maybe the notion is the best that can be achieved? ..."
"... JTMcFee, you have provided the most important aspect to this mirage of 'social contract'. The "remedies" clearly available to lawless legislation rest outside the realm of a contract which has never existed. ..."
"... Unconscionable clauses are now separately initialed in an "I dare you to sue me" shaming gambit. Meanwhile the mythical Social Contract has been atomized into 7 1/2 billion personal contracts with unstated, shifting remedies wholly tied to the depths of pockets. ..."
"... Here in oh-so-individualistic Chicago, I have been noting the fraying for some time: It isn't just the massacres in the highly segregated black neighborhoods, some of which are now in terminal decline as the inhabitants, justifiably, flee. The typical Chicagoan wanders the streets connected to a phone, so as to avoid eye contact, all the while dressed in what look like castoffs. Meanwhile, Midwesterners, who tend to be heavy, are advertisements for the obesity epidemic: Yet obesity has a metaphorical meaning as the coat of lipids that a person wears to keep the world away. ..."
"... My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. ..."
"... The class war continues, and the upper class has won. As commenter relstprof notes, any kind of concerted action is now nearly impossible. Instead of the term "social contract," I might substitute "solidarity." Is there solidarity? No, solidarity was destroyed as a policy of the Reagan administration, as well as by fantasies that Americans are individualistic, and here we are, 40 years later, dealing with the rubble of the Obama administration and the Trump administration. ..."
"... The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. Thus, streets, parks and public space might be soiled by litter that nobody cares to put away in trash bins properly, while simultaneously the interior of houses/apartments, and attached gardens if any, are kept meticulously clean. ..."
"... The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. ..."
"... There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation. ..."
"... The importance of the end of solidarity – that is, of the almost-murderous impulses by the upper classes to destroy any kind of solidarity. ..."
"... "Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief." ..."
"... "Four Futures" ..."
"... Reminds me of that one quip I saw from a guy who, why he always had to have two pigs to eat up his garbage, said that if he had only one pig, it will eat only when it wants to, but if there were two pigs, each one would eat so the other pig won't get to it first. Our current economic system in a nutshell – pigs eating crap so deny it to others first. "Greed is good". ..."
"... Don't know that the two avenues Gaius mentioned are the only two roads our society can travel. In support of this view, I recall a visit to a secondary city in Russia for a few weeks in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. Those were difficult times economically and psychologically for ordinary citizens of that country. Alcoholism was rampant, emotional illness and suicide rates among men of working age were high, mortality rates generally were rising sharply, and birth rates were falling. Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks. There was also adequate food, and critical public infrastructure was maintained, keeping in mind this was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster. ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. I have been saying for some years that I did not think we would see a revolution, but more and more individuals acting out violently. That's partly the result of how community and social bonds have weakened as a result of neoliberalism but also because the officialdom has effective ways of blocking protests. With the overwhelming majority of people using smartphones, they are constantly surveilled. And the coordinated 17-city paramilitary crackdown on Occupy Wall Street shows how the officialdom moved against non-violent protests. Police have gotten only more military surplus toys since then, and crowd-dispersion technology like sound cannons only continues to advance. The only way a rebellion could succeed would be for it to be truly mass scale (as in over a million people in a single city) or by targeting crucial infrastructure.

By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

"[T]he super-rich are absconding with our wealth, and the plague of inequality continues to grow. An analysis of 2016 data found that the poorest five deciles of the world population own about $410 billion in total wealth. As of June 8, 2017 , the world's richest five men owned over $400 billion in wealth. Thus, on average, each man owns nearly as much as 750 million people."
-Paul Buchheit, Alternet

"Congressman Steve Scalise, Three Others Shot at Alexandria, Virginia, Baseball Field"
-NBC News, June 14, 2017

"4 killed, including gunman, in shooting at UPS facility in San Francisco"
-ABC7News, June 14, 2017

"Seriously? Another multiple shooting? So many guns. So many nut-bars. So many angry nut-bars with guns."
-MarianneW via Twitter

"We live in a world where "multiple dead" in San Francisco shooting can't cut through the news of another shooting in the same day."
-SamT via Twitter

"If the rich are determined to extract the last drop of blood, expect the victims to put up a fuss. And don't expect that fuss to be pretty. I'm not arguing for social war; I'm arguing for justice and peace."
- Yours truly

When the social contract breaks from above, it breaks from below as well.

Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze , expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era , there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it.

As with the climate, I'm concerned about the short term for sure - the storm that kills this year, the hurricane that kills the next - but I'm also concerned about the longer term as well. If the beatings from "our betters" won't stop until our acceptance of their "serve the rich" policies improves, the beatings will never stop, and both sides will take up the cudgel.

Then where will we be?

America's Most Abundant Manufactured Product May Be Pain

I look out the window and see more and more homeless people, noticeably more than last year and the year before. And they're noticeably scruffier, less "kemp,"​ if that makes sense to you (it does if you live, as I do, in a community that includes a number of them as neighbors).

The squeeze hasn't let up, and those getting squeezed out of society have nowhere to drain to but down - physically, economically, emotionally. The Case-Deaton study speaks volumes to this point. The less fortunate economically are already dying of drugs and despair. If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?

The pot isn't boiling yet - these shootings are random, individualized - but they seem to be piling on top of each other. A hard-boiling, over-flowing pot may not be far behind. That's concerning as well, much moreso than even the random horrid events we recoil at today.

Many More Ways Than One to Be a Denier

My comparison above to the climate problem was deliberate. It's not just the occasional storms we see that matter. It's also that, seen over time, those storms are increasing, marking a trend that matters even more. As with climate, the whole can indeed be greater than its parts. There's more than one way in which to be a denier of change.

These are not just metaphors. The country is already in a pre-revolutionary state ; that's one huge reason people chose Trump over Clinton, and would have chosen Sanders over Trump. The Big Squeeze has to stop, or this will be just the beginning of a long and painful path. We're on a track that nations we have watched - tightly "ordered" states, highly chaotic ones - have trod already. While we look at them in pity, their example stares back at us.

Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur.

elstprof , June 16, 2017 at 3:03 am

But the elite aren't going to stand down, whatever that might mean. The elite aren't really the "elite", they are owners and controllers of certain flows of economic activity. We need to call it what it is and actively organize against it. Publius's essay seems too passive at points, too passive voice. (Yes, it's a cry from the heart in a prophetic mode, and on that level, I'm with it.)

"If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?"

Not necessarily. What Lacan called the "Big Other" is quite powerful. We internalize a lot of socio-economic junk from our cultural inheritance, especially as it's been configured over the last 40 years - our values, our body images, our criteria for judgment, our sense of what material well-being consists, etc. Ellis's American Psycho is the great satire of our time, and this time is not quite over yet. Dismemberment reigns.

The college students I deal with have internalized a lot of this. In their minds, TINA is reality. Everything balances for the individual on a razor's edge of failure of will or knowledge or hacktivity. It's all personal, almost never collective - it's a failure toward parents or peers or, even more grandly, what success means in America.

The idea that agency could be a collective action of a union for a strike isn't even on the horizon. And at the same time, these same students don't bat an eye at socialism. They're willing to listen.

But unions don't matter in our TINA. Corporations do.

Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 8:08 am

Most of the elite do not understand the money system. They do not understand how different sectors have benefitted from policies and/or subsidies that increased the money flows into these. So they think they deserve their money more than those who toiled in sectors with less support.

Furthermore, our system promotes specialists and disregards generalists this leads to a population of individualists who can't see the big picture.

jefemt , June 16, 2017 at 9:45 am

BAU, TINA, BAU!! BOHICA!!!

Dead Dog , June 16, 2017 at 3:09 am

Thank you Gaius, a thoughtful post. That social contract is hard to pin down and define – probably has different meanings to all of us, but you are right, it is breaking down. We no longer feel that our governments are working for us.

Of tangential interest, Turnbull has just announced another gun amnesty targeting guns that people no longer need and a tightening of some of the ownership laws.

RWood , June 16, 2017 at 12:24 pm

So this inheritance matures: http://www.nature.com/news/fight-the-silencing-of-gun-research-1.22139

willem , June 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

One problem is the use of the term "social contract", implying that there is some kind of agreement ( = consensus) on what that is. I don't remember signing any "contract".

Fiery Hunt , June 16, 2017 at 3:17 am

I fear for my friends, I fear for my family. They do not know how ravenous the hounds behind nor ahead are. For myself? I imagine myself the same in a Mad Max world. It will be more clear, and perception shattering, to most whose lives allow the ignoring of gradual chokeholds, be them political or economic, but those of us who struggle daily, yearly, decadely with both, will only say Welcome to the party, pals.

Disturbed Voter , June 16, 2017 at 6:33 am

Increasing population, decreasing resources, increasingly expensive remaining resources on a per unit basis, unresolved trashing of the environment and an political economy that forces people to do more with less all the time (productivity improvement is mandatory, not optional, to handle the exponential function) much pain will happen even if everyone is equal.

Each person does what is right in their own eyes, but the net effect is impoverishment and destruction. Life is unfair, indeed. A social contract is a mutual suicide pact, whether you renegotiate it or not. This is Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club, is we don't speak of Fight Club. Go to the gym, toughen up, while you still can.

JTMcPhee , June 16, 2017 at 6:44 am

"Social contract:" nice Enlightment construct, out of University by City. Not a real thing, just a very incomplete shorthand to attempt to fiddle the masses and give a name to meta-livability.

Always with the "contract" meme, as if there are no more durable and substantive notions of how humans in small and large groups might organize and interact Or maybe the notion is the best that can be achieved? Recalling that as my Contracts professor in law school emphasized over and over, in "contracts" there are no rights in the absence of effective remedies. It being a Boston law school, the notion was echoed in Torts, and in Commercial Paper and Sales and, tellingly, in Constitutional Law and Federal Jurisdiction, and even in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. No remedy, no right. What remedies are there in "the system," for the "other halves" of the "social contract," the "have-naught" halves?

When honest "remedies under law" become nugatory, there's always the recourse to direct action of course with zero guarantee of redress

sierra7 , June 16, 2017 at 11:22 am

"What remedies are there in "the system," for the "other halves" of the "social contract," the "have-naught" halves?" Ah yes the ultimate remedy is outright rebellion against the highest authorities .with as you say, " zero guarantee of redress."

But, history teaches us that that path will be taken ..the streets. It doesn't (didn't) take a genius to see what was coming back in the late 1960's on .regarding the beginnings of the revolt(s) by big money against organized labor. Having been very involved in observing, studying and actually active in certain groups back then, the US was acting out in other countries particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, against any social progression, repressing, arresting (thru its surrogates) torturing, killing any individuals or groups that opposed that infamous theory of "free market capitalism". It had a very definite "creep" effect, northwards to the mainstream US because so many of our major corporations were deeply involved with our covert intelligence operatives and objectives (along with USAID and NED). I used to tell my friends about what was happening and they would look at me as if I was a lunatic. The agency for change would be "organized labor", but now, today that agency has been trashed enough where so many of the young have no clue as to what it all means. The ultimate agenda along with "globalization" is the complete repression of any opposition to the " spread of money markets" around the world". The US intends to lead; whether the US citizenry does is another matter. Hence the streets.

Kuhio Kane , June 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm

JTMcFee, you have provided the most important aspect to this mirage of 'social contract'. The "remedies" clearly available to lawless legislation rest outside the realm of a contract which has never existed.

bdy , June 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm

The Social Contract, ephemeral, reflects perfectly what contracts have become. Older rulings frequently labeled clauses unconscionable - a tacit recognition that so few of the darn things are actually agreed upon. Rather, a party with resources, options and security imposes the agreement on a party in some form of crisis (nowadays the ever present crisis of paycheck to paycheck living – or worse). Never mind informational asymmetries, necessity drives us into crappy rental agreements and debt promises with eyes wide open. And suddenly we're all agents of the state.

Unconscionable clauses are now separately initialed in an "I dare you to sue me" shaming gambit. Meanwhile the mythical Social Contract has been atomized into 7 1/2 billion personal contracts with unstated, shifting remedies wholly tied to the depths of pockets.

Solidarity, of course. Hard when Identity politics lubricate a labor market that insists on specialization, and talented children of privilege somehow manage to navigate the new entrepreneurism while talented others look on in frustration. The resistance insists on being leaderless (fueled in part IMHO by the uncomfortable fact that effective leaders are regularly killed or co-opted). And the overriding message of resistance is negative: "Stop it!"

But that's where we are. Again, just my opinion: but the pivotal step away from the jackpot is to convince or coerce our wealthiest not to cash in. Stop making and saving so much stinking money, y'all.

Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 6:54 am

The pension system is based on profits. Nothing will change until the profits disappear and the top quintile starts falling off the treadmill.

Susan the other , June 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm

and there's the Karma bec. even now we see a private banking system synthesizing an economy to maintain asset values and profits and they have the nerve to blame it on social spending. I think Giaus's term 'Denier' is perfect for all those vested practitioners of profit-capitalism at any cost. They've already failed miserably. For the most part they're just too proud to admit it and, naturally, they wanna hang on to "their" money. I don't think it will take a revolution – in fact it would be better if no chaos ensued – just let these arrogant goofballs stew in their own juice a while longer. They are killing themselves.

roadrider , June 16, 2017 at 8:33 am

There's a social contract? Who knew?

Realist , June 16, 2017 at 8:41 am

When I hear so much impatient and irritable complaint, so much readiness to replace what we have by guardians for us all, those supermen, evoked somewhere from the clouds, whom none have seen and none are ready to name, I lapse into a dream, as it were. I see children playing on the grass; their voices are shrill and discordant as children's are; they are restive and quarrelsome; they cannot agree to any common plan; their play annoys them; it goes poorly. And one says, let us make Jack the master; Jack knows all about it; Jack will tell us what each is to do and we shall all agree. But Jack is like all the rest; Helen is discontented with her part and Henry with his, and soon they fall again into their old state. No, the children must learn to play by themselves; there is no Jack the master. And in the end slowly and with infinite disappointment they do learn a little; they learn to forbear, to reckon with another, accept a little where they wanted much, to live and let live, to yield when they must yield; perhaps, we may hope, not to take all they can. But the condition is that they shall be willing at least to listen to one another, to get the habit of pooling their wishes. Somehow or other they must do this, if the play is to go on; maybe it will not, but there is no Jack, in or out of the box, who can come to straighten the game. -Learned Hand

DJG , June 16, 2017 at 9:24 am

Here in oh-so-individualistic Chicago, I have been noting the fraying for some time: It isn't just the massacres in the highly segregated black neighborhoods, some of which are now in terminal decline as the inhabitants, justifiably, flee. The typical Chicagoan wanders the streets connected to a phone, so as to avoid eye contact, all the while dressed in what look like castoffs. Meanwhile, Midwesterners, who tend to be heavy, are advertisements for the obesity epidemic: Yet obesity has a metaphorical meaning as the coat of lipids that a person wears to keep the world away.

My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. Some trash is carefully posed: Cups with straws on windsills, awaiting the Paris Agreement Pixie, who will clean up after these oh-so-earnest environmentalists.

Meanwhile, I just got a message from my car-share service: They are cutting back on the number of cars on offer. Too much vandalism.

Are these things caused by pressure from above? Yes, in part: The class war continues, and the upper class has won. As commenter relstprof notes, any kind of concerted action is now nearly impossible. Instead of the term "social contract," I might substitute "solidarity." Is there solidarity? No, solidarity was destroyed as a policy of the Reagan administration, as well as by fantasies that Americans are individualistic, and here we are, 40 years later, dealing with the rubble of the Obama administration and the Trump administration.

JEHR , June 16, 2017 at 11:17 am

DJG: My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. Some trash is carefully posed: Cups with straws on windsills, awaiting the Paris Agreement Pixie, who will clean up after these oh-so-earnest environmentalists.

Yes, the trash bit is hard to understand. What does it stand for? Does it mean, We can infinitely disregard our surroundings by throwing away plastic, cardboard, metal and paper and nothing will happen? Does it mean, There is more where that came from! Does it mean, I don't care a fig for the earth? Does it mean, Human beings are stupid and, unlike pigs, mess up their immediate environment and move on? Does it mean, Nothing–that we are just nihilists waiting to die? I am so fed up with the garbage strewn on the roads and in the woods where I live; I used to pick it up and could collect as much as 9 garbage bags of junk in 9 days during a 4 kilometer walk. I don't pick up any more because I am 77 and cannot keep doing it.

However, I am certain that strewn garbage will surely be the last national flag waving in the breeze as the anthem plays junk music and we all succumb to our terrible future.

jrs , June 16, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Related to this, I thought one day of who probably NEVER gets any appreciation but strives to make things nicer, anyone planning or planting the highway strips (government workers maybe although it could be convicts also unfortunately, I'm not sure). Yes highways are ugly, yes they will destroy the world, but some of the planting strips are sometimes genuinely nice. So they add some niceness to the ugly and people still litter of course.

visitor , June 16, 2017 at 1:04 pm

The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. Thus, streets, parks and public space might be soiled by litter that nobody cares to put away in trash bins properly, while simultaneously the interior of houses/apartments, and attached gardens if any, are kept meticulously clean.

Basically, the world people care about stops outside their dwellings, because they do not feel it is "theirs" or that they participate in its possession in a genuine way. It belongs to the "town administration", or to a "private corporation", or to the "government" - and if they feel they have no say in the ownership, management, regulation and benefits thereof, why should they care? Let the town administration/government/corporation do the clean-up - we already pay enough taxes/fees/tolls, and "they" are always putting up more restrictions on how to use everything, so

In conclusion: the phenomenon of litter/trash is another manifestation of a fraying social contract.

Big River Bandido , June 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm

The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good.

There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation.

I live in NYC, and just yesterday as I attempted to refill my MetroCard, the machine told me it was expired and I had to replace it. The replacement card doesn't look at all like a MetroCard with the familiar yellow and black graphic saying "MetroCard". Instead? It's an ad. For a fucking insurance company. And so now, every single time that I go somewhere on the subway, I have to see an ad from Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

visitor , June 16, 2017 at 2:39 pm

There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation.

And as a result, people no longer care about it - they do not feel it is their commonwealth any longer.

Did you notice whether the NYC subway got increasingly dirty/littered as the tentacles of privatization reached everywhere? Just curious.

DJG , June 16, 2017 at 9:37 am

The importance of the end of solidarity – that is, of the almost-murderous impulses by the upper classes to destroy any kind of solidarity. From Yves's posting of Yanis Varoufakis's analysis of the newest terms of the continuing destruction of Greece:

With regard to labour market reforms, the Eurogroup welcomes the adopted legislation safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining and bringing collective dismissals in line with best EU practices.

I see! "Safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining" refers, of course, to the 2012 removal of the right to collective bargaining and the end to trades union representation for each and every Greek worker. Our government was elected in January 2015 with an express mandate to restore these workers' and trades unions' rights. Prime Minister Tsipras has repeatedly pledged to do so, even after our falling out and my resignation in July 2015. Now, yesterday, his government consented to this piece of Eurogroup triumphalism that celebrates the 'safeguarding' of the 2012 'reforms'. In short, the SYRIZA government has capitulated on this issue too: Workers' and trades' unions' rights will not be restored. And, as if that were not bad enough, "collective dismissals" will be brought "in line with best EU practices". What this means is that the last remaining constraints on corporations, i.e. a restriction on what percentage of workers can be fired each month, is relaxed. Make no mistake: The Eurogroup is telling us that, now that employers are guaranteed the absence of trades unions, and the right to fire more workers, growth enhancement will follow suit! Let's not hold our breath!

Daniel F. , June 16, 2017 at 10:44 am

The so-called "Elites"? Stand down? Right. Every year I look up the cardinal topics discussed at the larger economic forums and conferences (mainly Davos and G8), and some variation of "The consequences of rising inequality" is a recurring one. Despite this, nothing ever comes out if them. I imagine they go something like this:

A wet dream come true, both for an AnCap and a communist conspiracy theorist. I'm by no means either. However, I think capitalism has already failed and can't go on for much longer. Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief.

I'd very much like to be proven wrong.

Bobby Gladd , June 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm

"Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief." Frase's Quadrant Four. Hierarchy + Scarcity = Exterminism (From "Four Futures" )

Archangel , June 16, 2017 at 11:33 am

Reminds me of that one quip I saw from a guy who, why he always had to have two pigs to eat up his garbage, said that if he had only one pig, it will eat only when it wants to, but if there were two pigs, each one would eat so the other pig won't get to it first. Our current economic system in a nutshell – pigs eating crap so deny it to others first. "Greed is good".

oh , June 16, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Our country is rife with rent seeking pigs who will stoop lower and lower to feed their greed.

Vatch , June 16, 2017 at 12:37 pm

In today's Links section there's this: https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/jun/14/tax-evaders-exposed-why-super-rich-are-even-richer-than-we-thought which has relevance for the discussion of the collapsing social contract.

Chauncey Gardiner , June 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Don't know that the two avenues Gaius mentioned are the only two roads our society can travel. In support of this view, I recall a visit to a secondary city in Russia for a few weeks in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. Those were difficult times economically and psychologically for ordinary citizens of that country. Alcoholism was rampant, emotional illness and suicide rates among men of working age were high, mortality rates generally were rising sharply, and birth rates were falling. Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks. There was also adequate food, and critical public infrastructure was maintained, keeping in mind this was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster.

Here in the US the New Deal and other legislation helped preserve social order in the 1930s. Yves also raises an important point in her preface that can provide support for the center by those who are able to do so under the current economic framework. That glue is to participate in one's community; whether it is volunteering at a school, the local food bank, community-oriented social clubs, or in a multitude of other ways; regardless of whether your community is a small town or a large city.

JTMcPhee , June 16, 2017 at 1:21 pm

" Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks."

None of which applies to the Imperium, of course. There's glue, all right, but it's the kind that is used for flooring in Roach Motels (TM), and those horrific rat and mouse traps that stick the rodent to a large rectangle of plastic, where they die eventually of exhaustion and dehydration and starvation The rat can gnaw off a leg that's glued down, but then it tips over and gets glued down by the chest or face or butt

I have to note that several people I know are fastidious about picking up trash other people "throw away." I do it, when I'm up to bending over. I used to be rude about it - one young attractive woman dumped a McDonald's bag and her ashtray out the window of her car at one of our very long Florida traffic lights. I got out of my car, used the mouth of the McDonald's bag to scoop up most of the lipsticked butts, and threw them back into her car. Speaking of mouths, that woman with the artfully painted lips sure had one on her

[Jun 17, 2017] Political Elite Use Russia-Baiting to Medicate U.S. Crisis of Governance Black Agenda Report

Jun 17, 2017 | blackagendareport.com
Political Elite Use Russia-Baiting to "Medicate" U.S. "Crisis of Governance"

Submitted by Nellie Bailey a... on Tue, 06/13/2017 - 00:10

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The U.S. is engulfed in a "crisis of governance" that has been "intentionally misunderstood" by the corporate media and the political elite, said Danny Haiphong , a contributing political analyst at BAR.

Anti-Russian hysteria has been whipped up "to medicate political consciousness." "They don't want to discuss how Russia has absolutely nothing to do with the millions of incarcerated people in the U.S., or the fact that it is the U.S. monopoly capitalist economy, not the emerging capitalist economy of Russia, which has automated many of the jobs and siphoned much of the wealth that once belonged to a privileged sector of U.S. workers," said Haiphong. "This system has run its course. War is all the system has left."

[Jun 16, 2017] Political Disorder Syndrome - Refusal To Reason Is The New Normal

Notable quotes:
"... It could be argued a polarized America has joined a polarized world in taking the course of least resistance and that is to do nothing. It appears most of the developed countries across the world are in exactly the same boat. With Trump's greatest accomplishment being the rolling-back of the Obama agenda the article below argues this may be as good as it gets. ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Endgame Napoleon - Stuck on Zero , Jun 15, 2017 10:10 PM

A lot of the debate by the MSM focuses on the careerist power struggle of elites at the top. That is not what brought Trump to power, nor is ideological purity of any kind the reason, although college students at elite universities may be motivated by ideology.

Many people who voted for Trump said they had not bothered to vote since Perot. That was the last time serious economic issues were addressed head-on. There were many cross-over voters in the Rust Belt and elsewhere, voting for Trump because their party, when not focused on one more layer of welfare/taxfare for single moms, focuses on racism, sexism and xenophobia.....

