Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
(slightly skeptical) Educational society promoting "Back to basics" movement against IT overcomplexity and  bastardization of classic Unix

Bernie Sanders Election Bulletin, 2016

Home 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 1999

For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[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).

[Dec 18, 2017] Can The Deep State Be Cured

Notable quotes:
"... The "Obama Doctrine" a continuation of the previous false government doctrines in my lifetime, is less doctrine than the disease, as David Swanson points out . But in the article he critiques, the neoconservative warmongering global planning freak perspective (truly, we must recognize this view as freakish, sociopathic, death-cultish, control-obsessed, narcissist, take your pick or get a combo, it's all good). Disease, as a way of understanding the deep state action on the body politic, is abnormal. It can and should be cured. ..."
"... The deep state seems to have grown, strengthened and tightened its grip. Can a lack of real money restrain or starve it? I once thought so, and maybe I still do. But it doesn't use real money, but rather debt and creative financing to get that next new car, er, war and intervention and domestic spending program. Ultimately it's not sustainable, and just as unaffordable cars are junked, stripped, repossessed, and crunched up, so will go the way of the physical assets of the warfare–welfare state. ..."
"... Because inflated salaries , inflated stock prices and inflated ruling-class personalities are month to month, these should evaporate more quickly, over a debris field once known as some of richest counties in the United States. Can I imagine the shabbiest of trailer parks in the dismal swamp, where high rises and government basilicas and abbeys once stood? I'd certainly like to. But I'll settle for well-kept, privately owned house trailers, filled with people actually producing some small value for society, and minding their own business. ..."
"... Finally, what of those pinpricks of light, the honest assessments of the real death trail and consumption pit that the deep state has delivered? Well, it is growing and broadening. Wikileaks and Snowden are considered assets now to any and all competitors to the US deep state, from within and from abroad – the Pandora's box, assisted by technology, can't be closed now. The independent media has matured to the point of criticizing and debating itself/each other, as well as focusing harsh light on the establishment media. Instead of left and right mainstream media, we increasingly recognize state media, and delightedly observe its own struggle to survive in the face of a growing nervousness of the deep state it assists on command. ..."
"... Watch an old program like"Yes, Minister" to understand how it works. Politicians come and go, but the permanent state apparatchiks doesn't. ..."
"... The "deep state" programs, whether conceived and directed by Soros' handlers, or others, risks unintended consequences. The social division intended by BLM, for example could easily morph beyond the goals. The lack of law due to corruption is equally susceptible to a spontaneous reaction of "the mob," not under the control of the Tavistock handlers. There's an old saying on Wall St; pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. ..."
www.zerohedge.com

Submitted by Karen Kwiatkowski via LewRockwell.com,

So, after getting up late, groggy, and feeling overworked even before I started, I read this article . Just after, I had to feed a dozen cats and dogs, each dog in a separate room out of respect for their territorialism and aggressive desire to consume more than they should (hmm, where have I seen this before), and in the process, forgot where I put my coffee cup. Retracing steps, I finally find it and sit back down to my 19-inch window on the ugly (and perhaps remote) world of the state, and the endless pinpricks of the independent media on its vast overwhelmingly evil existence. I suspect I share this distractibility and daily estrangement from the actions of our government with most Americans .

We are newly bombing Libya and still messing with the Middle East? I thought that the wars the deep state wanted and started were now limited and constrained! What happened to lack of funds, lack of popular support, public transparency that revealed the stupidity and abject failure of these wars?

Deep state. Something systemic, difficult to detect, hard to remove, hidden. It is a spirit as much as nerves and organ. How do your starve it, excise it, or just make it go away? We want to know. I think this explains the popularity of infotainment about haunted houses, ghosts and alien beings among us. They live and we are curious and scared.

The "Obama Doctrine" a continuation of the previous false government doctrines in my lifetime, is less doctrine than the disease, as David Swanson points out . But in the article he critiques, the neoconservative warmongering global planning freak perspective (truly, we must recognize this view as freakish, sociopathic, death-cultish, control-obsessed, narcissist, take your pick or get a combo, it's all good). Disease, as a way of understanding the deep state action on the body politic, is abnormal. It can and should be cured.

My summary of the long Jeffrey Goldberg piece is basically that Obama has become more fatalistic (did he mean to say fatal?) since he won that Nobel Peace Prize back in 2009 . By the way, the "Nobel prize" article contains this gem, sure to get a chuckle:

"Obama's drone program is regularly criticized for a lack of transparency and accountability, especially considering incomplete intelligence means officials are often unsure about who will die. "

[M]ost individuals killed are not on a kill list, and the government does not know their names," Micah Zenko, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations told the New York Times."

This is about all the fun I can handle in one day. But back to what I was trying to say.

The deep state seems to have grown, strengthened and tightened its grip. Can a lack of real money restrain or starve it? I once thought so, and maybe I still do. But it doesn't use real money, but rather debt and creative financing to get that next new car, er, war and intervention and domestic spending program. Ultimately it's not sustainable, and just as unaffordable cars are junked, stripped, repossessed, and crunched up, so will go the way of the physical assets of the warfare–welfare state.

Because inflated salaries , inflated stock prices and inflated ruling-class personalities are month to month, these should evaporate more quickly, over a debris field once known as some of richest counties in the United States. Can I imagine the shabbiest of trailer parks in the dismal swamp, where high rises and government basilicas and abbeys once stood? I'd certainly like to. But I'll settle for well-kept, privately owned house trailers, filled with people actually producing some small value for society, and minding their own business.

Can a lack of public support reduce the deep state, or impact it? Well, it would seem that this is a non-factor, except for the strange history we have had and are witnessing again today, with the odd successful popular and populist-leaning politician and their related movements. In my lifetime, only popular figures and their movements get assassinated mysteriously, with odd polka dot dresses, MKULTRA suggestions, threats against their family by their competitors (I'm thinking Perot, but one mustn't be limited to that case), and always with concordant pressures on the sociopolitical seams in the country, i.e riots and police/military activations. The bad dealings toward, and genuine fear of, Bernie Sanders within the Democratic Party's wing of the deep state is matched or exceeded only by the genuine terror of Trump among the Republican deep state wing. This reaction to something or some person that so many in the country find engaging and appealing - an outsider who speaks to the growing political and economic dissatisfaction of a poorer, more indebted, and more regulated population – is heart-warming, to be sure. It is a sign that whether or not we do, the deep state thinks things might change. Thank you, Bernie and especially Donald, for revealing this much! And the "republicanization" of the Libertarian Party is also a bright indicator blinking out the potential of deep state movement and compromise in the pursuit of "stability."

Finally, what of those pinpricks of light, the honest assessments of the real death trail and consumption pit that the deep state has delivered? Well, it is growing and broadening. Wikileaks and Snowden are considered assets now to any and all competitors to the US deep state, from within and from abroad – the Pandora's box, assisted by technology, can't be closed now. The independent media has matured to the point of criticizing and debating itself/each other, as well as focusing harsh light on the establishment media. Instead of left and right mainstream media, we increasingly recognize state media, and delightedly observe its own struggle to survive in the face of a growing nervousness of the deep state it assists on command.

Maybe we will one day soon be able to debate how deep the deep state really is, or whether it was all just a dressed up, meth'ed up, and eff'ed up a sector of society that deserves a bit of jail time, some counseling, and a new start . Maybe some job training that goes beyond the printing of license plates. But given the destruction and mass murder committed daily in the name of this state, and the environmental disasters it has created around the world for the future generations, perhaps we will be no more merciful to these proprietors of the American empire as they have been to their victims. The ruling class deeply fears our judgment, and in this dynamic lies the cure.

Jim in MN Tallest Skil Aug 20, 2016 8:22 PM

I made a list of steps that could be taken to disrupt the Beast. It's all I can offer but I offer it freely.

https://www.scribd.com/document/67758041/List-of-Demands-October-6-2011

4:00 AM October 6, 2011

Kitchen Table, USA

LIST OF DEMANDS TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FROM FINANCIAL CATASTROPHE

I.CURB CORRUPTION AND EXCESSIVE POWER IN THE FINANCIAL ARMS OF THE US GOVERNMENT

A. FEDERAL RESERVE

1. Benjaman Bernanke to be removed as Chairman immediately

2. New York Federal Reserve Bank and all New York City offices of the Federal Reserve system will be closed for at least 3 years

3. Salaries will be reduced and capped at $150,000/year, adjusted for official inflation

4. Staffing count to be reduced to 1980 levels

5. Interest rate manipulation to be prohibited for at least five years

6. Balance sheet manipulation to be prohibited for at least five years

7. Financial asset purchases prohibited for at least five years

B. TREASURY DEPARTMENT

1. Timothy Geithner to be removed as Secretary immediately

2. All New York City offices of the Department will be closed for at least 3 years

3. Salaries will be reduced and capped at $150,000/year, adjusted for official inflation

4. Staffing count to be reduced to 1980 levels

5. Market manipulation/intervention to be prohibited for at least five years

7. Financial asset purchases prohibited for at least five years

II. END THE CORRUPTING INFLUENCE OF GIANT BANKS AND PROTECT AMERICANS FROM FURTHER EXPOSURE TO THEIR COLLAPSE

A. END CORRUPT INFLUENCE

1. Lifetime ban on government employment for TARP recipient employees and corporate officers, specifically including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase

2. Ten year ban on government work for consulting firms, law firms, and individual consultants and lawyers who have accepted cash from these entities

3. All contacts by any method with federal agencies and employees prohibited for at least five years, with civil and criminal penalties for violation

B. PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FROM FURTHER HARM AT THE HANDS OF GIANT BANKS

1. No financial institution with assets of more than $10billion will receive federal assistance or any 'arm's-length' bailouts

2. TARP recipients are prohibited from purchasing other TARP recipient corporate units, or merging with other TARP recipients

3. No foreign interest shall be allowed to acquire any portion of TARP recipients in the US or abroad

III. PREVENT CORPORATE ACCOUNTING AND PENSION FUND ABUSES RELATED TO THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS

A. CORPORATE ACCOUNTING

1. Immediately implement mark-to-market accounting rules which were improperly suspended, allowing six months for implementation.

2. Companies must reserve against impaired assets under mark-to-market rules

3. Any health or life insurance company with more than$100 million in assets must report on their holdings and risk factors, specifically including exposure to real estate, mortgage-backed securities, derivatives, and other exotic financial instruments. These reports will be to state insurance commissions and the federal government, and will also be made available to the public on the Internet.

B. PENSION FUNDS

1. All private and public pension funds must disclose their funding status and establish a plan to fully fund accounts under the assumption that net real returns across all asset classes remain at zero for at least ten years.

Winston Churchill -> Sam Clemons Aug 20, 2016 7:26 PM

Watch an old program like"Yes, Minister" to understand how it works. Politicians come and go, but the permanent state apparatchiks doesn't.

sinbad2 -> Winston Churchill Aug 20, 2016 7:58 PM

Sir Humphrey Appleby: You know what happens when politicians get into Number 10; they want to take their place on the world stage.

Sir Richard Wharton: People on stages are called actors. All they are required to do is look plausible, stay sober, and say the lines they're given in the right order.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Some of them try to make up their own lines.

Sir Richard Wharton: They don't last long.

rlouis Aug 20, 2016 7:47 PM

The "deep state" programs, whether conceived and directed by Soros' handlers, or others, risks unintended consequences. The social division intended by BLM, for example could easily morph beyond the goals. The lack of law due to corruption is equally susceptible to a spontaneous reaction of "the mob," not under the control of the Tavistock handlers. There's an old saying on Wall St; pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.

The failed coup in Turkey is a significant indication of institutional weakness and also vulnerability. The inability to exercise force of will in Syria is another. The list of failures is getting too long.

[Dec 01, 2017] Elite needs a kill switch for their front men and women

marknesop.wordpress.com
Patient Observer , July 23, 2016 at 7:07 pm
An interesting article on John McCain. I disagree with the contention that McCain hid knowledge that many American POWs were left behind (undoubtedly some voluntarily choose to remain behind but not hundreds ). However, the article touched on some ideas that rang true:

Today when we consider the major countries of the world we see that in many cases the official leaders are also the leaders in actuality: Vladimir Putin calls the shots in Russia, Xi Jinping and his top Politburo colleagues do the same in China, and so forth. However, in America and in some other Western countries, this seems to be less and less the case, with top national figures merely being attractive front-men selected for their popular appeal and their political malleability, a development that may eventually have dire consequences for the nations they lead. As an extreme example, a drunken Boris Yeltsin freely allowed the looting of Russia's entire national wealth by the handful of oligarchs who pulled his strings, and the result was the total impoverishment of the Russian people and a demographic collapse almost unprecedented in modern peacetime history.

An obvious problem with installing puppet rulers is the risk that they will attempt to cut their strings, much like Putin soon outmaneuvered and exiled his oligarch patron Boris Berezovsky.

One means of minimizing such risk is to select puppets who are so deeply compromised that they can never break free, knowing that the political self-destruct charges buried deep within their pasts could easily be triggered if they sought independence. I have sometimes joked with my friends that perhaps the best career move for an ambitious young politician would be to secretly commit some monstrous crime and then make sure that the hard evidence of his guilt ended up in the hands of certain powerful people, thereby assuring his rapid political rise.

The gist is that elite need a kill switch on their front men (and women).

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-when-tokyo-rose-ran-for-president/

Cortes , July 24, 2016 at 11:16 am

Seems to be a series of pieces dealing with Vietnam POWs: the following linked item was interesting and provided a plausible explanation: that the US failed to pay up agreed on reparations…

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-relying-upon-maoist-professors-of-cultural-studies/

marknesop , July 24, 2016 at 12:29 pm
Remarkable and shocking. Wheels within wheels – this is the first time I have ever seen McCain's father connected with the infamous Board of Inquiry which cleared Israel in that state's attack on USS LIBERTY during Israel's seizure of the Golan Heights.
Cortes , July 25, 2016 at 9:08 am
Another stunning article in which the author makes reference to his recent acquisition of what he considers to be a reliably authentic audio file of POW McCain's broadcasts from captivity. Dynamite stuff. The conclusion regarding aspiring untenured historians is quite downbeat:

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-will-there-be-a-spotlight-sequel-to-the-killing-fields/

marknesop , July 25, 2016 at 10:40 am
Also remarkable; fantastic. It's hard to believe, and a testament to the boldness of Washington dog-and-pony shows, because this must have been well-known in insider circles in Washington – anything so damning which was not ruthlessly and professionally suppressed and simply never allowed to become part of a national discussion would surely have been stumbled upon before now. Land of the Cover-Up.

yalensis , July 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm

So, McCain was Hanoi Jack broadcasting from the Hanoi Hilton?

[Dec 31, 2016] What Happened to Obamas Passion

This was written in 2011 but it summarizes Obama presidency pretty nicely, even today. Betrayer in chief, the master of bait and switch. That is the essence of Obama legacy. On "Great Democratic betrayal"... Obama always was a closet neoliberal and neocon. A stooge of neoliberal financial oligarchy, a puppet, if you want politically incorrect term. He just masked it well during hist first election campaigning as a progressive democrat... And he faced Romney in his second campaign, who was even worse, so after betraying American people once, he was reelected and did it twice. Much like Bush II. He like another former cocaine addict -- George W Bush has never any intention of helping American people, only oligarchy.
Notable quotes:
"... IN contrast, when faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. ..."
"... We (yes, we) recognise that capitalism is the most efficient way to maximise overall prosperity and quality of life. But we also recognise that unfettered, it will ravage the environment, abuse labor, and expand income disparity until violence or tragedy (or both) ensues. ..."
"... These are the lessons we've learned since the industrial revolution, and they're the ones that we should be drawing from the past decade. We recognise that we need a strong federal government to check these tendencies, and to strike a stable, sustainable balance between prosperity, community, opportunity, wealth, justice, freedom. We need a voice to fill the moral vacuum that has allowed the Koch/Tea/Fox Party to emerge and grab power. ..."
"... Americans know this---including, of course, President Obama (see his April 13 speech at GW University). But as this article by Dr. Westen so effectively shows, Obama is incompetent to lead us back ..."
"... he is not competent to lead us back to a state of American morality, where government is the protector of those who work hard, and the provider of opportunity to all Americans. ..."
"... I've heard him called a mediator, a conciliator, a compromiser, etc. Those terms indicate someone who is bringing divergent views together and moving us along. That's part of what a leader does, though not all. Yet I don't think he's even lived up to his reputation as a mediator. ..."
"... Almost three years after I voted for Obama, I still don't know what he's doing other than trying to help the financial industry: the wealthy who benefit most from it and the technocrats who run it for them. But average working people, people like myself and my daughter and my grandson, have not been helped. We are worse off than before. And millions of unemployed and underemployed are even worse off than my family is. ..."
"... So whatever else he is (and that still remains a mystery to me), President Obama is not the leader I thought I was voting for. ..."
"... I knew that Obama was a charade early on when giving a speech about the banking failures to the nation, instead of giving the narrative Mr. Westen accurately recommended on the origins of the orgy of greed that just crippled our economy and caused suffering for millions of Americans ..."
"... He should have been condemning the craven, wanton, greed of nihilistic financial gangsters who hijacked our economy. Instead he seemed to be calling for all Americans not to hate rich people. That was not the point. Americans don't hate rich people, but they should hate rich people who acquire their wealth at the expense of the well being of an entire nation through irresponsible, avaricious, and in some instances illegal practices, and legally bribe politicians to enact laws which allow them to run amok over our economy without supervision or regulation. ..."
"... I knew then that Obama was either a political lemon, in over his head, an extremely conflict averse neurotic individual with a compulsive need for some delusional ideal of neutrality in political and social relations, or a political phony beholden to the same forces that almost destroyed the country as Republicans are. ..."
Aug 06, 2011 | nytimes.com

When Barack Obama rose to the lectern on Inauguration Day, the nation was in tatters. Americans were scared and angry. The economy was spinning in reverse. Three-quarters of a million people lost their jobs that month. Many had lost their homes, and with them the only nest eggs they had. Even the usually impervious upper middle class had seen a decade of stagnant or declining investment, with the stock market dropping in value with no end in sight. Hope was as scarce as credit.

In that context, Americans needed their president to tell them a story that made sense of what they had just been through, what caused it, and how it was going to end. They needed to hear that he understood what they were feeling, that he would track down those responsible for their pain and suffering, and that he would restore order and safety. What they were waiting for, in broad strokes, was a story something like this:

"I know you're scared and angry. Many of you have lost your jobs, your homes, your hope. This was a disaster, but it was not a natural disaster. It was made by Wall Street gamblers who speculated with your lives and futures. It was made by conservative extremists who told us that if we just eliminated regulations and rewarded greed and recklessness, it would all work out. But it didn't work out. And it didn't work out 80 years ago, when the same people sold our grandparents the same bill of goods, with the same results. But we learned something from our grandparents about how to fix it, and we will draw on their wisdom. We will restore business confidence the old-fashioned way: by putting money back in the pockets of working Americans by putting them back to work, and by restoring integrity to our financial markets and demanding it of those who want to run them. I can't promise that we won't make mistakes along the way. But I can promise you that they will be honest mistakes, and that your government has your back again." A story isn't a policy. But that simple narrative - and the policies that would naturally have flowed from it - would have inoculated against much of what was to come in the intervening two and a half years of failed government, idled factories and idled hands. That story would have made clear that the president understood that the American people had given Democrats the presidency and majorities in both houses of Congress to fix the mess the Republicans and Wall Street had made of the country, and that this would not be a power-sharing arrangement. It would have made clear that the problem wasn't tax-and-spend liberalism or the deficit - a deficit that didn't exist until George W. Bush gave nearly $2 trillion in tax breaks largely to the wealthiest Americans and squandered $1 trillion in two wars.

