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Bernie Sanders Election Bulletin, 2015

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[Mar 29, 2019] Trump Slams US Wars in the Middle East

During 2016 election campaign: "On foreign policy Hillary is trigger happy" says Trump and he is right 100%... And he continued Hillary policies.
And the he behaves as 100% pure militarist.
Notable quotes:
"... I've always thought that Hillary's support for the broader mission in Libya put the president on the 51 side of the line for a more aggressive approach ..."
"... Had the secretaries of state and defense both opposed the war, he and others said, the president's decision might have been politically impossible. ..."
"... Except for that last minute of Trump_vs_deep_states, I almost thought that was a Bernie speech. An interesting general election plan is to take Bernie's ideas with a healthy dash of Trump spice in an attempt to coalesce the angry populist vote. ..."
"... Sanders is the last hope to avoid total disaster. Maybe he can help mitigate HRC's hawk stance in the ME. I think Israel is a lost cause though as the problem child with nukes. ..."
"... A political strategy based on xenophobia and divisiveness supports those who benefit from xenophobia and divisiveness – those who exploit labor (including Trump who outsources jobs, hires H2-B workers, and exploits workers domestically and overseas), and those who benefit from the military-industrial-security-serveillance complex; and harms the rest of us. ..."
"... Obama and the Democrats did everything they could to undermine and stamp out progressive organization. ..."
"... Except it's recent US actions which have undermined the Middle East in general. From Saddam to Libya to ISIS etc etc. ..."
"... if you pay them enough. ..."
"... "We have been killing, maiming and displacing millions of Muslims and destroying their countries for the last 15 years with less outcry than transgender bathrooms have generated." ..."
"... Good point. I keep wondering why Hillary the Hawk's actual illegal war and murdering of Muslims is worse than Trump's ban. ..."
"... Imagine Trump running to the left of Hillary on defense / interventionism, trade, and universal healthcare. That would sure make things interesting. He could win. ..."
"... James Carville, astute handicapper that he is, has already sniffed out that Hillary now needs Bernie more than Bernie needs Hillary. ..."
"... even in comparison with Hillary Clinton ..."
"... "core voters come from communities where a lot of people have fought in the post-9/11 Middle Eastern conflicts. Our armed forces are stretched to the breaking point. Trump has strong support among veterans and active duty soldiers" ..."
"... "As a small business owner, not only are you trying to provide benefits to your employees, you're trying to provide benefits to yourself. I have seen our health insurance for my own family, go up $500 dollars a month in the last two years. We went from four hundred something, to nine hundred something. We're just fighting to keep benefits for ourselves. The thought of being able to provide benefits to your employees is almost secondary, yet to keep your employees happy, that's a question that comes across my desk all the time. I have to keep my employees as independent contractors for the most part really to avoid that situation, and so I have turnover" ..."
"... "We do not qualify for a subsidy on the current health insurance plan. My question to you is not only are you looking out for people that can't afford healthcare, but I'm someone that can afford it, but it's taking a big chunk of the money I bring home." ..."
"... "What you're saying is one of the real worries that we're facing with the cost of health insurance because the costs are going up in a lot of markets, not all, but many markets and what you're describing is one of the real challenges." ..."
"... "There's a lot of things I'm looking at to try to figure out how to deal with exactly the problem you're talking about. There are some good ideas out there but we have to subject them to the real world test, will this really help a small business owner or a family be able to afford it. What could have possibly raised your costs four hundred dollars, and that's what I don't understand." ..."
"... You echo my feelings. My loathing of Clinton knows no bounds, and I cannot vote for her, no matter what. But I simply don't trust Trump. He's a gold-digger extrodinaire, and quite the accomplished showman. He knows how to play to the crowd, and he's clearly quite quick to shape shift. The wrecked tatters of what's called the USA "media" gives Trump a YOOOGE pass on simply everything and anything the man says or does. ..."
"... if Donald wins, he could just end up the loneliest man in DC, be ignored, get nothing done ..."
"... Trump doesn't need to see the Zapruder film. He was alive then and knows the story, just like everyone else of a certain age. Nay, verily, he just means to cash in on it. ..."
"... Being Left of Hillary is a really really really low bar. He probably is, but thats probably because Hillary is right wing. You know, like almost all American politicians from both parties. Trumps not left of Bernie (at least not yet or not right now: I expect hes going to swing left in the general to scoop up Bernie voters), and Bernies just an Eisenhower Republican, which is admittedly to the left of basically all the other politicians today. ..."
May 18, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

There are good reasons to harbor serious reservations about The Donald, given that he changes his position as frequently as most people change their clothes. But so far, he has been consistent in making an argument that is sorely underrepresented in the media and in policy circles: that our war-making in the Middle East has been a costly disaster with no upside to the US. Trump even cites, without naming him, Joe Stiglitz's estimate that our wars have cost at least $4 trillion.

As Lambert put it, "I hate it when Trump is right."

If you think Trump is overstating his case on Hillary's trigger-happiness, read this New York Times story, How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk .

And on Clinton's role in Libya , which Obama has since called the worst decision of his presidency:

Mrs. Clinton's account of a unified European-Arab front powerfully influenced Mr. Obama. "Because the president would never have done this thing on our own," said Benjamin J. Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser.

Mr. Gates, among others, thought Mrs. Clinton's backing decisive. Mr. Obama later told him privately in the Oval Office, he said, that the Libya decision was "51-49."

"I've always thought that Hillary's support for the broader mission in Libya put the president on the 51 side of the line for a more aggressive approach," Mr. Gates said. Had the secretaries of state and defense both opposed the war, he and others said, the president's decision might have been politically impossible.

And yes, that's this Ben Rhodes .

kj1313 , May 13, 2016 at 7:15 am

Best assessment yet. This is a great speech bite from Donald but I have no idea if he means it. (Though I don't agree with it just look at his Muslim Ban stance) Half the time he makes coherent reasonable arguments, the other half the time I think he definitely is a Clinton Mole. I don't know which Trump I'm getting hour to hour much less day to day.

MtnLife , May 13, 2016 at 8:02 am

Except for that last minute of Trump_vs_deep_states, I almost thought that was a Bernie speech. An interesting general election plan is to take Bernie's ideas with a healthy dash of Trump spice in an attempt to coalesce the angry populist vote. It'll be interesting to watch Hillary circle the wagons of the content, elite center in an attempt to hold off the marginalized hordes of angry "savage plebs", especially if the convention seems stolen. Still hoping for some miracle to pull Sanders through.

Jus' Sayin' , May 13, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Miracle indeed, Sanders is the last hope to avoid total disaster. Maybe he can help mitigate HRC's hawk stance in the ME. I think Israel is a lost cause though as the problem child with nukes.

jgordon , May 13, 2016 at 8:22 am

In all seriousness, why is his Muslim ban idea bad? Or for that matter why would it, in principle, be a bad idea to ban nearly all foreigners from entering the US? After all, it's not as if the US has some actual need for foreigners to enter considering the large and growing desperately poor domestic population. Especially considering that heretofore (let's be real here) both legal and illegal immigration has been mainly exploited to destroy domestic labor conditions in the US.

This is a fact a lot of ostensibly good-hearted progressive and wealthy liberals conveniently ignore (they'd probably cry themselves to sleep if they could no longer help to improve the lot of that below minimum wage illegal immigrant maid they hired). Well, the working poor aren't ignoring it, and the lid is going to blow soon if this keeps up. Donald Trump and the popularity of his Muslim ban is only an early sign of the brewing discontent.

marym , May 13, 2016 at 9:24 am

He didn't propose banning Muslims as a way to address our jobs and economic problems (which it isn't), he proposed it as a way to address domestic terror (which it isn't). It's a political tactic to stir up and implicitly sanction hate, prejudice, divisiveness, and violence.

jgordon , May 13, 2016 at 10:09 am

Not arguing your point, however how are Trump supporters reading this? These people are already against any immigrant coming into the US for economic reasons, and in all honesty they are looking for any excuse whatsoever to view immigrants in a bad light.

Just to add to that a bit, it's also why immigrant crime is always being hyped up and exaggerated by Trump supporters. The real issue deep down is that immigrants are threatening them economically, and they'll use any justification whatsoever to get rid of them.

Is it right? I don't really know how to objectively answer that. But for the people doing it, this could work out in economic terms for them. So at least from their perspective it's a good idea.

fresno dan , May 13, 2016 at 11:05 am

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/02/silicon-valley-h1b-visas-hurt-tech-workers

AS WELL AS
https://pando.com/2014/03/22/revealed-apple-and-googles-wage-fixing-cartel-involved-dozens-more-companies-over-one-million-employees/

I think people are just so angry with how the squillionaries use "politically correct" proper thinking about immigration to hide their illegal suppression of wages that even outrageous and outlandish statements by The Donald will not dissuade his supporters – – after all, the supporters could ask why is this issue of wage suppression, "by any means necessary", that affects FAR, FAR more people who ARE US citizens so scrupulously IGNORED by the media (media owned by rich??? – of course). As disturbing as what The Donald says, what is NOT SAID by the ENTIRE (except Sanders) US political establishment, is far more disturbing, as I think it shows an utterly captured political caste. As well as the rank hypocrisy that if any of these immigrants don't have health care after they arrive, the squillionaires couldn't care less if they died in the streets – no matter how rich they are, they want to make more people poorer. They are such an evil enemy that people will put up with The Donald.

It is a fact that these tech billionaires engaged in an illegal activity. It is a fact the US government simply ignored enforcing laws and refuses to punish them.

Trump in my view will not be able to do even a quarter of some of this crap like banning Muslims – laws do have to be passed. But the fact remains that Trump will probably be the only presidential nominee (not presidential candidate, i.e., Sanders), and the last one in 40 years, to even merely talk about these issues.
The fact that Trump succeeds just shows how famished people are to some challenge to the war mongering, coddling of the rich that is passed off as something that the majority supports.

marym , May 13, 2016 at 11:46 am

A political strategy based on xenophobia and divisiveness supports those who benefit from xenophobia and divisiveness – those who exploit labor (including Trump who outsources jobs, hires H2-B workers, and exploits workers domestically and overseas), and those who benefit from the military-industrial-security-serveillance complex; and harms the rest of us.

It seems no more likely that Trump as president will actually promote policies that will "work out in economic terms" for ordinary people as it was to think Obama would put on this "comfortable shoes" and join a picket line (though I bought that one at the time).

NotTimothyGeithner , May 13, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Hillary basically won relatively well to do minorities who voted for her in 2008 just in smaller numbers. Poorer minorities stayed home in Southern states where Internet access is less available and progressive organizations are just churches. On the surface, Sanders sounds very much like the media perception of President Hope and Change who isn't as popular as much as no one wants to admit the first non white President was terrible or they actively applauded terrible policy.

Free college probably didn't appeal to people with junk degrees from for profit diploma mills. The damage is done. People need jobs not school at this point or incomes. A green jobs guarantee act would have been a better push front and center, but again, this is with hindsight. Many minority voters simply didn't vote, and Hillary pushed that "you don't know Bernie" line to scare voters that Sanders was another Obama.

Obama and the Democrats did everything they could to undermine and stamp out progressive organization.

jrs , May 13, 2016 at 2:22 pm

Agree that jobs should be the focus (or income and meeting basic needs). Education as the focus appeals to the under 25 years old college bound crowd, but not so much to anyone older having to survive out there in the work world everyday.

B , May 13, 2016 at 11:59 am

I am a Trump supporter and I am not against immigrants or immigration. I am opposed to doing nothing in the face of a broken immigration system. I do not think it is wise for any country to have millions and millions of undocumented workers in its midst. I believe we should legalize those that are here. Those that have committed crimes not related to immigrating or over staying visas should absolutely be deported and lose the privilege of living in the US. I live in Spain, but am an American. If I broke minor laws, such as drunk driving, assault or drug possession I would be deported too, seems fair to me. I believe we have to revamp border security, though I don´t think a wall spanning the entire border would be wise or effective I personally think Trump is speaking hyperbolically and symbolically about the wall. Nonetheless, our elites sure do love living behind big walls and gated communities, with armed security, maybe we should ask them why, walls are just racist anyways, no?

Immigrant crime is not some myth, its real and sometimes it is a very tragic consequence of a broken immigration system. The fact that the cartels also exploit our broken border and immigration system is not a myth either, it is reality.

And as for a temporary ban on Muslims coming from Syria, Libya and other locations that have been devastated by the covert and overt wars of the US I support it totally, for no other reason than public safety, which is the first reason we institute government. Remember this happened just after Paris, public safety is a very legitimate concern. Also, why are Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia or the Gulf States taking in a single refugee? The Saudis have the money and the capacity to to do this. They have tents used only during the hajj that house thousands upon thousands. Where is that wonderful, charitable side of Islam?

I wish the world were different. I don´t harbor prejudice against anyone. Those that want to come and live, grow and contribute to American civilization, Come, please!! But our world is very dangerous, and we have created enemies that seek to do harm to our society and civilization in anyway that they can. We have to protect ourselves and our nation. I wish beyond wishing, that it was someone besides the Donald saying these things, but, it is what it is. I am not gonna shoot the messanger cuase I dont like his personality, or because I would not be friends with someone like him.

kj1313 , May 13, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Except it's recent US actions which have undermined the Middle East in general. From Saddam to Libya to ISIS etc etc.

jrs , May 13, 2016 at 2:17 pm

Illegal immigration could likely be enforced in some industries (on the lower paid scale in garment making sweatshops and so on). And this could probably best be done by prosecuting the employers doing the hiring. But I'm not at all convinced the country could run without immigrants entirely. Who would pick the crops? Ok maybe lots of people at a $15 an hour minimum wage. But at current compensation? Though I don't know if this really needs to be done via illegal immigration, it could be done by much more formalized guest worker programs I suppose.

Tony S , May 13, 2016 at 3:59 pm

Or, we could just let the market work. You WILL get American workers to perform just about any job if you pay them enough. Obviously, the reasonable price point for labor is currently well below what a US citizen will accept. But if I offered a million dollars to get my lawn mowed, I would have a line out the door of American workers begging to have the job.

Guest workers are just another way to depress US citizens' wages. And immigration reform is best tackled at the employer level, like you said - anybody who doesn't make this part of his or her "reform" plan is not to be taken seriously. (I regularly mention this to conservatives, and they always look for a way to justify going after the powerless immigrants anyway.)

John Wright , May 13, 2016 at 6:04 pm

High wages can encourage more automation or substitution of crops that require less manual labor or even cause people to exit farming as uneconomic.. But the number of workers employed in farming is relatively small.

Per this USDA document http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/259572/eib3_1_.pdf in 2000, 1.9 percent of the workforce worked in agriculture.

The World Bank has the USA workforce at 161 million in 2014 and if about 2% of this workforce is employed in farming, this is about 3.2 million people throughout the USA. And the 3.2 million count is probably not all illegal immigrant workers. This report suggests government price supports have encouraged more people to work in agriculture, implying that the government is indirectly creating low wage jobs by price supports.

From the above pdf. "For example, the institutionalization of what began as emergency income support in the 1930s has likely slowed the movement of labor out of the farm sector."

I am of the opinion that the law of one price will apply if there is relatively free movement of workers, legally or illegally, across borders.

Note, Trump never suggests e-verify and employer enforcement, which would be a low cost way of enforcing citizen employment and would avoid a costly "great wall".

Trump and HRC's investments are probably more profitable due to a lower labor cost influenced by low wage workers.

Katniss Everdeen , May 13, 2016 at 11:45 am

And people don't OPPOSE his restrictions on Muslim immigration because they feel so charitable towards and accepting of Muslims.

We have been killing, maiming and displacing millions of Muslims and destroying their countries for the last 15 years with less outcry than transgender bathrooms have generated. And we've allowed our own civil liberties to be radically infringed. All because " THEY hate us for our 'freedoms.' " Who the hell do you think THEY are?

But it's Trump who is hateful, prejudiced, divisive and bigoted? As if "welcoming" some immigrants from countries that we callously destroyed perfectly absolves those who were busy waiting in line for the newest i-gadget and couldn't be bothered to demand an end to the slaughter.

Get a clue. Trump's not talking about murdering anybody. And no amount of puffed up "outrage" and name-calling is going to get the stain out. Not to mention it's the most sane and humane way to protect the "homeland" from the "terrorism" that we, ourselves, created.

lindaj , May 13, 2016 at 3:09 pm

"We have been killing, maiming and displacing millions of Muslims and destroying their countries for the last 15 years with less outcry than transgender bathrooms have generated."

Good point. I keep wondering why Hillary the Hawk's actual illegal war and murdering of Muslims is worse than Trump's ban.

Pespi , May 13, 2016 at 9:26 am

"I'm against all immigration, as it's merely a lever to lower wages." "I'm against the immigration of muslims, because they're bad terrorists." There is a difference in these two statements.

Vatch , May 13, 2016 at 9:55 am

You are correct that there is too much immigration to the U.S., and it causes economic and environmental problems. However, Trump's Muslim ban would cover more than immigration. He would also ban temporary visits by Muslims (except for the mayor of London, I suppose).

I object very strongly to Muslim extremism, and a lot of Muslims have extremist views. But not all of them do. And many Christians, Hindus, and whatever also have extremist views which should be opposed. Trump's not proposing a bad on travel by extremist Christians; he's singling out Muslims because they scare millions of Americans. It's demagoguery.

jgordon , May 13, 2016 at 10:39 am

You are not quite right there. Trump supporters do indeed want to ban Christian immigrants as well (the vast, overwhelming majority of immigrants from Mexico, central, and South America are Christians of some sort) although in the case of Christians the excuse is "violent crime" since obviously Trump supporters can not disparage Christians specifically for their Christianity. Seriously, watch any Trump speech and you'll see that he spends more time talking about why all American (Christian) immigrants need to be banned (crime) than why Muslim immigrants need to be banned (terror). Economic insecurity is at the root of all of it.

Vatch , May 13, 2016 at 3:56 pm

Has Trump demanded that Christians from Europe or Canada be prevented from entering the U.S.? I'm pretty sure he hasn't. If he's really motivated by economic reasons, there's no need to specify a particular religion, such as Islam, or a particular nationality, such as Mexicans.

jgordon , May 13, 2016 at 5:09 pm

People from Europe and Canada already have high salaries. Or they are perceived to have high salaries in their home countries. IE they are not percieved as an economic threat. I guarantee you, show me a poor, third world country that is sending a lot of people to US right now and and I'll show you an ethnic groups that faces some prejudice. Come on, it's not well paid people with stable jobs and incomes who are going around being prejudiced against immigrants. It's the poor and the desperate who are doing it.

There is a reason for that. Ignoring that reason and pretending that it's some bizarre and unfathomable psychological illness just coincidentally affecting people who are also offing themselves from despair left and right isn't going to make it go away. Rather, you are inviting something terrible to happen. The Germans didn't decide to follow Hitler because times were good, and a friendly PR campaign encouraging openness and acceptance among the poor misguided racists and immigrant haters out there will do exactly nothing to help matters.

pictboy3 , May 13, 2016 at 10:56 am

I don't think anyone (most anyone anyway) would disagree that there are plenty of Muslims who are not extremists. The problem for us is, how do you tell the difference? The San Bernadino shooter was a health inspector, had a wife, kids, a middle class job, ties to the community and still decided to shoot up his co-workers with his wife in tow. Plenty of the European ISIS recruits come from middle class families that are seemingly well-adjusted. If these people (keep in mind Farook was a US citizen) can become terrorists, how can we possibly screen new entrants with any sort of efficacy?

I'd say it's probably worth the miniscule risk of possible immigrants turning out to be terrorists if there was some other benefit to having them come in, but if we agree there's too much immigration to the US already and it is hurting actual US citizens, what exactly is the upside to keep allowing Muslims in?

By the way, I've been lurking on this site for a few weeks now, first time commenter. It's nice to find some quality discussion on the internet. Nice to meet everyone.

Jim , May 13, 2016 at 11:29 am

Where are these "extremist Christians" burning and burying people alive, beheading hostages, blasting away at crowds in night clubs? "Christian extremism" is a figment of your imagination. The attempt to equate Moslem violence with conservative Christians is utterly absurd. Do you seriously believe that soime Amish dude is going to run amuck in a New York night club and slaughter hundreds of people?

Lambert Strether , May 13, 2016 at 2:38 pm

The Bush administration?

cm , May 13, 2016 at 2:45 pm

A cheap shot. Please explain how the Obama administration differs from the Bush administration.

Skippy , May 13, 2016 at 6:07 pm

Obama does not get is morning SITREP delivered with biblical headers

"The religious theme for briefings prepared for the president and his war cabinet was the brainchild of Major General Glen Shaffer, a committed Christian and director for intelligence serving Mr Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In the days before the six-week invasion, Major General Shaffer's staff had created humorous covers for the briefings to alleviate the stress of preparing for battle.

But as the body count rose, he decided to introduce biblical quotes.

However, many of his Pentagon colleagues were reportedly opposed to the idea, with at least one Muslim analyst said to be greatly offended.

A defence official warned that if the briefing covers were leaked, the damage to America's standing in the Arab world 'would be as bad as Abu Ghraib' – the Baghdad prison where U.S. troops abused Iraqis.

But Major General Shaffer, 61, who retired in August 2003, six months after the invasion, claimed he had the backing of the president and defence secretary. When officials complained, he told them the practice would continue because it was 'appreciated by my seniors' – Mr Rumsfeld and Mr Bush.

The briefing covers were revealed for the first time by GQ after they were leaked to the U.S. magazine by a source at the Pentagon."

Disheveled Marsupial . whilst I understand the acts committed transcend time and political party's . never the less in – The Name Of – can not be white washed away

cassandra , May 13, 2016 at 5:14 pm

cm has a point; you should have included Obama/Clinton.

Yves Smith , May 13, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Did you manage to miss Trump's point in the video that the US has killed millions in the Middle East, and that if US presidents had gone to the beach for the last 15 years. everyone would have been better off? And that we murder people by drone in addition to all our undeclared wars? You are seriously pretending Christians not only have blood on their hands, but started these wars and have killed people in vastly bigger numbers than we have? I'm not defending terrorists, but your position is a remarkable airbrushing.

Ulysses , May 13, 2016 at 3:31 pm

The worst domestic terrorist the U.S. ever produced, Timothy McVeigh, wasn't Amish, yet neither was he Muslim. Denying people the opportunity to immigrate here– based solely on religion– contradicts the principles of tolerance on which this country was founded.

JTMcPhee , May 13, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Yah, this is a Great Country, isn't it, where everyone has the right to own assault weapons, and the opportunity to assemble and detonate giant bombs hidden in rental trucks, and you can do pretty much whatever you can get away with, depending on one's degree of immunity and impunity and invisibility

But the Panopticon will Save us

Vatch , May 13, 2016 at 4:01 pm

Eric Rudolph and Robert Lewis Dear, Jr., are more examples of Christian terrorists. Outside the country, there's Anders Breivik (well, he's only partially Christian, but he's definitely not Muslim).

TG , May 13, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Kudos. Well said.

lyman alpha blob , May 13, 2016 at 2:16 pm

I get your point from a labor standpoint but who gets to decide to shut the door and say 'no more room at the inn'? Unless it's First Peoples I think it would be pretty hypocritical coming from the descendants of all the other immigrants who crossed over themselves at some point.

PS: I haven't heard this talked about much but does anyone really believe Trump is serious with all this immigrant-bashing rhetoric? If he is anywhere near as rich as he claims to be, he got there at least in part, and likely in large part by exploiting cheap labor. While I've never stayed in a Trump property to see for myself I'm guessing that all the hotel employees aren't direct descendants of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Vatch , May 13, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Unless it's First Peoples I think it would be pretty hypocritical coming from the descendants of all the other immigrants who crossed over themselves at some point.

Everybody outside of Africa, including "First Peoples" (if I understand that phrase correctly), is a descendant of immigrants. The ancestors of the Amer-Indians (probably) came from Siberia over the Bering land bridge during the late ice age.

It might be hypocritical for an actual immigrant to advocate restrictions on immigration, but that's not the case for descendants of immigrants. But if there are restrictions, they shouldn't be based on religion or race.

lyman alpha blob , May 13, 2016 at 11:14 pm

I don't really think shutting down immigration is the answer. It's not practical and isn't likely to solve the problems blamed on immigration even if you could keep people out.

People don't leave their countries en masse unless there's some kind of disaster. A little less imperialism turning nations to rubble would be a much better solution.

anon , May 13, 2016 at 2:37 pm

So you believe that no people, anywhere, ever, have a right to determine who can join their community, contribute to their community, or undercut their community's wages and values. Except if some "First Peoples" show up and endorse the idea? Do they have divine right of kings or something? What if we got one Indian to agree? A plurality of them?

If it was right for the natives to resist the destruction of their way of life in 1492-1900, and it was, it is right for the natives to resist of the destruction of their way of life now. Even if those natives' skin now comes in multiple colors.

Tony S , May 13, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Well, I have trouble believing that Trump is serious about his TPP-bashing and Iraq-war-bashing, I have trouble believing Trump's words are credible on just about any issue.

It's going to be a rough four years, whether Trump wins or loses.

Vatch , May 13, 2016 at 4:50 pm

Well, Sanders still has a chance, although he's a long shot. Democratic voters in Kentucky, Oregon, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the District of Columbia have a chance to save the nomination for him.

In Puerto Rico, Montana, and North Dakota, the election events are open, so anyone who's registered can vote for Sanders. In California, registered independents can also vote for Sanders.

different clue , May 13, 2016 at 9:50 pm

If its hypocritical, perhaps we should live with that if it is also reality-based and pragmatic. As in " we've got a good thing going here and we don't need nobody else muscling in on our sweet racket".

Separately, many advocates of ILLEGAL immigration carefully pull a sleight-of-mouth bait-and-switch between ILLEGAL immigration and legal immigration. Accepters of carefully controlled legal immigration can still reject ILLEGAL immigration for pragmatic social-survival reasons.

steelhead23 , May 13, 2016 at 5:28 pm

Quite simply, the idea of banning Muslims entry to the U.S. is an affront to the very nature of the American experiment, of plurality, equality, and religious freedom. However, recent events in Europe, specifically the sexual assaults in Cologne and elsewhere show that some young Muslim men are a problem. So are some young American men. An issue we need to wrestle with is how to reduce this problem. Such problems are not about religion, they are cultural, they are about interpersonal respect and behavior. But, the West, broadly speaking, has shown horrendous disrespect to Moslems. The U.S. has attacked wedding parties and funerals, destroyed cities and countries, behaving like Crusaders. Perhaps were the West to display less barbarism toward Moslems, they would express more respect toward us. Seems worth a try.

NotTimothyGeithner , May 13, 2016 at 9:29 am

He doesn't have to mean anything. Trump needs to drive potential Democratic turnout down. On one hand, reminding people how awful Hillary is effectively destroys volunteer efforts which is how voters get registered and identified for gotv. The other side is what is the perception of the average Democratic voter of Hillary's record. Hillary supporters have pushed the "tested," "likely to win, " and "inevitable" arguments for a long time now. How many people in the potential electorate understood Hillary was a hawk when they voted or didn't bother to show up? Bernie used words such as "poor judgement" for fear of being labeled sexist. Trump won't hold back.

Perhaps, Trump was a mole, but what can Bill offer that the GOP can't? Air Force One might not be the most luxurious plane, but its the Air Force plane wherever the President is. Thats respect no one can buy. Reagan was carted through the White House, so why not Trump?

MikeNY , May 13, 2016 at 7:17 am

Imagine Trump running to the left of Hillary on defense / interventionism, trade, and universal healthcare. That would sure make things interesting. He could win.

bowserhead , May 13, 2016 at 9:22 am

It ain't over. She's got one countermove left which is to somehow get Bernie on the ticket and grab the enthusiastic and politically correct (if not fully-informed) millenial vote. Otherwise the dilution of the blue vote in the swing states will loom large. James Carville, astute handicapper that he is, has already sniffed out that Hillary now needs Bernie more than Bernie needs Hillary.

NotTimothyGeithner , May 13, 2016 at 10:19 am

Sanders on the ticket would only undermine Sanders. This Is about the DLC or the status quo. The length of Sanders career has made him credible, but Hillary has already lost this same race to an empty suit. The Democrats have bled support since Obama went full Reagan, but in many ways, this is a conflict between Democratic elites and their loyalist followers and everyone else. Accepting assimilation will only hurt Sanders. Forcing a Vice President onto Hillary such as Gabbard would be a far better aim. Sanders supporters aren't interested in a status quo candidate, supported by the usual list of villains.

Hillary can get a begrudging vote, but she will never endive enthusiasm. Bernie and Hillary uniting will only annoy people.

Michael Fiorillo , May 13, 2016 at 7:29 am

Yes, and then, as his long history with customers, contractors, vendors and creditors has shown, he'll fuck us.

Please don't take this as advocacy for the Other One, but Donnie's entire career is based on screwing people over; this is just another, albeit far bigger, hustle.

Don't think for a second that you could rely on him to follow through honestly about anything; it's always and forever about Donnie.

anon , May 13, 2016 at 7:51 am

As if HRC wont?

jgordon , May 13, 2016 at 8:43 am

Hey, there's at least a 1% chance that Trump won't go out if his way to screw the American people considering the blackbox nature of his candidacy, whereas there is at least a 100% chance that HRC will screw the American people hard. And add in the fact that she is a known psychopath with an itchy trigger finger who will have the Red Button on her desk if she gets into the oval office Yeah. Trump isn't looking too bad now, is he?

Ian , May 13, 2016 at 9:05 am

I gotta admit that Trump has always been a wild card for me, and while he is likely to screw us, Hillary definitely will. Still the only candidate worth supporting in any conceivable sense is Bernie.

Jason , May 13, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Given his gleeful endorsement of torture, advocacy for war crimes, nods to totalitarianism and fascism, his own clear psychopathy, along with his racism, xenophobia, and apparent ignorance on everything from medicine to the environment, and nuclear weapons, yes he looks bad, even in comparison with Hillary Clinton , which says a great deal about just how awful he truly is.

Ulysses , May 13, 2016 at 3:17 pm

They are both truly awful!! If they turn out to be the top two candidates on the ballot, I will have no choice but to write in Bernie, or vote Green.

Jason , May 13, 2016 at 3:49 pm

I'm personally more frightened by Trump than Clinton. I've lived through almost 8 years of Obama, plus Bush and Clinton how much worse than those could another 4-8 years of the same be? Trump is a terrifying like my house on fire. But at the same time, I can certainly understand the desire to vote for the Green with a clear conscience.

Perhaps we'll get lucky, and Hillary's campaign will collapse before the convention. Bernie would be the first candidate I could really vote for (and who'd have a real chance at winning).

steelhead23 , May 13, 2016 at 6:29 pm

Why not put your vote where your words are? We're Senator Bernie Sanders to be the candidate, my vote would be his. If he's not, and he endorses Secretary Clinton, then my vote goes to Doctor Jill Stein, my favorite candidate anyway. Given the momentum Sanders has generated, were he, instead of supplicating himself to Clinton following her coronation, to stand behind Ms. Stein Only in my dreams. Sigh

different clue , May 13, 2016 at 9:56 pm

The DLC Third-Way Clintonite Obamacrats will not let Bernie become nominee no matter what. If the party can't coronate Clinton, the party will try to bolt the severed head of Joe Biden onto Clinton's headless body . . and run THAT.

jgordon , May 13, 2016 at 3:58 pm

"We came. We saw. He died. [Raucous laughter]"

That right there is what convinced me that the woman is a psychopath. She should have been carried out out of the interview in a straight jacket, and yet there are some people who trying to make her president. Trump may be a narcissist, but I would not say that he's psychotic.

If nothing else you need to support Trump for the survival of humanity.

flora , May 13, 2016 at 10:52 am

Thinking about a Trump/hillary_clinton. contest reminds me of the movie 'The Sting'; where a couple of honest con men take down a dishonest con man who killed their friend. I see Hillary as the dishonest con man.

jrs , May 13, 2016 at 2:34 pm

In reality Trump is NOT to the left of Hillary on universal healthcare. Read his website.

Look since the guy is a major presidential candidate whether one likes that or not, I have no problem directing people to his website. See how he puts his actual policy positions, such as they are, in his own words.

Interventionism and trade remain to be seen as personally I think his positions on them are likely to still uh evolve as they say during the campaign season. So I'm leaving the verdict out there.

MtnLife , May 13, 2016 at 8:06 am

I brought up this idea right when he became the presumptive nominee but this isn't really a pivot left. He's always been less of a hawk than Hillary. One of the few positions he has been relatively consistent on. I see him biding his time for a full pivot until Bernie is out of the picture. Here's to hoping that doesn't happen.

MikeNY , May 13, 2016 at 8:18 am

Like all of my best thoughts, unoriginal. :-p

MtnLife , May 13, 2016 at 10:00 am

My apologies, my friend. Didn't mean to step on you. Meant it as a concurrence. Sipping coffee slowly today. You're one of my favorite people here for your regularly spot on, insightful comments.

MikeNY , May 13, 2016 at 10:10 am

Kind words, TY.

Yves Smith , May 13, 2016 at 8:24 am

Yes, my big effort to tell myself that Life Under Trump may not be as horrible as I fear is that the record of outsider presidents (Carter) and celebrity governors (Schwarznegger and Jesse Ventura) is they get very little done.

NotTimothyGeithner , May 13, 2016 at 9:57 am

Modern governors are bound by devolution and mandates. They are just glorified city managers with the staff to do the city manager's job. Even popular, insider governors can do very little. The President can set the terms by which the governors operate.

John Wright , May 13, 2016 at 10:02 am

I'm concerned that HRC will get more done than the Donald, but little of HRC's actions will be positive.

California handled Schwarznegger without too many problems as he tried unsuccessfully to "break down boxes".

He replaced, via recall, the forgettable democratic Governor Gray Davis who simply disappeared from politics.

As I recall, Davis papered over the CA energy crisis until after the election, figuring that when the s**t hit the fan, he'd have been safely reinstalled in office.

The recall campaign proved this a bad assumption.

Schwarznegger actually tried to do something about climate change, see http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/big-energy-gamble.html

I see HRC as possibly getting more wars started, TPP/TTIP approved, a grand bargain done on SS, and providing more coddling to the financial, medical and insurance industries.

If many or all of HRC's possible negative accomplishments will not be done by Trump, then that could justify electing a president who accomplishes little..

jrs , May 13, 2016 at 2:46 pm

Yea Schwarznegger was ok. He made a few very devoted enemies in a few unions. But he was probably far better on pushing environmental issues than Jerry fracking Brown ever was or will be. If it was him versus Jerry at this point, I might very well prefer Arnold.

jsn , May 13, 2016 at 11:37 am

I think Trump at least understands that you can't take money from people who don't have any. His casino enterprise in Atlantic City may have taught him that.

Like Anne Amnisia's link yesterday, I feel like I know where I stand with a Mussolini and can envision taking a bullet honorably in resistance where the DNC method has been slowly killing me my whole adult life and, short of Bernie, I can't see how to resist!

If he's ineffectual and doesn't start more wars, at least its more time to organize and Trump's the kind of "leader" that might give focus to resistance.

Deloss Brown , May 13, 2016 at 4:08 pm

Yves, I wish I thought you were right. But The Duck is so bizarre, so definitively unhinged, that no one can predict what he'll do. He changes positions as the wind blows. And when he follows any philosophy at all, it's the "Conservative" philosophy. He doesn't believe in global warming. He once said that there should be NO minimum wage. I'm a Bernie fan, not a Hillary fan, but I would never, ever take the risk of letting the Hare-Brained Jabberwocky into any position of power, which means, probably, that I have to vote for Hillary, and even start sending her money after the primaries. Probably.

marym , May 13, 2016 at 8:48 am

His healthcare plan on his campaign website is the usual Republican gibberish – repeal Obamacare, sell insurance across state lines, block grant Medicaid.

He suggested 20-30,000 troops to Syria in response to a debate question, then said he would never do that, but send " air power and military support" instead. ( LINK )

marym , May 13, 2016 at 8:57 am

edit: Position on the website is also to give veterans the ability to "choose" healthcare outside the VA system. (I'm not knowledgeable to say if this would actually help current pressing VA issues, but it is a move from a national public health service model to a private care model, so not leftward).

MikeNY , May 13, 2016 at 9:30 am

Thanks for that. I think the general idea holds, though: it's a populist remake of politics, and I think if Trump stakes out some 'unconventional' positions that are to the 'left' of HRC, he could beat her.

marym , May 13, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Well, if by left you meant 'left' then we agree :) His appeal is much broader, though IMO a combination of rightward demagoguery and leftward populist-i-ness.

MikeNY , May 13, 2016 at 5:05 pm

You're right about the demagoguery. So again, we agree!

JTMcPhee , May 13, 2016 at 9:43 am

That VA notion is a dagger pointed at the heart of all those people who for whatever reason, "took the King's shilling" or drew the short straws in the draft lotteries or, before that, were nailed and "inducted" just by living in heavy-draft-quota areas. And of course the Greatest Generation, so many of whom got drug into earlier US imperial wars (Narrative notwithstanding.)

Sending GIs to docs outside the VA system (itself under siege for generations now by the same shits who bring on the Forever War that generates ever more damaged people needing those "services"), to docs who in my experience pretty uniformly have zero knowledge of vet-specific problems and diseases and injuries, who will be paid how much to treat what quota of veterans, again? Crucifying GIs on the HMO cross, so people can pretend there's "care" for them, via docs who are even more likely than VA docs (who at least have some protections against arbitrary rules and policies and firings, in a "system" run by many who institutionalize actual CARE as the main idea) to "go along with the minimization-hurry-up-and-die program"?

The whole notion is straight Rule #2: "GO DIE, FOKKER! And do it quietly, out of sight, and with minimum fuss, in a structure that so diffuses the abuses over space and time that it's extremely difficult for the affected population to even gather the numbers to show how bad it is." Straight "more continuing more opaque fog of war" bullshit. The same kind of sales BS as used to sell the rest of neoliberalist misery ("Don't whine now, fools - you voted for it, I have the validated results of the elections right here, so now it's All Nice And Legal, seeee?) from NAFTA and preceding frauds and vast FIREs, on up to the present scams.

In the meantime, the Military-Industrial Juggernaut continues to gain mass and momentum. Trump can natter about "war in the Mideast is a bad deal for the US" (Mideast seemingly not including AfPak, China, Africa, South America, etc.) as a "bad deal." But will he have any interest in spooling down the turbines on the enormous Milo Minderbinder Enterprises machine that is daily being "upgraded" and "up-armored" and "re-weaponed" and "re-doctrined" and "mission-creeped," with the happy participation of every business, large and small, that can wangle or "extend" a procurement or "study" contract to expand and lethality and simple bureaucratic-growth size and incompetence (as a military force, in the old sense of what armies are supposed to do for the Emperoro) of the monster, even as we blog participants do our mostly ineffectual (if intellectually pleasing) nattering?

Civilian Control of the Military is a dishonest myth - true only in the sense that the Captains of MICIndustry and drivers of "policy" are not currently Active Duty, though they all, along with the generals (who live like kings, of course) belong to the same clubs and dip deeply into the same MMT Cornucopia. And the MIC, from what I read, is quite open and pleased about the state of affairs

whine country , May 13, 2016 at 10:07 am

I would argue that the MIC is simply part of the 20 percent that derive their middle class existence by serving at the beck and call of the 1 percent. You are describing the symptoms and not the disease.

Lambert Strether , May 13, 2016 at 2:35 pm

Yep.

Felix_47 , May 13, 2016 at 10:41 am

We are in the grip of "credentialled" doctors and lawyers. Just as most litigation and most of what lawyers do is destructive to the average person, it is estimated that half of all surgeries done in the US are unnecessary. the HIC (health industrial complex) has brainwashed the public to believe that we need $20,000 per month medications and artificial discs. As you have doubtless seen the third leading cause of death in the US is medical mistakes. They happen in the VA and in the private sector. Maybe the notion of more medical care is better is simply not valid. At some point we will have to realize that rationing in a rational way is going to have to happen. I would rather have someone who went to medical school decide on what is going to be rationed than some lawyer or business administrator.

JTMcPhee , May 13, 2016 at 2:46 pm

There sure is a lot packed into that comment. But my experience with VA doctors and other caregivers (speaking as a retired "private sector" nurse, VA care recipient and former attorney) is that except for the psychiatrists and some of the docs that perform disability examinations, the VA caregivers actually provide care, and they seem to do it pretty well, given the constant attrition of resources and burgeoning case load the neolibs are imposing. Personal tale: the Medicare 'provider" at the full-spectrum clinic I used to use was all hot to perform a "common surgical procedure that most older men need." A fee-generating TURP, which pretty rarely improves the victim's life. The VA doc, looking at the same condition and presentation, noted the down-sides pretty carefully and said that until I was a lot more "restricted," there was no way I "needed" any such invasive procedure. But then his income is not influenced by the number of cuts he makes

Most of what lawyers do any more, and this has been true for a long time, is combat over wealth transfers, economic warfare. Ever since partnership was killed off as the mandatory form of lawyer business operations, with attendant personal liability for partner actions, the rule is "eat what you kill, and kill all you can." Most doctors I know have caregiving as their primary motivation in going into medicine. (Most nurses, the same to a much greater extent, and since they start with smaller debt and fewer chances to bleed the patient and the system that bleeds the nurse pretty badly, they can carry that decency forward.)

Interesting, of course, that more and more doctors have joint MD and MBA credentials. And working with other operatives, are gradually and maybe inexorably forcing more of their fellows into "medical cooperatives" like HCA and JSA, where they become salaried wage slaves with productivity targets and metrics, and thus "rationers" de facto, by having to respond to "metrics" that are all driven by the basic business model: "More and more work, from fewer and fewer people, for less and less money, for higher and higher costs, with ever more crapified outcomes for the mope-ery." Although, I might offer, there are some of my fellow mopes who actually do benefit from those back surgeries (yes, maybe most of them are unwarranted, but not all) and meds that only cost "$20,000 per month" because of MARKETS.

Jim Haygood , May 13, 2016 at 11:27 am

'Imagine Trump running to the left of Hillary on defense / interventionism, trade, and universal healthcare.'

It would be like FDR vs Hoover - with Goldwater girl Hillary playing the role of Hoover.

inode_buddha , May 13, 2016 at 6:41 pm

Imagine Trump winning as a GOP canidate by running to the left of the DNC canidate. The vision of the GOP having a collective ulcer/Rovian Meltdown is making me giggle like a schoolgirl all day.

Frankly, I'm *much* more worried about HRC in the Whitehouse than I am about Trump. Reason why is that he's a relative outsider, not an Establishment guy - and there is always Congress to deal with. Its not like he would have a total dictatorship, whereas HRC would be able to do far more and deeper damage to the nation.

My position is Sanders or bust, and I say that as a 20-year member of the GOP (now independent).

Nick , May 13, 2016 at 7:22 am

Like you said, he changes his positions all the time, and Clinton is no doubt a serious warmonger/war criminal, but he did also say that he would "bomb the s- out of ISIS," which one might also be inclined to characterize as trigger happy.

I am equally terrified at the prospect of having Clinton or Trump at the nuclear controls, which is why we should all send Bernie a few bucks today. The MSM have already gone into full Clinton v Trump general election mode, though that is certain to change once Bernie wins California.

Yves Smith , May 13, 2016 at 7:30 am

If you read what Trump has said about our foreign policy, he has been consistent in his view that the US can't and shouldn't be acting as an imperalist. He does not use those words, but he's said this often enough that I've even linked to articles describing how Trump is willing to depict America as being in decline, and this as one manifestation. In addition, his foreign policy speech was slammed basically because it broke with neocon orthodoxy. I have not read it but people I respect and who are not temperamentally inclined to favor Trump have, and they said it was sensible and among other things argued that we could not be fighting with China and Russia at the same time, and pumped for de-escalating tensions with Russia as the country whose culture and interests were more similar to ours than China's.

Having said that, calling out our belligerence and TPP as bad ideas seem to be the only issues on which he's not been all over the map (well, actually, he has not backed down on his wall either .)

The other reason to think he might stick with this position more consistently than with others is that his core voters come from communities where a lot of people have fought in the post-9/11 Middle Eastern conflicts. Our armed forces are stretched to the breaking point. Trump has strong support among veterans and active duty soldiers, and it's due to his speaking out against these wars.

Trump can probably get away with continuing to shape shift till Labor Day, since most voters don't make up their minds till close to the election. It's not pretty to watch him make a bold statement and then significantly walk it back in the next 24 hours, particularly if it's an issue you care about and he's said something that is so nuts that it sounds like he cares more about his Nielsen rating than what makes sense for the country. If he can't put enough policy anchors down by the fall and stick to them, he will lose a lot of people who might give him a shot out of antipathy to Clinton.

P , May 13, 2016 at 7:45 am

This guy has been writing some great stuff this cycle.

http://theweek.com/articles/622864/how-hillary-clinton-could-blow

miamijac , May 13, 2016 at 8:06 am

like's bait and switch.

Nick , May 13, 2016 at 8:05 am

That may well be the case and he was right to call out the Iraq war as a "mistake" during that debate (given his otherwise unconventional rhetoric, however, I was actually a bit disappointed that he didn't use the more correct term war crime), but he has also said that he wants to bring back torture and then some.

As far as I'm concerned though, the race right now is between Clinton and Bernie and I'm fairly confident that Bernie still has a good chance since he is sure to take California (which, luckily for Bernie, will seem like a huge surprise).

In a match up between Trump and Clinton my own personal thoughts (that a democratic – i.e. neoliberal – white house will at least continue to move people to the left, whereas a republican white house will only galvanize people around bringing another neoliberal to the white house) are irrelevant because I have virtually no doubt that Trump will win.

Yves Smith , May 13, 2016 at 8:30 am

Yes, his enthusiasm for torture is pretty creepy and you get a taste of it here indirectly: "That Saddam, he was a really bad guy but he sure could take care of those terrorists!" While Trump does seem to genuinely disapprove of all the people our wars have killed for no upside (a commonsense position in absence among our foreign policy elites), he seems overly confident that we can identify baddies well and having identified them, we should have no compunction about being brutal with them.

bowserhead , May 13, 2016 at 8:50 am

"That Saddam, he was a really bad guy but he sure could take care of those terrorists!"

His meaning here is we should have stayed out of it and let the "really bad guy" (Saddam) handle Al Quaeda. Of course, the Bush neocons dishonestly morphed Saddam into Al Quaeda. You know the rest of the story.

jgordon , May 13, 2016 at 9:34 am

I'm willing to bet that he's saying a lot of this stuff for his audience–people who are generally a pretty angry and bloodthirsty lot. I'm not saying that he's not going to come out for peace, love and contrition when he's elected president, but I think it is safe to say that his rhetoric now is completely unrelated to how he'd go about actually governing.

OK, so normally that'd be a horrible admission–if the Democrats hadn't had the brilliant idea of foisting Hillary onto the American people. What a brain-dead move! I myself could have been persuaded to support Bernie, but Hillary is the Devil incarnate as far as I'm concerned.

fresno dan , May 13, 2016 at 11:23 am

One fact that we have to remember is all the people who designed, advocated for, implemented, and defended "enhanced interrogation" and than who use "Clintonisms" to say we no longer use torture (because we never did – "enhanced interrogation") AND because we are "rendering" them someplace else and our friends are doing the enhanced interrogation – well, such lying devious people in my view are far, far worse than The Donald.
In my view, there appears to be considerable evidence that the US still defacto tortures – and that is far, far worse than the appalling, but at least truthful statement of how Trump feels. And of course, pink misting people may not be torture, but it can't be separated.

Again, which is worse:
A. The Donald up front advocates a policy (of torture), people can be mobilized to oppose it. No legalisms, dissembling, and every other term that can be used to obfuscate what the US is REALLY doing.
B. The US government asserts it no longer tortures. How many readers here have confidence that that is a factually true statement, that can be said without word games?
Is saying we should torture WORSE than saying we don't torture, but WE ARE???

ggm , May 13, 2016 at 2:17 pm

I feel the same way. It's preferable to have someone take the morally reprehensible pro-torture stance than to pretend to be against it while secretly renditioning prisoners and so forth.

jrs , May 13, 2016 at 2:51 pm

A good argument for reelecting George W Bush I suppose. Everything was pretty out in the open in the W administration you have to admit.

pretzelattack , May 13, 2016 at 4:16 pm

except for the fake wmds that started it. and abu ghraib. and the reasons the contractors were hung in fallujah. and the fake alliance between saddam and al quaida. and outing valerie plame when joe wilson blew the whistle on the fake purpose of the aluminum tubes.

Lambert Strether , May 13, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Let's not forget the warrantless surveillance program!

Also, Wilson blew the whistle on the yellowcake uranium. The aluminum tubes were another mole in the whack-a-mole game.

Seas of Promethium , May 13, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Everything was pretty out in the open in the W administration you have to admit.

"The United States does not torture." -GWB

Ian , May 13, 2016 at 9:10 am

Enough electoral fraud has been evidenced that I think that the numbers are going to be gamed to be closer to the non-representative polling that flood the MSM. He may win, but they aren't going to allow him to win by a lot in such a delegate heavy state.

Rhondda , May 13, 2016 at 11:22 am

Unfortunately, I think you are quite right that the California numbers will be rigged/gamed. I had become quite cynical about American politics, thanks to Obama the More Effective Evil's reign and the Bush and the Supremes Florida gambit back in 2000. But this primary vote rigging has really moved my marker so far that I am not even sure what word to use what's more cynical than super duper cynical?

I no longer believe - any of it .

jrs , May 13, 2016 at 2:54 pm

So here's an idea I've been pondering how can the people try to prevent or find this? Could we exit poll outside the voting places? Yes it would be a limited sample of just one local place but it's something and in aggregate if lots of people were doing this

I too think they might try to game California. And this is quite alarming considering California is usually too unimportant to even game. I figure the elections are usually honest here, probably because they just don't matter one whit. But this time it might matter and they might steal the vote.

Northeaster , May 13, 2016 at 8:45 am

"core voters come from communities where a lot of people have fought in the post-9/11 Middle Eastern conflicts. Our armed forces are stretched to the breaking point. Trump has strong support among veterans and active duty soldiers"

This.

People tend to also forget that there's a lot of us Gen-X'ers that were deployed over there over 25 years ago, when it was popular, for the same damned thing. Nothing has changed. Sure, some leadership folks have been taken out, but the body count of Americans soldiers has only risen,and the Region is now worse off.

The "first time" we had more folks die from non-combat related accidents than from actual combat. Some of us are sick of our political and corporate establishment selling out our fellow soldiers and Veterans, even worse is the way they have been treated when they come home. I'm not a Trump supporter, but this part of his message not only resonates with me, but angers me further. Why? Because I know that if Hillary Clinton walks into The Oval Office, even more Americans are going to die for lust of more power and influence.

HRC is simply the evilest human being I have ever seen in politics in my lifetime. Trump may be an idiot, crass, authoritarian, and any number of negative things, but he is not "evil" – she is.

Roger Smith , May 13, 2016 at 7:25 am

If the mash up continues as Clinton v. Trump and barring any character sinking actions of Trump, this man will win in November. To paraphrase Shivani, Clinton is speaking entirely in high minded self-interest, while Trump has latched onto and is pressing a actual truths of reality (regardless of his personal convictions or what he wlll actually do if elected).

Trump is more liberal than Clinton here. What exactly are her redeeming qualities again?

Pavel , May 13, 2016 at 8:01 am

I can't really think of any HRC redeeming qualities. "Retail politicking" doesn't seem to be one of them. Lambert, you no doubt saw this video of her confronted with rising health insurance costs post-ACA? Her word salad response doesn't begin to address the real issues

During a recent town hall event, a small business owner explained to the Democratic front-runner that her health insurance has gone up so significantly for her family that the thought of providing benefits to her employees is secondary at this point.

"As a small business owner, not only are you trying to provide benefits to your employees, you're trying to provide benefits to yourself. I have seen our health insurance for my own family, go up $500 dollars a month in the last two years. We went from four hundred something, to nine hundred something. We're just fighting to keep benefits for ourselves. The thought of being able to provide benefits to your employees is almost secondary, yet to keep your employees happy, that's a question that comes across my desk all the time. I have to keep my employees as independent contractors for the most part really to avoid that situation, and so I have turnover"

"We do not qualify for a subsidy on the current health insurance plan. My question to you is not only are you looking out for people that can't afford healthcare, but I'm someone that can afford it, but it's taking a big chunk of the money I bring home."

To which Hillary responded, to make a long story short, that she knows healthcare costs are going up, and doesn't understand why that would ever be the case.

"What you're saying is one of the real worries that we're facing with the cost of health insurance because the costs are going up in a lot of markets, not all, but many markets and what you're describing is one of the real challenges."

"There's a lot of things I'm looking at to try to figure out how to deal with exactly the problem you're talking about. There are some good ideas out there but we have to subject them to the real world test, will this really help a small business owner or a family be able to afford it. What could have possibly raised your costs four hundred dollars, and that's what I don't understand."

"What could have possibly raised your costs four hundred dollars, and that's what I don't understand." - this from a woman who ostensibly is an expert on health care delivery?

The link is from Zero Hedge but in any case watch the video. Or wait for it to appear in a Trump campaign ad:

"What Could Have Possibly Raised Your Costs" – Hillary Can't Answer Why Obamacare Costs Are Soaring

Roger Smith , May 13, 2016 at 9:16 am

"Or wait for it to appear in a Trump campaign ad" Haha!

I am surprised she didn't pull out the "90% coverage" false-positve. We haven't seen that pony enough. The notion of imploring "scientific" method here is interesting in light of the party's blood oath to meritocracy. "There are some good ideas out there but we have to subject them to the real world test ". It also implies that the process is natural and no accountability is necessary.

Another great DNC experiment. Throwing the blacks in jail for 20 years over nothing "oh well, we need to try more!" I cannot imagine being in prison right now for some minor drug offense and hearing the Clintons spew this nonsense.

That bagel spread though

P , May 13, 2016 at 7:37 am

This is going to be one hell of an election If nothing else those slimeballs that Clinton represent will be killed off. Finally.

samhill , May 13, 2016 at 7:41 am

joe-stiglitz-tells-democracy-now-that-war-cost-will-reach-5-to-7-trillion

It's a cost to the 99%, to the 1% it's profit – a damn whole lot of profit.

bowserhead , May 13, 2016 at 8:13 am

Jeff Gundlach, one of the few iconoclasts and reigning king of bonds on Wall Street:

"People are going to start putting greater focus on Hillary (Clinton). Voters are going to say, 'No. I don't want this,'" he told Reuters. "Hillary is going to evolve into an unacceptable choice. If she is such a great candidate, how come (Bernie Sanders) is beating her?"

JustAnObserver , May 13, 2016 at 10:05 am

IIRC Gundlach's outfit is based in California, not Wall Street. Left coast plutos for Bernie ?

bowserhead , May 13, 2016 at 10:54 am

Good point.

JustAnObserver , May 13, 2016 at 1:40 pm

Even more. He's based in LA so there's a 400 mile air gap between him in the goldbugging, glibertarian, wannabe John Galt culture of the Valley exemplified by Peter Theil.

How about a picture of Gundlach for tomorrow's antidote ?

Yaacov Kopel , May 13, 2016 at 9:29 am

It is warm heartening to see this site who consistently leaning left warming for the Donald. Clinton is a horrible candidate, flawed human being and her presidency is guaranteed to be marred by scandal after scandal and deep polarization.
Bern would be a great choice but he has no chance, the corrupt Democratic establishment will stick with Clinton.

Lambert Strether , May 13, 2016 at 2:34 pm

The post has nothing to do with "warming" to the Donald. It's policy focused.

jgordon , May 13, 2016 at 4:24 pm

I inuited months ago that the warming to Donald thing would happen. I have a growing conviction that most of the people here, maybe even you, are going to vote for Donald in November. Even Jason will vote for Donald (unless he is being employed by that pro-Hillary super pac which I don't think is the case but just throwing it out there since there are empirically speaking people being paid to produce pro Hillary comments on the internet). Barring something truly interesting and novel happening between now and then that is.

The way things are going now this plane seems set for an effortless autopilot victory for Trump. I have no doubt that everyone will regret too. They'll even regret before they cast the vote, and do it anyway. Oh man, that's some truly black humor. OK I'll make an even grander prediction: Trump will inaugurate the post postmodern era (whatever historians eventually decide to call it) where our entire conception and perception of reality as a society undergoes a radical and unpleasant change. It's a unique time to be alive. Aren't we lucky?

jgordon , May 13, 2016 at 5:38 pm

Wait. I just had an incredible insight. We're already out of the postmodern era, and I can date it from Sept. 11, 2001as the exit. Historian are going to say that this was a short era, a transitional era of illusions, delusions and fear, where complete non-reality Trumped the real for an ever so short period of time. But now we're going to be shocked awake, and what's coming next is going to be incredible and horrific. Damn, it's such an awesome and strange feeling to see things so clearly all of a sudden! It's really happening. So this why I've been obsessing over this stuff much recently.

Lambert Strether , May 13, 2016 at 7:42 pm

I tried to find a short clip of Brunhilde riding her horse into the flames in Gotterdammerung right before Valhalla collapses, which is what voting for Trump would be like for me, but I couldn't find out.

Noonan , May 13, 2016 at 9:38 am

The worst result of the Obama presidency is the disappearance of the anti-war left from every form of mainstream media.

NotTimothyGeithner , May 13, 2016 at 9:52 am

There was an antiwar left on the msm during the Bush years? Kerry's campaign message was "Ill be W 2.0." Kerry himself was that awful, but there was no antiwar left in the msm. I thought the absence was the direct cause for the rise of blogs. The real crisis is the shift of websites such as TalkingPointMemo and CrooksandLiars to Team Blue loyalist sites or when Digby brought on Spoonfed.

Lambert Strether , May 13, 2016 at 7:40 pm

Yep. 2006 was when the Dems decapitated the left blogosphere, and as a result we have no independent media, except for lonely outposts like this one, and whatever those whacky kidz are doing with new media.

TedWa , May 13, 2016 at 10:01 am

I keep donating to Bernie because even if he somehow doesn't win the nomination, he can force Hillary to be much more like him – if HRC wants Bernie voters to clinch the deal for her. Bernie staying in and fighting to the end (and my money says he wins) is great and if Hillary doesn't become Bernie, then the only one that can beat Trump is Bernie, and the super-delegates have got to see that.
Bottom line, Hillary has to become Bernie to beat Trump. Is that going to happen? We'll see.

Praedor , May 13, 2016 at 10:34 am

Bernie staying in until the very end serves two purposes (he CAN still win, especially when he carries California). The first is, again, he CAN win. The second purpose is to prevent Hillary from shifting right the way she REALLY wants to for the general. She will have to keep tacking left to fend off a major slide towards Bernie. The "center" (actually right wing) is out of reach for her as long as Bernie is there.

TedWa , May 13, 2016 at 10:43 am

Exactly, and I'm loving it :^)

ewmayer , May 13, 2016 at 6:49 pm

Sorry to rain on your thesis, but absent the nomination, all Bernie can do is to force Hillary to *message* more like him. With her, the operative phrase is "words are wind". There is nothing whatever to keep her from immediately ditching every progressive-sounding campaign stance once she is in office, just as Obama did. And I guarantee you that if she does become president, that is precisely what she will do.

ke , May 13, 2016 at 10:13 am

Trump knows the counterweight better than anyone. He's the guy you keep on the job because he's entertaining, knowing he will sell you out if you let him, and you let him, when it serves a purpose, to adjust the counterweight.

POLITICS, RE feudalism, is a game, and he loves it, despite the heartburn. All that debt inertia.preventing the economic motor from gaining traction is psychological. That much he knows, which is a lot more than the rest of the politicians, making him a better dress maker. But like the others, he has no idea what to do about it.

He vascillates to maintain options, including a path to the future, while others rule themselves out. Of course hiring good people is the answer, but most Americans are politicians, like anywhere else, wanting to know little more than their cubicle, because the net result of majority behavior is punishing work, in favor of consumers, competing for advantage.

If you spent this time developing skills and finding a spouse that won't cut your throat, you will do quite well. The casino isn't life; it just keeps a lot of people busy, with busy work. Government is hapless.

dingusansich , May 13, 2016 at 10:31 am

It's hard to know if Trump sees militarization and imperialism as bad because they're bad or bad because it's not Donald Trump in charge, with a great big straw sucking Benjamins between those rectally pursed lips. It may take an agent provocateur bullshitter to call bullshit, but that says nothing about what Trump will do as president. What's likeliest, given his record, is an opportunistic seizure of the Treasury to rival the occupation of Iraq. When I gaze into my crystal ball at a Trump administration I see cronyism, graft, corruption, nepotism, and deceit of monumental dimensions, just like the gold letters spelling Trump plastered over everything he lays his stubby little hands on. Because the Clintons are appalling doesn't make Trump appealing. It's a farcical contest, and every way, we lose.

RUKidding , May 13, 2016 at 2:43 pm

You echo my feelings. My loathing of Clinton knows no bounds, and I cannot vote for her, no matter what. But I simply don't trust Trump. He's a gold-digger extrodinaire, and quite the accomplished showman. He knows how to play to the crowd, and he's clearly quite quick to shape shift. The wrecked tatters of what's called the USA "media" gives Trump a YOOOGE pass on simply everything and anything the man says or does.

I don't trust Trump, and although, yes, he has says a few things that I agree with – and usually stuff that no one else at his level will ever say – it's essentially meaningless to me. I think Trump would be a disaster as President, and my "take" – which is based on my own opinion – is that he'll be Grifter El Supremo and make sure that he walks off with stacks and gobs and buckets of CA$H. For him. And if the country really tanks and goes bankrupt? So What?

Plus all this about Trump not being a War Hawk? I don't trust it. With the other breath, he's constantly spewing about "building up" the damn military, which, allegedly Obama has "weakened." Like, we really need to be spending another gazillion of our tax dollars "building up" the Military??? WHY? If The Donald is so against all these foreign wars, then why do we need to spend even more money on the Military??? All that signals to me is that Donald expects to go large on MIC investments for HIMSELF.

Won't get fooled again.

Lambert Strether , May 13, 2016 at 7:38 pm

"cronyism, graft, corruption, nepotism, and deceit of monumental dimensions"

Rather like the Clinton Foundation, though the Clintons have more tasteful building fixtures

"Because the Clintons are appalling doesn't make Trump appealing"

Very true, and vice versa.

hemeantwell , May 13, 2016 at 10:32 am

The Saudi 9/11 connection is now front stage:.
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/13/september-11-saudi-arabia-congressional-report-terrorism#comment-74155478
Trump can legitimately harp on this and likely will as part of his battle both with the R establishment and the Ds. HRC will probably respond "judiciously" in a way that will make her claim to "expertise" appear to be nothing more than what it is, lockstep parroting of neocon positions. Sanders?

ke , May 13, 2016 at 11:38 am

Story time: so, when I married the Mrs, I offered to fix the mother in laws old bug. She turned me down and has since demand that I fix what is now a rust bucket, not worth one manhour of my time, going around to the neighbors, all critters on govt checks rapidly falling behind RE inflation, to build consensus to the end, among women using men and men using women, all of them having thrown their marriages under the bus, as if majority vote is going to get me to do something I have no intention of doing.

When hospital gave Grace that shot and sent her to the ICU, per Obamacare expert protocol, all the critters went into CYA mode, and ultimately called the family, to confirm that the wife and I must be on drugs, which they did. I don't blame the morons running the court system, and she's the mother in law.

That debt is nothing more than psychology, but it is more effective than a physical prison. Silicon Valley is the as is abutment, simply reinforcing stupid with ever greater efficiency, but it is the endpoint on a collapsing bridge with no retreat, because automation has systematically destroyed the skill pool and work ethic required to advance further, replacing them with make work and make work skills.

Competing with China and the Middle East to build carp infrastructure to keep As many economic slaves as busy as possible is not the path forward. As you have seen, govt data is far closer to being 180 degrees wrong than being correct, as designed, which you should expect, from those holding out ignorance as a virtue.

There are far more elevators that need fixing than I could ever get to, and I am quite capable of fixing them in a manner that generates power. Who becomes president is irrelevant.

ke , May 13, 2016 at 11:54 am

My family in Ohio is massive, they made a killing on RE and currency arbitrage, after selling all the family farms, and have nothing real to show for it, but rapidly depreciating sunk costs, waiting to do it again. Rocket scientists.

Watt4Bob , May 13, 2016 at 12:30 pm

The way I read this situation is this;

If the GWOT has cost us $4 Trillion, somebody made $4 Trillion.

That/those somebodies are not about to give up the kind of behavior that makes that kind of money.

If there is any real, actual third-rail in American politics, it's the MIC budget.

This fact has never been openly acknowledged, even though the American people are pretty sure that threatening the will of the MIC cost the life of at least one well known politician.

Trump may talk about that enormous waste now, but after his private screening of the Zapruder film he's going to STFU and get with the program like all the rest.

OTOH, like Yves has pointed out, if Donald wins, he could just end up the loneliest man in DC, be ignored, get nothing done, and I'm not sure I see a down-side to that.

Roger Smith , May 13, 2016 at 1:35 pm

if Donald wins, he could just end up the loneliest man in DC, be ignored, get nothing done

Exactly my feeling. He will be hated and fought constantly, whereas Clinton (if nominated) is guaranteed to screw things up. Like her husband (who by the way will be there whispering in ears and making passes at maids) she will triangulate on issues and pass destructive GOP legislation and likely drag this country into another foreign policy blunder, where I am betting more young, under-educated, poor citizens with no prospects or options will be sent to slaughter (themselves and others).

RUKidding , May 13, 2016 at 2:49 pm

EH? I think The Donald will just go Large on MIC investments for himself. He talks a good game, but he keeps saying that he's going "build up" the Military, even as he's stating that we shouldn't be fighting in all of these wars. Why, then, do we need to "build up" the Military?

No one ever said Trump was stupid. I'm sure he's rubbing his grubby tiny vulgarian mitts with glee thinking about how he, too, can get in on that sweet sweet SWEET MIC payola grift scam. Count on it.

Trump doesn't need to see the Zapruder film. He was alive then and knows the story, just like everyone else of a certain age. Nay, verily, he just means to cash in on it.

fresno dan , May 13, 2016 at 6:31 pm

Watt4Bob
May 13, 2016 at 12:30 pm
"OTOH, like Yves has pointed out, if Donald wins, he could just end up the loneliest man in DC, be ignored, get nothing done, and I'm not sure I see a down-side to that."

I too view that as a feature and not a bug. Seriously, in the last 10, 20, 30 years, I would ask, what law is viewed as making things better? Was Sarbanes Oxley suppose to do something??? Maybe the law is OK, they just won't enforce it

I know Obamacare is relentlessly disparaged here, others think it is better than nothing.
Many of you youngsters don't realize this, but there was a time, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, that there were no deductibles, co-pays, narrow networks, and that you had confidence that your doctor may have over treated and tested you, but you weren't afraid that you would die because it was too expensive to treat you.
Just like I don't care if GDP goes up because i won't see any of it, I don't care about all the cancer research because I am certain I won't be able to afford it, even though I have health "insurance" .

fresno dan , May 13, 2016 at 7:44 pm

And this
http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-retiree-health-insurance-20160511-snap-story.html

"Employer-sponsored retiree health coverage once played a key role in supplementing Medicare," observe Tricia Neuman and Anthony Damico of the foundation. "Any way you slice it, this coverage is eroding."

Since 1988, the foundation says, among large firms that offer active workers health coverage, the percentage that also offer retiree health plans has shrunk to 23% in 2015 from 66% in 1988. The decline, which has been steady and almost unbroken, almost certainly reflects the rising cost of healthcare and employers' diminishing sense of responsibility for long-term workers in retirement.
.
Financial protection against unexpected healthcare costs is crucial for many Medicare enrollees, especially middle- and low-income members, because the gaps in Medicare can be onerous. The deductible for Medicare Part A, which covers inpatient services, is $1,288 this year, plus a co-pay of $322 per hospital day after 60 days. Part B, which covers outpatient care, has a modest annual deductible of $166 but pays only 80% of approved rates for most services.
====================================================
80% of 100,000$ means 20K is left over – with cancer treatments*, kidney treatments, cardiovascular treatments, such a scenario is more likely than a lot of people will imagine.

*treatments don't include those foam slippers that they charge you 25$ for .

fresno dan , May 13, 2016 at 7:48 pm

AND

But the consequences of the shift away from employer-sponsored retiree benefits go beyond the rise in costs for the retirees themselves. Many are choosing to purchase Medigap policies, which fill in the gaps caused by Medicare's deductibles, cost-sharing rates and benefit limitations. That has the potential to drive up healthcare costs for the federal government too. That's because Medigap policies tend to encourage more medical consumption by covering the cost-sharing designed to make consumers more discerning about trips to the doctor or clinic. Already, nearly 1 in 4 Medicare enrollees had a Medigap policy - almost as many as had employer-sponsored supplemental coverage.
..
The trend is sure to fuel interest on Capitol Hill in legislating limits to Medigap plans. Such limits have supporters across the political spectrum: Over the past few years, proposals to prohibit Medigap plans from covering deductibles have come from the left-leaning Center for American Progress, the centrist Brookings Institution and conservatives such as Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).

================================
please stop going to the doctor, its expensive .just expire

singfoom , May 13, 2016 at 2:44 pm

First time poster, long time lurker. You don't think that Sanders success in the race pushed HRC to embrace debt free 4 year public college?

We'll see what specific policy commitments come out of the convention, but I don't think the current campaign would have the same issues if Bernie wasn't there.

Please don't mistake me either, ideologically I'm with Sanders and was supporting him until the NYDN article and the delegate math became pretty much impossible. If I had my druthers, he'd be the candidate, but it looks quite quite unlikely now.

I'm concerned that HRC will pivot after the election and give support to the TPP but even then I'm still anti-Trump more.

Lambert Strether , May 13, 2016 at 10:50 pm

Actually, a poster with your email commented in 2014 under another handle. There seems to be a rash lately of infrequent or new commenters who "support Sanders but" or "supported Sanders until" lately. For some reason.