....in a "racist" era with a twice-elected Black president, where many government agencies have 80% Black staff and managers

.....in a "sexist"' era where more than half of the MDs are women, as are half of the managers, in general, when wealth has never been more concentrated due to assortative mating

....in a "xenophobic" era, where even illegal immigrants are treated much better than millions of citizens, leading to $113 billion per year in welfare/taxfare expenditures for the illegal immigrants alone, not counting all of the freebies for 1 million legal immigrants admitted per year, particularly for those who reproduce

CRM114 - Killtruck , Jun 15, 2017 9:08 PM

When do you think it was crossed?

End of the Cold War, I reckon. That's the last point when politicians being vaguely competent mattered.

VWAndy - nmewn , Jun 15, 2017 8:56 PM

Its a big club. An you and me aint in it. The left vs right thing is just a trick.

Kyddyl , Jun 15, 2017 8:44 PM

As I said in response to another article I've been off on a kick of reading about the American unCivil War. The heated rhetoric led up to violence far before either "side" was ready. It proved to be a messy disaster. Very few thought ahead far enough to even have their own families survive it. Be very careful of what you wish for. John Michael Greer's "Twilight's Last Gleaming" and "Retrotopia" should give us serious pause for thought. Our just in time grocery supply system would fail, fuel delivery from the few states with refineries would crawl and with all those nuclear power plants needing constant baby sitting everybody needs to settle down and really think this mess out. Inter US civil divisions would need careful and peaceful negotiations.

Forbes , Jun 15, 2017 8:53 PM

The messaging Henninger identifies was rampant for eight years of Obama ("Get in their faces!" and the Chicago Way--"They bring a knife, you bring a gun.") Social media is/was no different. Remember the Rodeo Clown wearing an Obama mask who was summarily fired. Any critique of Obama was automatically racist. I could go on and on with examples. The Left never policed its own, was constantly on-guard against the Right, with enforcement of political correctness job #1.

The ankle-biting mainstream media is part and parcel the opposition and the resistence--and the Establishment Republicans at the WSJ are just now noticing?? Someone alert Captain Renault...

Let it Go , Jun 15, 2017 9:00 PM

In reality no intelligent plans have been written or are moving through the halls of Congress. It could be argued a polarized America has joined a polarized world in taking the course of least resistance and that is to do nothing. It appears most of the developed countries across the world are in exactly the same boat. With Trump's greatest accomplishment being the rolling-back of the Obama agenda the article below argues this may be as good as it gets.

http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2017/06/polarized-america-taking-course-of.html

TeethVillage88s , Jun 15, 2017 9:05 PM

But, But, ... that sounds like RINOs, DINOs, NeoCons, Neoliberals, those that think Economics is a Hard Science... Sounds like Propaganda by the Most Powerful Corporations and Family Dynasties...

"Political Disorder Syndrome - "Refusal To Reason Is The New Normal"

PDS - won't get traction since TPTB have to approve of this kind of thing!

http://www.lyricsdepot.com/jimmy-buffett/banana-republics.html

- Borders Are Destroyed to Attack the US Labor Rate (Deserved or Undeserved) - Globalism, CAFTA, NAFTA, Fast-Track by Bill Clinton, deployed to destroy US Labor Rate & US Jobs & US Middle Class = PROOF that Democrats are Treasonous, are working against the Worker (Either Communist Worker or Other worker) - US National Security is destroyed by the cost of MIC, $1 Trillion Annually - US Constitutional Republic is Destroyed, replaced by Globalism Ideology & Propaganda Deep Program to hide this Fact from Middle Class, from Workers, from Job Losers, from Voters, from Students, from Youth who will not see the entry level jobs...

IT IS A REAL MESS, Propaganda is the name of the Problem! We all know the history of Propaganda. We know that Hillary Clinton engaged in an INFO-War long, long ago. 1971 William Renquist Memo pointed out to Republicans that they must gear up for Foundations to fight Democrats who were much stronger in Political Organizations at this time.

Makes you think.

ElTerco , Jun 15, 2017 10:26 PM

I think main street has been extremely patient. I think after three decades of being slowly and consistently shit on though, enough is enough, and they are starting to lose it.

[Jun 13, 2017] Bait and switch artist as Barack Obama authentic self

Notable quotes:
"... I feel utterly betrayed and conned by Barack Obama. He looked, talked and exuded kind, "humanness". But he was a fraud that STILL evades the grok of huge parts of the World population. People generally find it difficult to accept that this beautiful man (Obama) with the beautiful family, is a tyrannical bastard.(Remember NYT's, Uncle Joe Stalin?). ..."
"... Hillary Clinton, refreshingly (IMO), and bravely, is obviously a crazed maniac. Many noticed her authentic self during the campaign. Now that she is increasingly free to express her inner life, I expect people on both sides of the political divide (The Ups, AND the Downs) to wake up and smell the coffee. We are being lied to about almost everything, and it is not inadvertent. ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
clarky90 , , , June 12, 2017 at 5:07 pm

I believe that Hillary Clinton IS being, and broadcasting her authentic self. I support her 100% in this . I am not being snide. The curtains are being pulled aside on The Incompetent, Wizards of Oz (The Corrupt Over-class). Hillary C will be remembered as the Foolish Wizard who could not keep her curtain drawn! We got a glimpse into the innards of the Heath Robinson, Control Booth, Political Contraption. (George Soros playing with himself!)

I feel utterly betrayed and conned by Barack Obama. He looked, talked and exuded kind, "humanness". But he was a fraud that STILL evades the grok of huge parts of the World population. People generally find it difficult to accept that this beautiful man (Obama) with the beautiful family, is a tyrannical bastard.(Remember NYT's, Uncle Joe Stalin?).

Hillary Clinton, refreshingly (IMO), and bravely, is obviously a crazed maniac. Many noticed her authentic self during the campaign. Now that she is increasingly free to express her inner life, I expect people on both sides of the political divide (The Ups, AND the Downs) to wake up and smell the coffee. We are being lied to about almost everything, and it is not inadvertent.

References

(1) "One-third of world now overweight, with US leading the way"
?????????????????? ..
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/12/health/global-obesity-study/index.html

Tvc15 , , June 12, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Clarky90 said, " We are being lied to about almost everything, and it is not inadvertent." Exactly!

And the only solace I have from the Trump show is that the curtains will be pulled back completely to expose the puppeteers of this charade they call a democracy.

OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL , , June 12, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Which should make it much easier to generate authentic opposition, doncha think? Trump was The Great Reveal, next up is The Great Reveal for Dems: that they too love War and Billionaire Corporo-Fascism

roxy , June 12, 2017 at 3:04 pm

"Everybody Needs to Stop Telling Hillary Clinton to Shut Up"

Throughout the campaign, culminating in the mindbogglingly stupid "deplorables" remark, Clinton's contempt for anyone who questioned her was clear. Her post election tour brings more of the same. So yeah, people are sick of hearing it, and have every right to say so.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 12, 2017 at 6:31 pm

She should be grateful that there are still people who bother to tell her to be quiet.

Me? I have ears but do not hear when it comes to her. Her spells can never penetrate my thick skull.

[Jun 11, 2017] A new factor in US politics: the downward spiral of distrust between citizens and elites, in which citizens treat "corrupt" and "establishment" as interchangeable terms.

Jun 11, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Christopher H. June 09, 2017 at 02:01 PM

No, this isn't the Onion.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/9/15768314/public-participation-cant-save-american-democracy

What if "more public participation" can't save American democracy?

It's time to make peace with reality and develop a new plan.

Updated by Lee Drutman Jun 9, 2017, 12:00pm EDT

American democracy is in a downward spiral. Well, really two downward spirals.

The first is the downward spiral of bipolar partisanship, in which both sides increasingly demonize each other as the enemy, and refuse to compromise and cooperate - an escalating arms race that is now going beyond mere gridlock and threatening basic democratic norms.

The second is the downward spiral of distrust between citizens and elites, in which citizens treat "corrupt" and "establishment" as interchangeable terms. The public consensus is that politicians are self-serving, not to be trusted. In this logic, only more public participation can make politicians serve the people.

...
Gibbon1 - , June 09, 2017 at 07:06 PM

> in which both sides increasingly demonize each other as the enemy

Yes but the fascist right is the enemy and the centrist right openly supports. And centrist left engages in nothing but appeasement.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron - , June 10, 2017 at 05:23 AM
The public consensus seems fairly accurate, but then so does Gibbon1.

[Jun 11, 2017] Failure as a Way of Life by William S. Lind

Notable quotes:
"... Sadly the Cheneyite rot is so deep at this point that we'll simply have to ride it out . . . Svechin wrote about the corrupting influence of a political elite overwhelmed by its own decadence and delusions that it confuses its own interests with those of the country that it rules ..."
Jun 11, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

February 15, 2016

The fault line in American politics is no longer Republican vs. Democrat nor conservative vs. liberal but establishment vs. anti-establishment. This is an inevitable result of serial failure in establishment policies. Nowhere do we see this more clearly than in the establishment's repeated military interventions abroad in wars against non-state opponents. When such interventions fail in one place-first Somalia, then Iraq, then Afghanistan, then Libya, now Syria-it does the same thing again somewhere else, with the same result.

Why has the establishment allowed itself to be trapped in serial failure? Once we understand how it works, the answer is plain: it cannot do otherwise. On Capitol Hill, the legalization of bribery-"campaign contributions"-means money rules. That puts business as usual in the driver's seat because that is where the money is. If a member of Congress backs, say, the F-35 fighter/bomber, he can count on campaign contributions from its manufacturers and jobs for his state or district. (The Pentagon calls that "strategic contracting.") If instead he calls for reforming our military so it can perform better in Fourth Generation wars, where fighter/bombers are useless, there's no money.

My long-time colleague Paul Weyrich and I both began our Washington careers as Senate staff, Paul in the late 1960s and me in 1973. Shortly before his death in 2008, I said to him, "When we arrived on the Hill, at least half the members of the Senate thought their job had something to do with governing the country. Now that figure is at most 10 percent. All the rest think about is having a successful career as a professional politician and retiring very, very rich." Paul agreed.

Just as money locks in current policy, so does ideology. To be a member of the establishment you must spout the ideology of "democratic capitalism," the notion that America can and should remake the rest of the world in its own image. Other peoples see this, rightly, as an attempt to ram the Brave New World down their throats. Many are willing to fight to prevent it. But if a member of the Washington establishment dares question the ideology and suggests a policy based on realism, he immediately loses his establishment membership.

Over breakfast in Denver several years ago I said to my old boss, Sen. Gary Hart, "If you are a member of the establishment and you suggest more than five degrees rudder change in anything, you cease to be a member of the establishment." He replied, "I'm exhibit A."

Below these factors lies the establishment's bedrock. It is composed overwhelmingly of people who want to be something, not people who want to do something. They have devoted their lives to becoming members of the establishment and enjoying the many privileges thereof. They are not likely to endanger club membership by breaking its rules. Beyond following money and adhering to its ideology, the rules are three.

The first is, don't worry about serial failure. Within the Beltway, the failure of national policies is not important. Career success depends on serving interests and pleasing courtiers above you, not making things work in flyover land. As in 17th-century Spain, the court is dominated by interests that prosper by feeding off the country's decay.

Second, rely on the establishment's wealth and power to insulate its members from the consequences of policy failure. The public schools are wretched, but the establishment's children go to private schools. We lose wars, but the generals who lose them get promoted. The F-35 is a horrible fighter, but no member of the establishment will have to fly it. So long as the money keeps flowing, all is well.

Third and most important, the only thing that really matters is remaining a member of the establishment. This completes the loop in what is a classic closed system, where the outside world does not matter and is not allowed to intrude. Col. John Boyd, America's greatest military theorist, said that all closed systems collapse. The Washington establishment cannot adjust, it cannot adapt, it cannot learn. It cannot escape serial failure.

The public is catching on to all this and, on both sides of the political spectrum, turning to anti-establishment candidates. If we are fortunate, some will win. If the establishment manipulates the rules to hold on to power indefinitely, when it collapses it may take the state with it.

William S. Lind is the author, as "Thomas Hobbes," of Victoria: a Novel of Fourth Generation War .

  • Christopher Manion , says: February 15, 2016 at 8:02 am
    Paul Weyrich is still an inspiration, as Bill recounts here. He tried to make that ninety percent do the right thing, appealing to their better natures but threatening their heart's desires. It was, and is, a constant battle.

    As for the closed system – the only way to drain DC's Bipartisan Hot Tub is from the outside. That's where the plug is – no one on the inside can reach it, and none there really wants to.

    That's our job.

    Colorado Jack , says: February 15, 2016 at 8:11 am
    "To be a member of the establishment you must spout the ideology of "democratic capitalism," the notion that America can and should remake the rest of the world in its own image."

    They may spout it, but they don't believe it and they don't act on it. They have learned the lesson of Iraq. Here's Donald Rumsfeld in 2015, with the advantage of hindsight: "I'm not one who thinks that our particular template of democracy is appropriate for other countries at every moment of their histories. The idea that we could fashion a democracy in Iraq seemed to me unrealistic."

    The establishment cheerfully tolerates and supports Saudi Arabia's regime. No one in the establishment thinks it wise to press for democracy in any serious way. Ditto for Egypt, where our aid violates US law under any fair reading.

    Lind has a point but way overstates it.

    TB , says: February 15, 2016 at 9:35 am
    "If the establishment manipulates the rules to hold on to power indefinitely, when it collapses it may take the state with it."
    ___________________________

    I agree but, as Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet says, "I spy a kind of hope". I believe a tipping point in our political culture was reached in 2008 when the electorate chose a young and inexperienced black man with a VERY scary name over a mainstream war hero and did so by a wide margin. I expect Bernie to be nominated and then win by margins that make BHO's victory look close.

    ged2phd , says: February 15, 2016 at 10:45 am
    Great article. It's long been apparent that the "establishment" seems oblivious to the consequences of their wasteful and foolish policies, but when you point out the foolishness has no (immediate) consequences for them, and even a positive impact on their careers, it all makes sense. Long term, though, it's a sure descent into the abyss for all of us. Of course, the "little people" are falling first and faster, so the elites no doubt are calculating they'll land on top of us so we'll cushion their landing.
    Richard L Harrell , says: February 15, 2016 at 10:57 am
    The real definition of the Establishment is clear and simple. They are the scum of the Earth.
    JohnG , says: February 15, 2016 at 11:26 am
    As depressing the picture painted here may be, I actually think it's optimistic.

    To be a member of the establishment you must spout the ideology of "democratic capitalism," the notion that America can and should remake the rest of the world in its own image.

    Now, could someone explain to me how Afghanistan, Libya, Kosovo, or Iraq are now more conformant to some American ideal? I believe the truth is much worse than giant corporations having interest in perpetual wars: The establishment has become a vast network of private rackets that uses the American military & economic might as the ultimate extortion tool. Just ask the two worst secretaries of state in history posing (and seeking cover) as ultra-feminists.

    It was under Mad Albright's tenure that the US started to support (and bomb on behalf of) the shadiest of the terrorist figures in Kosovo, accused by several UN personnel of butchering Serbian and (traitor) Albanian prisoners to harvest organs for trade. You can't make this stuff up, it's beyond horrific. And, surprise, madam secretary leaves her post to turn into a hedge fund manager with investments and interests in the region. Payback for help, anyone? Who wouldn't want to harness the US Air force for its private goals? And would anybody be surprised if HRC took this model one step beyond to make payments to the Clinton Foundation pretty concurrent with the "services" provided by the State Department? And how is this different (other than organ trafficking) from our senators and congressmen retiring vastly richer than when they went into politics? Just where did that money come from?

    In summary, it's NOT just evil corporations, it's the vastly concentrated power of an out of control and overreaching government. Once you have that, you are bound to have individuals and networks trying to harness that power for their private purposes. So yes, let's clean up political financing, but let's also go back to the idea of limited government. And stay vigilant to keep it limited, because, you always end up in trouble otherwise.

    Fran Macadam , says: February 15, 2016 at 12:32 pm
    It couldn't have been said better or more succinctly – or more truthfully.
    seydlitz89 , says: February 15, 2016 at 2:08 pm
    Lame article, sorry. Bill Lind seems unable to understand what strategic theory is. Still attempting to make his reified 4GW notions into reality. John Boyd "America's greatest military theorist"? Ok, E-M theory of aerial combat is significant, but that is mathematics-based and has to do with aircraft design (quite limited really) which is not strategic theory at all, is it? But confusion among US (a)strategic thinkers is the norm and has been for some time . . . interests cloud their little heads . . . But then Dick Cheney is Boyd's greatest follower . . . so . . . follow the leader . . .

    After reading Jeffrey Sach's blog post . . . I asked myself "why did I waste my time on this" . . .

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/hillary-clinton-and-the-s_b_9231190.html

    Rossbach , says: February 15, 2016 at 2:41 pm
    Given the realities of the 2-party system, with the neocons dominating GOP foreign policy and liberal interventionists controlling the Democratic side, it's not hard to see how this total lack of accountability has persisted for so long. Hopefully, the pushback that the establishment candidates of both parties are experiencing from the voters will have its effect on national policy – if not in this election cycle, perhaps in the next one.
    connecticut farmer , says: February 15, 2016 at 6:59 pm
    Well put, JohnG. The system is thoroughly corrupt and given the divisions within American society may well be beyond repair. If so, we are doomed. Maybe the HRC email controversy will expose not only her personal corruption but that of the whole system, though I wouldn't bet on it. She may only be the tip of the iceberg and as such only the worst of a bad lot whose numbers are legion.
    Fred Bowman , says: February 15, 2016 at 11:43 pm
    The LAST thing the Congressional-Military-Industrial Complex want is for ANY War to end, as it cut off their justication for a bloated military budget that continues to enriched them and their cronies for God know how long.
    Kurt Gayle , says: February 16, 2016 at 12:10 pm
    @ seydlitz89, who wrote:

    "Lame article, sorry. Bill Lind seems unable to understand what strategic theory is. Still attempting to make his reified 4GW notions into reality."

    From my perspective Bill Lind's 4th Generation War explanation for the long string of US defeats by non-state opponents matches up well with the facts.

    To be sure, our taking seriously Lind's "4GW notions" would necessarily lead to (1) a different US foreign policy and (2) a radically scaled-back flow of money to the shadow military-industrial state and their hired politicians.

    So might it be, seydlitz89, that your discomfort is less with Lind's "4GW notions" than it is with (1) or (2), or both?

    Frand Liebkind , says: February 16, 2016 at 12:55 pm
    Ironic, isn't it, that many of the late Col Boyd's air combat theories have become establishment doctrine, almost half a century later. I can only assume that Boyd was sharp enough to realize that they have little application to today's fourth generation warfare. But I may be wrong.
    cdugga , says: February 16, 2016 at 3:25 pm
    Democratic government is supposed to be answerable to the people. But there are 2 big problems with that. One, the people have to stay informed and know what the issues are as well as what potential representatives believe. Is there any reason to move on to the second big problem? Okay, just for discussion, the second problem is that the first problem allows for all the following problems forever after amen. Holding our representatives accountable requires that we hold ourselves accountable for electing the correct representative. Ain't gonna happen, simply because the correct representative, the one telling us that we are the ones responsible, is never going to be elected. The one that will get elected is the one that says others, like immigrants, blacks, elites and those who are not true christians, true patriots, or core americans, are the cause of all our policy and economic problems. That's the guy we want to lead us. We may get him. And he might do what we want, but it is unlikely he will do anything we need to have done to bring back america. Bringing back america is our job after all, and who wants that responsibility. The supposed anti-establishment candidates are simply the ones that say they will take care of the problems we allowed to happen. And we already know they won't or can't because we would never demand so much from ourselves.
    Iowa Scribe , says: February 16, 2016 at 4:56 pm
    We are nearning the end of "the rule of political spoilsmen," but are we also nearing the end of the American experiment or, perhaps, even the catastrophic interruption of the progress of human civilization?

    71:3.10 The ideals of statehood must be attained by evolution, by the slow growth of civic consciousness, the recognition of the obligation and privilege of social service. At first men assume the burdens of government as a duty, following the end of the administration of political spoilsmen, but later on they seek such ministry as a privilege, as the greatest honor. The status of any level of civilization is faithfully portrayed by the caliber of its citizens who volunteer to accept the responsibilities of statehood.

    stephen laudig , says: February 18, 2016 at 1:52 am
    for the US political and military establishments . "there's no success like failure failure's no success at all". There are many, many causes, the one highlighted this year is an electoral law system that only allows for "coke and pepsi" and holds up, in effect bails out or life-supports, the two moribund parties [one may actually die this year, and the other will follow shortly thereafter, extinction of the dinosaurs] by not allowing replacements to grow. cheers.
    seydlitz89 , says: February 18, 2016 at 8:30 am
    @ Kurt Gayle

    Regarding 4GW I think you putting the wheelless cart before the dead horse. 4GW started as a list of speculations published in an article in the Marine Corps Gazette in 1989, that is there wasn't originally any "theory" at all. In 1991, Martin van Creveld published the "The Transformation of War" (TTW) since he needed to divorce war from politics for political/propaganda reasons (Israel's occupation of Palestinian land). Formerly MvC had promoted Clausewitzian strategic theory, had in fact presented a paper in 1986 entitled "The Eternal Clausewitz". TTW provided 4GW with some actual "theory", although Lind claims that 4GW actually exists (reification) and is not theory at all.
    Lind also talks about the "moral being the highest level of war" and claims that's Boyd's view, but according to Chet Richards Boyd never said anything of the kind. We had a long discussion on this back on the sonshi forum about a decade ago.

    Clausewitz became a problem for Dick Cheney and the Neocons since strategic theory links political purpose (not limited to those of "the state") with military aims achieved through military means. Too often states or other political entities wish to hide their actual involvement (not to mention their goals) in wars and thus 4GW comes in handy as a cover for that, but useless in understanding strategy . . . read the Sachs article . . .

    I would also add that 4GW became a useful excuse for US military incompetence since the generals could claim, "How could we have won, it was 4GW!".

    As to Boyd, OODA loops don't really provide anything other than a model for friction above the tactical . . .

    The Russians don't fall for any of this, following instead Svechin, the great Russian Clausewitzian strategic theorist and understanding the uses and limits of organised violence. They understand the nature of the conflict they are involved in in Syria and are acting strategically, something the US hasn't been able to achieve since the end of the Cold War/First Gulf War . . . that is since the rise of 4GW confusion . . .

    Kurt Gayle , says: February 18, 2016 at 3:29 pm
    Thank you, seydlitz89, for taking the time to give so much background history regarding this discussion of Fourth Generation War, etc.
    For those of us who find William Lind's 4GW arguments convincing, it's very useful to read counter-positions presented so well by someone as well-versed in the subject as you obviously are. Sincerely. Thank you.
    peter connor , says: February 19, 2016 at 6:20 pm
    "Lame article, sorry. Bill Lind seems unable to understand what strategic theory is. Still attempting to make his reified 4GW notions into reality."
    The reality has been hitting us in the face for more than 60 years but as Lind points out, reality means nothing to Washington insiders, or other devotees of country wrecking military-industrial profiteering.
    I will make this very simple for you, seydlitz89. If the people of a country you are trying to occupy or control don't want you there, it will be ruinously expensive for you to stay there, and eventually you will leave. Got it?
    seydlitz89 , says: February 19, 2016 at 6:44 pm
    @ Kurt Gayle

    Thank you for the kind words. Sadly the Cheneyite rot is so deep at this point that we'll simply have to ride it out . . . Svechin wrote about the corrupting influence of a political elite overwhelmed by its own decadence and delusions that it confuses its own interests with those of the country that it rules . . . 4GW is part of/has become a pawn of that larger phenomenon . . . the greater confusion . . .