And perhaps most important, it would have offered a clear, compelling alternative to the dominant narrative of the right, that our problem is not due to spending on things like the pensions of firefighters, but to the fact that those who can afford to buy influence are rewriting the rules so they can cut themselves progressively larger slices of the American pie while paying less of their fair share for it.

But there was no story - and there has been none since.

In similar circumstances, Franklin D. Roosevelt offered Americans a promise to use the power of his office to make their lives better and to keep trying until he got it right. Beginning in his first inaugural address, and in the fireside chats that followed, he explained how the crash had happened, and he minced no words about those who had caused it. He promised to do something no president had done before: to use the resources of the United States to put Americans directly to work, building the infrastructure we still rely on today. He swore to keep the people who had caused the crisis out of the halls of power, and he made good on that promise. In a 1936 speech at Madison Square Garden, he thundered, "Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me - and I welcome their hatred."

When Barack Obama stepped into the Oval Office, he stepped into a cycle of American history, best exemplified by F.D.R. and his distant cousin, Teddy. After a great technological revolution or a major economic transition, as when America changed from a nation of farmers to an urban industrial one, there is often a period of great concentration of wealth, and with it, a concentration of power in the wealthy. That's what we saw in 1928, and that's what we see today. At some point that power is exercised so injudiciously, and the lives of so many become so unbearable, that a period of reform ensues - and a charismatic reformer emerges to lead that renewal. In that sense, Teddy Roosevelt started the cycle of reform his cousin picked up 30 years later, as he began efforts to bust the trusts and regulate the railroads, exercise federal power over the banks and the nation's food supply, and protect America's land and wildlife, creating the modern environmental movement.

Those were the shoes - that was the historic role - that Americans elected Barack Obama to fill. The president is fond of referring to "the arc of history," paraphrasing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous statement that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." But with his deep-seated aversion to conflict and his profound failure to understand bully dynamics - in which conciliation is always the wrong course of action, because bullies perceive it as weakness and just punch harder the next time - he has broken that arc and has likely bent it backward for at least a generation.

When Dr. King spoke of the great arc bending toward justice, he did not mean that we should wait for it to bend. He exhorted others to put their full weight behind it, and he gave his life speaking with a voice that cut through the blistering force of water cannons and the gnashing teeth of police dogs. He preached the gospel of nonviolence, but he knew that whether a bully hid behind a club or a poll tax, the only effective response was to face the bully down, and to make the bully show his true and repugnant face in public.

IN contrast, when faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. Instead of indicting the people whose recklessness wrecked the economy, he put them in charge of it. He never explained that decision to the public - a failure in storytelling as extraordinary as the failure in judgment behind it. Had the president chosen to bend the arc of history, he would have told the public the story of the destruction wrought by the dismantling of the New Deal regulations that had protected them for more than half a century. He would have offered them a counternarrative of how to fix the problem other than the politics of appeasement, one that emphasized creating economic demand and consumer confidence by putting consumers back to work. He would have had to stare down those who had wrecked the economy, and he would have had to tolerate their hatred if not welcome it. But the arc of his temperament just didn't bend that far.

Michael August 7, 2011

Eloquently expressed and horrifically accurate, this excellent analysis articulates the frustration that so many of us have felt watching Mr...

Bill Levine August 7, 2011

Very well put. I know that I have been going through Kübler-Ross's stages of grief ever since the foxes (a.k.a. Geithner and Summers) were...

AnAverageAmerican August 7, 2011

"In that context, Americans needed their president to tell them a story that made sense of what they had just been through, what caused it,...

cdearman Santa Fe, NM August 7, 2011

Unfortunately, the Democratic Congress of 2008-2010, did not have the will to make the economic and social program decisions that would have improved the economic situation for the middle-class; and it is becoming more obvious that President Obama does not have the temperament to publicly push for programs and policies that he wants the congress to enact.
The American people have a problem: we reelect Obama and hope for the best; or we elect a Republican and expect the worst. There is no question that the Health Care law that was just passed would be reversed; Medicare and Medicare would be gutted; and who knows what would happen to Social Security. You can be sure, though, that business taxes and regulation reforms would not be in the cards and those regulations that have been enacted would be reversed. We have traveled this road before and we should be wise enough not to travel it again!

SP California August 7, 2011

Brilliant analysis - and I suspect that a very large number of those who voted for President Obama will recognize in this the thoughts that they have been trying to ignore, or have been trying not to say out loud. Later historians can complete this analysis and attempt to explain exactly why Mr. Obama has turned out the way he has - but right now, it may be time to ask a more relevant and urgent question.

If it is not too late, will a challenger emerge in time before the 2012 elections, or will we be doomed to hold our noses and endure another four years of this?

farospace san francisco August 7, 2011

Very eloquent and exactly to the point. Like many others, I was enthralled by the rhetoric of his story, making the leap of faith (or hope) that because he could tell his story so well, he could tell, as you put it, "the story the American people were waiting to hear."

Disappointment has darkened into disillusion, disillusion into a species of despair. Will I vote for Barack Obama again? What are the options?

Richard Katz American in Oxford, UK August 7, 2011

This is the most brilliant and tragic story I have read in a long time---in fact, precisely since I read when Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt. When will a leader emerge with a true moral vision for the federal government and for our country? Someone who sees government as a balance to capitalism, and a means to achieve the social and economic justice that we (yes, we) believe in? Will that leadership arrive before parts of America come to look like the dystopia of Johannesburg?

We (yes, we) recognise that capitalism is the most efficient way to maximise overall prosperity and quality of life. But we also recognise that unfettered, it will ravage the environment, abuse labor, and expand income disparity until violence or tragedy (or both) ensues.

These are the lessons we've learned since the industrial revolution, and they're the ones that we should be drawing from the past decade. We recognise that we need a strong federal government to check these tendencies, and to strike a stable, sustainable balance between prosperity, community, opportunity, wealth, justice, freedom. We need a voice to fill the moral vacuum that has allowed the Koch/Tea/Fox Party to emerge and grab power.

Americans know this---including, of course, President Obama (see his April 13 speech at GW University). But as this article by Dr. Westen so effectively shows, Obama is incompetent to lead us back to America's traditional position on the global economic/political spectrum. He's brilliant and eloquent. He's achieved personal success that is inspirational. He's done some good things as president. But he is not competent to lead us back to a state of American morality, where government is the protector of those who work hard, and the provider of opportunity to all Americans.

Taxes, subsidies, entitlements, laws... these are the tools we have available to achieve our national moral vision. But the vision has been muddled (hijacked?) and that is our biggest problem. -->

An Ordinary American Prague August 7, 2011

I voted for Obama. I thought then, and still think, he's a decent person, a smart person, a person who wants to do the best he can for others. When I voted for him, I was thinking he's a centrist who will find a way to unite our increasingly polarized and ugly politics in the USA. Or if not unite us, at least forge a way to get some important things done despite the ugly polarization.

And I must confess, I have been disappointed. Deeply so. He has not united us. He has not forged a way to accomplish what needs to be done. He has not been a leader.

I've heard him called a mediator, a conciliator, a compromiser, etc. Those terms indicate someone who is bringing divergent views together and moving us along. That's part of what a leader does, though not all. Yet I don't think he's even lived up to his reputation as a mediator.

Almost three years after I voted for Obama, I still don't know what he's doing other than trying to help the financial industry: the wealthy who benefit most from it and the technocrats who run it for them. But average working people, people like myself and my daughter and my grandson, have not been helped. We are worse off than before. And millions of unemployed and underemployed are even worse off than my family is.

So whatever else he is (and that still remains a mystery to me), President Obama is not the leader I thought I was voting for. Which leaves me feeling confused and close to apathetic about what to do as a voter in 2012. More of the same isn't worth voting for. Yet I don't see anyone out there who offers the possibility of doing better.

martin Portland, Oregon August 7, 2011

This was an extraordinarily well written, eloquent and comprehensive indictment of the failure of the Obama presidency.

If a credible primary challenger to Obama ever could arise, the positions and analysis in this column would be all he or she would need to justify the Democratic party's need to seek new leadership.

I knew that Obama was a charade early on when giving a speech about the banking failures to the nation, instead of giving the narrative Mr. Westen accurately recommended on the origins of the orgy of greed that just crippled our economy and caused suffering for millions of Americans, he said "we don't disparage wealth in America." I was dumbfounded.

He should have been condemning the craven, wanton, greed of nihilistic financial gangsters who hijacked our economy. Instead he seemed to be calling for all Americans not to hate rich people. That was not the point. Americans don't hate rich people, but they should hate rich people who acquire their wealth at the expense of the well being of an entire nation through irresponsible, avaricious, and in some instances illegal practices, and legally bribe politicians to enact laws which allow them to run amok over our economy without supervision or regulation.

I knew then that Obama was either a political lemon, in over his head, an extremely conflict averse neurotic individual with a compulsive need for some delusional ideal of neutrality in political and social relations, or a political phony beholden to the same forces that almost destroyed the country as Republicans are.

Perhaps all of these are true.

[Dec 29, 2016] The neoliberal MSM narrative that it is a well established fact that Russia influenced US election is nonsense.

Dec 29, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
sanjait -> DeDude... , December 28, 2016 at 06:26 PM
"Russia tampered with vote tallies to help Donald Trump"

Yeah, that seems like a clear statement, but when you consider that the vast majority of people do not habitually read closely and interpret things literally, I can see how this would easily be misinterpreted.

Russia tampered with the election to help Donald Trump. That's a fairly well established fact. It's not the same as "tampered with vote tallies" but an inattentive poll respondent might assume the question was about the former. And most people are inattentive.

likbez -> sanjait... December 28, 2016 at 09:40 PM , 2016 at 09:40 PM
Sanjait,

"Russia tampered with the election to help Donald Trump. That's a fairly well established fact."

You are funny. Especially with your "well established fact" nonsense.

In such cases the only source of well established facts is a court of law or International observers of the elections. All other agencies have their own interest in distorting the truth. For example, to get additional funding.

And that list includes President Obama himself, as a player, because he clearly was a Hillary supporter and as such can not be considered an impartial player and can politically benefit from shifting the blame for fiasco to Russia.

Also historically, he never was very truthful with American people, was he? As in case of his
"Change we can believe in!" bait and switch trick.

There were several other important foreign players in the US elections: for example KAS and Israel. Were their actions investigated? Especially in the area of financial support of candidates.

And then FYI there is a documented history of US tampering in Russian Presidential election of 2011-2012 such as meetings of the US ambassador with the opposition leaders, financing of opposition via NGO, putting pressure by publishing election pools produced by US financed non-profits, and so on and so forth. All in the name of democracy, of course. Which cost Ambassador McFaul his position; NED was kicked out of the country.

As far as I remember nobody went to jail in the USA for those activities. There was no investigation. So it looks like the USA authorities considered this to be a pretty legal activity. Then why they complain now?

And then there is the whole rich history of CIA subverting elections in Latin America.

So is not this a case of "the pot calling the kettle black"?

I don't know. But I would avoid your simplistic position. The case is too complex for this.

At least more complex that the narrative the neoliberal MSMs try to present us with. It might be Russian influence was a factor, but it might be that it was negligible and other factors were in play. There is also a pre-history and there are other suspects.

You probably need to see a wider context of the event.

[Dec 27, 2016] Neopopulism

Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs -> Peter K.... December 26, 2016 at 07:15 AM neopopulism: A cultural and political movement, mainly in Latin American countries, distinct from twentieth-century populism in radically combining classically opposed left-wing and right-wing attitudes and using electronic media as a means of dissemination. (Wiktionary)

[Dec 26, 2016] Young Sanders Campaign Aides Plan Anti-Trump Permanent Protest Base in Washington

Notable quotes:
"... "Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids – all while the very rich become much richer. ..."
"... "To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him." ..."
Dec 26, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Sanders betrayed them, but they still use him as a flag...
PlutoniumKun , December 25, 2016 at 6:27 am

This is inspiring, but I hope they realise that opposing Trump is just one side of a two-front battle. Trump needs to be opposed when (as seems very likely) he will start to drive a very right wing pro-billionaire set of policies. But its increasingly obvious that there is an equally difficult battle to be fought against the 'centrists' in the Dems and elsewhere. If all the focus is on Trump, then there is the danger they just become the useful idiots of the Dem mainstream.

Wyoming , December 25, 2016 at 8:18 am

I would go so far to say that their greatest opponent and biggest danger is not Trump and the Republicans at all. It is the Democratic Party and pretty much every significant office holding Democrat and their staffs.

Revolution starts at home. Fighting with Republicans will not accomplish much when the fifth columnists from the Democratic Party are going to sabotage every effort they make which shows promise of having an effect. They need to show their power by hamstringing targeted Democrats and thus herding the rest into line through fear. You do what we say and how we say it or we replace you. They have to own the left. No more liberal's in name only. You are against us or you are with us.

johnnygl , December 25, 2016 at 8:38 am

Primary them all! Schumer, pelosi, the whole bunch.

Win in 2020 and redraw those districts to wipe out those super-safe ones that are drawn to wipe out competition.

Vatch , December 25, 2016 at 11:17 am

I agree - they must be opposed in the primaries. That's tough to do, and will take real dedication and money. The deplorable Debbie Wasserman Schultz won against Tim Canova in the 2016 primary, and the equally deplorable Chuck Schumer won reelection in 2016, so he won't be facing a primary opponent until the 2022 election season. Pelosi, of course is vulnerable every two years.

Please need to be willing to do more than just post comments on blogs. And lets not have any more of those comments bewailing the impossibility of overthrowing the status quo - it's difficult, but it's not impossible. (This paragraph isn't directed specifically to you, JohnnyGL or PlutoniumKun. I'm just concerned that some other commenters seem to try to prevent people from taking an active role in politics, and that is just plain wrong.)

Katharine , December 25, 2016 at 9:12 am

I think opposing Trump will naturally entail telling the centrists to shape up. That is of course only a start, but it is a start.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , December 25, 2016 at 11:37 am

Sanders started, many moths ago, with the goal of taking over/reforming/remaking/revolutionizing the D party.

That start is not completed yet.

jrs , December 25, 2016 at 12:06 pm

uh why fight against a party with NO federal power? (state power in a few states so maybe relevant there)

Even if you get unanimous Dem opposition how much does it matter? Ok the Rs don't quite have a super-majority yet I guess but it is Rs who will be passing legislation. Fighting Dems is about like fighting WWII after it's all over. They have mouthpieces and foundations it is true, but no power.

Sorrynotsorry , December 25, 2016 at 6:43 am

Bwah ha ha ha ha! What are they doing? Anything except, you know, voting

Synoia , December 25, 2016 at 7:16 am

Better message is to be pro a set of policies:
1. Medicare for all
2. SS are a real retirement system
3. Job Guarantee
4. College for all – student debt
5. Taxes as social and business policy
6. No permanent standing military

Merry Christmas to all

Direction , December 25, 2016 at 7:43 am

7. Money out of politics
8. Corporations are not people with inalienable rights.

Dirk77 , December 25, 2016 at 11:58 am

Irritated by the identity politics of the main article. That and would they have opened an office if Hillary had won? If not, I fear they don't understand and are doomed to repeat the same mistakes of their elders.

+1 to you and Synoia. Merry Christmas!

Reify99 , December 25, 2016 at 10:01 am

Sanders is always on point moving toward the goal with minimal time spent talking about moving away from what Is opposed. Here's a sometime humorous case in point–

A candid conversation: Bernie Sanders and Sara Silverman

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mP5xavI0d_o&sns=em

Knifecatcher , December 25, 2016 at 11:23 am

Waaaaay too many bullet points already, and I see that others are adding more. Not that I'm saying any of those are unimportant, but when you have a dozen goals you actually have none at all. My ideal progressive movement would hammer relentlessly on 3 major initiatives:

– Medicare for all
– $15 minimum wage
– Post office banking

All 3 provide tangible benefits to the majority of Americans, with the added bonus of poking a sharp stick in the eye of the oligarchs.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , December 25, 2016 at 11:39 am

Perhaps these 2:

– Medicare and one Single Pesion (Socia Security) for all
– Basic Income (before retirement) for all

Steeeve , December 25, 2016 at 1:28 pm

I definitely agree about keeping the list of priorities short, but I feel that these two areas are foundational and systemically corrupting, and little else is likely to be accomplished without major reforms of both

– MIC/"Defense" spending (mostly spent on offense, not defending the borders of the USA from invasion)
– Campaign Finance – big money in politics

floatingcopy , December 25, 2016 at 8:15 am

9. Lifelong job education and skills-building for all unemployed and under-employed, paid for directly from corporate taxes.
10. Universal two-year commitment to the military or a full-time volunteer public service program.

johnnygl , December 25, 2016 at 8:43 am

11. Rewilding and reforesting polluted and abandoned land.
12. Anti-trust! More trust-busting needed!
13. Agricultural reform to ban feedlots, fertilizers and pesticides and reorganize farms to restore and rebuild soil. And yes, this will create jobs.

Marco , December 25, 2016 at 1:45 pm

13 points already? We're toast.

jrs , December 25, 2016 at 12:20 pm

"9. Lifelong job education and skills-building for all unemployed and under-employed, paid for directly from corporate taxes."

people don't know what a nightmare such scenarios are, ok it sucks if you are underemployed and have no way to retrain because finances, but it also sucks big league if you have to spend your entire life working full time AND pursuing more and more formal education, forever until you die. Is any of our utopias going to care about human beings being able to BE human beings? We are so so much more than just useful labor machines forever aquiring labor market useful skills.

Ok course a basic income guarantee or a labor market tilted for labor not capital (including government job creation sure – and sure there's other things that can tilt it for labor – lower Social Security age, unionization etc.) would nullify this objection as the competition for jobs would lessen enough perhaps.

"10. Universal two-year commitment to the military or a full-time volunteer public service program."

well this is even more self-evidently nightmarish but it hardly needs unpacking. 2 years of becoming hired killers for the imperialist murder machine. Yea I know you didn't specify military as mandatory, I'm just saying what is being encouraged.

DJG , December 25, 2016 at 12:48 pm

jrs: Agreed. Points 9 and 10 are non-starters. They will not lessen class warfare. Only a jobs policy and a commitment to full employment will. And this idea that U.S. citizens have to be drafted into some regimented public-service program isn't helpful.

But let's talk about reopening the Civilian Conservation Corps, as in point 11. Now that is a genuinely good idea. And people would gladly join–without feeling regimented.

Direction , December 25, 2016 at 8:28 am

There was an interesting debate around the water cooler links on Festivus. I would like to recap and extend it here because I want to know more. First about how you, Lambert, see the take over of a single state Democratic party office breaking open a path to reform the party from within. I would like to hear what scenarios you feel are possible.

Walden pond wrote
"The elite control the D party (which is nothing but a criminal organization at this point). They will allow outsiders to have dog-catcher, but get uppity and run for a state position and that person will be out in an instant. The Ds are factually/legally a private club and they can select their membership and candidates in any way they choose or get a court to back them on every petty legal change they make to block outsiders. They change rules (legal contract) retroactively, they violate their own rules repeatedly and someone thinks they are going to get any farther than a few school board positions or city council is going to fail.

Taking over the D party is similar to proposing infiltrating gangs (fully backed by the legal system) with 13 year olds to 'save the neighborhood'."

I whole heartedly agree. I think it's important that people understand that the party is not just a "machine" waiting for someone new to guide it. It is not a set of empty offices and poster printing machines with helpful local people waiting for guidance. At the top, it is much more like an exclusive country club whose membership passes down through wealthy families who think they know what's best for the nation.

Anyhow, if you have a strategy on how to break it, I would like to support that discussion. I would like to hear more.