That said, you could be right on college ( see here for a comparison of the plans ). It's just that Clinton's talking point about not wanting to pay for Trump's children is so unserious I can't believe the plan is serious.

Paper Mac , May 13, 2016 at 6:40 pm

I dunno. I see a lot of people decry Trump's immigration ban on Muslims, but Hillary's record as SecState was incredibly violent toward Muslims internationally and also includes presiding over a defacto immigration ban from specific "problem" states- banning people for security reasons being much more tactful than banning Muslims per se.

The nativist appeal Trump is making doesn't go much farther than naming the intent of policy Hillary has been actually pursuing. Trump wants to use the demonisation of Muslims since 9/11 as a political lever to gain power and will use anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant (weird to see the two conflated so frequently) sentiment to achieve specific political goals, preferably sublating it into keynesian infrastructure programs (wall building or whatever). Hillary intends to keep bombing societies that are increasingly visibily disintegrating from the cumulative effects of climate change, colonial oppression and marginalisation, foreign intervention, etc. It's not obvious who gets the benefit of the doubt in a lesser evil contest.

Code Name D , May 13, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Trump is breaking the "lesser of two evils" argument.

Let's be clear about something here. The "lesser of two evils" is not an argument to find which candidate is "the less evil." It's an argument used to justify the assumption that your candidate is the less evil of the other. While else is it that Democrats say Clinton is the less evil while Republicans argue that Trump is the less evil.

It's obvious watching leftist pundits (many of whom I respect) come out and flatly assert "Clinton is the better of the two." And there heads usually explode right off their shoulders when they run into someone who disagrees or is simply skeptical of the claim.

The real problem is when Trump dose speak on trade and war policy, he exposes the fallacy of the argument. We can't take Trump's word for it – even though we already know Hillary is likely lying, so it's still a tie. The notion that Trump might actually be honest here isn't even permitted to be considered because that would make Trump the less evil of the two.

The problem I keep running into is just how do you measure "evil?" This gets even harder to do when you can't take either at their word. There is always some deeper calculous we are expected to project on the candidates in order to arrive at our pre-supposed conclusion that our candidate is always the less evil.

It's the main reason I will not be voting for either.

bowserhead , May 13, 2016 at 1:43 pm

Forgive me for piling on today Btw,.anyone know who this Carmen Yarrusso is? Excerpt from Counterpunch (today)

"Trump may be a (loose-cannon) unpredictable evil. But then, based on her long track record, Clinton is a very predictable evil. In fact, Trump is left of Clinton on such things as legal marijuana, NATO aggression, and trade policy. His crazy proposals (e.g. Mexican wall, banning Muslims) are just bluster with zero chance of becoming reality. If Congress can stop Obama, it can stop Trump. But Clinton has a predictable pro-war track record (Iraq, Libya, Syria) and a predictable track record of changing positions for political expediency (e.g. Iraq war, NAFTA, Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2000, immigration, gun control, the Keystone XL pipeline, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, same-sex marriage). How can you be sure she won't conveniently change her current progressive positions as president? A Trump presidency just might force Democratic Party elites to start seriously addressing the populist concerns they now arrogantly ignore.

If you vote for Clinton as the lesser of two evils, you're compromising your moral values, you're condoning the Democratic Party's shoddy treatment of millions of progressives, and you're sabotaging future real change. You're virtually guaranteeing the Democratic Party elites will put you in this position again and again. If you refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils, maybe you'll help elect Trump (or maybe your write-in or third party choice will win). But you'll certainly send a very clear message to Democratic Party elites that you'll no longer tolerate being ignored, marginalized, or shamed with false lesser of two evil choices."

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/13/lesser-of-two-evils-vote-is-counterproductive-and-morally-corrupt/

Bernard , May 13, 2016 at 1:44 pm

lol watching people attack Trump well, not sure if it's Clinton's army out to scare us about the horrors Trump will cause. now it's like the Devil we know vs the Devil we don't know. Kind of hard to compare Trump to Hillary. Hillary's effective brand of evil is well established and is quite thorough, shown by the primary votes in NY and AZ, for example. watching the Elites attack, belittle and completely ignore the existence of Bernie gives us a little clue of what is in store if Hillary gets her way. Trump is the "known unknown" to use Rumsfeld terminology.

Evil is as evil does. aka Hillary

this is perhaps the one and only time I ever will vote Republican. and I abhor Republicans. Hillary has earned her reputation, Trump.. well Trump or no Trump, it won't be Hillary getting my vote. Keeping Bernie out, we all lose.

singfoom , May 13, 2016 at 2:54 pm

No, I don't support the current administration's drone war, nor did I support the horrible Iraq war of 2003, but that doesn't answer my question. I don't understand "Hillary is lying" as a tautology and the conclusion being that Trump is a better bet than HRC because of that.

But in regards to your question, do you think that the drone war stance will change in the next administration whether's it's HRC or Trump? Trump said he wants to get more aggressive on terrorists than we currently are, explicitly endorsing torture.

jrs , May 13, 2016 at 3:09 pm

Well even Sanders has come out in favor of drones, so probably, unless one is die hard Jill Stein all the way. Then one's hands are entirely clean if also entirely ineffective.

Massinissa , May 13, 2016 at 7:06 pm

Yeah, because voting for drone strikes, imperialism and corruption is more effective at getting rid of those things than not voting for drone strikes, imperialism and drone strikes

Massinissa , May 13, 2016 at 7:04 pm

Because its totally impossible for Republican talking points to be true right?

If you havnt noticed, the Republicans are liars, but so are Clintonista Democrats.

Massinissa , May 13, 2016 at 7:09 pm

Hey, let me tell you a secret

Theyre both liars. If youre trusting Donald to not drone strike or trusting Hillary to not torture, youre being duped.

As for your comment further down about Trump saying he wants to torture people more Its not as if Obama has stopped Bush's torture regime or closed Guantanamo. Hillary too would continue more things.

Honestly I still dont understand why Trump is so much scarier than Hillary. Their differences are mostly kayfabe. All that xenophobic racist demagogy Trump is doing? More kayfabe. Im still voting Stein, because I dont vote for corrupt imperialists.

Seas of Promethium , May 13, 2016 at 8:04 pm

Stein is likewise kayfabe. If the party had gone with Anderson he might well have pulled a Bernie in the last general election. That just wouldn't do, so the party was rather brazenly railroaded into nominating Stein.

Jerry Denim , May 13, 2016 at 2:01 pm

Just as the best lies are 99% truth the best con-jobs are the ones containing the maximum amount of truthiness. Some days I like the things I hear Trump saying, the next he gives me a sick feeling with chills down my spine. Sure, he's not sticking to the approved neo-con, neo-lib, Washington consensus script but just how stupid do you have to be to not know that Saddam Hussein was a secular Bathist dictator who executed anyone who he saw as a threat to his power, especially muslim extremists. Just because Trump can spout off a truthy factoid that is only news to the brain-dead Fox News masses doesn't mean he is any more of an honest dealer than Bush Jr. Does anyone think Bush, Cheney or Rumsfield were operating under any illusions that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9/11? Of course not, they either saw an opportunity or they engineered an opportunity to do what they wanted to do. Trump has shown himself to be a bully comfortable with marshaling mob violence or the threat of mob violence. He is an authoritarian and no defender of civil liberties, habeous corpus or the Geneva convention. He's exactly the type of megalomanic that would try and seize power in an ailing democracy like our own, and I have no doubts that if elected he will create some sort of Constitutional crisis that could end in a military coup or Trump installed as a dictator. He already has a silent pissed-off army of violent brown shirts on his side. I don't like the way this situation looks and people on the left with intelligence and a grasp of history are deluding themselves if they think Trump isn't a very dangerous person.

In a possibly unrelated note, I'm 99% sure someone deeply keyed the full length of my car (truck actually) yesterday while I was surfing for no other reason than my Bernie Sanders bumper sticker right here in sunny, liberal southern California. Could it have been a Clinton supporter or a joy vandal who likes keying random people's cars – sure. But if Trump wins I wonder how long it is before halal restaurants and muslim dry cleaners start getting their windows smashed, then burned. How long before Hindus and brown people start getting attacked (as a common occurrence, not outlier events that are punished as they are now) because they are confused as being Muslim or Mexican or deliberately because they just aren't white and should go home. There's a very nasty underbelly to this Trump thing and I don't like it.

Lambert Strether , May 13, 2016 at 2:28 pm

I agree on the nasty underbelly. On the other hand, I find it refreshing that Trump mentions the millions of people slaughtered by our foreign policy. I don't hear that from Clinton, at all.

Jerry Denim , May 13, 2016 at 3:25 pm

" I find it refreshing that Trump mentions the millions of people slaughtered by our foreign policy. I don't hear that from Clinton, at all."

Ditto, me too, but I'm not about to cherry-pick Trump's schizophrenic and ever shifting talking points then soft-peddle candidate Trump while telling people not to worry. I like silver-linings, staying optimistic and being contrarian (I wouldn't hang out here otherwise) but why ignore the very troubling subtext in the rest of Trump's speech? The anti-democratic, sneering remarks about suspected terrorists being executed immediately in Saddam's Iraq instead of "on trial for fifteen years" in pansy-cakes weak, habeas corpus America. Trump offhandedly mentions; 'Oh by the way, don't buy the lowball collateral damage numbers you hear from the Pentagon, we're unnecessarily killing a lot of brown people abroad.' But then he fans the flames of racism with stump speeches about building a wall and banning all muslims from entering the USA. I can tell you which message his supporters are comprehending if you're unsure. Despite being a politically heterodox chameleon Trump is showing his true colors. Just because Trump is willing to break with the orthodoxy while he is campaigning doesn't mean he isn't an aspiring tyrant. Don't be fooled. Trump isn't enlightened or altruistic, he's a talented demagogue pulling a Con on America- that's it.

Jerry Denim , May 13, 2016 at 3:33 pm

By the way, I wanted to add I am not in any way considering a vote for Hillary if she does in fact become the Democratic nominee. I am very troubled by the prospect of a President Trump but I will not allow my vote to be held hostage by the DNC and the very tired "lesser of evils arguments" I realized my last comment might be construed as a "Trump must be stopped at all costs" Clinton rationalization. It was not. Trump will be on the conscience of those who vote for him and those who have enabled him.

Ron Showalter , May 13, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Maybe we should look at what Trump recently said at AIPAC – y'know, that itsy bitsy little lobby that seems to strike fear into the hearts of all US politicians Trump included – to get a sense of his ME policy, shall we ?

snip

'In Spring 2004, at the height of violence in the Gaza Strip, I was the Grand Marshal of the 40th Salute to Israel Parade, the largest single gathering in support of the Jewish state."

"My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran. I have been in business a long time. I know deal-making and let me tell you, this deal is catastrophic – for America, for Israel, and for the whole Middle East."

"First, we will stand up to Iran's aggressive push to destabilize and dominate the region. Iran is a very big problem and will continue to be, but if I'm elected President, I know how to deal with trouble. Iran is a problem in Iraq, a problem in Syria, a problem in Lebanon, a problem in Yemen, and will be a very major problem for Saudi Arabia. Literally every day, Iran provides more and better weapons to their puppet states.

Hezbollah in Lebanon has received sophisticated anti-ship weapons, anti-aircraft weapons, and GPS systems on rockets. Now they're in Syria trying to establish another front against Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights."

Just last week, American Taylor Allen Force, a West Point grad who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was murdered in the street by a knife-wielding Palestinian. You don't reward that behavior, you confront it!

It's not up the United Nations to impose a solution. The parties must negotiate a resolution themselves. The United States can be useful as a facilitator of negotiations, but no one should be telling Israel it must abide by some agreement made by others thousands of miles away that don't even really know what's happening.

When I'm president, believe me, I will veto any attempt by the UN to impose its will on the Jewish state.

Already, half the population of Palestine has been taken over by the Palestinian ISIS in Hamas, and the other half refuses to confront the first half, so it's a very difficult situation but when the United States stands with Israel, the chances of peace actually rise. That's what will happen when I'm president.

We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem – and we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel."

Yup, it's like he and Hillary are just night and day, huh?

I mean other than the fact that Hillary actually BACKS the Iran Deal but don't let that get in the way of a good "but Hillary" meeting.

The two candidates will be identical where it's most important – e.g. w/ Israel and the ME – just like all of the presidential candidates.

You would think the Obama administration may have taught us something about perceiving reality oh wait that's right, it really was Hillary and not poor Obama who's been doing all that killing over the last 8 years and the Donald's really a renegade "outsider" billionaire who's just scaring the pants off of the Establishment, right?

Wow. Just wow.

Obama Hope Junkies so desperate that they're shooting Trumpodil straight into their minds.

Lambert Strether , May 13, 2016 at 2:24 pm

I'm confused. What does this have to do with the topic of the post? The YouTube has nothing to do with the deplorable Beltway consensus on Israel, of which Trump is a part.

Ron Showalter , May 13, 2016 at 2:40 pm

Why, I am glad you asked.

War Is Realizing the Israelizing of the World

snip

As US-driven wars plummet the Muslim world ever deeper into jihadi-ridden failed state chaos, events seem to be careening toward a tipping point. Eventually, the region will become so profuse a font of terrorists and refugees, that Western popular resistance to "boots on the ground" will be overwhelmed by terror and rage. Then, the US-led empire will finally have the public mandate it needs to thoroughly and permanently colonize the Greater Middle East.

It is easy to see how the Military Industrial Complex and crony energy industry would profit from such an outcome. But what about America's "best friend" in the region? How does Israel stand to benefit from being surrounded by such chaos?

Tel Aviv has long pursued a strategy of "divide and conquer": both directly, and indirectly through the tremendous influence of the Israel lobby and neocons over US foreign policy.

A famous article from the early 1980s by Israeli diplomat and journalist Oded Yinon is most explicit in this regard. The "Yinon Plan" calls for the "dissolution" of "the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula." Each country was to be made to "fall apart along sectarian and ethnic lines," after which each resulting fragment would be "hostile" to its neighbors." Yinon incredibly claimed that:

"This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run"

According to Yinon, this Balkanization should be realized by fomenting discord and war among the Arabs:

"Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon."

And another link:

The Unfolding of Yinon's "Zionist Plan for the Middle East": The Crisis in Iraq and the Centrality of the National Interest of Israel

And another:

Who is Israel's Biggest Enemy?

So, you can see that Trump has said the right things into the right ears – read: AIPAC – as far as anyone of import is concerned – read: not any of us – and so now he's free to say whatever else he thinks he needs to.

I mean, Sheldon Adelson endorsed him so he can't be THAT scary to Israel-first billionaires and their bed-buddies, right?

Ooops, I forgot he's an outsider that everyone's scared of. My bad. Hillary will be so much worse.

Lambert Strether , May 13, 2016 at 7:31 pm

You may be glad I asked, but that doesn't mean you answered.

Chauncey Gardiner , May 13, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Robert Parry at ConsortiumNews has written an insightful article about the damage that has been caused by both the neocon ideologues' control of US foreign policy and the neoliberals' control of economic policy, their powerful political and propaganda apparatus, and what we can expect from the legacy political party candidates for the presidency, focusing on Clinton and her past positions regarding the Middle East.

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/05/11/neocons-and-neolibs-how-dead-ideas-kill/

It is noteworthy that the dominance of failed neocon and neoliberal policies over the past few decades has coincided with consolidation and concentration of ownership of corporate media in very few hands. As with restoring the Glass-Steagall Act and breaking up the TBTFs, reinstating limits on media ownership and control is an important and necessary measure to breaking the influence these few individuals have had over national policy.

John , May 13, 2016 at 2:59 pm

I'm actually considering the possibility that Trump is to the left of Hillary. He appears to be on foreign policy, at least. What do you guys think?

Massinissa , May 13, 2016 at 7:01 pm

Being Left of Hillary is a really really really low bar. He probably is, but thats probably because Hillary is right wing. You know, like almost all American politicians from both parties. Trumps not left of Bernie (at least not yet or not right now: I expect hes going to swing left in the general to scoop up Bernie voters), and Bernies just an Eisenhower Republican, which is admittedly to the left of basically all the other politicians today.

Lambert Strether , May 13, 2016 at 7:55 pm

Quoting from memory, context foreign policy: "If our Presidents had gone to the beach every day of the year fifteen years ago, we would have been in much better shape." (Note this includes Bush.)

He's right, you know.

[Mar 02, 2019] Trump is millions of Republican voters' judgment against a party that failed them.

Not so quick. He proved to be Bush III. But illusions after his election were abundant.
Notable quotes:
"... I see Trump's success as proof that "the people who run [the GOP] and the institutions surrounding it failed." They not only failed in their immediate task of preventing the nomination of a candidate that party leaders loathed, but failed repeatedly over at least the last fifteen years to govern well or even to represent the interests and concerns of most Republican voters. ..."
"... Party leaders spent decades conning Republican voters with promises they knew they wouldn't or couldn't fulfill, and then were shocked when most of those voters turned against them. ..."
"... Trump is millions of Republican voters' judgment against a party that failed them, and the fact that Trump is thoroughly unqualified for the office he seeks makes that judgment all the more damning. ..."
www.theamericanconservative.com
Trump officially secured the Republican nomination last night:

Mr. Trump tallied 1,725 delegates, easily surpassing the 1,237 delegate threshold needed to clinch the nomination. The delegate tally from his home state of New York, announced by Mr. Trump's son Donald Jr., put him over the top.

Like Rod Dreher, I see Trump's success as proof that "the people who run [the GOP] and the institutions surrounding it failed." They not only failed in their immediate task of preventing the nomination of a candidate that party leaders loathed, but failed repeatedly over at least the last fifteen years to govern well or even to represent the interests and concerns of most Republican voters.

Had the Bush administration not presided over multiple disasters, most of them of their own making, there would have been no opening or occasion for the repudiation of the party's leaders that we have seen this year. Had the party served the interests of most of its voters instead of catering to the preferences of their donors and corporations, there would have been much less support for someone like Trump.

Party leaders spent decades conning Republican voters with promises they knew they wouldn't or couldn't fulfill, and then were shocked when most of those voters turned against them.

Trump is millions of Republican voters' judgment against a party that failed them, and the fact that Trump is thoroughly unqualified for the office he seeks makes that judgment all the more damning.

[Mar 02, 2019] Unhappy with the Obama economy, voters are buying what Trump s selling

They bought in 2016 was Trump was selling not realizing that this was Obama-style bait and switch
Notable quotes:
"... With paychecks remaining disappointingly small and layoffs reaching a seven-year high , many have subscribed to Trump's narrative instead the one presented by Obama's administration. It's a horror story about an American economy in terminal decline, its workers sold down the river to China and Mexico. ..."
"... "It's a horror story about an American economy in terminal decline, its workers sold down the river to China and Mexico." You forgot India. ..."
"... Mr Obama has the distinction of running the biggest soup kitchen in living memory - 46 million on food stamps. Quite an economic accomplishment ..."
"... In the US the Democratic party has lost touch with the working class. The media in the US are even worse. The Democrats are now the party of cosmopolitan elites, college students, and identify politics adherents. ..."
"... Blue collar workers have long know they didn't have a voice in the beltway. That their "champions" viewed them as lower beings, children that needed to be taken care of. The fact that Trump annoys these very people is viewed as a great positive. So these former Demcrats crashed the Republican party. ..."
"... So now we have a populist vs a establishment Democrat. Standard Republicans are now left scratching their heads wondering "what the hell just happened?" ..."
"... Trump proposes to get rid of the National Debt in eight years. Since that money resides in the pockets of the private sector the net outcome in getting rid of the "debt" (government money injection into the private sector) will be to substantially reduce the amount of money in active circulation and could result in excessive private borrowing to compensate for that loss resulting in an unsustainable debt build-up and a re-run of the 2008 financial crash. ..."
"... Consecutive Bushes did too much damage economically and socially to be fixed ..."
"... Unfortunately, they cannot return what they bought from President Dubya and President Hope and Change.... the same thing that Hillary is peddling, but with a nice girly twist this time. ..."
"... There has been much talk about Donald Trump being the "elephant in the room" that cannot be ignored when discussing the presidential election. The Donald is a wizard at dispensing outrageous but irrelevant comments which the news media are drawn to like cats to catnip. For example "Elizabeth Warren is NOT 1/32 Cherokee!" As far as I know, Elizabeth Warren is not running for President. If Donald Trump said that "Micky Mouse is NOT 1/32 gerbil", it would make many headlines. He's brilliant at manipulating the media. Or, is he simply colluding with the news media? ..."
"... What journalists are not reporting is who is doing the dirty work in Congress and in the Obama Administration to skew the economy toward benefitting the wealthy. Big campaign contributors, lobbyists, and conniving legislators have worked hard to "stack the deck against the average American" as Elizabeth Warren has rightly said. ..."
"... Why aren't Washington journalists unpacking and describing the many, many financial deals being made in the halls of Congress to benefit the politically connected few? The reason is simple. They are afraid to. They have to provide food, clothing, and shelter for themselves and their families. The big media corporations they work for would not be pleased by any discomforting of their political allies, and the corporations themselves may be involved. Many are conglomerates made up of many businesses with their fingers in many pies. ..."
May 07, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

With paychecks remaining disappointingly small and layoffs reaching a seven-year high , many have subscribed to Trump's narrative instead the one presented by Obama's administration. It's a horror story about an American economy in terminal decline, its workers sold down the river to China and Mexico.

"People don't really want to hear that it could have been worse. Sometimes such statements anger people and make the president seem out of touch. It doesn't resonate because they can't observe that alternative outcome," explained Lawrence Mishel, president at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. "It's progress in their weekly paychecks that resonates."

"Wages are the unfinished business of the recovery," the US labor department has noted repeatedly over the last few months as jobs report after jobs report have shown wage growth to be in the vicinity of just 2%. In addition to jobs, wages are one of the most important parts of this recovery.

In order for working class Americans to feel its effects, wage growth would have to be closer to 3% to 4%. When the US census last released its data about median household incomes in the US, it found that the average American was bringing home the same paycheck as Americans in 1997.

With rents and food costs going back, wages from 20 years ago are no longer cutting it. As a result, working Americans are tired of what they think of as "status quo" politics.

"People are feeling ornery and that's the result of stagnant wages for the vast majority for at least the last dozen years," said Mishel. "That may explain why among conservative GOP voters Trump has made headway. This is the first election I ever heard any GOP candidates talk about wages."

AmyInNH, 7 May 2016 09:39

Nailed it, Ms. Kasperkevic. Bravo.

"It's a horror story about an American economy in terminal decline, its workers sold down the river to China and Mexico." You forgot India.

salfraser, 7 May 2016 08:54

Mr Obama has the distinction of running the biggest soup kitchen in living memory - 46 million on food stamps. Quite an economic accomplishment

DJROM 7 May 2016 08:39

Good article. Seemed like an honest effort to explain the appeal of Trump without lazily using racism, misogyny, or stupidity as a half baked rationalization.

In the US the Democratic party has lost touch with the working class. The media in the US are even worse. The Democrats are now the party of cosmopolitan elites, college students, and identify politics adherents.

Blue collar workers have long know they didn't have a voice in the beltway. That their "champions" viewed them as lower beings, children that needed to be taken care of. The fact that Trump annoys these very people is viewed as a great positive. So these former Demcrats crashed the Republican party.

So now we have a populist vs a establishment Democrat. Standard Republicans are now left scratching their heads wondering "what the hell just happened?"

The Guardian had an article about how Labor should not dismiss the grey haired blue collar workers that were joining UKIP. It was in 2014,long before the Trump phenomenon, but when i recently read it i thought " that is Trump.

wormtownspawn -> Hendrik Bruwer 7 May 2016 08:12

12 Donald Trump businesses that no longer exist

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/12-donald-trump-businesses-that-no-longer-exist-204923129.html

The Bankruptcies

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2068227_2068229_2068209,00.html

frontalcortexes 7 May 2016 08:10

Trump's ultimately selling recession, despite his opposition to unfair global trading tactics, but hardly anybody understands this because they're clueless about how their money system works. Trump proposes to get rid of the National Debt in eight years. Since that money resides in the pockets of the private sector the net outcome in getting rid of the "debt" (government money injection into the private sector) will be to substantially reduce the amount of money in active circulation and could result in excessive private borrowing to compensate for that loss resulting in an unsustainable debt build-up and a re-run of the 2008 financial crash.

As for Clinton and Sanders, you can't trust the former and the latter sends a mixed message in regard to how well he understands how the country's money system works. Like the UK the US is in a pickle with politicians who should rightly say "I'm not an idiot but I've got a few parts missing!"

TheBBG -> Hendrik Bruwer 7 May 2016 08:08

You obviously are oblivious to the concepts of and necessity for tact and diplomacy, two basics for foreign policy as well as cajoling congress. Be careful what you wish for, and even more so what you vote for - you might get what you want - the US going down the toilet.

Madranon 7 May 2016 08:03

Consecutive Bushes did too much damage economically and socially to be fixed by either Clinton or Obama administrations. It is like running down someone's immune system that it is unable to fight off aggressive and opportunistic germs.

bcarey 7 May 2016 07:58

Unfortunately, they cannot return what they bought from President Dubya and President Hope and Change.... the same thing that Hillary is peddling, but with a nice girly twist this time.

dallasdunlap -> Solomon Black 7 May 2016 07:56

The dislike of Trump stems from his remarks re illegal immigration. That triggered an organized effort by left wing groups, abetted by media organizations, to depict him as a racist and, by extension a fascist, fascist being the designation for any moderate of conservative politician who is obviously popular.


GeorgeFrederick 7 May 2016 07:43

There has been much talk about Donald Trump being the "elephant in the room" that cannot be ignored when discussing the presidential election. The Donald is a wizard at dispensing outrageous but irrelevant comments which the news media are drawn to like cats to catnip. For example "Elizabeth Warren is NOT 1/32 Cherokee!" As far as I know, Elizabeth Warren is not running for President. If Donald Trump said that "Micky Mouse is NOT 1/32 gerbil", it would make many headlines. He's brilliant at manipulating the media. Or, is he simply colluding with the news media?

What journalists are not reporting is who is doing the dirty work in Congress and in the Obama Administration to skew the economy toward benefitting the wealthy. Big campaign contributors, lobbyists, and conniving legislators have worked hard to "stack the deck against the average American" as Elizabeth Warren has rightly said.

Why aren't Washington journalists unpacking and describing the many, many financial deals being made in the halls of Congress to benefit the politically connected few? The reason is simple. They are afraid to. They have to provide food, clothing, and shelter for themselves and their families. The big media corporations they work for would not be pleased by any discomforting of their political allies, and the corporations themselves may be involved. Many are conglomerates made up of many businesses with their fingers in many pies. Yes, the average American may not be doing well, but the gravy train in Washington is running on schedule and doing very well, thank you. (I'll let someone else comment on all this nonsense about how many jobs have been created by Obama.)

[Mar 02, 2019] What Trump_vs_deep_state Means for Democracy by Andrew J. Bacevich

Notable quotes:
"... None of this will matter to Trump, however. He is no conservative and Trump_vs_deep_state requires no party. Even if some new institutional alternative to conventional liberalism eventually emerges, the two-party system that has long defined the landscape of American politics will be gone for good. ..."
"... Should Trump or a Trump mini-me ultimately succeed in capturing the presidency, a possibility that can no longer be dismissed out of hand, the effects will be even more profound. In all but name, the United States will cease to be a constitutional republic. Once President Trump inevitably declares that he alone expresses the popular will, Americans will find that they have traded the rule of law for a version of caudillismo ..."
www.theamericanconservative.com
Whether or not Donald Trump ultimately succeeds in winning the White House, historians are likely to rank him as the most consequential presidential candidate of at least the past half-century. He has already transformed the tone and temper of American political life. If he becomes the Republican nominee, he will demolish its structural underpinnings as well. Should he prevail in November, his election will alter its very fabric in ways likely to prove irreversible. Whether Trump ever delivers on his promise to "Make America Great Again," he is already transforming American democratic practice.

Trump takes obvious delight in thumbing his nose at the political establishment and flouting its norms. Yet to classify him as an anti-establishment figure is to miss his true significance. He is to American politics what Martin Shkreli is to Big Pharma. Each represents in exaggerated form the distilled essence of a much larger and more disturbing reality. Each embodies the smirking cynicism that has become one of the defining characteristics of our age. Each in his own way is a sign of the times.

In contrast to the universally reviled Shkreli, however, Trump has cultivated a mass following that appears impervious to his missteps, miscues, and misstatements. What Trump actually believes-whether he believes in anything apart from big, splashy self-display-is largely unknown and probably beside the point. Trump_vs_deep_state is not a program or an ideology. It is an attitude or pose that feeds off, and then reinforces, widespread anger and alienation.

The pose works because the anger-always present in certain quarters of the American electorate but especially acute today-is genuine. By acting the part of impish bad boy and consciously trampling on the canons of political correctness, Trump validates that anger. The more outrageous his behavior, the more secure his position at the very center of the political circus. Wondering what he will do next, we can't take our eyes off him. And to quote Marco Rubio in a different context , Trump "knows exactly what he is doing."

♦♦♦

There is a form of genius at work here. To an extent unmatched by any other figure in American public life, Trump understands that previous distinctions between the ostensibly serious and the self-evidently frivolous have collapsed. Back in 1968, then running for president, Richard Nixon, of all people, got things rolling when he appeared on Laugh-In and uttered the immortal words, "Sock it to me?" But no one has come close to Trump in grasping the implications of all this: in contemporary America, celebrity confers authority. Mere credentials or qualifications have become an afterthought. How else to explain the host of a "reality" TV show instantly qualifying as a serious contender for high office?

For further evidence of Trump's genius, consider the skill with which he plays the media, especially celebrity journalists who themselves specialize in smirking cynicism. Rather than pretending to take them seriously, he unmasks their preening narcissism, which mirrors his own. He refuses to acknowledge their self-assigned role as gatekeepers empowered to police the boundaries of permissible discourse. As the embodiment of "breaking news," he continues to stretch those boundaries beyond recognition.

In that regard, the spectacle of televised "debates" has offered Trump an ideal platform for promoting his cult of personality. Once a solemn, almost soporific forum for civic education-remember Kennedy and Nixon in presidential debates now provide occasions for trading insults, provoking gaffes, engaging in verbal food fights, and marketing magical solutions to problems ranging from war to border security that are immune to magic. For all of that we have Trump chiefly to thank.

Trump's success as a campaigner schools his opponents, of course. In a shrinking Republican field, survival requires mimicking his antics. In that regard, Ted Cruz rates as Trump's star pupil. Cruz is to Trump what Lady Gaga was to Amy Winehouse-a less freewheeling, more scripted, and arguably more calculating version of the original.

Yet if not a clone, Cruz taps into the same vein of pissed-off, give-me-my-country-back rage that Trump himself has so adeptly exploited. Like the master himself, Cruz has demonstrated a notable aptitude for expressing disagreement through denigration and for extravagant, crackpot promises . For his part, Marco Rubio, the only other Republican still seriously in the running, lags not far behind. When it comes to swagger and grandiosity, nothing beats a vow to create a " New American Century ," thereby resurrecting a mythic past when all was ostensibly right with the world.

On two points alone do these several Republicans see eye-to-eye. The first relates to domestic policy, the second to America's role in the world.

On point one: with absolute unanimity, Trump, Cruz, and Rubio ascribe to Barack Obama any and all problems besetting the nation. To take their critique at face value, the country was doing swimmingly well back in 2009 when Obama took office. Today, it's FUBAR, due entirely to Obama's malign actions.

Wielding comparable authority, however, a Republican president can, they claim, dismantle Obama's poisonous legacy and restore all that he has destroyed. From "day one," on issues ranging from health care to immigration to the environment, the Republican candidates vow to do exactly this. With the stroke of a pen and the wave of a hand, it will be a breeze.

On point two: ditto. Aided and abetted by Hillary Clinton, Obama has made a complete hash of things abroad. Here the list of Republican grievances is especially long. Thanks to Obama, Russia threatens Europe; North Korea is misbehaving; China is flexing its military muscles; ISIS is on the march; Iran has a clear path to acquiring nuclear weapons; and perhaps most distressingly of all, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, is unhappy with U.S. policy.

Here, too, the Republican candidates see eye-to-eye and have solutions readily at hand. In one way or another, all of those solutions relate to military power. Trump, Cruz, and Rubio are unabashed militarists. (So, too, is Hillary Clinton, but that's an issue deserving an essay of its own). Their gripe with Obama is that he never put American military might fully to work, a defect they vow to amend. A Republican commander-in-chief, be it Trump, Cruz, or Rubio, won't take any guff from Moscow or Pyongyang or Beijing or Tehran. He will eradicate "radical Islamic terrorism," put the mullahs back in their box, torture a bunch of terrorists in the bargain, and give Bibi whatever he wants.

In addition to offering Obama a sort of backhanded tribute-so much damage wrought by just one man in so little time-the Republican critique reinforces reigning theories of presidential omnipotence. Just as an incompetent or ill-motivated chief executive can screw everything up, so, too, can a bold and skillful one set things right.

♦♦♦

The ratio between promises made and promises fulfilled by every president in recent memory-Obama included-should have demolished such theories long ago. But no such luck. Fantasies of a great president saving the day still persist, something that Trump, Cruz, and Rubio have all made the centerpiece of their campaigns. Elect me, each asserts. I alone can save the Republic.

Here, however, Trump may enjoy an edge over his competitors, including Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. With Americans assigning to their presidents the attributes of demigods-each and every one memorialized before death with a library-shrine -who better to fill the role than an egomaniacal tycoon who already acts the part? The times call for strong leadership. Who better to provide it than a wheeler-dealer unbothered by the rules that constrain mere mortals?

What then lies ahead?

If Trump secures the Republican nomination, now an increasingly imaginable prospect, the party is likely to implode. Whatever rump organization survives will have forfeited any remaining claim to represent principled conservatism.

None of this will matter to Trump, however. He is no conservative and Trump_vs_deep_state requires no party. Even if some new institutional alternative to conventional liberalism eventually emerges, the two-party system that has long defined the landscape of American politics will be gone for good.

Should Trump or a Trump mini-me ultimately succeed in capturing the presidency, a possibility that can no longer be dismissed out of hand, the effects will be even more profound. In all but name, the United States will cease to be a constitutional republic. Once President Trump inevitably declares that he alone expresses the popular will, Americans will find that they have traded the rule of law for a version of caudillismo . Trump's Washington could come to resemble Buenos Aires in the days of Juan Perón, with Melania a suitably glamorous stand-in for Evita, and plebiscites suitably glamorous stand-ins for elections.

That a considerable number of Americans appear to welcome this prospect may seem inexplicable. Yet reason enough exists for their disenchantment. American democracy has been decaying for decades. The people know that they are no longer truly sovereign. They know that the apparatus of power, both public and private, does not promote the common good, itself a concept that has become obsolete. They have had their fill of irresponsibility, lack of accountability, incompetence, and the bad times that increasingly seem to go with them.

So in disturbingly large numbers they have turned to Trump to strip bare the body politic, willing to take a chance that he will come up with something that, if not better, will at least be more entertaining. As Argentines and others who have trusted their fate to demagogues have discovered, such expectations are doomed to disappointment.

In the meantime, just imagine how the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library, no doubt taller than all the others put together, might one day glitter and glisten - perhaps with a casino attached.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular , is professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University. He is the author of the new book America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History (Random House, April 2016).

[Aug 13, 2016] Hillary was a foreign policy disaster who killed thousands

Notable quotes:
"... BTW Pat Buchanan says that if the R establishment tries to coalesce around Rubio or Cruz then Trump will simply choose one of them as his running mate and end of story. That's assuming Trump does in fact maintain his poll lead with actual votes. ..."
"... It's our foreign policy that is fubar and it's been fubar for awhile. This idea that Clinton somehow was the worst Secretary of State is revisionism. Was she bad? Yes. Was she worse than Condeleeza "I ignored a memo that said AQ was determined to attack" Rice? That is incredibly debatable. ..."
"... I'm less for her being the fall guy for ME policies that have been a disaster for at least as long as I've been alive(and let's face it installing the Shah, trading hostages for arms, etc, etc there's been ALOT of mistakes there) ..."
"... As soon as one subordinates themselves, they become the agent to a principal, whether that principal be a natural person, a class, an identity group, or an old piece of paper with happy horse dung written all over it. Given the choice between downward mobility and schizophrenia, most choose compartmentalization as an imperfect but effective coping mechanism to help workers stay sane and maintain their identity in the ever more grueling workplace. ..."
"... Hmm. You're saying that split consciousness screws up principal-agent relationships, not metaphoricallly, but literally? That's a really interesting argument, a new way to think about elites ("know your enemy"). ..."
"... Does anybody really believe that the Clinton who takes off the Secretary of State hat and puts on the Clinton Foundation hat, or who takes off the Clinton Foundation hat and puts on the Campaign hat, is not the same Hillary Clinton? She'd have to be a sociopath to keep her mind and heart that compartmentalized, no? But if we accept the Clinton Dynasty's "attitude toward public service," as we put it, that's what we'd have to believe. I don't believe it. ..."
"... So, either Clinton is a sociopath (the "compartmentalization") or deeply corrupt. Which is it to be? ..."
"... If you're saying that split consciousness makes for split loyalties, I'd agree. It's part of what makes that compartmentalized "workaday me" role slightly corrosive to community and citizenship. ..."
"... According to people who were there it was Clinton who pushed for regime change in Libya while Obama was reluctant. The French were pushing for it as well but within the administration she was the advocate. She also favored regime change in Syria although US actions there are murkier. ..."
"... So Trump and Cruz were quite justified in what they said. She also favored the surge in Afghanistan while Biden opposed. She has compared Putin to Hitler and presumably fully supports the confrontation with Russia. ..."
"... Condi on the other hand was just a functionary for policies being made by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the neocons. It was a very different situation. ..."
"... Whatever one thinks of Trump it's quite possible he'd be a less dangerous choice than Hillary when it comes to foreign policy. The Dems don't see it this way because so many of them agree with her–particularly the Democrats' wealthy backers. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
Carolinian

Cruz–Trump's mini-me–has apparently also been claiming lately that Hillary was a foreign policy disaster who killed thousands. This is what Sanders hasn't been saying forever. Libertarian Raimondo gives his take on the debate and says Rand Paul had a big night.

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2015/12/16/gop-debate-triumph-isolationism/

BTW Pat Buchanan says that if the R establishment tries to coalesce around Rubio or Cruz then Trump will simply choose one of them as his running mate and end of story. That's assuming Trump does in fact maintain his poll lead with actual votes.

cwaltz

Sanders doesn't mention Hillary by name (probably because she isn't the primary problem. It wasn't like Condeleeza Rice was a stellar Secretary of State or there weren't indictments under the Reagan Secretary of State.) However, he has been saying that our foreign policy is part of the problem which is the REAL problem. Clinton is just a symptom.

Steven D.

I thought you were going pin the blame on Barry O since he was Hillary's boss. The system doesn't cut it as a target. It excuses the actors. Nobody has agency? Clinton had and has a lot of power. She has had options. She has chosen her path.

cwaltz

Clinton's behavior was similar to her predecessors which was similar to her predecessors and so on and so on.

It's our foreign policy that is fubar and it's been fubar for awhile. This idea that Clinton somehow was the worst Secretary of State is revisionism. Was she bad? Yes. Was she worse than Condeleeza "I ignored a memo that said AQ was determined to attack" Rice? That is incredibly debatable. I'm all for Hillary being held accountable.

I'm less for her being the fall guy for ME policies that have been a disaster for at least as long as I've been alive(and let's face it installing the Shah, trading hostages for arms, etc, etc there's been ALOT of mistakes there)

Steven D.

Who makes foreign policy? People do. There are institutional prerogatives but she didn't have to be so damned good at being so bad.

hunkerdown

As soon as one subordinates themselves, they become the agent to a principal, whether that principal be a natural person, a class, an identity group, or an old piece of paper with happy horse dung written all over it. Given the choice between downward mobility and schizophrenia, most choose compartmentalization as an imperfect but effective coping mechanism to help workers stay sane and maintain their identity in the ever more grueling workplace.

So who's the principal?

Lambert Strether Post author

Hmm. You're saying that split consciousness screws up principal-agent relationships, not metaphoricallly, but literally? That's a really interesting argument, a new way to think about elites ("know your enemy").

I said something similar - OK, "interesting" could mean confirming my priors - here:

Does anybody really believe that the Clinton who takes off the Secretary of State hat and puts on the Clinton Foundation hat, or who takes off the Clinton Foundation hat and puts on the Campaign hat, is not the same Hillary Clinton? She'd have to be a sociopath to keep her mind and heart that compartmentalized, no? But if we accept the Clinton Dynasty's "attitude toward public service," as we put it, that's what we'd have to believe. I don't believe it.

So, either Clinton is a sociopath (the "compartmentalization") or deeply corrupt. Which is it to be?

Nose- or rather brain-bleeds at the commanding heights….

different clue

Sociocorruptopath.

hunkerdown

Split attribution enables screwed-up principal-agent relationships. Think sex workers, used-car salesmen, fresh-out-of-Harvard Democratic strategists, other agents who loyally if resignedly carry out what the mainstream deems inhospitable and/or dirty work to the benefit of their principals, yet share no interest apart from the engaged work.

Cultivating a straw self-identity or group-identity, or maybe role, for the purpose of attribution is an effective though problematic way to keep the evil from sticking to one's self-definition.

If you're saying that split consciousness makes for split loyalties, I'd agree. It's part of what makes that compartmentalized "workaday me" role slightly corrosive to community and citizenship.

Carolinian

According to people who were there it was Clinton who pushed for regime change in Libya while Obama was reluctant. The French were pushing for it as well but within the administration she was the advocate. She also favored regime change in Syria although US actions there are murkier.

So Trump and Cruz were quite justified in what they said. She also favored the surge in Afghanistan while Biden opposed. She has compared Putin to Hitler and presumably fully supports the confrontation with Russia.

In Honduras she covertly supported the coup government at the urging of her crony Lanny Davis and the Honduran children who are fleeing to the United States can be chalked up as another of HIllary's little missteps. Whether or not she was the worst Sec State ever she's up there.

Condi on the other hand was just a functionary for policies being made by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the neocons. It was a very different situation.

Whatever one thinks of Trump it's quite possible he'd be a less dangerous choice than Hillary when it comes to foreign policy. The Dems don't see it this way because so many of them agree with her–particularly the Democrats' wealthy backers.

Lambert Strether Post author

Clinton really believes that stuff. She's not pandering. Well, I mean, she's pandering too, of course, but from a base of conviction, not political posturing.

Steven D.

You give her too much credit. Like Lyndon Johnson, she's afraid of the Republicans getting too much to her right on foreign policy. It's purely reactive. If she believes anything, it's probably that Democrats need to be hawkish to avoid being portrayed as pansies. A fruit of her McGovern experience in 1972.

different clue

Then she may be misreading that experience. My brain keeps circling back to Hunter S. Thompson's argument that McGovern didn't start falling badly until he was seen visibly seeking to appease the Establishment Democrats that his campaign had just beaten. If Thompson't analysis is correct, McGovern betrayed his own campaign and everyone who worked in it.

But of course the Clintons just saw "evil workers supporting Nixon against our beloved McGovern". I still wonder how much of Clinton's support for NAFTA was driven by a desire for revenge against the working class which voted against his beloved McGovern? Revenge being a dish best served cold, and so forth.

Carolinian

You are probably right, which just makes it worse. No dissuading a fanatic.Hillary doesn't seem like the type who is inclined to admit to mistakes.

Ted Rall says that for once Trump's "s-bombs" are justified.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/15/in-defense-of-trumps-name-calling/

Steven D.

The Honduran coup was a crime that disqualifies her.

[Jul 20, 2016] Donald Trump raises the same issues as The American Conservative: concern about mass immigration, criticism of the foreign policy that took us to war in Iraq, skepticism about free-trade deals.

He raised issues and continued Obama policies
Notable quotes:
"... "Donald Trump is probably not a long-time reader of The American Conservative. Yet those who are instantly recognized the constellation of issues Trump chose to highlight in his campaign: concern about mass immigration, criticism of the foreign policy that took us to war in Iraq, skepticism about free-trade deals. These were the distinguishing traits of Pat Buchanan's campaigns in the 1990s. Trump is no paleoconservative, but he has independently discovered something that sounds a lot like paleoconservatism" [ The American Conservative ]. "That's not a coincidence. The elements of a populist, nationalist right have been present in American politics since at least the end of the Cold War; the cluster of issues common to Trump and Buchanan is a natural set. It isn't necessarily a winning political formula-opportunistic politicians have shunned this combination precisely because they thought it couldn't win-but the economic and cultural conditions that bring it to life are persistent. As long as they exist, "paleoconservatism" will always come back, no matter what happens to campaigns like Buchanan's or Trump's." ..."
naked capitalism
The Voters

"Who Will be President?" This is a "path to victory" interactive graphic that lets you test out various electoral college scenarios [ New York Times ]. "By letting you choose the outcome in the 10 most competitive states, it becomes very clear that Florida is the key to victory for Trump. Without it, it's nearly impossible for him to win" [ PoliticalWire ]. Wasserman Schultz's home state. How delicious

UPDATE "Donald Trump is probably not a long-time reader of The American Conservative. Yet those who are instantly recognized the constellation of issues Trump chose to highlight in his campaign: concern about mass immigration, criticism of the foreign policy that took us to war in Iraq, skepticism about free-trade deals. These were the distinguishing traits of Pat Buchanan's campaigns in the 1990s. Trump is no paleoconservative, but he has independently discovered something that sounds a lot like paleoconservatism" [ The American Conservative ]. "That's not a coincidence. The elements of a populist, nationalist right have been present in American politics since at least the end of the Cold War; the cluster of issues common to Trump and Buchanan is a natural set. It isn't necessarily a winning political formula-opportunistic politicians have shunned this combination precisely because they thought it couldn't win-but the economic and cultural conditions that bring it to life are persistent. As long as they exist, "paleoconservatism" will always come back, no matter what happens to campaigns like Buchanan's or Trump's."

Our Famously Free Press

"Trump, Jr., was too naive to check.hire [sic] a speechwriter willing to do bespoke work rather than recycle, and was too naive to check" [ Bradford DeLong ]. I hope this doesn't get me on some kinda liberal goodthinker hit list , but DeLong seems to angling for work like another former economist, Paul Krugman. He needs to work harder , and on more than proofreading. He should consider putting on his own yellow waders and going through a Clinton speech looking for "bespoke work," as I have, or look at a Sanders speech, which was the same white paper with elbows delivered over and over again. Speechwriting is like that.

Money

"In the year that Donald Trump was transformed from a long-shot presidential candidate into the presumptive Republican nominee, he took on more debt and sold at least $50 million of stocks and bonds. At the same time, the value of his golf courses and his namesake Manhattan tower soared" [ Bloomberg ]. So Trump's candidacy works out for the Trump brand, which is Trump's main asset, literally and metaphorically.

Conventions

Christie on a Clinton presidency: "[A]ll the failures of the Obama years with less charm and more lies" [ US News ]. If Christie maintains the standard as an attack dog, he'll certainly outdo Warren (and who would have thought the two would end up being comparable? It's a funny old world).

"Tuesday was "Make America Work Again" day at the Republican National Convention, which also happened to coincide with the party formally nominating Donald Trump as its nominee" [ The Intercept ]. "But neither jobs nor Trump got much attention as a grab bag of Republican headliners Tuesday spent most of their time demonizing Hillary Clinton and talking about themselves without offering an affirmative case for the nominee or a concrete economic policy agenda." Pivot to the general? In a way, the Republican "Because Clinton!" is a mirror image of the Democrat "Because Trump!" A fun-house mirror, perhaps, but still .

The Trail

Clinton on Kaine: "World-class mayor, governor, and senator and– is one of the most highly respected senators I know" [ NBC ]. "While Clinton went on to praise Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, as well as Elizabeth Warren, it sure seemed like the Kaine stuff was a little too well-rehearsed." Since Clinton is famously scripted, her staff may already have been prepping her.

"Election Update: Clinton's Lead Is As Safe As Kerry's Was In 2004" [Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight] . "What's relatively safe to say is that we'll know a lot more in a month or so." 538's charts are fun. But they're just illustrations.

Interestingly, in 2008 the Clinton campaign accused Obama of plagiarizing from Deval Patrick, though it looks like the both of them were trading riffs [ Snopes ]. So I assume this story will die down now. Not. More on plagiarism here .

"Beyond the clear ethical violations here, there is a larger principle at play in the way that a Republican vision of the world relies on both the manual and intellectual labor of black women, while hating black women in practice" [ Cosmopolitan ].

The problem with this "vision" framing is that it airbrushes Democrat (hence neoliberal (hence Republican too )) economic violence against Black women. Delphine Davis, on Obama's SOTU: "We heard about the economy and giving people a fair shot at opportunity. The president said that 'we're in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history.' But he didn't acknowledge that black women aren't advancing. Black women are more likely to experience wage theft and they are making 64 cents, compared to the 77 cents white women make, to every dollar made by white men in our economy. [ Black Lives Matter] . Tavis Smiley: "On every leading economic issue, in the leading economic issues Black Americans have lost ground in every one of those leading categories. So in the last ten years it hasn't been good for black folk. This is the president's most loyal constituency that didn't gain any ground in that period" (though note poll results at bottom) [ Essence ]. To be clear, I'm not urging either/or here (except in the sense that you can't throw all your troops at a plagiarism dogpile and talk about the economy at the same time); I'm urging both/and. Thought experiment: Suppose we have policies D and R, and economic outcome E, and we set H to "hate." If R + H = E, and D = E, what does H equal?

UPDATE "Mary Susan Rehrer, a delegate from Minnesota, was standing in the hallway, outside of the convention floor posing for photographs in her red and blue light-up Trump cape that had been sewn for her by a 'legal immigrant' (who, in the true entrepreneurial spirit of the GOP convention, has since made a business of making light-up capes.) "I'm in business, OK, and I speak for a living as one of the things that I do. All the best stuff is stolen and there is nothing original, so it's all hocus pocus ' Rehrer said. "We're supposed to share.'" [ Talking Points Memo ]. So there you have the base. And her views are not without merit.

"Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's three delegates at the Republican National Convention cost him and his campaign about $50 million each" [ The Hill ]. See, there is a bright side.

Canova v. Wasserman Schultz

"One former Sanders staffer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, put things bluntly: 'It's the proxy campaign'" [ Miami New Times ]. "Sanders staffers, too, have migrated to South Florida to help." Profile of Canova, including:

Howie Klein, who operates the Blue America Political Action Committee, which raises money for progressive candidates, is a longtime Wasserman Schultz adversary. He recalls cold-calling Canova around that time. "I told him to please, please, please think about running really closely," Klein says. "I called him out of the blue just to tell him how important it is that she can't keep on winning without a challenge. The only way to get out that evil is with a primary."

A rewrite of the MTN article at Jezebel [ Jezebel ]. The new Sanders organization " Our Revolution will target candidates from both local and national campaigns, but one of its more prominent focuses includes Canova."

"Tim Canova, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University, reported raising $1.7 million between April 1 and June 30, while Wasserman Schultz brought in $1.3 million" [ The Hill ]. "Canova's fundraising boost is likely a result of Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-Vt.) May endorsement."

[Jul 20, 2016] Note to plagiarism police Leave Melania alone! by Michael McGough

The problem with this paragraph lifted in not so much that Melania is plagiarizing (she does) but that Michele is blatantly lying. What she said is a blatant, obvious lie: "Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them." Barack for example is a king of "bait and switch", one of the most dishonest Presidents the USA ever has (and the USA has many -- think about Clinton and Bush II). He betrayed all his votes and not once but trice. Throwing them under the bus, with a broad smile and nice words. Michele herself was skating using "affirmative action" bandwagon. It one read her Princeton thesis one would understand that she did not got much out of this privileged university and probably unfairly was awarded her diploma for her gender and the color of her skin, not so much for her academic achievements.
The way MSM launched this attack suggest that they were preparing for something like that. what a neoliberal bastards ;-) Actually I do no know about Michelle (whose Princeton graduation thesis is really extremely weak nonsense -- no signs of work on it at all) , but plagiarism or not, for Melania herself this statement is more or less true (abstracting from republican "meritocracy" memo) -- "From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise; that you treat people with respect." She managed to get to top level of model business on her own, and also proved to be a rather talented jewelry designer on her own right (and this talent was demonstrated by her at young age -- her high school friends report that she never wear jewelry not made by herself). .
Notable quotes:
"... "From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise; that you treat people with respect. ..."
"... The borrowed phrases are trite and generic ..."
"... It's also true, as my colleague David Lauter points out, that the controversy has been a distraction for the Trump campaign. ..."
"... But Democrats (including Michelle Obama) would be wise to play it cool. Even if the mockery is directed at the Trump campaign, Melania Trump will suffer collateral damage - and sympathy for her could redound to her husband's benefit. ..."
Jul 19, 2016 | LA Times

Outrages abound at this week's Republican National Convention, so there is plenty for Democrats and other Trumpophobes to get exercised about. Melania Trump's alleged plagiarism of a Michelle Obama speech isn't one of them.

Granted, it looks as if the potential first lady (or her speechwriters) lifted some passages from the current first lady's speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Viewed synoptically, as New Testament scholars would say, the parallels are striking.

Case seemingly closed. But so what?

  1. Melania Trump (unlike Donald Trump's adult children) is apparently not a campaign adviser. Her speech would have been fluff even if it had been 100% original.
  2. The borrowed phrases are trite and generic. (Michelle Obama is no Neil Kinnock, the lyrical Welsh politician famously ripped off by Joe Biden.)
  3. Even a sophisticated political campaign might make this mistake, and the Trump campaign is far from sophisticated.

The similarity between the two speeches is embarrassing, and so is the insistence by one campaign official that there was "no cribbing." A Republican National Committee strategist ramped up the ridicule by noting that other passages in the speech mirrored language used by a character in "My Little Pony."

It's also true, as my colleague David Lauter points out, that the controversy has been a distraction for the Trump campaign.

But Democrats (including Michelle Obama) would be wise to play it cool. Even if the mockery is directed at the Trump campaign, Melania Trump will suffer collateral damage - and sympathy for her could redound to her husband's benefit.

Leave Melania alone!

[Mar 21, 2016] Paul Krugman Trump Is No Accident

Notable quotes:
"... Trumpsters are against the billionaires in their own way. Bernie Bros are against billionaires in a different manner. Neo liberals are not disposed to engage the billionaires. Crubio are all for the billionaires. While neo libs and Crubio are peas in a pod for international violence for the billionaires' neocon themes. ..."
"... Krugman : "Let's dispel with this fiction that the Trump phenomenon represents some kind of unpredictable intrusion into the normal course of Republican politics." I must have missed Krugman's forecast of the rise of this phenomenon. I'm sure he would have cited a prior column if it existed. What is happening on the US right and left is the same thing happening on the European right and left. The dominant status quo political parties have utterly failed large swathes of the electorate for a long period of time. I think the person who did get this early on was Bill McBride. ..."
"... There is less and less reason to read Krugman columns. Economically, he rarely discusses the policy issues most Americans now want to talk about, and when he does, the discussion is flippant, derivative and superficial. ..."
"... Yesterday's propaganda with little innovation and seldom anything that would be accepted by an academic publication. Does he write that trash? A ghost writer? For his rubber stamp? What he gets paid for the stamp? What did he pay for the Nobel Prize? Starting to make people wonder ..."
"... "The establishment composed of journos, BS-Vending talking heads with well-formulated verbs, bureaucrato-cronies, lobbyists-in training, New Yorker-reading semi-intellectuals, image-conscious empty suits, Washington rent-seekers and other 'well thinking' members of the vocal elites are not getting the point about what is happening and the sterility of their arguments. People are not voting for Trump (or Sanders). People are just voting, finally, to destroy the establishment." ..."
Mar 16, 2016 | Economist's View

...endless austerity and depression would eventually be rejected in a democracy

...the underlying assumption behind the establishment strategy was that voters could be fooled again and again

...That rage was bound to spin out of the establishment's control sooner or later.

ilsm -> DrDick...
Trumpsters are against the billionaires in their own way. Bernie Bros are against billionaires in a different manner. Neo liberals are not disposed to engage the billionaires. Crubio are all for the billionaires. While neo libs and Crubio are peas in a pod for international violence for the billionaires' neocon themes.
New Deal democrat -> pgl...
Krugman : "Let's dispel with this fiction that the Trump phenomenon represents some kind of unpredictable intrusion into the normal course of Republican politics." I must have missed Krugman's forecast of the rise of this phenomenon. I'm sure he would have cited a prior column if it existed. What is happening on the US right and left is the same thing happening on the European right and left. The dominant status quo political parties have utterly failed large swathes of the electorate for a long period of time. I think the person who did get this early on was Bill McBride.

Dan Kervick -> pgl...

There is less and less reason to read Krugman columns. Economically, he rarely discusses the policy issues most Americans now want to talk about, and when he does, the discussion is flippant, derivative and superficial.

Politically, his analyses are no more insightful that those of any number of other routine liberal commentators.

If the stuff that floats your boat is the inflation rate in Japan, or yet another try at the idea that there is no socioeconomic problem that a little bit of additional demand management won't solve, then go ahead - Krugman is still your guy. But from my point of view the world is passing him by.

π day ->Dan Kervick...

Yesterday's propaganda with little innovation and seldom anything that would be accepted by an academic publication. Does he write that trash? A ghost writer? For his rubber stamp? What he gets paid for the stamp? What did he pay for the Nobel Prize? Starting to make people wonder
New Deal democrat -> pgl...
Here's an example:

http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2015/07/sunday-night-futures-greece-says-no.html

"Years ago we discussed how endless austerity and depression would eventually be rejected in a democracy."

Did he specifically foresee Trump_vs_deep_state? No. Did he foresee that alternatives to the status quo would gain traction? Absolutely.

BenIsNotYoda -> DrDick...

Those of us who have lived and run away from socialist democracies (because they do not work) are afraid of Bernie. These are someone else's words that sum it up perfectly.

Socialism sounds great in speech soundbites and on Facebook, but please just keep it there. In practice, it corrodes not only the economy but the human spirit itself, and the ambition and achievement that made modern capitalism possible and brought billions out of poverty. Talking about socialism is a huge luxury, a luxury made possible by successes of capitalism. The idea that more government, regulation and more debt will lead to less risk and cure inequality is dangerous and absurd. And Scandinavia is not a great example, because implementing some socialistic elements AFTER becoming a wealthy capitalistic economy works as long as you dont choke off what got you there in the first place.

Dan Kervick -> BenIsNotYoda...
Scandinavia's form of socialism has been in effect for almost a century. But the US is a classic case for your recommendation. The US isn't Russia or China, trying to jump from an agrarian to socialist economy. The US already knows how to do capitalism, which it has been doing double-time and in spades forever, both in industrial and post-industrial forms. It's now time to mix some sensible socialist elements into the extremist US capitalist formula. All of the market and free-enterprise infrastructure exists here in the US to build a successful Nordic mixed economy socialism on the foundation.
cawley -> BenIsNotYoda...
I'm just dying to see some examples of social democracies that people are fleeing ...

Dan Kervick -> cawley...

Well, I guess Anders Breivik doesn't like modern Norway all that much. For almost everyone else, though, it's A-OK.
Dan Kervick -> BenIsNotYoda...
It's not an either/or thing. All modern developed economies have some combination of liberalized institutions and socialized institutions. Does socialism work? For some things, definitely yes: health care, education, retirement, for example. We could also do more to reduce gross income inequalities by partially socializing income flows without getting rid of private property, private enterprises and the incentive system.
BenIsNotYoda -> Dan Kervick...
Agreed. Single payor healthcare, public education etc should be done. But, if people have the delusion that they can raise marginal tax rates much higher from here (40%+8% state + 8%FICA+3.5%Obamacare+7%sales tax+%real estate = roughly 70%) and are not going to kill any incentive to work, they are wrong. and no, people dont have ways to get around taxes unless you are private equity fund managers. There. That IS the marginal tax rate right now. I said it. Have at it socialists.
Chris G -> cawley...
> I'm just dying to see some examples of social democracies that people are fleeing ...

Be patient. You never know what the next few hundred years might bring.

Jesse :

"The establishment composed of journos, BS-Vending talking heads with well-formulated verbs, bureaucrato-cronies, lobbyists-in training, New Yorker-reading semi-intellectuals, image-conscious empty suits, Washington rent-seekers and other 'well thinking' members of the vocal elites are not getting the point about what is happening and the sterility of their arguments. People are not voting for Trump (or Sanders). People are just voting, finally, to destroy the establishment."

Nassim Taleb Fred C. Dobbs -> pgl...

The Chicago Anti-Trump Protest Was Only the Beginning
http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/the-chicago-anti-trump-protest-was-only-the-beginning
via @JohnCassidy - NYer - March 13

For the past eight months, Donald Trump's divisive, racially tinged Presidential campaign has been tearing apart the Republican Party. Over the next eight months, if Trump wraps up the G.O.P. nomination, it could well have a similar impact on the country at large.

The fracas at a University of Illinois at Chicago campus on Friday, in which hundreds of protesters clashed with Trump supporters live on national television, shocked many people. But something like this was inevitable once Trump took his rabble-rousing campaign from predominantly white suburbs and exurbs to polyglot Northern cities, which are home to many of the people, including Hispanics and Muslims, who serve as the objects of Trump's rhetoric, as well as to an energetic left-wing protest movement.

The effort to shut down Trump's rally was prompted by anger that the New York billionaire would seek to bring his campaign to the college, which has a very diverse student body. As Alex Seitz-Wald detailed in a report for NBC News, a number of student organizations decided at a meeting last Monday to organize a protest. "He's marginalized and dehumanized a lot of different groups, and they all come together," Juan Rosas, one of the student organizers, told Seitz-Wald. After a student posted a petition on MoveOn.org, outside groups and activists also got involved. "Everyone, get your tickets to this. We're all going in!!!! ‪#‎

[Mar 04, 2016] Wait, Max Boot is denouncing Trump for his admiration of dictators? The same Max Boot who lectured us on how we need to stand with a brutal Islamist theocracy in Saudi Arabia while it carpet bombs Yemen and beheads political prisoners?

www.theamericanconservative.com

The signatories are well within their rights to reject Trump, and at least some of their complaints are accurate. One problem with this letter is that several of the complaints they level against Trump could be lodged against the other candidates still in the race, but there is no similar effort being made to oppose or criticize them. More to the point, there is not even a brief acknowledgement that Republican foreign policy failures have helped Trump succeed, nor is there any recognition that the hawkish obsession with "resolve" and "strength" have made Republican voters receptive to Trump's unrealistic and reckless promises. Robert Farley made a related point earlier today...

... ... ...

I agree that his rhetoric on torture is deplorable and should be condemned, but then we should also condemn other candidates that endorse the use of torture. We should also condemn the previous administration for using torture on detainees, which had the effect of making support for illegal and immoral methods into a sick litmus test for many on the right. Another question that the signatories don't attempt to address is whether the other candidates are even more dangerous when we have a very good idea of how they would conduct foreign policy once in office. They are appalled by Trump's "hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric," as well they should be, but how is that worse than the other candidates' willingness to inflict death and destruction on predominantly Muslim countries again and again?

EliteCommInc. says: March 3, 2016 at 10:25 am

I have got to have a laugh at the letter and anyone the least bit familiar with US foreign policy should.

It's a little late for the signers and writers to be claiming some manner of moral high ground on foreign policy.

I guess the trick is to take each signatory and measure their views against the rather weak positions in the letter. One would think that given their education and connection they'd make a more compelling case. These are the promoters and designers of the the policies that brought us here. Its a little late to disavow what you have wrought.

What they have done is wiped out any ethical veracity they have for considering their views.

They supported the invasions of

Iraq
Afghanistan
The dismantling of stable democracies in Syria, Egypt, Libya and the Ukraine.
They have advanced arguments in support of enhanced interrogations
They have supported treating prisoners from th battle field as terrorists
They are responsible for the quagmired mess that is Guantanamo

Even the cliche'd "pot calling the kettle black" doesn't paint the hypocrisy they wear.

Whatever his rhetorical short comings in making his case and his case is very strong and salient. He is a moderate in the light of most of these signatories and peacenik in light of several.

Ben Mayo says: March 3, 2016 at 10:27 am
Why don't the neo-cons, the republican party bosses, and the Democrat machine just go ahead and embrace? Make public the consummation of their union that we all know has existed for some time now? Then let this loathsome Hydra meet her fate against Heracles in November. The harder they come, the harder they fall, one and all. I can't wait.
Ian G. says: March 3, 2016 at 10:52 am
Wait, Max Boot is denouncing Trump for his admiration of dictators? The same Max Boot who lectured us on how we need to "stand with" a brutal Islamist theocracy in Saudi Arabia while it carpet bombs Yemen and beheads political prisoners?
climber says: March 3, 2016 at 10:53 am
While I agree Trump is a huge risk and a sub-optimal candidate, if he as President could make progress on the following, I'd be pleased.

IMMIGRATION: Stop illegal immigration, force self-deportation by enforcing hiring laws on business, reduce HB1 visas, etc.

JOBS: I'm OK with light protectionism and slightly higher prices to keep jobs here. See Harley Davidson

FOREIGN POLICY: Tap Bacevich (or someone similar in outlook) as an advisor and stop our fruitless meddling around the world. It's the Department of Defense, not Offense.

Clint says: March 3, 2016 at 10:58 am
Eliot Cohen,
"Hillary is the lesser evil, by a large margin."

Cohen helped organize The Open Letter.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/trump-clinton-neoconservatives-220151

Randal says: March 3, 2016 at 11:06 am
" Trump gets a lot wrong on foreign policy. "

It's precisely his lack of experience that should get him a pass on some of the nonsense he puts out on foreign policy. At least he has an excuse, unlike say Clinton.

And it's not unusual for US presidents to learn foreign policy on the job. The odds are that an obviously intelligent and competent man such as Trump will behave more sensibly when he has had a chance to get on top of the issues, and will likely back off many of these positions.

With Clinton, Cruz or Rubio, however, the fear is precisely the opposite – that they will probably actually try to do the things they say they think ought to be done. That prospect ought to be truly terrifying.

The worry about the more mainstream candidates such as

EliteCommInc. says: March 3, 2016 at 11:48 am
Wait, Max Boot is denouncing Trump for his admiration of dictators?"

Every single admin. in US history has embraced dictators. We do so because

1. it serves our interests and

2. the manner in which countries govern themselves is largely theirs to choose

The signatories are being deliberately obtuse and wholly selective of US foreign policy history.

Irony Abounds says: March 3, 2016 at 11:55 am
As many have noted, the biggest problem with the signatories of this letter is their support of past policies that were an utter disaster. And it is so ironic that they mention, albeit briefly, Trump's threat to civil liberties, which I find to be one of the most frightening aspects of his character, when they have strongly supported torture, kidnapping and indefinite imprisonment in the past.
Mr. Libertarian says: March 3, 2016 at 12:48 pm
The "foreign policy experts" are the exact people I've attacking and criticizing for years now, so of course I'm not listening to them now. I hold them directly responsible for the past twenty-five years of failure, and the fact that they won't even pretend to have to learned anything makes them worse than Hillary Clinton.

In the past, they either supported, explained away, or ignored: 1) torture; 2) U.S. supporting dictators and authoritarian regimes; 3) illegal, expensive, and/or ill-conceived wars; 4) violations of civil liberties; 5) expansive executive powers for the president; 6) demeaning and degrading their political opponents; and 7) sweeping and irresponsible rhetoric from the president. To call them rank hypocrites goes without saying at this point.

They know when Trump's in office, the gravy train ends for them that's the real cause of concern, since their parasitism comes to an end.

Chris Chuba says: March 3, 2016 at 1:12 pm
And this is exactly why I am a Trumpet, a Trumpeteer, and would be willing to call myself a Trumperican rather than vote for any of the establishment candidates.

I know that Trump will have some people like this as advisors because they represent 95% of the foreign policy establishment, I just hope that he has a couple of sane rationalists in whatever staff he assembles.

Trump at least shows the ability for critical thinking and skepticism, a skill that all of the other candidates completely lack.

1. After the 2nd debate there was a concerted effort to portray him as an unschooled novice after the bookish Carly gave precise answers on which military assets she would use to provoke Russia. Trump held up to the pressure and didn't waver.
2. In the last debate, Trump gave a common sense answer that being a mediator requires impartiality.
3. In the debate prior to that, he pointed out that you can't be all over the place and fight everybody all at once and be obsessed with Russia, Assad, Iran, and ISIS, and said that he would focus on ISIS and not the others.
4. He rebuked the notion that we should be angry at Russia and China for not being submissive to us and pursuing their own interests.

Is he perfect? No but he is the closest thing to an adult that we have at the moment.

jk says: March 3, 2016 at 1:34 pm
Stages of Grief for the touchy feely GOP: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance

GOP Statisticians Develop New Branch Of Math To Formulate Scenarios In Which Trump Doesn't Win Nomination

Fran Macadam says: March 3, 2016 at 2:24 pm
"I agree that his rhetoric on torture is deplorable and should be condemned, but then we should also condemn other candidates that endorse the use of torture."

The essential analysis must be "why" we are using torture, other than treating it as a standalone phenomenon, as if it exists apart from the unnecessary, illegal and immoral wars. It doesn't exist apart, it is one of the consequences of desperation in waging wars and the fact that wars are being waged is the justification for it, as a necessary means to win.

Torture continues, but is redefined legally by hairsplitting constitutional lawyers intent on obfuscation by Orwellian redefinitions and secret memos and carried out by secret Presidential covert orders. That is one of the essential reasons that secrecy about the practice continues, why no one has ever been brought to account for it and that those who have engaged in any whistleblowing action have been subject to draconian Espionage Act retaliation. If it were not so, this would hardly be so obsessive. Why? Because the wars proliferate, therefore this behavior that has become part of the arsenal cannot be renounced except in a propaganda sense.

The end to torture will come when the foreign war addiction ends. Given that Trump is the only candidate appalled by the waste and futile destruction involved in waging the failed wars and wants to end the trillions necessary to keep fighting them and spend it instead for domestic infrastructure, this will end torture in fact.