    ObiJohn , says: February 21, 2016 at 3:05 am
    The problem here is that our political leaders, by and large, do not understand grand strategy or military strategy, and do not wish to do so and risk opprobrium from other elites. Elite culture insists acceptance to the belief that violence solves nothing, and never can. Unfortunately, our foes disagree, with the backing of history. We lost in Iraq because Obama ceded victory by abandoning the battlefield, as if saying a war was over could possibly end it on favorable terms the same mistake we made in Vietnam. Rather, the problem in the Middle East is that we haven't killed enough extremists the mistake we didn't make in WWII and so the battle-hardened jihadis that remain believe they can win if they only endure. So far, they seem to be right. The real problem here is the creation of an elite that is isolated from ordinary Americans, from the realities of the global economy, from their own failure as leaders due to their dysfunctional worldview based on a life of privilege, freedom from want, and a belief that all of that is deserved istead of the result of winning the birth lottery. Their unconscious embrace of socialist policies is more about their unease of their fortunate privilege, and it stops when the pain starts they call for the elimination of private property but insist their iPads are exempt as 'personal' property rather than private property. They call for equality of opportunity but aren't willing to give up their spot at an Ivy League university. They call for more taxes but incorporate in Ireland, or dock their yacht in Rhode Island to avoid Massachusetts taxes. They no longer support enlightened self-interest but instead push for restrictions on freedom of speech, call for more gun control, and seek to restrict political opposition all in the name of peace and freedom and happiness. They are the modern Marie Antoinettes, and the mob is sharpening the pitchforks.
    Eric , says: February 24, 2016 at 8:15 am
    seydlitz89 "The Russians don't fall for any of this, following instead Svechin, the great Russian Clausewitzian strategic theorist and understanding the uses and limits of organised violence"

    Svechin? Really? Most of his work was borrowed from the pre 1914 Nikolai General Staff Academy. The bigger Soviet thinker at the time was Verhovsky. Someone got very excited about Svechin at Fort Leavenworth in the late 1970s/early 1980s (probably because someone decided to translate him) but in the Russian context he's a relative minor figure – no one follows him.

  • [May 25, 2017] Justin Murphys The psychology of prohibiting outside thinkers

    Notable quotes:
    "... cordon sanitaire ..."
    "... cordon sanitaire ..."
    "... Human Ethology Bulletin ..."
    "... Culture of Critique ..."
    "... The Bell Curve." ..."
    "... The Culture of Critique ..."
    "... The Occidental Quarterly ..."
    May 21, 2017 | www.unz.com
    117 Comments

    Here is Justin Murphy describing his background, research, and activism:

    Why is there not more rebellion against status quo institutions? How have economic and political processes pacified our capacity for radical collective action? As a political scientist, I am interested in the roles played by information, communication, and ideology in the pacification of political resistance and conflict. Before joining the faculty of Politics and IR at the University of Southampton in the UK, I did my PhD at Temple University in the US. There I was active in Occupy Wall Street , some civil disobedience and shutting down of things , some longer-term campaigns against the big U.S. banks , and sundry other works and deeds , including a radical warehouse project where I lived for nearly three years.

    So Murphy is an academic on the left. He is therefore part of the establishment, a card-carrying member of the institutional structure that dominates intellectual discourse in the West. But, unlike the vast majority of his academic brethren, he is quite aware that the left is now the status quo and that it is doing everything it can to preserve its elite status - and that its self-preserving tactics are at base nothing more than irrational assertions of power and privilege. Murphy makes these claims in a blogpost: " The psychology of prohibiting outside thinkers . " Part of the subtitle says it all: " The real motivation of respectable progressivism is managing guilty conscience and conserving bourgeois privileges ."

    What's so refreshing about this is that instead of "exclud[ing] independent right-wing intellectual work on moral grounds," he would actually "enjoy thinking" with intellectuals on the right. Indeed, moral indictments have become the stock in trade of establishment intellectuals - as noted in my three-part " Moralism and Moral Arguments in the War for Western Survival ." Moral condemnations are easy. No intellectual heavy lifting required. All one need do is appeal to conventional moral intuitions as shaped by the the same institutions that are now the status quo - the media and academic culture.

    As I note, those who dissent from the status quo are "not only misguided, [they are] malevolent consumed by hatred, anger and fear towards non-Whites, gays, women and the entire victim class pantheon, or so goes the stereotype And that's the problem. Being cast as evil means you are outside the moral community. There's no need to talk with you, no need to be fair, or even worry about your safety. You are like an outlaw in Old Norse society - 'a person [who] lost all of his or her civil rights and could be killed on sight without any legal repercussions.'"

    Back to Murphy:

    Very simply, ["institutional intellectuals"] are imposing a cordon sanitaire that is instrumentally necessary to the continuation of their unjustified intellectual privileges in the institutional order. I am increasingly convinced there is simply no other public function to this political repetition compulsion. The reason this is important, from the left, is that this cordon sanitaire is straightforwardly a mechanism to conserve the status quo, everything progressives pretend to be interested in overthrowing. This is why neo-reactionary intellectuals speak of the status quo political order as dominated by a left-progressive "Cathedral."

    The religious analogy is quite apt. Like moral pronouncements, religious dogmas are not refutable and need not be justified empirically. They are nothing more than intellectually shoddy ex Cathedra pronouncements that take advantage of a pre-existing intellectual consensus.

    First, it seems to be a fact that the genuinely intellectual wings of the alt-right or neo-reaction (NRx) or whatever you want to call it, are probably too intelligent and sophisticated for bourgeois intellectual workers to engage with, let alone compete with. So if those essays are actually pretty smart and a legitimate challenge to your institutional authority as a credentialed intellectual-you are functionally required to close ranks, if only with a silent agreement to not engage.

    Now, as soon as anyone from this non-institutional world produces effects within the institutional orbit, it is actually a really serious survival reflex for all institutionally privileged intellectuals to play the morality card ("no platform!"). If all these strange, outside autodidacts are actually smart and independently producing high-level intellectual content you don't have the time to even understand, let alone defeat or otherwise control, this is an existential threat to your entire livelihood. Because all of your personal identity, your status, and your salary, is based directly on your credentialed, legitimated membership card giving your writings and pontifications an officially sanctioned power and authority. If that door is opened even a crack by non-credentialed outsiders, the whole jig is up for the respectable bourgeois monopoly on the official intellectual organs of society.

    This comment really strikes home with me. I wrote three books on Judaism from an evolutionary perspective, the first of which was reviewed positively in academic journals; the second was less widely reviewed , and the third was basically ignored apart from a favorable review by Frank Salter in the Human Ethology Bulletin . Instead I was subjected to a vicious witch hunt spearheaded by the SPLC, joined by a great many of the faculty in the College of Liberal Arts, especially the Jewish faculty. In all of the exchanges on faculty email lists there was never any attempt to deal with the academic soundness of these books. Labels like "anti-Semitic" sufficed. So now, nearly 20 years after publication, Culture of Critique remains ignored by the academic establishment even as it gains traction on the Alt Right.

    The same can be said about Murray's The Bell Curve . It is referenced at times but almost always with the adjective 'discredited' even though the data are rock solid. I know a liberal academic who commented, "I don't have to read Mein Kampf to know it is evil. Same with The Bell Curve."

    Murphy:

    An interesting question is, because respectable intellectuals are often pretty smart and capable, why are they so fearful of outside intellectual projects, even if they are as evil as some fear? They are smart and capable intellectuals, so you'd think they would embrace some interesting challenge as an opportunity for productive contestation. Why don't they? Well, here's where the reality gets ugly. The reason respectable intellectuals so instinctively close ranks around the moral exclusion of NRx intellectuals is that currently working, respectable intellectuals privately know that the intellectual compromises they have made to secure their respectability and careers has rendered most of their life's work sadly and vulnerably low-quality.

    I suspect this is quite true. There is a replication crisis centering on psychology and particularly in social psychology , the most blatantly politicized field within psychology. This is my summary of Prof. Jonathan Haidt's comments on the topic:

    when scholarly articles that contravene the sacred values of the tribe are submitted to academic journals, reviewers and editors suddenly become super rigorous. More controls are needed, and more subjects. It's not a representative sample, and the statistical techniques are inadequate. This use of scientific rigor against theories that are disliked for deeper reasons is a theme of Chapter 2 of The Culture of Critique where it was also noted that standards were quite lax when it came to data that fit the leftist zeitgeist.

    Whole areas of education and sociology doubtless have similar problems. For example, in education, there have been decades of studies "discovering" panaceas for the Black-White academic achievement gap - without any success. But, as Prof. Ray Wolters notes ("Why Education Reform Failed," The Occidental Quarterly [Spring, 2016]) , hope springs eternal because there are always new wrinkles to try. Fundamentally the field fails to deal with IQ or with genetic influences on IQ and academic performance.

    The same is likely true of huge swaths of the humanities where verbal brilliance, post-modern lack of logic and rigor, and leftist politics have created wonderlands of inanity. All this would be swept away if the outsiders triumphed. I strongly suggest following @RealPeerReview on Twitter to get a feeling for what is now going on in academia. Remember, these people are getting jobs and students are paying exorbitant tuition to hear them lecture.

    Murphy:

    To convince status-quo cultural money dispensers to give you a grant, fourr instance, any currently "successful" academic or artist has to so extensively pepper their proposal with patently stupid words and notions that knowingly make the final result a sad, contorted piece of work 80% of which is bent to the flattery of our overlords. But we falsely rationalize this contortion as "mature discipline" which we then rationalize to be the warrant for our privileged status as legitimate intellectuals.

    And then, twisting the knife:

    Because we know deep down inside that our life's work is only half of what it could have been had we the courage to not ask for permission, if there ever arise people who are doing high-level intellectual work on the outside, exactly as they wish to without anyone's permission or money, then not only are we naturally resentful, but we secretly know that at least some of these outsiders are likely doing more interesting, more valuable, more radically incisive work than we are, because we secretly know that we earn our salary by agreeing to only say half of what we could.

    Can't think of a better way to end it. What its really incredibly pathetic is that really challenging this regime from within the academic world is vanishingly rare. Or perhaps it's not so surprising given the above. But what happened to all that idealism that young scholars have when they really get interested in a field? Why don't professors in evolutionary science, who know well how natural selection works when there is an invasive species or sub-species - why don't these White people become vocal opponents of the current multicultural zeitgeist that is actively selecting against European genes? How can they just watch or even applaud the demise of their own people?

    This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests.

    (Reprinted from The Occidental Observer by permission of author or representative)

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 4:28 am GMT

    "This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests."

    Both are selfish materialistic interests. You will never be able to understand why Whites are committing suicide if this is all you can see. You are doomed to eternal puzzlement and perplexity, like Derbyshire, like Sailer. Eternally scratching your heads, yet unwilling to question your premises, trapped in the sterile circle of materialism.

    You yourself admit you cannot understand it – i.e it cannot be explained in terms of your premises. One would think when one has reached the limits of one's premises explanatory power, its time to think beyond them.

    Yet how seldom that happens. People just circle endlessly their central premise, unable to break free.

    Yet to anyone who isn't a materialist, how obvious it is why Whites are committing suicide.

    joe webb , May 24, 2017 at 4:50 am GMT

    The left used to call the intellectual enablers of capitalism "bourgeois intellectuals." This included various professions like economics, political science, etc.

    Since Sociology was the Revolution Party led by Jews, it got a pass.

    Today, with commies like the handsome negro Van Jones, at one of the major networks, and these networks nothing more than Pravda Dem Party hackworks, we need a new term for the media-Left-Revolutionary minority-racist-jewish-liberal-anti-fa, academic , etc. cultural revolution.

    The fact that , per this article, it has become so trendy as to attract opportunists of many colors, it arguably is in danger of strident internal divisions, like the LGBTxyz, loonies that have self-destructed. Something that denotes the internal instability of the Dem coalition would be useful.

    The bizarre connection with international capital as a theoretical vehicle for inauguration of the great Age of Globalism and One World of racial group-groping should be captured in any such term of the cultural revolution II that we are experiencing.

    Dunno, but the Brave New World needs a catchy term. Liberal Opportunism also must be compassed in the term. Liberal World Equality Trashniks, etc.
    Joe Webb

    ThereisaGod , May 24, 2017 at 8:35 am GMT

    Yup. careerism is spiritual whoredom. As somebody once said, "I was only following orders".

    Randal , May 24, 2017 at 9:04 am GMT

    Excellent stuff. The hard truths that our society refuses to listen to and tries its best to suppress.

    This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests.

    Not hard to understand – genetic interests are not individual interests unless the individual chooses to make them so. Many of these people are childless, as a result of lifestyle choices – choosing to engage in homosexual or recreational activity instead of reproductive for hedonist reasons, postponing childbirth until too late for career materialist reasons. Such people have turned away from the instinctive objective of reproduction in the most fundamental way, and have no direct interest in the future beyond their own brief lives. No wonder they are free to engage in the profound selfishness of destructive altruism.

    Others think their children will be sheltered from the consequences by their own establishment status, or genuinely believe the dogmas they have repeated for so long.

    Robert Magill , May 24, 2017 at 9:26 am GMT

    Being cast as evil means you are outside the moral community. There's no need to talk with you, no need to be fair, or even worry about your safety. You are like an outlaw in Old Norse society - 'a person [who] lost all of his or her civil rights and could be killed on sight without any legal repercussions.'"

    Projection of such an incredible amount of animus directed at one individual must be an indicator of a huge lacking in our culture. Common decency aside, the simple repetition of such hostility must be masking other ills. S.H.I.T. Happens! Self. Haters. Impugning. Trump. Happens! Examined here:

    https://robertmagill.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/s-h-i-t-examined/

    Anonymous , May 24, 2017 at 9:39 am GMT

    I actually bought three books by Prof. Macdonald via Amazon about 7 years ago. I read the books. IMHO, they are quite informative.
    1) https://www.amazon.com/Culture-Critique-Evolutionary-Twentieth-Century-Intellectual/dp/0759672229/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
    2) https://www.amazon.com/Separation-Its-Discontents-Evolutionary-Anti-Semitism/dp/1410792617/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
    3) https://www.amazon.com/People-That-Shall-Dwell-Alone/dp/0595228380/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

    jilles dykstra , May 24, 2017 at 10:15 am GMT

    One wonders if psychologists are ignorant of history.

    So there is nothing special in the christian culture about no independent thought. On top of that, as Chomsky states: in any culture there is a standard truth, if this truth is not considered, no debate is possible, but between those who know better.

    We see this right now, much wailing about the indeed horrible carnage in Manchester, that the USA, Predators with Hellfire, causes such carnage every week three or fout times, it cannot be said. Terrorism is caused by the Islam, not by the west.

    anonHUN , May 24, 2017 at 11:55 am GMT

    @AaronB "This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests."

    Both are selfish materialistic interests. You will never be able to understand why Whites are committing suicide if this is all you can see.
    You are doomed to eternal puzzlement and perplexity, like Derbyshire, like Sailer. Eternally scratching your heads, yet unwilling to question your premises, trapped in the sterile circle of materialism.

    You yourself admit you cannot understand it - i.e it cannot be explained in terms of your premises. One would think when one has reached the limits of one's premises explanatory power, its time to think beyond them.

    Yet how seldom that happens. People just circle endlessly their central premise, unable to break free.

    Yet to anyone who isn't a materialist, how obvious it is why Whites are committing suicide.

    Anon , May 24, 2017 at 1:37 pm GMT

    @jilles dykstra Even more important to me seems the question 'who wanted WWII ?'.

    Charles A. Beard, 'American Foreign Policy in the Making, 1932 – 1940, A study in responsibilities', New Haven, 1946

    A J P Taylor, 'The Origins of the Second World War', 1961, 1967, Londen

    Mark Green , May 24, 2017 at 2:12 pm GMT

    This is a fascinating take on the true Establishment, if not the 'counter-culture'; both of which are politically correct and engineered to be self-perpetuating.

    The progressive Trojan Horse has penetrated the kingdom's walls. Tolerance! (Do not resist.)

    These progressive movements are also censorious, authoritarian and highly exclusive.

    'We are all One'. Bigotry will not be tolerated!

    At their core, these liberal movements and their rainbow collection of accompanying values represent the subversive interests of an invasive species.

    benjaminl , May 24, 2017 at 2:40 pm GMT

    Like moral pronouncements, religious dogmas are not refutable and need not be justified empirically. They are nothing more than intellectually shoddy ex Cathedra pronouncements that take advantage of a pre-existing intellectual consensus.

    This is a bit unfair to religious dogma. From Justin Martyr and Irenaeus to Augustine and Aquinas, many theologians did their most notable work, precisely in arguing against people who did not share their views.

    Tulip , May 24, 2017 at 2:40 pm GMT

    I hope Murphy already has tenure. . .

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 2:55 pm GMT

    @anonHUN Can you elaborate? You mean they aspire to be saints, and sacrifice themselves or to repent for the sins of their fathers? (by going extinct?) Well true, Christianity introduced this kind of nutjobs to the world who aimed to die without resisting "evil" and expecting to win that way on the metaphysical plane. Progressives don't believe in such things though.

    Ace , May 24, 2017 at 3:12 pm GMT

    @Anon Nothing like recent, cutting-edge research to support your viewpoint.

    Agent76 , May 24, 2017 at 3:57 pm GMT

    Dec 7, 2011 Council on Foreign Relations – The Power Behind Big News

    One version says that the CFR is an organization sister to the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Britain), both founded in 1921 right after World War I when the League of Nations idea failed. The sole purpose of such organizations is to condition the public to accept a Global Governance which today is the United Nations.

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 4:10 pm GMT

    @Santoculto I agree absolutely, no doubt it's more and more ''spiritual'' than just ''evolutionary''. Yes, existentialism is one of the ''plague'' that is destroying west BUT existentialism should be a good thing, a emancipation from childish belief systems, less for people who hasn't been selected to be mature, so instead a clear evolution of ''spirit'' be beneficial, it's become maladaptative. '''They''' create a moral game that is impossible for those who can't think in ''multiple' perspectives to win.

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm GMT

    @utu I would never put Kevin MacDonald in the same bag with Derbyshire and Sailer. Unlike them MacDonald had courage to tackle the ultimate subject of the Jews. And he did it very thoroughly w/o holding any punches. He did it the way his training as a evolutionary sociologist permitted him which was by putting more emphasis on genes then cultural memes. This is unfortunate because cultural memes dominate. But writing about genes is a bit safer than about memes because one can fall on and hide behind presumably objective scientific narrative. That's why also Derbyshire and Sailer rather yap about genes than cultural memes.

    iffen , May 24, 2017 at 5:10 pm GMT

    @Randal


    There is no instinct for reproduction.
    Seems pretty unlikely to me, based upon simple observation. The evidence for an instinct to reproduce seems to be obvious in the widespread desire for children/grandchildren of one's own. Any reason to deny the obvious presumption?
    Though of course it's not really relevant to the point I was making, since "instinct for reproduction" could as easily have been written "genetic imperative for reproduction" without affecting the point.
    MBlanc46 , May 24, 2017 at 5:15 pm GMT

    So academic Leftists are now what pass for professional revolutionaries. V.I. Ulyanov would be appalled.

    Wizard of Oz , May 24, 2017 at 5:17 pm GMT

    @utu I would never put Kevin MacDonald in the same bag with Derbyshire and Sailer. Unlike them MacDonald had courage to tackle the ultimate subject of the Jews. And he did it very thoroughly w/o holding any punches. He did it the way his training as a evolutionary sociologist permitted him which was by putting more emphasis on genes then cultural memes. This is unfortunate because cultural memes dominate. But writing about genes is a bit safer than about memes because one can fall on and hide behind presumably objective scientific narrative. That's why also Derbyshire and Sailer rather yap about genes than cultural memes.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 5:28 pm GMT

    What its really incredibly pathetic is that really challenging this regime from within the academic world is vanishingly rare.

    It's not incredibly pathetic, it's just disgustingly pathetic. As you've said, they're all intellectual whores. That's what the public sector has always been comprised of. I know. I worked for three governments (briefly) and I devoted an even shorter part of my one and only life to appointments at three universities, including two of the World's top 30 (according to the Times Higher Ed) research schools.

    But what happened to all that idealism that young scholars have when they really get interested in a field?

    The idealism remains, but those young idealistic scholars, realizing what a degraded, sordid, bureaucratic world the university has become, went out into the real world, whether to drop out, make money, or pursue the intellectual life with real, personally paid for, freedom.

    Why don't professors in evolutionary science, who know well how natural selection works when there is an invasive species or sub-species - why don't these White people become vocal opponents of the current multicultural zeitgeist that is actively selecting against European genes?

    They are far from the brightest of the bunch and they are, as we already said, intellectual whores.

    How can they just watch or even applaud the demise of their own people?

    How many kids does Frau Merkel have? How many kids does Frau Theresa May have? Why would they care about the future of their own people. Same problem with a lot of female quota academics.

    There's no solution other than to tie the feminists in bags and dump them in the Bosphorus, and the same with the academic eunochs, the scoundrel academic deans, and the slimebag university presidents and vice presidents. Screw the whole dirty lot of them.

    Trump could make a start by ending all Federal support for universities.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 5:44 pm GMT

    @AaronB As you probably realize, the West isn't engaged in altruistic self-sacrifice, but in suicide. There is a big difference. One is good, the other bad.

    One is based on love and compassion, the other on self-disgust. If we were capable of love we would defend our way of life, not destroy it - if we could love, our life would have some meaning, and some happiness. Love is a transcendent, non-materialist, value.

    What the West is doing is motivated by hate, not compassion.

    This isn't Christian, either. Suicide is forbidden in Christianity, nor can one force others to sacrifice themselves, as in forcing entire unwilling nations to self-destruct.

    Also, our policies are obviously increasing misery, hatred, and bloodshed, in the long run, and the short run. If we were motivated by compassion, we could send money, aid, entire teams, to other countries. But that would not serve our true purpose.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 5:52 pm GMT

    Meantime, if you want to take a kick at the crooks in academic administration, go over to the blog of Professor John McAdams - booted from the Marquette U, supposedly a Christian institution, for the terrible crime of standing up for a student who wished to make a case against gay marriage in a philosophy class - and give him your encouragement and support.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 6:12 pm GMT

    @CanSpeccy Meantime, if you want to take a kick at the crooks in academic administration, go over to the blog of Professor John McAdams - booted from the Marquette U, supposedly a Christian institution, for the terrible crime of standing up for a student who wished to make a case against gay marriage in a philosophy class - and give him your encouragement and support.

    Tulip , May 24, 2017 at 6:32 pm GMT

    There is an interesting point in the life of any maturing intellect when one discovers the gap between how the Academy insists on "explaining" how the world works and how the world really works. It is very hard to resist the urge to talk about it. [Even harder to look at the raw scientific data "no platformed" out of the dialogue.]

    Unfortunately, Mr. Murphy's new enemies already know how the world works, and will only double down on their "explanation" because it serves their group interests. Further, Murphy will likely face professional backlash for discussing the Emperor's attire. This will be exciting for a young scholar, but likely will sour with time. Cordelia was the youngest of Lear's daughters, and Socrates probably got the fate he deserved.

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 6:45 pm GMT

    @CanSpeccy

    What the West is doing is motivated by hate, not compassion.
    Yeah, hate by the globalist elite for the mass of mankind (aka what Bill Clinton's history mentor, Carroll Quigley called the Money Power), which is rather different from self-hatred, although self-hatred or at least the lust for what is self-destructive is what a mass-hating elite seeks to instill in the masses.

    Societies don't live or die according to the minds of the mass, but according to the wisdom and ambitions of the leadership. So let's forget the BS about a lack of spirituality, let's recognize who are the bastards driving the West to destruction and how they and their agents are to be exposed and destroyed.

    Sean , May 24, 2017 at 6:57 pm GMT

    I think liberals would disagree with a lot of this post. They see themselves as protecting the individual to live as they choose within a principle of no harm, whereby a problem of groups in competition does not arise, which is fair enough within a state, but falls apart if applied across borders and separate polities.

    The intellectual consensus against heterodox thinkers, especially those of Prof. MacDonald's ilk, is due to the principle of no harm, taken as mandating an open society and global utility. But, restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates is a terrible mistake from every point of view.

    What its really incredibly pathetic is that really challenging this regime from within the academic world is vanishingly rare. Or perhaps it's not so surprising given the above. But what happened to all that idealism that young scholars have when they really get interested in a field? Why don't professors in evolutionary science, who know well how natural selection works when there is an invasive species or sub-species - why don't these White people become vocal opponents of the current multicultural zeitgeist that is actively selecting against European genes? How can they just watch or even applaud the demise of their own people?

    This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests.

    Be that as it may, I think phrasing opposition in terms of anything pertaining to genes is disastrous . And the proof of that is the virtually open borders advocates constantly try to bring up genetic and related arguments as what lies behind all calls for immigration restriction. They want us to make the hereditary/ genetic/white/ nordic argument. All these terms denote supremacy and are identified with a philosophical error ( essentialism).

    Border security is self-defence for the national state communities that aspire to protect their polity (sovereign country), but liberals are assuming a global delimited polity (one world ) with a principle of no harm; they have to save the immigrants. The case for immigration restriction should be put as relating to a democratically ratified state's borders. A citizen's right to cross the border has a corollary in relation to foreigners having no such right.

    "I don't have to read Mein Kampf to know it is evil. Same with The Bell Curve."