Montanamaven , December 25, 2016 at 12:47 pm

I'm glad you carried this discussion over to today. People hear have heard my sad tales of woe when I decided in 2004 to stop being inattentive and to actually try "to change the party from within" that talk show hosts like Thom Hartmann and "The Nation" gang call for every 4 years. Yes, I discovered what Walden Pond wrote; that there is an "elite" control of the state parties. They are almost hereditary positions. Yes, they will get excited by a newbie like me who was articulate, worked in Hollywood, married to a rancher for conservative creeds. But then I started to challenge their positions by advocating for single payer; stronger labor stances that they all paId lip service to but didn't really seem to care about. So no longer was I allowed to talk to the press at the DNC Convention. As I recall in 2006 or 2007 they changed a rule to make it harder to challenge Jon Tester in a primary.
Affairs like "Campaign for America's Future" conventions were always in D.C. And during the 2nd one I went to, I confirmed by observations that they were just big job fairs for people wanting jobs in the next administration or becoming lobbyists. That was actually what the convention in 2004 was too that I attended as a delegate. "Agriculture Salutes Tom Harking"; brought to you not by The Grange but by Monsanto and Carroll. Lavish party with handsome young men shucking tons of oysters. Ick.
I went in naive as I suspect many well meaning millennials will do now to this "house". But boy did I start to wake up and finally by 2009 after the failed single payer health care movement, I quit this dead donkey.

JohnnyGL , December 25, 2016 at 1:31 pm

Christmas Rant!!! ***You've been warned***

There's a lot of contentious debate on whether to fight in the Democrat Party or build a 3rd one. The answer is both, always and constantly.

1) Start the fight within the Party, as seen in MI. What happened there is important to expose and embarrass the local party officials. I consider the incident an encouraging sign and hope there are more like it around the country (not happy with the guy getting assaulted, of course, but if it shows 'they are who we thought they were', then that's progress of a sort).

2) If you can fight within the party and the party leadership at the state level understands the need to change and gets on board (getting on board as defined by fighting for specific policies, organizing and party building, and going against the wishes of big donors), then work with them.

3) if the big donors and dinosaur party leaders don't get on board, then then need to be A) removed, if possible. Or, if not possible, B) they should be isolated. If Schumer and Pelosi can't be primary-ed out of existence (a-la Eric Cantor) then they should be stripped of leadership positions and isolated. Primary all of their allies in congress. Pelosi still got around 2/3 of the vote. Let's get it below 1/2. We're not starting from scratch, there's a base of opposition to work with.

4) Part of the contention between points 2) and 3) is protests like those seen recently protesting at Schumer's office by BLM and Occupy folks. Again, make them come to us on policy. Life should get increasingly uncomfortable for Party leaders and members that don't play ball. It should be clear that their current attitudes and policies are untenable and they need to get with the new program. Hassle them in their offices, at their public events. Anti-fracking protestors who harassed Cuomo over several years showed what to do. I think one of his kids joked that when they got lost on the way to an event, they could always find where they were going because the anti-fracking protestors were there waiting for them.

People like Pelosi and Schumer will cave to public pressure, they've done it in the past. Pelosi said no to medicare changes when Obama wanted to put entitlement reform on the table. These people are different than ideologues who will push their agenda regardless of public opinion. They're snakes, but they'll play ball under pressure.

5) Now in the case where we can't with the fight within the party, go outside. Socialist Alternative, Working Families and other 3rd parties that are built up at the local level can threaten and do real damage. Does anyone think Seattle gets a $15/hr min. wage without Sawant and Socialist Alternative? Working Families Party demonstrated exactly what NOT to do during NY Governor election. If Cuomo won't come to us and meet our demands, bring him down. Suck it up, deal with a Republican for a few years, if necessary. While the Republican is in charge, pressure them, too. Don't think about the election right now .that's short termism. Let's think 2, 3, 4 elections out. If you're not winning now, clear out the deadwood to win later.

6) Now, to face up to the 'lesser evil' arguments regarding 5). It's over, there's no more 'lesser evilism'. It's dead. Hillary Clinton and the elite Dems killed it. They put it all on display for all to see. They were willing to crush the left (again), squash voting rights through a variety of means, and risk Trump or another whacky 'Pied Piper' candidate in order to get their anointed candidate put in charge. THAT should tell you EXACTLY who we're dealing with here. They were perfectly willing to risk Trump to win, so that means if a 3rd party can get 3%-5% in a close election and play a spoiler role, then that 3rd party should DO it. Every time. Again, keep doing it until the Democrats adopt the platform of a 3rd party (which, presumably includes fight for $15, medicare for all, no wars, etc). Again, until the Dems come to us on policy, they will be opposed.

But, but Nader brought us Bush who brought us Iraq War! You cannot take risks like that! Must vote lesser evil!!! Oh really? Dems voted for Patriot Act, Dems voted for AUMF over and over again. Dems voted to keep funding the war, too. When Dems don't win the Presidency they want to sit back and wait for Repubs to do awful stuff so that Dems will be back in charge as seen in 2006-8. Pelosi and Reid did NOTHING to deserve a win, they just waited it out until people voted for change again. They want to do this again. We can't let them. Make them do their job. Make them act in opposition. Make them earn their next win, otherwise we'll get the same group and the same policies that have just been discredited.

7) From the article, I like Ahmed's strategy/tactics, but the concept of attacking Trump the person, seems flawed. Remember, policy is what matters!
Nixon passed an amendment that created the EPA. That doesn't happen if you oppose Nixon for who he is. Also, wikipedia reveals that the Clean Water Act got passed in spite of Nixon's veto! If Trump wants to move in the right direction, he should be praised for doing so. If he doesn't, go around him!

Trump is a guy that just slapped the Repub establishment silly and clearly is running at least partially out of vanity more than he wants to collect fat checks when he leaves office (like the Clintons, and probably Obama soon enough). There's value in this, by itself, and there's value on policy grounds, too.

Okay, I'm done. I hope anyone who bothers to read found this enjoyable. Happy for comments. Also, to be clear, I've got no experience in organizing or any kind of playbook to carry this plan out. :) So, feel free to mock my credentials, because they don't exist!

funemployed , December 25, 2016 at 8:49 am

Sigh. We millennials might be smart about policy and pragmatic, but if this is our moonshot, we don't know jack about how to organize a successful social movement. Protesting "Trump" is stupid. Trump is not a policy. He is a person. Is our goal to make him feel bad about himself? And he did win the election. So his administration is, in fact, "legitimate" in any meaningful sense of the word.

I'd have slightly different lists, but I entirely agree that a pro-policy platform is an essential starting point. That said, protests basically always fail, and more often then not IMO, strengthen the opposition. When they succeed, or even make headway like NODAPL, they always share a common set of features.

1) One very specific policy. Today, if I were in charge, I'd choose Federally funded Medicare for all. Never mind details for protesting purposes.

2) A simple, clear message that appeals to values that most people in a body politic can agree on "Health Care is a Civil Right!"

3) A symbol that presents a clear, binary, moral choice. Sorry people, it makes me feel icky too, but this is where we go hunting for a dying grandma or kid with cancer who can't get medical care and make him/her our mascot (ideally, in a purely strategic realm, such person would refuse any care until it was guaranteed to all, then die at a decisive moment, thus becoming a martyr).

4) The ability to bring different folks together to agree on ONE thing. Organized bitch sessions about Obamacare in Trump country might work here, but we'd have to throw shit at the wall and see what stuck. I know for a fact that most Trump supporters, if pressed, will say that a family should not have to choose between impoverishment and treating mom's cancer. But protesting "Trump" is protesting them too, with the main goal of feeling like you are a better person because you know that gender is socially constructed or whatever (as if there is something magical in who you are that is the reason you got to go to a private liberal arts college, and you totally never would have been racist no matter what life circumstances you were born into).

It's not that I'm a single issue person, it's just protesting lots of things at once just makes a lot of noise, and a bunch of people trying to work together with competing agendas (lack of shared vision, in corporate speak), makes all human organizations dysfunctional. Basically, I support many issues, but think mixing them all together is not a good recipe for success.

Steven Greenberg , December 25, 2016 at 9:20 am

Didn't read the article. Seems like a misdirected effort to me. You don't win voters by being against something. You win them by being for something. I am getting tired of the "Ain't It Awful" game. Give me a vision to be for.

There is something called target fixation. When you concentrate on what you want to avoid, you end up going right toward it. Concentrate on where you want to go rather than spend all your time thinking about where you don't want to go.

Reify99 , December 25, 2016 at 10:33 am

This can be demonstrated by asking someone to follow your instructions and then issuing a number of imperative sentences:
Don't think of blue
Don't think about your left earlobe
Don't think about what Crazyman will do with this
Don't think of Trump
Etc

One has to think of those things in order to make sense of the words. Moving away from can be a powerful motivator but only toward will get you there. Sorry, clarifying the obvious again.

Katharine , December 25, 2016 at 10:38 am

This effort is not about winning voters but about blocking really bad policy changes that will hurt millions of people. Organizing for an election campaign and organizing for issue-based activism are not the same. If Barb Mikulski forty-odd years ago had just gone around the city talking about her vision of good communities and good transportation policy, a lot of Baltimore neighborhoods would have been wiped out as the city was cut apart by an ill-placed interstate. She stopped it by organizing a fight against it. More recently, Destiny Watford, still in high school at the time, was the prime mover in the successful fight against an incinerator in her Curtis Bay neighborhood in south Baltimore.

There is a time and a place for everything. There are at least two other organizations focusing on electoral politics. This one has a different purpose.

jrs , December 25, 2016 at 12:34 pm

Yes to be opposed to Trump is because they think a bunch of bad policies will come from his administration and they are likely not wrong. It doesn't need to be about Trump the person at all, though for some deluded people it may be. Now they could broaden it to opposing Paul Ryans congress etc. since they are hardly better but if any legistlaton is actually going to be passed a Republican congress and Trump will be working together.

A single issue focus, say it was Medicare for all, even if it was sucessful, would have let all the other issues a Trump administration will represent slide. Ok so if Trump passes tax cuts say that further enrich the plutocrats, an ever more unequal society might even destroy Medicare for all (the rich will just buy their way out). If Trump passes even more obviously anti-environmental legistlation, the fact Medicare for all was achieved would be a goal of it's own but would not change this. Maybe there are people enough for all movements, I don't know.

craazyman , December 25, 2016 at 10:00 am

Oh man. More identity politics yada yada.

It'll never work & for good reason. It's a form of ideation contrary to gnostic principles and therefore to the highest spiritual values on this plane of existence.

Sad to see hopeful inspired people get lost in that maze of misery. Trust your perceptions in the silence of your mind without looking to anybody else for affirmation. People are people. That's what everybody who can figure things out figures out when they grow up.

Grow up & Merry Christmas. LOL

I'm wishing Trump well & am somewhat hopeful that - through the odd feedback loops in complex systems - the provocations of his originality will shape things in a direction even progressives will find appealing. Maybe I'll be wrong, I admit. But I'm usually not wrong. LOL. (Although I am sometimes, no lie.)

alex morfesis , December 25, 2016 at 10:03 am

Firecracker puppies professional trainer who isists she knows about how people of color feel..hmmm a bunch of photos of ms nadine and her fellow associates something about dc that tells me the demographics are not the same as iowa does not look as she thinks there are any people of color who can train on what "she" calls "non violence" and her "famous" black female puppet to represent and protest against the military because the military is so black and female seems a bit tone deaf

Same old same old chameleons bending to the new hot button funding to keep the lights on

"As the international director of the committee to make noise and get nothing done, we strive to "

And ms bangladeshi her nov 27 tweet that anyone right of the democrats is a fascist does this child have an idea what that word means, or is it something she picked up at one of the "people" conventions she attended or spoke at

Not looking to be hyper cynical on this of all days but seems moumita has spent her entire adult life posing with her megaphone and for someone who is so "out there" mekantz find much about her except her self proclaimed relevance and for a person who claims this large network somewhat smallish set of followers on her chyrping account

I hope I am wrong

Peace on earth and goodwill to all

jrs , December 25, 2016 at 12:39 pm

movements often outgrow their leaders

mad as hell. , December 25, 2016 at 10:40 am

The Washington police will now have to use a search warrant or a battering ram unlike Zuccotti park where night sticks and pepper spray were used. I don't see a problem getting those. Especially after agents have infiltrated. Well at least it is a start which I hope snowballs!

dcblogger , December 25, 2016 at 10:42 am

enter the sans coullottes! I am thrilled and will try to get in contact with them. depend upon it, the American people will turn to those who demonstrate the best ability to push back against Trump. Which is why Bernie has been doing that since the election.

beth , December 25, 2016 at 11:42 am

No, I disagree. Bernie does not push back against Trump. No identity politics, no focus on personalities. Bernie pushes back against wrong-headed policies. Bernie wants policies that benefit the majority.

Let's pray our new president does some good that most of us do not expect. I hope he is more unpredictable than that. I may be wrong but I can hope.

Montanamaven , December 25, 2016 at 10:53 am

Sounds like the Alternet crowd is up to its sheepdogging tactics again. Let's corral young energy and co-opt it for the Democrats. Co-opting is what I call "Skunking" because it sure stinks up the joint.

I'm with the majority here in finding this sad that these "organizers" have decided to go all negative. They are "going to hold him [Trump] accountable and delegitimize literally everything he is doing and not let him succeed." Well, how has that worked out so far.
New thinking and new solutions ae called for, not the same old feel good "protests" and voter drives that professional organizers love to do. If they had done any real introspection they would have come up with ways of forming new coalitions; and also realize the need to keep Schumer and Pelosi as accountable as Trump. But these are still party operatives in younger sheep's clothing. Many are poli sci majors who want to be in politics in Washington as a vocation. See, they are the wise "behind the scenes" people that will guide the "activists" . Ugh. Same old; Same old story.
And this smells of the same DLC Clinton gang since they are calling Trump's victory and presidency illegitimate. Again, they don't want to delve into why she lost. They wants jobs in D.C. And spend their energy "resisting" rather than coming up with anything remotely interesting. This is not Occupy. And I doubt they will embrace young Anarchists.

Denis Drew , December 25, 2016 at 10:55 am

Re: How the Obama Coalition Crumbled, Leaving an Opening for Trump By NATE COHN
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/upshot/how-the-obama-coalition-crumbled-leaving-an-opening-for-trump.html

Wonderful shakeout by Cohn: Trump won by trading places with Obama . O appealed to less educated whites as their protector against the Wall Street candidate (47% time) Romney. (Crackpot) Trump appealed to them with same promise versus Wall Street candidate (true enough) Hill.

Upshot: Dems only have to get busy rebuilding labor union density at the state by progressive state level (or not so progressive; but be seen trying hard). Repubs will have no where to hide: once and for all political checkmate.

For some beginning thoughts and angles on what and how to - see here:
http://ontodayspage.blogspot.com/2016/12/wet-backs-and-narrow-backs-irish.html

We are only asking state legislatures to make possible joining a union if you want to - without running an impassable gauntlet - no complicated policy issues at all.

fosforos , December 25, 2016 at 10:55 am

Totally unpromising that they start with the calamitous premise of the whole Sanders campaign: "a campaign where Bernie specifically said, 'Do not attack the other person." Sanders knew he could run a campaign that would destroy the Clinton, a proven loser on the merits, and thereby make it possible to defeat any of the GOP's dumpster of deplorables, especially the Trumpe-l'oeil. But that would involve a political break with the whole record of the Obama administration in both domestic and foreign policy. So instead Sanders wound up saying the falsest single thing anyone said in the whole campaign–"nobody cares about those damn e-mails."

Yves Smith , December 25, 2016 at 11:56 am

*Sigh*

Sanders did not lose as a result of his position on the e-mails. The GOP was guaranteed to make a big issue of them and did.

walt , December 25, 2016 at 11:21 am

Youth may wish to have their bragging rights for their old age, but Trump has proven that power lies with the voters, who will be driven away to the likes of Reagan by this posturing.

Ahmed has not learned all the lessons of the 1960s.

Gaylord , December 25, 2016 at 11:23 am

We-The-Ppl rejected Gold Sacks's "shitty deal" Hillary, foisted on us by the Dems whose elites "assassinated" the best candidate since JFK; Repubs rejected "fool me again" Jeb in the Primary. Nasty Trump was put there to shoo-in Hill, but it backfired. Democracy? all gone. The Wild West is back.

PhilK , December 25, 2016 at 11:26 am

They're still trying to grab Sanders' mike and take over his show.

Katharine , December 25, 2016 at 11:41 am

He was always the first to point that this show is not about him but about all of us.

Reify99 , December 25, 2016 at 1:12 pm

True, otherwise we're lost in celebrity.

We need both "away from" and "toward" bullet points. The "away from" will naturally target Trump's onerous policies and will generate lots of energy. The "toward" bullet points will also "target" the "fake news" neoliberals because their support will prove to be tepid faint praise and lots of how it can't be done. Energy wise it will be more of a slog. They will also covertly seek to undermine progressive change. They will be called out on their crap.

Billy-bob , December 25, 2016 at 12:48 pm

To the naysayers I say: just shut up and fund it–I just did. It's an experiment and it might work.

At least these yunguns are DOING something.

Reify99 , December 25, 2016 at 1:18 pm

+1

Jamie , December 25, 2016 at 1:11 pm

Why didn't they set up this "permanent base" when Sanders voted for the 700 billion dollar F35 or when Obama claimed the legal right to indefinitely detain or kill anyone without judicial oversight?

"You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image,
when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."

– Anne Lamott

Elizabeth Burton , December 25, 2016 at 2:00 pm

I assume all of those who have so arrogantly dismissed the efforts of these young people are all, therefore, engaged in alternative activities that support their respective opinions of how to effect the change that is our only salvation from neo-feudalism. Otherwise, I say put up or shut up.

Because I'm getting really sick of all the armchair quarterbacking, which to me is no different from the way the DNC elites treat anyone who isn't a member of their club. If people who object to the goals and/or methods of the District 13 House group have useful suggestions to make, why haven't they engaged in working to bring those suggestions to fruition. It's also precisely the kind of ivory-tower critique that has brought us to this pass, so do keep in mind that when pointing out the sins of others, one has three other fingers pointing in the opposite direction.

ChrisAtRU , December 25, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Natural skeptic/cynic at this point I go back to to Bernie's first statement after the election:

"Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids – all while the very rich become much richer.

"To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him."

Now taken in that light, do we need a generic "anti-Trump" resistance house to "stick out like a sore thumb"?

Or do we need something that speaks to the deeper issues around which non-squillionaire people can unite?

I concur with those who posted above on sticking to the issues. If you stick to the issues, the face of the opposition (from within and without) doesn't matter. It's about getting people to realize that agents of the establishment on BOTH sides (Dem & Repub) of all various identarian flavors have betrayed us all.

Now granted, there's plenty of swamp left undrained to warrant being all up the new administration's grill like freckles. But please, let's get the focus where it should be – on what's being done and undone. Focusing on "Trump" is a non-starter.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and FestivusForTheRestOfUs to everyone!