It's a simple equation. End war, you end torture by removing the incentive to use it as a means of war. Deeds, not words, will accomplish that in reality, not the duplicitous language of those who rebrand assassination as "the disposition matrix."

Disinformatics says: March 3, 2016 at 2:46 pm
We need more on the genesis and development of that letter. At the bottom in small print it says it was "coordinated" by Eliot Cohen. Given that Cohen has advocated for war against multiple Muslim countries and was a leading advocate for the Iraq War, quite a few signatory names seem "off".

For example, it's hard to believe Dan Drezner would want his name to be associated with Cohen's track record of bad judgment leading to bloody disaster. I don't mean Drezner shouldn't condemn Trump. I mean that reasonable, decent chaps like Drezner, applying the same moral and practical calculus that obliges them to condemn Trump, should not permit their names to be associated with Cohen's.

Our failure to shame and shun Cohen and other neoconservatives and warhawks for their roles in our recent strategic and humanitarian disasters, in hundreds of thousands of needless deaths and trillions in wasted treasure, continues to compromise and distort public discourse. That someone with Cohen's history can still imagine himself in a position to influence public opinion is shocking, really, a reminder of the drop in public and intellectual standards that goes very far in explaining the rise of Trump himself.

The letter should be audited, if only to confirm who among its supposed signatories actually agreed to have their anti-Trump opinion "coordinated" by someone implicated in more death, waste, and damage to America than David Duke and his invisible empire will ever inflict.

(As of this writing the letter as linked above no longer appears.)

Melvin Backstrom says: March 3, 2016 at 3:39 pm
EliteCommInc.,

"The dismantling of stable democracies in Syria, Egypt, Libya." Not sure where you're getting your information from, but these three countries have NEVER been stable democracies. Stable autocracies more like it.

Chris Chuba says: March 3, 2016 at 3:53 pm
Melvin Backstrom, you are correct that Libya, Syria, and even Egypt were not democracies but they were stable govts prior to outside attempts to overthrow them. Gaddafi would have defeated the rebels there were it not for NATO intervention.

The larger point is that the neocons believe in disruptive regime change to promote, U.S. approved Democracies. The neocons are truly activists.

Over the years, Putin has been repeating a consistent theme pleading that the undermining of existing govt institutions breeds chaos. We can call it 'the Putin doctrine' and it stands in stark contrast to Neocon ideology.

Even in Ukraine, where Putin is most vulnerable of hypocrisy, he has been very cautious. He has no interest in trying to seize all of Ukraine and rule over a people who hate Russia. Instead, he took a small area heavily populated by Russians that was vital to their security interests. In the Donbass, he prevented the rebels from advancing out of their territory and negotiated a treaty where they would remain part of Ukraine.

Ken Tratomp says: March 3, 2016 at 4:38 pm
This throwing down the gauntlet by establishment doyens makes me want to throw down a similar gauntlet by combing through National Review's archives for Pollyannaish quotes on trade pacts, and then posting them online. That will be a graphic way of making clear that the establishment (including the signatories of the Open Letter) are either clueless about what their beloved "Washington Consensus" means for ordinary Americans, or they just don't care. Idiots.
Myron Hudson says: March 3, 2016 at 6:56 pm Having these fools speak out against Trump pretty much cements my support for him at least in the primaries. I'm all about electing the least dangerous person.
Colonel Blimp says: March 3, 2016 at 7:04 pm If you want an image of the neocons' would-be future, imagine Max Boot stamping on a human face forever.
Barry says: March 3, 2016 at 8:24 pm
Mr. Libertarian: "In the past, they either supported, explained away, or ignored: 1) torture; 2) U.S. supporting dictators and authoritarian regimes; 3) illegal, expensive, and/or ill-conceived wars; 4) violations of civil liberties; 5) expansive executive powers for the president; 6) demeaning and degrading their political opponents; and 7) sweeping and irresponsible rhetoric from the president. To call them rank hypocrites goes without saying at this point."

I'm astounded at the raw stinking open hypocrisy of these guys. You can look at their list of foreign policy criticisms of Trump, and almost every single one is something that they supported, justified and helped carry out.

[Mar 03, 2016] Why Romney Fired on Fort Trumpter. The GOP civil war is now truly underway. by Jacob Heilbrunn

Notable quotes:
"... Odds are that if Trump is close to the nomination, he will offer Cruz the vice-presidential slot and Cruz gets to maintain his anti-establishment bona fides. ..."
www.politico.com

But despite his substantial lead in the polls, it's not yet clear whether Trump will be the Robert E. Lee or Ulysses Grant of this war, or how total the war will be. Trump has not locked down the nomination, and the anti-Trump establishment is pursuing three lines of attack against him.

[Dec 30, 2015] Trumps Bill Clinton misogyny barbs are hypocrisy. His base wont care

It is interesting the Guardian support this warmonger neocon. Another proof the it is Blairite "Third Way" propagandist. A neoliberal, moderate, right wing newspaper now.
Notable quotes:
"... Good luck with that ..."
"... Trump is waging political war the way that Patriots coach Bill Belichick wins football games: take away the opponent's best weapon, then play to your strengths. ..."
"... On Monday, Trump tweeted : "If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women's card on me, she's wrong!" ..."
"... really like ..."
"... Hillary Clinton – be it her demeanor in front of a crowd or the manufactured scandals and mischaracterizations by conservative media and officials – just doesn't connect with audiences ..."
"... Yes he does and his wife is the hypocrite for her stance on women's rights and enlisting the support of her husband who has the deserved label of being a womanizer ..."
www.theguardian.com

the first reaction to ... Donald Trump criticizing Bill Clinton's scuzzy personal record with women should be, Good luck with that. But Trump is waging political war the way that Patriots coach Bill Belichick wins football games: take away the opponent's best weapon, then play to your strengths.

It just happens that playing to Trump's strengths involves sounding like an abusive comment thread with the long-term memory of a mosquito.

On Monday, Trump tweeted: "If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women's card on me, she's wrong!" It's more pointed than his general, aimless displays of boorishness and chauvinism but, like using Megyn Kelly's alleged menses to explain her justifiably holding him to account in the first Republican debate, Trump was taking a tactical approach.

The Clinton campaign does plans to "unleash" Bill Clinton on the stump, and people really like Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton – be it her demeanor in front of a crowd or the manufactured scandals and mischaracterizations by conservative media and officials – just doesn't connect with audiences as well as Bill does; but then, Bill's probably the most charismatic politician of the last two generations.

Mihai Filip, 30 Dec 2015 23:43

I don't have a dog in this fight, nevertheless I've read on Breitbart the accusations for wich Bill Clinton settled out of court for 850k and that lady claimed he came on to her with his errect penis asking her to kiss it. I think the liberal media must start planning some sort of retreat on this issue before going on the suicidal path shown in this article, because this becomes an indefensible political position. Bill knew that already, that's why he paid the 850.000 dollars.

Martin Joseph -> lefthalfback2, 30 Dec 2015 23:56

You forgot to mention her corruption. Which makes her the perfect Clinton candidate.

Todd Owens, 30 Dec 2015 19:02

This article is peak identity politics. However negatively you feel about Trump the simple fact of the matter is President Clinton has a horrible record with women.

SemperTi Todd Owens, 30 Dec 2015 19:11

Yes he does and his wife is the hypocrite for her stance on women's rights and enlisting the support of her husband who has the deserved label of being a womanizer and when outed directly or indirectly attacked those women in the press.

[Dec 29, 2015] Not a bad bumper sticker: Hillary for Endless War

Notable quotes:
"... Not a bad bumper sticker: Hillary for Endless War ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
nycTerrierist

Not a bad bumper sticker: Hillary for Endless War

tongorad

It seems that some racism-botherers are not that concerned about Hilary's perpetual war against social services, either. Priorities, priorities.

[Dec 29, 2015] The Fed and Financial Reform – Reflections on Sen. Sanders op-Ed

Notable quotes:
"... The obvious candidate for this dark force [correlation between (rising) inequality and (low) growth] is crony capitalism. When a country succumbs to cronyism, friends of the rulers are able to appropriate large amounts of wealth for themselves -- for example, by being awarded government-protected monopolies over certain markets, as in Russia after the fall of communism. That will obviously lead to inequality of income and wealth. It will also make the economy inefficient, since money is flowing to unproductive cronies. Cronyism may also reduce growth by allowing the wealthy to exert greater influence on political policy, creating inefficient subsidies for themselves and unfair penalties for their rivals. ..."
"... The real problem is that money does not go to where it should go, as we see for example in the United States. The money does not flow into the real economy, because the transmission mechanism is broken. That is why we have a bubble in the financial system. The answer is not to tighten monetary policy, but to reform monetary policy so as to ensure that the money gets to the right place... ..."
"... As Stiglitz notes, the transmission mechanisms are broken. Economists trickle down monetary policy might work in theory, but not in practice, as we have seen for the last seven years, when low rates dont trickle down and were wasted instead on asset speculation by the 1%. ..."
"... Reform of the Fed, and the end of cronyism are essential to making sure that the stimulus of low rates gets to Main Street, to ordinary people, and not primarily to asset speculators. ..."
"... The recent decision by the Fed to raise interest rates is the latest example of the rigged economic system. Big bankers and their supporters in Congress have been telling us for years that runaway inflation is just around the corner. They have been dead wrong each time. Raising interest rates now is a disaster for small business owners who need loans to hire more workers and Americans who need more jobs and higher wages. As a rule, the Fed should not raise interest rates until unemployment is lower than 4 percent. Raising rates must be done only as a last resort - not to fight phantom inflation. ..."
"... And in one sentence Summers illustrates exactly why we dodged a bullet in not appointing Summers to be Fed Chair. Preserving the power of the Fed is not the most important policy. Changing the Fed composition so that it is more consumer friendly and not dominated by Wall Street interests is the most important policy change needed. ..."
"... the Balkanized character of US banking regulation is indefensible and would be ended. The worst regulatory idea of the 20th century-the dual banking system-persists into the 21st. The idea is that we have two systems one regulated by the States and the Fed and the other regulated by the OCC so banks have choice. With ambitious regulators eager to expand their reach, the inevitable result is a race to the bottom. ..."
"... Summers is also calling for higher capital requirements. Excellent stuff! ..."
Dec 29, 2015 | Economist's View

'The Fed and Financial Reform – Reflections on Sen. Sanders op-Ed'

This is the beginning of a long response from Larry Summers to an op-ed by Bernie Sanders:
The Fed and Financial Reform – Reflections on Sen. Sanders op-Ed : Bernie Sanders had an op Ed in the New York Times on Fed reform last week that provides an opportunity to reflect on the Fed and financial reform more generally. I think that Sanders is right in his central point that financial policy is overly influenced by financial interests to its detriment and that it is essential that this be repaired.

At the same time, reform requires careful reflection if it is not to be counterproductive. And it is important in approaching issues of reform not to give ammunition to right wing critics of the Fed who would deny it the capacity to engage in the kind of crisis responses that have judged in their totality been successful in responding to the financial crisis.

The most important policy priority with respect to the Fed is protecting it from stone age monetary ideas like a return to the gold standard, or turning policymaking over to a formula, or removing the dual mandate commanding the Fed to worry about unemployment as well as inflation. ...

JohnH said...
Disagree!!! There is more to this than just interest rates. There is the matter of how the policy gets implemented--who gets low rates. Currently the low rates serve mostly the 1%, who profit enormously from them. Case in point: Mort Zuckerberg's 1% mortgage!

"The obvious candidate for this dark force [correlation between (rising) inequality and (low) growth] is crony capitalism. When a country succumbs to cronyism, friends of the rulers are able to appropriate large amounts of wealth for themselves -- for example, by being awarded government-protected monopolies over certain markets, as in Russia after the fall of communism. That will obviously lead to inequality of income and wealth. It will also make the economy inefficient, since money is flowing to unproductive cronies. Cronyism may also reduce growth by allowing the wealthy to exert greater influence on political policy, creating inefficient subsidies for themselves and unfair penalties for their rivals."

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-12-24/cronyism-causes-the-worst-kind-of-inequality

As we know (although most here steadfastly ignore it) the Fed is rife with crony capitalism. As Bernie pointed out, 4 of the regional governors are from Goldman Sachs. Other examples are abundant. Quite simply, the system is rigged to benefit the few, minimizing any potential trickle down.

If a broad economic recovery is the goal, ending cronyism at the Fed is likely to be far more effective that low interest rates channeled only to the 1%.

JohnH said in reply to JohnH...
Stiglitz:

The real problem is that money does not go to where it should go, as we see for example in the United States. The money does not flow into the real economy, because the transmission mechanism is broken. That is why we have a bubble in the financial system. The answer is not to tighten monetary policy, but to reform monetary policy so as to ensure that the money gets to the right place...

Small and medium enterprises cannot borrow money at zero interest rates - not even a private person, I wish I could do that (laughs). I'm more worried about the loan interest rates, which are still too high. Access for small and medium enterprises to credit is too expensive. That's why it is so important that the transmission mechanism work..."
http://www.cash.ch/news/alle/stiglitz-billiggeld-lost-kein-problem-3393853-448

And let's not forget consumer credit rates, which barely dropped during the Great Recession and are still well above 10%. Even mortgage lending, which primarily benefits the affluent, have been stagnant for years despite historically low rates.

As Stiglitz notes, the transmission mechanisms are broken. Economists' trickle down monetary policy might work in theory, but not in practice, as we have seen for the last seven years, when low rates don't trickle down and were wasted instead on asset speculation by the 1%.

Reform of the Fed, and the end of cronyism are essential to making sure that the stimulus of low rates gets to Main Street, to ordinary people, and not primarily to asset speculators.

Peter K. said in reply to JohnH...

Bernie Sanders:

"The recent decision by the Fed to raise interest rates is the latest example of the rigged economic system. Big bankers and their supporters in Congress have been telling us for years that runaway inflation is just around the corner. They have been dead wrong each time. Raising interest rates now is a disaster for small business owners who need loans to hire more workers and Americans who need more jobs and higher wages. As a rule, the Fed should not raise interest rates until unemployment is lower than 4 percent. Raising rates must be done only as a last resort - not to fight phantom inflation. "

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/23/opinion/bernie-sanders-to-rein-in-wall-street-fix-the-fed.html

EMichael said in reply to Peter K....

It is hilarious.

"He's right! But his policies are wrong!"

You couldn't make this up......

JF said...
The financial system reform legislation in 2017 will also need to include these matters:

1. Licensure fees and higher and more differential income taxation rates based on the type of financial trading ratios the entities have (in order to direct more emphasis to real-economy lending and away from speculative and leveraged positions used in the financial asset trading marketplaces, so hedge funds probably would face the highest rates in income taxation). For a certain period after enactment these added taxes would be payable by the banks using their excess reserves, which will simply be eliminated until the reserve accounts return to the historically normal period when excess reserves were very small (there would no longer be a need for IOER, as the excess would be eliminated by operation of the taxation statutes). Attaching added ways & means statutes to all the financial service entities also serves to 'cover' some more of huge financial risk held by society and produced by them while the success of this huge sector actually contributes to the financing of self-government - which is also an indirect way to attach high Net Worth being used).

2. New statutory provisions need to reach any and all entities in the financial community regardless of definitions based on the functions they serve or provide (or the way they are named - so yes, the prior separation for deposit-management banking from investing activities can still happen, but this only helps to define which of the differential provisions apply, not help the entity escape them). Perhaps as a result Bank Holding Companies and other large entities won't use a complex network of hundreds of subsidiaries as these would not then serve as a way to avoid taxation, regulatory standards on what are prudent expectations, or supervision; or be used simply to obfuscate -- so investors and regulators can't see the truth of matters.

3. The newly named central bank needs to hold the discretion to buy Treasury bonds directly from the Treasury. This would discipline these fundamental asset-trading marketplaces and the huge primary dealer group of entities, and weaken the fox-and-hen-house influence on public finance.

4. New accounting approaches for the central bank would clarify what happens should the Congress direct redemption amounts or asset sales for the public's purposes. A good portion of the current FRB's book of owned assets can be redeemed or sold without affecting the 'power' of the central bank, and the proceeds used then, for example, to lower payroll taxes via a direct transfer to the social security trust fund's set of accounts).

Senator Sanders, good stuff. Bring out the vote, let us get others in Congress with whom you can work.

BillB said...
Summers: "The most important policy priority with respect to the Fed is protecting it from stone age monetary ideas like a return to the gold standard, or turning policymaking over to a formula, or removing the dual mandate commanding the Fed to worry about unemployment as well as inflation."

And in one sentence Summers illustrates exactly why we dodged a bullet in not appointing Summers to be Fed Chair. Preserving the power of the Fed is not the most important policy. Changing the Fed composition so that it is more consumer friendly and not dominated by Wall Street interests is the most important policy change needed.

Summers argument is the same we always hear from so-called "centrists." "You hippies should shut up because you are helping the opposition."

You hear the same sort of argument with respect to Black Lives Matter.

pgl said in reply to pgl...

On financial regulation - Summers is spot on here:

"the Balkanized character of US banking regulation is indefensible and would be ended. The worst regulatory idea of the 20th century-the dual banking system-persists into the 21st. The idea is that we have two systems one regulated by the States and the Fed and the other regulated by the OCC so banks have choice. With ambitious regulators eager to expand their reach, the inevitable result is a race to the bottom."

It is called regulatory capture.

Summers is also calling for higher capital requirements. Excellent stuff!

[Dec 29, 2015] Trump vs Bernie

...The Donald is running to the left of Hillary on economic policy, fiscal policy and foreign policy. She ran to the right so fast she may have tripped over herself to get there.

Notable quotes:
"... I love ya Bernie, but if you think Clinton wants to defeat right-wing extremism in this country - rather than use it as an excuse why during her term she couldn't get all those progressive things she said she favored in order to win the primary while further lining the pockets of her benefactors - we disagree about the nature of the threat. ..."
"... "But at the end of the day, the DNC, Hillary Clinton and myself - we want to defeat right-wing extremism in this country." ..."
"... I was hoping against hope that this dude might even be a slight approximation of the real McCoy – but this comment is the tell. Bernie is a clown. ..."
"... "That would be almost 19 percent of our pretax income." ..."
"... Another Atlantic article, the Great Republican Revolt, which analyzes the failure of the republican elites to present an acceptable presidential candidate to their base. For the most part, I think the author is accurate in his analysis of the factors in play. I would love to see this same sort of article on the Democratic party elites. I believe they are just as clueless and just as vulnerable to a Trump like candidate. ..."
"... http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/01/the-great-republican-revolt/419118/ ..."
"... Otherwise, why in the world would we be constantly force fed Mrs. Clinton over just about anybody else, by not only the MSM, which barely covers the Democratic contest anyway, being too busy with the Klown Kar, but the so-called "bloggerverse" which also seems totally in the bag for Clinton? ..."
"... This tendency many have to transform all apparent kicking down into an allegedly real desire to kick up, strikes me as wishful thinking at best. When I think back on the kiss up, kick down people I've encountered in my own life and times–and one in particular stands out here– they most certainly were not kicking me because what they really wanted to do was kick the person above them in the hierarchy. Oh, no. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
edmondo

Bernie Sanders: Why Trump voters should back me

The more likely scenario might be the reverse since I doubt Bernie will be around after March 1st.
As abhorrent as his immigration policies are, The Donald is running to the left of Hillary on economic policy, fiscal policy and foreign policy. She ran to the right so fast she may have tripped over herself to get there.

craazyman

A /bernie_sanders.Trump ticket could win with 70% of the vote.

They have more in common than they realize. Or maybe Trump's Performance Art wouldn't let him be a VP. But this could be real! It doesn't have to be just in his imagination.

He could play VP and be VP. He could even criticize Sanders and get away with it. Oscar criticized Felix and they still shared an apartment. They even stayed roommates after Felix took Oscar to small claims court. That was the famous "When you assume, you make an "ass" out of "u" and "me" episode.

This is a critical moment and they can both see common ground and take a step toward the change we need. Not the change we believed in but never got. One small step for two men, a giant leap for mankind.

Brindle

I occasionally check in on Trump's twitter–often entertaining. Here's one from a few hours ago where he hits at the bi-partisan economy:

-"Many of the great jobs that the people of our country want are long gone, shipped to other countries. We now are part time, sad! I WILL FIX!"-

I hope Trump is the GOP nominee, could not stay awake if it is the somnabulant Jeb Bush

MyLessThanPrimeBeef

My guess is he is going after all the different single-issue voters who can block out whatever they don't like about Trump, because, for each, he has that one single issue they care about.

Nigelk

"We have had our differences of opinions with the DNC," he said. "But at the end of the day, the DNC, Hillary Clinton and myself - we want to defeat right-wing extremism in this country."

I love ya Bernie, but if you think Clinton wants to defeat right-wing extremism in this country - rather than use it as an excuse why during her term she couldn't get all those progressive things she said she favored in order to win the primary while further lining the pockets of her benefactors - we disagree about the nature of the threat.

3.14e-9

It seems like that, doesn't it? Many of us want him to hit back harder. But I'm wondering whether the lawsuit got them thinking real hard about their split voter base. How likely is it that either of them will win the general election without a substantial number of the other's supporters? Sure, Bernie said he would support Hillary if he lost the primary, but many of his followers are making it clear they won't vote for her under any circumstances.

There's already talk of organizing a campaign to write him in, which could be disastrous for her. If he wins, he may or may not be able to defeat the Republican candidate without a good number of Hillary's base, so he can't risk p-ssing them off by beating up on her. I'm starting to think that the limited number of debates might not be such a disadvantage for him after all.

tongorad

"But at the end of the day, the DNC, Hillary Clinton and myself - we want to defeat right-wing extremism in this country."

I was hoping against hope that this dude might even be a slight approximation of the real McCoy – but this comment is the tell. Bernie is a clown.

Carolinian

But according to Dem shills like Krugman Obiecare is going to "nudge" us along towards a better system. Just be patient. Or don't read Krugman.

Katniss Everdeen

Forgot to note that the "healthcare" insurance company "Oscar," mentioned in the article, was started by Joshua Kushner, Ivanka Trump's brother-in-law.

I don't know what that means, but it sounds like it might be important.

Donald Trump "used" to be a single payer supporter.

Synoia

"That would be almost 19 percent of our pretax income."

That is certainly proportional to the Medical Industry's share of GDP. Seems fair to me /s.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef

That's just the premium portion.

To receive actual health care and obtain prescription drugs, they will have to fork over more of their pretax income.

Synoia

True. But Profit!!!

Jagger

Another Atlantic article, the Great Republican Revolt, which analyzes the failure of the republican elites to present an acceptable presidential candidate to their base. For the most part, I think the author is accurate in his analysis of the factors in play. I would love to see this same sort of article on the Democratic party elites. I believe they are just as clueless and just as vulnerable to a Trump like candidate.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/01/the-great-republican-revolt/419118/

flora

Very good read. Thanks for the link. GOP pundits express bewilderment about Trump's appeal to the base. Said pundits should read this article.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef

Base to pundits: Come check out the base(ment) of the Metropolis Hotel.

PQS

"I believe they are just as clueless and just as vulnerable to a Trump like candidate."

This.

Otherwise, why in the world would we be constantly force fed Mrs. Clinton over just about anybody else, by not only the MSM, which barely covers the Democratic contest anyway, being too busy with the Klown Kar, but the so-called "bloggerverse" which also seems totally in the bag for Clinton?

JTFaraday

re: Pitch: "If you really want to tick off the elites, elect a Socialist!"

This tendency many have to transform all apparent kicking down into an allegedly real desire to kick up, strikes me as wishful thinking at best. When I think back on the kiss up, kick down people I've encountered in my own life and times–and one in particular stands out here– they most certainly were not kicking me because what they really wanted to do was kick the person above them in the hierarchy. Oh, no.

They're kicking exactly who they want to kick. I'm waiting for someone to ask if Trump is really going to be their willing tool. That was the real question.

Synoia

Trump is really going to be their willing tool

Not a chance. For his friends, yes. However, I'm willing to bet Trump has a private enemies list, and I'd not want to feature upon that list.

hunkerdown

That's only because they're not used to being kicked back from below. Every manager knows that's just a training problem.

Synoia

CITE: The $1 billion city that nobody calls home CNN.

Ah a perfect model of a mid 1950s American city, with 35,000 residents. What a predictor of the future.

No high rises, completely walk able, no pesky historic homes, and a WalMart.

Wow, that's so forward looking.

Now what else could we do with $1 Billion? Take a bite out of homelessness?

Jack Parsons

"Others have suggested, half in jest, that should Trump win the nomination, the GOP might have to go third party - against its own nominee."

They already did that to Ron Paul in 2012. Ain't no new thang!

[Dec 27, 2015] All GOP prez wannabees have tax plans featuring drastically lower top-tier rates (except for Rubio), much lower corporate rates, and some appealing breaks for the middle class

economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs said... December 26, 2015 at 07:53 PM
(All GOP prez wannabees have tax plans featuring drastically lower top-tier rates (except for Rubio), much lower corporate rates, and some appealing breaks for the middle class.

Also jacking up deficits & nat'l debt yet again.)

The GOP Candidates' Tax Plans - WSJ - Nov 9
http://graphics.wsj.com/elections/2016/gop-candidates-tax-plans/

PolitiFact's guide to the Republican tax plans (so far) - Nov 5
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2015/nov/05/politifacts-guide-republican-tax-plans-so-far/ Reply Saturday, December 26, 2015 at 07:53 PM

pgl -> Fred C. Dobbs...
"Calls for a single-rate system based on Biblical principle of tithing." - Carson is a lunatic.

Then there's CARLY and her 3 page tax code. What a dope.

Reply Sunday, December 27, 2015 at 01:53 AM

Fred C. Dobbs -> pgl...
Rubio & Cruz offer nothing less crazy.

Marco Rubio's Tax Plan Gives Top 1% An
Average Tax Cut of More than $220,000 a Year
http://ctj.org/ctjreports/2015/11/marco_rubios_tax_plan_gives_top_1_an_average_tax_cut_of_more_than_220000_a_year.php

Ted Cruz's 'crazy' tax plan would
cost US at least $16 trillion: analysts http://www.rawstory.com/2015/11/ted-cruzs-crazy-tax-plan-would-cost-us-at-least-16-trillion-analysts/

Kasich?

John Kasich unveils tax plan, vows to balance budget within eight years http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/john-kasich-tax-plan_561fce63e4b028dd7ea6ee15 via @HuffPostPol

NASHUA, N.H. (AP) - Republican presidential candidate John Kasich vowed Thursday to balance the federal budget within eight years as part of a domestic agenda led by broad tax cuts and a yearslong freeze on all spending except the military.

The Ohio governor's budget framework would focus tax cuts on businesses and the wealthy - though at least one provision is aimed at lower-income people - and dramatically scale back the federal government's role in administering education and transportation funding. It's an agenda for the first 100 days that is not as aggressive of some of his more conservative rivals, but one he predicts will prompt criticism from opponents in both parties.

"I will immediately put us on a path to a balanced budget and I will get it done within eight years," Kasich said Thursday at Nashua Community College. "It starts by setting your priorities and then having the courage to make choices that might be unpopular."

The policy rollout comes as Kasich fights to stand out in a packed 2016 GOP field. In an election season celebrating political outsiders, the 63-year-old Republican has an insider resume that includes 18 years in Congress and two terms as governor in one of the nation's key swing states. Yet his blunt style resonates with some voters, particularly in New Hampshire, the unofficial staging ground for his campaign.

Kasich called for broad tax cuts that would grow the budget deficit in the first few years, according to projections his campaign shared with The Associated Press. His advisers predict that economic growth sparked by the tax cuts, backed by cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and an eight-year freeze on all non-defense discretionary spending, would eventually offset lost tax revenue to balance the federal budget for the first time since Bill Clinton was president.

Kasich's tax plan would lower the top individual tax rate from 39.6 percent to 28 percent, reduce long-term capital gains tax rates to 15 percent and eliminate the estate tax, lower the top business tax rates from 35 percent to 25 percent and double the research and development tax credit for small businesses.

"This looks like a pretty big tax cut for the top end and a little bit at the bottom," said Robertson Williams, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. "There's not much going to the middle class."

While most of the cuts benefit the wealthy, Kasich would increases by 10 percent the earned income tax credit, a measure designed to help lower-income taxpayers.

"If you are a person that thinks you ought to pound the rich into submission, I guess you won't like the plan," Kasich said in an AP interview before the speech. ...

Reply Sunday, December 27, 2015 at 06:28 AM

Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs...
As for Christie, he's still polling
ok in NH, in the 2nd tier, but hasn't
said much about tax schemes lately?

Reply Sunday, December 27, 2015 at 06:48 AM

pgl -> Fred C. Dobbs...
Christie as governor of NJ has a fiscal track record. A really bad one. He claims he has balanced the budget but the Volcker report says NJ's fiscal situation is worse than ever. And this is mainly because he rewards his rich buddies as he screws the compensation packages of public employees. He has underfunded the department of transportation so NJ's roads and bridges are crumbling even as he steals money from the Port Authority.

But hey Christie yells a lot so he must be a great guy.

Reply Sunday, December 27, 2015 at 09:09 AM

Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs...
(!Trump)

A Trillion Here or There: The Details Aren't What
Matter in Trump's Tax Plan http://nyti.ms/1ObzPAo via @UpshotNYT
NYT - Josh Barro- Dec 23

On Tuesday, another think tank issued another analysis of Donald Trump's tax plan, which calls for a very large tax cut that mostly benefits the wealthiest Americans. The new report, from the Tax Policy Center, found the plan would lose $9.5 trillion in revenue over a decade.

(AN ANALYSIS OF DONALD TRUMP'S TAX PLAN
Tax Policy Center - December 22, 2015
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/UploadedPDF/2000560-an-analysis-of-donald-trumps-tax-plan.pdf )

That's $2.5 trillion less than two other think tanks estimated in the fall. In some sense, $2.5 trillion is a lot of money. But in this case, the difference between $9.5 trillion and $12 trillion doesn't really matter - and the reason it doesn't matter has implications for how we think about candidates' "tax plans," especially when they come from a candidate who invents Civil War battles and whose own book promotes the virtue of "truthful hyperbole," a practice known to normal people as "exaggerating."

Mr. Trump's plan is purely theoretical. Even if he is elected president, the plan will never become law in its current form, whatever that current form is. Estimates of the plan's effects are therefore useful only as broad statements of his intentions about taxes - and a proposal for a $9.5 trillion tax cut makes essentially the same broad statement as a proposal for a $12 trillion tax cut. ...

Analysis of Donald Trump Tax Plan Sees
a Boon for Wealthy and Trillions in Debt http://nyti.ms/1OlD4at via @NYTPolitics
NYT - Alan Rappeport - Dec 22

Reply Sunday, December 27, 2015 at 07:58 AM

pgl -> Fred C. Dobbs...
Tax Policy Center scored Trump's plan. Big tax cuts for rich people and less government spending for the rest of us.

Reply Sunday, December 27, 2015 at 09:53 AM

pgl said...
W and the clowns believes only the little people pay taxes.

Reply Sunday, December 27, 2015 at 01:53 AM

ilsm -> pgl...
Tax cuts and trillions of bucks for carpet bombing extreme Islamists in Terroristan*.

There is no limit to the suffering required to assure the billionaires' security.

*Bloom County comics. http://www.gocomics.com/bloom-county/2015/12/23

[Dec 27, 2015] 4 Reasons Why The Wall Street Journal's Attack on Bernie is Bogus

Notable quotes:
"... Bernie's proposals would cost less than what we'd spend without them. Most of the "cost" the Journal comes up with-$15 trillion-would pay for opening Medicare to everyone. ..."
"... The savings from Medicare-for-all would more than cover the costs of the rest of Bernie's agenda-tuition-free education at public colleges, expanded Social Security benefits, improved infrastructure, and a fund to help cover paid family leave – and still leave us $2 trillion to cut federal deficits for the next ten years. ..."
"... Many of these other "costs would also otherwise be paid by individuals and families – for example, in college tuition and private insurance. So they shouldn't be considered added costs for the country as a whole, and may well save us money. ..."
"... Finally, Bernie's proposed spending on education and infrastructure aren't really "spending" at all, but investments in the nation's future productivity. If we don't make them, we're all poorer. ... ..."
economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs said... December 27, 2015 at 06:32 AM

One suspects that the GOPsters are astonished by what they hear from Bernie Sanders & to a slightly lesser extent Hillary, and are assuming that this presents great opportunities for a GOP victory in 2016.

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...

Price tag of Bernie Sanders's proposals: $18 trillion http://on.wsj.com/1UQtsaK
via @WSJ - Sept. 14, 2015

WASHINGTON-Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose liberal call to action has propelled his long-shot presidential campaign, is proposing an array of new programs that would amount to the largest peacetime expansion of government in modern American history.

In all, he backs at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal, a sum that alarms conservatives and gives even many Democrats pause. Mr. Sanders sees the money as going to essential government services at a time of increasing strain on the middle class.

His agenda includes an estimated $15 trillion for a government-run health-care program that covers every American, plus large sums to rebuild roads and bridges, expand Social Security and make tuition free at public colleges.

To pay for it, Mr. Sanders, a Vermont independent running for the Democratic nomination, has so far detailed tax increases that could bring in as much as $6.5 trillion over 10 years, according to his staff. ...

Bernie Sanders just slammed a report that claimed his proposals would cost a monstrous $18 trillion http://read.bi/1JazBlK via @Business Insider

Peter K. said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... December 27, 2015 at 07:46 AM

"In all, he backs at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal, a sum that alarms conservatives and gives even many Democrats pause."

Fred is repeating the Republican-Hillary lie. Maybe if we hear it enough we'll think it's true.

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/bernie-sanders-and-the-wall-street-journal-s-18-trillion

Bernie Sanders and the Wall Street Journal's $18 Trillion
by Dean Baker
Published: 16 September 2015

The Wall Street Journal decided to take Senator Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign seriously enough to calculate the cost of the programs that he proposed. Their price tag was $18 trillion over the next decade. This is presumably supposed to scare people because, let's face it $18 trillion is a really big number.

Much of the fright factor disappears when we realize that $15 trillion of this $18 trillion comes from the WSJ's estimate of the cost of Sanders' universal Medicare program. That is a considerable chunk of change, but as Kevin Drum and others have pointed out this will not be new money out of people's pockets. For the most part this is money that employers are now paying for their workers' health care insurance. Instead, under a universal Medicare system the government would get this money in tax revenue. Since Canada and the other wealthy countries with universal Medicare-type systems all have much lower per capita health care costs than the United States (the average is less than half the cost), in all probability we would be paying less for our health care under the Sanders' system than we do now.

This still leaves $3 trillion for us to get frightened over, and this still looks like a really big number. As a point of reference, GDP over the next decade is projected at roughly $240 trillion. This makes the cost of the rest of Sanders' plans equal to less than 1.3 percent of GDP.

Should we worry about that? The increase in annual military spending from 2000 to the peaks of Iraq/Afghanistan wars was roughly 1.8 percent of GDP. This was also the size of military buildup that took place under President Reagan. Jeb Bush is proposing to cut taxes by roughly this amount if he gets elected.

In short, the additional spending that Senator Sanders has proposed is not trivial, but we have seen comparable increases in the past for other purposes. We can clearly afford the tab, the question is whether free college, rebuilding the infrastructure, early childhood education and the other items on the list are worth the price.

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Peter K.... December 27, 2015 at 08:10 AM

'Fred is repeating the Republican-Hillary lie. Maybe if we hear it enough we'll think it's true.'

My only interest is in suggesting how GOPsters are thinking & strategizing.

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Peter K....

Robert Reich - 4 Reasons Why The Wall Street Journal's Attack on Bernie is Bogus - Sep 17
http://robertreich.org/post/129306966350

... The Journal's number is entirely bogus, designed to frighten the public. Please spread the truth:

1. Bernie's proposals would cost less than what we'd spend without them. Most of the "cost" the Journal comes up with-$15 trillion-would pay for opening Medicare to everyone.

This would be cheaper than relying on our current system of for-profit private health insurers that charge you and me huge administrative costs, advertising, marketing, bloated executive salaries, and high pharmaceutical prices.

Gerald Friedman, an economist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, whom the Journal relies on for some of its data, actually estimates a Medicare-for-all system would actually save all of us $10 trillion over 10 years.

(An Open Letter to the Wall Street
Journal on Its Bernie Sanders Hit Piece http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gerald-friedman/the-wall-street-journal-k_b_8143062.html
via @HuffPostPol)

2. The savings from Medicare-for-all would more than cover the costs of the rest of Bernie's agenda-tuition-free education at public colleges, expanded Social Security benefits, improved infrastructure, and a fund to help cover paid family leave – and still leave us $2 trillion to cut federal deficits for the next ten years.

3. Many of these other "costs" would also otherwise be paid by individuals and families – for example, in college tuition and private insurance. So they shouldn't be considered added costs for the country as a whole, and may well save us money.

4. Finally, Bernie's proposed spending on education and infrastructure aren't really "spending" at all, but investments in the nation's future productivity. If we don't make them, we're all poorer. ...

[Dec 27, 2015] Trumpenfreude

Notable quotes:
"... Anyway, as I've said, the prediction markets basically distill conventional wisdom; and what they're now saying must be striking terror into the hearts of the orthodox conservative movement. ... ..."
"... Ted Cruz Agrees With Donald Trump: It's Turning Into a Two-Man Race ..."
"... Noting Mr. Trump's comments on Sunday, when he said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the Republican primary contest "looks like a two-person race because everyone else is way behind," Mr. Cruz did not hesitate to endorse the idea. ..."
"... "I did think it was interesting Donald said a couple of days ago that he thought that the Republican race could come down to just him and me," Mr. Cruz told reporters after a rally here. "And I think he may well be right." ... ..."
"... Theres definitely an element of Trumpenfreude here, but mostly I just think itll happen. He defies the playbook. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs said... December 27, 2015 at 09:08 AM
'a term for being entertained by Trump when you know you shouldn't be?'

Today in Trumpenfreude http://nyti.ms/1V8JMA1
via @NytimesKrugman - Dec 23

You know what I'm talking about, of course - that feeling of glee mixed with fear as one watches the cynical race-baiting of the Republican establishment finally come home to roost, confirming that you were right to be shrill (and the centrists were naive), but with the slight admixture of panic because one of these guys might actually become president.

Anyway, as I've said, the prediction markets basically distill conventional wisdom; and what they're now saying must be striking terror into the hearts of the orthodox conservative movement. ...

Who will win the 2016 Republican presidential nomination? https://shar.es/1GB3CB (December 27)

(Cruz, 33%; Rubio 32%; Trump 28%; Others, 8% or less. Rubio trending down slightly.)

---

Ted Cruz Agrees With Donald Trump: It's Turning Into a Two-Man Race http://nyti.ms/1OmjNWh via @NYTPolitics
NYT - Matt Flegenheimer - Dec 22

NASHVILLE - Senator Ted Cruz said Tuesday that Donald J. Trump "may well be right that this is turning more and more into a two-man race" - delivering an unsubtle elbow to Senator Marco Rubio, trails the two men in most polls, without naming him.

Noting Mr. Trump's comments on Sunday, when he said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the Republican primary contest "looks like a two-person race because everyone else is way behind," Mr. Cruz did not hesitate to endorse the idea.

"I did think it was interesting Donald said a couple of days ago that he thought that the Republican race could come down to just him and me," Mr. Cruz told reporters after a rally here. "And I think he may well be right." ...

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...
Matt Taibbi... (Tweet - Aug 10)

There's definitely an element of Trumpenfreude here, but mostly I just think it'll happen. He defies the playbook.

[Dec 24, 2015] A big hint about why so many people support Donald Trump might come from Germany

An interesting and plausible hypothesis: Trump as a candidate who answers voters frustration with neoliberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... The data suggest theres some kind of connection. According to polls, whites with a high school degree or less disproportionately favor Trump. These are the same people who have seen their economic opportunities decline the most in recent years. This group also disproportionately favors tough restrictions on immigration. ..."
"... A new study released this week showed that in Germany, the economic frustrations of trade nudged many people into becoming right-wing extremists over the past two decades - throwing their support behind the country's neo-Nazi parties. ..."
"... Still, these far-right parties have consistently earned a percentage point or two of the German national vote. And the economists found that they have been particularly popular with people who have been negatively impacted by trade. ..."
"... using German data on elections, employment, and commerce, they showed that places where trade caused the most pain also had the largest increases in support for far-right parties. Over the past 20 years, Germanys exports and imports have both skyrocketed, first thanks to the fall of the Iron Curtain, then due to Chinas rise as a major manufacturer. ..."
"... Workers whose industries were hurt by trade were were more likely to say they would start voting for one of the extreme right parties. Even workers whose own industries were unaffected by trade were more likely to support a neo-Nazi political party if they lived in a region hurt by trade. ..."
"... Christian Dippel, one of the authors of the study, says it's also important to look at the context in each country. The neo-Nazi parties happen to be the voice of anti-globalization in Germany. But in Spain, for instance, these views are the trademark of Podemos, a far-left party "known for its rants against globalization and the tyranny of markets," according to Foreign Affairs. ..."
"... The larger lesson, Dippel says, is that globalization creates a class of angry voters who will reward whoever can tap into their frustrations. These are usually extremist parties, because the mainstream tends to recognize the overall benefits of trade. "When the mainstream parties are all, in a loose sense, pro-globalization, there's room for fringe groups to latch onto this anti-globalization sentiment and profit from it," he says. ..."
"... Author has shown that in America, recent trends in trade have hurt low-wage workers the most. With his co-authors David Dorn, Gordon Hanson and Jae Song, he published a widely-cited 2014 paper measuring the negative impacts of manufacturing imports from China, America's largest trading partner. Most of those ill-effects - like unemployment and lower earnings - were borne by the workers with the lowest wages. ..."
"... "Immigration always seems to be the most tangible evidence of the impingement of others on your economic turf," Author adds. ..."
"... "In Germany, these three things get bundled up in these far-right platforms in a way that's very difficult to unpack," he says. "It could be that you're bundling these ideas together for a reason. It could be that you're bundling together what's really happening with an idea that's more tangible, that you could sell more easily to angry voters." ..."
The Washington Post

A popular theory for Donald Trump's success emphasizes the economic anxiety of less-educated whites, who have struggled badly over the past few decades.

Hit hard by factory closings and jobs moving abroad to China and other places, the story goes, blue-collar voters are channeling their anger at immigrants, who have out-competed them for what jobs remain. Trump, with his remarks about Mexicans being rapists, has ridden this discontent to the top of the polls.

The data suggest there's some kind of connection. According to polls, whites with a high school degree or less disproportionately favor Trump. These are the same people who have seen their economic opportunities decline the most in recent years. This group also disproportionately favors tough restrictions on immigration.

But just because there appears to be a connection doesn't mean there is one. Has globalization pushed working-class voters to the right? Nobody has proven that globalization has in fact pushed working-class voters to the right or made them more extreme, at least not in the United States, where the right kind of data aren't being collected. But unique records from Germany have allowed economists to show how free trade trade changes people's political opinions.

A new study released this week showed that in Germany, the economic frustrations of trade nudged many people into becoming right-wing extremists over the past two decades - throwing their support behind the country's neo-Nazi parties. Written by economists Christian Dippel, of University of California, Los Angeles, Stephan Heblich, of the University of Bristol, and Robert Gold of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the paper was released by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Germany's far-right politicians, it should be noted, are not garden-variety nationalists. German intelligence keeps tabs on these people, who frequently use racist and anti-Semitic language. They say things like: "Europe is the continent of white people and it should remain that way." Many believe in a global Jewish conspiracy. They are much more radical than, say, Marine Le Pen's National Front party in France.

Still, these far-right parties have consistently earned a percentage point or two of the German national vote. And the economists found that they have been particularly popular with people who have been negatively impacted by trade.

How they measured the radicalizing power of trade

The economists took two different approaches to measure the connection between globalization and right-wing extremism.

First, using German data on elections, employment, and commerce, they showed that places where trade caused the most pain also had the largest increases in support for far-right parties. Over the past 20 years, Germany's exports and imports have both skyrocketed, first thanks to the fall of the Iron Curtain, then due to China's rise as a major manufacturer.

The researchers looked individually at Germany's 408 local districts, which are roughly equivalent to counties in the United States. Each of these places was affected by increasing trade in different ways. Areas that specialized in high-end cars, for instance, saw a happy boost from expanded exports. Areas that specialized in, say, textiles, were stomped on by cheap Chinese and Eastern European imports.

This map shows changes in imports (bad!) compared to exports (good!). The dark blue regions are places where imports increased a lot more than exports. These are the places where trade made things worse, where people lost jobs and factories were shuttered.

These also happen to be the places where far-right parties made the most gains, on average. This is true after controlling for demographics in each county, the size of the manufacturing sector, and what part of the country the county was in.

The researchers argue that this relationship is more than just a correlation. To prove that trade caused far-right radicalization, they only look at changes to the German economy inflicted by external forces - say, a sudden increase in Chinese manufacturing capacity.

(Also, to get around the problem of German reunification, which happened in 1990, the researchers split up the analysis into two time periods. From 1987 to 1998, they only looked at West Germany. From 1998 to 2009, they looked at both regions.)

This evidence from patterns of trade and voting records is convincing, but there is one major hole. The turmoil from trade caused certain counties to become friendlier to extremist parties - but was it because the people living there became radicalized? Or did all the moderate voters flee those places, leaving behind only the crusty xenophobes?

So, to follow up, the researchers used a special German survey that has been interviewing some of the same people every year since the 1980s. This is a massively expensive project - the U.S. doesn't have anything quite like it - and it allowed the researchers to actually observe people changing their minds.

Workers whose industries were hurt by trade were were more likely to say they would start voting for one of the extreme right parties. Even workers whose own industries were unaffected by trade were more likely to support a neo-Nazi political party if they lived in a region hurt by trade.

In part this is because trade affects more than just the people who lose their jobs when the shoe factory closes. Those assembly line workers need to find new jobs, and they put pressure on people in similar occupations, say, at the garment factory or the tweezer factory.

What this means for the U.S.

All in all, the power of trade to radicalize people was rather small, measured in changes of a fraction of a percent. This makes makes sense, because, again, Germany's far-right parties are way out there. It takes a lot of economic suffering to cause someone to start voting with these neo-Nazis.

Christian Dippel, one of the authors of the study, says it's also important to look at the context in each country. The neo-Nazi parties happen to be the voice of anti-globalization in Germany. But in Spain, for instance, these views are the trademark of Podemos, a far-left party "known for its rants against globalization and the tyranny of markets," according to Foreign Affairs.

The larger lesson, Dippel says, is that globalization creates a class of angry voters who will reward whoever can tap into their frustrations. These are usually extremist parties, because the mainstream tends to recognize the overall benefits of trade. "When the mainstream parties are all, in a loose sense, pro-globalization, there's room for fringe groups to latch onto this anti-globalization sentiment and profit from it," he says.


But is there an analogy between the far-right radicals in Germany and the wider group of disaffected working class Americans who, say, support Donald Trump or the tea party? Certainly leaders on the left also capitalize on anti-trade sentiment, but they usually use less harsh rhetoric or seldom attack immigration.

David Autor, a labor economist at MIT, has been working to address the question of whether the same dynamics are at play in the U.S. But it's a tough one, he says.

"What [Dippel and his colleagues] are doing is totally sensible, and I think the results are plausible as well - that these trade shocks lead to activity on the extreme right, that they bring about ultranationalism," Autor says.

"We actually started on this hypothesis years ago for the U.S. to see if it could help to explain the rise of angry white non-college males," he said. "But so far, we just don't have the right kind of data."

Author has shown that in America, recent trends in trade have hurt low-wage workers the most. With his co-authors David Dorn, Gordon Hanson and Jae Song, he published a widely-cited 2014 paper measuring the negative impacts of manufacturing imports from China, America's largest trading partner. Most of those ill-effects - like unemployment and lower earnings - were borne by the workers with the lowest wages.

The higher-paid (and probably higher-skilled workers) were able to find new jobs when their companies went bust. Often, they found jobs outside of the manufacturing industry. (An accountant, for instance, can work anywhere.) But the lower-paid workers were trapped, doomed to fight over the ever-dwindling supply of stateside manufacturing jobs.

China, of course, has been in Trump's crosshairs. He accuses the country of being a "currency manipulator," which may have once been true, but not any more. He has threatened to impose a 25 percent tax on Chinese imports to punish China.

But Trump has attracted the most attention for his disparaging remarks about immigrants - which is something of puzzle. While it's true that non-college workers are increasingly competing with immigrants for the same construction or manufacturing jobs, Author points out that there's little evidence that immigrants are responsible for the woes of the working class.

"There's an amazing discrepancy between the data and the perception that I still find very hard to reconcile," he says. "The data do not strongly support the view that immigration has had big effects [on non-college workers], but I don't think that's how people perceive it."

"Immigration always seems to be the most tangible evidence of the impingement of others on your economic turf," Author adds.

Dippel says that conflating these ideas could be a political strategy. He makes a distinction between three different kinds of globalization - there's the worldwide movement of capital, goods, and people.

"In Germany, these three things get bundled up in these far-right platforms in a way that's very difficult to unpack," he says. "It could be that you're bundling these ideas together for a reason. It could be that you're bundling together what's really happening with an idea that's more tangible, that you could sell more easily to angry voters."

Jeff Guo is a reporter covering economics, domestic policy, and everything empirical. He's from Maryland, but outside the Beltway. Follow him on Twitter: @_jeffguo.

[Dec 22, 2015] Oil's worst behind us

finance.yahoo.com

John LaForge, Co-Head of Real Assets, Wells Fargo, looks at crude oil around $34 and whether it can still head lower.

[Dec 22, 2015] Clinton calls Trumps degrading language on 2008 loss an insult to all women

www.theguardian.com

Trump is currently the overwhelming favorite in national polls for the Republican nomination and leading in the key early states of New Hampshire and South Carolina.

[Dec 20, 2015] Bernie Sanders starts the Democratic debate by apologizing to everyone for the data breach and Hillary Clinton accepted the apology

economistsview.typepad.com
pgl said... December 20, 2015 at 03:14 AM
Bernie Sanders starts the Democratic debate by apologizing to everyone for the data breach and Hillary Clinton accepted the apology:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/sanders-apologizes-to-clinton-on-data-breach

Then the Democrats had an adult debate. Not something you'd see from those Republican clowns.

ilsm said in reply to pgl...

Why no one talks regime change in Egypt?

Silary went all GW lies for selling regime change in Syria. Her foreign policy advisors are all PNAC, Cheney, Wolfowitz....

Wants to work with Sunnis, she thinks like W that Iran and Shi'a are the axis of evil.

She blames Maliki for Sunni treason and defecting en masse to ISIS in Iraq and sees Iran as the enemy. Must have had a crush on the Shah.

No fly zones so Assad cannot drop fearsome drums of napalm!! Drone strike and all indeed! And with Russia deploying a theater air defense it is up to Putin!

Then Hizbolah are THE big terrorists, only to her AIPAC sponsors.

While she knows how many Syrians are dead in the civil war she ignores 2000 Gaza Arabs killed by IDF in 10 days.

Bernie: US is not policeman.

Martin: Gotta go away from cold war.

Both said you 'gotta look at what you have after you break Syria like Libya'!

She had nothing to say about what Syria would look like when she gave to to the less extremist Sunnis terrorists and how many Shi'a and other non Sunnis would be slaughtered.

Feel the Bern!

ilsm said in reply to ilsm...
Silary laid out the entire thuggee regimen for the middle east without drooling over carpet bombing or screeching she would be tougher than Obomber.
ken melvin said in reply to ilsm...
First, the Neocons will go with the republicans.
Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to ken melvin...
Not necessarily.

Are Neocons Getting Ready to Ally With Hillary Clinton? http://nyti.ms/1qJ4eLN
NYT - July 5

... It's not as outlandish as it may sound. Consider the historian Robert Kagan, the author of a recent, roundly praised article in The New Republic that amounted to a neo-neocon manifesto. He has not only avoided the vitriolic tone that has afflicted some of his intellectual brethren but also co-founded an influential bipartisan advisory group during Mrs. Clinton's time at the State Department. ...

Superpowers Don't Get to Retire
https://newrepublic.com/article/117859/allure-normalcy-what-america-still-owes-world

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to ilsm...
(There's always !Trump, who maybe is on the Right Side in the Middle East?)

Donald Trump's bromance with Vladimir Putin
http://www.wmur.com/politics/donald-trumps-bromance-with-vladimir-putin/37036676 via @wmur9

... For months, Trump has embraced Putin as a world leader he would "get along very well with," a relationship that would be rooted in the two men's similar outlook, personas and, in some cases, overlapping policy goals. It's an international bromance that's driving GOP establishment figures to call out Trump's ideological incompatibility with the Republican Party in yet another arena.

After Putin praised Trump on Thursday as "bright and talented" and "the absolute leader of the presidential race," the billionaire trumpeted Putin's praise as a "great honor" and even shrugged off widespread allegations that the Russian president has ordered the killing of journalists and political dissidents.

"He's running his country and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country," Trump said Friday morning on MSNBC. "I think our country does plenty of killing also." ...

John Kasich's campaign went so far as to release a mock press release Saturday announcing that Trump named Putin as his running mate, dubbing the two a "dictatorial duo." ...

[Dec 18, 2015] Putin Trump is a very bright and talented man

POLITICO

...According to an Interfax report of his annual year-end news conference, Putin called the Republican presidential candidate "a very bright and talented man," as well as an "absolute leader" in the race for the presidency. (Another account, from Reuters, translated Putin as saying Trump is "a very flamboyant man.")

"He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it," Putin said, according to Reuters' report.

The Russian president also said that it is none of his business "to assess tricks Donald Trump [is] using to boost his popularity," according to Interfax.

Trump has repeatedly praised the Russian leader's toughness and said he would be able to cut deals with him.

"He does not like Obama at all. He doesn't respect Obama at all. And I'm sure that Obama doesn't like him very much," Trump said of Putin in October. "But I think that I would probably get along with him very well. And I don't think you'd be having the kind of problems that you're having right now."

Trump has also backed Russia's intervention in Syria, which Putin has said is aimed at eradicating the Islamic State. "And as far as him attacking ISIS, I'm all for it," he told CBS News' John Dickerson. "If he wants to be bombing the hell out of ISIS, which he's starting to do, if he wants to be bombing ISIS, let him bomb them, John. Let him bomb them. I think we probably work together much more so than right now."

[Dec 17, 2015] The First Five Rules of Trump - The New Yorker

It's not a deep analyses and actually looks like attack on Trump, but the first rule is interesting.
Notable quotes:
"... He calibrates his actions with a subtle sense of the consequences. ..."
Dec 15, 2015 | newyorker.com

Descriptions of Donald J. Trump tend to emphasize his unpredictability-he's an impetuous rogue, an unguided missile, and so on. But careful students of Trump often discover that he is noticeably deliberate in his choices. He calibrates his actions with a subtle sense of the consequences. Years ago, explaining his decorating aesthetic to my colleague Mark Singer, Trump noted that residential buildings call for a specific level of pomp: "I sometimes use flash, which is a level below glitz."

As a man of idiosyncratic discipline, Trump is consistent enough in his tweets and his comments to allow us to identify the first five rules of Trump communication.

Trump Rule No. 1:

Manage expectations. Casino owners know the importance of loss aversion: we value our losses more heavily, psychologically, than we value our gains. For Trump, that means it's vital to prevent people from pricing a gain into his image, in case he fails to achieve it. In the days before Time revealed its Person of the Year, Trump was telling crowds, "Even if I deserve it, they can't do it." (They did not do it.)

Hours before the fourth Republican debate, he tweeted:

'I wonder if @megynkelly and her flunkies have written their scripts yet about my debate performance tonight. No matter how well I do – bad!' ...

Evan Osnos joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2008, and covers politics and foreign affairs.

[Dec 17, 2015] Jeb Bush, Sensing Momentum After Debate, Zeroes In on Donald Trump

Notable quotes:
"... But after much discussion, the Bush team has decided, at least for now, that the most effective way to convince voters of Mr. Bush's seriousness is to highlight his barrage against Mr. Trump, a billionaire real estate magnate, whom he repeatedly assailed during the debate in Las Vegas. ..."
"... My impression is that Trump might well be a less dangerous choice than Hillary when it comes to foreign policy. Hillary is more or less a clone of Bush II when it comes to foreign policy. In other words she was and is a neocon. Did not she compare Putin to Hitler. Thats the level of the art of diplomacy few diplomats ever achieve. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to im1dc... December 17, 2015 at 04:41 PM
(Oh that Jeb!)

(Possible evidence of ESP in candidate Bush?)

Jeb Bush, Sensing Momentum After Debate, Zeroes
In on Donald Trump http://nyti.ms/1PbPuAr
NYT - ASHLEY PARKER - DEC. 17, 2015

Buoyed by an aggressive performance in Tuesday's Republican debate, Jeb Bush is intensifying his strategy of attacking Donald J. Trump's fitness for the presidency, which his aides believe is setting him apart from the sprawling field just as voters begin to make up their minds in early voting states.

This plan has significant risks given how low Mr. Bush, a former Florida governor, has fallen in polls and the fact that several other rivals, especially Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, are running ahead of him in early states. Some analysts believe he would be better served trying to dispatch them.

But after much discussion, the Bush team has decided, at least for now, that the most effective way to convince voters of Mr. Bush's seriousness is to highlight his barrage against Mr. Trump, a billionaire real estate magnate, whom he repeatedly assailed during the debate in Las Vegas.

More viscerally, they believe it will show a quality not always associated with the somewhat patrician Bush family: guts.

"Going after Trump is tactically brilliant for Jeb," said Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist and CNN commentator who supports Mr. Bush. "There are others on that stage who don't agree with what Trump says or how he says it, but don't have the guts to lay a glove on the guy for fear of antagonizing his supporters and incurring his wrath. Jeb has the lane all to himself." ...

Mr. Bush plans to make New Hampshire, the first primary state, his second home as the holidays approach, and to spend more than half his time there in the seven weeks before the Feb. 9 primary. ... his aides believe he must place in the top three in New Hampshire to convince his donors and supporters that his campaign is still viable. That means finishing ahead of, or at least tied with, Mr. Christie, Mr. Rubio and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio. ...

im1dc said...
The Donald is a clone of George W. Bush who looked into Putin's eyes and saw his soul

2016 US elections - 1h ago

"Donald Trump on Russia's Putin comments: 'Great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond... I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect' - @stevebruskCNN"

likbez said in reply to im1dc...
"The Donald is a clone of George W. Bush who looked into Putin's eyes and saw his soul"

I am no so sure. My impression is that Trump might well be a less dangerous choice than Hillary when it comes to foreign policy. Hillary is more or less a clone of Bush II when it comes to foreign policy. In other words she was and is a neocon. Did not she compare Putin to Hitler. That's the level of the art of diplomacy few diplomats ever achieve.

And her protégé Victoria Nuland came directly from Cheney inner circle.

[Dec 17, 2015] The Rubes are mad at the state of the economy and blame Obama first but also believe that the GOP establishment has sold them down river

Notable quotes:
"... The Rubes are mad at the state of the economy and blame Obama first but also believe that the GOP establishment has sold them down river. The squishy economy has caused the GOP elites to lose out to Trump and his antiestablishment we are not winning pitchfork toting mob. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com
bakho said in reply to pgl, December 16, 2015 at 06:06 PM
Could have been worse. Could have been shutdown or new round of austerity. GOP intransigence is coming back to bite them. The Rubes are mad at the state of the economy and blame Obama first but also believe that the GOP establishment has sold them down river. The squishy economy has caused the GOP elites to lose out to Trump and his antiestablishment "we are not winning" pitchfork toting mob.

The Dems need to get in front of this parade before the General.

Billy Joe said...

I am hearing, adding on to Bakho's point above, this was a 2 way deal. The Fed begins its modest tightening schedule with Congress beginning a modest fiscal loosening.

This is not a accident. It comes from a second hand source related to a Republican Congressmen. Basically, Yellen told Congress, if they loosen fiscal policy, they will raise rates. That is what happened.......on a small scale.

Ben Bernanke was and is a big supporter.

[Dec 17, 2015] Once friends, Cruz and Rubio now on the attack

Notable quotes:
"... Their collisions on defense, immigration and other issues formed one of the main story lines at Tuesday's Republican debate. The two have emerged as perhaps the leading alternatives to Donald J. Trump. ... ..."
"... The most interesting fight brewing in the Republican primary isn't between Donald J. Trump and the rest of the world, but between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, wunderkind vs. wunderkind. One is ruthless in his appeals to the Republican base, poised to ride its anger to victory, as Tea Party candidates did before him; the other is attractive to the establishment wing of the party, with the potential to draw in moderate voters, but who is sputtering in early primary states. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs said... December 17, 2015 at 07:31 AM

(Cruzin' with Orubio.)

Once friends, Cruz and Rubio now on the attack http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2015/12/16/once-friends-ted-cruz-and-marco-rubio-now-attack/a8dfJkFn9wrUaSS8M2MGCP/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe
Matt Viser and Jim O'Sullivan - December 17, 2015

WASHINGTON - It seemed they were the best of friends. Ted Cruz stood on the floor of the Senate and effusively praised his Republican colleague Marco Rubio.

"Senator Rubio is inspiring. Senator Marco Rubio is a critical national leader," Cruz said, filling time during a 20-hour filibuster in which he also praised Rubio's life story and his political acumen.

"I don't know if there is anyone more effective, more articulate, or a more persuasive voice for conservative principles than my friend Marco Rubio."

But that was two years ago. Now, a rivalry in the Republican presidential primary contest that had been simmering for weeks has burst into public view. Each is competing to take on the role of the best alternative to the front-runner, business and entertainment mogul Donald Trump, and whatever camaraderie they once enjoyed has evaporated.

Cruz and Rubio, who share a Cuban-American heritage, engaged in some of the most heated exchanges of Tuesday night's GOP debate, a battle that brimmed with intensity and displayed flashes of venom like a sibling rivalry gone sour.

The brawl, which continued into Wednesday, was a preview of what is likely to be a drawnout competition over the next seven weeks, leading up to the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, as the two freshman senators try to prove their conservative credentials. ...

----

Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz Diverge in Approach to
Their Hispanic Identity http://nyti.ms/1T22jwz
NYT - LIZETTE ALVAREZ and MANNY FERNANDEZ - DEC. 16

MIAMI - One candidate, Marco Rubio, nurtured by the sprawling Cuban-American community here, bounces effortlessly between two cultures - fritas and hamburgers, Spanish and English - in a city so comfortably bilingual that news conferences pivot between the languages.

The other, Ted Cruz, is partial to cowboy boots, oversize belt buckles, hard-right politics and the fire-and-brimstone style of the Baptist church. Mr. Cruz, a rare Cuban-American outlier in a state where Hispanic usually means Mexican-American, attended overwhelmingly white Christian schools in Houston and prefers Spanglish to Spanish.

Together, Senators Rubio and Cruz, of Florida and Texas, represent a watershed moment in American politics: two Hispanics running as top-tier candidates for president, and increasingly gunning for each other, in what one Latino conservative has dubbed "the yuca primary," referring to the popular Cuban staple and an acronym for young urban Cuban-American. Their collisions on defense, immigration and other issues formed one of the main story lines at Tuesday's Republican debate. The two have emerged as perhaps the leading alternatives to Donald J. Trump. ...

----

Is It Ted Cruz's Party - Or Marco Rubio's? http://nyti.ms/1Z9G3V3
NYT - Emma Roller - DEC. 15

The most interesting fight brewing in the Republican primary isn't between Donald J. Trump and the rest of the world, but between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, wunderkind vs. wunderkind. One is ruthless in his appeals to the Republican base, poised to ride its anger to victory, as Tea Party candidates did before him; the other is attractive to the establishment wing of the party, with the potential to draw in moderate voters, but who is sputtering in early primary states. ...

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs...

Rubio and Cruz make Hillary look like the guardian of "sensitive" insecurity data.

[Dec 17, 2015] Donald Trump anti-Muslim rhetoric harmful to GOP

Christine Todd Whitman fear mongering serves one purpose -- to support establishment candidates. I do not remember her condemning Bush go killing million of Iraqis. She was actually a part of this clique. So she should shut up and sit quietly (as any person belong to criminal Bush II administration should)
POLITICO Magazine

The parallels are chilling. In pre-WWII Germany, the economy was in ruins, people were scared, and they wanted someone to blame. Today we find ourselves with a nation of people who feel under attack both physically and economically and are fearful. The middle class has never fully recovered economically from the Great Recession. Income disparity is growing

...Language shapes behavior. Hateful language gives susceptible people permission to act on their fears. Preying on the marginalized who are scared of the future is the time-honored tactic of bullies and dictators. When times are difficult, people always look for someone to blame: It is easy to pick out a target

Christine Todd Whitman is a former governor of New Jersey and former head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

[Dec 17, 2015] The Big Differences Between Bernie and Hillary

December 15, 2015 |

Robert Reich's Facebook Page

"I don't see much difference between Bernie and Hillary," a friend said this morning over breakfast.

"Wrong," said my other friend, also at breakfast. She then went through the list:

"See?" she said. "The difference is huge. Bernie is leading a movement for fundamental change. That's why he's generating so much enthusiasm, and why he'll win the primaries."

"Wrong" he said. "Bernie's too radical. He doesn't stand a chance."

What do you think?

[Dec 17, 2015] On Mideast, GOP Rivals Offer Simple Answer: Bombs

Notable quotes:
"... The argument began with Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, alone among the candidates a consistent voice against American intervention in the Mideast, who said the "majority" of his competitors for the nomination "want to topple Assad. And then there will be chaos, and I think ISIS will then be in charge." ..."
"... Mr. Cruz made the case for keeping dictators like Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt close. "Qaddafi was a bad man," he said., "Mubarak had a terrible human rights record. But they were assisting us" in the cause of "fighting radical Islamic terrorists." He argued that this was far better than "being a Woodrow Wilson democracy promoter." ..."
"... Mr. Cruz's argument was meant to differentiate him from Marco Rubio, the Florida senator who had supported the ouster of Mr. Qaddafi and Mr. Mubarak, and whose campaign has attracted some veterans of the George W. Bush White House. But along the way it exposed a significant rift in Republican thinking, and puts him in a much different place than where his party was a decade ago. ..."
"... Hizbolah is only a terrorist to IDF when they enter Lebanon, the Israelis cannot do in South Lebanon what they get way with in Gaza and the West Bank. Too many GOP playing for AIPAC. ..."
"... If you dont like Assad why do you like al Sisi? Aside from the Egyptian military dictator has promised not to use the $3B annual bribe from the US to attack Israel...... ..."
"... While Rubio wants to arm al Qaeda so they can run Syria to do more 9/11s. ..."
"... Trump is right the media lies all the time and his thuggee opponents take them up on their lies. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs, December 16, 2015 at 09:57 AM

On Mideast, GOP Rivals Offer Simple Answer: Bombs

The candidates took strong positions on the need to use force, but at times seemed uncertain about America's past military and diplomatic interventions in the region.

At Republican Debate, Straying Into Mideast,
and Getting Lost http://nyti.ms/1m7DUuE
NYT - DAVID E. SANGER - DEC. 16

WASHINGTON - In a surprisingly substantive debate on foreign policy Tuesday night, the upheaval in the Middle East gave Republican presidential candidates a chance to show off alternatives to what they portrayed as President Obama's failed approach, but at many moments, the politics and history of the region eluded them as they tried to demonstrate their skills at analysis and leadership.

At times during the two-hour debate, several of the candidates seemed uncertain about America's past military and diplomatic interventions in the region, and did not acknowledge Mr. Obama's continuing attempts to negotiate a cease-fire in Syria. And for most of them – Jeb Bush seemed an exception – the strategy to defeat the Islamic State largely seemed to boil down to this: Drop your bombs first and figure out the diplomacy later, if at all.

In their efforts to show that they were skilled at realpolitik, putting national interests ahead of ideals, almost all of them dismissed the stated goal of Mr. Bush's brother, the last Republican president. It was George W. Bush who declared in his second inaugural address that "the calling of our time" was to support "the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

But to some in this generation of Republicans, democracy building is out; supporting dictators, perhaps including Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who are willing to fight the Islamic State, is in.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the debate was long on the need to use military force, and short on the question of how one gets at the roots of radical Muslim jihadism – or engages the Muslim community in the United States and abroad in that effort. That discussion began with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas defending, and expanding on, his recent vow to carpet-bomb the Islamic State, wherever it may be.

"What it means is using overwhelming air power to utterly and completely destroy ISIS," said Mr. Cruz, using an acronym for the Islamic State. He argued that in "the first Persian Gulf War, we launched roughly 1,100 air attacks a day. We carpet-bombed them for 36 days, saturation bombing," and then sent in troops to mop up "what was left of the Iraqi army."

In fact, the Persian Gulf war was the first big testing ground for precision-guided munitions. The last big "carpet bombing" was in the Vietnam War; military officials, including Britain's defense minister, have noted recently that any such technique used in Syria would kill thousands of innocent civilians living in places like Raqqa, the Islamic State's de facto capital.

But Mr. Cruz pressed on when challenged by Wolf Blitzer of CNN, the moderator. "The object isn't to level a city," he said. "The object is to kill the ISIS terrorists." He never said how that is possible without tremendous civilian casualties, which is why carpet bombing is often considered a war crime.

In some ways the debate was remarkable for the fact that it delved into the politics of the Middle East at all; many of the candidates on the stage Tuesday night in Las Vegas did not appear interested in that discussion even a few months ago. But the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino left them no choice: They had to pass the commander-in-chief test, and the first step in that process is to be able piece together something that sounds like a strategy.

The result was that a few of them were testing out their thinking about longtime questions like regime-change – and whether it is better to press for democracy, even if it creates chaos and openings for terrorist groups, or to back reliable dictators.

Syria poses the most urgent test, and there was disagreement over whether Mr. Assad had to go first, or whether the United States and its partners should focus first on defeating the Islamic State, even if that means leaving in power a dictator under whom upward of a quarter-of-a-million of his own people have been killed.

