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Who Rules America ?

A slightly skeptical view on the US political establishment and foreign policy

If Ronald Reagan was America's neo-Julius Caesar, his adopted son was the first George Bush (just as J.C. adopted Augustus). And look what THAT progeny wrought. I fully expect that over the next century, no fewer than seven Bushes will have run or become president (mimicking the Roman Caesarian line). Goodbye, American Republic.

From review of Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia by Gore Vidal

Skepticism -> Political Skeptic

News Neoliberalism Recommended books Recommended Links The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Neoliberal propaganda Libertarian Philosophy
Two Party System as Polyarchy Big Uncle is Watching You Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neo-conservatism National Security State Predator state New American Militarism
"Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17 Neoliberal war on reality American Exceptionalism Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization Globalization of Financial Flows The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization  Color revolutions Compradors vs. national bourgeoisie Neo-Theocracy as a drive to simpler society Corruption of Regulators Neoliberal Compradors and lumpenelite
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Elite Theory Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Bureaucracy Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition Groupthink
Social Justice Modern forms of slavery in the USA Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult  US Presidential Elections of 2016 Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Myth about intelligent voter  
Ethno-lingustic Nationalism MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss The Far Right Forces in Ukraine as Trojan Horse of Neoliberalism  Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers   Corporatism
Casino Capitalism   Financial Skeptic Slightly Skeptical Look at Oil Price Slump Russian Ukrainian Gas Wars Energy returned on energy invested (EROEI) Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks
Ron Paul George Carlin Famous quotes of John Kenneth Galbraith Kurt Vonnegut Quotes Talleyrand quotes Somerset Maugham Quotes Otto Von Bismarck Quotes
Fighting Russophobia Overcomplexity of society New American Militarism Parasitism on Human rights children of Lieutenant Schmidt Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

FDR. speech after the election (1936)

polyarchy: A system where the participation of masses of people is limited to voting among one or another representatives of the elite in periodic elections. Between elections the masses are now expected to keep quiet, to go back to life as usual while the elite make decisions and run the world until they can choose between one or another elite another four years later. So polyarchy is a system of elite rule, and a system of elite rule that is little bit more soft-core than the elite rule that we would see under a military dictatorship. But what we see is that under a polyarchy the basic socio-economic system does not change, it does not become democratized.

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

Right or wrong the USA is a great country. Probably the greatest country in the world in XX century which has chances to preserve its position in XXI centry. A new Rome. With its own share of greatness (The computer revolution  was essentially the USA creation) and cruelties.

The USA is a country with very interesting, unique in many respect political processes. And since 1980 it became the central power driving the spread of  neoliberalism all over the globe. The epicenter of worldwide neoliberal revolution.  This transformation of former Trotskyites into staunch defenders of capitalism (Neoconservatism) is also predominantly the USA development although it somewhat mirrors Mussolini period of Italy when  many communist also switched sides and joined right forces and far-right nationalist party. The USA also has many prominent political scientist which move this science forward probably faster then their counterparts in Old world. Although not always in right direction ;-). The conversion of Fundamentalist Christians sects into formidable political force is another interesting US development, which has few historical precidents. This "American Taliban" now became the cornerstone of the Republican Party which lost its Lincoln's roots almost completely. Enough to say that such presidents as Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon  on many important issues are to the left of Barack Obama or Bill Clinton (the second neoliberal president after Reagan, the man who sold Democratic Party to Wall Street).  Classic conservatives are now marginalized in US political spectrum and are represented by very few magazine such as The American Conservative

As many I became dismayed with the USA foreign policy since Clinton administration. And tried to understand why the USA elite slided into  a jingoistic foreign policy as well as intransigence of those who managed to keep the country hostage to such an extreme views. Was it hubris of the US elite after crusing the USA?  Was it degeneration of the US elite similar to degeneration of Bolsheviks elite which led to collapse of the USSR? Was in understanding of the limits of capitalism and the need to international expansion at all costs to maintain profit level of the USA multinationals? Was it dominance of "deep state" which since 1962 replaced old institutions as the dominanc political force. 

For a skeptic like me it was clear that the USA political landscape in 70th drastically chanced, and not to the better. In a way Clinton started the "era of neocons" in the USA foreign policy which was continued and enhanced by Bush II and Obama. While triumph of neoliberalism after dissolution of the USSR might be one part of the answer, the other part is unclear. It can be growth of dominance of "deep state" (and connected with it MIC) or financial oligarchy, or degradation/transformation of corporate elite, or some combination of those factors. It is also important to understand the reasons of disintegration of the "New Deal" consensus which allowed financialized/speculative neoliberal economy to emerge. Rather than claiming that deregulation and financialization were a plot of the elite of the Reagan era, that eventually led to the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999 and Enron debacle in the early 2000s, we need to understand the political pressures under which policymakers became hostages of financial élites and neocons.

The notion of political skeptics is difficult to define. I think one suitable and pretty wide definition is people who whom MSM reporting cause strong allergic reaction, and who legitimately suspect MSM to be overly preoccupied with brainwashing and propaganda efforts . Who instinctively do not trust the declared by political establishment intentions, want to read between lines and see the second opinion along the lines of general definition of Skepticism:

Skepticism is generally any questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere.

As Barry Fagin noted in his 1997 article in Skeptical Inquirer:

... a skeptic should be familiar with history, politics, and economics, despite their lack of strong predictive value as social sciences. ...

Politics is socially sanctioned force: political solutions to problems are all about forcing people into a course of action. This provides a way to distinguish moral statements from political ones. ...A perspective that recognizes this distinction between politics and morality...

...they should apply the same techniques of critical inquiry toward the institutions of politics that they apply to all other institutions. The institution of government and the use of coercion as a social tool, the two central characteristics of politics, should be examined critically.

Resisting brainwashing by neoliberal MSM

In an atmosphere of constant brainwashing by neoliberal MSM it is important to have a second source of information. Otherwise the whole idea of informed citizen disappear in a dense smoke screen of constant lies and distortions of MSM. This is especially true about foreign events, where the level of brainwashing now approaches or exceeds the level typical for Brezhnev's USSR. That's why BBC and Voice of America were radio stations so widely listened in Soviet Union. People listed to them despite authorities attempts to jam them. Sometimes it was possible to listen to them only late at night. And people stayed late just to get some information over the constant noise of the jammer. Their coverage allowed to compare official Communist propaganda with Western propaganda and thus more closely approximate what actually happened in the world. Not that anybody blindly trusted iether BBC or Voice of America. We should do the same to get a second opinion about foreign events even from sources we do not fully trust. Or which are targeted by MSM in order to close this extra channel of information as untrustworthy.

Most of the United States journalists are serving as apologists for the administration (aka presstitutes). According to Urban dictionary the latter is

A term coined by Gerald Celente and often used by independent journalists and writers in the alternative media in reference to journalists and talking heads in the mainstream media who give biased and predetermined views in favor of the government and corporations, thus neglecting their fundamental duty of reporting news impartially. It is a portmanteau of press and prostitute.

Let me tell you something Alex, as soon as the economy collapses the presstitutes will be clamoring for war to distract the American people from the domestic problems.

This term is especially applicable to foreign correspondents. And it can't be otherwise if we understand the structure of ownership of major media outlets in the USA. This is especially true for coverage of foreign affairs. In this area the dominance of Neoliberal propaganda is complete and absolute. Cases when undesirable news are allowed are so rare that can be compiled in Red book. Huge amount of money are allocated annually on pushing right staff through the throats of unsuspecting (and mostly disinterested) citizens. Which made few natural skeptics to feel like students in a Chinese re-education camp. You need to add the corruption of academy, including complete corruption of economic departments around the country that became propaganda outlets of neoliberalism with propagandists of financial oligarchy in key positions.

That means that the level of brainwashing is not only comparable to the level that was typical in the USSR. It means that the smoke of propaganda is even more dense. And it is more visible in foreign policy, as the latter has always been more elite-driven, and more insulated from public opinion, than domestic policy. But today’s not only the gap between the US neoliberal elite and regular Joe & Jane is the largest in decades but the ideology they process and which dictates their action is questionable. That means that they push the course the is harmful for the interests of the state if we think that it represents more then 1% of the population. And regardless of your political affiliation, everybody agree that this is a already grave problem for American republic (it was never a democracy) and might influence the chances for the existence of this nation in the next, less carbon intense , century.

MSM successfully try to suppress the voice of people who are promoting a more restrained version of foreign policy, such as Andrew Bacevich, Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan, Paul Craig Roberts, and paleo conservatives (grouped around The American Conservative magazine) who warn about the danger of recklessly playing world globalization card and the cost of maintaining neoliberal empire. The sad truth is that their voice is not heard. Rupert Murdoch (who was invited to the USA by Reagan with the explicit purpose of controlling the narrative in MSM by neoliberal elite) media empire dominates press coverage like a giant Propaganda department of financial oligarchy and neocons. Compete control of MSM and contract army allow the elite completely escape civil control in foreign policy. Much like was the case with Soviet Politburo. In this sense the USA is an occupied country much like the USSR was. And methods tried for control of population in foreign countries are returning return home like chicken which come to roost (see Big Uncle is Watching You). As Ron Paul noted (A Tea Party Foreign Policy, Aug 27, 2010) :

“As many frustrated Americans who have joined the Tea Party realize, we cannot stand against big government at home while supporting it abroad. We cannot talk about fiscal responsibility while spending trillions on occupying and bullying the rest of the world. We cannot talk about the budget deficit and spiraling domestic spending without looking at the costs of maintaining an American empire of more than 700 military bases in more than 120 foreign countries. We cannot pat ourselves on the back for cutting a few thousand dollars from a nature preserve or an inner-city swimming pool at home while turning a blind eye to a Pentagon budget that nearly equals those of the rest of the world combined.”

In addition to affecting domestic priories (which actually were set beforehand, so the word reflecting and more correct that affecting ) it shows those priorities often earlier and more transparently. That means that attempts to understand the US foreign policy are essential for all concerned citizens of the country. People who are do not agree with the Western elites course are now excluded from the traditional political processes, and their country is changed without their participation and consent. The two party system is perfect for that. The only thing they can do is to try to understand the direction of this change which is often hidden under thick smoke of MSM propaganda. For example, the US foreign policy reveals one interesting trend that as soon as US elite start playing labor arbitrage it stopped to be the national elite. It jointed Neoliberal International which in a ways is similar to Communist International with just different class calling the shots and the annual Congress in Davos instead of Moscow. In this sense the bet on globalization that we observe is not accidental. It reflects the strategic decision to sacrifice well-being of domestic population for the preservation of profits of the globalized, transnational elite. Which is the essence of neoliberalism as a social system. Of course, it's better to be a part of domestic population of the USA or GB then the domestic population of Ukraine or Malaysia as the degree of sacrifice in well-being can be quite different. But the trend is universal. For this reason isolationalism promoted by paleo-conservatives such as Patrick J. Buchanan might be the only way to preserve remnants of democracy in the USA. Please remember where NSA got its initial training in total interception of metadata of phone calls.

To get a glimpse of real USA foreign policy you need to avoid domestic MSM. There are two sources that are more objective and can provide valuable the second opinion on the subject:

  1. MSM of the different country than the one in which you reside. For example even British MSM sometimes provide a better, more objective, picture of foreign events then the USA MSM, especially European. Comments in major British sites such as Guardian are usually more informed than comments, say, in NYT. Often this is because people are closer to the events in question. Despite looking like another neocon rag DW also sometimes contain valuable information that is suppressed in USA MSM. They often provide better insight on event is central Europe, Russia and Turkey. That same is eve more true for RT despite being financed by the Russian state and being a official tool of government propaganda much like BBC or Voice of America. Middle East media usually in also better in coverage of European and Middle East events. And that goes beyond Aljazira and Iranian TV. They can serve as valuable reference point which allow better detect the US and GB propaganda . Asian media such as Asian Times also produce slightly different perspective then major Western MSM and is another valuable reference point.
  2. Alternatives media. Alternative media such as Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, The American Conservative, Foreign Policy In Focus, The Real News Network, TYT Network, etc are also a valuable source. They do not have presence in foreign countries but they can attract experts who are avoided by MSM and who can provide a second opinion. The problem is that they are financially very weak. And actually support of alternative media might be one of the duties of any self-professed skeptic. For middle class readers, who consider themselves to be political skeptics, there is little or no justification for not giving your favorite alternative outlet a small annual donation.
  3. More specialized US publications. For example Foreign Policy despite being neocon rag sometimes published interesting and critical to MSM perspective on foreign event. The same is true about National Interest, and Atlantic.

Propaganda and symbolic interactionalism

When I was young I was greatly influenced by Tamotsu Shibutani’s ideas of symbolic interactionalism ( social world , attitude , social climate , delinquent behavior ) popularized in his groundbreaking book Social Psychology . I think that this still a valuable perspective that allow analyze MSM propaganda from a interesting angle -- as specialized organization serving the interest of the elite in their need for brainwashing the population in order to coerce them to do the what the elite wants. Herbert Blumer (1969), who coined the term symbolic interactionalism, set out three basic premises of the perspective all of which can be manipulated by propaganda.

  1. Human beings act toward things on the basis of the meanings they ascribe to those things. That means that those meanings can be greatly distorted by MSM, deeply influencing the way we act. Among other things that makes color revolutions possible -- if the MSM are captured by neoliberal camp people can be thrown on barricades against current government by exaggerating their current grievances and a new (typically much worse) neoliberal regime can be installed under democratization smoke screen.
  2. The meaning of such things is derived from, or arises out of, the social interaction that one has with others and the society. With replacement of actual social interaction with communication via Internet groupthink became a real problem. And adding insult to injury all your Internet activities are under the watchful eye of Big Uncle.
  3. These meanings are handled in, and modified through, an interpretative process used by the person in dealing with the people, events and things he/she encounters. If you do not have access to alternative MSM, your interpretive process can easily be manipulated in areas were you do not have first hand information about the events. And this artificial reality picture formed in such a way is sticky, it became part of your personality. That is integral part of the process of brainwashing. This phenomenon of belief coercion previously typical for high demand cults now entered mainstream. Even spectacular failure of predictions does not effect the flock attraction to such a cult as was the case with multiple predictions as for the Second Coming of Christ.

This is close to Elite Dominance Theory perspective which is most concise for was formulated by Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

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

Human social life can be studies in terms of manipulation of social symbols by each participant along with the unique for each participant view of the social scene based on the reference group. And MSM talking heads are part of your reference group. Such symbolic manipulations are partially based on cultural patterns and use a complex symbolic language in which the participants align and realign their respective positions and contributions. While norms provide a framework of expectations, what happens in each social/historical context is unique. That gives human society a unique characteristic -- flexibility of adapting to historical situation. Now this unique ability for adaptation is in danger due to overwhelming power of MSM.

Individual actors on social scene adjust their actions based on both pressures and contributions of others and the way they view the social scene. The latter concept is closely connected with the important concept of reference group. As Tamotsu Shibutani stated:

Martyrs of one sort or other are apparently found in all societies, and they usually become objects of curiosity, if not of vituperation. Less unusual men also attract attention - the dedicated scientist who carelessly uses his pay check as a bookmark, the mountaineer who risks his life scaling dangerous peaks, or the boy in the tenement who practices his violin doggedly amid the taunts of his neighbors.

Such conduct has been explained in several different ways, but an especially plausible hypothesis is suggested by Thoreau's famous lines: If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Most individualists tend to be somewhat estranged from those immediately around them, but rarely do they live in complete isolation.

Such extreme cases of non-conformity provide a point of departure for the study of more frequently found forms of di­versity. Deliberately, intuitively, or unconsciously each person performs for some kind of audience; in the drama of life, as in the theater, conduct is oriented toward certain people whose judgment is deemed important. In a complex society like ours, in which there are so many audiences, it often becomes necessary to identify the one for which an individual is performing in order to make his behavior comprehensible. The current popularity of the concept of reference group rests in part upon its utility in explaining behavior that is oriented toward audiences that are not obviously represented on the scene. Sociologists have long been concerned with audiences, for they usually explain conduct in terms of social control.

Social control refers not so much to deliberate influence or to coercion but to the fact that each person generally takes into account the expectations that he imputes to other people. The kinds of observations that have been accounted for in terms of what has been called the normative function of reference groups, one of the two functions they are alleged to have (21, 28), can he explained through the application of a long-familiar theory of social control to the conditions prevailing in modern mass societies. What is implied in the writings of Cooley, Dewey, Mead, Park, and Sapir must be stated more explicitly, however, since most of these men did not address themselves specifically to the study of mass societies. This task can be facilitated by making a distinction between (a) the perspective that is imputed to an audience and '(b) the people who make up an audience.

Another powerful idea is institutionalism -- social theory that focuses on developing a sociological view of institutions -- the way they interact and the way they affect society. It provides a way of viewing institutions enlarging the traditional views of political economics and can explain why so many businesses end up having the same organizational structure (isomorphism) even though they evolved in different ways. In many ways institutions shape the behavior of individual members. That why, for example, we can speak about bankers as a special social class. And it helps to explain why bankers represent a formidable political force as representatives of one of the most influential, most powerful institutions of the modern society. In a way, the quip by senator Dick Durbin that banks own Congress is not a hyperbole, this is just a honest assessment of the situation. Here is how the term is defined in Understanding Society The new institutionalism

The new institutionalism in sociology is a particularly promising prism through which to understand a lot of social behavior and change. Victor Nee and Paul Ingram define the approach in these terms in Embeddedness and Beyond in The New Institutionalism in Sociology:

Specifying the mechanisms through which institutions shape the parameters of choice is important to an adequate sociological understanding of economic action. These social mechanisms, we argue, involve processes that are built into ongoing social relationships -- the domain of network analysis in sociology. Yet, how institutions and networks combine to determine economic and organizational performance is inadequately theorized in the sociological study of economic life.

An institution is a web of interrelated norms -- formal and informal -- governing social relationships. It is by structuring social interactions that institutions produce group performance, in such primary groups as families and work units as well as in social units as large as organizations and even entire economies. (Nee and Ingram, p. 19)

The new institutional economics is essentially a marriage of the familiar assumptions of rational choice theory with the observation that “institutions matter”—that is, that the behavior of purposive individuals depends critically on the institutional constraints within which they act, and the institutional constraints themselves are under-determined by material and economic circumstances. So institutions evolve in response to the strategic actions of a field of actors. The paragraphs quoted above make it clear that the approach stipulates a very tight relationship between institutions and norms regulating behavior. The approach pays close attention to the importance of transaction costs in economic activity (the costs of supervision of a work force, for example, or the cost of collecting information on compliance with a contract). And it postulates that institutions emerge and persist as a solution to specific problems of social coordination.

The Theory of Distributional Coalitions

As Serdar Kaya noted, the current National Security State (also called "deep state") that replaced traditional US "semi-democratic" model can be viewed through the prism of Mancur Olson’s theory of distributional coalitions (The Rise and Decline of the Turkish “Deep State”: The Ergenekon Case )

Mancur Olson’s theory of distributional coalitions holds that, as societies establish themselves, group interests become more identifiable, and subsets of the society organize in an effort to secure these interests.

Since these interests are best served by coordinated action, institutions emerge.

Yet, such institutions tend to be exclusive by nature, and pursue only the interests of their own members, who account to a very small minority.

This exclusivity factor is of special importance in the way these rent-seeking (or special-interest) groups operate, since, unlike highly-encompassing organizations, exclusive organizations do not have an incentive to increase the productivity of the society.

This is due to the disproportion between the sizes of the exclusive organization and the population.

To use Olson’s idiom, such organizations are in a position either to make larger the pie the society produces or to obtain larger slices for their members.

“Our intuition tells us,” Olson says, “that the first method will rarely be chosen.”2 Because, on the one hand, it is very costly to increase the productivity of society as a whole, and on the other, even if this is achieved, the The Rise and Decline of the Turkish “Deep State”: The Ergenekon Case 101 members of the minuscule organization will accordingly reap only a minuscule portion of the benefits.

Therefore, exclusive groups aim to present their own interests as being the interests of their constituencies, and to use all of their organizational power for collective action in that direction.

That is still the case even when the organization’s cost to the society is significantly more than the benefits it seeks for its members.

Such behavior is not at all unexpected of exclusive organizations, since it is the very policy of exclusion itself that enables the group to distribute more to its members.

In that respect, disproportional allocation of resources goes hand in hand with barriers to entry into the favored areas of the special-interest group.

Yet the existence of barriers to entry further damages the society by reducing the economic growth.

When coupled with the interferences of the special-interest groups with the possibilities of change in the existing state of affairs, the level of the reduction in economic growth can be large.

In order to achieve their goals, special-interest groups engage in lobbying activities and collusion – both of which, by creating special provisions and exceptions, further increase not only inefficiency but also (1) the complexity of regulation, (2) the scope of government, and (3) the complexity of understandings.

See also Mancur Olson's rather primitive views on monarchy/absolutism in "Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development". American Political Science Review 87 (3): 567–576. September 1993.

Neoliberalism as the modern form of corporatism

The most typical institution of the modern society is corporation. In an except from his book Life Inc published on Boing Boing site Douglas Rushkoff give an interesting take on the danger of corporation dominance in modern life (the social system which he calls corporatism):

... people of all social classes making choices that go against their better judgment because they believe it's really the only sensible way to act under the circumstances. It's as if the world itself were tilted, pushing us toward self- interested, short- term decisions, made more in the manner of corporate shareholders than members of a society. The more decisions we make in this way, the more we contribute to the very conditions leading to this awfully sloped landscape. In a dehumanizing and self-denying cycle, we make too many choices that -- all things being equal -- we'd prefer not to make.

But all things are not equal. These choices are not even occurring in the real world. They are the false choices of an artificial landscape -- one in which our decision-making is as coerced as that of a person getting mugged. Only we've forgotten that our choices are being made under painstakingly manufactured duress. We think this is just the way things are. The price of doing business. Since when is life determined by that axiom?

Unquestionably but seemingly inexplicably, we have come to operate in a world where the market and its logic have insinuated them- selves into every area of our lives. From erection to conception, school admission to finding a spouse, there are products and professionals to fill in where family and community have failed us. Commercials entreat us to think and care for ourselves, but to do so by choosing a corporation through which to exercise all this autonomy. Sometimes it feels as if there's just not enough air in the room -- as if there were a corporate agenda guiding all human activity. At a moment's notice, any dinner party can slide invisibly into a stock promotion, a networking event, or an impromptu consultation -- let me pick your brain. Is this why I was invited in the first place? Through sponsored word-of-mouth known as buzz marketing, our personal social interactions become the promotional opportunities through which brands strive to be cults and religions strive to become brands.

It goes deeper than that second Starbucks opening on the same town's Main Street or the radio ads for McDonald's playing through what used to be emergency speakers in our public school buses. It's not a matter of how early Christmas ads start each year, how many people get trampled at Black Friday sales, or even the news report blaming the fate of the entire economy on consumers' slow holiday spending. It's more a matter of not being able to tell the difference between the ads and the content at all. It's as if both were designed to be that way. The line between fiction and reality, friend and marketer, community and shopping center, has gotten blurred. Was that a news report, reality TV, or a sponsored segment?

This fundamental blurring of real life with its commercial counterpart is not a mere question of aesthetics, however much we may dislike mini- malls and superstores. It's more of a nagging sense that something has gone awry -- something even more fundamentally wrong than the credit crisis and its aftermath -- yet we're too immersed in its effects to do anything about it, or even to see it. We are deep in the thrall of a system that no one really likes, no one remembers asking for, yet no one can escape. It just is. And as it begins to collapse around us, we work to prop it up by any means necessary, so incapable are we of imagining an alternative. The minute it seems as if we can put our finger on what's happening to us or how it came to be this way, the insight disappears, drowned out by the more immediately pressing demands by everyone and everything on our attention.

What did they just say? What does that mean for my retirement account? Wait -- my phone is vibrating.

Can the hermetically sealed food court in which we now subsist even be beheld from within? Perhaps not in its totality -- but its development can be chronicled, and its effects can be parsed and understood. Just as we once evolved from subjects into citizens, we have now devolved from citizens into consumers. Our communities have been reduced to affinity groups, and any vestige of civic engagement or neighborly goodwill has been replaced by self- interested goals manufactured for us by our corporations and their PR firms. We've surrendered true participation for the myth of consumer choice or, even more pathetically, that of shareholder rights.

That's why it has become fashionable, cathartic, and to some extent useful for the defenders of civil society to rail against the corporations that seem to have conquered our civilization. As searing new books and documentaries about the crimes of corporations show us, the corporation is itself a sociopathic entity, created for the purpose of generating wealth and expanding its reach by any means necessary. A corporation has no use for ethics, except for their potential impact on public relations and brand image. In fact, as many on the side of the environment, labor, and the Left like to point out, corporate managers can be sued for taking any action, however ethical, if it compromises their ultimate fiduciary responsibility to share price.

As corporations gain ever more control over our economy, government, and culture, it is only natural for us to blame them for the helplessness we now feel over the direction of our personal and collective destinies. But it is both too easy and utterly futile to point the finger of blame at corporations or the robber barons at their helms -- not even those handcuffed CEOs gracing the cover of the business section. Not even mortgage brokers, credit- card executives, or the Fed. This state of affairs isn't being entirely orchestrated from the top of a glass building by an élite group of bankers and businessmen, however much everyone would like to think so -- themselves included. And while the growth of corporations and a preponderance of corporate activity have allowed them to permeate most every aspect of our awareness and activity, these entities are not solely responsible for the predicament in which we have found ourselves.

Rather, it is corporatism itself: a logic we have internalized into our very being, a lens through which we view the world around us, and an ethos with which we justify our behaviors. Making matters worse, we accept its dominance over us as preexisting -- as a given circumstance of the human condition. It just is.

But it isn't.

Corporatism didn't evolve naturally. The landscape on which we are living -- the operating system on which we are now running our social software -- was invented by people, sold to us as a better way of life, supported by myths, and ultimately allowed to develop into a self-sustaining reality. It is a map that has replaced the territory.

Its basic laws were set in motion as far back as the Renaissance; it was accelerated by the Industrial Age; and it was sold to us as a better way of life by a determined generation of corporate leaders who believed they had our best interests at heart and who ultimately succeeded in their dream of controlling the masses from above.

We have succumbed to an ideology that has the same intellectual underpinnings and assumptions about human nature as -- dare we say it -- mid-twentieth-century fascism. Given how the word has been misapplied to everyone from police officers to communists, we might best refrain from resorting to what has become a feature of cheap polemic. But in this case it's accurate, and that we're forced to dance around this F word today would certainly have pleased Goebbels greatly.

The current situation resembles the managed capitalism of Mussolini's Italy, in particular. It shares a common intellectual heritage (in disappointed progressives who wanted to order society on a scientific understanding of human nature), the same political alliance (the collaboration of the state and the corporate sector), and some of the same techniques for securing consent (through public relations and propaganda). Above all, it shares with fascism the same deep suspicion of free humans.

And, as with any absolutist narrative, calling attention to the inherent injustice and destructiveness of the system is understood as an attempt to undermine our collective welfare. The whistleblower is worse than just a spoilsport; he is an enemy of the people.

Unlike Europe's fascist dictatorships, this state of affairs came about rather bloodlessly -- at least on the domestic front. Indeed, the real lesson of the twentieth century is that the battle for total social control would be waged and won not through war and overt repression, but through culture and commerce. Instead of depending on a paternal dictator or nationalist ideology, today's system of control depends on a society fastidiously cultivated to see the corporation and its logic as central to its welfare, value, and very identity.

That's why it's no longer Big Brother who should frighten us -- however much corporate lobbies still seek to vilify anything to do with government beyond their own bailouts. Sure, democracy may be the quaint artifact of an earlier era, but what has taken its place? Suspension of habeas corpus, surveillance of citizens, and the occasional repression of voting notwithstanding, this mess is not the fault of a particular administration or political party, but of a culture, economy, and belief system that places market priorities above life itself. It's not the fault of a government or a corporation, the news media or the entertainment industry, but the merging of all these entities into a single, highly centralized authority with the ability to write laws, issue money, and promote its expansion into our world.

Then, in a last cynical surrender to the logic of corporatism, we assume the posture and behaviors of corporations in the hope of restoring our lost agency and security. But the vehicles to which we gain access in this way are always just retail facsimiles of the real ones. Instead of becoming true landowners we become mortgage holders. Instead of guiding corporate activity we become shareholders. Instead of directing the shape of public discourse we pay to blog. We can't compete against corporations on a playing field that was created for their benefit alone.

This is the landscape of corporatism: a world not merely dominated by corporations, but one inhabited by people who have internalized corporate values as our own.

And even now that corporations appear to be waning in their power, they are dragging us down with them; we seem utterly incapable of lifting ourselves out of their depression.

We need to understand how this happened -- how we came to live for and through a business scheme. We must recount the story of how life itself became corporatized, and figure out what -- if anything -- we are to do about it.

While we will find characters to blame for one thing or another, most of corporatism's architects have long since left the building -- and even they were usually acting with only their immediate, short-term profits in mind. Our object instead should be to understand the process by which we were disconnected from the real world and why we remain disconnected from it. This is our best hope of regaining some relationship with terra firma again. Like recovering cult victims, we have less to gain from blaming our seducers than from understanding our own participation in building and maintaining a corporatist society. Only then can we begin dismantling and replacing it with something more livable and sustainable.

Professor Bacevich argues that the US political landscape is governed by large corporations, which created an aggressive regime inclined to launch the wars to promote the US corporate interests in distant parts of the globe. He called this trigger happy phenomenon the new militarism . Which, while serving the interest of large corporation, is powered by crucial for neoliberal regime the convergence of interests of:

  1. Military industrial complex (which includes professional military, so-called defense intellectuals, defense contractors and, unsurprisingly, mass media), see Media-Military-Industrial Complex
  2. Neoconservative movement and first of all neocon intellectuals and publicists, the major propaganda force of new militarism
  3. Evangelical Christians, see Neo-theocratic Movements
  4. Resurgent Republican party activists (Mayberry Machiavellis).
  5. Financial oligarchy. See Casino Capitalism
Viewing US political landscape via the prism of USA as neoliberal empire helps to organize and integrate into more or less coherent framework several topics that are not well covered in mainstream publications, or university courses. Among them:

The USA two party system as a slightly more sophisticated clone
of one party system that existed in the USSR

If we assept that the USA is a neoliberal empire, then it's dangerous illusion to consider Democratic party and Republican Party as different parties. Both are representative of interests of financial oligarchy which became as occupies of the country, much like Bolsheviks behaved in the USSR. In this sense political dominance of a single party in the USSR and dual party system of the USA are twins, separated at birth. Both parties represent interests of a single political constituency -- the top 1% (or 0.01% to be exect). For example democrat Obama represents Republicans more then democrats in all major foreign policy issues and many domestic issues too. Somebody aptly said that the only common trait between Franklin Roosevelt and Barak Obama is that both are traitors of their class. Such a George W Obama .

Dems and Repugs are more like left and right wings of the same neoliberal party with Dems being more aggressive in foreign policy and repugs in domestic policy (aka in destroying New Deal). In a way, Obama’s greatest service to the American people might be undermining two-party system illusion. I think only countercultural conservatives defend currently the interests of the country. Such as Andrew J. Bacevich (see also his articles in TAC), Ron Paul, Patrick J. Buchanan, etc. And conservatism does not mean stagnation. Conservatism just means reliance on traditional values, attempt of preservation as many as possible valuable, proven social constructs/elements of the past and integration of them within the society development framework. As Andrew J. Bacevich observed:

Conservatism—the genuine article, not the phony brand represented by the likes of Mitt Romney, Karl Rove, or Grover Norquist—has now become the counterculture.

That actually exclude both Democratic Party and Republican party. The first became a neoliberal party, the party of financial oligarchy. The latter, while superficially attached to conservatism, also is a neoliberal party just positioned to the right of the center by switching to a neoconservative formula of protecting the well-to-do and promoting endless wars while paying lip-service to traditional values. Both parties are pandering to the Israel lobby. And even if the Republican party does make a comeback in 2016 on that basis, in no way it will advance the conservative cause. Reviving that cause requires a different formula and a different party altogether.

Still despite those recent developments, American two party system is a very interesting way to manipulate the public. It represents the same but much more sophisticated and smooth mechanism of manipulation of public opinion as in totalitarian societies including neo-theocratic flavors (for example the USSR, where the ruling party was simultaneously a dangerous high-demand religious cult, with Marxism-Leninism serving as a civil religion). It is clear that political philosophies can become civic religions. The telling signs of such conversion of an political philosophy (aka ideology) into secular religion might include formal services, ceremonial functions, the existence of clergy, structure and organization, efforts at propagation, observation of holidays and other similar manifestations associated with the traditional religions. In Malnak v. Yogi, 592 F.2d 197, 212 (C.A.N.J., 1979), a federal District Court in New Jersey raised this very question:

A more difficult question would be presented by government propagation of doctrinaire Marxism, either in the schools or elsewhere. Under certain circumstances Marxism might be classifiable as a religion and an establishment thereof could result.

Neoliberalism as a new civil religion that displaced Marxism and dominated the world since early 1980th

despite of its accent of greed ("greed is good") and serving interest of financial oligarchy instead of top layer of party and state bureaucracy (nomenklatura) neoliberalism very similar to Marxism-Leninism as existed in the USSR (jstor.org):

Conventional analyses of secularization typically deal with revealed religions and the increasing disenchantment of their adherents with revealed religious doctrines under conditions of rapid industrialization and urbanization. Very little research, however, has dealt with the rise and decline of religiosity or the impact of secularization in social systems organized around a civil religion. This investigation approaches the development of the Bolshevik party in the Soviet Union as an example of a civil religious movement to test Weber's notions of enchantment and disenchantment against the experience of devoted party activists in order to see how increasing industrialization has influenced the civil religion of Marxism-Leninism and the behavior of individual followers of Marxism-Leninism. Hence, this analysis seeks to discover whether or not a dynamic of secularization, perhaps akin to the growing disenchantment among devoted Protestants from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries as discussed by Weber, might be found in post-revolutionary communist societies, like the present-day USSR. If such a dynamic of secularization does exist, then the question of civil religious revivalism, or revitalization movements, will be addressed to consider how and where such revivalistic movements might develop within post-revolutionary, secularized communist systems.

The key element of this political invention is that it allows to divide the population into two camps by attracting people to one of the two opposite poles using peripheral (wedge) issues like abortion or gay marriage and forcing them to compromise on the more important and economically vital issues (both parties supported deregulation and actually the major part of New Deal was killed by Clinton's henchmen Rubin and Summers):

This fit well with so called Elite Theory. According to it a small minority, consisting of members of the economic elite and policy-planning networks, holds the most power and this power is independent of a democratic elections process that exists to confirm pre-selected candidates. In other words while public is involved on voting one of the candidates into the office it is by-and-large excluded by Party machines from the process of selection of those two candidates that participate in the final state of elections. Through positions in corporations or on corporate boards, and influence over the policy-planning networks through financial support of foundations or positions with think tanks or policy-discussion groups, members of the elite are able to control major policy decisions of both corporations and governments. Elite theory stands in opposition to pluralism in suggesting that democracy is a utopian ideal. It also stands in opposition to state autonomy theory. The classic version of this theory is based on two ideas:
  1. Power lies in position of authority in key economic and political institutions
  2. The psychological difference that sets elites apart is that they have personal resources, for instance intelligence and skills, and a vested interest in the government; while the rest are incompetent and do not have the capabilities of governing themselves, the elite are resourceful and will strive to make the government to work. For in reality, the elite have the most to lose in a failed government.

Pareto emphasized the psychological and intellectual superiority that the elites obtained, he believed that the elites were the highest accomplishers in any field and he discussed how there were two types of elites (governing and non-governing). He also extended on the idea that a whole elite can be replaced by a new one and how one can fall out from elite to non-elite.

Mosca emphasized the sociological and personal characteristics of elites. He said elites are an organized minority and that the masses are an unorganized majority. The ruling class is composed of the ruling elite and the sub-elites. He divides the world into two groups: ruling class and class that is ruled. Mosca asserts that elites have intellectual, moral, and material superiority that is highly esteemed and influential.

Sociologist Michels developed the Iron Law of Oligarchy where, he asserts, social and political organizations are run by few individuals, and social organization and labor division are key. He believed that all organizations were elitist and that elites have three basic principles that help in the bureaucratic structure of political organization:

  1. Need for leaders, specialized staff and facilities
  2. Utilization of facilities by leaders within their organization
  3. The importance of the psychological attributes of the leaders

Mills published his book The Power Elite in 1956, in which he identified a triumvirate of power groups - political, economic and military - which form a distinguishable, although not unified, power-wielding body in the United States. Mills proposed that this group had been generated through a process of rationalization at work in all advanced industrial societies whereby the mechanisms of power became concentrated, funneling overall control into the hands of a limited, somewhat corrupt group. This reflected a decline in politics as an arena for debate and relegation to a merely formal level of discourse. This macro-scale analysis sought to point out the degradation of democracy in advanced societies and the fact that power generally lies outside the boundaries of elected representatives. A main influence for the study was Franz Leopold Neumann's book, Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism, 1933-1944 , a study of how Nazism came to power in the German democratic state. It provided the tools to analyze the structure of a political system and served as a warning of what could happen in a modern capitalistic democracy.

The elite theory analysis of power was also applied on the micro scale in community power studies such as that by Floyd Hunter (1953). Hunter examined in detail the power relationships evident in his Regional City looking for the real holders of power rather than those in obvious official positions. He posited a structural-functional approach which mapped the hierarchies and webs of interconnection operating within the city – mapping relationships of power between businessmen, politicians, clergy etc. The study was promoted to debunk current concepts of any ‘democracy’ present within urban politics...

This type of analysis was also used in later, larger scale, studies such as that carried out by M. Schwartz examining the power structures within the sphere of the corporate elite in the USA.

In his important book Who Rules America?, G. William Domhoff researched local and national decision making process networks in order to illustrate the power structure in the United States. He asserts, much like Hunter, that an elite class that owns and manages large income-producing properties (like banks and corporations) dominate the American power structure politically and economically.

Burnham’s early work The Managerial Revolution sought to express the movement of all functional power into the hands of managers rather than politicians or businessmen – separating ownership and control. Many of these ideas were adapted by paleoconservatives - -> Samuel T. Francis and Paul Gottfried in their theories of the managerial state. Burnham's thoughts on Elite Theory were also touched in his book The Machiavellians which discusses the thoughts of Pareto, Mosca, and Michels

But Burnham failed to see the possibility of conversion of oligarchic republic into empire. The latter is an important transformation so we need to understand it.

The USA as Empire

An interesting insight into this notion was provided in article TGIF: We Were Warned about the Rise of Empire by Sheldon Richman

June 13, 2014 | fff.org

American critics of U.S. foreign policy (as well as some neoconservative supporters) often refer to the United States as an empire. This is not an emotional outburst but a substantive description of the national government’s role in the world. But what exactly is an empire? This question is all the more relevant today with Iraq is being consumed by sectarian violence and calls for renewed U.S. intervention here are increasingly louder.

In 1952 the journalist and novelist Garet Garrett (1878–1954) took up this question in contemplating post-World War II America. The resulting essay, “The Rise of Empire,” is included in his anthology, The People’s Pottage (PDF). It bears close study today.

Garrett was an important figure in what has come to be known as the “Old Right,” an eclectic group of writers and politicians (mostly Republican) who emerged in the 1930s to oppose militarism and the centralization of power under the New Deal. (For a history of the Old Right, see my “New Deal Nemesis: The ‘Old Right’ Jeffersonians” [PDF].)

Garrett began with this somber message:

We have crossed the boundary that lies between Republic and Empire. If you ask when, the answer is that you cannot make a single stroke between day and night; the precise moment does not matter. There was no painted sign to say: “You now are entering Imperium.” Yet it was a very old road and the voice of history was saying: “Whether you know it or not, the act of crossing may be irreversible.” And now, not far ahead, is a sign that reads: “No U-turns.”

If you say there were no frightening omens, that is true. The political foundations did not quake, the graves of the fathers did not fly open, the Constitution did not tear itself up. If you say people did not will it, that also is true. But if you say therefore it has not happened, then you have been so long bemused by words that your mind does not believe what the eye can see, even as in the jungle the terrified primitive, on meeting the lion, importunes magic by saying to himself, “He is not there.”

(For evidence that the American empire is older than Garrett thought, see my “Empire on Their Minds.”)

The country’s institutions may look the same, Garrett wrote, but a “revolution within the form” has occurred:

There is no comfort in history for those who put their faith in forms; who think there is safeguard in words inscribed on parchment, preserved in a glass case, reproduced in facsimile and hauled to and fro on a Freedom Train.

Garrett next proceeded to carefully isolate the characteristics of empire. After examining Rome’s transition from republic to empire, he wondered,

If you may have Empire with or without a constitution, even within the form of a republican constitution, and if also you may have Empire with or without an emperor, then how may the true marks of Empire be distinguished with certainty? What are they?

Republics, he said, can make war, conquer territory, and even acquire colonies, depending on how one defines the term, so “let us regard the things that belong only to empire, and set them down. Then we shall see.”

He came up with five traits:

(1) Rise of the executive principle of government to a position of dominant power,

(2) Accommodation of domestic policy to foreign policy,

(3) Ascendancy of the military mind,

(4) A system of satellite nations for a purpose called collective security, and,

(5) An emotional complex of vaunting and fear.

It’s easy to see how closely this fits the United States today. For a long time, the executive branch has been the dominant branch of government. For example, as Garrett noted, the war power has moved entirely into the hands of the president, despite the Constitution’s language and Congress’s half-hearted attempt to hold on to some power with the War Powers Resolution. Since the Korean War, it’s the president who decides when the country goes to war. (Even when Barack Obama tossed the question of bombing Syria to Congress last year, he and others maintained that he had the unilateral power to act if he wanted to.) During the eight years of the George W. Bush administration, lawyers inside and outside the government spun broad theories of autocratic executive authority over national security based entirely on the apparently thin Article II of the Constitution.

Garrett wrote that the “aggrandizement of the executive principle of government” occurred by congressional delegation, reinterpretation of the language of the Constitution, innovation, the appearance of administrative agencies, usurpation, and increasing involvement in foreign affairs. This last is especially relevant, because the executive can always assert that foreign policy cannot be made by 535 members of Congress.

The subordination of domestic policy to foreign policy is accomplished by claiming that without national security, nothing else matters. So domestic concerns must take a back seat to foreign affairs. The national-security establishment’s sheer demand for goods and services — which produces the military-industrial complex — diverts the economy from serving consumers to serving the state. As long as the president can keep the people in fear of foreign enemies, he can justify the transfer of resources from the private sector to the government sector. It is too easy for the executive to answer any challenge by playing the “I know things that you don’t know” card. As Garrett wrote,

It needs hardly to be argued that as we convert the nation into a garrison state to build the most terrible war machine that has ever been imagined on earth, every domestic policy is bound to be conditioned by our foreign policy.

One need only look around to see evidence of the “ascendancy of the military mind.” Not even a looming fiscal crisis prompts a serious reconsideration of America’s far-flung military presence or its putative “interests” everywhere. Reverence for the military intrudes on everyday life; one cannot watch a ballgame or even a televised cooking competition without being subjected to sappy expressions of gratitude for supposed “service to our country.” Americans did not always have a worshipful disposition toward the military.

As in Garrett’s time, satellite nations are today called “allies.” Americans are not only obliged to cough up billions of dollars each year in armaments and cash to support those alliances, they also must be prepared to go to war to defend countries throughout the world. In his recent speech at West Point, Obama included the defense of allies in his definition of America’s “core interests.” Thus the American people are on call should most of Europe up to the Russian border, Japan, South Korea, Israel, and other nations find themselves threatened — even if their own conduct provoked the alleged threat.

Garrett’s phrase “an emotional complex of vaunting and fear” couldn’t better apply to today’s America. Government officials beat their chests in describing how powerful, exceptional, and indispensable America is for the world. No one, they say, can challenge America’s dominance and leadership in the world. Yet at the same time they advise Americans to fear Islamic terrorism, China, Russia, Latin American drug lords, and sundry other threats. That’s vaunting and fear.

Finally, Garrett made a point that is entirely relevant today: “a time comes when Empire finds itself — a prisoner of history.” A republic, Garrett wrote, can determine its own history. “But the history of Empire is world history and belongs to many people.”

We’ve all heard presidents say that America’s responsibilities to the world have been thrust upon it and cannot be avoided. It is not a matter of choice. That’s the doctrine which Garrett had in mind:

What is it that now obliges the American people to act upon the world?

As you ask that question the fear theme plays itself down and the one that takes its place is magnifical. It is not only our security we are thinking of — our security in a frame of collective security. Beyond that lies a greater thought.

It is our turn.

Our turn to do what? you may ask. Garrett nails the political establishment’s reply, which is calculated to awe Americans into blind compliance:

Our turn to assume the responsibilities or moral leadership in the world.

Our turn to maintain a balance of power against the forces of evil everywhere — in Europe and Asia and Africa, in the Atlantic and in the Pacific, by air and by sea — evil in this case being the Russian barbarian. [This is especially pertinent now.]

Our turn to keep the peace of the world.

Our turn to save civilization.

Our turn to serve mankind.

But this is the language of Empire.

We’re told, however, that American empire is unique because it is dedicated to freedom and peace. This claim cannot withstand scrutiny: look at the regimes American administrations have supported and support today. But Garrett said that even if this claim were granted, the case for empire would be self-defeating because its price is bankruptcy.

So even if “this is Imperialism of the Good Intent,” he wrote, it would also have to be the “Empire of the Bottomless Purse.”

Putnam saw the development of technical and exclusive knowledge among administrators and other specialist groups as a mechanism by which power is stripped from the democratic process and slipped sideways to the advisors and specialists influencing the decision making process.

If the dominant figures of the past hundred years have been the entrepreneur, the businessman, and the industrial executive, the ‘new men’ are the scientists, the mathematicians, the economists, and the engineers of the new intellectual technology.

Imperial Adventures and US Foreign Policy Adventurism

Dye in his book Top Down Policymaking, argues that U.S. public policy does not result from the demands of the people, but rather from Elite consensus among Washington, D.C. based non-profit foundations, think tanks, special-interest groups, prominent lobbyists and law firms. Dye's thesis is further expanded upon in his works: The Irony of Democracy, Politics in America, Understanding Public Policy, and Who's Running America?

That means that foreign policy of the USA is determined solely by interests of elite and common people are just pawns in the Great Game . That explains aggressive character of the USA foreign policy( aka Mew Militarism as it was called by Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University and former Colonel of the US army Andrew J. Bacevich). In the XX century there were literally just a dozen years when the USA were not engages in some war or several of them. Among them (from How many wars has the United States been in):

Boxer Rebellion, 1899 - 1901
Banana Wars:
United States occupation of Nicaragua, 1907-1933
United States occupation of Honduras, 1907-1933
United States overthrow of Guatemalan Government, 1907-1933
Intervention during Panamanian Election, 1908
United States occupation of Cuba, 1912
United States occupation of Veracruz, 1914
United States occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934
United States occupation of the Dominican Republic, 1917-1924
Mexican Expedition, 1916 - 1917
Battle of Ambros Nogales, 1918
World War I, 1917 – 1918 (time span of U.S. involvement)
European Theatre, 1917 - 1918
First Battle of the Atlantic, 1917 - 1918
Russian Revolution, 1918-1920 (time span of U.S. involvement)
Polar Bear Expedition, 1918 - 1919
American Expeditionary Force Siberia, Soviet Union, 1918 - 1920
World War II, 1941 – 1945 (time span of U.S. involvement)
Second Battle of the Atlantic, 1941 - 1945
Pacific War, 1941 - 1945
African Theatre, 1942 - 1943
European Theatre, 1944 - 1945
Korean War, 1950 - 1953
Operation Blue Bat, Lebanon, 1958
Bay of Pigs Invasion, Cuba, 1961
Operation Powerpack, Dominican Republic, 1965 - 1966
Vietnam War, 1962 - 1973 (time span of United States involvement)
Laotian Civil War, 1962 - 1973
Cambodian Civil War, 1969 - 1970
Contra War, El Salvador, 1981-1990
Invasion of Grenada, Grenada, 1983-1984
United States invasion of Panama 1989 - 1990
Persian Gulf War, Iraq, 1991
Operation Desert Shield, 1991
Operation Desert Storm, 1991
Somali Civil War, 1992 - 1994
Operation Provide Relief, 1992
Operation Restore Hope, 1992 - 1994
Yugoslav wars, 1994 - 1999
Bosnian Conflict, 1994 - 1995
Kosovo Conflict, 1997 - 1999

Here are suggestions of Canadian diplomat Peter Dale Scott (The NATO Afghanistan War and US-Russian Relations Drugs, Oil, and War Afghanistan) for changes in the USA foreign policy:

So I am now publishing my talk with this preface for a North American and international audience. I believe that the most urgent task today to preserve the peace of the world is to curb America’s drive towards unchallenged dominance, and to re-energize the UN’s prohibition of unilateral and preemptive wars, for the sake of coexistence in a peaceful and multilateral world.

To this end, I hope that Americans will mobilize against American dominationism, and call for a policy declaration, either from the administration or from Congress, that would:

  1. explicitly renounce past Pentagon calls for “full spectrum dominance” [9] as a military objective for American foreign policy,
  2. reject as unacceptable the deeply-ingrained practice of preemptive wars,
  3. renounce categorically any US plans for the permanent use of military bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Kyrgyzstan, and
  4. recommit the United States to conducting future military operations in accordance with the procedures set out in the United Nations Charter.

I encourage others to join me in urging Congress to introduce a resolution to this effect. Such a resolution might not initially succeed. But it would help focus American political debate on what I consider to be a topic that is both urgent and too little examined: American expansiveness as a current threat to global peace.

American exeptionalism

he first deep analyses of American exceptionalism was done by Niebuhr from the religious positions in his famous book The Irony of American History. Niebuhr as a theologian considered it to be a sin that inevitably lead to the false allure of simple solutions and lack of appreciation of limits of power. In his opinion "Messianic consciousness" which constitute the core of American exeptionalism, was partially inherited form religious dogmas of early religious sects which came to colonize America. But in all major manifestation it is identical to good old nationalism.

As somebody said any unbiased analysis of the nationalist activities leads to a disappointing conclusion: nationalists can behave as compradors: as enthusiastic servants of a foreign occupier of their own territory. In this case international banking cartel. Ukraine is one example, Serbia and Georgia are other but very similar examples...

The policy which oppose exceptionalism is often called Noninterventionism

Noninterventionism is a rather clunky and unappealing label for a set of very appealing ideas: that the U.S. should mind its own business, act with restraint, respect other nations, refrain from unnecessary violence, and pursue peace. If future administrations took just a few of these as guiding principles for the conduct of foreign policy, America and the world would both be better off.

There were several important thinkers who contributed to understand of this complex phenomena:

See also neo-conservatism which is a related phenomenon. In this case the pre-eminence of the USA as the sole superpower needs to be maintained at all costs.

Niebuhr's contribution to understanding of American exeptionalism

In his foreword to Niebuhr's book Bacevich noted:

In Niebuhr's view, America's rise to power derived less from divine favor than from good fortune combines with a fierce determination to convert that good fortune in wealth and power. The good fortune cane in the form of vast landscape, rich in resources, ripe for exploitation, and apparently insulated from the bloody cockpit of [European] power politics. The determination found expression in a strategy of commercial and territorial expansionism that proved staggeringly successful, evidence not of superior virtue but of shrewdness punctuated with a considerable capacity for ruthlessness.

In describing America's rise to power Niebuhr does not shrink from using words like "hegemony" and "imperialism". His point is not to tag the United States with responsibility for all the world's evils. Rather, it is to suggest that it does not differ from other great powers as much as Americans may imagine.

...Niebuhr has little patience for those who portray the United States as acting on God's behalf. "All men are naturally inclined to obscure the morally ambiguous element in this political cause by investing it with religious sanctity," he once observed. " This is why religion is more frequently a source of confusion then of light in the political realm.". In the United States, he continued "The tendency to equate our political [goals] with our Christian convictions cause politics to generate idolatry."

Michael Ignatieff contribution

In the introduction to American Exceptionalism and Human Rights Michael Ignatieff identifies three main types of exceptionalism:

I would add to it

The contributors to American Exceptionalism and Human Rights use Ignatieff's essay as a starting point to discuss specific types of exceptionalism -- America's approach to capital punishment and to free speech, for example -- or to explore the social, cultural, and institutional roots of exceptionalism.

Anatol Lieven contribution

Another important contributor to the tme of American exeptionalism is Anatol Lieven

"America keeps a fine house," Anatol Lieven writes in his probably best book on the American Exceptionalism (America Right or Wrong An Anatomy of American Nationalism ) "but in its cellar there lives a demon, whose name is nationalism."

While neocons definitely played an important role in shaping the US policy immediately after 9/11, the origins of aggressive U.S. foreign policy since 9/11 also reflect controversial character of the US national identity, which according to Anatol Lieven embraces two contradictory features.

Both are much older then 9/11. The first aggressive, expansionist war by the US was the war of 1812. See American Loyalists, The Most Important War You Probably Know Nothing About - By James Traub Foreign Policy

The War of 1812 matters because it was America’s first war of choice. The United States did not have to declare war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812, to survive as a nation and indeed President James Madison did not want to. The newly founded United States was growing westward but the “war hawks” in Congress pressed for a conflict with America’s former colonial masters in the hopes of gaining even more territory to the north. The term “hawk” was coined in the run-up to the War of 1812 and the hawks of U.S. foreign policy have been with us ever since.

The War of 1812 was America’s first neocon war. With an audacity that would become familiar, the war hawks appealed to a combination of personal pride — the British navy was forcibly conscripting Americans — and the prospect of material gain — the absorption of British Canada — wrapped up in love of country. No one said the conquest of Canada would be a “cakewalk,” but the hawks were confident the Americans would be greeted as liberators.

These two mutually-excusive impulses caused wide oscillations of the US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East and influenced the nature of U.S. support for Israel. Due to those oscillations those two contradictory impulses are undermining the U.S. foreign policy credibility in the eyes of the worlds and complicates reaching important national objectives.

Some try to attribute the idea of “American Exceptionalism” to Alexis de Tocqueville — though he never penned the phrase. In reality this term is of German origin and was used by German Marxists who were trying to explain weakness of worker movement in the USA. The idiom was popularized by neo-conservative pundits (aka former Trotskyites) soon after WWII.


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It's easy to pretend to be a great strategist,
while sitting on the top of the hill,
at the safe distance from the battle in the valley

Shota Rustavelli(1172–1216)

[May 24, 2016] 'I'm not with her': why women are wary of Hillary Clinton

Notable quotes:
"... the question should not be why some don't trust Clinton, but why some still do? ..."
www.theguardian.com

FDiscussion , 2016-05-23 19:20:33
how can it be 'on the whole' women support HRC when the next breath says '49%' do not? I smell bias in this article. People tend to forget that Margaret Thatcher was a woman whose vicious attacks on working people and trade unions and enthusiastic support of criminal right wing dictators inspired Reagan in their ruthlessness. And whose bellicose foreign adventures scared us all. HRC is in this class except her ideology seems to be greed rather than outright 1% class war on the poor but same difference?
Lisa Glass Calvert , 2016-05-23 19:19:18
Smear campaign? Billy boy has abused women sexually for decades and then smeared his victims. This isn't the Republicans' fault. Unless you think that James Carville (former chief of staff for Clinton) saying "drag a $20 through a trailer park & see what you'll get" is respectful to women. He basically called every one of Bill's victims trailer trash.

Nope, Bill's abuse of women and Hillary's enabling of it IS NOT the fault of Republicans. Bill & Hillary WERE the war on women!

MartiniShaken1 aguy777 , 2016-05-23 19:19:14

You know ... support your party's nominee, vote in midterms ... little things like that.

You assume incorrectly that we "lefties" have a political party. The Democratic party is currently not one that even attempts to listen to our needs. Across the political spectrum Americans seem to have at long last discovered that not only does the government not meet the minimum needs of the populace, voters have started to figure out that neither political party will send to Washington leaders who have any intention of helping anyone but high-level campaign contributors.

This is why the only voter enthusiasm is for two complete outsiders- Trump and Sanders.

We could take your advice and hold our noses and carry the garbage to the curb every 4 years in hopes that something good will happen.

But isn't there an old saw about the definition of insanity being the repetition of the same ineffectual routine while hoping for a different outcome?

Alexander Nekrasov , 2016-05-23 19:17:37
the question should not be why some don't trust Clinton, but why some still do?
BlooEyedDevil casta1139diva , 2016-05-23 19:16:58
Possession of ovaries does not equal qualified. Not saying they hurt, but if you want a woman president, why on earth would you take the first one offered simply because she is the first one offered, especially someone as venal, corrupt, morally bankrupt, uncaring, and mendacious as Hillary Clinton? It's myopic when you fail to see that if this gargoyle is elected, her record as POTUS will absolutely reflect poorly on women, giving all those who oppose women presidents plenty of ammo to suggest they were right all along. I don't mind a female POTUS, just don't make it Hillary Clinton. Nope.
aguy777 Paul Little , 2016-05-23 19:16:33
Do you mean besides securing healthcare coverage for 8 million of their children through SCHIP, advocating for women's rights & issues around the world as Secretary of State, and compiling an extraordinarily strong voting record on women's issues in the Senate that won her endorsements from NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and other women's organizations ... ?

And what has TRUMP done for women besides insult them??

FrederikII nevermind84 , 2016-05-23 19:13:41
What neither of you two geniuses seem to realize is that Hillary Clinton cannot succeed in becoming president. No matter how the coronation has been fixed and promised, she simply is unelectable, and if she is the Democratic nominee then that idiot Trump will be sitting in the Oval Office.

I used to admire the loyalty, albeit naivety, of Clinton fans, but things are getting far too serious. Do you guys really want President Trump? Because that seems to be where you are heading.

Smells TheRat , 2016-05-23 19:13:33
Her Thighness has certainly used her position as Secretary of State to enrich herself and Slick Willie...
RecantedYank , 2016-05-23 19:11:28
I am glad that Hillary is supporting abortion, even is she is beginning to quibble about terms. Of course, Bernie supports it unequivocally.

The only difference between the two on this matter essentially is that one hell of a lot more women will have to consider abortion under a Clinton administration to get out of the low wage jobs, unaffordable health care for themselves or their children death spiral for the low and low middle incomers who are going to be caught AGAIN in a hell of Hillary's making. Hillary protects the mass profit taking of insurance, pharma, and medical industry...she also stutters over even a 12$ minimum wage (and that only in SOME states), has backed trade agreements that force ever more working people into those going nowhere jobs... so yeah...there are going to be a LOT more desperate women needing those abortions. Of course, as any fool knows...abortions are not illegal in many countries in middle and northern Europe...and guess what...they don't need as many of them because they do more for workers, and have a right to health care!

Hillary for women...my aunt fanny's a**!

Obelisk1 aguy777 , 2016-05-23 19:09:17
I am not a Trump supporter. But his awfulness does not make her any better.

That Clinton was married to a president doesn't impress me in the slightest. That she became a senator was because she exploited her name-recognition after her husband's term of office. As Sec State she was not just a pathological liar, but also incompetent.

If I was religious, I would pray for her indictment. Then the dems would be compelled to pick someone else.

Paul Little somebody_stopme , 2016-05-23 19:09:22
And she runs on Bills record, not her own
FrederikII InnocenceAbroad , 2016-05-23 19:07:43
Ironic that you don't realize how sexist your comment is. But it is an attitude not untypical of Clinton supporters.

Hillary will not give us a third term of Obama, she will give us a third term for her husband. And this is all that Bill wants, to be back holding the reins of power again.

DHBarr InnocenceAbroad , 2016-05-23 19:06:14
How many "true feminists" hire private detectives to intimidate women accusing their husbands of sexual harassment or actual assault? Hillary is a hypocrite of the highest order - "All women must be believed" - except the ones accusing her husband. If Monica Lewinski hadn't had DNA evidence to back up her claims they would have had her committed to a mental institution.
FrederikII aguy777 , 2016-05-23 19:03:19
Trump and Clinton deserve each other. That's why they are running neck and neck in the unpopularity stakes. Trouble is that Trump is starting to gain on her - and she has nothing to fight back with and stop her slide.
FrederikII aguy777 , 2016-05-23 18:57:04
You really haven't a clue, have you? Obama was a pretty poor president as far as the Democratic party was concerned. He made no effort whatever to build up the party, and spent wasteful years trying to compromise with the Republicans (when it was obvious to everyone he was getting nowhere.