[Dec 17, 2016] Paul Krugman Useful Idiots Galore

Notable quotes:
"... Shorter Paul Krugman: nobody acted more irresponsibly in the last election than the New York Times. ..."
"... Looks like Putin recruited the NYT, the FBI and the DNC. ..."
"... Dr. Krugman is feeding this "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality. He comes across as increasingly shrill and even unhinged - it's a slide he's been taking for years IMO, which is a big shame. ..."
"... It is downright irresponsible and dangerous for a major public intellectual with so little information to cast the shadow of legitimacy on a president ("And it means not acting as if this was a normal election whose result gives the winner any kind of a mandate, or indeed any legitimacy beyond the bare legal requirements.") This kind of behavior is EXACTLY what TRUMP and other authoritarians exhibit - using pieces of information to discredit institutions and individuals. Since foreign governments have and will continue to try to influence U.S. policy through increasingly sophisticated means, this opens the door for anyone to declare our elections and policies as illegitimate in the future. ..."
"... Any influence Russian hacking had was entirely a consequence of U.S. media obsession with celebrity, gotcha and horse race trivia and two-party red state/blue state tribalism. ..."
"... Without the preceding, neither Trump nor Clinton would have been contenders in the first place. Putin didn't invent super delegates, Citizens United, Fox News, talk radio, Goldman-Sachs, etc. etc. etc. If Putin exploited vulnerabilities, it is because preserving those vulnerabilities was more important to the elites than fostering a democratic political culture. ..."
"... It's not a "coup". It's an election result that didn't go the way a lot of people want. That's it. It's probably not optimal, but I'm pretty sure that democracy isn't supposed to produce optimal results. ..."
"... All this talk about "coups" and "illegitimacy" is nuts, and -- true to Dem practice -- incredibly short-sighted. For many, voting for Trump was an available way to say to those people, "We don't believe you any more. At all." Seen in that light, it is a profoundly democratic (small 'd') response to elites that have most consistently served only themselves. ..."
"... Post Truth is Pre-Fascism. The party that thinks your loyalty is suspect unless you wear a flag pin fuels itself on Post Truth. Isnt't this absurdity the gist of Obama's Russia comments today!?! ..."
"... Unless the Russians or someone else hacked the ballot box machines, it is our own damn fault. ..."
"... The ship of neo-liberal trade sailed in the mid-2000's. That you don't get that is sad. You can only milk that so far the cow had been milked. ..."
"... The people of the United States did not have much to choose between: Either a servant of the Plutocrats or a member of the Plutocratic class. The Dems brought this on us when they refused to play fair with Bernie. (Hillary would almost certainly have won the nomination anyway.) ..."
"... The Repubs brought this on, by refusing to govern. The media brought this on: I seem to remember Hillary's misfeasances, once nominated, festering in the media, while Trump's were mentioned, and then disappeared. (Correct me if I'm wrong in this.) Also, the media downplayed Bernie until he had no real chance. ..."
"... The government brought this on, by failing to pursue justice against the bankers, and failing to represent the people, especially the majority who have been screwed by trade and the plutocratic elite and their apologists. ..."
"... The educational system brought this on, by failing to educate the people to critical thought. For instance: 1) The wealthy run the country. 2) The wealthy have been doing very well. 3) Everybody else has not. It seems most people cannot draw the obvious conclusion. ..."
"... Krugman is himself one of those most useful idiots. I do not recall his clarion call to Democrats last spring that "FBI investigation" and "party Presidential nominee" was bound to be an ugly combination. Some did; right here as I recall. Or his part in the official "don't vote for third party" week in the Clinton media machine....thanks, hundreds of thousands of Trump votes got the message. ..."
"... It's too rich to complain about Russia and Wikileaks as if those elements in anyway justified Clinton becoming President. Leaks mess with our democracy? Then for darn sure do not vote for a former Sec. of State willing to use a home server for her official business. Russia is menacing? Just who has been managing US-Russia relations the past 8 years? I voted for her anyway, but the heck if I think some tragic fate has befell the nation here. Republicans picked a better candidate to win this thing than we Democrats did. ..."
"... The truth of the matter is that Clinton was a very weak candidate with nothing to offer but narcissism ("I'm with her"). It's notable that Clinton has still not accepted responsibility for her campaign, preferring to throw the blame for the loss anywhere but herself. Sociopathy much? ..."
Dec 17, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Monetas Tuas Requiro -> kthomas... , December 16, 2016 at 05:10 PM
The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win

http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19960715,00.html

JohnH -> Dan Kervick... , December 16, 2016 at 11:46 AM
PK seems to be a bitter old man...
anne -> sanjait... , December 16, 2016 at 03:08 PM
Nothing to see here, say the useful idiots.

[ I find it terrifying, simply terrifying, to refer to people as "useful idiots" after all the personal destruction that has followed when the expression was specifically used in the past.

To me, using such an expression is an honored economist intent on becoming Joseph McCarthy. ]

anne -> anne... , December 16, 2016 at 03:15 PM
To demean a person as though the person were a communist or a fool of communists or the like, with all the personal harm that has historically brought in this country, is cruel beyond my understanding or imagining.

"Useful Idiots Galore," terrifying.

Necesito Dinero Tuyo -> anne... , December 16, 2016 at 05:25 PM
Dale : , December 16, 2016 at 10:51 AM
trouble is that his mind reflects an accurate perception of our common reality.
Procopius -> Dale... , December 17, 2016 at 02:37 AM
Well, not really. For example he referred to "the close relationship between Wikileaks and Russian intelligence." But Wikileaks is a channel. They don't seek out material. They rely on people to bring material to them. They supposedly make an effort to verify that the material is not a forgery, but aside from that what they release is what people bring to them. Incidentally, like so many people you seem to not care whether the material is accurate or not -- Podesta and the DNC have not claimed that any of the emails are different from what they sent.
Tom aka Rusty : , December 16, 2016 at 11:06 AM
PK's head explodes!

One thought....

When politicians and business executives and economists cuddle up to the totalitarian Chinese it is viewed as an act of enlightment and progress.

When someone cuddles up to the authoritarian thug Putin it is an act of evil.

Seems a bit of a double standard.

We are going to have to do "business" with both the Chinese and the Russians, whoever is president.

Ben Groves -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 16, 2016 at 11:07 AM
Your head should explode considering Trump's deal with the "establishment" in July was brokered by foreign agents.
ilsm -> Ben Groves... , December 16, 2016 at 04:11 PM
curiouser and curiouser! while Obama and administration arm jihadis and call its support for jihadis funded by al Qaeda a side in a civil war.

the looking glass you all went through.

Trump has more convictions than any democrat

... ... ...

Tom aka Rusty -> kthomas... , December 16, 2016 at 01:36 PM
In a theatre of the absurd sort of way.
dilbert dogbert -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 16, 2016 at 12:11 PM
One thought:
Only Nixon can go to China.
anne -> sanjait... , December 16, 2016 at 03:22 PM
Putin is a murderous thug...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/23/opinion/david-brooks-snap-out-of-it.html

September 22, 2014

Snap Out of It
By David Brooks

President Vladimir Putin of Russia, a lone thug sitting atop a failing regime....

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/22/opinion/thomas-friedman-putin-and-the-pope.html

October 21, 2014

Putin and the Pope
By Thomas L. Friedman

One keeps surprising us with his capacity for empathy, the other by how much he has become a first-class jerk and thug....

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/21/opinion/sunday/thomas-l-friedman-whos-playing-marbles-now.html

December 20, 2014

Who's Playing Marbles Now?
By Thomas L. Friedman

Let us not mince words: Vladimir Putin is a delusional thug....

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/22/opinion/paul-krugman-putin-neocons-and-the-great-illusion.html

December 21, 2014

Conquest Is for Losers: Putin, Neocons and the Great Illusion
By Paul Krugman

Remember, he's an ex-K.G.B. man - which is to say, he spent his formative years as a professional thug....

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/28/opinion/thomas-friedman-czar-putins-next-moves.html

January 27, 2015

Czar Putin's Next Moves
By Thomas L. Friedman

ZURICH - If Putin the Thug gets away with crushing Ukraine's new democratic experiment and unilaterally redrawing the borders of Europe, every pro-Western country around Russia will be in danger....

anne -> anne... , December 16, 2016 at 03:23 PM
Putin is a murderous thug...

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/16/world/middleeast/white-house-split-on-opening-talks-with-putin.html

September 15, 2015

Obama Weighing Talks With Putin on Syrian Crisis
By PETER BAKER and ANDREW E. KRAMER

WASHINGTON - Mr. Obama views Mr. Putin as a thug, according to advisers and analysts....

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/opinion/mr-putins-mixed-messages-on-syria.html

September 20, 2015

Mr. Putin's Mixed Messages on Syria

Mr. Obama considers Mr. Putin a thug, his advisers say....

Gibbon1 -> anne... , December 16, 2016 at 07:15 PM
> By David Brooks
> By Thomas L. Friedman
> By Paul Krugman
> By Peter Baker and Andrew E. Kramer

I feel these authors have intentionally attempted to mislead in the past. They also studiously ignore the United States thuggish foreign policy.

Sandwichman : , December 16, 2016 at 11:06 AM
"...not acting as if this was a normal election..." The problem is that it WAS a "normal" U.S. election.
Ben Groves -> Sandwichman ... , December 16, 2016 at 11:09 AM
Yup, like the other elections, the bases stayed solvent and current events factored into the turnout and voting patterns which spurred the independent vote.
Gibbon1 -> Ben Groves... , December 16, 2016 at 11:57 AM
When people were claiming Clinton was going to win big, I thought no Republican and Democratic voters are going to pull the lever like a trained monkey as usual. Only difference in this election was Hillary's huge negatives due entirely by her and Bill Clinton's support for moving manufacturing jobs to Mexico and China in the 90s.
dilbert dogbert -> Sandwichman ... , December 16, 2016 at 12:13 PM
I would have thought in a "normal" murika and election, the drumpf would have gotten at most 10 million votes.
Sandwichman -> dilbert dogbert... , December 16, 2016 at 01:54 PM
The trouble with normal is it always gets worse.
Fred C. Dobbs : , December 16, 2016 at 11:08 AM
To Understand Trump, Learn Russian http://nyti.ms/2hLcrB1
NYT - Andrew Rosenthal - December 15

The Russian language has two words for truth - a linguistic quirk that seems relevant to our current political climate, especially because of all the disturbing ties between the newly elected president and the Kremlin.

The word for truth in Russian that most Americans know is "pravda" - the truth that seems evident on the surface. It's subjective and infinitely malleable, which is why the Soviet Communists called their party newspaper "Pravda." Despots, autocrats and other cynical politicians are adept at manipulating pravda to their own ends.

But the real truth, the underlying, cosmic, unshakable truth of things is called "istina" in Russian. You can fiddle with the pravda all you want, but you can't change the istina.

For the Trump team, the pravda of the 2016 election is that not all Trump voters are explicitly racist. But the istina of the 2016 campaign is that Trump's base was heavily dependent on racists and xenophobes, Trump basked in and stoked their anger and hatred, and all those who voted for him cast a ballot for a man they knew to be a racist, sexist xenophobe. That was an act of racism.

Trump's team took to Twitter with lightning speed recently to sneer at the conclusion by all 17 intelligence agencies that the Kremlin hacked Democratic Party emails for the specific purpose of helping Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton. Trump said the intelligence agencies got it wrong about Iraq, and that someone else could have been responsible for the hack and that the Democrats were just finding another excuse for losing.

The istina of this mess is that powerful evidence suggests that the Russians set out to interfere in American politics, and that Trump, with his rejection of Western European alliances and embrace of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, was their chosen candidate.

The pravda of Trump's selection of Rex Tillerson, head of Exxon Mobil, as secretary of state is that by choosing an oil baron who has made billions for his company by collaborating with Russia, Trump will make American foreign policy beholden to American corporate interests.

That's bad enough, but the istina is far worse. For one thing, American foreign policy has been in thrall to American corporate interests since, well, since there were American corporations. Just look at the mess this country created in Latin America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the Middle East to serve American companies.

Yes, Tillerson has ignored American interests repeatedly, including in Russia and Iraq, and has been trying to remove sanctions imposed after Russia's seizure of Crimea because they interfered with one of his many business deals. But take him out of the equation in the Trump cabinet and nothing changes. Trump has made it plain, with every action he takes, that he is going to put every facet of policy, domestic and foreign, at the service of corporate America. The istina here is that Tillerson is just a symptom of a much bigger problem.

The pravda is that Trump was right in saying that the intelligence agencies got it wrong about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction.

But the istina is that Trump's contempt for the intelligence services is profound and dangerous. He's not getting daily intelligence briefings anymore, apparently because they are just too dull to hold his attention.

And now we know that Condoleezza Rice was instrumental in bringing Tillerson to Trump's attention. As national security adviser and then secretary of state for president George W. Bush, Rice was not just wrong about Iraq, she helped fabricate the story that Hussein had nuclear weapons.

Trump and Tillerson clearly think they are a match for the wily and infinitely dangerous Putin, but as they move foward with their plan to collaborate with Russia instead of opposing its imperialist tendencies, they might keep in mind another Russian saying, this one from Lenin.

"There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience," he wrote. "A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel."

Putin has that philosophy hard-wired into his political soul. When it comes to using scoundrels to get what he wants, he is a professional, and Trump is only an amateur. That is the istina of the matter.

Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 16, 2016 at 11:25 AM
If nothing else, Russia - with a notably un-free press - has shrewdly used our own 'free press' against US.

RUSSIA'S UNFREE PRESS

The Boston Globe - Marshall Goldman - January 29, 2001

AS THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION DEBATES ITS POLICY TOWARD RUSSIA, FREEDOM OF THE PRESS SHOULD BE ONE OF ITS MAJOR CONCERNS. UNDER PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN THE PRESS IS FREE ONLY AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT CRITICIZE PUTIN OR HIS POLICIES. WHEN NTV, THE TELEVISION NETWORK OF THE MEDIA GIANT MEDIA MOST, REFUSED TO PULL ITS PUNCHES, MEDIA MOST'S OWNER, VLADIMIR GUSINSKY, FOUND HIMSELF IN JAIL, AND GAZPROM, A COMPANY DOMINATED BY THE STATE, BEGAN TO CALL IN LOANS TO MEDIA MOST. Unfortunately, Putin's actions are applauded by more than 70 percent of the Russian people. They crave a strong and forceful leader; his KGB past and conditioned KGB responses are just what they seem to want after what many regard as the social, political, and economic chaos of the last decade.

But what to the Russians is law and order (the "dictatorship of the law," as Putin has so accurately put it) looks more and more like an old Soviet clampdown to many Western observers.

There is no complaint about Putin's promises. He tells everyone he wants freedom of the press. But in the context of his KGB heritage, his notion of freedom of the press is something very different. In an interview with the Toronto Globe and Mail, he said that that press freedom excludes the "hooliganism" or "uncivilized" reporting he has to deal with in Moscow. By that he means criticism, especially of his conduct of the war in Chechnya, his belated response to the sinking of the Kursk, and the heavy-handed way in which he has pushed aside candidates for governor in regional elections if they are not to Putin's liking.

He does not take well to criticism. When asked by the relatives of those lost in the Kursk why he seemed so unresponsive, Putin tried to shift the blame for the disaster onto the media barons, or at least those who had criticized him. They were the ones, he insisted, who had pressed for reduced funding for the Navy while they were building villas in Spain and France. As for their criticism of his behavior, They lie! They lie! They lie!

Our Western press has provided good coverage of the dogged way Putin and his aides have tried to muscle Gusinsky out of the Media Most press conglomerate he created. But those on the Putin enemies list now include even Boris Berezovsky, originally one of Putin's most enthusiastic promoters who after the sinking of the Kursk also became a critic and thus an opponent.

Gusinsky would have a hard time winning a merit badge for trustworthiness (Berezovsky shouldn't even apply), but in the late Yeltsin and Putin years, Gusinsky has earned enormous credit for his consistently objective news coverage, including a spotlight on malfeasance at the very top. More than that, he has supported his programmers when they have subjected Yeltsin and now Putin to bitter satire on Kukly, his Sunday evening prime-time puppet show.

What we hear less of, though, is what is happening to individual reporters, especially those engaged in investigative work. Almost monthly now there are cases of violence and intimidation. Among those brutalized since Putin assumed power are a reporter for Radio Liberty who dared to write negative reports about the Russian Army's role in Chechnia and four reporters for Novaya Gazeta. Two of them were investigating misdeeds by the FSB (today's equivalent of the KGB), including the possibility that it rather than Chechins had blown up a series of apartment buildings. Another was pursuing reports of money-laundering by Yeltsin family members and senior staff in Switzerland. Although these journalists were very much in the public eye, they were all physically assaulted.

Those working for provincial papers labor under even more pressure with less visibility. There are numerous instances where regional bosses such as the governor of Vladivostok operate as little dictators, and as a growing number of journalists have discovered, challenges are met with threats, physical intimidation, and, if need be, murder.

True, freedom of the press in Russia is still less than 15 years old, and not all the country's journalists or their bosses have always used that freedom responsibly. During the 1996 election campaign, for example, the media owners, including Gusinsky conspired to denigrate or ignore every viable candidate other than Yeltsin. But attempts to muffle if not silence criticism have multiplied since Putin and his fellow KGB veterans have come to power. Criticism from any source, be it an individual journalist or a corporate entity, invites retaliation.

When Media Most persisted in its criticism, Putin sat by approvingly as his subordinates sent in masked and armed tax police and prosecutors. When that didn't work, they jailed Gusinsky on charges that were later dropped, although they are seeking to extradite and jail him again. along with his treasurer, on a new set of charges. Yesterday the prosecutor general summoned Tatyana Mitkova, the anchor of NTV's evening news program, for questioning. Putin's aides are also doing all they can to prevent Gusinsky from refinancing his debt-ridden operation with Ted Turner or anyone else in or outside of the country.

According to one report, Putin told one official, You deal with the shares, debts, and management and I will deal with the journalists. His goal simply is to end to independent TV coverage in Russia. ...

(No link; from their archives.)

DeDude -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 16, 2016 at 11:33 AM
"Unfortunately, Putin's actions are applauded by more than 70 percent of the Russian people"

Exactly; the majority of people are so stupid and/or lazy that they cannot be bothered understanding what is going on; and how their hard won democracy is being subjugated. But thank God that is in Russia not here in the US - right?

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 16, 2016 at 11:45 AM
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2001-02-07/html/CREC-2001-02-07-pt1-PgE133-4.htm

February 7, 2001

Russia's Unfree Press
By Marshall I. Goldman

Watermelonpunch -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 16, 2016 at 04:55 PM
"Infinitely dangerous" As in the event horizon of a black hole, for pity's sake?

Odd choice of words. Should there have been a "more" in between there? Was it a typo?

cm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 17, 2016 at 03:42 PM
"Pravda" is etymologically derived from "prav-" which means "right" (as opposed to "left", other connotations are "proper", "correct", "rightful", also legal right). It designates the social-construct aspect of "righteousness/truthfulness/correctness" as opposed to "objective reality" (conceptually independent of social standards, in reality anything but). In formal logic, "istina" is used to designate truth. Logical falsity is designated a "lie".

It is a feature common to most European languages that rightfulness, righteousness, correctness, and legal rights are identified with the designation for the right side. "Sinister" is Latin for "left".

Ben Groves : , December 16, 2016 at 11:18 AM
If you believe 911 was a Zionist conspiracy, so where the Paris attacks of November 2015, when Trump was failing in the polls as the race was moving toward as you would expect, toward other candidates. After the Paris attacks, his numbers reaccelerated.

If "ZOG" created the "false flag" of the Paris attacks to start a anti-Muslim fervor, they succeeded, much like 911. Bastille day attacks were likewise, a false flag. This is not new, this goes back to when the aristocracy merged with the merchant caste, creating the "bourgeois". They have been running a parallel government in the shadows to effect what is seen.

cm -> sanjait... , December 17, 2016 at 03:46 PM
There used to be something called Usenet News, where at the protocol level reader software could fetch meta data (headers containing author, (stated) origin, title, etc.) independently from comment bodies. This was largely owed to limited download bandwidth. Basically all readers had "kill files" i.e. filters where one could configure that comments with certain header parameters should not be downloaded, or even hidden.
cm -> cm... , December 17, 2016 at 03:48 PM
The main application was that the reader would download comments in the background when headers were already shown, or on demand when you open a comment.

Now you get the whole thing (or in units of 100) by the megabyte.

tew : , December 16, 2016 at 11:19 AM
A major problem is signal extraction out of the massive amounts of noise generated by the media, social media, parties, and pundits.

It's easy enough to highlight this thread of information here, but in real time people are being bombarded by so many other stories.

In particular, the Clinton Foundation was also regularly being highlighted for its questionable ties to foreign influence. And HRC's extravagant ties to Wall St. And so much more.

And there is outrage fatigue.

Ben Groves -> DeDude... , December 16, 2016 at 11:34 AM
The media's job was to sell Trump and denounce Clinton. The mistake a lot of people make is thinking the global elite are the "status quo". They are not. They are generally the ones that break the status quo more often than not.