The argument began with Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, alone among the candidates a consistent voice against American intervention in the Mideast, who said the "majority" of his competitors for the nomination "want to topple Assad. And then there will be chaos, and I think ISIS will then be in charge."

Though administration officials will not say so in public, they largely agree – which is why getting rid of Mr. Assad has been pushed down the road, though Secretary of State John Kerry says Mr. Assad's removal must be the eventual outcome if Sunni rebel groups are going to be enticed into fighting the Islamic State.

Mr. Cruz made the case for keeping dictators like Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt close. "Qaddafi was a bad man," he said., "Mubarak had a terrible human rights record. But they were assisting us" in the cause of "fighting radical Islamic terrorists." He argued that this was far better than "being a Woodrow Wilson democracy promoter."

Mr. Cruz's argument was meant to differentiate him from Marco Rubio, the Florida senator who had supported the ouster of Mr. Qaddafi and Mr. Mubarak, and whose campaign has attracted some veterans of the George W. Bush White House. But along the way it exposed a significant rift in Republican thinking, and puts him in a much different place than where his party was a decade ago. ...

ilsm said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...
Thuggee debates:

If your bombing (questionable whether it worked in WW II, utter failure against VC/NVA) is failing eliminating "rules of engagement" and increasing civilian casualties is not going to change the outcome. If the Germans had won WW II Bomber Harris would have been hanged, and for Japan Le May would have been beheaded.

Hizbolah is only a "terrorist" to IDF when they enter Lebanon, the Israelis cannot do in South Lebanon what they get way with in Gaza and the West Bank. Too many GOP playing for AIPAC.

Replacing a brutal dictator with a bunch of terrorists is insanity, the GOP has no other answer. The mess in Lebanon and Iraq was caused by Reagan and worsened by GW.

If you don't like Assad why do you like al Sisi? Aside from the Egyptian military dictator has promised not to use the $3B annual bribe from the US to attack Israel......

While Rubio wants to arm al Qaeda so they can run Syria to do more 9/11's.

Trump is right the media lies all the time and his thuggee opponents take them up on their lies.

[Dec 16, 2015] Bernie says his campaign has received 2003243 individual contributions

Notable quotes:
"... Bernie says his campaign has received 2,003,243 individual contributions as of 8:38 pm Dec. 16, 2015. For reference, President Obama's historic campaign in 2008 only reached one million contributions on the day of the Iowa caucuses. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

RGC said..., December 16, 2015 at 05:55 PM

Bernie says his campaign has received 2,003,243 individual contributions as of 8:38 pm Dec. 16, 2015. For reference, President Obama's historic campaign in 2008 only reached one million contributions on the day of the Iowa caucuses.

anne said in reply to RGC...

Bernie says his campaign has received 2,003,243 individual contributions as of 8:38 pm Dec. 16, 2015.

[ Wonderful and remarkable considering the stark and dismaying absence of network news coverage of the Sanders campaign. ]

anne said in reply to RGC...
http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/12/11/abc-world-news-tonight-has-devoted-less-than-on/207428

December 11m 2015

ABC World News Tonight Has Devoted 81 Minutes To Trump, One Minute To Sanders
By ERIC BOEHLERT

Does that ratio seem out of whack? That's the ratio of TV airtime that ABC World News Tonight has devoted to Donald Trump's campaign (81 minutes) versus the amount of TV time World News Tonight has devoted to Bernie Sanders' campaign this year. And even that one minute for Sanders is misleading because the actual number is closer to 20 seconds.

For the entire year.

That's the rather stunning revelation from the Tyndall Report, which tracks the various flagship nightly news programs on NBC, CBS and ABC. The Report's campaign findings cover the network evening newscasts from January 1 through the end of November....

[Dec 16, 2015] Can Trump survive the current media onslaght

Notable quotes:
"... the majority of Republican voters actually support Trump's policy positions. After all, he's just saying outright what mainstream candidates have implied through innuendo; how are voters supposed to know that this isn't what you do? ..."
"... at this point Trump has been the front-runner for long enough that it's very hard to imagine his supporters suddenly losing faith, because it would be too embarrassing. ..."
"... Bear in mind that embarrassment, and the desire to avoid it, are enormously important sources of motivation... ..."
"... On CNN this AM, I am on the road and seeing TV, a talking head said US governments prime role is empire, protected by dumping Assad and installing the 9/11 terrorists!. A few minutes later Trump on the stump said the media always lies . Trump is right and the talking heads on CNN prove him as much as the blitherers on Faux News. Trump is only divisive to the PNAC, neocon, and sympathetic dems. ..."
"... Tax cuts for everyone and large defense budgets - the pathway to a banana republic indeed. ..."
"... It is not inequality that drives innovation and economic growth -- it is the attempt to escape the leveling forces of capitalism.... ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

RC AKA Darryl, Ron said... December 15, 2015 at 09:33 AM

[THANKS to Anne from today's links thread.]

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/12/15/the-donald-and-the-chump-factor/

December 15, 2015

The Donald and the Chump Factor
By Paul Krugman


"...One answer - probably the most important - is what Greg Sargent * has been emphasizing: the majority of Republican voters actually support Trump's policy positions. After all, he's just saying outright what mainstream candidates have implied through innuendo; how are voters supposed to know that this isn't what you do?

I would, however, add a casual observation: at this point Trump has been the front-runner for long enough that it's very hard to imagine his supporters suddenly losing faith, because it would be too embarrassing.

Bear in mind that embarrassment, and the desire to avoid it, are enormously important sources of motivation..."

[Divisiveness is what politicians do. So, Trump is nothing new except that he threw away the dog whistle and whistled out loud and called to them by name. If we are not divided then we would have political solidarity. There is no profit for elites in that.

Martin Luther King in his final year or so wanted to end divisiveness and unite the wage class. Given the facts one cannot say that is what got him killed, but it still is not off the table either as increased fear of broad desegregation or as an incentive for security to break down. The two party system as it has always existed in the US lives and breathes by divisiveness. The problem now is that one party holds Congress and the other party has no idea what to do about it.]

ilsm -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron...
On CNN this AM, I am on the road and seeing TV, a talking head said US government's prime role is empire, protected by dumping Assad and installing the 9/11 terrorists!. A few minutes later Trump on the stump said the "media always lies". Trump is right and the talking heads on CNN prove him as much as the blitherers on Faux News. Trump is only divisive to the PNAC, neocon, and sympathetic dems.
RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> Sandwichman...
"Trump is... a stalking horse for Cruz..."

"...Why would the Donald want to be second banana?"

[Yup. That kind of rhymes with Donald Trump is not a serious candidate. OTOH, Trump has been a serious stealth bomber. The bar has been lowered for enough for Ted Cruz to cross.

My only question was whether this was the Donald's plan all along or was it just a game for him and this is how it turned out?]

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron...
OK, stealth was a poor choice of words when it comes to Trump. What is the opposite of stealth and how would that make any sense as an adjective to modify bomber? Mad bomber maybe?
Sandwichman -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron...
Good question. I suspect it started out as a publicity stunt but it exceeded expectations.
Sandwichman -> Sandwichman...
tee-hee... second banana Republican.
Lord said...
Welcome to the Republican party.
Sandwichman -> Lord...
The Second Banana Republican Party.
pgl -> Sandwichman...
Tax cuts for everyone and large defense budgets - the pathway to a banana republic indeed.
ilsm -> pgl...
GOP thuggee murder cult and Rubio wants to arm the progeny of 9/11 terrorists to make Syria a training base! Which Bush did in Anbar to keep them quiet while the US withdrew and all went over to ISIS.
anne said...
It is not inequality that drives innovation and economic growth -- it is the attempt to escape the leveling forces of capitalism....

-- Mark Thoma

[ A terrific insight. ]

[Dec 16, 2015] The Billionaires Pick How Marco Rubio Became The Preferred Puppet Of GOP Oligarchs

Notable quotes:
"... Personally, I don't think Rubio is even capable of all that much independent thought in the first place, but even if he was, the guy will do anything for campaign money. If you tried to create the perfect puppet in a test-tube, what would likely emerge is something very close to Marco Rubio. ..."
"... A man who consistently talks about small government and free markets, but who will fight to protect cronyism and oligarchy whenever somebody hangs a fresh dollar bill in front of his face. And all the smartest GOP billionaires know it. ..."
"... Israeli-Neocons are the existential danger to America. ..."
"... Bill Kristol is a most amazing beast. He has managed to make a living for decades as a supposed pundit without ever having been right about anything ever. ..."
"... Guys, please stop the anti-Jewish shit, OK? You see, if you are serious, this kind of stuff turns off the arguments you make among rational and intelligent people, almost all of whom have Jewish friends who are not the evil people you think you know? ..."
"... Here's the good part. At least half the sheeple seemed to think he was articulate, capable, a real young gun, new blood , yada yada yada, (I admit, he was articulate, .... and his hair was nicely cut and parted). ..."
"... Never mind that he had offered no way of paying for the (among other things) trillion dollar NEW subsidy he proposed going to families, or the increased Military spending. Because, after all, it's for the children, families, keeping everyone safe by ensuring that the u.s. spends more on it's military than the next 10 other countries COMBINED ..."
"... Real logic or practicality need not apply here I guess. Note he did not advocate cutting from anywhere to cover this new expenditure. No cutting CIA/NSA, or cutting S.S./Medicare nor anything/anywhere really. NOPE, just good 'ol NEW DEBT (to be paid for -- plus the bankster usury of course -- by future generations, the vaunted children that he apparently thinks so highly of). ..."
"... Mike Krieger must really be in love with Hillary Clinton. She's the most corrupt, the sleaziest, the most bribed and the most evil politician in the United States, if not the entire world. ..."
"... Get the irony here? The companies seek to evade paying prevailing wages to workers, while they themselves use every trick in the book to evade U.S. taxation on their earnings. It's the very height of hypocrisy. And Rubio is their spokesman. Yes Marco Rubio, articulate, nicely parted hair, pro family Rubio. ..."
Dec 16, 2015 | Zero Hedge

...A man so incapable of free-thought, he becomes the ideal target for billionaires looking to craft the perfect puppet. Forget Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio is now the establishment GOP's pick, and they will do everything in their power to get him the nomination.

There are three billionaire oligarchs in particular who seem to really love Rubio. They are Sheldon Adelson, Paul Singer and Ken Griffin. Let's look at the evidence so far.

Although Adelson hasn't officially endorsed Rubio, it's likely just a matter of time. See the following excerpt from yesterday's Miami Herald:

As GOP presidential candidates take the debate stage Tuesday at an extravagant Las Vegas hotel, they will once again compete for voters in an increasingly unpredictable race. But they are also vying for the attention of the man who owns the building - and no candidate has worked harder than Florida's Marco Rubio.

The U.S. senator has avidly courted casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, sitting down with him privately numerous times, including a dinner in Washington weeks before launching his campaign in April, and checking in regularly by phone to talk about Israel and the campaign.

All told, Adelson and his Israeli-born wife spent $93 million that cycle [2008], the No. 1 individual donors, by far.

This time, Adelson, whose worth is valued at somewhere between $20 billion and $30 billion, reportedly wants to throw his weight behind a more electable candidate and he's prepared to spend even more. "I don't cry when I lose," he told the Wall Street Journal in 2012. "There's always a new hand coming up."

Rubio has benefited from an outside group that has run TV ads featuring his hawkish foreign policy views, including a vow to tear up the Iran nuclear deal, which Adelson loathes. Rubio is also backing legislation Adelson is pushing to crush an expansion of online gambling, which threatens his global casino empire.

Much of Rubio's supposed favor has been conveyed by people who are close to Adelson, not Adelson himself, who rarely talks to the media.

Adelson is a critic of unions but moderate on social issues and supports stem-cell research and immigration reform.

Adelson does have business interests, and earlier this year Rubio attracted attention when he signed onto a bill that Adelson is trying to get through Congress that aims to curtail online gambling in states, a threat to his casino empire.

Though Rubio has talked about states' rights and avoiding picking "winners and losers," he has attributed his support for the bill to a feeling that the Internet has fewer safeguards to protect people from fraud and addiction.

"Rubio calls and says, 'Hey, did you see this speech? Did you see my floor statement on Iran? What do you think I should do about this issue?' " a September New York magazine story quoted an unnamed Adelson friend as saying. "It's impressive. Rubio is persistent."

For more on Adelson, see:

Sheldon Adelson – The Dangerous American Oligarch Behind Benjamin Netanyahu

Inside the Mind of an Oligarch – Sheldon Adelson Proclaims "I Don't Like Journalism"

Moving along, Rubio already has the official support of hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer. CNBC reports:

Marco Rubio got some great news on with backing from influential hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, who was heavily courted by multiple GOP presidential candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

But Singer's backing - while a huge positive for Rubio in the money race - does not come without some risks for the Florida senator. Singer is distrusted in the conservative base of the GOP both for his support of same-sex marriage and his support of Rubio's immigration reform efforts in the Senate. According to a person close to Singer, the hedge fund billionaire gave $100,000 to support immigration reform, which the right widely regards as "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants.

Singer's backing encapsulates a major potential problem for the Rubio candidacy. The senator wants and needs the vast piles of money the GOP's Wall Street establishment is capable of pushing his way. Nobody organizes and directs that money better than Singer.

But there's far more to Singer's support than ideology. From the Huffington Post:

All that is music to Singer's ears, but Rubio's "work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee" is about something else altogether: his political support for Singer's efforts to drain more than $1.5 billion dollars from Argentina in payments on old bonds that lost most of their value after the country defaulted in 2001.

Singer's Elliott Management bought that debt several years ago for less than $50 million, and then successfully sued in U.S. court to demand full recovery of the face amount - in the face of opposition from the Obama administration, most other bondholders, and, above all, Argentina's government, led by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Last year, another member of Congress got in on the act: Senator Marco Rubio. While grilling President Obama's nominee as U.S. ambassador to Argentina, Rubio complained that Buenos Aires "doesn't pay bondholders, doesn't work with our security operations… These aren't the actions of an ally."

This May, Rubio introduced a resolution in the Senate suggesting that Kirchner conspiried to "cover up Iranian involvement in the 1994 terrorist bombing." Rubio declared that the issues in the case "extend well beyond Argentina and involve the international community, and more importantly, U.S. national security."

As Eli Clifton noted, "It turns out that Singer's hedge fund, Elliott Management, was Rubio's second largest source of campaign contributions between 2009 and 2014, providing the presidential hopeful with $122,620, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics."

Next up, we have the billionaire CEO of hedge fund Citadel, Ken Griffin, also thought to be the richest man in Illinois. He recently endorsed Rubio. From CNBC:

Ken Griffin, the billionaire hedge-fund manager who has become a major Republican Party donor in recent years, is throwing his support behind Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for president.

"I'm really excited to be supporting Marco Rubio," Griffin, who is the founder and chief executive of the Chicago firm Citadel, said in an exclusive interview with CNBC. "He will be the next president of the United States."

With a net worth estimated by Forbes to be $7 billion, Griffin is thought to be the richest person in Illinois, so depending on the level of financial support he provides, he could be crucial to a Rubio candidacy. In 2014, for instance, Griffin helped secure a gubernatorial victory for private-equity executive Bruce Rauner in Illinois by contributing $5.5 million and reportedly offering the use of his private plane.

In the telephone interview Thursday, Griffin said he would play an active role in raising money for Rubio from his own network of associates. He also said he would contribute "several million dollars" to Rubio's PAC starting "imminently."

Which brings us to Rubio's latest squirmy tactic, in which he sacrifices individual choice in favor of protecting mega corporations. From the Intercept:

Rubio, who is raising campaign cash from the telecom industry for his presidential campaign, fired off a letter to the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to allow states to block municipal broadband services.

The letter was the latest salvo in a long-running effort by the major telecom companies to outlaw municipal broadband programs that have taken off in cities such as Lafayette, Louisiana, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, because they pose a threat to a business model that calls for slow, expensive internet access without competition.

In Chattanooga, for instance, city officials set up a service known as "The Gig," a municipal broadband network that provides data transfers at one gigabit per second for less than $70 a month - a rate that is 50 times faster than the average speed American customers have available through private broadband networks.

AT&T, Cox Communications, Comcast, and other broadband providers, fearing competition, have used their influence in state government to make an end-run around local municipalities. Through surrogates like the American Legislative Exchange Council, the industry gets states to pass laws that ban municipal broadband networks, despite the obvious benefits to both the municipalities and their residents.

That's why the FCC has become involved. The agency stepped in to prevent states from crushing municipal broadband and released a rule this year that allows local cities to make the decision on their own.

As a result, telecom companies are furiously lobbying the FCC, litigating the rule in court, and leaning on GOP lawmakers to pressure the agency to back down.

Naturally, Marco Rubio is leading the charge.

Personally, I don't think Rubio is even capable of all that much independent thought in the first place, but even if he was, the guy will do anything for campaign money. If you tried to create the perfect puppet in a test-tube, what would likely emerge is something very close to Marco Rubio.

A man who consistently talks about small government and free markets, but who will fight to protect cronyism and oligarchy whenever somebody hangs a fresh dollar bill in front of his face. And all the smartest GOP billionaires know it.

Demdere

Yes, dynamic game theory, play after play, generation after generation. You have to have that perspective, or they trap you with mindgames. Lots of conspiracies, lots of mindgames, and we fall into 2 choices, every time. Everyone plays their role, the biggest players are the ones with the most money, and they collude, and trade, and are so rarely sentimental in any way. Colde-blooeded "How to get MY way?" thinking. Seeing which way the wind blows, the various dependencies follow along in the general direction, most of the time.

"We ain't in it".

This whole thing has to be building up to war, because what else can the Israeli-Neocons threaten us with? The next False Flag has to be big and bad to justify what they wnat, a state authoritarian enough to keep our current propaganda ministers in control, lest we decide to hang them. But our current propaganda outlets are failing, have you noticed? And the country is near maximum power, because it won't be able to borrow money and nobody will loan a broke country anything, as the USSR of late fame last discovered about the world of finance.

So they are losing control of the agenda and losing here in realty, poor people rarely view their rulers with much favor, the economy is failing. Maximum danger, they can't lose, they hang.

What do you predict happens next?

Israeli-Neocons are the existential danger to America.

Larry Dallas

Rubio is broke. Will be pro-Israel on anything to get Sheldon's money. Can you imagine the optics for Jews of Rubio going to a Las Vegas Casino to ask for money?

Never trust anyone who is broke. They can never be trusted to do what they say they are going to do.

Exhibit 1: Hillary.


Usurious

he was prolly washing down bill kristol's semen.........

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv2lPVtG02E

Redneck Hippy

Bill Kristol is a most amazing beast. He has managed to make a living for decades as a supposed pundit without ever having been right about anything ever.

Demdere

Guys, please stop the anti-Jewish shit, OK? You see, if you are serious, this kind of stuff turns off the arguments you make among rational and intelligent people, almost all of whom have Jewish friends who are not the evil people you think you know?

And of course, the other motivation for you doing that would be to tar your arguments with that bad one? so discrediting both argument and you, depending on whether people were already fans or foes? There cna't be any win in that for a real position, associating it with racism, and most people are fully-able to tell it apart.

False flags happen in the world of ideas, noticed?

So rational minds, given certain fantasy-ideologies would better leave them unsaid other than to communicate past the next-possible tier of minds. Going past that generates opposition, and successful perversions of governments take many years, if your name might be dung to very many rational people at all, keeping quite is the best thing to do. No seriously-deviant population ahs ever achieved power by being loudmouths, as I recall.

So, you see, either you are dumb as dug or you are hasbara of some variety.

But my argument gets better with repetition, while you don't appear to grow smarter at all. must be a handicap, having to conform to even so hazy a reality as drive-by snide of endless variety.

The rest of you consider what kind of person votes this down? hasbara-intent if not hasbara. Who cares?

will ling

pedal to the metal trump.

Miss Expectations

REVEALED: Marco Rubio's brother-in-law was the 'front man for an international drug-smuggling ring led by leopard-loving "cocaine cowboy" kingpin whose mansion was filled with big cats and a giraffe'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3358281/Marco-Rubio-s-brother-law-man-international-drug-smuggling-ring-led-leopard-loving-cocaine-cowboy-kingpin-mansion-filled-big-cats-giraffe.html#ixzz3uRP29AxY

L Bean

The New Mafia, the same as the Old Mafia. Who could've predicted?


where_is the_nuke

I personally think Rubio is the second dumbest republican runner after Carson. A perfect puppet material.

essence

Last GOP debate I had enough Internet bandwidth to watch ( a rarity for me)

After the debate the network went to an ancillary offering, a focus group in New Hampshire.

Maybe 12-15 people, mostly white (can't recall exactly ...but then, it's NH, what would one expect).

Most were 50+, all were overweight, Hey, not attempting to overtly characterize, nevertheless, the observation did not elude me. And yeah, that included the network guy conducting the interview.

Rubio got some favorable reviews. From 50-60 % of the group. (Cruz too, but more to Rubio).

Here's the "good" part. At least half the sheeple seemed to think he was articulate, capable, a real "young gun,"new blood", yada yada yada, (I admit, he was articulate, .... and his hair was nicely cut and parted).

Never mind that he had offered no way of paying for the (among other things) trillion dollar NEW subsidy he proposed going to families, or the increased Military spending. Because, after all, it's for the children, families, keeping everyone safe by ensuring that the u.s. spends more on it's military than the next 10 other countries COMBINED

Real logic or practicality need not apply here I guess. Note he did not advocate cutting from anywhere to cover this new expenditure. No cutting CIA/NSA, or cutting S.S./Medicare nor anything/anywhere really. NOPE, just good 'ol NEW DEBT (to be paid for -- plus the bankster usury of course -- by future generations, the vaunted "children" that he apparently thinks so highly of).

gregga777

Mike Krieger must really be in love with Hillary Clinton. She's the most corrupt, the sleaziest, the most bribed and the most evil politician in the United States, if not the entire world. She was responsible for the murder of Kibya's Muamar Qadafi and our ambassador to Libya in Benghazi. She's also responsible for the Middle Eastern refugee crisis sweeping through Europe because Qadafi had an agreement with the European Union to block refugee transit through Libya. But, curiously Mr. Krieger can only find fault with Marco Rubio and Donald Trump. Mike Krieger must really be in love with Hillary Clinton.

-----

Rubio is supported by a few billionaires. Jewish (oops, that observation apparently is not in vogue these days. Well Fuck you, if you wish to wear blinders then go ahead, I don't wish to so handicap myself). Rubio has supported the HB-1 visas (that's where U.S. corporations fig-leaf offshore themselves to avoid taxation) .... press for non-U.S. citizens be given working visa's to their remaining U.S. located operations.

Not talking farm workers here, this is corporations hiring & importing Indians (or whomever) expressly for lower wages than U.S. citizens current prevailing wages.

Get the irony here? The companies seek to evade paying prevailing wages to workers, while they themselves use every trick in the book to evade U.S. taxation on their earnings. It's the very height of hypocrisy. And Rubio is their spokesman. Yes Marco Rubio, articulate, nicely parted hair, "pro family" Rubio.

[Dec 15, 2015] Ilargi Marine Le Pen Will Reap What The EU Has Sown

Notable quotes:
"... Since Reagan and Thatcher, it is very hard for elites anywhere to think of "the national interest" as anything more than the bottom lines of the larger banks, brokerage houses, and corporations based in their respective countries. Where the statement made in 1959 that what was good for General Motors is good for America was met with disdain or distrust, today it is an unshakeable article of faith for almost all national politicians in the major Western countries (substituting Mitsui, or Deutsche Bank, or AXA, or Royal Dutch Shell for GM). The axiom is if you take care of the corporations, they will take care of the economy, and that it turn will take care of the people. ..."
"... Thus we have the corporate neoliberal state. The fact that millions are unsure of that formula, or simply dismiss it out of hand as self-serving on the part of both the corporations and the politicians who suck at their teats, is dismissed as naïve or irrational by the elites and their intellectual shills (virtually everyone being educated at elite institutions). ..."
"... By the way, one of the first rules of diplomacy (and any interactions really, even with animals) is don't force anyone into a corner; it doesn't end well. That's basically what the EU did to the European populations by not ever letting them say no to expansions. (As an addendum, one could easily draw parallels here with Trump.) ..."
"... And that's before you get to the fact that the European elites have so deeply drunken the neoliberal Kool Aid that it doubtful they'd be willing to take aggressive enough action even if they weren't hemmed in by Germany and Brussels. As one wag put it, "They have changed their minds, but they have not changed their hearts." ..."
naked capitalism

Many people are cheering now that yesterday Marine Le Pen and her Front National (FN) party didn't get to take over government in any regions in the France regional elections. They should think again. FN did get a lot more votes than the last time around, and, though she will be a little disappointed after last weekend's results, it's exactly as Le Pen herself said: "Nothing can stop us".

And instead of bemoaning this, or even not believing it, it might be much better to try and understand why she's right. And that has little to do with any comparisons to Donald Trump. Or perhaps it does, in that in the same way that Trump profits from -people's perception of- the systemic failures of Washington, Le Pen is being helped into the saddle by Brussels.

The only -remaining- politicians in Europe who are critical of the EU are on the -extreme- right wing. The entire spectrum of politics other than them don't even question Brussels anymore. Which is at least a little strange, because support for the EU on the street is not nearly as strong as among politicians, as referendum after referendum keeps on showing.

James Levy, December 15, 2015 at 8:25 am

Since Reagan and Thatcher, it is very hard for elites anywhere to think of "the national interest" as anything more than the bottom lines of the larger banks, brokerage houses, and corporations based in their respective countries. Where the statement made in 1959 that what was good for General Motors is good for America was met with disdain or distrust, today it is an unshakeable article of faith for almost all national politicians in the major Western countries (substituting Mitsui, or Deutsche Bank, or AXA, or Royal Dutch Shell for GM). The axiom is if you take care of the corporations, they will take care of the economy, and that it turn will take care of the people.

Thus we have the corporate neoliberal state. The fact that millions are unsure of that formula, or simply dismiss it out of hand as self-serving on the part of both the corporations and the politicians who suck at their teats, is dismissed as naïve or irrational by the elites and their intellectual shills (virtually everyone being educated at elite institutions).

This leads to the societal disconnect you so ably set before us in your post. I see no way the two sides can stop talking past one another and wallowing in their mutual contempt. In the end, one side will win and one will lose, or the system will collapse and both will be thrown into the darkness. My money is on the last of those options.


lylo, December 15, 2015 at 9:27 am

I agree about the pull rightward being basically the fault of the europhiles filling every other party. The really sad part is how many of them are ostensibly more nationalist while campaigning. No one is ever put in office promising to put Brussels first, yet they all seem to once elected. As put so succinctly, what choice is left?

By the way, one of the first rules of diplomacy (and any interactions really, even with animals) is don't force anyone into a corner; it doesn't end well. That's basically what the EU did to the European populations by not ever letting them say no to expansions. (As an addendum, one could easily draw parallels here with Trump.)

But I do have to mention, as it often comes up in these discussions, my issue with the article's take on the Euro. I agree completely, by the way, and think most here would say it goes without even saying. Right?

Now, what about the poor Southern US? Isn't it actually all so-and-so's fault or if only they weren't so dumb or had instituted such-and-such policy or whatever the complaint is today?

It couldn't possibly be that it's a huge geographic area with different industries and culture than the Northern US and always ends up with the short side of the currency stick as the decision makers are all decidedly northern…

Taken in this context, doesn't that reasoning sound an awful lot like the crazies in Germany sipping champagne complaining about the lazy Mediterraneans, and how it's all their fault?

Yeah–that is what it actually sounds like to southerners, fyi. Please remember that next time you hear an anti-Southern diatribe. (Also, bear in mind the first point about forcing people to pick crazy and how it may relate.)


samhill, December 15, 2015 at 9:41 am

And that's before you get to the fact that the European elites have so deeply drunken the neoliberal Kool Aid that it doubtful they'd be willing to take aggressive enough action even if they weren't hemmed in by Germany and Brussels. As one wag put it, "They have changed their minds, but they have not changed their hearts."

We should be so lucky if it was simply a Germany plus heart vs mind battle, which would offer some chance for some switch in consciousness of leaders. Unfortunately the politicians in charge across the EU are lightweight halfwits. The real power elites that run them don't want statesmen of whatever ilk, no more Churhills, de Gaulles, Adenauers, etc, even mafiosi like Andreotti, people you can suggest to but can't simply command. Saddest truth possible is that people like Cameron, Holland, Renzi etc are put there exclusively to not cause any trouble, right or left, and any expectations of any sort are a delusion like expecting a chimp to start driving a car. There is no heart/mind struggle, there just a low IQ resonate drone like a bad fluorescent light in the room.

The only -remaining- politicians in Europe who are critical of the EU are on the -extreme- right wing.

Not true, to Italy's surprising credit and to Beppe Grillo's foresight (since 2009) M5S has managed to channel a good part of the dissatisfaction in Italy to the left denying the right a monopoly on the discourse like in more virtuously democratic France. So far M5S has managed to keep an open, honest, intelligent anti-EU discourse going, about all that can be asked for given the relentless and monolithic media mud machine they face, not to mention the envious, bristling hatred of the traditional tribal left, and they have pretty much managed to keep a solid hold on ~20% of the vote. They are completely nonexistent in the anglophone press and commentariat (Grillo's a clown in as much as Lenny Bruce or George Carlin were) but they are the are the only significant leftist block outside the mainstream left in a significant country giving voice to the no global, occupy, mmt movement in the EU.

[Dec 15, 2015] Charting Trump's rise through the decline of the middle class

Notable quotes:
"... There's little doubt that what has happened to America's middle class has helped to create the climate that has fueled Trump's sudden rise. ..."
"... Those living in middle-class households no longer make up a majority of the population. ..."
"... The report is not entirely gloomy. Every category gained in income between 1970 and 2014. Those in the top strata saw incomes rise by 47 percent. Middle-income Americans saw theirs rise by 34 percent. Those at the bottom saw the most modest increases, at 28 percent. ..."
"... But the share of income accounted for by the middle class has plummeted over the past 4 1 / 2 decades. In 1970, middle-class households accounted for 62 percent of income; by 2014, it was just 43 percent. Meanwhile, the share held by those in upper-income households rose from 29 percent to 49 percent, eclipsing the middle class's share. ..."
"... For most families, the two recessions have wiped out previous gains and widened the wealth and income gap between the wealthiest and all others. "The losses were so large that only upper-income families realized notable gains in wealth over the span of 30 years from 1983 to 2013," according to the Pew study. ..."
"... Until the recession of 2007-2009, middle-income earners saw a significant rise in their overall wealth, but the economic calamity mostly wiped away those gains. Today, the median net worth of families in the middle (in 2014 dollars) is barely higher than it was in 1983. Those at the top have weathered the recession far better and, despite losses, have seen a doubling of their net worth over that same period. ..."
"... Politicians in both parties have sought for some time to appeal to middle-class voters who are economically stressed. President Obama made his 2012 reelection campaign about appealing to the middle class and casting Republican nominee Mitt Romney as out of touch and insensitive to their concerns. ..."
"... Trump, however, has tapped a vein of frustration and resentment among those who have suffered most from the economic maladies of the past decade and a half, and he has ridden it to the top of the GOP polls. He has done it by eschewing political correctness. ..."
"... Trump draws strong support from the kinds of voters who see illegal immigration as eroding the values of the country and who might worry that their jobs are threatened by the influx. About half of those Republicans who favor deporting immigrants who are here illegally back Trump for the party's nomination. ..."
"... Trump's campaign slogan is not just "Make America Great" but "Make America Great Again." He summons a time when the middle class was prosperous and incomes were rising. This was a time when the lack of a college degree was not the impediment to a more economically secure life that it has become - and a time when white people made up a higher share of the population. ..."
"... Whatever happens to Trump's candidacy over the coming months, the conditions that have helped make him the front-runner for the GOP nomination will still exist, a focal point in a divisive debate about the future of the country. ..."
"... He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you whos to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections ..."
"... Their replies were striking. Where merely affluent Americans are more likely to identify as Democrats than as Republicans, the ultrawealthy overwhelmingly leaned right. They are far more likely to raise money for politicians and to have access to them; nearly half had personally contacted one of Illinois's two United States senators. ..."
"... Probably the biggest single area of disconnect has to do with social welfare programs," said Benjamin I. Page, a political scientist at Northwestern University and a co-author of the study. "The other big area has to do with paying for those programs, particularly taxes on high-income and wealthy people. ..."
"... Where the general public overwhelmingly supports a high minimum wage, the one percent are broadly opposed. ..."
"... Where merely affluent Americans are more likely to identify as Democrats than as Republicans, the ultrawealthy overwhelmingly leaned right. ..."
"... That would explain the survey results discussed yesterday showing Clinton to be the preferred candidate among millionaires -- a category almost as factually broad and ambiguous as the middle class . The merely affluent -- AKA the liberal elite -- would be the Clinton supporters, whereas the ultrawealthy would support Rubio (or whatever other candidate they were sponsoring). ..."
"... it is not necessarily an endorsement of Trump but a relative statement - that he resonates with people more than the other contenders. This kind of thing (people rallying around alpha-type strongmen with supremacist narratives) has reliably happened anywhere and anytime there was a bad economy and serious lack of positive outlook. ..."
"... Trump 24%, Cruz 16% in South Carolina Poll ..."
"... Five Reasons Congress Hates Ted Cruz http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2015/09/30/Five-Reasons-Congre ..."
economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. said in reply to Peter K.... December 13, 2015 at 07:01 AM
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/charting-trumps-rise-in-the-decline-of-the-middle-class/2015/12/12/0f5df1d8-a037-11e5-8728-1af6af208198_story.html?tid=pm_politics_pop_b

Charting Trump's rise through the decline of the middle class

By Dan Balz December 12 at 10:59 AM

For anyone trying to understand the emergence of Donald Trump as a force in this pre-election year, the Pew Research Center this past week provided some valuable insight. There's little doubt that what has happened to America's middle class has helped to create the climate that has fueled Trump's sudden rise.

The Pew study charts the steady decline of the middle class over the past four decades. It is a phenomenon often discussed and analyzed, but the new findings highlight a tipping point: Those living in middle-class households no longer make up a majority of the population.

There has been a "hollowing out" of the middle class, as the study puts it. In 1971, the middle class accounted for 61 percent of the nation's population. Today, there are slightly more people in the upper and lower economic tiers combined than in the middle class.

The report is not entirely gloomy. Every category gained in income between 1970 and 2014. Those in the top strata saw incomes rise by 47 percent. Middle-income Americans saw theirs rise by 34 percent. Those at the bottom saw the most modest increases, at 28 percent.

But the share of income accounted for by the middle class has plummeted over the past 4 1 / 2 decades. In 1970, middle-class households accounted for 62 percent of income; by 2014, it was just 43 percent. Meanwhile, the share held by those in upper-income households rose from 29 percent to 49 percent, eclipsing the middle class's share.

The past 15 years have been particularly hard on wealth and income because of the recession of 2001 and the Great Recession of 2007-2009. For all groups, incomes rose from 1970 to 2000. In the next decade, incomes for all groups declined. During the past four years, incomes rose 3 percent for the wealthiest, 1 percent for middle-income Americans, and not at all for those with the lowest incomes. For those in the middle, the median income in 2014 was 4 percent lower than in 2000, according to the study.

For most families, the two recessions have wiped out previous gains and widened the wealth and income gap between the wealthiest and all others. "The losses were so large that only upper-income families realized notable gains in wealth over the span of 30 years from 1983 to 2013," according to the Pew study.

Until the recession of 2007-2009, middle-income earners saw a significant rise in their overall wealth, but the economic calamity mostly wiped away those gains. Today, the median net worth of families in the middle (in 2014 dollars) is barely higher than it was in 1983. Those at the top have weathered the recession far better and, despite losses, have seen a doubling of their net worth over that same period.

Within the overall trends of the middle class, there are winners and losers, according to the Pew study. Winners included people older than 65, whose overall economic standing has increased sharply over the past four decades. In 1971, more than half of all Americans ages 65 and older were in the lowest income tier. Today, nearly half qualify as middle-income.

Those with college degrees have remained fairly stable in terms of their percentages in the lower-, middle- and upper-income tiers. Then comes this telling finding from the Pew study: "Those without a bachelor's degree tumbled down the income tiers, however. Among the various demographic groups examined, adults with no more than a high school diploma lost the most ground economically."

This is where the report connects directly to what's happened politically this year. Pair those last findings from the Pew study with what recent polling shows about who supports Trump.

A recent Washington Post-ABC News survey found Trump leading his rivals overall, with 32 percent support among registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Among white people with college degrees, he was at 23 percent and led his nearest rival by only four percentage points. Among white people without a college degree, however, his support ballooned to 41 percent - double that of Ben Carson, who was second at 20 percent, and five times the support of Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Tex.), who were tied for third.

Those without college educations have regressed economically. The Pew study shows that many who have either a high school degree or at most two years of college have fallen out of the middle class over the past four decades. Among those with high school degrees, the percentage in the lowest-income tier has risen from 17 percent in 1971 to 36 percent in 2015. A similar pattern exists for those with some college education but not a four-year degree.

Politicians in both parties have sought for some time to appeal to middle-class voters who are economically stressed. President Obama made his 2012 reelection campaign about appealing to the middle class and casting Republican nominee Mitt Romney as out of touch and insensitive to their concerns.

In the absence of progress during Obama's presidency, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, and her principal challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), have made issues of inequality and wage stagnation central to their appeals. Clinton's team long has believed that the election will turn on issues of middle-class economics.

Trump, however, has tapped a vein of frustration and resentment among those who have suffered most from the economic maladies of the past decade and a half, and he has ridden it to the top of the GOP polls. He has done it by eschewing political correctness.

Trump draws strong support from the kinds of voters who see illegal immigration as eroding the values of the country and who might worry that their jobs are threatened by the influx. About half of those Republicans who favor deporting immigrants who are here illegally back Trump for the party's nomination. These are also the kinds of voters who agree most with Trump's call to ban the entry of Muslims into the United States until security concerns are laid to rest.

Trump's campaign slogan is not just "Make America Great" but "Make America Great Again." He summons a time when the middle class was prosperous and incomes were rising. This was a time when the lack of a college degree was not the impediment to a more economically secure life that it has become - and a time when white people made up a higher share of the population.

Whatever happens to Trump's candidacy over the coming months, the conditions that have helped make him the front-runner for the GOP nomination will still exist, a focal point in a divisive debate about the future of the country.

EMichael said in reply to Peter K....
Baker was too kind to Balz.

Amazing that appeals to racist imbeciles are considered to be appeals to middle class America. Over two decades ago, Trump's platform(if you can call it that) was accurately described in The American President:

"I've known Bob Rumson for years, and I've been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn't get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob's problem isn't that he doesn't get it. Bob's problem is that he can't sell it! We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections."

Peter K. said in reply to EMichael...
Also the corporate media refuses to focus on the one percent.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/30/us/politics/illinois-campaign-money-bruce-rauner.html?_r=0

"The rich families remaking Illinois are among a small group around the country who have channeled their extraordinary wealth into political power, taking advantage of regulatory, legal and cultural shifts that have carved new paths for infusing money into campaigns. Economic winners in an age of rising inequality, operating largely out of public view, they are reshaping government with fortunes so large as to defy the ordinary financial scale of politics. In the 2016 presidential race, a New York Times analysis found last month, just 158 families had provided nearly half of the early campaign money.

...

Around the same time that Mr. Rauner began running for governor, a group of researchers based at Northwestern University published findings from the country's first-ever representative survey of the richest one percent of Americans. The study, known as the Survey of Economically Successful Americans and the Common Good, canvassed a sample of the wealthy from the Chicago area. Those canvassed were granted anonymity to discuss their views candidly.

Their replies were striking. Where merely affluent Americans are more likely to identify as Democrats than as Republicans, the ultrawealthy overwhelmingly leaned right. They are far more likely to raise money for politicians and to have access to them; nearly half had personally contacted one of Illinois's two United States senators.

Where the general public overwhelmingly supports a high minimum wage, the one percent are broadly opposed. A majority of Americans supported expanding safety-net and retirement programs, while most of the very wealthy opposed them. And while Americans are not enthusiastic about higher taxes generally, they feel strongly that the rich should pay more than they do, and more than everyone else pays.

"Probably the biggest single area of disconnect has to do with social welfare programs," said Benjamin I. Page, a political scientist at Northwestern University and a co-author of the study. "The other big area has to do with paying for those programs, particularly taxes on high-income and wealthy people.""

EMichael said in reply to Peter K....
"Where the general public overwhelmingly supports a high minimum wage, the one percent are broadly opposed."

Yep

So what they do is to distract people from the need to increase wages by altering the minimum wage and make low wages the responsibility of illegal immigrants.

Plausible(if not true) story made believable if you are a racist.

ken melvin said in reply to Peter K....
I remember seeing this display at the Bancroft:

http://www.dailycal.org/2015/11/12/bancroft-library-acquires-documents-from-local-disability-rights-advocate/

Syaloch said in reply to Peter K....
"Where merely affluent Americans are more likely to identify as Democrats than as Republicans, the ultrawealthy overwhelmingly leaned right."

That would explain the survey results discussed yesterday showing Clinton to be the preferred candidate among "millionaires" -- a category almost as factually broad and ambiguous as "the middle class". The merely affluent -- AKA the "liberal elite" -- would be the Clinton supporters, whereas the ultrawealthy would support Rubio (or whatever other candidate they were sponsoring).

cm said in reply to EMichael...
"Amazing that appeals to racist imbeciles are considered to be appeals to middle class America." etc.

Are you suggesting the survey percentages are not accurate? One can suspect a significant sampling error, but if the numbers were off let's say 5-10 percentage points, would it really make much of a difference in quality?

Also it is not necessarily an endorsement of Trump but a relative statement - that he resonates with people more than the other contenders. This kind of thing (people rallying around alpha-type strongmen with supremacist narratives) has reliably happened anywhere and anytime there was a bad economy and serious lack of positive outlook.

Fred C. Dobbs said...
(Cruzin' on the !Trump watch.)

Trump calls Cruz 'a bit of a maniac' following poll
shakeup http://on.msnbc.com/1TJvl3Y via @msnbc

The competition between GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz heated up Sunday, with Trump calling Cruz "a bit of a maniac."

Appearing on "FOX News Sunday," Trump said the Texas senator was not qualified to be president because he doesn't have the right temperament and judgement to get things done.

"Look at the way he's dealt with the Senate, where he goes in there like a - you know, frankly like a little bit of a maniac," Trump said. "You can't walk into the Senate, and scream, and call people liars, and not be able to cajole and get along with people." ...

Previously: Ted Cruz Questions Donald Trump's 'Judgment' to
Be President http://nyti.ms/1XZ3RxD via @NYTPolitics - Dec 10

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...
Trump 24%, Cruz 16% in South Carolina Poll
http://bloom.bg/1OT8DHm via @Bloomberg - Dec 10
Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...
The Iowa poll shakeup:

Cruz opens up 10-point lead on Trump in Iowa
@CNNPolitics http://cnn.it/1J3rI3l - Dec 13

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...
Five Reasons Congress Hates Ted Cruz http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2015/09/30/Five-Reasons-Congress-Hates-Ted-Cruz
Fiscal Times - Sep 8

(Have anything to do with making them listen to 'Green Eggs & Ham'?)

[Dec 13, 2015] Hillary Clinton Is Whitewashing 2008 Financial Collapse

Notable quotes:
"... Can you list all of the pro- or anti- Wall Street reforms and actions Bill Clinton performed as President including nominating Alan Greenspan as head regulator? Cutting the capital gains tax? Are you aware of Greenspan's record? ..."
"... The Tax Policy Center estimated that a 0.1 percent tax on stock trades, scaled with lower taxes on other assets, would raise $50 billion a year in tax revenue. The implied reduction in trading revenue was even larger. Senator Sanders has proposed a tax of 0.5 percent on equities (also with a scaled tax on other assets). This would lead to an even larger reduction in revenue for the financial industry. ..."
"... Great to see Bakers acknowledgement that an updated Glass-Steagall is just one component of the progressive wings plan to rein in Wall Street, not the sum total of it. Besides, if Wall Street types dont think restoring Glass-Steagall will have any meaningful effects, why do they expend so much energy to disparage it? Methinks they doth protest too much. ..."
"... Yes thats a good way to look it. Wall Street gave the Democrats and Clinton a lot of campaign cash so that they would dismantle Glass-Steagall. ..."
"... Slippery slope. Ya gotta find me a business of any type that does not protest any kind of regulation on their business. ..."
"... Yeah, but usually because of all the bad things they say will happen because of the regulation. The question is, what do they think of Clintons plan? Ive heard surprisingly little about that, and what I have heard is along these lines: http://money.cnn.com/2015/10/08/investing/hillary-clinton-wall-street-plan/ ..."
"... Hillary Clinton unveiled her big plan to curb the worst of Wall Streets excesses on Thursday. The reaction from the banking community was a shrug, if not relief. ..."
"... There is absolutely NO question Bernie is for real. Wall Street does not want Bernie. So theyll let Hillary talk as big as she needs to . Why should we believe her when an honest guy like Barry caved once in power ..."
"... Perhaps too often we look at Wall Street as monolithic whether consciously or not. Obviously we know its no monolithic: there are serious differences ..."
"... This all coiled change if Bernie surges. How that happens depends crucially on New Hampshire. Not Iowa ..."
"... I believe Hillary will be to liberal causes after she is elected as LBJ was to peace in Vietnam. Like Bill and Obomber. ..."
Dec 12, 2015 | Economist's View

RGC said...

Hillary Clinton Is Whitewashing the Financial Catastrophe

She has a plan that she claims will reform Wall Street-but she's deflecting responsibility from old friends and donors in the industry.

By William Greider
Yesterday 3:11 pm

Hillary Clinton's recent op-ed in The New York Times, "How I'd Rein In Wall Street," was intended to reassure nervous Democrats who fear she is still in thrall to those mega-bankers of New York who crashed the American economy. Clinton's brisk recital of plausible reform ideas might convince wishful thinkers who are not familiar with the complexities of banking. But informed skeptics, myself included, see a disturbing message in her argument that ought to alarm innocent supporters.

Candidate Clinton is essentially whitewashing the financial catastrophe. She has produced a clumsy rewrite of what caused the 2008 collapse, one that conveniently leaves her husband out of the story. He was the president who legislated the predicate for Wall Street's meltdown. Hillary Clinton's redefinition of the reform problem deflects the blame from Wall Street's most powerful institutions, like JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, and instead fingers less celebrated players that failed. In roundabout fashion, Hillary Clinton sounds like she is assuring old friends and donors in the financial sector that, if she becomes president, she will not come after them.

The seminal event that sowed financial disaster was the repeal of the New Deal's Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which had separated banking into different realms: investment banks, which organize capital investors for risk-taking ventures; and deposit-holding banks, which serve people as borrowers and lenders. That law's repeal, a great victory for Wall Street, was delivered by Bill Clinton in 1999, assisted by the Federal Reserve and the financial sector's armies of lobbyists. The "universal banking model" was saluted as a modernizing reform that liberated traditional banks to participate directly and indirectly in long-prohibited and vastly more profitable risk-taking.

Exotic financial instruments like derivatives and credit-default swaps flourished, enabling old-line bankers to share in the fun and profit on an awesome scale. The banks invented "guarantees" against loss and sold them to both companies and market players. The fast-expanding financial sector claimed a larger and larger share of the economy (and still does) at the expense of the real economy of producers and consumers. The interconnectedness across market sectors created the illusion of safety. When illusions failed, these connected guarantees became the dragnet that drove panic in every direction. Ultimately, the federal government had to rescue everyone, foreign and domestic, to stop the bleeding.

Yet Hillary Clinton asserts in her Times op-ed that repeal of Glass-Steagall had nothing to do with it. She claims that Glass-Steagall would not have limited the reckless behavior of institutions like Lehman Brothers or insurance giant AIG, which were not traditional banks. Her argument amounts to facile evasion that ignores the interconnected exposures. The Federal Reserve spent $180 billion bailing out AIG so AIG could pay back Goldman Sachs and other banks. If the Fed hadn't acted and had allowed AIG to fail, the banks would have gone down too.

These sound like esoteric questions of bank regulation (and they are), but the consequences of pretending they do not matter are enormous. The federal government and Federal Reserve would remain on the hook for rescuing losers in a future crisis. The largest and most adventurous banks would remain free to experiment, inventing fictitious guarantees and selling them to eager suckers. If things go wrong, Uncle Sam cleans up the mess.

Senator Elizabeth Warren and other reformers are pushing a simpler remedy-restore the Glass-Steagall principles and give citizens a safe, government-insured place to store their money. "Banking should be boring," Warren explains (her co-sponsor is GOP Senator John McCain).
That's a hard sell in politics, given the banking sector's bear hug of Congress and the White House, its callous manipulation of both political parties. Of course, it is more complicated than that. But recreating a safe, stable banking system-a place where ordinary people can keep their money-ought to be the first benchmark for Democrats who claim to be reformers.

Actually, the most compelling witnesses for Senator Warren's argument are the two bankers who introduced this adventure in "universal banking" back in the 1990s. They used their political savvy and relentless muscle to seduce Bill Clinton and his so-called New Democrats. John Reed was CEO of Citicorp and led the charge. He has since apologized to the nation. Sandy Weill was chairman of the board and a brilliant financier who envisioned the possibilities of a single, all-purpose financial house, freed of government's narrow-minded regulations. They won politically, but at staggering cost to the country.

Weill confessed error back in 2012: "What we should probably do is go and split up investment banking from banking. Have banks do something that's not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that's not going to be too big to fail."

John Reed's confession explained explicitly why their modernizing crusade failed for two fundamental business reasons. "One was the belief that combining all types of finance into one institution would drive costs down-and the larger institution the more efficient it would be," Reed wrote in the Financial Times in November. Reed said, "We now know that there are very few cost efficiencies that come from the merger of functions-indeed, there may be none at all. It is possible that combining so much in a single bank makes services more expensive than if they were instead offered by smaller, specialised players."

The second grave error, Reed said, was trying to mix the two conflicting cultures in banking-bankers who are pulling in opposite directions. That tension helps explain the competitive greed displayed by the modernized banking system. This disorder speaks to the current political crisis in ways that neither Dems nor Republicans wish to confront. It would require the politicians to critique the bankers (often their funders) in terms of human failure.

"Mixing incompatible cultures is a problem all by itself," Reed wrote. "It makes the entire finance industry more fragile…. As is now clear, traditional banking attracts one kind of talent, which is entirely different from the kinds drawn towards investment banking and trading. Traditional bankers tend to be extroverts, sociable people who are focused on longer term relationships. They are, in many important respects, risk averse. Investment bankers and their traders are more short termist. They are comfortable with, and many even seek out, risk and are more focused on immediate reward."

Reed concludes, "As I have reflected about the years since 1999, I think the lessons of Glass-Steagall and its repeal suggest that the universal banking model is inherently unstable and unworkable. No amount of restructuring, management change or regulation is ever likely to change that."

This might sound hopelessly naive, but the Democratic Party might do better in politics if it told more of the truth more often: what they tried do and why it failed, and what they think they may have gotten wrong. People already know they haven't gotten a straight story from politicians. They might be favorably impressed by a little more candor in the plain-spoken manner of John Reed.

Of course it's unfair to pick on the Dems. Republicans have been lying about their big stuff for so long and so relentlessly that their voters are now staging a wrathful rebellion. Who knows, maybe a little honest talk might lead to honest debate. Think about it. Do the people want to hear the truth about our national condition? Could they stand it?

http://www.thenation.com/article/hillary-clinton-is-whitewashing-the-financial-catastrophe/

Peter K. said in reply to EMichael...
Can you list all of the pro- or anti- Wall Street "reforms" and actions Bill Clinton performed as President including nominating Alan Greenspan as head regulator? Cutting the capital gains tax? Are you aware of Greenspan's record?

Yes Hillary isn't Bill but she hasn't criticized her husband specifically about his record and seems to want to have her cake and eat it too.

Of course Hillary is much better than the Republicans, pace Rustbucket and the Green Lantern Lefty club. Still, critics have a point.

I won't be surprised if she doesn't do much to rein in Wall Street besides some window dressing.

sanjait said in reply to Peter K....
"Can you list all of the pro- or anti- Wall Street "reforms" and actions Bill Clinton performed..."

That, right there, is what's wrong with Bernie and his fans. They measure everything by whether it is "pro- or anti- Wall Street". Glass Steagall is anti-Wall Street. A financial transactions tax is anti-Wall Street. But neither has any hope of controlling systemic financial risk in this country. None.

You guys want to punish Wall Street but not even bother trying to think of how to achieve useful policy goals. Some people, like Paine here, are actually open about this vacuity, as if the only thing that were important were winning a power struggle.

Hillary's plan is flat out better. It's more comprehensive and more effective at reining in the financial system to limit systemic risk. Period.

You guys want to make this a character melodrama rather than a policy debate, and I fear the result of that will be that the candidate who actually has the best plan won't get to enact it.

likbez said in reply to sanjait...

"You guys want to make this a character melodrama rather than a policy debate, and I fear the result of that will be that the candidate who actually has the best plan won't get to enact it."

You are misrepresenting the positions. It's actually pro-neoliberalism crowd vs anti-neoliberalism crowd. In no way anti-neoliberalism commenters here view this is a character melodrama, although psychologically Hillary probably does has certain problems as her reaction to the death of Gadhafi attests.

The key problem with anti-neoliberalism crowd is the question "What is a realistic alternative?" That's where differences and policy debate starts.

RGC said in reply to EMichael...
"Her argument amounts to facile evasion"

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to RGC...

'The majority favors policies
to the left of Hillary.'

Nah. I don't think so.

No, Liberals Don't Control the Democratic Party http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/02/no-liberals-dont-control-the-democratic-party/283653/
The Atlantic - Feb 7, 2014

... The Democrats' liberal faction has been greatly overestimated by pundits who mistake noisiness for clout or assume that the left functions like the right. In fact, liberals hold nowhere near the power in the Democratic Party that conservatives hold in the Republican Party. And while they may well be gaining, they're still far from being in charge. ...

Paine said in reply to RGC...

What's not confronted ? Suggest what a System like the pre repeal system would have done in the 00's. My guess we'd have ended in a crisis anyway. Yes we can segregate the depository system. But credit is elastic enough to build bubbles without the depository system involved

Peter K. said...

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-and-cracking-down-on-wall-street

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Cracking Down on Wall Street
by Dean Baker

Published: 12 December 2015

The New Yorker ran a rather confused piece on Gary Sernovitz, a managing director at the investment firm Lime Rock Partners, on whether Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton would be more effective in reining in Wall Street. The piece assures us that Secretary Clinton has a better understanding of Wall Street and that her plan would be more effective in cracking down on the industry. The piece is bizarre both because it essentially dismisses the concern with too big to fail banks and completely ignores Sanders' proposal for a financial transactions tax which is by far the most important mechanism for reining in the financial industry.

The piece assures us that too big to fail banks are no longer a problem, noting their drop in profitability from bubble peaks and telling readers:

"not only are Sanders's bogeybanks just one part of Wall Street but they are getting less powerful and less problematic by the year."

This argument is strange for a couple of reasons. First, the peak of the subprime bubble frenzy is hardly a good base of comparison. The real question is should we anticipate declining profits going forward. That hardly seems clear. For example, Citigroup recently reported surging profits, while Wells Fargo's third quarter profits were up 8 percent from 2014 levels.

If Sernovitz is predicting that the big banks are about to shrivel up to nothingness, the market does not agree with him. Citigroup has a market capitalization of $152 billion, JPMorgan has a market cap of $236 billion, and Bank of America has a market cap of $174 billion. Clearly investors agree with Sanders in thinking that these huge banks will have sizable profits for some time to come.

The real question on too big to fail is whether the government would sit by and let a Goldman Sachs or Citigroup go bankrupt. Perhaps some people think that it is now the case, but I've never met anyone in that group.

Sernovitz is also dismissive on Sanders call for bringing back the Glass-Steagall separation between commercial banking and investment banking. He makes the comparison to the battle over the Keystone XL pipeline, which is actually quite appropriate. The Keystone battle did take on exaggerated importance in the climate debate. There was never a zero/one proposition in which no tar sands oil would be pumped without the pipeline, while all of it would be pumped if the pipeline was constructed. Nonetheless, if the Obama administration was committed to restricting greenhouse gas emissions, it is difficult to see why it would support the building of a pipeline that would facilitate bringing some of the world's dirtiest oil to market.

In the same vein, Sernovitz is right that it is difficult to see how anything about the growth of the housing bubble and its subsequent collapse would have been very different if Glass-Steagall were still in place. And, it is possible in principle to regulate bank's risky practices without Glass-Steagall, as the Volcker rule is doing. However, enforcement tends to weaken over time under industry pressure, which is a reason why the clear lines of Glass-Steagall can be beneficial. Furthermore, as with Keystone, if we want to restrict banks' power, what is the advantage of letting them get bigger and more complex?

The repeal of Glass-Steagall was sold in large part by boasting of the potential synergies from combining investment and commercial banking under one roof. But if the operations are kept completely separate, as is supposed to be the case, where are the synergies?

But the strangest part of Sernovitz's story is that he leaves out Sanders' financial transactions tax (FTT) altogether. This is bizarre, because the FTT is essentially a hatchet blow to the waste and exorbitant salaries in the industry.

Most research shows that trading volume is very responsive to the cost of trading, with most estimates putting the elasticity close to one. This means that if trading costs rise by 50 percent, then trading volume declines by 50 percent. (In its recent analysis of FTTs, the Tax Policy Center assumed that the elasticity was 1.5, meaning that trading volume decline by 150 percent of the increase in trading costs.) The implication of this finding is that the financial industry would pay the full cost of a financial transactions tax in the form of reduced trading revenue.

The Tax Policy Center estimated that a 0.1 percent tax on stock trades, scaled with lower taxes on other assets, would raise $50 billion a year in tax revenue. The implied reduction in trading revenue was even larger. Senator Sanders has proposed a tax of 0.5 percent on equities (also with a scaled tax on other assets). This would lead to an even larger reduction in revenue for the financial industry.

It is incredible that Sernovitz would ignore a policy with such enormous consequences for the financial sector in his assessment of which candidate would be tougher on Wall Street. Sanders FTT would almost certainly do more to change behavior on Wall Street then everything that Clinton has proposed taken together by a rather large margin. It's sort of like evaluating the New England Patriots' Super Bowl prospects without discussing their quarterback.

Syaloch said in reply to Peter K....

Great to see Baker's acknowledgement that an updated Glass-Steagall is just one component of the progressive wing's plan to rein in Wall Street, not the sum total of it. Besides, if Wall Street types don't think restoring Glass-Steagall will have any meaningful effects, why do they expend so much energy to disparage it? Methinks they doth protest too much.

Peter K. said in reply to Syaloch...

Yes that's a good way to look it. Wall Street gave the Democrats and Clinton a lot of campaign cash so that they would dismantle Glass-Steagall. If they want it done, it's probably not a good idea.

EMichael said in reply to Syaloch...

Slippery slope. Ya' gotta find me a business of any type that does not protest any kind of regulation on their business.

Syaloch said in reply to EMichael...

Yeah, but usually because of all the bad things they say will happen because of the regulation. The question is, what do they think of Clinton's plan? I've heard surprisingly little about that, and what I have heard is along these lines: http://money.cnn.com/2015/10/08/investing/hillary-clinton-wall-street-plan/

"Hillary Clinton unveiled her big plan to curb the worst of Wall Street's excesses on Thursday. The reaction from the banking community was a shrug, if not relief."

pgl said in reply to Syaloch...

Two excellent points!!!

sanjait said in reply to Syaloch...

"Besides, if Wall Street types don't think restoring Glass-Steagall will have any meaningful effects, why do they expend so much energy to disparage it? Methinks they doth protest too much."

It has an effect of shrinking the size of a few firms, and that has a detrimental effect on the top managers of those firms, who get paid more money if they have larger firms to manage. But it has little to no meaningful effect on systemic risk.

So if your main policy goal is to shrink the compensation for a small number of powerful Wall Street managers, G-S is great. But if you actually want to accomplish something useful to the American people, like limiting systemic risk in the financial sector, then a plan like Hillary's is much much better. She explained this fairly well in her recent NYT piece.

Paine said in reply to Peter K....

There is absolutely NO question Bernie is for real. Wall Street does not want Bernie. So they'll let Hillary talk as big as she needs to . Why should we believe her when an honest guy like Barry caved once in power

Paine said in reply to Paine ...

Bernie has been anti Wall Street his whole career . He's on a crusade. Hillary is pulling a sham bola

Paine said in reply to Paine ...

Perhaps too often we look at Wall Street as monolithic whether consciously or not. Obviously we know it's no monolithic: there are serious differences

When the street is riding high especially. Right now the street is probably not united but too cautious to display profound differences in public. They're sitting on their hands waiting to see how high the anti Wall Street tide runs this election cycle. Trump gives them cover and I really fear secretly Hillary gives them comfort

This all coiled change if Bernie surges. How that happens depends crucially on New Hampshire. Not Iowa

EMichael said in reply to Paine ...

If Bernie surges and wins the nomination, we will all get to watch the death of the Progressive movement for a decade or two. Congress will become more GOP dominated, and we will have a President in office who will make Hoover look like a Socialist.

Syaloch said in reply to EMichael...

Of course. In politics, as they say in the service, one must always choose the lesser of two evils. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4PzpxOj5Cc

pgl said in reply to EMichael...

You should like the moderate Democrats after George McGovern ran in 1972. I'm hoping we have another 1964 with Bernie leading a united Democratic Congress.

EMichael said in reply to pgl...

Not a chance in the world. And I like Sanders much more than anyone else. It just simply cannot, and will not, happen. He is a communist. Not to me, not to you, but to the vast majority of American voters.

pgl said in reply to EMichael...

He is not a communist. But I agree - Hillary is winning the Democratic nomination. I have only one vote and in New York, I'm badly outnumbered.

ilsm said in reply to Paine ...

I believe Hillary will be to liberal causes after she is elected as LBJ was to peace in Vietnam. Like Bill and Obomber.

pgl said in reply to ilsm...

By 1968, LBJ finally realized it was time to end that stupid war. But it seems certain members in the State Department undermined his efforts in a cynical ploy to get Nixon to be President. The Republican Party has had more slime than substance of most of my life time.

pgl said in reply to Peter K....

Gary Sernovitz, a managing director at the investment firm Lime Rock Partners? Why are we listening to this guy too. It's like letting the fox guard the hen house.

[Dec 12, 2015] Hillary Clinton is a rubinite neoliberal

Notable quotes:
"... If memory serves me correctly the last time CNBC did a millionaires poll Hillary won. She is not a populist, barely a liberal. Two political parties, zero candidates I can vote for. Yuck. ..."
"... Rubinite neo liberal. She is also popular with PNAC and the Kagan's neocon favorite she would hire Wolfowitz ... Management in big war profiteer firms is not afraid of Hillary as they suspect the Donald. ..."
"... Rubinite neoliberal is a very good definition of what Hillary actually represent politically. Third Way is another term close in meaning to your Rubinite neoliberal term. ..."
"... But unlike the Third Way term your term captures an additional important quality of Hillary as a politician: On foreign policy issues she is a typical neocon and would feel pretty comfortable with most of Republican candidates foreign policy platforms. Her protégé in the Department of State Victoria Nuland was a close associate of Dick Cheney. ..."
"... Very true. Brad has been moving left for a couple years or more. It's now obvious. He lets krugman lead the way but he follows. Notice Summers too has moved left . Is this for real or just to cut the wind out of Bernie sails ? ..."
"... One thing is certain: the old Rubinite toxic line is no longer dominant in the. big D party top circles. We can call that progress if we need to ..."
"... Is this for real or just to cut the wind out of Bernie sails ? Even if it's the second, it legitimates Bernie's views and critique. Also DeLong here is criticizing Brookings and other centrist organizations specifically for working with AEI. ..."
"... Can you list all of the pro- or anti- Wall Street reforms and actions Bill Clinton performed as President including nominating Alan Greenspan as head regulator? Cutting the capital gains tax? Are you aware of Greenspan's record? ..."
"... I won't be surprised if she doesn't do much to rein in Wall Street besides some window dressing. ..."
Economist's View

Links for 12-12-15

Tom aka Rusty -> Peter K....

If memory serves me correctly the last time CNBC did a "millionaires poll" Hillary won. She is not a populist, barely a liberal. Two political parties, zero candidates I can vote for. Yuck.

Syaloch -> Tom aka Rusty...

Your memory serves you correctly:

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/12/10/marco-rubio-the-top-gop-choice-among-rich-cnbc-survey.html

(Rubio was the top GOP choice, but Clinton still beat Rubio by a 21% margin.)

Syaloch -> EMichael...

Well, here are the issues millionaires indicated as being most important to them, and presumably candidates of choice are based on their positions on these issues. Make of it what you will.

http://dwc.cnbc.com/eXucl/index.html

Fred C. Dobbs -> Tom aka Rusty...

HRC proclaims herself a progressive occasionally, but when pressed states she is a moderate/centrist.

Clinton Finally Admits She Is A Moderate-Centrist! https://youtu.be/LTL767hKxHo - Sep 11

Since she intends to be the Dem nominee, progressives expect she must be one of them. Only when necessary. As someone has said, 'Run from
the left, rule from the center.' Always, always, run from the left.

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs...

Rubinite neo liberal.

She is also popular with PNAC and "the Kagan's" neocon favorite she would hire Wolfowitz and spend more trillions protecting the Saudis from their rising victims.

Clinton has said: Iran is the enemy.

She will keep fighting Iran while Sunni terrorists fund ISIS!

Trump is merely less nuanced in insanity.

Management in big war profiteer firms is not afraid of Hillary as they suspect the Donald.

likbez -> ilsm...
"Rubinite neo liberal. She is also popular with PNAC and "the Kagan's" neocon favorite she would hire Wolfowitz ... Management in big war profiteer firms is not afraid of Hillary as they suspect the Donald."

Exactly --

"Rubinite neoliberal" is a very good definition of what Hillary actually represent politically. Third Way is another term close in meaning to your "Rubinite neoliberal" term.

But unlike the "Third Way" term your term captures an additional important quality of Hillary as a politician: On foreign policy issues she is a typical neocon and would feel pretty comfortable with most of Republican candidates foreign policy platforms. Her protégé in the Department of State Victoria Nuland was a close associate of Dick Cheney.

She is probably more warmongering candidate then Jeb! and a couple of other republican candidates.

But at the same time she does not look like completely out of place as an establishment candidate from Dems, which are actually are "Democrats only by name" -- a typical "Third Way" party. From Wikipedia

=== quote ===

In politics, the Third Way is a position akin to centrism that tries to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by advocating a varying synthesis of right-wing economic and left-wing social policies.[1][2] The Third Way was created as a serious re-evaluation of political policies within various centre-left progressive movements in response to international doubt regarding the economic viability of the state; economic interventionist policies that had previously been popularized by Keynesianism and contrasted with the corresponding rise of popularity for economic liberalism and the New Right.[3] The Third Way is promoted by some social democratic and social liberal movements.[4]

Major Third Way social democratic proponent Tony Blair claimed that the socialism he advocated was different from traditional conceptions of socialism. Blair said "My kind of socialism is a set of values based around notions of social justice ... Socialism as a rigid form of economic determinism has ended, and rightly".[5] Blair referred to it as "social-ism" that involves politics that recognized individuals as socially interdependent, and advocated social justice, social cohesion, equal worth of each citizen, and equal opportunity.[6] Third Way social democratic theorist Anthony Giddens has said that the Third Way rejects the traditional conception of socialism, and instead accepts the conception of socialism as conceived of by Anthony Crosland as an ethical doctrine that views social democratic governments as having achieved a viable ethical socialism by removing the unjust elements of capitalism by providing social welfare and other policies, and that contemporary socialism has outgrown the Marxian claim for the need of the abolition of capitalism.[7] Blair in 2009 publicly declared support for a "new capitalism".[8]

It supports the pursuit of greater egalitarianism in society through action to increase the distribution of skills, capacities, and productive endowments, while rejecting income redistribution as the means to achieve this.[9] It emphasizes commitment to balanced budgets, providing equal opportunity combined with an emphasis on personal responsibility, decentralization of government power to the lowest level possible, encouragement of public-private partnerships, improving labour supply, investment in human development, protection of social capital, and protection of the environment.[10]
=== end of quote ===

ilsm -> likbez...

H. Clinton is as likely to keep US out of the wrong quagmire as LBJ in 1964. Except, LBJ may have actually changed his mind after he was elected.

Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs...

(Yes, There Will Be Triangulating. This is not a great example of it.)

Hillary Is Already Triangulating Against Liberals
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/11/hillary_clinton_triangulates_against_bernie_sanders.html?wpsrc=sh_all_dt_tw_top
via @slate - Nov 18

The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign has begun using an odd new line of attack against upstart Democratic primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders: He's too liberal on taxes and universal health insurance. Why is she doing this? After returning to the position in which she entered the race-as the near-certain nominee-she seems to be setting herself up for the general election. But it's strange to see her now, after the previously shaky ship has been steadied, attacking a candidate whose supporters she'll need in any general election campaign over an issue that his supporters care about very deeply.

Triangulating against Sanders (and, by proxy, the left wing of the Democratic Party) with conservative attacks does make some sense. For one, she is a Clinton, and this is what they do.

At issue is Sanders' support for a single-payer universal health care system, which he and others brand as "Medicare for all." A single-payer bill he introduced in 2013 would have levied a 2.2 percent tax on individuals making up to $200,000 or couples making up to $250,000, and progressively increased that rate to 5.2 percent for income beyond $600,000. It also would have tacked an extra 6.7 percent payroll tax on the employer side, at least some of which employers would likely pass on to workers.

The Clinton campaign is suddenly quite upset about that proposal and wants everyone to know. She has committed to the same (policy-constricting) pledge that President Obama took in 2008 and 2012, ruling out tax increases on individuals making less than $200,000 per year or joint filers making less than $250,000. This neatly positions her camp to say, by contrast, that the bug-eyed socialist Bernie Sanders wants to take all of your money. ...