    Kampf has a bit where Hitler talks of the conquest and colonisation of space, but predicts the globe will spin through space devoid of life if Jews are allowed to direct its development. I wonder, liberalism and nation speaking peace toward nation is going to make the open and technologically innovative Western counties a mulch cow for the world, one can imagine a much more internationally cooperative spirit becoming de rigueur , and progress harnessed to the hypercapitalism as foreseen by Nick Land. At which time pursuit of a technological singularity will be brought well within striking distance for that generation.

    The great silence from the Universe (we're all alone) and it seeming that, contrary to what evolutionist say, evolution does seem to have an upward direction to it (nervous systems having evolved twice ) plus we now we know that bacteria can survive meteorite crash landings all points toward life forms being self exterminiting by getting a little too advanced.

    Perhaps his expectation of the aforementioned advances in globalism and invention (or rationalist morality and inteligence) is why Professor Stephen Hawking thinks life on Earth will be extinguished within a century . As Yoda, or was it Revilo Oliver, said "night must fall".

    reiner Tor , Website May 24, 2017 at 6:57 pm GMT

    @AaronB You are right - Sailer in particular seems to admire Jewish "success" - which shows he does not understand what it is based on.

    Kevin deserves admiration, but his analysis is vitiated by his materialism. He does not understand White vulnerability - because as a materialist, he cannot.

    His materialism also limits his ability to understand Jews.

    Genetic determinism has severe limits in explaining history - the idea that Whites are uniquely altruistic is historically ignorant, for instance. Also, it is a serious misunderstanding to describe current White behavior as altruistic.

    Further, there can be no evolutionary logic for a group to preserve itself under pressure - survival on the genetic level would seem most assured by assimilating - a fact, by the way, which seems easily grasped by our current-day White materialists.

    Group-survival can only be a non-materialist transcendental value. But then, the identity of the group - not its genetic material, which will survive anyhow - must bee felt as worth preserving.

    These, and other defects, must be swept under the rug if one is to be an extreme materialist.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 6:58 pm GMT

    @AaronB You are right - Sailer in particular seems to admire Jewish "success" - which shows he does not understand what it is based on.

    Kevin deserves admiration, but his analysis is vitiated by his materialism. He does not understand White vulnerability - because as a materialist, he cannot.

    His materialism also limits his ability to understand Jews.

    Genetic determinism has severe limits in explaining history - the idea that Whites are uniquely altruistic is historically ignorant, for instance. Also, it is a serious misunderstanding to describe current White behavior as altruistic.

    Further, there can be no evolutionary logic for a group to preserve itself under pressure - survival on the genetic level would seem most assured by assimilating - a fact, by the way, which seems easily grasped by our current-day White materialists.

    Group-survival can only be a non-materialist transcendental value. But then, the identity of the group - not its genetic material, which will survive anyhow - must bee felt as worth preserving.

    These, and other defects, must be swept under the rug if one is to be an extreme materialist.

    reiner Tor , Website May 24, 2017 at 7:10 pm GMT

    @iffen There is no genetic imperative for reproduction.

    There is a genetic imperative to have sex.

    FKA Max , May 24, 2017 at 7:36 pm GMT

    @AaronB You are right - Sailer in particular seems to admire Jewish "success" - which shows he does not understand what it is based on.

    Kevin deserves admiration, but his analysis is vitiated by his materialism. He does not understand White vulnerability - because as a materialist, he cannot.

    His materialism also limits his ability to understand Jews.

    Genetic determinism has severe limits in explaining history - the idea that Whites are uniquely altruistic is historically ignorant, for instance. Also, it is a serious misunderstanding to describe current White behavior as altruistic.

    Further, there can be no evolutionary logic for a group to preserve itself under pressure - survival on the genetic level would seem most assured by assimilating - a fact, by the way, which seems easily grasped by our current-day White materialists.

    Group-survival can only be a non-materialist transcendental value. But then, the identity of the group - not its genetic material, which will survive anyhow - must bee felt as worth preserving.

    These, and other defects, must be swept under the rug if one is to be an extreme materialist.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 7:40 pm GMT

    @annamaria What the West is doing is motivated by greed (and the superiority complex).
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com

    "... Muslim fundamentalism is such a strong growth that it needed no Western provocation to set it in motion. We have not only removed or weakened the regimes that inhibited, more or less, that growth. What we have done is to encourage Jihad to flourish on an immensely greater scale. That increased scale increases its glamour and its pull for our English Muslims many times over.

    ... Western countries have been arming and training Muslim fighters knowing full well that those fighters were Jihadis, and were more than likely to join even more extreme Jihadi units. Knowing full well also that some of those Jihadis, but now trained in killing and invigorated by contact with other true believers, would return to their countries of origin and do what harm they could.

    ... We see ragged groups of thugs using, often inexpertly, the deadly equipment we give them or the supply of which we facilitate. ... For there is now no doubt that the flood of foreign Jihadis that have wreaked such havoc in Syria and neighbouring countries was released by us or with our active complicity. It could not have happened but for Western assistance. We do not acknowledge it."

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 7:52 pm GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    survival on the genetic level would seem most assured by assimilating – a fact ...
    Oh sure!

    Just what a globalist shill for European genocide would say.

    The truth, however, is quite the opposite.

    Thus, if in a territory of fixed carrying capacity, indigenous females are impregnated by alien settlers, then in the next generation, the proportion of indigenous genes in the gene pool will be diminished.

    Some survival strategy!

    That that is a strategy for self-genocide is why Jews won't "marry out" and insist on having a Jewish state.

    And the genocidal effect is the same if you merely have mass immigration, especially when combined with below replacement birth rates as have been engineered throughout the West by government policy on abortion, divorce, toleration of immigrant polygamy, and the promotion of sexual perversion under the guise of sex "education." Under those circumstances, it doesn't matter who the indigenous people mate with, their genes in the gene pool will be diluted, eventually to extinction.

    Even if the indigenous mate only with one another, the frequency of their genes in the gene pool will be diminished both proportionally and in total, unless the population grows without limit.

    Then there is the cultural genocide, better known as multi-culturalism. First you invite in the adherents of the religion of love, next thing you know is the bastards are yelling Europe is the Cancer, Islam is the Answer , and terror bombing indigenous kids .

    annamaria , May 24, 2017 at 8:01 pm GMT

    @Sean I think liberals would disagree with a lot of this post. They see themselves as protecting the individual to live as they choose within a principle of no harm, whereby a problem of groups in competition does not arise, which is fair enough within a state, but falls apart if applied across borders and separate polities.

    The intellectual consensus against heterodox thinkers, especially those of Prof. MacDonald's ilk, is due to the principle of no harm, taken as mandating an open society and global utility. But, restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates is a terrible mistake from every point of view.


    What its really incredibly pathetic is that really challenging this regime from within the academic world is vanishingly rare. Or perhaps it's not so surprising given the above. But what happened to all that idealism that young scholars have when they really get interested in a field? Why don't professors in evolutionary science, who know well how natural selection works when there is an invasive species or sub-species - why don't these White people become vocal opponents of the current multicultural zeitgeist that is actively selecting against European genes? How can they just watch or even applaud the demise of their own people?

    This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests.

    . And the proof of that is the virtually open borders advocates constantly try to bring up genetic and related arguments as what lies behind all calls for immigration restriction. They want us to make the hereditary/ genetic/white/ nordic argument. All these terms denote supremacy and are identified with a philosophical error ( essentialism).

    Border security is self-defence for the national state communities that aspire to protect their polity (sovereign country), but liberals are assuming a global delimited polity (one world ) with a principle of no harm; they have to save the immigrants. The case for immigration restriction should be put as relating to a democratically ratified state's borders. A citizen's right to cross the border has a corollary in relation to foreigners having no such right.

    "I don't have to read Mein Kampf to know it is evil. Same with The Bell Curve."

    Kampf has a bit where Hitler talks of the conquest and colonisation of space, but predicts the globe will spin through space devoid of life if Jews are allowed to direct its development. I wonder, liberalism and nation speaking peace toward nation is going to make the open and technologically innovative Western counties a mulch cow for the world, one can imagine a much more internationally cooperative spirit becoming de rigueur , and progress harnessed to the hypercapitalism as foreseen by Nick Land. At which time pursuit of a technological singularity will be brought well within striking distance for that generation.

    The great silence from the Universe (we're all alone) and it seeming that, contrary to what evolutionist say, evolution does seem to have an upward direction to it (nervous systems having evolved twice ) plus we now we know that bacteria can survive meteorite crash landings all points toward life forms being self exterminiting by getting a little too advanced.

    Perhaps his expectation of the aforementioned advances in globalism and invention (or rationalist morality and inteligence) is why Professor Stephen Hawking thinks life on Earth will be extinguished within a century . As Yoda, or was it Revilo Oliver, said "night must fall".

    nickels , May 24, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT

    @AaronB You are right, and it is the Western intellectual elite that had turned against itself by the time of the late 19th century. Precisely the ones who engage most deeply with Western ideas, and are most affected by them.

    In the 19th century, a Baudelaire and a Rimbaud may have been horrified at the banality and dreariness of life in a mechanized society, but the masses, though obscurely suffering, were not so deeply affected.

    But today, the masses have caught up - obesity, the opioid epidemic, etc.

    The "bastards" who are responsible - unfortunately, you can't hunt down materialism.

    If you don't see the significance of our lack of spirituality, you will never be able to break free.

    Santoculto - but you see, "beauty" is a metaphysical concept - it transcends mere matter. Materialism has no use for beauty. We see this today - with the loss of metaphysics, our architecture, our art, has become ugly. Beauty is "useless".

    We have some "thing" driving us forward - selfish materialism. If you don't like it, and wish to escape it, then what drives you forward cannot be a "thing".

    Santoculto , May 24, 2017 at 8:13 pm GMT

    @AaronB You are right, and it is the Western intellectual elite that had turned against itself by the time of the late 19th century. Precisely the ones who engage most deeply with Western ideas, and are most affected by them.

    In the 19th century, a Baudelaire and a Rimbaud may have been horrified at the banality and dreariness of life in a mechanized society, but the masses, though obscurely suffering, were not so deeply affected.

    But today, the masses have caught up - obesity, the opioid epidemic, etc.

    The "bastards" who are responsible - unfortunately, you can't hunt down materialism.

    If you don't see the significance of our lack of spirituality, you will never be able to break free.

    Santoculto - but you see, "beauty" is a metaphysical concept - it transcends mere matter. Materialism has no use for beauty. We see this today - with the loss of metaphysics, our architecture, our art, has become ugly. Beauty is "useless".

    We have some "thing" driving us forward - selfish materialism. If you don't like it, and wish to escape it, then what drives you forward cannot be a "thing".

    iffen , May 24, 2017 at 8:46 pm GMT

    @reiner Tor People love having grandkids, even feminist Hillary Clinton (who otherwise didn't care much for reproduction) begged her only daughter to produce grandkids for her. Childless spinsters are often quite bitter, and most folk psychologists give at least two reasons why, with one of them being bitter about not having children. What makes you think it's not hardwired?

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 8:56 pm GMT

    @ FKA Max – thanks, that sounds interesting. I don't know if Europeans are less altruistic than others, but I do know that the Muslims whom the Crusaders came into contact with considered Europeans to be especially ethnocentric.

    In my view, genetic determinism is simply a limited view – nations change their character, often dramatically, over time. Examples are numerous – dishonest Germans, lazy Chinese, etc, etc.

    To ignore this, truly one must do violence to one's mind.

    @Nickels – yes, but that is the materialist trap. One cannot simply choose not to be a materialist for prudential reasons – as prudence itself is a materialist value. Materialism certainly undermines itself in many ways, though. It is, even, self-contradictory (if our minds are evolutionary, we can't assume it produces truth – but then our minds produced the theory of evolution, which we then have no basis to believe in, and so on. It's circular, and self-undermining.)

    – but beauty is not a physical thing – it is a relation between things, a certain proportion, an arrangement of things. Therefore, it is metaphysical – i.e above physics.

    Agree with you about the Vatican – though beautiful, it represent power and wealth, values utterly foreign to Christianity.

    utu , May 24, 2017 at 9:03 pm GMT

    @AaronB You're not thinking it through.

    First, you have misunderstood me badly if you think I support European genocide. I am offering my analysis out of a desire to avoid just that. I just think your analysis is badly superficial.

    You are badly conflating "group identity" with "genetic group" - if the indigenous group agrees to assimilate to the invaders identity - religion, etc - then the indigenous group need not suffer any loss of genetic frequency.

    Even today, if you convert to Islam - assimilate - you will be provided a wife in many places. Your genes will most certainly not perish. Rather the opposite, for many young Western males.

    There can be no genetic, materialist reason to resist Islam - many low-status Western males will have improved chances of reproduction, and elite Western males will compose a valued intellectual and technocratic class, as happened historically. Genetically, females will be in no way worse off.

    To retain our distinct group identity we need a metaphysical reason - our distinct identity must be felt as worth preserving. This fact is implicitly admitted by our materialist Western elites, by their behavior.

    Historically, if you merged with your neighbor tribe, you became larger and stronger - the optimum strategy was for tribes to merge into "hordes", which happened in many cases. A tribe that wanted to retain its distinct identity had to have a reason - it did not make genetic sense.

    Consider, also, that females of conquered tribes frequently despise the conquerors and refuse to mate with them, which makes no genetic sense. Take Israel - attractive Palestinian women should be rushing into the arms of Israeli men in droves. They are a conquered nation. Israeli men of Arab descent would love to pair with them. There is an interesting film on youtube called "checkpoint", where you see Israeli soldiers of Arab descent hitting on (boderline sexually harrassing), young Palestinian women crossing their military checkpoint, and talking about how attractive they find them. Yet the women scorn them.

    European colonialists in Asia also did not typically have to fend off high-quality local women - both groups felt their own identity was worth preserving, for the most part.

    Yes - Jews retain a distinct identity, but it is highly obvious that the genetic survival of individual Jews is not served by this. This is why "assimilation" is so deplored by the Rabbis, who strive to provide a metaphysical reason for avoiding it - they know no materialist explanation can suffice. It is also why the Torah makes such strict and severe rules against Jews associating with gentiles - it understands well that every genetic imperative promotes assimilation, and only metaphysical considerations have a chance of providing a countervailing tendency. And the 50% intermarriage rate of secular Jews strongly illustrates this point.

    In Europe for most of history, Jewish genes would obviously have done far better by converting to Christianity and assimilating.

    And so on and so forth.

    Once you liberate yourself from the straitjacket of materialism, it is amazing the vistas that open up before you. So much that is puzzling to people like Kevin Mcdonald slip nicely into place.

    reiner Tor , Website May 24, 2017 at 9:10 pm GMT

    @iffen What makes you think it's not hardwired?

    No scientific evidence.

    I think it would have turned up by now.

    In 2-3 generations, people go from having 10-12 kids to having 0,1,2.

    How would that work genetically?

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 9:24 pm GMT

    @AaronB You're not thinking it through.

    First, you have misunderstood me badly if you think I support European genocide. I am offering my analysis out of a desire to avoid just that. I just think your analysis is badly superficial.

    You are badly conflating "group identity" with "genetic group" - if the indigenous group agrees to assimilate to the invaders identity - religion, etc - then the indigenous group need not suffer any loss of genetic frequency.

    Even today, if you convert to Islam - assimilate - you will be provided a wife in many places. Your genes will most certainly not perish. Rather the opposite, for many young Western males.

    There can be no genetic, materialist reason to resist Islam - many low-status Western males will have improved chances of reproduction, and elite Western males will compose a valued intellectual and technocratic class, as happened historically. Genetically, females will be in no way worse off.

    To retain our distinct group identity we need a metaphysical reason - our distinct identity must be felt as worth preserving. This fact is implicitly admitted by our materialist Western elites, by their behavior.

    Historically, if you merged with your neighbor tribe, you became larger and stronger - the optimum strategy was for tribes to merge into "hordes", which happened in many cases. A tribe that wanted to retain its distinct identity had to have a reason - it did not make genetic sense.

    Consider, also, that females of conquered tribes frequently despise the conquerors and refuse to mate with them, which makes no genetic sense. Take Israel - attractive Palestinian women should be rushing into the arms of Israeli men in droves. They are a conquered nation. Israeli men of Arab descent would love to pair with them. There is an interesting film on youtube called "checkpoint", where you see Israeli soldiers of Arab descent hitting on (boderline sexually harrassing), young Palestinian women crossing their military checkpoint, and talking about how attractive they find them. Yet the women scorn them.

    European colonialists in Asia also did not typically have to fend off high-quality local women - both groups felt their own identity was worth preserving, for the most part.

    Yes - Jews retain a distinct identity, but it is highly obvious that the genetic survival of individual Jews is not served by this. This is why "assimilation" is so deplored by the Rabbis, who strive to provide a metaphysical reason for avoiding it - they know no materialist explanation can suffice. It is also why the Torah makes such strict and severe rules against Jews associating with gentiles - it understands well that every genetic imperative promotes assimilation, and only metaphysical considerations have a chance of providing a countervailing tendency. And the 50% intermarriage rate of secular Jews strongly illustrates this point.

    In Europe for most of history, Jewish genes would obviously have done far better by converting to Christianity and assimilating.

    And so on and so forth.

    Once you liberate yourself from the straitjacket of materialism, it is amazing the vistas that open up before you. So much that is puzzling to people like Kevin Mcdonald slip nicely into place.

    Jason Liu , May 24, 2017 at 9:36 pm GMT

    This is exactly why "neoreaction" should have been the face and force behind the Alt-Right, not the Stormfront types. You can tell by just how afraid the academic left is when equality is questioned on an ideological level - the immediate reaction to accuse their opponents of moral sin indicates an insecurity in their ideas.

    Barring all-out, society-wide nationalism, it's the Dark Enlightenment nerds who will produce the cultural change necessary to bring down the left. Pepe and beating up Antifa will only get you so far.

    Anon , May 24, 2017 at 9:55 pm GMT

    @utu And who are these Jews who... Got a source for that?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFE0qAiofMQ


    I think there is a resurgence of anti-Semitism because at this point in time Europe has not yet learned how to be multicultural. And I think we are going to be part of the throes of that transformation, which must take place. Europe is not going to be the monolithic societies they once were in the last century. Jews are going to be at the centre of that. It's a huge transformation for Europe to make. They are now going into a multicultural mode and Jews will be resented because of our leading role. But without that leading role and without that transformation, Europe will not survive .
    Santoculto , May 24, 2017 at 10:04 pm GMT

    @AaronB @ FKA Max - thanks, that sounds interesting. I don't know if Europeans are less altruistic than others, but I do know that the Muslims whom the Crusaders came into contact with considered Europeans to be especially ethnocentric.

    In my view, genetic determinism is simply a limited view - nations change their character, often dramatically, over time. Examples are numerous - dishonest Germans, lazy Chinese, etc, etc.

    To ignore this, truly one must do violence to one's mind.

    @Nickels - yes, but that is the materialist trap. One cannot simply choose not to be a materialist for prudential reasons - as prudence itself is a materialist value. Materialism certainly undermines itself in many ways, though. It is, even, self-contradictory (if our minds are evolutionary, we can't assume it produces truth - but then our minds produced the theory of evolution, which we then have no basis to believe in, and so on. It's circular, and self-undermining.)

    @Santoculto - but beauty is not a physical thing - it is a relation between things, a certain proportion, an arrangement of things. Therefore, it is metaphysical - i.e above physics.

    Agree with you about the Vatican - though beautiful, it represent power and wealth, values utterly foreign to Christianity.

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 10:09 pm GMT

    @utu Your genes will most certainly not perish.

    I do not like the BS about gene survival. But if you have 1 child only only 50% of your genes survive if you mate with dog. But if you mate with random person from Africa more than 50% of your genes will survive because probably you share some genes with Africans. But even more of your genes will survive if you mate with somebody from your ethnic/racial group. But if you want to really maximize your gene survival try incest.

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 10:29 pm GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    First, you have misunderstood me badly if you think I support European genocide.
    I didn't say what I thought you support. I said that what you were saying was consistent with the objective of those who do seek European genocide.

    if the indigenous group agrees to assimilate to the invaders identity – religion, etc – then the indigenous group need not suffer any loss of genetic frequency.
    That's a clever piece of bullshit. What your saying is, as long as the indigenous Europeans agree to become part of some other group then the loss of their genes does not matter because, hey, they agreed in advance to merge and be submerged and ultimately eliminated.

    As for


    You are badly conflating "group identity" with "genetic group"

    More clever bullshit, since it is you who are doing the conflating.

    Even today, if you convert to Islam – assimilate – you will be provided a wife in many places. Your genes will most certainly not perish. Rather the opposite, for many young Western males.
    So you are crassly advocating conversion of Europe to Islam on the preposterous falsehood that it will increase European genes in the European gene pool, which is mathematical nonsense. If a European turns Muslim in Europe, it's most likely that he will marry a European or several, and if it is several, so much the worst for the genes of those European males who might otherwise have married but who will have to make do without a wife at all.

    Consider, also, that females of conquered tribes frequently despise the conquerors and refuse to mate with them
    Bollocks. Tell that to the 40 million living descendants of Ghengis Kahn.

    Take Israel
    Please do.

    There can be no genetic, materialist reason to resist Islam – many low-status Western males will have improved chances of reproduction, and elite Western males will compose a valued intellectual and technocratic class, as happened historically.
    I've already exploded that idiotic fallacy in an earlier comment (see #52, above). I'm not engaging in a 'tis 'tisn't dispute.

    To retain our distinct group identity we need a metaphysical reason
    Any group thinking the way you want the Europeans to think will be wiped from the page of history in very short order.

    attractive Palestinian women should be rushing into the arms of Israeli men in droves. They are a conquered nation. Israeli men of Arab descent would love to pair with them.
    The Palis haven't surrendered yet. They want to kill everyone of you Jews or at least drive you back wherever the Hell you came from.

    Historically, if you merged with your neighbor tribe, you became larger and stronger
    You certainly pack a lot of BS into one comment. The optimum strategy depends greatly on circumstances. Genocide, as practiced by the Jews of old against the original inhabitants of Israel, involving slaughter of the males and post menopausal females, and impregnation of the females is often the optimum strategy, but circumstances alter cases in a vast number of different ways, so your comment is, frankly, fatuous.

    European colonialists in Asia also did not typically have to fend off high-quality local women
    There was no European colonization of Asia, so what are you talking about?

    Yes – Jews retain a distinct identity, but it is highly obvious that the genetic survival of individual Jews is not served by this.
    There is no such thing as the genetic survival of individual Jews or anyone else. All that counts, in the evolutionary sense, are genes, and the share of your gene in the gene pool, and what is apparently "highly obvious" to you is not the case.

    In Europe for most of history, Jewish genes would obviously have done far better by converting to Christianity and assimilating.
    "Obviously"? Usually a sign of bunk to be asserted. You have no arguments at all. Mere ridiculous and uninformed comment that happens to conform exactly with the globalist project for the destruction of the independent, sovereign, democratic, and by tradition Christian, European states.

    And so on and so forth.
    Yes, very good. That typifies the deficiency in fact and logic of your entire spiel.

    Once you liberate yourself from the straitjacket of materialism, it is amazing the vistas that open up before you.
    And once you open yourself up to unadulterated bullshit, it's amazing how quickly you can inadvertently destroy your own people and posterity.
    Agent76 , May 24, 2017 at 10:30 pm GMT

    May 22, 2017 The Inconvenient Truth About the Democratic Party

    Did you know that the Democratic Party defended slavery, started the Civil War, founded the KKK, and fought against every major civil rights act in U.S. history? Watch as Carol Swain, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, shares the inconvenient history of the Democratic Party.

    Kevin O'Keeffe , May 24, 2017 at 10:44 pm GMT

    @AaronB "This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests."

    Both are selfish materialistic interests.

    You will never be able to understand why Whites are committing suicide if this is all you can see.

    You are doomed to eternal puzzlement and perplexity, like Derbyshire, like Sailer. Eternally scratching your heads, yet unwilling to question your premises, trapped in the sterile circle of materialism.

    You yourself admit you cannot understand it - i.e it cannot be explained in terms of your premises. One would think when one has reached the limits of one's premises explanatory power, its time to think beyond them.

    Yet how seldom that happens. People just circle endlessly their central premise, unable to break free.

    Yet to anyone who isn't a materialist, how obvious it is why Whites are committing suicide.

    SFG , May 24, 2017 at 10:58 pm GMT

    @Jason Liu This is exactly why "neoreaction" should have been the face and force behind the Alt-Right, not the Stormfront types. You can tell by just how afraid the academic left is when equality is questioned on an ideological level -- the immediate reaction to accuse their opponents of moral sin indicates an insecurity in their ideas.