The first two years of his presidency could have been the golden years had he lived up to the hype he projected during the nomination process. He destroyed the Democratic party with his attempts to compromise with Republican rattle snakes when no compromise was possible. And, yes, Hillary wants to carry on his good work! And she is already well in with the republican elite like the Bushes and Romney. Friend, take your head out of your ...

[May 23, 2016] Kerry Threatens War-Without-End on Syria

Notable quotes:
"... The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do notnecessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik. ..."
sputniknews.com

Alleged peace-maker John Kerry threatened to wage war-without-end on Syria - if the Middle East country does accept the US demand for regime change.

That's hardly the language of a supposed bona fide diplomat who presents an image to the world as a politician concerned to bring about an end to the five-year Syrian conflict.

The US Secretary of State repeatedly sounds anxious to alleviate the appalling suffering of the Syrian nation, where over the past five years some 400,000 people have been killed and millions displaced as refugees.

Anyone who has not been brainwashed by Western media propaganda knows full well that the suffering of Syria has been caused by Washington and its allies sponsoring a covert war for regime change in that country.

Kerry was speaking during another round of failed negotiations - this time in Vienna - along with other leaders from the 17-nation International Syria Support Group that includes Russia, as well as the United Nations.

The "support group" is a disgustingly erroneous name, given that certain members of this entity - primarily the US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey - have done everything in their power to sponsor a proxy terrorist war on Syria. If the truth were not so abject, it would be laughable.

In a Voice of America report headlined "US still has leverage in Syria," Kerry is quoted thus: "He said the greatest leverage [on Syria] was the fact that [President] Assad and his backers would never be able to end the war in Syria if they declined to negotiate a political settlement."

In Kerry's Footsteps: What Saudi 'Plan B' Actually Means for Syria and Iran Consider the pernicious import of that for a moment. In other words, America's top "diplomat" is laying down a criminal ultimatum to the sovereign state of Syria and its elected government of President Bashar al-Assad. Kerry is saying in no uncertain terms that unless the Syrian authorities do not accept Washington's demand for regime change, then the country is facing never-ending war.

Of course, being a weasel-worded diplomat, Kerry does not use the illegal term "regime change". He instead talks about "political transition". And he has set a date in August for this "transition" to take place. But what Kerry's euphemistic jargon boils down to is this: the Syrian president and his administration must vacate government - or else face more violence and destruction.

This is the political objective that Washington and its allies in NATO, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have wanted all along. They want what is an independent, anti-imperialist Syrian government to give way to some composite regime that would be a puppet for Washington's geopolitical interests in the oil-rich, strategically vital Middle East region.

Any replacement regime would spurn its erstwhile allies of Russia, Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah resistance movement to become an American vassal.

In reality, the supposed pro-democracy change that Washington allegedly wants to install in Syria would be dominated by a repressive, fundamentalist regime that would betray the interests of the Syrian people. We can count on this outcome because the proxies who are waging Washington's covert war are dominated by extremists fully aligned with their despotic sponsors in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Kerry's apparent confidence in predicting that Syria faces a war of attrition if it does capitulate is a tacit admission by Washington that it controls the illegally armed factions in Syria.

The United States may officially proscribe terror groups like al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al Nusra and the so-called Islamic State (also known as Daesh). The US pays lip service to "defeating terrorism".

But anyone with an informed understanding of what is really happening in Syria and other countries subjected to US-led regime change knows that Washington has orchestrated these same terror groups for its criminal political objectives.

This is corroborated by the fact that Washington refuses to coordinate its (ineffectual) bombing campaign with Russia to eliminate the terror groups. It is corroborated by the fact that Washington and its allies point-blank refuse Russia's proposals at the UN Security Council to designate other known terror outfits - Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Shams - as terrorist.

Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Shams are every bit as vile and barbaric as the other al Qaeda-affiliated franchises. They all espouse the same twisted death-cult ideology; fight alongside each others (when they are not feuding, that is, over war spoils); and ultimately they all share the same sponsors and American-supplied weaponry.

'Fair Game'? What Kerry's 'Absolute Lines' in Syria Really Mean It is openly admitted that America's allies Saudi Arabia and Turkey, as well as Qatar, bankroll Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Shams and that this nexus serves as a conduit for American weapons from the Central Intelligence Agency.

Why else would John Kerry begin his week of "diplomacy" in Vienna by first making an urgent visit to Saudi King Salman last weekend. Kerry was reportedly appealing to the 9/11-sponsoring Saudi regime to support his diplomatic push in Vienna. The Western media "reported" Kerry's Saudi visit as if it were a benign mission, as they usually do. Whenever it should be obvious that what he was really doing was trying to get the Saudis to ease off on the terror war in Syria.

Washington is currently trying to wrangle regime change in Syria through a political track. That is a world of difference from gullible Western media projections of Kerry's pretensions of "negotiating peace".

Yet all the while the US and the Saudis are reserving the right to use "Plan B" if the political track should not materialize in regime change.

That is what Kerry really means when he said in Vienna that "Assad and his backers would never be able to end the war in Syria if they declined to negotiate a political settlement."

Washington's "leverage" in Syria is due to the simple, diabolical fact that it and its despotic allies ultimately can turn on and off the violence when it is expedient for their interests. And that violence relies on the deployment of known terrorist organizations, including the ones that Washington's double-think refuses to recognize as "terrorist".

So let's put this into stark perspective. Despite his Orwellian title of diplomat and peace-maker, US Secretary of State John Kerry is the public face of a terrorist enterprise.

What other world power gives itself the right to threaten nations with "regime change or war"? And yet this same nation considers itself a paragon of democracy, human rights and law-abiding probity.

The United States of America is a rogue regime on a criminal scale that exceeds the very worst in history.

As a parting footnote, John Kerry is a decorated American "war hero". He served four months as a navy officer during the US genocidal war on Vietnam during the late 1960s. Kerry received a bunch of medals for his "actions", which according to reliable accounts from veterans on his river-boat patrols, involved shooting fleeing Vietnamese peasants in the back.

This is the same Kerry who is now purporting to bring peace to Syria.

Like everything that Washington says, it is full of lies and deception. The abiding lesson: don't turn your back on Washington and its terrorist-sponsoring, war-mongering "diplomats".

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do notnecessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

[May 23, 2016] Sanders draws blood in war with Democratic leaders

Notable quotes:
"... Bernie Sanders secured his first concession from the Democratic establishment on Monday when the Democratic National Committee agreed to grant his supporters greater representation on its convention platform committee. ..."
"... Sanders is rapidly revealing that his nomination battle against Hillary Clinton represents just one front in his wider-reaching war on the Democratic Party's entrenched leadership ..."
www.politico.com

POLITICO

Bernie Sanders secured his first concession from the Democratic establishment on Monday when the Democratic National Committee agreed to grant his supporters greater representation on its convention platform committee.

... ... ...

Sanders is rapidly revealing that his nomination battle against Hillary Clinton represents just one front in his wider-reaching war on the Democratic Party's entrenched leadership, and that the other fights - from Washington, D.C. to Nevada, to Wyoming - are about to get far more attention.

...But the Vermont senator - long perceived by many of his Democratic colleagues as a gadfly - is stepping up his assault on the party's way of doing business.

... ... ...

[May 21, 2016] The 10 Most Disturbing Snowden Revelations

February 11, 2014 | pcmag.com

This time last year, no one knew Edward Snowden. But by the end of 2013, his name was on every top 10 list, and the revelations contained with the NSA documents he leaked have inspired today's "The Day We Fight Back" protests.

For a while the information contained with the leaked documents took a backseat to the cultural impulse to dissect Snowden as a celebrity-his Reddit posts about sex and Cosmo asking "What the hell is Edward Snowden's girlfriend thinking right now?" Then Sunday talk shows debated whether Snowden was a was fink, traitor, whistleblower, or spy - as the elusive former contractor made an escape to Russia worthy of a spy-thriller chase scene.

But the Snowden documents contained serious information. Since June, we have learned about a variety of NSA programs, including PRISM, a multilayered, multiagency program that mines the data of suspected terrorists, as well as that of anyone even marginally associated with them. And the information that has been released is reportedly just a fraction of what exists.

Still, we have about eight months worth of data dumps, information that has prompted the promise of action from the White House, bills in the Congress, and today's "Day We Fight Back" protest, which is calling on people around the globe to protest NSA surveillance on the Web and in person. Below, we look back at some of the most alarming revelations from Edward Snowden thus far.

  1. The NSA intercepts deliveries According to documents published by German newspaper Der Spiegel, the NSA uses a tactic called "method interdiction," which intercepts packages that are en route to the recipient. Malware or backdoor-enabling hardware is installed in workshops by agents and the item then continues on its way to the customer.
  2. The NSA can spy on PCs not connected to the Internet Der Spiegel also published a document from an NSA division called ANT, which revealed technology the NSA uses to carry out operations, including a radio-frequency device that can monitor and even change data on computers that are not online.
  3. Phone companies must turn over bulk phone data In April, Verizon was ordered to hand over telephony metadata from calls made from the United States to other countries over the course of three months. The metadata included originating and terminating phone numbers, mobile subscriber identity numbers, calling card numbers, and the time and duration of calls. The secretive nature of the FISA court that made the request for data, however, meant that Verizon and other companies could not discuss the data requests.
  4. The NSA hacked Yahoo and Google data centers In October, The Washington Post accused the NSA of secretly monitoring transmissions between the data centers of Internet giants Yahoo and Google. Both companies denied giving the NSA permission to intercept such traffic. Google's Eric Schmidt called the move "outrageous," if true, while Yahoo moved to encrypt its data after the revelation.
  5. The NSA collects email and IM contact lists Hundreds of thousands of contact lists are collected by the NSA in a single day, The Washington Post also revealed. While the targets are outside of the United States, the scope of the collection means that info from U.S. citizens is inevitably included.
  6. RSA created a backdoor into its encryption software at the NSA's request In December, Reuters reported that the NSA paid RSA $10 million to create a "back door" in its encryption products, which gave the NSA access to data protected by RSA products like Bsafe. RSA denied the report, but the revelation prompted speakers to bow out of this month's RSA Conference.
  7. The NSA eavesdrops on the phone calls of world leaders. The U.S. government's friends and family calling plan reportedly extends to the content of calls, including tapping into German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone calls from the roof of the U.S. embassy in Berlin. The news prompted German officials to consider creating their own Internet.
  8. The NSA knows how many pigs you've killed in Angry Birds. The Flappy Bird flap may be bigger, but last month, The New York Times reported that the NSA and British intelligence teamed up to collect and store user data generated by "dozens of smartphone apps," including popular games like Angry Birds. Rovio denied it, but anti-surveillance activists still defaced the developer's website.
  9. The NSA engages in industrial espionage. The U.S. government has framed the NSA's activities as necessary to keeping citizens safe, but Snowden said on German television, "If there's information at Siemens that's beneficial to U.S. national interests-even if it doesn't have anything to do with national security-then they'll take that information nevertheless."
  10. Tech companies cooperated with the NSA and then were asked not to talk about it. Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL, and Apple were all named in the PRISM documents and struggled with how to talk to the public about it because of gag orders.

wguerrero

Big brother is watching us all.

[May 20, 2016] Worlds of Inequality

Notable quotes:
"... Also claims as such do a slight of hand and imply that the world economy is a zero sum. So for the people living on $2/day to improve their lot the people in the wealthy countries need to give up wealth. IE, the current system is working for everyone but you which means you're a loser who needs to STFU. ..."
"... It really is a "zero sum game" to some extent, given that the economy, local or global, is finite at any point in time. However, the "winners" (can you really call bandits winners?) are the global plutocracy, who have sucked up almost all economic gains for more than 30 years. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com
Travel day -- will post more later if and when I can.

This is a review of Branko Milanovic's "Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization" by Miles Corak:

Worlds of Inequality, The American Prospect : This book begins by posing a question: "Who has gained from globalization?" Many thoughtful Americans have the confidence to answer in a sentence. The gains have been captured by the top 1 percent. And the book ends with another question: "Will inequality disappear as globalization continues?" Many might be just as quick to answer: Of course not, the rich will get richer! But life is not so simple. Between these two questions Branko Milanovic offers us not just a plethora of facts about income inequality that will surely make his readers think twice. More importantly, he shows us the power of bringing the facts into focus by putting a new lens over these pressing issues-a global perspective. ...
The most striking fact that motivates his book is a graph that the Twittersphere has already termed "the elephant curve." This is the one-sentence, or rather one-picture, answer to the first question: "The gains from globalization are not evenly distributed." ...
Clearly evident are the rise of a global middle class, in some important measure reflecting the great march out of poverty in China, and the equally amazing rise in the incomes of the top 1 percent globally. The winners of globalization were many people who three decades ago were dirt-poor, and though a big percentage increase in a very low income still amounts to a rather low income by the standards of the average person in the rich countries, it is a major movement in the right direction. But the great winners of globalization were also a relatively few people in the already-rich countries, a global plutocracy who also experienced income gains of over 50 percent, but from a much higher starting point. Both of these changes are without precedent in the history of humanity.

But the elephant curve also shows that even though some have gained, others have not seen their prospects improve at all-indeed, probably leading lives of more insecurity and more worry, not just about their prospects but also the prospects of their children. The big losers in these global income sweepstakes have been middle- and lower-income people of the rich countries...

DrDick : , Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 06:27 AM

That book is on my shelf for my summer reading. I would add, as implied in the review, that most of the decline in global inequality (between countries) has come from the decrease in the number of people living on $2/day or less, though their incomes remain very low. In contrast, within country inequality has increased globally.
Gibbon -> DrDick... , Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 09:56 PM
That average poorness is decreasing while people in the first world lose ground reminds me of the Simpson's paradox.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson's_paradox

Also claims as such do a slight of hand and imply that the world economy is a zero sum. So for the people living on $2/day to improve their lot the people in the wealthy countries need to give up wealth. IE, the current system is working for everyone but you which means you're a loser who needs to STFU.

DrDick -> Gibbon ... , -1
It really is a "zero sum game" to some extent, given that the economy, local or global, is finite at any point in time. However, the "winners" (can you really call bandits winners?) are the global plutocracy, who have sucked up almost all economic gains for more than 30 years.

[May 20, 2016] Venezuelan President Maduro USA fatally obsessed with Russia

www.pravdareport.com

PravdaReport

President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro said that the United States is doing everything possible to keep the oil market from stabilizing.

The US administration takes every effort to counter OPEC's attempts to stabilize oil prices, he said.

"You can't imagine all the pressure that is coming from Washington to ensure the failure of the efforts we have made during the last year to create a common strategy among OPEC and non-OPEC producers to stabilize the market and prices," Maduro said, speaking Tuesday in his own TV show.

He also said that the US economic war against Russia and Venezuela affects the United States as well.

"These are almost war-like pressure on governments, on heads of state. The US has a "fatal obsession" with Russia, OPEC and Venezuela's leftist government," Maduro added.

Many specialists are convinced that the ongoing decline in oil prices is intentional. However, according to Maduro, the United States is trying to exhaust Russia. The tactics of dumping oil hits the " shale revolution " the US and Canada hardest. Oil companies in these countries working to their own detriment.

A barrel of shale oil costs $32. A barrel of oil produced on Russian old fields costs $28, ($16 at new ones). The cost of Venezuelan oil makes up about $9.

The US aims to raise the degree of public discontent in Russia, before the US market collapses. In Russia, low oil prices, due to a large tax component, equally affect the budget and ordinary consumers.
Kenneth T. Tellis в 03:39 15 апреля The days of U.S. domination in Latin America are long gone. The very assumption that assassinating Hugo Chaves Frias, would give the U.S. the upper hand was a serious mistake, beause Venezuelans are holding steadfast to the Bolivarian Revolucion ofHugo Chvas and will coninue on tht path till sll their goals are achieved. Hasta Victoria Siempre!Butto confuse Nicolas Maduro the Venezuelan President with SaddamHussein shows how the addled minds of America's stooges cannot think out of the box. But Ghizlane Kamalova is badly in need of psychiatric help.

[May 19, 2016] Our Famously Free Press

www.nakedcapitalism.com

naked capitalism

Our Famously Free Press

"'This has been an all-time low by mainstream corporate media,' says media scholar Robert McChesney, who joins us to discuss how the media is covering the race for the White House. 'What we've seen is the Sanders campaign has been largely neglected … And the coverage and the framing of it has been largely through the eyes of the establishment for the Hillary Clinton campaign' [Democracy Now].

"Bernie backers get violent: Now it's the Democrats facing a civil war" [Howard Kurtz, Fox]. It's interesting, in a clinical sort of way, to see the Nevada airborne seating Big Lie propagate itself through our famously free press. Although it's handy to be able to cross off any pundit who retails it.

"As the fallout from last weekend's Nevada Democratic convention spreads, sharply critical pieces about the White House hopeful and his campaign have appeared in progressive outlets such as Mother Jones, Talking Points Memo and Daily Kos within the past 48 hours." [The Hill]. Read for some Ninja-grade concern trolling. My favorite includes the phrase "the full sense of moral leadership."

[May 16, 2016] Thinking the Unthinkable Russia Has Re-Emerged As a Great Power

www.huffingtonpost.com

The Western image of Russia and Putin in recent years has been very negative. President Obama has publicly called Vladimir Putin a " schoolboy who slouches in his chair in the back of the room " and derided his country as a mere " regional power ." This begs the question: how Russia could again become a major power after the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991? How could Putin do this without an agrarian or consumer revolution and with the massive drop in the price of oil? If Putin is a terrible leader, then how can you explain successful interventions in Georgia (2008), Crimea (2014), Ukraine (2014-2016) and Syria (2015-2016)? Putin, however, is actually a very shrewd leader with a brilliant Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, who relies on a capable Foreign Ministry. Putin has rebuilt Russia's military capability by spending $49B a year on security. Russia retains 1,790 strategic nuclear weapons . With over 140 million people and 13 million college graduates, Russia has nearly a million first-class scientists, engineers and technicians, most of whom work for the military. Many former great powers are now no longer major powers. Japan, which smashed the Russian army in the 1904 Sino-Japanese War, occupied much of China from 1937-1945 and has a four trillion dollar economy is no longer a great power. After its defeat in World War II capped by the American dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and American post-war occupation, Japan has sworn off further intervention in the world and refused to acquire nuclear weapons. Europe, which once teemed with great powers such as Germany, France, England and Austro-Hungary, now has gone in another direction. Germany soundly beat the Russians in every World War I battle and came close to doing the same in 1941 and 1942. Today with weak power projection the three main powers have less than 1,000 mainline battle tanks and few aircraft carriers. Weak economic growth ( 1.5%/year ), disputes among its 28 members, migration from the Middle East, serious problems with weaker members such as Greece, promote domestic over international issues. China, with its ten trillion dollar GDP , over two trillion dollars of exports, over three trillion dollars in its reserve fund, 1.35 billion people and 3.7 million square miles of territory, is a future great power. It has made huge economic progress since Deng Xiaopong launched the Four Modernizations in 1978. Yet, its remaining problems are staggering: enormous air pollution , 675 million peasants, huge governmental corruption, authoritarian one party dictatorship, lack of rule of law, rapidly aging population, hundreds of thousands of children raising themselves and only $7,500 GDP/capita. Its military, while boosted by 150 billion dollars of spending , still needs another decade to become a truly modern force. India has 20 percent illiteracy , 300 million people without electricity and a $1,300 GDP/capita that is less than three percent of the United States. It faces Pakistan soon with 200 atomic bombs. India, with over a billion people, will be a major power but not for several decades. Then there is the United States, the sole global superpower since victory in the Cold War and one of two superpowers in the world since 1945. Its 18 trillion dollar economy , 17 of the world's top 20 universities, world leadership in high technology, over 550 billion dollars in military spending and 330 million people give it serious advantages over Russia. But, with the rise of popular neo-isolationist Presidential candidates, the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression, decline in its manufacturing sector, administration talk of reducing the size of the American military to the 1940 level, and the Obama semi-withdrawal from the Middle East, the door that had been shut to Russia has been open. The unthinkable has become a reality. Russia, seemingly finished after its defeat in the Cold War, now is emerging as a prospective great power challenging the West. Russia has done the unthinkable-become a great power filling the void left by other former great powers that have now shrunk in size, power and influence.

[May 12, 2016] Screw The Next Generation Anonymous Congressman Admits To Blithely Mortgaging The Future With A Wink A Nod

Notable quotes:
"... "Most of my colleagues are dishonest career politicians who revel in the power and special-interest money that's lavished upon them." ..."
"... "My main job is to keep my job, to get reelected. It takes precedence over everything." ..."
"... "Fundraising is so time consuming I seldom read any bills I vote on. Like many of my colleagues, I don't know how the legislation will be implemented, or what it'll cost." ..."
"... " Voters are incredibly ignorant and know little about our form of government and how it works." ..."
"... "It's far easier than you think to manipulate a nation of naive, self-absorbed sheep who crave instant gratification." ..."
"... "We spend money we don't have and blithely mortgage the future with a wink and a nod. Screw the next generation." ..."
"... Best line in the God Father. "Their Saps, They fight for other people". Sounds like pop talking. God damn right that's Pop talking. Come here you. ..."
"... The only function of a bureaucracy is to perpetuate the bureaucracy. ..."
"... Trump is getting so much attention because the citizenry doesn't know how the govt was designed to work, and is looking for a "leader" to fix things up. ..."
"... The power lies in Congress, by design, appropriately so, as it most closely represents the will of the People. And therein lies the eleventh-hour problem. ..."
"... This book will be exposed as a hoax. It is doubtless a compilation of quotes from multiple Congrees-critters over the years. I doubt any of these assholes would risk exposure in this manner. They don't have the guts. ..."
May 12, 2016 | Zero Hedge

A shockingly frank new book from an anonymous Democratic congressman turns yet another set of conspiracy theories into consirpacy facts as he spills the beans on the ugly reality behind the scenes in Washington. While little will surprise any regular readers, the selected quotes offered by "The Confessions Of Congressman X" book cover sheet read like they were ripped from the script of House of Cards... and yet are oh so believable...

A devastating inside look at the dark side of Congress as revealed by one of its own! No wonder Congressman X wants to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. His admissions are deeply disturbing...

"Most of my colleagues are dishonest career politicians who revel in the power and special-interest money that's lavished upon them."

"My main job is to keep my job, to get reelected. It takes precedence over everything."

"Fundraising is so time consuming I seldom read any bills I vote on. Like many of my colleagues, I don't know how the legislation will be implemented, or what it'll cost."

The book also takes shots at voters as disconnected idiots who let Congress abuse its power through sheer incompetence...

" Voters are incredibly ignorant and know little about our form of government and how it works."

"It's far easier than you think to manipulate a nation of naive, self-absorbed sheep who crave instant gratification."

And, as The Daily Mail so elqouently notes, the take-away message is one of resigned depression about how Congress sacrifices America's future on the altar of its collective ego...

"We spend money we don't have and blithely mortgage the future with a wink and a nod. Screw the next generation."

"It's about getting credit now, lookin' good for the upcoming election."

Simply put, it's everything that is enraging Americans about their government's dysfunction and why Trump is getting so much attention.

10mm

Best line in the God Father. "Their Saps, They fight for other people". Sounds like pop talking. God damn right that's Pop talking. Come here you.

SidSays

"My main job is to keep my job, to get reelected. It takes precedence over everything."

The only function of a bureaucracy is to perpetuate the bureaucracy.

chunga

The shining city on a hill is chock full of assholes like this. They've run out of other people's money for this purpose so bad, generations to come are screwed. Unless of course they are all stamped away and their bullshit repudiated.

The scummiest scum of humans go into politics.

Cabreado

"and why Trump is getting so much attention."

No, that is perilously false.

Trump is getting so much attention because the citizenry doesn't know how the govt was designed to work, and is looking for a "leader" to fix things up.

I've been pecking away for years that the attention must be on Congress. No takers here at ZH either, for the most part.

Again... a finally corrupt and defunct Congress is what must be dealt with post haste, and a "Trump" or any other will not be the answer to changing the trajectory.

The power lies in Congress, by design, appropriately so, as it most closely represents the will of the People. And therein lies the eleventh-hour problem.

financialrealist

I've said it time and again. Just today I posted "our entire system is based on subjective financial asset valuations to support the needs of today with no consideration of tomorrow". Politicians and their money grubbing corporate assholes thought of future generations don't transcend beyond their own line of sight. We do not have a government or system for the people. We have a government who's sole purpose is to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else. Burn the fucker down

Captain Willard

This book will be exposed as a hoax. It is doubtless a compilation of quotes from multiple Congrees-critters over the years. I doubt any of these assholes would risk exposure in this manner. They don't have the guts.

[May 11, 2016] Bush Wrecked the GOP Long Before Trump Appeared

Notable quotes:
"... One of the remarkable things about this election is the sheer intensity of hostility to Trump from many of the same movement conservatives who shrugged at Bush's far more serious betrayals and failures. Many movement conservatives have been much more horrified by Trump's momentary political success over a few months than they were by the real, costly, staggering failures of governance under the Bush administration over a period of eight years. Bush certainly drove some conservatives and Republicans into vocal opposition, including those of us here at TAC, but there seem to be many, many more on the right that thought Bush could practically do no wrong but have been driven into fits by nothing more than Trump's nomination. ..."
"... People that now panic about incipient caudillismo and the dangers of a nationalist demagogue didn't care when Bush expanded the security state, trampled on the Constitution, or launched an unnecessary war of aggression, and people that yawned at the steady expansion of government and creation of new unfunded liabilities under Bush are now supposedly alarmed by Trump's lack of fidelity to the cause of limited government. They correctly identify many of Trump's flaws, but refuse to acknowledge the fact that the party was already killed (or at least severely wounded) years ago during the disastrous Bush era. It was that period of incompetence and ideologically-driven debacles that shattered the GOP, and for the last seven years the vast majority of die-hard Trump foes have refused to recognize that and have chosen to learn nothing from it. They lost to Trump, but the part they can't accept is that they deserved to lose because of their role in enabling the GOP's past failures. Now they're touting their abandonment of the wreckage they helped to create as if they deserve applause for running away from their own handiwork. If it weren't so serious, it would be quite comical. ..."
www.dailykos.com

Daily Kos

Blogger driftglass writes- The Well-Thumbed History and Plainsong Lore...of our Fucked Up Modern Age :
The cheapest laugh down here in the Liberal cheap seats continues to be the hilarious "evolution" of the indignation of Conservatives who are watching their monster run away with their party. Since no one listens to us and no one cares what we think, we here on the Left find ourselves oddly blessed with the greatest and most dangerous freedom of all: we are free to remember the past in country where almost everyone else-especially the wealthy and powerful-are expending enormous energies denying the past. Ten years ago it was an act of unalloyed heresy and disloyalty bordering on treason to even hint that George W. Bush was not the Greatest Fucking President in Modern History. Six years ago, it was sheer folly-whistling into a hurricane-to suggest that the Tea Party was not, in fact a sudden and spontaneous uprising of otherwise-politically-virginal patriots, but was instead a massive wingnut rebranding scam designed to get millions of bigots and meatheads off the hook for volubly supporting the Worst Fucking President in Modern History. But now, as America's Conservative brain wizards flail around looking for someone or something onto which they can lay off the blame for the rise of Donald McRonald, look what is suddenly no longer verboten. [...] And my oh my, look at what version of American history is no longer a heresy so disqualifying that the media dare not speak its name (from The American Conservative ):
Bush Wrecked the GOP Long Before Trump Appeared By DANIEL LARISON ... One of the remarkable things about this election is the sheer intensity of hostility to Trump from many of the same movement conservatives who shrugged at Bush's far more serious betrayals and failures. Many movement conservatives have been much more horrified by Trump's momentary political success over a few months than they were by the real, costly, staggering failures of governance under the Bush administration over a period of eight years. Bush certainly drove some conservatives and Republicans into vocal opposition, including those of us here at TAC, but there seem to be many, many more on the right that thought Bush could practically do no wrong but have been driven into fits by nothing more than Trump's nomination. People that now panic about incipient caudillismo and the dangers of a nationalist demagogue didn't care when Bush expanded the security state, trampled on the Constitution, or launched an unnecessary war of aggression, and people that yawned at the steady expansion of government and creation of new unfunded liabilities under Bush are now supposedly alarmed by Trump's lack of fidelity to the cause of limited government. They correctly identify many of Trump's flaws, but refuse to acknowledge the fact that the party was already killed (or at least severely wounded) years ago during the disastrous Bush era. It was that period of incompetence and ideologically-driven debacles that shattered the GOP, and for the last seven years the vast majority of die-hard Trump foes have refused to recognize that and have chosen to learn nothing from it. They lost to Trump, but the part they can't accept is that they deserved to lose because of their role in enabling the GOP's past failures. Now they're touting their abandonment of the wreckage they helped to create as if they deserve applause for running away from their own handiwork. If it weren't so serious, it would be quite comical.

If you are a Liberal living in America you are a pariah in your own land who has lived to see almost every one of your ostracizing blasphemies slowly, quietly become a widely accepted and largely uncontroversial fact of everyday life.

Every blasphemy except one-that the Left has been right about the Right all along. Because if Important People ever dared to start saying that out loud in Important Places, the entire system would implode.

[May 11, 2016] Every defeat is just getting that bit more embarrassing for Clinton now

Notable quotes:
"... Everything is just getting that bit more embarrassing for Clinton now, as if it wasn't for her early jump on Sanders before people got to know who he was, she could well be behind. ..."
"... Vote for Bernie is more like a protest vote: people just show their disgust with neocon Killary posing as a Democrat. That's why if Dems nominate Killary, many Bernie supporters won't vote at all, and some would even vote Trump. Trump and Bernie are opposites in many things, but they have one thing in common: Republicratic establishment is afraid of both. ..."
www.theguardian.com

yinyanggrl Jason Ma 10 May 2016 22:26

Trump will be 70 in less than a month, Sanders is 74. Not a huge difference. The main difference is hair dye and injections.

ucic , 2016-05-11 03:32:02

Maybe the 'mis-spoke' argument for Clinton's crushing in WV today (a state she won in 2008) is not the only a influence on today's vote? Perhaps the people of WV have also been reading or hearing about Clinton's appalling polling in a showdown with Trump compared to Sanders? Meanwhile, if the state does goes Repub in the general, it will just be like all those other southern states that Hillary won! !--
Eugene Harvey johnjohn12 , 2016-05-11 03:28:39
I do believe it may be yourself and your beloved Hillary that are hitting the bottle. The more Sanders wins the more he may be able to swing the Super Delegates who are free to pledge for who they want. Everything is just getting that bit more embarrassing for Clinton now, as if it wasn't for her early jump on Sanders before people got to know who he was, she could well be behind.
It is something the Democrats can't ignore, just as they can't ignore Clintons popularity ratings along side Trump.
Why pull out when you're winning? Sounds like something a loser would do.


!--
Eugene Harvey , 2016-05-11 03:16:38
Got to love the Guardian, first they get a bit over excited and announce Clinton and Trump win after almost no votes counted, with their ridiculous little Clinton/Trump graphics waving their arms, then have to wakeup from their warm fuzzy dream and face reality, Sanders and done it again.

The Fat Lady is starting to get nervous as the Orchestra start to leave the pit. !--

RobertAussie danielnc , 2016-05-11 03:03:09
Whereas cocaine capitalists are so good at maths that they sold sub-prime mortgage packages, created the GFC and destroyed the world economy... and then got bailed out by the people... (that is, they suddenly and briefly embraced socialism in their time of need, in case that's lost on you.) !--
Informed17 danielnc , 2016-05-11 03:01:42
Vote for Bernie is more like a protest vote: people just show their disgust with neocon Killary posing as a Democrat. That's why if Dems nominate Killary, many Bernie supporters won't vote at all, and some would even vote Trump. Trump and Bernie are opposites in many things, but they have one thing in common: Republicratic establishment is afraid of both.

!--

Siamesemama1 , 2016-05-11 02:50:15
Guardian: I'm getting tired of waiting for a fair headline from you, for example, "Bernie Takes West Virginia in May 10th state primary" instead of "Trump this, Trump that/Hillary blah, blah, blah". It's as simple as Who, What, When, Where & Why-accurately reported. As taught in 9th grade journalism classes.
Im waiting for an article without the negatives such as West Virginians only voted for Sanders because they are waiting to vote for Trump.
It's bad enough to have Hillary, Bill, the Koch bros., the banksters, the Supreme Court et al subverting our democracy, must you join in as well?
Bernie's formidable & we, his supporters are tenacious!
GO BERNIE!!!! !--
WarlockScott JimmySands , 2016-05-11 02:40:41
Sociopath taps into public discontent amongst smaller demographic group by giving them someone to blame and displaying authoritarian strength in the face of hated establishment (who lets be honest with maybe one exception were hopeless candidates). Tbf I'd be less concerned with what Republicans think and more concerned with the Independent voting block who have massive concerns about Hillary for mostly different reasons !--
relgin Severus1 , 2016-05-11 02:40:12
Clinton's campaign has soaked up a goodly portion of this allegedly donated money. She believes that *she* is the Democratic Party heir. Clinton is for Clinton and will do anything to get what she wants. !--
BaldwinP whyohwhy1 , 2016-05-11 02:31:59
The point is that while Sanders gets support from people to the left of Clinton, he also gets a lot of support from people to the right of Clinton and who are backing him as an anti-establishment guy, not a left-wing guy. !--
exdiplomat ArchieWahWah , 2016-05-11 02:27:04
Why would Sanders, who has made his entire campaign about the corrupting influence of Wall Street and corporate interests in government, and has self funded his campaign as a result, team up with a person who is the living embodiment of all he disdains? Hillary Clinton's campaign is the nexus of Wall Street and corruption, with an FBI investigation thrown in for good measure.

Do not trust her. Do not want her. !--

PrinceVlad ryanpatrick9192 , 2016-05-11 02:26:56
He says it was a disaster, is against regime change, questions our relationship with the Saudis, wants to be neutral with regard to Israel and Palestine, and questions why we need NATO decades after the Soviet Union collapsed. All sound positions in my book. !--
PlayaGiron , 2016-05-11 02:24:43
How is Sanders campaign "quixotic"?

Just report the fucking news without the insults!! !--

exdiplomat USfan , 2016-05-11 02:17:56
Not me. I'm voting Sanders. And if its not Sanders, then I'm voting Trump.

The problem is corruption in government, and how the government and economy are rigged.

Only Sanders and Trump talk about this. Clinton... with her speech money and tens of millions from Wall Street donors and Pentagon supplier donors... she is part of the problem, and certainly not the solution.

!--
krnewman , 2016-05-11 02:11:34
Once again we have uniformly lousy, almost criminally responsibly terrible political reporting from the Guardian concerning the Democratic Party's race. I come expecting you to be awful and you never disappoint. You know nothing, you understand nothing. !--
WarlockScott Arsenaltribe , 2016-05-11 02:09:19
Well Hillary's fucked in that case but I disagree that Americans only care about tax cuts especially when you consider certain studies...

TPC found that the average tax burden would increase by about $9,000 in 2017 but the average amount of benefits would increase by more than $13,000. As a result, households would on average receive a net income gain of almost $4,300 under Sanders's proposals, TPC said.

Households in the bottom fifth of income would on average receive a net gain of more than $10,000, and those in the middle fifth of income would have an average gain of about $8,500. Those in the top 5 percent of income would see a net loss of about $111,000, TPC said.

Bernie has a very strong case to not only be the most progressive candidate but also the one lightest on the average American's pocket !--

erik_ny Arsenaltribe , 2016-05-11 01:54:00
She's a greedy warmongering horror with nothing to offer anyone. Sanders supports will simply not vote. At all. For anyone. A handful might vote for Trump but not in significant numbers.

I would refrain from too many predictions six months out. (a) USA is a moody country with (b) a love of novelty and (c) there's no frame of reference for what's going to come next. Except that we're in for a wild ride.

to the extent Trump generates buzz, clicks, excitement & controversy -- the press must secretly praying for him to win !--

furrypuppet , 2016-05-11 01:45:10
Welcome to our live wire coverage with our rock star interns. After another terrible night for Sanders, who was expected to gain 99.9% of the vote, this latest win in West Virginia is another devastating blow to the Sanders campaign, coming after a series of 17 incredibly lucky shock results by landslide margins which of course don't mean anything.

Because of the large number of comments which disagree with the Guardian editorial line we will be closing this blog shortly. !--

Sam3456 justdoug , 2016-05-11 01:42:48
You can make the case that Hillary's 30,000 deleted personal emails are = to Nixons 18 minutes of missing tape. Also her use of "enemies list" and her use of the Super Pac "Correct the Record" cyber war against anyone who speaks out about her in a negative manner, as well as her hawkish foreign policy and her close relationship with Kissenger to me be very similar to Nixon.

Except for your already disproved slander that Sanders is a "socialist" there is not much else he has in common with Lenin. !--

Sam3456 USfan , 2016-05-11 01:37:33
http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-clinton-digital-trolling-20160506-snap-htmlstory.html


!--
495620 MtnClimber , 2016-05-11 01:33:56
Well, the moderator is making it easier for Clinton's super Pac to work these comments now. You can't debate these people rationally, they are paid to distort and reflect back to you the opposite of everything. !--
RonaldMcDonald666 Eugene Harvey , 2016-05-11 01:30:23
Body language works on a different level. You can't fake it easily. It's almost impossible to fake micro expressions. And we all pick them up. This is probably the main reason why Clinton is deemed untrustworthy. It's because her body's expressions can't hide her lies !--
whyohwhy1 , 2016-05-11 01:25:38
Bernie Sanders got 72% in West Virginia among those who want more liberal policies than the Obama Administration. Or in a nutshell according to the Guardian, "Trump voters".

!--

SeenItAlready CurtBrown , 2016-05-11 01:19:19
My view is that Hillary is bought and sold by a small group of ultra-wealthy 0.001%ers who have some form of personality disorder which means that they are only interested in unending self-enrichment beyond any from of rational limit, all at the expense of *everybody else* on the planet

The article rather backs this up, and furthermore points out that at least some of these same people were also backing the frightful Cruz until he dropped out of the race

Are you happy to be shilling for Hillary now you have this information? !--

dutchcookie , 2016-05-11 01:13:16
Guardian office alert !!! Guardian office alert !!!
There are elections in the USA at the moment in some of the states and the Guardian editor in charge is worried. Why ?
There are not enough anti Trump articles yet written for today and one (?new) staffer had the audacity to write an article on Hillary that had one line in it that was seen as a bit 'negative' for our former first lady.
The editor in charge may have to write a negative article on Trump him/herself.... so what to do now.........the news staffer is walking down the road already

If you need some help Guardian staff..ask me.. I have read so many of your anti Trump articles that I can memorize most of the lines..................... !--

Vermouth Brilliantine suddenoakdeath , 2016-05-11 01:12:46
True colours, alright. Bernie voters have principles- they're not willing to toss those aside in order to support NAFTA-loving, email-losing, regime-change-addict Clinton, the woman whose campaign platform changes entirely depending on which way the wind is blowing. It beats me why anyone voting for Bernie would want to vote for Clinton- expect more outsourcing, more 'free trade', more TPIP, and more Middle East interventions if she snakes her way into the Oval office. !--
Sam3456 dopamineboy , 2016-05-11 01:07:11
Clinton = Moderate Republican

!--

Sam3456 dopamineboy , 2016-05-11 01:07:11
Clinton = Moderate Republican

!--

Psyren Michronics42 , 2016-05-11 01:03:50
Yes Clinton is cleverly using a LEGAL way to bypass campaign financing laws thanks to her joint account with the DNC.
Although, to be fair, she is not the first candidate to do that.
The legality is not for debate here but I won't say that much about the morality...

!--

Sam3456 Michronics42 , 2016-05-11 00:59:16
She consistently has shown that money and power is all she is interested in. She does not care where that money or power comes from as long as she gets it.

That's why she took "the evil ones" campaign contribution.

The lesser of two evils is still evil. !--

Markmarkmark56 , 2016-05-11 00:51:55
"But I believe that it is not enough to just reject Trump – this is an opportunity to define a progressive vision for America."

Exactly! The Clinton campaign is basically stating "Vote Hillary, she's less worse than Trump!", there's nothing progressive or innovative about it, just plain sailing everything thing is fine stop thinking now and get back to work stuff. Shame really, the woulda shoulda coulda that's coming to the US in a few months after Trump wins...because he's going to, dour predictions by the media aside (they didn't see any of this coming) he's just the kind of guy Americans will vote for, I mean, we elected Bush II twice! Well...once, really.

!--
SeenItAlready suddenoakdeath , 2016-05-11 00:48:40
Where did I say that? Bit of an 'Ad Hominem' from you there I'm afraid

Here's another link showing where some of that money is going:
Pro-Hillary PAC Spending $1 Million to Hire Online Trolls

Are you benefiting directly from it or are you just doing this out of the goodness of your heart? !--

SeenItAlready , 2016-05-11 00:37:10
Today's article in The Guardian: Top 25 hedge fund managers earned $13bn in 2015 – more than some nations

Quote:

Simons, a string theory expert and former cold war codebreaker, has made an estimated $15.5bn from Renaissance Technologies the mathematics-driven "quant" hedge fund he set up 34 years ago.

The fund, which is run from the tiny Long Island village of Setauket where Simons owns a huge beachfront compound, has donated $13m to Cruz's failed campaign. With Cruz out of the race, Renaissance has switched donations to Hillary Clinton, with more than $2m donated so far. Euclidean Capital, Simon's family office, has donated more than $7m to Clinton.

Just saying... !--

westoeden ucic , 2016-05-11 00:34:16
The media and the parties conveniently forget that more than 40% of Americans are Independents and they can swing this election. Most of them would vote for Sanders in the general election in Nov., but they won't vote for Clinton. The DNC should be assessing who could best win the White House and back that candidate. I am at a lose as to why they aren't doing that. !--
MOZGODRK , 2016-05-11 00:30:30
Hillary, let's face it: you and the working class just don't go together. It is a very awkward , tense and schizo combination. You should be campaigning on Broadway, Sunset Strip or Rodeo Drive. West Virginia just isn't your natural habitat: It is like putting an anaerobic bacterium into an oxygen tank.

Stick to the 1% quarters, and you'll do just fine (plus, they give good speech fees). And you don't even have to watch those unwashed coalminers' faces and pretend that you are one of them. !--

Huples , 2016-05-11 00:17:58
Hey Guardian fascinating to know what the Clinton Camp (Machine) thinks about tonight but what does Senator Sanders campaign think? Just curious you know. Helps to have reporting from both sides to help unbiased voters make up their minds.

Don't get me wrong I think it was nice you mentioned Bernie's landslide in Nebraska but what is he saying? Sure he's holding 25,000 rallies but could you cover his actual words and policies with an equal amount of reporting as you are covering Clinton?

Of note I read elsewhere he is 281 delegates behind and expected to win 8 out of 9 remaining states. Does that mean Clinton has no chance of becoming the presumptive nominee until the Convention? Also have you investigated her Goldman Sachs speeches? She said she'd release them when others have and I do not think Sanders or Trump are withholding their speeches. !--

RonaldMcDonald666 ImaHack , 2016-05-11 00:10:02
Because the mainstream media is just a propaganda machine for big money interests makes them a horrid place to look for facts
Bonita Goodrich , 2016-05-11 00:09:49
Key word.... Integrity. It's not about Bernie,it's about us. No more taxation without representation. Corporations aren't people.. I should know as I work for one and own one. Capitalism without regulation self cannibalises as it is left with no consumers. That's what the new deal was really about... Saving capitalism and I'm all for that. !--
nomdinterweb judyblue , 2016-05-10 23:51:44
My Graun headline predictions, if Sanders wins by any margin large or small today:

"Clinton Narrowly Defeated in West Virginia But Wins Several Delegates"

"Is This the Last Stop on the Road for the Sanders Campaign?"

"Trump [insert any random story here]"

Anyone else? Virtual Snickers as prize for the closest prediction... !--

TEESMEE , 2016-05-10 23:31:50
This liveblog is illustrative of the inane soma that the media, unfortunately this appears to include the guardian, will feed to its readers over the general election. Again you have forgotten that smart young people, who make up a large proportion of your readership, are extremely put off by the extent of Trump's coverage. I know he's the presumptive nominee, but that puts the onus on discussing his policies more, contrasting them with hillary's etc, but you do nothing of the sort. I know it's a liveblog and you're scraping through the day for tidbits but i really think more analysis instead of random useless coverage of events is in order. Oh Trump's a buffoon that says stupid things? Thanks, I needed more evidence of that. Oh he polls worse than Nickelback? Hilarious. No, no, no. Give us some real information and not this public interest nonsense - that's what social media is for. !--
marshwren Pleasetickother3 , 2016-05-10 22:50:21
Delegate math in the primaries is one thing; electoral college math in the general election is quite another. Clinton's margin in popular votes derives from red (mostly southern) state primaries that, with few exceptions (like NC), neither will win in the general. As others have noted, in swing states Sanders lost, he's polling better against Trump than Clinton does (FL, OH, PA). There's even an interesting poll from NH that has Sanders ahead of Trump by 21 points (the same as his primary win margin), but Clinton is only up +5--the difference between Clinton keeping Sen. Ayotte (R) in the Senate for another term, and Sanders dragging the Hill-shill Gov. Hassen (D) into the Senate.
Given Clinton's poor showing against Trump, both nationally and state-by-state, i'm beginning to suspect that difference isn't Trump gaining supporters against Clinton, but Clinton losing supporters to those not voting, voting third party (mostly Green), or writing Sanders' in--aka, the Bernie or Bust movement.
It's still very possible Clinton goes to the Convention well short of the 2,383 pledged delegates she needs to win the nomination without the help of super delegates. And if her polls keep tanking (and taking any chance of winning back the Senate, the House, governors and statehouses) with it, the SD's will have a very hard time justifying awarding her the nomination simply out of personal loyalty, and still face the prospect of losing the presidency anyway. !--
rumirules , 2016-05-10 22:47:54
Two things happened in New York in July 2015.

1) The New York Board of Elections received whopping pay raises, for unexplained reasons.

2) The NY BOE's own internal minutes of July 7, 2015 (available to the public) show that the full board were completely aware of purging ~160,000 NY voters, treated that as a routine vote, and moved onto other apparently more pressing business

http://m.nydailynews.com/news/politics/board-elections-managers-huge-pay-raises-article-1.2270469
http://www.kingscountypolitics.com/doe-chief-ryan-commissioners-knew-mass-purging-voters-records-show / !--

DogsLivesMatter AppalledAmerican , 2016-05-10 22:15:23
Nobody in Congress works anymore. They spend the majority of their time looking for donations. This was from 60 minutes a few weeks back: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-are-members-of-congress-becoming-telemarketers /

[May 09, 2016] Whats a Neoconservative

Notable quotes:
"... Your piece leaves out three important threads in understanding neoconservatives. First, the movement was started by and is largely populated by Jews. The so-called "father of the neoconservative movement" was Irving Kristol, the father of William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard. Another prominent founder was Norman Podhoretz, who succeeded the elder Kristol as editor of Commentary. Many of the most prominent neoconservatives are Jewish: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, etc., etc. ..."
"... " For the neoconservatives, religion is an instrument of promoting morality. Religion becomes what Plato called a noble lie. It is a myth which is told to the majority of the society by the philosophical elite in order to ensure social order… In being a kind of secretive elitist approach, Straussianism does resemble Marxism. These ex-Marxists, or in some cases ex-liberal Straussians, could see themselves as a kind of Leninist group, you know, who have this covert vision which they want to use to effect change in history, while concealing parts of it from people incapable of understanding it." ..."
"... Neocons are mostly Zionist who put Israel interest above that of their country the USA. The majority are chicken hawks who never served a day in the military and have no problem sending other people kids to fight their wars. ..."
"... Exceptional is something I would hope other countries would say about us without having to remind them or ourselves. It's a form of group narcissism to keep bringing it up to convince ourselves our actions are just. ..."
"... What a fascinating article. The last paragraph was particularly smack on. When I spoke to a conservative friend recently, I was inflamed about our hyper-sized military and our overseas adventures as an example of very big government. ..."
"... Wish neoconservatism was a philosophy, but its not, only a bait-and-switch sales pitch for the military industrial complex. Since Scoop Jackson, the senator from Boeing, America's political-police-the-world crowd has been the complex's marketing firm. ..."
"... Re "American exceptionalism:" I am sixty-seven years old. When I was a child, my Dad (A Mustang officer), told me that the United States was exceptional for reason that the privileges of aristocracy in Europe were the ordinary civil rights of common equals here. ..."
"... I had forgotten that I saved a copy of a book review by David Gordon that appeared in TAC this past October, entitled "Neoconservatism Defined." Actually, it is a combined review of two books, and it is a pretty good introduction to neoconservatism. http://www.amconmag.com/blog/anatomy-of-neoconservatism/ ..."
"... "Most, though certainly not all, of the leading neocons are Jewish and the defense of Israel is central to their political concerns." ..."
www.theamericanconservative.com

This is a jingoistic political ideology of the Us elite preached by Killary and characterized by an emphasis on free-market capitalism and an interventionist foreign policy.

The American Conservative

The "neocons" believe American greatness is measured by our willingness to be a great power-through vast and virtually unlimited global military involvement. Other nations' problems invariably become our own because history and fate have designated America the world's top authority.

Critics say the US cannot afford to be the world's policeman. Neoconservatives not only say that we can but we must-and that we will cease to be America if we don't. Writes Boston Globe neoconservative columnist Jeff Jacoby: "Our world needs a policeman. And whether most Americans like it or not, only their indispensable nation is fit for the job." Neocon intellectual Max Boot says explicitly that the US should be the world's policeman because we are the best policeman.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) heartily champions the neoconservative view.

...neoconservatism has always been sold through the narrative of America's "greatness" or "exceptionalism." This is essentially the Republican Party's version of the old liberal notion promoted by President Woodrow Wilson that it is America's mission to "make the world safe for democracy." (meaning for international corporations). Douthat describes Rubio as the "great neoconservative hope" because the freshman senator is seen by the neocon intelligentsia as one of the few reliable Tea Party-oriented spokesman willing to still promote this ideology to the GOP base. I say "still" because many Republicans have begun to question the old neocon foreign policy consensus that dominated Bush's GOP. Douthat puts the neoconservatives' worries and the Republicans' shift into context...

...But this has always been the neocon ruse-if neoconservatives can convince others that fighting some war, somewhere is for America's actual defense, they will always make this argument and stretch any logic necessary to do so. Whether or not it is true is less important than its effectiveness. But their arguments are only a means to an end. Neoconservatives rarely show any reflection-much less regret-for foreign policy mistakes because for them there are no foreign policy mistakes. America's wars are valid by their own volition. America's "mission" is its missions. Writes Max Boot: "Why should America take on the thankless task of policing the globe… As long as evil exists, someone will have to protect peaceful people from predators."

bc3b , June 23, 2011 at 8:51 am
Easy Jack.

Neoconservatives are primarily socially liberal hawks. Almost to a man they have done everything possible to avoid serving in the military as have their children. Next to liberals they are the greatest danger to our country.

squib , June 23, 2011 at 10:09 am
Re "American exceptionalism". I thought America was exceptional until it started acting like any old cynical, corrupt, doomed empire. It's silly to go about boasting of your exceptionalism even as you repeat every hackneyed error of your predecessors, and trade your true character for a handful of dust.

The problem with the neoconservatives isn't that they flog American exceptionalism, it's that they aren't really Americans.

Steve , June 23, 2011 at 11:10 am
Oh, come on guys.

In 2011, a neoconservative is the person who always answers yes to the question "Are Israel's objectives always more important than the objectives of the USA?"

Folks will say this is unfair and a gross distortion of reality, if not in fact a bigoted assertion, but can you name any current neoconservative who is oppossed to US support for Israel? Or even just wants tosee it reduced a bit. I suspect not.

On domestic issues, there's a greater range of variation across the neocon spectrum, but, unlike the case back in the middle 70s when we first began to hear of this troubling new breed of political apostates in the making, it's clear that foreign policy is of much greater importance to the neocons than is domestic policy.

By the middle eastern sympathiesyou shall know them.

tbraton , June 23, 2011 at 11:13 am
"My father suggested to me recently that it might be helpful to better explain what the term "neoconservative" means. "A lot of people don't know," he said. As usual, Dad was right."

One of those people who didn't know what a "neoconservative" was is our former President, George W. Bush. I remember reading somewhere that, when he was running for President in the late 90's, George W. asked his father what a neoconservative was, and George H. W. replied that he had only to remember one word to understand what a neoconservative was: Israel.

Your piece leaves out three important threads in understanding neoconservatives. First, the movement was started by and is largely populated by Jews. The so-called "father of the neoconservative movement" was Irving Kristol, the father of William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard. Another prominent founder was Norman Podhoretz, who succeeded the elder Kristol as editor of Commentary. Many of the most prominent neoconservatives are Jewish: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, etc., etc.

Secondly, the roots of neoconservatism traces back to very liberal political leanings, bordering on socialism and even communism. The elder Kristol was a Trotskyite into his 20's. That would explain their tendency to favor a strong central government, which, of course, allows them to exert their influence more effectively despite their small numbers. It is also consistent with the views of Leo Strauss, one of the great intellectual shapers of neoconservatism. According to an account by a former neoconservative:

" For the neoconservatives, religion is an instrument of promoting morality. Religion becomes what Plato called a noble lie. It is a myth which is told to the majority of the society by the philosophical elite in order to ensure social order… In being a kind of secretive elitist approach, Straussianism does resemble Marxism. These ex-Marxists, or in some cases ex-liberal Straussians, could see themselves as a kind of Leninist group, you know, who have this covert vision which they want to use to effect change in history, while concealing parts of it from people incapable of understanding it."

Thirdly, as evidenced by the George H.W. Bush comment above, a strong underlying belief that seems to unite the neoconservatives is in the perceived need, above all, to make the world safe for Israel.

Philip Giraldi, June 23, 2011 at 11:22 am
Great piece Jack! Neoconservatives started out as Scoop Jackson Democratic Hawks. The several that I know well enough to know their non-war views are pretty much conventional Democrats in that they are pro-abortion, pro-gay, pro-immigration, pro-big government. Their shift to the Republicans was tactical when they, led by Richard Perle, got their foot in the door of the Pentagon under Reagan. Under Bush 2, they completed the process and more-or-less took over the DoD. I expect they are now triangulating frantically to determine if it in their best interests to remain nominally Republicans or to slowly drift back to their natural habitat in the Democratic Party.
ED. K., June 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm
Neocons are mostly Zionist who put Israel interest above that of their country the USA. The majority are chicken hawks who never served a day in the military and have no problem sending other people kids to fight their wars.
eeyore , June 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm
let us not forget the distinction of constitutional authority for past interventions and the "now in violation of the war powers act" Lybian effort. Those who call themselves conservatives, neo-con or otherwise would do well to refer to their pocket constitution they claim to follow and carry. Criticism of fellow party members who constitutionally oppose these interventions employ the same hate-mongering tactics of the left. Silence the opposition at any cost and never stop feeding the federal leviathan. Thanks to Church and Wilkow for the education.
Jane Marple , June 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm
What's a neoconservative? An unrepentant Trotskyite, who recognized that Marxism wasn't the viable way to take over the world and so now proudly (and openly) pledges allegiance to America but always keeps Israel first in his heart.
Ben, Okla. City , June 23, 2011 at 4:30 pm
Exceptional is something I would hope other countries would say about us without having to remind them or ourselves. It's a form of group narcissism to keep bringing it up to convince ourselves our actions are just.

How about some American humility? More Gary Cooper and less Richard Simmons.

Jack , June 23, 2011 at 5:34 pm
What a fascinating article. The last paragraph was particularly smack on. When I spoke to a conservative friend recently, I was inflamed about our hyper-sized military and our overseas adventures as an example of very big government.

The kind that he, as a conservative, should oppose. His retort, of course, was that national security is one of the constitutional purposes of our government. There it is. This friend really thinks that Iraq, Libya, our 1000's of bases all over the world, is what national defense is all about. With his argument, there is literally no limit to the size of the military or the scope of its mission. The neocons have defined it that way. The only thing I said in response was that he should take his 18 year old son by the arm and require him to sign up for the military to fight the battles he thinks we should be fighting. His response: "but he would rather go to college". I then reminded him that no American soldier has died for my freedom in my lifetime (I am 49 years old). That seemed to rankle him because the neocon argument concerning national defense requires that you buy into the propaganda that these soldiers are fighting for our freedom as a nation.

DirtyHarriet , June 23, 2011 at 7:44 pm
Patrick J. gave a great definition in his Whose War article:

http://www.amconmag.com/article/2003/mar/24/00007/

It's one of the best articles ever. TAC should re-run it from time to time, lest we all forget what it's all about.

Buzz Baldrin , June 24, 2011 at 5:08 am
Wish neoconservatism was a philosophy, but its not, only a bait-and-switch sales pitch for the military industrial complex. Since Scoop Jackson, the senator from Boeing, America's political-police-the-world crowd has been the complex's marketing firm.

All work to keep the US government spending billions of dollars on mostly irrelevant military items. None seriously care about national defense: that's why no heads rolled when our billion-dollar air defense was helpless to protect the Pentagon against a small group of Moslem fanatics with box cutters.

Worse, the military industrial complex will be entrenched until serious elected officials, in the tradition of Dwight Eisenhower, create a peacetime economy to replace our warfare state.

Until then, too much money, too many jobs in America depend on the complex.

Nel , June 24, 2011 at 5:10 am
A Neocon is a con artist.
Robert Pinkerton , June 24, 2011 at 5:17 am
Re "American exceptionalism:" I am sixty-seven years old. When I was a child, my Dad (A Mustang officer), told me that the United States was exceptional for reason that the privileges of aristocracy in Europe were the ordinary civil rights of common equals here.

If I believe in "national greatness," by that I mean a nation of great- soul people, the kind Aristotle calls megalopsychic .

Nebulosis , June 24, 2011 at 5:49 am
"On domestic issues, there's a greater range of variation across the neocon spectrum,"

True, but then domestic issues cause a dull glaze to form over neoconservative eyes. They stand ready to compromise or to countenance disagreement on almost any strictly parochial American social or economic concern, so long as their foreign policy and other "high political" objectives are met.

samwitwicky , June 24, 2011 at 6:23 am
Revolutions are internal matters of a country … the revolution in Gypto was successful internally … people were not killed, cities were not bombed, war was not raged, outside countries didn't send their forces … whatever was done … it was within the country and by the people … without outside support … that's a revolution.

Look at the massacre they are carrying out in Tibby … you call that a revolution man … you call that an operation for the people?

Read more:

http://godinthejungle.com/index.php/story-notes/390-saturday-june-18-2011.html

Bill R. , June 24, 2011 at 11:44 am
Strictly speaking, a neoconservative, is a member of the traditional FDR coalition (unions, minorities – including Catholics, Jews and African Americans, even Southern whites) who flipped to the Republican party and some element of conservative ideology back in the 1970s. As a former FDR Democrat, Ronald Reagan had elements of neoconservatism in his past.

And social liberalism is far from neocon orthodoxy. People like Gertrude Himmelfarb and John Neuhaus were at the forefront of neoconservatism. Jeane Kirpatrick, by no means a wobbly or wimpy neoconservative, had roots in socialist activism together with Irving Kristol and the like. Indeed, losing its conservative moral sensibilities helped drive the Democratic Party mad.

It is only relatively recently that a few – but hardly all – Boom generation neocons such as David Frum and David Brooks also contracted the same form of mental illness. Otherwise, this group has become largely indistinguishable from the Republican mainstream, which draws its roots from Roosevelt, Lincoln, Henry Clay and Alexander Hamilton.

Of course, with the onset of southern neocons with states rights and libertarian ideology, the demographic advances of the GOP in the late 20th century imported Civil War divisions into the party, a theme that Kevin Phillips has – sadistically – played upon. Still, one might well say that there is nothing wrong with neoconservatism except for its detractors. Down with the Traitor. Up with the Star.