(Where HRC will get a lot of votes & contributions will be among those in the $250K & below set, so no need to antagonize THEM. Not when she can
practically smell the nomination.)

Paine -> Peter K....

Very true. Brad has been moving left for a couple years or more. It's now obvious. He lets krugman lead the way but he follows. Notice Summers too has moved left . Is this for real or just to cut the wind out of Bernie sails ?

One thing is certain: the old Rubinite toxic line is no longer dominant in the. big D party top circles. We can call that progress if we need to

Peter K. -> Paine ...

"Is this for real or just to cut the wind out of Bernie sails ?" Even if it's the second, it legitimates Bernie's views and critique. Also DeLong here is criticizing Brookings and other "centrist" organizations specifically for working with AEI.

Syaloch -> Paine ...

Just as the revolution within the Republican party was the result of the undue influence of an out-of-touch elite, the Democratic coalition has been threatened by the influence of the Brookings-Third Way wing which seems, for example, to imagine that they can sell to the base cuts to Social Security, an elite priority that has nothing to do with the reasons working-class people vote Democrat.

http://www.thirdway.org/case-study/entitlement-reform

"We supported and helped pass into law the Simpson-Bowles commission that came close to securing the bipartisan grand bargain budget agreement for which we fought. We proposed our own Social Security fix plan that combined tax increases on upper income earners with benefit cuts on well-to-do seniors and benefit increases to poor seniors. We first proposed then brought Democrats and Republicans together on a Social Security Commission plan that remains the only bipartisan legislation to fix Social Security. We became the lead center-left organization to promote chain weighted CPI and eventually counted President Obama as one of our supporters."

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/198815-obama-abandons-cut-to-social-security

"Yielding to pressure from congressional Democrats, President Obama is abandoning a proposed cut to Social Security benefits in his election-year budget...

"Democrats on Capitol Hill had pleaded with Obama to reverse course on the chained consumer price index (CPI), fearing it could become a liability for the party in the upcoming midterm elections, which typically bring high turnout among older voters.

"More than 100 House Democrats wrote to Obama on Wednesday urging him to drop the chained CPI proposal, following a similar letter from 16 Senate Democrats that was led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)."

RGC said...
Hillary Clinton Is Whitewashing the Financial Catastrophe

She has a plan that she claims will reform Wall Street-but she's deflecting responsibility from old friends and donors in the industry.

By William Greider
Yesterday 3:11 pm

Hillary Clinton's recent op-ed in The New York Times, "How I'd Rein In Wall Street," was intended to reassure nervous Democrats who fear she is still in thrall to those mega-bankers of New York who crashed the American economy. Clinton's brisk recital of plausible reform ideas might convince wishful thinkers who are not familiar with the complexities of banking. But informed skeptics, myself included, see a disturbing message in her argument that ought to alarm innocent supporters.

Candidate Clinton is essentially whitewashing the financial catastrophe. She has produced a clumsy rewrite of what caused the 2008 collapse, one that conveniently leaves her husband out of the story. He was the president who legislated the predicate for Wall Street's meltdown. Hillary Clinton's redefinition of the reform problem deflects the blame from Wall Street's most powerful institutions, like JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, and instead fingers less celebrated players that failed. In roundabout fashion, Hillary Clinton sounds like she is assuring old friends and donors in the financial sector that, if she becomes president, she will not come after them.

The seminal event that sowed financial disaster was the repeal of the New Deal's Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which had separated banking into different realms: investment banks, which organize capital investors for risk-taking ventures; and deposit-holding banks, which serve people as borrowers and lenders. That law's repeal, a great victory for Wall Street, was delivered by Bill Clinton in 1999, assisted by the Federal Reserve and the financial sector's armies of lobbyists. The "universal banking model" was saluted as a modernizing reform that liberated traditional banks to participate directly and indirectly in long-prohibited and vastly more profitable risk-taking.

Exotic financial instruments like derivatives and credit-default swaps flourished, enabling old-line bankers to share in the fun and profit on an awesome scale. The banks invented "guarantees" against loss and sold them to both companies and market players. The fast-expanding financial sector claimed a larger and larger share of the economy (and still does) at the expense of the real economy of producers and consumers. The interconnectedness across market sectors created the illusion of safety. When illusions failed, these connected guarantees became the dragnet that drove panic in every direction. Ultimately, the federal government had to rescue everyone, foreign and domestic, to stop the bleeding.

Yet Hillary Clinton asserts in her Times op-ed that repeal of Glass-Steagall had nothing to do with it. She claims that Glass-Steagall would not have limited the reckless behavior of institutions like Lehman Brothers or insurance giant AIG, which were not traditional banks. Her argument amounts to facile evasion that ignores the interconnected exposures. The Federal Reserve spent $180 billion bailing out AIG so AIG could pay back Goldman Sachs and other banks. If the Fed hadn't acted and had allowed AIG to fail, the banks would have gone down too.

These sound like esoteric questions of bank regulation (and they are), but the consequences of pretending they do not matter are enormous. The federal government and Federal Reserve would remain on the hook for rescuing losers in a future crisis. The largest and most adventurous banks would remain free to experiment, inventing fictitious guarantees and selling them to eager suckers. If things go wrong, Uncle Sam cleans up the mess.

Senator Elizabeth Warren and other reformers are pushing a simpler remedy-restore the Glass-Steagall principles and give citizens a safe, government-insured place to store their money. "Banking should be boring," Warren explains (her co-sponsor is GOP Senator John McCain).
That's a hard sell in politics, given the banking sector's bear hug of Congress and the White House, its callous manipulation of both political parties. Of course, it is more complicated than that. But recreating a safe, stable banking system-a place where ordinary people can keep their money-ought to be the first benchmark for Democrats who claim to be reformers.

Actually, the most compelling witnesses for Senator Warren's argument are the two bankers who introduced this adventure in "universal banking" back in the 1990s. They used their political savvy and relentless muscle to seduce Bill Clinton and his so-called New Democrats. John Reed was CEO of Citicorp and led the charge. He has since apologized to the nation. Sandy Weill was chairman of the board and a brilliant financier who envisioned the possibilities of a single, all-purpose financial house, freed of government's narrow-minded regulations. They won politically, but at staggering cost to the country.

Weill confessed error back in 2012: "What we should probably do is go and split up investment banking from banking. Have banks do something that's not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that's not going to be too big to fail."

John Reed's confession explained explicitly why their modernizing crusade failed for two fundamental business reasons. "One was the belief that combining all types of finance into one institution would drive costs down-and the larger institution the more efficient it would be," Reed wrote in the Financial Times in November. Reed said, "We now know that there are very few cost efficiencies that come from the merger of functions-indeed, there may be none at all. It is possible that combining so much in a single bank makes services more expensive than if they were instead offered by smaller, specialised players."

The second grave error, Reed said, was trying to mix the two conflicting cultures in banking-bankers who are pulling in opposite directions. That tension helps explain the competitive greed displayed by the modernized banking system. This disorder speaks to the current political crisis in ways that neither Dems nor Republicans wish to confront. It would require the politicians to critique the bankers (often their funders) in terms of human failure.

"Mixing incompatible cultures is a problem all by itself," Reed wrote. "It makes the entire finance industry more fragile…. As is now clear, traditional banking attracts one kind of talent, which is entirely different from the kinds drawn towards investment banking and trading. Traditional bankers tend to be extroverts, sociable people who are focused on longer term relationships. They are, in many important respects, risk averse. Investment bankers and their traders are more short termist. They are comfortable with, and many even seek out, risk and are more focused on immediate reward."

Reed concludes, "As I have reflected about the years since 1999, I think the lessons of Glass-Steagall and its repeal suggest that the universal banking model is inherently unstable and unworkable. No amount of restructuring, management change or regulation is ever likely to change that."

This might sound hopelessly naive, but the Democratic Party might do better in politics if it told more of the truth more often: what they tried do and why it failed, and what they think they may have gotten wrong. People already know they haven't gotten a straight story from politicians. They might be favorably impressed by a little more candor in the plain-spoken manner of John Reed.

Of course it's unfair to pick on the Dems. Republicans have been lying about their big stuff for so long and so relentlessly that their voters are now staging a wrathful rebellion. Who knows, maybe a little honest talk might lead to honest debate. Think about it. Do the people want to hear the truth about our national condition? Could they stand it?

http://www.thenation.com/article/hillary-clinton-is-whitewashing-the-financial-catastrophe/

EMichael -> RGC...
"She claims that Glass-Steagall would not have limited the reckless behavior of institutions like Lehman Brothers or insurance giant AIG, which were not traditional banks."

Of course this claim is absolutely true. Just like GS would not have affected the other investment banks, whatever their name was. And just like we would have had to bail out those other banks whatever their name was.

Peter K. -> EMichael...
Can you list all of the pro- or anti- Wall Street "reforms" and actions Bill Clinton performed as President including nominating Alan Greenspan as head regulator? Cutting the capital gains tax? Are you aware of Greenspan's record?

Yes Hillary isn't Bill but she hasn't criticized her husband specifically about his record and seems to want to have her cake and eat it too.

Of course Hillary is much better than the Republicans, pace Rustbucket and the Green Lantern Lefty club. Still, critics have a point.

I won't be surprised if she doesn't do much to rein in Wall Street besides some window dressing.

[Dec 11, 2015] The Constitution requires inequality

Notable quotes:
"... Sanders says he is for "having a government which represents all people, rather than just the wealthiest people, which is most often the case right now in this country." But what that misses is the extent to which that has always been the case, and not by happenstance. ..."
"... Mortified by the threat to their wealth and power, the elite sought to reconfigure the government more to their liking, and to ensure that such an outburst of popular sentiment couldn't happen again. ..."
"... The main purpose of the new Constitution, then, was to preserve inequalities among individuals and the inequalities in the distribution of property among them. "Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society," Madison observes. Ever had it been, and ever under the Constitution would it be. The division of wealth and political power, between the haves and the have-nots, between (as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan has put it) the makers and the takers, was to be carefully maintained. For Madison, in Federalist No. 10, the question was how to do so while at least nominally "preserv[ing] the spirit and the form of popular government." ... ..."
December 13, 2015 | bostonglobe.com

Conventional political wisdom says that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, however popular in certain corners, can't possibly win election to the White House. Too radical, goes the thinking. Inspiring, common-sense ideas, perhaps, but come Election Day, a majority of American voters won't back the redistribution of wealth implicit in his proposals. Why is that?

Believe it or not, one place to look for an answer is the Constitution, crafted by the richest and most powerful Americans of their day to perpetuate their own control over the government and economy.

Sanders says he is for "having a government which represents all people, rather than just the wealthiest people, which is most often the case right now in this country." But what that misses is the extent to which that has always been the case, and not by happenstance.

In late 1786, a farmer and veteran of the Revolution named Daniel Shays led an armed insurrection of debtors and veterans in the hills of Western Massachusetts. Objecting to an onerous regime of taxes and confiscations the state imposed to pay its creditors, the rebels marched through the countryside, threatening the new federal arsenal at Springfield and shutting down courthouses to stop foreclosure proceedings. Bankers and merchants in Boston - the same parties who owned the state's debt - lent Massachusetts more money to put the insurrection down.

In October of that year, General Henry Knox, secretary of war, summarized the rebels' philosophy: "Their creed is 'That the property of the United States has been protected from the confiscations of Britain by the joint exertions of all, and therefore ought to be the common property of all. And he that attempts opposition to this creed is an enemy to equity and justice, and ought to be swept off the face of the earth.' "

Mortified by the threat to their wealth and power, the elite sought to reconfigure the government more to their liking, and to ensure that such an outburst of popular sentiment couldn't happen again.

As schoolchildren learn - and adults often forget - the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was only tasked with amending the Articles of Confederation, the document that had governed the breakaway Colonies since 1781. The convention wasn't supposed to rewrite them entirely. The progressive historian Charles Beard, whose influential "An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution" was the first work to reveal the class-based nature of our founding charter, stated the matter plainly when he called it a coup d'etat.

Contrary to what many assume, the Constitution was never subjected to a popular referendum, but to the votes of state ratifying conventions that were themselves largely elected by only white propertied males; indeed, only about 150,000 Americans elected delegates, out of a population of some 4 million. With the goal of persuading New Yorkers to elect pro-Constitution delegates to the state's convention, James Madison, with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, wrote a series of 85 essays under the pseudonym Publius that were published in local papers between November 1787 and August 1788 under the title, The Federalist. Madison's most famous contribution, Federalist No. 10, is widely acclaimed for its idea that factions of citizens with disparate interests should be balanced against one another in order to create a republic that would neither succumb to what John Adams called "tyranny of the majority" nor lose its responsiveness to the people as it grew larger in stature and scale.

Yet despite the attention Federalist No. 10 has received from political scientists, it ought to be much better known among all who favor a more equal distribution of wealth, because it explains how our political system, often described as rigged, has in fact been rigged from the start.

"Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens," Madison writes near the beginning of the essay, gesturing, as he does throughout The Federalist, to the fallout from Shays' Rebellion, "that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority."

That majority, it slowly becomes clear, are the debtors and small landowners, those more recently designated the 99 percent. "The diversity in the faculties of men," Madison explains, leads to different "rights of property," and this difference represents "an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests" in the political community. "The protection of these faculties is the first object of government," he adds.

The main purpose of the new Constitution, then, was to preserve inequalities among individuals and the inequalities in the distribution of property among them. "Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society," Madison observes. Ever had it been, and ever under the Constitution would it be. The division of wealth and political power, between the haves and the have-nots, between (as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan has put it) the makers and the takers, was to be carefully maintained. For Madison, in Federalist No. 10, the question was how to do so while at least nominally "preserv[ing] the spirit and the form of popular government." ...

(Richard Kreitner is the archivist of the The Nation magazine.)

[Dec 11, 2015] The Trump Effect Begins to Hit Congress

Dec 11, 2015 | Bloomberg

Some Republicans are now worrying that Donald Trump could cost them the Senate -- or even put their seemingly solid House majority in danger.

Republicans have long known they were vulnerable in the Senate in 2016. They currently hold a 54-46 majority, but far more Republican seats are up in this cycle than Democratic seats, and several of those are in tough states for Republicans to hold (such as Wisconsin and Illinois). In the House, Democrats stand to gain here and there because Republicans won so many competitive seats in 2014, but few analysts have considered the GOP's majority at risk.

If Trump actually wins the Republican nomination, the question would be the scale of the disaster for the party. The best-case possibility is that Trump tones things down enough to be able to run as a mainstream conservative Republican and the party can unite behind him. If that's the case, the party would still likely do unusually badly with the groups Trump has insulted so far, but the losses might be contained. Trump might have little chance to win but he wouldn't excessively drag down Republicans in races down the ballot. Democrats would likely make modest gains in the House and Senate.

Let's suppose, however, that Trump wins the nomination while still proving unacceptable to many Republican elected officials and other party actors. Then, yes, huge GOP losses in Congress, state legislatures and other races are quite plausible. If high-visibility Republicans denounce their own nominee, plenty of GOP voters will wind up staying home in November. Some might even cross party lines at the top of the ballot and vote for Hillary Clinton, and won't cross back to vote Republican for other contests. Republican candidates will face a choice of pledging loyalty to a damaging nominee or risk adding to the chaos in their party. ...

One potentially significant indirect effect, however, is possible. Important decisions in House elections are being made right now. Suppose disgust with the party or fear that 2016 will be a Republican debacle pushes some House Republicans into retirement or hurts Republican recruitment for quality candidates for seats that are open or currently held by weak Democrats. The Trump factor could also be affecting Democratic decisions today as well, possibly encouraging better candidates to jump into congressional races.

The upshot of all this is that Republican politicians and all those who care about continuing Republican control of Congress have strong incentives to ramp up their efforts to defeat Trump. ...

'If high-visibility Republicans denounce their own nominee, plenty of GOP voters will wind up staying home in November.'

[Dec 11, 2015] Donald Trump beats Marco Rubio in a head-to-head matchup among Republicans

www.vox.com

One way of downplaying Trump's persistent dominance in the polls is to suggest his 20-30 percent is a ceiling, not a floor. Nate Silver, for instance, wrote that Trump "has 25 to 30 percent of the vote in polls among the roughly 25 percent of Americans who identify as Republican. (That's something like 6 to 8 percent of the electorate overall, or about the same share of people who think the Apollo moon landings were faked.)"

The idea here is that Trump's lead represents a fractured field: As weaker candidates drop out and the establishment consolidates around a single anti-Trump, that candidate will pass Trump in support even if Trump holds his current numbers.

But in a head-to-head matchup among Republican voters, Trump beats Rubio 57-43. That suggests that Trump's ceiling, at least among Republicans, is far above his current 25 to 30 percent, and he may well benefit as weaker candidates drop out.

One response to this might be that voters will, in the coming months, learn something about Trump that will change their minds and vault Rubio ahead in this competition - that has happened, after all, to many other frontrunners. But while that's clearly possible, it's also getting harder and harder to imagine what it is voters could learn about Trump at this point that would shock them.

Meanwhile, there are things Republican voters might learn about Rubio - like his immigration record or his reliance on dark money - that could undermine support for him, too.

[Dec 10, 2015] Rubio is so far right that he would make Goldwater nervous

hoocoodanode.org
sum_luk, December 8, 2015

merchantsofmenace

So why would he hand Hillary the job as prez by going independent?

Faced with the rising clown shows of Donald Trump and Ben Carson, the implosion of Jeb! Bush, and the fact that everyone except his immediate family fates Ted Cruz, the GOP establishment and the media tried very hard to give Rubio a boost. The calculus makes sense: Rubio against iether Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would make a nice "young vs. old" storyline for the 2016 election while giving the Republicans a chance to dump the image of the party of old, racist white fogies, This despite glaring evidence that Rubio's policy positions are so far to the right, they might make Barry Goldwater nervous.

source: https://twitter.com/ritholtz/status/674232964474085378 2

[Dec 10, 2015] Christopher Hitchens -- Speaking Honestly About Hillary Clinton

Notable quotes:
"... life simply because she was married to a President like he would like us to believe. If that was the case there would've been more first ladies running for office. She was a political animal from the start and was involved in every political decision her husband made and shaped his policies dating back to Arkansas. She came in as first lady and immediately announced she was not going to be like other first ladies. I think Hitchens is sort of being lazy with his analysis on how the Clintons attain power and how they've cultivated the path to their success in the political arena ..."
"... I'm sure Hitch would have some very colourful remarks to make about Mrs. Clinton's e-mail shenanigans were he still with us. ..."
"... The woman is remarkably despicable and I hate to have such a jaded view of the average American voter but I'm afraid she is going to get the Presidency based in large part because of the potential for the first female President. ..."
YouTube

nomibe2911 2 weeks ago

What he failed to realize is how is she reaching these platforms to try and reach the highest office in the land. Did she get where she is in life simply because she was married to a President like he would like us to believe. If that was the case there would've been more first ladies running for office. She was a political animal from the start and was involved in every political decision her husband made and shaped his policies dating back to Arkansas. She came in as first lady and immediately announced she was not going to be like other first ladies. I think Hitchens is sort of being lazy with his analysis on how the Clintons attain power and how they've cultivated the path to their success in the political arena

juicer67 2 months ago

I'm sure Hitch would have some very colourful remarks to make about Mrs. Clinton's e-mail shenanigans were he still with us. He was irreplaceable.

michael davis 1 month ago

+juicer67 And a lot more to say about Benghazi as well. The woman is remarkably despicable and I hate to have such a jaded view of the average American voter but I'm afraid she is going to get the Presidency based in large part because of the potential for the first female President. From my experience with chatting with people before the 2008 election, many were voting for Obama in large part because he had a chance to be the first black President - people were excited about that regardless of his stances. I'm afraid the same will happen with Clinton and she likely knows it too. Its sad that people vote in that way.

[Dec 10, 2015] Hillary Clinton can't be that bad, can she Well...

Notable quotes:
"... But never mind us - how does she manage? When you and your husband have banked $125 million in speaking fees from the odious malefactors of wealth, and you insist that you feel the pain of the middle class. How do you maintain the deadpan after you've cashed $300,000 for a half-hour speech at a state university - which fee comes from student dues - and then declaim against crippling student loans? ..."
"... Small lies are often more revealing, especially when there was no need for them. Claiming, say, that you were named after Sir Edmund Hillary when you were born six years before he became a household name; or that you sought to enlist in the US Marines after years of protesting against the Vietnam War, graduating from Yale Law School and working on the campaigns of Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern; or that you dodged sniper fire on the tarmac in Bosnia, when TV footage shows you strolling across it, smiling. ..."
"... There's the Iraq War vote flip-flop; the gay marriage flip-flop; the Keystone Pipeline flip-flop; the legalising marijuana flip-flop; and most recently, the Trans-Pacific Partnership flip-flop. ..."
"... 'The case against Hillary Clinton for president is open-and-shut. Of course, against all these considerations you might prefer the newly fashionable and more media-weighty notion that if you don't show her enough appreciation, and after all she's done for us, she may cry.' Christopher, thou shouldst be living at this hour. ..."
"... She is a self-obsessed, me me me first totally political greaseball. ..."
The Spectator

The presidential campaign here in the land hymned by one of its earliest immigrants as a shining 'city on a hill' looks more and more likely to boil down to electing Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

It is of course possible that the party of Lincoln and Reagan will not go completely off its meds and nominate Mr Trump. It's possible, too, that the wretched FBI agents tasked with reading Mrs Clinton's 55,000 private emails will experience a Howard Carter/King Tut's tomb moment and find one instructing Sidney Blumenthal to offer Putin another 20 per cent of US uranium production in return for another $2.5 million donation to the Clinton Foundation, plus another $500,000 speech in Moscow. Absent such, Mrs Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. As we say here: deal with it.

Only last summer, her goose seemed all but cooked. Every day she offered another Hillary-ous explanation for why as Secretary of State she required two Blackberries linked to unclassified servers. Eventually this babbling brook of prevarication became so tedious that even her Marxist challenger, Comrade Bernie Sanders of the Vermont Soviet, was moved to thump the debate podium and proclaim: 'I'm sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!' (He has since backtracked, declaring himself now deeply interested in her damn emails.)

... ... ...

But never mind us - how does she manage? When you and your husband have banked $125 million in speaking fees from the odious malefactors of wealth, and you insist that you feel the pain of the middle class. How do you maintain the deadpan after you've cashed $300,000 for a half-hour speech at a state university - which fee comes from student dues - and then declaim against crippling student loans?

Small lies are often more revealing, especially when there was no need for them. Claiming, say, that you were named after Sir Edmund Hillary when you were born six years before he became a household name; or that you sought to enlist in the US Marines after years of protesting against the Vietnam War, graduating from Yale Law School and working on the campaigns of Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern; or that you dodged sniper fire on the tarmac in Bosnia, when TV footage shows you strolling across it, smiling.

... ... ...

Changing one's position on an issue isn't the same as lying, but along with the 'Which lie did I tell?' thought bubble permanently hovering over Mrs Clinton's head, one sees too the licked finger held aloft. The American lingo for this is 'flip-flop,' as in the rubber sandal thingies you wear on the beach before going inside to give a $200,000 speech to Goldman Sachs.

Mrs Clinton's flip-flop closet has reached Imelda Marcos levels. There's the Iraq War vote flip-flop; the gay marriage flip-flop; the Keystone Pipeline flip-flop; the legalising marijuana flip-flop; and most recently, the Trans-Pacific Partnership flip-flop.

And yet, as you work your way down this bill of attainder you feel like an old village scold. Another member of the 'vast right-wing conspiracy'. A tiresome ancient mariner, banging on at the wedding.

There's nothing new there. It's all been gone into, again and again. This election isn't about the past. It's about the future.

And before you know it, you too, like Comrade Bernie - the prior version, anyway - are sick and tired of hearing yourself whinge. Because it has all been gone into before. It's all 'damn' stuff now. Mrs and Mr Clinton have been with us since 1992, our political lares et penates - and after all this time, less than half the electorate think she's honest.

During one of the 2008 Democratic debates, the moderator asked her about the, er, 'likeability factor'. It was a cringey moment. One's heart (I say this sincerely) went out to the lady. The shellac deadpan mask melted. She smiled bravely, tears forming, and answered demurely with a hurt, girlish smile and said: 'Well, that hurts my feelings.'

Whereupon candidate Obama interjected, with the hauteur and sneer of cold command that we've come to know so well: 'You're likable enough, Hillary.'

The nervous laughter in the auditorium quickly curdled into chill disdain. How could he! But, lest we slip into sentimentality, let me quote Christopher Hitchens on this anniversary of his death, who in 2008 wrote: 'The case against Hillary Clinton for president is open-and-shut. Of course, against all these considerations you might prefer the newly fashionable and more media-weighty notion that if you don't show her enough appreciation, and after all she's done for us, she may cry.' Christopher, thou shouldst be living at this hour.

When the latest version of Hillary was rolled out like a new product by her campaign apparatus, she was rebranded as a doting granny. What's more 'likeable' than a granny? Unfortunately for her, the meme didn't stick. But then it's hard to look like a cooing old sweetie when you're swatting away snarling congressmen on Benghazi and explaining that you're suddenly against a trade treaty you promoted for years. None of this does much for the likeability or honesty factor.

Mrs Clinton has her champions to be sure, but it's been a long slog for them, too, with an awful lot of heavy lifting. When her choir cranks up to sing her praise, one detects the note of obbligato, not genuine ardour.

If it does come down next November to Trump vs Clinton we will - all of us - be presented with a choice even the great Hobson could not have imagined. And those of us who would sooner leap into an active, bubbling volcano than vote for Mr Trump will have to try to convince ourselves that really, she's not that bad. Is she?

... ... ...

Christopher Buckley is an American novelist, essayist and critic, and a former speechwriter to George H.W. Bush.

Jack Rocks • 19 minutes ago

What a coincidence. I was just watching Christopher Hitchens talk about Hilary Clinton

watch-v=qE8PG2mpo58

(no, he's not been resurrected, these are clips from a while ago).

sidor

Someone once placed Cherie Blair in between lady Macbeth and madam Clinton. I wonder if in this linearly ordered sequence Cherie was meant to be a nicer person than Hillary?

George > Toy Pupanbai

Considering Trump is the only candidate who has signaled any sort of desire to depart from the accelerating march toward globalist corporate totalitarianism, the vote is between Trump and Everyone Else.

Terry Field

She is a self-obsessed, me me me first totally political greaseball. Trump is uncouth, loud, but lacks smoothness as he TELLS IT AS IT BLUDDEE WELL IS. There IS a massive local Muslim worry and that is evidenced by the gore that ran through the transport system of London courtesy of home grown muslim (NOT islamist) killlers.

He SHOULD get the GOP nomination, since the rest are gutless and dissembling.

He could well win against that dreadful woman. Clinton supported Morsi in Egypt. Blood on her hands.

James Morgan

Ah yes. Christopher Hitchens. I do miss that man.

Randal > James Morgan

Yes, because yet another ageing neocon warmonger and "former communist" idiot is just what we are missing around here these days.

freddiethegreat

Just as Goofy would have been better than Obama, even Lady Macbeth would be better than Hilary

[Dec 10, 2015] What Democrats Really Think Of Hillary Clinton

Notable quotes:
"... Via CNN's latest poll: ..."
"... Clinton is also increasingly seen as the least honest in the field, with 46% of likely Democratic primary voters now saying she is least honest out of the three remaining candidates. ..."
www.zerohedge.com

Via CNN's latest poll:

Clinton is also increasingly seen as the least honest in the field, with 46% of likely Democratic primary voters now saying she is least honest out of the three remaining candidates.

That's up from 33% in September and 28% back in June.

[Dec 08, 2015] I sometimes wish that Bernie Sanders would have said I am an FDR Democrat

Notable quotes:
"... Democratic Socialism. I sometimes wish that Bernie Sanders would have said I am an FDR Democrat , it would have been easier. ..."
"... There is an unnatural unfitness in an aristocracy to be legislators for a nation. Their ideas of distributive justice are corrupted at the very source. They begin life trampling on all their younger brothers and sisters, and relations of every kind, and are taught and educated so to do. With what ideas of justice or honor can that man enter a house of legislation, who absorbs in his own person the inheritance of a whole family of children, or metes out some pitiful portion with the insolence of a gift? ..."
"... Great point. I am not big believer in two party system as an example of democracy as typically the party oligarchy gets the candidate they want, but still in case when society goes downhill such outsiders as Sanders (like previously FDR) might have a chance. ..."
"... Thats actually would make Hillary camp (the party establishment) attacks on him slightly more difficult as implicitly they would be attacking FDR position on particular subject. Just repeating one of famous FDR speeches would have in the current economic conditions a great mobilizing effect on the electorate. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com
Mr. Bill said... December 08, 2015 at 05:20 PM<
Democratic Socialism. I sometimes wish that Bernie Sanders would have said "I am an FDR Democrat" , it would have been easier.

There is not one thing in Bernie's programs that are not an honest, intelligent expression of his life researching and quantifying the path of freedom in America.

Mr. Bill said...

Thomas Paine said:

"There is an unnatural unfitness in an aristocracy to be legislators for a nation. Their ideas of distributive justice are corrupted at the very source. They begin life trampling on all their younger brothers and sisters, and relations of every kind, and are taught and educated so to do. With what ideas of justice or honor can that man enter a house of legislation, who absorbs in his own person the inheritance of a whole family of children, or metes out some pitiful portion with the insolence of a gift?

likbez said...

"I sometimes wish that Bernie Sanders would have said "I am an FDR Democrat" , it would have been easier."

Great point. I am not big believer in two party system as an example of democracy as typically the party oligarchy gets the candidate they want, but still in case when society goes downhill such outsiders as Sanders (like previously FDR) might have a chance.

That's actually would make Hillary camp (the party establishment) attacks on him slightly more difficult as implicitly they would be attacking FDR position on particular subject. Just repeating one of famous FDR speeches would have in the current economic conditions a great mobilizing effect on the electorate.

For example, the 1941 State of the Union address https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Freedoms

[Dec 07, 2015] Even Bernie would have a chance against these bozos

hoocoodanode.org
Dilbert_Dohfen

Found a new word to share with HCN
"My friend, a former Republican member of Congress, phoned me this morning.
HE: We're crumped.

ME: Crumped?
HE: Cruz and Trump. They're in the lead. Worse yet, the crazies in the
Party are now talking about putting them together on one ticket -- a
"super-conservative" duo. My god. Trump is a bigoted moron. Cruz is
almost as nuts.

ME: Can they be stopped?
HE: Been on the phone for days with folk who are going to run ads against each of them.
But it maybe too late. Everyone I know is apoplectic. Lots of are
talking about voting for Hillary. Even Bernie would have a chance
against these bozos.

ME: You think they'd affect congressional races?
HE: Sure. Put an asshole at the head of the ticket and the shit falls everywhere.

ME: This isn't bad news for the Democrats.
HE: It will be if one of these jerks becomes president. Then we're all crumped."

Enjoy!!!

[Dec 06, 2015] Young Sanders was a great sportsman

www.nakedcapitalism.com
EndOfTheWorld,

I read an article on the internet somewhere where some businessman said he spent a lot of his time during high school looking at the rear end of Bernie Sanders because Bernie was the best high school distance runner in NYC. That's all I know. I don't know exactly how good Bernie was, but I'd like to find out.

John Wright,

Some searching had Sanders at 4:37 for the mile while the high school record was 4:12.

Here's a quote attributed to him:

SANDERS: I came in third in my junior year in the New York City public school one mile. I think my best was 4:37, which is not superstar, but it's pretty good. http://www.cnbc.com/id/102694365.

This would be around 1958.

Note that Louis Zamperini (Unbroken) held the HS mile record for many years at 4:21.2 set in 1934.

I tend to discount the character building aspect of athletics. An Olympic Athlete I took a college class from mentioned that the pressure to take PED (performance enhancing drugs) is tremendous if one is #2.

Very much like politics, looking for a victory margin.

And one of the best middle distance runners I ever saw (Jim Ryun running the 1500 meter 3:33.1 record in 1967 in the LA Coliseum, a record that lasted until 1974) proved to be a less than successful conservative Republican US house rep from Kansas.

I still have the ticket stub from the 1967 meet.

[Dec 06, 2015] Trump Takes His Biggest Lead Yet in the Polls

finance.yahoo.com

As for the rest of the field, it is beginning to look somewhat grim:

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson continues to lose ground with 14 percent of the Republican vote. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who still must be considered an up and comer, is at 12 percent. All other candidates currently have the support of less than 5 percent of the Republican electorate, including former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

[Dec 06, 2015] Clinton and Rubio or Cruz would all be disasters – war war war all the time

marknesop.wordpress.com

ucgsblog, December 4, 2015 at 1:28 pm

And in other news, Trump is favored to beat Clinton for the presidency via the Electoral College. Clinton still has the popular votes, but as Gore found out, popular vote doesn't mean a thing in US presidential elections.
cartman, December 4, 2015 at 2:36 pm
Clinton and Rubio or Cruz would all be disasters – war war war all the time
marknesop, December 4, 2015 at 3:08 pm
I still don't think there is the slightest chance Trump is going to be President – he's just too much of a loose cannon and too uncoupled from the political inside track. My money is still on Rubio. I'm not surprised that Trump could beat Hillary, though. Even if she were not a warhag nutjob, Barack Obama has poisoned the well for the Democrats for this election, and quite possibly the next as well depending on how the Republicans play their first term.

[Dec 06, 2015] Gauis Publius Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton Americas Endless War

Notable quotes:
"... No candidate, including Sanders, is going to confess that endless U.S. interventionism in the middle east serves the Lobby's objective of keeping Israel's enemies divided and destabilized. ..."
"... Of course, the fact that a nominated Sanders would not only drag the national dialog left, but almost certainly win the Presidency, is strong motivation for the corporate world to intervene vigorously in all the different ways it can. A Sanders candidacy frightens them far more than narcissistic neoliberal Trump who would have little to no chance of winning against a hyena and only slightly better prospects of winning against HIllary. A Sanders' nomination might even frighten them more than winning the Presidency itself, since the nomination would have the effect of opening the flood gates to actual alternatives to the status quo. Once opened, those would be very hard to close. ..."
"... Now where there may still be a choice is in the American colonies. How long could Washington's endless wars last without the support of the Quisling leadership of its allies? I'm talking about a leader saying: "you stop attacking other countries or we impose a trade embargo." Maybe that's unrealistic but any moral leader of a western country would make this stand. Too bad we only vote in psychopaths. But, unlike America where it is too late, other countries still have the possibility of electing anti-war leaders – like the UK Labour Party. ..."
"... My one cynical add is that just because the 'law' says the president can do this or that, doesn't mean Bernie will be able to. Most of the democratic party will be against him. And an immediate impeachment process could very easily happen against him. No, he doesn't have to die in a plane crash, or be (JKF was not )assassinated by the CIA …the powers that run this country could just impeach him. ..."
"... Still, I really want him to win. My hate is pure for the neo liberal democrats. My compromise ideologically is easy for me to stomach. Go Bernie. Meanwhile, lets organize for a better world, outside of the corrupt political machine. ..."
"... Speeches, schmeeches. Words are wind. Look at the record. Hillary Clinton is a monster. The issue is not Bernie vs. Hillary. The issue is how could any sane American even consider voting for Hillary Clinton, against any candidate, even Trump (yes really). ..."
"... Just because Sanders has pledged to support the Democratic candidate in the general election doesn't mean that his supporters are obligated to do so. If Sanders is not the Democratic nominee, I will very likely vote Third Party, as I did in 2012. And you can do the same. ..."
"... I don't think his pledge to support the nominee undermines his candidacy at all. First, it's pro forma and carries no force. Besides, it was also absolutely required to even join the contest at a high level. If he wanted to have any impact on this election cycle, he had very literally no choice about it. To think otherwise seems more than a little naive, which seems to be an ongoing problem generally with the American left. ..."
"... Sanders is *almost* everything one could realistically ever hope for in a legacy party candidate with a real shot, and yet a significant portion of the left inevitably goes straight into the back corner of the drawer looking for reasons not to support him–or even to go further and declare him unfit. Worse yet, those saying this stuff offer no viable plans or alternatives at all. It's really astonishing to me and perhaps explains why the left is ever so easy to marginalize and push around. ..."
"... Bernie Sanders was the first senator to announce that he would boycott Netanyahu's speech in Congress, and he is the only senator who does not take any money from the pro-Israel lobby. He was one of a small majority in the Senate who did not sign the resolution last summer to approve of Israel's bombing of Gaza - and he didn't vote for it (there was no vote) or otherwise agree to it. The "unanimous consent" thing that Chris Hedges jumps up and down about and others parrot as "proof" that Sanders is pro-Israel is a procedural rule in the Senate, and there was no way to "object" to it, other than not signing the resolution in the first place. That's what he did, even though more than three-fourths of this colleagues signed on. And he has criticized Israel. You'd just never know it by reading Hedges and the CounterPunch crowd. ..."
"... To be fair, there's the sheepdog scenario (again, a terrible metaphor, put about by the Greens, which implies conscious collusion by Sanders, for which there's very little evidence). If that comes true, is that so bad? No, because we're not any worse off than we were before, and see #4 and #5 above. ..."
"... I just don't see how Sanders running is anything other than a net positive. The left really does need to figure out how to take yes for an answer. ..."
"... It seems to me like the major sovereignty-violating actions of the US Gov't happen with the approval of the executive branch. The military and intelligence services generally don't speak out or publicly act against the president's policies. They do leak a bunch of shit everywhere (the mysterious "high-ranking anonymous Obama official" who seems to pop up whenever the president's policies need to be opposed), but that you can live with. It is a real problem, one that makes me nervous. We know exactly where corporations go when their iron grip on democracy loosens: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Plot ..."
naked capitalism
I mentioned near the end of a piece called "Blowback, Money & the Washington War Party" that I would compare Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton with respect to its main subject, America and its wars. For context, I'd like to repeat the start of that piece:

In a provocative piece called, "Blowback - the Washington War Party's Folly Comes Home to Roost," David Stockman asks, in effect - "Does America have the wars it seeks and deserves?"

Whatever your answer might be, or mine, I think Stockman's answer is Yes, and he details that answer in an excellent looking-back and looking-forward essay about the U.S. and its Middle East "involvement." I have excerpted several sections below, but the whole is worth a full top-to-bottom read.

Before we turn to Stockman's points, though, I just want to highlight two semi-hidden ideas in his essay. One is about money. What Stockman calls the "War Party" in Washington is really the bipartisan Money Party, since the largest-by-far pile of cash looted from the federal budget (in other words, from taxpayers) goes to fund our military and its suppliers and enablers. Which means that most of it is stolen and diverted in some way. Which means that those who do the stealing have a lot of "skin in the game" - the game that keeps the money flowing in the first place.

Recall that what's now called the Money Party was what Gore Vidal called the "Property Party": "There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat."

Which means the Washington War Party is a bipartisan gig. Thus our bipartisan wars, which for Stockman answers the first part of the imputed question above. Yes, America does have the wars it seeks. …

It concludes with this:

How Will This End?

It's easy to see that this ends in either of two ways. It will end when we stop sending money and arms into the region - i.e., when we impoverish our wealth-drunk arms industry and starve the fighting - or it will not end.

Which means, it will lead to continuous tears, American ones. And when, again, you factor in the continuing spiral toward chaos guaranteed by continuing global warming, we may look back and say, "Paris was our generation's Sarajevo." It's hard to stop a war when only a nation's people don't want it. It's almost impossible to stop a war when the people unite with the wealthy to promote it.

Which brings me to Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, war, and speeches each gave recently. But that's for later. …

Later is now. I'm providing this context because I don't want to leave the impression this piece is about Sanders and Clinton. It's not. This piece is about us, our future, and that of our children … the future of all of us, in other words, who may choose to live in Washington's endless war-profiteering environment - until that war comes home with a vengeance.

Do we have I choice? I believe we do, for now. I don't think that choice will persist, will be available forever.

Sanders, Clinton & America's Endless War

In a piece by Tom Cahill in usuncut.com, which starts with a report of Bernie Sanders' "socialism" speech, we find this near the middle, a comparison of the foreign policy statements in Sanders' speech with a speech given at nearly the same time by Hillary Clinton.

First, about Sanders, Cahill writes:

Sanders Acknowledges Error of CIA-Sponsored Coups

Sanders' [socialism] speech also surprised many viewers with exhaustive foreign policy proposals aimed at reaching peace in the Middle East, while letting Muslim countries lead the fight against ISIS. the Vermont senator cautioned against using the military to force regime change, citing past CIA-sponsored coups in Latin America and the Middle East as examples of forced regime change gone wrong.

"Our response must begin with an understanding of past mistakes and missteps in our previous approaches to foreign policy," Sanders said. "It begins with the reflection that the failed policy decisions of the past – rushing to war, regime change in Iraq, or toppling Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, or Guatemalan President Árbenz in 1954, Brazilian President Goulart in 1964, Chilean President Allende in 1973. These are the sorts of policies do not work, do not make us safer, and must not be repeated."

To defeat ISIS, Sanders urged the US to form a new NATO-like coalition with Russia and enemies of ISIS in the Middle East, and force Muslim countries to lead the fight with support from the West. …

"Saudi Arabia has the 3rd largest defense budget in the world, yet instead of fighting ISIS they have focused more on a campaign to oust Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen," Sanders said. "Kuwait, a country whose ruling family was restored to power by U.S. troops after the first Gulf War, has been a well-known source of financing for ISIS and other violent extremists. It has been reported that Qatar will spend $200 billion on the 2022 World Cup, including the construction of an enormous number of facilities to host that event – $200 billion on hosting a soccer event, yet very little to fight against ISIS."

"All of this has got to change. Wealthy and powerful Muslim nations in the region can no longer sit on the sidelines and expect the United States to do their work for them," Sanders continued.

Not perfect if you're strongly pro-peace, but this would nonetheless represent a major shift in both policy and spending, if implemented - something that can be done, I remind you, by our commander-in-chief, acting alone. It may take Congress, or the illusion of congressional approval, to make war. It doesn't require a single Republican (or war-making Democratic) vote to make peace.

Now about Clinton, from the same piece (my emphasis):

Hillary Clinton: U.S. Should Lead War on ISIS

Sanders' Georgetown address was a stark contrast to Hillary Clinton's speech at the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York[.]

The former Secretary of State outlined her proposal to fight ISIS, which primarily consisted of the US military taking and maintaining a leading role for an undetermined period of time.

"It is time to begin a new phase and intensify and broaden our efforts to smash the would-be caliphate and deny ISIS control of territory in Iraq and Syria," Clinton said early in the speech. "That starts with a more effective coalition air campaign, with more allied planes, more strikes, and a broader target set."

"The Iraqi national army has struggled. It is going to take more work to get it up to fighting shape," Clinton continued. "As part of that process, we may have to give our own troops advising and training the Iraqis greater freedom of movement and flexibility, including embedding in local units and helping target airstrikes."

Clinton's entire speech (about 30 minutes) is above.

Endless War or a Move Toward Peace - Last Chance to Decide?

I'm not suggesting to you what to want. If you really want to enrich billionaire arms manufacturers and their enablers in and out of office, that's up to you. If you want to give a well-organized foreign fighting force yet more reason to encourage the same acts in the U.S. as their local sympathizers perform in Europe, that's also up to you. If you want to remove American fingerprints - and national entanglement - from foreign feuds, that's also your choice as well.

I merely want to point out that for once, there is a choice, and you can make that choice by choosing between these two candidates, just as you can choose, using these two candidates, whether to aggressively reign in carbon use or continue to serve the wealthy who serve up global warming.

Withdraw from foreign wars, or expand into them? Sanders or Clinton? The day is coming soon when this will have mattered, and not just on late-night comedy shows. It's entirely likely that within the term of the next president, our foreign policy chickens will come home to roost.

Me, I'd prefer those chickens not be armed.

(Blue America has endorsed Bernie Sanders for President. If you'd like to help him, click here. This page also lists every progressive incumbent and candidate who has endorsed him. You can adjust the split in any way you wish.)

Jim Haygood, December 5, 2015 at 2:59 pm

'Sanders urged the US to form a new NATO-like coalition with Russia and enemies of ISIS in the Middle East, and force Muslim countries to lead the fight with support from the West.'

*yawn* Same old, same old yankee interventionism.

The sole reason for supporting Sanders is not for his tired old interventionist shtick, but to deprive the Sheldon Adelson Republiclown Party of across-the-board control of Kongress and the presidency (a disturbingly likely prospect).

No candidate, including Sanders, is going to confess that endless U.S. interventionism in the middle east serves the Lobby's objective of keeping Israel's enemies divided and destabilized.

susan the other, December 5, 2015 at 3:51 pm

When, why, and how did the brand of globalism we have now (supra national corporatism) become an article of faith for the global economy? Why can't we have a different form of globalism, not one based on profiteering which is just war in a different uniform, a suit and tie? The environment could unite us, Naomi Klein style. Equality could too because a global effort against inequality would eventually have to end the looting and aggression of international corporatism and feudalism. Isn't it an irony that all the great corporations and capitalist geniuses pretending to manage the world can't fix the mess they made without taxpayers?

And consumers? If citizens in every country stopped buying things we'd win the planet back in a month. The only thing we need besides dedication is local survival safety nets.

Brooklin Bridge, December 5, 2015 at 11:28 am

Agreed. It's one thing to observe -factually- that Sanders' momentum has halted, by some mix of his own devices and those of an antithetical MSM and a traitorous corporate centric DNC, it's another thing not to at least try to get him nominated. If that were to happen, no matter how unlikely, the national discussion would virtually have to deal with Sander's platform and it is hard to even imagine just how healthy that would be.

Of course, the fact that a nominated Sanders would not only drag the national dialog left, but almost certainly win the Presidency, is strong motivation for the corporate world to intervene vigorously in all the different ways it can. A Sanders candidacy frightens them far more than narcissistic neoliberal Trump who would have little to no chance of winning against a hyena and only slightly better prospects of winning against HIllary. A Sanders' nomination might even frighten them more than winning the Presidency itself, since the nomination would have the effect of opening the flood gates to actual alternatives to the status quo. Once opened, those would be very hard to close.

Lambert Strether, December 5, 2015 at 11:00 pm

FWIW, I think Sanders numbers have plateaued for a very simple reason: He's not reaching enough voters. We'll see how that goes when we are nearer the caucuses, and after the Sanders campaign has made more attempts to peel away from some of Clinton's constituencies (which it's trying hard to do).

Again, my litmus test is this: Sanders has said it will take a movement to get his platform accomplished. So where is it? A movement implies staff, branding, events, etc. And professionals know how it's done; Dean 2004 and Obama 2008. So where is it?

Carla, December 5, 2015 at 1:30 pm

The Democrat Party will not nominate Bernie Sanders. Period. Not gonna happen so quit holding your breath.

In my state, we declare party membership by requesting a ballot of our chosen party in the primary. Obama cured me of ever - EVER - asking for a Democrat ballot again. I'm Green and clean for life - thanks, Barry!

Vatch, December 5, 2015 at 4:14 pm

If the Green party has a primary in your state, I understand why you wouldn't want to vote in the Democratic primary. But the Greens don't have primaries, so you're missing a chance to to have a very small influence over the choice of the Democratic candidate (or the Republican candidate). If enough leftists decide that it's not possible for the Democrats to choose Sanders, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

In 2008 I voted for Obama (a mistake, of course, but a vote for McCain would also have been a mistake). In 2012, I changed my ways, first by voting in the Republican primary, mostly so I could have a say in the nomination of candidates for some lesser offices. I voted for Huntsman in the primary, because he wasn't a total lunatic like Santorum. In the general election I voted for Green candidate Stein. In 2016, I will vote in the Democratic primary, and then I'll wait to see who's been nominated by the various parties.

Lambert Strether, December 5, 2015 at 11:00 pm

Then if Sanders is strong enough, the party will split. That's a good thing.

Lambert Strether, December 5, 2015 at 11:07 pm

Sanders:

To defeat ISIS, Sanders urged the US to form a new NATO-like coalition with Russia and enemies of ISIS in the Middle East, and force Muslim countries to lead the fight with support from the West. …

If one accepts America's imperial role, that's a reasonable play. (If one imagines that our ruling class is long conflict investment, then all that matters is conflict, period; there's no policy reason for the conflict needed, except as window dressing.)

Of course, I don't accept that. Clinton v. Sanders reminds me of Freud's comment about psychotherapy turning hysterical misery into ordinary unhappiness. But even so, there's a lot of unhappiness to go around, and on a global, grandiose scale.

BEWARE: I may have to start moderating for outright endorsements. (Readers will note neither Yves nor I have endorsed anybody). I've seen blogs torn apart by battles over candidates, and I don't want that to happen to Naked Capitalism.

EoinW, December 5, 2015 at 8:32 am

Given the Obama experience, I'm not so sure there is a true choice. More like the illusion of a choice. heck even if Rand Paul became President I'd expect him to go against his promises, as Obama did and Sanders will do.

Now where there may still be a choice is in the American colonies. How long could Washington's endless wars last without the support of the Quisling leadership of its allies? I'm talking about a leader saying: "you stop attacking other countries or we impose a trade embargo." Maybe that's unrealistic but any moral leader of a western country would make this stand. Too bad we only vote in psychopaths. But, unlike America where it is too late, other countries still have the possibility of electing anti-war leaders – like the UK Labour Party.

This in my opinion is the last chance to stop Washington democratically. An aggressive anti-American stance which creates costs that even the War Party can't sustain. After all, those who have started these wars going back to Yugoslavia have paid zero cost. Even in 2008 I thought that Obama's election would be a blow for peace chances. Bush and the Republicans were making it difficult for other leaders to obediently follow the Empire. Eight years of McCain might have succeeded in finally isolating Washington. Instead we got Obama and the illusion of change. That gave our Quislings the politcal cover to run back to the Empire. it's been full steam ahead ever since then.

tommy strange, December 5, 2015 at 9:11 am

Well written thoughtful piece. I do hope Bernie gets through the fixed primary, cuz he can win the general easily, especially since the economy is going to tank even deeper by then. I do know that the only real change can happen through a bottom up libertarian mass force (anarchist, democratic con federalist, etc), but we are NOT doing that now, and I am aghast we are not even organizing for 'it'…and so…. Clinton has the record of a completely right wing arrogant fool that would still even bomb Iran. Just imagine that one obvious possibility and what that would cause.

My one cynical add is that just because the 'law' says the president can do this or that, doesn't mean Bernie will be able to. Most of the democratic party will be against him. And an immediate impeachment process could very easily happen against him. No, he doesn't have to die in a plane crash, or be (JKF was not )assassinated by the CIA …the powers that run this country could just impeach him.

Still, I really want him to win. My hate is pure for the neo liberal democrats. My compromise ideologically is easy for me to stomach. Go Bernie. Meanwhile, lets organize for a better world, outside of the corrupt political machine.

JTMcPhee, December 5, 2015 at 10:11 am

The body– all the organs, fluids, nerves, hormones, etc. - of a person when some of whose cells have turned on the whole, gone destructively rogue and metastatic - well, even as those cells link and proliferate and multiply and trick the dying carcass into growing ever more and larger conduits to deliver blood to the tumors, the "person" searches for treatments and maintains hope and a grim determination and positive mental attitude, hoping for a cure that will restore homeostasis and return the tissues to their proper function. Bear in mind that cancers are cells that have shucked off the restraints on and regulation of growth, in favor of SIMPLY MORE, unconcerned about the death of the body that feeds them. And those cells usually have figured out how to hide from the body's regulatory processes. In the Actual World Battlespace, aircraft and "units" carry devices that let them (nominally) Interrogate Friend or Foe, so they won't or are at least less likely to be killed by "friendly fire." Somatic cells get identified a similar way, and the immune system cuts the psychopathic cells out and recycles them. "The Military" of course employs the same spoofing and fraud tricks that cancer cells use, in addition to the ever-growing diversion of life resources into tumor growth, so the immune system is suckered into thinking they are benign. The related disease processes, corporatization and financialization, have pulled the same trick. (Cancerous livers and pancreases and pituitaries keep sort of functioning, putting out hormones and converting nutrients and filtering and stuff, until they don't, or they die with the rest of the body as some other essential-to-life function fails and stops.)

There's what, maybe half a million "Troops" invested in the Imperial Project overseas and at home. Their expertise is in killing, destabilization, raising up Sepoy armies and "national police forces," on the idiotic assumption that the latter two will be under the orders of the High Command. Even if these sh_ts did not just "bowstring" a Bernie Sanders, a hugely brave man imo, if "we," whoever that is, speaking of agency, somehow arrange to "disengage" and demobilize, these creatures that exist at all levels of the chain of command will then do what? Get good paying jobs back home, become good citizens? Or go join up with the Eric Princes and other private mercenary or "national" armies, to keep a paycheck and benefits and keep doing what so many of the get off on? Let alone the other tumors like the rest of the Imperial and other-nation state security types? And of course the Elites that rule us and happily will kill us because "Apres nous le deluge…"

Yah, "We" as agents have to try, to "reform" the aberrant cells. But looking at the patient's chart, the electrolytes are way out of whack, cachexia is well advanced, and the tumors are pressing on and colonizing the vital organs… I personally don't think "we" can do better, but who knows?

TG, December 5, 2015 at 10:30 am

Speeches, schmeeches. Words are wind. Look at the record. Hillary Clinton is a monster. The issue is not Bernie vs. Hillary. The issue is how could any sane American even consider voting for Hillary Clinton, against any candidate, even Trump (yes really).

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton made America de-facto allies of extremist groups including Al Qaeda. You know, the guys that blew up the trade center towers on 9/11? Yes really. No it's not in her speeches – she just actually did it. And here was Libya, and it's leader wasn't a saint, but he mostly did good for his people – highest standard of living in Africa! – and he'd made nice with US the last few years, and helped against terrorism etc. And Hillary allied with extremist jihadist nut jobs and trashed the place, and now it's like something out of a Mad Max movie and the average Libyan sorely misses Gaddafi, and ISIS is spreading, and refugees are spilling out all over and there is no end in sight etc.

Somehow we have to get past the notion that anyone treated as 'serious' by the New York Times is actually serious, and look at their record. Press releases are not reality. Trump may be an arrogant loudmouth, and Bernie not a saint, etc., but Hillary should be beyond the pale.

roadrider, December 5, 2015 at 10:56 am

Yeah, Sanders sounds more reasonable but he's still endorsing the "War on Terrah!" and making it sound like we're engaged in some kind of noble effort but being undermined by our so-called allies. The part about being undermined is true but his overall stance ignores the elephant in the room – not only did our our military/covert paramilitary misadventures lead to the emergence of Al-Qaeda an ISIS but our continued association with the repressive, oligarchic petro-states in the Gulf fuel the growth of Islamic extremism and sectarian violence in that region. Sanders recognizes part of that problem but his prescription is far from a cure.

This post encourages support for Sanders but count me out. I get that Sanders is better than Clinton on many issues but I can't support him in the primary because 1) I'm no longer a Democrat and can't vote in the primary even if I were so inclined (and no, I'm not going to re-register as a Democrat just to do that) and 2) Sanders has already endorsed Clinton (he'll support her if she wins the primary) so how seriously should we take their policy differences?

Carla, December 5, 2015 at 1:55 pm

I agree. The fact that Sanders has pledged to support Clinton fatally undermines his candidacy. Here in Ohio, arguably the most "progressive" member of the U.S. Senate, Sherrod Brown, endorsed Clinton several weeks ago.

I'm telling ya, the Democrats will never allow a Sanders win. Votes don't matter.

Lambert Strether, December 5, 2015 at 11:23 pm

Again, there's no way to win running as a Democrat without pledging to support the Democratic candidate. There just isn't. (And nobody said the support couldn't turn out to be nothing more than a ritual pledge, right?)

And what's the better option? Creating a third party is not on*, and the Greens have their own candidate (and the Greens have also been ill-treated by star candidates parachuting in; if I were a Green, I don't think I'd support Sanders).

So IMNSHO the whole "ZOMG!!!! He pledged to support Clinton!!!!" is a test of ritual purity, nothing more. It has no relevance to electoral politics at all.

The more important issue is whether Sanders is building up a parallel structure to the Democrats. The small donations says yes. A real movement (my litmus test) would shout yes.

That would bypass the whole endorse/not endorse discussion, and totally f2ck the Democrats, too, a consummation devoutly to be wished.

* Start with ballot access.

Vatch, December 5, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Sanders has already endorsed Clinton (he'll support her if she wins the primary)

Bernie Sanders has been in the Congress for more than 2 decades as an Independent. This year, he suddenly starts campaigning in the Democratic primaries for the Presidency. Some Democrats, especially life long Democrats, view this with suspicion. "What's this carpet bagger doing in our primaries?", they think. To alleviate their fears of an outsider poaching on their territory, he pledges to support the ultimate Democratic candidate for President. This allows undecided Democratic primary voters to feel a little more comfortable about voting for Sanders. If he manages to win the nomination, the Clinton supporters will be more likely to vote for him in the general election.

Just because Sanders has pledged to support the Democratic candidate in the general election doesn't mean that his supporters are obligated to do so. If Sanders is not the Democratic nominee, I will very likely vote Third Party, as I did in 2012. And you can do the same.

Kurt Sperry, December 5, 2015 at 9:08 pm

I don't think his pledge to support the nominee undermines his candidacy at all. First, it's pro forma and carries no force. Besides, it was also absolutely required to even join the contest at a high level. If he wanted to have any impact on this election cycle, he had very literally no choice about it. To think otherwise seems more than a little naive, which seems to be an ongoing problem generally with the American left.

Sanders is *almost* everything one could realistically ever hope for in a legacy party candidate with a real shot, and yet a significant portion of the left inevitably goes straight into the back corner of the drawer looking for reasons not to support him–or even to go further and declare him unfit. Worse yet, those saying this stuff offer no viable plans or alternatives at all. It's really astonishing to me and perhaps explains why the left is ever so easy to marginalize and push around.

TedWa, December 5, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Since Bernie has voted against pretty much all our involvement in the ME, I wonder if what he's saying is that if the ME doesn't care enough to get rid of ISIL, then why should we? For those doubting his character, please do read up on him more. He's not there for show, he gets things done and does it for the people. What more could you ask for than a candidate that refuses to take Wall St money and dark money fomr Super-Pacs? I mean, really – what more could you ask? If he wins out goes citizens united. The TBTF banks will be broken up. SS will be solid for a 100 years and the things that matter to the people the most – will be his goal. He's no phony and he's no psychopath like the past 2 Presidents or his adversary in this run up. I see no guile in the man. When he says he's going to do something he gets it done. No one in Congress has been able to cross party lines and get things done for "we the people" like Bernie Sanders. Look up his record.

I support Bernie on a monthly basis and will continue to do so. I voted Jill Stein last time and while that was a vote with a clear conscience, I knew there was no chance. Here we the people have a chance. Come on now, NO SUPER-PAC MONEY OR MONEY FROM WALL ST !! What does that say? Is he for you or against you? I'd say it screams that he is on our side. Jill Stein? Great. But there's no way she can win. The media and TPTB won't cover her and won't let her debate. I can vote for Bernie with a clear conscience because I took the time to see what the man is about.

3.14e-9, December 5, 2015 at 6:37 pm

Bernie Sanders was the first senator to announce that he would boycott Netanyahu's speech in Congress, and he is the only senator who does not take any money from the pro-Israel lobby. He was one of a small majority in the Senate who did not sign the resolution last summer to approve of Israel's bombing of Gaza - and he didn't vote for it (there was no vote) or otherwise agree to it. The "unanimous consent" thing that Chris Hedges jumps up and down about and others parrot as "proof" that Sanders is pro-Israel is a procedural rule in the Senate, and there was no way to "object" to it, other than not signing the resolution in the first place. That's what he did, even though more than three-fourths of this colleagues signed on. And he has criticized Israel. You'd just never know it by reading Hedges and the CounterPunch crowd.

As for endorsing Hillary, that remains to be seen. He said that in the beginning when he and everyone else thought maybe he'd get a few votes from the fringe. Circumstances have changed dramatically, and he's got millions of supporters who have said they will not vote for Clinton, period. So we'll see whether he sticks with the party - which, goddess knows, has done everything in its power to block him and to which he owes nothing - or whether he'll find another alternative.


Lambert Strether, December 5, 2015 at 11:39 pm

Of course Obama and the Democrats have consistently betrayed their voters. Heck, go back to Pelosi in 2006 taking impeachment off the table, or the Democrats in 2000 rolling over when Bush was selected in Bush v. Gore. I mean, water is wet.

I just don't see any downside in Sanders running as a Democrat. No downside at all.

1) Sanders wins the nomination. Is that so bad?

2) The regulars screw Sanders over so badly that the Democrats split. Is that so bad?

3) Sanders actually starts a movement. Is that so bad?

4) Sanders puts single payer and free college on the national agenda. Socialism gets on the national agenda.* Is that so bad?

5) Sanders runs on small contributions ONLY, with no SuperPAC money, achieving unheard of success totally against conventional wisdom. Is that so bad?

To be fair, there's the sheepdog scenario (again, a terrible metaphor, put about by the Greens, which implies conscious collusion by Sanders, for which there's very little evidence). If that comes true, is that so bad? No, because we're not any worse off than we were before, and see #4 and #5 above.

I just don't see how Sanders running is anything other than a net positive. The left really does need to figure out how to take yes for an answer.

* Please name another politician who has or could have achieved this.

GlassHammer, December 5, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Are we assuming that the Pentagon, DoD, etc… are just going to accept new guidance from the top? (That sounds like wishful thinking to me.)

And if they (Pentagon, DoD, etc…) resist new guidance, what is going to be done about it? Curretly more Americans trust the military than any institution or politician. I highly doubt anyone could swing public opinion against the Deep State at this point in time.

Daryl, December 5, 2015 at 2:55 pm

It seems to me like the major sovereignty-violating actions of the US Gov't happen with the approval of the executive branch. The military and intelligence services generally don't speak out or publicly act against the president's policies. They do leak a bunch of shit everywhere (the mysterious "high-ranking anonymous Obama official" who seems to pop up whenever the president's policies need to be opposed), but that you can live with. It is a real problem, one that makes me nervous. We know exactly where corporations go when their iron grip on democracy loosens: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Plot

McPhee, December 5, 2015 at 3:29 pm

Any Agent of Actual Change has to fear the "bowstring…"

http://www.allempires.com/article/index.php?q=fate_of_roman_emperors

EndOfTheWorld, December 5, 2015 at 2:10 pm

I wonder if there is a real chance Jesse Ventura will be nominated by the Libertarian Party at their convention in May or June and put him on the ballot in about 48 states. He says he's interested and he's got my vote. I agree Bernie has no chance to win, partly because he's just too humble and polite. He was a great athlete in high school, but he never talks about it. That would get him some support in sports-minded Iowa.

[Dec 04, 2015] Trump's two talking points on Clinton

Notable quotes:
"... "One thing with Hillary, she doesn't have the strength or the stamina to be president. She doesn't have it," Trump said at a Wednesday-night campaign rally in Manassas, Virginia. ..."
"... "Hillary shouldn't be allowed to run because what she did is illegal. What she did is illegal," Trump asserted Thursday. ..."
"... I don't know if Clinton privatizing her email server is illegal. I do know it's corrupt to the bone . ..."
"... However, the one line of attack that is substantial, and that she's had the most trouble dispelling, is her closeness to Wall Street . So is there anything Clinton can do to rid herself of the Wall Street albatross? Of course there is. She should say that if elected president, she'd subject the Wall Streeters to a higher tax rate than anyone else. (I'd exclude venture capitalists from this penalty, since they primarily fund innovation.) ..."
naked capitalism
Policy

"Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Thursday lashed out at Donald Trump's comments suggesting that Israel should offer 'sacrifices' to win a peace deal, telling a prominent Republican Jewish group that conflict is the Middle East amounts to more than "a real estate deal."" [The Hill]. Trump outflanks Clinton on Israel to the left. Hilarity ensues.

The Voters

Trump: "Think of it. Obama, your African-American youth - 51 percent unemployment, right? You guys our age, they have unemployment that's double or triple what other people have. What the hell has he done for the African-Americans? He's done nothing. He's done nothing. I don't think he cares about them. He's done nothing. It's all talk, it's all words with this guy" [The Hill]. Sadly, Trump is correct, on both counts. And he forgot to mention the foreclosure crisis, which disproportionately affected Blacks.

"73% of Republican voters say Trump would win the general [Quinippiac]. Rubio: 63%; Cruz: 59%; Carson: 55%. So, not only a gigantic upraised middle finger to their own party establishment and the entire political class, but pragmatic, too.

The Trail

"Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, broke with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday and called for a federal probe of the city police department following the release of a video last week showing the death of a black teen, who was shot by a white police officer" [Wall Street Journal, "Hillary Clinton Calls for Federal Probe of Chicago Police Department"]. Say, who is this "Rahm" character, anyhow? He just seemed to pop up one day, and now he's all over the news. What gives? Where the heck did he come from?

"In a seven-page confidential memo that imagines Trump as the party's presidential nominee, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee urges candidates to adopt many of Trump's tactics, issues and approaches - right down to adjusting the way they dress and how they use Twitter" [WaPo].

Trump's two talking points on Clinton [Business Insider].

"One thing with Hillary, she doesn't have the strength or the stamina to be president. She doesn't have it," Trump said at a Wednesday-night campaign rally in Manassas, Virginia.

Trump's other lines that Clinton shouldn't even be "allowed" to run for president because of her controversial email practices at the State Department. The FBI has said it is investigating whether any material was mishandled in connection to Clinton's email account, which was run using a private server in her home.

"Hillary shouldn't be allowed to run because what she did is illegal. What she did is illegal," Trump asserted Thursday.

I don't know if Clinton privatizing her email server is illegal. I do know it's corrupt to the bone.

"How Hillary Clinton can shake the one charge that sticks to her" [Harold Meyerson, WaPo].

However, the one line of attack that is substantial, and that she's had the most trouble dispelling, is her closeness to Wall Street.

So is there anything Clinton can do to rid herself of the Wall Street albatross? Of course there is. She should say that if elected president, she'd subject the Wall Streeters to a higher tax rate than anyone else. (I'd exclude venture capitalists from this penalty, since they primarily fund innovation.)

Oh, "innovation." Ka-ching.

[Dec 02, 2015] When it comes to Wall Street buying our democracy you just need to follow the money

Notable quotes:
"... Let's compare donations from people who work at Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton, has received $495,503.60 from people who work on Wall Street Bernie Sanders, has received only $17,107.72. Hillary Clinton may have Wall Street, ..."
"... The false promise of meritocracy was most disappointing. It basically said that meritocracy is hard to do, but never evaluates whether it is the right thing to do. Hint - it isn't enough. We need to worry about (relative) equality of outcome not just (relative) equality of opportunity. An equal chance to starve is still an equal chance. ..."
"... Making economies games is how you continued rigged distribution apparatus. Question all "rules"! ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

RGC, December 02, 2015 at 05:55 AM

Bernie's latest pitch:

When it comes to Wall Street buying our democracy, you just need to follow the money. Let's compare donations from people who work at Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton, has received $495,503.60 from people who work on Wall Street Bernie Sanders, has received only $17,107.72. Hillary Clinton may have Wall Street, But Bernie has YOU! Bernie has received more than 1.5 million contributions from folks like you, at an average of $30 each.

pgl -> RGC, December 02, 2015 at 05:58 AM
$17,107.72? Jamie Dimon spends more than that on his morning cup of coffee. Go Bernie!
EMichael -> RGC, December 02, 2015 at 06:03 AM
To be fair, don't you think we should count donations for this election cycle for Clinton?

Y'know, she was the Senator from New York.

pgl -> EMichael,
Some people think anyone from New York is in bed with Wall Street. Trust me on this one - not everyone here in Brooklyn is in Jamie Dimon's hip pocket. Of course those alleged liberals JohnH uses as his sources (e.g. William Cohan) are in Jamie Dimon's hip pocket.
EMichael -> pgl,
I hate things like this. No honesty whatsoever. This cycle.

http://www.opensecrets.org/pres16/contrib.php?cycle=2016&id=N00000019

RGC -> EMichael,
How is there no honesty whatsoever?

The total for Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Bank of America is $326,000.
That leaves Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs to contribute $169,000.

EMichael -> RGC,
I stand corrected, somewhat.

Let me know how much comes from those organizations PACs.

reason said,
The false promise of meritocracy was most disappointing. It basically said that meritocracy is hard to do, but never evaluates whether it is the right thing to do. Hint - it isn't enough. We need to worry about (relative) equality of outcome not just (relative) equality of opportunity. An equal chance to starve is still an equal chance.
ilsm -> reason,

Making economies games is how you continued rigged distribution apparatus. Question all "rules"!

von Neumann should have been censored.

[Dec 02, 2015] Hillary infrastructure plan

Notable quotes:
"... One issue that is raised by Samwicks piece is the degree to which infrastructure spending should be connected with countercyclical policy. Certainly, it makes sense to have mechanisms available for dialing infrastructure spending up in response to slumps. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com
bakho
Samwick points out that Hillary's infrastructure plan is a good start but too small.
The media portrays it as a bank buster.
Progressives need to start criticizing the Hillary plan as being too small, which it is. We should aim for a much larger plan and maybe we could get what Hillary has suggested. It's a problem if that is the starting point in the negotiation.
pgl said in reply to bakho...
I suggested the other day she should make it bigger. Andrew Samwick is one of the few honest Republican economists.
pgl said in reply to bakho...
"It was almost eight years ago that I started writing about spending on infrastructure as a means of countercyclical fiscal policy. There was an op-ed in The Washington Post, followed by an essay in The Ripon Forum, as the Great Recession was beginning. I returned to it occasionally as the weak recovery and inelegant policy discussions of economic stimulus continued the need for a sensible plan to boost economic activity. This op-ed at U.S. News Economic Intelligence blog is a good example."

I used to read Andrew's blog regularly but then I stopped. Too bad as he has been all over the need for fiscal stimulus via infrastructure from the beginning. And Andrew is generally considered right of center. So liberal and conservative economists have both been making this argument.