The bulk of them wanted Trump/Republican President and made damn sure it was President. Buffering the campaign against criticism while overly focusing on Clinton's "crap". It took away from the issues which of course would have low key'd the election.

cm -> DeDude... , December 17, 2016 at 03:55 PM
Not much bullying has to be applied when there are "economic incentives". The media attention economy and ratings system thrive on controversy and emotional engagement. This was known a century ago as "only bad news is good news". As long as I have lived, the non-commercial media not subject (or not as much) to these dynamics have always been perceived as dry and boring.

I heard from a number of people that they followed the campaign "coverage" (in particular Trump) as gossip/entertainment, and those were people who had no sympathies for him. And even media coverage by outlets generally critical of Trump's unbelievable scandals and outrageous performances catered to this sentiment.

Jim Harrison : , December 16, 2016 at 11:24 AM
Shorter Paul Krugman: nobody acted more irresponsibly in the last election than the New York Times.
Sandwichman -> Jim Harrison ... , December 16, 2016 at 11:53 AM
Looks like Putin recruited the NYT, the FBI and the DNC.
DrDick -> Sandwichman ... , December 16, 2016 at 11:57 AM
Nah, Wall Street and the GOP recruited them to the effort.
Sandwichman -> DrDick... , December 16, 2016 at 01:57 PM
GOP included in FBI. Wall Street included in DNC, GOP. It's all just one big FBIDNCGOPCNNWSNYT.
sanjait -> Jim Harrison ... , December 16, 2016 at 03:06 PM
He can't say it out loud but you know he's including the NYT on his list of UIs.
tew : , December 16, 2016 at 11:26 AM
Let me also add some levelheaded thoughts:

First, let me disclose that I detest TRUMP and that the Russian meddling has me deeply concerned. Yet...

We only have assertions that the Russian hacking had some influence. We do not know whether it likely had *material* influence that could have reasonably led to a swing state(s) going to TRUMP that otherwise would have gone to HRC.

Dr. Krugman is feeding this "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality. He comes across as increasingly shrill and even unhinged - it's a slide he's been taking for years IMO, which is a big shame.

It is downright irresponsible and dangerous for a major public intellectual with so little information to cast the shadow of legitimacy on a president ("And it means not acting as if this was a normal election whose result gives the winner any kind of a mandate, or indeed any legitimacy beyond the bare legal requirements.") This kind of behavior is EXACTLY what TRUMP and other authoritarians exhibit - using pieces of information to discredit institutions and individuals. Since foreign governments have and will continue to try to influence U.S. policy through increasingly sophisticated means, this opens the door for anyone to declare our elections and policies as illegitimate in the future.

DrDick -> tew... , December 16, 2016 at 11:56 AM
It is quite clear that the Russians intervened on Trump's behalf and that this intervention had an impact. The problem is that we cannot actually quantify that impact.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fbi-backs-cia-view-that-russia-intervened-to-help-trump-win-election/2016/12/16/05b42c0e-c3bf-11e6-9a51-cd56ea1c2bb7_story.html?pushid=breaking-news_1481916265&tid=notifi_push_breaking-news&utm_term=.25d35c017908

Sandwichman -> tew... , December 16, 2016 at 01:17 PM
"We only have assertions that the Russian hacking had some influence."

Any influence Russian hacking had was entirely a consequence of U.S. media obsession with celebrity, gotcha and horse race trivia and two-party red state/blue state tribalism.

Without the preceding, neither Trump nor Clinton would have been contenders in the first place. Putin didn't invent super delegates, Citizens United, Fox News, talk radio, Goldman-Sachs, etc. etc. etc. If Putin exploited vulnerabilities, it is because preserving those vulnerabilities was more important to the elites than fostering a democratic political culture.

cm -> Sandwichman ... , December 17, 2016 at 04:00 PM
But this is how influence is exerted - by using the dynamics of the adversary's/targets organization as an amplifier. Hierarchical organizations are approached through their management or oversight bodies, social networks through key influencers, etc.
David : , December 16, 2016 at 11:58 AM
I see this so much and it's so right wing cheap: I hate Trump, but assertions that Russia intervened are unproven.

First, Trump openly invited Russia to hack DNC emails. That is on its face treason and sedition. It's freaking on video. If HRC did that there would be calls of the right for her execution.

Second, a NYT story showed that the FBI knew about the hacking but did not alert the DNC properly - they didn't even show up, they sent a note to a help desk.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fbi-probe-dnc-hacked-emails_us_57a19f22e4b08a8e8b601259

This was a serious national security breach that was not addressed properly. This is criminal negligence.

This was a hacked election by collusion of the FBI and the Russian hackers and it totally discredits the FBI as it throwed out chum and then denied at the last minute. Now the CIA comes in and says PUTIN, Trump's bff, was directly involved in manipulating the timetable that the hacked emails were released in drip drip form to cater to the media - creating story after story about emails.

It was a perfect storm for a coup. Putin played us. And he will play Trump. And God knows how it ends. But it doesn't matter b/c we're all screwed with climate change anyway.

sglover -> David... , December 16, 2016 at 02:50 PM
"It was a perfect storm for a coup. Putin played us. And he will play Trump. And God knows how it ends. But it doesn't matter b/c we're all screwed with climate change anyway."

It's not a "coup". It's an election result that didn't go the way a lot of people want. That's it. It's probably not optimal, but I'm pretty sure that democracy isn't supposed to produce optimal results.

All this talk about "coups" and "illegitimacy" is nuts, and -- true to Dem practice -- incredibly short-sighted. For many, voting for Trump was an available way to say to those people, "We don't believe you any more. At all." Seen in that light, it is a profoundly democratic (small 'd') response to elites that have most consistently served only themselves.

Trump and his gang will be deeply grateful if the left follows Krugman's "wisdom", and clings to his ever-changing excuses. (I thought it was the evil Greens who deprived Clinton of her due?)

100panthers : , December 16, 2016 at 02:17 PM
Post Truth is Pre-Fascism. The party that thinks your loyalty is suspect unless you wear a flag pin fuels itself on Post Truth. Isnt't this absurdity the gist of Obama's Russia comments today!?!
ilsm -> 100panthers... , December 16, 2016 at 04:29 PM
Obama and the Clintons are angered; Russia keeping US from giving Syria to al Qaeda. Like Clinton gave them Libya.
Jerry Brown -> sanjait... , December 16, 2016 at 04:46 PM
I agree. Unless the Russians or someone else hacked the ballot box machines, it is our own damn fault.
ilsm : , December 16, 2016 at 04:27 PM
the US media is angered putin is killing US' jihadis in Syria
Mr. Bill : , December 16, 2016 at 08:27 PM
"On Wednesday an editorial in The Times described Donald Trump as a "useful idiot" serving Russian interests." I think that is beyond the pale. Yes, I realize that Adolph Hitler was democratically elected. I agree that Trump seems like a scary monster under the bed. That doesn't mean we have too pee our pants, Paul. He's a bully, tough guy, maybe, the kind of kid that tortured you before you kicked the shit out of them with your brilliance. That's not what is needed now.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , December 16, 2016 at 08:39 PM
What really is needed, is a watchdog, like Dean Baker, that alerts we dolts of pending bills and their ramifications. The ship of neo-liberal trade bullshit has sailed. Hell, you don't believe it yourself, you've said as much. Be gracious, and tell the truth. We can handle it.
Ben Groves -> Mr. Bill... , December 16, 2016 at 09:51 PM
The ship of neo-liberal trade sailed in the mid-2000's. That you don't get that is sad. You can only milk that so far the cow had been milked.

Trump was a coo, he was not supported by the voters. But by the global elite.

Mr. Bill : , December 16, 2016 at 10:28 PM
Hillary Clinton lost because she is truly an ugly aristocrat.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , December 16, 2016 at 11:49 PM
The experience of voting for the Hill was painful, vs Donald Trump.

The Hill seemed like the least likely aristocrat, given two choices, to finish off all government focus on the folks that actually built this society. Two Titans of Hubris, Hillary vs Donald, each ridiculous in the concept of representing the interests of the common man.

At the end of the day. the American people decided that the struggle with the unknown monster Donald was worth deposing the great deplorable, Clinton.

Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , December 17, 2016 at 12:11 AM
The real argument is whether the correct plan of action is the way of FDR, or the way of the industrialists, the Waltons, the Kochs, the Trumps, the Bushes and the outright cowards like the Cheneys and the Clintons, people that never spent a day defending this country in combat. What do they call it, the Commander in Chief.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , December 17, 2016 at 12:29 AM
My father was awarded a silver and a bronze star for his efforts in battle during WW2. He was shot in the face while driving a tank destroyer by a German sniper in a place called Schmitten Germany.

He told me once, that he looked over at the guy next to him on the plane to the hospital in England, and his intestines were splayed on his chest. It was awful.

Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , December 17, 2016 at 12:55 AM
What was he fighting for ? Freedom, America. Then the Republicans, Ronald Reagan, who spent the war stateside began the real war, garnering the wealth of the nation to the entitled like him. Ronald Reagan was a life guard.
btg : , December 16, 2016 at 11:09 PM
Other idiots...

Anthony Weiner
Podesta
Biden (for not running)
Tim Kaine (for accepting the nomination instead of deferring to a latino)
CNN and other TV news media (for giving trump so much coverage- even an empty podium)
Donna Brazile
etc.

greg : , December 16, 2016 at 11:57 PM
The people of the United States did not have much to choose between: Either a servant of the Plutocrats or a member of the Plutocratic class. The Dems brought this on us when they refused to play fair with Bernie. (Hillary would almost certainly have won the nomination anyway.)

The Repubs brought this on, by refusing to govern. The media brought this on: I seem to remember Hillary's misfeasances, once nominated, festering in the media, while Trump's were mentioned, and then disappeared. (Correct me if I'm wrong in this.) Also, the media downplayed Bernie until he had no real chance.

The government brought this on, by failing to pursue justice against the bankers, and failing to represent the people, especially the majority who have been screwed by trade and the plutocratic elite and their apologists.

The educational system brought this on, by failing to educate the people to critical thought. For instance: 1) The wealthy run the country. 2) The wealthy have been doing very well. 3) Everybody else has not. It seems most people cannot draw the obvious conclusion.

The wealthy brought this on. For 230 years they have, essentially run this country. They are too stupid to be satisfied with enough, but always want more.

The economics profession brought this on, by excusing treasonous behavior as efficient, and failing to understand the underlying principles of their profession, and the limits of their understanding. (They don't even know what money is, or how a trade deficit destroys productive capacity, and thus the very ability of a nation to pay back the debts it incurs.)

The people brought this on, by neglecting their duty to be informed, to be educated, and to be thoughtful.

Anybody else care for their share of blame? I myself deserve some, but for reasons I cannot say.

What amazes me now is, the bird having shown its feathers, there is no howl of outrage from the people who voted for him. Do they imagine that the Plutocrats who will soon monopolize the White House will take their interests to heart?

As far as I can tell, not one person of 'the people' has been appointed to his cabinet. Not one. But the oppressed masses who turned to Mr Trump seem to be OK with this.
I can only wonder, how much crap will have to be rubbed in their faces, before they awaken to the taste of what it is?

Eric377 : , -1
Krugman is himself one of those most useful idiots. I do not recall his clarion call to Democrats last spring that "FBI investigation" and "party Presidential nominee" was bound to be an ugly combination. Some did; right here as I recall. Or his part in the official "don't vote for third party" week in the Clinton media machine....thanks, hundreds of thousands of Trump votes got the message.

It's too rich to complain about Russia and Wikileaks as if those elements in anyway justified Clinton becoming President. Leaks mess with our democracy? Then for darn sure do not vote for a former Sec. of State willing to use a home server for her official business. Russia is menacing? Just who has been managing US-Russia relations the past 8 years? I voted for her anyway, but the heck if I think some tragic fate has befell the nation here. Republicans picked a better candidate to win this thing than we Democrats did.

Greg -> Eric377... , December 17, 2016 at 12:11 PM
Well said, Eric377.

The truth of the matter is that Clinton was a very weak candidate with nothing to offer but narcissism ("I'm with her"). It's notable that Clinton has still not accepted responsibility for her campaign, preferring to throw the blame for the loss anywhere but herself. Sociopathy much?

This has made me cynical. I used to think that at least *some* members of the US political elite had the best interests of ordinary households in mind, but now I see that it's just ego vs. ego, whatever the party.

As for democracy being on the edge: I believe Adam Smith over Krugman: "there is a lot of ruin in a nation". It takes more than this to overturn an entrenched institution.

I think American democracy will survive a decade of authoritarianism, and if it does not, then H. L. Mencken said it best: "The American people know what they want, and they deserve to get it -- good and hard."

[Dec 13, 2016] Bill Black After 30 Years of Throwing Working People Under the Bus, Democratic Partys Centrist Leaders Remain Clueless Abou

Notable quotes:
"... By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Jointly published with New Economic Perspectives ..."
"... This Russia stuff isn't about Trump but about the Democrats pleading with people not to look at the man behind the curtain. ..."
"... Propaganda only works when people are aware there is no curtain. At this point, the Wizard of Oz has been revealed, and unlike Baum's creation, he has no redeeming qualities. Telling everyone to look at the big giant head again fails. ..."
"... Putin is not the one responsible for manipulating Democrats into an intensely pro-Wall Street, anti-working class political posture that loses elections. ..."
"... The working class wants jobs and job security – not simply income. ..."
"... The baggage you speak of actually began with Reagan when from a government position of high privilege he actually sneered at government as the employer of last resort with his statement belittling "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." Which a subservient press took and ran with to make sure it settled into everyone's subconscious. It's helpful to revisit the rise of Ronald Reagan, and to remember that Obama took him as his role model, not FDR. ..."
"... The New Democrats will likely go the way of the blue dog Democrats. Their Republican voters will ask themselves why should they vote for a powerless Republican-lite, and they will simply die politically. ..."
"... New Democrats are really moderate republicans. For the democrat party to survive and get back their base, they have to adopt progressive democrat ideas. Electing Schumer as their senate leader is a mistake. He represents all that is bad about the democrat party. ..."
Dec 13, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
December 12, 2016 by Yves Smith By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Jointly published with New Economic Perspectives

On December 10, 2016, a New York Times article entitled "Democrats Have a New Message: It's the Economy First" that unintentionally revealed that the Party's "centrist" leadership and the paper remain clueless about how to improve the economy and why the "centrist" leadership needs to end its long war against the working class. This is how the paper explained the five "centrist" leaders' framing of the problem.

It was a blunt, plain-spoken set of senators who gathered last Monday at the Washington home of Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat of North Dakota, dining on Chinese food as they vented frustration about the missteps of the Democratic Party .

To this decidedly centrist group, the 2016 election was nothing short of a fiasco: final proof that its national party had grown indifferent to the rural, more conservative areas represented by Democrats like Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Jon Tester of Montana, who attended the dinner. All face difficult re-election races in 2018.

This non-centrist group was a gathering of five New Democrats. President Obama self-identified himself as a New Democrat. The Clintons and Al Gore are leaders of the New Democrats. The leadership of the Democratic National Committee was, and remains, New Democrats. On economic issues such as austerity, jobs, and full employment, the New Democrats are far more extreme than the (stated) views of Donald Trump. The New Democrats are infamous for their close ties with Wall Street. This means that the paper's description of the Chinese nosh is as clueless as the five New Democrats kvetching about policy "missteps" that they championed for decades. Of course, neither the paper nor the non-centrists mentioned that critical fact. The blindness of the non-centrists to the fact that it is their policies that launched the long war by the New Democrats against the working class is matched by the blindness of the paper.

The kvetching may have been "blunt," but it was also dishonest. The five New Democrats know that they will likely be replaced in the 2018 elections by Republicans who share the New Democrats' anti-working class dogmas. What was really going on was an extended cry of pain about the five senators' fear of losing their jobs.

Note that the paper never tells you what the five New Democrats so bluntly identified as the New Democrats' "missteps" or what new policies they believed needed to be adopted by the Party. This failure is particularly bizarre because the paper says that its reportage is based on sources that the paper agreed to keep anonymous so that they could speak frankly about this meeting over Chinese food. That combination of supposed frankness from the sources gained by the grant of anonymity so them could describe in detail the purported bluntness by the gang of five should have produced some epic, specific condemnations of the Democratic Party's leadership by the New Democrats. Instead, it produced mush. Focusing on the "economy" is the right general idea for any political party, but it is so general a word that it is close to meaningless without identifying the specific policy changes that the five New Democrats now support and oppose. The mushy reportage provides a thin gruel to the reader.

Most of all, they lamented, Democrats had simply failed to offer a clarion message about the economy with appeal to all 50 states.

"Why did the working people, who have always been our base, turn away?" Mr. Manchin said in an interview, recounting the tenor of the dinner conversation.

And the "clarion message about the economy" that they proposed that the Democratic Party make was? You would have thought that little detail would (a) be critical to the article and (b) would be something that the five New Democrats would have been eager to publicize without any need for anonymity. Conversely, if even after the disastrous election, from their perspective, the five New Democrats could not compose that "clarion" call, then the real problem is that the New Democrats' economic dogmas prevent them from supporting such a "clarion" pro-worker policy.

The second sentence of the quotation is equally embarrassing to the New Democrats. It purportedly recounts "the tenor of the dinner conversation." The first obvious question is – how did each of these five New Democrats answer that that question? That is what the readers would want to know. Even with the grants of anonymity to multiple sources the paper inexplicably presents only the vaguest hints as to the five Senators' explanation for why the New Democrats waged their long war on the working class.

Notice also the unintentional humor of the five New Democrats finally asking themselves this existential question in 2016 – after the election. The New Democrats began their long war on the working class over 30 years ago. Tom Frank published his famous (initial) book warning that the New Democrats' war on the working class would prove disastrous in 2004. The five New Democrats are shocked, shocked that the working class, after 30 years of being abused by the New Democrats' anti-worker policies and after being vilified for decades by the New Democrats, overwhelmingly voted against the Nation's most prominent New Democrat, Hillary Clinton. None of the five New Democrats appears to have a clue, even after the 2016 election, why this happened.

The article and the five New Democrats fail to discuss the anti-working class policies that they have championed for decades. Job security is the paramount issue that drives voting by many members of the working class. The New Democrats and the Old Republicans share a devotion to the two greatest threats to working class job security – austerity and the faux free trade deals. This makes it ironic that the paper sought out the Party faction leaders who have been so wrong for so long as supposedly being the unique source of providing the right answers now. If the five New Democrats had engaged in introspection and were prepared to discuss their disastrous, repeated policy failures that would have been valuable, but the New Democrats admit to making zero errors in the article.

The paper's understanding of economics and jobs is so poor that it wrote this clunker.

But even liberals believe Democrats must work harder to compete for voters who lean to the right, if only to shave a few points off the Republican Party's margin of victory in rural America. In some cases, they said, that may mean embracing candidates who hold wildly different views from the national party on certain core priorities.

First, the phrase and the implicit logic in the use of the phrase "even liberals" reverses reality. It is progressives who have consistently called for the Democratic Party to return to its role as a party that champions working people.

Second, the issue is generally not who "leans to the right." Indeed, the 2016 election should have made clear to the paper the severe limits on the usefulness of the terms "right" and "left" in explaining U.S. elections. Jobs are not a right v. left issue.

Third, the paramount policy priority – jobs – is the same regardless of whether one focuses on economic or political desirability. So, how long does it take for the article, and the five New Democrats to discuss "jobs?" Given the fact that they vented at length about the fear that they would begin to lose their jobs within two years, the subject of job security should have been paramount to the five New Democrats. The article, however, never even mentioned jobs or any of the related critical concepts – austerity, the faux trade deals, or the refusal to provide full employment. Further, the article did not comment on the failure of the New Democrats to even mention these any of these four concepts.