James deLaurier , June 24, 2011 at 1:50 pm
Jack Hunter: 6/24/2011
A "great" power can be and is often less than a "good" power. So, the Neoconservatives manifesto mandates foreign policy from the top – down! Who then, is there that stands – up for and represents,"We the People"?
Thank you – # 16
tbraton , June 24, 2011 at 3:45 pm
I had forgotten that I saved a copy of a book review by David Gordon that appeared in TAC this past October, entitled "Neoconservatism Defined." Actually, it is a combined review of two books, and it is a pretty good introduction to neoconservatism. http://www.amconmag.com/blog/anatomy-of-neoconservatism/ In the course of the review, Gordon makes the following observation:

"Most, though certainly not all, of the leading neocons are Jewish and the defense of Israel is central to their political concerns."

One of the books concentrates on the intellectual founder of neoconservatism, Leo Strauss, and the review makes some consise observations about him.

tbraton , June 24, 2011 at 3:54 pm
David Gordon's book review also contains the following observations:

"No one who absorbs Vaïsse's discussion of this second age can harbor any illusions about whether the neocons count as genuine conservatives. [Senator Henry] Jackson made no secret of his statist views of domestic policy, but this did not in the least impede his neocons allies from enlisting in his behalf. Vaïsse by the way understates Jackson's commitment to socialism, which dated from his youth. Contrary to what our author suggests, the League for Industrial Democracy, which Jackson joined while in college, was not "a moderate organization that backed unions and democratic principles." It was a socialist youth movement that aimed to propagate socialism to the public.

It was not Jackson's domestic policy, though, that principally drew the necons to him. They had an elective affinity for the pursuit of the Cold War. Vaïsse stresses in particular that they collaborated with Paul Nitze and other Cold War hawks. In a notorious incident, "Team B," under the control of the hawks, claimed that CIA estimates of Russian armaments were radically understated. It transpired that the alarms of Team B were baseless; they nevertheless served their purpose in promoting a bellicose foreign policy.

The neocons of the second age did not quit the Democratic Party until, after prolonged struggle, they had failed to take it over. They then discovered in the rising popularity of Ronald Reagan a new strategy to advance their goals; but even when Reagan and his aides received them warmly, many found it distinctly against the grain to vote for a Republican. Once they had overcome this aversion, the neocons proved able markedly to expand their political power and influence. Nevertheless, some neocons found Reagan insufficiently militant. For Norman Podhoretz, a literary critic who imagined himself a foreign policy expert, Reagan became an appeaser reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain. "In 1984-85, however, Podhoretz finally lost hope in his champion; he … lamented the president's desire to do whatever it took to present himself to Europeans and above all to American voters as a 'man of peace,' ready to negotiate with the Soviets."

The "national greatness" neocons of our day continue the pattern of their second age predecessors in their constant warnings of peril and calls for a militant response. They do not apply the law of unintended consequences to foreign policy: skepticism about the efficacy of government action ends at the doors to the Pentagon."

Masood , June 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm
Should "the American Policeman" police the rogue state of Israel? I wonder how many neocons will fo for it.
DirtyHarriet , June 24, 2011 at 9:17 pm
Masood, your post reminds me of an article that was published in the New York Times on September 10, 2001, of all dates.

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-78029147.html

"U.S. troops would enforce peace under Army study"

Excerpt:

The exercise was done by 60 officers dubbed "Jedi Knights," as all second-year SAMS students are nicknamed.

The SAMS paper attempts to predict events in the first year of a peace-enforcement operation, and sees possible dangers for U.S. troops from both sides.

It calls Israel's armed forces a "500-pound gorilla in Israel. Well armed and trained. Operates in both Gaza and the West Bank. Known to disregard international law to accomplish mission. Very unlikely to fire on American forces. Fratricide a concern especially in air space management."

Of the MOSSAD, the Israeli intelligence service, the SAMS officers say: "Wildcard. Ruthless and cunning. Has capability to target U.S. forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act."

Henry Drummond , June 25, 2011 at 5:59 am
This would have had some point 200 years ago. Unfortunately,cannon now shoot more than three miles, the 3 mile limit on national soverignty is obsolete. You cannot distinguish between an offensive and defensive opponent.
tbraton , June 25, 2011 at 9:48 am
"You cannot distinguish between an offensive and defensive opponent."

If military hostilities were actually going on in Libya, it certainly would be easy to distinguish between the offensive opponent (all the foreign countries operating under the NATO umbrella and firing all the missiles into Libya and dropping all the bombs on Libyan forces loyal to Qaddafi) and the defensive opponent (the Libyan forces loyal to Qaddafi, the nominal leader of Libya).

Gil , June 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm
Nice article! I believe that what constitutes a neoconservative has changed over the years. Sure, in an academic sense, a "neoconservative" is someone who might have supported Scoop Jackson in Washington or Strauss at U of Chicago in the 70's- in essence, someone with democratic roots who became more hawkish on foreign policy. However, most conservative pundits- Rush, Hannity, Beck, etc, support projecting US power in order to achieve Democracy overseas. As do Bachmann, Palin, Romney, Gingrich, Boener, Perry and most other establishment Republicans. They all supported war in Afghanistan and Iraq, all support Saudi Arabia, Israel, Kuwait, Bahrain, and big oil, and all fundamentally decry any attempt to cut the US military budget. What troubles me is that "Neoconservatism" has become mainstream Republicanism. In fact Ronald Reagan was perhaps the first Neocon president. And it looks as if the Tea Party has been hijacked by Palin, Bachmann and Rubio et al . Trying to change the Republican party from within simply will not work- for Neocons don't just control the Republican party, they ARE the Republican party. We need a third party that overtly champions fiscal and social conservatism and international isolationism as its three main pillars!
Steve in Ohio , June 27, 2011 at 11:04 am
Gil, the GOP leadership may be neocon, but the grassroots are more or less non-interventionist. We see the same split on immigration. I think its too early to give up on the party.

By the way, I don't consider RR a neocon President. Along with Eisenhower, he was the most non interventionist prez in recent history.

Allen , June 28, 2011 at 5:32 am
WE HAVE A WINNER!;
'Steve, on June 23rd, 2011 at 11:10 am Said:
Oh, come on guys.
In 2011, a neoconservative is the person who always answers yes to the question "Are Israel's objectives always more important than the objectives of the USA?"
Gil , June 28, 2011 at 11:42 am
Steve-

Sure, much of the grassroots is non-interventionist, although many, many Evangelicals support the Likud party in Israel for biblical reasons, and those Republicans who listen regularly to Neocons like Hannity and Limbaugh and Dennis Miller, or watch Krauthammer, Kristol and O'Reilly are influenced to support an interventionist foreign policy. Here is the problem! How can you change the Republican party from within when the Tea Party Caucus is headed by an interventionist Neocon like Michelle Bachmann?

Ronald Reagan was a semi-isolationist. Except, of course, for bombing Libya, stationing troops in Lebanon, and docking the 6th fleet in Israel. Sorry, I know many people consider him a saint, and on both fiscal and social issues he was wonderful. But let's face it- Reagan was a former democratic Union head who became a conservative later on in life and projected US power overseas when it wasn't necessary. A Neocon? At least 75%

Wesley Mcgranor , June 29, 2011 at 11:54 am
A neoconservative as an actual social phenomenon–free from intellectual definition–is from the social upheavel of the 'spirit of the 60's'. With all their socialism and revolution against white-western-protestant civilization.
Gil , June 29, 2011 at 2:01 pm
Wesley,

You are fundamentally correct with respect to the origins of most Neoconservative "intellectuals." However, definitions morph and change over time until their origins become so cloudy as to be practically irrelevant. Let's get real- how many young people know that Bill Kristol's dad used to be a Socialist? How many people even know who Bill Kristol is or Scoop Jackson was?

Ultimately one can only judge people by their actions. And, in my definition, anyone who ACTS like a Neoconservative- or puts others in harm's way in order to further their expansionist aims- IS a Neoconservative. And we will never win our battle against the Neoconservatives unless we call things as they are, without getting bogged down in biographical details about people and philosophers who nobody ever hears about. So, while David Frum, Bill Kristol, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Lindsay Graham Michelle Bachmann and just about every modern republican congressman or senator or conservative think tank member inside the Washington Beltway may never have been hippies in the 60's, and almost all can claim to have been lifelong conservatives, 99% are Neoconservatives because their ACTIONS define who they are. They all believe in projecting US military might in order to foster democracy overseas. They ultimately seem to care more about the welfare of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq and, Afghanistan than the United States.

Patrick , July 6, 2011 at 6:26 am
What bothers me is what we consider "mainstream" conservatism today in the form of talk radio, Rush, and others is basically a neconservative movement. What I would consider true conservatism you find here in TAC and also in the Libertarian publications like Reason and Liberty but the reach of talk radio and the neocon blogs seems to be far greater than that of real conservatives and the neocons appear to be setting the agenda these days. It is nothing short of appalling isn't it to see "conservatives" defending torture and the secret prisons run under the Bush administration, all in the name of "defending" the country. It never ceases to amazes me why any true conservative would go any where near a member of the Bush administration and yet Sean has Rove and others on his show routinely when a case can be made that they should stand trial for being responsible for the abuse of those detainees. I have been student of the Holocaust my entire life and to see some of the circumstances of pre war Germany unfold in front of me, the "we have to take these steps in the name of defending the country" the dehumanizing of the muslims which made it easy to justify torturing them, it is all so very scary.

[May 07, 2016] Diplomacy by Deception

When you have read "Diplomacy by Deception " by John Coleman you might start to suspect that the British and United States Governments are actually the most corrupt in the world and third word dictators are just wannabes in comparison with those governments (and often are corrupted by them, storing the loot in Western banks and moving families to GB, France, Italy or Spain ). They completely betrayed interests of their own population carrying out the designs of global neoliberal elite (globalists), to which former President Bush I, one of its more able servants, referred to as "the New World Order." The first significant reaction against this level of corruption was spontaneous burst of support to Donald Trump during 2016 elections.
Notable quotes:
"... I really like Chapter VIII. "Panama: the naked truth." and the logic behind the invasion. ..."
Amazon.com

Amazon Customer, June 19, 2001

Give me Documentation

This book has much information helpful to those following government intrusion into world affairs. The history book MI6, can verify some, but I found this book lacking in documentation. The author has source notes, but most of his statements can't be used due to the poor documentation. I am hesitant to qoute statements he makes in the book. His Index is also poor. However, the book is good for general information of many illegal acts by the Council of foreign Relations. You'll just have to do a lot more reading to verify several comments he makes in the book.

Paul LaCross Simonton, April 29, 2002

Dr. John Coleman's best

Every chapter in Diplomacy by Deception is a new subject. I am just guessing, but, it appears to me that Dr. Coleman took a selection of monographs he wrote, and, made them into a book.

Oscar L. Vazquez, November 8, 1999

Very, very good book

As an avid history reader, the information that Dr. Coleman exposed in this book explained the unexplainable about historical facts, the manipulation of the situations and the secret purposes behind the reality. I really like Chapter VIII. "Panama: the naked truth." and the logic behind the invasion. It is a very hard book to understand for those who are not involved in policy or history. Congratulations once again Dr. Coleman for this great book.

[May 07, 2016] The smug Clinton acolytes blame the voters, always deflect blame

Notable quotes:
"... Wasserman is a great replacement for him as a stunningly inept strategist. "In the summer of 1994, Coelho was the principal Democratic political strategist during the run-up to the mid-term Congressional elections. Officially, he was Senior Advisor to the Democratic National Committee. The Republican Party won a landslide victory in the fall congressional elections, capturing both the House and Senate by commanding margins." ..."
discussion.theguardian.com
Kevin P Brown -> TeeJayzed Addy 4 May 2016 17:17

Bill and Obama seem to follow the strategy to lose the house and senate. But the smug Clinton acolytes blame the voters. Always deflect blame eh?

Wasserman is a great replacement for him as a stunningly inept strategist. "In the summer of 1994, Coelho was the principal Democratic political strategist during the run-up to the mid-term Congressional elections. Officially, he was Senior Advisor to the Democratic National Committee. The Republican Party won a landslide victory in the fall congressional elections, capturing both the House and Senate by commanding margins."

Kevin P Brown TeeJayzed Addy , 2016-05-04 22:13:28

I was trying to be "polite" to temper the rage I feel at these dishonest people who pretend they even comprehend the word progressive and neatly sidestep the role the Koch Brothers played.

Now we get more of the same. I am part of the 1% financially but I was raised to understand it was all going to get better for the poor. But yeah must have been Fox news who MADE Bill get into bed with these creeps. I can't sit back smugly and proclaim I am alright jack I have 4 kids and I am horrified the world they will inherit.

[May 07, 2016] The Guardian

Notable quotes:
"... At the end, the brainwashing media convince the people to vote for the "bad choice" instead of the worst (which is Trump in this case). You don't need to have any plans or anything, just repeat "Trump bad, Trump bad, Trump bad, Me good" and the sheeple will follow! This strategy has been so successful that almost everywhere around the world are using it to win all types of elections! xD ..."
"... Maybe Trump becoming president is necessary for the people to realize once and for all that this cycle of mistakes and corruption needs to stop and fundamental changes need to happen! ..."
"... She should be a felon by now, and only her name protects her from jail. ..."
"... "David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy won the authorisation to use "all necessary means" from the UN security council in March on the basis that Gaddafi's forces were about to commit a Srebrenica-style massacre in Benghazi. Naturally we can never know what would have happened without Nato's intervention. But there is in fact no evidence – including from other rebel-held towns Gaddafi re-captured – to suggest he had either the capability or even the intention to carry out such an atrocity against an armed city of 700,000 . ..."
"... "Explanations of what one thought was happening in these countries were often misinterpreted as justification for odious and discredited regimes. In Libya, where the uprising started on 15 February 2011, I wrote about how the opposition was wholly dependent on Nato military support and would have been rapidly defeated by pro-Gaddafi forces without it. It followed from this that the opposition would not have the strength to fill the inevitable political vacuum if Gaddafi was to fall. I noted gloomily that Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, who were pressing for foreign intervention against Gaddafi, themselves held power by methods no less repressive than the Libyan leader. It was his radicalism – muted though this was in his later years – not his authoritarianism that made the kings and emirs hate him. ..."
"... Given our support of Saudi and knowing their interventions, as well as Pakistan, we were stupid to intervene. ..."
"... If Bernie does not get the nomination it will be the wilderness for the Democrats - no young voters no independents - unless they can conjure a principled candidate somehow from somewhere. ..."
"... What planet African Americans are doing "better off" on is unknown. What is known is that President Obama is about to leave office with African Americans in their worst economic situation since Ronald Reagan . A look at every key stat as President Obama starts his sixth year in office illustrates that. ..."
"... the world is divided in two, half who are nauseated by the above and the other half who purr in admiration at the clever way Clinton has fucked the public once again. As Mencken said democracy is that system of government in which it is assumed that the common man knows what he wants and deserves to get it good and hard. ..."
"... It would be perhaps remotely Marxist if he said comrades. But even that was used by democrats, socialists and even fascists and nazists so I would say that no, there is nothing Marxist about it. One of his central messages is that we need to come together and improve our society, that we are all the same, without race or religion, with the same needs and fears as humans. ..."
"... I even disagree with people saying that he promotes class struggle, he is talking about fair share and he is an ardent supporter of following the laws even when they are against his ideology, which is something that radicals do not tend to do. Radicals do not give a damn about laws and neither do Marxists or far-right wingers, fascists etc. ..."
"... Hilary Clinton has various comments that reveals somebody who certainly fits the psychopath spectrum. Among the lowest of the low was "We came, we saw, he died!" Accompanied by a cackle of laughter. This was announced in full view of the media and public when Gadhaffi was overthrown by US assistance. ..."
"... Hillary will not see that one criminal in the financial world of the USA will face justice for their mafia-like actions and destruction of billions of dollars and assets while stealing the savings of Americans and non Americans. President Obama hasn't done it and he is not the buddy Hilary is to these people. ..."
"... Please. She lost that race in South Carolina when her husband, along with Geraldine Ferraro, called Obama being president a fairy tale and an affirmative action candidate, respectively. You can't win with only minority support, but you can't win without any of it if you are a Dem. Up until SC, the Clintons had minority support in the bag--most black people had never heard of Obama. Things changed real fast. ..."
"... But to pick out my favorite Hillary statement of the week, in honor of her close associate and fellow gonif, Hillary superdelegate, Sheldon Silver, who recently got 12 years in the slammer: https://www.americarisingpac.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/clinton-sheldon-silver-meme1.jpg ..."
"... In 2000, Silver was integral in Clinton's Senate campaign. According to The New York Times, Silver helped Hillary lobby members of the state assembly for their support ..."
"... If Clinton is the Dem nominee it does more than give me shivers. Heck, I view Hillary as demonstrably more dangerous with foreign policy. Both use identity politics as a decisive issue- which only is a distraction from their lack of policy. Both their economic/domestic policies do little or worse for the current situation. Both are untrustworthy and any rhetoric on policy is highly questionable (although Clinton is certainly the worst in this regard). About the only good thing between either is that Trump is willing to question our empire abroad, which is well overdue (meanwhile Clinton seems to want to expand it). ..."
"... If it's between those two I vote Green and take the 'Jesse Ventura' option: vote anyone not Dem or Rep. Both parties are two corrupt subsidiaries of their corporate masters. ..."
"... She voted for the Iraq war, being investigated by the FBI for her emails, there was Benghazi, turning Libya into a ISIS hotbed, allowed a military junta to assassinate a democratically elected president in Honduras and said nothing, takes $675k from Goldman for 3 speeches and refuses to disclose the transcripts because she KNOWS it'll hurt her, voted for trade deals that's gutted manufacturing in the USA....should I go on? ..."
"... Uh huh and your supporting a person: That voted for the Iraq War, destabilized Libya, Benghazi, gave tacit approval to a military junta in Honduras as Secretary of State, called black youth super predators, supports trade agreements that destroy our own manufacturing jobs, takes more money from special interests than her constituency, has made millions in speeches from the bank lobby and won't disclose the transcripts......yeah she's real HONEST......riiigggghhhhttttt.... ..."
www.theguardian.com

thevorlon -> newyorkred , 2016-05-06 17:59:00

Most politicians these days don't care about the people and this ridiculous cycle is repeating every 4 years! Candidates who actually want to make progress get dumped by the corrupt system and the parties that are being controlled by their corporate masters and their money to do as they want to return the more money to them later when they have the office!

At the end, the brainwashing media convince the people to vote for the "bad choice" instead of the worst (which is Trump in this case). You don't need to have any plans or anything, just repeat "Trump bad, Trump bad, Trump bad, Me good" and the sheeple will follow! This strategy has been so successful that almost everywhere around the world are using it to win all types of elections! xD

Maybe Trump becoming president is necessary for the people to realize once and for all that this cycle of mistakes and corruption needs to stop and fundamental changes need to happen! Starts with the USA and the world will follow over time. I personally am done with following these corrupt political systems and their media and do as they tell me to (same goes for the financial system but there's no escaping this one in the near future with corps and banks being in total control of the society).

John Kennedy -> Allan Burns , 2016-05-06 17:35:46
She should be a felon by now, and only her name protects her from jail.
Ilupi Ilupi -> EagleOMC , 2016-05-06 17:05:43
Establishment baby.
Kevin P Brown -> MeereeneseLiberation , 2016-05-06 09:53:20
http://foreignpolicy.com/2011/04/07/was-there-going-to-be-a-benghazi-massacre /

"As Alan Kuperman of the University of Texas and Stephen Chapman of the Chicago Tribune have now shown, the claim that the United States had to act to prevent Libyan tyrant Muammar al-Qaddafi from slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Benghazi does not stand up to even casual scrutiny. Although everyone recognizes that Qaddafi is a brutal ruler, his forces did not conduct deliberate, large-scale massacres in any of the cities he has recaptured, and his violent threats to wreak vengeance on Benghazi were directed at those who continued to resist his rule, not at innocent bystanders. There is no question that Qaddafi is a tyrant with few (if any) redemptive qualities, but the threat of a bloodbath that would "stain the conscience of the world" (as Obama put it) was slight. "

"If humanitarian intervention is to remain a live possibility, there must be much more public scrutiny, debate and discussion of what triggers that intervention and what level of evidence we can reasonably require. Did administration officials have communications intercepts suggesting plans for large-scale killings of civilians? How exactly did they reach their conclusion that these reprisals were likely? It should be no more acceptable to simply accept government claims on this score than it was for previous administrations.

As I've argued previously, the term "humanitarian crisis" is desperately imprecise and the informed public's ability to distinguish between civil strife (which is always bloody) and outright massacres and extermination campaigns is weak. Walt's certainty notwithstanding, the debate about the humanitarian rationale in this case has not been settled. In fact, it's barely begun."

Kevin P Brown -> MeereeneseLiberation , 2016-05-06 09:50:28
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/oct/26/libya-war-saving-lives-catastrophic-failure

So no, we should have not intervened.

"David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy won the authorisation to use "all necessary means" from the UN security council in March on the basis that Gaddafi's forces were about to commit a Srebrenica-style massacre in Benghazi. Naturally we can never know what would have happened without Nato's intervention. But there is in fact no evidence – including from other rebel-held towns Gaddafi re-captured – to suggest he had either the capability or even the intention to carry out such an atrocity against an armed city of 700,000 .

What is now known, however, is that while the death toll in Libya when Nato intervened was perhaps around 1,000-2,000 (judging by UN estimates), eight months later it is probably more than ten times that figure. Estimates of the numbers of dead over the last eight months – as Nato leaders vetoed ceasefires and negotiations – range from 10,000 up to 50,000. The National Transitional Council puts the losses at 30,000 dead and 50,000 wounded.

Of those, uncounted thousands will be civilians, including those killed by Nato bombing and Nato-backed forces on the ground. These figures dwarf the death tolls in this year's other most bloody Arab uprisings, in Syria and Yemen. Nato has not protected civilians in Libya – it has multiplied the number of their deaths, while losing not a single soldier of its own.

For the western powers, of course, the Libyan war has allowed them to regain ground lost in Tunisia and Egypt, put themselves at the heart of the upheaval sweeping the most strategically sensitive region in the world, and secure valuable new commercial advantages in an oil-rich state whose previous leadership was at best unreliable. No wonder the new British defence secretary is telling businessmen to "pack their bags" for Libya, and the US ambassador in Tripoli insists American companies are needed on a "big scale".

But for Libyans, it has meant a loss of ownership of their own future and the effective imposition of a western-picked administration of Gaddafi defectors and US and British intelligence assets. Probably the greatest challenge to that takeover will now come from Islamist military leaders on the ground, such as the Tripoli commander Abdel Hakim Belhaj – kidnapped by MI6 to be tortured in Libya in 2004 – who have already made clear they will not be taking orders from the NTC.

Kevin P Brown -> MeereeneseLiberation , 2016-05-06 09:40:10
Libya:

An interesting article. Note I trust Cockburn as a journalist.
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/the-arab-spring-reported-and-misreported-foreign-intervention-in-libya-and-the-last-days-of-colonel-a6992726.html

"Explanations of what one thought was happening in these countries were often misinterpreted as justification for odious and discredited regimes. In Libya, where the uprising started on 15 February 2011, I wrote about how the opposition was wholly dependent on Nato military support and would have been rapidly defeated by pro-Gaddafi forces without it. It followed from this that the opposition would not have the strength to fill the inevitable political vacuum if Gaddafi was to fall. I noted gloomily that Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, who were pressing for foreign intervention against Gaddafi, themselves held power by methods no less repressive than the Libyan leader. It was his radicalism – muted though this was in his later years – not his authoritarianism that made the kings and emirs hate him.

This was an unpopular stance to take on Libya during the high tide of the Arab Spring, when foreign governments and media alike were uncritically lauding the opposition. The two sides in what was a genuine civil war were portrayed as white hats and black hats; rebel claims about government atrocities were credulously broadcast, though they frequently turned out to be concocted, while government denials were contemptuously dismissed. Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch were much more thorough than the media in checking these stories, although their detailed reports appeared long after the news agenda had moved on."

Kevin P Brown -> MeereeneseLiberation , 2016-05-06 09:34:01
And then in another note, why do people like you condemn the Taliban but give a free pass to the Saudi's who have a lot to do with the state of fundamentalism in Afghanistan, and essentially operate the same as the Taliban? Why are we not intervening in Saudi Arabia to free the people? Nah. Do people die from either side in Afghanistan? Yes. Excusively the Taliban? no. The western press prefers the narrative of Taliban extremism. The western press ignores and fails to report killings by US troops, one incident I know of personally in Kabul. Never reported in the press.

So I suggest you educate yourself on the complexities of Afghanistan before you sound off with smugness. It is obvious you have no idea of what really goes on there.

Have you ever visited Saudi Arabia? Want a litany of the horrors there? No, you don't. You have a narrative which I suspect is ill informed.

the Taliban were winning against the Northern Alliance for various reasons, one was that a lot of people supported them. We turned a blind eye to the destabilising effects of Saudi and Pakistan support of the Taliban as well. We set this up for failure a long time ago. Riding in like the calvary and handing out billions to the Northern Alliance was not very helpful for stability.

Kevin P Brown -> MeereeneseLiberation , 2016-05-06 09:33:31
"was if ending Taliban rule had made things better"

You try to simplify a very complex situation. In fact there was never absolute rule by the Taliban. You seem to forget there was a civil war in the country before 9/11. There was the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. There was Pakistan and the ISI ( Pakistan of course if often supported by the US, then we had Saudi Arabia, again supported by us). Before 9/11 The northern alliance was about to be defeated. On both sides was indiscriminate killings. You also had a complex mix if Pashtun Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras. You had multiple political alliances which I will not bother to list. Kabul was destroyed by the fighting. Atrocities on both sides. You had Dostum with the Northern Alliance and Massod as well. Massod was reasonable, Dostum was an animal worse than the Taliban.

What people related to me was this: The Taliban were more predictable. Dostum was not predictable. Both were bad, but as Clinton fans love to highlight, the lessor of two evils must be selected. The Taliban also represented the Pashtun who were the largest ethnic bloc in Afghanistan. So in essence the people mostly supported the Taliban. The Northern Alliance had the support of Russia, and you might recall the Afghans did not have fond memories of them.

So, you want to simplify the Taliban atrocities and ignore the rest. Afghans did not have the luxury of this. They had to choose the lesser evil. Had Massood not been entangled with Dostum, perhaps things would have been different.

We came in and supported the Northern Alliance, which did NOT sit well with a lot of people. The majority? I don't have statistics exactly pointing this out. The Pashtun felt pushed out of affairs by the minority remnants of the Northern Alliance. Every ..... and I mean every government office had photos of Massood on the wall. Not Karzai. Karzai was seen as irrelevant by all sides, he was seen as the American imposed choice. ( I will not even discuss the "election" but I was on the ground dealing with Identity cards before the UN arrived, had meetings with the UN team about approaches to getting ID cards out to all voters, and there is a stink over aspects of the participation in the elections).

"And seeing a self-described leftist explaining that life under the Taliban wasn't all that bad if you just grew a beard [!] and fell in line is really sort of pathetic."

Your smug simplistic statement indicates you have no idea of the horrors enacted on both sides. I was told this time and time again as how people decided to survive by picking a side where there were rules and they could survive the rules.

But lets put aside my anecdotal evidence and look at the people of Afghanistan:

http://www.d3systems.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/AAPOR-2012-Taliban-Reconciliation-John-Richardson.pdf

"Looking at Afghans' views on reconciling with the Taliban does not appear to bear out the concerns over ethnic divisions shared by Jones and Kilcullen. When asked whether the Afghan central government should negotiate a settlement with the Taliban or continue fighting the Taliban and not negotiate, a recent national survey of Afghanistan found that roughly three- quarters (74%) of Afghans favor negotiating with the Taliban .74 This is in line with previous studies, such as a series of polls sponsored by ABC News which found that the number of Afghans favoring reconciliation had risen from 60% in 2007 to 73% in 2009."

""Do you think the government in Kabul should negotiate a settlement with Afghan Taliban in which they are allowed to hold political offices if they stop fighting, or do you think the government in Kabul should continue to fight the Taliban and not negotiate a settlement?""

77% of men and 70% of women agree with this.

Here is the ultimate point. We intervened and we had no fucking idea what we were doing. The Afghans saw the money flowing to Beltway Bandits rather than flowing to real aid and needs. They saw this! They were not stupid. They saw that the Pashtuns were pushed out of Government, ( hence the Massod images in ALL government offices [My project of reform dealt with EVERY government offices and I visited a fair few personally and finally had to ask abut why each office had Masood an not Karzai)

My opinion? I see indications that the Taliban would have handed over Bin Laden. We refused. Is this disputed? Yes. Were we right to favour the Northern Alliance? No. They were as bad as the Taliban, but more ..... unpredictable.

Given our support of Saudi and knowing their interventions, as well as Pakistan, we were stupid to intervene.

Kevin P Brown -> Carly435 , 2016-05-05 19:28:39
Robin is relentless is arguing AGAINST, but he is quite light on arguing for anything. It is an interesting question as to what he stands for.

His main argument is that zero information from "right wing" press is true. He seems unaware that at times, actual facts are presented or not presented or suppressed by either media outlet, depending on their corporate ownership and management slant of what should be reported. Me? I read everything and decide if something is a fact. It is strange that factual reporting about the actual many many FOIA lawsuits only gets printed in right wing press. They of course have an agenda, but does not negate the facts they report. Like Clinton being allowed to be deposed in a civil FOIA suit. That is a fact, with quotes from the Judge. CNN? I guess they couldn't afford to report this factual development.

When you only read the press looking for a partisan set of narratives, you end up being partisan and ill informed. When you read all the flavours of press in an desire to inform yourself, when your goal is not a narrative but factual accounts of the truth, then you can be better informed. So we have partisans, who only view Fox and we also have partisans who only view CNN. Both are as bad as each other. One must be capable of decreeing the motives of each, and discarding the nonfactual narratives, and then one can be fully informed.

Robin makes the assumption that facts only occur in his selected set of informational partisan sources. Why? Because he is partisan. This then enables him to argue against a narrative, rather than support his own narrative. He plays the neat trick of simply discarding any factual reporting from places like Breibart. One can see interesting lacks of coverage on google search.

Kevin P Brown -> RobInTN , 2016-05-05 19:19:20
"Libel is a method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person's reputation, exposes a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business or profession."

So surely in America, Clinton with her wealth would take some legal action? I would if I had her money, and wealth. Interesting that she has not? Perhaps you could write to her and suggest she defend herself in a real and palpable way?

dutchview -> lsbg_t , 2016-05-05 18:17:57
Yes and a lot of the press are trying to bury the news about another Sanders success. When you look at how many voting districts he comes out top in, in is a large percentage. Clinton tends to get closer or take the district if their is a higher population density.

The influence of the super delegates is a scandal in a "democratic process".

Vladimir Makarenko -> digit , 2016-05-05 17:00:45
First I would be very careful taking what G gives, it is nowadays "fixing" news like Fox. Most reliable, if speaking about polls the word can be used, is results of metastudies:
http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2016-general-election-trump-vs-clinton
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton-5491.html
Both give today's Clinton of 6% when Sanders is whopping 13+%
So when Hillary's shills preaching how easily she "beats" Trump, they lie. Only Bernie can do this or or see Oval Office moved to Atlantic City.
luminog -> simpledino , 2016-05-05 12:48:54
If Bernie does not get the nomination it will be the wilderness for the Democrats - no young voters no independents - unless they can conjure a principled candidate somehow from somewhere.

Clinton won't cut it and she won't beat Trump. Trump will out her on every crooked deal she has been involved in.

Kevin P Brown -> hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-05 12:23:14
You'll then cycle back to the lesser of two evils, that Democrats like Obama and Clinton are needed to help the poor blacks and minorities. To me this is a myth. The poor get fucked no matter what party is in office.

Is this is a Fox News plant article? yeah yeah, let's vote Clinton who promises a continuation of Obama's policies. Will Trump make this much worse? Maybe. Trump or Clinton will in my opinion do little to improve these issues quoted below. You have a different opinion. Great.

" http://www.blackpressusa.com/is-black-america-better-off-under-obama /

"Like the rest of America, Black America, in the aggregate, is better off now than it was when I came into office," said President Obama on December 19, in response to a question by Urban Radio Networks White House Correspondent April Ryan.

What planet African Americans are doing "better off" on is unknown. What is known is that President Obama is about to leave office with African Americans in their worst economic situation since Ronald Reagan . A look at every key stat as President Obama starts his sixth year in office illustrates that.

Kevin P Brown -> Kevin P Brown , 2016-05-05 12:16:44
"All the equations showed strikingly uni- form statistical results: racism as we have measured it was a significantly disequalizing force on the white income distribution, even when other factors were held constant. A 1 percent increase in the ratio of black to white median incomes (that is, a 1 percent decrease in racism) was associated with a .2 percent decrease in white inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient. The corresponding effect on top 1 percent share of white income was two and a half times as large, indicating that most of the inequality among whites generated by racism was associated with increased income for the richest 1 percent of white families. Further statistical investigation reveals that increases in the racism variable had an insignifi- cant effect on the. share received by the poorest whites and resulted in a decrease in the income share of the whites in the middle income brackets."
Kevin P Brown -> hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-05 12:16:13
"What I said, and still maintain, is that the struggle against racism is as important as the struggle against other forms of oppression, including those with economic and financial causes."

We can agree on this statement. However, do we need to recognise that legislation alone will not solve racism. A percentage of poor people turn against the "other" and apportion blame for their issues.

http://tomweston.net/ReichRacism.pdf

Try reading this.

" that campaign finance and banking reform will fix everything"

Of course not. But when you have an issue you can continually put bandaids on the symptoms or you can perform a root cause analysis and then proceed to fix these root causes. The fact is that politicians are disinclined to put the needs of voters first, they tend to pay lip service to the needs of voters, while spending 60% of their time interacting with rich donors, who are very good are articulating their needs, as they hand over large sums of money. This system creates a log jam to reform. If we can return the immutable link to the voters interests, and congress them reform of economic distortions that support racism become far far easier. Motive of change and motives of votes become transparent.

"The various forms of discrimination are not separable in real life. Employers' hiring and promotion practices; resource allocation in city schools; the structure of transportation sys- tems; residential segregation and housing quality; availability of decent health care; be- havior of policemen and judges; foremen's prejudices; images of blacks presented in the media and the schools; price gouging in ghetto stores-these and the other forms of social and economic discrimination interact strongly with each other in determining the occupational status and annual income, and welfare, of black people. The processes are not simply additive but are mutually reinforcing. Often, a decrease in one narrow form of discrimination is accompanied by an increase in another form. Since all aspects of racism interact, an analysis of racism should incorporate all its as- pects in a unified manner."

My thesis is this: build economic equality and the the pressing toxins of racism diminish. But yeah dismiss Sanders as a one issue candidate. he is a politician, which I acknowledge. He has a different approach to clinton who will micro triangulate constantly depending on who she in front of. I find his approach ore honest. Your mileage may vary.

" money spent on campaigns does not correlate very highly to winning"

No but overall money gets to decide on a narrow set of compliance in the candidates. But it still correlates to winning. Look at the Greens with no cash. Without the cash, they will never win. Sanders has proved that 1. We do not need to depend on the rich power brokers to select narrowly who will be presented as a candidate. 2. He has proved that a voter can donate and compete with corporate donations. I would rather scads of voter cash financing rather than corporate cash buying influence. ABSCAM was a brief flash, never repeated to show us what really happens in back rooms when a wad of cash arrives with a politician. That we cannot PROVE what happens off the grid, we can and should rely on common sense about the influence of money. 85% of the American people believe cash buys influence. The only influence on a politician should be the will of the people. Sure, corporates can speak. Speech is free. Corporate cash as speech is a different matter. It is a moral corruption.

"most contributions come after electoral success"

Yes part of the implied contract of corporates and people like the Koch Brothers: Look after us and we will look after you. We will keep you in power, as long as you slant the legislation to favour us over the voters.

You do realise the Clinton Foundation bought the assets of the DLC, a defunct organisation. Part of the assets are the documents and records that contain the information about the Koch Brothers donations and their executives joining the "management" of the DLC. Why would a Charity be interested in the DLC documents? Ah it is a Clinton Foundation. Yeah yeah, there is no proof of anything is there. No law was broken. Do I smell something ? Does human nature guide my interpretation absent a clear statement from the Foundation of this "investment"?? Yes.

We have to start SOMEWHERE. Root causes are the best place to start.

Democrat or Republican, Blacks and Whites at the bottom are thrown in a race for the bottom and this helps fuel the impoverishment of both. It is fuel to feed racism. My genuine belief.

digit -> Vladimir Makarenko , 2016-05-05 12:07:33
Sorry, I mean, here .
buttonbasher81 -> o_lobo_solitario , 2016-05-05 12:06:44
Why is it wrong for democrats to pick their own party leader? Also Obama beat Hilary last time so what's Bernies problem now? Also why moan about a system that's been in place for decades now, surely the onus was on Sanders to attract more middle of the road dem voters? Finally I'm sure republicans would also love to vote in Sanders, easy to demolish with attack ads before the election (you'll note they've studiously ignored him so far).
Longasyourarm -> Genpet , 2016-05-05 11:47:49
the world is divided in two, half who are nauseated by the above and the other half who purr in admiration at the clever way Clinton has fucked the public once again. As Mencken said democracy is that system of government in which it is assumed that the common man knows what he wants and deserves to get it good and hard.
Longasyourarm -> nemesis7 , 2016-05-05 11:44:57
explain to me why the blacks and Hispanics vote for her because it is a mystery to me. She stands for everything they have had to fight against. So you have a 1%er-Wall St.-invade Iraq-subprime-cheat the EU-Goldman Sachs-arms dealing-despot cuddling-fuck the environment coalition. And blacks and Hispanics too? Are they out of their minds?
Eric L. Wattree , 2016-05-05 09:19:27
BERNIE SANDERS - OR ZIG AGAINST ZAG
.
If the American people don't come to their senses and give Bernie Sanders the Democratic nomination, we're going to end up with a choice between Zig and Zag. Zig is Donald Trump, and Zag is Hillary Clinton. To paraphrase Mort Sahl back in the sixties, the only difference between the two is if Donald 'Zig' Trump sees a Black child lying in the street, he'd simply order his chauffeur to run over him. If Hillary 'Zag' Clinton saw the kid, she'd also order her chauffeur to run over him, but she'd weep, and go apologize to the NAACP, after she felt the bump.
.
WAKE UP, BLACK PEOPLE!!!
IF YOU DON'T, YOU'LL BE SORRY - AGAIN.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1057244620990215&set=a.136305753084111.28278.100001140610873&type=3&theater
Kevin P Brown -> hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-05 08:20:53
Giving aid to the Republicans? If you honestly believe that any criticisms I have is worse than what I discuss, you need to give up politics and get a hobby. Trump will for example use her FOIA/email issues like a stick to beat her with. This is not Soviet Russia where we all adopt the party line. I'm not not ever have been a member of the Democratic Party. I COULD have been this year. Now? Never. The solution to the nations problems will come from outside this party.

I prefer neither. You love fearmongering about how worse it will be under trump. Hmmm. I don't buy that tale. Take Black family incomes. In the toilet. Under either party it goes south. Abortion? Like slavery nothing ...... Nothing is going to change. It's too late to change that one. But it's a useful tool to make us believe ONLY Clinton can protect us. Economically the Democrats are essentially the same as the Republicans, more of the same corporate welfare. Would Clinton cut Social Security? Maybe. I don't believe her core statements. Sorry but as a person I just can't buy into the package. Both republicans and democrats on a vague macro level will try to lower unemployment but neither will talk about falling participation. Clinton had already proved she's probably as likely as Trump to get bullets flying. It's her judgement. She's part of the same old we need to intervene yet never understanding the real issues. I despise her unflinching support of Saudi Arabia. That policy is insane!!! Etc etc etc.

You believe a black family gays and women will sing Kumbaya under Clinton and all will be well.

I believe both parties represent essentially the same with small regional differences .

SavvasKara -> irishgaf , 2016-05-05 05:32:13
It would be perhaps remotely Marxist if he said comrades. But even that was used by democrats, socialists and even fascists and nazists so I would say that no, there is nothing Marxist about it. One of his central messages is that we need to come together and improve our society, that we are all the same, without race or religion, with the same needs and fears as humans.

I even disagree with people saying that he promotes class struggle, he is talking about fair share and he is an ardent supporter of following the laws even when they are against his ideology, which is something that radicals do not tend to do. Radicals do not give a damn about laws and neither do Marxists or far-right wingers, fascists etc. Those groups believe in changing the society through struggle into a model that fits their idea of the world whatever that may be. He simply states his beliefs and suggests laws to adjust the society to human needs, to eat, to live, to prosper in an equal footing.

Carly435 -> RobertHickson2014 , 2016-05-05 05:28:00

It is a rather sad commentary on how the bar of integrity and honesty has been so lowered that it doesn't even faze them

One wonders what makes them call themselves Democrats? Their stance on gun and abortion issues? Certainly not economic and political justice, peace, democracy, or integrity in governance.

Yes, it's been the single most shocking revelation of the entire election year for me as well. Not just the cynicism of the rank-and-file, but the arrogance and isolation of our corrupt Democratic party elite, many of whom still don't seem to grasp that a revolt by progressive Democrats and Independents is already under way. This is one of the forms it may take.

Carly435 -> RobertHickson2014 , 2016-05-05 05:06:51
Recharging is always a good idea ... and never more so than in an election year as turbulent, crazy, uplifting, disillusioning, energizing, maddening and fascinating as this one. I'll also be away (for weeks) toward the end of this month.

Before you go, here's Carl Bernstein's interview with Don Lemon, in case you missed it:

http://www.breitbart.com/video/2016/05/03/bernstein-there-will-be-very-damaging-leaks-from-hillary-email-investigation-her-actions-reckless-and-entitled /

nemesis7 , 2016-05-05 03:24:50
Hilary Clinton has various comments that reveals somebody who certainly fits the psychopath spectrum. Among the lowest of the low was "We came, we saw, he died!" Accompanied by a cackle of laughter. This was announced in full view of the media and public when Gadhaffi was overthrown by US assistance.

Are some Democrats so brainwashed that they think a woman president is the answer regardless of what kind of person that woman is? Since when do decent people in politics exult in death like this? Libya's murdered leader was no angel but Hitler he was not and as older people have told me, the deaths of Hitler and Stalin and the like were greeted publicly with muted and dignified relief by western representatives.

Add to that the continual lies that are being aired in public and this is why the USA has lost its way.

Hillary will not see that one criminal in the financial world of the USA will face justice for their mafia-like actions and destruction of billions of dollars and assets while stealing the savings of Americans and non Americans. President Obama hasn't done it and he is not the buddy Hilary is to these people.

And since when does the USA have the ethical superiority to attack countries like Russia for cronyism etc? This is unbelievable - a presidential nominee candidate is being investigated by the FBI and she doesn't stand down?

Wake up Democrats. At least read a book called The Unravelling by an American journalist whose name I forget. This heartbreaking book says it all about the realities for the non privileged and non powerful in todays' America.

I recall David Bowie's beautiful song This Is Not America. The Bernie supporters understand that, all power to him, those who think like him, and his supporters.

macktan894 -> RobInTN , 2016-05-05 02:29:31
Please. She lost that race in South Carolina when her husband, along with Geraldine Ferraro, called Obama being president a fairy tale and an affirmative action candidate, respectively. You can't win with only minority support, but you can't win without any of it if you are a Dem. Up until SC, the Clintons had minority support in the bag--most black people had never heard of Obama. Things changed real fast.
Allan Barr , 2016-05-05 02:21:15
Like its not obvious? There is now no paper trail to enable ensuring computer votes are true. A man on the moon can now ensure who is going to be President, that was said by a premier computer security expert.

Along with extensive disenfranchisement, numerous ways its pretty clear these outcomes are preordained. Guess I am not going to be voting for either of the two appointed runners, its pointless. I will vote for Bernie when its time in California.

Carly435 -> RobertHickson2014 , 2016-05-05 02:05:34
And to branch out a bit, there are so many empty stock phrases to choose from in her 2016 campaign alone, including "I'm with her" and "Breaking down barriers" courtesy of her 2008 campaign manager, Mark Penn. Speaking of Penn, there's a hilarious little passage in "Clinton, Inc" (p. 65) which describes Penn running through possible campaign slogans for 2008. "Penn began to walk through all the iterations of Hillary slogans: Solutions for America, Ready for a change, Ready to lead, Big challenges, Real Solutions; Time to pick a President... but then he seem to get a little lost...Working for change, Working for you. There was silence, then snickers as Penn tried to remember all the bumper stickers which run together sounded absurd and indistinguishable. The Hillary I know."....

Oy. ^__^

But to pick out my favorite Hillary statement of the week, in honor of her close associate and fellow gonif, Hillary superdelegate, Sheldon Silver, who recently got 12 years in the slammer: https://www.americarisingpac.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/clinton-sheldon-silver-meme1.jpg

Some background:

https://www.americarisingpac.org/sheldon-silver-critical-to-hillary-clinton-political-machine /

In 2000, Silver was integral in Clinton's Senate campaign. According to The New York Times, Silver helped Hillary lobby members of the state assembly for their support

So I guess the former speaker of the NY assembly is just gonna have to vote for Hillary from behind bars, instead of at the DNC? How "super-inconvenient."

John W , 2016-05-05 01:42:54
Sanders is also leading in the West Virginia polls, which is the next primary. He just might be able to squeak out a victory.
Robin Crawford -> Rouffian , 2016-05-05 01:07:15
If Clinton is the Dem nominee it does more than give me shivers. Heck, I view Hillary as demonstrably more dangerous with foreign policy. Both use identity politics as a decisive issue- which only is a distraction from their lack of policy. Both their economic/domestic policies do little or worse for the current situation. Both are untrustworthy and any rhetoric on policy is highly questionable (although Clinton is certainly the worst in this regard). About the only good thing between either is that Trump is willing to question our empire abroad, which is well overdue (meanwhile Clinton seems to want to expand it).

If it's between those two I vote Green and take the 'Jesse Ventura' option: vote anyone not Dem or Rep. Both parties are two corrupt subsidiaries of their corporate masters.

nomorebanksters -> Jonah92 , 2016-05-04 23:43:43
You are obviously misinformed about Bernie Sanders:
https://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/27110/bernie-sanders#.VypxWXopDqA
Most effective senator for the last 35 years and as Mayor or Burlington stopped corporate real estate developers from turning Burlington into Aspen east coast version.

She voted for the Iraq war, being investigated by the FBI for her emails, there was Benghazi, turning Libya into a ISIS hotbed, allowed a military junta to assassinate a democratically elected president in Honduras and said nothing, takes $675k from Goldman for 3 speeches and refuses to disclose the transcripts because she KNOWS it'll hurt her, voted for trade deals that's gutted manufacturing in the USA....should I go on?

Kevin P Brown -> hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-04 23:10:01
So please please explain how Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to wave a wand and fix racism? I already know she will not fix poverty, she will slap a few ersatz bandaids onto bills that won't pass and like the spoiled child will seek praise every time mommy gets him to shit on the potty. You might recall a guy called Martin Luther King. he had some words about economic fairness and poverty.

"" In the treatment of poverty nationally, one fact stands out: there are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike . "

nihilism: the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless. The belief that nothing in the world has a real existence.

You love that word but rejection of the dysfunctional state of DNC politics is NOT nihilism. Moral corruption around campaign finance is real. Moral corruption around money and lobbyists is real. The desire to fix this, this is real. Seeking real change is not nihilism. But yes, if it pleases you to continue in every other post with this word, do so. It's misuse says more about you than Sanders.

nomorebanksters -> TehachapiCalifornia , 2016-05-04 23:04:08
Please tell me exactly how much HRC has done for the U.S.? I'm from NYC and when she brought her carpet bagging ass here and as a 2 term senator she pushed 3 pieces of legislation thru. If you look at Bernie Sanders voting record:
https://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/27110/bernie-sanders#.VypxWXopDqA

He's been one of the most effective senators in Congress and has been able to get things done with cooperation from both sides of the aisle.
So tell me again, what's she done that's so notable?

nomorebanksters -> nolashea , 2016-05-04 22:57:13
Uh huh and your supporting a person: That voted for the Iraq War, destabilized Libya, Benghazi, gave tacit approval to a military junta in Honduras as Secretary of State, called black youth super predators, supports trade agreements that destroy our own manufacturing jobs, takes more money from special interests than her constituency, has made millions in speeches from the bank lobby and won't disclose the transcripts......yeah she's real HONEST......riiigggghhhhttttt....
Kevin P Brown -> hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-04 22:31:08
"Are you really sure that money buys votes"

Money buys the influence to be selected as a candidate. Normally. 99% of the time. Sometimes a Huey Long populist breaks through the process and scares the fuck out of the power structures. But you know how candidates are selected. Poor smart people never get to run for president unless they build a populist power base. The existing political parties defer to donors. Donors like the Koch Brothers, who happily funded Bill clinton and the DLC made their preferences clear. They didn't invest in a fit of altruistic progressivism. They wanted the DNC to swing right. And voila it did and Bill was anointed as the "one" to run. Don't be so naive.

[May 07, 2016] So fed up is the American nation of plasticity, artificiality, botoxicity, hollow buffoonery and wizard-of-oz fakery of lobby-made candidates like Clinton that I comfortably predict that, if she ends up confronting Donald Trump in a general election, she will be mauled to threads and fronds

Notable quotes:
"... Simply put, the nation is sick to death of lies, deceptions and swindles - media and otherwise - which Hillary Clinton so capably embodies, personifies and endorses. In fact, one of the reasons why Donald Trump is the presumptive republican nominee is that, with all his extremism, vitriol and xenophobia, he still comes across as more genuine - even if genuinely nasty ..."
"... So fed up is the American nation of plasticity, artificiality, botoxicity, hollow buffoonery and wizard-of-oz fakery of lobby-made candidates like Clinton that I comfortably predict that, if she ends up confronting Donald Trump in a general election, she will be mauled to threads and fronds, and I will get a kick of a lifetime. Donald Trump will eat her for mid-morning snack and she will have deserved every bit of drubbing she gets to receive. It will be more fun than the 6:00 AM sex. ..."
"... Shock?!!!! How could the American Queen lose right?!!! ..."
"... The main point is, Hillary has no chance of winning against Trump. She is already trying to get a cadre of neocon Republicans to support her, thinking she could get swing a portion of Republicans to support her, forgetting why she is so despised by a large segment of Democrats and majority of independents. It is her default cling to neocon interventionist, and corporate base of support that causes it. She is tone deaf, ignorant and arrogant. Unless, we Democrats stop her now Trump will beat her handily. I have no doubt about it. ..."
"... In all of Hillary's 'closed' primary wins, they have been plagued with voter suppression tactics, voter purges, lack of voting machines and ballots, people (Sanders) having their party affiliation changed so they couldn't vote and 'Oh Yes' - Bill Clinton clearly violating election laws by 'wandering into a polling station in Boston. ..."
"... Popular vote? When closed primaries arn't enough good old fashioned fraud will do. ..."
"... Sanders has been consistently winning smaller states and may well have won New York too if not for the shenanigans going on there. ..."
"... it will be a little awkward for Hillary wrenching the nomination from him after another series of massive wins. ..."
"... Her 'sharing' means raising money for the states but giving them 1% of amount raised while diverting the funds back to the DNC who will be funding her campaigns. Smart technique, but deceptive, like much of her political life. ..."
"... The fact is, a substantial section of the politically active electorate are sick and tired of the rotten do-nothing political system, and are doing whatever they can to deliberately disrupt business as usual. Don't be "shocked". ..."
"... The "free press" continues to show that it is TOTALLY out of touch with the "we've had enough and we're not going to take it any more" quality of voters across the political spectrum. The U.S. "media" (i.e. corporate PR Sock Puppet), called Bernie's demise inevitable from the start (that is, when it wasn't blacklisting any coverage of him at all), and when there WAS coverage, it always had Kleverly manipulated headlines (Bernie shocks with a victory, yada yada yada). ..."
"... The press has become so owned, so corrupt and also (in the case of the Guardian coverage of sanders) so Parrot- Lazy , I could just puke. A pox on all your pathetic "media" houses. ..."
"... This rag like others do not get it. Sanders wins open primaries. The closed primaries with all the problems reported are why Clinton is in front. Democracy is not for the democrats. ..."
"... Not only doesn't Killary know that 'this thing is not over", but the media doesn't know what's going on with the Empire of the entrenched Democratic party, nor the media Empire, nor the militarist Empire abroad, nor the financial Empire, nor the corporate Empire, nor any of the sectors of this Disguised Global Capitalist Empire, which is nominally HQed in. ..."
"... This damn Disguised Global Capitalist EMPIRE that has by "singing so softly" imposed itself and its boot upon us, and which is a highly-integrated (but well hidden, like a cancer) six-sectored; corporate, financial, military, media/propaganda, extra-legal, and most dangerously dual-party Vichy-political facade of both the rougher neocon 'R' Vichy party and smoother lying neoliberal-con 'D' Vichy parties of the EMPIRE is "goin' down" ..."
"... Using a dysfunctional system to change that very system is not hypocritical. ..."
"... Sanders victory is not a "shock" to those of us who don't believe the media propaganda. Clinton and the DNC elite are the ones who will be shocked after the Oregon and California primaries as Sanders pulls neck and neck with her. ..."
"... wrong, dems have been split down the middle since april 7. The DNC chose their candidate a year ago, that is not democracy. ..."
"... Bow out gracefully, what a joke. Obama only got her support after she extorted the price of Secretary of State from him. ..."
"... NYT is touted as being leftist by all the FOX readers and listeners, especially. They have an incredible bias for right wing Likud Party and Bibi Netanhayu and Hillary fits into that analysis as a veteran AIPAC speaker. ..."
"... Christian Zionist, John Hagee, is also a favored speaker and colleague of Hillary's. She is a committed Neo-con and puppet of the New World Order Chicago School of Economics (Friedman). ..."
"... The candidate who most appeals to women for support in this campaign is the same one who as US Senator and as US Sec. of State, has violated Moslem and Christian women's and children's fundamental human rights in Gaza, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Cuba. She has supported notorious violators of women rights, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel. ..."
"... Wish to better understand Hillary Clinton? Review her relationship with Victoria Nuland the Neo-con who worked for Hillary in US Dept. of State as Undersecretary. Nation destabilizer Nuland is the wife of Robert Kagan, co-founder with William Kristol of PNAC. She worked for Dick Cheney as senior foreign policy advisor, now working for Sec. Kerry!! <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Nuland> Then the original Neo-con agenda here: https://en.wikipedia.org/.../Project_for_the_New_American ... ..."
"... Now PNAC and Nuland's husband, Robert Kagan have updated to this anti-American New World Order; the same agenda that is wolly embraced by Hillary Clinton and Sec. of State Kerry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Policy_Initiative ..."
"... Sanders supporters are not merely disgusted by what they have seen in all the other candidates including Clinton, they know a good thing when they see it and are willing to support what they believe in fully. No more settling for " the lesser evil " which is evil . ..."
"... Indiana is further proof that people have reached the limit of their tolerance. Democracy is not possible without choices. Bernie Sanders is the closest thing to a choice that was offered The rest of the characters running for President were...well, just that, characters--cartoon characters. ..."
"... Bernie's policies are far better for the middle and working classes than Hillary's, and she is a warhawk to boot. Sometimes you have to vote your conscience instead of your team. Sander's actions are not assisting the GOP, it is the stubborn insistence of the DNC that we continue with the life-destroying policy of neoliberalism that is driving the Trump campaign. ..."
"... On the idea of compromising to "get things done," I see an analogy to the Hippocratic oath. ..."
discussion.theguardian.com
MOZGODRK , 2016-05-04 17:34:33
There is nothing "shocking" about Bernie Sanders' victory in Indiana. Simply put, the nation is sick to death of lies, deceptions and swindles - media and otherwise - which Hillary Clinton so capably embodies, personifies and endorses. In fact, one of the reasons why Donald Trump is the presumptive republican nominee is that, with all his extremism, vitriol and xenophobia, he still comes across as more genuine - even if genuinely nasty - than the rest of the man-made, prefabricated plastic stuff that Republican party has to offer. There is a perfectly good and legitimate reason why Jebb Bush and Carly Fiorina could not crawl out of their lower single-digit poll ratings: the general public found them insincere, dishonest and carrying hidden agendas -- and this was NOT merely a misperception on part of the paranoid nation: you CAN'T con 330 million people into perpetual dumbness simultaneously. It just isn't done.

So fed up is the American nation of plasticity, artificiality, botoxicity, hollow buffoonery and wizard-of-oz fakery of lobby-made candidates like Clinton that I comfortably predict that, if she ends up confronting Donald Trump in a general election, she will be mauled to threads and fronds, and I will get a kick of a lifetime. Donald Trump will eat her for mid-morning snack and she will have deserved every bit of drubbing she gets to receive. It will be more fun than the 6:00 AM sex.

Bernie Sanders is America's last best hope and change , and the very first real one. Come November, America has only one choice: to vote for one of the neoliberal corporate pieces of toxic human waste , or to vote for a decent human being. Alternatives do not exist. This is it.

Timothy Everton -> MAINEindependent , 2016-05-04 17:33:50
I don't see how the DNC can support a candidate who is under F.B.I. investigation. It doesn't matter if she is indicted?
I'm so glad Bernie is going the distance.
Manami , 2016-05-04 17:33:14
Shock?!!!! How could the American Queen lose right?!!!

The main point is, Hillary has no chance of winning against Trump. She is already trying to get a cadre of neocon Republicans to support her, thinking she could get swing a portion of Republicans to support her, forgetting why she is so despised by a large segment of Democrats and majority of independents. It is her default cling to neocon interventionist, and corporate base of support that causes it. She is tone deaf, ignorant and arrogant. Unless, we Democrats stop her now Trump will beat her handily. I have no doubt about it.

RobertHickson2014 -> Margaret Telford , 2016-05-04 17:33:13
In all of Hillary's 'closed' primary wins, they have been plagued with voter suppression tactics, voter purges, lack of voting machines and ballots, people (Sanders) having their party affiliation changed so they couldn't vote and 'Oh Yes' - Bill Clinton clearly violating election laws by 'wandering into a polling station in Boston.

Hillary can't win in a fair fight, so she resorts to dirty tricks that would shame Richard Nixon.

UNOINO -> ryanpatrick9192 , 2016-05-04 17:31:26
Popular vote? When closed primaries arn't enough good old fashioned fraud will do.

Election Fraud Special Report!

kalpa108 -> OpineOpiner , 2016-05-04 17:30:36
You beat me too it! Guardian-why is it a shock victory? Just report the news in an impartial manner, please.

Sanders has been consistently winning smaller states and may well have won New York too if not for the shenanigans going on there.

Its no shock at all.

4hundred -> Genevieve K. Doyle , 2016-05-04 17:30:33
I don't think anyone, anyone who has followed the primaries thus far. I thought it was 'likely' myself, only doubt that lingered was the supposed 'lost momentum' theories after Philly. Sanders is solid, I think most people now see through the mainstream bias against him. He'll fight till the convention, and it will be a little awkward for Hillary wrenching the nomination from him after another series of massive wins.
MOPtimusP -> nevermind84 , 2016-05-04 17:29:48
That's actually not strictly true.... Many states have laws that criminalize pledged delegates breaking their pledge... They can go to jail
RobertHickson2014 -> talenttruth , 2016-05-04 17:28:39
In all of 2015, Bernie received a total of 10 minutes of coverage from ABC network.
lostinbago -> Julie Doering-Christiany , 2016-05-04 17:27:50
Her 'sharing' means raising money for the states but giving them 1% of amount raised while diverting the funds back to the DNC who will be funding her campaigns. Smart technique, but deceptive, like much of her political life.
Carmel Day -> ClareLondon , 2016-05-04 17:26:08
The world gave up on the US years ago!!
lostinbago -> Tamás Stiller , 2016-05-04 17:24:56
I keep seeing that argument that Sander's supporters will vote for Trump. People aroused by his message of anti war; opposing the growing disparity of wealth; increasing the taxes for the rich to match the benefits they have been privileged to have such a greater share of the wealth; and other reforms: in what world would they easily switch to voting for an egomaniac, elitist, narcissist, misogynist, racist, xenophobe? I for one could consider skipping a vote, but NEVER could I see going from a Sanders to a Fascist.
Matt062 , 2016-05-04 17:23:57
Hear we go again with the gratuitous elitist spin. First it was how Trump was going to be stopped short of cinching the nomination "this time" - just you wait! Now the Guardian journalists have been instructed to feign "shock" that Sanders has once again shown what pull he has in this primary season.