Of course our resident gold bug troll JohnH insists that economists have not been calling for such stimulus. OK - JohnH is not one to read Andrew's blog as Andrew writes some really high quality posts which will not show up in JohnH's Google for Really Dumb Stuff program.

pgl said in reply to bakho...
Check out this from Kevin Drum:

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/12/congress-has-agreed-highway-bill

Seems Congress has passed a highway bill financed by gimmicks rather than raising the gasoline tax. Speaker Ryan's dishonesty at its finest!

Peter K. said in reply to pgl...
I agree with Drum's main point.

However as I understand it Ryan had to pass this with votes from Democrats and some Republicans. His supporters are framing it as continuing Boehner's parting deal to disgruntled Tea Partiers who won't vote for anything.

Drum writes:

""Among other things, the measure would raise revenue by selling oil from the nation's emergency stockpile and taking money from a Federal Reserve surplus account that works as a sort of cushion to help the bank pay for potential losses."
...
On the other hand, the revenue sources they're tapping in order to pass this bill are probably pretty ill considered. "

The Fed can print up money so I don't understand why it has a "rainy day" fund. Sounds like a budgetary gimmick which Drum glosses over.

From the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/02/us/politics/bipartisan-talks-yield-dollar300-billion-highway-bill.html

Bipartisan Talks Yield $300 Billion Highway Bill

By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
DEC. 1, 2015

...

Some of the money will come from the Federal Reserve. The bill cuts the Fed's annual dividend payments to large commercial banks, redirecting that money to highway construction. It also drains money from the Fed's rainy-day fund.

The banking industry opposed the dividend cut, but won only a partial victory. The Senate voted to replace the current 6 percent dividend with a 1.5 percent dividend. The final version instead ties the dividend to the interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds, currently 2.2 percent, up to a maximum of 6 percent.

The bill also requires the Fed to fork over $19 billion from a rainy-day fund that has ballooned to $29 billion in recent years. The size of the rainy-day fund also would be limited to $10 billion.

A Fed spokesman declined to comment, but Fed officials have previously criticized both the dividend cut and the draining of the rainy-day fund, arguing Congress should not use Fed funds to bankroll specific programs.
...."

Peter K. said in reply to Peter K....
It's slightly ironic that Paul Ryan and John Taylor wrote an op-ed criticizing the Fed for "easing the pressure" on fiscal policy with monetary policy, when that's exactly what the highway bill does.

Do all of these lefty critics of monetary policy not want it to "ease the pressure" of fiscal policy either?

anne said in reply to bakho...
http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/11/30/hillary-clinton-unveils-sprawling-and-expensive-infrastructure-investment-plan/

November 30, 2015

Hillary Clinton Unveils $275 Billion Infrastructure Investment Plan
By Amy Chozick

Evoking the investment in American infrastructure by Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, Hillary Clinton on Monday unveiled the most sprawling - and costliest - government program of her campaign to date.

Mrs. Clinton said her five-year, $275-billion federal infrastructure program was aimed at creating middle-class jobs while investing heavily in improving the country's highways, airports and ports....

[ That would be $275 / 5 = $55 billion per year spending on infrastructure.

That comes to $55 / $18,065 = .3% of GDP infrastructure spending. ]

pgl said in reply to anne...
Then let's double her proposal to make it 0.6% of GDP! Dean Baker would love this calculation.
bakho said in reply to pgl...
I say multiply it by 10 and let the GOP win by whittling away 80%.

It is worth quoting Donald Trump on this:
""I'm going to put this plan in front of lots of different people. It's going to go through lots of scrutiny. There's room to negotiate. I'm a negotiator. There's room to negotiate.

Other people don't have any room to negotiate. But there's always going to be room to negotiate. When I put something forward, I always have to leave something on the table, and if we have things on the table. We can give up certain things.

ilsm said in reply to anne...
The pentagon is diverting $1,000B is resources into nuclear bombs to destroy the world.

How about less militarist Keynesianism and some for the people?

anne said in reply to ilsm...
http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTableHtml.cfm?reqid=9&step=3&isuri=1&904=2007&903=5&906=q&905=2015&910=x&911=0

January 15, 2015

Defense spending was 60.3% of federal government consumption and investment in July through September 2015.

(Billions of dollars)

$738.3 / $1,224.4 = 60.3%

Defense spending was 23.1% of all government consumption and investment in July through September 2015.

$738.3 / $3,200.4 = 23.1%

Defense spending was 4.1% of Gross Domestic Product in July through September 2015.

$738.3 / $18,064.7 = 4.1%

anne said in reply to anne...
Reference link to GDP and government spending:

http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTableHtml.cfm?reqid=9&step=3&isuri=1&904=2007&903=5&906=q&905=2015&910=x&911=0

bakho said in reply to anne...
"unveiled the most sprawling - and costliest - government program of her campaign to date"

[notice how a proposal that is too small gets treated by our media elites.]

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to bakho...
Is Hillary Clinton's infrastructure proposal too modest?
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/12/hillary-clintons-modest-infrastructure-proposal/418068/
The Atlantic - Russell Berman - Dec 1, 2015

It's hard to call a plan that spends $275 billion in taxpayer dollars over five years "modest" and keep a straight face. But that may be the best way to describe the proposal Hillary Clinton unveiled on Monday to upgrade the nation's ailing infrastructure.

Clinton's blueprint is certainly broad in scope: It aims to bolster not only roads and bridges but also public transit, freight rail, airports, broadband Internet, and water systems. It's the most expensive domestic policy proposal she's made to date. And when added to the nearly $300 billion Congress is poised to authorize in a new highway bill, the Clinton plan tops the $478 billion that President Obama sought for infrastructure earlier this year.

Yet the reaction from advocates of more robust infrastructure spending has been less than enthusiastic, a nod to the fact that the size of the Clinton plan falls well short of what studies have shown the country needs. "Secretary Clinton is exactly right to call her plan a 'down payment,'" said Damon Silvers, the AFL-CIO's director of public policy. "The reality of our infrastructure deficit is in the trillions, not billions."

Specifically, that deficit has been pegged at $1.6 trillion-the amount of additional money governments at all levels would have to spend by 2020 to bring the nation's infrastructure up to date, according to a widely-cited report issued two years ago by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Even Bernie Sanders didn't make it that high, but he came a lot closer than Clinton by introducing legislation to spend $1 trillion over the next five years on infrastructure.

The Clinton campaign has tagged the Sanders agenda as overly expensive, requiring either a dramatic increase in the deficit or tax increases that hit not only the nation's wealthiest but millions of middle-class families as well. Politically, the Sanders plan is only achievable with the kind of the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate that Obama enjoyed briefly in 2009. Clinton's proposal, by contrast, is pegged to the reality that barring an electoral tsunami in 2016, she would have to work with at least one chamber of Congress controlled by Republicans, and maybe two. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to bakho...
(It could be larger if there were to be some aggressive financing, meaning not 'just' closing corporate loopholes, taxing offshore cash, etc. Like the suggested income tax increase on the top 3%. Unfortunately ALL of this is unlikely unless both House and Senate come under Dem control.)

Clinton Wants $275 Billion for Infrastructure,
but How Will She Pay for It? http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2015/11/30/Clinton-Wants-275-Billion-Infrastructure-How-Will-She-Pay-It
FT - Eric Pianin - November 30, 2015

Hillary Clinton previewed her $275 billion infrastructure plan during a campaign event in Boston on Sunday with construction workers, labor leaders and Democratic Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who endorsed her candidacy. "Investing in infrastructure makes our economy more productive and competitive across the board," she said in kicking off a week of appearances and announcements geared to creating new jobs.

Clinton's proposal is two-pronged: It would rely on $250 billion of direct federal expenditures for highways, bridges, tunnels and other major projects, and $25 billion more for a national infrastructure bank designed to leverage public and private investments into billions of dollars of fresh low-interest loans and other incentives for construction projects.

The lion's share of this additional federal spending on infrastructure would be offset by closing pricey corporate tax loopholes, including tax inversion provisions that allow major corporations to avoid high U.S. tax rates by moving their headquarters overseas while retaining their material operations in this country. The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced last week that it was doing just that in a planned merger with Allergan to take advantage of much lower corporate taxes in Ireland.

The remainder of the financing for Clinton's infrastructure proposal would come from a new infrastructure bank that would put up federal dollars to attract private investments to help bankroll highway, bridge, mass transit and other construction projects to spur economic growth. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...
Any such proposal from Dems is seen as a gift to union labor, and calls from labor leaders to enlarge it only makes that seem more obvious.

This is entirely the wrong way to sell such a plan.

But a larger (Trump-scale!) plan would raise further ire from GOPsters. So, must go with the timid version.

This could be a very dubious strategy, unless one is *extremely* confident of victory in Nov.

Dan Kervick said in reply to bakho...
One issue that is raised by Samwick's piece is the degree to which infrastructure spending should be connected with countercyclical policy. Certainly, it makes sense to have mechanisms available for dialing infrastructure spending up in response to slumps. But it may be a mistake to build too close a political connection between infrastructure goals and macroeconomic stabilization goals.

If the main pitch the public hears is is that we need to build infrastructure to boost the economy, then when the economy is no longer in need of a boost, the political pressure for infrastructure spending will flag. But it doesn't have to be that way at all - and shouldn't be that way. We are very far behind where we need to be as a nation in our public works, as is shown by that civil engineers scorecard. The various components of the infrastructure agenda need to be part of a long-term plan for national development. When the economy improves and revenues flow in to government coffers, great. The government then has more money to build stuff. The fact that the next president and congress needs to get really busy re-developing our country has little to do with whether job growth has "crested" or whether we will or will not be in a more of a slump in 2017.

Another potential drawback of yoking infrastructure policy too closely to countercyclical policy is that it risks casting the infrastructure development movement as economic ambulance chasers, secretly pining for recessions so they can push through the infrastructure spending, and constantly proclaiming recessions so they can trigger the countercyclical policy.

The infrastructure development agenda should be part of a broader agenda of re-commitment to goals for national development, national excellence or national greatness. People who read a lot about economic conditions - like the folks here - know how far America has slipped. But I think many Americans are still amazingly in the dark about how far the US has fallen behind in many standard measures of national prosperity and success. Politicians still don't have the nerve to tell the people that we ain't what we used to be.

[Nov 29, 2015] The Lesson Of Trump Is You Should Argue With Your Own Team

Notable quotes:
"... The temptation to ignore or downplay wrongness on your own side is obvious. In fact it's a bit of a prisoners dilemma. Reasonable people on both sides of the aisle would be better off if all reasonable people spent more time arguing with unreasonable ideological allies. However, unreasonable ideological allies are useful fools because they share an enemy with you, and sling mud and win skirmishes for "your side". ..."
"... Rush Limbaugh has long been a popular source of misinformation, foolishness, and insanity on the right. And let's not forget Glenn Beck. But it does represent the continued growth of a know-nothing right-wing media and subculture. ..."
Forbes
Trump's success is a coat of many colors, arising from a patchwork of economic, social, political, and cultural conditions. Not to mention the part attributable to the extraordinary nature of Trump himself. But I do think one piece of the blame lies with conservatives lack of willingness to argue with themselves. This is a not a unique problem to conservatives, but it is having disastrous consequences there more than anywhere else right now.

The temptation to ignore or downplay wrongness on your own side is obvious. In fact it's a bit of a prisoners dilemma. Reasonable people on both sides of the aisle would be better off if all reasonable people spent more time arguing with unreasonable ideological allies. However, unreasonable ideological allies are useful fools because they share an enemy with you, and sling mud and win skirmishes for "your side". This is why among all ideologies and parties, almost nobody spend enough effort and time arguing among themselves.

Breitbart news, Sarah Palin, and other Trump defenders are not a new phenomenon. Rush Limbaugh has long been a popular source of misinformation, foolishness, and insanity on the right. And let's not forget Glenn Beck. But it does represent the continued growth of a know-nothing right-wing media and subculture. Until the rise of Trump though, it was too rare that smart conservatives would argue against this with the fervor, effort, and rhetorical seriousness that they reserve for Democrats.

[Nov 28, 2015] Trump almost got it right Some people were arrested for celebrating 9-11 - but they were Israeli

www.rawstory.com

As Donald Trump continues to insist that he saw "thousands" of Muslims cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center - let's pause to remember that several Israelis were arrested and eventually deported for acting suspiciously on 9/11.

Trump has said he personally witnessed large numbers of Muslims holding "tailgate parties" in New Jersey on Sept. 11, 2001, and his campaign manager suggested that "special interests" who control the media have conspired to bury video footage to back the Republican candidate's claims.

The GOP frontrunner has dug himself in so deep defending those claims - which are not supported by law enforcement or media accounts - that he mocked a disabled reporter who questioned his recollection.

Police detained, questioned and eventually released a number of Muslims in the New York City area who were accused of behaving suspiciously following the terrorist attacks - but investigators found most of those claims to be unfounded.

A New Jersey woman, however, reported some suspicious men she saw recording video from a moving van that actually did result in arrests.

The woman, identified by police and news reports only as Maria, said she spotted three men kneeling on the roof of a white van outside her New Jersey apartment building as she watched the towers burn through binoculars.

She called police, who arrested five men - identified as Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Oded Ellner, Omer Marmari and Yaron Shmuel - later that day near Giants Stadium while driving in a van registered to Urban Moving.

Although it's never been confirmed, the company and the men are widely believed to have been part of an undercover operation set up by Israel's intelligence agency, Mossad, and they have been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories about the terrorist attacks.

Their case was transferred out of the FBI's Criminal Division and into its Foreign Counterintelligence Section shortly after the men were jailed, and they were held ostensibly for overstaying their tourist visas.

An immigration judge ordered them deported two weeks later, but ABC News reported that FBI and CIA officials put a hold on their case.

The men were held in detention for more than two months and given multiple lie detector tests, and at least one of them spent 40 days in solitary confinement.

Intelligence experts suspect the men may have been conducting surveillance on radical Islamists in the U.S., but Israeli officials have denied the men were involved at all in intelligence operations.

Investigators determined the men had no advance knowledge of the terrorist attacks, and they were eventually sent back to Israel after 71 days.

One of the men denied Maria's claims that they had been laughing as they recorded video of the doomed World Trade Center towers.

"The fact of the matter is we are coming from a country that experiences terror daily," the man told investigators. "Our purpose was to document the event."

A lawyer for the men suggested at the time that Maria had exaggerated her claims because she mistook the men for Muslims.

"One of the neighbors who saw them called the police and claimed they were posing, dancing and laughing, against the background of the burning towers," said attorney Steve Gordon. "The five denied dancing. I presume the neighbor was not near them and does not understand Hebrew. Furthermore, the neighbor complained that the cheerful gang on the roof spoke Arabic."

[Nov 27, 2015] Republican groups aim to bring down Donald Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Establishment Republicans, after initially dismissing Trump's appeal to the party base, have grown increasingly concerned with the durability his campaign has demonstrated. Trump has repeatedly issued the types of public statements that have been deemed gaffes, and proved fatal, in past campaigns. ..."
"... But he continues to enjoy a healthy lead both in New Hampshire and in national polling. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs, November 25, 2015 at 06:06 AM

Republican groups aim to bring down Donald Trump
http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2015/11/24/gop-establishment-fears-donald-trump-could-permanently-tarnish-republican-party-image/EbCIEyJlbD1xF74eXe1LfP/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe
Tracy Jan and Annie Linskey - November 25, 2015

WASHINGTON - Donald Trump has proven to be the GOP's summer fling gone awry: fun at first, when there was no expectation of a commitment. But he's stuck around - long after the party establishment wishes he were gone.

Now, concerned about lasting damage to the party's image, some in the Republican establishment are plotting a full-scale attempt to torpedo his candidacy.

Fergus Cullen, former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, on Monday filed a formal complaint with the New Hampshire secretary of state challenging Trump's place on the first-in-the-nation primary ballot, arguing in vain that the billionaire reality TV star did not provide proof he's a Republican.

Some Republican consultants are forming a group - Trump Card LLC - with the explicit goal of taking out the brash-talking political neophyte. And the conservative Club for Growth has run anti-Trump ads in Iowa.

"This is no longer a joke," said Cullen, who lost his bid before the state Ballot Law Commission to knock Trump off the ballot. "Donald Trump is a dangerous demagogue. He's doing damage to the Republican brand that will prevent us from running a competitive national election next year."

With less than three months before the nominating process begins, Trump is still leading in state and national polls, seeming to gain strength from his divisive rhetoric, rather than collapsing under it.

The concern, party leaders and strategists say, is not just winning the general election and reclaiming the White House. In a year when the GOP is hoping to maintain control of the Senate, party leaders are increasingly worried about the impact Trump's campaign could have on down-ballot candidates in purple states such as the reelection bids by Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Rob Portman of Ohio.

"Kelly Ayotte is losing votes every day because of Donald Trump," Cullen said. "It's not like Passover where voters make a distinction between good Republicans and bad Republicans. They will throw them all out. Or they will reasonably ask, 'Why didn't you stand up to him? Was your silence consent?' " ...

Trump leads among GOP presidential candidates in Mass.
http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2015/11/24/trump-leads-among-gop-presidential-candidates-mass-poll-finds/KeYzyVCy21ceBQCq2fTyFM/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Donald Trump's popularity in New Hampshire seems to be seeping into Massachusetts, according to a new poll.

Thirty two percent of likely Republican primary voters in the state called Trump their first choice in the race for the GOP nomination for president, according to the survey by Suffolk University.

Eighteen percent picked Senator Marco Rubio in the poll. Senator Ted Cruz earned 10 percent, followed by former Florida governor Jeb Bush at 7 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 5 percent, and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina both at 4 percent.

No other GOP candidate drew significant support ...

Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs... November 25, 2015 at 06:15 AM

Former state GOP chairman tries, fails to kick Trump off NH ballot http://fw.to/I4okFoh

Donald Trump supporters can exhale: their man will be on the ballot in New Hampshire's Feb. 9 presidential primary.

Not that Trump supporters were holding their breath. A challenge by former state Republican chairman Fergus Cullen to Trump's eligibility was quickly thrown out Tuesday by the New Hampshire Ballot Commission.

Cullen had filed a complaint Monday arguing Trump was ineligible to be on the Republican ballot because his views are inconsistent with the Republican party platform. The complaint, filed on behalf of GOP presidential candidate John Kasich's super PAC, A New Day for America, claimed the real estate mogul had previously supported Democrats and therefore should not be allowed on the Republican ballot. ...

(Is this what will be cited as 'unfair
treatment' by future independent candidate
Trump, or just a silly maneuver by pissant Kasich?)

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... November 25, 2015 at 11:40 AM

Kelly Ayotte is losing votes like John Ellis is losing votes.

NH don't want anyone who put Netanyahu first.

Fred C. Dobbs -> ilsm... November 25, 2015 at 01:10 PM

(But *who*?)

Now is the perfect time for Ayotte to endorse http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2015/11/04/groundgame/XLoeGrGj4SffMxzZVekRhJ/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe - Nov 4

... While Donald Trump continues to hang onto the first-place spot, everyone else continues to shift positions. In the last two months, the second-place spot has belonged to Ben Carson, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Governor John Kasich and US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

But the battle for second place isn't even the GOP's most interesting contest. Republicans want to know who will emerge among Rubio, Kasich, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as the moderate/establishment choice (Some Republicans also include Fiorina in this camp).

That question is anyone's guess. Ayotte is the only one who can provide the answer.

But to be sure, her decision is complicated.

Rubio ran television ads in her defense when she voted against the Manchin-Toomey amendment on background checks for guns. As chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Christie spent millions of dollars attacking Ayotte's foe, Governor Maggie Hassan, in her reelection bid last year (even then, Republicans expected Hassan would challenge Ayotte in 2016).

However, endorsing Bush would give Ayotte access to his national fundraising base -- something she will need for her own race. Kasich also seems like a safe bet: His Ohio background could mean he is the most electable in a general election. What's more, Fiorina on top of the ballot could blunt any energy female voters have to elect Democrat Hillary Clinton as the first female president, which could have implications for Ayotte's own race.

Last but not least, Ayotte has a personal friendship with US Senator Lindsey Graham, with whom she watches movies with her children.

The easiest thing for Ayotte is to not endorse. It is something of a New Hampshire tradition to cheer from the sidelines when facing a major election in the upcoming year to avoid upsetting members in their own party. ...

(It is likely that outgoing NH Dem governor Maggie Hassan, who plans to run against Kelly Ayotte in 2016 would be swept in by a HRC landslide in NH.)

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... November 25, 2015 at 01:53 PM

Hassan is bleating with the rest of the sheep [governors who would inter George Takei for their political creds] against letting refugees in..

Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs... November 25, 2015 at 12:49 PM

(NH GOP chair in state of deep denial.)

NH GOP chair doubts Donald Trump can win
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/11/25/new-hampshire-gop-chair-doubts-donald-trump-can-win/YdaiaY0O0I7xRAdiecS7uK/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe
Jim O'Sullivan - November 25, 2015

Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the New Hampshire Republican primary, which is less than three months away.

But the state party's chairwoman doesn't think the developer and television personality will ultimately prevail there, calling his political style a poor fit for the first state to host a primary.

"Shallow campaigns that depend on bombast and divisive rhetoric do not succeed in New Hampshire, and I don't expect that they will now," state GOP chair Jennifer Horn said Wednesday in a phone interview, when asked about Trump's candidacy.

Establishment Republicans, after initially dismissing Trump's appeal to the party base, have grown increasingly concerned with the durability his campaign has demonstrated. Trump has repeatedly issued the types of public statements that have been deemed gaffes, and proved fatal, in past campaigns.

But he continues to enjoy a healthy lead both in New Hampshire and in national polling.

"In New Hampshire, historically, the truth is, people really don't make their final decisions until very, very close until Election Day," Horn said, noting that US Senator Marco Rubio has been climbing in state polls.

"People are probably underestimating [New Jersey Governor] Chris Christie. And, certainly, [former Florida governor Jeb] Bush is working very, very hard in New Hampshire," she added. ...

Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs... November 25, 2015 at 12:56 PM

(This should totally do the trick for Marc. Am totally looking forward to more GOP TV ads, maybe displacing Jeb! & Kasich. !Trump is not advertising?)

Marco Rubio plans advertising blitz in NH http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2015/11/17/marco-rubio-plans-new-hampshire-blitz-that-will-challenge-jeb-bush-for-airwaves-dominance/ItjGyoRzdQkQ84UIOrIRZI/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

WASHINGTON - Senator Marco Rubio is preparing a New Hampshire advertising blitz in the final weeks before the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, challenging rival Republican Jeb Bush for airwaves dominance and highlighting the Granite State's importance to his nomination hopes.

Rubio and an outside group supporting him have already reserved more than 1,900 spots - representing $2.8 million worth of television ads - on Manchester-based WMUR-TV, the state's dominant television station ...

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs...

Someone is dumping Carson road signs all over the NH place.

[Nov 26, 2015] The U.S. Is the Most Unequal Developed Economy Outside Southern Europe

Notable quotes:
"... And yet Hillary mocked Bernie Sanders for wanting the U.S. to be more like Denmark. ..."
"... Excellent example of her opportunism, unprincipled ambition and revolting sense of superiority ..."
Bloomberg Business

Fred C. Dobbs said... November 25, 2015 at 10:50 AM

US Is the Most Unequal Developed Economy Outside
Southern Europe http://bloom.bg/1NrQVeT via @Bloomberg
Kasia Klimasinska - November 25, 2015

The developed world's most unequal economies are in struggling southern Europe, closely followed by the U.S.

That's according to a new report from Morgan Stanley, where analysts looked at indicators including the gender pay gap, involuntary part-time employment and Internet access. The bank also found that the rise of economies such as China and India has helped drive down inequality between countries, even though inequality within many individual has grown. Since the mid-1980s, income inequality has risen the most in Sweden when looking at developed economies. Even after that increase, Sweden (along with the rest of Scandinavia) still had the lowest levels of inequality. ...

Peter K. said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...

And yet Hillary mocked Bernie Sanders for wanting the U.S. to be more like Denmark.

PPaine said in reply to Peter K....

Excellent example of her opportunism, unprincipled ambition and revolting sense of superiority

Among her peers those dangerous broiled creatures of middle class strivers domestic brimstone

She makes fellow victim turned brute [to the extent that] Dick Nixon look sympathetic

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... November 25, 2015 at 08:33 AM

BTW, there IS an unpostable link to the Morgan Stanley report in
the Bloomberg article

[Nov 23, 2015] For Bernie Sanders, it's New Hampshire or bust

Notable quotes:
"... With less than 12 weeks to go before the New Hampshire primary, all Bernie Sanders has is New Hampshire. ..."
"... In Iowa, Hillary Clinton leads him by 18 points. In South Carolina, Clinton is ahead of Sanders by 54 points. Nationally, the latest poll had Clinton's lead at 33 percentage points. ..."
"... Over the past month it has become clear that New Hampshire is no longer Bernie Sanders's firewall, but it remains the only reason he has an argument that there is a contest at all. Should Clinton ever take a double-digit lead in the Granite State, there will be nothing for anyone to talk about in terms of the Democratic contest. ..."
"... A substantial lead in the polls could prompt any candidate to look beyond the primary to try to get a head start on the general election, but in Mrs. Clinton's case, gazing past Mr. Sanders to next November is part of the intensified strategy to defeat him. ..."
"... "They are running on the same economic policies that have failed us before," Mrs. Clinton said at a rally in Memphis on Friday. She did not mention Mr. Sanders, but his stances on wealth and income have seemed to influence his rival's populist tone. "Trickledown economics, cut taxes on the wealthy, get out of the way of big corporations," she said. "Well, we know how that story ends, don't we?" ..."
"... Mr. Sanders's campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, said Mrs. Clinton's obsession with the Republican Party is a tactic to diminish her main Democratic primary opponent, whose economic message has attracted enormous crowds and enthusiasm. ..."
"... "We are much closer to Secretary Clinton today than Senator Obama was in 2008," Mr. Weaver said. "I don't think they think this is locked up." ..."
"... Among Democrats, Mrs. Clinton holds a 25 percentage point lead against Mr. Sanders nationally, according to a Bloomberg Politics poll released on Friday, compared with a nine percentage point advantage in the same poll conducted in September that also included Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who later said he would not seek the nomination. ..."
"... The primary is by no means determined. Polls in Iowa, in particular, tend to undercount Mr. Sanders's young supporters who do not have landline phones, his aides say. And he continues to lead in some polls in New Hampshire, a state that was supposed to be a stronghold for Mrs. Clinton. ..."
"... Even as Mrs. Clinton focuses firmly on the Republicans, her campaign is increasing its indirect, if aggressive, moves to squeeze Mr. Sanders. She has secured the backing of major labor unions, including most recently the Service Employees International Union, which has two million members. Her campaign has emphasized Mrs. Clinton's commitment to gun control, an issue that Mr. Sanders, as a senator from a hunting state, has been less vehement about, and she delivered a major foreign policy speech on Thursday in New York, the same day Mr. Sanders delivered a speech about Democratic socialism in Washington. ("Ah, the attempted bigfoot," Mr. Weaver said of the timing of the two speeches. The Clinton campaign announced its speech a day earlier than the Sanders team.) ..."
"... Hillary Clintons speech on ISIS to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) showed clearly what to expect in a Clinton presidency: more of the same. In her speech, Clinton doubled down on the existing, failed U.S. approach in the Middle East, the one she pursued as Secretary of State. ..."
"... The CIA-led policy in the Middle East works like this. If a regime is deemed to be unfriendly to the U.S., topple it. If a competitor like the Soviet Union or Russia has a foothold in the region, try to push it out. If this means arming violent insurgencies, including Sunni jihadists, and thereby creating mayhem: so be it. And if the result is terrorist blowback around the world by the forces created by the US, then double down on bombing and regime change. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs said... Monday, November 23, 2015 at 08:21 AM

(Feel the Bern!)

For Bernie Sanders, it's New Hampshire or bust
http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2015/11/20/for-bernie-sanders-new-hampshire-bust/U3TtOEsDMlJiDkthJ1CzOM/story.html?event=event25
via @BostonGlobe - James Pindell - November 20, 2015

With less than 12 weeks to go before the New Hampshire primary, all Bernie Sanders has is New Hampshire.

In Iowa, Hillary Clinton leads him by 18 points. In South Carolina, Clinton is ahead of Sanders by 54 points. Nationally, the latest poll had Clinton's lead at 33 percentage points.

But in New Hampshire a poll this week showed the race tied. And last night, the state's largest union decided to endorse him, bucking the national union which announced it was with Clinton.

Over the past month it has become clear that New Hampshire is no longer Bernie Sanders's firewall, but it remains the only reason he has an argument that there is a contest at all. Should Clinton ever take a double-digit lead in the Granite State, there will be nothing for anyone to talk about in terms of the Democratic contest.

But so far Sanders is hanging on, even if there are some growing pains amid his campaign's quick attempt to scale up with new campaign cash. Sanders now has more than 60 staffers, and he opened his 14th campaign office, this one in Laconia, this week. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...
There is also a chance that Dems will go with the First Secular Jewish Major Party Candidate, if The Donald has his say.

http://feelthebern.org/bernie-sanders-on-religion-and-beliefs/

Peter K. said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/24/us/politics/hillary-clinton-looks-past-primaries-in-strategy-to-defeat-bernie-sanders.html

Hillary Clinton Looks Past Primaries in Strategy to Defeat Bernie Sanders

By AMY CHOZICK
NOV. 23, 2015

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - "Whenever Republicans get into the White House, they mess it up. They mess it up, folks," Hillary Rodham Clinton told a crowd gathered in a field lined with trees covered in Spanish moss here on Saturday.

At rallies these days, Mrs. Clinton criticizes the Republican presidential candidates for their economic policies ("Our economy does better with a Democrat in the White House"); she knocks their foreign policy approaches and says their positions on immigration and women's issues would set the country "backwards instead of forwards."

What she does not do is mention her main Democratic primary opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Mrs. Clinton has regained her footing in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, and she has locked in the support of major labor unions and over half the Democratic Party's superdelegates, party leaders and elected officials, needed to secure the nomination. She is now acting as if she were no longer running against one rival, Mr. Sanders, but 14: the Republicans who are still preoccupied with cutting down one another.

A substantial lead in the polls could prompt any candidate to look beyond the primary to try to get a head start on the general election, but in Mrs. Clinton's case, gazing past Mr. Sanders to next November is part of the intensified strategy to defeat him.

Even voters who support Mr. Sanders often say that Mrs. Clinton appears more electable when compared with a Republican nominee. And while her economic message, considering her ties to Wall Street and the "super PAC" supporting her, can seem muddled when contrasted with Mr. Sanders's, it sounds more forceful to Democratic voters compared with Republican proposals. And, as a campaign aide points out, the Republican candidates consistently criticize Mrs. Clinton, so it makes sense for her to punch back.

"I love Bernie, and I feel he'd get something done about the lopsided distribution of wealth in this country," said Siobhan Hansen, 58, an undecided voter in Charleston. "But," she added, "I hate to admit it but I just think Hillary has a better chance in the general election."

Even as Mrs. Clinton's campaign has invested heavily in Iowa and New Hampshire and her schedule revolves around visiting states with early primaries, her message has become a broader rejoinder reminding voters of the 2008 financial crisis and linking the Republican candidates to the foreclosures and joblessness that President Obama inherited. It is a strategy her campaign believes will be effective in a general election contest after having a dry run before the primaries.

"They are running on the same economic policies that have failed us before," Mrs. Clinton said at a rally in Memphis on Friday. She did not mention Mr. Sanders, but his stances on wealth and income have seemed to influence his rival's populist tone. "Trickledown economics, cut taxes on the wealthy, get out of the way of big corporations," she said. "Well, we know how that story ends, don't we?"

At a town-hall-style event in Grinnell, Iowa, this month, Mrs. Clinton, talking about the importance of voter participation, even seemed to forget, albeit briefly, that the short-term goal was to win the Iowa caucuses. "If not me, I hope you caucus for somebody," she said. She paused. "I hope more of you caucus for me."

Mrs. Clinton is focused on capturing the nomination and has been contrasting herself with the Republicans since she announced her candidacy in April, the campaign aide said.

Mr. Sanders's campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, said Mrs. Clinton's obsession with the Republican Party is a tactic to diminish her main Democratic primary opponent, whose economic message has attracted enormous crowds and enthusiasm.

As Mr. Sanders delivered his standard speech about inequality here on Saturday, Mr. Weaver closely watched the voters in the front row who wore blue "H" T-shirts, indicating their support for Mrs. Clinton, as they cheered for Mr. Sanders several times.

"We are much closer to Secretary Clinton today than Senator Obama was in 2008," Mr. Weaver said. "I don't think they think this is locked up."

Mrs. Clinton may have been helped by the campaign's shift to foreign policy, where Mr. Sanders is seen as weaker, in the aftermath of the Nov. 13 terrorist attack in Paris. Mrs. Clinton said in a speech in New York on Thursday that the Republicans' approach to fighting the Islamic State, compared with her own, amounted to "a choice between fear and resolve." She derided as un-American the Republicans who said they would either bar Syrian refugees from resettling in the United States or allow only Christian refugees.

"There are forces no candidate can control, and they can be detrimental," Representative James E. Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, said when asked about the newfound focus on defeating the Islamic State. "I believe in this case third-party forces are working in her favor."

Among Democrats, Mrs. Clinton holds a 25 percentage point lead against Mr. Sanders nationally, according to a Bloomberg Politics poll released on Friday, compared with a nine percentage point advantage in the same poll conducted in September that also included Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who later said he would not seek the nomination.

"By turning up the heat on Republicans, going after Trump, that's all part of the essence of saying, 'I am the leader of the Democratic Party,' " said Robert Shrum, a strategist for Democratic presidential candidates including John Kerry and Al Gore.

The primary is by no means determined. Polls in Iowa, in particular, tend to undercount Mr. Sanders's young supporters who do not have landline phones, his aides say. And he continues to lead in some polls in New Hampshire, a state that was supposed to be a stronghold for Mrs. Clinton.

Even as Mrs. Clinton focuses firmly on the Republicans, her campaign is increasing its indirect, if aggressive, moves to squeeze Mr. Sanders.

She has secured the backing of major labor unions, including most recently the Service Employees International Union, which has two million members. Her campaign has emphasized Mrs. Clinton's commitment to gun control, an issue that Mr. Sanders, as a senator from a hunting state, has been less vehement about, and she delivered a major foreign policy speech on Thursday in New York, the same day Mr. Sanders delivered a speech about Democratic socialism in Washington. ("Ah, the attempted bigfoot," Mr. Weaver said of the timing of the two speeches. The Clinton campaign announced its speech a day earlier than the Sanders team.)

Mrs. Clinton has also started to imply that Mr. Sanders's single-payer "Medicare for All" health care plan would amount to a middle-class tax increase.

In recent days, she has unveiled a plan to give Americans with unexpected medical costs a tax credit of $2,500 for an individual or $5,000 for a family. On Sunday in Iowa, she introduced another tax credit to cover up to $6,000 of medical expenses for middle-class families caring for ailing parents or grandparents. "I believe you deserve a raise, not a tax increase," she said in Memphis.

The Sanders campaign said that his plan would save the average family $5,000 a year through the elimination of premiums, deductibles and co-payments, and it called Mrs. Clinton's plan "Republican-lite" because it proposed short-term tax cuts over long-term benefits.

Mrs. Clinton's opponents point out that there is no more precarious place for her to be than when she seems inevitable, as she did in the early months of the 2008 Democratic primary before she finished third in the Iowa caucuses behind Senators Barack Obama and John Edwards.

This month, just after Mrs. Clinton had officially put her name on the ballot in New Hampshire, she sat down to take some questions from the local reporters who gathered around her in a cramped room at the State House in Concord. The first question: "How does it feel to once again be inevitable?"

Mrs. Clinton said she had put her name on the ballot in that very room in 2007. "I'm back again," she said. "I intend to do everything I can to work as hard as possible to be successful this time."

anne said...
http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/11/23/hillary-clinton-and-isis-mess

November 23, 2015

Hillary Clinton and the ISIS Mess
By Jeffrey D. Sachs

Hillary Clinton's speech on ISIS to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) showed clearly what to expect in a Clinton presidency: more of the same. In her speech, Clinton doubled down on the existing, failed U.S. approach in the Middle East, the one she pursued as Secretary of State.

The CIA-led policy in the Middle East works like this. If a regime is deemed to be unfriendly to the U.S., topple it. If a competitor like the Soviet Union or Russia has a foothold in the region, try to push it out. If this means arming violent insurgencies, including Sunni jihadists, and thereby creating mayhem: so be it. And if the result is terrorist blowback around the world by the forces created by the US, then double down on bombing and regime change.

In rare cases, great presidents learn to stand up to the CIA and the rest of the military-industrial-intelligence complex. JFK became one of the greatest presidents in American history when he came to realize the awful truth that his own military and CIA advisors had contributed to the onset of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The CIA-led Bay of Pigs fiasco and other CIA blunders had provoked a terrifying response from the Soviet Union. Recognizing that the U.S. approach had contributed to bringing the world to the brink, Kennedy bravely and successfully stood up to the warmongering pushed by so many of his advisors and pursued peace, both during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis. He thereby saved the world from nuclear annihilation and halted the unchecked proliferation of nuclear arms.

Clinton's speech shows that she and her advisors are good loyalists of the military-industrial-intelligence complex. Her speech included an impressive number of tactical elements: who should do the bombing and who should be the foot soldiers. Yet all of this tactical precision is nothing more than business as usual. Would Clinton ever have the courage and vision to push back against the U.S. security establishment, as did JFK, and thereby restore global diplomacy and reverse the upward spiral of war and terror?

Just as the CIA contributed to the downward slide to the Cuban Missile Crisis, and just as many of JFK's security chiefs urged war rather than negotiation during that crisis, so too today's Middle East terrorism, wars, and refugee crises have been stoked by misguided CIA-led interventions. Starting in 1979, the CIA began to build the modern Sunni jihadist movement, then known as the Mujahedeen, to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The CIA recruited young Sunni Muslim men to fight the Soviet infidel, and the CIA provided training, arms, and financing. Yet soon enough, this US-created jihadist army turned on the US, a classic and typical case of blowback.

The anti-U.S. and anti-Western blowback started with the first Gulf War in 1990, when the U.S. stationed troops throughout the region. It continued with the Second Gulf War, when the U.S. toppled a Sunni regime in Iraq and replaced it with a puppet Shia regime. In the process, it dismantled Saddam's Sunni-led army, which then regrouped as a core part of ISIS in Iraq.

Next the U.S. teamed up with Saudi Arabia to harass, and then to try to topple Bashir al-Assad. His main crime from the perspective of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia: being too close to Iran. Once again, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia turned to Sunni jihadists with arms and financing, and part of that fighting force morphed into ISIS in Syria. The evidence is that the covert U.S. actions against Assad pre-date the overt U.S. calls for Assad's overthrow in 2011 by at least a couple of years.

In a similar vein, the U.S. teamed up with France and the UK to bomb Libya and kill Muammar Qaddafi. The result has been an ongoing Libyan civil war, and the unleashing of violent jihadists across the African Sahel, including Mali, which suffered the terrorist blow last week at the hands of such marauders.

Thanks to America's misguided policies, we now have wars and violence raging across a 5,000-mile stretch from Bamako, Mali to Kabul, Afghanistan, with a U.S. hand in starting and stoking the violence. Libya, Sudan, the Sinai, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan are all cases where the U.S. has directly intervened with very adverse results. Mali, Chad, Central African Republic, Somalia are some of the many other countries indirectly caught up in turmoil unleashed by U.S. covert and overt operations....


Jeffrey D. Sachs is the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

pgl said in reply to anne...
Jeff Sachs is right to praise Kennedy for not falling in line with the anti Castro nutcases. But he just skipped over Kennedy's blunder re Vietnam. It was the dumbest thing we had ever done. But then came March 2003 and Iraq. Hillary Clinton may be too eager for regime change but the Republicans want to redo the Crusades.
ilsm said in reply to pgl...
Lodge etc. were being lied to by the pentagon reps in RVN, but JFK kept the lid on advisors.

The big mistake on Vietnam was LBJ assuming Goldwater was right.

That said JFK helped usher in the concept of "flexible response" which moved US closer to fitting out US forces for the past 50 years' quagmires.

Keenan's containment strategy was ruined by NSC 68 which put pentagon responses senior to State.

pgl said in reply to ilsm...
The big mistake on Vietnam was listening to Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara. The Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld of the 1960's.
RGC said in reply to anne...
A Timeline of CIA Atrocities

By Steve Kangas

The following timeline describes just a few of the hundreds of atrocities and crimes committed by the CIA (1)

CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment. So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: "We'll put you in power if you maintain a favorable business climate for us." The Agency then hires, trains and works with them to overthrow the existing government (usually a democracy). It uses every trick in the book: propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, purchased elections, extortion, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories about opponents in the local media, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, economic sabotage, death squads and even assassination. These efforts culminate in a military coup, which installs a right-wing dictator. The CIA trains the dictator's security apparatus to crack down on the traditional enemies of big business, using interrogation, torture and murder. The victims are said to be "communists," but almost always they are just peasants, liberals, moderates, labor union leaders, political opponents and advocates of free speech and democracy. Widespread human rights abuses follow.

This scenario has been repeated so many times that the CIA actually teaches it in a special school, the notorious "School of the Americas." (It opened in Panama but later moved to Fort Benning, Georgia.) Critics have nicknamed it the "School of the Dictators" and "School of the Assassins." Here, the CIA trains Latin American military officers how to conduct coups, including the use of interrogation, torture and murder.

The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (2) Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an "American Holocaust."

The CIA justifies these actions as part of its war against communism. But most coups do not involve a communist threat. Unlucky nations are targeted for a wide variety of reasons: not only threats to American business interests abroad, but also liberal or even moderate social reforms, political instability, the unwillingness of a leader to carry out Washington's dictates, and declarations of neutrality in the Cold War. Indeed, nothing has infuriated CIA Directors quite like a nation's desire to stay out of the Cold War.

The ironic thing about all this intervention is that it frequently fails to achieve American objectives. Often the newly installed dictator grows comfortable with the security apparatus the CIA has built for him. He becomes an expert at running a police state. And because the dictator knows he cannot be overthrown, he becomes independent and defiant of Washington's will. The CIA then finds it cannot overthrow him, because the police and military are under the dictator's control, afraid to cooperate with American spies for fear of torture and execution. The only two options for the U.S at this point are impotence or war. Examples of this "boomerang effect" include the Shah of Iran, General Noriega and Saddam Hussein. The boomerang effect also explains why the CIA has proven highly successful at overthrowing democracies, but a wretched failure at overthrowing dictatorships.

The following timeline should confirm that the CIA as we know it should be abolished and replaced by a true information-gathering and analysis organization. The CIA cannot be reformed - it is institutionally and culturally corrupt.

1929

The culture we lost - Secretary of State Henry Stimson refuses to endorse a code-breaking operation, saying, "Gentlemen do not read each other's mail."

1941

COI created - In preparation for World War II, President Roosevelt creates the Office of Coordinator of Information (COI). General William "Wild Bill" Donovan heads the new intelligence service.

1942

OSS created - Roosevelt restructures COI into something more suitable for covert action, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Donovan recruits so many of the nation's rich and powerful that eventually people joke that "OSS" stands for "Oh, so social!" or "Oh, such snobs!"

1943

Italy - Donovan recruits the Catholic Church in Rome to be the center of Anglo-American spy operations in Fascist Italy. This would prove to be one of America's most enduring intelligence alliances in the Cold War.

1945

OSS is abolished - The remaining American information agencies cease covert actions and return to harmless information gathering and analysis.

Operation PAPERCLIP – While other American agencies are hunting down Nazi war criminals for arrest, the U.S. intelligence community is smuggling them into America, unpunished, for their use against the Soviets. The most important of these is Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler's master spy who had built up an intelligence network in the Soviet Union. With full U.S. blessing, he creates the "Gehlen Organization," a band of refugee Nazi spies who reactivate their networks in Russia. These include SS intelligence officers Alfred Six and Emil Augsburg (who massacred Jews in the Holocaust), Klaus Barbie (the "Butcher of Lyon"), Otto von Bolschwing (the Holocaust mastermind who worked with Eichmann) and SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny (a personal friend of Hitler's). The Gehlen Organization supplies the U.S. with its only intelligence on the Soviet Union for the next ten years, serving as a bridge between the abolishment of the OSS and the creation of the CIA However, much of the "intelligence" the former Nazis provide is bogus. Gehlen inflates Soviet military capabilities at a time when Russia is still rebuilding its devastated society, in order to inflate his own importance to the Americans (who might otherwise punish him). In 1948, Gehlen almost convinces the Americans that war is imminent, and the West should make a preemptive strike. In the 50s he produces a fictitious "missile gap." To make matters worse, the Russians have thoroughly penetrated the Gehlen Organization with double agents, undermining the very American security that Gehlen was supposed to protect.

1947

Greece - President Truman requests military aid to Greece to support right-wing forces fighting communist rebels. For the rest of the Cold War, Washington and the CIA will back notorious Greek leaders with deplorable human rights records.

CIA created - President Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947, creating the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Council. The CIA is accountable to the president through the NSC - there is no democratic or congressional oversight. Its charter allows the CIA to "perform such other functions and duties… as the National Security Council may from time to time direct." This loophole opens the door to covert action and dirty tricks.

1948

Covert-action wing created - The CIA recreates a covert action wing, innocuously called the Office of Policy Coordination, led by Wall Street lawyer Frank Wisner. According to its secret charter, its responsibilities include "propaganda, economic warfare, preventive direct action, including sabotage, antisabotage, demolition and evacuation procedures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world."

Italy - The CIA corrupts democratic elections in Italy, where Italian communists threaten to win the elections. The CIA buys votes, broadcasts propaganda, threatens and beats up opposition leaders, and infiltrates and disrupts their organizations. It works -- the communists are defeated.

1949

Radio Free Europe - The CIA creates its first major propaganda outlet, Radio Free Europe. Over the next several decades, its broadcasts are so blatantly false that for a time it is considered illegal to publish transcripts of them in the U.S.

Late 40s

Operation MOCKINGBIRD - The CIA begins recruiting American news organizations and journalists to become spies and disseminators of propaganda. The effort is headed by Frank Wisner, Allan Dulles, Richard Helms and Philip Graham. Graham is publisher of The Washington Post, which becomes a major CIA player. Eventually, the CIA's media assets will include ABC, NBC, CBS, Time, Newsweek, Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Copley News Service and more. By the CIA's own admission, at least 25 organizations and 400 journalists will become CIA assets.

1953

Iran – CIA overthrows the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in a military coup, after he threatened to nationalize British oil. The CIA replaces him with a dictator, the Shah of Iran, whose secret police, SAVAK, is as brutal as the Gestapo.

Operation MK-ULTRA - Inspired by North Korea's brainwashing program, the CIA begins experiments on mind control. The most notorious part of this project involves giving LSD and other drugs to American subjects without their knowledge or against their will, causing several to commit suicide. However, the operation involves far more than this. Funded in part by the Rockefeller and Ford foundations, research includes propaganda, brainwashing, public relations, advertising, hypnosis, and other forms of suggestion.

1954

Guatemala - CIA overthrows the democratically elected Jacob Arbenz in a military coup. Arbenz has threatened to nationalize the Rockefeller-owned United Fruit Company, in which CIA Director Allen Dulles also owns stock. Arbenz is replaced with a series of right-wing dictators whose bloodthirsty policies will kill over 100,000 Guatemalans in the next 40 years.

1954-1958

North Vietnam - CIA officer Edward Lansdale spends four years trying to overthrow the communist government of North Vietnam, using all the usual dirty tricks. The CIA also attempts to legitimize a tyrannical puppet regime in South Vietnam, headed by Ngo Dinh Diem. These efforts fail to win the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese because the Diem government is opposed to true democracy, land reform and poverty reduction measures. The CIA's continuing failure results in escalating American intervention, culminating in the Vietnam War.

1956

Hungary - Radio Free Europe incites Hungary to revolt by broadcasting Khruschev's Secret Speech, in which he denounced Stalin. It also hints that American aid will help the Hungarians fight. This aid fails to materialize as Hungarians launch a doomed armed revolt, which only invites a major Soviet invasion. The conflict kills 7,000 Soviets and 30,000 Hungarians.

1957-1973

Laos - The CIA carries out approximately one coup per year trying to nullify Laos' democratic elections. The problem is the Pathet Lao, a leftist group with enough popular support to be a member of any coalition government. In the late 50s, the CIA even creates an "Armee Clandestine" of Asian mercenaries to attack the Pathet Lao. After the CIA's army suffers numerous defeats, the U.S. starts bombing, dropping more bombs on Laos than all the U.S. bombs dropped in World War II. A quarter of all Laotians will eventually become refugees, many living in caves.

1959

Haiti - The U.S. military helps "Papa Doc" Duvalier become dictator of Haiti. He creates his own private police force, the "Tonton Macoutes," who terrorize the population with machetes. They will kill over 100,000 during the Duvalier family reign. The U.S. does not protest their dismal human rights record.

1961

The Bay of Pigs - The CIA sends 1,500 Cuban exiles to invade Castro's Cuba. But "Operation Mongoose" fails, due to poor planning, security and backing. The planners had imagined that the invasion will spark a popular uprising against Castro -– which never happens. A promised American air strike also never occurs. This is the CIA's first public setback, causing President Kennedy to fire CIA Director Allen Dulles.

Dominican Republic - The CIA assassinates Rafael Trujillo, a murderous dictator Washington has supported since 1930. Trujillo's business interests have grown so large (about 60 percent of the economy) that they have begun competing with American business interests.

Ecuador - The CIA-backed military forces the democratically elected President Jose Velasco to resign. Vice President Carlos Arosemana replaces him; the CIA fills the now vacant vice presidency with its own man.

Congo (Zaire) - The CIA assassinates the democratically elected Patrice Lumumba. However, public support for Lumumba's politics runs so high that the CIA cannot clearly install his opponents in power. Four years of political turmoil follow.

1963

Dominican Republic - The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Juan Bosch in a military coup. The CIA installs a repressive, right-wing junta.

Ecuador - A CIA-backed military coup overthrows President Arosemana, whose independent (not socialist) policies have become unacceptable to Washington. A military junta assumes command, cancels the 1964 elections, and begins abusing human rights.

1964

Brazil - A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the democratically elected government of Joao Goulart. The junta that replaces it will, in the next two decades, become one of the most bloodthirsty in history. General Castelo Branco will create Latin America's first death squads, or bands of secret police who hunt down "communists" for torture, interrogation and murder. Often these "communists" are no more than Branco's political opponents. Later it is revealed that the CIA trains the death squads.

1965

Indonesia - The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Sukarno with a military coup. The CIA has been trying to eliminate Sukarno since 1957, using everything from attempted assassination to sexual intrigue, for nothing more than his declaring neutrality in the Cold War. His successor, General Suharto, will massacre between 500,000 to 1 million civilians accused of being "communist." The CIA supplies the names of countless suspects.

Dominican Republic - A popular rebellion breaks out, promising to reinstall Juan Bosch as the country's elected leader. The revolution is crushed when U.S. Marines land to uphold the military regime by force. The CIA directs everything behind the scenes.

Greece - With the CIA's backing, the king removes George Papandreous as prime minister. Papandreous has failed to vigorously support U.S. interests in Greece.

Congo (Zaire) - A CIA-backed military coup installs Mobutu Sese Seko as dictator. The hated and repressive Mobutu exploits his desperately poor country for billions.

1966

The Ramparts Affair - The radical magazine Ramparts begins a series of unprecedented anti-CIA articles. Among their scoops: the CIA has paid the University of Michigan $25 million dollars to hire "professors" to train South Vietnamese students in covert police methods. MIT and other universities have received similar payments. Ramparts also reveals that the National Students' Association is a CIA front. Students are sometimes recruited through blackmail and bribery, including draft deferments.

1967

Greece - A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the government two days before the elections. The favorite to win was George Papandreous, the liberal candidate. During the next six years, the "reign of the colonels" - backed by the CIA - will usher in the widespread use of torture and murder against political opponents. When a Greek ambassador objects to President Johnson about U.S. plans for Cypress, Johnson tells him: "Fuck your parliament and your constitution."

Operation PHEONIX - The CIA helps South Vietnamese agents identify and then murder alleged Viet Cong leaders operating in South Vietnamese villages. According to a 1971 congressional report, this operation killed about 20,000 "Viet Cong."

1968

Operation CHAOS - The CIA has been illegally spying on American citizens since 1959, but with Operation CHAOS, President Johnson dramatically boosts the effort. CIA agents go undercover as student radicals to spy on and disrupt campus organizations protesting the Vietnam War. They are searching for Russian instigators, which they never find. CHAOS will eventually spy on 7,000 individuals and 1,000 organizations.

Bolivia - A CIA-organized military operation captures legendary guerilla Che Guevara. The CIA wants to keep him alive for interrogation, but the Bolivian government executes him to prevent worldwide calls for clemency.

1969

Uruguay - The notorious CIA torturer Dan Mitrione arrives in Uruguay, a country torn with political strife. Whereas right-wing forces previously used torture only as a last resort, Mitrione convinces them to use it as a routine, widespread practice. "The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect," is his motto. The torture techniques he teaches to the death squads rival the Nazis'. He eventually becomes so feared that revolutionaries will kidnap and murder him a year later.

1970

Cambodia - The CIA overthrows Prince Sahounek, who is highly popular among Cambodians for keeping them out of the Vietnam War. He is replaced by CIA puppet Lon Nol, who immediately throws Cambodian troops into battle. This unpopular move strengthens once minor opposition parties like the Khmer Rouge, which achieves power in 1975 and massacres millions of its own people.

1971

Bolivia - After half a decade of CIA-inspired political turmoil, a CIA-backed military coup overthrows the leftist President Juan Torres. In the next two years, dictator Hugo Banzer will have over 2,000 political opponents arrested without trial, then tortured, raped and executed.

Haiti - "Papa Doc" Duvalier dies, leaving his 19-year old son "Baby Doc" Duvalier the dictator of Haiti. His son continues his bloody reign with full knowledge of the CIA

1972

The Case-Zablocki Act - Congress passes an act requiring congressional review of executive agreements. In theory, this should make CIA operations more accountable. In fact, it is only marginally effective.

Cambodia - Congress votes to cut off CIA funds for its secret war in Cambodia.

Wagergate Break-in - President Nixon sends in a team of burglars to wiretap Democratic offices at Watergate. The team members have extensive CIA histories, including James McCord, E. Howard Hunt and five of the Cuban burglars. They work for the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP), which does dirty work like disrupting Democratic campaigns and laundering Nixon's illegal campaign contributions. CREEP's activities are funded and organized by another CIA front, the Mullen Company.

1973

Chile - The CIA overthrows and assassinates Salvador Allende, Latin America's first democratically elected socialist leader. The problems begin when Allende nationalizes American-owned firms in Chile. ITT offers the CIA $1 million for a coup (reportedly refused). The CIA replaces Allende with General Augusto Pinochet, who will torture and murder thousands of his own countrymen in a crackdown on labor leaders and the political left.

CIA begins internal investigations - William Colby, the Deputy Director for Operations, orders all CIA personnel to report any and all illegal activities they know about. This information is later reported to Congress.

Watergate Scandal - The CIA's main collaborating newspaper in America, The Washington Post, reports Nixon's crimes long before any other newspaper takes up the subject. The two reporters, Woodward and Bernstein, make almost no mention of the CIA's many fingerprints all over the scandal. It is later revealed that Woodward was a Naval intelligence briefer to the White House, and knows many important intelligence figures, including General Alexander Haig. His main source, "Deep Throat," is probably one of those.

CIA Director Helms Fired - President Nixon fires CIA Director Richard Helms for failing to help cover up the Watergate scandal. Helms and Nixon have always disliked each other. The new CIA director is William Colby, who is relatively more open to CIA reform.

1974

CHAOS exposed - Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh publishes a story about Operation CHAOS, the domestic surveillance and infiltration of anti-war and civil rights groups in the U.S. The story sparks national outrage.

Angleton fired - Congress holds hearings on the illegal domestic spying efforts of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA's chief of counterintelligence. His efforts included mail-opening campaigns and secret surveillance of war protesters. The hearings result in his dismissal from the CIA

House clears CIA in Watergate - The House of Representatives clears the CIA of any complicity in Nixon's Watergate break-in.

The Hughes Ryan Act - Congress passes an amendment requiring the president to report nonintelligence CIA operations to the relevant congressional committees in a timely fashion.

1975

Australia - The CIA helps topple the democratically elected, left-leaning government of Prime Minister Edward Whitlam. The CIA does this by giving an ultimatum to its Governor-General, John Kerr. Kerr, a longtime CIA collaborator, exercises his constitutional right to dissolve the Whitlam government. The Governor-General is a largely ceremonial position appointed by the Queen; the Prime Minister is democratically elected. The use of this archaic and never-used law stuns the nation.

Angola - Eager to demonstrate American military resolve after its defeat in Vietnam, Henry Kissinger launches a CIA-backed war in Angola. Contrary to Kissinger's assertions, Angola is a country of little strategic importance and not seriously threatened by communism. The CIA backs the brutal leader of UNITAS, Jonas Savimbi. This polarizes Angolan politics and drives his opponents into the arms of Cuba and the Soviet Union for survival. Congress will cut off funds in 1976, but the CIA is able to run the war off the books until 1984, when funding is legalized again. This entirely pointless war kills over 300,000 Angolans.

"The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence" - Victor Marchetti and John Marks publish this whistle-blowing history of CIA crimes and abuses. Marchetti has spent 14 years in the CIA, eventually becoming an executive assistant to the Deputy Director of Intelligence. Marks has spent five years as an intelligence official in the State Department.

"Inside the Company" - Philip Agee publishes a diary of his life inside the CIA Agee has worked in covert operations in Latin America during the 60s, and details the crimes in which he took part.

Congress investigates CIA wrong-doing - Public outrage compels Congress to hold hearings on CIA crimes. Senator Frank Church heads the Senate investigation ("The Church Committee"), and Representative Otis Pike heads the House investigation. (Despite a 98 percent incumbency reelection rate, both Church and Pike are defeated in the next elections.) The investigations lead to a number of reforms intended to increase the CIA's accountability to Congress, including the creation of a standing Senate committee on intelligence. However, the reforms prove ineffective, as the Iran/Contra scandal will show. It turns out the CIA can control, deal with or sidestep Congress with ease.

The Rockefeller Commission - In an attempt to reduce the damage done by the Church Committee, President Ford creates the "Rockefeller Commission" to whitewash CIA history and propose toothless reforms. The commission's namesake, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, is himself a major CIA figure. Five of the commission's eight members are also members of the Council on Foreign Relations, a CIA-dominated organization.

1979

Iran - The CIA fails to predict the fall of the Shah of Iran, a longtime CIA puppet, and the rise of Muslim fundamentalists who are furious at the CIA's backing of SAVAK, the Shah's bloodthirsty secret police. In revenge, the Muslims take 52 Americans hostage in the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

Afghanistan - The Soviets invade Afghanistan. The CIA immediately begins supplying arms to any faction willing to fight the occupying Soviets. Such indiscriminate arming means that when the Soviets leave Afghanistan, civil war will erupt. Also, fanatical Muslim extremists now possess state-of-the-art weaponry. One of these is Sheik Abdel Rahman, who will become involved in the World Trade Center bombing in New York.

El Salvador - An idealistic group of young military officers, repulsed by the massacre of the poor, overthrows the right-wing government. However, the U.S. compels the inexperienced officers to include many of the old guard in key positions in their new government. Soon, things are back to "normal" - the military government is repressing and killing poor civilian protesters. Many of the young military and civilian reformers, finding themselves powerless, resign in disgust.

Nicaragua - Anastasios Samoza II, the CIA-backed dictator, falls. The Marxist Sandinistas take over government, and they are initially popular because of their commitment to land and anti-poverty reform. Samoza had a murderous and hated personal army called the National Guard. Remnants of the Guard will become the Contras, who fight a CIA-backed guerilla war against the Sandinista government throughout the 1980s.

1980

El Salvador - The Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, pleads with President Carter "Christian to Christian" to stop aiding the military government slaughtering his people. Carter refuses. Shortly afterwards, right-wing leader Roberto D'Aubuisson has Romero shot through the heart while saying Mass. The country soon dissolves into civil war, with the peasants in the hills fighting against the military government. The CIA and U.S. Armed Forces supply the government with overwhelming military and intelligence superiority. CIA-trained death squads roam the countryside, committing atrocities like that of El Mazote in 1982, where they massacre between 700 and 1000 men, women and children. By 1992, some 63,000 Salvadorans will be killed.

1981

Iran/Contra Begins - The CIA begins selling arms to Iran at high prices, using the profits to arm the Contras fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. President Reagan vows that the Sandinistas will be "pressured" until "they say 'uncle.'" The CIA's Freedom Fighter's Manual disbursed to the Contras includes instruction on economic sabotage, propaganda, extortion, bribery, blackmail, interrogation, torture, murder and political assassination.

1983

Honduras - The CIA gives Honduran military officers the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual – 1983, which teaches how to torture people. Honduras' notorious "Battalion 316" then uses these techniques, with the CIA's full knowledge, on thousands of leftist dissidents. At least 184 are murdered.

1984

The Boland Amendment - The last of a series of Boland Amendments is passed. These amendments have reduced CIA aid to the Contras; the last one cuts it off completely. However, CIA Director William Casey is already prepared to "hand off" the operation to Colonel Oliver North, who illegally continues supplying the Contras through the CIA's informal, secret, and self-financing network. This includes "humanitarian aid" donated by Adolph Coors and William Simon, and military aid funded by Iranian arms sales.

1986

Eugene Hasenfus - Nicaragua shoots down a C-123 transport plane carrying military supplies to the Contras. The lone survivor, Eugene Hasenfus, turns out to be a CIA employee, as are the two dead pilots. The airplane belongs to Southern Air Transport, a CIA front. The incident makes a mockery of President Reagan's claims that the CIA is not illegally arming the Contras.

Iran/Contra Scandal - Although the details have long been known, the Iran/Contra scandal finally captures the media's attention in 1986. Congress holds hearings, and several key figures (like Oliver North) lie under oath to protect the intelligence community. CIA Director William Casey dies of brain cancer before Congress can question him. All reforms enacted by Congress after the scandal are purely cosmetic.

Haiti - Rising popular revolt in Haiti means that "Baby Doc" Duvalier will remain "President for Life" only if he has a short one. The U.S., which hates instability in a puppet country, flies the despotic Duvalier to the South of France for a comfortable retirement. The CIA then rigs the upcoming elections in favor of another right-wing military strongman. However, violence keeps the country in political turmoil for another four years. The CIA tries to strengthen the military by creating the National Intelligence Service (SIN), which suppresses popular revolt through torture and assassination.

1989

Panama - The U.S. invades Panama to overthrow a dictator of its own making, General Manuel Noriega. Noriega has been on the CIA's payroll since 1966, and has been transporting drugs with the CIA's knowledge since 1972. By the late 80s, Noriega's growing independence and intransigence have angered Washington… so out he goes.

1990

Haiti - Competing against 10 comparatively wealthy candidates, leftist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide captures 68 percent of the vote. After only eight months in power, however, the CIA-backed military deposes him. More military dictators brutalize the country, as thousands of Haitian refugees escape the turmoil in barely seaworthy boats. As popular opinion calls for Aristide's return, the CIA begins a disinformation campaign painting the courageous priest as mentally unstable.

1991

The Gulf War - The U.S. liberates Kuwait from Iraq. But Iraq's dictator, Saddam Hussein, is another creature of the CIA With U.S. encouragement, Hussein invaded Iran in 1980. During this costly eight-year war, the CIA built up Hussein's forces with sophisticated arms, intelligence, training and financial backing. This cemented Hussein's power at home, allowing him to crush the many internal rebellions that erupted from time to time, sometimes with poison gas. It also gave him all the military might he needed to conduct further adventurism - in Kuwait, for example.

The Fall of the Soviet Union - The CIA fails to predict this most important event of the Cold War. This suggests that it has been so busy undermining governments that it hasn't been doing its primary job: gathering and analyzing information. The fall of the Soviet Union also robs the CIA of its reason for existence: fighting communism. This leads some to accuse the CIA of intentionally failing to predict the downfall of the Soviet Union. Curiously, the intelligence community's budget is not significantly reduced after the demise of communism.

1992

Economic Espionage - In the years following the end of the Cold War, the CIA is increasingly used for economic espionage. This involves stealing the technological secrets of competing foreign companies and giving them to American ones. Given the CIA's clear preference for dirty tricks over mere information gathering, the possibility of serious criminal behavior is very great indeed.

1993

Haiti - The chaos in Haiti grows so bad that President Clinton has no choice but to remove the Haitian military dictator, Raoul Cedras, on threat of U.S. invasion. The U.S. occupiers do not arrest Haiti's military leaders for crimes against humanity, but instead ensure their safety and rich retirements. Aristide is returned to power only after being forced to accept an agenda favorable to the country's ruling class.

EPILOGUE

In a speech before the CIA celebrating its 50th anniversary, President Clinton said: "By necessity, the American people will never know the full story of your courage."

Clinton's is a common defense of the CIA: namely, the American people should stop criticizing the CIA because they don't know what it really does. This, of course, is the heart of the problem in the first place. An agency that is above criticism is also above moral behavior and reform. Its secrecy and lack of accountability allows its corruption to grow unchecked.

Furthermore, Clinton's statement is simply untrue. The history of the agency is growing painfully clear, especially with the declassification of historical CIA documents. We may not know the details of specific operations, but we do know, quite well, the general behavior of the CIA These facts began emerging nearly two decades ago at an ever-quickening pace. Today we have a remarkably accurate and consistent picture, repeated in country after country, and verified from countless different directions.

The CIA's response to this growing knowledge and criticism follows a typical historical pattern. (Indeed, there are remarkable parallels to the Medieval Church's fight against the Scientific Revolution.) The first journalists and writers to reveal the CIA's criminal behavior were harassed and censored if they were American writers, and tortured and murdered if they were foreigners. (See Philip Agee's On the Run for an example of early harassment.) However, over the last two decades the tide of evidence has become overwhelming, and the CIA has found that it does not have enough fingers to plug every hole in the dike. This is especially true in the age of the Internet, where information flows freely among millions of people. Since censorship is impossible, the Agency must now defend itself with apologetics. Clinton's "Americans will never know" defense is a prime example.

Another common apologetic is that "the world is filled with unsavory characters, and we must deal with them if we are to protect American interests at all." There are two things wrong with this. First, it ignores the fact that the CIA has regularly spurned alliances with defenders of democracy, free speech and human rights, preferring the company of military dictators and tyrants. The CIA had moral options available to them, but did not take them.

Second, this argument begs several questions. The first is: "Which American interests?" The CIA has courted right-wing dictators because they allow wealthy Americans to exploit the country's cheap labor and resources. But poor and middle-class Americans pay the price whenever they fight the wars that stem from CIA actions, from Vietnam to the Gulf War to Panama. The second begged question is: "Why should American interests come at the expense of other peoples' human rights?"

The CIA should be abolished, its leadership dismissed and its relevant members tried for crimes against humanity. Our intelligence community should be rebuilt from the ground up, with the goal of collecting and analyzing information. As for covert action, there are two moral options. The first one is to eliminate covert action completely. But this gives jitters to people worried about the Adolf Hitlers of the world. So a second option is that we can place covert action under extensive and true democratic oversight. For example, a bipartisan Congressional Committee of 40 members could review and veto all aspects of CIA operations upon a majority or super-majority vote. Which of these two options is best may be the subject of debate, but one thing is clear: like dictatorship, like monarchy, unaccountable covert operations should die like the dinosaurs they are.

http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/CIAtimeline.html

pgl said in reply to RGC...
Wow - that's a list. My focus:

"1954-1958

North Vietnam - CIA officer Edward Lansdale spends four years trying to overthrow the communist government of North Vietnam, using all the usual dirty tricks. The CIA also attempts to legitimize a tyrannical puppet regime in South Vietnam, headed by Ngo Dinh Diem. These efforts fail to win the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese because the Diem government is opposed to true democracy, land reform and poverty reduction measures. The CIA's continuing failure results in escalating American intervention, culminating in the Vietnam War."

We should have let the elections of 1956 go forward. Had we - we could have avoided the entire Vietnam disaster.

RGC said in reply to pgl...
When you look at that list and you realize that it was done in our name and we were funding it, it might piss you off a little.
Fred C. Dobbs said...
'Thinking About the Trumpthinkable' - Paul Krugman

Alan Abramowitz reads the latest WaPo poll and emails:

'Read these results and tell me how Trump doesn't win the Republican nomination? I've been very skeptical about this all along, but I'm starting to change my mind. I think there's at least a pretty decent chance that Trump will be the nominee.' ...

Related:

Is Hillary Clinton Any Good at Running for President? http://nym.ag/1DwluuR via @NYmag - Jazon Zengerle - April 5

... The election model that's most in vogue - that scored the highest when applied to presidential elections since World War II, correctly predicting every outcome since 1992 - is one created by Emory political scientist Alan Abramowitz called "Time for a Change." Abramowitz argues that the fundamentals in a presidential election are bedevilingly simple: the incumbent president's approval rating in late June or early July, the rate of real GDP growth in the second quarter, and how many terms the party has been in the White House.

In 2012, for instance, Obama's relatively lopsided victory may have shocked Republicans on Election Night, but by Abramowitz's reckoning it was practically preordained. Although second-quarter real GDP growth was a relatively unimpressive 1.5 percent and Obama's approval rating was a good-but-not-great 46 percent that June, he was seeking reelection, and, according to Abramowitz, "first-term incumbents rarely lose." In fact, he believes that being a first-term incumbent is worth 4 percentage points. There was nothing in the Abramowitz model that looked good for John McCain in 2008 (bad economy, bad approval ratings of a second-term president from McCain's party). In 1988, by contrast, George H.W. Bush was also running to give his party a third term, but Q2 real GDP growth that year was a booming 5.24 percent and Ronald Reagan's approval rating was above 50 percent.