    Barring all-out, society-wide nationalism, it's the Dark Enlightenment nerds who will produce the cultural change necessary to bring down the left. Pepe and beating up Antifa will only get you so far.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 11:14 pm GMT

    @Anon So one Jew speaks for the whole group? Does Ted Bundy speak for you?

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 11:15 pm GMT

    @utu Your genes will most certainly not perish.

    I do not like the BS about gene survival. But if you have 1 child only only 50% of your genes survive if you mate with dog. But if you mate with random person from Africa more than 50% of your genes will survive because probably you share some genes with Africans. But even more of your genes will survive if you mate with somebody from your ethnic/racial group. But if you want to really maximize your gene survival try incest.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 11:18 pm GMT

    @Sean I think liberals would disagree with a lot of this post. They see themselves as protecting the individual to live as they choose within a principle of no harm, whereby a problem of groups in competition does not arise, which is fair enough within a state, but falls apart if applied across borders and separate polities.

    The intellectual consensus against heterodox thinkers, especially those of Prof. MacDonald's ilk, is due to the principle of no harm, taken as mandating an open society and global utility. But, restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates is a terrible mistake from every point of view.


    What its really incredibly pathetic is that really challenging this regime from within the academic world is vanishingly rare. Or perhaps it's not so surprising given the above. But what happened to all that idealism that young scholars have when they really get interested in a field? Why don't professors in evolutionary science, who know well how natural selection works when there is an invasive species or sub-species - why don't these White people become vocal opponents of the current multicultural zeitgeist that is actively selecting against European genes? How can they just watch or even applaud the demise of their own people?

    This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests.

    Be that as it may, I think phrasing opposition in terms of anything pertaining to genes is disastrous . And the proof of that is the virtually open borders advocates constantly try to bring up genetic and related arguments as what lies behind all calls for immigration restriction. They want us to make the hereditary/ genetic/white/ nordic argument. All these terms denote supremacy and are identified with a philosophical error ( essentialism).

    Border security is self-defence for the national state communities that aspire to protect their polity (sovereign country), but liberals are assuming a global delimited polity (one world ) with a principle of no harm; they have to save the immigrants. The case for immigration restriction should be put as relating to a democratically ratified state's borders. A citizen's right to cross the border has a corollary in relation to foreigners having no such right.

    "I don't have to read Mein Kampf to know it is evil. Same with The Bell Curve."

    Kampf has a bit where Hitler talks of the conquest and colonisation of space, but predicts the globe will spin through space devoid of life if Jews are allowed to direct its development. I wonder, liberalism and nation speaking peace toward nation is going to make the open and technologically innovative Western counties a mulch cow for the world, one can imagine a much more internationally cooperative spirit becoming de rigueur , and progress harnessed to the hypercapitalism as foreseen by Nick Land. At which time pursuit of a technological singularity will be brought well within striking distance for that generation.

    The great silence from the Universe (we're all alone) and it seeming that, contrary to what evolutionist say, evolution does seem to have an upward direction to it (nervous systems having evolved twice ) plus we now we know that bacteria can survive meteorite crash landings all points toward life forms being self exterminiting by getting a little too advanced.

    Perhaps his expectation of the aforementioned advances in globalism and invention (or rationalist morality and inteligence) is why Professor Stephen Hawking thinks life on Earth will be extinguished within a century . As Yoda, or was it Revilo Oliver, said "night must fall".

    Alden , May 24, 2017 at 11:34 pm GMT

    @jilles dykstra One wonders if psychologists are ignorant of history.
    Some 300 years BCE a Greek calculated the circumference of the earth at 39.000 km, the right figure is 40.000.
    Yet Columbus' sailors were afraid to fall of the earth.
    For some 1600 years the christian church prevented all independent thought, in 1600 the pope had Giordano Bruno burned alive, for heretic thoughts, about the universe, about the holy trinity.
    At about the same time Calvin burned Servetius, the man who discovered blood circulation, alive to death, also about the trinity.
    So Servetius was unable to tell the world about the blood circulation.
    Galileo got away with house arrest.
    Even around 1860 the pope declared that philosophical thinking not controlled by the church was illegal.
    So there is nothing special in the christian culture about no independent thought.
    On top of that, as Chomsky states: in any culture there is a standard truth, if this truth is not considered, no debate is possible, but between those who know better.
    We see this right now, much wailing about the indeed horrible carnage in Manchester, that the USA, Predators with Hellfire, causes such carnage every week three or fout times, it cannot be said.
    Terrorism is caused by the Islam, not by the west.

    iffen , May 24, 2017 at 11:41 pm GMT

    @reiner Tor


    In 2-3 generations, people go from having 10-12 kids to having 0,1,2.

    How would that work genetically?

    If I paid you $10,000 and gave you a day, could you come up with a rough back-of-the-envelope model where people would have a hardwired genetic predisposition to wanting to have many kids yet end up having a different number of kids under different circumstances?

    Actually, I could come up with such models for free.

    Santoculto , May 24, 2017 at 11:46 pm GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    But, restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates is a terrible mistake from every point of view.
    Except, as you forgot to mention, the survival of the European people. But liberals, of course, are always ready to sacrifice European people for whatever depraved cause they may have in mind.
    Alden , May 24, 2017 at 11:47 pm GMT

    @iffen What makes you think it's not hardwired?

    No scientific evidence.

    I think it would have turned up by now.

    In 2-3 generations, people go from having 10-12 kids to having 0,1,2.

    How would that work genetically?

    iffen , May 24, 2017 at 11:47 pm GMT

    @Kevin O'Keeffe


    Yet to anyone who isn't a materialist, how obvious it is why Whites are committing suicide.
    Seeing as how the future of Western civilization is at stake, now may not be the best time to be keeping us in suspense.
    Alden , May 24, 2017 at 11:58 pm GMT

    @annamaria A case in point - Libya: http://theduran.com/hillary-clinton-bears-responsibility-for-the-manchester-atrocity/
    "The illegal NATO war against Libya was Hillary Clinton's war above all others. It was her who took a stable, prosperous, secular socialist country and turned it into a failed state and a terrorist playground. Gaddafi warned that he was the rampart holding back al-Qaeda from Europe, but Hillary Clinton did not care. She even laughed about Gaddafi's inhumane, barbaric execution at the hands of terrorists.
    Had Hillary Clinton not been able to convince Barack Obama and his useful war propagandists David Cameron in Britain and Nicholas Sarkozy, the dead children in Manchester might be with us today.
    Hillary Clinton famously said of Gaddafi's illegal execution, "We came, we saw, he died". Indeed, she came, she saw, he died and now thousands of more have died in Libya, many others have died in Europe because of this, including those who recently perished in Manchester."

    utu , May 25, 2017 at 12:10 am GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    But, restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates is a terrible mistake from every point of view.
    Except, as you forgot to mention, the survival of the European people. But liberals, of course, are always ready to sacrifice European people for whatever depraved cause they may have in mind.
    AaronB , May 25, 2017 at 12:13 am GMT

    So iffen mocks me, and CanSpeccy fumes in silence, with his back to me.

    I get the sense committed materialists really do not like being challenged .

    Its unfortunate. If we cannot even tolerate challenges to materialism, we are without hope.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world, full of faith, replaces us.

    iffen , May 25, 2017 at 12:22 am GMT

    @Alden Don't forget about reliable birth control.

    Anon , May 25, 2017 at 12:28 am GMT

    Classic case of how PC can make white psychology stupid and gullible.

    https://altright.com/2017/05/24/blacks-mastermind-criminal-uses-white-guilt-to-steal-iphones-from-unsuspecting-liberals/

    Fact is blacks are more likely to lie, cheat, steal, and rob.

    They have less conscience and inhibition.

    Evolution made them that way. They had to survive in a world of competition with hyenas, leopards, crocodiles, and hippos.

    utu , May 25, 2017 at 12:28 am GMT

    @Alden You're too intelligent to keep repeating Calvinist and enlightenment propaganda. Columbus and his sailors knew that the earth was round and if they just keep sailing west they would eventually run into Asia about 5,000 miles from The coast of Spain.

    What Columbus didn't know was that the Americas are between Europe and Asia.

    Why is the calendar used today called the Georgian calendar? Because the calendar needs to be adjusted every 1, 500 years. It was adjusted around 40 BC when Juluus Cesear was Emperor. By 1500AD it needed further adjustment. That adjustment was done in the best observatory in the world at the time by the beat astronomers and mathmeticians in the world. The work was done in the Vatican observatory. The astronomers and mathematicians were Vatican priests.

    I very heard of the scientific method? It was created around 1100 AD by priests and monks at the Roman Catholic University of Paris Sorbonne.

    Your own country the Netherlands was under the North Sea in 500 AD. It was Roman Catholic monks who settled on the beaches and began a thousand year process of land reclamation that literally built the land now called the Netherlands.

    Every university established in Europe before 1800 was established by the church. During those 1600 years you cite the only libraries in Europe belonged to the church

    MarkinLA , May 25, 2017 at 12:35 am GMT

    @iffen instinctive objective of reproduction

    There is no instinct for reproduction.

    There is an instinct to have sex.

    iffen , May 25, 2017 at 12:48 am GMT

    @AaronB So iffen mocks me, and CanSpeccy fumes in silence, with his back to me.

    I get the sense committed materialists really do not like being challenged....

    Its unfortunate. If we cannot even tolerate challenges to materialism, we are without hope.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world, full of faith, replaces us.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 25, 2017 at 12:50 am GMT

    @AaronB You know, if we adopt the genetic perspective, then none of this matters at all.

    Behaviors get selected for in a vast impersonal process that doesn't care about the outcome.

    I do not see why the conscious *I* should give one whit about my genes.

    If someone has inherited a concern with his genetic transmission, or if someone has not, is a neutral fact with no significance from this point of view. If that person's genes don't make it to the next generation, that is a fact - it is without value. We have banished value, and created a world of impersonal facts.

    There can be no discussion, because there are no values, there are no reference points - it is all a vast impersonal process that is utterly blind.

    You cannot derive value from fact - and your attempt to do so is merely the metaphysical instinct hard at work, trying to derive meaning from the concepts available to you, even if those concepts cannot yield meaning.

    Such is the strength of man's metaphysical instinct (the search for value and meaning) - finally, after much toil and effort, we arrive at a world view which banishes all metaphysics, yet we try immediately to sneak it in through the back door.

    Tell me, why *should* I care about my genes? Ah, but with that word "should", we are back into metaphysics, and out of the genetic world-view.

    These double-binds and knots that Western thinking has finally tied itself into - if we cannot untie these knots, we are doomed to death.

    Because this talk of genetic transmission will not give us the motivation to save ourselves.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 25, 2017 at 12:56 am GMT

    @AaronB So iffen mocks me, and CanSpeccy fumes in silence, with his back to me.

    I get the sense committed materialists really do not like being challenged....

    Its unfortunate. If we cannot even tolerate challenges to materialism, we are without hope.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world, full of faith, replaces us.

    MarkinLA , May 25, 2017 at 12:57 am GMT

    @Alden There is a theory that Hildabeast attacked Libya on orders from the bankers because Ghaddafi took Libya out of the international monetary system.

    America needs a leader like Ghaddafi, a leader who cares about his own people and nation.

    MarkinLA , May 25, 2017 at 1:02 am GMT

    @Jason Liu This is exactly why "neoreaction" should have been the face and force behind the Alt-Right, not the Stormfront types. You can tell by just how afraid the academic left is when equality is questioned on an ideological level -- the immediate reaction to accuse their opponents of moral sin indicates an insecurity in their ideas.

    Barring all-out, society-wide nationalism, it's the Dark Enlightenment nerds who will produce the cultural change necessary to bring down the left. Pepe and beating up Antifa will only get you so far.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 1:04 am GMT

    @utu The anti Catholic propaganda was particularly strong in The Netherlands: "Liever Turks dan Paaps"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liever_Turks_dan_Paaps

    dcite , May 25, 2017 at 1:04 am GMT

    "Childless spinsters are often quite bitter, and most folk psychologists give at least two reasons why, with one of them being bitter about not having children. "

    You sure understand more about the person using certain vocabulary, than the subject they are opining about. Chuckling at the images he's conjuring up. To judge from what I've seen, those "spinsters" probably got more action than most properly married and childed women.
    There are lots of other reasons to be bitter than not having kids. Like having kids you wish you'd never had. Some of the bitterest people I've ever met have been parents. Both kinds.
    It is common to overestimate the desire of women to reproduce. I was flabbergasted at the young women I met years ago who declared with absoluteness, they wanted no children. That seemed so final and I couldn't get why they didn't see the potential in raising super-kids. They said it with absolute conviction and awareness that they would probably not die young and would be old without kids. Today, most are just fine. Most do not seem bitter. Maybe they should for the good of society you want high quality people to reproduce. But these are the very types least concerned, and by and large they are just fine with the situation. What is convenient for the individual is not always good for society; but it does make for a happy individual.

    MarkinLA , May 25, 2017 at 1:09 am GMT

    @iffen Don't forget about reliable birth control.

    Why would you use birth control if you have an 'instinct" to reproduce?

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 1:15 am GMT

    @iffen Don't forget about reliable birth control.

    Why would you use birth control if you have an 'instinct" to reproduce?

    AaronB , May 25, 2017 at 1:16 am GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    I do not see why the conscious *I* should give one whit about my genes.
    Doesn't matter whether you see why or not. The genes of those who do care are more likely to be represented in succeeding generations than the genes of those who do not. Caring about such things is largely a cultural matter. Hence, as
    Raphael Lemkin who coined the term genocide explained, genocide can be achieved by:

    a coordinated plan aimed at destruction of the essential foundations of the life of national groups so that these groups wither and die like plants that have suffered a blight. The end may be accomplished by the forced disintegration of political and social institutions, of the culture of the people, of their language, their national feelings and their religion. It may be accomplished by wiping out all basis of personal security, liberty, health and dignity. When these means fail the machine gun can always be utilized as a last resort.
    That is exactly what the European peoples are exposed to now. In arguing for the Islamification of Europe, through mass immigration you are promoting genocide of the Europeans, for whatever reasons, maybe hatred of Europeans, or maybe it pays - for you to raise a family and thus increase the representation of your genes in the gene pool.
    utu , May 25, 2017 at 1:18 am GMT

    @Alden Better Turks than Papists? That must be why the Netherlands revolt against the Spanish Empire occurred just in time to distract the Spanish from the very important naval war against the Turks which culminated in the Catholic victory of Lepanto which made the Mediterranean and Atlantic safer for Europeans.

    I don't know why Jilles Dykstra keeps injecting his trite 1700s diatribes against the Catholic Church. None of his allegations are true, just 400 yr old enlightenment propaganda. Columbus consulted the priests at the university of Salmonacca. The priests calculated the distance between Spain and Asia. They got the distance right. That's quite an achievement for an anti science religion.

    Once Columbus realized that he could sail that distance he was able to raise funds from the Spanish crown. Of course Dysktra will heap scorn on the scientists of Salmonacca for not realizing the Americas were between Spain and Asia.

    Even American fundamentalists and Jews have ratcheted down the anti Catholic Calvinist rhetoric in the last 80 years.

    AaronB , May 25, 2017 at 1:20 am GMT

    @iffen I get the sense committed materialists really do not like being challenged .

    I love a challenge, more than most.

    Faith failed.

    Case closed.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 1:21 am GMT

    @MarkinLA I just think Hillary was looking to her Presidential run in 2016 and saw an opportunity to burnish her "foreign policy" bonafides. She thought it would be a cake walk and successful and could then brag in 2016 how she was head and shoulders above everybody else in foreign policy. Benghazi happened and everything was supposed to go down the memory hole.

    MarkinLA , May 25, 2017 at 1:21 am GMT

    @Alden Better Turks than Papists? That must be why the Netherlands revolt against the Spanish Empire occurred just in time to distract the Spanish from the very important naval war against the Turks which culminated in the Catholic victory of Lepanto which made the Mediterranean and Atlantic safer for Europeans.

    I don't know why Jilles Dykstra keeps injecting his trite 1700s diatribes against the Catholic Church. None of his allegations are true, just 400 yr old enlightenment propaganda. Columbus consulted the priests at the university of Salmonacca. The priests calculated the distance between Spain and Asia. They got the distance right. That's quite an achievement for an anti science religion.

    Once Columbus realized that he could sail that distance he was able to raise funds from the Spanish crown. Of course Dysktra will heap scorn on the scientists of Salmonacca for not realizing the Americas were between Spain and Asia.

    Even American fundamentalists and Jews have ratcheted down the anti Catholic Calvinist rhetoric in the last 80 years.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 1:35 am GMT

    @utu why Jilles Dykstra keeps injecting his trite 1700s diatribes

    I think he genuinely believes it. Several centuries of incessant propaganda and brain washing. In England it was not much better.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 1:52 am GMT

    @Anon So one Jew speaks for the whole group? Does Ted Bundy speak for you?

    Anon , May 25, 2017 at 1:54 am GMT

    Hilarious.

    What Progs SAY is a means to cover up what they DO.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/black-farmer-calls-liberal-racism-191552524.html

    utu , May 25, 2017 at 2:02 am GMT

    @Alden I know but the English stopped the anti Catholic nonsense when they stopped attending their Protestant churches. But Dykstra just keeps posting the same old same old.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 25, 2017 at 2:11 am GMT

    @utu


    restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates
    I think it would be useful to go through all possible arguments in favor of controlling immigration. Why does it seem so that so many arguments are stigmatized and have negative connotations? Different argument will work with different people. Some arguments will fall on deaf ears in the US but might be persuasive in some European countries.

    Cultural arguments (destruction of cultures of both of the host and that of the immigrant, irreconcilable religious and cultural differences)

    Economic arguments (group and individual impact of immigration, who benefits and who does not)

    Legal arguments (sovereignty, ownership of land and country, national home, who can live in it and who can decide if every citizen is a part owner of the country, rule of reciprocity and 1st categorical imperative: what if everybody did this)

    Biological arguments (irreversibility of miscegenation, loss of natural biological diversity)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfxL_wuYtSg

    utu , May 25, 2017 at 2:15 am GMT

    @MarkinLA The priests calculated the distance between Spain and Asia. They got the distance right.

    Uh, no. The Atlantic is about 3000 miles, the Continental US is about 3000 miles and the Pacific is about 5000 miles.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 25, 2017 at 2:29 am GMT

    @AaronB I am not at all arguing for the Islamization of Europe - quite the opposite!

    I was merely pointing out that if we remain self-interested materialists, we will have no really compelling reason to make the necessary self-sacrifice to resist.

    "The genes of those who do care are more likely to be represented in succeeding generations than the genes of those who do not. Caring about such things is largely a cultural matter. "

    So is it genetically determined, or a cultural attitude, subject to change? Since you distinguish between the two, I assume you do not think culture is genetically determined - otherwise the two sentences are identical.

    If it is genetically determined, then the European population is clearly composed of people who do not possess the gene that makes one care about the survival of one's group - and then, what are you hoping for?

    Anon , May 25, 2017 at 2:33 am GMT

    ROTFL.

    The nuttery just gets better and better.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447906/christine-fair-accosts-richard-spencer-gym

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 2:53 am GMT

    @Wizard of Oz You unfairly snipe at SS and JD for some reason. My tecollection is that Steve was brought up Catholic but his genetic father is Jewish. But i can't see in any case why he should be expected to write to your prescription.
    Also you seem to have missed the Derbyshire piece about the Jews in America who still mrntally live in 1880 Russia hiding from the Cossacks.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 3:13 am GMT

    @utu Various prejudices and misconceptions function in popular culture. Nobody really question them. You can find them in Monty Python.

    Arriving in England, I went from a country where religion was everywhere, but of little interest to me, to a country that had little interest in religion, but still defined me by my purported beliefs. Modern Britain is a country founded in large part on anti-Catholicism.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/aug/22/pope-visit-catholic-prejudice

    And then you have this:

    Although there is a popular perception in Scotland that Anti-Catholicism is football related (specifically directed against fans of Celtic F.C.), statistics released in 2004 by the Scottish Executive showed that 85% of sectarian attacks were not football related. Sixty-three percent of the victims of sectarian attacks are Catholics, but when adjusted for population size this makes Catholics between five and eight times more likely to be a victim of a sectarian attack than a Protestant. (wiki)

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 3:21 am GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    I am not at all arguing for the Islamization of Europe – quite the opposite!

    I was merely pointing out that if we remain self-interested materialists, we will have no really compelling reason to make the necessary self-sacrifice to resist.

    What is this self-sacrifice?

    What sacrifice is there in closing the door to rape-culture refugees?

    What sacrifice is there in closing the door to H1b visa entrants to the US who take decent jobs from Americans?

    What sacrifice is there to closing the door to people from Asia, Africa and the Middle-East - perfectly fine people for the most part, I am sure - who will take any job that a European has and do the work for a lower wage?

    The only sacrifice you are saying "we" have to make is actually the sacrifice that the greedy globalist shysters such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and all the other billionaire globalist bastards have to make. No more off-shoring of jobs to maximize profits, no more trade deals that override national law, and no more mass immigration either as a source of cheap labor or as a genocidal instrument of national destruction to make way for an undemocratic global governance regime.

    It is the greed and unconstrained ambition of the plutocracy and their paid agents, the Clintons, the Blairs, and all the other bought "representatives of the people," not the materialism of the people themselves that is driving mass immigration and the destruction of the European peoples both racially and culturally. Indeed, it is only through the exploitation of the generosity of a gullible population that the crime of national genocide by mass immigration has been taken to the point of no return in many parts of the formerly European world.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 3:39 am GMT

    @MarkinLA The priests calculated the distance between Spain and Asia. They got the distance right.

    Uh, no. The Atlantic is about 3000 miles, the Continental US is about 3000 miles and the Pacific is about 5000 miles.

    Wizard of Oz , May 25, 2017 at 4:04 am GMT

    @Alden Here is the real reason the Jews fled Russia in the 1880s. It was draft evasion. I forget the exact date, but around 1880 Jews got their full civil rights. Unfortunately that included civil obligations such as conscription. That's why the Jews left, not programs, not affirmative action for the goyim, not crackdowns on usury.

    In the foreign affairs/ state department archives of every country in Europe and the Americas are reports from diplomats stationed in Russia that there was no persecution and that the stories about programs were just stories intended to get sympathy so as to facilitate immigration to other countries. That's why the Russian Jews swarmed England, the USA and Latin American countries that did not have the draft. They didn't go to Germany, Austria, France, Italy or Spain because all those countries had conscription.

    Russia's draft was for 25 years which is horrible to contemplate unless one is down and out and desperate for 3 hots and a cot. But the other European countries had just a few years draftee enlistment and the Jews didn't go to those countries, they went to draft free England and America.

    That's why they left.

    [May 19, 2017] Centrist Macron Yes, a dead-center insider for global capitalism

    Notable quotes:
    "... The media says what??? Hillary Clinton complains about the media? Which media says that? Give us ONE single example Hillary! Just one where the media says you can't talk about that. Just pure hypocrisy ..."
    "... Superficially, there is a semblance of variance from the political establishment. Macron formed his En Marche (Forward) movement only a year ago. He has never held elected political office. And until three years ago hardly anyone had ever heard of him. ..."
    "... Paradoxically, Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council, congratulated the French people for "choosing liberty, equality and fraternity, and saying no to fake news." Paradoxical because everything about Emmanuel Macron's "meteoric rise" through elite banking and his equally stellar crossover to politics smacks of fabrication and fakery. ..."
    "... Former banking colleagues recall that he wasn't particularly capable in his four years at Rothschild's while on a multi-million-euro income. But he "mastered the art of networking." In a Financial Times profile published before the election, a senior banker is quoted as saying: "What Mr Macron lacked in technical knowledge and jargon at first, he made up for with contacts in government." Other sources recall that "it was never quite clear who Macron worked for." ..."
    "... Macron's En Marche does not have any members in parliament. His government will thus likely be comprised of patronage and technocrats selected from years of networking in the financial and Élysée Palace establishment. ..."
    May 10, 2017 | www.eutimes.net

    Everything about France's new president Emmanuel Macron suggests a theatrical production of hype and illusion. He is being "sold" to the masses as an "outsider" and "centrist", a benign liberal.

    In reality, enter the economic hitman who will blow French society apart in the service of the oligarchy.