The fact is, a substantial section of the politically active electorate are sick and tired of the rotten do-nothing political system, and are doing whatever they can to deliberately disrupt business as usual. Don't be "shocked".

talenttruth , 2016-05-04 17:23:06
The "free press" continues to show that it is TOTALLY out of touch with the "we've had enough and we're not going to take it any more" quality of voters across the political spectrum. The U.S. "media" (i.e. corporate PR Sock Puppet), called Bernie's demise inevitable from the start (that is, when it wasn't blacklisting any coverage of him at all), and when there WAS coverage, it always had Kleverly manipulated headlines (Bernie shocks with a victory, yada yada yada).

The press has become so owned, so corrupt and also (in the case of the Guardian coverage of sanders) so Parrot- Lazy , I could just puke. A pox on all your pathetic "media" houses.

Margaret Telford , 2016-05-04 17:22:03
This rag like others do not get it. Sanders wins open primaries. The closed primaries with all the problems reported are why Clinton is in front. Democracy is not for the democrats.
4hundred -> ryanpatrick9192 , 2016-05-04 17:18:46
well we should just ditch the super delegates outright
lostinbago -> Merle Le Blanc , 2016-05-04 17:14:44
That shifting of funds from the National committees to the states and then back to the national to avoid scrutiny of funds is the similar trick that tom DeLay used in texas that he was charged with evading election laws. Clinton does the same and there is no coverage?
RobertHickson2014 , 2016-05-04 16:54:51
When you think about it rationally, which Clintonistas are incapable of, how weak a candidate Hillary is that a little known Senator from a small North Eastern state can carry forth a campaign into May.

After all she has repared her run for four years, placed her flunky Debbie Wassermann Schultz as head of the DNC, built a war chest from Corporate money, lined up commitments from over 400 Super Delegates before the primaries even began and yet, Bernie's still hanging in there.

"In Friday, while Hillary Clinton was addressing the Democratic National Committee in Minneapolis, Minnesota, senior campaign officials announced that Clinton had already received pledges of support from at least 440 of the party's estimated 713 super delegates. That total includes 130 superdelegates who have publicly endorsed Clinton, as well as an additional 310 who have made private commitments to support Hillary."

http://www.politicususa.com/2015/08/29/hillary-clinton-moves-lock-nomination-voting-starts-super-delegate-pledges.html

Bernie had no name recognition, campaign staff and very little money to begin with, but his message of hope resonated enough to attract millions of supporters who were tired of the status quo. and they have raised over $200,000,000 in small donations without any SuperPacs.

Keep going Bernie, you are a true Progressive and American Hero.

Ladyhawke1 , 2016-05-04 16:52:18
There is a God! You go Bernie. I am waiting for you here in California.

When Bernie was speaking about healthcare for all ….I started wondering how many people died at home….because there they are with a pain in their chests and then they grab their healthcare booklets and they start adding it all up and what it takes just to get them to the hospital and the hospital stay.

There is the ….. "Ambulance co-pay" …..$225.00 one way. ( God forbid you decide to go for a joy-ride.) Oh…wait…..you have to add the "Emergency Room co-pay $75.00, then if you get admitted….it is a co-pay of $250.00 per day (PER DAY) for six days. If you stay longer…whoopee it's for free. ( I could be staying at Four Seasons for that.)

Who is fucking kidding who? What in the hell am I paying health insurance for and I am retired I have Medicare too? Who is making money on my and other people's misfortunes? We are all victims who have been convinced that ALL OF THIS shite is our own faults and individually we are on our own.

Little do we realize that if we stand shoulder to shoulder and we get together and protest this travesty called healthcare, that we could get all of this changed to our benefit.

It is time for Medicare for all. My taxes are to be used for the Common Good of everyone in this country. I do not want my taxes to go to war, war and more war.

Bernie also addresses our shameful infrastructure in this country. The rich corporations and individuals take all of these illicit profits; my money, and yours and they just sit on it and do nothing to help this country or its people. When do we start getting smarter?

amacd2 , 2016-05-04 16:38:59
Not only doesn't Killary know that 'this thing is not over", but the media doesn't know what's going on with the Empire of the entrenched Democratic party, nor the media Empire, nor the militarist Empire abroad, nor the financial Empire, nor the corporate Empire, nor any of the sectors of this Disguised Global Capitalist Empire, which is nominally HQed in.

metropoled, and merely 'posing' as our former country ---- and which Bernie's only partially revealed and vague, "Political Revolution" is going to be expanding into his, and OUR, fully defined sentence (with an 'object') and is growing into a loud, courageous, but peaceful, "Political Revolution against EMPIRE" as the Second American Revolution against EMPIRE again before this the 240th year's anniversary of our First (and only successful) American Revolution against EMPIRE.

Everyone, and every sector, of this EMPIRE is deaf, dumb, and blind about this Revolution against Empire:

"There's something happening here
But what it is ain't exactly clear ...

Stop, children, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down"

This damn Disguised Global Capitalist EMPIRE that has by "singing so softly" imposed itself and its boot upon us, and which is a highly-integrated (but well hidden, like a cancer) six-sectored; corporate, financial, military, media/propaganda, extra-legal, and most dangerously dual-party Vichy-political facade of both the rougher neocon 'R' Vichy party and smoother lying neoliberal-con 'D' Vichy parties of the EMPIRE is "goin' down"

Kevin P Brown -> nevermind84 , 2016-05-04 16:38:50
Using a dysfunctional system to change that very system is not hypocritical.
MAINEindependent , 2016-05-04 16:25:19
Sanders victory is not a "shock" to those of us who don't believe the media propaganda. Clinton and the DNC elite are the ones who will be shocked after the Oregon and California primaries as Sanders pulls neck and neck with her.

For the good of the country, the Democrat Party should consider having Clinton pull out, because Trump will beat her, but Sanders would be him. But they won't and she won't, because they serve their owners, and their arrogance, hubris and sense of entitlement is supreme to their concerns for the rest of the 99%. Hopefully this election year ill see the destruction of both corrupt major corporate parties, and a rebirth of actual democracy in the USA. One person, one vote, not bought and unsuppressed.

Merle Le Blanc -> HammyFooter , 2016-05-04 16:24:30
wrong, dems have been split down the middle since april 7. The DNC chose their candidate a year ago, that is not democracy.
California is an open primary, means that the 40 independents can vote.
Merle Le Blanc , 2016-05-04 16:18:52
Here's what the Guardian refuses to report, the obvious reason for the private server, and the destruction of evidence, watergate-style.
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/most-firms-that-gave-to-clinton-foundation-also-lobbied-state-department/article/2564553
RobertHickson2014 -> Julie Doering-Christiany , 2016-05-04 16:18:10
Bow out gracefully, what a joke. Obama only got her support after she extorted the price of Secretary of State from him.
jgwilson55 , 2016-05-04 16:16:25
Hmmm, looking at the math today things have gotten very interesting. Clinton has 1701 pledged delegates, Bernie has 1417. To win outright before the convention you need 2382 pledged delegates. That would mean 1) Bernie cannot do it. 2) Hillary would have to win 681 out of the final 933 delegates up for grabs. That's 73% she needs to win.

That ain't going to happen so it pretty much a fact now that the super delegates will pick this years Democratic nominee.

Let's start putting the pressure on them NOW to make the right choice. Call them, write to them.....

Source for delegate counts: http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/election-2016/delegate-targets/democrats /

Ussurisk -> Riverdale , 2016-05-04 16:10:32
NYT is touted as being leftist by all the FOX readers and listeners, especially. They have an incredible bias for right wing Likud Party and Bibi Netanhayu and Hillary fits into that analysis as a veteran AIPAC speaker.

Christian Zionist, John Hagee, is also a favored speaker and colleague of Hillary's. She is a committed Neo-con and puppet of the New World Order Chicago School of Economics (Friedman).

ID0248595 , 2016-05-04 16:08:04
If Bernie, a socialist can win in a conservative Nazi state like Indiana, he can win any where.
He even won in Indiana"s third largest city (Evansville) the most conservative large city in Indiana.
Kevin P Brown -> AuntieMame , 2016-05-04 16:06:50
Yeah cause Clinton has detailed policies on fixing this? Or does she play identity politics and hand wave?

"In 2010, the median wealth, or net worth, for black families was $4,900, compared to median wealth for whites of $97,000. Blacks are nearly twice as likely as whites to have zero or negative net worth-33.9 percent compared to 18.6 percent."

Ussurisk -> Tamás Stiller , 2016-05-04 16:03:52
At this point, the only hope for world peace is Sanders. I'll write in Sanders before I would vote for Hillary "Failed State" Clinton. Hillary carries too high a load of baggage to prevail, even with historical trivia like Trevor 0691 above.

Trump is safer bet because he will not be able to get Congressional support, the same problem Jimmy Carter, the Washington outsider had. Hillary's commitment to war, with her experience on Capital Hill is a most depressing specter.

Martin Thompson -> andthensome , 2016-05-04 15:57:22
Haha a sheep cheering for the farmer as he is dragged away for slaughter. Smacks of Stockholm syndrome.
skells , 2016-05-04 15:56:11
No comments allowed on the 'what is sander's route to the Democratic nomination' article but it is exceptionally poor journalism

I quote: No numbers are available for the primaries that will be held in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Oregon and Kentucky, partly because pollsters know the voters there won't change the political calculus much – they're not "wasting" their time in places with few delegates available.

This is factually incorrect as a 30 second look on wikipedia shows:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statewide_opinion_polling_for_the_Democratic_Party_presidential_primaries,_2016#Oregon

Polls are available for Oregon, Kentucky, West Virginia.
The most recent Oregon poll shows Sanders 1 point behind. The West Virginia poll shows him 5 points ahead, the most recent Kentucky poll (taken at start of March) has him 5 points behind.

The latest New Jersey poll shows a 9 point deficit for him (compared with a 23 point deficit less than 2 months earlier).

It's fair enough that journalists have their opinions in opinion pieces, but when factual inaccuracies are mixed up in such pieces, or so-called analytical pieces, it's just really shoddy, unprofessional journalism...

Ussurisk , 2016-05-04 15:54:25
The candidate who most appeals to women for support in this campaign is the same one who as US Senator and as US Sec. of State, has violated Moslem and Christian women's and children's fundamental human rights in Gaza, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Cuba. She has supported notorious violators of women rights, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel.
How then are we to think that she will not import this treatment to the women of America?
She supports human rights criminal Bibi Netanyahu and AIPAC with undying expressions of apology for extreme Zionism and Orthodox suppression of women. She opposes Jewish Voice for Peace and the indigenous Israel peace movement.

Remember Dixie Lee Ray who was elected disastrous Governor of WA State when ERA movement shooed her in? Women voters beware.

Wish to better understand Hillary Clinton? Review her relationship with Victoria Nuland the Neo-con who worked for Hillary in US Dept. of State as Undersecretary. Nation destabilizer Nuland is the wife of Robert Kagan, co-founder with William Kristol of PNAC. She worked for Dick Cheney as senior foreign policy advisor, now working for Sec. Kerry!! <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Nuland> Then the original Neo-con agenda here: https://en.wikipedia.org/.../Project_for_the_New_American ...

Now PNAC and Nuland's husband, Robert Kagan have updated to this anti-American New World Order; the same agenda that is wolly embraced by Hillary Clinton and Sec. of State Kerry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Policy_Initiative

jgwilson55 , 2016-05-04 15:52:39
Dan & Ben,

Can you guys please make sure the Guardian reports on the Hillary Victory Fund hoarding 99% of the money it raises "for State races". It is of critical importance that voters be made aware of how the Clinton campaign is behaving (or mis-behaving).

http://usuncut.com/politics/hillary-clinton-bilking-state-democrats

Jay Bennett , 2016-05-04 15:39:39
Sorry media controlling elites, Bernie has not lost yet. After her canary died in Indiana... Hillary has 1700 or 71% of the 2383 pledged delegates needed. So HRC will need 60% of the remaining 1114 pledged delegates to clinch. Bernie is favored in most of the remaining states. Contested convention!!! And what a rowdy party in the streets it will be. Bernie will likely go in into Philly just slightly behind in pledged delegates but with majority of states - and many of these states the ones Dems most count on to win in the general. Considering Bernie's popularity with Independents(had they been allowed to vote in the primary he would have won big) he would be the best choice against Trump. But as we all know from exit poll discrepancies - this election is rigged. Pointing to evidence of the corrupted process he will announce his run as the Green Party candidate.
Merle Le Blanc -> Jackblob , 2016-05-04 15:35:30
actually, it was only during this campaign that I bothered to check out why HRC had a private server, and it's not pretty. Washington Examiner did an excellent researched piece, laying out how the Clintons amassed $3b through their private foundation and big speaking feeds, and that's where the private server was needed, to organize the millions in state department contracts in line with donations. Prime time, mainstream media including the Guardian has simply refused to check out the work that has been done in the emails released last year. This is no GOP conspiracy. In fact, the Examiner lays out how Bush family used similar methods to amass their $3b fortune. That is the amassing of private wealth through the use of public office that is endemic to Washington - pretty close to Oligarchy at the scale of operations by former presidents, and heads of state. It's a level of corruption that has reached proportions that led to the $700billion bailout and $6 trillion loan bailout - the Clintons use neo-liberal 'charity' to mask their real program, personal wealth and unlimited power.
nanciel , 2016-05-04 15:30:39

Sanders once again proved his appeal to disaffected midwest voters

Hah! What a joke!

Disaffected? More like realistic, compassionate, ethical, intelligent, and fair to all...
Sanders supporters are not merely disgusted by what they have seen in all the other candidates including Clinton, they know a good thing when they see it and are willing to support what they believe in fully. No more settling for " the lesser evil " which is evil .

Dorothy2 , 2016-05-04 15:19:24
Indiana is further proof that people have reached the limit of their tolerance. Democracy is not possible without choices. Bernie Sanders is the closest thing to a choice that was offered The rest of the characters running for President were...well, just that, characters--cartoon characters.
Longleveler , 2016-05-04 14:59:00
"Sanders led front-runner Hillary Clinton by 6 points, with 68 percent of precincts reporting, when networks declared him the winner. Exit polls had Sanders winning by 12 points, but they were based solely on interviews with voters on Election Day. "
'Bernie Sanders Wins Indiana Democratic Primary' Huffington Post 3 May 2016
More voting machine hijinks. The Democratic Primary winner should not be decided until all investigations are complete.
Merle Le Blanc -> aguy777 , 2016-05-04 14:58:41
who illegally gets millions from the DNC to pay young people to post comments for her ... He can beat Trump, 40 percent of all American registered voters are independent who'll vote for Sanders, not for the DNC candidate (Dems are split 50/50 since April 7, and that's with tricky campaign finance rules thanks to your 'qualified' candidate. She is very qualified to sell out the American people on every score, from Nafta to support for military coup in Hondurus. I mean, is she even a Democrat, or just a closeted GOP zombie Kissinger lover?
Alan Herbertz -> JaneThomas , 2016-05-04 14:51:23
This isn't a football game where you put on the colors and cheer on your team. People are not interested in business as usual, every four years, support the platform, my party right or wrong politics. I don't know you, and I don't know how tough or easy you have things. But here in Indy, about 90% of the people I know struggle to make ends meet. Those of us who voted for Bernie are not necessarily trying to destroy the democratic party, but there's more to life for us than electing Hillary Clinton the 1st female president.

Bernie's policies are far better for the middle and working classes than Hillary's, and she is a warhawk to boot. Sometimes you have to vote your conscience instead of your team. Sander's actions are not assisting the GOP, it is the stubborn insistence of the DNC that we continue with the life-destroying policy of neoliberalism that is driving the Trump campaign.

TurkBuddy -> JaneThomas , 2016-05-04 14:50:33
At least be original. That article isn't a showstopping mic-drop, and trashing Bernie doesn't make HRC look any better. People aren't loyal to Bernie for his party affiliation, they're loyal to him for his consistent policy positions. Not just his consistency, but also the fact that he's been proven right again and again. That's an arena where HRC simply can't compete.

On the idea of compromising to "get things done," I see an analogy to the Hippocratic oath. First and foremost, do no harm. Someone who compromises to insert slivers of good legislation into bad bills still, in the net, passes more bad laws than good ones. Maybe we're all traumatized by the incompetence of congress over the past several years, but seeing the gears of lawmaking in motion for the sake of motion is not the answer.

[May 06, 2016] Ted Cruz, the master strategist, was no match for Trumps cult of personality

Looks like neoliberal Guardian presstitutes love neocons and religious nuts Cruz. Who would guess ? Interesting...
Notable quotes:
"... He also has a certain kind of roguish charm and can be quite amusing, which Hillary Clinton rarely is; he'd easily win the "who'd I prefer to have a beer with" competition. ..."
"... How can anyone say that yet? What we DO know is that the Bush-Obama administration has been an unqualified disaster on many fronts. Change, even with the possibility - NOT 'certainty' - of "bad things happening" is much more desirable... ..."
"... The more this election plays out the more I totally understand why Trump has made it this far. I've lived a long time and been politically active my entire adult life, and I've never seen voters send such a resounding and well deserved fuck you to the political elite. ..."
"... Indeed, the failure and dysfunction of the present political system in the US can be traced to one thing: the failure of the fourth estate. It is worse than failure, it is a betrayal of the nation for those thirty pieces of silver. ..."
"... What his campaign ultimately proves, is that only appealing to ideologically conservative Republicans is not enough to win the nom. The bulk of the party is traditionalist and reactionary rather than puritanical. They'll pretty reliably vote for any grumpy old white guy with a sense of humour (Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, Romney, McCain, now Trump). Secondly Cruz misread the issues of the year. People are frustrated because they believe that they are struggling while others are milking them. Trump gets this, so does Bernie. Hillary, not so much. This will be a big problem for her in the general. ..."
"... I'm getting just a bit tired of the feigned "I can't understand it" air of these articles about Donald Trump. The Trump gave the voters in his party the red meat of bigotry and hate that they require. The others dog-whistled a merry tune. Why talk about 'strange political jujitsu'? Why not admit that a large portion of the Republican Party is unloved by their own candidates. Why not look at the fact that Republicans accept the votes of 'poor white trash' but do nothing for them. ..."
www.theguardian.com

The Guardian

bhyujn -> Bohemina1 5 May 2016 13:54

No, I did not think that....however, I do think that there is enough awareness of this issue that it does not get dangerously into the main stream in Europe. In the US there much less awareness. Decades of the indoctrination that all bad things are either "communist" or "socialist" has left the door wide open for a return of the populist nationalist. Trump is just that.

bluet00ns 5 May 2016 13:18

"happy campaign"?...review the tapes, "happy" is nowhere in the oily, twisted, display of sly that was cruz's campaign, the numb, if not painful, looks on the faces of family as he trotted them out like props, is exhibit A.

bcarey -> sour_mash 5 May 2016 13:08

My point is that it's common for candidates to suspend their campaigns and continue to collect money.

Definitely true.

However, we must also take into account the fact that the Cruz delegates are still active and maybe able to deliver Cruz.... or Romney if necessary. It is likely that Trump will get way more delegates than needed to stop a contested/open convention, however.

The Cruz suspension is about 2 things. It accomplishes potentially 2 things. Money is just one of them. The other part is Romney, if he can.

fallentower 5 May 2016 13:02

I actually think the Republican Party made a good choice once it was down to "Cruz or Trump" by sitting on its hands and thereby letting Trump win. Of course, Trump is far more likely to do and say unorthodox (from a post-Reagan Republican Party standpoint) things, and will probably increase the tension and turmoil within the party. But he actually has a chance of winning the election; Cruz's smarmy personality and nauseating brand of religious conservatism would have gone down like a lead balloon outside the Bible belt, and he's too committed ideologically to change his policy positions.

Trump will turn on a sixpence and happily disavow things he may have said in the primary if he considers them unhelpful baggage for the general, and because he's seen as a showman rather than a professional politician he'll have much more leeway to do so than your average flip-flopper.

He also has a certain kind of roguish charm and can be quite amusing, which Hillary Clinton rarely is; he'd easily win the "who'd I prefer to have a beer with" competition. Admittedly he is going to have to cut down on the clownishness and ill-disciplined outbursts, but if he gets the right campaign team together and they manage to keep him vaguely on-message I think he'll have good chances. Better than Cruz, anyway, who had zero chance.

sour_mash bcarey 5 May 2016 12:58

I take your point regarding Secret Agent Mormon and I was aware that he had filed with the FEC. My point is that it's common for candidates to suspend their campaigns and continue to collect money.

The exploratory PAC is the new retirement vehicle but that's a different issue.

taxhaven wjousts 5 May 2016 12:58

Trump most certainly is not change for the better.

How can anyone say that yet? What we DO know is that the Bush-Obama administration has been an unqualified disaster on many fronts. Change, even with the possibility - NOT 'certainty' - of "bad things happening" is much more desirable...

Harry Dresdon 5 May 2016 12:42

Good riddance to Cruz. Boehner called him "the devil in the flesh". Cruz would have been way worse for the country than Trump will ever be. Sad but true.

DillyDit2 5 May 2016 12:34

Hey Stephanie Cutter: You think Bernie is responsible for what his supporters think, whether we'll support Hillary, and how we will decide to vote in the fall? Pappa Bernie should tell us what to do, and we should fall in line and salute?

Could Cutter and Hillary's minions be any more clueless?! And could they reveal their top down authoritarian mindset any more clearer?

The more this election plays out the more I totally understand why Trump has made it this far. I've lived a long time and been politically active my entire adult life, and I've never seen voters send such a resounding and well deserved fuck you to the political elite.

I wish I could support Trump, because I second that fuck you. For now, along with what is likely the majority of American voters, all I can do is say- pox on BOTH your houses and may 2020 be the year an Independent runs and wins.

danubemonster 5 May 2016 12:32

I think it is worth comparing Cruz with Nixon. Both men are/were not particularly likable, yet Nixon was able to be a two-term president. Nixon was a conservative, but he was not an ideologue - and he lived in an age where the Republican Party was a relatively broad church. Nixon also have political instincts which were way beyond those of Cruz. He knew how to play high politics, and he knew what was required to get to the White House.

PATROKLUS00 -> Tommy Cooper 5 May 2016 12:14

Trump will beat her to death with being the Queen of the Establishment... the Dems will be idiots to nominate her.

PATROKLUS00 -> voxusa 5 May 2016 12:12

Indeed, the failure and dysfunction of the present political system in the US can be traced to one thing: the failure of the fourth estate. It is worse than failure, it is a betrayal of the nation for those thirty pieces of silver.

PATROKLUS00 -> 8MilesHigh 5 May 2016 12:09

Yup, and the Democrat establishment is too stupid and out of touch to recognize that HRC is just the grist that Trump needs for his anti-establishment mill.

PATROKLUS00 5 May 2016 12:07

Cruz a master strategist???? BWWWWWwwwwwaaaaahhhhhhhaaaaaaaa! Ludicrous ... beyond ludicrous.

Vintage59 David Perry 5 May 2016 12:07

His religious beliefs and the political dogma that goes with them have been well documented. Have you not been paying attention? Do you insist your wife get you a beer from the fridge when you can get off your ass and get it yourself?

8MilesHigh 5 May 2016 12:06

What his campaign ultimately proves, is that only appealing to ideologically conservative Republicans is not enough to win the nom. The bulk of the party is traditionalist and reactionary rather than puritanical. They'll pretty reliably vote for any grumpy old white guy with a sense of humour (Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, Romney, McCain, now Trump). Secondly Cruz misread the issues of the year. People are frustrated because they believe that they are struggling while others are milking them. Trump gets this, so does Bernie. Hillary, not so much. This will be a big problem for her in the general.

MalleusSacerdotum 5 May 2016 12:05

I'm getting just a bit tired of the feigned "I can't understand it" air of these articles about Donald Trump. The Trump gave the voters in his party the red meat of bigotry and hate that they require. The others dog-whistled a merry tune. Why talk about 'strange political jujitsu'? Why not admit that a large portion of the Republican Party is unloved by their own candidates. Why not look at the fact that Republicans accept the votes of 'poor white trash' but do nothing for them.

The Donald has understood the dynamic better than the rest and has given the voters a coherent, albeit repugnant, analysis of their problems. An article like this that can shed no light on the phenomenon that is Trump is hardly worth publishing.

[May 06, 2016] The Guardian

www.theguardian.com

!-- thevorlon newyorkred , 2016-05-06 17:59:00
Most politicians these days don't care about the people and this ridiculous cycle is repeating every 4 years! Candidates who actually want to make progress get dumped by the corrupt system and the parties that are being controlled by their corporate masters and their money to do as they want to return the more money to them later when they have the office!
At the end, the brainwashing media convince the people to vote for the "bad choice" instead of the worst (which is Trump in this case). You don't need to have any plans or anything, just repeat "Trump bad, Trump bad, Trump bad, Me good" and the sheeple will follow! This strategy has been so successful that almost everywhere around the world are using it to win all types of elections! xD

Maybe Trump becoming president is necessary for the people to realize once and for all that this cycle of mistakes and corruption needs to stop and fundamental changes need to happen! Starts with the USA and the world will follow over time. I personally am done with following these corrupt political systems and their media and do as they tell me to (same goes for the financial system but there's no escaping this one in the near future with corps and banks being in total control of the society).

!--
John Kennedy Allan Burns , 2016-05-06 17:35:46
She should be a felon by now, and only her name protects her from jail.
Ilupi Ilupi EagleOMC , 2016-05-06 17:05:43
Establishment baby. !--
Kevin P Brown MeereeneseLiberation , 2016-05-06 09:53:20
http://foreignpolicy.com/2011/04/07/was-there-going-to-be-a-benghazi-massacre /

"As Alan Kuperman of the University of Texas and Stephen Chapman of the Chicago Tribune have now shown, the claim that the United States had to act to prevent Libyan tyrant Muammar al-Qaddafi from slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Benghazi does not stand up to even casual scrutiny. Although everyone recognizes that Qaddafi is a brutal ruler, his forces did not conduct deliberate, large-scale massacres in any of the cities he has recaptured, and his violent threats to wreak vengeance on Benghazi were directed at those who continued to resist his rule, not at innocent bystanders. There is no question that Qaddafi is a tyrant with few (if any) redemptive qualities, but the threat of a bloodbath that would "stain the conscience of the world" (as Obama put it) was slight. "

"If humanitarian intervention is to remain a live possibility, there must be much more public scrutiny, debate and discussion of what triggers that intervention and what level of evidence we can reasonably require. Did administration officials have communications intercepts suggesting plans for large-scale killings of civilians? How exactly did they reach their conclusion that these reprisals were likely? It should be no more acceptable to simply accept government claims on this score than it was for previous administrations.

As I've argued previously, the term "humanitarian crisis" is desperately imprecise and the informed public's ability to distinguish between civil strife (which is always bloody) and outright massacres and extermination campaigns is weak. Walt's certainty notwithstanding, the debate about the humanitarian rationale in this case has not been settled. In fact, it's barely begun."

Kevin P Brown MeereeneseLiberation , 2016-05-06 09:50:28
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/oct/26/libya-war-saving-lives-catastrophic-failure

So no, we should have not intervened.

"David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy won the authorisation to use "all necessary means" from the UN security council in March on the basis that Gaddafi's forces were about to commit a Srebrenica-style massacre in Benghazi. Naturally we can never know what would have happened without Nato's intervention. But there is in fact no evidence – including from other rebel-held towns Gaddafi re-captured – to suggest he had either the capability or even the intention to carry out such an atrocity against an armed city of 700,000 .

What is now known, however, is that while the death toll in Libya when Nato intervened was perhaps around 1,000-2,000 (judging by UN estimates), eight months later it is probably more than ten times that figure. Estimates of the numbers of dead over the last eight months – as Nato leaders vetoed ceasefires and negotiations – range from 10,000 up to 50,000. The National Transitional Council puts the losses at 30,000 dead and 50,000 wounded.

Of those, uncounted thousands will be civilians, including those killed by Nato bombing and Nato-backed forces on the ground. These figures dwarf the death tolls in this year's other most bloody Arab uprisings, in Syria and Yemen. Nato has not protected civilians in Libya – it has multiplied the number of their deaths, while losing not a single soldier of its own.

For the western powers, of course, the Libyan war has allowed them to regain ground lost in Tunisia and Egypt, put themselves at the heart of the upheaval sweeping the most strategically sensitive region in the world, and secure valuable new commercial advantages in an oil-rich state whose previous leadership was at best unreliable. No wonder the new British defence secretary is telling businessmen to "pack their bags" for Libya, and the US ambassador in Tripoli insists American companies are needed on a "big scale".

But for Libyans, it has meant a loss of ownership of their own future and the effective imposition of a western-picked administration of Gaddafi defectors and US and British intelligence assets. Probably the greatest challenge to that takeover will now come from Islamist military leaders on the ground, such as the Tripoli commander Abdel Hakim Belhaj – kidnapped by MI6 to be tortured in Libya in 2004 – who have already made clear they will not be taking orders from the NTC. !--

Kevin P Brown MeereeneseLiberation , 2016-05-06 09:40:10
Libya:

An interesting article. Note I trust Cockburn as a journalist.
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/the-arab-spring-reported-and-misreported-foreign-intervention-in-libya-and-the-last-days-of-colonel-a6992726.html

"Explanations of what one thought was happening in these countries were often misinterpreted as justification for odious and discredited regimes. In Libya, where the uprising started on 15 February 2011, I wrote about how the opposition was wholly dependent on Nato military support and would have been rapidly defeated by pro-Gaddafi forces without it. It followed from this that the opposition would not have the strength to fill the inevitable political vacuum if Gaddafi was to fall. I noted gloomily that Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, who were pressing for foreign intervention against Gaddafi, themselves held power by methods no less repressive than the Libyan leader. It was his radicalism – muted though this was in his later years – not his authoritarianism that made the kings and emirs hate him.

This was an unpopular stance to take on Libya during the high tide of the Arab Spring, when foreign governments and media alike were uncritically lauding the opposition. The two sides in what was a genuine civil war were portrayed as white hats and black hats; rebel claims about government atrocities were credulously broadcast, though they frequently turned out to be concocted, while government denials were contemptuously dismissed. Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch were much more thorough than the media in checking these stories, although their detailed reports appeared long after the news agenda had moved on."

Kevin P Brown MeereeneseLiberation , 2016-05-06 09:34:01
And then in another note, why do people like you condemn the Taliban but give a free pass to the Saudi's who have a lot to do with the state of fundamentalism in Afghanistan, and essentially operate the same as the Taliban? Why are we not intervening in Saudi Arabia to free the people? Nah. Do people die from either side in Afghanistan? Yes. Excusively the Taliban? no. The western press prefers the narrative of Taliban extremism. The western press ignores and fails to report killings by US troops, one incident I know of personally in Kabul. Never reported in the press.

So I suggest you educate yourself on the complexities of Afghanistan before you sound off with smugness. It is obvious you have no idea of what really goes on there.

Have you ever visited Saudi Arabia? Want a litany of the horrors there? No, you don't. You have a narrative which I suspect is ill informed.

the Taliban were winning against the Northern Alliance for various reasons, one was that a lot of people supported them. We turned a blind eye to the destabilising effects of Saudi and Pakistan support of the Taliban as well. We set this up for failure a long time ago. Riding in like the calvary and handing out billions to the Northern Alliance was not very helpful for stability.

Kevin P Brown MeereeneseLiberation , 2016-05-06 09:33:31
"was if ending Taliban rule had made things better"

You try to simplify a very complex situation. In fact there was never absolute rule by the Taliban. You seem to forget there was a civil war in the country before 9/11. There was the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. There was Pakistan and the ISI ( Pakistan of course if often supported by the US, then we had Saudi Arabia, again supported by us). Before 9/11 The northern alliance was about to be defeated. On both sides was indiscriminate killings. You also had a complex mix if Pashtun Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras. You had multiple political alliances which I will not bother to list. Kabul was destroyed by the fighting. Atrocities on both sides. You had Dostum with the Northern Alliance and Massod as well. Massod was reasonable, Dostum was an animal worse than the Taliban.

What people related to me was this: The Taliban were more predictable. Dostum was not predictable. Both were bad, but as Clinton fans love to highlight, the lessor of two evils must be selected. The Taliban also represented the Pashtun who were the largest ethnic bloc in Afghanistan. So in essence the people mostly supported the Taliban. The Northern Alliance had the support of Russia, and you might recall the Afghans did not have fond memories of them.

So, you want to simplify the Taliban atrocities and ignore the rest. Afghans did not have the luxury of this. They had to choose the lesser evil. Had Massood not been entangled with Dostum, perhaps things would have been different.

We came in and supported the Northern Alliance, which did NOT sit well with a lot of people. The majority? I don't have statistics exactly pointing this out. The Pashtun felt pushed out of affairs by the minority remnants of the Northern Alliance. Every ..... and I mean every government office had photos of Massood on the wall. Not Karzai. Karzai was seen as irrelevant by all sides, he was seen as the American imposed choice. ( I will not even discuss the "election" but I was on the ground dealing with Identity cards before the UN arrived, had meetings with the UN team about approaches to getting ID cards out to all voters, and there is a stink over aspects of the participation in the elections).

"And seeing a self-described leftist explaining that life under the Taliban wasn't all that bad if you just grew a beard [!] and fell in line is really sort of pathetic."

Your smug simplistic statement indicates you have no idea of the horrors enacted on both sides. I was told this time and time again as how people decided to survive by picking a side where there were rules and they could survive the rules.

But lets put aside my anecdotal evidence and look at the people of Afghanistan:

http://www.d3systems.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/AAPOR-2012-Taliban-Reconciliation-John-Richardson.pdf

"Looking at Afghans' views on reconciling with the Taliban does not appear to bear out the concerns over ethnic divisions shared by Jones and Kilcullen. When asked whether the Afghan central government should negotiate a settlement with the Taliban or continue fighting the Taliban and not negotiate, a recent national survey of Afghanistan found that roughly three- quarters (74%) of Afghans favor negotiating with the Taliban .74 This is in line with previous studies, such as a series of polls sponsored by ABC News which found that the number of Afghans favoring reconciliation had risen from 60% in 2007 to 73% in 2009."

""Do you think the government in Kabul should negotiate a settlement with Afghan Taliban in which they are allowed to hold political offices if they stop fighting, or do you think the government in Kabul should continue to fight the Taliban and not negotiate a settlement?""

77% of men and 70% of women agree with this.

Here is the ultimate point. We intervened and we had no fucking idea what we were doing. The Afghans saw the money flowing to Beltway Bandits rather than flowing to real aid and needs. They saw this! They were not stupid. They saw that the Pashtuns were pushed out of Government, ( hence the Massod images in ALL government offices [My project of reform dealt with EVERY government offices and I visited a fair few personally and finally had to ask abut why each office had Masood an not Karzai)

My opinion? I see indications that the Taliban would have handed over Bin Laden. We refused. Is this disputed? Yes. Were we right to favour the Northern Alliance? No. They were as bad as the Taliban, but more ..... unpredictable.

Given our support of Saudi and knowing their interventions, as well as Pakistan, we were stupid to intervene. !--

Kevin P Brown Carly435 , 2016-05-05 19:28:39
Robin is relentless is arguing AGAINST, but he is quite light on arguing for anything. It is an interesting question as to what he stands for.

His main argument is that zero information from "right wing" press is true. He seems unaware that at times, actual facts are presented or not presented or suppressed by either media outlet, depending on their corporate ownership and management slant of what should be reported. Me? I read everything and decide if something is a fact. It is strange that factual reporting about the actual many many FOIA lawsuits only gets printed in right wing press. They of course have an agenda, but does not negate the facts they report. Like Clinton being allowed to be deposed in a civil FOIA suit. That is a fact, with quotes from the Judge. CNN? I guess they couldn't afford to report this factual development.

When you only read the press looking for a partisan set of narratives, you end up being partisan and ill informed. When you read all the flavours of press in an desire to inform yourself, when your goal is not a narrative but factual accounts of the truth, then you can be better informed. So we have partisans, who only view Fox and we also have partisans who only view CNN. Both are as bad as each other. One must be capable of decreeing the motives of each, and discarding the nonfactual narratives, and then one can be fully informed.

Robin makes the assumption that facts only occur in his selected set of informational partisan sources. Why? Because he is partisan. This then enables him to argue against a narrative, rather than support his own narrative. He plays the neat trick of simply discarding any factual reporting from places like Breibart. One can see interesting lacks of coverage on google search.

Kevin P Brown RobInTN , 2016-05-05 19:19:20
"Libel is a method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person's reputation, exposes a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business or profession."

So surely in America, Clinton with her wealth would take some legal action? I would if I had her money, and wealth. Interesting that she has not? Perhaps you could write to her and suggest she defend herself in a real and palpable way? !--

dutchview lsbg_t , 2016-05-05 18:17:57
Yes and a lot of the press are trying to bury the news about another Sanders success. When you look at how many voting districts he comes out top in, in is a large percentage. Clinton tends to get closer or take the district if their is a higher population density.

The influence of the super delegates is a scandal in a "democratic process". !--

Vladimir Makarenko digit , 2016-05-05 17:00:45
First I would be very careful taking what G gives, it is nowadays "fixing" news like Fox. Most reliable, if speaking about polls the word can be used, is results of metastudies:
http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2016-general-election-trump-vs-clinton
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton-5491.html
Both give today's Clinton of 6% when Sanders is whopping 13+%
So when Hillary's shills preaching how easily she "beats" Trump, they lie. Only Bernie can do this or or see Oval Office moved to Atlantic City.

!--

luminog simpledino , 2016-05-05 12:48:54
If Bernie does not get the nomination it will be the wilderness for the Democrats - no young voters no independents - unless they can conjure a principled candidate somehow from somewhere.

Clinton won't cut it and she won't beat Trump. Trump will out her on every crooked deal she has been involved in. !--

Kevin P Brown hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-05 12:23:14
You'll then cycle back to the lesser of two evils, that Democrats like Obama and Clinton are needed to help the poor blacks and minorities. To me this is a myth. The poor get fucked no matter what party is in office.

Is this is a Fox News plant article? yeah yeah, let's vote Clinton who promises a continuation of Obama's policies. Will Trump make this much worse? Maybe. Trump or Clinton will in my opinion do little to improve these issues quoted below. You have a different opinion. Great.

" http://www.blackpressusa.com/is-black-america-better-off-under-obama /

"Like the rest of America, Black America, in the aggregate, is better off now than it was when I came into office," said President Obama on December 19, in response to a question by Urban Radio Networks White House Correspondent April Ryan.

What planet African Americans are doing "better off" on is unknown. What is known is that President Obama is about to leave office with African Americans in their worst economic situation since Ronald Reagan . A look at every key stat as President Obama starts his sixth year in office illustrates that.

Unemployment. The average Black unemployment under President Bush was 10 percent. The average under President Obama after six years is 14 percent. Black unemployment, "has always been double" [that of Whites] but it hasn't always been 14 percent. The administration was silent when Black unemployment hit 16 percent – a 27-year high – in late 2011 .

Poverty. The percentage of Blacks in poverty in 2009 was 25 percent; it is now 27 percent. The issue of poverty is rarely mentioned by the president or any members of his cabinet. Currently, more than 45 million people – 1 in 7 Americans – live below the poverty line.

The Black/White Wealth Gap. The wealth gap between Blacks and Whites in America is at a 24-year high. A December study by PEW Research Center revealed the average White household is worth $141,900, and the average Black household is worth $11,000. From 2010 to 2013, the median income for Black households plunged 9 percent.

Income inequality. "Between 2009 and 2012 the top one percent of Americans enjoyed 95 percent of all income gains, according to research from U.C. Berkeley," reported The Atlantic. It was the worst since 1928. As income inequality has widened during President Obama's time in office, the president has endorsed tax policy that has widened inequality, such as the Bush Tax cuts.

Education: The high school dropout rate has improved during the Obama administration. However, currently 42 percent of Black children attend high poverty schools, compared to only 6 percent of White students. The Department of Education's change to Parent PLUS loans requirements cost HBCU's more than $150 million and interrupted the educations of 28,000-plus HBCU students.

SBA Loans. In March 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that only 1.7 percent of $23 billion in SBA loans went to Black-owned businesses in 2013, the lowest loan of SBA lending to Black businesses on record. During the Bush presidency, the percentage of SBA loans to Black businesses was 8 percent – more than four times the Obama rate.

Kevin P Brown Kevin P Brown , 2016-05-05 12:16:44
"All the equations showed strikingly uni- form statistical results: racism as we have measured it was a significantly disequalizing force on the white income distribution, even when other factors were held constant. A 1 percent increase in the ratio of black to white median incomes (that is, a 1 percent decrease in racism) was associated with a .2 percent decrease in white inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient. The corresponding effect on top 1 percent share of white income was two and a half times as large, indicating that most of the inequality among whites generated by racism was associated with increased income for the richest 1 percent of white families. Further statistical investigation reveals that increases in the racism variable had an insignifi- cant effect on the. share received by the poorest whites and resulted in a decrease in the income share of the whites in the middle income brackets."
Kevin P Brown hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-05 12:16:13
"What I said, and still maintain, is that the struggle against racism is as important as the struggle against other forms of oppression, including those with economic and financial causes."

We can agree on this statement. However, do we need to recognise that legislation alone will not solve racism. A percentage of poor people turn against the "other" and apportion blame for their issues.

http://tomweston.net/ReichRacism.pdf

Try reading this.

" that campaign finance and banking reform will fix everything"

Of course not. But when you have an issue you can continually put bandaids on the symptoms or you can perform a root cause analysis and then proceed to fix these root causes. The fact is that politicians are disinclined to put the needs of voters first, they tend to pay lip service to the needs of voters, while spending 60% of their time interacting with rich donors, who are very good are articulating their needs, as they hand over large sums of money. This system creates a log jam to reform. If we can return the immutable link to the voters interests, and congress them reform of economic distortions that support racism become far far easier. Motive of change and motives of votes become transparent.

"The various forms of discrimination are not separable in real life. Employers' hiring and promotion practices; resource allocation in city schools; the structure of transportation sys- tems; residential segregation and housing quality; availability of decent health care; be- havior of policemen and judges; foremen's prejudices; images of blacks presented in the media and the schools; price gouging in ghetto stores-these and the other forms of social and economic discrimination interact strongly with each other in determining the occupational status and annual income, and welfare, of black people. The processes are not simply additive but are mutually reinforcing. Often, a decrease in one narrow form of discrimination is accompanied by an increase in another form. Since all aspects of racism interact, an analysis of racism should incorporate all its as- pects in a unified manner."

My thesis is this: build economic equality and the the pressing toxins of racism diminish. But yeah dismiss Sanders as a one issue candidate. he is a politician, which I acknowledge. He has a different approach to clinton who will micro triangulate constantly depending on who she in front of. I find his approach ore honest. Your mileage may vary.

" money spent on campaigns does not correlate very highly to winning"

No but overall money gets to decide on a narrow set of compliance in the candidates. But it still correlates to winning. Look at the Greens with no cash. Without the cash, they will never win. Sanders has proved that 1. We do not need to depend on the rich power brokers to select narrowly who will be presented as a candidate. 2. He has proved that a voter can donate and compete with corporate donations. I would rather scads of voter cash financing rather than corporate cash buying influence. ABSCAM was a brief flash, never repeated to show us what really happens in back rooms when a wad of cash arrives with a politician. That we cannot PROVE what happens off the grid, we can and should rely on common sense about the influence of money. 85% of the American people believe cash buys influence. The only influence on a politician should be the will of the people. Sure, corporates can speak. Speech is free. Corporate cash as speech is a different matter. It is a moral corruption.

"most contributions come after electoral success"

Yes part of the implied contract of corporates and people like the Koch Brothers: Look after us and we will look after you. We will keep you in power, as long as you slant the legislation to favour us over the voters.

You do realise the Clinton Foundation bought the assets of the DLC, a defunct organisation. Part of the assets are the documents and records that contain the information about the Koch Brothers donations and their executives joining the "management" of the DLC. Why would a Charity be interested in the DLC documents? Ah it is a Clinton Foundation. Yeah yeah, there is no proof of anything is there. No law was broken. Do I smell something ? Does human nature guide my interpretation absent a clear statement from the Foundation of this "investment"?? Yes.

We have to start SOMEWHERE. Root causes are the best place to start.

Democrat or Republican, Blacks and Whites at the bottom are thrown in a race for the bottom and this helps fuel the impoverishment of both. It is fuel to feed racism. My genuine belief.

digit Vladimir Makarenko , 2016-05-05 12:07:33
Sorry, I mean, here .
buttonbasher81 o_lobo_solitario , 2016-05-05 12:06:44
Why is it wrong for democrats to pick their own party leader? Also Obama beat Hilary last time so what's Bernies problem now? Also why moan about a system that's been in place for decades now, surely the onus was on Sanders to attract more middle of the road dem voters? Finally I'm sure republicans would also love to vote in Sanders, easy to demolish with attack ads before the election (you'll note they've studiously ignored him so far).
Longasyourarm Genpet , 2016-05-05 11:47:49
the world is divided in two, half who are nauseated by the above and the other half who purr in admiration at the clever way Clinton has fucked the public once again. As Mencken said democracy is that system of government in which it is assumed that the common man knows what he wants and deserves to get it good and hard.
Longasyourarm nemesis7 , 2016-05-05 11:44:57
explain to me why the blacks and Hispanics vote for her because it is a mystery to me. She stands for everything they have had to fight against. So you have a 1%er-Wall St.-invade Iraq-subprime-cheat the EU-Goldman Sachs-arms dealing-despot cuddling-fuck the environment coalition. And blacks and Hispanics too? Are they out of their minds? !--
Eric L. Wattree , 2016-05-05 09:19:27
BERNIE SANDERS - OR ZIG AGAINST ZAG
.
If the American people don't come to their senses and give Bernie Sanders the Democratic nomination, we're going to end up with a choice between Zig and Zag. Zig is Donald Trump, and Zag is Hillary Clinton. To paraphrase Mort Sahl back in the sixties, the only difference between the two is if Donald 'Zig' Trump sees a Black child lying in the street, he'd simply order his chauffeur to run over him. If Hillary 'Zag' Clinton saw the kid, she'd also order her chauffeur to run over him, but she'd weep, and go apologize to the NAACP, after she felt the bump.
.
WAKE UP, BLACK PEOPLE!!!
IF YOU DON'T, YOU'LL BE SORRY - AGAIN.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1057244620990215&set=a.136305753084111.28278.100001140610873&type=3&theater

!--

Kevin P Brown hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-05 08:20:53
Giving aid to the Republicans? If you honestly believe that any criticisms I have is worse than what I discuss, you need to give up politics and get a hobby. Trump will for example use her FOIA/email issues like a stick to beat her with. This is not Soviet Russia where we all adopt the party line. I'm not not ever have been a member of the Democratic Party. I COULD have been this year. Now? Never. The solution to the nations problems will come from outside this party.

I prefer neither. You love fearmongering about how worse it will be under trump. Hmmm. I don't buy that tale. Take Black family incomes. In the toilet. Under either party it goes south. Abortion? Like slavery nothing ...... Nothing is going to change. It's too late to change that one. But it's a useful tool to make us believe ONLY Clinton can protect us. Economically the Democrats are essentially the same as the Republicans, more of the same corporate welfare. Would Clinton cut Social Security? Maybe. I don't believe her core statements. Sorry but as a person I just can't buy into the package. Both republicans and democrats on a vague macro level will try to lower unemployment but neither will talk about falling participation. Clinton had already proved she's probably as likely as Trump to get bullets flying. It's her judgement. She's part of the same old we need to intervene yet never understanding the real issues. I despise her unflinching support of Saudi Arabia. That policy is insane!!! Etc etc etc.

You believe a black family gays and women will sing Kumbaya under Clinton and all will be well.

I believe both parties represent essentially the same with small regional differences . !--

SavvasKara irishgaf , 2016-05-05 05:32:13
It would be perhaps remotely marxist if he said comrades. But even that was used by democrats, socialists and even fascists and nazists so I would say that no, there is nothing marxist about it. One of his central messages is that we need to come together and improve our society, that we are all the same, without race or religion, with the same needs and fears as humans.

I even disagree with people saying that he promotes class struggle, he is talking about fair share and he is an ardent supporter of following the laws even when they are against his ideology, which is something that radicals do not tend to do. Radicals do not give a damn about laws and neither do Marxists or far-right wingers, fascists etc. Those groups believe in changing the society through struggle into a model that fits their idea of the world whatever that may be. He simply states his beliefs and suggests laws to adjust the society to human needs, to eat, to live, to prosper in an equal footing. !--

Carly435 RobertHickson2014 , 2016-05-05 05:28:00

It is a rather sad commentary on how the bar of integrity and honesty has been so lowered that it doesn't even faze them


One wonders what makes them call themselves Democrats? Their stance on gun and abortion issues? Certainly not economic and political justice, peace, democracy, or integrity in governance.

Yes, it's been the single most shocking revelation of the entire election year for me as well. Not just the cynicism of the rank-and-file, but the arrogance and isolation of our corrupt Democratic party elite, many of whom still don't seem to grasp that a revolt by progressive Democrats and Independents is already under way. This is one of the forms it may take. !--

Carly435 RobertHickson2014 , 2016-05-05 05:06:51
Recharging is always a good idea ... and never more so than in an election year as turbulent, crazy, uplifting, disillusioning, energizing, maddening and fascinating as this one. I'll also be away (for weeks) toward the end of this month.

Before you go, here's Carl Bernstein's interview with Don Lemon, in case you missed it:

http://www.breitbart.com/video/2016/05/03/bernstein-there-will-be-very-damaging-leaks-from-hillary-email-investigation-her-actions-reckless-and-entitled / !--

nemesis7 , 2016-05-05 03:24:50
Hilary Clinton has various comments that reveals somebody who certainly fits the psychopath spectrum. Among the lowest of the low was "We came, we saw, he died!" Accompanied by a cackle of laughter. This was announced in full view of the media and public when Gadhaffi was overthrown by US assistance.
Are some Democrats so brainwashed that they think a woman president is the answer regardless of what kind of person that woman is? Since when do decent people in politics exult in death like this? Libya's murdered leader was no angel but Hitler he was not and as older people have told me, the deaths of Hitler and Stalin and the like were greeted publicly with muted and dignified relief by western representatives.
Add to that the continual lies that are being aired in public and this is why the USA has lost its way.
Hillary will not see that one criminal in the financial world of the USA will face justice for their mafia-like actions and destruction of billions of dollars and assets while stealing the savings of Americans and non Americans. President Obama hasn't done it and he is not the buddy Hilary is to these people.
And since when does the USA have the ethical superiority to attack countries like Russia for cronyism etc? This is unbelievable - a presidential nominee candidate is being investigated by the FBI and she doesn't stand down?
Wake up Democrats. At least read a book called The Unravelling by an American journalist whose name I forget. This heartbreaking book says it all about the realities for the non privileged and non powerful in todays' America.
I recall David Bowie's beautiful song This Is Not America. The Bernie supporters understand that, all power to him, those who think like him, and his supporters. !--
macktan894 RobInTN , 2016-05-05 02:29:31
Please. She lost that race in South Carolina when her husband, along with Geraldine Ferraro, called Obama being president a fairy tale and an affirmative action candidate, respectively. You can't win with only minority support, but you can't win without any of it if you are a Dem. Up until SC, the Clintons had minority support in the bag--most black people had never heard of Obama. Things changed real fast. !--
Allan Barr , 2016-05-05 02:21:15
Like its not obvious? There is now no paper trail to enable ensuring computer votes are true. A man on the moon can now ensure who is going to be President, that was said by a premier computer security expert.

Along with extensive disenfranchisement, numerous ways its pretty clear these outcomes are preordained. Guess I am not going to be voting for either of the two appointed runners, its pointless. I will vote for Bernie when its time in California. !--

Carly435 RobertHickson2014 , 2016-05-05 02:05:34
And to branch out a bit, there are so many empty stock phrases to choose from in her 2016 campaign alone, including "I'm with her" and "Breaking down barriers" courtesy of her 2008 campaign manager, Mark Penn. Speaking of Penn, there's a hilarious little passage in "Clinton, Inc" (p. 65) which describes Penn running through possible campaign slogans for 2008. "Penn began to walk through all the iterations of Hillary slogans: Solutions for America, Ready for a change, Ready to lead, Big challenges, Real Solutions; Time to pick a President... but then he seem to get a little lost...Working for change, Working for you. There was silence, then snickers as Penn tried to remember all the bumper stickers which run together sounded absurd and indistinguishable. The Hillary I know."....

Oy. ^__^

But to pick out my favorite Hillary statement of the week, in honor of her close associate and fellow gonif, Hillary superdelegate, Sheldon Silver, who recently got 12 years in the slammer:

https://www.americarisingpac.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/clinton-sheldon-silver-meme1.jpg

Some background:

https://www.americarisingpac.org/sheldon-silver-critical-to-hillary-clinton-political-machine /

In 2000, Silver was integral in Clinton's Senate campaign. According to The New York Times, Silver helped Hillary lobby members of the state assembly for their support

So I guess the former speaker of the NY assembly is just gonna have to vote for Hillary from behind bars, instead of at the DNC? How "super-inconvenient." !--

John W , 2016-05-05 01:42:54
Sanders is also leading in the West Virginia polls, which is the next primary. He just might be able to squeak out a victory. !--
Robin Crawford Rouffian , 2016-05-05 01:07:15
If Clinton is the Dem nominee it does more than give me shivers. Heck, I view Hillary as demonstrably more dangerous with foreign policy. Both use identity politics as a decisive issue- which only is a distraction from their lack of policy. Both their economic/domestic policies do little or worse for the current situation. Both are untrustworthy and any rhetoric on policy is highly questionable (although Clinton is certainly the worst in this regard). About the only good thing between either is that Trump is willing to question our empire abroad, which is well overdue (meanwhile Clinton seems to want to expand it).
If it's between those two I vote Green and take the 'Jesse Ventura' option: vote anyone not Dem or Rep. Both parties are two corrupt subsidiaries of their corporate masters. !--
nomorebanksters Jonah92 , 2016-05-04 23:43:43
You are obviously misinformed about Bernie Sanders:
https://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/27110/bernie-sanders#.VypxWXopDqA
Most effective senator for the last 35 years and as Mayor or Burlington stopped corporate real estate developers from turning Burlington into Aspen east coast version.
She voted for the Iraq war, being investigated by the FBI for her emails, there was Benghazi, turning Libya into a ISIS hotbed, allowed a military junta to assassinate a democratically elected president in Honduras and said nothing,
takes $675k from Goldman for 3 speeches and refuses to disclose the transcripts because she KNOWS it'll hurt her, voted for trade deals that's gutted manufacturing in the USA....should I go on? !--
Kevin P Brown hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-04 23:10:01
So please please explain how Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to wave a wand and fix racism? I already know she will not fix poverty, she will slap a few ersatz bandaids onto bills that won't pass and like the spoiled child will seek praise every time mommy gets him to shit on the potty. You might recall a guy called Martin Luther King. he had some words about economic fairness and poverty.

"" In the treatment of poverty nationally, one fact stands out: there are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike . "

nihilism: the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless. The belief that nothing in the world has a real existence.

You love that word but rejection of the dysfunctional state of DNC politics is NOT nihilism. Moral corruption around campaign finance is real. Moral corruption around money and lobbyists is real. The desire to fix this, this is real. Seeking real change is not nihilism. But yes, if it pleases you to continue in every other post with this word, do so. It's misuse says more about you than Sanders. !--

nomorebanksters TehachapiCalifornia , 2016-05-04 23:04:08
Please tell me exactly how much HRC has done for the U.S.? I'm from NYC and when she brought her carpet bagging ass here and as a 2 term senator she pushed 3 pieces of legislation thru. If you look at Bernie Sanders voting record:
https://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/27110/bernie-sanders#.VypxWXopDqA

He's been one of the most effective senators in Congress and has been able to get things done with cooperation from both sides of the aisle.
So tell me again, what's she done that's so notable? !--

nomorebanksters nolashea , 2016-05-04 22:57:13
Uh huh and your supporting a person:
That voted for the Iraq War, destabilized Libya, Benghazi, gave tacit approval to a military junta in Honduras as Secretary of State, called black youth super predators, supports trade agreements that destroy our own manufacturing jobs, takes more money from special interests than her constituency, has made millions in speeches from the bank lobby and won't disclose the transcripts......yeah she's real HONEST......riiigggghhhhttttt....

!--

Kevin P Brown hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-04 22:31:08
"Are you really sure that money buys votes"

Money buys the influence to be selected as a candidate. Normally. 99% of the time. Sometimes a Huey Long populist breaks through the process and scares the fuck out of the power structures. But you know how candidates are selected. Poor smart people never get to run for president unless they build a populist power base. The existing political parties defer to donors. Donors like the Koch Brothers, who happily funded Bill clinton and the DLC made their preferences clear. They didn't invest in a fit of altruistic progressivism. They wanted the DNC to swing right. And voila it did and Bill was anointed as the "one" to run. Don't be so naive.

[May 06, 2016] Ted Cruz, the master strategist, was no match for Trump's cult of personality

Notable quotes:
"... He also has a certain kind of roguish charm and can be quite amusing, which Hillary Clinton rarely is; he'd easily win the "who'd I prefer to have a beer with" competition. ..."
"... How can anyone say that yet? What we DO know is that the Bush-Obama administration has been an unqualified disaster on many fronts. Change, even with the possibility - NOT 'certainty' - of "bad things happening" is much more desirable... ..."
"... The more this election plays out the more I totally understand why Trump has made it this far. I've lived a long time and been politically active my entire adult life, and I've never seen voters send such a resounding and well deserved fuck you to the political elite. ..."
"... Indeed, the failure and dysfunction of the present political system in the US can be traced to one thing: the failure of the fourth estate. It is worse than failure, it is a betrayal of the nation for those thirty pieces of silver. ..."
"... What his campaign ultimately proves, is that only appealing to ideologically conservative Republicans is not enough to win the nom. The bulk of the party is traditionalist and reactionary rather than puritanical. They'll pretty reliably vote for any grumpy old white guy with a sense of humour (Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, Romney, McCain, now Trump). Secondly Cruz misread the issues of the year. People are frustrated because they believe that they are struggling while others are milking them. Trump gets this, so does Bernie. Hillary, not so much. This will be a big problem for her in the general. ..."
"... I'm getting just a bit tired of the feigned "I can't understand it" air of these articles about Donald Trump. The Trump gave the voters in his party the red meat of bigotry and hate that they require. The others dog-whistled a merry tune. Why talk about 'strange political jujitsu'? Why not admit that a large portion of the Republican Party is unloved by their own candidates. Why not look at the fact that Republicans accept the votes of 'poor white trash' but do nothing for them. ..."
www.theguardian.com

The Guardian

Looks like neoliberal Guardian presstitutes love neocons and religious nuts Cruz. Who would guess ? Interesting...


bhyujn Bohemina1 5 May 2016 13:54

No, I did not think that....however, I do think that there is enough awareness of this issue that it does not get dangerously into the main stream in Europe. In the US there much less awareness. Decades of the indoctrination that all bad things are either "communist" or "socialist" has left the door wide open for a return of the populist nationalist. Trump is just that.


bluet00ns 5 May 2016 13:18

"happy campaign"?...review the tapes, "happy" is nowhere in the oily, twisted, display of sly that was cruz's campaign, the numb, if not painful, looks on the faces of family as he trotted them out like props, is exhibit A.


bcarey -> sour_mash 5 May 2016 13:08

My point is that it's common for candidates to suspend their campaigns and continue to collect money.

Definitely true.

However, we must also take into account the fact that the Cruz delegates are still active and maybe able to deliver Cruz.... or Romney if necessary. It is likely that Trump will get way more delegates than needed to stop a contested/open convention, however.

The Cruz suspension is about 2 things. It accomplishes potentially 2 things. Money is just one of them. The other part is Romney, if he can.


fallentower 5 May 2016 13:02

I actually think the Republican Party made a good choice once it was down to "Cruz or Trump" by sitting on its hands and thereby letting Trump win. Of course, Trump is far more likely to do and say unorthodox (from a post-Reagan Republican Party standpoint) things, and will probably increase the tension and turmoil within the party. But he actually has a chance of winning the election; Cruz's smarmy personality and nauseating brand of religious conservatism would have gone down like a lead balloon outside the Bible belt, and he's too committed ideologically to change his policy positions.