Sound familiar? "If Obama's approval rating is close to 50 percent and the economy is growing at a decent rate in the fall of 2016 - both of which seem quite possible, maybe even likely - then I think Hillary Clinton would have a decent chance of winning," Abramowitz says. But then there's the "Time for a Change" factor and those four extra points Obama enjoyed in 2012 that Hillary won't have this time around. In other words, it would be an extremely close race.

Which brings us full circle. "What determines the outcome in 2016," Abramowitz says, "could very well be the quality of the candidates." ...

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...
Tweet: @AlanIAbramowitz
Trump exploits a crack
in the GOP's foundation
http://wpo.st/ZHHn0

Fareed Zakaria - Washington Post - November 12

Today's conventional wisdom is that Donald Trump's best days are behind him and that his poll numbers will soon descend. Maybe. But Trump has come to represent something fundamental about the Republican Party: the growing gap between its leaders and its political constituency. Even if he disappears, this gap is reshaping the GOP.

At the start, Trump's campaign was based largely on his personality. On the issues, he had a grab bag of positions and lacked coherence and consistency. But like a good businessman, he seems to have studied his customers - the Republican electorate - and decided to give them what they want. And what they want is not what their party leaders stand for. ...

pgl said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...
"On the issues, he had a grab bag of positions and lacked coherence and consistency. But like a good businessman, he seems to have studied his customers - the Republican electorate - and decided to give them what they want. And what they want is not what their party leaders stand for"

What his customers want is racism. And guess what - the alleged party leaders are racing to the front to see who can be the most racist. This party has become a dysfunctional disgrace.

[Nov 23, 2015] Wall St. Ties Linger as Image Issue for Hillary Clinton

Notable quotes:
"... Mrs. Clinton's windfalls from Wall Street banks and other financial services firms - $3 million in paid speeches and $17 million in campaign contributions over the years - have become a major vulnerability in states with early nomination contests. ..."
"... In the primaries, Mrs. Clinton's advisers privately concede that she will lose some votes over her Wall Street connections. They declined to share specific findings from internal polls, but predicted the issue could resonate in Democratic contests in Iowa, Nevada, Ohio and Michigan, where many have lost homes and businesses to bank foreclosu ..."
"... Mr. Sanders zeros in on Wall Street donations to Mrs. Clinton in an aggressive new television commercial that started running in Iowa and New Hampshire on Saturday: The truth is, you can't change a corrupt system by taking its money, he warns. ..."
"... One of Mrs. Clinton's most prominent supporters in Ohio, former State Senator Nina Turner, defected to Mr. Sanders this month in part, she said, because she felt he would be tougher on special interests. And some Democratic superdelegates, whose backing is crucial, said Mrs. Clinton's ties to big banks, and her invocation of 9/11 to defend her ties to Wall Street at the Nov. 14 debate, only made them further question her independence from the financial industry. ..."
"... My parents had a saying in Spanish - 'Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres' - which means, 'Tell me who you're hanging with and I'll tell you who you are,' said Alma R. Gonzalez, an uncommitted superdelegate from Florida. A lot of my Democratic friends feel that way about Hillary and Wall Street. ..."
"... Will she be another President Clinton who appoints a Treasury secretary from Wall Street? These are major concerns. ..."
"... Indeed, Mr. Clinton's close relationships with Wall Street executives like Robert E. Rubin of Goldman Sachs, whom he named his Treasury secretary, and his support for undoing parts of Glass-Steagall have contributed to misgivings about Mrs. Clinton. ..."
"... While Mr. Sanders and another candidate for the Democratic nomination, former Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland, have argued that big donors inevitably had influence with her, her campaign has pushed back against suggestions that the financial services industry has bankrolled her campaign. Her aides also said ads by a new group, Future 45, attacking Mrs. Clinton would only underscore her independence, because the group's major donors include Wall Street magnates like Paul Singer. ..."
"... Bashing Wall Street is not an automatic win for Mr. Sanders, however. Ms. Gonzalez, the Florida superdelegate, and some other undecided Democrats said they viewed Mr. Sanders as too hostile to banks and corporations and too divisive in his remarks about American wealth. ..."
"... Ms. Turner, the former Ohio lawmaker, said the blocks of foreclosed homes in Cleveland were a painful reminder that banks prioritize their own corporate interests. Mr. Sanders has been criticizing the corrupt economy symbolized by Wall Street greed for decades, she said. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

RGC said... November 23, 2015 at 07:52 AM

Wall St. Ties Linger as Image Issue for Hillary Clinton

By Patrick Healy
Saturday, 21 Nov 2015 | 2:52 PM ET
The New York Times

John Wittneben simmered as he listened to Hillary Rodham Clinton defend her ties to Wall Street during last weekend's Democratic debate. He lost 40 percent of his savings in individual retirement accounts during the Great Recession, while Mrs. Clinton has received millions of dollars from the kinds of executives he believes should be in jail.


"People knew what they were doing back then, because of greed, and it caused me harm," said Mr. Wittneben, the Democratic chairman in Emmet County, Iowa. "We were raised a certain way here. Fairness is a big deal."

The next day he endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders in the presidential race.

Mrs. Clinton's windfalls from Wall Street banks and other financial services firms - $3 million in paid speeches and $17 million in campaign contributions over the years - have become a major vulnerability in states with early nomination contests. Some party officials who remain undecided in the 2016 presidential race see her as overly cozy with big banks and other special interests. At a time when liberals are ascendant in the party, many Democrats believe her merely having "represented Wall Street as a senator from New York," as Mrs. Clinton reminded viewers in an October debate, is bad enough.

It is an image problem that she cannot seem to shake.

Though she criticizes the American economy as being "rigged" for the rich, Mrs. Clinton has lost some support recently from party members who think she would go easy on Wall Street excess if elected. Even as she promises greater regulation of hedge funds and private equity firms, liberals deride her for refusing to support reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, a law that separated commercial and investment banks until its repeal under President Bill Clinton. (Mr. Sanders favors its restoration.) And for many Democrats, her strong support from wealthy donors and a big-money "super PAC" undercuts her increasingly progressive rhetoric on free trade and other economic issues.

Her advisers say most Democrats like her economic policies and believe she would fight for middle-class and low-income Americans. Most opinion polls put Mrs. Clinton well ahead of Mr. Sanders nationally and in Iowa, and they are running even in New Hampshire, but she fares worse than him on questions about taking on Wall Street and special interests. And even if Mrs. Clinton sews up the nomination quickly, subdued enthusiasm among the party's liberal base could complicate efforts to energize Democratic turnout for the general election.

In the primaries, Mrs. Clinton's advisers privately concede that she will lose some votes over her Wall Street connections. They declined to share specific findings from internal polls, but predicted the issue could resonate in Democratic contests in Iowa, Nevada, Ohio and Michigan, where many have lost homes and businesses to bank foreclosures.

Mr. Sanders zeros in on Wall Street donations to Mrs. Clinton in an aggressive new television commercial that started running in Iowa and New Hampshire on Saturday: "The truth is, you can't change a corrupt system by taking its money," he warns.

One of Mrs. Clinton's most prominent supporters in Ohio, former State Senator Nina Turner, defected to Mr. Sanders this month in part, she said, because she felt he would be tougher on special interests. And some Democratic superdelegates, whose backing is crucial, said Mrs. Clinton's ties to big banks, and her invocation of 9/11 to defend her ties to Wall Street at the Nov. 14 debate, only made them further question her independence from the financial industry.

"My parents had a saying in Spanish - 'Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres' - which means, 'Tell me who you're hanging with and I'll tell you who you are,'" said Alma R. Gonzalez, an uncommitted superdelegate from Florida. "A lot of my Democratic friends feel that way about Hillary and Wall Street.

"Are the working people in this country going to be able to count on hard decisions being made by President Hillary Clinton with regard to her Wall Street chums?" Ms. Gonzalez continued. "Will she be another President Clinton who appoints a Treasury secretary from Wall Street? These are major concerns."

Indeed, Mr. Clinton's close relationships with Wall Street executives like Robert E. Rubin of Goldman Sachs, whom he named his Treasury secretary, and his support for undoing parts of Glass-Steagall have contributed to misgivings about Mrs. Clinton.

Mrs. Clinton has proposed imposing risk fees on unwieldy big banks and empowering regulators to break them up if necessary - though this is not the wholesale breakup that Mr. Sanders favors under a return of Glass-Steagall. She also proposes to make sure fines for corporate wrongdoing hit executive bonuses, and to pursue criminal prosecutions when justified.

Yet even though she has taken tough stands in the past, such as chastising banks for widespread foreclosures in 2007 and 2008, some Democrats are skeptical that she would ever crack down hard on the executives in her social circles in Manhattan, the Hamptons and Washington.

Jake Quinn, an uncommitted Democratic superdelegate from North Carolina, said he was concerned about Mrs. Clinton's willingness to clamp down on Wall Street malfeasance. "The financial sector's ongoing relative lack of accountability makes me suspicious of any candidate who sources it for significant support," he said.

Mrs. Clinton's advisers say that she has advanced the strongest regulatory proposals of any candidate, putting the lie to claims that she would protect Wall Street's interests as president. Any political harm resulting from her Wall Street ties would be minimal, they maintain, because she never took action in exchange for donations. They also play down the possibility that Mrs. Clinton will face voter turnout and enthusiasm problems if she wins the nomination.

While Mr. Sanders and another candidate for the Democratic nomination, former Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland, have argued that big donors inevitably had influence with her, her campaign has pushed back against suggestions that the financial services industry has bankrolled her campaign. Her aides also said ads by a new group, Future 45, attacking Mrs. Clinton would only underscore her independence, because the group's major donors include Wall Street magnates like Paul Singer.

"When billionaire hedge fund managers are forming super PACs to run ads attacking her, it's clear they fear she will take action as president to crack down on the industry's abuses," said Brian Fallon, a Clinton campaign spokesman.

Bashing Wall Street is not an automatic win for Mr. Sanders, however. Ms. Gonzalez, the Florida superdelegate, and some other undecided Democrats said they viewed Mr. Sanders as too hostile to banks and corporations and too divisive in his remarks about American wealth.

But others said they were more concerned that Mrs. Clinton had not broken with Wall Street in a clear way, noting the lengths she went to at the debate to explain the relationship.

"She was waving the bloody shirt of 9/11 to defend herself, which we're accustomed to seeing with demagogues on the right, and it just didn't feel quite right," said Kurt Meyer, a co-chairman of the Mitchell County Democrats in Iowa, who has not endorsed a candidate. "She connected two things, 9/11 and her ties to Wall Street, that I didn't like her sewing together."

Ms. Turner, the former Ohio lawmaker, said the blocks of foreclosed homes in Cleveland were a painful reminder that banks prioritize their own corporate interests. Mr. Sanders has been criticizing "the corrupt economy symbolized by Wall Street greed" for decades, she said.

"He shows righteous indignation and speaks for the common woman and man in saying they have a right to be outraged at Wall Street," Ms. Turner said. "He doesn't just talk the talk. He walks the talk."

And Mrs. Clinton? "Her ties are her ties," Ms. Turner said.

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/21/new-york-times-digital-wall-st-ties-linger-as-image-issue-for-hillary-clinton.html

[Nov 22, 2015] The Political Aftermath of Financial Crises Going to Extremes

Notable quotes:
"... The typical political reaction to financial crises is as follows: votes for far-right parties increase strongly, government majorities shrink, the fractionalisation of parliaments rises and the overall number of parties represented in parliament jumps. ..."
"... In the light of modern history, political radicalization, declining government majorities and increasing street protests appear to be the hallmark of financial crises. As a consequence, regulators and central bankers carry a big responsibility for political stability when overseeing financial markets. Preventing financial crises also means reducing the probability of a political disaster. ..."
"... If you look at the Republican Party and, especially, Republican candidates, now it is not the question of radicalization, but the question of sanity that arises. They are so completely detached from reality that Marxists look like "hard core" realists in comparison with them. ..."
"... The whole party looks like an extreme and bizarre cult that intends to take over the country: another analogy with Marxists. Like Marx quipped: History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. ..."
"... Democrats are not that different either. With Sanders representing probably the only candidates which can be classified as "center-left" in European terms. For all practical reasons Hillary is a center-right, if not far-right (and as for foreign policy agenda she is definitely far right) candidate. ..."
"... So the key question is about sanity of the US society under neoliberalism, not some form of "radicalization". ..."
Nov 22, 2015 | Economist's View

mrrunangun:

Given that honesty in politics and government is relative, I wonder if relatively honest politics and relatively honest regulation of financial systems prevents financial crises.

pgl

Hillary Clinton hedges on a key issue:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/hillary-clinton-break-up-big-banks

She says she would break up the mega banks ... if needed. It is needed - so no hedging on this issue.

JohnH -> pgl...

Once again pgl shows how gullible he is...believing what Hillary says not what she has done. What has she done? Well, Wall Street made her a millionaire.

http://money.cnn.com/2015/10/13/investing/hillary-clinton-wall-street/

Second, she announced her run for Senator from New York (Wall Street) immediately after Bill did Wall Street the mother of all favors...ending Glass-Steagall. In his naivete, pgl certainly believes that there was no quid pro quo!!!

Third, lots of people doubt whether she can be trusted to rein in Wall Street.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/22/us/politics/wall-st-ties-linger-as-image-issue-for-hillary-clinton.html?_r=0

Of course, pgl believes lots of silly things...like his claim that Obama never proposed and signed off on austerity in 2011...or that he has proposed cutting Social Security...or that trickle down monetary policy hasn't overwhelmingly benefited the 1%.

I wonder when somebody will finally get to sell him the Brooklyn Bridge [better act now, pgl, get a really cheap loan while you still can!!!]

JohnH -> JohnH...

pgl thinks that Obama NEVER proposed cutting Social Security's! What a rube!

anne:

http://www.voxeu.org/article/political-aftermath-financial-crises-going-extremes

November 21, 2015

The political aftermath of financial crises: Going to extremes
By Manuel Funke, Moritz Schularick, and Christoph Trebesch

Implications

The typical political reaction to financial crises is as follows: votes for far-right parties increase strongly, government majorities shrink, the fractionalisation of parliaments rises and the overall number of parties represented in parliament jumps. These developments likely hinder crisis resolution and contribute to political gridlock. The resulting policy uncertainty may contribute to the much-debated slow economic recoveries from financial crises.

In the light of modern history, political radicalization, declining government majorities and increasing street protests appear to be the hallmark of financial crises. As a consequence, regulators and central bankers carry a big responsibility for political stability when overseeing financial markets. Preventing financial crises also means reducing the probability of a political disaster.

anne -> anne...

What strikes me, is that the political response to the short-lived international financial crisis but longer lived recession was quite restrained in developed countries. Leadership changes struck me as moderate, even moderate in beset Greece as the political stance of Syriza which looked to be confrontational with regard to the other eurozone countries quickly became accepting.

European developed country governments have been and are remarkably stable. Japan has been stable. There is political division in the United States, but I do not attribute that to the financial crisis or recession but rather to social divisions.

The essay is just not convincing.

likbez said...

"What strikes me, is that the political response to the short-lived international financial crisis but longer lived recession was quite restrained in developed countries"

If you mean that the goal of the state is providing unconditional welfare for financial oligarchy (which actually is true for neoliberalism), then I would agree.

But if you use any common sense definition of "restrained" this is a joke. Instead of sending criminals to jail they were awarded with oversized bonuses.

I think the authors are way too late to the show. There is no much left of the New Deal anyway, so radicalization of the US society was a fait accompli long before crisis of 2008.

If you look at the Republican Party and, especially, Republican candidates, now it is not the question of radicalization, but the question of sanity that arises. They are so completely detached from reality that Marxists look like "hard core" realists in comparison with them.

The whole party looks like an extreme and bizarre cult that intends to take over the country: another analogy with Marxists. Like Marx quipped: History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.

Democrats are not that different either. With Sanders representing probably the only candidates which can be classified as "center-left" in European terms. For all practical reasons Hillary is a center-right, if not far-right (and as for foreign policy agenda she is definitely far right) candidate.

So the key question is about sanity of the US society under neoliberalism, not some form of "radicalization".

[Nov 21, 2015] Hillary Clinton Appeal to 9-11 to Defend Wall Street Donations Was Bad, But This Was Worse

Notable quotes:
"... Come on people, what is the point of wasting energy and time talking about the two political parties participating in the charade that is called Democracy in the US? In reality there is only one political party ..."
"... Hellary or Chump- do you really believe the choice of figurehead will change the machinery of permanent warfare or diversion of wealth to the favored few? ..."
"... IMO she "put the last nail in her coffin", so to speak, when she brought up AIG Lehman, showing her ignorance to what really happened. (Or was she just "playing dumb" in an attempt to distance herself from her big contributors on Wall St?) ..."
"... Yeah, that 9/11 rift was bad, but the "60% of my contributors are women" was worse. I'd love to see this claim fact checked. What a tidy number. Not too big to make her campaign a women's movement, but big enough to throw the guys off their game and make her nomination a foregone conclusion. Meanwhile, corporations make up probably 90% of her actual contributions. ..."
"... WaPo fact checked Hillary Clinton's claim that most of her donors are small donors. Only 17% donated less than $200 ..."
"... So corporations have genders now? ..."
"... We had one neoliberal Trojan horse get elected twice and if you questioned his policies you were at best a "bad Democrat" and at worst some version of racist…why not try it again? Anyone who questions her bought-and-paid for corruption will be painted as a card-carrying member of the he-man woman-haters club. ..."
"... Some of us, however, just dislike her since she's an enemy of the working class: http://mattbruenig.com/2015/11/06/my-beef-with-hillary-is-mainly-that-she-is-an-enemy-of-the-poor/ ..."
"... I agree that the remark was cynical and false and typical of Clinton's disdain for both facts and the intelligence of the voters. ..."
"... I loved that Bernie Sanders was willing to drop the "F-bomb" (fraud) on Wall Street but he needs to swing much harder at Clinton. Clinton was quick to zing O'Malley as a hypocrite by noting he appointed a former hedge-fund manager to some state regulatory position when given the chance, but yet neither Sanders or O'Malley hit back with the fact that her only child and Clinton Foundation board member, Chelsea Clinton, worked for the hedge fund of a Clinton family pal and mega-donor in 2006. ..."
"... I thought O'Malley had one of the best lines of the night when he said "I think it may be time for us to quit taking advice from economists" but it seemed to go mostly unnoticed and unappreciated. ..."
"... Sanders did a relatively good job of deflecting and not getting zinged by the 'gotcha' question but a full-frontal assault would have been much better. Stronger, more Presidential and with the added bonus of giving neo-liberal economists under the pay of plutocrats a black eye. Another missed opportunity. The questioner set it up perfectly for him. I would have loved to see the expression on her corn-fed face when Bernie turned her 'gotcha' question that she had spent so much time and thought crafting into the home-run answer of the evening. Perhaps it could happen in a debate in the near future. ..."
"... The GOP engages in phony baloney food fights much to the tingling excitement of their base. I'd like to see some REAL debate from the Dems. Not just make nice phony baloney bullshit. ..."
"... Again, I've never expected Sanders to be anything more than someone who'll sound populist and then tell his followers to vote for Clinton… as he's already SAID anyway. ..."
"... Yeah maybe, but I believe that was the price of admission to the Clinton / Wasserman-Shultz ball for a life-long socialist who sometimes caucuses with Democrats. The more damage Sanders inflicts on Clinton in the primaries the less sincere and effective any possible Sanders endorsement of Clinton will be later. ..."
"... Sanders has the right message, the right record and popular support on his side in a year when people are fed-up with the entire Washington establishment and sick of pedigreed, legacy politicians like Clinton. ..."
"... If there's ever been a moment when Bernie Sanders could win the nomination this is it. If you really think Sanders is the "pick of liter" as you say perhaps you could stop calling him things like "window dressing" and "a distraction". While it may protect your feelings from future disappointment to speak confidently of Clinton as the inevitable nominee it clearly helps her campaign objectives, so…. maybe just try tempering your cynicism just a wee bit unless you are out to help Hillary win the nomination. ..."
"... Bernie's campaign never in a million years thought he would get this far. In the beginning, it was calculated to draw attention to income inequality, big money in politics, and other issues that likely would get ignored if the coronation went ahead unopposed. ..."
"... As you point out, Sanders is a senator. He never expected to get this far. He won't win the nomination. He has to think of his post-2016 career. If he goes after Clinton hammer and tongs, he will be (more of) a pariah in the Senate, effectively ruining any chance for him to accomplish anything. ..."
"... Honestly I can see the Democrats collapsing before the Republicans. The South and Midwest are just batshit crazy and they'll stick with the Republicans as long as the evangelicals dominate their culture. Does anyone here know anything about previous "great awakenings" in American culture? ..."
"... For all her vomit-inducing disingenuousness about how she would be the toughest on the financial industry as a whole (really, how does she say that with a straight face?), and her basically sounding like a smarter, saner business as usual neocon on the middle east, I thought her worst moment by far was when she tried to describe single payer as "dismantling" Medicare, Medicaid, etc ..."
"... I'm at a complete loss to understand why Dems, the media, and in fact anyone with two brain cells to rub together, can fail to see or acknowledge that HRC is a liar, a crook, and a generally mean-spirited individual who's only in it for herself and will do and say anything and accept money from anyone as long as it helps her to win. ..."
"... Sadly, the only difference between Hillary and Obama, is that Barack is a better shape-shifter and, when he lies, he can do so with greater eloquence and charm. Hillary can never manage to completely hide her forked tongue and her poisonous lizard personality. ..."
"... After Obama's behavior, and the documentation of Gilens Page, can anyone believe that campaign speeches have anything to do with post-electoral policies? The nomination process is beyond dysfunctional: everyone knows Hillarity's positions are synthetic, yet she successfully campaigns with the grossest political impunity and she is taken seriously enough for analysis. I don't understand why. The only political power remaining to democracy is resistance, either by voting for a third party, or else by total abstinence. I personally prefer the former, as it's a bit harder to sweep under the media carpet. This keeps me outside the grasp of helplessness. ..."
"... Family Guy *exactly* predicted Hillary's 9/11 tragedy-distraction strategy way back in 2008: Life imitating art: http://youtu.be/Rm3d43HLyTI ..."
November 16, 2015 | naked capitalism
RedHope November 16, 2015 at 3:20 am

She will say anything to win and not care about meaning bc she knows the Democratic base will accept anything.

If you read, at least anecdotally, about the responses of base voters, it seems to be similar to what the GOP does: brush off the discussion as boring, irrelevant, a conspiracy or some combo.

The Democratic base is solely focused on Denial, delusion and hating the Republicans. She will survive this and will likely win with people defending her bat shit extremism.

crittermom November 16, 2015 at 6:34 am

I completely agree with you in that she will say anything to win. Like a pinball, she will take to whatever side necessary to keep from falling into that hole of defeat.

But please, please let's not give any energy toward thoughts of her winning!

She showed her true colors during the debate, & I still wanna believe–despite being continuously proven wrong, that most folks are smarter than that & were able to see through her. (Probably the only transparency in this current govt?)

oho, November 16, 2015 at 8:53 am

she knows the Democratic base will accept anything.

If you read, at least anecdotally, about the responses of base voters, it seems to be similar to what the GOP does: brush off the discussion as boring, irrelevant, a conspiracy or some combo.

just because the GOP 'accept anything' doesn't make it right if the 'good guys' are dogmatic too.

and my hunch is that right now everyone on in the Democratic Beltway is feeling smug cuz of the GOP clown car. But my gut is that in 2016 if HRC wins the nomination, HRC's load of manure is gonna stink a lot more than the GOP clown car's.

on election night I'll be sitting at home cheering on the makers of humble pie.

Crazy Horse, November 16, 2015 at 11:40 am

Come on people, what is the point of wasting energy and time talking about the two political parties participating in the charade that is called Democracy in the US? In reality there is only one political party - the Oligarch Fascist Party - and the National Election Circus is played out to keep people who mistake it for democracy divided and confused.

Hellary or Chump- do you really believe the choice of figurehead will change the machinery of permanent warfare or diversion of wealth to the favored few?

Malcolm MacLeod, MD , November 16, 2015 at 7:21 pm

Crazy Horse: You speak the unvarnished truth, which is always rather confusing in this day and age.

jgordon , November 16, 2015 at 4:29 am

Any serious analysis of the central drivers of the crisis necessarily lead you to the largest banks as the focal point for the interconnection and risk buildup.

Well if we're concerned about serious analysis it seems a bit odd that we aren't starting with the largest bank of all: the Federal Reserve. If not for the deliberate policy of the Fed to inflate the housing bubble in the early 2000s after the dotcom crash, certainly 2007/2008 wouldn't have been such a mess. Though admittedly government corruption (and for all intents and purposes the Fed is a government appendage) certainly played a part.

The main problem is that there are just way too many zombies and criminals infesting the financial system right now, and they are all being lovingly coddled by the Fed with ZIRP and QE. The only way to slay these undead legions is to end the ceaseless Fed-facilitated blood transfusions from the exhausted living to the dead parasites.

Well I suppose one could claim that its thanks to the zombies that our economy is able to function at all. But come on, is it really a good idea to live in a world ruled by zombies? They eat brains you know.

crittermom, November 16, 2015 at 6:01 am

Excellent article. I watched the debate. I found it very telling that when Wall St was mentioned, the only thing she could seem to equate to it was 9/11.
I found it disgusting that she even brought up 9/11 in an obvious attempt to steer the debate away from the corruption by 'her friends' on Wall St while trying to encourage the voters to give her a pat on the back for 'all she did' after 9/11. Pathetic, cheap, transparent tactic IMO.

I found it sad, however, as mentioned in the article "Only when mentioned by a Twitter user later in the debate did the full recognition of the strangeness of that comment shine through." Far too many "trained seals" outside the convention center, as well?

IMO she "put the last nail in her coffin", so to speak, when she brought up AIG & Lehman, showing her ignorance to what really happened. (Or was she just "playing dumb" in an attempt to distance herself from her big contributors on Wall St?)

fresno dan, November 16, 2015 at 8:42 am

I agree. The tendentious quibbling about the definition of "banks" when everyone uses that as shorthand for "excessively large under regulated, corrupt, and stupid financial institutions who have completed co-opted the regulators and politicians who are suppose to oversee them and enforce the rules, regulations and laws" is just deflection from the real issue.

As Bernie said in response: NOT GOOD ENOUGH

dk, November 16, 2015 at 9:05 am

I think you underestimate "most" voters. Don't mistake them for the political media echo chamber that pretends to articulate their subconscious (via absurd polling). Except for the extremes, voters tend to be a taciturn bunch, it's true. One ends up having to pick from an imperfect selection, that's representative democracy; a fact of the circumstance, and voters know it. They play along, don't kid yourself that they actually like it that much.

Comforting stories play well for the comfortable, and when no other stories are being told. The wage disparity issue was almost non-existent in 2008 and got small play in 2012. The BLM narrative is in part a counter-shock to the (granted, naive) assumption that having a black president would have (or indicated) a significant impact on day-to-day racism. The street-level economy has kept sputtering for too many years for that to be passed off as "normal". Too many cats got out of the bag this time around.

Take a look here:
http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/graphics/2015-october-fec-filings/charts/

In the last quarter, Hillary collected 5.19 mil from under-$200 donors, Bernie collected 20.19 mil. That's just shy of four times as much money, and arguably on the order of four times as many people. Whether Hillary is changing these people's minds at any appreciable rate remains to be seen, but this many people backing a Dem candidate in this way is a new thing (not so new for the Tea Party brand).

Not saying Bernie is a slam dunk by any means, but numerically, in dollars and voters, he can't be dismissed as an impossibility (see also, Corbyn). Political media hacks hate voters, they still can't predict them (and they know it too). Sometimes elections occur in a near vacuum of clear indicators and issues (2012), sometimes the indicators and issues are bigger than even a "big" candidate (2008, Obama would not have won without the financial collapse, which suppressed and fractured Rep voting).

Voters aren't smarter than anybody else, but they're not dumber either. What they are is shy (especially the Dems). But think of Bernie's small donor base as a bunch of wallflowers reacting to something they haven't seen before. That wasn't in anybody's narrative.

Ulysses, November 16, 2015 at 9:09 am

You provide a very astute description, of how the MSM Wurlitzer works to concoct narratives that disempower people. Yet I think that Chris Hedges is also on to something when he observes:

"The frustration, mounting across the country, is bringing with it a new radicalism."

http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/pray_with_your_feet_20151115

We teeter on a knife's edge, close to societal collapse. My hope is that we will shake off our chains and begin to replace systematic oppression and exploitation with a more humane society. My fear is that the people, who currently benefit from the status quo, will go full-bore totalitarian/repressive in a desperate attempt to cling to their ill-gotten wealth and power.

RUKidding, November 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm

I'm afraid that the impetus is more towards the latter than the former. The PTB haven't spent decades/centuries brainwashing the masses to be good little authoritarians wanting Big Daddy/Momma to "take care" of them for nothing.

Dino Reno, November 16, 2015 at 8:18 am

Yeah, that 9/11 rift was bad, but the "60% of my contributors are women" was worse. I'd love to see this claim fact checked. What a tidy number. Not too big to make her campaign a women's movement, but big enough to throw the guys off their game and make her nomination a foregone conclusion. Meanwhile, corporations make up probably 90% of her actual contributions.

JaaaaayCeeeee, November 16, 2015 at 11:52 am

WaPo fact checked Hillary Clinton's claim that most of her donors are small donors. Only 17% donated less than $200 (she did donation drives asking for a dollar even to get to 17% and most of her donations from women were big donations, too):

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/11/15/fact-checking-the-second-democratic-debate/

Code Name D, November 16, 2015 at 12:41 pm

So corporations have genders now?

nigelk, November 16, 2015 at 1:49 pm

We had one neoliberal Trojan horse get elected twice and if you questioned his policies you were at best a "bad Democrat" and at worst some version of racist…why not try it again? Anyone who questions her bought-and-paid for corruption will be painted as a card-carrying member of the he-man woman-haters club.

Some of us, however, just dislike her since she's an enemy of the working class: http://mattbruenig.com/2015/11/06/my-beef-with-hillary-is-mainly-that-she-is-an-enemy-of-the-poor/

Pat, November 16, 2015 at 9:47 am

I agree that the remark was cynical and false and typical of Clinton's disdain for both facts and the intelligence of the voters. (And knowledgable in that she knew she would not get fact checked on this in any manner that would make her look like Ben Carson talking about pyramids.) I truly do not think it is as important as you do, as she had already lost that battle.

The people know the great never ending bank bailout of 2008 did not translate to bailing out the economy. There are still foreclosed homes in neighborhoods across America rotting. If they didn't lose a job and are still looking for a decent one they have a parent, a kid, another family member, or multiple friends who are still un or underemployed. They know their bills are going up but their paychecks aren't. And they get to hear about Jamie Dimon becoming a billionaire. They may not know which bank he heads, but they know a whole lot of those billions came from their taxes while they are still struggling. None of this may get into the details of what happened or what went wrong, but they know they got taken. And her response tells them she would take them again. The only people who don't hear that, are the ones who think 60% of my donations are from women makes Clinton a feminist and tribal loyalists. You know the Democratic equivalent of the Bush supporters who never wavered.

Trying to understand the ins and outs of the financial industry shenanigans is deep, dense, and takes way too much time for most folk. I happened to be out on workmen's comp when it went down. This is not my area, I read and read and read and got deeply angry. I still don't understand it all, and I have more facts at my fingertips then probably at least 75% of the population. My point on this, is that sometimes you don't need to know the details to smell the bullshit. And it reeked of manure.

Vatch November 16, 2015 at 10:10 am

Today is November 16, which is a deadline for the Clinton Foundation to refile some documents, according to this article to which Water Cooler linked on Oct. 28:

https://100r.org/2015/10/clinton-foundation-faces-revisions-and-possible-reckoning/

Here's an article published today about this, although nothing has been resolved yet:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2015/11/16/tracking-hillarys-speech-fees-clinton-foundation-or-pocket/

Still, the Clintons have not defined how they decide to designate their speaking fees as income versus charity work. Earlier this year, the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation admitted collecting $26.4 million in previously unreported speaking fees from foreign governments and foreign and U.S. corporations. For tax purposes, who should be treated as the recipient of that money? It is not a silly question.

Jerry Denim, November 16, 2015 at 11:46 am

I couldn't believe my eyes and ears during the debate when Sanders impugned Clinton's integrity for taking Wall Street super PAC money and she seemed to successfully deflect the accusation by going full-bore star-spangled sparkle eagle. She played the vagina card then quickly blurted out "9/11 New York" for applause while attempting conflate aiding and abetting Wall Street with the 9/11 attacks and patriotism. I couldn't believe people were clapping and I couldn't believe Clinton had the audacity to pull such a illogical and juvenile stunt on live television, but yet CBS reported her highest approval scores of the debate were registered during her confusing but emotionally rousing (for some people apparently) "vagina, 9/11" defense.

I loved that Bernie Sanders was willing to drop the "F-bomb" (fraud) on Wall Street but he needs to swing much harder at Clinton. Clinton was quick to zing O'Malley as a hypocrite by noting he appointed a former hedge-fund manager to some state regulatory position when given the chance, but yet neither Sanders or O'Malley hit back with the fact that her only child and Clinton Foundation board member, Chelsea Clinton, worked for the hedge fund of a Clinton family pal and mega-donor in 2006. Neither candidate mentioned that her son-in-law and the father of her grandchild who she is so fond of mentioning, just so happens to be an extremely rich hedge fund manager who benefits handsomely from the Clinton's political connections and prestige. This isn't mud, this is extremely germane, factual material already on the public record. It gets to the core of who Hillary is and where her loyalties lie. Hillary herself chose to identify unregulated derivatives and the repeal of Glass-Steagall as the primary causes of the financial crisis. She either claimed directly or insinuated that she would address these issues as President, but surprisingly no one pointed out that it was her husband's administration that blocked Brooksley Born from regulating derivatives in the 1990's and it was her husband's administration that effectively repealed Glass-Steagal with the signing of Gramm-Leach-Billey act in 1999. It's not a stretch to say the Clinton's deregulation of Wall Street paved the way for the crisis of 2008 and the extreme income inequality of today. Wall Street is deeply unpopular and Bernie Sanders has built a candidacy on two main issues: attacking Wall Street and addressing income inequality. These are punches he can't afford not to throw at his rival when she holds a commanding lead in the polls plus the support of the DNC and media establishment. Clinton is deeply corrupt and beholden to Wall Street. She needs to be beaten with this stick hard and often. Attempting to deflect this very accurate, very damaging criticism by wrapping herself in the flag and invoking feminism is a cheap stunt that will only work so many times before people notice what she is doing. Bernie needs to swing harder and keep at it, he already has the right message and Clinton is highly vulnerable on his pet topics.

I thought O'Malley had one of the best lines of the night when he said "I think it may be time for us to quit taking advice from economists" but it seemed to go mostly unnoticed and unappreciated. I would have loved a frontal assault on the validity and integrity of economists when the bespectacled lady in blue attempted to nail down Sanders with a 'gotcha' question implying raising the minimum wage would be catastrophic for the economy because "such-and-such economist" said so. There is so much disdain for science and academic credentials in the heartland right now, it seems crazy not to harness this anti-academic populist energy and redirect it to a deserving target like neo-liberal economists instead of climate scientists. " How's that Laffer curve working out for ya Iowa? Are you feeling the prosperity 'trickle down' yet?" Sanders did a relatively good job of deflecting and not getting zinged by the 'gotcha' question but a full-frontal assault would have been much better. Stronger, more Presidential and with the added bonus of giving neo-liberal economists under the pay of plutocrats a black eye. Another missed opportunity. The questioner set it up perfectly for him. I would have loved to see the expression on her corn-fed face when Bernie turned her 'gotcha' question that she had spent so much time and thought crafting into the home-run answer of the evening. Perhaps it could happen in a debate in the near future.

RUKidding, November 16, 2015 at 11:58 am

I think what happened there is that Bernie is showing his true colors, unfortunately. While I'm more than OK with Bernie's attitude towards Benghazi & the emails, he really does not confront HRC on her egregious attitudes towards unfettered War, Inc, and most esp not on Wall St and the Banks.

I have no serious expectations of Sanders, however, and never did.

Jerry Denim, November 16, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Perhaps you are correct but Sanders did say Wall Street's business model is greed and fraud. Strong language for a Presidential candidate and unmistakably clear terms. When it comes to attacking Clinton I feel like something is holding Sanders back. Maybe it's his campaign advisors because he's been told his anger scares voters and people don't like negative attacks. Maybe the DNC and Clinton are holding some threat over his head regarding ballot access, debate cancellation or some other punishment if he doesn't play by certain rules. Perhaps he's been warned certain topics are off limits during debates. Seems fishy to me, but maybe it's just as simple as you say.

RUKidding, November 16, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Yes, Sanders has been outspoken about Wall St, greed, fraud and tightening up regulations, etc. That's why it's disappointing and beyond annoying when he clams up vis Clinton and her relationship with and money from Wall St.

The GOP engages in phony baloney food fights much to the tingling excitement of their base. I'd like to see some REAL debate from the Dems. Not just make nice phony baloney bullshit.

Again, I've never expected Sanders to be anything more than someone who'll sound populist and then tell his followers to vote for Clinton… as he's already SAID anyway.

We're told allegedly that "poll after poll" shows Clinton in a double digit lead. I really question that, as well, but clearly no one's showing me the factual data. It is what is. HRC is the anointed one, so get used to it.

To me, Sanders is just window dressing & a distraction, even though, clearly, he's the pick of "both" (or the combined, if you will) litters. Whatever…

JerryDenim, November 16, 2015 at 2:51 pm

"Again, I've never expected Sanders to be anything more than someone who'll sound populist and then tell his followers to vote for Clinton… as he's already SAID anyway"

Yeah maybe, but I believe that was the price of admission to the Clinton / Wasserman-Shultz ball for a life-long socialist who sometimes caucuses with Democrats. The more damage Sanders inflicts on Clinton in the primaries the less sincere and effective any possible Sanders endorsement of Clinton will be later. I too share your distrust of polls and given that distrust it's hard for me to write off a guy who has had every disadvantage in his Presidential bid but is still polling pretty darn well against a extremely well-known political juggernaut early in the primary season.

Sanders has the right message, the right record and popular support on his side in a year when people are fed-up with the entire Washington establishment and sick of pedigreed, legacy politicians like Clinton. Look at how poorly Bush has fared so far against outsider, blow-hard Donald Trump and unknown-nobody Ben Carson. Even conservatives are sick of dynasties.

If there's ever been a moment when Bernie Sanders could win the nomination this is it. If you really think Sanders is the "pick of liter" as you say perhaps you could stop calling him things like "window dressing" and "a distraction". While it may protect your feelings from future disappointment to speak confidently of Clinton as the inevitable nominee it clearly helps her campaign objectives, so…. maybe just try tempering your cynicism just a wee bit unless you are out to help Hillary win the nomination. If you are out to help Hillary then carry on, you're doing a fine job of tarring and feathering Sanders as a loser on behalf of her campaign.

3.14e-9, November 16, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Bernie's campaign never in a million years thought he would get this far. In the beginning, it was calculated to draw attention to income inequality, big money in politics, and other issues that likely would get ignored if the coronation went ahead unopposed. Within that context, it would have been very easy for him to promise the few votes he thought he would get to Clinton.

I have a feeling that his campaign is regretting he ever said that as much as we are. He has a huge number of supporters who, like jgordon above, would write in "Dog Turd" before voting for Hillary (although I don't know why we couldn't write in Bernie). These people are going to be extremely angry if he throws his support behind her, and they have demonstrated well already that they are very vocal. I've commented on NC before that I think there will be hell to pay if and when that happens.

I also suspect that the DNC didn't make a big fuss about his running as a Democrat because no one there thought he'd get this far, either, and they probably thought he would be useful. For all we know, he agreed to that. And then, suddenly, all the unexpected crowds.

Sanders is the ranking minority member on the Senate Budget Committee, which means he definitely could challenge Clinton on economic issues, and competently. So I agree that something has to be holding him back. Yet another consideration is that he might be keeping the most damaging counts against her until later in the campaign. If he showed his hand now, the Clinton machine would kick into gear overtime, get her off the hook, and drag him down into the mud.

Cassandra, November 16, 2015 at 4:10 pm

No need to think of conspiracies, etc. As you point out, Sanders is a senator. He never expected to get this far. He won't win the nomination. He has to think of his post-2016 career. If he goes after Clinton hammer and tongs, he will be (more of) a pariah in the Senate, effectively ruining any chance for him to accomplish anything. As he said in the debate, the VA bill wasn't all he wanted, but it was something. Many think incrementalism is a fool's game, but I believe Sanders is willing to fight for crumbs.

Lambert Strether, November 16, 2015 at 4:14 pm

I think Sanders did pretty well, especially considering the primaries haven't started. He pushed Clinton into two horrible responses, at least: (1) 9/11 and Wall Street and (2) Sanders single payer vs. ObamaCare. Both will be gifts that keep on giving. My thought would is that the opportunity cost of spending a lot of time reverse engineering whatever number of dimensions of chess Sanders is playing failing to use the very powerful ammo he gave - both of which are about policy.

RUKidding, November 16, 2015 at 4:17 pm

I'm willing to be wrong about Sanders, and in fact, hope I am. Time will tell. I agree that he's done better than the odds called for. Willing to listen to him but wish he'd speak up more about HRC's bs. But he is a politician after all and is playing a long game.

3.14e-9, November 16, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Well, he has to be very careful about that. Clinton's people immediately jump on the least bit of truth from Sanders as "negative campaigning" and then call up their friends in the MSM to back them up:

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2015/11/05/clinton-campaign-fires-back-at-bernie-/bernie_sanders.

Anyway, thanks for being open.

Jim Haygood, November 16, 2015 at 12:10 pm

'AIG's largest counter-party was Goldman Sachs.'

Thus, the Federal Reserve's "Sunday night special" waiver of the 30-day application period for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to become bank holding companies, and to get their sticky mitts (or tentacles, as the case may be) into "free money" at the discount window. News story from 22 Sep 2008:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/26828495

Having essentially zero consumer deposit-taking business, then or now, these two investment banks resemble ordinary commercial banks like mangy wolves dressed in ill-fitting sheep costumes.

Investment banking is a high-risk, high-reward business with some of the most highly compensated employees in the country. Subsidizing GS and MS with Federal Reserve free money is a rank disgrace. It vexeth me greatly, comrades. But changing it is not even on the menu.

TimmyB, November 16, 2015 at 12:35 pm

What really hasn't been discussed is Sander's motivation for breaking up too big to fail financial institutions. Sanders on his website states he wants to break them up because they have too much economic and political power. Sanders says that breaking them up, in and by itself, will provide a benefit.

So when Clinton starts discussing how her plan will be more effective in preventing another financial collapse, she has changed the subject from how breaking up our banks will benefit our democratcy to whether or not breaking them up will prevent another 2008 crisis.

What Sanders needs to do is bring the discussion on breaking up TBTF banks back around to their having too much economic and political power. For example, he could say he wants to break them up because they have too much power and that Clinton want them to continue to hold that power. Clinton has no real response to that claim.

Michael, November 17, 2015 at 11:44 am

Bernie is not running to win. I'm not sure why he is running. If he does not start to hit Hillary then I think it is primarily to keep the left wing of the Democratic Party inside the party instead of seeking a new home elsewhere. The Justice Party is interesting but a third party has no chance unless the Democrats implode.

Honestly I can see the Democrats collapsing before the Republicans. The South and Midwest are just batshit crazy and they'll stick with the Republicans as long as the evangelicals dominate their culture. Does anyone here know anything about previous "great awakenings" in American culture?

MojaveWolf , November 16, 2015 at 1:01 pm

For all her vomit-inducing disingenuousness about how she would be the toughest on the financial industry as a whole (really, how does she say that with a straight face?), and her basically sounding like a smarter, saner business as usual neocon on the middle east, I thought her worst moment by far was when she tried to describe single payer as "dismantling" Medicare, Medicaid, etc and letting Republican administrations decide who gets health care, and playing up that the ACA as better and more comprehensive. She is not stupid. She is one of the smartest people in politics from a pure short term IQ standpoint. And she has studied and once advocated for single payer so she KNOWS what it does. Think about this for a minute.

Hillary KNOWS single payer EXPANDS on what Medicaid and Medicare provide.

Hillary KNOWS Bernie's single payer plan would not allow states to opt out, unlike the ACA she is touting, while she was claiming the exact opposite. She knowingly bald-faced lied on national TV & radio (I was driving and listening, not watching) in a way to equal anything Dick Cheney or Mitch McConnell or Newt Gingrich ever did, and she lied about a matter she KNOWS will result in millions of people NOT getting adequate medical care with ripple effects ranging from constant illness and misery to job performance to not seeking treatment until emergency to actual death. People can't pay 3k or 5k deductibles. We already have news reports of people not going for this reason. We paid the penalty on our taxes last year because the only affordable plans that were actually usable required us to make a 2 hr one way drive (over 90% hwy, this is a long way) to the closest hospital/doctor that was included in it. One of my acquaintances who is covered took a taxi to what was supposedly the only local doctor who took her plan (after calling everyone in town), waited over an hr, and was told that whoever she spoke to on the phone made a mistake and she is not covered, and they have no idea where she should go, plus she's out the time and a r/t taxi ride. You think Hillary hasn't studied this and doesn't know things like this happen? You think she doesn't know Bernie's single payer plan (and probably all single payer plans) wouldn't prevent these sorts of situations?

She KNOWS we could cut out the insurance companies, have free single payer, pay for it by taxing the most well off, and people on the whole would get much better service, with much better outcomes, and without having to freak out if the ambulance took them to a hospital outside of their plan or a visiting specialist at the hospital their plan said go to was outside the plan and billed them five or six figures or what have.

But she clearly doesn't care. She just cares about people donating money to her campaign and getting elected as a resume stuffer. She doesn't want to change how things are done more than minor tinkering, even when she KNOWS the changes will make everything better off. She will be the same on climate change, even tho she isn't stupid and knows both what we are doing now and what she is recommending are leading us to a planet of the jellyfish in the long run and a state of neverending crises and mass extinction in the short and medium run.

(I am not saying she knows the misery her foreign policy position has and will cause because I actually fear she might believe in what she's saying there; tho whether she believes it or not she clearly intends to continue the same policies that have led us to destabilize the middle east and are starting to destabilize the entire world; the only reason I'm not thinking this is her worst moment is because she was more hinting at than saying things, and I'm less sure of her actual positions)

She is willing to sacrifice millions of lives to get herself elected and continue enriching her already rich family who doesn't need any more money. She is, basically, a Republican on everything but social issues (yes, these matter, and good for her, tho past cowardly statements on abortion and votes on marriage equality should not be disregarded when compared with her opponents).

i guess people think nothing of this, just as they think nothing of her lies on regulating the financial industry, because they think that sort of flat out lie and distortion is just politics as usual, and more important to be good at lying than good on substance?

And that is why really do need a political revolution. Almost all of the current political class, including the political media, really need to go.

RUKidding, November 16, 2015 at 1:37 pm

AKA, there's very little difference bet HRC and whomever barking lunatic the GOP coughs up… other than HRC isn't such a barking lunatic. She's just mired in pure unfettered greed and imperialistic hubris.

Actually the GOP should be kissing the ground that HRC walks on bc she's probably the biggest War Hawk in the whole amalgamated group, and she's way more for BigIns getting their hugely giant sucking cut out of "health" insurance scams than almost any other candidate.

The GOP puts on a dog 'n pony show constantly wasting time and all taxpayer money on voting against ACA. They do that bc they know their phony baloney bills will never ever pass. The GOP doesn't want ACA to ever go away bc the politicians are getting rich rich rich off of it as much as the Dems are. They just have to play a Kabuki show to appease their utterly stupid base.

Such a waste of time all of this is. Such a monumental waste of money. ugh.

nothing will change. authoritarian USians like Big Daddy/Mommy too much to let ever let go of this system.

Vatch, November 16, 2015 at 3:33 pm

There are at least two advantages to breaking up the giant banks:

1. If one of the fragments gets into financial trouble, we won't have to fear a complete economic collapse.

2. Sure, the owners of the banks will continue to own as much as before (and some of their stock might even rise in value). But the CEOs of the big banks will lose influence, because they will suddenly be the bosses of much smaller corporations. Currently, people like Jamie Dimon have far too much power.

Bob Stapp, November 16, 2015 at 2:17 pm

I'm at a complete loss to understand why Dems, the media, and in fact anyone with two brain cells to rub together, can fail to see or acknowledge that HRC is a liar, a crook, and a generally mean-spirited individual who's only in it for herself and will do and say anything and accept money from anyone as long as it helps her to win.

Sadly, the only difference between Hillary and Obama, is that Barack is a better shape-shifter and, when he lies, he can do so with greater eloquence and charm. Hillary can never manage to completely hide her forked tongue and her poisonous lizard personality.

Our country and, in fact, the entire world is at a crossroads and yet there has never been such a lack of selfless, skilled leadership stepping up to help us get to some version of the common good. Meanwhile, Bernie Saunders and Jeremy Corbyn get pilloried daily for even suggesting that we are all in this together and had better get to fixing things right quick. I guess it's the fate of truth-tellers.

I plan to attend my state's caucus and when I say that if we insist on pursuing the political process as we have always done, we are condemning ourselves to disaster. Going out and working for a person, a personality, or a hoped-for savior, is merely repeating the same kind of insanity that has produced the rotten system we have today. Bernie's right. It's going to take all of us standing up together, not to get Bernie or anybody else elected, but for what we know is right. And we'd better do it soon. Then, when I'm shut down by the party operatives, I'll go home and continue to watch the slow-motion train-wreck.

Lambert Strether, November 16, 2015 at 3:21 pm

"It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'bank' is."

cassandra, November 16, 2015 at 7:11 pm

After Obama's behavior, and the documentation of Gilens & Page, can anyone believe that campaign speeches have anything to do with post-electoral policies? The nomination process is beyond dysfunctional: everyone knows Hillarity's positions are synthetic, yet she successfully campaigns with the grossest political impunity and she is taken seriously enough for analysis. I don't understand why. The only political power remaining to democracy is resistance, either by voting for a third party, or else by total abstinence. I personally prefer the former, as it's a bit harder to sweep under the media carpet. This keeps me outside the grasp of helplessness.

Telee, November 16, 2015 at 7:38 pm

The refusal of HRC to be for reinstating Glass-Steagall to separate investment banks and commercial banks is a sure sign that she will be a lap dog for the fraudsters on Wall Street. More of the same or worse.

Another point. My readings has lead me to believe that she played a large role in the destabilization o Libya. In her 11 hours before the Benghazi committee she was never asked why she was so hell-bent for a military solution when there were negotiations which would have led to a more peaceful solution.

1 kings, November 16, 2015 at 9:39 pm

"We came, we saw, he died". HRC

aliteralmind, November 16, 2015 at 10:21 pm

Family Guy *exactly* predicted Hillary's 9/11 tragedy-distraction strategy way back in 2008: Life imitating art: http://youtu.be/Rm3d43HLyTI

[Nov 21, 2015] The REALLY ANNOYING Don't-Wanna-Subsidize-Wealthy-Kids'-College-Tuition Canard

Notable quotes:
"... Can anyone really imagine Bernie Sanders in the White House? , ..."
"... I said here yesterday that Clinton is running a Republican-style campaign. But it's not only its style–its tactics–that are Republican. Watch her edge ever closer on substance as well. Which is the way she began her campaign last spring and early summer, until it became clear that Sanders' campaign was catching on. ..."
November 20, 2015 | naked capitalism

Yves here. Readers know I have a weakness for righteous rants…

By Beverly Mann. Originally published at Angry Bear

Hillary Clinton's performance wasn't as clean or as crisp as her last one. Among other things, she invoked 9/11 in order to dodge a question about her campaign donors. But she effectively made the case that, though Sanders speaks about important questions, his solutions are ultimately simplistic and hers are better. Instead of railing about breaking up the big banks, focus on identifying and moderating the biggest risks to the financial system. Instead of making college free for everyone, increase access to those who need it and decline to subsidize wealthy kids' tuition.

Can anyone really imagine Bernie Sanders in the White House?, Stephen Stromberg, Washington Post, Nov. 15

Stromberg, a Washington Post editorial writer who also blogs there, is an all-but-official Clinton campaign mouthpiece who last month, in a blog post and (unforgivably) a Post editorial (i.e., commentary with no byline, published on behalf of the Post's editorial board) baldly misrepresented what Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon on Tuesday misrepresented about Sanders' single-payer healthcare insurance plan, but from a different angle: Stromberg said that the cost of the single-payer plan would be in addition to the cost of healthcare now. Actual healthcare, not just insurance premiums.

According to Stomberg and the Post's editorial board then, hospitals, physicians and other healthcare provides would receive full payment from private insurers and also full payment from the government. And employers, employees and individual-market policyholders would continue to pay premiums to private insurers while they also paid taxes to the federal government for single-payer-double-payer?-insurance.

A nice deal for some but not, let's say, for others. Also, a preposterous misrepresentation of Sanders' plan.

Fast-forward a month and Stromberg, this time speaking only for himself (as far as I know; I don't read all the Post's editorials) and for the Clinton campaign, picks up on Clinton's invocation of the horror of the public paying college tuition for Donald Trump's kids. But since he probably knows that Trump's kids no more went to public colleges than did Clinton's kid, he broadens it.

Instead of making college free for everyone, increase access to those who need it and decline to subsidize wealthy kids' tuition. Good line! At least for the ears of voters who are unaware that public universities, like private ones, quietly skew their admissions processes to favor the kids of parents who likely can pay full tuition simply by switching the funds from a CD or other savings account into a checking account at the beginning of each semester, thus removing the need for the school to dig into its endowment fund to provide financial assistance. Or to worry about whether the student will have that loan money ready at the beginning of each semester.

Which is why Jennifer Gratz, salutatorian at her working class Detroit suburb's high school, whose extracurriculars included cheerleading but probably not a summer in Honduras assisting the poor, was denied admission to the University of Michigan back in 1995. And why she sued the University in what eventually became a landmark Supreme Court case challenging the constitutionality under the equal protection clause of UM's affirmative action program.

She did not challenge the constitutionality of the U's almost-certain, but unstated, admissions policy that would ensure that the freshman class had a substantial percentage of students from families wealthy enough to pay the full tuition.

Y'know, the ones wealthy enough to pay for SAT tutoring, SAT practice courts, and if necessary more than one SAT exam.

What especially angers me about this let's-not-subsidize-wealthy-kids'-college-tuition canard is that it uses disparities in ability to pay the tuition as a clever way to ensure the admissions status quo. Or something close to the status quo.

In her and her campaign spokesman's statements in the last several days-most notably her "Read My Lips; No New Taxes on the Middle Class, Even $1.35/wk to Pay for Family and Medical Leave" declaration, but other statements too-she's overtly declaring herself a triangulator. And some progressive political pundits are noticing it. Yes!* They!** Are!*** And Sanders needs to start quoting these articles, in speaking and in web and television ads.

I said here yesterday that Clinton is running a Republican-style campaign. But it's not only its style–its tactics–that are Republican. Watch her edge ever closer on substance as well. Which is the way she began her campaign last spring and early summer, until it became clear that Sanders' campaign was catching on.

[Oct 14, 2015] I do not take my mandate from the European people

Notable quotes:
"... when I asked the trade commissioner how she could continue her persistent promotion of the deal in the face of such massive public opposition, her response came back icy cold: "I do not take my mandate from the European people." ..."
Oct 13, 2013 | naked capitalism
"I didn't think TTIP could get any scarier, but then I spoke to the EU official in charge of it" [Independent].

When put to her, Malmström acknowledged that a trade deal has never inspired such passionate and widespread opposition. Yet when I asked the trade commissioner how she could continue her persistent promotion of the deal in the face of such massive public opposition, her response came back icy cold: "I do not take my mandate from the European people."

Those honest, blunt Brussels bureaucrats! So different from our own political class!

[Sep 28, 2015] The Only Two Things That Matter: Why I'm Supporting Larry Lessig

Notable quotes:
"... We need smart, motivated, knowledgeable voters. And we need a political system in which all people have an equal say. Without those ingredients, no amount of well-meaning, reasoned, fact-based argument is going to do much good. ..."
"... The presumption behind Lessig's gimmick is that democracy is a good form of government, so that closer adherence to democratic ideals will produce better political results. But democracy is arguably a terrible form of government, as the authors of the Federalist Papers were aware. What we need is intelligent, substantive, inspiring leadership. Mr. Lessig is not offering anything of the sort, so I would discourage anyone from wasting his or her vote on an empty gimmick. ..."
Sep 28, 2015 | baselinescenario.com

We have lots of problems: Expensive yet mediocre health care. Lack of retirement security. Out-of-control megabanks. Inequality of opportunity. And, of course, climate change.

At the end of the day, though, there are only two things that matter: early childhood education and electoral reform.

We need smart, motivated, knowledgeable voters. And we need a political system in which all people have an equal say. Without those ingredients, no amount of well-meaning, reasoned, fact-based argument is going to do much good.

michaelhendrickson | September 26, 2015 at 9:47 pm

The presumption behind Lessig's gimmick is that democracy is a good form of government, so that closer adherence to democratic ideals will produce better political results. But democracy is arguably a terrible form of government, as the authors of the Federalist Papers were aware. What we need is intelligent, substantive, inspiring leadership. Mr. Lessig is not offering anything of the sort, so I would discourage anyone from wasting his or her vote on an empty gimmick.

[Sep 26, 2015] U.S. Billionaires Political Power Index

Notable quotes:
"... Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust ..."
"... Billionaires: Reflections of the Upper Crust ..."
Sep 26, 2015 | Brookings Institution

In September 2014, Darrell West published a Billionaire Political Power Index based on his Brookings Institution Press book, Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust. It examined the political influence individuals of great wealth, ranking their power based on a number of factors including campaign expenditures, activism through nonprofit organizations and foundations, holding public office, media ownership, policy thought leadership, and behind-the-scenes influence.

He has updated this index to account for billionaires' more recent election activism, campaign donations, and influence leading up to the 2014 midterms. There are several individuals who have moved up the list: Peter Thiel, Bob Mercer, Joe Ricketts, Paul Singer, Jim Simons, and David Geffen.

Others have seen their rankings drop: Penny Pritzker, Warren Buffett, Peter Peterson, Donald Trump, and Alice Walton.

Find out more about Billionaires: Reflections of the Upper Crust "

Hover Over a Billionaire's Photo to See More Details

# Names
1 Charles & David Koch
2 Michael Bloomberg
3 Tom Steyer
4 Sheldon Adelson
5 Rupert Murdoch
6 John "Joe" Ricketts
7 Robert "Bob" Mercer
8 Paul Singer
9 Peter Thiel
10 George and Jonathan Soros
11 John and Laura Arnold
12 Bill and Melinda Gates
13 Family of the late Peter Lewis
14 Mark and Priscilla Zuckerberg
15 Warren Buffett
16 Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos
17 Pierre and Pamela Omidyar
18 James "Jim" Simons
19 David Geffen
20 Penny Pritzker
21 Marc Andreessen
22 Peter Peterson
23 Donald Trump
24 Alice Walton

[Sep 10, 2015] Hillary Clinton admits private email server was a mistake

Notable quotes:
"... The woman is a hawk and a warmonger. In a sane world she would be ineligible on her voting record and likely foreign policy, not down to some technicality about her email address. ..."
"... The fact that she posted almost identical language on Facebook as she used in the Muir interview certainly suggests that the "apology" was carefully written and likely tested in focus groups. ..."
"... Read the dreadful facts (warning: lolcatz spoiler): http://www.bubblews.com/posts/hillary-email-the-horrid-facts ..."
"... An FBI investigation whilst running to be your party's presidential nominee, let alone running for president in the real thing next year, is never a good look. ..."
"... Agreed. I don't much care about this "classified or not" kerfuffle. I am much more concerned about the Nixonian scrubbing of the email server, when Clinton KNEW her work emails were subpoenaed by the House Benghazi committee. That says GUILTY in no uncertain terms. And I don't think we're ever going to receive an "apology" for those deletions. ..."
"... More than a mistake I'm afraid. At best it is a career ending error of judgment. At worst a deliberate and cynical attempt to maintain personal control of data so none of it could come back to damage her presidential campaign. Anyway, she should be finished. ..."
"... Her "We came, we saw, ..." laughter is inappropriate, especially in light of the turmoil resulting from a power vacuum which we are still witnessing today. But I don't know the context of why everyone in the room is in such a jovial mood. ..."
"... She has no ability, but for deception, no intelligence, unless someone "advises" her beforehand, but she DOES have much experience at deception, and commitment only to herself. Certainly not presidential material. She should just drop and let Bernie take the lead. Of course, her dear friend Wasserman-Shultz, would not allow that to happen. ..."
"... It becomes a matter of criminal conspiracy because Clinton did not just use a private email address. This was a conspiracy to avoid monitored email and a matter of legal public record, arranged as a conspiracy between Clinton's desire to maintain secret communications hidden from the rest of government and the person who did the work of setting up the server with knowledge of how it would be used and the network administrators who allowed it to exist in what should have been a secured network location, knowing how it would be used. So not the childish lie of "I did it but I didn't mean to", but the reality of a conspired plan to thwart record keeping, discussed and implemented with purposeful intent and with no question that it was to hide intended criminal activity. ..."
"... Obviously her "apology" was dragged out of her and is completely insincere. This is the track record of H Clinton - arrogant; power hungry; untrustworthy; unscrupulous; unprincipled; 100% insincere; can't we do any better than this? ..."
"... HRC is aiding her own demonization and I honestly think she's going to lose to whomever/whatever clown emerges from the Right Wing. ..."
"... It's not about leaving an opening for her adversaries, it's is about destroying the public record of the Secretary of State. In the US, government communications belongs to the government and to the people. ..."
"... Sanders is the better person but he will never get nominated. So it's either Hillary or some GOP nutbag. Easy vote. Not optimal, but still an easy choice. ..."
"... the private server was not an error --it was a coup of genius-- since it allowed "the candidate" to hand over only the harmless emails after erasing(?) the damning ones (e.g., those with the quid-pro-quo negotiation of UKR-neonazi donations to the clinton foundation before the 2014 UKR coup d'etat). ..."
"... Hillary has learnt a lot from the old Bill. Denial first step: Bill, I did not have sexual relation with that woman. And I need to go back to work for the American people. ..."
"... Admission second step: Bill admitted in taped grand jury testimony on August 17, 1998, that he had had an "improper physical relationship" with Lewinsky. ..."
"... Clinton consistently acts with arrogant denial when confronted with wrong-doing, and throughout her career there have been repeated situations, each marked by the same denial, arrogance. ..."
"... She believes she'll be anointed and begrudgingly goes on the stump, showing no joy in meeting regular folks and getting huffy when reporters dare ask her questions. ..."
"... The US hasn't been a democracy since day 1. Never meant to be. It was/is a carpetbagger's club. The only thing that's changed is the voters are dumber and the pizazz is crappier (to match the candidates). Why is this even discussed? ..."
"... Then again we are talking about an oligarch aiming to retake the presidential office for her wing of the national aristocracy. What else would one expect. ..."
"... I read where Carl Rove deleted 13,000 emails during the bush horror years. It pisses me off that she apologized for this non-issue because of political pressure. I'm voting for Bernie. ..."
"... Mrs. Clinton has the most unappetizing combination of qualities to be met in many days' march: she is a tyrant and a bully when she can dare to be, and an ingratiating populist when that will serve. She will sometimes appear in the guise of a 'strong woman' and sometimes in the softer garb of a winsome and vulnerable female. She is entirely un-self-critical and quite devoid of reflective capacity, and has never found that any of her numerous misfortunes or embarrassments are her own fault, because the fault invariably lies with others. And, speaking of where things lie, she can in a close contest keep up with her husband for mendacity. Like him, she is not just a liar but a lie; a phony construct of shreds and patches and hysterical, self-pitying, demagogic improvisations." (p. 123) ..."
"... Snowden on Clinton: If an ordinary worker at the State Department or the Central Intelligence Agency were sending details about the security of embassies, meetings with private government officials, foreign government officials and the statements were made over unclassified email systems, they would not only lose their jobs and lose their clearance, they would very likely face prosecution for it. (condensed quotation) ..."
Sep 08, 2015 | The Guardian

MasalBugduv -> MasalBugduv 9 Sep 2015 09:18

Killary? Ha ha. Well she is a bit of a warmonger, isn't she?

dawkinsbulldog 9 Sep 2015 08:50

The woman is a hawk and a warmonger. In a sane world she would be ineligible on her voting record and likely foreign policy, not down to some technicality about her email address.

It's like rejecting Pinochet as Chilean president because he once farted in mixed company.

TamLin -> Oldiebutgoodie 9 Sep 2015 07:43

Great post! For those who don't have time to watch the entire Jim & Hillary interview, the real fun begins just after the 24 minute mark, when Jim says of Iran, "...or they will be taken out", and Hillary responds by into an orgasm of laughter.

NottaBot steveji 9 Sep 2015 07:23

The fact that she posted almost identical language on Facebook as she used in the Muir interview certainly suggests that the "apology" was carefully written and likely tested in focus groups.

ProgRock 9 Sep 2015 07:22

Read the dreadful facts (warning: lolcatz spoiler): http://www.bubblews.com/posts/hillary-email-the-horrid-facts

callaspodeaspode 9 Sep 2015 07:16

An FBI investigation whilst running to be your party's presidential nominee, let alone running for president in the real thing next year, is never a good look.

Added to this is that if anything is calculated to motivate the movement conservative base to its highest ever turnout, it's Hillary Rodham Clinton running for president.

I'm mildly (only mildly) surprised there aren't more senior Democrats out there who can see what a liability she is.

Although I'll say this, if Bernie Sanders gets the nomination, the Republican candidate is going to end up with double the money from billionaires and corporate lobbyists, the cash normally being shared between the two candidates from the Republicrat Party.

Mind you, that will just prove Senator Sanders' point.

NottaBot -> ninjamia 9 Sep 2015 07:09

Agreed. I don't much care about this "classified or not" kerfuffle. I am much more concerned about the Nixonian scrubbing of the email server, when Clinton KNEW her work emails were subpoenaed by the House Benghazi committee. That says GUILTY in no uncertain terms. And I don't think we're ever going to receive an "apology" for those deletions.

thesweeneytodd -> Mark Forrester 9 Sep 2015 06:44

Some perspective please. Dubya caused total mayhem and catastrophe with his ill judged and utterly illegal war in Iraq. His lack of intervention in Katrina resulted in misery and death for many in New Orleans. The most unpopular US president perhaps of all time.

Hilary ran a private email server that was perhaps ill judged.

Like I say, some perspective please.

Mark Forrester 9 Sep 2015 06:38

More than a mistake I'm afraid. At best it is a career ending error of judgment. At worst a deliberate and cynical attempt to maintain personal control of data so none of it could come back to damage her presidential campaign. Anyway, she should be finished.

Oldiebutgoodie -> Oldiebutgoodie 9 Sep 2015 03:54

The interview about Diplomacy with Charlie Rose took place June 2012 - prior to the Benghazi fiasco.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpJWsryvVrc

Both James Baker and Hillary basically admit to forcing Assad out and causing 'regime change' in Syria.

Oldiebutgoodie -> makaio 9 Sep 2015 03:24

Nov. 2009
Hillary on Channel l3, NY's Charlie Rose show - Text of interview.
Subject: Iran, Afghanistan
http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2009/11/20091110130524xjsnommis0.1892206.html#axzz3lDt0HNg2

Hillary & Jim Baker interviewed must see laughing about provoking war with Iran
October 2012
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpJWsryvVrc

makaio -> TamLin 9 Sep 2015 01:38

Thanks for the previously unknown to me information.

Her "admission" is sarcasm, which is preceded by a quick note that she was not involved and her visit was unrelated.

Her "We came, we saw, ..." laughter is inappropriate, especially in light of the turmoil resulting from a power vacuum which we are still witnessing today. But I don't know the context of why everyone in the room is in such a jovial mood.

It's hard to get facts on the unfortunate and disastrous consequences of Gaddafi's assassination. I don't directly blame the U.S., but my sense in that our government wrongly gave it a go-ahead.

Timothy Everton -> Hin Leng 9 Sep 2015 01:32

She has no ability, but for deception, no intelligence, unless someone "advises" her beforehand, but she DOES have much experience at deception, and commitment only to herself. Certainly not presidential material. She should just drop and let Bernie take the lead. Of course, her dear friend Wasserman-Shultz, would not allow that to happen.

Rob Jenkins 9 Sep 2015 01:02

American politics is depressing again for me. All realistic candidates seem to be a retrograde step.

Clinton appears to be a moderate Republican from the 90s and has no feasible opponents whilst the GOP primary is a clown car filled with buffoons, crooks and religious zealots.

Where do you go now America?

Hin Leng 9 Sep 2015 00:58

Clearly America has caught a new cultural-political disease called "The Tall Poppy Syndrome". Cut down anyone with ability, intelligence, experience , commitment and vision. Find any excuse for doing it - email server, age, gender, hairstyles, anything whatsoever. Meanwhile give some blatantly nonsensical candidates for its presidency plenty of oxygen and headline space. Is this how an empire expire ? How a hegemon self-destruct ? It is worrying to the extreme.


vr13vr 9 Sep 2015 00:47

"I'm sorry about that. I take responsibility."

How is that taking responsibility after half a year of denial and fighting the allegations? Outside of the lingo of politicians, this doesn't even look like taking responsibility. A phrase, "I finally decided to admit the wrong doing," is much more appropriate at this point.

rtb1961 -> Asok Smith 9 Sep 2015 00:43

It becomes a matter of criminal conspiracy because Clinton did not just use a private email address. This was a conspiracy to avoid monitored email and a matter of legal public record, arranged as a conspiracy between Clinton's desire to maintain secret communications hidden from the rest of government and the person who did the work of setting up the server with knowledge of how it would be used and the network administrators who allowed it to exist in what should have been a secured network location, knowing how it would be used.

So not the childish lie of "I did it but I didn't mean to", but the reality of a conspired plan to thwart record keeping, discussed and implemented with purposeful intent and with no question that it was to hide intended criminal activity.