    At age 39, Macron has been described as a "political wonderboy" and France's "youngest leader since Napoleon Bonaparte." The former Rothschild banker who reportedly once had the nickname "the Mozart of Finance" is now promising to renew France and bring the nation together, where people will no longer "vote for extremes."

    Fittingly for the Mozart of Finance, the new president used the "grandest of backdrops for entrance on the world stage," when he made his victory speech on Sunday night in the courtyard of the Louvre, noted the Financial Times. His dramatic walk to the stage through the world-famous museum courtyard took a full four minutes. The night lights and shadows played with Macron's unsmiling, stoney face as he strode purposely forward amid the strains of Beethoven's Ode to Joy. The choice of the European Union's national anthem, rather than France's, is a harbinger of Macron's political project and the globalist interests he serves.

    The media says what??? Hillary Clinton complains about the media? Which media says that? Give us ONE single example Hillary! Just one where the media says you can't talk about that. Just pure hypocrisy

    Geographically, the Louvre is situated midway between the traditional political venues of the Place de la Concorde for the right, and La Bastille for the left. Here was Macron intimating once again, as he did during his campaign, that he represents neither right or left. He has vowed to overturn the bipartisan structure of French politics, creating a new "centrist" movement. Just like his other moniker of being an "outsider," however, this image of Macron is a deftly manicured illusion.

    Superficially, there is a semblance of variance from the political establishment. Macron formed his En Marche (Forward) movement only a year ago. He has never held elected political office. And until three years ago hardly anyone had ever heard of him. Now he is to become the eighth president of the French Fifth Republic.

    Paradoxically, Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council, congratulated the French people for "choosing liberty, equality and fraternity, and saying no to fake news." Paradoxical because everything about Emmanuel Macron's "meteoric rise" through elite banking and his equally stellar crossover to politics smacks of fabrication and fakery. With his elite education at the Ecole National Academie (ENA) where future French political leaders are groomed, to his precocious elevation in investment banking, followed by his seamless entrance into top-flight government politics, Macron is evidently a person with powerful guiding forces behind him.

    Former banking colleagues recall that he wasn't particularly capable in his four years at Rothschild's while on a multi-million-euro income. But he "mastered the art of networking." In a Financial Times profile published before the election, a senior banker is quoted as saying: "What Mr Macron lacked in technical knowledge and jargon at first, he made up for with contacts in government." Other sources recall that "it was never quite clear who Macron worked for."

    As the Financial Times noted: "At the bank, Mr Macron navigated around the numerous conflicts of interest that arise in close-knit Parisian business circles, making good use of his connections as an Inspecteur des Finances - an elite corps of the very highest-ranking graduates from ENA."

    After quitting private finance, Macron joined the government of Socialist President Francois Hollande, where he at first served as a "special advisor." In 2014, Hollande appointed him as economy minister where he drew up a draconian program to undermine French employment rights in favor of corporate profits. Macron resigned from his ministerial post only last year when he set up his own political party in anticipation of contesting the presidential election.

    Macron's En Marche does not have any members in parliament. His government will thus likely be comprised of patronage and technocrats selected from years of networking in the financial and Élysée Palace establishment. What little is known about Macron's policies is his stated commitment to more stringent economic austerity, promises to slash €60 billion in public spending over the next five years and axe up to 120,000 state sector jobs. He is also setting to drive through more "business friendly" changes in labor laws that will allow bosses to more easily hire and fire employees. He is giving companies license to negotiate increased working hours and lower salaries outside of statutory law. So, the notion that Macron is some kind of benign "centrist" is an insult to common intelligence. He is a "centrist" only in the sense of illusory corporate media branding; in objective terms, Macron is a dedicated economic hitman for global capitalism.

    Whatever one might think of his defeated rival Marine Le Pen of the Front National, she certainly had Macron accurately summed up when she referred to him as the "candidate of finance." Independent Socialist Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who was narrowly knocked out in the first round of the election on April 23, predicts that Macron will be a "disaster" for French society, blowing apart economic inequality and social contracts to turn the country into the kind of poverty-wage slavery seen in the US and Britain.

    There is sound reason why the French and European political establishment exulted in Macron's victory. He is no outsider, overturning the status quo for a more democratic outcome. He is in fact a consummate insider who will pursue policies pandering to elite interests, at the expense of the great majority.

    Macron's "centrist [sic] victory brought joy to Europe's political establishment," reported the New York Times, while the BBC informed of "palpable relief among European leaders." Outgoing President Francois Hollande – the most unpopular French leader ever – warmly congratulated Macron, as did incumbent prime minister Bernard Cazeneuve and other senior government figures. Macron had been endorsed by Hollande's so-called Socialist Party and the center-right Republicans. So much for his vaunted "outsider" image. Macron was also endorsed prior to the weekend vote by former US President Barack Obama and European leaders, including Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

    The irony of such brazen "electoral interference" is of course that this was what such Western leaders have accused Russia of. Again, it also shows that Macron will be a "centrist" in more ways than is meant. He will serve as a "dead-center" advocate of the transatlantic politics of Washington-led neoliberal capitalism and NATO militarism. The French President-elect published a political autobiography earlier this year entitled 'Revolution'. The only thing "revolutionary" about Macron's victory is that the political establishment has invented an image for itself that upturns reality.

    The intense media marketing of Macron as a "centrist outsider" is a coup against the meaning of words and plain language. It is also worth noting that over 16 million French voters abstained or spoiled their votes against the 20 million who opted for Macron. French society, as for other Western nations, is riven by the ravages of global capitalism. And now here comes the "Mozart of Finance" to allegedly bring harmony from the appalling discord he and others like him have sown.

    Source

    [May 03, 2017] The first after the post system guarantee that no national third party can take power by Marina Bart

    Notable quotes:
    "... I like Marina's argument and mostly agree but it's important to remember that there is no incentive for the DP to reform as long as they have have political influence to sell. ..."
    "... I believe my criticism of both Bernie Sanders and Elisabeth Warren as being too accepting of the U.S. Empire and ignoring how the drain of finances to fund the Empire's wars and global expansion would prevent their commendable domestic social/economic policies from being funded precipitated Marina Bart's original essay and its comments, so I appreciate this follow-up by Marina, as well as the comments to it. ..."
    "... animal spirits. ..."
    "... " .So, is there any way to get from here to a country with broadly shared prosperity, a healthy and happy citizenry, and a more peaceful mode of governmental operation both at home and abroad? One that does not require increased bloodshed or waiting until the entire system collapses (which would involve tremendous suffering, particularly for the billions already being exploited by the global ruling elite)? ." ..."
    "... We are heading into a situation where there is very likely no way out other than collapse and rebuilding and we have made no meaningful progress on any other possible outcome in the last 30 years. ..."
    May 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    The essential problem remains unsolved. The majority of United States citizens would benefit from a government focused on citizen needs over elite desires. They neither want nor benefit from our military adventurism. Neither do the people everywhere else on Earth. There is already a electoral majority for a number of important policies and legislative initiatives that would move the country's governance in that direction. Those policies and initiatives remain unimplemented not because people don't want them, but because the United States is not functionally a democracy. The economic elite controls all the levers of government, as well as all the pathways into government. We have a deeply corrupted electoral system, which the ruling elite uses to engage in empty democracy theater as a means of social control.

    So, is there any way to get from here to a country with broadly shared prosperity, a healthy and happy citizenry, and a more peaceful mode of governmental operation both at home and abroad? One that does not require increased bloodshed or waiting until the entire system collapses (which would involve tremendous suffering, particularly for the billions already being exploited by the global ruling elite)?

    I think there is. Yves and Lambert agree with me. We're not the only ones. The idea is to build such a massive, energized coalition, organized around a nurturing, peaceful vision of what American government and community can and should be, that we can overwhelm the electoral, media and other entrenched obstacles that stand in the way of real change.

    Yves and I were both arguing that there's an opening now to do this. There are challenges. Nothing is guaranteed. But the times they are a-changing, and this offers the left a real opportunity it hasn't had in decades. A key goal would be a significantly reduced military. We are not advocating assisting current Democratic Party leadership in any way. In fact, the objective is to remove them from power, inside the party as well as in government. All we are saying is give universal direct material benefits a chance to build the coalition and teach Americans what a government that serves them can and should do. There's more to the strategy. Coming up next will be a post laying out the whole plan – there's more to it than "vote" + "magic" = Utopia! But first, since this is a grassroots strategy aimed at creating a more egalitarian society, I thought it might be useful to hear from other members of the commentariat. As some old dude once said, "It's not me. It's us."

    ... ... ...

    While the full game plan does not require every member of the coalition to ever cast a vote for a Democrat or even vote at all, it does hinge on purging corporatist Democrats from the party. Not just as elected officials, but within the party machinery at the state and local level. Among other advantages, that means we won't get McGoverned this time. We're not asking any leftist to help any corporatist ever, just as we are not asking anyone to support any warmongering candidate ever. As per Sluggeaux ,

    Federal, State, and Local campaign laws favor the so-called "two-party system" and it is quite impossible for a third-party solution at the ballot box. At this moment the Democrat party is completely out of power in any branch of government and in most states, so there is indeed no reason for the Military-Industrial Complex to direct graft the way of the Democrat establishment. This creates an opportunity to push the agents of the Washington-Wall Street axis out of the party.

    The two major parties have been working for over a century to guarantee that no national third party can take power. This is intended to trap the left, stranding it in the wilderness with no path to power. Even if your preferred outcome is a new party, weakening the corporate hold over the Democratic Party is a necessary condition for success. It's their job to stop us. We have a unique opportunity to instead oust them. Universal material benefits are the key that unlocks the door of our cell.

    As a precursor to the next post explaining the overall strategy, here's Kurt Sperry :

    I like Marina's argument and mostly agree but it's important to remember that there is no incentive for the DP to reform as long as they have have political influence to sell. They must first be weakened and starved of resources–and political power–before reform efforts will find any traction. I think that means in the near term that we cannot give any aid to the party where that aid is administered by the party, and that we should vote Republican (or at the least withhold our votes) when there are no reformist Dems on the ballot to vote for. To reform the DP, it must mostly be torn down first, and that in practice necessarily means allowing Republicans to win any contests where there are no reformers to vote for.

    I have a daughter. When she was about the same age I was when my mother pushed me in that stroller, I pushed her in a stroller through the Los Angeles Zoo on September 11 th , 2001. A friend had called and suggested we get the kids out of the house so they wouldn't be around much television, to give us time to figure out what to tell them. I don't want her to also have to push her daughter in a stroller over another American war or blowback from the last one. I want to be a citizen of a peaceful nation. Doing the same thing again and again yet expecting a different result is famously considered to be unuseful. Perhaps a paradigm shift can get us where so many of us have been trying to go for so very, very long.

    Tim , May 3, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Agreed. And I'd add one more thing. You want to invigorate the anti-militarist movement? Instate a draft. No exceptions. Everyone owes a commitment to do 1.5 years, at any time up to age 40.

    shinola , May 3, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Tim,

    I posted a similar suggestion in the comments section of the April 27th article. NC reader "Waking Up" posted a reply that is worth quoting:

    "shinola: I agree that reinstating the draft (including women) would jolt people out of their apathy. However, it won't happen. A major lesson learned from the Vietnam War was to avoid a draft at almost any cost (far more difficult to promote war when people aren't willing to die for imperialism). It is "easier" for those with money and power to keep the majority of people compromised economically. That way they get "troops" who lack other options AND they can profit handsomely from military arms and weapons sales. A win-win for imperialists, neo-cons, and neo-liberals."

    Unfortunately, I am inclined to agree. All these years I thought the PTB had learned nothing from the Vietnam debacle.

    I was wrong.

    Huey Long , May 3, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    +1

    They definitely learned plenty from Vietnam!

    1. Immiserate the proles so that soldiering becomes an attractive, well paid, career.

    2. Drones and bombs are cheaper than hueys and F-105's. The US lost a staggering amount of expensive brand new aircraft over Vietnam.

    3. Censor the press's war coverage via embedded reporters and press pools. Any reporters not toeing the DoD line get their access revoked.

    4. Deploy the NG and reserve components to bolster active duty recruiting, and to discourage those on active duty from transferring to the reserves en masse.

    Eureka Springs , May 3, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Great, just great thinking. At minimum in our even more crowded world you are saying throw at least these many people into a meat grinder to relearn/ get back to where we are now, with no draft?
    Arguably the only victory the anti-war movement of that time gained.

    Total number of U.S. soldiers / personnel deployed to South Vietnam 2,594,000
    Total number of U.S. casualties in the Vietnam War 58,220
    Total number of U.S. soldiers wounded in the Vietnam War 303,644

    I cannot begin to imagine the horrors had the U.S. maintained a draft these past 40 years.. under any of our presidents and congress.

    Anon , May 3, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    The estimates (vary widely) of the number of real live people (of any kind) who died from the Vietnam War is ~ 4 million.

    Darius , May 3, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Historically, the way to get power in America's two party system is for the other side to preside over a stagnating economy. The way to keep it is to preside over broad-based prosperity. Basically, almost everyone has a job and feels economically secure. If your party has that, they have a lot of leeway on foreign and military policy, as well as social and environmental policy.

    This is what the Clintonites don't want to get. Focusing on identity politics instead of economics just perpetuates identity grievances and stymies everything else. I suppose that's the whole idea.

    An anti war agenda will have to come from a position of strength. Broad-based prosperity is the only way to get there. A full-employment agenda is vital for achieving prosperity. Only the left can do it because the neoliberal way won't ever improve on current conditions.

    If everyone is working, the left can do all the other anti war and justice stuff. Under current conditions, there's no traction for any of it.

    Code Name D , May 3, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    FAIL!!! Reformer's Paradox.
    The Reformer's Paradox is the expectation that a corrupt system will seek to its own reform, or enable its reform to take place. Thus any "solution" that uses this paradox is bound to fail.

    Instituting the draft as an anti-war strategy is nothing new. Hell, this was proposed to stop, or at least slow down Bush I Iraq War. But there are two major problem with this strategy.

    One, the establishment is already aware of this approach. Thus they will never institute the draft for the specific reason that it could harden public discontent. (Keep in mind, as the article already noted, the endless wars are already unpopular.) Besides, they don't need the draft with poverty and social mobility such as it is.

    Two: Voters are not stupid. When the anti-war movement is the one PROMOTING the draft, then its the anti-war movement that rightful gets the BLAME for trying to institute the draft. There is a contradiction at work here in that the anti-war faction is promoting the mandatory recruiting of soldiers to fight a war, When you mess around with contradictions, unintended consequences tend to be the result. Some results I can foresee is generous enlistment bonuses (which help to lift minorities out of poverty) get gutted. Poor people now have to server for the equivalent of a minimum wage and few benefits, And as we also saw from the Vietnam War, the draft becomes its own form of discrimination as the wealthy kids get to pay for draft deferments or can pick their post, while the poor have few options and get sent to the front lines.

    Byron the Light Bulb , May 3, 2017 at 11:37 am

    The Nation-State emerged for the purpose of fielding large armies by filling the ranks with soldiers across multiple ethnic identities, as opposed to tribal clan warfare. Colonial arrangements are made to support massive troop concentrations. I don't believe American Imperialists or Lockheed invented bloodshed. But without the need for the means to cave-in the skull of the other poor bastard tasked with doing the same for his leaders, people would prefer small localized government. I'm sure nobody would choose of their own free will to be ruled by the Dems or Repubs unless under threat of incineration.

    Peacenik movements are ineffectual counter-forces at best, and co-opted belligerent parties at worst. Historically bands of humans have avoided bloodshed by ritualizing [most of] the warfare and sublimating the death drive. Pantomime the battles across the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

    grizziz , May 3, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    I support what you are doing and would like to make a few observations. Contra Lambert, I don't think material benefits alone will provide the motivation to overtake the Democrat Party despite the amassed corpus of Marxist literature. I would point you to work done by Scott Atran showing the need to fuse a sacred value with an identity to motivate a group. (I am not linking to Atran to avoid Skynet.)
    Referring to yesterday's inclusion in the Water Cooler was a tweet from Ms Magazine's editor wanting to bury Bernie.
    This may be metaphorical, but literally a potent remark This and a few other signals points to my conclusion that the Feminist and likely the LQBTQ movements are in competition with the Left/Labor to control the Democrat Party. Of course, alliances should be pursued, but the iron law of oligarchy will cement the eventual leaders and their particular interests.
    All in all, I wish you good fortune.

    Michael Fiorillo , May 3, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Regarding the conflict you posit between Feminist/LBGT and Labor/Left factions in the Democratic Party, I can only imagine that Betty Friedan, who, before writing " The Feminine Mystique" and becoming a founder of Second Wave feminism, was editor-in-chief of the UE News, publication of the most left wing union in the US (the United Electrical Workers Union, or UE) is spinning, or sobbing, in her grave.

    OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , May 3, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Nothing personal, but it seems to me that Stopping The War gets conflated with everybody's pet issue or pet take on what needs to happen to reform the parties. No. Stop The War should be the only message. It's simple. It's easy for everybody to understand. It's universal. The numbers support it. It cuts across parties and religions and geographies and ethnicities and genders and age groups:

    All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance

    Litmus test every politician from local to national on this (like the anti-abortion people do).

    REDPILLED , May 3, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    I believe my criticism of both Bernie Sanders and Elisabeth Warren as being too accepting of the U.S. Empire and ignoring how the drain of finances to fund the Empire's wars and global expansion would prevent their commendable domestic social/economic policies from being funded precipitated Marina Bart's original essay and its comments, so I appreciate this follow-up by Marina, as well as the comments to it.

    As a conscientious objector since 1970, and no longer a registered Democrat, I look forward to Marina's full exposition of her strategy.

    David , May 3, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    "War is immoral, advocating for and implementing war is immoral, and therefore supporting any politician who advocates for or implements war is immoral. I agree."
    This is the classic pacifist position, the refusal to accept violence as a solution under any circumstances. It is a coherent position, though not, I suspect, one that most of us would actually adopt. (Incidentally, Rosa Luxemburg was imprisoned for opposition to the War, but died during the violent Spartacist uprising in Germany that followed it: she was no pacifist.)
    Seen from across the Atlantic then, and without wishing to pronounce on US politics, the real issue is whether you can have an à la carte approach to war. Luxemburg opposed WW1, as did many on the Left, because she thought it was an internecine capitalist struggle. She supported the Russian Revolution, and the Reds in the Civil War, because she believed in their cause. Effectively the same arguments were used by many on the Left in Europe and the US in the 1930s, that any war with Hitler would be a struggle for supremacy among capitalist nations, and so the Left's duty was to oppose it. More did so at the time than they would later want to remember.
    Being a little older than some readers, I remember the Vietnam War, and I remember the very confused reaction to it among my contemporaries. A few were pacifists, but the majority simply wanted the other side to win: they were "against the war" in the sense that they hoped the side supported by their government would lose, which was a reasonable position with historical analogues (Spain, for example) but it's very different from a blanket opposition to war as such.
    You won't convince people to be "against war" until you sort out in your own minds what you are against. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that many who are "against war" in Afghanistan, for example, were fervent interventionists throughout the whole parade of humanitarian causes from the 90s onwards: Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Darfur, Libya, Syria . Indeed, militarism has tended to migrate in a curious fashion from the Right to the Left in the last couple of decades (Albright, Power, Clinton etc. etc.)
    I know what I think: war is never a good solution but sometimes it's the least bad. Sometimes it's necessary, but I hope I have enough moral sense to distinguish good cases from bad ones, and, more importantly, explain my reasoning to others. What about the rest of you?

    Kalen , May 3, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Luxemburg opposed WW1, as did many on the Left, because she thought it was an internecine capitalist struggle. She supported the Russian Revolution, and the Reds in the Civil War, because she believed in their cause.

    It is true but must be qualified.

    While Luxemburg was no pacifist, she was still vehemently against WWI, not only because it was motivated by colonial interest of ruling European aristocracies, nothing to do with peoples' interest only profit for elites but most of all because she was internationalist believing that working class has no country and that stirring nationalist fervor, that war propaganda did, would lead to divisions in international workers movement as well as mere fact that most of dead and injured would have been working people killing other working people, again war would have weaken workers movement.

    Her anti-war stance was pragmatic not principal in a word she represented working class morality based judgment (to counter ruling class morality judgment) about the war and not pacifism based on general morality judgment.

    As far as Russian Revolution she was for it, but criticized Lenin for how he led it and what actually he was able to accomplished.

    It is an important distinction between what Lenin in the end did (in aftermath of Bolshevik and Menshevik revolution and civil war) and what Luxemburg saw as a way of true revolution of class consciousnesses , as she tried to accomplish during Spartacist revolt, namely to build new parallel structures of power while German Emporium was collapsing instead of taking over existing structures of power as Lenin and later Stalin did from hands of weak few months old, bourgeois government.

    In a sense Luxemburg revolution was by nature of not taking over the government directly, nonviolent except for self-defense, and not unexpectedly it was what exactly happened during Spartacist revolt and similarly in Hungarian revolution 1918 both failed while aggressive and violent Russian revolution in the end "succeeded" ironically by Stalin resurrecting Russian empire under new label of Soviet Union using German bankers money.

    CanCyn , May 3, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Maybe what we're really against is the profit that comes from making war? In principle there are is probably some violence that I could support In the immortal words of Omar from The Wire, "Some people need to get got". I guess I'm not really a pacifist but I'd still call myself anti-war. I'd aruge that none of our current global strife is really about saving anyone from anything. Further, I'd argue that it is about making rich people even richer at the expense of many millions of peoples' lives and homelands and I'm firmly against that.

    jrs , May 3, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    I don't think war (aggression against another country) is really the same thing as revolution (internal aggression against the existing power structure). Nor do I think defense of one's own country is the same as aggressive war.

    Now do I think revolution against the belly of the beast in the U.S. is possible? Noone wants it anyway, and noone can agree on what a good result would be anyway. But also no, I don't. But in some less colonized countries it might possibly be viable (but there are so many external players with their own agendas, it's hard to say, beware of color revolutions!).

    What the U.S. does the overwhelming majority of the time is aggressive war. It also more covertly supports reactionary elements (even to the point of ISIS). And I know enough to oppose that! And it really does serve larger economic interests, even if occasionally another (usually not virtuous either!) motive gets mixed in, it's about profits and economic dominance. I know to oppose this unequivocally, without reservations, even if I can't single-handedly stop it.

    Marina Bart , May 3, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    I know what I think: war is never a good solution but sometimes it's the least bad. Sometimes it's necessary, but I hope I have enough moral sense to distinguish good cases from bad ones, and, more importantly, explain my reasoning to others.

    I used to hold your position, until, like, ten minutes ago.

    Seriously, I thought about that statement that you referenced for a while before I wrote it. It wasn't in the first draft. Here's my personal current thinking on this: war and violence are not identical acts. War is an act of aggression, and as such, it is always about taking something, some resource by force, is it not? The slippery slope the American century and neoliberalism put us on is to keep redefining what wars are and what defense is until both terms are meaningless. The American military is currently overseeing and protecting poppy production in Afghanistan, while waging a "war on drugs" in other parts of the empire. It's all nonsense. You can't "wage war" on drug use, as the United States has proven every day for over forty years. And the United States isn't even trying to stop drug use and production, in reality, just monetize it in a favorable way for war and havoc-making branches and affiliates of the government.

    I had a teacher who had been a conscious objector in World War II, which was practically designed in a lab to be the ultimate "good war." It's basically the permanent excuse for sending young people outside the country's borders to die in the service of some projected, often fantasized threat. Consider 9/11. That actually WAS an attack on our soil. Did the two wars launched overseas to supposedly protect us here actually do that?

    Meanwhile, Germany is basically waging war on Greece, very successfully, using economic means. The citizens of Greece are starving and dying, as their lands and goods are sold off against their will to private entities. They are now ruled by outside powers, for the benefit of those outside powers. Sounds like they lost a war, to me.

    War is immoral. Perhaps an argument might be made for some situation like World War II in the future, whereby providing an assistance to an allied country overseas makes some sense. But even if that ever occurs again, it would not make war a moral choice ever. Murder is immoral. This is drummed into all our heads. Sometimes, our society deems that killing another person - in self-defense, for example - is morally justified, in which case, it is deemed not to be murder. But we set a societally high bar for determining this. We operate from a position that when one person kills another, it is treated as an immoral murder unless a specific, stringent set of facts is demonstrated to prove otherwise. (What's going on with sanctioned police violence is an erosion of that principle, and a great deal of effort is put forth by the state when these murders are revealed to prove that they are not what they appear. At no point do they ever say, "murder is fine.") I think we have to embrace and accept as a society that war is innately immoral, if we're ever to have any chance to create a system where the need for protective defense can't and won't once again be twisted into immoral empire-building.