Trump will turn on a sixpence and happily disavow things he may have said in the primary if he considers them unhelpful baggage for the general, and because he's seen as a showman rather than a professional politician he'll have much more leeway to do so than your average flip-flopper.

He also has a certain kind of roguish charm and can be quite amusing, which Hillary Clinton rarely is; he'd easily win the "who'd I prefer to have a beer with" competition. Admittedly he is going to have to cut down on the clownishness and ill-disciplined outbursts, but if he gets the right campaign team together and they manage to keep him vaguely on-message I think he'll have good chances. Better than Cruz, anyway, who had zero chance.


sour_mash bcarey 5 May 2016 12:58

I take your point regarding Secret Agent Mormon and I was aware that he had filed with the FEC. My point is that it's common for candidates to suspend their campaigns and continue to collect money.

The exploratory PAC is the new retirement vehicle but that's a different issue.

taxhaven wjousts 5 May 2016 12:58

Trump most certainly is not change for the better.

How can anyone say that yet? What we DO know is that the Bush-Obama administration has been an unqualified disaster on many fronts. Change, even with the possibility - NOT 'certainty' - of "bad things happening" is much more desirable...


Harry Dresdon 5 May 2016 12:42

Good riddance to Cruz. Boehner called him "the devil in the flesh". Cruz would have been way worse for the country than Trump will ever be. Sad but true.


DillyDit2 5 May 2016 12:34

Hey Stephanie Cutter: You think Bernie is responsible for what his supporters think, whether we'll support Hillary, and how we will decide to vote in the fall? Pappa Bernie should tell us what to do, and we should fall in line and salute?

Could Cutter and Hillary's minions be any more clueless?! And could they reveal their top down authoritarian mindset any more clearer?

The more this election plays out the more I totally understand why Trump has made it this far. I've lived a long time and been politically active my entire adult life, and I've never seen voters send such a resounding and well deserved fuck you to the political elite.

I wish I could support Trump, because I second that fuck you. For now, along with what is likely the majority of American voters, all I can do is say- pox on BOTH your houses and may 2020 be the year an Independent runs and wins.

danubemonster 5 May 2016 12:32

I think it is worth comparing Cruz with Nixon. Both men are/were not particularly likable, yet Nixon was able to be a two-term president. Nixon was a conservative, but he was not an ideologue - and he lived in an age where the Republican Party was a relatively broad church. Nixon also have political instincts which were way beyond those of Cruz. He knew how to play high politics, and he knew what was required to get to the White House.

PATROKLUS00 -> Tommy Cooper 5 May 2016 12:14

Trump will beat her to death with being the Queen of the Establishment... the Dems will be idiots to nominate her.

PATROKLUS00 -> voxusa 5 May 2016 12:12

Indeed, the failure and dysfunction of the present political system in the US can be traced to one thing: the failure of the fourth estate. It is worse than failure, it is a betrayal of the nation for those thirty pieces of silver.

PATROKLUS00 -> 8MilesHigh 5 May 2016 12:09

Yup, and the Democrat establishment is too stupid and out of touch to recognize that HRC is just the grist that Trump needs for his anti-establishment mill.

PATROKLUS00 5 May 2016 12:07

Cruz a master strategist???? BWWWWWwwwwwaaaaahhhhhhhaaaaaaaa! Ludicrous ... beyond ludicrous.

Vintage59 David Perry 5 May 2016 12:07

His religious beliefs and the political dogma that goes with them have been well documented. Have you not been paying attention? Do you insist your wife get you a beer from the fridge when you can get off your ass and get it yourself?

8MilesHigh 5 May 2016 12:06

What his campaign ultimately proves, is that only appealing to ideologically conservative Republicans is not enough to win the nom. The bulk of the party is traditionalist and reactionary rather than puritanical. They'll pretty reliably vote for any grumpy old white guy with a sense of humour (Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, Romney, McCain, now Trump). Secondly Cruz misread the issues of the year. People are frustrated because they believe that they are struggling while others are milking them. Trump gets this, so does Bernie. Hillary, not so much. This will be a big problem for her in the general.

MalleusSacerdotum 5 May 2016 12:05

I'm getting just a bit tired of the feigned "I can't understand it" air of these articles about Donald Trump. The Trump gave the voters in his party the red meat of bigotry and hate that they require. The others dog-whistled a merry tune. Why talk about 'strange political jujitsu'? Why not admit that a large portion of the Republican Party is unloved by their own candidates. Why not look at the fact that Republicans accept the votes of 'poor white trash' but do nothing for them.

The Donald has understood the dynamic better than the rest and has given the voters a coherent, albeit repugnant, analysis of their problems. An article like this that can shed no light on the phenomenon that is Trump is hardly worth publishing.

[May 05, 2016] When Neoliberalism Was Young A Lookback on Clintonism before Clinton

IMPORTANT: Neoliberalism as Peters defines it is nothing but elegant concern trolling–claiming to be the staunchest defenders of the lowest order, when really that's just a way to reinforce a crab-bucket mentality that keeps the true elites from making any sacrifices towards a more equitable society.
Notable quotes:
"... The New Republic ..."
"... The Washington Monthly ..."
"... These were the men who made Jonathan Chait what he is today. Chait, after all, would recoil in horror at the policies and programs of mid-century liberals like Walter Reuther or John Kenneth Galbraith or even Arthur Schlesinger, who claimed that "class conflict is essential if freedom is to be preserved, because it is the only barrier against class domination." We know this because he recoils in horror today he so resolutely opposes the more tepid versions of that liberalism that we see in the Sanders campaign. ..."
"... Note the disavowal of all conventional ideologies and beliefs, the affirmation of an open-minded pragmatism guided solely by a bracing commitment to what works. It's a leitmotif of the entire manifesto: Everyone else is blinded by their emotional attachments to the ideas of the past. We, the heroic few, are willing to look upon reality as it is, to take up solutions from any side of the political spectrum, to disavow anything that smacks of ideological rigidity or partisan tribalism. ..."
"... The New Republic ..."
"... Above all, neoliberals loathed unions, especially teachers unions. They still do , except insofar as they're useful funding devices for the contemporary Democratic Party. ..."
"... But reading Peters, it's clear that unions were, from the very beginning, the main target. The problems with unions were many: they protected their members's interests (no mention of how important unions were to getting and protecting Social Security and Medicare); they drove up costs, both in the private and the public sector; they defended lazy, incompetent workers ("We want a government that can fire people who can't or won't do the job.") ..."
"... On the one hand, Peters showed how much the neoliberal was indebted to the Great Society ethos of the 1960s. That ethos was a departure from the New Deal insofar as it took its stand with the most desperate and the most needy, whom it set apart from the rest of society. Michael Harrington's The Other America ..."
"... On the other hand, Peters showed how potent, and potently disabling, that kind of thinking could be. In the hands of neoliberalism, it became fashionable to pit the interests of the poor not against the power of the wealthy but against the working class that had been made into a middle class by America's unions. (We still see that kind of talk among today's Democrats, particularly in debates around free trade, where it is always the unionized worker-never the well paid journalist or economist or corporate CEO -who is expected to make sacrifices on behalf of the global poor. Or among Hillary Clinton supporters, who leverage the interests of African American voters against the interests of white working-class voters, but never against the interests of capital.) ..."
"... There are striking parallels in this to the observation I've made, reading a lot lately, about historical civil rights/racial justice struggles. To wit, one of the greatest drags on the effectiveness of the Civil Rights Movement has been the ability of social/financial elites to make sure that advancement for poor people of color came out of the hides of the working class, rather than from the elites' share. This is clear from the backgrounders on the housing market in e.g. Slatter's Family Properties or Boyle's The Arc of Justice , or the description of the Boston busing issue in I think Perlstein's The Invisible Bridge . ..."
"... For middle-class white homeowners, living in a neighborhood that became mixed-race really did mean the loss of most of the family capital; it's deplorable that it was due to racism, but individuals' anti-racism wasn't going to let them resell at the price they'd paid, nor keep them from the pernicious effects of living in a now-redlined neighborhood. ..."
"... Just the same, for the white populations of Boston's poor neighborhoods, it was all too obvious that Black students were being bused into their schools, not those of the wealthy – which you'll still see today when school-choice means slightly-better schools get hit with more demand than their resources can manage, not that any kid can go to an elite public school (let alone a private one). ..."
"... At the end of the day, neoliberalism as Peters defines it is nothing but elegant concern trolling–claiming to be the staunchest defenders of the lowest order, when really that's just a way to reinforce a crab-bucket mentality that keeps the true elites from making any sacrifices towards a more equitable society. ..."
"... These arguments about semantics are stupid. At one time terms like "conservative", "liberal", "neoconservative", etc. may have meant different things, but we sure as hell know what they mean now. It's just debate team intellectual obfuscation. Meanings change as society needs them to. For instance Republican once implied being against racism. Today, not so much. Still "Republicans" are called "Republicans". ..."
"... Chait knows what "neoliberal" means, he just doesn't like the reality of what it means and what it might imply about him. ..."
coreyrobin.com
It was an odd tweet.

On the one hand, Chait was probably just voicing his disgruntlement with an epithet that leftists and Sanders liberals often hurl against Clinton liberals like Chait.

On the other hand, there was a time, not so long ago, when journalists like Chait would have proudly owned the term neoliberal as an apt description of their beliefs. It was The New Republic , after all, the magazine where Chait made his name, that, along with The Washington Monthly , first provided neoliberalism with a home and a face.

Now, neoliberalism, of course, can mean a great many things , many of them associated with the right. But one of its meanings-arguably, in the United States, the most historically accurate-is the name that a small group of journalists, intellectuals, and politicians on the left gave to themselves in the late 1970s in order to register their distance from the traditional liberalism of the New Deal and the Great Society. The original neoliberals included, among others, Michael Kinsley, Charles Peters, James Fallows, Nicholas Lemann, Bill Bradley, Bruce Babbitt, Gary Hart, and Paul Tsongas. Sometimes called "Atari Democrats," these were the men-and they were almost all men-who helped to remake American liberalism into neoliberalism, culminating in the election of Bill Clinton in 1992.

These were the men who made Jonathan Chait what he is today. Chait, after all, would recoil in horror at the policies and programs of mid-century liberals like Walter Reuther or John Kenneth Galbraith or even Arthur Schlesinger, who claimed that "class conflict is essential if freedom is to be preserved, because it is the only barrier against class domination." We know this because he recoils in horror today he so resolutely opposes the more tepid versions of that liberalism that we see in the Sanders campaign.

It's precisely the distance between that lost world of 20th century American labor liberalism and contemporary liberals like Chait that the phrase "neoliberalism" is meant, in part , to register.

We can see that distance first declared, and declared most clearly, in Charles Peters's famous " A Neoliberal's Manifesto ," which Tim Barker reminded me of last night. Peters was the founder and editor of The Washington Monthly , and in many ways the éminence grise of the neoliberal movement. In re-reading Peters's manifesto-I remember reading it in high school; that was the kind of thing a certain kind of nerdy liberal-ish sophomore might do-I'm struck by how much it sets out the lineaments of Chait-style thinking today.

The basic orientation is announced in the opening paragraph:

We still believe in liberty and justice for all, in mercy for the afflicted and help for the down and out. But we no longer automatically favor unions and big government or oppose the military and big business. Indeed, in our search for solutions that work, we have to distrust all automatic responses, liberal or conservative.

Note the disavowal of all conventional ideologies and beliefs, the affirmation of an open-minded pragmatism guided solely by a bracing commitment to what works. It's a leitmotif of the entire manifesto: Everyone else is blinded by their emotional attachments to the ideas of the past. We, the heroic few, are willing to look upon reality as it is, to take up solutions from any side of the political spectrum, to disavow anything that smacks of ideological rigidity or partisan tribalism.

That Peters wound up embracing solutions in the piece that put him comfortably within the camp of GOP conservatism (he even makes a sop to school prayer) never seemed to disturb his serenity as a self-identified iconoclast. That was part of the neoliberal esprit de corps: a self-styled philosophical promiscuity married to a fairly conventional ideological fidelity.

Listen to how former New Republic owner Marty Peretz described (h/t Tim Barker) that ethos in his lookback on The New Republic of the 1970s and 1980s:

My then-wife and I bought the New Republic in 1974. I was at the time a junior faculty member at Harvard, and I installed a former student, Michael Kinsley, as its editor. We put out a magazine that was intellectually daring, I like to think, and politically controversial.

We were for the Contras in Nicaragua; wary of affirmative action; for military intervention in Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur; alarmed about the decline of the family. The New Republic was also an early proponent of gay rights. We were neoliberals. We were also Zionists, and it was our defense of the Jewish state that put us outside the comfort zone of modern progressive politics.

Except for gay rights and one or two items in that grab bag of foreign interventions, what is Peretz saying here beyond the fact that his politics consisted mainly of supporting various planks from the Republican Party platform? That was the intellectual daring, apparently.

Returning to that first paragraph of Peters's piece, we find the basic positions of the neoliberal persuasion: opposition to unions and big government, support for the military and big business.

Above all, neoliberals loathed unions, especially teachers unions. They still do , except insofar as they're useful funding devices for the contemporary Democratic Party.

But reading Peters, it's clear that unions were, from the very beginning, the main target. The problems with unions were many: they protected their members's interests (no mention of how important unions were to getting and protecting Social Security and Medicare); they drove up costs, both in the private and the public sector; they defended lazy, incompetent workers ("We want a government that can fire people who can't or won't do the job.")

Against unions, or conventional unions, Peters held out the promise of ESOPs , where workers would forgo higher wages and benefits in return for stock options and ownership. He happily pointed to the example of Weirton Steel :

…where the workers accepted a 32 percent wage cut to keep their company alive. They will not be suckers because they will own the plant and share in the future profits their sacrifice makes possible. It's better for a worker to keep a job by accepting $12 an hour than to lose it by insisting on $19.

(Sadly, within two decades, Weirton Steel was dead, and with it, those future profits and wages for which those workers had sacrificed in the early 1980s.)

But above all, Peters and other neoliberals saw unions as the instruments of the most vile subjugation of the most downtrodden members of society:

A poor black child might have a better chance of escaping the ghetto if we fired his incompetent middle-class teacher.

The urban public schools have in fact become the principal instrument of class oppression in America, keeping the lower orders in their place while the upper class sends its children to private schools.

And here we see in utero how the neoliberal argument works its magic on the left.

On the one hand, Peters showed how much the neoliberal was indebted to the Great Society ethos of the 1960s. That ethos was a departure from the New Deal insofar as it took its stand with the most desperate and the most needy, whom it set apart from the rest of society. Michael Harrington's The Other America , for example, treated the poor not as a central part of the political economy, as the New Deal did. The poor were superfluous to that economy: there was America, which was middle-class and mainstream; there was the "other," which was poor and marginal. The Great Society declared a War on Poverty, which was thought to be a project different from from managing and regulating the economy.

On the other hand, Peters showed how potent, and potently disabling, that kind of thinking could be. In the hands of neoliberalism, it became fashionable to pit the interests of the poor not against the power of the wealthy but against the working class that had been made into a middle class by America's unions. (We still see that kind of talk among today's Democrats, particularly in debates around free trade, where it is always the unionized worker-never the well paid journalist or economist or corporate CEO -who is expected to make sacrifices on behalf of the global poor. Or among Hillary Clinton supporters, who leverage the interests of African American voters against the interests of white working-class voters, but never against the interests of capital.)

Teachers' unions in the inner cities were ground zero of the neoliberal obsession. But it wasn't just teachers' unions. It was all unions:

In both the public and private sector, unions were seeking and getting wage increases that had the effect of reducing or eliminating employment opportunities for people who were trying to get a foot on the first run of the ladder.

And it wasn't just unions that were a problem. It was big-government liberalism as a whole:

Too many liberals…refused to criticize their friends in the industrial unions and the civil service who were pulling up the ladder. Thus liberalism was becoming a movement of those who had arrived, who cared more about preserving and expanding their own gains than about helping those in need.

That government jobs are critical for women and African Americans -- as Annie Lowrey shows in a excellent recent piece -- has long been known in traditional liberal and labor circles. That that fact has only recently been registered among journalists-who, even when they take the long view, focus almost exclusively, as Lowrey does, on the role of GOP governors in the aughts rather than on these long-term shifts in Democratic Party thinking-tells us something about the break between liberalism and neoliberalism that Chait believes is so fanciful.

Oddly, as soon as Peters was done attacking unions and civil-service jobs for doling out benefits to the few-ignoring all the women and people of color who were increasingly reliant on these instruments for their own advance-he turned around and attacked programs like Social Security and Medicare for doing precisely the opposite: protecting everyone.

Take Social Security. The original purpose was to protect the elderly from need. But, in order to secure and maintain the widest possible support, benefits were paid to rich and poor alike. The catch, of course, is that a lot of money is wasted on people who don't need it.

Another way the practical and the idealistic merge in neoliberal thinking in is our attitude toward income maintenance programs like Social Security, welfare, veterans' pensions, and unemployment compensation. We want to eliminate duplication and apply a means test to these programs. They would all become one insurance program against need.

As a practical matter, the country can't afford to spend money on people who don't need it-my aunt who uses her Social Security check to go to Europe or your brother-in-law who uses his unemployment compensation to finance a trip to Florida. And as liberal idealists, we don't think the well-off should be getting money from these programs anyway-every cent we can afford should go to helping those really in need.

Kind of like Hillary Clinton criticizing Bernie Sanders for supporting free college education for all on the grounds that Donald Trump's kids shouldn't get their education paid for? (And let's not forget that as recently as the last presidential campaign, the Democratic candidate was more than willing to trumpet his credentials as a cutter of Social Security and Medicare , though thankfully he never entertained the idea of turning them into means-tested programs.)

It's difficult to make sense of what truly drives this contradiction, whereby one liberalism is criticized for supporting only one segment of the population while another liberalism is criticized for supporting all segments, including the poor.

It could be as simple as the belief that government should work on behalf of only the truly disadvantaged, leaving everyone else to the hands of the market. That that turned out to be a disaster for the truly disadvantaged-with no one besides themselves to speak up on behalf of anti-poverty programs, those programs proved all too easy to eliminate, not by a Republican but by a Democrat -seems not to have much troubled the sleep of neoliberalism. Indeed, in the current election, it is Hillary Clinton's support for the 1994 crime bill rather than the 1996 welfare reform bill that has gotten the most attention, even though she proudly stated in her memoir that she not only supported the 1996 bill but rounded up votes for it.

Or perhaps it's that neoliberals of the left, like their counterparts on the right , simply came to believe that the market was for winners, government for losers. Only the poor needed government; everyone else was made for capitalism. "Risk is indeed the essence of the movement," declared Peters of his merry band of neoliberal men, and though he had something different in mind when he said that, it's clear from the rest of his manifesto that the risk-taking entrepreneur really was what made his and his friends' hearts beat fastest.

Our hero is the risk-taking entrepreneur who creates new jobs and better products. "Americans," says Bill Bradley, "have to begin to treat risk more as an opportunity and not as a threat."

Whatever the explanation for this attitude toward government and the poor, it's clear that we're still living in the world the neoliberals made.

When Clinton's main line of attack against Sanders is that his proposals would increase the size of the federal government by 40%, when her hawkishness remains an unapologetic part of her campaign, when unions barely register except as an ATM for the Democratic Party, and Wall Street firmly declares itself to be in her camp, we can hear that opening call of Peters-"But we no longer automatically favor unions and big government or oppose the military and big business"-shorn of all awkward hesitation and convoluted formulations, articulated instead in the forthright syntax of common sense and everyday truth.

Perhaps that is why Jonathan Chait cannot tell the difference between liberalism and neoliberalism.

Update (April 29)

I wrote a follow-up post here , in which I respond to Chait's response.

  1. Phil Perspective April 27, 2016 at 9:30 pm | #
    What a scumbag Peters is. It's more of a crime, however, that Mother Jones hired one of Peters's flunkies. reply
  • SocraticGadfly April 27, 2016 at 10:13 pm | #
    Jon Chait, Obama's journalistic fellator-in-chief. Possibly has passed My Head Is Flat Friedman as Acela Corridor's chief writer of political dreck. reply
  • SocraticGadfly April 27, 2016 at 10:36 pm | #
    Oh, and free #ImWithHer T-shirts for all:

    https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNyEhYtblnbdre1nYTW9pvxeri8AW-A_s7JEBAI0ZSS_enpcDGqthfKTGNmwbWhpQ?key=RWJQQUtBQ0NGOFZvMHJfblJ0T1E1SW1oWjNFc2R3

  • Harold April 30, 2016 at 12:00 pm | #
    And the T-shirts are white, I'm sure.

    I'm trying to come up with a good acronym for "Conservative in All But Name," for Clinton and Chait and all their ilk, because DINO just isn't strong enough.

  • Harold April 30, 2016 at 12:02 pm | #
    Sorry, I posted before I clicked the link. What I should have said is, "And all the real #ImWithHer T-shirts are white, I'm sure." reply
  • John Maher April 28, 2016 at 12:10 am | #
    All alums of U Michigan have a bounded middle class rationality they do not realize is white privilege. And their football team still can not beat a bunch of half-wits from Ohio State.

    Prof. Robin:I know this is not an advice column but my problem is all my friends roll their eyes when I use the phrase 'neoliberal'. They assume it is jargon or a cliche. I asked them and only a few actually have a clue as to what 'neoliberal' means. And they still support Hillary. Help! We all know Mrs. Clinton will be our next president, but I am beginning to think even an impossible Trump victory would actually be less damaging than another series of neoliberal encroachments upon what has not yet been amalgamated in the political economy.

    No comment upon the rejection of neoliberalism in the land where it all began as theory? Austria? And the alliance of the extreme right and greens?

  • pols April 28, 2016 at 12:17 am | #
    Thanks for another excellent piece. I couldn't help but think William Graham Sumner upon hearing Peters' disdain for unions. His version is actually harsher. He not only wants to take from B to help C and D but blame B for all of C and D's problems.

    Needless to say, this isn't exactly company any self-respecting liberal would want to keep.

  • phatkhat April 28, 2016 at 12:44 am | #
    Great essay! Will definitely share it around!
  • lazycat1984 April 28, 2016 at 2:09 am | #
    The more I read Peters' essay, the more the word "Objectivist" comes to mind. I had always thought, prior to this column that 'neoliberal' meant a reboot of liberalism in the 19th century sense, which seems to be the sense most economists use it in. Sometimes these labels take on a life of their own. reply
  • Raven Onthill April 28, 2016 at 7:51 am | #
    It seems to me that the common thread connecting the opposition to inclusive social insurance programs and, at the same time, unions is a kind of supremacism: the supremacism of the people who are just a rung above the bottom of the social ladder and want desperately to not be on the bottom. It's odd to see in people who in fact are many rungs from the bottom, but class anxiety is something that most of us experience from time to time.

    It's late – or early – and I wonder if I'll still believe this after more sleep – but it seems to me that this is the thinking of social climbers. Consider Mr. Collins of Pride and Prejudice , having attained a bit of status, and both proud of it and desperate to hang on to it. Or, for that matter, consider the Clintons .

  • Carl Weetabix April 30, 2016 at 5:50 pm | #
    The only people more cutthroat than the old rich, are the new rich. reply
  • Cleveland Frowns April 28, 2016 at 8:30 am | #
    Excellent post as always. I'm not quite understanding the part about how "Clinton supporters … leverage the interests of African American voters against the interests of white working-class voters." It's not that I don't believe the claim, I just can't come up with any examples.
  • Carl Weetabix April 30, 2016 at 5:54 pm | #
    I think he means Hillary trying to turn black voters against Sanders who in theory at least better represents white working-class voters interests better. reply
  • Reza Afshari April 28, 2016 at 9:48 am | #
    Very well articulated. I think you should develop this to an article for the Nation. It is very timely and much needed. Thank you for writing it. reply
  • Roquentin April 28, 2016 at 10:04 am | #
    This was a really good post. This blog is often like an oasis in the midst of a desert of neoliberal (Ha!), reactionary garbage. I have all kinds of things to say about it.

    First and foremost, in recent years I've fallen more under the sway of a Hegelian mode of thinking about political movements, history, and the world. There is no clear example of the dialectical movement of a concept than that of "freedom" or "liberty." What Neoliberalism represents historically is when the concepts and contradictions of Liberalism as it was practiced in the New Deal era were finally turned against themselves and a reversal of it into its opposite. All concepts and notions cut both ways, freedom and liberty are no different. Above all else, that's what neoliberalism, from the Chicago/Austrian School to hack pundits like Chait represent. They have turned the core principles of liberalism on itself and used them to shore up justification for hierarchy and oppression.

    You discuss this in your book, when talking about how freedom for the right means freedom of the owner and freedom of those in power in a more general sense. These questions are central to our entire historical epoch, particularly in the US, and we need to move beyond them. Marxist/socialist ideas and concepts are sorely needed, and the whole political conversation in the US has been built for nearly a century on avoiding any use of them. I maintain that New Deal liberalism was always going to become Neoliberalism, it was inevitable that these concepts would be inverted and if the postwar American Consensus could be reached again it produce the same world we currently inhabit a second time.

  • Will G-R April 28, 2016 at 11:20 am | #
    @Roquentin: Which itself is an ironic little mirror of the contradictions that transformed our concept of "liberalism" in the first place from a principled defense of economic non-interference to a pragmatic support for robust interventionism. It's readily apparent in Mill's On Liberty itself, where the attempt at a utilitarian defense of the laisser-faire principle can ultimately only stand if he carves out exceptions large enough to drive a New Deal or a Great Society through, and thus the original free-market doctrines are left sitting around abandoned, ready to be picked up by neoliberal defenders of inherited wealth and power. Of course Mill also manages to shape this utilitarianism into a vaguely principled apologia for global empire ("Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians provided the end be their improvement" and so on) but after all this sort of racism has always been common throughout the Western political mainstream, notably including precisely the sorts of working-class folks who might have once voted for Wilson and FDR and who now vote for Trump. reply
  • alex April 28, 2016 at 10:45 am | #
    Although outside of the 20th century American scope of this argument-very valuable in its historical specificity-I find the richest conceptual or genealogical expression of the difference between liberalism and neoliberalism to be Foucualt's distinction between Adam Smith and Gary Becker.

    If the ethos of classical liberalism is the partner in exchange, that of neoliberalism is the entrepreneur of the self.

    This analytic remains salient in understanding the neoliberal movement in the late 20th century U.S., even if it introduces slippages in the meaning of liberalism as it is used in Europe versus the United States. The Wendy Brown book linked above does a nice job developing this type of argument.

  • John Maher April 28, 2016 at 12:09 pm | #
    I will share that during election night when Clinton won his first term I was sitting in the same room with Schlesinger, Jr. while we were all watching the precincts report and he was very much into it when the hostess began gyrating and screaming "MY PRESIDENT! MY PRESIDENT!" and that there was no talk of the looming shadow of the neoliberal and all present assumed on some level that the result was a return and validation of the welfare state after Reagan-Bush, the Republic after the terror. Even in the false advertising of the political arena, expectations have never been so confounded for the working class and intellegensia alike. reply
  • ronp April 28, 2016 at 2:55 pm | #
    I think H. Clinton will be fine if elected, the past is the past (well not really), but saying that I really wish electoral success in this country could happen with a purely working class focus – something like Robert Reich's most recent post - http://robertreich.org/ . Could be more workable as the racism of the white working class diminishes, hopefully struggling white middle class racism diminishes too. Left wing policies poll pretty well now, we need to get the poor to vote though.
  • ecb April 28, 2016 at 2:58 pm | #
    As the poor are to neo/liberalism so the "oppressed" are to its partner, the cultural "left".
  • Cavoyo April 28, 2016 at 4:58 pm | #
    "Except for gay rights and one or two items in that grab bag of foreign interventions, what is Peretz saying here beyond the fact that his politics consisted mainly of supporting various planks from the Republican Party platform?"

    There's the old joke that a libertarian is a Republican that smokes pot. Maybe a neoliberal, then, is a Republican that supports gay marriage?

  • TIercelet April 29, 2016 at 3:33 pm | #
    There are striking parallels in this to the observation I've made, reading a lot lately, about historical civil rights/racial justice struggles. To wit, one of the greatest drags on the effectiveness of the Civil Rights Movement has been the ability of social/financial elites to make sure that advancement for poor people of color came out of the hides of the working class, rather than from the elites' share. This is clear from the backgrounders on the housing market in e.g. Slatter's Family Properties or Boyle's The Arc of Justice , or the description of the Boston busing issue in I think Perlstein's The Invisible Bridge .

    For middle-class white homeowners, living in a neighborhood that became mixed-race really did mean the loss of most of the family capital; it's deplorable that it was due to racism, but individuals' anti-racism wasn't going to let them resell at the price they'd paid, nor keep them from the pernicious effects of living in a now-redlined neighborhood.

    Just the same, for the white populations of Boston's poor neighborhoods, it was all too obvious that Black students were being bused into their schools, not those of the wealthy – which you'll still see today when school-choice means slightly-better schools get hit with more demand than their resources can manage, not that any kid can go to an elite public school (let alone a private one).

    At the end of the day, neoliberalism as Peters defines it is nothing but elegant concern trolling–claiming to be the staunchest defenders of the lowest order, when really that's just a way to reinforce a crab-bucket mentality that keeps the true elites from making any sacrifices towards a more equitable society.

    In other words, an old monster to be slain with an old weapon–solidarity, but newly sharpened and strengthened by the knowledge that it must transcend racial and regional and even class divisions.

  • Carl Weetabix April 30, 2016 at 5:48 pm | #
    These arguments about semantics are stupid. At one time terms like "conservative", "liberal", "neoconservative", etc. may have meant different things, but we sure as hell know what they mean now. It's just debate team intellectual obfuscation. Meanings change as society needs them to. For instance Republican once implied being against racism. Today, not so much. Still "Republicans" are called "Republicans".

    Chait knows what "neoliberal" means, he just doesn't like the reality of what it means and what it might imply about him.

  • lazycat1984 April 30, 2016 at 11:29 pm | #
    Exactly. Sorry to indulge in pedantry myself…you are correct.
  • aprudy April 30, 2016 at 7:03 pm | #
    What I love about this essay so much is the ways it echoes what Ken Sharpe taught us in the Fall '83 version of his Latin American Comparative Politics course… I'm pretty sure it was in reference to Jeannie Kirkpatrick but it was a general statement about neoliberals and neocons: This is very close to the exact words – "Anyone who tells you "The harsh reality is…" or "The fact of the matter is…" is either lying to you or hiding a very great deal of what they know to be true."
  • [May 03, 2016] Gaius Publius Hillary Clinton Won New York, But Her Image Is Underwater

    Notable quotes:
    "... Much more comfortable [running against Clinton] and I think everyone that has analyzed this knows that Hillary Clinton is in the ditch. We don't know how far in the ditch she's going to go but she's not doing well. She's not even winning ..."
    "... The DemParty would rather lose with Clinton than win with Sanders. Just as the RepParty would rather lose with Cruz than win with Trump. ..."
    "... If she was a rationally thinking human being she would have taken the hint when she got beaten by Obama in '08. Actually she should never have run in '08. Her basic conundrum is: how can she claim to be an empowered strong woman when ALL of her power is derived from the fact she was married to a prez and stuck through him through all his problems with many "other women". ..."
    "... I don't care if she sleeps with other women – the fact that she's in bed with Wall Street is way more troubling. ..."
    "... And the sad part is with Hillary we're probably going to miss the O-bomber when he's gone. ..."
    "... she's a devout Ayn Randian, carries a grudge, gets extremely angry, doesn't have any idea of what the difference between truth and lies is, and has a sense of self-entitlement as wide as the Atlantic Ocean. ..."
    "... The Democratic machine hates Sanders even more than it hates Trump and the Republicans. They hate everything he stands for. ..."
    "... They would rather see Trump win than Sanders. He asks too many inconvenient questions. Trump can be handled, like Reagan or Bush II. ..."
    "... there's obvious downside to pissing off a well-connected major political and financial player with a long memory, as opposed to a candidate with few lucrative contacts whose second act after his big swing for the fences is a probably quiet retirement. ..."
    "... As several people have pointed out, a win with Sanders is the second (or third) best outcome for the establishment. So far, the best-case scenario is still in the bag if they stick with her, and in jeopardy if they don't. It's delusional to think Sanders has a chance with them, even moreso than the Clinton supporters in 2008 who thought they could engineer an upset over Obama with convention procedures. ..."
    "... So how did Hillary Clinton beat out the popular Senator Bernie Sanders in New York State where he was born and raised? Where he was drawing rallies of tens of thousands of supporters in the week before the primary? Where his ground game had the engaged support of thousands of members of the Working Families Party and Occupy Wall Street activists? The system was rigged to guarantee the outcome just as the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington guarantees that looting the little guy remains a lucrative business model on Wall Street. ..."
    "... I confess to feeling despair for the survival of human civilization, of humanity and all complex life on Earth. The proximate reason for this is the theft of the New York Democratic primary by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. As for the fraud itself, it is a now familiar litany: Flipped registrations, machine switched votes, massive voter roll purges and much more. Consider just one illustrative example: Brooklyn. Brooklyn is run by the Kings County Democratic Party. A Chicago Mayor Dick Daley style political machine is in complete charge. Nothing happens there by accident. All "accidents" are carefully planned! And a lot of "accidents" occurred on primary election day there! Taken together these add up to election FRAUD. ..."
    "... HRC and Bill are the Macbeths of US politics. They should have quit with their hundreds of millions while they were ahead. Hillary may win the election but she'll lose the war. They will have so many scandals to deal with they won't know what hit them. ..."
    "... Bern in Hellary, Clintons! ..."
    "... president who was a one term president ..."
    naked capitalism

    Those numbers have no influence on the state-by-state results but offer a window into both the success of Sanders in generating enthusiasm and Clinton's inability to capitalize on all her political advantages . Since October, when her candidacy began rising again after several months of controversy about her use of a private email server, she has been on a downward slide. Her lead over the senator from Vermont has dropped from what was then a 31-point advantage to the current two points .

    Meanwhile, her negative ratings have been rising and now outweigh her positives by 24 points , according to the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll. That makes her seen no more favorably than Cruz is. Her only salvation is that Trump's net negative is minus 41. Sanders, meanwhile, has a net positive of nine points - although it's fair to say that one reason for that is that he has received far less in the way of attacks from Republicans or scrutiny from the media than Clinton has. [This last is standard Clinton camp spin; conventional explanation until shown otherwise]

    Clinton's image is at or near record lows among major demographic groups. Among men, she is at minus 40. Among women, she is at minus nine. Among whites, she is at minus 39. Among white women, she is at minus 25. Among white men, she is at minus 72. Her favorability among whites at this point in the election cycle is worse than President Obama's ever has been, according to Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who conducted the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll with Democratic pollster Peter Hart.

    Minority voters have been the linchpin of Clinton's nomination strategy and were a key to her success in New York. Among African Americans nationally, the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll shows her with a net positive of 51 points. But that's down 13 points from her first-quarter average and is about at her lowest ever. Among Latinos, her net positive is just two points , down from plus 21 points during the first quarter.

    Reince Priebus earlier described the Clinton candidacy as " in the ditch ":

    "Much more comfortable [running against Clinton] and I think everyone that has analyzed this knows that Hillary Clinton is in the ditch. We don't know how far in the ditch she's going to go but she's not doing well. She's not even winning," Priebus said.

    different clue , April 22, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    The DemParty would rather lose with Clinton than win with Sanders. Just as the RepParty would rather lose with Cruz than win with Trump.

    And since Trump is stronger against the RepParty than Sanders is against the DemParty, Trump will very likely be nominated while Sanders very likely won't. So in a situation of Trump vs. Clinton, many people will face an agonizing choice.

    Now . . . if the ReParty nominates Cruz or someother branded establishment ReParty member, then Clinton will likely win.

    EndOfTheWorld , April 22, 2016 at 7:12 am

    If she was a rationally thinking human being she would have taken the hint when she got beaten by Obama in '08. Actually she should never have run in '08. Her basic conundrum is: how can she claim to be an empowered strong woman when ALL of her power is derived from the fact she was married to a prez and stuck through him through all his problems with many "other women". Plus, her personality, voice, cackle, even the mere sight of her is repulsive to many people. Another thing that will have to be dealt with during the general is: is she or is she not gay? Voters will certainly be curious about that.

    edmondo , April 22, 2016 at 8:26 am

    I don't care if she sleeps with other women – the fact that she's in bed with Wall Street is way more troubling.

    ambrit ,April 22, 2016 at 9:58 am

    +1

    crittermom , April 22, 2016 at 10:49 am

    +100

    thoughtful person , April 22, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    +1000

    aliteralmind , April 22, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    +100,000

    Elizabeth , April 22, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    +500,000

    Steve , April 22, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    +$675,000

    Ensign Nemo , April 24, 2016 at 3:49 am

    +$153,000,000

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/05/politics/hillary-clinton-bill-clinton-paid-speeches/

    JoeK , April 22, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    I think a lot about a person's character is revealed by their laugh; hers is mirthless and mean, perfectly consonant with her generally strident tone of voice. Obama may be as narcissistic and have run for the office as much for the sake of trophy-seeking, but at least his voice doesn't grate.

    oh , April 22, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    oh really?

    jrs , April 22, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    It grates on me, as does his condescending words, his face etc.. But that's because of who he is. See he might objectively be judged as a fairly good looking guy but, who can't even see that anymore given his evil. And the sad part is with Hillary we're probably going to miss the O-bomber when he's gone.

    Josquin , April 22, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Clinton's quite rational. She's also smart, logical, and perceptive. On the other hand, she's a devout Ayn Randian, carries a grudge, gets extremely angry, doesn't have any idea of what the difference between truth and lies is, and has a sense of self-entitlement as wide as the Atlantic Ocean.

    This is her election. She doesn't care if she brings down the entire corrupt edifice of her own party, as reconfigured under the administration of her husband, as long as she gets the nomination. And if that puts the Dems out in the wilderness long enough for them to realize they need to return to being the party of the unions, the minorities, the working classes? Great.

    But my bet is that first, for however long it takes, if they lose they'll blame it on Sanders and all those groups they used to support, and now spit on.

    Richard Smith , April 22, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Gaius is right about the numbers and the trends. But even if Hillary's numbers plummet to catastrophic levels –to below Trump, which could happen if he cleans up his act as he is setting out to do right now - don't hold your breath for the DNC to nominate the only obvious potential winner, Bernie Sanders.

    The Democratic machine hates Sanders even more than it hates Trump and the Republicans. They hate everything he stands for. He's a socialist (of a mild sort). The Dems and Repubs are all plutocrats. They would rather see Trump win than Sanders. He asks too many inconvenient questions. Trump can be handled, like Reagan or Bush II.

    phil , April 22, 2016 at 11:18 am

    It's also worth noting that comparisons between Clinton and Sanders say nothing about the matchup between Clinton and whatever emerges from the GOP swamp. Approval ratings are more relevant, but are still an unreliable proxy, and even they show her competitive once the GOP candidates wreck the curve.

    Picking Clinton, IOW, has no serious downside if you're worried about beating a GOP Presidential candidate. However, there's obvious downside to pissing off a well-connected major political and financial player with a long memory, as opposed to a candidate with few lucrative contacts whose second act after his big swing for the fences is a probably quiet retirement.

    As several people have pointed out, a win with Sanders is the second (or third) best outcome for the establishment. So far, the best-case scenario is still in the bag if they stick with her, and in jeopardy if they don't. It's delusional to think Sanders has a chance with them, even moreso than the Clinton supporters in 2008 who thought they could engineer an upset over Obama with convention procedures.

    Bev , April 22, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Americans know that our political system is completely rotten. Just two days ago, NBC News published the results of a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. It found the following: "Nearly seven-in-10 registered voters say they couldn't see themselves supporting Republican frontrunner Donald Trump; 61 percent say they couldn't back fellow Republican Ted Cruz; and 58 percent couldn't see themselves voting for Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton."

    Above quote from: http://wallstreetonparade.com/2016/04/new-york-does-elections-like-it-does-wall-street-with-its-finger-on-the-scale/

    New York Does Elections Like It Does Wall Street: With Its Finger on the Scale
    By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 20, 2016

    Consistent with numerous other polls, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll also found that "just 19 percent of all respondents give Clinton high marks for being honest and trustworthy." So how did Hillary Clinton beat out the popular Senator Bernie Sanders in New York State where he was born and raised? Where he was drawing rallies of tens of thousands of supporters in the week before the primary? Where his ground game had the engaged support of thousands of members of the Working Families Party and Occupy Wall Street activists? The system was rigged to guarantee the outcome just as the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington guarantees that looting the little guy remains a lucrative business model on Wall Street.


    …………

    via Richard Charnin https://richardcharnin.wordpress.com

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1sGxtIofohrj3POpwq-85Id2_fYKgvgoWbPZacZw0XlY/edit?pref=2&pli=1#gid=1476097125

    Those states marked in yellow on the spreadsheet indicate Fraud. There are a lot of states that were stolen.
    ………

    Maybe Sanders is saving up all this brilliant evidence from Richard Charnin and others to use in any contested fight for the nomination. I think it could be powerful leverage that could undo the blatant theft of votes, theft of democracy by Party leaders. Perhaps…

    https://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/ny-democratic-primary-more-frustration/

    NY Democratic Primary: More Frustration
    Richard Charnin

    As always, the final CNN exit poll was forced to match the recorded vote.

    http://www.cnn.com/election/primaries/polls/NY/Dem

    View the Early Exit Poll vs. Final (matched to recorded vote) vs. True Vote

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1sGxtIofohrj3POpwq-85Id2_fYKgvgoWbPZacZw0XlY/edit#gid=1433317684
    snip

    The UNADJUSTED exit poll indicated a close race. Hillary led by just 52-48%, an 11.8% discrepancy from the recorded vote. There were 1391 respondents and a 2.6% exit poll Margin of Error. Clinton led by a whopping 62-38% in the vote count with 33% of precincts reporting.

    At 9:03 pm, there were 1307 exit poll respondents, Clinton led the actual count by 680-622 (52.0-47.6%). With just 84 additional respondents (1391 total), Clinton's lead increased to 802-589 (57.7-42.3%). She had 122 additional respondents and Sanders had 33 fewer.

    How can Clinton gain 122 of 84 respondents? How can Sanders' total drop? They can't. It is mathematically impossible. Therefore the final vote has to be impossible as well. . The exit poll was forced to match the recorded vote with impossible adjustments.
    snip

    In 2014, NY voter registration was 49D-24R-27I. The split was 85D-15I in the exit poll, which (as always) was forced to match the 57.9-42.1% recorded vote.

    Assuming primary voting was proportional to registration, the split would have been 65D-35I and the race would have been a tie. If Clinton had 58% of Democrats, Sanders won the election by 52.5-47.5%.
    snip

    Assuming that Sanders' 48% exit poll was accurate, he must have won the election due to thousands of suppressed votes. Sanders True Vote = 48% exit poll + suppressed vote.

    Let's assume that 5% of registered voters (400,000) were disenfranchised and Sanders had 75%. Then he had 52.9% assuming his 48% exit poll share.
    snip

    Sanders' exit poll share declined in the recorded vote in 18 out of 19 primaries.
    The probability: P=1-binomdist(17,19,.5,true) = 0.000038 = 1 in 26,000.
    ……….

    This information needs updating. It shows that there is already a very big difference between those states which have Caucuses with open public evidence of head/hand counts or paper ballots hand counted vs those in Primaries using the abusive evidence-free/evidence-hidden e-voting/e-scanning machines:

    Democratic Primaries (and Caucuses)

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1sGxtIofohrj3POpwq-85Id2_fYKgvgoWbPZacZw0XlY/edit?pref=2&pli=1

    Sanders Average Vote Shares: 66% in 12 Caucuses
    (My note: with Real Public Evidence);
    41% in 20 Primaries
    (Evidence Hidden or Removed with those voting machines for the purpose of stealing democracy)

    ………….

    We need to correct this now. Because it may be now or never.

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/Bernie-or-Extinction-by-Michael-Byron-Bernie-Sanders_Bernie-Sanders-2016-Presidential-Candidate_Bernie-Sanders-Presidential-Campaign_Civilization-160421-594.html

    Bernie or Extinction.
    By Michael Byron

    I confess to feeling despair for the survival of human civilization, of humanity and all complex life on Earth. The proximate reason for this is the theft of the New York Democratic primary by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. As for the fraud itself, it is a now familiar litany: Flipped registrations, machine switched votes, massive voter roll purges and much more. Consider just one illustrative example: Brooklyn. Brooklyn is run by the Kings County Democratic Party. A Chicago Mayor Dick Daley style political machine is in complete charge. Nothing happens there by accident. All "accidents" are carefully planned! And a lot of "accidents" occurred on primary election day there! Taken together these add up to election FRAUD.

    Malcolm MacLeod, MD , April 22, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    Bev: I didn't understand a lot of the numbers in your link, but I
    certainly caught the drift, and appreciated your comment.

    Bas , April 22, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Really.

    a candidate with few lucrative contacts whose second act after his big swing for the fences is a probably quiet retirement.

    don't think so, and Clinton v. GOP win depends on which party is more adept at election theft at this point.

    susan the other , April 22, 2016 at 11:24 am

    i also think there is an internal battle going on among the plutocrats… there are those who want single payer health care for instance. we know that's not hillary's faction, so it could be trump's pals. There must be a consensus among some of the uneasy rich that if they can't resuscitate social equality they are history because they need society in order to function – they all know everything is dysfunctional now. The worst dysfunction is our deprivation: no health care, only welfare for insurance & drug companies; failing educational system; bankrupt retirement funds; no jobs; etc. The people are putting up better resistance to the takeover of the world by the neoliberals in Europe but only because they have vetted socialist societies. What Hillary and her pals concocted is an almost unbelievable disaster. Their solution seems to be more deprivation, more war, with no solution in sight for inequality. And lastly, Hillary does not even recognize the situation – she pretends things are just fine – all we have to do is protect our "rights" – are you for real, Hill?

    Left in Wisconsin , April 22, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    There are lots of capitalist firms that would be better off with single payer, and lots of business people that would be happy to see McD's, Wal-mart, etc. finally pay some of the true cost of their low wages, and to see the vig for Big Pharma and Big Health (Un)Care shrink.

    Malcolm MacLeod, MD , April 22, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    Left: I've been preaching for years that single payer is the only option, plus
    making medical education far less expensive. I went to school in the old
    days before student loans and all that crap, and I wasn't forced to increase
    my income to pay off debts. Europe has the correct idea.

    ScottS , April 22, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Right on, Susan. I've long said single payer will come from Republicans. Only Nixon could go to China.

    Plus, if they repeal Obamacare, what else but single payer would they replace it with?

    jrs , April 22, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Yea but even if they would benefit from single payer and they might, it's hard to say they'll ever be on board for full employment. Slack in the labor market is how wages are kept low, you just keep the slack within a certain range that for us will guarantee there will be losers, and for them will guarantee there aren't enough of them for violent revolution. Then you blame the losers such a system necessarily creates for their fate.

    So the interest of some oligarchs might sometimes coincide with ours, but don't count on it. And at a certain point I wonder how much good free healthcare will do if you bankrupt everyone with expensive rents or something instead (so many means of rent extraction, so little time!). Although it is a less inhumane way of keeping people enslaved than for their very healthcare.

    Thor's Hammer , April 22, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Susan, I agree that not all plutocrats are mentally retarded ogres. And some may prefer a functioning social order over the immediate opportunity to suck the last blood out of the present one.

    The Malignant Overlords- the Banksters, Frackers and War Party purveyors of weapons of Death- that have dominated US policy for decades have found the perfect candidate in Killary. She is a known commodity that will do their bidding instantly at the sound of a briefcase full of $100 dollar bills being opened. Many Overlords may have loyalty to the Republican party much as they do to the football team of their Alma Mater, but they can't help but understand the value of having a President like Obama or Killary who present themselves as a progressive man or woman of the people while delivering policies that benefit only them.

    Why should they back a social misfit like Ted Cruz whom everybody he has ever worked with hates? Or an unpredictable wild card like Trump who occasionally says things that send chills up their spine? Withdraw from NATO? A Defense Department organized to defend America rather than enforce subservience to the Empire and maximize costs of new weaponry? Build things in the US instead of using much cheaper slave labor overseas? What a frightening idea.

    Much better to support a Trojan Horse "Democrat." even if they have too many Jewish lawyers at their fund raising banquets.

    Fiver , April 23, 2016 at 3:53 am

    No question she was the ideal candidate, or they'd not, through the magic of DNC/Beltway 'consensus' have anointed her the first woman President in 2016 back in 2008 – no doubt some cruddy deal done at that time.

    How the key power players managed to delude themselves into believing their own manufactured narrative vis a vis pretty much everything this century could totally fall apart without consequences is indeed amazing – so much so that half of me thinks this seeming outbreak of 'democracy' is itself scripted, that is, there was a conscious decision taken to allow Sanders and 'the people' to be 'given a hearing in the court of public opinion' justified by the easy collective assumption Clinton would make short work of Sanders' silly un-American ideas. That Clinton was an imperfect vehicle, a flawed instrument, obviously so to us, would surely have been evident to at least some people with considerable power, one of whom happens to hold a Go Directly To Jail card.

    Set 'em up, Joe. Got a little story, you oughtta know….

    http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/04/22/backing-bernies-bold-vision-biden-knocks-hillarys-no-we-cant-mantra

    nippersdad , April 22, 2016 at 7:59 am

    Something not noted in the article but seems relevant here is that Bill cannot seem to keep his foot out of his mouth. Yesterday he blamed millennials for the lack of wage inflation in recent years. Keeping in mind that many of them weren't old enough to vote in the 2010 mid-terms even if they wanted to, the unbroken wage curve of the last thirty years puts this lie to rest alone.

    He is not making any friends either.

    ambrit , April 22, 2016 at 10:02 am

    I'm wondering if he secretly wants her to lose.

    perpetualWAR , April 22, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Are you kidding? That predator wants to find another lonely intern in the Oval Office.

    Waldenpond , April 22, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    No, he's just that bitterly entitled. Do you not see how rich and powerful they are even out of office? How dare he be denied. They are the same… when the peasants are pleasant, they don't mind temporarily having to slum, but if they are even mildly questioned, their body language, voice, etc change. Watch their hands clench, jaws tighten, they both lean back. The strain to maintain and can never do it.

    Pavel , April 22, 2016 at 8:04 am

    If the DNC give the nomination to HRC (which of course is extremely likely despite the poll numbers above) then they are signing their own death warrant.

    There is a small risk to them that Bernie would run 3rd party (he could cite all the obvious shenanigans of the DNC and HRC as justification, and he could raise the money).

    If Trump is the Republican nominee, we know he isn't afraid to go after Hillary and Bill on their many scandals, and they can't easily go after him on financial or morality scandal reasons - and he has no political baggage like NAFTA or the anti-black crime bill to defend.

    Most likely HRC would win (just) but she will be thoroughly tarnished and battered by the Trump campaign, and will be inaugurated as the least-liked, least-trusted President in recent history. The Sanders supporters will detest her and we know the Repubs hate her with a passion, and will pursue various investigations. (The Clinton Slush Foundation clearly has a few unexploded bombs waiting to be found.)

    The country will be in political gridlock for another 4 years. The DNC will have lost all credibility and good will, and a third party will come about. And none too soon.

    HRC and Bill are the Macbeths of US politics. They should have quit with their hundreds of millions while they were ahead. Hillary may win the election but she'll lose the war. They will have so many scandals to deal with they won't know what hit them.

    ambrit , April 22, 2016 at 10:03 am

    With a viable Third Candidate, the election could go to the House. Then, all bets are off.

    redleg , April 23, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    1998 Minnesota gubernatorial election might be relevant.
    Two putrid major party candidates were nominated, and Jessie Ventura became governor. It wasn't just celebrity- he was a much better option compared to Skip Humphrey and Norm (f'n) Coleman.

    Ian , April 22, 2016 at 10:13 am

    I think that our sociopathic elite are looking to finalize the end of democracy by finishing off the TPP, TTIP and TiSA within her first term. Then all chance of a peaceful resolution are out the door and Supranational Government is established. Hillary is end game in this stage of society.

    Mossack Fonseca , April 22, 2016 at 11:14 am

    You may be onto something here. The wheels really do seem to be coming off. If the major systemic reactions to neoliberalism as embodied in Trump and Sanders do not produce a result that leads to some sort of acceptable homeostasis the current game is up. Something new has to emerge to control the forces at play. The long powerful illusions of American exceptionalism and ideological purity are failing–we just don't really have much of a shared ethos anymore. Without some major swing of the pendulum in the direction of reform, I don't see it holding up much longer. Even the average Joe is catching on.

    AnEducatedFool , April 22, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    I will be shocked if Warren is not offered the VP spot by Clinton. I do not know if she would take it but it is the perfect play by Clinton's team. She can pull over the Bernie supporters that are do not hold Ma against Warren.
    Clinton will also have a great narrative in our identity politics driven world.
    Convincing Warren to take on the VP position will also neuter her politically. Its a win win for Corporate Democrats.
    I just hope that Warren has some backbone but something had to be promised her for Warren to not come out and endorse Sanders.

    John Wright , April 22, 2016 at 9:02 am

    In my view, Trump "trumps" Hillary in a Trump vs Hillary election.

    After his treatment by the Republican Elite, Trump will not feel loyalty to the Republican party and will not be beholden to them for staffing and intellectual guidance as was George W. Bush.

    He has a far more open mind regarding the need for overseas military operations than "Hawk Hillary" and perhaps will not see every foreign "deal" as requiring a military intervention..

    He also might be more skeptical of the value of the financial industry to America's well-being than Hillary.

    And with Trump disdainful of both the Democratic and Republican elite, he might actually help the great unwashed who are largely ignored by both party leaders except at election time.

    He won't build the wall.

    If Trump were truly interested in restricting the flow of low wage immigrants he would push to enforce E-verify and employer sanctions, which would raise the price of low wage labor and would actually bring money into the US Treasury while avoiding the expense of a wall,.

    After all, Trump's properties are more profitable with cheaper labor.

    But I'd much rather have Bernie, someone who has been in public service for many years and yet has profited so little from the experience he had credit card debt to help with his daughter's and niece's weddings.

    ambrit , April 22, 2016 at 10:09 am

    I look to who each candidate picks as 'advisors' for various subjects. No one can be a genius polymath politician; at least I've not spotted one. So, 'advisors' are needed to make the wheels go around. For example, when Lil' Barry chose the Neo Cabal for his advisors early on, I knew he was a crook.
    As everyone here knows by now; watch what 'they' do, not what 'they' say.

    marym , April 22, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Important point. Trump's foreign policy advisors:
    Boston Globe

    [

    Keith] Kellogg, a former Army lieutenant general, is an executive vice president at Virginia-based CACI International, a Virginia-based intelligence and information technology consulting firm with clients around the world. He has experience in national defense and homeland security issues and worked as chief operating officer for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad following the invasion of Iraq.

    [Joe]Schmitz served as inspector general at the Department of Defense during the early years of George W. Bush's administration and has worked for Blackwater Worldwide.

    Democracy Now!

    JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah, Joseph Schmitz was the Pentagon inspector general under Donald Rumsfeld, and he didn't really inspect much of anything. He was a big cheerleader, actually, for many of the most kind of excessive policies of Rumsfeld and the Pentagon in the post-9/11 world. And when Schmitz left the DOD, he became an executive at Blackwater. And Joseph Schmitz is a-you know, is a radical Christian supremacist. He is a member of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta and really is sort of a-you know, has a neo-crusader worldview. And I'm choosing those words carefully. I mean, that's-he is definitely a radical Christian supremacist.
    And he was an enthusiastic fan of Erik Prince and Blackwater, and he goes and he joins that company. And, you know, this is a guy, though, who-when I was researching him for the Blackwater book, he wrote a series of letters to the editor of conservative newspapers-Washington Times and others-in the '90s. He was a fanatical opponent of abortion.

    American Conservative (!!)

    [Walid] Phares is a former Romney adviser, and selecting him as an adviser reflects just as poorly on Trump as it did on Romney. Leon Hadar has described him in TAC as a neoconservative and "an academic who was involved with right-wing Christian militia groups during the Lebanese civil war," but that doesn't do full justice to Phares' record of bad judgment and alarmist rhetoric about foreign threats. As McKay Coppins reported shortly after Romney named Phares as an adviser, "Throughout his career as a pundit, he has warned that some Muslims are plotting a secret takeover of American institutions with the end goal of imposing Sharia."

    knowbuddhau , April 22, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Joseph Schmitz is also linked to anti-Indian and anti-Muslim efforts.

    Trump Foreign Policy Advisor Tied to Montana Anti-Tribal Efforts
    IREHR (Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights)
    April 19, 2016

    Trump Advisor Joseph Schmitz Promotes Anti-Indian and Anti-Muslim Bigotry, Calls for End to the Vote for People Receiving Public Assistance

    Lawrence Kogan is closely allied with the anti-Indian Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA). CERA aims to terminate tribes and abrogate treaties between the United States and Indian Nations. Kogan hired longtime CERA leader Elaine Willman to assist with the case and has spoken at multiple events with the group's leaders. Kogan and Schmitz's brief in the anti-CSKT lawsuit gained infamy for alleging that the dam transfer could allow the Turkish government and terrorists to obtain nuclear materials and poses a threat to national security. Rejecting the lawsuit, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras referenced the brief's "somewhat perplexing arguments regarding the Turkish Government's involvement with Native Americans," concluding that "counsel for Plaintiffs conceded that no such evidence has been submitted relating to the Plaintiffs' alleged economic harm." (See American Lands Council and the Anti-Indian Movement). Kogan and Willman have continued to press the CSKT-Muslim terrorist conspiracy theory in 2016 (See Bigoted Nationalism and CERA-allied Attorney Tours).

    Waldenpond , April 22, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Trump surrounds himself w/loons. I'm in CA so I get to vote for Stein but if I was in a swing state I would lean Trump. Four years of orange tinted embarrassing hell rather than 8 years of savvy entrenched hell.

    With Clinton all of the deck chairs are assigned. With Trump, the chairs get scrambled and it will be an opportunity for the majority but I don't see anyone in the pipeline. Sanders candidacy advantage is he's on tape on issues for so many years.

    Roger Smith , April 22, 2016 at 9:19 am

    If Clinton v. Trump is the finality I think voting for Trump creates the best path for 3rd party emergence on the left. At that point (after a floozy democratic primary and all of their past injustices) the Democrats will need to be hammered down, humiliated, and put in their place. As they occupy so little of the left these days, weakening them creates an even greater "space" on the spectrum for others to occupy. The Republicans certainly are not going to move over.

    Vote Trump, but keep the progressive revolution momentum alive and organized.

    I really want a new progressive party with the finch as its mascot.

    Roger Smith , April 22, 2016 at 9:19 am

    If Clinton v. Trump is the finality I think voting for Trump creates the best path for 3rd party emergence on the left. At that point (after a floozy democratic primary and all of their past injustices) the Democrats will need to be hammered down, humiliated, and put in their place. As they occupy so little of the left these days, weakening them creates an even greater "space" on the spectrum for others to occupy. The Republicans certainly are not going to move over.

    Vote Trump, but keep the progressive revolution momentum alive and organized.

    I really want a new progressive party with the finch as its mascot.

    Pavel , April 22, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Given that the USA (certainly) and possibly the world will go to hell if either HRC or Trump wins, I'd choose Trump if only for the novelty and to teach the frigging Clintons they can't buy and steal an election.

    Trump will scare the shit out of the rest of the world but he seems a bit less likely to start more wars in Syria, the Ukraine, and elsewhere.

    Barmitt O'Bamney , April 22, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Fair point. ROTW was over the Moon about Obama, and then look what happened. In looney bin moron colonies like The Guardian they're still aswoon over Bush in blackface. They would have a falling down fit over us electing Trump, but with no more real insight than they showed in 2008. I still can't see myself actually pulling the lever for Trump, or voting for any Republicans because Bern in Hellary, Clintons! I just want my third party option now, please, ready or not.

    Alex morfesis , April 22, 2016 at 9:31 am

    $hillary milhous Clinton (if she does not walk away from the nomination process) will be remembered as the "my turn" president who was a one term president and the last democratic party president…

    Are the democratic party apparatchiks so blind they can not see they could lose wholesale in 2018 and never recover ?