Merveil Meok 8 Sep 2015 23:36

Obama and Hillary Clinton were bitter rivals until the end of the primaries in 2008. When Obama suggested that Mrs. Clinton be his Secretary of State, I thought it was a trap and a dangerous proposition for Hillary's future bids to the presidency, because foreign policy was a mess after George W. Bush and anything going wrong in the world would be blamed on her. It looks like the GOP didn't need to work that hard.

p4451d 8 Sep 2015 23:08

Obviously her "apology" was dragged out of her and is completely insincere. This is the track record of H Clinton - arrogant; power hungry; untrustworthy; unscrupulous; unprincipled; 100% insincere; can't we do any better than this?

whereistheend 8 Sep 2015 23:00

I'd never vote for a Republican, but if she didn't have Bill Clinton's last name, she'd be out of the picture, and maybe Elizabeth Warren, or Bill Bradley, or Howard Dean (or Bernie) would have the nomination- any of those names could beat any Republican, but HRC is aiding her own demonization and I honestly think she's going to lose to whomever/whatever clown emerges from the Right Wing. Yes, I think she's going to lose to a clown, and that's depressing, and it's because she has no charm to handle her mistakes, and no judgment to avoid some of them (the 'wiping' comment was sickeningly stupid), and she's sucking up all the coverage so no one else is getting the air they need; most of the discussion is over this BS instead of actual issues and that's not all on Fox News.

Elias Vlanton -> seehowtheyrun 8 Sep 2015 22:47

It's not about leaving an opening for her adversaries, it's is about destroying the public record of the Secretary of State. In the US, government communications belongs to the government and to the people. This is not about what is illegal or not, it is about whether officials can be held accountable for their actions. By destroying the public record, Hillary Clinton wanted to avoid that accountability. That's the real travesty.

Kevin Reuter -> LostLake 8 Sep 2015 22:39

The corporate-run media would like us all to believe that Bernie doesn't stand a chance. Since he has such strong policy suggestions and is demanding such attention, the only possible way to stop him is to flood people's minds with rhetoric such as "he can't win!"

Hillary herself has now been championing policy ideas that Bernie started, such as repealing Citizens United, and $15 minimum wage!

LostLake 8 Sep 2015 21:55

Sanders is the better person but he will never get nominated. So it's either Hillary or some GOP nutbag. Easy vote. Not optimal, but still an easy choice.

sashasmirnoff -> erpiu 8 Sep 2015 21:09

As the "Guardian view" is unfailingly wrong on anything it opines on (proven track record), and it's fully endorsing this scum's candidacy, I can only conclude that she merits life in prison at the least, as opposed to high office. That no media organ is questioning her claim of the deleted emails as being purely "personal" speaks volumes as to the sorry state of journalism in this era, as you point out.
Great post!


erpiu 8 Sep 2015 20:28

the private server was not an error --it was a coup of genius-- since it allowed "the candidate" to hand over only the harmless emails after erasing(?) the damning ones (e.g., those with the quid-pro-quo negotiation of UKR-neonazi donations to the clinton foundation before the 2014 UKR coup d'etat).

yes, those erased emails that, let's see... the guardian never mentions, preferring to direct the suckers' attention to the leftover emails selected by billary for regular release. Great diversion job, guardian!

the NSA has hillary's erased emails! When is the MSM going to request that the NSA gives its copies of the erased h.clinton emails to the feds for official archiving and future declassification?


Confucion 8 Sep 2015 20:06

In an interview with ABC News's David Muir which aired on Tuesday, the former secretary of state said: "That was a mistake. I'm sorry about that. I take responsibility."

Hillary has learnt a lot from the old Bill. Denial first step: Bill, I did not have sexual relation with that woman. And I need to go back to work for the American people.

Admission second step: Bill admitted in taped grand jury testimony on August 17, 1998, that he had had an "improper physical relationship" with Lewinsky.

Hilary is the best Bill's disciple in his trickery, lies and contempt of people from whom they are seeking employment and benefit.


FugitiveColors kenalexruss 8 Sep 2015 19:56

That's wishful thinking. The Judge ordered a release of more emails every 30 days until they are all released. It won't be over in 3 months much less 3 weeks. They say til February. There are 55,000 emails and those are just ones she didn't delete. She deleted 35,000 emails that will dog her forever.

When she finally gives up the ghost, I hope you will consider voting for the honest, scandal free candidate.
Bernie Sanders.

EarthyByNature -> Davinci Woohoo 8 Sep 2015 19:54

It's about trust, stupid.
Not being able to trust the potential President of the United States is a huge issue, for everyone on the planet.

1) Clinton consistently acts with arrogant denial when confronted with wrong-doing, and throughout her career there have been repeated situations, each marked by the same denial, arrogance.

2) Everyone's entitled to make mistakes in life and to beg forgiveness. When it happens repeatedly trust evaporates. I am no longer able to trust Hillary Clinton, no more no less that any other behaving the same way, Dem or Republican.

allymaxy -> danceoutlook 8 Sep 2015 19:47

Re: the Secretary of State position: Hillary didn't have to campaign for the job, she was appointed. Her problem is she's making the same mistakes running for CinC that she made in 2008.

She believes she'll be anointed and begrudgingly goes on the stump, showing no joy in meeting regular folks and getting huffy when reporters dare ask her questions.

Remember the recent rope line where she corralled the press in a noose of ropes to keep them away from her?

She is a poor candidate - always was and she hasn't learned anything from losing. She repeats the same mistakes and only changes her policies when focus groups chime in.

If Elizabeth Warren declared tomorrow, Hillary would be long forgotten and not missed.


Joe Stanil -> JoeBursudge 8 Sep 2015 19:47

The US hasn't been a democracy since day 1. Never meant to be. It was/is a carpetbagger's club. The only thing that's changed is the voters are dumber and the pizazz is crappier (to match the candidates). Why is this even discussed?

Ziontrain 8 Sep 2015 19:24

"Full responsibility" would actually mean admitting that she lacks the integrity to be president and withdrawing her candidacy.

But we live in an era where there is no shame, so "full responsibility" is not more like "yeah, I did it. So what? Nothing changes".

Then again we are talking about an oligarch aiming to retake the presidential office for her wing of the national aristocracy. What else would one expect.

JoeBursudge -> NeverLie 8 Sep 2015 19:22

A carpetbagger in a dress. Tony Blair and the Clintons - just goes to show it isn't country specific.

Though he didn't know them, these are the people Kim Beazley Snr was talking about when he said [the Left] went from being represented by the cream of the working-class to being led by the dregs of the middle-class.

Let's face it: the mere fact that Trump and Clinton are being discussed as a possible President is all the proof you need that America's democracy is stuck with a broken model. It's doubtful that the average Yank is up to fixing it.

Not that we can talk, of course, our system is looking sicker by the day. That a fool like Abbott can commit our troops to war without Parliamentary discussion is a pretty clear signal that our 19th century democratic architecture, too, is in need of renovation, if not a complete re-build.

jozzero -> gwpriester 8 Sep 2015 19:20

I read where Carl Rove deleted 13,000 emails during the bush horror years. It pisses me off that she apologized for this non-issue because of political pressure. I'm voting for Bernie.

OneTop 8 Sep 2015 18:42

Christoper Hitchens summed up HRC as well as anyone.

Mrs. Clinton has the most unappetizing combination of qualities to be met in many days' march: she is a tyrant and a bully when she can dare to be, and an ingratiating populist when that will serve. She will sometimes appear in the guise of a 'strong woman' and sometimes in the softer garb of a winsome and vulnerable female. She is entirely un-self-critical and quite devoid of reflective capacity, and has never found that any of her numerous misfortunes or embarrassments are her own fault, because the fault invariably lies with others. And, speaking of where things lie, she can in a close contest keep up with her husband for mendacity. Like him, she is not just a liar but a lie; a phony construct of shreds and patches and hysterical, self-pitying, demagogic improvisations." (p. 123)


Berkeley2013 williamdonovan 8 Sep 2015 18:35

Thank you; there are many more but this is a good start.

As the story unravels, many of there earlier HC rationalizations will require scrutiny--things that seemed innocuous to the average person will require intense scrutiny.

"I deleted e-mails that were personal."

This sounds anodyne enough on first read. Who wants to read billet doux between B and H?

Once people realize that she had no right to mix personal and professional and it certainly wasn't up to any one person what to delete, then even bigger troubles will start for the former SOS.

Sooner or later some of the deleted e-mails will begin to circulate.

At that point...


David Egan 8 Sep 2015 18:15

What gets me about this whole issue is the fact that she is still maintaining that "she did what was allowed" which is a bold faced lie!!! All she is doing right now is continuing to "circle her wagons" around this issue.... I'll bet right now she is trying to figure out how to bribe Pagliano to take the fall for her, stating that she knew nothing about what he did to maintain her ILLEGAL email account. They both knew it was ILLEGAL!!! Clinton and Pagliano should be brought up on charges, the sooner the better!!

Her utter contempt for the investigation makes me laugh, she really thinks she did nothing wrong, and to say something as totally ignorant like "It was allowed by the State Dept. and the State Department CONFIRMED that" is beyond belief and borderlines the definition of psychosis. The State Department is actively investigating Shrillary and her accomplice Bryan Pagliano. I'll bet Pagliano goes to prison.....Any takers?


CNNEvadingTheTopic 8 Sep 2015 18:11

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https://berniesanders.com/ (Meet Bernie, Learn Issues/Events, Volunteer, Donate…)
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Bernie 2016, Feel The Bern!

zyxzyxzyx 8 Sep 2015 18:05

Snowden on Clinton:

If an ordinary worker at the State Department or the Central Intelligence Agency were sending details about the security of embassies, meetings with private government officials, foreign government officials and the statements were made over unclassified email systems, they would not only lose their jobs and lose their clearance, they would very likely face prosecution for it. (condensed quotation)

Clinton on Snowden:

I think turning over a lot of that material-intentionally or unintentionally, because of the way it can be drained-gave all kinds of information, not only to big countries, but to networks and terrorist groups and the like.

macktan894 8 Sep 2015 17:54

Poor Hillary. If she had just said this in the beginning instead of all the bs about how what she did wasn't a prosecutable offense and then tried to defend her behavior by comparing herself to the Republicans, she might have nipped much of this in the bud. Instead, she stonewalls for months, re-enacts her husband's insistence that "he didn't have sex with that woman, Ms Lewinsky," and arrogantly believes that voters will accept that all this is a vast right wing conspiracy that no one gives a hoot about.

Now she admits sorrow over her choice after practically being beat down about it. The main point is that people don't want to re-elect the same o same o. I for one am not looking forward to ranting on a forum about what happened to this promise, to that one. Oh, right. The Republicans. I don't want to hear another Dem try to persuade me that cutting measly social security and Medicare benefits are the way to save the system while at the same time the budget for defense, foreign aid, and mass govt surveillance go up so much that much of it is redacted.

I've heard too much of this before and have no interest in hearing it again. Vote for Bernie Sanders who believes open and transparent govt is worth a little inconvenience.

williamdonovan 8 Sep 2015 17:41

Great now tell it to the Judge. Because as I have stated from the very start these acts were and are Illegal. And Hillary Clinton new it at time she the secret server set up or should have known it.

Title 18, U.S. Code Section 641 - Public Money, Property or Records
793 - Gathering, Transmitting or Losing Defense Information
794 - Gathering of Delivering Defense Information to Aid Foreign Govt.
798 - Disclosure of Classified Information
952 - Diplomatic Codes and Correspondence
1905 - Disclosure of Confidential Information
2071 - Concealment, Removal, or Mutilation of Records

Title 50, U.S. Code
Section 783 (b) - Communication of Classified Information by Government Officer or Employee 783(d) - Penalties for Violation

Title 42, U.S. Code
Section 2272 -Violation of Specific Sections
2273 - Violation of General Sections
2274 - Communication of Restricted Data 2275 - Receipt of Restricted Data
2276 - Tampering With Restricted Data 2277 - Disclosure of Restricted Data

[Sep 02, 2015] Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets

libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org

Liberty Street

comments from Economist's View Links for 09-02-15

Second Best said...

'Repugnance laws go above and beyond existing laws to enforce the desire by members of society to prohibit certain types of behavior that otherwise would be legal. In short, such laws are justified on the grounds that allowing repugnant actions imposes a negative externality on everyone (not just the parties involved) and lowers the public good.'

---

In the U.S. voting as a negative externality is repugnant to a democracy and has been replaced by money as more effective speech.

Due to the rational ignorance effect, many voters don't vote because one more vote doesn't matter. This is repugnant to the rest, who replace the void of people votes with money votes.

The result is suppression of repugnant votes that generate negative externalities, replaced with virtuous votes that generate positive externalities both, to those who buy votes and those who sell them.

The narrow cream of single issue virtuous votes rises to the top to decide which virtuous leaders will continue to suppress the repugnance of voting for democracy in the U.S.

[Aug 13, 2015] Its not migrants who are the marauders and plunderers

Notable quotes:
"... The sultan of Najd, Abdelaziz al-Saud bowed his head before the British High Commissioner in Percy Cox's Iraq. His voice quavered, and then he started begging with humiliation: "Your grace are my father and you are my mother. I can never forget the debt I owe you. You made me and you held my hand, you elevated me and lifted me. I am prepared, at your beckoning, to give up for you now half of my kingdom…no, by Allah, I will give up all of my kingdom, if your grace commands me! ..."
Aug 13, 2015 | The Guardian

Never let it be said that Britain's leaders miss an opportunity to inflame fear and loathing towards migrants and refugees. First David Cameron warned of the threat posed by "a swarm of people" who were "coming across the Mediterranean … wanting to come to Britain". Then his foreign secretary Philip Hammond upped the ante.

The chaos at the Channel tunnel in Calais, he declared, was caused by "marauding" migrants who posed an existential threat. Cheer-led by the conservative press, he warned that Europe would not be able to "protect itself and preserve its standard of living" if it had to "absorb millions of migrants from Africa".

With nightly television coverage of refugees from the world's worst conflicts risking their lives to break into lorries and trains heading for Britain, this was rhetoric designed to stoke visceral fears of the wretched of the Earth emerging from its depths.

Barely a hint of humanity towards those who have died in Calais this summer has escaped ministers' lips. But in reality the French port is a sideshow, home to a few thousand migrants unable to pay traffickers for more promising routes around Britain's border controls.

Europe's real refugee crisis is in the Mediterranean. More than 180,000 have reached Italy and Greece by sea alone this year, and more than 2,000 have died making the crossing, mostly from war-ravaged Libya. The impact on Greece, already wracked with crisis, is at tipping point.

On the Greek island of Kos, 2,000 mostly Syrian and Afghan refugees were rounded up on Tuesday and locked in a sports stadium after clashes with riot police, who used stun grenades to maintain order. Numbers reaching the Greek islands have quadrupled since last year.

But nothing in Europe matches the millions who have been driven to seek refuge in Turkey, Lebanon, Pakistan or Jordan. Set against such a global drama, Calais is little more than deathly theatre. Britain is not one of the main destinations for either refugees or illegal migrants – the vast majority of whom overstay their visas, rather than stow away in the Channel tunnel.

Last year 25,870 sought asylum in the UK and only 10,050 were accepted. By contrast, Sweden accepted three times as many and Germany had more than 200,000 asylum and new asylum applicants. Nor is Britain's asylum seeker's benefit rate, at £36.95 a week, remotely the magnet it is portrayed. France pays £41.42; in Norway it's £88.65.

What does suck overwhelmingly legal migrant workers into Britain is a highly deregulated labour market, where workplace protection is often not enforced and which both gangmasters and large private companies are able ruthlessly to exploit.

The case, reported in the Guardian, of the entirely legal Lithuanian farm workers – who are suing a Kent-based gangmaster supplying high street supermarkets over inhuman working conditions, debt bondage and violent intimidation – is only the extreme end of a growing underbelly of harsh and insecure employment.

If ministers were remotely concerned about "rogue employers driving down wages" by using illegal migrants, as they claim, they would be strengthening trade unions and rights at work. But they're doing the opposite. And they're using the language of dehumanisation to justify slashing support for asylum seekers' children, locking up refused applicants indefinitely and targeting illegal workers far more enthusiastically than the employers who exploit them.

But what risks dividing communities can also turn them against such anti-migrant crackdowns. In recent months, flash protests have erupted in London and other cities against UK Border Agency attempts to arrest failed asylum seekers or undocumented migrant workers. In areas such as Elephant and Castle, riot police have been called in after UKBA vans were surrounded and pelted with eggs by angry locals and activists trying to prevent the detention of people seen as part of the community.

The chaos at Calais and the far larger-scale upheaval and suffering across Europe could be brought under control by the kind of managed processing that northern European governments, such as Britain's, are so keen to avoid.

'If the current US and British-backed Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen continues, expect Yemeni refugees to join the region's exodus in the months to come.'

'If the current US and British-backed Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen continues, expect Yemeni refugees to join the region's exodus in the months to come.' Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

But that would only be a temporary fix for a refugee crisis driven by war and state disintegration – and Britain, France and their allies have played a central role in most of the wars that are fuelling it. The refugees arriving in Europe come from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, Pakistan, Somalia and Eritrea.

With the recent exception of the dictatorial Eritrean regime, those are a roll-call of more than a decade of disastrous western-led wars and interventions. In the case of Libya, the British and French-led bombing campaign in 2011 led directly to the civil war and social breakdown that has made the country the main conduit for refugee trafficking from Africa. And in Syria, the western funding, arming and training of opposition groups – while fuelling the rise of Isis – has played a crucial role in the country's destruction.

If the current American and British-backed Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen continues, expect Yemeni refugees to join the region's exodus in the months to come. So the first longer term contribution Britain and its allies could make to staunching the flow of refugees would be to stop waging open and covert wars in the Middle East and north Africa. That is actual marauding.

The second would be a major shift in policy towards African development. Africa may not be leading the current refugee crisis, and African migrants certainly don't threaten European living standards. But as a group of global poverty NGOs argued this week, Africa is being drained of resources through western corporate profit extraction, extortionate debt repayments and one-sided trade "partnership" deals. If that plunder continues and absolute numbers in poverty go on rising as climate change bites deeper, migration pressures to the wealthy north can only grow.

There is a genuine migration crisis driven by war and neoliberal globalisation. Despite the scaremongering, it hasn't yet reached Britain. But it's a fantasy to imagine that fences, deportations and better security can protect fortress Europe. An end to the real plunder and marauding would be more effective.


ID0049691 nadel 13 Aug 2015 10:55

Why don't you start with yourself? How many of your ancestors like millions of other Europeans, went to Africa, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere to "settle" there over the past centuries? Now that the tide is turning you and your likes do nothing but whine and accuse others of being "left wingers". The left wingers seem to be the only people left with human feelings.

Beastcheeks 13 Aug 2015 10:55

Thank you Seamus - a beacon of light amongst the marauding dirge of mass media ignorance and hatred that characterises the current mainstream British position. When I read many of responses to your reasoned arguments - I hang my head in shame. Mass delusion and hatred not dissimilar to Nazi Germany I'm afraid. The very fact you have to spell out the obvious truth - that you can't bomb the hell out of people and then cry foul when they come to us for safe refuge - beggars belief. I am well and truly disgusted and am in the process of relinquishing my British nationality. No longer am I willing to tolerate such ignorant intolerance in my name.


rentierDEATHcult 13 Aug 2015 10:51

Shias are not joining ISIS ... but the vast majority of Sunnis are not joining it, either !?

Kurds are Sunnis - they're fighting ISIS.

Sunni tribes in Iraq are collaborating with Shia (often Iranian) militias to fight ISIS.

Even fellow Sunni Jihadists in the al-Nusra Front (& affiliated brigades) regard ISIS as ignorant nihilists and want to have nothing to do with them.

Your thesis about a Shia + Sunni conflict driving the wave of migration into Europe is, simply, flawed.

Its utter nonsence, in fact.

Moreover, Shia and Sunni have lived amongst each other, largely, in peace during that 1400 years. Prior to the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003, most suburbs of Baghdad were mixed and a significant proportion of families shared a dual Shia + Sunni tradition.


Rj H 13 Aug 2015 10:42

There are some good and bad points to all this as demonstrated on this comments thread. There seems to be no real consensus and blame is shifted from one side to the other (whether political, social, class or economic). The only thing we (indigenous population) might all agree upon is; upon stepping back and looking at the current state of the UK (formally Great Britain) most of us will come to the conclusion that something has gone wrong and the country and the UK is not enjoying good health. That fact alone should demonstrate that those in charge are not doing their jobs properly. Poor leadership across 40 years has damaged this country. A country that once governed FOR its people now governs contrary to the majority of its people's wishes. Those at the top are not capable (or indeed willing) to look out for those at the bottom. We as a population are being hit and abused by a government that cares only for the wealth and power of a select few. Never have so many been owed so much by so few. The government has reduced the people's voice to a hoarse whisper. We need to regain our voice and SHOUT back that we won't stand for this situation any longer.


blueanchor rentierDEATHcult 13 Aug 2015 10:36

"How is Islam responsible ...?".

Aren't the battlelines across swathes of Islam's heartland in the Middle-East drawn up broadly on Sunni v Shia lines? For instance I don't think you'll find any Shia joining Isis. What you have now is an eruption of the Islamic sectarian dispute which has been running on and off for 1,400 years, and people are fleeing to escape it.


musolen David Hicks 13 Aug 2015 10:35

No, you're right, of course we don't, that's the point.

One sided trade deals are negotiated with massive distortion favouring the big multinational corporations but listen to the IMF and all you hear is we have to 'open up our markets to enable free trade'.

The US has more trade embargoes in place than any other nation and EU is close behind and the irony doesn't even register on the faces at IMF and World Bank trampling the world spreading their Neo-Liberal rubbish.

My point was that to have capitalism, if you are an advocate of capitalism you have to accept those free movements of goods, money and people.

Paul Torgerson Rob99 13 Aug 2015 10:35

Well at least there is one person on here who has not swallowed the right wing xenophobic crap. But the right wing press is doing a great job of brain washing the populace. Examining the facts indicates a humanitarian problem that will not in any way disadvantage Europe even if they allow ALL these people to settle in Europe


wasson Bicbiro 13 Aug 2015 10:34

So you think if the UK minimum wage was lower than Poland they'd still come? I'm afraid I'm going to have to to disagree with you there bic. They come because they can earn in a week what they earn in 3 months in Poland. Simple as.


rentierDEATHcult sludge 13 Aug 2015 10:32

If you know anything about Lawrence of Arabia (since you brought him up), you would know that the British were collaborating against the Ottomans by inciting Arab tribes to revolt against them.

The Ottoman state was seen as an Islamist bulwark against European colonialism, especially, British imperialism.

So i'm not sure why you think the British would have undermined the Saudis and handed territories they had seized back to the Ottoman Turks - against whom the British were collaborating - (using the Saudis) !?

You need to understand and embrace this part of recent British history. Because anyone that doesn't understand (or acknowledge) their history is not to be trusted with the present.


bugiolacchi dragonpiwo 13 Aug 2015 10:28

UK is not part of Shengen. Non-EU migrants who work, live, travel freely, and prosper in the rest of Europe need a visa to cross the few miles of water between us and the continent.

As per the ID cards, every time they interview an 'illegal' immigrant, one of the reasons given for coming here is that it is the only country (in the world?) where one does no need to identify themselves when asked (a 'utility bill' my socks...) and can drive without a driving licence or car documentations with them, but to 'present' them later. A Christmas invitation if one wants to 'blend' in the background'. Again, a 'utility bill' as an idea.. hilarious!


rentierDEATHcult sludge 13 Aug 2015 10:19

The 'Gazzeteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman & Central Arabia' authored by John Gordon Lorimer has now been declassified by the British government and provides significant insight into the relationship between Abdulaziz al Saud and the British colonial authorities.

The memoirs of HRP Dickson in his 1951 book "Kuwait and Her Neighbours" provides further details on how Britain supported the rise of the Saudi monarchy as de facto colonial agents of Pax Britannica.

Dickson was British envoy to the Gulf emirates and an aide to British High Commissioner for Iraq - Sir Percy Cox

Dickson recounts this exchange between Sir Percy and Abdelaziz al Saud during the conference in al-Aqeer in November 1922:

The sultan of Najd, Abdelaziz al-Saud bowed his head before the British High Commissioner in Percy Cox's Iraq. His voice quavered, and then he started begging with humiliation: "Your grace are my father and you are my mother. I can never forget the debt I owe you. You made me and you held my hand, you elevated me and lifted me. I am prepared, at your beckoning, to give up for you now half of my kingdom…no, by Allah, I will give up all of my kingdom, if your grace commands me!"

[Jun 16, 2015] Hillary Clinton ducks questions on trade deals during New Hampshire visit

Notable quotes:
"... But, listen, lets review the rules. Heres how it works: the president makes decisions. Hes the Decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction! ..."
"... The media is still a bunch of stenographers for the WH and even now the WH candidates. ..."
"... She was part of the Obama/Biden administration that expanded Afghanistan war, attacked Libya, intervened in Syria and Yemen, relaunched the Iraq war, used Ukraine to provoke Russia and is being provocative with China by interfering in South China Sea. ..."
"... Lets face it. Wall Street and the military industrial complex control BOTH parties, and are especially bonded with and beholding to Hillary Clinton. ..."
"... You have to remember that to the financial elites who are backing Republicans - and Obama - middle class means anyone whos in the top 5% of the economic pyramid but hasnt made it into the top 1% because theyre too damned lazy. ..."
Jun 15, 2015 | The Guardian

FugitiveColors 15 Jun 2015 23:52

She can talk til her pantsuit turns blue.
I have already decided that my ballot will have Bernie Sanders on it one way or another.
I don't believe her. I don't like her, and I damn sure won't vote for her.
She is a blue corporate stooge and not much different than a red corporate stooge.
Bernie is honest and after all of those years in politics, he is not rich.
You can't say that about a single other candidate.


libbyliberal -> Timothy Everton 15 Jun 2015 23:47

Yo, Timothy, Paul Street recently reminded his readers of part of Colbert's speech at the Correspondents' Dinner way back in 2006 (time flies while we're sinking into fascism):

"But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the Decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!"

Timothy Everton -> enlightenedgirl 15 Jun 2015 22:36

Sorry Not-so-enlightenedgirl. WE don't elect government officials, and we don't pay them for "not putting the screws to us". They get elected, paid, and influenced by lobbyists for the wealthy one percent, and by the corporations, who both fund their campaigns for future favors rendered. Those with the most funding for the prettiest and most abundant campaign ads are those elected. And yes, they DO put the screws to us, the American public. This woman is more a puppet for those interests than some Republicans.

Timothy Everton -> libbyliberal 15 Jun 2015 22:11

"The media is still a bunch of stenographers for the WH and even now the WH candidates."

Sorry libby, I don't see them crowding around Bernie Sanders, the only viable candidate FOR the AVERAGE American. In fact, I believe he had more "press time" before he became a candidate.

That is the way it goes here though. Get an honest candidate who speaks her/his mind, and you get no press coverage - way too dangerous for those who actually control our government through lobbyists.


libbyliberal 15 Jun 2015 21:42

What is this business about Hillary NOT "taking the bait" of a reporter's questions? Hillary needs to be challenged and not be the one in control with her gobsmackingly well-funded pr info-mercial steamrolling her presidential challenge.

The media is still a bunch of stenographers for the WH and even now the WH candidates. This is what THEY say their policy is and will be. Not critical thinking of the journalist, no connecting of the dots, to be applied?

Their talk sure is cheap and seductive. Obama gave us major lessons in that in 2008 and again in 2012. More nicey-nice sounding bull-sh*t that is vague or downright mendacious to the realpolitik agenda.

Hillary wants to talk about what is convenient and safe for her. Identity politics. Generalized populist feel-good rhetoric. Nothing substantial with the globalized and corporatized trade deals OR the massive violent US-sponsored or direct militarism around the globe.

Hillary's NYC Four Freedoms Park speech: lack of mention of foreign policy except for some threats on China, Russia, N. Korea and Iran. No mention of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Afghanistan. No mention of drone warfare. No mention of NSA surveillance. No mention of police violence.

She was part of the Obama/Biden administration that expanded Afghanistan war, attacked Libya, intervened in Syria and Yemen, relaunched the Iraq war, used Ukraine to provoke Russia and is being provocative with China by interfering in South China Sea.

Hillary skipped addressing the inconvenient and the media and her fan base had no problem with such gobsmacking omissions. Hillary decides that the US citizenry doesn't want to focus on foreign policy and she ramps up vague populist rhetoric like Obama did back in 2008 to convince the citizenry she is their champion even though she personally has amassed over $100 million from her financial elite cronies over the decades and if you think that fortune has no influence on who she is championing there's a bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn you should look into buying.

Let's face it. Wall Street and the military industrial complex control BOTH parties, and are especially bonded with and beholding to Hillary Clinton.


Vladimir Makarenko -> enlightenedgirl 15 Jun 2015 19:19

"diplomacy so badly needed after the disastrous term of Bush and Cheney and their destruction of the Middle East." If anything she extended B & Ch policies by destroying Libya and turning it in a murderous breeding ground for Islamic ultras. She was at helm of arming Syrian "opposition" better known today as ISIS.

Her record as a Secretary is dismal - line by line no achievements, no solved problems but disaster by disaster.

talenttruth 15 Jun 2015 18:34

If the Democratic party nominates the "inevitable" Hillary Clinton, rather than someone real who ACTUALLY represents the middle class, tells the truth and is NOT part of the "corporately bought-and-sold" insider group, then it will be heads-or-tails whether she wins or one of the totally insane, whack-job Republi-saur candidates wins.

If she keeps on doing what she's been doing, she will LOOK just like those arrogant "insiders" the Republicans claim her to be (despite the fact that they are FAR FAR FAR worse, but much better at lying about that than any Democrat). Hillary is a VERY VERY WEAK candidate, because the huge "middle" of decent Americans is looking for real change, and not -- as well -- a Republican change WAY for the worse.

This Election is the Democratic Party's to LOSE. Hillary could make that happen (no matter how much worse ANY Republican victor will likely be). What a choice.

sour_mash -> goatrider 15 Jun 2015 18:09

"...why doesn't the disgusting American media ask the Republicans who support it to explain themselves too. Why are they so eager to join Obama in destroying the American middle class?"

After +6 years of the then Republican Party, now known as the Christian Jihad Party or CJP, making Obama a one term president it smells to high heaven that they now agree on this single issue.

Yes, where are the questions.

Whitt 15 Jun 2015 18:03

Because they're not "destroying the American middle class". You have to remember that to the financial elites who are backing Republicans - and Obama - "middle class" means anyone who's in the top 5% of the economic pyramid but hasn't made it into the top 1% because they're too damned lazy.

[Jun 11, 2015] The Party of Fiscal Responsibility in Action

"...The neoliberal transformation you are describing has been bipartisan. The Clintons and their people are waist-deep in it too.
.
"...The high-government investment, growing middle class postwar economy was also largely bipartisan. Eisenhower invested in infrastructure and education too. The main fault line in 2015 is not Democrats against Republicans. It's the top against the bottom. "
.
"... Actually this is the way Bush II was elected as Nader took some Al Gore votes. So in a way this line of action contradict principle of choosing lesser evil. Greens think this is myth http://www.cagreens.org/alameda/city/0803myth/myth.html but I think this is a real danger. In "winner takes all" system only two parties are viable. And this is by design. This is how US elite controls prols."
Jun 11, 2015 | Economist's View
Paul Krugman:
The Party of Fiscal Responsibility in Action: One of the greatest confidence tricks ever pulled in American politics was the way Republicans managed, for a while anyway, to convince centrists that they were apostles of fiscal responsibility. Paul Ryan presented budgets that combined huge tax cuts for the rich with not quite as huge benefit cuts for the poor, added some magic asterisks - basically deficit-increasing redistribution from the have-nots to the haves, with added fraudulence - and received awards for fiscal responsibility.
Anyway, at this point we have evidence of what such politicians actually do in office, thanks to the many US states where Republicans control both the governor's office and the legislature. And the result is an epidemic of fiscal crisis, despite a recovering economy. Yes, some Democrat-controlled states are also having problems. But they didn't go around pretending to be the nation's fiscal saviors, and the biggest state controlled by Democrats, California - which was supposed to be a basket case - is in quite good fiscal shape.
And yes, I think this observation is a lot more important than Marco Rubio's personal financial difficulties, although those are pretty bizarre.

Posted by on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 09:58 AM in Economics, Fiscal Policy, Politics | Permalink Comments (45)

mulp said in reply to Dan Kervick...

We should promote continued piracy and pollution and pillage and plunder of the earth?

TPP to set higher standards for all instead of the current race to the bottom is a bad idea?

Or are you arguing that you want conservatives with Peabody Coal and Exxon to write the TPP??

I note that GE is now unloading it hedge fund, recently cutting a deal to unload its consumer exploitation (banking) division, and is focusing on manufacturing capital assets, returning to the values GE had before Reagan and their embrace of free lunch economics and their attempt to create wealth without labor.

For GE, its best they get to sell their products in other nations without the Chinese selling GE counterfeits for less. But perhaps you want Americans unemployed to create more jobs in China?

Conservative Republicans seem to have three decades of history of destroying American companies that manufacturing in America. Why conservatives argue that we taxpayers should not buy US produced goods because buying goods from Asia and especially China is cheaper.

Which is why China controls rare earths, for example. Conservatives said Buy American was a bad idea, so multiple industries were killed off to save a percent or two buying from China. That is how conservatives cut deals. Yeah, they work to export low labor taxpayer subsidized ag products, but are loathe to do anything to help the export of high labor cost manufactured goods.

Clearly you prefer that conservative trade view because you oppose the efforts of Obama to promote US exports of manufactured goods.

I guess you like the increasing debt of the Republican policies on trade....

Dan Kervick said in reply to mulp...

The neoliberal transformation you are describing has been bipartisan. The Clintons and their people are waist-deep in it too.

The high-government investment, growing middle class postwar economy was also largely bipartisan. Eisenhower invested in infrastructure and education too.

The main fault line in 2015 is not Democrats against Republicans. It's the top against the bottom.

JohnH said in reply to Darryl FKA Ron...

Did Democrats ever hold Republicans accountable for being the fiscally reckless party--cutting taxes on the wealthy and waging war on credit--during the Bush 43 years? No, they could have cared less.

Democrats are too "reasonable," which essentially means that they at best appease Republicans and at worst aid and abet them.

And, as Obama did in 2011, when he proposed an austerity budget and then met Republicans half way on their severe austerity budget, I don't expect Obama to raise much of a fuss. He'll pretend to be reasonable, which means caving in advance to Republican demands. Other Democrats will just scurry around, tails between their legs, begging for their masters to fund their election campaigns.

It's time to vote third party and send a message of disgust.

likbez said in reply to JohnH...

It's time to vote third party and send a message of disgust.

Actually this is the way Bush II was elected as Nader took some Al Gore votes. So in a way this line of action contradict principle of choosing lesser evil. Greens think this is myth
http://www.cagreens.org/alameda/city/0803myth/myth.html but I think this is a real danger.

In "winner takes all" system only two parties are viable. And this is by design. This is how US elite controls prols.

ilsm said...

The GOthugs (closet Birchers whose real agenda was kill the New Deal), since 1947 have been out to secure the empire by massive spending on war diverting productivity to kill the New Deal.

It is not fiscal insanity it is Nero......

pgl said...

Christie gets away of reniging on a deal with the public school teachers. They agreed to a lower salary in exchange for better pensions and lard ass decides not fund the pensions so he can get a tax cut for his rich buddies. The teachers sued and the Supreme Court would not reverse this blatant theft:

http://news.yahoo.com/governor-christie-spotlight-n-j-pension-decision-due-050846519--sector.html?soc_src=mail&soc_trk=ma

BTW - a President Christie would declare war on China. Likely paid
for by slashing Social Security benefits. If you liked the "leadership" of Dick Cheney - Christie is your guy.

ilsm said in reply to pgl...

Subsidized cluster bombs for Saudis to kill Shiites is slashing productivity for war profits to slash SS benefits. Broader scheme been going on for 68 years.

pgl said in reply to ilsm...

Lindsey Graham wants to declare war on all of the Middle East. Jeb wants to take on Russia. Wars with everyone!

pgl said...

The Republicans have never been for a smaller government or overall tax cuts. What they are for is more military spending by slashing transfer payments (your Social Security benefits) and tax cuts for the rich paid for by tax increases on the working class.

ilsm said in reply to pgl...

It is the empire (justifying militarism) for the MNC's benefit and the most expensive ways to secure it in the congress' for profit monopsony, where the sellers buy the buyers from excessive margins.

Putin has the nerve to tilt with one of the empire's client puppets in Kiev.

Lord said...

Republicans are never what they seem. More deadbeats than fiscally responsible, more wasteful than efficient, more corporate kowtowing than small business supporting, more wealth obsequious than growth supporting, more authority than freedom loving, more big legal/police/military government than small, more war mongering than peaceable, more weak than strong. You only have to listen to them to find out what they are not.

Thomas Hutcheson said...

"Austerity" is a political tern for mistakenly using (or claiming to use) the level of debt as an argument of the public expenditure function (with a negative sign) rather than following standard public finance criteria: making expenditures whose NPV>0 when discounted by the borrowing rate. (Something similar goes on with taxes. Cutting/raising taxes allows/impedes the private sector from making expenditures with NPV>0.) "Austerity" then is pretty much the polar opposite of "fiscal responsible responsibility."

"Austerity" is particularly damaging if it means reducing expenditures during a recession – NGDP is below trend -- when borrowing rates tend to be low and many inputs into public expenditures have opportunity costs below prices that will be paid to employ them, which tend to increase the amount of expenditures which meet the NPV>0 criteria. It is the employment of inputs with opportunity cost below their price that can lead to a "multiplier" greater than 1 [Of course if there are expenditures with NPV less than 0 they should be cut recession or no recession, but that still has nothing to do with the debt.]

States should not engage in "austerity," either, although their borrowing costs will be different (the spread over Federal borrowing may rise as their tax revenues fall) and this will affect the levels of tax and expenditures that are fiscally responsible.

I think Krugman's gripe with Kansas is that there, tax reductions were sold as self-financing (few economist thought they would be) and when they turned out not to be, expenditures with NPV>0 were reduced. I take it he thinks California got it right.

reason said...

It seems to me that one of the defining features of the modern Republican party is hypocrisy. I'm sure it must be in their party constitution somewhere. (Something about public utterances should be ignored in private dealings or such.) As Paul Krugman has pointed out several times, they don't even seem to understand what the word means. (Seeming to think it means that rich, well educated people can't want policies that don't actually help them.) Maybe there is a simple explanation for this phenomenon but I think it is not obvious.

likbed:

There are couple of assumptions in this thread that are not realistic if we look at facts on the ground

1. The Republican Party is really like an old style European far right nationalist party. As such it is on up swing. Broadly serving the interests of the oligarchy but spouting a form of nationalism, which paints America as being in a life and death, struggle with anti-American forces at home and abroad. Nationalism (aka American exceptionalism) has strong social base in the USA fueled by MSM.

2. The existence of "deep state" is ignored. Since November 22, 1963 Presidential elections mean very little.

3. IMHO "after Clinton" Dems is actually a party of financial oligarchy and serves as a spoiler to crush any dissent from the left. Very rarely people can defy "the iron law of oligarchy".

Remember how skillfully Howard Deen was neutralized. http://www.completecampaigns.com/article.asp?articleid=18
and
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/howard-deans-scream-tv-screwed-him/article/2515137

Does anybody think that similar dirty trick can't be played with Sanders if necessary?

4. Electoral college and existence of "swing states" amplify the ability to ensure "one dollar one vote" result as votes in most other states are essentially a formality and money can be injected into few critical states to guarantee the necessary result. Also this allows the candidate who got the minority of total vote to win the election.

5. Myth about intelligent voters. US population is brainwashed to the extent that Soviet leaders can only envy it they were able to see the current situation.

[Jun 10, 2015] How Elizabeth Warren would make debt-free college a reality

"..."Not every college needs to graduate every student debt-free, [but] every kid needs a debt-free option - a strong public university where it's possible to get a great education without taking on loads of debt,""
"...Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill last month that would allow students to attend public colleges without paying tuition. More than 60 members of Congress co-sponsored a resolution calling for debt-free college."
"...Warren also called on Congress to increase funding for Pell Grants, a federal program that helps low-income students pay for college. Earlier this year, House Republicans proposed freezing the maximum Pell Grant at $5,775 per year for the next 10 years."
"...The Senator criticized the Department for taking too long to intervene as evidence built up that Corinthian Colleges, once one of the largest for-profit college chains, was misleading students. The agency increased avenues for loan forgiveness for Corinthian students earlier this week after pressure from Warren and others."
"Elizabeth Warren called on schools, as well federal and state governments to create a viable path for Americans to attend college debt free, in a speech Wednesday.

The Democratic Senator from Massachusetts has been one of the most prominent advocates of a proposal from progressive Democrats to allow students to graduate from public universities without any debt. Wednesday's speech offered a variety of policy suggestions for achieving that goal, including requiring colleges to have a clear financial stake in their students' success and debt levels, mandating minimum levels of state investment in public schools and establishing a partnership between federal and state governments to fund public universities modeled after the way governments use combined resources to build and maintain interstate highways.

"Not every college needs to graduate every student debt-free, [but] every kid needs a debt-free option - a strong public university where it's possible to get a great education without taking on loads of debt," Warren said Wednesday at a panel on college affordability, according to prepared remarks. The panel was sponsored by the Shaker Institute and the American Federation of Teachers. "It's time to open the doors of opportunity wider and to invest in our future."

Watch American's student-loan debt grow $3,055 every second

Once somewhat of a far-fetched pipe dream, the idea of "debt-free college" has gained traction in mainstream Democratic circles in recent months. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner for president, has said America should "try to move toward making college as debt-free as possible," at an Iowa campaign event. One of her challengers, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill last month that would allow students to attend public colleges without paying tuition. More than 60 members of Congress co-sponsored a resolution calling for debt-free college.

The idea likely has mass appeal for voters. Tuition, even at public universities, has skyrocketed over the past several years, putting the idea of a college degree without debt out of reach for many aspiring students. Today about 40 million Americans have student loans, totaling about $1.2 trillion in outstanding debt and 70% college students graduate with debt.

Warren's speech comes as lawmakers work to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, the law that governs federal financial aid programs, before it expires at the end of the year. Some of the proposals she discussed in the speech have bipartisan support, including simplifying the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid form and requiring colleges to have "skin in the game" when it comes to student loans.

Others, however, are more contentious. Warren urged state governments to allow borrowers to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates. The Senator has proposed a bill asking the federal government to do this, which Republicans have blocked multiple times. Warren also called on Congress to increase funding for Pell Grants, a federal program that helps low-income students pay for college. Earlier this year, House Republicans proposed freezing the maximum Pell Grant at $5,775 per year for the next 10 years.

In addition to laying out her plans for making debt-free college a reality, Warren also used the speech to deride the way the Department of Education has handled accusations of wrongdoing against student loan servicers and schools. The Senator criticized the Department for taking too long to intervene as evidence built up that Corinthian Colleges, once one of the largest for-profit college chains, was misleading students.

The agency increased avenues for loan forgiveness for Corinthian students earlier this week after pressure from Warren and others.

"Secretary Duncan is right to help these students, and should do more - particularly since the students were defrauded while the Department of Education passed up one opportunity after another to stop Corinthian from cheating more students," she said in the speech.

Jillian Berman covers student debt and millennial finance. You can follow her on Twitter @JillianBerman.

Related Stories
  1. Al Franken: Millions of Americans Are Struggling to Pay Student Loan Debt
  2. Gov't plans to erase student debt for Corinthian students Associated Press
  3. Inequality & Student Loan Debt: 5 Troubling Stats Credit.com
  4. Defaulting on student loans is still a bad idea MarketWatch

[May 31, 2015] Publius: Sinking the Sanders Campaign Beneath a Wave of Silence by Yves Smith

Quotes: "After nearly 40 years in journalism, I'm still amazed at just how routinely the press violates nearly every ethical precept that is supposed to guide its work."
"...You do realize that the party machinery will cheat, if necessary? Rigging elections was the meat and drink of the big city machines – almost all Democrats. Chicago is the last survivor."
"...That dog won't hunt. After the 1972 fiasco the Democrats specifically adopted the superdelegate rule to ensure that party establishment could exercise a de facto veto over the nomination process in order to ensure they would never again be saddled with an unelectable McGovernesque candidate by the party rank and file. From the point of view of the party establishment Sanders is McGovern with 10% of the charisma and 1000% of the ideological baggage.
Not that it's ever going to come to that. They destroyed Howard Dean literally overnight with the meme that he was some crazed out of control freak on the basis of one boisterous post primary celebration rally – and Dean was then a frontrunner with a extensive ground organization and Obama-like adulation from young Democrats. Taking down a 73 year old senator from a small state with no organization and no constituency within the Democratic Party is almost an insult to their finely honed mastery of the Machiavellian arts. "
"...MSM are large corporations. Large corporations plump for corporate approved candidates. Sanders isn't a corporate candidate. End of story. By the way, double-check your calendars, it isn't 1948, nor even 1972."
"...Sanders is toxic to the establishment not only because they regard him as unelectable, but more importantly because even if he was nominated (never mind thinking the unthinkable, as in a President Sanders) the plutocracy would abandon the Democrats in droves and take their money and patronage with them. From the perspective of the establishment that would be the very definition of a Pyrrhic victory."
"...Democrat is a disgusting moniker, not Liberal/Progressive". They (Democrats) sell their Mothers too, but it's behind a veil of policy, that's never brought up. Obama stunted the vote of the 18-30 year olds for possibly eternity. There was no "Change", and almost all have lost "Hope"."
"...I sometimes think that parties are: interest groups for certain industries. And if so Sanders could be different as long as he's the same on the issues these industries care about. And maybe that's what could happen, he'll be allowed some progressive economic policies that still have to pass Congress, and thus may never see the light of day, in return for steering the empire through another round, which will of course see the light of day.
The popular perception is to see parties as ideologies but to accept that is to condemn a party that will not condemn and disown Obama as having no principles, or no decent principles at any rate.
Because the Dem party is really not coherent as an ideological entity except as a champion of the worse types of things."
May 30, 2015 | nakedcapitalism.com

... ... ...

Ditto May 30, 2015 at 4:55 am

This article has an implicit faith in the American voter that is unearned. I'm deeply skeptical that the elites are the problem. I support Sanders. I think Americans are in denial and identify too much with the elite.

Gerard Pierce May 30, 2015 at 5:32 am

Another way of looking at it is the Americans want to be part of the winning team. At the same time, they want a candidate that they believe is on their side.

That may have a lot to do with Obama's victory – he convinced a large number of people that he WAS on their side.

It also explains why a large number of us have no respect for what's left of his administration, and it explains why a lot of people are less than fully optimistic about Hillary.

Bernie lacks the Wall St connections and the Wall St money. It's hard to see him as the inevitable winner. But we do know what he stands for. I'll vote for him in a primary and in the general election precisely because he is not the lesser evil.

The only way I would vote for Hillary would be if she convinced me that she was on my side. It's not likely to happen because she was tightly connected to the New Democrats, and they have demonstrated over and over that they are on their own side. She used up the time when she might have demonstrated who she is. It' a little late to start now and be believable.

JTMcPhee May 30, 2015 at 2:35 pm

Bill Clinton was on our side. He felt our pain. Reagan was on our side. We just knew it, he talked so good and trustworthy and he was a war hero, wasn't he? Like John Wayne?

To paraphrase, no one ever went broke underestimating the stupidity of the American public.

Lambert Strether May 30, 2015 at 4:11 pm

In general, I deprecate the "voters are stupid" trope. Basically, I file that under the heading of "Democracy is the worst system of government, except for all the others." (Too lazy to find the soruce of the quote; Churchill?) I deprecate it for two reasons:

1) Tactically, it's foolish. Why insult the people you need to persuade? (And if you write them off, what then?)

2) Morally, I'd appeal to "There but for the grace of ___ go I." After all, who among us hasn't done something really stupid, and sometimes persisted for years? I certainly have.)

neo-realist May 30, 2015 at 2:30 pm

I also believe that with many Americans, cultural values trump good economics: Americans may not want to support broader based health care programs and or a stronger social safety net in general if they believe that those more redistributive economic policies leading to such would provide equal quality benefits to people they consider less than worthy--poor people of color, poor people of color on federal assistance, substance abuse addicts. People who oppose abortion would vote for an anti-abortion candidate whose economic policies served the wealthy much more than a pro-choice candidate whose economics better serve the 99%.

Right Wing Corporate media has also done a bang up job over the past 3 decades "manufacturing consent" among main street Americans to economic policies that better the wealthy than themselves.

bkrasting May 30, 2015 at 7:05 am

Okay – Yves likes Sanders. But is Sanders really a viable candidate?

The man is 73 today. If elected he would be 75 when he takes the oath of office. The oldest president to take the oath was Ronnie Regan. He was 69 when he swore on a bible. Sanders will be six years older than Ronnie.

Bernie is a good guy, and he has ideas that have support – but there is no way that he is qualified to be the next Prez.

abynormal May 30, 2015 at 8:13 am

I say FINALLY…ditch the Am Idol Bierber Bops!
Sanders will have the experience and position to DELEGATE instead of being DELEGATED.

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. Eisenhower

Vatch May 30, 2015 at 6:19 pm

"Bernie is a good guy, and he has ideas that have support – but there is no way that he is qualified to be the next Prez."

Just wondering: when was the last time we had a President who was qualified for the job?

Carolinian May 30, 2015 at 7:31 am

A couple of points:

If Sanders supporters ever thought that the mainstream press was going to help them in their crusade they are deeply delusional. The dismissive attitude of the political press is exactly what one might have expected.

And the Carter comparison is a bit of stretch. Carter brought the South into the Democratic fold when that was hardly guaranteed. Sanders brings…Vermont? The favorite son idea may seem antique in this media age but the last New Englander to win was JFK, and he was from the largest state in the region.

For once I actually agree with Chuck Todd and the rest. If Sanders wants to prove his political viability he's going to have to do more than cite popularity in tiny Vermont. Might be time to start shaking hands, kissing babies.

And finally isn't it way too early to be talking about any of this? The tea leaves are very murky.

jrs May 30, 2015 at 11:26 am

Way too early yea, I'm more with what Chomsky says in that voting should take 5 minutes, then get back to real activism. Now I think the 5 minute thing is wrong (and he uses it to defend voting for such "lesser" evils of Obama), I mean if your going to be a semi-intelligent voter do more research than that, or you really would be better off not voting, especially if your voting on referendums and things you have a direct say on. But it's closer to the truth than starting on the Presidency, of all things (the position we have least ability to affect), now.

Code Name D May 30, 2015 at 8:22 am

... But I also say that Bernie needs to keep his eye on the real prize here – which is actually much larger than the White House – and that is the principle of change itself, something that he doesn't need to win the presidency or even the nomination in order to achieve. He can show leadership now and make it happen.

For example, Bernie has a formidable ally with Warren, who can be his attack dog. He couldn't have asked for a better opportunity. If he uses her right, it not only advances his own chances, but Warren's as well, by better positioning her in congress and even making changes in the congressional races. This is nothing new. But it would be jaw dropping to see a Democrat playing political hardball like this – political competence would be awesome to see at work.

Brooklin Bridge May 30, 2015 at 10:29 am

Good comment and good question; What is Sanders going to do about it? Gaius is saying, keep the faith (long shots are not always so long), because the electorate is still looking for actual representation as illustrated by Gaius' somewhat less than compelling examples and will manage to find it somehow. That may be true, Gaius has a way of being early to recognize things. But you are absolutely correct that Sanders has to do something to make that happen and as you also point out he is not without possibilities. It won't be enough to simply blame the media if he fails.

The media will do a lot to hinder Sanders and silence is indeed their biggest weapon, but this is only the beginning. Personally, I'm more suspicious that wittingly or not, he is fulfilling other purposes than simply those of an enlightened choice in a democratic process – and that is the direction you will see the media, or a significant part of it, pushing things as hard as they can once the primaries get going. Will he be aware? Can he use it to his advantage?

Sanders is a deeply political person and a very capable one so he will deserve little excuse if his run turns out to be simply channeling energy into the Hillary coronation.

Vince in MN May 30, 2015 at 8:24 am

MSM are large corporations. Large corporations plump for corporate approved candidates. Sanders isn't a corporate candidate. End of story. By the way, double-check your calendars, it isn't 1948, nor even 1972.

In the post Citizens United world, none of this matters. Do we need a free press -yes. Do we have one – no. But then we don't have democracy either.

jrs May 30, 2015 at 11:18 am

Yes I've asked, could Sanders win on small donations alone? But we are told there are rich people or corporations who mean well that will donate. Ok, lets assume that (although I'd really rather not assume it about the corporate persons at least), would we even be able to KNOW WHO is donating to him? (or to any other candidate)

Carla May 30, 2015 at 1:13 pm

No.

http://www.movetoamend.org

Jill May 30, 2015 at 9:04 am

If people truly believe in the candidacy of Sanders then they should do everything in their power to get him elected. I cannot say if other ways of person to person communication can undo the silence of the MSM, but it's certainly worth a try.

For me, the more important question is this– what are the people getting with a Sander's win? Just as Obama won, I would not say that ordinary people around the world or the earth itself is a better place due to his winning. His win has been an unmitigated disaster in this regard. It has also been an unmitigated, uncompromising success for his real constituents.

All I am asking is that people look not only at what Sanders says, (which like what Obama said before his election, is profound, excellent, impassioned and great), but that voters judge him on his votes. The votes are different from the speeches. Actions tell a story that voters need to understand.

We were all told it was necessary for Obama to win. Was it? Did his win help ordinary people and the earth?. Has his win accomplished the goals people sought in voting for him? I would say, absolutely not.

This country is very ready to vote for an actual left wing politician. I also see that we are again in a position of desperation, seeking a savior. That desperation, that desire for a savior can be very dangerous while trying to make a good judgment about our political class. However, if people look at Sander's actions and want to pull for him, that is what I would do. Go around the MSM in every possible way. It may not succeed but it is still worth doing.

Jagger May 30, 2015 at 10:49 am

What was his position on the Israeli attack on Gaza or Russia and the Ukraine debacle? What about Syria and Iran? And I guess now we need to look at China as well.

Hopefully, there isn't a neocon cloaked underneath that nice shiny anti-neo-liberal facade.

I guess I should do some homework on him.

Ned Ludd May 30, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Will Miller, an anti-war activist who fought to unionize the University of Vermont faculty, called Sanders: "Bernie the Bomber".

Since 1991 the Democrats have given Bernie membership in their Congressional Caucus. Reciprocally, Bernie has become an ardent imperialist. Sanders endorsed Clinton in 1992 and 1996. In 1992 he described Clinton as the "lesser of evils," (a justification he used to denounce when he was what the local press called an "avowed socialist"). By 1996 he gave Clinton an unqualified endorsement. He has been a consistent "Friend of Bill's" from since 1992. One student I know worked on the Clinton Campaign in 1996 and all across Vermont, Bernie was on the stage with the rest of the Vermont Democratic Party Leadership, while the unauthorized Democratic candidate for his Congressional seat was kept out in the audience.

Sanders continues to support sanctions even though the Iraqi body count has now passed 1.5 million. Just as he has supported every bombing of Iraq since 1992. When Clinton sent military units to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in October, 1994 because Iraq moved troops inside Iraq closer to the Kuwait border (apparently
about 100 miles away), Bernie supported this because "we cannot tolerate aggression." […]

The overwhelming majority of the people present were against Sander's [sic] support for the bombing… and his active support for every US intervention since he has been in Congress–Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Liberia, Zaire (Congo), Albania, Sudan, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia.

When Delores Sandoval, an African American faculty member at the University of Vermont, ran as a Democrat against Sanders, she "was amazed that the official party treated her as a nonperson and Bernie kept outflanking her to her right. She opposed the Gulf build-up, Bernie supported it. She supported decriminalization of drug use and Bernie defended the war on drugs…"

Jess May 30, 2015 at 10:17 pm

So, the question is, "Do we want just more bombing and imperialism?" or "Do we want more bombing and imperialism to go along with cutting SS and Medicare, privatizing education, debt servitude, no prosecution of banksters, etc?"

Also, although MMT advocates may disagree, isn't it conventional wisdom that to do the kinds of things at home that Bernie advocates, we'll have to cut back on the foreign misadventures?

ran May 30, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Like the sainted Warren, he believes Israel is justified in murdering as many Palestinians as they want.

Oregoncharles May 30, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Good point. You need to start posting his voting record, or your posts get more hollow as you go along.

Lambert Strether May 30, 2015 at 4:14 pm

Yep. Worse, since the comments have no authority, they don't propagate. No point coming back to them, no point learning new sources, etc.

Ned Ludd May 30, 2015 at 12:21 pm

"The Toxically Useful Idiocy of Amy Goodman", a response to Amy Goodman's column on Obama's re-election, questions the entire role of the lefty media in electing Democrats.

It's their bread and butter to know, that, yes, the government IS bought and paid for and to remind us of that again and again in laborious, depressing and mostly disempowering detail. But it's also built into their job to hint at the way out and this they crucially do by habitually endorsing Democrats with loose talk of 'making [them] do it' via grass roots agitating.

But if the government is bought and paid for and only mass uprisings will help, why squander time and money on elections at all? Why not just get straight to the shit-disturbing?

Forget about ever hearing those questions posed, or answered, by Goodman and her ilk, at least not with any seriousness. That's not what they're paid to do.

Elections are a sink for activist energy. After my state's Green Party became hopelessly corrupt, I wasted far too much time electing more & better Democrats based on progressive promises and liberal voting records.

In a corrupt system, popular progressive, socialist, and Green politicians will follow the path of Joschka Fischer. Once he rose to the position of foreign minister of Germany, the former communist street fighter became a charismatic advocate for neoliberalism.

Uahsenaa May 30, 2015 at 9:57 am

This is Iowa, so take what I say with a grain of salt; people here have a tendency to overestimate the significance of being "first in the nation" (many eyerolls).

However, Hilary's campaign trail behavior has already been deeply irritating to voters here. At Kirkwood (Community College) she basically got out of her van, walked immediately into a building, delivered a speech to a bunch of cameras (no press!), where she talked about the importance of meeting "everyday Iowans," all the while many many flesh and blood Iowans were waiting outside, because she willfully ignored them. There was much grumbling in the crowd.

Meanwhile, Sanders is actually going to rec centers and townhalls to be bombarded with dumb midwestern platitudes, something which will almost certainly ingratiate him to the "ordinary folk" around here. I'm perfectly willing to predict a Hilary loss in Iowa even at this point in the game.

Pelham May 30, 2015 at 10:16 am

If one judges by the various candidates' policy positions and - far more importantly - their credibility (how likely they are to foIlow through on promises), Sanders is literally the only serious candidate.

If the press were truly objective, Sanders would be the dominant figure in the race, not an afterthought.

After nearly 40 years in journalism, I'm still amazed at just how routinely the press violates nearly every ethical precept that is supposed to guide its work.

Brooklin Bridge May 30, 2015 at 12:49 pm

Can't resist a question. I'm assuming, after 40 years in journalism, that you have contacts, friends, acquaintances among the media. Are they aware of the unflattering similarities between themselves and say Baghdad Bob, but the money is sweet, or do they really imagine they are reporting the facts?

juliania May 30, 2015 at 10:59 am

I take umbrage at the description of Obama. "Quixotic" he is not.

Steven Greenberg May 30, 2015 at 11:04 am

The point of the article is not so much, "What is Bernie going to do about it", and more "What are you and I going to do about it?" While we still have access to the internet, this is the biggest tool we have to get things done our way. It is up to us to use it, Tweet, Facebook, Blog, MeetUp, Organize, Petition, or do whatever else you can imagine doing on the internet to overcome the lame stream media's silence.

Don't just sit back and say it can't be done. How do you know it can't be done, if you don't try? If a 72 year old guy can muster the energy, perhaps the younger folk can find a little energy to invest, too. (Of course forcing you to have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet, is a good way for the oligarchs to make sure you don't have too much excess energy to devote to politics.) If you are participating in this thread, then you must have some spare time on your hands.

"They" may have the money, but, at least for the time being, "we have the votes."

grayslady May 30, 2015 at 11:20 am

Some thoughts on Bernie:

1) Regarding age: It was only 5 years ago that Bernie filibustered for a solid 8 1/2 hours against a tax cut for people earning over $250,000. He's clearly a lot hardier than many people his age.

2) Bernie's campaign team includes the excellent Tad Devine as senior strategic consultant. Bernie's digital team includes Revolution Messaging, a firm comprised of many of the individuals who worked on Obama's campaigns.

These two choices tell me that Bernie knows he needs someone with serious credentials on how to win the Democrat primary and, also, that he understands the traditional media is going to give him short shrift. I don't personally participate in any of the standard social media platforms, but I don't underestimate their power. Consider that recently two housewives, and a quarter of a million online supporters, successfully forced Kraft to eliminate artificial dyes in their mac and cheese product. Online campaigns can be extremely powerful in reaching audiences that newspapers and television miss.

3) Democrat opposition: Hillary still had vestiges of populism in her 2008 persona. Today, it's difficult for anyone to imagine a woman who helps her daughter buy a $10 million co-op in NYC is anything but part of the .01%. Her refusal to condemn TPP, her brazen condemnation of Chelsea Manning, her pathetic responses on Edward Snowden, and her abnormally secretive actions–as SofS and before–also indicate a personality totally out of touch with the majority of Americans.

4) Bernie's voting record: Bernie hasn't always ended up voting the way I would have liked on issues, but I appreciate that as a member of Congress without a political party behind him, he has occasionally made deals that didn't benefit the public at large even if he was still able to negotiate some small victories for his Vermonters. When first asked if he was considering running for President, Bernie said it depended on two things: he would only run if he thought he could win, and he understood that for him to win he needed a movement behind him. He understands the fallacy of a political "savior". He's willing to be the voice of the people if the people are finally ready to take back their government–not just hand it over to one individual and hope for miracles.

5) Voter turnout: Bernie has a potentially broader base of voters by staying away from hot-button issues such as immigration and gay rights. His platform of universal free college has to be a winner with young people, and his campaign announcement included, as part of his platform, women's equality. He's also a serious advocate for environmental protection. Most importantly, anyone who works can easily relate to his primary platform issue, more and better jobs.

For what it's worth, my best friend's 17-year old grandson, who was an active foot soldier in our local congressional campaign last fall, said recently that looking at all the current candidates for President, he liked Bernie the best. If Bernie can catch hold with the younger voters, he won't have to worry about whether he's picking up the ethnic, single-issue voting blocs.

No candidate for President is ever ideal, but I agree with the author that Bernie has a real shot at the nomination as long as the voters, and not the traditional press, say he has a shot and are willing to back the movement Bernie says we need to develop.

jrs May 30, 2015 at 11:48 am

Was Bernie's filibuster real or hadn't everyone already gone home for the weekend by then? I mean very well, he does a so called filibuster, so does Rand Paul do so called filibusters and quits at the last minute (by the way I don't know why Rand Paul was able to insert a Patriot Act filibuster in a trade debate, but anyway.).

If we're going to develop a movement shouldn't it be for more than Bernie Sanders? Even a reformist movement should look toward I don't know taking over a political party or something. What happened to all the movement Obama allegedly built, sure some were Obots, but some probably really wanted change. Nothing of course. What do those types of single candidate movements do but churn through people and demoralize them if they lose the one office that was the whole reason for being of the whole movement.

I don't' just believe looking for a political savior is a fallacy, I believe starting at the top of the political system (the presidency!) is a fallacy. Why do we continually focus where we have no power, but not where we might (maybe city counsel member or something). But sure spend 5 minutes voting for Sanders if it makes sense to you. I'm undecided. I know why we start at the top: because all the propaganda is aimed there, every slight of hand has us looking in that direction, we're continually told the Presidency is what really matters (and witness voter turn out in Presidential elections versus non-Presidential), because the intoxication of so much power is seductive, because one can't help being informed about the Presidential race by osmosis and learning some down ticket items takes real effort. But it's not working.

grayslady May 30, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Try reading the bullet points. My point about Bernie's filibuster wasn't the content, or the time of day, or the day of the week. I'm a year younger than Bernie was when he filibustered and I couldn't stand up for 8 1/2 hours with only a glass of water and one bathroom break.

As to a movement, Bernie isn't talking about an Obama-worship type movement. He's talking about everyday citizens taking back their government from the monied class. He's indicated a willingness to be the governmental representative leading the charge, nothing more. Having started his political career running for mayor, I don't think Bernie ignores the importance of local action. But when you can have the state override local action, such as recently happened in Denton, Texas, you can't ignore the importance of changing state and Federal actions at the same time.

It's natural to feel jaded, I suppose, after so many years of political hucksters. Being from Illinois, I knew Obama was a con man from day one. Obama was never in the news here for anything, much less helping ordinary citizens, until Emil Jones decided to start manufacturing a bogus c.v. for him. Bernie has a long, public record to examine, whether you like his record or not. Personally, I'd rather try one more shot at a legitimate political contender before opting for revolution.

abynormal May 30, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Personally, I'd rather try one more shot at a legitimate political contender before opting for revolution. taking this with me…thanks

"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem."
H. Zinn

Carolinian May 30, 2015 at 7:47 pm

Maybe what we need is a political savior. I think one error of the Occupy movement was thinking it could succeed without visible and charismatic leadership. After all we don't celebrate Civil Rights day, we celebrate Martin Luther King day. The Republicans win election after election by making it all about personalities because the reality is that's what wins Presidential elections. Even in the extreme situation of a 1930s style Depression–far worse than now–the right leader was needed and happily got elected.

What the left really needs is an Obama type figure who isn't a gold plated phony. It's a tough order. Some of us are just wondering if Sanders fits the bill.

Ned Ludd May 30, 2015 at 9:10 pm

Martin Luther King, Jr. was an outstanding orator, but compare the time he was given to defend his views on The Mike Douglas Show, versus the concision required by today's news programs.

Jeff Greenfield, Nightline producer: One of the things you have to do, when you book a show, is know that the person can make the point in the framework of television… We've got to have English-speaking people. We also need concision.

[…]

Chomsky: The beauty of concision, you know, saying a couple of sentences between two commercials, the beauty of that is you can only repeat conventional thoughts. […]

You can't give evidence if you're stuck with concision. That's the genius of this structural constraint.

Today's media ensures that anyone with unconventional views "can't give evidence" and will "sound like they were from Neptune." Consequently, a contemporary dissident whose views cannot be explained in two sentences would fare better as an outstanding writer, instead of an outstanding orator.

Lambert Strether May 31, 2015 at 1:43 am

The long form is hard to do on a cellphone (or so I hear). And that's where so many of the 18-to-35s Obama betrayed are to be found. Maybe we have to figure out how to do that two sentence thing. "Peace, land, bread" worked well for Lenin.

Paul Tioxon May 31, 2015 at 2:25 pm

SOCIAL SECURITY-SOLAR POWER-$15 AN HOUR

Anthony Kennerson May 31, 2015 at 7:38 am

How about instead we support an Independent Left built from the bottom up through local activism, lead by leaders who are viable enough to lead. Kshama Sawant, anyone??

Doug Terpstra May 30, 2015 at 12:00 pm

This is an encouraging post. But ISTM that the examples of upstart outsiders, with the partial exception of Carter, maybe Truman, really turned out to be stealth insiders, whose appeal to the 1% put them over the top. Weren't Truman and Carter both militarists and Carter a big deregulator?

Truman's support for the partition of Palestine and the recognition of Israel probably out him over the top in 48. Ditto for Slick Willie, the come-back kid who went all-in for Wall Street. But the prize goes to the ultimate dark-horse Trojan horse, Obama, whose fealty to Israel, Wall Street, and the MIC are unconditional. These examples turned out to be very establishment presidents, with the exception of Obama, a radical fascist.

If Sanders follows these exemplary Democrats, no thank you. He already supports Israeli crimes and he supported the health insurance racket bailout bill (Obamneycare). Will he become yet another Wall Street "water-boy" to pull off an apparent "upset"?

Oregoncharles May 30, 2015 at 12:22 pm

You do realize that the party machinery will cheat, if necessary?

Rigging elections was the meat and drink of the big city machines – almost all Democrats. Chicago is the last survivor.

If Republicans can do it, Democrats certainly can, too, unless you think they're actually dumber.

The party apparatchiks' grip on the kind of power they care about is at stake.

Lambert Strether May 30, 2015 at 4:16 pm

Obama certainly rigged the caucuses in Texas in 2008. So, yeah.

JurisV May 30, 2015 at 12:45 pm

I have a question I'd like to ask to ask the commenters who criticize Sanders about age, his support of particular items, and doubts about his odds of actually being elected.

How, other than his candidacy, would you suggest a better method/plan to get serious "leftist" ideas into the swarms of the Media????

Against him:

The quote above is from SicSemperTyrranis by Patrick Lang.

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2015/05/angry-old-man-supports-angry-old-senator.html

I recommend reading the whole post because it's an example of the stirrings of recognition that we, as a country, are seriously off the tracks and that this recognition is seeping into public awareness. Pat Lang's post and the poster "Uahsenaa" upstream.

I can't think of a better to get real progressive ideas past the PTB in Washington and the MSM than Bernie Sanders campaigning for President.

sharonsj May 30, 2015 at 3:56 pm

On the same day that Bernie gave a speech to 5,000, Rick Santorum gave a speech to 50 people. I expect this makes the establishment very nervous…. Maybe it proves that Chris Hedges is right about revolutions and that Americans aren't as stupid as they appear.

Gaius Publius May 30, 2015 at 4:38 pm

> On the same day that Bernie gave a speech to 5,000, Rick Santorum gave a speech to 50 people. I expect this makes the establishment very nervous….

I'm starting to agree with whoever said that Martin O'Malley will be the media's candidate to block Bernie Sanders (from getting in Clinton's way).

Just a thought, but watch for lots of O'Malley media love, plus lots of "Sanders language" from O'Malley, an insider who could steal the outsider's thunder, then lose - and never have to make good on those Sanders-style promises.

Hmm. The spidey sense is twitching…

GP

Lambert Strether