    Antifa , May 3, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Sadly, Marina, no - war is not unjustified aggression while violent self defense is a rational response. There is no escape in semantics from the cold fact that war is an innate, natural part of our primate nature. Humans organize for, and opt for war the same as a band of chimpanzees occasionally will. It's done for territory, plunder, or for the most common impulse - because we can. Behold - we have the strength and power to deal out death. We can be gods for a little while.

    In chimps it's usually the males who go for it, but they have the full approval of the females, who enjoy the booty and expanded territory afterwards. Who doesn't like a little lebensraum?

    Chimpanzee and homo sapiens males find war exhilarating, and the most totally engaging emotional and psychological peak experience they can ever have because war is when it's down to your existential survival, and the only rules are tooth and claw. You are never so alive as when you're struggling against death. There's no guarantee for anyone locked in the melee of group combat that this is not their last, best effort to live on, if only for another minute.

    Humans, with our much bigger intellects, don't talk ourselves out of aggression. Quite the opposite. We celebrate and honor it. What's the Wall Street phrase for a rising market - animal spirits. We do business as war, we do politics as winner take all war, and to hell with any women and children in the way. Collateral damage.

    We play football as war. We play it as war quite religiously.

    So war is loose in the human psyche, and it's not going away while our DNA encodes it. And war will find each of us. It will come right to us.

    When the wolves come for your children and you, the rational choices are to hide, to get gone, or to surrender by paying their price. Some of you might live to fight another day. Slavery is better than death.

    It makes no difference if the wolves are four-legged, or are grown men in crisp business suits, or in military uniforms, or wearing ISIS hoods. They are all creatures come to exercise total power over you. War has come right to your front door.

    It's also a rational choice to engage in violent self-defense. Shoot back, pour boiling oil from the ramparts, load the trebuchets, launch the ICBM's before they can launch theirs. All of which presupposes that you prepared for war, knowing that it will come. Which makes you a war-maker, a warrior when the need arises.

    Wherever human populations exist, it will always be possible for sociopaths to divide the group. Color of eyes, shoe size, choice of music, whether you like or hate broccoli, anything will do. Once tribes divide, identity politics works to deepen and spread the division, like ice splitting granite mountains. This is the seed of war.

    The seed is seeing that the Other is not with us. If it comes down to tooth and nail, we must survive, not the Other. We must exercise power over Them, not Them over us.

    Individual humans can renounce and forswear war. But our species shows no ability to overcome our innate insanity, which is to destroy anyone or anything that thwarts our desire to walk the earth like gods.

    That's our crazy. That's where war lives within us.

    John , May 3, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Today I pointed my history class toward an article about plastic debris piling up on the beaches in Kau district on the Big Island of Hawaii. I had previously urged them to eliminate or at least reduce their use of plastics. In an ideal world we could banish plastics entirely with a stroke of the pen. That is not happening but if my students and their parents and their friends and their friends parents and so forth stop using plastics and remind its producers and users that they are passing along the externalities of plastics to all of us and if the heat is turned up high enough, then change can and will happen.

    The same thing can be done to slow down and then shut down the war machine.

    UserFriendly , May 3, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    In an ideal world we could banish plastics entirely with a stroke of the pen

    Really? A ballpark estimate of the ;lives saved by plastic is pushing a billion. Go walk around a hospital and look at all the plastics there and start trying to tell me how you would replace them with alternatives. How much CO2 do you think it takes to make an aluminum can or a glass bottle compared to a plastic one? I could go on.

    There are lots of downsides to the status quo use of plastics but your efforts would be much better directed at pushing to limit the production of non recyclable plastics and to find better ways of mandating that all products get recycled.

    Wyoming , May 3, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    " .So, is there any way to get from here to a country with broadly shared prosperity, a healthy and happy citizenry, and a more peaceful mode of governmental operation both at home and abroad? One that does not require increased bloodshed or waiting until the entire system collapses (which would involve tremendous suffering, particularly for the billions already being exploited by the global ruling elite)? ."

    This is a strong candidate for an application of Betteridge's Law.

    I personally am a committed Socialist in political terms. But I try really hard to also to take into account the reality of the situation we find ourselves in. I also acknowledge that I have evolved from the young idealist I once was (I participated in the 1st Earth Day demonstrations as well as others against the Vietnam War) into an undeniable cynic.

    To wit: All proposed solutions to governing structures, financial structures and procedures, alternative energy policies, developing the economies of the 3rd world, feeding the starving, etc, etc, and so on have to be evaluated in light of the global situation we find ourselves in.

    The world is swiftly entering into the effects of a rapidly changing climate due to our emissions of greenhouse gases, we are continuing to pollute the world at a rapid pace, the global carrying capacity is rapidly shrinking due to these things as well as due to the worsening impact of having a rapidly growing global population. These are the critical issues we face as a global human population. If we do not take drastic measures to reduce the rate at which this situation is deteriorating the declining carrying capacity curve and the rising consumption curves are going to race past each other very soon. The rational part of me does not see much likelyhood we are capable of making the really hard decisions on a global basis to address these macro problems and the cynic in me thinks that those who really do have the power to address them are far more likely to use the situation to further their personal interests at the expense of everyone else.

    We are heading into a situation where there is very likely no way out other than collapse and rebuilding and we have made no meaningful progress on any other possible outcome in the last 30 years.

    My socialist interests and moral positions are not likely to be addressed in this declining world and they would in fact not have a measurable effect on solving our existential problems I am sad to say.

    We have big problems to deal with but we spend all of our time on political and financial ideology and pretending that green solutions (a marketing tactic mostly) are actually meaningful and will lead us somewhere useful. There is simply no time left for this type of activity unless it is done in concert and as part of a package of dealing with our vast overpopulation and the crushing effects of climate change.

    Left in Wisconsin , May 3, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    We are heading into a situation where there is very likely no way out other than collapse and rebuilding and we have made no meaningful progress on any other possible outcome in the last 30 years.

    My socialist interests and moral positions are not likely to be addressed in this declining world and they would in fact not have a measurable effect on solving our existential problems I am sad to say.

    I like your comment very much. But I take issue with the notion that "collapse" or any other similar outcome is a singular event we are powerless to affect. There are, and will continue to be, different kinds and degrees of "collapse," and the more unequal our society is at the time of "collapse," the more unequal and ugly that collapse will be.

    For many people, in the U.S. and elsewhere, it is not at all clear that society has not "collapsed" already. That doesn't mean that there is nothing to do or nothing that can be done. Nor does it mean that things have to get worse before they get better, or will get better just because they got worse. I'm not attributing any or all of these sentiments to you. But I do think it is important for all of us not to fall into the trap of saying, "That's it, there is nothing that we can do," or "nothing we can do that makes a difference."

    My socialist interests and moral positions are not likely to be addressed in this declining world and they would in fact not have a measurable effect on solving our existential problems I am sad to say.

    Maybe. Probably. But not necessarily. My thing is, if it's going to be ugly when things collapse, they there is nothing wrong with making things ugly right now for those that are most intent on bringing about the (predicted) collapse. No need to worry about social niceties!

    davidly , May 3, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    On the other hand, I think you misunderstand some of the objection to your previous entry. I for one do not find you or Yves or Lambert to be insufficiently antiwar. It is the suggested approach which I find ultimately so, and I believe much of the hostility you correctly perceive is because the approach involves what many find to be a myopic interpretation of the implications of "not require[ing] that candidates overtly and aggressively campaign against" America's military machine.

    Foremost, I staunchly believe that allowing representatives to ignore this issue is, even as we speak, to the ongoing detriment of the American psyche, the manifest national illness of which is in my opinion too massive for me to state here and be taken seriously. This fact itself is also part of that problem. The US is so gravely ill that there is no medical coverage that can fix it. And we cannot expect to have some kind of two-pronged approach wherein all the grass roots are out campaigning about something for which the people they're supposed to elect have nothing more than, at best, milquetoast patriotic electoral boilerplate if they cannot avoid the topic altogether.

    Now, while it may be true that many Americans on balance do not benefit from the MIC, insofar as that money could be spent much on what your approach advocates several times over, there is a very tangible benefit to the American economy that serves the interests of not just the upper 10 percent. I don't want to put too fine a point on this, but it's a big reason there isn't the anti-war coalition that can break thru the mainstream press or politics. The war economy is huge. If Americans were to win universal healthcare tomorrow or next year or four to eight years from now, that would not change the national mindset in this regard, and most certainly not the politicians known as "viable" who we allow to skirt the issue. In short: you cannot just chalk the pushback to your previous entry down to misreading. We disagree and it has nothing to do with you not being purely anti-war. However: I do find the "let's get material benefits for us first" to be a little bit troubling.

    So you say you thought Obama would be a lesser war-wager and, bravo, admit that he wasn't. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that those of us who knew better and didn't lend him any support could smell this tidbit between the lines of the previous entry. How? The argument you're making is the same one his more sober supporters were making eight years ago. The only difference I read is that your suggesting we shift the purity line on some things and ignore, at least on some level, one other critical issue - so that we can get people elected .

    You cannot tell me that you were around to work for McCarthy yet have not heard your argument before. I do wonder myself who all the non-corporate Dems are and how they'd fare, assuming they really aren't corporate Dems at heart. America needs a complete conversation change. The Warrens and Sanders of the world are the gatekeepers before the gatekeepers named Schumer, Pelosi, and Feinstein, whose default function is to stop this conversation change. There's an Ellison before every Perez. A Booker before every you get the point I hope. So how are we gonna oust these people while our list of enemies grows to numbers unspoken?

    Marina Bart , May 3, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    This is not the same as the Obama phenomenon. For one thing, our strategy focuses on specific policies, not vague nostrums like "Hope and Change." That anchors the discussion in ways that are difficult to evade and elide, which is why the Democrats are working so diligently to shut this kind of thing down.

    I don't want to take over the discussion here, because this is not about me. But under this strategy, I would never have voted for Obama. I wouldn't have had to be savvy enough to know to read Glen Ford. I would have be able to reason, "He was given a speaking slot by the Democrats at the convention, so he's a favored insider. That means he has already been corrupted." Or I might have thought, "Hope and Change is fine, but he's not promoting universal direct material benefits, so he's not worth backing." Obama got in because he exploited signifiers he in no way deserved and people like me had not yet accepted that the Democratic Party (and the rest of the ruling elite, like the corporate media) had been corrupted root and branch.

    If you take the focus off personality and "values," it's easier to cut through the piles of ripe manure the Democrats offer up. Shifting the purity line away from personal identity (both citizen and politician) to policy that can be enacted is a bigger change, with a series of multiplier effects, than you seem to realize. For example, right now, the most extreme "position" corporate Democrats take is being "pro-choice." But what do they mean by that? What policy do they advocate to achieve this goal? They never say. It's just expressed as a value. Whereas "I'm in favor of universal health care via expanded and improved Medicare for All, and opposed to the president applying the Hyde Amendment to it affirmatively via executive order. Since abortion is a legal medical procedure, done and done." Obviously, there would still be a vociferous pushback. But notice how significantly this shifts the playing field. The best possible way to get past abortion as a wedge issue is to embed it in some universal program that benefits EVERYBODY. And it pins politicians down. They can't slither around as much as they like. It's easier to hold them accountable.

    Corruption will always be with us. Whatever politicians the left might install would be liable to the same phenomenon over time. But focusing on concrete policies with concrete benefits is different that what's been going on. This approach doesn't rely on Bernie or any other politician being noble and pure. That's part of the point.

    It may or may not work, and you may or may not ever agree with me. But it is NOT the same.

    davidly , May 3, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    But it is the same. It's been the same for a century. If we were to begin with Eugene McCarthy as a measuring stick: In retrospect, would you say the strategy then should have been the same, say, move Viet Nam to the back burner (oh the unfortunate irony)? If not, why not? "Our boys"?

    No, I'm sorry, you're right. It's actually worse. The expansion of war and the profiteering that goes along with it, that serves congressional districts from sea to shining sea, is not the same, but growing so broadly that most people you say don't want it, don't even know how many countries and with which dictators we're allied. No one who does not put those most egregious human rights violations in the name of what they admit is a nation governed by an intrinsically corrupted body politic deserves the material benefits you propose to make central focus. The whole world is watching.

    jrs , May 3, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    don't deserve is too extreme, because it's not necessarily the people you think it is, people without decent healthcare in the U.S. is very broad and includes people whose ancestors were brought over here as slaves, who were red-lined, Jim Crowed, new Jim Crowed, generation after generation. Of course they have a harder time being American $uce$$ $tories. Your beef is probably more with a particular form of privileged American blindness that will never see the U.S. as anything but basically good and the questions only whether or not we can "save the whole world" (though bombing them) or not.

    Darius , May 3, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    You're really trying hard not to get this. Material benefits providers that also are anti war become the people who ensured I have a job, healthcare and old-age security, and my kids aren't dying in some Middle East quagmire. Anti war without material benefits is just a bunch of annoying longhairs, if not traitors. My life sucks but at least I can hate on those people.

    davidly , May 3, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    But it is the same. It's been the same for a century, with the caveat that the sixties brought about both civil rights and the anti-war movement. If we were to begin with your bona fides, with Eugene McCarthy as a measuring stick: In retrospect, would you say the strategy then should have been the same, say, move Viet Nam to the back burner (oh the unfortunate irony)? If not, why not? Not enough of "our boys" coming home in bags with heroin in 'em?

    No, I'm sorry, you're right. It's actually worse. The expansion of war and the profiteering that goes along with it, that serves congressional districts from sea to shining sea, is not the same, but growing so broadly that most people you say don't want it, don't even know how many countries and with which dictators we're allied. No one who does not put those most egregious human rights violations in the name of what they admit is a nation governed by an intrinsically corrupted body politic deserves the material benefits you propose to make central focus. The whole world is watching.

    Marco , May 3, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    This from Cat Burgler deserves repeating again and again!

    " universal benefits is a way to allow people the free space in their lives to overcome the military-industrial-congressional complex"

    Not to be too harsh but the twin purity tests of Identity Politics and Anti-War-ism would logically appeal to those higher up the Maslow Hierarchy no? Widespread civic engagement starts when basic needs are met. Otherwise there is no solidarity but just a low trust society where everyone is screwing over everybody else.

    Thanks Marina for spelling out the obvious!!

    Disturbed Voter , May 3, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Is the Left of use to anyone besides the anti-status-quo and as captured opposition to serve the status quo?

    What is the purpose of humanity? I don't see any good secular answers to that. And spiritually I am thinking o of "There is a time for war and a time for peace".

    John , May 3, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Morals with an economic system withOUT morals?

    But, how can an economic system have morals if it can create money from nothing without consequences? Even the Magic Money Tree can create money from nothing.

    Looks like some "economists" will have to create a "Morals Variable" in their economic models.

    (Good luck with that one )

    Susan the other , May 3, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    I think we should all incorporate. Maybe create the first diffuse political corporation via the internet. We all buy shares, for some cheap price so that we can get tens of millions of shareholders. We write up a corporate constitution for our goals. One of them, the first one, could be universal health care, funded of course by our share purchases into a pool of money – a war chest – that can serve among other things to be a mutual insurance organization. Recruit those medical professionals who would like to participate, indeed take their experience into consideration. Buy into medical facilities, hospitals, drug companies. A takeover of the medical industry. Because politics doesn't work anymore.

    CanCyn , May 3, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    +1000 Love this idea!

    HopeLB , May 3, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    I second that from CanCyn, great idea!!And then, if that secret TPP meeting in Canada leads to its enactment, we sue using ISDS claiming low wages and war spending are depriving us of investors.

    James Griffin , May 3, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Your words – "Believe me. I have directly and personally confronted Democratic trust fund scions on this and faced immediate, life-threatening blowback. "
    Both the public awareness and appreciation of the consequences of real corruption remain low. In fact, I find few in my own circle of contacts who even care, at best dismissing it as normal or inevitable. There is a reason for this apathy. There is a reason we, as a nation, fought corrupt practices and it is well presented in Zephyr Teachout's book on the topic. There is also a reason that ways of catching and punishing criminals operating at the highest levels of business and government have diminished over the last several decades. Not only has the threat of punishment diminished, the possibility of even discovering the facts has shrunk concomitantly. I suggest that there is a direct relation between the ability to effect change and the efficacy of punishments for the powerful.
    It is clear the elites don't want effective heath care for the underlings and until the methods and reasons are clearly exposed it will not happen. Alternative sources of information exist and still confusion can be maintained by mainstream, corporate owned, media propaganda. But what if we can push through this first barrier? Will the leaders of any such movement be able to stand firm in the face of the next?
    I started this post with your own words. I don't know the method you used to confront these people but I would suggest that the response you got is even less dangerous than that you might have experienced had you represented a real and functional threat to the status quo.

    jrs , May 3, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    I think some of the pushback was just how people prioritize issues. If one was both anti-war and for expanding benefits but prioritized benefits (NOT for a pragmatic reason of them being perceived as more politically feasible but just as a priority for rational, emotional, value, or even personal reasons) then of course they might be in total agreement. If for some reason they were both entirely equal in one's eyes then one might agree. But if one actually deeply cares about opposing the wars, if anti-war is a primary (if far from the only) issue, it's hard not to prioritize, and to agree to let it take a backburner until "after the revolution". Especially if one is not sure it will even happen even "after the revolution". It might actually be a values disagreement at some level among people who might nominally seem to agree and yet prioritize things differently.

    My reaction to Trump bombing Syria was absolute horror (whether Trump intends to escalate that war I honestly don't know at this point, I think Trump is a disaster, but I don't know the end game there), but it sure seemed so at the time, that he wanted to overthrow Assad period. It's a visceral reaction, but it's not irrational, not wanting the horror of another regime change and all the death, the endless death it entails is not irrational, even if rationally one ought to care just as much about some other issue they don't quite care as much about.

    jrs , May 3, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    As for what issues will draw the masses into action, nationally that might be economics. But around here it seems racial issues get FAR more traction than economic issues EVER do. More protests, etc. And it's not because there isn't economic desperation, because there is!

    I just think people are USED TO things sucking economically and don't even see the possibility of change there but only of adaptation, whereas they do see the possibility of resisting I.C.E., of protesting police brutality, etc.. Of course environmental and peace movements get even less traction.

    jrs , May 3, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    So maybe what I'm saying is what moves the masses is not always what they see as most urgent, but what they see as changeable. Politics is the art of what is perceived as possible. And the CA Dem party has probably conditioned many a Californian into real economic change not being one of those things (I can't even get my state reps to respond to me when I email them demanding state single payer. This does not really say anything particularly good about it's possible passage, although I can hope).

    Now there are real objective reasons why ending the empire and the war machine are nearly impossible, the forces against it just being too strong, but to do something it not ONLY has to be possible, but also it has to be seen as possible. Otherwise people just adapt to whatever the situation is ("accept the things they cannot change" etc.), even when things are pretty bad.

    Alex Morfesis , May 3, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Solomon Stanwood Menken about 100 years ago today, he went from being the executive director of to president of some little organization he founded called the national security league menken was one of jp (the jp) morgans lawyers to study him and the national security league is to understand the genesis of the oft bantered and whispered meme when one gets too close to the burning coals

    and if one wants to understand how from then we get to today study mary bancroft our own little mata hari yes the wsj bancrofts she was good friends with one ruth forbes paine young whose son

    As to the notion of stepping into the democratic party there certainly is an opening since the party depends on surfz and other unpaid or underpaid volunteers the reality is the system might sniff out so many volunteers and will cleave off any moves to consolidate unapproved or inappropriate power grabs from the uninvited verily it will certainly be a challenge could be done but many lives will be crushed in the making tis why the notion those over 65 need to be volunteered for the front lines currently tis a bit difficult to remove those monthly checks from arriving, however small they might appear to be everyone else can have their lives disrupted .

    Judith , May 3, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Except:

    "The prominent anti-war activist Ann Wright says that, after being arrested for protesting at a U.S. drone base, she stopped receiving her monthly social security checks, in what she believes was a deliberate attempt "to curtail dissent of seniors."

    From: http://www.alternet.org/activism/retired-army-colonel-says-her-social-security-checks-were-garnished-curtail-dissent

    alex morfesis , May 3, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    that did not seem to last too long she has not mentioned it since and in her mentioning she had explained she had already begun the process of "correcting" the record although the rule is not arbitrary in and of itself but that if you are in jail for more than 30 days your social security check can be voided for the time in jail

    wright wrote a piece on her ordeal at drudgeleft but have seen nothing more on her issue guessing she goterfyxd

    https://faq.ssa.gov/link/portal/34011/34019/Article/3844/Can-prisoners-get-Social-Security-or-Supplemental-Security-Income-SSI-payments

    and yes, I am fully aware of how easy it is to have some guvdrone type in the wrong info in a database

    "by accidented"

    been there, done that, bought the teeshirt and mug teeshirt fell apart, mug broke got me another

    freedom vs freedumb

    you pay a price, one way or another

    CanCyn , May 3, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    In Canada, Naomi Klein and some others are championing the LEAP Manifesto as a way forward: https://leapmanifesto.org/en/the-leap-manifesto/#manifesto-content
    I've signed on but it has never really felt like exactly the right thing. I could never quite put my finger on what it is missing having read this post, I know what it is. Just like championing anti-war above all other things (in spite of the rightness of the idea of no war and all of the good consequences that would follow) won't work as a first step, championing the environment and indigenous rights and perspective (in spite of it being right and the many good things would follow) is just not the way to get a majority of people on board and to lead change. People want healthcare, decent jobs, and decent lives – let's get together on that. Then talk about how to stop the corporatization & privatization of EVERYTHING. Clean out the swamp for real. I believe that, at its heart, that's what Occupy wanted.
    I would love to hope and I do see the glimmer of opportunity – people are talking and asking questions. But, like Diptherio, the pessimist in me is strong. Where is Occupy now? Was is simply the right movement at the wrong time? Or is there just too little support? Are people just too defeated?

    marym , May 3, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    People want healthcare, decent jobs, and decent lives – let's get together on that. Then talk about how to stop the corporatization & privatization of EVERYTHING.

    Corporatization and privatization should be part of the discussion, whatever the prioritization of specific demands, to contrast with demands for systems, services, and institutions that serve the common good.

    Eureka Springs , May 3, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Is it not true the last president we had who seriously considered universal health care also faced the greatest anti-war movement?

    marym , May 3, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Not being killed, incarcerated, deported, banned, tortured by the armed power of the state is a material benefit. As an observer, it seems to me that people organizing around these issues domestically often do make connections to the international aspects (war, blowback, US alliances with despotic regimes).

    Gregory Hill , May 3, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    How Can Our Fall Be Stopped?

    I also believe the Single Payer movement may be the best first step and most efficient approach to promoting the true progressive message, which could effectively
    marginalize and defeat, as I refer to them, the heartless "Condescenders." I will use an example of a glaring problem within our current heartless and progressively demoralizing Healthcare System. The example below came as a result of my own developed understanding of the serious socio-economic issues currently faced by many struggling people, including those driven to bankruptcy, poverty and a myriad of other problems (e.g. substance abuse). As we know, poverty and falling incomes undeniably beget increasing problematic health issues for those affected by their struggles, whatever the cause. I should briefly mention here that I believe a Single Payer System should include the option for citizens to pursue certified naturopathic modalities (proper nutrition and other proven strategies that offer freedom from horrible pharmaceutical drugs hawked by Big Pharma and For Profit Medicine).

    How many people with life-long undiagnosed neurological/physiological disorders, have perpetually exacerbated physiological symptoms associated with their disorder, many times caused by triggers unknown to them, which becomes a negative feedback loop propelled by environmental, dietary and socio-economic factors, ad infinitum, as well as a lack of receiving proper care, let alone a proper diagnosis? They stumble though life, mis-labeled and misunderstood. Their lives are many times a life of varying economic or social poverty (and most likely both in some degree or another) caused by gross underachievement based on fleeting societal standards driven by the elites who control the narrative. They are stuck in the mire of life's undesirable swamps where the Condescenders all-knowingly think they belong, because, well, "it is the 'Losers' fault for the messes they are in; therefore, why should we help them?" Is this not the prevalent attitude of the Ayn Rand's, ahem, Paul Ryan's and the filthy rich cohort Koch Brothers and other filthy rich bastards of the world, grubbing for more money and power over the majority of citizens they oppress (lower taxes via less government support for the middle and lower classes)?