    Actually…maybe the theft of the nomination will be a good thing…will expose the democratic party and what it is today, helping push the door open for "other"(non-republican) opportunities…

    NotTimothyGeithner , April 22, 2016 at 11:48 am

    There are a few issues at play.

    -The Clintonistas need Hillary. Who would hire Begala, Brazille, and Carville based on their career outside of being attached to the 1992 election? Any prominent Democrat from the last ten years has worn out their welcome. They need Hillary. Obama will be an ignored figure.
    -Buyers remorse with Obama who ushered in the destruction of the Democratic congress and party at the local level.
    -Clinton myths. The Clintons are brilliant politicians who won in an era of GOP dominationfor example ignoring the Democrats controlled Congress an much of the state and local governments before Clinton ran everything into the ground.
    -I dont want to limit it to Clintonistas, but Sanders despite numerous Infrastructure and financial challenges has mounted a challenge Hillary Clinton. All the money spent on Democratic strategists was essentially wasted. If Sanders had a little more money at the beginning this could be a very different race, but Sanders didn't need David Brock or to pay Dick Morris $5 million. The whole kabuki theatre of politics is at risk. Sanders much like the 50 state strategy undermine the need for the "Democratic strategist."

    optimader , April 22, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    president who was a one term president
    if she is elected , fwiw I don't think she'll last a complete term

    david lamy , April 22, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    A massive protest against Former First Lady Hillary R Clinton's nomination is a terrific idea!
    However, remember the astonishingly low level of news coverage of the massive DC and NYC anti-invasion protests before our wonderful Iraq adventure.
    However, if first you don't succeed, try, try again!
    My thoughts are already turning to logistics: Can we get enough of us there that it becomes impossible to access the convention site?

    grayslady , April 22, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    The idea is not to get arrested by blocking access–at least not for the superdelegates, who we want to flip to Bernie, and the masses of Bernie's elected delegates! Imagine how satisfying it would be to hoist the superdelegates on their own petard!

    I think if we start the idea now, vans and buses can be organized, places to stay, signed petitions for those who can't attend, etc. Bernie is truly a once-in-a-lifetime candidate (certainly for those of us who are older). I just can't see giving up without bringing all of our numbers to bear.

    Gaylord , April 22, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    I have to keep reminding people that Bernie is not The Savior and no one can save us now. Remember that Obama was thought to be that, but he turned into another messenger of the MIC. The TBTF Empire is doomed to dig its own grave and take the rest of the world with it. This ship is going down and there is not the slightest "hope" for "progressive" "change" to prevent it.

    Waldenpond , April 22, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Yep. There is a huge irreparable tear in the hull and the ship is no longer listing, it's gone vertical. At this point it's a matter of trying to limit the predation of the sharks and trying to find the last bits of humanity to appreciate like a sunrise while clinging to the side of a raft boat.

    Heliopause , April 22, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    The chance that Bernie will be the nominee is about zero. Barring an unforeseen deus ex machina from the Justice Dept. it will be Clinton, and even given the unforeseen scenario the party brass would be as likely to draft Biden or something similar as let Bernie win.

    tegnost , April 22, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    This seems to be an unreasonably pessimistic viewpoint. I stand behind my long held belief that if dems want the presidency then they'd best get behind bernie because even the gods will be unable to propel his primary opponent to victory in the general.

    Heliopause , April 22, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    The question is, which do they want more, the White House or to keep the party in the hands of their country club pals? Since the vast majority of party operatives are in the same orbit as HRC I tend to think it's the latter. This is America after all and anyone even a smidgen to the left of Barack Obama is considered out of bounds.

    Barring the unforeseen it will be Clinton. As bad as she is she would still beat Trump in the general and probably Cruz. The other wild card is if the GOP manages to nominate someone other than those two, in which case HRC and the Dem party will be in trouble.

    tegnost , April 22, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    I just want them to wake up one morning and say "I'm a republican, and it's ok.". One long term problem of lumping republicans into the evil camp has been a reluctance of some republicans to be able to come out and be themselves for fear of ostracism. One benefit of course would be a less harsh republican party. And are you sure she will beat trump in the general? She should be running against trump in the republican primary. And considering the track record of the foreseen (polls,etc…) , "barring the unforeseen" is about as likely as keeping the tide from going out. Bernie by a length in the last furlong.

    Pat , April 22, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    I'd love that too. Unfortunately the Democratic Party is now where former Republicans go to continue their career. While I may consider Lincoln Chaffee largely to the left of Clinton's real position, the fact is that neither that former Republican or Clinton and their positions are welcome in the Grand Old Party anymore. Hell they are eating people we considered to be far right even a decade ago for lunch. And the exiles don't seem to be willing to form the Reformed Republican Party as long as the Clintons/DLC/Third Way/New Dems welcome them so eagerly into the Democratic Party.

    Heliopause , April 23, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Yes, Clinton will beat Trump in the general (barring the unforeseen). He's even more widely loathed than she is and current polling shows him with a yuuuuuge deficit to make up.

    The unforeseen might include the GOP somehow nominating someone other than Trump. Cruz is also widely despised and would probably lose to Clinton, although he might stand a slightly better chance than Trump. A Romney/Kasich/Ryan/McCain type would be a solid favorite against her but first the GOP has to figure out how to finesse such an outcome.

    The unforeseen might also include serious allegations stemming from the e-mail investigation. Obviously there is no way for us to know what might be in those thousands of e-mails so anything we say here is sheer speculation, but my best guess is that Clinton will not face serious consequences in regard to that. I wouldn't be wishing upon a star for that one if I were you, but you never know what might happen.

    tegnost , April 23, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Where did you get your crystal ball from? Give me some numbers why clinton will beat trump with certainty.? At best hillary has a chance to beat trump but it certainly does not fall into the category of likely.. Could the unforeseen be total abandonment by sanders supporters? Major hurricanes revealing weak support structure? Market crash? oil skyrocketing to $140/bbl? As I said the unforeseen of course will happen, and the hillary titanic will have zero maneuverability, even now they can't take criticism. The emails may not get her indicted, but what if it just disgusts people? Cruz/hillary and we could get pres. stein, that would be unforeseen. You can lie, cheat, steal, and propagandize your way to a hillary nomination and she will face a great chance of losing, while sanders wins in almost any scenario if he can get past the upper crust of the democrat party.

    Heliopause , April 23, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Look up the popular poll aggregators - RealClearPolitics or Huffpost-Pollster - and look up both the general election hypothetical matchups and favorability ratings of the candidates. Trump's got a yuuuuuge problem; almost everybody has already formed an opinion about him and it's overwhelmingly negative. Clinton's favorables are poor, too, but quite a bit better than Trump's, and she wins all the hypothetical matchups as well.

    Most Sanders supporters will vote for Clinton. The number who will not is probably not terribly different from the number of Republicans who would rather vote for Clinton than Trump. Please keep in mind that as disliked as Clinton is, Trump is disliked even more.

    When I speak of the unforeseen I'm trying to keep to the at least minimally plausible. It's possible that Clinton will treat Bernie so poorly at the convention that she will cause a major schism, but she's not that stupid and I don't consider it likely. It's possible that the e-mails contain something truly deplorable, but most politicians aren't stupid enough to put such things in writing, and even if she did she still has the firewall of Barack Obama and Loretta Lynch. The GOP might pull a fast one and nominate someone who could dispatch Clinton, but they have a potential civil war problem of their own if they try that. So any of those things could happen, but I try to keep my expectations realistic. That's just me.

    "sanders wins in almost any scenario if he can get past the upper crust of the democrat party."

    Yes, but one of my points all along is that the upper crust would rather lose an election than cede any power at all to someone as left as Bernie.

    Bernie still has a chance, but it's tiny. The real progress is still down the road. The tide is turning but the interests are extremely entrenched and it's going to take some time.

    Yves Smith Post author , April 23, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    The sample at our large Sanders readership says your assumption is wrong: the overwhelming majority of Sanders voters will not vote for Clinton, particularly after the series of dirty election tricks, with New York as a particularly appalling spectacle. They will stay home, vote for Trump, write in Sanders, or vote for Jill Stein. And you discount the percentage that will vote Republican to punish the Democratic party. I know, for instance, of grad of a top school who is the son of Mexican farm workers who will vote for Trump if Sanders is not in the general. That is how deep the antipathy for Clinton is among Sanders voters.

    I would never ever vote for Clinton.

    Heliopause , April 24, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    I don't know what my limit on links is here, but here's a good one to start with:
    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2016/no_trump_no_show_for_33_of_gop_voters

    Bottom line is, more GOP voters say they will not vote for Trump than Dem voters say they will not vote for Clinton. Other polling reveals basically the same thing.

    I'm not sure why you are citing personal anecdotes and a blog comment section as evidence of anything, since obviously neither are remotely representative of a large voting population.

    Yes, the Clinton's are opportunists and machiavellian political operators. We've known this for decades and so has the larger public. They're still going to vote for her over Trump, who is more despised than she is. That's just what the polling shows I'm afraid. She's not winning any elections here but a little blog is not the whole country.

    As I've said from the start, there are still ways that it could slip away from her, but none of them appear to be high probability. And believe me when I tell you that I take zero pleasure in the thought of HRC as President. But one has to be realistic. I'll add, don't let what I'm saying dissuade anybody from voting in a primary if they have the opportunity and desire to do so, the game now would be to get as many delegates into the convention as possible as leverage on events there, not the tiny chance that Bernie can still outright win this thing. This is an intelligent, educated, and adult readership here that I think can handle the facts without discouragement.

    Fiver , April 24, 2016 at 4:28 am

    Have to agree with Yves – Dems are in for a mighty shock if they believe most current Sanders supporters will fall into line rather than sit it out:

    For Sanders to even be where he is represents a major strategic error by senior Dems in not recognizing the political reality of the public mood and not moving to squash him early; or he is roughly where some other senior strategists wanted, perhaps unknown to Bernie i.e., Sanders provides a good show proving democracy still 'works', that progressives voices are heard, that the Party is open and change will come when it comes with Madame Clinton; or possibly a combo of both, with Sanders undertaking his part with a totally unexpected degree of relish that has infuriated Clinton. In other words, either fallibility is fully at play here, in which case a Sanders victory is not such an unimaginable stretch – or Sanders has some important support we don't know about.

    To my mind, progressives should go for it now with as much focus, clarity of purpose and gusto as eclipses all prior efforts. However it got here, the chance has been presented, his name is on the ballot, and he articulates the priority of addressing 3 of the great issues of the day: peace versus war; working stiff versus Wall Street; re-vamped social safety net. Big change is possible when the people know what they want, and what they want is not remotely extravagant, greedy or anything – just a decent arrangement for all.

    Waldenpond , April 22, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    Sanders running as an independent.

    Sawant's idea:

    http://www.socialistalternative.org/2016/04/17/kshama-sawant-petitioning-bernie-run-independent/

    [If electing a Republican is really Bernie's main concern, there is no reason he could not at least run in the 40+ states where it's absolutely clear the Democratic or Republican candidate will win, while not putting his name on the 5-10 closely contested "swing states." This could still allow for a historic campaign if linked to building a new party for the 99% and laying the foundation for an ongoing mass political movement to run hundreds of left candidates for all levels of government, independent of corporate cash.]

    This would work. I don't care about the D party so someone else could list the drawbacks. It satisfies Sanders position of protecting Clinton but the movement continues. How does he turn it down?

    teri , April 23, 2016 at 7:26 am

    I wonder why the Sanders campaign doesn't bring up the fact that in '08, Obama lost NY to Hillary Clinton by a wider margin than Sanders just did. (Leaving aside the, ahem, "voting issues"). And that at this same point in the race, Obama had fewer delegates than Sanders does right now. Also, in the end, it was the super-delegates switching their votes at the convention that won Obama the nomination.

    It's obvious why the media won't reminisce about the '08 election, but why won't Sanders bring it up?

    TheCatSaid , April 23, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Sanders remains focused on the issues. Maybe he is right. Talking about the many election irregularity issues would immediately dissipate the focus, energy and educating functions of his key messages. The media blackout continues, so people are only learning more about him shortly before each primary/caucus. If the conversation were to shift to disputes about the tempting election irregularities–horrific as they are–the clarity of what he stands for would be lost.

    At least Sanders is telling supporters he needs them to be observers at the polls. This recent interview with Harvey Wasserman touches on just a few of the kinds of problems.

    [May 01, 2016] How the New York Times Helped Hillary Hide the Hawk

    Notable quotes:
    "... By Russ Baker, editor of WhoWhatWhy.com and author of "Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years." Originally published at WhoWhatWhy ..."
    "... The Washington Post, Politico, CNN, ..."
    "... The New York Times ..."
    "... WhoWhatWhy' ..."
    "... Corrupt and "most" pro war – it's a two-fer. (When do we get to put "most" in front of corrupt?). ..."
    "... Fuck. DO we really want another fucking Neo-Con in the White House? ..."
    "... I think it's interesting to consider that Trump is ostensibly already to the left of Clinton on many issues. ..."
    "... I say it is time to leave the Democratic Party in droves. I know, I know. The Supreme Court nominees of a future president loom large. We have to force the hand. Rather than creep to fascism and the earth's destruction, we have to realize the destination is the same as long as we keep our eggs in the basket of the Democratic Party. Time to cut and run, time to build something new, time to vote the Green Party, purge it of its new agey image and begin building it into a democratically functioning party that holds its candidates to its platform. Sure, it will take time. But putting money, time, and energy into the other half of a duopoly that supports empire and neoliberalism is all wasted on the fool's game, which Sander's inadvertently, I think, has exposed as the endgame. Progressives have to realize it will not and cannot be changed. It's core supports those two branches of its world-view, and no matter how they manipulate its adherents by throwing table scraps to them in the form of "social" issues, it will never be something other than what it is. I know, I am done with it. ..."
    "... Clinton will not appoint a Supreme Court Justice that is beneficial to the planet. Her appointees will be pro-corporate whores that will play nice on identity issues. Trump will never get a judge through that will overturn Roe v Wade. The Republicans have shown that you can effectively limit the debate of a SCJ and have held appointments up while not in the majority. ..."
    "... The article by Mark Landler was brilliant and will keep me from voting for Clinton. I am tired of America being continually and fruitlessly at war. ..."
    "... Clinton is pushing for war with Iran, Russia and Hezbollah. How can anyone honestly discuss that Clinton is more sane (in foreign policy) than any person running for office? ..."
    "... Trump does not want war with Russia. Clinton wants to go to war with Russia. There is no other way to read her desire for a no fly zone. The only way to implement that policy is through a war with Russia. Clinton is not naive. She knows that any attempt to create a no fly zone will result in a conflict with Russia. ..."
    "... Yes, it is a topsy turvy system where the State Department, which one expects to be full of people seeking diplomatic solutions, is led by a warmonger, while many military leaders come off as more cautious. The later often have a better understanding of the futility of the situations they are thrown into and the true costs. ..."
    www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Posted on April 29, 2016 by Yves Smith Yves here. It was hard not to notice the awfully convenient timing of the publication of the New York Times story, Top Gun: How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk . If you have not read it, you need to, ASAP. It makes painfully clear how much Hillary believes that the US should continue to act as if it were the worlds' sole superpower, when those days are past, is deeply enamored of aggressive military men, and is in synch with neocons. A sobering article.

    By Russ Baker, editor of WhoWhatWhy.com and author of "Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years." Originally published at WhoWhatWhy

    Following a rough night in five East coast primaries, Bernie Sanders's path to the Democratic nomination is now more narrow and steep than it has ever been. But are these votes truly a referendum on who voters think the best candidate is - or are they merely a reflection of what the corporate media wants Democrats to think?

    In our critique of the media, we tend to focus on The New York Times , because it purports to be the gold standard for journalism, and because others look to the paper for coverage guidance. But the same critique could be applied to The Washington Post, Politico, CNN, and most other leading outfits.

    In prior articles, we noted how the Times helped Clinton walk away with most of the African-American vote - and therefore victory in many states - by essentially hiding Sanders' s comparably far more impressive record on civil rights .

    We also noted how it seemed that every little thing the Clinton camp did right was billboarded, while significant victories against great odds by Sanders were minimized .

    These are truly the kinds of decisions that determine the "conventional wisdom," which in turn so often determines outcomes.

    But there is more - and it is even more disturbing. Clinton's principal reason to claim she is so qualified to be president - aside from being First Lady and senator - is her four years as Secretary of State.

    What kind of a legacy did she leave? Perhaps her principal role was to push for military engagement - more soldiers in existing conflicts, and new wars altogether. WhoWhatWhy has written about these wars and their dubious basis .

    Wars are good business for Wall Street, for corporations in general, and for others who have been friendly to her and her campaign.

    Why was this never a bigger issue? Why was this not front and center with New York voters, a traditionally liberal group with a strong antipathy toward war and militarism? Certainly Sanders tried to bring up this issue, and doesn't seem to have succeeded. But mostly, this was a failure of the media, whose job it is to shine a strong spotlight.

    And why did The New York Times wait until two days after the New York primary to publish its biggest piece on this, when it could no longer influence that key contest? (It appeared first on its website and later in its Sunday magazine.)

    In fact, with the media declaring this probably now a Clinton-Trump race, highlighting her hawkishness turns it from a handicap to a strength. How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk was the digital equivalent of a huge front-page story.

    What the article makes clear - shockingly clear - is that Hillary Clinton is the most militaristic of any of the presidential candidates, even more than Ted Cruz.

    Was this delay in publication just a case of poor scheduling? Was it to ensure that the paper could not to be accused of influencing the primary outcome?

    The Times's editorials had already gotten behind her candidacy (without mentioning her refusal to release transcripts of her Goldman Sachs speeches, or her opposition to a paltry $15 an hour minimum wage). Would running Mark Landler's critical piece when it mattered have seemed like an implicit rebuke of the paper's own editorial board or interfered with its influence?

    How ironic it is that "liberal" Hillary Clinton has never met a war she did not like, and has never been held responsible for the chaos they caused and the policies she advocated - yet it is Bernie Sanders whose policies are being described as "unrealistic" by the same people who are shielding Clinton from criticism.

    What is the purpose of journalism if not to introduce material when it is relevant - and can have an impact? And one that is good for humanity - as opposed to the arms industry.

    The Times , Judith Miller et al, have certainly had an impact. Go here for one of WhoWhatWhy' s stories of some of the goriest details.

    timbers , April 29, 2016 at 6:26 am

    Corrupt and "most" pro war – it's a two-fer. (When do we get to put "most" in front of corrupt?). Yet I can visualize all my "enlightened" Boston "liberal" friends so fashionably and smugly rallying behind her w/o even one second thought of dissent because Republicans. Any criticism will be met with "delete" on FB friendship.

    divadab , April 29, 2016 at 7:02 am

    Fuck. DO we really want another fucking Neo-Con in the White House?

    RW Tucker , April 29, 2016 at 9:33 am

    With Trump using the word PEACE in his foreign policy speech, suddenly the world is upside down.

    RUKidding , April 29, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Yes, but at the end of the day, if you listen to Trump's garbled "message," he's really just about as NeoCon as Hillary. At least, that's what I'm getting from his very few "policy" speeches. He wants to "strengthen" our Military, which allegedly has been "weakened" by Obama. Of course, Trump conveniently ignores the fact the US Military budget is larger than ever, but what I take from that is that Trump wants to provide them with even more money.

    Trump talks about forcing our "allies" to pay us tributes to protect them, which will somehow enrich us back home. Good luck with that.

    Well I could go on, but Trump wants to blast ISIS into glass sand and all the rest of it. I don't see him as any much less NeoCon that Hillary or anyone else in the GOP. It's just that Trump dances around things

    Not a fan of Clinton. Never have been. Just saying re Trump…. not much different from what I can parse out.

    Ishmael , April 29, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    I have no problem asking other countries to pay for our cost of defense. Yes it is tribute but if they do not pay then we do not assist. Secondly, Trump in his latest speech basically through the Wolfowitz Doctrine under the bus. I say more power to that. Trump has said get out of NATO, I have no problem with that. Lastly, Trump has indicated that he would stop sticking the US's finger into Putin's eye. I am all for that. What has Hitlary said with regard to any of this.

    Trump seems far more pragmatic and he has to show strong defense because that is one of the key issues of the GOP. On the other hand all of the above issues would be good for the US and might start taking apart the military-industrial complex.

    OIFVet , April 29, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Yes it is tribute but if they do not pay then we do not assist.

    And the hollowness of America's protection "guarantees" gets exposed there and then rather than a bit further down the road of imperial decline. I rather like your idea…

    Ishmael , April 29, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    I do not know where you get hollowness. Most of these countries are running a trade surplus with the US so why would we defend them for free. The US has never done this in the past (France and the UK were suppose to pay for their armaments and no one yelled that was hollow). I would rather we stayed out of the whole freaking thing but asking them to pay is a good start.

    OIFVet , April 29, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    These security guarantees are hollow because there is no wayin hell the US can actually defend a Baltic pipsqueak if Russia is truly determined to spank it for any multitude of transgressions. That's why these guarantees are hollow.

    Also too, the Euros are fast getting wise to the fact that US empire building is actually extracting high costs from them, your BS about the poor wittle used and abused US notwithstanding. When the US tries to actually extort cash as well the imperial jig will be well and truly up. Euro nationalism is on the rise, and in many places it does contain a fairly pronounced dislike for the trigger happy greedy vulgarians across the pond. And the migrant crisis is not helping US image at all.

    Ishmael , April 30, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Vet – I believe under NATO the other NATO nations are also suppose to contribute to their defense and only 4 of the 28 countries are meeting their obligations. NATO was not set up for the US to do all of the heavy lifting.

    Personally, I say if Europe wants to go their own way more power to it. As far as Europeans having a dislike for Americans, maybe. It is my experience having lived on four continents (and several places in Europe) that many people disliked us before because we did things they could not. Now we have given then other reasons to dislike us because of our neo-con socialist leanings.

    But in total you miss my point which I find that Trump speaks a far more honest foreign affairs approach than Hitlary or any president since before Bill Clinton. If you disagree then make your point instead of just ranting.

    Don't get yourself all lathered up.

    oh , April 30, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    The MICC doesn't care as long the US taxpayer pays for the largesse in the name of defense!

    Anarcissie , April 29, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    I think it's interesting to consider that Trump is ostensibly already to the left of Clinton on many issues. Typically, Democrats trying for presidential nomination have pandered to the party's Left, and then run to the right for the general election. However, if Clinton wants to run to the right, she'll be deep in Republican territory, while the proggies are certain to wander off her home-front plantation. Except maybe for abortion, it appears that she has no home turf. It's a curious predicament for a Democrat to be in.

    divadab , April 29, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Well it makes sense if you just consider that her husband was the best Republican President the Democrats ever elected. She's a DINO in all serious matters and a "liberal" in the kind of superficial stuff the MSM uses to differentiate and divide the people from themselves.

    ArkansasAngie , April 29, 2016 at 7:16 am

    No we don't … or, at least, I don't.

    I will vote for Trump before I vote for Clinton.

    This isn't a question of lesser of two evils. It is a question of who do you hate less?

    hreik , April 29, 2016 at 8:01 am

    Several weeks ago, there was a very pro-Birdie piece on the NYTime's front page. People saw it on line. Within several hours it was heavily edited and read more negative than positive. The part about John McCain praising Bernie was removed, ditto other parts.

    The paper has become something else altogether than it used to be. Like the DNC, TPTB would rather lose with Hillary than win w Bernie.
    http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/17/new-york-times-bernie-sanders-coverage-public-editor/?_r=0

    NotTimothyGeithner , April 29, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Huh? Judith Miller and the post election 2004 warrantless wiretapping story beg to differ. They sat on a story in fear of influencing the election. They had the plagarist from Falwell U. The NYT has been trash for as long as the Patriots have run the AFC East.

    hreik , April 29, 2016 at 9:24 am

    true

    John Wright , April 29, 2016 at 9:51 am

    One can remember that Edward Snowden decided not to approach the Times with his story BECAUSE the Times sat on the warrantless wiretapping story.

    I still pay my $15 every 4 weeks for the NTTimes digital, but justify that partially because I can do archive searches.

    The Times Mea Culpa, spearheaded by Bill Keller, after the Judith Miller Iraq war reporting, was particularly good. The TImes had their Iraq war cake and then got to apologize for eating it.

    The digital edition frequently has thoughtful readers comments that effectively counter the latest Friedman, Kristof, Krugman, Brooks, Dowd, and Douthat received wisdom.

    There must be more than few print readers who yell at their copy of the print NY Times, "Tom/Nick/David/Paul, you are so #&*$% wrong".

    Sadly the print readers can't access the readers' comment section, AKA Times Editorial antidote, that accompanies the digital edition.

    Derwood Powell , April 30, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    Mr. Wright,
    Use and support the TOR network and you can read the NYT for free.

    Jim Haygood , April 29, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    NY Times : the 'sandwich coin' standard of journalism!

    Its price has been delinked from value.

    Michael C , April 29, 2016 at 8:02 am

    I say it is time to leave the Democratic Party in droves. I know, I know. The Supreme Court nominees of a future president loom large. We have to force the hand. Rather than creep to fascism and the earth's destruction, we have to realize the destination is the same as long as we keep our eggs in the basket of the Democratic Party. Time to cut and run, time to build something new, time to vote the Green Party, purge it of its new agey image and begin building it into a democratically functioning party that holds its candidates to its platform. Sure, it will take time. But putting money, time, and energy into the other half of a duopoly that supports empire and neoliberalism is all wasted on the fool's game, which Sander's inadvertently, I think, has exposed as the endgame. Progressives have to realize it will not and cannot be changed. It's core supports those two branches of its world-view, and no matter how they manipulate its adherents by throwing table scraps to them in the form of "social" issues, it will never be something other than what it is. I know, I am done with it.

    NotTimothyGeithner , April 29, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Doesn't the Supreme Court argument go out the window when the potential President is a lunatic? Of course, Maryanne Trump was appointed by Bill Clinton.

    RUKidding , April 29, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Well to be fair, Maryanne Trump isn't much like her brother. But yes, Clinton appointed her. Let the buyer beware.

    Strangely Enough , April 29, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Which lunatic?

    And, when the nominee proposed by a Democratic president turns out to be a Republican, something has definitely gone out the window.

    AnEducatedFool , April 29, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Clinton will not appoint a Supreme Court Justice that is beneficial to the planet. Her appointees will be pro-corporate whores that will play nice on identity issues.
    Trump will never get a judge through that will overturn Roe v Wade. The Republicans have shown that you can effectively limit the debate of a SCJ and have held appointments up while not in the majority.

    The abortion issue is a non issue. There is no way that justice would get on the court.

    The Republicans will use that issue to get an even more corporate judge onto the court. A similar deal is going on in NC today. The state will eventually cave and get ride of the bathroom provision but the anti-worker sections will remain.

    ltr , April 29, 2016 at 8:07 am

    The article by Mark Landler was brilliant and will keep me from voting for Clinton. I am tired of America being continually and fruitlessly at war.

    Montana , April 29, 2016 at 8:28 am

    I cancelled my subscription to the NYT because of its more than biased reporting of the Democratic primaries. I tried to make sure the editorial staff knew my reasons.

    Jack , April 29, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    I'm very interested in knowing which papers you continue to subscribe to.

    Northeaster , April 29, 2016 at 8:36 am

    As a Veteran who deployed to The Middle East the first time , and with children entering their teens, while I won't be able to control their decisions when they come of age, I have done everything I possibly can to dissuade them from joining the military.

    Sadly, I believe that whether it's Clinton or Trump, they will have zero reservations of sending my children of to die in a war that will not end.

    RUKidding , April 29, 2016 at 10:35 am

    I agree. I don't see much difference between Trump and Clinton in this regard. Both are itching to go to War. It's slightly possible – slightly! – that Clinton would be somewhat more sane (insofar as one can be sane about war) than Trump. That's about the best I can say in this YET AGAIN choice between the Evil of Two Lessers.

    OIFVet , April 29, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Arguing about the relative sanity of the insane is futile. Lybia and Hillminator's cackle upon being informed of Khadafy's being sodomized with a knife is proof positive that having her as prez is a recipe for even more of the same.

    AnEducatedFool , April 29, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    Clinton is pushing for war with Iran, Russia and Hezbollah. How can anyone honestly discuss that Clinton is more sane (in foreign policy) than any person running for office?

    Trump does not want war with Russia. Clinton wants to go to war with Russia. There is no other way to read her desire for a no fly zone. The only way to implement that policy is through a war with Russia. Clinton is not naive. She knows that any attempt to create a no fly zone will result in a conflict with Russia.

    cyclist , April 29, 2016 at 11:45 am

    Yes, it is a topsy turvy system where the State Department, which one expects to be full of people seeking diplomatic solutions, is led by a warmonger, while many military leaders come off as more cautious. The later often have a better understanding of the futility of the situations they are thrown into and the true costs.

    Gio Bruno , April 29, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    The State Dept. is a front for the CIA/NSA project.

    ScottW , April 29, 2016 at 10:40 am

    The pro-Hillary Times' piece provides compelling, irrefutable evidence of Hillary's neocon credentials. The neocons adore her–Cheney commented Hillary was Obama's best cabinet appointment. Add to that the chilling mutual admiration between Hillary and Kissinger and we have a tangibly scary candidate.

    Her supporters reaction? They either dismiss the idea she is loved by the neocons, or refuse to understand the facts. Similar to rationalizing that money in politics is not a corrupting influence.

    If Hillary is elected, she will have bipartisan support for a neocon foreign policy, as well as money playing a major role in politics and one's personal life (speaking fees/foundation donations). Citizens United will become a quaint memory.

    It is getting impossible to argue the two parties are anything but the same side of the coin.

    John k , April 29, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Getting?
    Bill was first elected 24 years ago. Let's say a quarter century… I think Bernie made his tweedle dum tweedle Dee comment about 20 years ago. The rest of us have been slower to notice.

    Bernard , April 29, 2016 at 10:43 am

    well, Clinton is a woman and a Democrat. the more perfect evil. just Obama, the Vichy Democrats do more evil than the Republicans, far more efficiently/effectively than any Republican could or has. Hearing David/Charles Koch recently say Hillary "could" be better than any of the Republican candidates, is proof. we are so Fkked!

    yet my siblings will vote for Hillary cause of the Supreme Court due to the fact Hillary has a D by her name. and i gather so many women will vote for Hillary cause she is a "woman." lol Branding works. Stupidity, American style. if I vote, it will be for Trump, the lesser of two evils, lol.

    readerOfTeaLeaves , April 29, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Yes, women will vote Hill.

    But that fails to count all the younger voters, saddled with debt and facing an economy where business rules always favor capital over labor, who will find alternatives to Hillary that fit with their moral sensibilities.

    Meanwhile, the DNC is committing organizational suicide by becoming enforcers for Hillary, restricting voting, and failing to sue states like Arizona for election fraud.

    The GOP won't benefit from any of this.

    AnEducatedFool , April 29, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Older women will vote for Hillary. The divide between race and gender is primarily age. Older black women are voting for her at 80% clips in nearly every election. Bernie can not win the 40 and under vote in every election while winning 30 and under at 80% with out winning across those demographics.
    Clinton kills him with older voters and has done so through out the cycle. It is why the DNC's efforts to suppress the vote have worked so well for Clinton.

    cr , April 29, 2016 at 10:45 am

    The NYT is simply a propaganda machine designed to fool people who can read at a slightly higher grade level. If the 'newspaper of record' is compromised, how many mainstream outlets have any real coverage of politics? After reading a large sampl;e,The number is close to zero. Occasionally, the masses are thrown a bone.

    Anyone who thinks there is a difference between the two nominal parties have to be kidding themselves. The two party system is a facade that lures you into believing you live in a democracy or republic. You are ruled. Your votes don't matter. Any real threat to power in the US is either co-opted or neutralized.

    We had a pedophile for speaker of the house. TPTB had to know it and used that info to keep him under control. He was probably selected based on his past. Along with Hillary, Paul Ryan is clearly a fascist. Look at their actions and their policies.

    ng , April 29, 2016 at 11:11 am

    even the times piece was puffery. all the generals impressed by her wonkish hard work. and it left out the most damning fact. hillary was the deciding voice in what obama called the worst decision of his presidency, the invasion of libya and killing of quadaffi. nearly a decade after iraq, in a nearly equivilant situation, with all the information she claimed not to have the first time around, she chose the same stupid, destructive approach and sent another nation and region reeling in choas.

    divadab , April 29, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    this. I had thought it was because as a gen 1 feminist, she feels she has to out-macho the boys, but it's both deeper and more pernicious with her. Fucking neocons. Bombing while the world is burning.

    hal , April 29, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    What about the big four?
    1 her emails anyone else would be gone for 99 years
    2. her speeches? Yea sure. She has the only copy in her (contract)
    3. her deals as SOState I'll get you arms (Saudi's) if you give me $1 million for foundation
    Plus many more of these.
    4. Her health passing out a few time, breaking an elbow, and others ailments.

    Not a word on any. As for the NYT. It is as bad a you can get.
    There is a great quote from Albert Camus a editor for "Combat" during the war.
    "We have a right to think that truth with a capital letter is relative. But facts are facts. And whoever says the sky is blue when it is grey is prostituting words and preparing the way for tyranny.

    I think about this every time I read the NYT.

    AnEducatedFool , April 29, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Nice comment.
    #5 is the discrepancies in the exit poll data. Only the Democrats are having trouble with exit polls this cycle. Each Republican election has been with in the exit polls but many of the Democratic primaries are falling outside of the margin of error for exit polls and always siding with Clinton.

    David Mills , April 29, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    I pay $8 a month buying the weekend edition because I like the crossword (based in KL). The rest of the NYT is crap, been downhill for years. The IHT was okay until it was merged out of existence.

    Otherwise, people who can't see Hillary's vicious streak are blind or stupid. She is the candidate most likely to engage Russia. Lawrence Wilkerson had a great interview on her.

    Teejay , April 30, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Any "where" and "when" on the Wilkerson interview or a link to it?

    Procopius , April 30, 2016 at 6:25 am

    "… this was a failure of the media, whose job it is to shine a strong spotlight." When are Americans going to learn that this is not true. The job of the media is to sell advertising to the people who have the money to buy it. It's easier to do that if they don't tell people too much about what's happening in the world. Tell them about the Kardashians or what people are saying about Beyonce's latest video. Baseball games are OK. Good looking blonde announcers help. The movie "Front Page" was fiction. Also, there's no Tooth Fairy.

    Emeritus Jr , April 30, 2016 at 6:36 am

    With unprecedented access to insiders and whisteblowers, the New York Times is set to publish a scathing indictment of the horse barn industry on the massive damage caused by closing the barn doors after the horses have left.

    Roy , April 30, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Have not seen any comment on Hillary's logo. Anyone notice how the arrow is pointing to the right?

    [May 01, 2016] Credentialism and Corruption Neoliberalism in The News Room

    Notable quotes:
    "... Las Vegas Review-Journa ..."
    "... The New York Times ..."
    "... at the same URL ..."
    "... Woman on the Edge of Time ..."
    "... One problem with reporters is that they aren't a separate profession with a standard code of ethics or standard form of credentials. And journalists should not be like lawyers, organized before the bar into a self-perpetuating and self-serving organization. That written, Frank Bruni is the great mysterious counterexample (what credentials? what qualifications? why?). ..."
    "... Yet the lack of an organization with "teeth" keeps reporters on the defensive against the accommodationist editors, the advertisers, and the board of directors larded with the usual knuckleheads. Would that the Newspaper Guild had more power. ..."
    "... The development of the M.B.A. and M.F.A. in the last thirty or so years attests to a degree as time served to get a better job. So the M.B.A. has given us endless talent-free bean counters trained in bad business practices and shoddy economics. The M.F.A. gives us endless first novels of a uniform middling quality and careers in burgeoning writing programs producing more of such snooze-filled novels. Among journalists, the masters in journalism has not proved to be protection or a stamp of quality, either. ..."
    May 1, 2016 | naked capitalism
    By Lambert Strether of Corrente .

    Readers liked our last post on life under neoliberalism and the salaried (or professional (or " 20%") ) classes, and the question we posed: "How do these people live with themselves?" So here's another one! This time, I'm going to compare and contrast life in the newsroom at the Las Vegas Review-Journa and The New York Times .

    Looking at these classes, credentials matter. (Again, I should caveat that these are my people; I was raised the child of professors in America's Golden Age of higher education and shaped for that sort of career myself; back in the day, when tenure was a realistic possibility for many, and academics didn't have to hold outside fundraisers for their projects. And when there were careers.) For example, attaining an M.D. is different from learning a skill; as a doctor, one takes the Hippocratic Oath. CPAs have a required ethics exam. Even lawyers!

    If economists ask themselves "What good is a degree?" the answer is "to signal a requirement for a higher salary!" (because it's not easy to rank the professions by the quality of what they deliver). We as citizens might answer that professionals are in some ways amphibians: They serve both private ends and preserve public goods, and the education for which they are granted their credentials forms them for this service. For example, a doctor who prescribes medications for his patients because Big Pharma takes him golfing is no doctor but corrupt; he's mixed up public and private. He didn't follow his oath. Similarly, a reporter (see Terry Pratchett's wonderful The Truth ) who only serves the interests of his publication's owner is no reporter but corrupt; a public relations specialist, say. Or a servant.

    The Las Vegas Review-Journal

    First, let's look at an episode at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. As readers may remember, the LVJR was purchased by Sheldon Adelson, international gambling squillionaire, publisher , and campaign contributor ( Israel ). I won't use the word "corrupt," but feel free to think it . Hilariously, Adelson did not disclose his purchase - no problems with optics there! - and it was left to the LVJR reporting staff to treat the matter as a story, and reveal their new owner. Here's the story the LVJR broke:

    After six days of uncertainty surrounding News + Media Capital Group LLC - a newly formed Delaware-domiciled company backed by "undisclosed financial backers with expertise in the media industry" - the Review-Journal on Wednesday confirmed that Adelson's son-in-law, Patrick Dumont, arranged the company's $140 million purchase of the newspaper on behalf of the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands. …

    Last week's sale saw News + Media pay around $38 million more than New Media Investment Group paid in March for all of Stephens Media LLC, a national chain of eight daily newspapers that included the Review-Journal.

    It remains unclear if that inflated purchase price came with strings attached to the Adelsons.

    "The way the Adelson family began its ownership of the Review-Journal - with secrecy, deception, and one opaque announcement after another - does not inspire confidence," said media critic and New York University professor Jay Rosen. "Possibly this rocky start could be overcome, but the place to begin would have been with the public announcement of the purchase. In that announcement there is nothing about preserving the independence of the Review-Journal newsroom from undue influence by Sheldon Adelson, who as everyone knows is one of the most powerful people in the state and in Republican politics nationwide.

    "What creative measures were announced to insulate news coverage from the enormous wealth and power of the Adelson family? None that I can see. And that does not inspire confidence," Rosen said.

    (This post only scratches the surface of the carnage . What you're going to read is bad enough.) To nobody's surprise, Rosen's concerns for the independence of the newsroom were all too prescient. From the New York Times :

    Whether Mr. Adelson will ultimately try to shape the paper's coverage remains to be seen. But in the weeks since he has owned the paper, reporters said, several articles about the paper have been heavily reviewed and edited to remove quotes that could be viewed as unfavorable to the new owners.

    An article about Mr. Hengel's resignation was trimmed before it was published from about 20 paragraphs to three and stripped of nearly all of Mr. Hengel's comments, according to people familiar with the article. The article ran on Wednesday inside the paper. Similarly, an initial article on the paper's website about the sale was edited after it was published to remove references to the buyer's unknown identity.

    It got worse. From Politico :

    Within five hours, the immediate inherent conflicts of Adelson ownership made themselves highly apparent. The Review-Journal reported that Adelson had met with the ownership of Oakland Raiders football team, hoping to lure them to Las Vegas and into a new "public/private"-funded $1 billion domed stadium.

    The new publisher has reviewed each stadium story since, and the stories have seen numerous Moon-directed edits, several sources confirm. Those edits include removing key points of fact on what may turn out to become a $600 million-plus public investment in a football stadium. At least one stadium story was killed, as well, my sources confirm.

    It is near impossible to overestimate the depth of the conflict involved in the Adelson ownership. As a major player in the gaming industry in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore, top donor to Republican Party candidates and now the booster of a "public-private" funded football stadium, Adelson-related stories have appeared in the R-J for years. For years, the paper has "lawyered" each Adelson-related story, given the magnate's history of litigiousness. Now that review is being done in house, with very different results.

    And now the latest, from NPR :

    Las Vegas Columnist Quits After Ban On Writing About Adelson

    "If I can't do my job, if I can't hold the heavyweights in the community to account, then I'm just treading water," the columnist, John L. Smith, told NPR in an interview. "It wasn't an easy decision to make, but there was no other decision to make - at least in my mind."

    Smith had written columns for the Review-Journal for nearly three decades, with a frequent focus on Adelson, one of the most powerful figures in Nevada gambling and national Republican politics. The billionaire sued Smith for libel over a passage in a 2005 book about power players of Las Vegas.

    Smith prevailed in court, but paying the fees helped bankrupt him. (NPR told that remarkable story, including a rabbi's offer of a secret $200,000 payoff from Adelson for Smith to admit libel, earlier this year.) Years later, the case has helped trigger the end of Smith's career at the Review-Journal, as his new bosses cited it as a conflict of interest [!!!].

    Now, all of the above is prelude to John L. Smith's resignation letter, of which he left a copy on every desk in the LVJR news-room:

    smith_letter

    Clearly, John L. Smith is somebody who can live with himself.[1] And now we turn to the New York Times.

    The New York Times

    Here, I'm simply going to quote a great slab of Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan's column (who ought to be missed by Times executives, but probably will not be[2]).

    Were Changes to Sanders Article 'Stealth Editing'?

    An article by Jennifer Steinhauer, published online, carried the headline "Bernie Sanders Scored Victories for Years via Legislative Side Doors." It described the way the Vermont senator had managed a significant number of legislative victories in Congress despite the political independence that might have hindered him.

    The article stayed in essentially that form for several hours online – with some very minor tweaks - but in the late afternoon, Times editors made significant changes to its tone and content, turning it from almost glowing to somewhat disparaging. The later headline read : "Via Legislative Side Doors, Bernie Sanders Won Modest Victories."

    And these two paragraphs were added:

    But in his presidential campaign Mr. Sanders is trying to scale up those kinds of proposals as a national agenda, and there is little to draw from his small-ball legislative approach to suggest that he could succeed.

    Mr. Sanders is suddenly promising not just a few stars here and there, but the moon and a good part of the sun, from free college tuition paid for with giant tax hikes to a huge increase in government health care, which has made even liberal Democrats skeptical.

    (Readers will recognize that both paragraphs are heavily larded with Clinton campaign talking points.) Here I'll skip Sullivan's summary of the obvious problems with these changes; in addition to several readers, she links to Medium , Matt Taibbi , and Robert Reich , too. So, to the institutional issues:

    I asked top editors at The Times, along with Ms. Steinhauer and her immediate editor, for response. (The executive editor, Dean Baquet, also responded to Erik Wemple of The Washington Post on Tuesday night, and Ms. Steinhauer responded to the Rolling Stone piece. Both said, in essence, that the changes were routine efforts to add context to an evolving story.)

    [The reporter, Jennifer] Steinhauer, in a response to my email, suggested that I speak to editors because "it was an editing decision."…

    So, what happened here? Matt Purdy, a deputy executive editor, said that when senior editors read the piece after it was published online, they thought it needed more perspective about whether Mr. Sanders would be able to carry out his campaign agenda if he was elected president.

    "I thought it should say more about his realistic chances" of doing that, Mr. Purdy told me. As first published, he said, editors believed that the article "didn't approach that question."

    "There was a feeling that the story wasn't written into this moment," Mr. Purdy said. After the editing changes, he said, "it got to be a deeper story," with greater context.

    Three editors told me in no uncertain terms that the editing changes had not been made in response to complaints from the Clinton camp. Did the Clinton people even reach out?

    "Not that I know of," Mr. Baquet told me in an email. The article's immediate editor, Michael Tackett, agreed: "There's zero evidence of that."

    ("Not that I know of" and "There's zero evidence of that" are both what somebody with a sufficiently cynical cast of mind might call non-denial denials.)

    My take: The changes to this story were so substantive that a reader who saw the piece when it first went up might come away with a very different sense of Mr. Sanders's legislative accomplishments than one who saw it hours later. (The Sanders campaign shared the initial story on social media; it's hard to imagine it would have done that if the edited version had appeared first.)

    (Note that the Sanders campaign had distributed the URL to original Times article. So, when the Times editors made their unannounced changes at the same URL , they pulled the rug out from the Sanders campaign, who would hardly have distributed a link to an article that supported major Clinton campaign talking points.

    Comparing and Contrasting

    From the reader's perspective, is there any substantive difference between what the Adelson-owned LVJR did to its stories on Adelson, and what the Times did to its story on Sanders? Is there a substantive difference between removing material unfavorable to the owner or suppressing stories unfavorable to his business interests, and gratuitously inserting material egregiously favorable to a newspaper's endorsed candidate? Especially when, in each case, the paper makes no mention of the change? I don't think so.

    However, from the newsroom's perspective, there's a very great difference indeed. The LVJR is a small paper; John L. Smith is two or three degrees of separation at most from Adelson himself, so its very clear who's giving direction and why. The New York Times is a very large paper; the reporter, Jennifer] Steinhauer, was able to say "Talk to the editors," and Sullivan, the Public Editor, talked to three of them. In other words, the social relations - we might even say the realities - at the Journal-Review and the Times are very different; the Journal-Review's are so simple and clean that "How can you live with yourself?" questions come to the fore under stress. Not so at the Times; the institutional complexities make it possible for such questions to be masked or muffled. Corruption is clear at the LVJR; but corruption scuttles away into the masthead at the Times.

    However, if we ask ourselves what the future of the average newsroom - modulo algos - is likely to be, I would imagine life will be a lot more like the LVJR than the NYT. I mean, who wants a masthead cluttered with supernumeraries? It's going to be interesting to see what John L. Smith will do. Maybe he'll start a blog?

    NOTES

    [1] Let me add my standard disclaimer: I don't want to come off as priggish. I don't have dependents, and so my choices are simpler. If I had to support a family, especially in today's new normal, I might put my head down and save ethics for the home. "Person must not do what person cannot do." - Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time .

    [2] Sullivan actually reads the Comments, and sometimes integrated them into her column.

    About Lambert Strether

    Lambert Strether has been blogging, managing online communities, and doing system administration 24/7 since 2003, in Drupal and WordPress. Besides political economy and the political scene, he blogs about rhetoric, software engineering, permaculture, history, literature, local politics, international travel, food, and fixing stuff around the house. The nom de plume "Lambert Strether" comes from Henry James's The Ambassadors: "Live all you can. It's a mistake not to." You can follow him on Twitter at @lambertstrether. http://www.correntewire.com

    John k , May 1, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Subscribed for years, then just on line, but becoming so slanted, cut the cord last year.
    Worth exploring the various links between times and Clintons…
    Probably web like Corp structure. Must be a new culture there, Think op K etc.
    Wonder why circulation in decline… Maybe they'll turn into a blog… Or frog… Frogs are kind of slimy…

    DJG , May 1, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    One problem with reporters is that they aren't a separate profession with a standard code of ethics or standard form of credentials. And journalists should not be like lawyers, organized before the bar into a self-perpetuating and self-serving organization. That written, Frank Bruni is the great mysterious counterexample (what credentials? what qualifications? why?).

    Yet the lack of an organization with "teeth" keeps reporters on the defensive against the accommodationist editors, the advertisers, and the board of directors larded with the usual knuckleheads. Would that the Newspaper Guild had more power.

    Further, the credentials in the U S of A are now distinctly murky. Your quote:

    If economists ask themselves "What good is a degree?" the answer is "to signal a requirement for a higher salary!"

    The development of the M.B.A. and M.F.A. in the last thirty or so years attests to a degree as time served to get a better job. So the M.B.A. has given us endless talent-free bean counters trained in bad business practices and shoddy economics. The M.F.A. gives us endless first novels of a uniform middling quality and careers in burgeoning writing programs producing more of such snooze-filled novels. Among journalists, the masters in journalism has not proved to be protection or a stamp of quality, either.

    jrs , May 1, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Yea lawyers so self-serving at protecting their own profession that the laws are deliberately undecipherable.

    I suppose what the journalists need is just what anyone who works for a living needs: a good union to protect them and fight for them. Every worker should have one.

    I have my doubts anyone gets an M.F.A. to signal a higher salary though. Are they like "I wanted a higher salary so I figured I'd get the most economically worthless degree conceivable …" (even a bachelors in liberal arts indicates you at least got a bachelors which is seen to one's credit – but an M.F.A. – really does anyone care you have an advance degree in something with no economic value?). I think people do the M.F.A. for love (or else pretentiousness). But love may be no guarantee of talent.

    diptherio , May 1, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Allow me to translate for the Times' editors:

    The story, as originally written, was based exclusively on verifiable facts. This is a great weakness in a modern news story and so we decided to add in some speculation and thinly veiled insults in order to bring it into line with contemporary journalistic standards. The job of a modern journalist is not simply to report the facts, but also to help people decide what to think about those facts…also we predict the future. Our critics have an outdated view of what a responsible journalism looks like in today's hyper-competitive media environment.

    jrs, May 1, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    How are the people without a family to support supposed to be courageous and do the right thing, if most of the people around them don't because "they have a family to support". Or are they not supposed to pick up anything at all from their social context? I don't think it usually works this way. I'm all for heroes, I just don't think expecting ethical heroes to be the norm, if most people are selling their souls to survive, and we even make excuses for them, is likely to produce all that many.

    And by the way from whom besides their coworkers etc., did they learn to compromise their principles even if they don't have a family to support? Why maybe from their parents! Who afterall had to do it "because they had family to support"! And round and round it goes. Yes I do believe we need a social solution (ie don't let people and their families fall into poverty and/or unemployment so easily and they won't be so eager to do anything to keep a job. Although some people seem attached to their jobs for irrational reasons like prestige rather than just the nuts and bolts of needing a means to pay their bills).

    Guaranteed survival is a radical proposal though when the ENTIRE economic system is premised on relying on the threat of starvation and homelessness to get people to do what it wants (and that includes ethically indifferent as well as entirely unethical things). I just don't think the "get out of ethics free" cards (because you have a family etc.) help anything though.

    What was added to the Sander's story is mostly notable for it's complete absence of ANY actual content. And that really makes one wonder why they added it. The added part is like: but but .. Sanders success doesn't guarantee he will be good at achieving things as President. Yes and it doesn't guarantee he won't either! But either Hillary or Sanders will face congress and anyone who took high school civics knows that. That additions are like: NEWSFLASH: FUTURE IS UNPREDICTABLE!!! Uh that's not adding any news to the world at all. Might as well just add a tiny disclaimer: past performance is no guarantee of future results like the investments have.

    [May 01, 2016] What is the Democratic Party Good For Absolutely Nothing

    Notable quotes:
    "... Reaganites showed the way. However, "Clintonites," the Clintons themselves and other "new" Democrats, put the Reaganite vision into practice. ..."
    "... In America these days, Reaganites think of it, Clintonites do it. Rank and file Republicans, insofar as they think at all, believe in it; rank and file Democrats don't like it, but let it happen. ..."
    "... Were the United States more of a (small-d) democracy, that would be the end of the story – and of the Clintons. But there is almost nothing democratic about American politics. It therefore looks like the neoliberal era will be hanging on for a while longer, an unloved encumbrance to human progress and wellbeing. ..."
    "... And, as the global hegemon goes, so go the countries it dominates. For the time being, the change so many yearn for is not quite at hand. Even so, there are reasons to hope: American politics is changing – in ways that could, before long, cause the neoliberal world order to fall. ..."
    "... Thanks to Trump, there is another wrinkle to add onto the Hegelian story: that Reason has a sense of humor. Hegel had men like Julius Caesar and Napoleon in mind. But the latest world historical figure, the Donald, is the very antithesis of figures like that: he is an over the top real estate tycoon, reality TV star, and all-around buffoon. ..."
    "... Hegel thought that opposites are integrally related. Democrats and Republicans certainly are. It is hardly surprising, therefore that the Democratic Party may also be on the brink of becoming undone or, failing that, of changing beyond recognition. ..."
    "... This might seem unlikely now that Hillary Clinton's victory over Bernie Sanders is practically assured. But the Sanders campaign, whatever becomes of it, introduced a destabilizing element into American politics. The Democratic Party may not yet be on the brink of destruction, but there is no telling what Reason has in store. ..."
    "... It was enough for me that the twenty-first century versions of New Deal-Great Society liberalism that the two of them had in mind is better by far than anything we Americans, with our bought and paid for pro-business political parties and our servile corporate media, had any right to expect. My beef with Bernie was just that he was too Clinton-friendly. No doubt, Warren is as well. ..."
    "... ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, 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). ..."
    April 29, 2016 | Conterpunch

    Think of Republicans and despair for the human race. Even the ones who otherwise seem morally and intellectually sound champion political views straight out of Morons R'Us.

    However, Democrats are worse - not morally or intellectually, of course; and neither are their views worse. But within the matrix of our semi-established two party system, Democrats do the most harm.

    The Democratic Party is, by default, the political voice of organized labor and of social movements that fight for racial and gender equality, environmental sanity, and other worthy causes. Democrats can therefore do what Republicans cannot: integrate the victims of the status quo into a political consensus that serves and protects those who benefit most from it – the "one percent," the "billionaire class." They are good at this.

    The generally accepted name for the socially atomizing, inequality-generating, environmentally reckless version of late capitalism practiced and promoted in developed countries over the past four decades is "neoliberalism." For most Americans, as for most people around the world, neoliberalism has become Enemy Number One.

    Republicans support neoliberal policies and practices more fervently than Democrats do. But, for putting them into practice, Democrats leave Republicans standing in the dust.

    The American version of neoliberal theory and practice was concocted by Republicans and others who flocked into the Reagan administration decades ago; call them "Reaganites."

    The villainous old Gipper, Ronald Reagan, had little to do with it himself; he was never much of a thinker or visionary or policy wonk. But, in the United States, the name has stuck. It applies not only to neoliberals of the Reagan era, but to their successors as well.

    Reaganites showed the way. However, "Clintonites," the Clintons themselves and other "new" Democrats, put the Reaganite vision into practice.

    In America these days, Reaganites think of it, Clintonites do it. Rank and file Republicans, insofar as they think at all, believe in it; rank and file Democrats don't like it, but let it happen.

    By now, though, nearly everyone who does not benefit egregiously from the neoliberal world order is fed up with its consequences. In public opinion, the Reaganite-Clintonite era has run its course.

    Were the United States more of a (small-d) democracy, that would be the end of the story – and of the Clintons. But there is almost nothing democratic about American politics. It therefore looks like the neoliberal era will be hanging on for a while longer, an unloved encumbrance to human progress and wellbeing.

    And, as the global hegemon goes, so go the countries it dominates. For the time being, the change so many yearn for is not quite at hand. Even so, there are reasons to hope: American politics is changing – in ways that could, before long, cause the neoliberal world order to fall.

    The Republican Party is destroying itself. This has been in the works for a long time, but the Trump phenomenon has pushed the process along, and changed its nature.

    A facetious later-day Hegelian might say of this that the Cunning of Reason is at work.

    Hegel thought that History becomes increasingly rational and therefore intelligible through the deeds of world historical figures, great men (always men) acting out their passions and interests. He insisted, however, that this only becomes apparent in retrospect. In this case, Reason's cunning is on display even as events unfold.

    Thanks to Trump, there is another wrinkle to add onto the Hegelian story: that Reason has a sense of humor. Hegel had men like Julius Caesar and Napoleon in mind. But the latest world historical figure, the Donald, is the very antithesis of figures like that: he is an over the top real estate tycoon, reality TV star, and all-around buffoon.

    Hegel thought that opposites are integrally related. Democrats and Republicans certainly are. It is hardly surprising, therefore that the Democratic Party may also be on the brink of becoming undone or, failing that, of changing beyond recognition.

    This might seem unlikely now that Hillary Clinton's victory over Bernie Sanders is practically assured. But the Sanders campaign, whatever becomes of it, introduced a destabilizing element into American politics. The Democratic Party may not yet be on the brink of destruction, but there is no telling what Reason has in store.

    Were the Democratic Party to vanish from the face of the earth, it would certainly not be missed, except by deluded liberals who think, for example, that Hillary is one of the good guys, and that her "experience" – as an official wife, a feckless Senator, and the worst Secretary of State in modern times – has taught her how to get worthwhile things done.

    Even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, there are people who believe that, alarmingly many of them. Democrats buy snake oil at Morons R'Us too.

    Enter Bernie

    At first, Elizabeth Warren was the Great Progressive Hope. She had one obvious advantage over Bernie: Team Hillary couldn't play the gender card against her. But she said she wouldn't run, and she meant it.

    Sanders therefore came to occupy the space that might otherwise have been hers.

    It was plain to progressives of nearly all stripes, from Day One, that, if nothing else, Sanders' candidacy would help reintroduce "socialism" - the word, if not the idea – back into the American lexicon. This couldn't hurt, and might actually do some good. A Warren candidacy would not have had the same effect.

    Otherwise, between Warren and Sanders, it was, as far as anyone could tell, a wash.

    One argument against Bernie was that his campaign would redound ultimately to the benefit of Hillary's because it would keep progressive voters on board long enough for them to be coopted into the Clintonized Democratic Party's mainstream. Another was that, on all but economic matters, his views were standard Democratic Party fare. The same arguments would likely have been deployed against Warren, had she decided to run.

    I, for one, didn't much care. It was enough for me that the twenty-first century versions of New Deal-Great Society liberalism that the two of them had in mind is better by far than anything we Americans, with our bought and paid for pro-business political parties and our servile corporate media, had any right to expect. My beef with Bernie was just that he was too Clinton-friendly. No doubt, Warren is as well.

    Nevertheless, I decided long ago that, if Bernie was still in the running by the time I had a chance to vote in the primaries, that I would vote for him – if only because a vote for Bernie would be a reasonably principled and effective way to protest the coronation of Clintonism's (neoliberalism's) reigning Queen.

    Earlier this week, I made good on that decision. My state, Maryland, disgraced itself more fulsomely than the others voting that day - except Rhode Island. But even before last Tuesday, a Sanders victory was very nearly a mathematical impossibility.

    For a few months, though, it did seem that a vote for Bernie could be more than just a protest vote; that he could win the nomination and therefore the presidency.

    And it still seems that the "huge" crowds coming to Bernie's rallies and feeling the Bern are part of something a lot bigger. The differences from the Occupy movements of 201l are significant, but the vibe is much the same.

    Oddly, leftists were less skeptical of Occupy Wall Street and its clones than of the Sanders campaign, especially at first. I certainly was.

    This was odd because Occupy lacked a political focus – electoral or otherwise. One didn't have to be a committed Leninist to understand that this made it more than usually difficult for Occupy militants to figure out what to do next.

    It was also plain that, without a more defined political orientation, the Occupy movements would be easily swept aside when the Forces of Order decided that the time to repress them had come, and when the campaign to reelect Barack Obama started sucking up all the air.

    And so it was that Occupy burned out shortly after it got started.

    Even so, it seemed, at the time, that Occupy's bottom up structure and disregard of electoral politics was its strength. Also, the movement awakened a long dormant spirit of resistance - in much the way that Black Lives Matter now does.

    Therefore, it wasn't so strange, after all, that Occupy's flaws didn't seem quite as objectionable as the shortcomings of the Sanders campaign did in the days before it became clear that Bernie was on to something.

    Unlike Occupy Wall Street, the Sanders campaign does have a focus and a structure; it is, and could only be, a top-down electoral campaign of the familiar kind. This is its weakness, of course. But it is also what has enabled it to reach more people and to change consciousness more profoundly than the Occupy movements ever could.

    Much the same could be said for Sanders' decision to run as a Democrat. Technically, he had always been an Independent. He was, however, an Independent who caucused with the Democrats in the House and Senate, and who generally voted the way a Democrat would. His change in party affiliation was therefore of little substantive consequence.

    However, it was consequential strategically. Had Bernie run as an Independent, he would not have been included in debates, and he would be even more ignored by corporate media than he has been. Also, he would have had to waste money, time and effort just gaining ballot access.