"A Clarion Message about the Economy with Appeal to all 50 States"

Here is UMKC's economics department's long-standing proposal to every American political party:

Our party stands for full employment at all times. We will make the federal government the guaranteed employer of last resort for every American able and wanting to work. We recognize that the United States has a sovereign currency and can always afford to ensure full employment. We recognize that austerity typically constitutes economic malpractice and is never a valid excuse for rejecting full employment. The myth that we help our grandchildren by consigning their grandparents and parents to unemployment is obscene. The opposite is true.

The working class wants jobs and job security – not simply income. Working class people overwhelmingly want to work. Working class males who are unable to find secure, full time work often become depressed and unmarriageable. If you want to encourage marriage and improve the quality of marriages, full employment and job security are vital policies. There are collateral advantages to providing full employment. Full employment can reduce greatly the "zero sum" fears about employment that can tear a society apart. Each of these outcomes is overwhelmingly supported by Americans.

Good economics is not a "right" v. "left" issue. Austerity is terrible economics. The fact that we have a sovereign currency is indisputable and there is broad agreement among finance professionals that such a currency means that the federal government budget is nothing like a household. The major party that first adopts the federal full employment guarantee will secure a critical political advantage over its rivals. Sometimes, good economics is good politics.

Disturbed Voter , December 12, 2016 at 6:13 am

It is critical that existing Democrat leadership goes into retirement. Finagling the Clintons back into the WH, delays this by 4, 8 or more years. Besides generating immense animosity. This could be easily accomplished if all Democrat leadership retires at 65 immediately, to live on their Social Security and Medicare (if they think those are still important).

vlade , December 12, 2016 at 7:02 am

ah, but there was a "clarion message". It was "we care not even about the 1%, but the 0.01%. The rest of you can piss off".
Which is why Dems got dumped.

steelhead23 , December 12, 2016 at 11:35 am

I suspect this meeting was functionally similar to the ecclesiastic kvetching when folks began to believe the world was a sphere some 600 years ago. I can imagine them thinking: unemployment (as they measure it) is low, housing prices are jumping, and boy, look at that stock market – how did our base constituency lose its way?

As long as the Democratic Party leadership thinks this way, the party is useless and should be abandoned. I might suggest that Bill, Yves, Randy Wray, and others get to work educating them, but like flat-earthers, these folks not only live in willful ignorance, they would very much like to cast that crowd on the pyre of false-news purveyors lest they lead even more of the faithful astray.

sgt_doom , December 12, 2016 at 6:11 pm

I have to fully agree with Prof. Black's assessment; thought this when they reelected Nancy "my son works at Countrywide" Pelosi and doubled down on their identity politics. (David Harvey disposes of identity politics in a single sentence in his latest book.)

timotheus , December 12, 2016 at 7:43 am

But in this Lewis Carroll universe, "Work harder to compete for Republican votes" doesn't mean steal Trump's jobs-related thunder but give in on things like fracking a la Madame Heitkamp, or discover an enthusiasm for guns like Manchin, or run anti-abortion stalwarts like Donnelly. That's why the reporter couldn't depart from the vague mush–the "centrists'" solution to the Democrats' debacle is to become Republicans.

lyman alpha blob , December 12, 2016 at 1:06 pm

My folks are bible thumping, Fox News watching, prolife, and anti-gay marriage voters.

They were all set to vote for Bernie, not because they agreed with him on everything, but because he was fighting for people like them and he was honest. They would have burned in H-E-double-hockey-sticks before voting for Clinton though. Judging by the polls during the primaries and the eventual outcome, they were far from alone in their assessment. Too bad the dimwit DC Dems can't be bothered to actually talk to people like them.

NotTimothyGeithner , December 12, 2016 at 2:06 pm

They sort of do talk to people like your relatives, but partisanship is strong. Plenty of local Democrats can diagnose and propose solutions caused by the GOP but will worship Trump if he had a "D" next to his name. Claire McCaskill probably receives enough praise from partisan plebes for no payment she assumes all the plebes should love her. For conservative types, Sanders not being in the other tribe was a huge selling point.

The Trumpening , December 12, 2016 at 8:05 am

The fundamental power diagram of politics is that groups of donors select groups of politicians to fight for the interests of the donors. The complication in democracy is that the voters select which politicians will rule. So the donors are like a client, the politicians like a lawyer and the voters are like a jury. A talented politician is one who can cunningly convince voters to set her guilty donors free.

So all these New Democrats are doing is suggesting ways to better plead to the jury. But they are in no way questioning the donors or whether they should continue to push policies that only serve the donors' best interests

One revolutionary feature of Donald Trump's campaign was that he was his own donor and so was very free to directly appeal to what is in the best interests of the working class voters he targeted: economic nationalism.

Conversely the most problematic feature of the Trump campaign was that he was running as the head of a party that did have plenty of donors and he was openly contradicting plenty of these donors' interests. But Trump correctly calculated that the only way to power in America was to hijack one of the two legacy parties.

In some ways Bernie Sanders attempted a similar feat, although I remain skeptical about whether he really was trying to win. If Sanders had become President, he would be facing the same problems that Trump now faces; how to rule a party whose policies fundamentally diverge in many areas from what you have promised to deliver.

And so until the Democrat change donors – specifically by announcing that as a party they will only accept small donations and adopt some of the Trump tactics to reduce campaign spending – nothing will change except the sound bites. Many working class people realized exactly how flawed Trump was but they rolled the dice for one reason only – no one owned Trump. Or as Henry Kissinger put it:

"This president-elect, it's the most unique that I have experienced in one respect. He has absolutely no baggage," Kissinger told CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS." "He has no obligation to any particular group because he has become president on the basis of his own strategy."

Kissinger is smart so he makes these words sound blasé but I can assure you they strike fear into the hearts of America's elite. But only when we hear these same elites expressing fear of the entire Democratic party (like they did about Bernie Sanders) will we know something fundamental has changed for the better.

fresno dan , December 12, 2016 at 10:44 am

The Trumpening
December 12, 2016 at 8:05 am

Some very good insights. I would be curious to know your thoughts on when the repub/Trump split comes, which way will FOX tilt? Right now FOX is all Trump, but after a year or two of insinuations that Trump is a Pro Putin commie, I suspect the masterful propagandists that make so much of our beliefs will either cause the actual downfall of Trump, or will more than neuter him.

NotTimothyGeithner , December 12, 2016 at 12:03 pm

Trump was selected by Republican voters despite Fox not being his BFF. Trump is the GOP, and Republican voters support their own. 41 called Reagan a practitoner of Voodoo economics. Yes, this was an appeal to the Southern strategy. Attacks on Trump that say he's not a "true conservative" will never work. Trump is a known clown. He can't embarrass himself, and I think it's important to remember Iraq happened. What did the average Republican voter take from that? Putin Fear Fest is very similar to the events of 2002.

Periodically, new tribal arrangements need to be made. Romney was given a chance. He failed, so the GOP voters selected someone new. Republicans hate Democrats. Attacks levied by Democrats will always be brushed off.

Videos could emerge of Trump swearing allegiance to Putin at an orgy, and Republican voters wouldn't care.

This Russia stuff isn't about Trump but about the Democrats pleading with people not to look at the man behind the curtain.

jrs , December 12, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Yes Republicans stick together plus they think Trump is most likely to accomplish their "small government" goals and so they support Trump (this is probably true, the establishment supported Hillary, but many a Republican votes party line for one of their own).

NotTimothyGeithner , December 12, 2016 at 12:56 pm

Hillary did well with defense contract related Republicans, but they are clustered. The ones in hideously over priced McMansions in Virginia and Maryland are terrified of spending being redirected. They have mortgages to pay, and if Trump thinkers with defense spending whether through cutting cutting or moving, Northern Virginia will become a land of white elephants. Northern Virginia might have incomes, but outside of old town Alexandria, it's a dump of out of control suburban sprawl.

No one sane would live there by choice. The costs are too high to relocate a corporate operation or even grow one. Republicans in Wisconsin don't care.

fresno dan , December 12, 2016 at 3:43 pm

NotTimothyGeithner
December 12, 2016 at 12:03 pm

Oh, I agree with your overall points. I was just wondering specifically about Murdoch and if his contrariness will make FOX pro Russian ((in the face of overwhelming repub foreign policy establishment against Trump)), or will FOX be the "repub" anti Russain brand. It will be interesting when being "conservative" means you like Putin .

And I remember how many rabidly anti communists where having conniptions when Reagan met with Gorbachev in Iceland. But Reagan was well ensconced in the establishment. Can Trump alone end the red menace?

schmoe , December 12, 2016 at 6:41 pm

? – "Trump was selected by Republican voters despite Fox not being his BFF. " Hannity and O'Reilly segments this past cycle were one hour propaganda news feeds for Trump.

The Trumpening , December 12, 2016 at 12:22 pm

As far as Fox goes from what I understand they are currently split - with Kelly Megyn (I know), Brit Hume, and Chris Wallace being anti-Trump while Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs are pro-Trump bigly. This is a smart balancing of Fox's short term need for viewers versus their longer-term policy requirements. But there can be no doubt that Rupert Murdoch is rabidly anti-Trump - he even gave that raving NeverTrump lunatic Louise Mensch a website called HeatStreet.

From glancing at the National Review it seems the GOPe think they are being generous by admitting defeat and magnanimously getting behind Trump's cultural agenda while insisting conservatives stay in charge of economic and foreign policy. But this is no change at all since the Republicans have always been offering the working classes empty cultural issues.

I imagine the Republicans see this as a Tour de France with them being the huge peloton while Trump is a lone breakaway attacker who they will soon swallow back up and totally co-opt.

I don't think the MSM are that good at propaganda; if they were Trump wouldn't be President!. For example now they have launched this Trump + Putin campaign but Trump responds by picking a fight with China. But the MSM is aghast and totally support the Chinese position! So they accuse Trump of carrying water for Russia put there's the entire MSM all lined up with buckets of Chinese water on their heads!

I suppose at some point several top GOP Senators (McCain, Flake) and a bottom (Lindsey Graham) will leave the party and caucus with the Democrats to ensure legislative gridlock. I believe if Trump really tried he could get a House of Representatives that supports him. I don't see how he herds the Senate though.

NotTimothyGeithner , December 12, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Propaganda only works when people are aware there is no curtain. At this point, the Wizard of Oz has been revealed, and unlike Baum's creation, he has no redeeming qualities. Telling everyone to look at the big giant head again fails.

The msm and the Democrats don't know how to function moving forward because building trust will take years of effort, and many of the specific personalities are done. They can never be attached to a competitive effort without undermining the effort. If they hope to retake their spot, when FB seemed trendy and not a mom hangout, they need people to forget about the curtain, but it's impossible. Instead they will whine about wicked witches of the North.

Even Trump won because the GOP misfits were sheepdogs for Jeb. Whatever else Trump was, he wasn't part of Jeb's curtain. Shouting Trump is a fraud doesn't work as long as you then scream "pay no mind to the strings on my back." I think Rufio could have made more noise if he wasn't such an obvious beta as he attacked Jeb, but one could argue he betrayed Jeb. People don't like that kind of thing.

samkoki , December 12, 2016 at 11:48 pm

Hogwash.

Bernie proved that there is plenty of money for candidates with the right intent and policies.

What you say, that dems can't win without its moneyed donor class, is a notion that has been used to bludgeon democrats into conservatism and passivity.

Bernie blasted your assertion about campaign finance to bits.

As to the dems "figuring something out," the dem leadership doesn't need to figure anything out. They are perfectly happy serving the 1%. It's the rest of the democrats who need to figure that out about their leadership and take action, whether it is tossing the leadership or starting a new party.

Adamski , December 13, 2016 at 5:59 am

According to an NYT article about his campaign, Sanders was not running to win until after his popularity started to skyrocket. Initially he was still attending the Senate and was not campaigning fulltime.

It was just an attempt to spread his liberal policy message nationwide. But how to control the party as President when it's opposed to him on policy? That's what "political revolution" meant. If Congress opposed Trump, he will have a rally of thousands in the district of any difficult legislator blaming him or her for not letting Trump make America great again.

Similarly Sanders can campaign to either get a Dem majority, it he hadn't got one in 2016, by 2018. Or to increase it or make it more liberal. This is what he did when the city council opposed him in Burlington, Vermont. Within a year he got one which was much more pliable. The progressives never got a majority but he went from Obama-style gridlock to a working government.

aab , December 13, 2016 at 6:07 am

One correction: Bernie Sanders is not a liberal. He is a democratic socialist. It's not a minor point, particularly because liberals deliberately obfuscate the difference to con voters.

Liberals believe in hierarchy. I'm pretty confident Bernie Sanders is an egalitarian. That matters, when it comes to policy and governance, as well as core values.

Marshall Auerback , December 12, 2016 at 8:05 am

Putin is not the one responsible for manipulating Democrats into an intensely pro-Wall Street, anti-working class political posture that loses elections.

Clive , December 12, 2016 at 2:02 pm

I agree - if the "old" parties act like the old neoliberal parties, they can't solve our current predicament. While our predicament isn't a new one, just a new version of an old problem, retreading the past 20 or 30 years isn't going to do the trick.

Normal , December 12, 2016 at 8:11 am

Gov't as employer as last resort is a huge leap from the goals of full employment and job security. This is promoted here and elsewhere without any rationale. Someone will have to explain why this is the only possible solution.

Arizona Slim , December 12, 2016 at 8:26 am

Have you noticed the private sector stepping up? With a free market jobs program that would provide full employment? I haven't either.

jrs , December 12, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Plus the quality of the jobs in the private sector is often horrible (of course not all but many). There is a reason everyone wants a government job. And unless the government sector forces the private sector to improve the quality of their jobs (ie living wages and ACTUALLY enforce overtime and safety and etc. not to mention all the contract work going on that isn't EVEN jobs) it will remain so. Quality of jobs matters.

fritter , December 12, 2016 at 8:40 am

Not really, but try explaining the opposite. How can we have full employment without gov't employment as last resort? Granted you can have "goals" all you want if you ignore them, but we'll put that aside and assume you are not disingenuous.
Everything else has been tried and failed, miserably. Companies sit on piles of cash without significant hiring. Tax incentives get gamed easily.
Offering employment is the simplest, most targeted solution that effectively cuts the rest of the employers out of the hostage taking business.

Cry Shop , December 12, 2016 at 9:18 am

The working class wants jobs and job security – not simply income.

I rather like the term used here instead of jobs , people want a livelihood. In the USA, that get's shortened into jobs, and then later short changed again into things like minimum wage. One could have fully employment and terrible livelihood. Only the Japanese could put up with 50+ years of being economic animals. Anyone who thinks full employment is going to solve issues like income inequality has been eating mushrooms picked from the cow pasture.

Mark Anderlik , December 12, 2016 at 10:37 am

Yes. Better to say "good jobs." Nearly 40% of workers in my community work at low-wage jobs that do not provide for a decent living on its own.

Cry Shop , December 12, 2016 at 11:25 am

I just don't even like the idea of "good jobs" - so limited and so American.

For example, Jobs won't save us from Climate Change, it's not just a money issue. Hence Livelihood, as in lets make sure the bastards who made this mess die before we do, then we;ll have some justice to make our miserable end more bearable. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/12/links-121216.html#comment-2725938

Waldenpond , December 12, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Full employment is the growth argument. Both would be beneficial but I would prefer the switch to income/leisure. Shorter work week, more leisure activities, less consumption, less growth.

lyman alpha blob , December 12, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Ditto. Government doesn't need to provide jobs where people go to the office and get paid to sit on their rear end all day – we already have enough of those in the public and private sectors.

I'd like to see a basic income guarantee with some sort of mandatory work required to get it. Something like the draft where people are called up to work for a certain period of time on a rotating basis but also giving them some say in what sort of job they get to do. One year you work at job x for a period of time, train your replacement and then get a bunch of time off. The next year you can try something different at job y.

Waldenpond , December 12, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Mandatory work everything is work. Yes, you can have call up for people who want to do a stint/internship learning large scale community construction, infrastructure, plumbing, electrical, etc.

Still, there needs to be jobs where people sit on their back sides part of a day some prefer working in offices and some are only able to work in offices.

But stretch the imagination: Community service runs the gamut: people to clean up streets, keep gutters open, scrape up weeds, maintain plantings, paint, repair; assisting children, seniors and animals; art etc. I am not a musician nor actor but would appreciate having free/low cost local enrichment programs. Public schools (the ones left) could be used in the evening for free classes: electronics, woodworking, engine/household repair, cooking, nutrition, etc.

And yes, there will be a need for people who sit on their rear ends to help organize and track activities. :)

lyman alpha blob , December 12, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Yes what you said.

And don't get me wrong about the rear end sitting – I don't mean those types of jobs shouldn't exist, I just mean that when you show up at the office you ought to have some actual work to do. And going to meetings deciding what work others should be doing doesn't count. I've worked at a few where I was required to be there for eight hours a day but only had four hours of work to do, and not for lack of asking.

One can only read the whole internet so many times a day ;)

polecat , December 12, 2016 at 7:11 pm

'Shorter work week, more leisure activities, less consumption, less growth.'

and lots of Free birthcontrol ..

jrs , December 12, 2016 at 12:18 pm

What nonsense it is to generalize what the working class as a whole wants (and really this probably should include everyone who works for a living). Some want jobs, some income. If everyone only wanted jobs no mothers would ever stay home to raise children etc..

Waldenpond , December 12, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Everything is work, everything is a job. If you take care of an elderly relative, it's duty (unpaid labor), if you take care of an elderly stranger it's a job. If you raise your own children, it's duty (unpaid labor), if raise others children, it's a job.

Elites are claiming more and more work is duty and of course it should be unpaid not to mention volunteerism.

If there was an income guarantee, most would labor their days away as work contributes to social connection and provides personal satisfaction.

If there was an income, I imagine social life would be richer as more people could be artists (festivals!), performers (community theater!), work in schools (art, music, construction classes) etc.

HotFlash , December 12, 2016 at 9:09 am

And, of course, it is the government that is the issuer of this sovereign currency that they cannot run out of. Or are you suggesting that the government give the $$ to the private sector, which will, of course, trickle it on down? We could call it, I don't know, how about 'quantitative easing'?

Another reason to prefer the government (which, after all, is "us") to administer jobs-for-all is providing jobs that do useful things for society which could not be provided on a for-profit basis. Um, like daycare, medical care, public utilities, eldercare, voter registration, education, making things that are repairable, and then repairing them when they need it, organic agriculture, humane animal husbandry, saving the monarch butterflies, *manual* residential snow shoveling - all those things that 'cost too much' for a for-profit business to do.

Eclair , December 12, 2016 at 10:27 am

Exactly, HotFlash. And, notice that so many of these livelihoods, child and eldercare, teaching, repair persons, garbage collectors, snow plow operators, have been relegated to the level of 'minimum wage jobs,' and the people that perform these necessary services consigned to the ranks of 'too dumb to be innovators or investment bankers.'

We have been conned into mumbling to our military, 'thank you for your service,' as they get to board flights before us. Why not honor trash collectors and the women who clean the toilets in our workplaces and the workers who are out on the county roads and interstates at 2am in a blizzard, keeping the roads clear so we don't have to be inconveniences? Where would our society be without them?

Cry Shop , December 12, 2016 at 12:03 pm

Douglas Adams was only being partially facetious when he had the an advanced civilization wiped out because they shipped out their phone cleaners on rocket-ships (ala the Marching Morons). It was his subtle rebuke to both Kornbluth and the Ayn Randian/neo-conservative of that time, as well as the general vapid consumerist society.