    As former Reagan Republican, right-wing, and so-called Christian, I can effectively see right through their "mercy" horse hockey. My own move away from the Repugnants started in 2002-2003), so I also easily see the glaring problems with the elite establishment Democrats and their enablers. Yet, my faith has still grown, because I have now long seen the light. I cannot ignore the undeniable call to social democracy, justice and mercy found, for example, in the Book of James or the teachings of Jesus (you know, the guy who drove the money-changers out of the Temple). It just took a long process of reasoning and critical thinking over the years for me to be liberated. As an Independent, Green Party-type and part of the "Christian Left," I am happy to be a part of the clarion cry for a paradigm shift on many social democratic fronts, starting with the Single Payer and then Anti-War movements, as well as other great causes. I have no interest in being associated with warmongering right wing or libertarian "Christians" who "hand their brother a stone" when they are in need a "loaf of bread," who also have apparently forgotten that their God "is no respecter of persons." I am truly ashamed to say, there is no "right" in the "Christian Right" supporting any of their arguments for their ungracious attitudes and merciless political positions on these issues.

    The first proper act toward even attempting to address this ungodly attitude toward our fellow citizens (and if they are not considered "fellow citizens," then who are they?), would be to remove a large majority the Condescenders, who are unwilling to consider and change their heartless mindsets, marginalizing them in the national discussion of how we can keep this sinking ship afloat and get her to shore. I believe the first step would be the unmitigated nationalization of the healthcare system, you know, like Universal Health Care found in other CIVILIZED developed countries throughout the world.

    Sign me up!

    Bradley , May 3, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Hi Gregory,

    I understand that you are frustrated with the right, but Libertarians do share your anti-war and anti-interventionist positions. As one myself, I am concerned that Marina's focus on universal benefits will splinter existing anti-war support, including the somewhat sizable portion of libertarian-minded voters (4.5 million in 2016).

    jfleni , May 3, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    The solution is to FIGHT, and FIGHT again against the jumped up generalsimos and their enablers in the five-sided bughouse. The country really has no enemies except those we make for ourselves.

    These very same morons are extremely sensitive to the gross weakness of their position, and implacable oposition will only emphasize it; RESIST them always! Don't let them catch their breath!

    The benefits are obvious to eveybody; when they paint gory pictures of millions of chinamen or russians against us, just give them your best belly-laugh!

    Greg Taylor , May 3, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    I would have agreed that a universal material benefits (UMB) coalition-building strategy was better than an anti-war strategy until I campaigned for Bernie in the south. Too many potential coalition members buy into "meritocracy" and often find UMB threaten their identities by putting them at the bottom of the totem pole – a place they've fought hard to inch away from.

    While campaigning, I walked up to two guys on an electric cart working outdoor maintenance for the city – at the time I thought they would be making far less than the $15/hr UMB that Bernie supports. Figured we could find some common ground on a minimum wage. The older, 40ish, more experienced of the two, informed me that if Bernie got his way on the minimum wage, he'd be making $15, no better than someone just starting out. Turned out that one guy made $12/hr and the other $10. Wouldn't the older guy be $3/hr better off? That just didn't matter to him. What mattered was making 50% or so more than people at the bottom.

    I suspect that objections to some other UMBs will face similar identity-threatening objections from the masses who've bought into meritocracy. It will be difficult to "flip" the working class on meritocracy and I believe that is essential for a UMB-based strategy to succeed. Perhaps even more difficult than convincing the military and veterans to support an anti-war coalition.

    UserFriendly , May 3, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    The problem ultimately comes down to where are you willing to draw the line and vote for the lesser evil. This will always be a problem with our shitty first past the post election method. Of course there is little chance of fixing the problem because it suffers the same problem a JG does. It has an UBI, a proposal that is not threatening to the current power structure so all the reform energy that should be behind a JG gets syphoned off into something pointless. For voting reform all the energy is behind ranked choice because it won't threaten the current power structure at all. 3-2-1 Voting or Score voting would be much better and actually change things. Here is a good discussion on voter satisfaction efficiency that explains what the different methods involve.
    http://electology.github.io/vse-sim/VSE/
    Or a shorter summary that explains the results a bit better.
    http://electology.github.io/vse-sim/VSEbasic/
    Because if we had a better voting method than ..
    https://electology.org/blog/honest-voters-had-preference-2016

    Of course I don't see any hope for change in the future, at least not in the time scale we need to save the planet. Even if there was universal consensus to do everything possible to avoid climate change I don't see us avoiding 2C. Short of people pouring a ton of money into safe nuclear I doubt this planet will be habitable in 150 years.

    Kenneth Heathly Simpson , May 3, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Greetings All, Thank you for this discussion. Back in the dark ages of the 1960's and early 70's, we were confronted with the same discussion. What I think I learned was that single issue based coalitions were very good organizing tools. Each had its own rallying cry: For example, "Bring the boys home now. Stop the War. Down with Imperialism", organized and rallied the anti-war movement. A coalition around "Single payer Medicare for all" would act in the same way. However, meetings, demonstrations and organizations around single issues provided arena's for discussing and organizing around other issues. Back in the day, it was impossible not to have Women's Liberation people, for example, handing out women's literature that was pro-abortion at the door of anti-war meetings and at anti-war rallies. It was often normal operating procedure to invite people into single issue coalition meetings to announce their separate issue meetings and demonstration as the last agenda point of the evening. They were invited in to the big "tent" and allowed to speak at the end as long as they were against the war. Demonstrations brought people into the movement and educated them. Meetings organized people for action. The Democratic Party's elections took the air out of organizing the movements. The big anti-war demonstrations, every last one of them, were in non-election years: 1965, 1967, 1969 and 1971. We learned to hate the pro-capitalist Democratic Party and its Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC), including its leading members like Ted Kennedy and Bernie Sanders. They were after all pro-capitalist and committed to rigged pro-capitalist elections. Capitalism is war: Class war and imperialist war. They travel hand and glove. Capitalism will not end war or liberate people. It is an exploitive system. It does give concessions, when threatened. Concession and reform are here today and out the other. Look what happened to the New Deal and the UN etc. etc.
    Build single issue coalitions, for a starters, but educate people to unified struggle against all exploitation and oppression. There is no other way that I can see to win and secure the victory. As to war, I believe there is only one war that is supportable, class war. This is what Rosa Luxemborg and the Third Socialist International gave their lives to during World War One and the 1920's.
    Please keep on discussing and organizing. Study and fight back. You have nothing to lose but your chains.
    Peace and love,
    k

    VietnamVet , May 3, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    This is an excellent start. It is not enough to be anti-war. The Reagan-Thatcher counter-coup and globalization have been extremely efficient at atomizing 80% of the population who've been marginalized and forgotten. War today is simply a mechanism to extract wealth from the western middle class who still have jobs and pay taxes. If human beings are to survive, a new form of government must arise that puts people and the earth first; controls man's mortal sin of hording power and puts rich criminals in jail.

    [Apr 03, 2017] Is the USA entered a revolutionary situation which usually is referred as crisis of legitimacy in English-language literature.

    Apr 03, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    libezkova , April 02, 2017 at 09:22 AM
    Is the USA entered a "revolutionary situation" which usually is referred as "crisis of legitimacy" in English-language literature.

    Looks like it did judging from what MSM write about Trump and his entourage. And anti-Russian hysteria is a reaction of this crisis of legitimacy, attempt to suppress it at least temporary by uniting the nation against the external threat ( and this efforts fall into fertile ground of dreams about Trump impeachment in democratic circles; Russians of Chinese, does not matter -- but the orange menace should be eliminated):

    https://www.blackagendareport.com/fake_news_covers_crisis

    The key question is: Who has the stronger claim to speak on behalf of the people: the president or the majority that opposes his policies?" No automatic mechanism exists within the system to resolve this, and so each side has an incentive to escalate its claim and attempt to seize more power.

    It actually started around 2000:

    Questions of legitimacy certainly do arise if voters would rather not have outsourcing and offshoring, cuts in public spending including healthcare, and cuts in taxes for rich -- but are getting those policies anyway. Global financial oligarchy still pressure for privatization of utilities, healthcare, education, you name it, despite crisis of 2008. In other words, neoliberalism in zombie stage is probably more dangerous that pre-2008 neoliberalism.

    The regulatory race to the bottom (aka deregulation) did not stopped. Several types of regulation-for example, of health and safety in the workplace, terms of employment, product and environmental standards -- have both ideological and political content.

    If voters say: this is not the agenda we elected Trump to implement, democratic dreams about Trump impeachment might become more realistic then inflating anti-Russian hysteria path, the path that the corrupt Democratic Party leadership selected and finance.

    But at the same time Democrats does not really represent the opposition. They are also corrupt to the core (Schumer, Raid, Pelosi are nice examples here) and adopted neoliberalism in essentially the same form as Republicans. They fully adopted such policies as "moderation" in taxes (cutting taxes for the rich and making tax scheme more flat)) and "moderation" of public spending, "fiscal responsibility" and the rest of neoliberal "pro financial oligarchy" program.

    People feel disempowered by global neoliberalism. And that might start to affect the stability of the society soon. In 2015 New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow made this point recently in a commentary on the relations between minority communities and our system of justice. He said that we need a "restoration - or a formation - of faith for all of America's citizens in the American justice system itself."

    http://capcr-stl.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Crisis-of-Legitimacy-2.pdf

    See also

    https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/211/44824.html

    [Mar 26, 2017] The operatives of what Gore Vidal called the Property Party, (which has two right wings,) co-opted each successive movement. Lower middle class and working class people had the Koch brothers funded Tea Party pushed on them. The DNC sponsored identity groups quickly sucked all oxigen from the protest movement they represented

    Notable quotes:
    "... As Mr. Hudson explained in the piece, the operatives of what Gore Vidal called the Property Party, (which has two right wings,) co-opted each successive movement. Lower middle class and working class people had the Koch brothers funded Tea Party pushed on them. The DNC sponsored "identity groups" quickly sucked all originality out of the various specious "identities" so represented. On the war front, the Pentagon imposed "embedment" upon journalists. In each case, the viewpoints of the "average" person so involved were restricted to vistas guaranteed to promote the "sponsored" agenda. Thus, the present assault upon "alternative" media makes sense from a status quo perspective. It is all about control of the dialogue. ..."
    "... Perez only got 235 votes; Sanders' candidate Ellison got 200. The Democratic Party establishment did not "ignore" Sanders by running Perez. They were semi-desperately trying to block him (and his cohort) from advancing on a low rung on the ladder to power. ..."
    "... Wikileaks made it plain what the Democrats do to mavericks who win races without a party bit in their mouths. The corruption is institutional, it is their operatives' identity. ..."
    "... The "masses of people who have dropped out of the workforce" are old, overweight, have multiple physical deficits and are hooked on at least 2 types of prescription dope. They will not be manning your nostalgia-draped barricades. Not ever. ..."
    "... I agree with Hudson's critique of FIRE and the problem of debt in our society. But it is not easy to explain to the general public - which would not recognize the acronym. ..."
    "... "Also, while I agree Dems are dominated by Blue Dogs who want to use Wall Street money to run Repub lite candidates in purple states, and that their appeal to identity politics is manipulative and a way to deflect from economic issues," ..."
    "... " it does not logically follow that voters do not often think of themselves and their goals in terms of racism or religion or guns. Their are cultural "us v them" identities that have a powerful effect on politics." ..."
    "... "We can beat them if we find common sense solutions to our problems and articulate those ideas to our neighbors. We need energy and hard work, but it is not clear that a third party is needed." ..."
    "... I also agree that there is no solution, certainly not an evolutionary solution via EITHER of the two parties. ..."
    "... The big changes in the USA occurred during the Great Depression as financial reform was introduced, the idea of government infrastructure could provide employment and what I believe is little mentioned, an increased awareness on the part of many that their success was not achieved solely by their own efforts. ..."
    "... Many of the USA's post war corporate executives should have remembered that their families struggled during the thirties, and this may have made them more connected with their employees and communities. ..."
    "... People are not sheep. We've been psyop'd senseless. "Public relations" began around the turn of the 20th century. It was ramped up by orders of magnitude after WWII. ..."
    "... Gore Vidal quotes JFK as saying to him, we've entered an era in which "it is the *appearance of things that matters" ..."
    "... Psychology and other social sciences have been weaponized and turned against us. With a facile understanding of the human mind (as if it were nothing but a mere mechanism), immense effort has gone into controlling the inputs in order to control the outputs (behavior). ..."
    "... Newly declassified documents from the Reagan presidential library help explain how the U.S. government developed its sophisticated psychological operations capabilities that – over the past three decades – have created an alternative reality both for people in targeted countries and for American citizens, a structure that expanded U.S. influence abroad and quieted dissent at home. ..."
    "... Today, "public opinion" is a Frankenstein's monster. Most of my fellow Americans believe in a world that never existed and doesn't exist right now. We can't even agree on what happened to JFK, or MLK, or what happened on 9/11/01. ..."
    "... Contra UF, it's not that people are incapable of rational thought; rather, the information we have is hopelessly corrupted. People are acting rationally, but the numerators and denominators have been faked. On purpose. Or did the Russians really do it? ..."
    "... It's far more simpler. Charter schools are about following the money. Public schools have seemingly huge revenue streams. Why can't GE get a cut is the thought process? For profit Healthcare was forbidden until 1973 (thanks to Teddy), why not public schools? ..."
    "... The HMO Act of 1973 (thanks Teddy and Tricky Dick; bipartisanship at its finest) made it easier to start and run HMOs which faced regulatory hurdles mostly due to financing. Non profits had an easier time of it hence Hospitals named "St X" or "X General." Since the hospital were non profits and employers made deals with the hospitals, health insurance was effectively non-profit. There were gaps, mostly in rural areas. Other changes from the HMO Act of 1973 encouraged profit seeking from denial of coverage to pushing unnecessary procedures or prescriptions. ..."
    "... The US Left has been controlled opposition since 1950. There was never a chance it could provide a reasonable and effective alternative. FBI/CIA moles make sure they never will. The Democrats have never been true Left FDR didn't really betray his class, he saved them from their own stupidity. ..."
    "... "As Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere quipped in the 1960s, when he was accused by the US of running a one-party state, 'The United States is also a one-party state but, with typical American extravagance, they have two of them'." ..."
    "... The identity politics of today lack in solidarity, too. What with Hillary Clinton running the most ageist campaign in memory, Obama breaking the record on deportations, Bill Clinton blowing racist dogwhistles as hard he can and also helping to shepherd a police state that puts Thailand to shame, and the whole of the Democratic Party stoking Russophobia and neoconservative. ..."
    "... The diagnosis is mostly correct. But omits the role class bigotry and affluenza with attendant celebrity culture and pursuit of prestige plays. Thus the prognosis and protocol go astray. ..."
    "... The wealthy and the politicians don't care about you/us. They care about maintaining any fiction that allows them to keep acquiring. Trump is not the problem; Mercer"s values are The Problem. Trump is the PERFECT reality TV/celebrity fantasy creature to keep the twisted Mercer chariot's wheels turning. ..."
    "... Bernie was NOT The Answer. Putting on a mask of concern does not take away the sorrows of empire. As long as the blatant US militarism and imperialism continues we cannot unite the working class. Everything it needs to flourish continues - mass incarceration, join the military or stay in the ghetto, graft and corruption of military/industrial/media complex, no respect for other cultures being swarmed, consumerism. ..."
    "... The jobs plan: more prison guards, border agents, munitions makers, soldiers, cops, various bodyguards for the rich and the other useful mandarins to the affluenza-stricken is set in stone. ..."
    "... Michael Hudson makes great points but I am still wrestling with his (and others) push back against so-called identity politics as it pertains to this perception of it splintering or at least limiting the Democratic party. The Dems are most certainly a party committed to the ideals of neoliberalism and corporatism. They did not lose this election based on "Russian hacking/emails" and other trite nonsense. ..."
    "... The Obama part of maintaining the looting of society status quo. ..."
    "... The point about Trump being the US Yeltsin is one very much worth considering, if only because Russia, after much degradation and also suffering, has managed to begin to overcome those shameful and depressing times. May we do so also. ..."
    "... Excellent piece. Americans have forgotten that the things they took for granted (40 hour week, humane working conditions, employer provided benefits etc.) were gained by the blood, sweat and tears of their forebears. ..."
    "... The Clintons, the Obamas, the Blairs, possibly the Macrons, the Ruttes, even the Merkels of this world are wolves in sheep's clothing. They have come to represent, for increasing numbers, little better than managed decline in apparently safe hands, conducted in plain sight, in the ever narrower interests of the few. ..."
    "... Regarding the subject line of the article. I'd say that the Democratic Party has been the "paid loyal opposition" for quite a while. . . meaning they are paid to loose. Given the party's ties to Wall Street and Big Pharma it's pretty clear they mostly work for the same folks that own "mainstream" Republicans so their apparent fecklessness and inability to mount ANY sort of effective opposition, even when they are in the majority, shouldn't be any surprise. ..."
    Mar 26, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    ambrit, March 26, 2017 at 5:29 am

    As long as the people of America had a reasonable expectation of gaining a better life, or, the next best thing, that their children would gain that better life, the Social Contract remained strong. Aspiration was both a spur to striving within the existing system, and a palliative for most discontents encountered. Where the status quo did not offer any real hope, the Civil Rights for minorities being an example, more "robust" methods were necessary, and were employed. What else is civil disobedience but counter violence against the State? Naturally, the State ramps up it's 'violence' in an attempt to quash the disaffected masses.

    In this struggle, optics and expectations are crucial. As Gil Scott-Heron famously invoked; "The revolution will not be televised." Paradoxically, by ensuring the wide dissemination of images of the nascent "Revolution," activists ensured that whatever came out of the Days of Rage would not be a true revolution. The newsreels of colored people bravely enduring police oppression in the American South guaranteed that that particular issue would not be dumped down Orwell's "Memory Hole." Television footage of young American men fighting and dying in Vietnam spurred the families of those who could even potentially be drafted to go overseas to die for their country to take to the streets and vote against the war and the warmongers. Gay rights is generally considered to have begun to take form and substance after the "Stonewall Riots" in New York in 1969. See: https://www.socialistalternative.org/stonewall-riots-1969/ By "going postal," the New York gays declared loud and proud that the old way of doing business was no longer acceptable to them.

    As Mr. Hudson explained in the piece, the operatives of what Gore Vidal called the Property Party, (which has two right wings,) co-opted each successive movement. Lower middle class and working class people had the Koch brothers funded Tea Party pushed on them. The DNC sponsored "identity groups" quickly sucked all originality out of the various specious "identities" so represented. On the war front, the Pentagon imposed "embedment" upon journalists. In each case, the viewpoints of the "average" person so involved were restricted to vistas guaranteed to promote the "sponsored" agenda. Thus, the present assault upon "alternative" media makes sense from a status quo perspective. It is all about control of the dialogue.

    The main strength of the old style identity politics is it's ability to focus the energies of participants toward a particular goal. To that end, the concept of the "United Front" is useful. You watch my back, I'll show up at your demonstration is the operative concept. Thus, the development and widespread dissemination of images of a uniting "struggle" are needed. All of this is actually self evident. What is needed are "leaders" ready to stand up and shout it out over the rooftops.

    When Paul Revere made his famous ride, he was actually stopped by British troops before he could reach either Concord or Lexington, Massachusetts. A companion, a Dr. Prescott made the actual warnings to the American rebels. Revere and Prescott were members of an extensive Patriot organization. A Doctor and an Artisan, two usually distinct social classes at the time were collaborating towards a common goal. A "United Front" made the American Revolution. See: http://www.biography.com/news/paul-reveres-ride-facts Today's struggle can proceed no differently.

    Jagger , March 26, 2017 at 9:45 am

    A Doctor and an Artisan, two usually distinct social classes at the time were collaborating towards a common goal

    "We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." A bit of wisdom from the mind of Ben Franklin in the early days of the revolution.

    ambrit , March 26, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Wonderful! Dr. Franklin would be considered a "radical" even by today's standards. "The more things change .."

    steelhead23 , March 26, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Let us remember, when a college student asked Rep. Nancy Pelosi whether the party might move toward a more socialistic economic system, she answered, " We're capitalists. That's just the way it is. ", and went on to support a return to noblesse oblige, completely failing to grasp the contradiction between modern neoliberal theology (maximizing shareholder return/profits) and such niceties as paying a living wage. We the left have a problem we need to attack head-on – our semantics have been demonized. Socialism is widely disparaged as subordinating individual will to the state – as tyranny – and the MSM often portrays economic downturns in social democracies (Venezuela, Argentina) as caused by foolish socialist policies, not broadscale economic issues (oil glut), or financial stupidity of prior governments (Argentina). I applaud Senator Sanders for continuing to use the moniker "social democrat" as he has done much to legitimize the word. We need more. Ich bin ein social democrat.

    ambrit , March 26, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Oh yes, and I remember wondering when I first read about that "interaction," just what did Pelosi really mean by Capitalist? As someone else here remarked, she might have been confusing capitalist with corporatist in her mind.

    polecat , March 26, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    'Crony' capitalists is what she really meant ..

    Ah the Crony California Quotient Always looking out for them and theirs' --

    Gman , March 26, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Doctrinaire [adj]

    seeking to impose a doctrine in all circumstances without regard to practical considerations:

    1. 'Nancy Pelosi asked whether the party might move toward a more socialistic economic system, she answered, "We're capitalists. That's just the way it is."

    pissed younger baby boomer , March 26, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    That's why I am changing my party status to one of the socialist parties in Oregon .

    DJG , March 26, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    ambrit: Excellent comment. What I would add, though, is that all three of the movements that you cite had equality as a main goal: Black people wanted equality in civil rights and civil liberties. The antiwar movement drew strength from the draft, which affected people of all classes (men most directly) and led to various unequal uses of deferments that are causes of political problems to this very day. Gay folk also wanted civil rights and civil liberties (although marriage equality may not be the proper culmination–identity politics gone divergent).

    A while back, I read Norberto Bobbio's influential little book, Right and Left. He states that the main motivators of leftist politics are liberty, equality, and fraternité (let's call it solidarity). And he points out that leftists usually place equality first. So to animate a new movement, we have to get back to issues of political and economic equality. The metaphor of The One Percent is a hint. That hint has to be expanded.

    ambrit , March 26, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Good point. The American Revolt had it's "Committees of Correspondence." They operated outside of the MSM of the day. The Civil Rights movement early on had the black churches as sanctuaries and disseminators of the message. The anti-war movement had both the Underground press and, unwittingly, later, the MSM of the day proclaiming the problem. In general, each information spreading system used was not a part of the "Official Version" apparatus.

    The point about equality is important. The unmentioned basis of Capitalism is competition. Competition implies inequality as the outcome. This is not true aspiration, but aspiration's evil twin, ambition. So, the Left's real uphill slog is going to be to frame the debate about social policy in an anti-competitive form.

    Bashing the .01% is always good fun, but, as many have remarked, and the recent failed Democrat Party campaigns have demonstrated, a positive goal is needed to really motivate and engage those of us "on the ground." As earlier remarked, a "Single Payer" healthcare campaign, framed as an "equality" measure would do the trick. There are doubtless many other issues that would lend themselves to a similar treatment. Meld these issues into a "Progressive United Front" campaign and we will begin to see some movement.

    In essence, as the earlier socialist and communist thinkers proclaimed, the ownership of the means of production are a good place to start. Given the unequal distribution of such ownership however, the next best thing would be the control of the distribution of the fruits of production; especially germaine with the rise of automation.

    It's time to make "We the People" great.

    DJG , March 26, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    ambrit: Agreed, again. And time for some poetry, too:

    Langston Hughes

    https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/let-america-be-america-again

    Note "equality" front and center in his prophetic vision.

    ambrit , March 26, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    I also see the dream ahead of him, beckoning, beguiling, beatifying despite the false realities around him.
    Something to believe in will generally trump something to be fearful of, in the hearts of men.

    marym , March 26, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Great comment and resulting discussion.

    IMO there's not a practical electoral solution, in the sense of electing a bunch of candidates at multiple levels of government to unwind or replace all the laws, regulations/lack of regulations, court decisions, and algorithms that misgovern our lives and misappropriate our wealth.

    Building on your comment ambrit@5:29 and Ulysses@8:38:

    A – No more than 3 universal issues (Medicare for All; publicly funded tuition for post-secondary education, training, and apprenticeships; end the wars, for example). Medicare for All is part of the discussion now and should have a prominent place.

    B – Activism continues, as it must and will, in other areas: issues of survival (police violence, incarceration, homelessness and hunger; minimum wa