    Running as an Independent, he would almost certainly end up doing even less well than Ralph Nader did, running on the Green Party ticket sixteen years ago. Nader won a whopping 2.74% of the popular vote.

    On the down side, though, by running as a Democrat, Sanders is strengthening the Democratic Party. And were he actually to win the nomination, he would have no choice but to cede at least some power over his campaign to that wretched party's leaders. They would also demand a role in his administration.

    Sanders' decision to run as a Democrat may not quite rise to the level of a Faustian bargain; he has not had to sell his soul – not yet, anyway. But it comes close.

    At the same time, by running as a Democrat, Sanders has done a lot of good. He has shown that it is possible to finance a Presidential campaign without relying on "the billionaire class" or Super PACs, or nefarious lobbyists. And he has moved the center of gravity in the Democratic Party to the left.

    Thanks to the Sanders campaign, even Hillary is now talking the talk. Of course, in her case, it is only talk; when there is no longer anything in it for her, she will revert back to form. But, in politics, even insincere and opportunistic words can have beneficial consequences in both the short and long term.

    Pundits used to say that the Sanders campaign was doomed to fail; now that it has very nearly done so, they are saying it again. This seems right; the institutional Democratic Party and the corporate media that supports it defeated Sanders, just as everyone expected they would.

    But failure was not inevitable. Were it not for New York State's election rules, which disenfranchised large numbers of potential Sanders voters, and for the Democratic Party machines that the Clintons concocted or took over during the past decade and a half, Sanders might have been able to sustain the momentum he brought into the New York primary by winning there. He would then have been well positioned to give the Clinton juggernaut a run for its money in the "Acela primaries" and in the others to come.

    Hillary was never the inevitable nominee, just the most likely one. Unfortunately, this time, the facts bore the probabilities out.

    In the end, though, her victory may be a blessing in disguise. For reasons I will mention presently, the Democratic nominee this year has always been sure to prevail against Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. But, barring a successful and profound "political revolution," he or she would then have as hard a time governing as Obama has had.

    In Obama's case, racism made the problem worse. But Republican obstinacy will not go away just because the color of the Democrat in the White House next year will be white.

    Republicans went after Obama mainly on domestic matters; they were fine with his drones and "targeted killings," his deportations, his war on whistle-blowers and his assaults on privacy rights.

    We can expect Republicans to thwart Hillary at every turn too, except perhaps when she warmongers and otherwise promotes Obama-style murder and mayhem. Even more than was the case under Obama, we should be grateful that she will seldom get her way: being clueless and inept, she has a knack for making everything she works on worse.

    Indeed, before long, even Obama will be looking good. Expect too that, as the consequences of Hillary's blundering unfold, many current Hillary supporters will wise up and turn on her in much the way that LBJ's supporters turned on him half a century ago.

    We will never know for sure how a President Sanders would fare. On the one hand, the man is a straight shooter; even Republicans can respect him for that. But capitalists who feel their power and privileges threatened fight back viciously. Because they own almost the entire political class, a "democratic socialist" who means what he says would not be likely to be cut much slack.

    Sanders is faulted for being an "idealist" and a "dreamer." This is nonsense; what he proposes – retrieving and then building upon progress made in the middle decades of the last century - is eminently doable, provided there is the political will. Countries less wealthy than ours do similar things all the time.

    But finding the political will would not be easy. Republicans would be an obstacle, of course; but Democrats would be a problem too.

    Even if his candidacy would generate enough excitement and voter turnout for Democrats to win control of the Senate and the House, as happened when Obama ran in 2008, Congress would still be in the hands of base and servile flunkies who toe the line for their corporate paymasters. The Democratic Congress Obama contended with during his first two years in office is a case in point.

    Let Hillary deal with problems like that. Bernie can serve the people better in other ways.

    Who's Afraid of Donald Trump?

    High on the list of nonsensical things that foolish liberals believe is the idea that because Hillary is a "centrist," she is more electable than anyone further to her left.

    This belief is like the old notion that after a heart attack or major surgery, patients should have complete bed rest as they recover. This seems commonsensical, but the idea is demonstrably false.

    In this case, though, it is clear as can be that Hillary is going to shellac Trump (or Cruz) in November. Sanders would do the same – in all likelihood by a larger margin.

    Even a people capable of venerating Ronald Reagan and reelecting George W. Bush in 2004, after it had become plain to anyone with half a brain how devastating his war against Iraq already was, would not put their country – and its nuclear weapons – in Trump's (tiny) hands. The Donald cannot win – no way.

    To be sure, there is a fair chance that Trump is not nearly the racist, nativist and Islamophobe that he pretends to be. He played that part on TV, though; and he won't be able to live it down.

    America is not yet a majority-minority nation - but it is getting there, demographically and in spirit. Therefore anyone nowadays whose public persona resembles that of, say, George Wallace circa 1971 cannot win an election that is not confined, as Republican primaries mostly are, to out of sorts white people.

    Moreover, if Trump is the Republican nominee, he will not only have to contend with the Clintons and their hapless minions; he will have the Republican Party, what's left of it, against him as well.

    The swords are already drawn. The Old Guard is mobilized against Trump because he threatens their hold over their Grand Old Party. Libertarians, theocrats and other self-described "conservatives" are against him too - because they realize that, despite his bluster, he is emphatically not one of them.

    It is likely, in fact, that Trump would run to Hillary's left on most issues – trade, foreign affairs, infrastructure development, jobs programs, holding Wall Street banksters and other corporate criminals accountable, and so on.

    Nevertheless, liberals say that, like her or not, Hillary is the lesser evil; and conclude, on that account, that she merits their support.

    There is no point now in going back over the case against lesser evil voting, except to note that one of the timeworn arguments – that it is not always clear who the lesser evil is - is especially relevant in a Clinton vs. Trump matchup.

    But, in this instance, lesser evil considerations are moot: Trump cannot win in November, period, full stop.

    There is polling data that suggests that Bernie would have done a lot better than he did in recent primaries were voters more confident that a Democrat, any Democrat, would trounce Trump (or Cruz).

    In the years to come, as the horror that is Hillary becomes apparent even to those who are now somehow able to enthuse over her candidacy, we will all have cause to regret that debilitating imperviousness to evidence that afflicts Republicans and Democrats alike.

    Whither Bernie?

    Jesse Jackson folded the Rainbow Coalition into the Democratic Party after the 1988 primary season. Because he wanted to be a player, he squandered an enormous opportunity.

    If Bernie follows suit, it will nullify much of the good his campaign has done.

    Sanders seems less cooptable than Jackson. Nevertheless, every indication so far is that he will follow Jackson's lead.

    That it could come to this has been the great fear all along, and the main reason for faulting Sanders for running as a Democrat. Containing progressive uprisings is what Democrats do.

    In principle, what got going under the aegis of the Sanders campaign could survive and even flourish without him. There is no denying, though, that, in the short run, it will help mightily if Bernie stays on board.

    For that to happen, he will have to become more like Donald Trump. Liberal pundits and faux progressives are already busily telling one and all that this would not please them one bit. No surprise there!

    When Republican grandees treat the Donald badly, as they have been doing relentlessly from the moment that it became clear that his campaign was more than just a joke, he has fought back with verbal retorts designed to cut them down - supplemented with barely concealed calls for violence.

    Behind his words, however, there is, as everybody knows, the threat of exit. Trump could bolt, taking large swathes of the Republican base with him.

    The institutional Democratic Party has treated Sanders badly too, notwithstanding their fear that, if they go too far, his supporters will also bolt, regardless what Sanders tells them or what he himself chooses to do.

    They want to keep as many Sanders backers on board as they can, not because they are afraid that Trump will win in November - that isn't going to happen – but for the sake of down ticket Democrats. To have any chance of taking over the Senate, the House and vulnerable State Houses, they know that they will need to keep the people feeling the Bern active and enthused.

    Their thoroughly justifiable fear is that, without Bernie, most of them will just sit the election out.

    There is no obvious way to prevent this. With Hillary at the head of the ticket, the temptations of quiescence are too strong not to prevail.

    But all is not lost; not by any means. It may be impossible now for Americans opposed to neoliberalism to elect a President who is not part of the problem; but, thanks to the Sanders campaign, there has never been a more propitious moment for doing something even more worthwhile – changing the face of American politics by building a genuinely leftwing political party.

    This is why the first order of business now must be to convince Bernie to join with those of us who would swim through vomit before voting for any Clintonite, much less the exceptionally inept and very dangerous "Madam Secretary."

    This won't be easy. Bernie is too nice. It doesn't help either that liberal pundits back the Democratic Party, as we know it, a thousand percent.

    Even so, many Sanders supporters are sure to find their way to the Greens - voting, as I probably will yet again, for Jill Stein.

    On economic matters and other domestic issues, Stein offers essentially what Sanders does; on foreign affairs, she offers a lot of what anti-imperialists don't like about Sanders' views.

    With these considerations in mind – and with a Democratic victory in the Presidential contest assured – a vote for Stein ought to be a no brainer for the vast majority of Sandersnistas, especially those who live in the forty or so states whose electoral votes might as well have been assigned four years ago.

    But the Greens have been going nowhere for as long as anyone can remember, and they are not even good for drawing protest votes. In 2012, when I would tell people, including some who follow election news closely, that I voted for Jill Stein, the response I would often get is: "Jill who?" This year is looking no different.

    Nevertheless, thanks to decades of perseverance, the Greens do have ballot status in more states than any other "third party." It is theoretically possible for them to assemble enough Electoral College votes actually to elect a President.

    But their candidates are frozen out of media coverage. The media's malign neglect of Sanders turned out to be not quite fatal, because, by challenging Clinton so successfully, his campaign was undeniably newsworthy; and because, running as a Democrat, he couldn't be entirely ignored. Stein can and will be ignored; diluting the value even of the protest votes she receives.

    However, were she and Bernie to join together, neither would stand a chance of being elected President, but the Greens would become a force to be reckoned with. This idea is one of many being floated ( link: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/21/the-undemocratic-primary-why-we-need-a-new-party-of-the-99/ ). It is far from clear, though, that Bernie has the will, or that the Greens have the means, to make it happen.

    Now is therefore a time to be thinking hard and fast about what is to be done.

    It is also a time to be thinking about how a genuinely leftwing party could win over Democratic politicians whose hearts are in the right place, but who, for the time being, have no choice but to make common cause with Clintonites. There are only a few brave souls like that at the national level; at the state and local levels, there are many more.

    Predictably, though, calls for party unity are already become deafening. They should be rebutted whenever possible, and otherwise ignored.

    If the party the Clintons did so much to move to the right is harmed by defections, so much the better.

    There are Democrats who do good work at the local and even the state level; at the national level, the good ones could probably all fit, as they say, in one taxi, with room left over for luggage.

    Arguably, the rest do some good just by being there - keeping Republicans at bay. That consideration aside, today's Democratic Party is good for nothing at all - at the national level and, with a few exceptions, further down the line.

    The GOP is a wreck. This is outstanding news. A similarly damaged Democratic Party would be an enormously salutary development too, an achievement of truly historic importance.

    ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, 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).

    [Apr 29, 2016] Star Trek or The Matrix? Varoufakiss Challenge to Neoliberalism

    Notable quotes:
    "... Shorter Heilbroner: capitalism requires that non-capitalists sell their labor as a condition of survival. The capitalist can exert power by denying access to work, hence income, hence survival. The state has "brute force" when capitalists control resources (recall that a lot of what is now private, such as common pasturelands, were once communal property) and in modern times, when social safety nets are weak. This is not a given under capitalism, but it is certainly the preferred order among Western elites. ..."
    "... For Varoufakis, the encounter with Schäuble signaled that neoliberal economic managers no longer even pretended to support the principle of democracy. As a result, he argued, Greece was facing dogmatic enforcement of an austerity program whose effects would likely preclude it recovering sufficiently to repay its debts. And more broadly, the future of European capitalism was in growing jeopardy amid rising electoral discontent. ..."
    "... *Varoufakis's new book, "And the Weak Suffer What They Must? Europe's Crisis and America's Future" was released on April 12. ..."
    "... "It is the brute force of the state that ensures compliance with the rules of capitalism." In fact, it is the hidden coercion of the market that forces compliance, which is why neoliberals fetishize markets. ..."
    "... I think we're talking about complementary, cycling phases in the exertion of power. Once the market is set up, its rules are coercive. But setting up the market - e.g. foreclosing land >>> peasants become free labor - require state coercion (+ various assorted ideological sanctifications, some of which may refer to the market). And, keeping players operating by the rules, while at the same time bending them in favor of some players, requires the state. ..."
    "... In response to the dogged, stupid insistence on the part of the Right to insist that the state is a freestanding leviathan screwing up the market utopia, it's important to point to ways in which the state is an instrument of capital. This gets into trudging through arguments about who's controlling what, the independence of bureaucracies and such. But that's better than the gobsmacking naivite that the Right, always shouting about unfettering us from the state that they in fact rely on, would have us fall into. ..."
    "... "The Athenians offer the Melians an ultimatum: surrender and pay tribute to Athens, or be destroyed. The Athenians do not wish to argue over the morality of the situation, because in practice might makes right (or, in their own words, "the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must"[3]). ..."
    "... "The Melians argue that they are a neutral city and not an enemy, so Athens has no need to conquer them. The Athenians counter that if they accept Melos' neutrality and independence, they would look weak: people would think they spared Melos because they were not strong enough to conquer it. ..."
    "... "The Melians argue that an invasion will alarm the other neutral Greek states, who will become hostile to Athens for fear of being invaded themselves. The Athenians counter that the Greek states on the mainland are unlikely to act this way. It is the independent island states and the disgruntled subjects that Athens has already conquered that are more likely to take up arms against Athens. ..."
    "... "The Melians argue that it would be shameful and cowardly of them to submit without a fight. The Athenians counter that the stakes are too high for the Melians to worry about shame." ..."
    "... Now, the Mytilenian situation is not a perfect parallel–real historical events never are–but they saw with rather clear eyes the true nature of these broadly based alliances, namely that there is actually someone in charge, and that someone will use their position to benefit themselves at others' expense. As the Myt. ambassador shows, it is incumbent upon the lesser parties to recognize the position they are in and antagonize where needed. ..."
    "... I like how the word democracy is used over and over without the obvious necessity of coupling a mechanism for power with democracy. That mechanism, for starters, is voting. There is no democracy without the decision making process that has been developed since the ancient Greeks called voting. And the accepted final decision is when a majority of the people deciding is achieved. The rules of the decision making process, written laws prescribing the limits of acceptable policy making, are the founding principles, the constituting formulas for running the social order with the voice of the people provided with input into the governing of the social order. ..."
    "... In Australia, voting is a duty, not a right. It's mandatory and you are fined if you don't vote. I found the caliber of political discourse way higher at my local Aussie pub (which has a vey wide cross section of people) than at any Manhattan gathering of supposedly highly educated professionals. ..."
    "... But he [Varoufakis ] didn't begin to have the runway to persuade his opponents, and he thought the threat of a Grexit gave him far more bargaining leverage than he had. ..."
    "... Varoufakis's big problem is that he can't let go of the dream of EU as the big European social understanding project. Frankly that has never existed beyond the minds of the academic elite that all talk virtually fluent english, and can do their thing anywhere with a net connection and a credit card terminal. The vast majority of the population of the European nations are tied to their place of living. Either by work, by language, by family, or a combination of the above. ..."
    "... But nowadays in the neo-liberal era, that liberalism has been inverted. Not only have states been weakened by globalization, but the current neo-liberal doctrine makes the only legitimate function of the state the enforcement if the dictates of the "market", even to the point of creating markets in areas where there previously were none. The imperative is to privatize everything, including the very idea of the public sphere itself. ..."
    "... Classical economics is no longer taught as its teachings would go directly against current ideas, they are hidden and forgotten on purpose. As Michael Hudson points out in "Killing The Host" the world would be a much better place if we remembered the classical economists distinction between "earned" and "unearned" income. ..."
    April 28, 2016 nakedcapitalism.com

    Yves here. I've reframed this recap of a talk by Yanis Varoufakis at NYU as a challenge to neoliberalism, not a challenge to economics, since its theme is the tension between modern economics (and indeed many forms of capitalism) and democracy.

    There are some points he made that he made that I quibble with. He says he was shocked when he learned, early in his negotiations with the Wolfgang Schauble, that his counterparts took the position that the will of the Greek people counted for very little. I know some readers may take umbrage, but this was a fundamental failure on behalf of the Syriza side, not just Varoufakis, of what they were up against. In fact, the Eurozone treaties that Greece has signed had the government explicitly ceding certain aspects of national sovereignity to the Eurozone. In addition, as we pointed out at the time, the ECB had the power to bring the Greek economy to its knees by cutting off liquidity support to the Greek banks, and if anything, was predisposed to do so. From the ECB's perspective, it had already stretched the rules of its supposedly temporary liquidity facilities to the breaking point.

    Mind you, I'm not saying the Trokia position was right or sound. Varoufakis clearly had the better economic argument. But he didn't begin to have the runway to persuade his opponents, and he thought the threat of a Grexit gave him far more bargaining leverage than he had. But Varoufakis' past writings showed he was firmly convinced that this path would do Greece great harm, and Syriza didn't have public support for that course of action either. Greece did have some bargaining chips, in that the Eurocrats were keen to have Greece improve tax collections and the operations of government generally, but it was clear given how the negotiations were framed that the two sides would remain at loggerheads, eventually giving the Troika what it though was an adequate excuse to use brute force.

    A second point Varoufakis made where I beg to differ is, as reported by Lynn Parramore, "It is the brute force of the state that ensures compliance with the rules of capitalism." In fact, it is the hidden coercion of the market that forces compliance, which is why neoliberals fetishize markets. A major focus of the Robert Heilbroner book, Behind the Veil of Economics, is the contrast between the source of discipline under feudalism versus under capitalism. Heilbroner argues it was the bailiff and the lash, that lord would incarcerate and beat serf who didn't pull their weight. But the lord had obligations to his serfs too, so this relationship was not as one-sided as it might seem. By contrast, Heilbroner argues that the power structure under capitalism is far less obvious:

    This negative form of power contrasts sharply with with that of the privileged elites in precapitalist social formations. In these imperial kingdoms or feudal holdings, disciplinary power is exercised by the direct use or display of coercive power. The social power of capital is of a different kind….The capitalist may deny others access to his resources, but he may not force them to work with him. Clearly, such power requires circumstances that make the withholding of access of critical consequence. These circumstances can only arise if the general populace is unable to secure a living unless it can gain access to privately owned resources or wealth…

    The organization of production is generally regarded as a wholly "economic" activity, ignoring the political function served by the wage-labor relationships in lieu of baliffs and senechals. In a like fashion, the discharge of political authority is regarded as essentially separable from the operation of the economic realm, ignoring the provision of the legal, military, and material contributions without which the private sphere could not function properly or even exist. In this way, the presence of the two realms, each responsible for part of the activities necessary for the maintenance of the social formation, not only gives capitalism a structure entirely different from that of any precapitalist society, but also establishes the basis for a problem that uniquely preoccupies capitalism, namely, the appropriate role of the state vis-a-vis the sphere of production and distribution.

    Shorter Heilbroner: capitalism requires that non-capitalists sell their labor as a condition of survival. The capitalist can exert power by denying access to work, hence income, hence survival. The state has "brute force" when capitalists control resources (recall that a lot of what is now private, such as common pasturelands, were once communal property) and in modern times, when social safety nets are weak. This is not a given under capitalism, but it is certainly the preferred order among Western elites.

    By Lynn Parramore. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

    Yanis Varoufakis' first meeting with the Troika of Greece's creditors revealed what he believes is a perilous disdain among top economic decision-makers for the democratic process. The then-Finance Minister arrived armed with tables and graphs to make what he believed was a self-evident case that the austerity program imposed on Athens was untenable and unsustainable, and would therefore not produce desirable results for Greece or for its creditors. As the representative of a leftist government elected on a promise to restructure the austerity program, Varoufakis was aware of the need for a moderate tone to alleviate fears that he was a wild-eyed radical, and he readily acknowledged the need for continuity with terms agreed by the previous Greek administration. But he hoped to persuade the Troika to balance those obligations with the desire of the Greek electorate for a sustainable plan that offered them more than permanent penury.

    According to Varoufakis, Wolfgang Schäuble, the formidable German finance minister, abruptly interrupted his presentation, declaring, "Elections cannot be allowed to change the economic policies applied to Greece."

    For Varoufakis, the encounter with Schäuble signaled that neoliberal economic managers no longer even pretended to support the principle of democracy. As a result, he argued, Greece was facing dogmatic enforcement of an austerity program whose effects would likely preclude it recovering sufficiently to repay its debts. And more broadly, the future of European capitalism was in growing jeopardy amid rising electoral discontent.

    Speaking Monday at New York City's New School on the future of capitalism and democracy, Varoufakis distinguished between ancient Athenian democracy - which gave equal weight to the views expressed by (admittedly only male) citizens regardless of the wealth they possessed - and its modern form. The latter, he said, had historically been shaped by systems of economic inequality. The Magna Carta, he noted, negotiated the rights of the barons to prevent the king from poaching their serfs - "a social contract between lords and the monarch."

    Eventually, those lords were replaced by merchants and industrialists, and later still, organized labor demanded its own say. "The modern state emerged as a mechanism for regulation class conflict," he said. "That is liberal democracy."

    The assumption that capitalism is innately linked to liberal democracy is of recent vintage, Varoufakis contended. He noted that classical economic thinkers - Smith, Ricardo, Marx, and Schumpeter - all focused on the process of the commoditization of everything, including human beings, a notion that he suggested did not bode well for democratic practices. The ideological cover for this concept, today, was "the illusion of apolitical, ahistorical, mathematized economics."

    Economists see themselves as scientists who have no need for history - after all, aren't past scientific models full of errors? But economics is not a science, Varoufakis explained. Unlike in physics, where the latest textbook offers knowledge more advanced than its predecessors did, economists seem to have a knack for ignoring past truths, a phenomenon particularly apparent in treatments of capitalism.

    Today's economic models not only can't deal with democracy, but they have become embedded in economic behavior, influencing economic actors, policy makers, and elected officials. He warned that policies derived from the impulse of orthodox economics to reduce human beings into elastic, mechanized inputs threatened capitalism's future: It destroys human creativity and freedom, which (among other things) generates new ideas and technologies that drive productivity and creates profits for capital.

    Paradoxes abound: the more capitalism succeeds in commodifying human beings, the worse things become for capitalism - powerless and poor, their buying power is degraded, and with it, aggregate demand.

    And the failure to respond to human need expressed through democratic politics - as he experienced in his dealings with the Troika - threatens to spur citizen rebellions against the system.

    Varoufakis cited economist Kenneth Arrow - whose impossibility theorem (also known as social-choice theory) shows the impossibility of fully determining a common will while using a set of fair and democratic procedures- to argue that democracy, messy it may be, remains the best path. Edicts from technocrats, no matter how smart and well-meaning, will not reflect the interests of the people. "Democracy is dialectic," explained Varoufakis, "a system for people who are not sure about what they think. They are not sure about what is good for society." They argue, debate, and take from each other's positions to modify their own.

    But capitalism hasn't always worked well with democracy. Just as the notion of hell was essential to achieving obedience to the tenets of Christianity in the middle ages, quipped Varoufakis, so it is the brute force of the state that ensures compliance with the rules of capitalism.

    The United States Constitution, he argued, was designed to keep the poor away from the levers of power, while legitimizing the system through their participation. "Democracy was to be used in name in order to be breached in substance," he said, and served to keep capitalism out of crisis without having to really give the poor much power.

    Crises came anyway. The Great Depression sufficiently shocked elites into creating the Bretton Woods system, an international financial system predicated on an imperial American role that, together with the Marshall Plan, laid the foundation of postwar capitalist expansion. But the golden era of capitalism didn't last. As U.S. hegemony declined, cracks in the system appeared and widened. Global financial markets became imbalanced and storms of mounting amplitude followed. Eventually, deregulation and financialization turned corporations like GM into "financial companies that produce a few cars on the side." The Great Recession, as Varoufakis saw it, has signaled citizens that their economies are not functioning, and neither are their political systems.

    "The world we live in is rudderless, in a slow-burning recession," he said, referring what some have called 'secular stagnation.' Varoufakis rejected further lending to Greece if the current austerity program cannot be modified or reversed. Continued austerity makes it impossible for Greece to grow, which means that paying off new debts would only be possible through further austerity and cuts in public budgets, which will drive the economy deeper into recession. For Varoufakis, this counterproductive policy ignores lessons from Europe's recovery after World War II, including forgiving German debt in 1953.

    The Eurozone remains dominated by policies that make debt repayment, rather than growth, the central focus of policy makers. For Varoufakis, this underscores the bankrupt nature of much current economic thinking, ignoring alternative analyses of the crisis and alternative ideas for addressing it, including both debt relief and fiscal stimulus rather than austerity.

    Varoufakis argued that blocking of sensible economic policy feeds the electoral success of new, left parties in Greece and Spain, but also the rise of authoritarian right-wing movements in a worrisome echo of the 1930s. This polarization also can be seen in the United States, with the electoral success of Bernie Sanders but also Donald Trump. And if decision-making power continues to moves into "democracy-free zones" such as the European Union or private corporations, the more polarized the political future appears, with attendant opportunities and risks.

    In a burst of pop culture flair, Varoufakis predicted that when machines have passed the Turing Test, when you can no longer tell if the person on the phone is a human or a computer, and when 3-D printers can spit out whatever object you need, the logic of capitalism will break down. "At this stage," he warned, "humanity will face a juncture." Either we end up with a Star Trek-like utopia where we harness technology and use its wealth-producing capacity for the common good, or we get The Matrix, a dystopia in which the miserable masses have their energy sucked out of them by unseen forces and are fed illusions to keep them quiet. Eventually even the elites will become servants to the machine.

    The antidote to that outcome, Varoufakis argued, is a robust democracy in the Athenian vein, one that reflects the voices of and serves all the people, whether they have money or not.

    *Varoufakis's new book, "And the Weak Suffer What They Must? Europe's Crisis and America's Future" was released on April 12.

    Disturbed Voter, April 28, 2016 at 7:20 am

    As long as sociopaths are allowed to infiltrate the leadership of societies bigger than ancient Athens … there will be no common good. As Varoufakis points out, there has to be a dialectic between leaders and citizens, so that the leaders can embody the common good. Sociopaths have no desire to accomplish that goal. This is why in ancient times, Athens was weakened by Spartan opposition (with Persian assistance) and supplanted by Macedon, and eventually Rome. Small scale societies of any type, Athenian or Spartan, couldn't compete ultimately with large monarchies. Rome was undone by its own success, and had to revert to a monarchy in everything but name. Large scale society tends toward monarchy and autocracy.

    The US federal republic, with functioning states, counties and municipalities is an attempt to get the best of all scales. And representative election is an attempt at this dialectic. Direct democracy is not an option even with the Internet … it would be mob rule.

    Jim, April 28, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    It can be argued that the Athenians were quite attentive to the danger of elite/sometimes sociopathic leadership.

    They seem to have mastered the politics of using the knowledge of experts without turning over the management of their city-state to these same individuals.

    Unfortunately the modern left in the U.S. seems quite content with turning the power of the national state over to salaried intellectuals who rule in the name of actual citizens.

    The left has no political theory of the State which they could offer as an alternative democratic political system– because of their apparent irrational ideological fear of a decentralization which could potentially culminate in more direct democratic rule.

    Is the basis of such fear the fact the much of the salaried left(an influential part of the top 20%) is not interested in genuine democratic rule(they distrust the proles as much as the right)– but only their rule?

    Moneta , April 28, 2016 at 7:24 am

    When you've got a big rock stuck in your garden and you want to get rid of it, you need to loosen it first. That means digging and pushing it many times. At first, nothing moves, then it wiggles and finally rolls.

    I saw Varoufakis as the one giving the first push that shows no progress. I was hoping to see a little bit of wiggling. Unfortunately, he did not get there. That rock is really entrenched.

    It would seem that he saw himself as the one getting the rock out. I'm not surprised. Most men who get to those positions of power have to believe in their aptitudes to get there. If not, they would not make it there.

    norm de plume , April 28, 2016 at 7:52 am

    Varoufakis in conversation with Chomsky at the NYPL a couple of days ago.

    Hansrudolf Suter , April 28, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    many thanks

    Kris , April 28, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Thank you for the link! Worth seeing.

    mike , April 28, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Varoufakis in discussion with Amy Goodman on DemocracyNOW

    http://www.democracynow.org/2016/4/28/former_greek_finance_minister_massive_imf

    hemeantwell , April 28, 2016 at 8:28 am

    "It is the brute force of the state that ensures compliance with the rules of capitalism." In fact, it is the hidden coercion of the market that forces compliance, which is why neoliberals fetishize markets.

    I think we're talking about complementary, cycling phases in the exertion of power. Once the market is set up, its rules are coercive. But setting up the market - e.g. foreclosing land >>> peasants become free labor - require state coercion (+ various assorted ideological sanctifications, some of which may refer to the market). And, keeping players operating by the rules, while at the same time bending them in favor of some players, requires the state.

    In response to the dogged, stupid insistence on the part of the Right to insist that the state is a freestanding leviathan screwing up the market utopia, it's important to point to ways in which the state is an instrument of capital. This gets into trudging through arguments about who's controlling what, the independence of bureaucracies and such. But that's better than the gobsmacking naivite that the Right, always shouting about unfettering us from the state that they in fact rely on, would have us fall into.

    What was Varoufakis facing? He's talking with gummint reps who try to integrate oodles of biz interests, with the banks interests coming first since they are most directly vulnerable. But in turn the banks, while selfstanding in the sense that they worry about their loans, also reflect interests that are not only strictly financial, but also the financialized representation of other sectors' interests.

    Haralambos , April 28, 2016 at 8:31 am

    *Varoufakis's new book, "And the Weak Suffer What They Must? Europe's Crisis and America's Future" was released on April 12.

    This quote is a translation of what is referred to as "The Melian Dialogue" from Thucydides. Thucydides might have invented the quote for dramatic effect. I recall thinking and commenting to several folks as the "negotiations" were ongoing that Varoufakis must have chosen to ignore it, since he would have studied this in secondary school. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melian_Dialogue

    I fear the Melians' interpretation is proving all too true as we look at the debate over a Brexit.

    "The Athenians offer the Melians an ultimatum: surrender and pay tribute to Athens, or be destroyed. The Athenians do not wish to argue over the morality of the situation, because in practice might makes right (or, in their own words, "the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must"[3]).

    "The Melians argue that they are a neutral city and not an enemy, so Athens has no need to conquer them. The Athenians counter that if they accept Melos' neutrality and independence, they would look weak: people would think they spared Melos because they were not strong enough to conquer it.

    "The Melians argue that an invasion will alarm the other neutral Greek states, who will become hostile to Athens for fear of being invaded themselves. The Athenians counter that the Greek states on the mainland are unlikely to act this way. It is the independent island states and the disgruntled subjects that Athens has already conquered that are more likely to take up arms against Athens.

    "The Melians argue that it would be shameful and cowardly of them to submit without a fight. The Athenians counter that the stakes are too high for the Melians to worry about shame."

    uahsenaa , April 28, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Then I would suggest to Yanis (and others) to read Thucydides' own parallel to the Melian situation, namely the earlier revolt of Mytilene. The language of the Melian dialogue borrows directly from (and in many cases inverts) the language of the intercourse between the Mytilenians and the Spartans and the later debate at Athens over what to do about the revolt. It's also worth noting that Thuc.'s typical pattern is to first present the ideal or better course of action then in a later parallel show how things degenerate, so what happens with Mytilene is, to my mind, meant to be more instructive. From bk. 3 par. 11, the Mytilenian ambassador to the Spartans, complaining about the imbalance of power:

    If we [i.e. the city states involved in the Persian Wars] had all still been independent, we could have had more confidence in their [the Athenians'] not altering the state of affairs. But with most of their allies subjected to them [c.f. the EU] and us being treated as equals, it was natural for them to object to a situation where the majority had already given in and we alone stood independent – all the more so since they were becoming stronger and stronger [recall Germany prospered while southern Europe suffered] and we were losing whatever support we had before. And in an alliance the only safe guarantee is an equality of mutual fear [! – Grexit has to be a real threat, perhaps?]; for then the party that wants to break faith is deterred by the thought that the odds will not be on his side.

    Now, the Mytilenian situation is not a perfect parallel–real historical events never are–but they saw with rather clear eyes the true nature of these broadly based alliances, namely that there is actually someone in charge, and that someone will use their position to benefit themselves at others' expense. As the Myt. ambassador shows, it is incumbent upon the lesser parties to recognize the position they are in and antagonize where needed.

    Paul Tioxon , April 28, 2016 at 8:44 am

    I like how the word democracy is used over and over without the obvious necessity of coupling a mechanism for power with democracy. That mechanism, for starters, is voting. There is no democracy without the decision making process that has been developed since the ancient Greeks called voting. And the accepted final decision is when a majority of the people deciding is achieved. The rules of the decision making process, written laws prescribing the limits of acceptable policy making, are the founding principles, the constituting formulas for running the social order with the voice of the people provided with input into the governing of the social order.

    Voluntary abandonment of voting due to frustration over relative powerlessness does not provide a solution to providing for democracy. There is no democracy without voting. Just as there is no market without money. Or there is no money without debt. Voting is providing your individual say so, your input which constitutes what we call democracy. You can't talk about democracy without talking about elections. Varis is pointing out this self evident truth. If the elected officials or an unelected Troika deny the need for the results of elections, placing a political party into the offices of state power, by demanding that only the rules of economic power be observed and the results of democractic elections be rendered useless in the face of the need to pay back loans, we have a problem much larger than huge swathes of the citizenry abandoning electoral participation.

    While voter apathy is one thing, the people who remain faithful to the rule of democracy are betrayed when they participate in sustaining the social order by carrying out the ritual of voting, the mechanism of democracy. With contempt after being elected displayed by the newly installed political party in Greece or anywhere else for the citizenry who chose them, this is truly unsustainable, politically and of course with the exact opposite outcome for the Troika's desired out comes. Austerity will be a long term prospect if successful at all and more likely bring higher costs due to societal disintegration, than the debt austerity is implemented to collect in the first place.

    The modern liberal state requires operating an actual faithful and regular democratic mechanism, to ensure all of the other aspects of the social order, including the market or private sector of the economy. To strip the citizenry of its citizenship and replacing it with no other other purpose than to sell yourself for a price in order to survive and replace social relationships with financial debts to the exclusion of all other claims, other social debts to family, community, to strongly held personal religious beliefs that place you meaningfully into the larger universe, leaves no reason to live but the enrichment of a faceless other, the wealthy ruling class. Of course, this is nothing but an impossible life, and unsustainable policy, ticking like a real time bomb because as a human being, there is only so much stress and pressure that can be endured.

    Yves Smith Post author , April 28, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    In Australia, voting is a duty, not a right. It's mandatory and you are fined if you don't vote. I found the caliber of political discourse way higher at my local Aussie pub (which has a vey wide cross section of people) than at any Manhattan gathering of supposedly highly educated professionals.

    Paul Tioxon , April 28, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Didn't they also outlaw all kinds of rifles, assault, long guns, hunters scoped bolt action, anything, to amazing effect? You have to vote and you can't be armed to the teeth! Participation in democracy mitigates the need for arming yourself against a potential tyranny. People don't need to be heavily armed, they need political power. We can't be heading for civil war in America whenever our country is facing an unresolvable political or economic crisis.

    Ray Phenicie , April 28, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    there is only so much stress and pressure that can be endured.

    Every 'four score and seven' or thereabouts, our country has hitched up its britches, looked back at the previous eighty years and rewrote the algorithms for law making. Each period or basic law rewriting had a prelude of great turbulence. The major pillars of a History of the United States that anyone would care to write, would need to delineate Founding, Reconstruction, New Deal and in a movement that arrived too early (or too late as it should have been part of the new Deal) the Civil Rights movement. Each time the earth shaking prelude occurred, the rebuilding after the earthquake caused reactions that were as hidebound and cruel as the Spanish Inquisition. Founding left the nation with slavery, Reconstruction fostered Jim Crowism and The New Deal fostered neoliberalism couched in the rhetoric of the epic journeys of the Cold Warrior as a reaction against attempts to regulate the capitalist engine.

    Taking a closer look at the New Deal what this observer sees is a Congress that was too lazy to write laws and instead passed those duties over to the Executive branch. The Supreme Court objected and well, the rest is history. Mind you, I am not in aligning myself with the archaic views of justices who attempted to write laws based on the principles of Neo-Darwinistic social evolutionary theory espoused by Herbert Spencer. However, I am saying those same justices, whatever their theories were on evolution, did know how to read the Constitution of the United States and clearly found that document forbade Congress to delegate powers to the executive branch merely to play a politicized version of kick the can-down-the-street. Congress was merely attempting-during the New Deal especially but ever after as well, to avoid controversy (a perennial favorite), shirk its duty in writing laws that specify a problem and outline specific solutions (another favorite pastime) and engage in 'sit down, sit down, you're rockin' the boat.'

    The emergent, counter-revolutionary forces of the 'new' liberalism are ascendant everywhere and we find our government, at the municipal, county, state and national level captured by a Naked Capitalism that is tribal in its outlook, hell bent on confiscating all financial transactions, all property, and forcing a review before itself, like the tyrants of ancient Greece, of every attempt to finally renew a fresh purpose to law making. No spring revolution, no occupy resurgence, no cries for reason, justice, or a drive for a restoration of the Bill of Rights, will be allowed to survive. Any attempts to renew the dying flame of the original revolution (as in Martin Luther King's passionate and powerful rhetoric) will be dealt with swiftly and concretely.

    Prepare for the long winter of the New History of the United States of America.

    Ulysses , April 28, 2016 at 9:26 am

    "The modern liberal state requires operating an actual faithful and regular democratic mechanism, to ensure all of the other aspects of the social order, including the market or private sector of the economy. To strip the citizenry of its citizenship and replacing it with no other other purpose than to sell yourself for a price in order to survive and replace social relationships with financial debts to the exclusion of all other claims, other social debts to family, community, to strongly held personal religious beliefs that place you meaningfully into the larger universe, leaves no reason to live but the enrichment of a faceless other, the wealthy ruling class. Of course, this is nothing but an impossible life, and unsustainable policy, ticking like a real time bomb because as a human being, there is only so much stress and pressure that can be endured."

    Very well said!

    We are seeing this disintegration here in the U.S. in the early 21st century. The assassinations of the 1960s, the police-state violence at Kent State, etc., were shocking indeed. Yet, during those turbulent times the illusion was maintained that we had an "actual democratic mechanism."

    The Florida fiasco of 2000, where our unelected Supreme Court determined that the actual votes cast, of actual citizens, was no longer the deciding factor in who would take over the highest office in the U.S., killed this illusion. The carelessness of our sociopathic elites today, who barely attempt to conceal how they are suppressing the rights of actual citizens to actually vote, reveals the lesson they think they learned from Bush v. Gore in 2000.

    I feel the elites are wrong on this: people didn't revolt in 2000, and they may not revolt in 2016, but there is a breaking point somewhere and our sociopathic elites are pushing us closer to that line every day.

    Paul Tioxon , April 28, 2016 at 10:46 am

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYqDpL0YCvI

    The Wasteland of The Free by Iris Dement

    youtube has songs by all kinds of singers, some more famous than others but so many that portray the bullshit people have to live with everyday, from the Black Ghettos to the Appalachian Ghettos and every nook and cranny of humanity, and everyone knows this is nowhere and no way to live. We are held back by people with more power than we currently have that keep us living below the standards of a decent, healthy, happy life.

    Brooklin Bridge , April 28, 2016 at 9:50 am

    But he [Varoufakis ] didn't begin to have the runway to persuade his opponents, and he thought the threat of a Grexit gave him far more bargaining leverage than he had.

    Didn't Varoufakis, not just Tsipras, but Varoufakis say – and repeat over and over – that Grexit was absolutely off the table at the beginning of negotiations? If he was counting on the threat of a Grexit for bargaining power, he sure went about it in a strange way.

    Yves Smith Post author , April 28, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Yes, I didn't get into the details, but that didn't help. But the strategy was widely described as chicken, which implies what people in the market called "accidental" Grexit. So it looked as if Varoufakis was playing as if Grexit were an option but Syriza would be able to tell voters (from whom they had no mandate) that it was the other side's fault. It really did look like they thought they could force the other side to make concessions. But they kept agreeing to stuff in Brussels or Berlin (not just made up but the Trokia, this was remarks by Tsipras or Varoufakis in public) and then within 24 hours they'd reverse themselves in public in Greece. This made everyone increasing furious with them, particularly since the negotiations were becoming time consuming and physically taxing.

    Brooklin Bridge , April 28, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Thanks, that brings it back exactly. When ever I read something about or particularly by Varoufakis, I am a little leery since that painful episode.

    lindaj , April 28, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    'zactly!

    dots , April 28, 2016 at 10:00 am

    This is a far deeper argument here than the last one I encountered! In a macroeconomics course about 4-5 years ago, I found myself in the middle of a fervently-argued dialog on the 'Greek problem.'

    The textbook, written from the voice of the IMF, presented the position of Germany and the Eurozone. They needed (not wanted but needed), to get Greece to accept austerity and whatever terms the Eurozone asked of them. Greece was threatening the German livelihood. This was simply good, solid, basic macroeconomic theory.

    Student-after-student wrote page-after-page on the unfairness of the Greek position and how they simply need to be brought around. I was alone in challenging that explaining even with the Eurozone agreements, a democratic nation still couldn't simply overrule the sovereign will of another democratic nation.

    But wait, what? This was baffling! What did I mean by 'sovereignty'? Surely, that didn't have anything to do with the issue at stake here. The Greeks owed money and the money was due. For Greece to balk on the agreement threatened the stronger Eurozone nations who had followed the rules and had done what they were supposed to do.

    I asked, "If there is no sovereignty issue, then why are the citizens of Greece protesting in the streets right now?"

    I went on to explain (because apparently there is some confusion as to the fundamental nature of the EU itself) that t's not analogous to our United States. As a united nation-state, our individual states have individual state's rights, but (as clarified in our civil war) these states are all still subject to a single centralized Federal government. The European Union, on the other hand, is not a single unified nation-state. The model is closer to that of a financial cooperative . These financial agreements and trade treaties (including Schengen) produce claims against them, but they don't determine domestic policy (nor should they).

    While my instructor understood and appreciated my criticism, it clearly wasn't a mainstream perception over here at that time.

    Take that with a grain of salt though because I've also sat through discussions in favor of resurrecting Adjustable Rate Mortgages as a way to pump new life into our economy. Fun stuff!

    Haralambos , April 28, 2016 at 11:12 am

    A bit more background is needed I believe. The bailouts of Greece in the form of loans forestalled a default by Greece. In return for new loans to pay off foreign (Mostly French and German) banks, the money borrowed from the IMF supplemented by EU and ECB monies was used to pay off these obligations. There was a fair bit of kicking the can down the road until the loans to foreign banks were paid off, then the memoranda started kicking in. The old loans from banks were contracted under sovereign Greek law, while the new ones were contracted under UK law if I recall correctly. UK law is much more strict. Both PASOK and New Democracy were filled with cronies, and patronage was rampant along with theft and and tax evasion. This had been the case for much of the period from 1974 until SYRIZA was elected last year. Two useful books on the situation are

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Greeces-Odious-Debt-Political-Investment/dp/0857287710/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461855628&sr=1-1&keywords=GREECE%27S+ODIOUS+DEBT

    and https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Bust%3AGreece%2C+the+Euro%2C+and+the+Sovereign+Debt+Crisis+

    Despite my handle, I am not Greek, but I have lived in Europe for the past 38 years, the bulk of it in Greece. I recall seeing ads in bank offices here in 2006-2007 offering mortgages at 3.95% in Swiss Francs instead of the 7%+ that was the rate for mortgages denominated in Euros. I warned everyone I knew that they should not opt for the lower rate unless they had a steady, secure revenue stream in SFr.

    reslez , April 28, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Capitalists use force to make people labor for them all the time. In the South through the 30s it was common for capitalists to pay sheriffs to round up black men, sentence them to hard labor, and essentially sell them to the local boss as laborers. This was part of the reason for the great migration to northern cities. When workers form unions, historically capitalists have had no compunction about sending in skull-crackers to break strikes. And of course people who have "no alternative" but to sell their labor only lack the alternative of theft because the police stand by guaranteeing the "property rights" of absentee owners and wealth hoarders. Peasant farmers were pushed off the commons and their historical lands (where they could support themselves) by force. Overseas markets were only expanded through military force and colonialism. This was the explicit aim of the first corporations.

    Force underlies everything capitalists do.

    lindaj , April 28, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    'zactly

    Tim , April 28, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    I am not sure the Star Trek analogy is a good one. The later spinoff years had some fairly mean captains like Janeway and Sisko who tended to prefer to blow things to get there way instead of negotiating. Overall I find Star Trek to be quite violent for a utopia(in it's later years). There are all sorts of arms dealers, smugglers, warlords, the "Maquis" Movement, and all around bad people like Michael Eddington, Luther Sloan, and Doc Zimmerman.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iNq3325Emo

    digi_owl , April 28, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Varoufakis's big problem is that he can't let go of the dream of EU as the big European social understanding project. Frankly that has never existed beyond the minds of the academic elite that all talk virtually fluent english, and can do their thing anywhere with a net connection and a credit card terminal. The vast majority of the population of the European nations are tied to their place of living. Either by work, by language, by family, or a combination of the above.

    Haralambos , April 28, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    I am not in a position to dispute your point beyond my anecdotal take from here in Greece over the past 40 years. Many parents we have are unhappy about seeing their children go abroad to study or work, and many students are keen to do so. The parents, nonetheless, pay us to help their children jump through the hoops to get there at both the undergraduate level and graduate level. Virtually all of them have at least three languages and often more at a high level of proficiency.

    Many get full scholarships to top-tier US universities or fellowships at graduate schools in the US and EU. Admittedly, my data are anecdotal.

    Several former French students from many years ago are working for MSF and other aid organizations.
    Others from Greece are working for the EU.

    I would welcome your data on your observation.

    john c. halasz , April 28, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    The Heilbroner quote is conventional and rather dated. Yes, capitalism depends on "free" labor. But it emerged historically in tandem with the formation of the modern sovereign state, at first in its absolutist form and later in its constitutional form. Yes, there is institutional differentiation in modern capitalist societies between state and economy, but the two systems are thoroughly cross-implicated, and capitalism would never have emerged without state backing. Polanyi covered this in his classic book, refuting the 19th century classical liberal ideology that Heilbroner repeats. But nowadays in the neo-liberal era, that liberalism has been inverted. Not only have states been weakened by globalization, but the current neo-liberal doctrine makes the only legitimate function of the state the enforcement if the dictates of the "market", even to the point of creating markets in areas where there previously were none. The imperative is to privatize everything, including the very idea of the public sphere itself.

    Keith , April 28, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Classical economics is no longer taught as its teachings would go directly against current ideas, they are hidden and forgotten on purpose. As Michael Hudson points out in "Killing The Host" the world would be a much better place if we remembered the classical economists distinction between "earned" and "unearned" income.

    [Apr 24, 2016] The Great Ponzi Scheme of the Global Economy

    www.counterpunch.org
    March 25, 2016

    CHRIS HEDGES: We're going to be discussing a great Ponzi scheme that not only defines not only the U.S. but the global economy, how we got there and where we're going. And with me to discuss this issue is the economist Michael Hudson, author of Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy the Global Economy. A professor of economics who worked for many years on Wall Street, where you don't succeed if you don't grasp Marx's dictum that capitalism is about exploitation. And he is also, I should mention, the godson of Leon Trotsky.

    I want to open this discussion by reading a passage from your book, which I admire very much, which I think gets to the core of what you discuss. You write,

    "Adam Smith long ago remarked that profits often are highest in nations going fastest to ruin. There are many ways to create economic suicide on a national level. The major way through history has been through indebting the economy. Debt always expands to reach a point where it cannot be paid by a large swathe of the economy. This is the point where austerity is imposed and ownership of wealth polarizes between the One Percent and the 99 Percent. Today is not the first time this has occurred in history. But it is the first time that running into debt has occurred deliberately." Applauded. "As if most debtors can get rich by borrowing, not reduced to a condition of debt peonage."

    So let's start with the classical economists, who certainly understood this. They were reacting of course to feudalism. And what happened to the study of economics so that it became gamed by ideologues?

    HUDSON: The essence of classical economics was to reform industrial capitalism, to streamline it, and to free the European economies from the legacy of feudalism. The legacy of feudalism was landlords extracting land-rent, and living as a class that took income without producing anything. Also, banks that were not funding industry. The leading industrialists from James Watt, with his steam engine, to the railroads …

    HEDGES: From your book you make the point that banks almost never funded industry.

    HUDSON: That's the point: They never have. By the time you got to Marx later in the 19th century, you had a discussion, largely in Germany, over how to make banks do something they did not do under feudalism. Right now we're having the economic surplus being drained not by the landlords but also by banks and bondholders.

    Adam Smith was very much against colonialism because that lead to wars, and wars led to public debt. He said the solution to prevent this financial class of bondholders burdening the economy by imposing more and more taxes on consumer goods every time they went to war was to finance wars on a pay-as-you-go basis. Instead of borrowing, you'd tax the people. Then, he thought, if everybody felt the burden of war in the form of paying taxes, they'd be against it. Well, it took all of the 19th century to fight for democracy and to extend the vote so that instead of landlords controlling Parliament and its law-making and tax system through the House of Lords, you'd extend the vote to labor, to women and everybody. The theory was that society as a whole would vote in its self-interest. It would vote for the 99 Percent, not for the One Percent.

    By the time Marx wrote in the 1870s, he could see what was happening in Germany. German banks were trying to make money in conjunction with the government, by lending to heavy industry, largely to the military-industrial complex.

    HEDGES: This was Bismarck's kind of social – I don't know what we'd call it. It was a form of capitalist socialism…

    HUDSON: They called it State Capitalism. There was a long discussion by Engels, saying, wait a minute. We're for Socialism. State Capitalism isn't what we mean by socialism. There are two kinds of state-oriented–.

    HEDGES: I'm going to interject that there was a kind of brilliance behind Bismarck's policy because he created state pensions, he provided health benefits, and he directed banking toward industry, toward the industrialization of Germany which, as you point out, was very different in Britain and the United States.

    HUDSON: German banking was so successful that by the time World War I broke out, there were discussions in English economic journals worrying that Germany and the Axis powers were going to win because their banks were more suited to fund industry. Without industry you can't have really a military. But British banks only lent for foreign trade and for speculation. Their stock market was a hit-and-run operation. They wanted quick in-and-out profits, while German banks didn't insist that their clients pay as much in dividends. German banks owned stocks as well as bonds, and there was much more of a mutual partnership.

    That's what most of the 19th century imagined was going to happen – that the world was on the way to socializing banking. And toward moving capitalism beyond the feudal level, getting rid of the landlord class, getting rid of the rent, getting rid of interest. It was going to be labor and capital, profits and wages, with profits being reinvested in more capital. You'd have an expansion of technology. By the early twentieth century most futurists imagined that we'd be living in a leisure economy by now.

    HEDGES: Including Karl Marx.

    HUDSON: That's right. A ten-hour workweek. To Marx, socialism was to be an outgrowth of the reformed state of capitalism, as seemed likely at the time – if labor organized in its self-interest.

    HEDGES: Isn't what happened in large part because of the defeat of Germany in World War I? But also, because we took the understanding of economists like Adam Smith and maybe Keynes. I don't know who you would blame for this, whether Ricardo or others, but we created a fictitious economic theory to praise a rentier or rent-derived, interest-derived capitalism that countered productive forces within the economy. Perhaps you can address that.

    HUDSON: Here's what happened. Marx traumatized classical economics by taking the concepts of Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill and others, and pushing them to their logical conclusion. 2KillingTheHost_Cover_ruleProgressive capitalist advocates – Ricardian socialists such as John Stuart Mill – wanted to tax away the land or nationalize it. Marx wanted governments to take over heavy industry and build infrastructure to provide low-cost and ultimately free basic services. This was traumatizing the landlord class and the One Percent. And they fought back. They wanted to make everything part of "the market," which functioned on credit supplied by them and paid rent to them.

    None of the classical economists imagined how the feudal interests – these great vested interests that had all the land and money – actually would fight back and succeed. They thought that the future was going to belong to capital and labor. But by the late 19th century, certainly in America, people like John Bates Clark came out with a completely different theory, rejecting the classical economics of Adam Smith, the Physiocrats and John Stuart Mill.

    HEDGES: Physiocrats are, you've tried to explain, the enlightened French economists.

    HUDSON: The common denominator among all these classical economists was the distinction between earned income and unearned income. Unearned income was rent and interest. Earned incomes were wages and profits. But John Bates Clark came and said that there's no such thing as unearned income. He said that the landlord actually earns his rent by taking the effort to provide a house and land to renters, while banks provide credit to earn their interest. Every kind of income is thus "earned," and everybody earns their income. So everybody who accumulates wealth, by definition, according to his formulas, get rich by adding to what is now called Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

    HEDGES: One of the points you make in Killing the Host which I liked was that in almost all cases, those who had the capacity to make money parasitically off interest and rent had either – if you go back to the origins – looted and seized the land by force, or inherited it.

    HUDSON: That's correct. In other words, their income is unearned. The result of this anti-classical revolution you had just before World War I was that today, almost all the economic growth in the last decade has gone to the One Percent. It's gone to Wall Street, to real estate …

    HEDGES: But you blame this on what you call Junk Economics.

    HUDSON: Junk Economics is the anti-classical reaction.

    HEDGES: Explain a little bit how, in essence, it's a fictitious form of measuring the economy.

    HUDSON: Well, some time ago I went to a bank, a block away from here – a Chase Manhattan bank – and I took out money from the teller. As I turned around and took a few steps, there were two pickpockets. One pushed me over and the other grabbed the money and ran out. The guard stood there and saw it. So I asked for the money back. I said, look, I was robbed in your bank, right inside. And they said, "Well, we don't arm our guards because if they shot someone, the thief could sue us and we don't want that." They gave me an equivalent amount of money back.

    Well, imagine if you count all this crime, all the money that's taken, as an addition to GDP. Because now the crook has provided the service of not stabbing me. Or suppose somebody's held up at an ATM machine and the robber says, "Your money or your life." You say, "Okay, here's my money." The crook has given you the choice of your life. In a way that's how the Gross National Product accounts are put up. It's not so different from how Wall Street extracts money from the economy. Then also you have landlords extracting …

    HEDGES: Let's go back. They're extracting money from the economy by debt peonage. By raising …

    HUDSON: By not playing a productive role, basically.

    HEDGES: Right. So it's credit card interest, mortgage interest, car loans, student loans. That's how they make their funds.

    HUDSON: That's right. Money is not a factor of production. But in order to have access to credit, in order to get money, in order to get an education, you have to pay the banks. At New York University here, for instance, they have Citibank. I think Citibank people were on the board of directors at NYU. You get the students, when they come here, to start at the local bank. And once you are in a bank and have monthly funds taken out of your account for electric utilities, or whatever, it's very cumbersome to change.

    So basically you have what the classical economists called the rentier class. The class that lives on economic rents. Landlords, monopolists charging more, and the banks. If you have a pharmaceutical company that raises the price of a drug from $12 a shot to $200 all of a sudden, their profits go up. Their increased price for the drug is counted in the national income accounts as if the economy is producing more. So all this presumed economic growth that has all been taken by the One Percent in the last ten years, and people say the economy is growing. But the economy isn't growing …

    HEDGES: Because it's not reinvested.

    HUDSON: That's right. It's not production, it's not consumption. The wealth of the One Percent is obtained essentially by lending money to the 99 Percent and then charging interest on it, and recycling this interest at an exponentially growing rate.

    HEDGES: And why is it important, as I think you point out in your book, that economic theory counts this rentier income as productive income? Explain why that's important.

    HUDSON: If you're a rentier, you want to say that you earned your income by …

    HEDGES: We're talking about Goldman Sachs, by the way.

    HUDSON: Yes, Goldman Sachs. The head of Goldman Sachs came out and said that Goldman Sachs workers are the most productive in the world. That's why they're paid what they are. The concept of productivity in America is income divided by labor. So if you're Goldman Sachs and you pay yourself $20 million a year in salary and bonuses, you're considered to have added $20 million to GDP, and that's enormously productive. So we're talking in a tautology. We're talking with circular reasoning here.

    So the issue is whether Goldman Sachs, Wall Street and predatory pharmaceutical firms, actually add "product" or whether they're just exploiting other people. That's why I used the word parasitism in my book's title. People think of a parasite as simply taking money, taking blood out of a host or taking money out of the economy. But in nature it's much more complicated. The parasite can't simply come in and take something. First of all, it needs to numb the host. It has an enzyme so that the host doesn't realize the parasite's there. And then the parasites have another enzyme that takes over the host's brain. It makes the host imagine that the parasite is part of its own body, actually part of itself and hence to be protected.

    That's basically what Wall Street has done. It depicts itself as part of the economy. Not as a wrapping around it, not as external to it, but actually the part that's helping the body grow, and that actually is responsible for most of the growth. But in fact it's the parasite that is taking over the growth.

    The result is an inversion of classical economics. It turns Adam Smith upside down. It says what the classical economists said was unproductive – parasitism – actually is the real economy. And that the parasites are labor and industry that get in the way of what the parasite wants – which is to reproduce itself, not help the host, that is, labor and capital.

    HEDGES: And then the classical economists like Adam Smith were quite clear that unless that rentier income, you know, the money made by things like hedge funds, was heavily taxed and put back into the economy, the economy would ultimately go into a kind of tailspin. And I think the example of that, which you point out in your book, is what's happened in terms of large corporations with stock dividends and buybacks. And maybe you can explain that.

    HUDSON: There's an idea in superficial textbooks and the public media that if companies make a large profit, they make it by being productive. And with …

    HEDGES: Which is still in textbooks, isn't it?

    HUDSON: Yes. And also that if a stock price goes up, you're just capitalizing the profits – and the stock price reflects the productive role of the company. But that's not what's been happening in the last ten years. Just in the last two years, 92 percent of corporate profits in America have been spent either on buying back their own stock, or paid out as dividends to raise the price of the stock.

    HEDGES: Explain why they do this.

    HUDSON: About 15 years ago at Harvard, Professor Jensen said that the way to ensure that corporations are run most efficiently is to make the managers increase the price of the stock. So if you give the managers stock options, and you pay them not according to how much they're producing or making the company bigger, or expanding production, but the price of the stock, then you'll have the corporation run efficiently, financial style.

    So the corporate managers find there are two ways that they can increase the price of the stock. The first thing is to cut back long-term investment, and use the money instead to buy back their own stock. But when you buy your own stock, that means you're not putting the money into capital formation. You're not building new factories. You're not hiring more labor. You can actually increase the stock price by firing labor.

    HEDGES: That strategy only works temporarily.

    HUDSON: Temporarily. By using the income from past investments just to buy back stock, fire the labor force if you can, and work it more intensively. Pay it out as dividends. That basically is the corporate raider's model. You use the money to pay off the junk bond holders at high interest. And of course, this gets the company in trouble after a while, because there is no new investment.

    So markets shrink. You then go to the labor unions and say, gee, this company's near bankruptcy, and we don't want to have to fire you. The way that you can keep your job is if we downgrade your pensions. Instead of giving you what we promised, the defined benefit pension, we'll turn it into a defined contribution plan. You know what you pay every month, but you don't know what's going to come out. Or, you wipe out the pension fund, push it on to the government's Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, and use the money that you were going to pay for pensions to pay stock dividends. By then the whole economy is turning down. It's hollowed out. It shrinks and collapses. But by that time the managers will have left the company. They will have taken their bonuses and salaries and run.

    HEDGES: I want to read this quote from your book, written by David Harvey, in A Brief History of Neoliberalism, and have you comment on it.