As to the military, I always favored the Coast Guard, they risk their lives to save other humans, not help the MIC and Empire.

manymusings , December 12, 2016 at 11:39 am

I think explaining govt-as-employer-of last-resort becomes easy once a few misconceptions are corrected and a few realities sink in. But it's no small thing for the realities to sink in - everything we've been taught, or encouraged to assume, is working against us. Conventional, responsible wisdom is that the wealth one has that didn't come from the government is "earned" and any activity that "earns" money is inherently productive and being productive is good - it makes one worthy. People think of "money" as the stuff passed around in big green wads in the movies, that comes into being through work an ingenuity (unless the govt commits the sin of "just printing it"). Distribution may not be "fair" but it at least follows certain intuitive laws or forces, that have a vague sense of morality associated with them (e.g., money is earned through productivity which means whoever has it by definition earned it, e.g. MH point on FIRE sector). It is a tautology - but a powerful one. People don't think of money as the product of accounting, a two sided coin created literally from a balance sheet - debits and credits, assets and liabilities - and that commercial banks can conjure "money" - pump it into circulation - simply by marking an asset in their ledger. People don't know that banks issue loans (create assets) out of nothing all the time (i.e., loans without corresponding deposits or reserves, loaning what they don't "have"). The asset becomes revenue-generating through interests and fees, which, if non-liquidating, are the precise opposite of "productive."

It is so difficult for this to sink in because our society organizes itself as if this weren't true. Speaking personally, it takes a persistent, systematic re-organization of how we process facts and arguments. We hear something like a "sovereign currency can never run out" as a justification for universal income or govt-as-employer-of-last-resort, and it triggers a deeply embedded sense that somehow this would send the economy spinning of the rails. But once it sinks in that "money" is just an asset/liability, and its entry into private circulation is purely a matter of public policy (not private "productivity"), at least then you're asking the right question: how should a sovereign inject currency into private circulation? Maybe no one answer is universally right at all times and in all circumstances .. but at this point debt is outpacing actual productivity, which means it must be written down (MH argument) and/or there needs to be an injection on the debtor side to try to catch up (e.g., jobs program or universal income). Which is why it is so nonsensical for the govt to "print money" in the form of transferring assets in the form of increasing bank reserves, as if bank lending depends on reserves at all it's like trying to fill a pool but flooding your sink). At least that's how I make sense of it still may botch the details, but at least once you strip away the cultural/social/moral baggage, it becomes more of a matter of simple economic logic that doesn't need a larger explanation. If you want to fill the pool, fill the pool, not the sink. But the baggage is real - which is why it really does seem to be a matter of letting the realities sink in.

juliania , December 12, 2016 at 1:35 pm

The baggage you speak of actually began with Reagan when from a government position of high privilege he actually sneered at government as the employer of last resort with his statement belittling "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." Which a subservient press took and ran with to make sure it settled into everyone's subconscious. It's helpful to revisit the rise of Ronald Reagan, and to remember that Obama took him as his role model, not FDR.

This battle has been ongoing in American politics probably since way back before the Great Depression, but that's as far back as some of us remember our parents telling us about. I love Bill Black because he's the kind of Democrat I thought I was. This new crowd makes me sick. It's appropriate that Obama's murder weapons are called drones. That's what the New Democrats are: drones.

KYrocky , December 12, 2016 at 8:20 am

The New Democrats will likely go the way of the blue dog Democrats. Their Republican voters will ask themselves why should they vote for a powerless Republican-lite, and they will simply die politically.

They care about staying a Senator. They care about themselves first and only, and will suck up to and serve whoever provides the money that allows them to hold onto their seats.

Voters in these red states voted for change, above all else. They voted for a nut job because they finally heard a candidate speaking to their issues and concerns, something their Senators, apparently, have not done.

Dave McCrae , December 12, 2016 at 8:20 am

There will soon be so few democrats remaining that we should give some serious consideration to a sequestration solution of giving them their own land, with no fossil fuel degradation, clean water from the glaciers, a tiny house, a pouch of seeds, and a sustainable truck garden, no cars trucks or bicycles, a fig tree in the middle of town. They could either pay taxes or not, as they felt motivated, and provide their own services regardless as not to be a burden. We could gather them up and have a long march to their new home; it would be hravenly! The rest of us could peacefully proceed to hell.

manymusings , December 12, 2016 at 8:23 am

This is mind blowing. Granted I didn't follow the link to the full story - but how on earth is this even news , even under the pathetic standards of election post mortems? New dems concoct self-admiring story, posture as the ones who "get it." Feed it to reporter, who agrees to attribute anonymously of course (so it has the feel of insiders and not high schoolers). I'm guessing what these courageous centrists really mean with the confused prescription to court voters who "lean right" is to appeal on social/cultural issues. Scold "elitist identity politics" of the national party as a distraction from the "economic message" (which of course will be the same assault on decency it always has been). So "economy first" would mean attack/exploit social liberalism and call it a "fight" for the economic plight of the every-man/woman. The beauty is you get to sound angry on behalf of voters without an iota of accountability or reflection, without ever having to answer for shallow, self-serving policies and abject failure.

cnchal , December 12, 2016 at 11:10 am

Some times Bill is so over the top it is comical.

Note that the paper never tells you what the five New Democrats so bluntly identified as the New Democrats' "missteps" or what new policies they believed needed to be adopted by the Party. This failure is particularly bizarre because the paper says that its reportage is based on sources that the paper agreed to keep anonymous so that they could speak frankly about this meeting over Chinese food. . .

The five New Democrats were: Democrats like Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Jon Tester of Montana, at a dinner held at the Washington home of Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat of North Dakota.

So, not anonymous at all.

Here is the key part to understanding the plight of the politician / narcissist that feels the wrath of voters.

. . . All face difficult re-election races in 2018.

There is nothing worse than being ignored, but fail to understand that what they themselves fear, being ignored with no jawb, the peasants have been living with for decades. Hypocrite is the word and these are vacuous human beings that care only about themselves no matter what emotional fakery they use.

flora , December 12, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Um .
what the five New Democrats so bluntly identified as the New Democrats' "missteps" or what new policies they believed needed to be adopted by the Party

Um, noun (subject)-verb-object. what (noun) was identified as (verb) "missteps" and "'policies" (objects) eg. the 5 did not identify the missteps or policies.

cnchal , December 12, 2016 at 4:01 pm

Comical. The first line in Bill's post gets the NYT headline wrong.

On December 10, 2016, a New York Times article entitled "Democrats Have a New Message: It's the Economy First"

The actual headline is "Democrats Hone a New Message: It's the Economy Everyone ". A small detail for sure, which implies from The NYT it's a purveyor of fake news, because honing implies a refinement of a message already being said, and is contradicted within two words, by the word "new". It is possible that the headlines keep changing and that Bill's was up when he quoted them, which would solidify their reputation of fake news purveyors.

Getting back to the meat of Bill's post.

This failure is particularly bizarre because the paper says that its reportage is based on sources that the paper agreed to keep anonymous so that they could speak frankly about this meeting over Chinese food. That combination of supposed frankness from the sources gained by the grant of anonymity so them could describe in detail the purported bluntness by the gang of five should have produced some epic, specific condemnations of the Democratic Party's leadership by the New Democrats. Instead, it produced mush . . .

Going to the NYT article here is the reference to anonymous sources, so I freely admit to being wrong about Bill's anonymous Chinese food eating party (or wake) attendees being the fatuous five.

The party, these senators said, had grown overly fixated on cultural issues with limited appeal to the heartland. They criticized Hillary Clinton's campaign slogan, "Stronger Together," as flat and opaque, according to multiple people present at the dinner, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity .

This is the NYT's only reference to anonymity and furthers it's reputation of a fake news purveyor as the word "some" implies that some would go on record but either couldn't be found or weren't asked.

The rest of the article segues into a pity party, from those that weren't there.

Moderate Democrats are not alone in their sense of urgency about honing a new economic message. After a stinging loss to Donald J. Trump, liberals in the party are also trying to figure out how to tap into the populist unrest that convulsed both parties in 2016. Only by making pocketbook issues the central focus, they say, can Democrats recover in the 2018 midterm elections and unseat Mr. Trump in 2020.

"We need to double down and double down again on the importance of building an economy not just for those at the top, but for everyone ," said Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a high-profile progressive who is seen as a leading potential opponent for Mr. Trump.

Elizabeth Warren doesn't realize that those at the top stole it from everyone else, and quadrupling down on building an economy that works for those at the top won't work for those at the bottom or anyone else except for those at the top.

Beyond that, they expect wide variance in how officeholders handle Mr. Trump and his agenda, from moderates who seek out accommodation to blue-state leaders who pursue total war . Their emerging message is likely to focus on protecting Medicare and Social Security, attacking income inequality and political corruption , and blocking legislation that might restrict access to health care.

"Likely" and "might" are weasel words. How likely are those that live and breath corruption to cut off their own supply?

The whole article is a mix of real and fake news and some days I like my comedy, black.

juliania , December 12, 2016 at 1:56 pm

Well, I laughed myself silly over this one:

"So, how long does it take for the article, and the five New Democrats to discuss "jobs?" Given the fact that they vented at length about the fear that they would begin to lose their jobs within two years, the subject of job security should have been paramount to the five New Democrats."

I'm still chuckling. It's sort of like five roosters in a chicken coop that only has room for one, all vying to become Chanticleer.

I mean, you do have to laugh sometimes.

Ignacio , December 12, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Yeps, hypocrisy became a major disease in politics long ago. Now it's time to pay for it, apparently.

templar555510 , December 12, 2016 at 8:40 am

We in the UK had thirteen years of ' New Labour ' which was Tony Blair's repositioning of the old Labour Party to turn it into a right of centre Thatcherite, neoliberal, let's privatise everything party, thus abandoning the working class in the process . Exactly as Bill Black describes re the Democrats . The problem as I see it is hydra headed , but here are the headings as it were :

1. A political shift to the right is also a psychological one, separating the ' doing okays ' from the ' left behinds ' and in the process reducing ( if not eliminating ) empathy from the ' doing okays ' for the ' left behinds ' . So intentional or otherwise this is a ' divide and rule ' policy, by government that has given rise to Global Trump_vs_deep_state. In the process the electability of a left-wing candidate as a leader – Saunders, Corybyn – has been made impossible under the present set up.

2. Automation. The power of labour hasn't just been weakened by this rightward shift . It has been severely weakened by the onward march of capital embracing new technologies of every type and as we all know none of the productivity gains from this have benefitted labour, nor will they in the future.

3. Bill Black is right a government is not like a household, but the daily message that we ' tax in order to spend ' is a deeply rooted belief system and just trying ( as I do ) to explain why this is not the case is, I imagine , like Copernicus trying to explain the actual motion of the earth around the sun. They just don't get it. It goes against common sense .

The election of Trump is not the beginning of the end it is end of the beginning. This is not a polite, dinner party conversation, it's going to turn ugly rather quickly and, just like the Crash of 2008 no-one will have seen it coming.

sharonsj , December 12, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Re automation: I know the CEOs are pushing replacing people with robots. But none of them can give you an answer to this question: Which robots are going to buy your products? And the fact that none of them can even think this far ahead means they are just as clueless as the New Dems. Maybe they can't see it coming but plenty of us can. I keep telling my friends they better start preparing for any and all emergencies because the future ain't gonna be pretty.

John Wright , December 12, 2016 at 8:52 am

Truly the Times will not connect any obvious dots

The Times writes: "Why did the working people, who have always been our base, turn away?" Mr. Manchin said in an interview, recounting the tenor of the dinner conversation.

This is the same Joe Manchin whose daughter, Heather Bresch, heads up Mylan of recent EpiPen monopoly pricing fame.

Maybe Democratic voters are realizing that the elected Democrats are concerned about taking care of their own well-connected class, but working people are a group ignored most of the time and catered to, verbally, only 2/4/6 years.

Quanka , December 12, 2016 at 9:00 am

Can we get a re-post on a previous BB primer on MMT? I studied (bachelors) econ, I have read L. Randal Wray's MMT book but I find the concepts of a sovereign currency hard to explain to outsiders who are mostly inundated with globalism, "free trade" etc.

casino implosion , December 12, 2016 at 11:40 am

Wray, whatever his importance to the MMT world as a theorist, is a terrible explainer. Cullen Roche (who disagrees with the UMKC economists on the prescriptive points of the theory, such as the job guarantee) does a far better job explaining it to the beginner on his site Pragmatic Capitalism.

JEHR , December 12, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Sometimes it does not matter how well you explain that a sovereign country need not raise taxes before spending can take place because some people will never change their beliefs no matter how well those beliefs are challenged. It is almost as difficult as trying to change someone's religious beliefs.

NotTimothyGeithner , December 12, 2016 at 1:58 pm

U.S. level sovereign countries. Russia could do it. Brazil and Indonesia could, but most "sovereign" countries would have problems with international trade if they tried this. Iran maybe could do it.

I fear many people believe the U.S. is a higher character version of the UK or France, so when you try to explain this, they don't quite grasp the U.S. is a continent spanning power and don't grasp why the dollar has value. The U.S. isn't the indispensable nation. It's the nation that can check out. Other nation states don't have this luxury. Despite the decline of industrial production, the U.S. makes that or could easily. American exceptionalism isn't the moral garbage Obama pushes. It's sovereignty in the modern world.

Barry , December 12, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Try Bill Mitchell – his blog is on the blogroll on the right
He even has weekly tests to see if you have got the concept!

UserFriendly , December 12, 2016 at 9:42 pm

For people without a background in Econ I highly recommend theses youtube playlists. They are filtered into different categories and are very good explainers.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWXGA051bB7uXlvsiGjvOxw/playlists

oh , December 12, 2016 at 9:13 am

The Dems are hoping that they'll be back in office as soon as the Repubs screw up. And it's quite possible since people don't have a choice other that the duopoly. We have to start building other parties to give ourselves a choice. But will we do it? How?

John k , December 12, 2016 at 9:17 am

They didn't lose because more people voted rep.
They lost because 10mm that voted for big o in 2008 stayed home, didn't vote for anybody for pres, or went 3rd party in other words, ABC, or anybody but Clinton.
A few will some day emulate Bernie, but this leap of faith means no banker money. Not many of these senior dems
new blood, please!

HotFlash , December 12, 2016 at 9:17 am

I find the spectacle of these despicable excuses for Senators being deeply concerned for their own job security quite heart-warming. Thanks, Prof Black, goes great with coffee.

But why, oh why, if they are that scared about their jobs, can't they get a clue? Are they still afraid of Hillary? Afraid that they would have to do honest work? Or do they still truly believe that the working class is just muttons?

NotTimothyGeithner , December 12, 2016 at 9:45 am

There aren't corporate board jobs waiting for losers without years of direct labor on behalf of corporate backers. Backbenchers who simply enjoy the celebrity of DC and follow corporate directives aren't relevant once they lose.

Certain ones retire to avoid the stench of losing (Evan Bayh, now officially a loser) and can manage decent jobs, but what does a loser bring to corporate pr especially when they are replaceable faces? A retired astronaut will come cheaper and present far less chance of scandal.

DJG , December 12, 2016 at 9:25 am

I'm detecting a new meme: Clarion

And the Democrats already keep trying that same old trick of hating their base. Heidi Heitkamp is about as far right as one can go. What's next? Resurrecting Pinochet to run in Florida?

ChrisAtRU , December 12, 2016 at 9:28 am

As if on cue, #TheLastCourtJesterOfTheNeoLiberalCrown has (of course) chimed in this morning with more weep-worthy analysis:

The Tainted Election

Warning: May cause severe eye-rolling (at the very least).

John Wright , December 12, 2016 at 10:29 am

Thanks for the warning.

I did click on the link, and the Krugman's first sentence was "The CIA, according to The Washington Post, has now determined that hackers working for the Russian government worked to tilt the 2016 election to Donald Trump."

At least Krugman didn't write, "According to reliable sources" as many people would not view the CIA and WaPo as reliable sources.

The thrust of the Krugman op-ed is that Clinton lost by such a small margin in some states, it could have been the alleged Russian influence that made the difference.

And it could have been because she was a lousy candidate with many concerns about her judgment and ethics (Libya, Iraq, Clinton Foundation, 150K Wall Street speeches, possible selling of favors during SOS, email evidence destruction, cheating on a debate with prior knowledge of debate questions from Donna Brazile, for TPP then against it.).

Krugman should be taking the Democratic leadership to task for foisting their marginal candidate on the electorate and the failure of the existing Democratic President to do much for the voters in his eight years in office.

I remember going to a lecture/book signing by Paul Krugman about 12 years ago and he seemed to be a decent and thoughtful academic.

Perhaps winning the Nobel branded economics prize was not good for him?

Or maybe there is something in the drinking water at the Times, that like the Shadow, has the ability to "cloud men's minds"?

fresno dan , December 12, 2016 at 10:59 am

John Wright
December 12, 2016 at 10:29 am

I view Krugman the same way I view the inquisitors of the Holy Roman Empire – they are the "true" believers, and as such have a duty to defend the sacredness of the church (i.e., the democratic party – it is INCAPABLE OF ERROR).

Krugman's indoctrination into the religion of economics would put the indoctrination of Jesuits to shame. Krugman is simply incapable of examining his indoctrination and in that respect can't even match Greenspan, who at least owned up to the flaw in his (Greenspan's) ideology.
Democrats are perfect, ergo any critique of Obama, ACA, employment, droning, et al is racism and any critique of Hillary is sexism – Krugman: ANY disagreement means your stupid.

thesaucymugwump , December 12, 2016 at 9:43 am

"Working class people overwhelmingly want to work. Working class males who are unable to find secure, full time work often become depressed and unmarriageable"

As always, Bill Black is spot-on, but the above sentence can be extended by eliminating the words "working class." The reason Trump won is not only because of blue collar workers. White collar workers in jeopardy of losing their job due to H-1B visas heard Trump's promise that he would stop visa abuse.

And Democratic leaders still have not realized that a non-criminal candidate, e.g. Jim Webb, would have trounced Trump due to his sheer normality. They were in too much of a hurry to crown their queen. Joe "more of the same" Biden is not the answer.

The Democratic Party might disappear for the most part unless it dumps identity politics and re-embraces workers and unions.

Jim Webb / Tulsi Gabbard in 2020.

simjam , December 12, 2016 at 9:53 am

The problem can be stated quite simply: New Democrats pay close attention to the ministrations of George Soros, AIPAC, and Wall Street. The policies flow from the dollars these entities provide.

Eureka Springs , December 12, 2016 at 9:58 am

Abolish the United States Senate.

NotTimothyGeithner , December 12, 2016 at 10:51 am

It's the rationale solution. I believe even indirect elections would produce a better class of Senators. The pomp of the Senate is corrupting. Each Senator fancies himself or herself President. If Hillary could almost make it and an empty suit such as Obama could make it, the Senator from the great state of (insert state) definitely could, so they need to keep the money spigots open and not offend voters in other states.

Indirectly elected Senators would likely be former state house Speaker types or people who have had more than back benching jobs and never felt the thrill of winning statewide. They wouldn't entertain delusions of becoming President.

An added benefit is people would pay more attention to state house races. Fixing potholes would not be sufficient for reelection.

Knot Galt , December 12, 2016 at 2:19 pm

Senate corruption is not about pomp as it is really about Citizens United. That senators have weak malleable egos that money easily corrupts is disguised by the pomp of the Senate.

Anyone who has ever run for local or state public office knows that local races are treated like the bush leagues and minor leagues of baseball where the campaign manager acts like a scout for the party apparatus. Each party has their loyalists and, to borrow a great metaphor, Inquisition-era Klugmans, who guard the gates and dole out monies to influence the local media and voters.

Thrown to the wayside are the actual beliefs of democracy; as the religion of money is the only thing recognized. The rationale decision is to reconnect with the ideas of principal. It's not going to be easy. As this article demonstrates, everyone involved in it is completely void of any principal thought.

And yet I wonder. Bill Black's critique and commentators on this post provide evidence that general principals are thought about. How then, could indirect elections tap into this vein and eschew our vacuous and archaic Senator class?

Altandmain , December 12, 2016 at 10:05 am

The existing Democratic leadership should be forced to resign in disgrace.