    "The main substantive achievement of neoliberalism has been to redistribute rather than to generate wealth and income. [By] 'accumulation by dispossession' I mean … the commodification and privatization of land, and the forceful expulsion of peasant populations; conversion of various forms of property rights (common collective state, etc.) into exclusive private property rights; suppression of rights to the commons; … colonial, neocolonial, and the imperial processes of appropriation of assets (including natural resources); … and usury, the national debt and, most devastating at all, the use of the credit system as a radical means of accumulation by dispossession. … To this list of mechanisms, we may now add a raft of techniques such as the extraction of rents from patents, and intellectual property rights (such as the diminution or erasure of various forms of common property rights, such as state pensions, paid vacations, and access to education, health care) one through a generation or more of class struggle. The proposal to privatize all state pension rights, pioneered in Chile under the dictatorship is, for example, one of the cherished objectives of the Republicans in the US."

    This explains the denouement. The final end result you speak about in your book is, in essence, allowing what you call the rentier or the speculative class to cannibalize the entire society until it collapses.

    HUDSON: A property right is not a factor of production. Look at what happened in Chicago, the city where I grew up. Chicago didn't want to raise taxes on real estate, especially on its expensive commercial real estate. So its budget ran a deficit. They needed money to pay the bondholders, so they sold off the parking rights to have meters – you know, along the curbs. The result is that they sold to Goldman Sachs 75 years of the right to put up parking meters. So now the cost of living and doing business in Chicago is raised by having to pay the parking meters. If Chicago is going to have a parade and block off traffic, it has to pay Goldman Sachs what the firm would have made if the streets wouldn't have been closed off for a parade. All of a sudden it's much more expensive to live in Chicago because of this.

    But this added expense of having to pay parking rights to Goldman Sachs – to pay out interest to its bondholders – is counted as an increase in GDP, because you've created more product simply by charging more. If you sell off a road, a government or local road, and you put up a toll booth and make it into a toll road, all of a sudden GDP goes up.

    If you go to war abroad, and you spend more money on the military-industrial complex, all this is counted as increased production. None of this is really part of the production system of the capital and labor building more factories and producing more things that people need to live and do business. All of this is overhead. But there's no distinction between wealth and overhead.

    Failing to draw that distinction means that the host doesn't realize that there is a parasite there. The host economy, the industrial economy, doesn't realize what the industrialists realized in the 19th century: If you want to be an efficient economy and be low-priced and under-sell competitors, you have to cut your prices by having the public sector provide roads freely. Medical care freely. Education freely.

    If you charge for all of these, you get to the point that the U.S. economy is in today. What if American factory workers were to get all of their consumer goods for nothing. All their food, transportation, clothing, furniture, everything for nothing. They still couldn't compete with Asians or other producers, because they have to pay up to 43% of their income for rent or mortgage interest, 10% or more of their income for student loans, credit card debt. 15% of their paycheck is automatic withholding to pay Social Security, to cut taxes on the rich or to pay for medical care.

    So Americans built into the economy all this overhead. There's no distinction between growth and overhead. It's all made America so high-priced that we're priced out of the market, regardless of what trade policy we have.

    HEDGES: We should add that under this predatory form of economics, you game the system. So you privatize pension funds, you force them into the stock market, an overinflated stock market. But because of the way companies go public, it's the hedge fund managers who profit. And it's those citizens whose retirement savings are tied to the stock market who lose. Maybe we can just conclude by talking about how the system is fixed, not only in terms of burdening the citizen with debt peonage, but by forcing them into the market to fleece them again.

    HUDSON: Well, we talk about an innovation economy as if that makes money. Suppose you have an innovation and a company goes public. They go to Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street investment banks to underwrite the stock to issue it at $40 a share. What's considered a successful float is when, immediately, Goldman and the others will go to their insiders and tell them to buy this stock and make a quick killing. A "successful" flotation doubles the price in one day, so that at the end of the day the stock's selling for $80.

    HEDGES: They have the option to buy it before anyone else, knowing that by the end of the day it'll be inflated, and then they sell it off.

    HUDSON: That's exactly right.

    HEDGES: So the pension funds come in and buy it at an inflated price, and then it goes back down.

    HUDSON: It may go back down, or it may be that the company just was shortchanged from the very beginning. The important thing is that the Wall Street underwriting firm, and the speculators it rounds up, get more in a single day than all the years it took to put the company together. The company gets $40. And the banks and their crony speculators also get $40.

    So basically you have the financial sector ending up with much more of the gains. The name of the game if you're on Wall Street isn't profits. It's capital gains. And that's something that wasn't even part of classical economics. They didn't anticipate that the price of assets would go up for any other reason than earning more money and capitalizing on income. But what you have had in the last 50 years – really since World War II – has been asset-price inflation. Most middle-class families have gotten the wealth that they've got since 1945 not really by saving what they've earned by working, but by the price of their house going up. They've benefited by the price of the house. And they think that that's made them rich and the whole economy rich.

    The reason the price of housing has gone up is that a house is worth whatever a bank is going to lend against it. If banks made easier and easier credit, lower down payments, then you're going to have a financial bubble. And now, you have real estate having gone up as high as it can. I don't think it can take more than 43% of somebody's income to buy it. But now, imagine if you're joining the labor force. You're not going to be able to buy a house at today's prices, putting down a little bit of your money, and then somehow end up getting rich just on the house investment. All of this money you pay the bank is now going to be subtracted from the amount of money that you have available to spend on goods and services.

    So we've turned the post-war economy that made America prosperous and rich inside out. Somehow most people believed they could get rich by going into debt to borrow assets that were going to rise in price. But you can't get rich, ultimately, by going into debt. In the end the creditors always win. That's why every society since Sumer and Babylonia have had to either cancel the debts, or you come to a society like Rome that didn't cancel the debts, and then you have a dark age. Everything collapses.

    [Apr 24, 2016] Ron Paul on the Military-Industrial Complex's Role in US Militarism from Latin America to Europe

    Notable quotes:
    "... Speaking of the US putting more troops in Europe near the Russian border, Paul notes that he doesn't think "they have strong evidence that the Russians are about to roll in tanks." Instead, a motivation for the military build-up, Paul says, is "stirring up troubles to justify more military expenditures." ..."
    The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
    Speaking last week with host Scott Horton on the Scott Horton Show, three-time presidential candidate and former Republican member of the US House of Representatives Ron Paul discussed the military-industrial complex's role in US militarism across the world, including in Latin America and Europe.

    After Horton introduced Paul as "the greatest American hero," Paul and Horton entered a fascinating discussion of US foreign policy. Their wide-ranging discussion concerns matters including US intervention in Iraq and Ukraine, a potential "Brexit" - exit of Great Britain from the European Union (EU), and Paul's preference for free trade over international trade deals that Paul says put in place "managed trade to serve the interests of some special interests."

    Addressing the influence of the military-industrial complex, Paul comments in the interview on examples in Europe and Latin America.

    Speaking of the US putting more troops in Europe near the Russian border, Paul notes that he doesn't think "they have strong evidence that the Russians are about to roll in tanks." Instead, a motivation for the military build-up, Paul says, is "stirring up troubles to justify more military expenditures."

    Paul also comments on the military-industrial complex when he discusses how a dispute over which company would profit from its helicopters being used in the US government's "Plan Columbia" was resolved by sending both companies' helicopters to Latin America for use in the drug war effort.

    Listen to Paul's complete interview here.

    Listen through the end of the interview and you will hear Horton's strong praise for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity (RPI). Paul founded RPI in 2013 after retiring from the House of Representatives. Says Horton:

    Check out the Ron Paul Institute at ronpaulinstitute.org. They put out great antiwar propaganda all day long seven days a week - the great Dan McAdams, Dr. Paul, Adam Dick and others there at the Ron Paul Institute, ronpaulinstitute.org.
    Read here Paul's April 10 editorial "As Ukraine Collapses, Europeans Tire of US Interventions" discussed in the interview.
    Copyright © 2016 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
    Please donate to the Ron Paul Institute

    [Apr 24, 2016] The End of Neoliberalism

    Notable quotes:
    "... ...In many ways, it is remarkable that candidates who speak against free trade the way Sanders and Trump have have had significant traction this primary election season. But the signs have been there over the past few years. Wendy Brown, a political scientist at the University of California, notes that the Occupy movement was among the first to point out the dangers of the neoliberal economic system. ..."
    "... I expect there will be a struggle between the free market fundamentalists and a broader, vastly more numerous base spanning both blue and white collar working and middle classes. Inequality will be one driver but there will be others. We have to shake 18th century economics, 19th century industrialism and 20th century geopolitics - the forces that spawned globalism. These modes of organization are antiquated and no longer retain much utility. They were conceived during and designed for a much different world with a far smaller overall population, a surfeit of cheap resources and a far lower rate of consumption. ..."
    The Disaffected Lib

    Fortune magazine ponders whether neoliberalism in its home country - the United States - can survive the November elections.

    Neoliberalism ...is an economic principle. It refers to the belief that markets should be frictionless and unfettered by things like regulation or organized labor. Neoliberalism has its roots in the Chicago School of economics pioneered by Milton Friedman in the 1970s. The concept found its footing in the 1970s and 80s, with champions like Chile's Augusto Pinochet, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher. It then evolved into a basic economic outlook for major political parties in much of the Western world. Neoliberalism's stature reached new heights in the 1990s, when President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement and British Prime Minister Tony Blair created the "New Labour" movement, moving the Labour Party away from its trade union roots.

    This is the world that British journalist Paul Mason addresses in his book Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future, Mason ...argues that the current iteration of capitalism, neoliberalism - prevalent mostly in western democracies - is sick and dying.

    But the go-go 1990s feels like a distant memory today. And in his book, Mason suggests a way forward, drawing on classical Marxist theory that's been updated for the information age.

    Mason argues for what he calls a postcapitalist society. Such a system would include universal basic income; a socialized finance system; increased collaborative work; and increased regulation to prevent the growth of low-wage, low-growth jobs. Imagine if we could all enjoy the benefits that sharing economy companies like Uber offer its participants but companies also paid enough taxes to pay for programs that support those workers.

    ...So, how does all of this tie in to the 2016 presidential election? It starts, of course, with Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, both of whom have channeled voters' frustration and anger with an economic world that, they feel, has left them behind.

    In an interview from London, Mason was quick to dismiss Trump, calling him "a showman and a charlatan and a racist." He claims that the rise of Trump is proof that neoliberalism is broken. With people left as adrift as they are, he says, "it's no surprise that an empty can rises like flotsam."

    ...In many ways, it is remarkable that candidates who speak against free trade the way Sanders and Trump have have had significant traction this primary election season. But the signs have been there over the past few years. Wendy Brown, a political scientist at the University of California, notes that the Occupy movement was among the first to point out the dangers of the neoliberal economic system.

    Republicans, of course, would never go for Mason's suggestions; just this month, John Kasich called for the "Uberization" of the federal government. Uber, with its limited rights and benefits for drivers, is in many ways the poster child for the neoliberal dream.

    Mason's book offers a stark portrait of a potential future in which inequality grows to unimaginable heights, leading to social unrest. "I can see within a century the end of the market system as we know it," Mason says.

    That may sound a bit extreme. But in a world where more and more people feel like the economy has flat out left them behind, it would be foolish to disregard what should come next.

    I expect there will be a struggle between the free market fundamentalists and a broader, vastly more numerous base spanning both blue and white collar working and middle classes. Inequality will be one driver but there will be others. We have to shake 18th century economics, 19th century industrialism and 20th century geopolitics - the forces that spawned globalism. These modes of organization are antiquated and no longer retain much utility. They were conceived during and designed for a much different world with a far smaller overall population, a surfeit of cheap resources and a far lower rate of consumption.

    We're running into walls, one after another, and these walls are boxing us in, eliminating or narrowing options and choice. Our obsolete modes of organization, the foundations of neoliberalism and globalism, have no settings to deal with overpopulation, over-consumption or climate change. That much is apparent from the manner in which they're based on perpetual, exponential growth. On a finite biosphere, our Spaceship Earth, the limits of growth are sharply defined and yet, instead of organizing ourselves accordingly, we keep resorting to sleight of hand, parlour tricks, that lead to deforestation, desertification, the collapse of major fisheries, the draining of our groundwater resources - on and on and on.

    What I fear most is that the failure of our leadership to acknowledge and respond to these issues will lead to mass unrest and a population that's easy prey for the first charismatic despot to come along and feed off their discontent. The fact is that happens more often than not and it only makes a difficult situation enormously worse.

    Kirby Evans said...

    Thanks for that good post. I look forward to reading Mason's book. In the UK they have Corbyn, in the US they have Sanders, when are we going to produces a leader who actually talks about redistribution and fair taxation instead of towing the neo-liberal line like Mulcair?

    UU4077 said...

    I think you might find this an interesting link

    http://thereformedbroker.com/2016/03/13/a-tech-powered-disinflationary-world/

    Within it is another link "Abundance" - another good read.

    Technology may end up speeding-up the destruction of our current form of capitalism. Most don't understand what's happening until it hits them in the face (like Uber and taxi cabs).

    A guaranteed minimum income with corporations forced to pay their fair share of taxes is a start. Looking forward to a "Star Trek world".

    The Mound of Sound said...

    I just looked on Amazon, Kirby, and it's available but seems a bit pricey. You can get the ebook for about $14. I'll wait until it shows up on Abebooks next year.

    The Mound of Sound said...

    @ UU4077 - I did a post the other day on Galbraith's "The End of Normal" that focused on the chapter dealing with "creative destruction." This expands upon some of the points made in your links. Galbraith writes of, " new ways for the information-processing device to perform tasks that used to be carried out by someone else for money; new ways to kill off activity elsewhere; new ways to devalue somebody else's skill" as the inevitable result of our rampaging technology.

    It's almost never mentioned that Adam Smith, in his 1776 "The Wealth of Nations," foresaw that the Ponzi scheme that today's capitalism has become would have a shelf life of about 200-years. Give or take half a century it seems he was right. From Wiki: "A central theme of the book is the desirable consequences of each person pursuing self-interest in the marketplace. He theorized and observed that people trading in open markets leads to production of the right quantities of commodities, division of labor, increasing wages, and an upward spiral of economic growth. But Smith recognized a limit to economic growth. He predicted that in the long run, population growth would push wages down, natural resources would become increasingly scarce, and division of labor would approach the limits of its effectiveness."

    After this period, Smith concluded civilization would enter a 'steady state economy' not because it was particularly desirable or superior but because there would be no other option. It seems ridiculous to even argue the point but we live on a finite world and the limits of this world prescribe that the economy must be a subset of that environment. I think we may be on the verge of discovering that immutable law of nature but possibly much too late.

    [Apr 24, 2016] What Can Replace Neoliberalism

    addisfortune.net
    In a popular piece that recently appeared in Foreign Affairs magazine, headlined, "The Future of History", Francis Fukuyama pointed out that, despite widespread anger at Wall Street bailouts, there has been no great upsurge of support for left-wing political parties. Fukuyama attributed this – rightly, I believe – to a failure of ideas.

    The 2008 financial crash revealed major flaws in the neoliberal view of capitalism, and an objective view of the last 35 years shows that the neoliberal model has not performed well relative to the previous 30 years. This is in terms of economic growth, financial stability and social justice. But a credible progressive alternative has yet to take shape.

    What should be the main outlines of such an alternative?

    A progressive political economy must be based on a firm belief in capitalism – that is, on an economic system in which most of the assets are privately owned and markets largely guide production and distribute income. But it must also incorporate three defining progressive beliefs: the crucial role of institutions; the need for state involvement in their design in order to resolve conflicting interests and provide public goods; and social justice, defined as fairness, as an important measure of a country's economic performance.

    It was a great mistake of neoclassical economists not to see that capitalism is a socioeconomic system and that institutions are an essential part of it. The recent financial crisis was made far worse by profound institutional failures, such as the high level of leverage that banks were permitted to have.

    Empirical research has shown that four sets of institutions have a major impact on the performance of firms and, therefore, on a country's economic growth. These include the institutions underpinning its financial and labour markets, its corporate governance arrangements, its education and training system and its national system of innovation (the network of public and private institutions that initiate and diffuse new technologies).

    Another defining belief of progressive thinking is that institutions do not evolve spontaneously, as neoliberals believe. The state must be involved in their design and reform.

    In the case of institutions underpinning labour and financial markets, as well as corporate governance, the state must mediate conflicting interests. Likewise, a country's education and training system, and its national system of innovation, are largely public goods, which have to be provided by the state.

    It should be clear that the role for the state that I have been describing is an enabling or market-supporting one. It is not the command and control role promoted by traditional socialists or the minimalist role beloved by neoliberals.

    The other defining belief of progressive thinking rejects the neoliberal view that a country's economic performance should be assessed solely in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) growth and freedom. If one is concerned with a society's wellbeing, it is not possible to argue that a rich country in which the top one percent holds most of the wealth is performing better than a slightly less wealthy country in which prosperity is more widely shared.

    Moreover, fairness is a better measure of social justice than equality. This is because it is difficult to devise practical and effective policies to achieve equality in a market economy.

    In addition, there is a real tradeoff between equality and economic growth, and egalitarianism is not a popular policy even for many low-income people. In my experience, trade unions are much more interested in wage differentials than in a simple policy of equal pay for all.

    These are the core principles that I believe a new progressive political economy should embrace. I also believe that Western countries that do not adopt this framework and instead cling to a neoliberal political economy, will find it increasingly difficult to innovate and grow.

    In the new global economy, which is awash with cheap labour, Western economies will not be able to compete in a "race to the bottom", with firms seeking ever-cheaper labour, land and capital, with governments seeking to attract them by deregulating and shrinking social benefits.

    The only way Western economies will be able to compete and improve their standard of living is by seeing themselves as being involved in a race to the top. That is, firms must improve their value added through innovation in existing industries and by developing the capability to compete in new and more sophisticated industries, where value added is generally higher.

    Companies will be able to do this only if governments abandon the belief that they have no role to play in the economy. In fact, the state has a key role to play in providing the conditions that enable dynamic companies to innovate and grow.

    [Apr 24, 2016] Today is Krauthammer Day #13

    Notable quotes:
    "... Rather than dispute Eric with tedious "facts" and "not finding WMD", I'll agree with him. Insofar as law is at all meaningful in this case, law was followed - since law in this case is pretty much whatever the Security Council decides that it is. This only goes to show that the UN is a dysfunctional institution that is incapable of preventing aggressive war and other war crimes when they are carried out by the U.S. and do not directly affect other Security Council members. That the UN then went on to green light the Libya "humanitarian intervention" on its R2P principles only confirms that the UN now justifies wars, it doesn't prevent them. ..."
    "... And the fact that the invasion of Iraq and the deaths of something like a million people and the associated tortures and murders were all legal under U.S. law only shows that U.S. law protects killers in authority, as we all knew. ..."
    "... Given enough time, I would not be surprised to see the Erics of the world successful in relitigating the Iraq War. We already have Clinton as the nominee of the party whose members were supposedly so upset by Bush's war and Clinton's regret over her vote was obviously for political reasons. Eric does a good job with the bureaucratic gobbledygook that impresses DC types so much when it gives them permission to bomb people. Polls permitting, I'm sure Clinton would leap at the opportunity to reassert American global leadership in the delivery of high explosives. ..."
    "... Give it another few years or maybe a decade and Eric will be mainstream. We will kick the Iraq syndrome just like the Gulf War kicked the Vietnam syndrome. We just need to find a crappy little country whose bombing can be portrayed as a success. Clinton might think Libya should qualify if we just went back in. ..."
    crookedtimber.org

    April 22, 2016

    Again, it's Krauthammer Day. Today is the unlucky thirteenth anniversary of the day when the prominent pundit announced:

    Hans Blix had five months to find weapons. He found nothing. We've had five weeks. Come back to me in five months. If we haven't found any, we will have a credibility problem.

    As of today, we've had five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months and five months, and another month on top of that of Charles Krauthammer's credibility problem. He's still opining.

    BruceJ 04.22.16 at 7:23 pm

    In general, Of course Krauthammer is still punditing away. Being a conservative means never having say you're sorry to be held to account.

    @1: In large part, they were lied to, just like the rest of us. They SHOULD have demanded more details, and they should have listened to the people on the ground, but they were stampeded just like most of the country was.

    @2: The NYT is to Hillary as Gamergate is to Brianna Wu.

    Yes Hillary is a DLC hawk, but if the NYT said she was wearing a white dress, I'd presume she was wearing a black one.

    @3: It's not as if any of those recommendations would fail under a GOP president.

    3 SCOTUS Appointments.

    THAT is what the next president is likely to have. As much as I love and cherish the Notorious RBG, she's in her 80's. Kennedy will be in his 80's. Presidente Francisco Scalia is still dead and needs replacing.

    Who do you want appointing their replacements: Hillary, Ted or Donald?

    Always, always remember, the lesser of two evils is the LESSER one, and we already went through that nonsense about "Maybe getting a terrible president in will wake up the sheeple" crap. That's why we're discussing the goddamn Iraq war right now.

    Anyone who thinks that a President Gore would have invaded Iraq shout out.

    [crickets]

    Thought so.


    Sandwichman 04.22.16 at 10:52 pm

    A Krauthammer unit is five months. A Friedman unit is six months. Is there a pundit unit for any other numbers of months?

    kidneystones 04.23.16 at 2:06 am

    Thanks for the reminder, Henry. I see a very different future. Trump wins the WH with Reagan-like numbers. HRC retires or returns to the Senate. Dems support Trump, their natural ally, making deals on security and trade. The Dems may well take back the Senate, but not the House, I suspect.

    America First is rampant. Patriotism is in, as is Buy America. Cash is repatriated as income taxes on the richest rise, and corporate taxes fall. Ted Cruz paints himself into a pink corner raving about trans-gender toilets while Americans concentrate on the busy tasks of rebuilding public infrastructure on time and under budget. (dream on). Krauthammer joins the National Review to grumble and Bill Kristol shrieks about the need to do more regime-changing and nation building.

    All manner of regional mayhem erupts as America compels allies to re-arm. Putin solidifies his already considerable power and a number of European nations elect openly fascist governments, France, Holland, and Norway possibly among them.

    If you're old enough to remember Reagan, Kirkpatrick, Baker et al, you know what's coming. The sole silver lining being that Trump is almost certain to offer non-documented workers both a path to citizenship and jobs building the wall that all Republicans and many Democrats want to see built asap.

    Plarry 04.23.16 at 3:42 am 23

    @2: Agree. The Times coverage of Hillary is shameful – their many excuses to the public editor over their coverage didn't even rise to being risible.

    @3: "weapons manufacturers": Of the possible Democratic or GOP nominees on the horizon at present, the one the NRA likes least is Hillary.

    @12: To say that Hillary was a "supporter of the Iraq war and the Bush policy behind it" is simply wrong.

    Waiting for Godot 04.23.16 at 5:27 am 24

    BruceJ @4

    Please read the interview with Sy Hersh on Salon then come and talk about how clever a foreign policy wonk she is. If you liked Kissinger's Nixon then you'll love his President Hillary.

    Ben Alpers 04.23.16 at 5:55 pm
    To state the obvious: many common criticisms of Hillary Clinton are unfair; many others are fair. The criticism that she is a hawk who voted for and supported the Iraq War is abundantly fair. While we have now come to the thirteenth anniversary of Krauthammer's idiocy quoted above, we're still about a couple months away from the second anniversary of Hillary Clinton finally admitting that she got Iraq wrong in her memoir Hard Choices, which came out in June 2014. And her recent AIPAC speech is a good place to see how her hawkish tendencies might affect her foreign policy choices going forward.

    That said, if she gets the nomination, I'll firmly be in the "hold my nose and vote for Clinton" camp. The alternative offered by the GOP will be much worse. And although Trump got Iraq right, I have even less confidence in his foreign policy decisions that I do in Hillary Clinton's.

    ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 04.23.16 at 8:24 pm

    That said, if she gets the nomination, I'll firmly be in the "hold my nose and vote for Clinton" camp. The alternative offered by the GOP will be much worse.

    That's our good cop. bad cop political setup. Brought to us by rich fucks who don't give a shit about any of us.

    And the best part? When we win, all we win is that it gets worse more slowly.


    Rich Puchalsky 04.24.16 at 2:26 am

    Rather than dispute Eric with tedious "facts" and "not finding WMD", I'll agree with him. Insofar as law is at all meaningful in this case, law was followed - since law in this case is pretty much whatever the Security Council decides that it is. This only goes to show that the UN is a dysfunctional institution that is incapable of preventing aggressive war and other war crimes when they are carried out by the U.S. and do not directly affect other Security Council members. That the UN then went on to green light the Libya "humanitarian intervention" on its R2P principles only confirms that the UN now justifies wars, it doesn't prevent them.

    And the fact that the invasion of Iraq and the deaths of something like a million people and the associated tortures and murders were all legal under U.S. law only shows that U.S. law protects killers in authority, as we all knew.


    Asteele 04.24.16 at 4:10 am

    Oh great a crank with a web-site, check this out:

    "President Bush handed OIF to President Obama having resolved the festering problem of Saddam's noncompliant, threatening, tyrannical, radicalized sectarian, terrorist regime (not a moment too soon based on what we now know), revitalized international enforcement in the defining international enforcement of the post-Cold War, and proved the mettle of American leadership and devastated the terrorists with the Counterinsurgency "Surge". The emerging pluralistic, liberalizing, compliant post-Saddam Iraq provided the US with a keystone "strategic partner" in the region."

    LOL as they say.


    derrida derider 04.24.16 at 12:18 pm

    Way OT, but Rich is wrong. As a matter of law, the Iraq war was clearly illegal. At the very least all the other countries that voted for UN1441 believe it is, because the US envoy – Bolton – explicitly and publicly assured them that UN1441 did NOT authorise war, that they could safely vote for it in the knowledge that before any war began the matter would come back to the UNSC.

    Just another in the long trail of lies from the Bushistas that got absolutely no coverage in the US media (though rest assured it did in the French and British ones!). Iraq made me realise Chomsky is absolutely right – the "free" US media's role is to manufacture consent for the elite's wishes.


    Rich Puchalsky 04.24.16 at 5:36 pm

    derrida derider: "Way OT, but Rich is wrong."

    (Parenthetically, there's someone else commenting in this thread as "Rich" who isn't me. But I assume that you meant me.)

    "As a matter of law, the Iraq war was clearly illegal. At the very least all the other countries that voted for UN1441 believe it is, because the US envoy – Bolton – explicitly and publicly assured them that UN1441 did NOT authorise war,"

    I am not at all sympathetic to this. Laws have meaning only when they are interpreted and carried out. The interpretation and execution was pretty much put into the hands of the U.S. with no ability to take it back if Bolton turned out to be lying or merely incorrect. If the U.S. Senators and Congresspeople pass a law which then gets interpreted by the Supreme Court in a different way and executed by the President differently than they expected, they can't say that the ensuing actions were illegal, really.

    Of course the ensuing actions were illegal by Nuremberg standards, but the other countries had sort of successfully smokescreened that by voting for the UN resolution in the first place. It was a way for other countries' elites to give the U.S. the war it wanted while denying to domestic populations that they'd done so.


    engels 04.24.16 at 8:50 pm

    Links to contemporaneous legal opinions on the legality of the Iraq war:

    For the position that the war was illegal:

    "Iraq Invasion Violated UN Charter" (news.com.au, August 7, 2003) ("With unusual candour, the former chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix today denounced the US-led war on Iraq as a violation of international law, and questioned Washington's motives for the invasion.")
    Law Professors for the Rule of Law
    "War on Iraq Was Illegal, Say Top Lawyers" (Severin Carrell and Robert Verkaik, The Independent, May 25, 2003)
    "International Legal Experts Regard Iraq War as Illegal" (Peter Schwarz, World Socialist Web Site, March 26, 2003)
    "Tearing up the Rules: The Illegality of Invading Iraq," Center for Economic and Social Rights, March 2003 Superb
    "Canadian Law Professors Declare US-Led War Illegal" (Henry Michaels, World Socialist Web Site, 22 March 2003)
    Robin Miller, "This War Is Illegal," March 21, 2003
    "Chirac: Iraq War Breaches International Law" (Middle East Online, March 21, 2003)
    "Is the War on Iraq illegal?" (Irwin Cotler, The Globe and Mail, March 21, 2003)
    Jim Lobe, "Law Groups Say U.S. Invasion Illegal," OneWorld.net, March 21, 2003 (an open letter signed by 31 Canadian international law professors calls a U.S. attack against Iraq "a fundamental breach of international law [that] would seriously threaten the integrity of the international legal order that has been in place since the end of the Second World War.")
    Joan Russow, "U.S. Enagaged in an Illegal Act," March 20, 2003
    International Appeal by Lawyers and Jurists against the "Preventive" Use of Force
    Michael C. Dorf, "Is the War on Iraq Lawful?" Findlaw, March 19, 2003
    Emma Thomasson, "Iraq War Illegal but Trial Unlikely, Lawyers Say," Reuters, March 19, 2003 ("President Bush and his allies are unlikely to face trial for war crimes although many nations and legal experts say a strike on Iraq without an explicit U.N. mandate breaches international law.")
    Hilary Charlesworth and Andrew Byrnes, "No, This War Is Illegal, The Age [Melbourne, Australia], March 19, 2003
    Matthew Happold, "A Talented Lawyer Arguing a Weak Case," The Guardian, March 17, 2003 ("The [British] attorney-general's assertion that the use of force against Iraq is legal without a second UN resolution does not stand scrutiny")
    Keir Starmer, "Sorry, Mr Blair, But 1441 Does Not Authorise Force," The Guardian, March 17, 2003
    "Analysis of the US Legal Position on the Use of Force Against Iraq" (Greenpeace, March 16, 2003)
    Richard Norton-Taylor, "Law Unto Themselves, The Guardian, March 14, 2003 ("A large majority of international lawyers reject the government's claim that UN resolution 1441 gives legal authority for an attack on Iraq.")
    Robert Verkaik, "'Illegal War' Could Mean Soldiers Face Prosecution," The Independent, March 12, 2003
    Anthony Howard, "War Against Iraq–The Legal Dilemma, The Times [London], March 11, 2003
    Mark Littman, "A Supreme International Crime," The Guardian, March 10, 2003 ("Any member of a government backing an aggressive war will be open to prosecution.")
    "The UN Must Take Mr Blix's Report Seriously–by Voting Against Military Action," The Independent (editorial), March 8, 2003
    "War Would Be Illegal," The Guardian, March 7, 2003 ("The doctrine of pre-emptive self-defence against an attack that might arise at some hypothetical future time has no basis in international law. Neither security council resolution 1441 nor any prior resolution authorises the proposed use of force in the present circumstances.").
    Michael White and Patrick Wintour, "No Case for Iraq Attack Say Lawyers," The Guardian, March 7, 2003 (commenting on letter, just above, by 16 professors of international law).
    "War With Iraq 'Could Be Illegal,'" BBC, March 6, 2003 (British Professor Nicholas Grief says that Bush and Blair could face prosecution for war crimes, specifically waging an illegal war).
    Alan Elsner, "US War Without UN Approval Would Be Seen as Illegal," Reuters, March 6, 2003 ("Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, said eight out of 10 international lawyers would consider a U.S. attack without a new resolution as a violation of international law.").
    "Australian Legal Experts Declare an Invasion of Iraq a War Crime" (James Conachy, World Socialist Web Site, February 27, 2003)
    Bill Bowring, "Bush and Blair Must See Law Has a Life of Its Own," AlertNet, February 21, 2003.
    Julie Mertus, "The Law(?) of Regime Change," JURIST, February 20, 2003.
    Thalif Deen, "Of Man and God and Law," Asia Times, February 14, 2003.
    Nathaniel Hurd, "UN SCR 1141 and Potential Use of Force Against Iraq," December 6, 2002.
    "IN THE MATTER OF THE POTENTIAL USE OF ARMED FORCE BY THE UK AGAINST IRAQ AND IN THE MATTER OF RELIANCE FOR THAT USE OF FORCE ON UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1441," Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, November 2002.
    "Lawyers Statement on UN Resolution 1441 on Iraq," November 27, 2002.
    Mary Ellen O'Connell, "UN Resolution 1441: Compelling Saddam, Restraining Bush," JURIST, November 21, 2002.
    Marjorie Cohn, "UN Resolution 1441: Blackmailing the Security Council," JURIST, November 21, 2002.
    George P. Fletcher, "Did the UN Security Council Violate Its Own Rules in Passing the Iraq Resolution?," CounterPunch, November 16, 2002.
    "Legality of Use of Force against Iraq" (Public Interest Lawyers on behalf of Peacerights, September 10, 2002)
    Mary Ellen O'Connell, The Myth of Preemptive Self-Defense," August 2002.

    For the position that the war was legal:

    Greg Hunt, "Yes, This War Is Legal, The Age [Melbourne, Australian], March 19, 2003
    "Attorney General: War Is Legal," The Guardian, March 17, 2003
    .67

    Donald 04.24.16 at 8:53 pm

    Given enough time, I would not be surprised to see the Erics of the world successful in relitigating the Iraq War. We already have Clinton as the nominee of the party whose members were supposedly so upset by Bush's war and Clinton's regret over her vote was obviously for political reasons. Eric does a good job with the bureaucratic gobbledygook that impresses DC types so much when it gives them permission to bomb people. Polls permitting, I'm sure Clinton would leap at the opportunity to reassert American global leadership in the delivery of high explosives.

    Give it another few years or maybe a decade and Eric will be mainstream. We will kick the Iraq syndrome just like the Gulf War kicked the Vietnam syndrome. We just need to find a crappy little country whose bombing can be portrayed as a success. Clinton might think Libya should qualify if we just went back in.

    [Apr 24, 2016] Why Democrats Are Becoming the Party of the 1 Percent

    Notable quotes:
    "... The Democratic Party has not been a total slouch, offering policies friendly to health-care executives, entertainment moguls, and tech titans. In fact, financial support for Democrats among the 1 percent of the 1 percent has risen dramatically , more than trebling since 1980. ..."
    "... It's not dispassionate analysis that causes Chuck Schumer to waffle on the carried-interest tax loophole, Hillary Clinton to argue for raising the cap on H-1B visas, or Maria Cantwell to rally support for the Export-Import Bank. The more rich people that a party attracts, the more that the party must do to stay attractive. ..."
    "... In a world of Trumpism and Clintonism, Democrats would become the party of globalist-minded elites, both economic and cultural, ..."
    "... Erstwhile neocons would go over to Democrats (as they are already promising to do), while doves and isolationists would stick with Republicans. Democrats would remain culturally liberal, while Republicans would remain culturally conservative. ..."
    Vanity Fair
    The Democratic Party has not been a total slouch, offering policies friendly to health-care executives, entertainment moguls, and tech titans. In fact, financial support for Democrats among the 1 percent of the 1 percent has risen dramatically, more than trebling since 1980. Traditionally, though, the Republican Party has been seen as the better friend to the wealthy, offering lower taxes, fewer business regulations, generous defense contracts, increased global trade, high immigration, and resistance to organized labor. It's been the buddy of homebuilders, oil barons, defense contractors, and other influential business leaders.

    Trumpism changes the equation. If homebuilders face workplace crackdowns on illegal hiring, their costs go up. If defense contractors see a reduced U.S. military presence in Asia and Europe, their income goes down. If companies that rely on outsourcing or on intellectual property rights see their business model upended by discontinued trade agreements, they face a crisis. Sure, many rich people hate Obamacare, but how big a deal is it compared to other things they want: more immigration, sustained and expanding trade, continued defense commitments? Clintonism, by comparison, starts to look much more appealing.

    All good, say some Democrats. The more people that Trumpism scares away, the broader and more powerful the liberal-left coalition will be. But nobody offers their support without expecting something in return. It's not dispassionate analysis that causes Chuck Schumer to waffle on the carried-interest tax loophole, Hillary Clinton to argue for raising the cap on H-1B visas, or Maria Cantwell to rally support for the Export-Import Bank. The more rich people that a party attracts, the more that the party must do to stay attractive.

    In a world of Trumpism and Clintonism, Democrats would become the party of globalist-minded elites, both economic and cultural, while Republicans would become the party of the working class. Democrats would win backing from those who support expanded trade and immigration, while Republicans would win the support of those who prefer less of both. Erstwhile neocons would go over to Democrats (as they are already promising to do), while doves and isolationists would stick with Republicans. Democrats would remain culturally liberal, while Republicans would remain culturally conservative.

    The combination of super-rich Democrats and poor Democrats would exacerbate internal party tensions, but the party would probably resort to forms of appeasement that are already in use. To their rich constituents, Democrats offer more trade, more immigration, and general globalism. To their non-rich constituents, they offer the promise of social justice, which critics might call identity politics. That's one reason why Democrats have devoted so much attention to issues such as transgender rights, sexual assault on campus, racial disparities in criminal justice, and immigration reform. The causes may be worthy-and they attract sincere advocates-but politically they're also useful. They don't bother rich people.

    [Apr 24, 2016] Neoliberalism as the Agent of Capitalist Self-Destruction

    Notable quotes:
    "... Second, one would have to be extraordinarily naïve to believe that the neoliberal project has been about establishing 'free' markets in the first place, although this myth has been assiduously perpetrated by social democratic parties who, eager to disguise their own capitulation to neoliberalism, emphasize their opposition to the marketisation of all social relationships, even though no-one – except perhaps the followers of Ayn Rand – seriously imagines this is either possible or desirable. ..."
    "... There are two foundational aspects of capitalism: the 'horizontal' competition between capitals and the 'vertical' conflict between labour and capital. The role of the capitalist state is to impose a dual social order determined by these two processes: over competing capitals so that market relations do not collapse into 'the war of all against all', and over the conflict between capital and labour so that it continues to be resolved in the interest of the former. Beyond this, states also have to establish 'general conditions of production', which individual competing capitals would be unwilling or unable to provide, including some basic level of technical infrastructure and welfare. These functions are mainly 'internal' to the territory of nation-states, but they must also represent the collective interests of the 'internal' capitalist class 'externally' in relation to other capitalist states and classes, up to and including the conduct of war. ..."
    "... Joseph Schumpeter yielded to no-one in his admiration for the heroic entrepreneur, but also noted during the Second World War that, with the possible exception of the United States, the bourgeoisie was so incapable of self-rule that it required a non-bourgeois group as a 'master'. ..."
    "... In the case of the UK the regime began, not with Margaret Thatcher's General Election victory in 1979, but around half-way through the preceding Labour Government of 1974–9 and it persists, with variations, to this day, whatever the bleating from Polly Toynbee and others on the liberal left about the supposedly fundamental differences between the two main parties. ..."
    "... The answer is in the way in which neoliberalism has reconfigured politics.The necessary distance between the state and capital (or between state managers and capitalists) that Smith, Marx and Schumpeter from their different political perspectives all regarded is being essential for the health of the system, is being minimised. In particular, the regime adoption of timescales associated specifically with the profit-maximising drives of financial capital is important as it indicates the short-termism involved. Three factors are important in producing this tendency. ..."
    "... Ironically, one reason for the rise of neoliberalism in the US was a paradoxical outcome of the successful demand for greater democratic accountability during the 1960s and 1970s. This led to the weakening of both congressional committees and party structures, and produced a new breed of 'entrepreneurial politicians' interested in highlighting issues popular with specific audiences which would provide them with a stable following. ..."
    "... For all practical purposes then, members of the ruling class in the West are now united in accepting neoliberalism as the only viable way of organising capitalism as an economic system, but they are divided in relation to how capitalism should be organised as a social system. They may all be neoliberals now, but they are not all neoconservatives. ..."
    "... Defence of the system is always the principle objective of the bourgeoisie, even at the expense of temporary system malfunction. In a situation where economic desperation was leading to mounting disorder, far-right parties would be brought into play to direct attention from the real source of social anguish onto already-identified scapegoats, no matter what price they exacted in terms of policy. ..."
    salvage.zone
    Salvage

    The neoliberal era can be retrospectively identified as beginning with the economic crisis of 1973, or, more precisely, with the strategic response of state managers and employers to that crisis. Previous eras in the history of capitalism have tended to close with the onset of further period of systemic crisis; 1973, for example, saw the end of the era of state capitalism which began in 1929. The neoliberal era, however, has not only survived the crisis which began in 2007, but its characteristic features are, if anything, being further extended and embedded, rather than reversed.

    Yet, although neoliberalism has massively increased the wealth of the global capitalist class, has it also restored the health of the system itself? The crisis which gave rise to neoliberalism was, after all, caused by the end of the unprecedented period of growth which characterised the post-war boom, and the consequent accelerating decline in the rate of profit, unimpeded by the countervailing tendencies – above all arms spending – which had held it in check since the Second World War. These levels of growth were never resumed, but it would be wrong to claim that capitalism experienced no recovery after 1973. The boom from 1982 to 2007 was certainly uneven and punctuated by particularly sharp financial crises and recessions in 1987, 1991, 1997 and 2000; but these were normal expressions of the business cycle and only a misplaced fixation with using the unique and unrepeatable period between 1948 and 1973 as a comparator could justify treating these as symptoms of crisis. When crisis did return in 2007–8, it simply proved that neoliberalism was no more capable of permanently preventing this than any other mode of capitalist regulation.

    Neoliberalism does, however, represent a paradox for capitalism. Its relative success as a ruling-class strategy, particularly in weakening the trade union movement and reducing the share of profits going to labour, has helped to disguise that some aspects of this mode of regulation are proving unintentionally detrimental to the system. Serving the interests of the rich is not the same – or at least, not always the same – as serving the interests of capital and may, in certain circumstances, be in contradiction to it. Simply doing what the rich want is unlikely to produce beneficial results for the system as a whole, although it may help increase the wealth of individual capitalists. For not only are capitalists generally uninterested in the broader social interest, which we might expect, but they are also generally incapable of correctly assessing their own overall collective class interests, which might seem more surprising – although as we shall see, it is a long-standing phenomenon, observed by many of the great social theorists from late eighteenth century onwards. As a result, capitalist states – or more precisely, their managers – have traditionally acted to make such an assessment; but in the developed West at least, neoliberal regimes are increasingly displaying an uncritical adherence to the short-term wishes of particular business interests. This is not the only emergent problem: the increasingly narrow parameters of neoliberal politics, where choice is restricted to 'social' rather than 'economic' issues, has encouraged the emergence of far-right parties, usually fixated on questions of migration, which have proved enormously divisive in working-class communities, but whose policies are in other respects by no means in the interests of capital.

    The self-destructive nature of neoliberal capitalism has nothing necessarily to do with the removal of restrictions on markets. The rise of neoliberalism made it fashionable to refer to Karl Polanyi's The Great Transformation, the assumption being that neoliberalism is in the process of realising Polanyi's nightmare: reversing the second part of his 'double movement' – the social reaction against markets – and unleashing the mechanisms that he saw as being so destructive of society and nature.

    Leaving aside the fact that capitalism was always capable of producing social atomization, collective violence and environmental destruction, even in periods when the state was far more directly involved in the mechanisms of production and exchange then it is now, there are two problems with this position. First, rhetoric apart, capitalists no more favour untrammelled competition today than they did when monopolies and cartels first appeared as aspects of the emerging system in the sixteenth century. Second, one would have to be extraordinarily naïve to believe that the neoliberal project has been about establishing 'free' markets in the first place, although this myth has been assiduously perpetrated by social democratic parties who, eager to disguise their own capitulation to neoliberalism, emphasize their opposition to the marketisation of all social relationships, even though no-one – except perhaps the followers of Ayn Rand – seriously imagines this is either possible or desirable. In what follows I will mainly draw on the experiences of the UK and the US, since these were the first nation-states in which neoliberalism was imposed under democratic conditions – unlike Chile or China, for example – and where it has in many respects gone furthest. To understand the real nature of the difficulties inadvertently caused for capital by neoliberalism we have to begin with the role of capitalist states 'in general'.

    How did capitalist states operate before neoliberalism? There are two foundational aspects of capitalism: the 'horizontal' competition between capitals and the 'vertical' conflict between labour and capital. The role of the capitalist state is to impose a dual social order determined by these two processes: over competing capitals so that market relations do not collapse into 'the war of all against all', and over the conflict between capital and labour so that it continues to be resolved in the interest of the former. Beyond this, states also have to establish 'general conditions of production', which individual competing capitals would be unwilling or unable to provide, including some basic level of technical infrastructure and welfare. These functions are mainly 'internal' to the territory of nation-states, but they must also represent the collective interests of the 'internal' capitalist class 'externally' in relation to other capitalist states and classes, up to and including the conduct of war.

    In order to maintain links to capital in all its multiple incarnations, the state must partly mirror capital's fragmentation. As this suggests, not every action carried out by the state need necessarily be in the direct collective interest of the ruling class – indeed, if it is to give the appearance of adjudicating between different class and other interests then it is essential that they are not, so long as these actions are ultimately subordinated to ruling class interests. Nevertheless, the capitalist state has nevertheless tended not to be run by capitalists themselves. Why not?

    The earliest social theorists to concern themselves with the emergent capitalist system – which they tended to refer to as 'commercial society' – were unambiguous in their assessment of how narrow business interests were. Since Adam Smith is – quite unfairly – treated as the patron saint of neoliberalism is may be worth reminding ourselves of his still-refreshingly candid views about the capacity of business interests for deception and oppression, and their inability to see beyond their own immediate interests. Nearly a century later in the 1860s, Smith's greatest successor, Karl Marx, was able to point in Capital to the example of the British Factory Acts as an example of how the state had to intervene to regulate the activities of capital in the face of initial opposition from the capitalists themselves. Reflecting on the entire legislative episode, Marx noted the way in which it took Parliamentary legislation to force capital to accept regulation of the length of the working day. Indeed, the most irreconcilable positions were expressed not by employers but by their ideologues, the most important of whom was Herbert Spencer, who saw – and here we can detect the genuine ancestry of contemporary neoliberalism – the spectre of socialist slavery in any form of state intervention.

    The thesis concerning bourgeois incapacity was not only restricted to critical supporters of capitalism like Smith or opponents like Marx. Joseph Schumpeter yielded to no-one in his admiration for the heroic entrepreneur, but also noted during the Second World War that, with the possible exception of the United States, the bourgeoisie was so incapable of self-rule that it required a non-bourgeois group as a 'master'. Without the kind of constraints provided by this pre-capitalist framework, the more sober instincts of the bourgeois would be overcome by the impulse towards what Schumpeter called 'creative destruction'. The delegation of power to the state therefore exists because of the inaptitude of the capitalist class compared to other ruling classes in history: feudal lords combine an economic and political role; capitalists perform only the former – although the necessity for capitalists to devote their time to the process of accumulation and their own multiple internal divisions also militate against their functioning directly as a governing class.

    Schumpeter was, however, too pessimistic: from the First World War in particular, the pre-capitalist classes which had acted as the shepherds of capital were increasingly replaced by state managers: the professional politicians and civil servants respectively responsible for the legislative and executive wings of the state. At the most fundamental level, the common interest between capitalists and state managers stems from their common class position: both are part of the bourgeoisie. If we visualise the bourgeoisie as a series of concentric circles, then the capitalist class as such (actual owners and controllers of capital) occupies the centre and a series of other layers radiates outwards, with those closer to the periphery being progressively less directly connected to the core economic activities of production, exploitation, and competition, and more involved with those of the ideological, administrative, or technical aspects, which are nevertheless essential to the reproduction of capitalism. The incomes that state managers are paid from state revenues ultimately derive from the total social surplus value produced by the working class, as are the profits, interest, and rent received by different types of private capitalist. And this applies not simply to the source of their income but also to its level, since the relatively high levels of remuneration, security, and prestige enjoyed by these officials depend on the continued exploitation of wage labour. At that level the interests of state managers and capitalist are the same.

    These groups have a shared ideological commitment to capitalism, but their particular interests arise from distinct regions of the totality of capitalism, in its various national manifestations. A shared background in institutions like schools, universities, and clubs helps to consolidate a class consciousness that articulates these interests, but a more fundamental reason is that the activities of states are subordinated to the accumulation of capital. In the British case, the state may not do this as successfully as the capitalist class might wish, but that is an indication of the problems of managing long-term relative decline, not that the state managers have different goals. Regardless of their class origins, state managers and capitalists are drawn together into a series of mutually supportive relationships. The former need the resources provided by individual national capitals, principally through taxation and loans, in order to attend to the needs of the national capital as a whole; the latter need specific policy initiatives to strengthen the competitive position of their sector of the national capital within the global economy. There have nevertheless always been tensions, above all the fear on the part of capitalists that states – which they regard as Weberian autonomous entities with their own interests – will either restrict or abolish their right to private property. What gives these fears plausibility is precisely the fact that state managers have both to facilitate the process of capital accumulation and ameliorate its effects on the population and environment, returning us to the Factory Acts and capitalist responses to them described by Marx in 1867.

    Has the neoliberal era seen the capitalist class finally succeeding in 'binding Leviathan', to quote the title of an early British neoliberal text by William Waldegrave? We need to be clear that it is not the nature of capitalist states themselves that has changed: they still need to perform the core functions described at the beginning of this section. There is no 'neoliberal state', but there are 'neoliberal regimes'. In the case of the UK the regime began, not with Margaret Thatcher's General Election victory in 1979, but around half-way through the preceding Labour Government of 1974–9 and it persists, with variations, to this day, whatever the bleating from Polly Toynbee and others on the liberal left about the supposedly fundamental differences between the two main parties.

    What has changed is that the relationship between neoliberal regimes and capital since the 1970s has prevented states from acting effectively in the collective, long-term interest of capitalism. Neoliberal regimes have increasingly abandoned any attempt to arrive at an overarching understanding of what the conditions for growth might be, other than the supposed need for lowering taxation and regulation and raising labour flexibility. Apart from these, the interests of the total national capital is seen as an arithmetical aggregate of the interests of individual businesses, some of which, to be sure, have rather more influence with governments than others. In so far as there is a 'strategic view' it involves avoiding any policies which might incur corporate displeasure, however minor the inconveniences they might involve for the corporations, which of course includes regulation. These developments have, not unexpectedly, led to complete incomprehension among remaining Keynesians of the liberal left such as Ha-Joon Chang and Will Hutton, but they are not beyond explanation. The reason is not simply because of successful lobbying and PR on behalf of individual businesses or industries, pernicious and pervasive though these increasingly sophisticated activities undoubtedly are. But corporations have always done this: why are state managers now so predisposed to respond positively to their efforts? The answer is in the way in which neoliberalism has reconfigured politics.The necessary distance between the state and capital (or between state managers and capitalists) that Smith, Marx and Schumpeter from their different political perspectives all regarded is being essential for the health of the system, is being minimised. In particular, the regime adoption of timescales associated specifically with the profit-maximising drives of financial capital is important as it indicates the short-termism involved. Three factors are important in producing this tendency.

    The first is the depoliticization of the political wing of the state managers through the delegation of functions away from the government in office to ostensibly 'non-political' bodies, the introduction ostensibly 'objective' assessments of the effectiveness of policy and imposition of binding 'rules' which restrict the range of actions which politicians can take. In relation to the latter in particular, each successive phase of the neoliberal experiment saw the incremental abandonment of the repertoire of measures through which governments had traditionally influenced economic activity, beginning with Geoffrey Howe's abandonment of exchange controls in 1979 and concluding (to date) with Gordon Brown's transfer of the power to set interest rates from the Treasury to an unelected committee of the Bank of England.

    As a consequence of their heightened 'managerial' function, politicians have increasingly become a professional caste whose life-world is increasingly remote from any other form of activity, economic or otherwise, and therefore more autonomous, while simultaneously becoming more committed to capitalist conceptions of the national interest, with business as an exemplar. Consequently, most discussion of politics – in the developed world at least – is devoted to expending more or less informed commentary and speculation on essentially meaningless exchanges within Parliaments and other supposedly representative institutions. Debates therefore have the quality of a shadow play, an empty ritual in which trivial or superficial differences are emphasised in order to give an impression of real alternatives and justify the continuation of party competition. To understand why, we have to focus on the weakening of the labor movement, since one of the inadvertent roles which it historically played was to save capitalism from itself, not least by achieving reforms in relation to education, health and welfare. These benefitted workers, of course, but also ensured that the reproduction of the workforce and the conditions for capital accumulation more generally took place. In this respect social democracy occupied a similar place to the pre-capitalist elites identified by Schumpeter as necessary to rule on behalf of a congenitally incapable capitalist class. But with the weakening of trade union power and the capitulation of social democracy to neoliberalism, there is currently no social force capable of either playing this reformist role directly or by pressurizing non-social democratic state managers into playing it.

    The second factor, opposed to the depoliticization of politicians, is the politicization of the non-political wing of the state managers: the civil servants. As the political parties became less distinct from each other, the officials required to implement their increasingly similar policies are required to turn themselves more completely into extensions of the parties themselves. In the US, the politicization of the civil service has always been a more significant factor than in the UK, but even there the neoliberal era saw a heightening of the existing tendency. The permeability and lack of technocracy of the US state bureaucracy compared to the French or British may have some advantages for capital, but generally hinders the separation of policy making from political considerations and leads to the politically motivated choice of budget projections. These tendencies were exacerbated by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 which further weakened the autonomous basis of the government bureaucracy. In the UK, following hard on the heels of the United States as always, there has been since 1979, and especially since 1997, a more generalised influx of private-sector appointees into the civil service, to the point where it has been effectively subject to a corporate takeover. But even in relation to the permanent home civil service, the expectation that senior civil servants in particular will not attempt to point out the difficulties involved in governmental policies or even consider alternative ways of delivering policies, but simply present arguments to justify them, regardless of the empirical data.

    The third and final factor in producing chronic short-termism in neoliberal regimes is the de-politicization of the electorate. Except it is not so much de-politicization as abstention by sections of the electorate who no longer have any parties for whom to vote. Many of those electors still involved in casting their vote do so – appropriately enough – on a consumer model of political choice, where participation is informed by media-driven perceptions of which result will be to their immediate personal benefit. Unsurprisingly, the numbers prepared to carry out even this minimal level of activity are declining. This can be reversed, as was demonstrated in the popular insurgency for a Yes vote during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, where 97 percent of population registered to vote and 85 percent actually did; but under 'normal' conditions, those who vote are more likely to belong to the middle-classes, who tend to have a more focused view of their material interests and deploy more interventionist strategies for maintaining them than those bearing the brunt of austerity. Ironically, one reason for the rise of neoliberalism in the US was a paradoxical outcome of the successful demand for greater democratic accountability during the 1960s and 1970s. This led to the weakening of both congressional committees and party structures, and produced a new breed of 'entrepreneurial politicians' interested in highlighting issues popular with specific audiences which would provide them with a stable following.

    A model for 'returning power to the people' along these lines was built early on in the neoliberal experiment, in the US. The most fully developed version can be found in California. Since the mid-1970s, politics in the world's fourth biggest economy have been characterised by a combination of falling voter participation among working class and minority groups, and a targeted use of local referendums on 'propositions'. The latter have been designed to defend property values by blocking integrated schooling and urban development, and by preventing progressive taxation. Proposition 13 was passed in 1978 and signalled the commencement of the neoliberal era in the US by capping taxes on property, even though house values were rising. As a result, the burden of taxation fell disproportionately on income tax, even though for most worker's salaries and wages were stagnant or falling – and even increasing income tax requires a two thirds majority in both Houses of the State Legislature.

    It is the self-interested behaviour of a mobilised middle-class that has brought California to fiscal crisis in 2009, after which the usual remedies of cutting public services, including child health care, were now being offered as a solution to the structural inability of the state to raise the necessary levels of taxation. The paralysis of California may foreshadow the future of US politics as a whole and, in turn, the US may foreshadow the future of politics in the rest of the world, a development for which there are, unfortunately, historical precedents.

    The entire neoliberal project was premised on the irreversibility of the process: the abolition of regulatory mechanisms, dismantling of welfare programs, ratification of international treaties for which there are no formal mechanisms allowing them to be either amended or annulled, and so on – all these could be reversed, but it would require new legal and administrative structures which would in turn require planning and a political will to do so which has not existed since the beginning of the neoliberal era. For all practical purposes then, members of the ruling class in the West are now united in accepting neoliberalism as the only viable way of organising capitalism as an economic system, but they are divided in relation to how capitalism should be organised as a social system. They may all be neoliberals now, but they are not all neoconservatives. In the US both Democrats and Republicans are openly committed to capitalism, but there are also real divisions of opinion between them concerning, for example, gay rights or environmental protection.

    Electoral support for the far-right in these circumstances is based on the apparent solutions it offers to what are now two successive waves of crisis, beginning respectively in 1973–4 and 2007–8, which have left the working class in the West increasingly fragmented and disorganised, and susceptible to appeals to blood and nation as the only viable form of collectivism still available, particularly in a context where any systemic alternative to capitalism – however false it may have been – had apparently collapsed in 1989–91. The political implications are ominous. The increasing interchangeability of political parties, discussed above gives the far-right an opening to appeal to voters by positioning themselves as outside the consensus in ways which speak to popular appetites for destruction fostered by capitalism itself.

    The potential problem for the stability of the capitalist system is however less the possibility of far-right parties themselves coming to power with a programme destructive to capitalist needs, than their influence over the mainstream parties of the right, when the beliefs of their supporters may inadvertently cause difficulty for the accumulation process. Take an important area of Republican Party support in the US. Since the late sixties Republicans have been increasingly reliant on communities of fundamentalist Christian believers, whose activism allows them to be mobilised for voting purposes. But this religious core vote, or at any rate their leadership, naturally also demand the implementation of policies in return for their support. The problem for the Republicans is not, however, only that the extremism of fundamentalist Christianity may alienate the electoral 'middle-ground' on which the results of American elections increasingly depend. What is perhaps interesting here is less the consciously oppositional elements of right-wing populist ideology, which tend to be directed against the socio-cultural views of one (liberal) wing of the ruling class, and more what I referred to earlier as outcomes which might be unintentionally 'detrimental' to capital. In other words, politicians may be constrained from undertaking policies which may be necessary for American capitalism, or be forced into taking decisions which may harm it.

    But it is not only religious belief which can cause difficulties for US capital; so to can overt anti-migrant racism. One concrete example of this is the Tea Party-inspired Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act – HB56 as it is usually known – which was passed by the State legislature in June 2011, making it illegal not to carry immigration papers and preventing anyone without documents from receiving any provisions from the state, including water supply. The law was intended to prevent and reverse illegal immigration by Hispanics, but the effect was to cause a mass departure from the many of the agricultural businesses which relied on these workers to form the bulk of their labour force. But the effects went deeper. Before the laws introduced it was estimated that 4.2 percent of the workforce or 95,000 people were undocumented but paying $130.3 million in state and local taxes. Their departure from the state or withdrawal to the black economy threatened to reduce the size of the local economy by $40 million. Moreover employers had to spend more money on screening prospective employees, on HR staff to check paperwork, and on insuring for potential legal liabilities from inadvertent breaches of the law. In an earlier era, social democratic reforms were usually intended to enable the system as a whole to function more effectively for capitalists and more equitably for the majority, however irreconcilable these aims may be in reality. But far-right reforms of the type just discussed are not even intended to work in the interests of capitalists, nor do they: they really embody irrational racist beliefs which take precedence over all else.

    The British Conservative Party has encountered similar problems to the Republicans in relation to Europe. The imperial nationalism unleashed by the Conservatives before 1997 in relation to 'Europe', was not because the EU was in any sense hostile to neoliberalism, but as an ideological diversion from the failure of neoliberalism to transform the fortunes of British capital. The nationalism invoked for this purpose now places a major obstacle for British politicians and state managers who want to pursue a strategy of greater European integration, however rational that may be from their perspective. A 2013 British Chambers of Commerce poll of 4,387 companies showed only eighteen percent agreeing that full withdrawal from the EU could have a positive impact, while a majority of sixty-four percent supported remaining inside the EU while repatriating some powers: unsurprisingly, the real source of anti-EU feeling is small business. The key beneficiary of the anti-European hysteria has been UKIP and its success has in turn emboldened the right within the Conservative Party, even though the policies associated with both are incoherent. But these contradictions may not matter in terms of the political struggle for power. The narrowly-won Swiss referendum vote in 2014 to introduce quotas on migrants from the EU, passed against the wishes of local capitalists and ruling classes of Europe and potentially bringing retaliation from Brussels, gives a small indication of what might follow.

    If I am right that certain aspects of far-right politics are counter-productive in relation to the needs of capital, it does not follow that the increased chaos consequent on the implementation of these policies would necessarily be of benefit, even indirectly, to the left. Defence of the system is always the principle objective of the bourgeoisie, even at the expense of temporary system malfunction. In a situation where economic desperation was leading to mounting disorder, far-right parties would be brought into play to direct attention from the real source of social anguish onto already