They claimed that veering to the center and peddling candidates like Clinton would be more "electable". That has not proven to be the case.

The cruel reality is that they won't go without a fight. They're not public servants. They only care about themselves.

rd , December 12, 2016 at 11:40 am

The House Democrats re-elected Pelosi and company virtually unchallenged. I think they are so used to losing that they view keeping majorities in the east and west coast states as victory.

TK421 , December 12, 2016 at 1:06 pm

When centrism fails, they'll try conservativism. People like that only do the right thing after all else has failed.

Denis Drew , December 12, 2016 at 10:46 am

One interesting path to bring left out labor back?

Just read that Trump stacked NLRB could walk back teaching and research assistants category as employees. Hey; we know states may conduct their own union certification setups for farm workers because farm workers were left off FDR's ship.
https://onlabor.org/2016/12/09/what-will-a-trump-nlrb-mean-for-graduate-teaching-and-research-assistants/

HEY! THAT MEANS THAT ANY CATEGORY OF WORKERS DEFINED OUTSIDE THE FED SETUP IS ELIGIBLE FOR SEPARATE STATE LABOR ORGANIZING SETUP!!!!!!!!!!!!

State labor setup could add something oh, so every day practicable. State NLRB substitute could MANDATE certification elections upon a finding of union busting. States should also take union busting as seriously in criminal law as fed takes taking a movie in the movies - that FBI warning on your DVD comes alive and you are gone for couple of years if caught.

But mandating certification elections has so much more an everyday, natural businesslike feel that it could sail relatively smoothly through state legislatures. Nota bene: Wisconsin mandates re-certification of public employees unions annually (51% of membership required; not just voters) - nothing too alien about mandating union elections.

State set up might ACTUALLY go the last practical mile and actually force employers to actually bargain with certified unions - which refusal to bargain remains the last impassable barrier associated with the fed no-enforcement mechanism. See Donald Trump in Vegas.

See: A HANDBOOK ON THE CALIFORNIA AGRICULTURAL LABOR RELATIONS LAW (35 page)
for an example (maybe unique) of a state fully replicating federal labor law for a left out segment of workers.
https://www.alrb.ca.gov/content/pdfs/formspublications/handbook/handbook0207.pdf

rd , December 12, 2016 at 11:25 am

Classic tone-deafness

So I think one of the main issues out there is even understanding what middle-class means. A key example of this can be found in this piece where the difficulties that Swiss watch makers are facing is because of the struggling middle-class. Completely baffling I have never known anybody in the "middle class" to even be thinking of buying a Rolex Oyster watch. There are many other things that they would do with $5k before buying a watch.

I think the media and policy makers are mistaking the struggles of people who are making over $250k a year (or local equivalent) as the struggles of the middle class.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-12-12/middle-class-angst-is-depressing-swiss-watch-sales

rd , December 12, 2016 at 11:39 am

I think this is an interesting column discussing whether or not economists should be focused as much on income distribution as total income growth. I think what the Democratic party has completely missed is that the period fo time that the Trump voters view as "When America Was Great" was a period when GDP growth was high (3%-4%) but more importantly, a record percentage of it was being allocated to the middle-class.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-12-09/economists-pretend-they-don-t-pick-winners-and-loser

Trump's big challenge will be routing the current 3% GDP growth to his voters as he has promised to. I have not seen or heard any concrete policy proposals that will accomplish this, so there should be a yawning wide door for the Democrats to march through 2 and 4 years from now if they can figure out how to turn on the light to discover where that door is. Right now the Democrats are just fighting with the Republicans on how the money should be distributed among the top 10% instead of looking at revisiting their policies form scratch.

Sanders was on the right track, but went to far on key things such as free university. I think most Americans would agree that college should have some value that is paid for, but it should be much less than $60k/year tuition. The rest of the developed world doesn't have massive student debt issues because their colleges and universities are typically in the $3k to $20k/year tuition and many professional programs (lawyers, doctors etc.) are structured as long undergraduate programs instead of 4-year undergraduate program just being a weeding out process before you even get into the professional program.

NotTimothyGeithner , December 12, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Free college is popular. Most people went to free public schools. Your argument against college is the same argument against elementary school. If you want more STEM graduates as a society, pay for it.

JustAnObserver , December 12, 2016 at 11:39 am

One small quibble: IMHO it is an issue of left vs. right. Unfortunately the US has no `left' and the only options ever presented are right vs. even-further-right.

juliania , December 12, 2016 at 2:12 pm

"Second, the issue is generally not who "leans to the right." Indeed, the 2016 election should have made clear to the paper the severe limits on the usefulness of the terms "right" and "left" in explaining U.S. elections. Jobs are not a right v. left issue."

Gaylord , December 12, 2016 at 11:47 am

Dems are owned by the banks, so they are helping to rob us.

Kris Aman , December 12, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Until Democrat Party leadership disavows their neoliberal, financial strip-mining, progressive voters are challenged by identity politics. How can one remain a Democratic loyalist under those circumstances?

In an article today on medical patents, drug profits and march-in rights, the NY Times created a video. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/11/us/retro-report-medical-patents-profits.html

The video begins with the March of Dimes funded development of the polio vaccine. Edward Murrow asks Jonas Salk, "Who owns the patent on this vaccine?" Salk famously answered, "The people, I'd say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?"

The video ends with his Salk's son repeating what his father said to him: "What is more important? The human value of the dollar or the dollar value of the human?"

These questions are not valid when corporate oligarchs control the puppet strings of both political parties.

Presumably, that's because neoliberals have bought into the Chicago School theory of human capital, "the stock of knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_capital

Since economic value is intended for the shareholder, neoclassical and neoliberal policies are intended to achieve the same outcome: to decrease the dollar value of the human.

Arizona Slim , December 12, 2016 at 12:48 pm

All of Benjamin Franklin's inventions went into the public domain.

fosforos , December 12, 2016 at 1:10 pm

Prof Black says that Al Gore is "the [co]leader of the New Democrats." That was true in 1988-1992. But some people sometimes learn a thing or two over a quarter-century. In Gore's case, he learned something yuuuge: that global warming is the central issue of our time for *everyone*. Yet Prof. Black, the Democrats new, old, and middleaged, every single commenter on this posting, not to mention the Five coal-state Senators whining about "the economy," not a one of all of them had a single word about the most important (perhaps the *only* important issue) of our times. Does anyone doubt that, had the Democrats been forced to nominate him in the contested convention that I had so hoped for, the campaign, its outcome, and our present discussion would be quite different?

NotTimothyGeithner , December 12, 2016 at 1:32 pm

I believe Gore was a less talented version of his father under the spell of Tipper who was usually on a crusade against naughty language. Left to his own devices, Gore is alright, but it takes him a while. He was garbage in 2000.

Dave , December 12, 2016 at 8:43 pm

Eeyore Lieberman on the ticket is what did him in.

larry silber , December 12, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Wow! I respect Bill Black,so much so that if I was a billionaire respite with household name recognition to promote my ascension to the big house, my cabinet would have hopefully been blessed with his inclusion. I get the monetary sovereignty reality and am equally frustrated over the disconnect most people have digesting the difference between public and private debt. Unfortunately long standing cultural beliefs continually propogandized are hard to change, so without a very established credentialed leader, like maybe some of those new democats, and a host of other well respected influential cohorts supporting this counter intuitive reversal of perception, the reality that our governments finances are nothing akin to a households will only be reckognized by a very small group of open minded heterodox academics and truth seeking objective journalists, like the folks here at Naked Capitalism. I assume some unsavory corporate benefactors of energy , banking, and the sometimes comically nefarious cast of charachters running the various military industrial enterprises, obviously dependent upon government accomodations, contracts, and unlimited revolving door exposures, must have some inherent comprehension of the governments monetary sovereignty. Though i am sure, just like justice and law, to them its two tier. Whether we want to admit it or not, class is a big divider, and those benefitting from our current insanity stand on some shaky shoulders. They need institutions that are self affirming and equally prescribed to regardless of class. Religion helps the downtrodden with hope and morality; equally comforting to the plutocrats that be are the multiple arenas upholding assumptions espousing limited federal government coffers, conforming the masses to be humble and aquiescent, but more importantly incentivizes a hard working competitive ethic that the powers that be easily exploit for ever more profits.
Now the divergence between me and Professor Black comes where he implores that people just want to work, anotherwords have a secure job. What that job is and what it pays isnt the priority, the idea they have a structured format to adhere to and anchor their societal existence is whats paramount. I dont buy it! . I get it, here at Naked Capitalism isnt the place for anecdotal exploits, so i dont want to bore anybody with my angry history. But experiences do correspond to attitudes and policy persuasions. Briefly, I own a small business, I hate it, I simply have to continue with it because otherwise I am in the street. The Great Recession gutted my savings, opportunities, and networks, while age, personal obligations, and finances precludes any restructuring. Surely many middle aged middle class americans share my frustrations, and the future isnt looking any brighter. That being said, work for the sake of doing something integrated for a minimal pay check to stay relevant and in the "system" isnt what's needed. Productive opportunities that engage those that are idle and prone to self destructive behaviors might be socially responsible, and obviously our federal government can provide funding for that, even though this cooperative idea might sound too much like socialism. Young people surely need educational opportunities and structured paths to engage in that will lead to either being productive or aid searching for better sustainable ventures that balance our proclivity to turn nature into profits for the few. Point is, obviously society is a growth in progress and each new generation needs guidance finding ways to spend time assuring they and their societal members are continuing to build upon and improve the quality of everybodies lives. Sometimes profit can be a great motivator for this, and other times not. I am not sure if Prof. Black is expanding his definition of work. Maybe instead of getting into debt for an education, vocational or academic, people should be paid a living wage to receive an education at the beginning of their occupational lives, or like me, they need help restructuring due to public policy that destroyed their economic and occupational existences.. Bernie tried to introduce these concepts, but fear of deficits and lacking funds took center stage. Bernie, who obviously knows the truth because of Stephanie Kelton, got cold feet with regards to attempting an honest discusion, reverting instead to increased taxing to find funding. Sorry , until the definition of "work" is broadened, i'm not in favor of collectively indoctrinating unfortunate able bodied persons into a government work program that serves as a wage floor for some make for work job. Something like the Orange Oompa Loompa's proposed border wall? The entire concept sounds way too Orwelian for me.

jackiebass , December 13, 2016 at 6:33 am

New Democrats are really moderate republicans. For the democrat party to survive and get back their base, they have to adopt progressive democrat ideas. Electing Schumer as their senate leader is a mistake. He represents all that is bad about the democrat party. People are tired of being screwed by Neoliberal policies. We need a new deal for the 99%. Those voters that were conned by Trump are in for a rude awaking, and it won't take too long. American voters are very fickle. Not long ago the republican party was portrayed as on life support. It didn't take long for that to change. If democrats are smart they will quit living in the past and become more progressive. They only need to support their base to make big changes happen.

[Dec 11, 2016] The Clintons happily sacrificed the whole party to save themselves and in the end, they couldnt even accomplish THAT. What amazes me is that the chokehold that the Clintons had

Notable quotes:
"... "Jake Sullivan, Clinton's policy director, was the only one in Clinton's inner circle who kept saying she would likely lose, despite the sanguine polling," Glenn Thrush says, citing Sullivan's friends. ..."
"... "He was also the only one of the dozen aides who dialed in for Clinton's daily scheduling call who kept on asking if it wasn't a good idea for her to spend more time in the Midwestern swing states in the closing days of the campaign." ..."
"... Clinton herself had a spat with other top party officials who wanted to run against Trump as emblematic of where crazy repubs were headed. Clinton said, 'no, be nice to republicans, only Trump matters and we want their voters.' ..."
"... The Clintons happily sacrificed the whole party to save themselves and in the end, they couldn't even accomplish THAT. What amazes me is that the chokehold that the Clintons had(still have?) was so tight that the party let it happen! ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

Michael December 10, 2016 at 10:28 pm

Ellison is talking about starting the same sort of thing again with the 50-state strategy, and yeah, it's gonna pay off fast and big.

johnnygl December 10, 2016 at 8:40 am

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/12/how-the-democratic-party-lost-its-way-214514

Decent read from a democrat candidate in NC who ran for congress and got no help from DCCC. Makes larger point about how they need to built out the organization with training, infrastructure for campaigns. One remarkable bit is how there was a seat in TX district that hillary clinton won and the party didn't even field a candidate!

Jim Haygood December 10, 2016 at 9:01 am

A similar story about the final days of the SS Clintanic :

"Jake Sullivan, Clinton's policy director, was the only one in Clinton's inner circle who kept saying she would likely lose, despite the sanguine polling," Glenn Thrush says, citing Sullivan's friends.

"He was also the only one of the dozen aides who dialed in for Clinton's daily scheduling call who kept on asking if it wasn't a good idea for her to spend more time in the Midwestern swing states in the closing days of the campaign."

"They spent far more time debating whether or not Clinton should visit Texas and Arizona, two states they knew she had little chance of winning, in order to get good press," Thrush says. Just a week before Election Day, Clinton made a campaign stop in Tempe, Arizona.

http://dailycaller.com/2016/12/09/one-man-in-hillarys-campaign-warned-she-could-lose-and-everybody-ignored-him/#ixzz4SRXoMcMO

Who knows whether the NYT's ten months of daily fake news about "inevitable Hillary" misled the campaign, or the campaign misled the NYT?

One is reminded of the old nautical story about an imperious captain sailing on into a wall of clouds, as the worried navigator watches the barometer dropping to 28 inches of mercury.

The NYT's job is to inject more mercury - problem solved! (we thought)

integer December 10, 2016 at 11:17 am

Stuart Eizenstat , an Israel lobbyist with the law firm Covington and Burling , seemed to find it worthwhile to spend time emailing Jake Sullivan .

johnnygl December 10, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Building on lambert's favorite quote from atrios "they had ONE job!". Anecdotes like this from politico really emphasize how they literally stopped trying to elect other democrats. It was ALL about clinton and little else mattered. There was NO plan B!

Clinton herself had a spat with other top party officials who wanted to run against Trump as emblematic of where crazy repubs were headed. Clinton said, 'no, be nice to republicans, only Trump matters and we want their voters.'

The Clintons happily sacrificed the whole party to save themselves and in the end, they couldn't even accomplish THAT. What amazes me is that the chokehold that the Clintons had(still have?) was so tight that the party let it happen!

cwaltz December 10, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Personally I would like to see the Democratic Party go the way of the Whigs. They don't deserve my time and effort when the elite go out of their way to stack the deck.

[Dec 11, 2016] That supposed Russian interference

Notable quotes:
"... Greenwald's take down is another hammer meets nail piece. The CIA are systemic liars. In fact, that's their job to move around in the shadows and deceive. They literally lie about everything. They lied about Iran/Contra, torture programs, their propensity for drug smuggling and dealing, infesting the media with agents, imaginary WMDs that launch war and massacre, mass surveillance of citizens, just to name a few. ..."
"... This is the agency who are in secret and anonymity, with no verifiable evidence, whispering rumors in the WaPoo and NYTimes' ears that the Russians made Hillary lose. What moron would take the CIA at its word anymore? Much less a major newspaper? Did I miss something, is it 1950 again? Methinks I've picked up the scent of fake news ..."
"... Apparently, all the morons who are still screaming about Trump, as if he alone will be in charge of the government and not his GOP handlers. Please keep in mind that the ardent Clinton supporters quite clearly reveal cult behavior, and anything that allows them to continue embracing their belief in their righteousness will be embraced without question or qualm. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... The upside of these overtly political battles among intelligence agencies is that we are eroding away the idea that these are non-partisan institutions without overt political agendas. ..."
"... What Stengel and various mainstream media outlets appear to be arguing for is the creation of a "Ministry of Truth" managed by mainstream U.S. media outlets and enforced by Google, Facebook and other technology platforms. ..."
"... In other words, once these supposedly responsible outlets decide what the "truth" is, then questioning that narrative will earn you "virtual" expulsion from the marketplace of ideas, possibly eliminated via algorithms of major search engines or marked with a special app to warn readers not to believe what you say, a sort of yellow Star of David for the Internet age. ..."
"... The NC lawsuit against WaPo, like the lawsuit of Hedges et al. against provisions of the NDAA, marks a watershed moment for defending free speech in our country! I hope that my oft-expressed belief -- that we will soon need to revive samizdat ..."
"... According to a recent posting on Wolf Street, according to records, the Treasury has borrowed 4 trillion more between 2004-15, than can actually be accounted for in spending. This is because it is the borrowing and thus public obligations, which really matter to the powers that be. The generals just get their toys and wars as icing on the cake. It doesn't matter if they win, because there would be less war to spend it on. Eventually they will use "public/private partnerships" to take their piles of public obligations and trade for the rest of the Commons. ..."
"... Money needs to be understand as a public utility, like roads. We no more own it than we own the section of road we are using. It is like blood, not fat. ..."
"... The CIA whinging about a right wing president being installed by a foreign power might just be the greatest self-awareness fail ever! ..."
"... LOL at that! You'd think they were afraid trump might turn out to be the next Hugo Chavez! They must really, really love their program to help al Qaeda in Syria. ..."
"... The CIA lies as a matter of course, and now they're being propped up as the paragons of honesty, simply out of political expediency. Crazy days. ..."
"... Modern Democrats simply aren't a political party but fanatics of a professional sports club. If it wasn't the Russians, it would be referees or Bill Belichick at fault. I'm surprised they aren't mentioning "Comrade Nader" at all times. ..."
"... In fact, Trump's coalition looks remarkably similar to the one that Scott Walker put together in 2014. ..."
"... Obama in Spartanburg, SC in 2007: And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I'm in the White House, I'll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner. ..."
"... And the Dems wonder why the working class feel betrayed. ..."
Dec 11, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
2016 Post Mortem

Trump Transition

The Evidence to Prove the Russian Hack emptywheel. The headline is a bit off, since the post's subject is really the evidence required to prove the Russian hack. Some of which does exist. That said, this is an excellent summary of the state of play. I take issue with one point:

Crowdstrike reported that GRU also hacked the DNC. As it explains, GRU does this by sending someone something that looks like an email password update, but which instead is a fake site designed to get someone to hand over their password. The reason this claim is strong is because people at the DNC say this happened to them.

First, CrowdStrike is a private security firm, so there's a high likelihood they're talking their book, Beltway IT being what it is. Second, a result (DNC got phished) isn't "strong" proof of a claim (GRU did the phishing). We live in a world where 12-year-olds know how to do email phishing, and a world where professional phishing operations can camouflage themselves as whoever they like. So color me skeptical absent some unpacking on this point. A second post from emptywheel, Unpacking the New CIA Leak: Don't Ignore the Aluminum Tube Footnote , is also well worth a read.

Chief Bromden December 11, 2016 at 7:51 am

Greenwald's take down is another hammer meets nail piece. The CIA are systemic liars. In fact, that's their job to move around in the shadows and deceive. They literally lie about everything. They lied about Iran/Contra, torture programs, their propensity for drug smuggling and dealing, infesting the media with agents, imaginary WMDs that launch war and massacre, mass surveillance of citizens, just to name a few.

They murder, torture, train hired mercenary proxies (who they are often pretending to oppose), stage coups of democratically elected govt.'s, interfere with elections, topple regimes, install ruthless puppet dictators, and generally enslave other nations to western corporate pirates. They are a rogue band of pirates themselves.

This is the agency who are in secret and anonymity, with no verifiable evidence, whispering rumors in the WaPoo and NYTimes' ears that the Russians made Hillary lose. What moron would take the CIA at its word anymore? Much less a major newspaper? Did I miss something, is it 1950 again? Methinks I've picked up the scent of fake news

Conclusion: It isn't the Russians that are interfering with U.S. kangaroo elections, it's the professionals over at the CIA

Brett December 11, 2016 at 11:29 am

+1000

Elizabeth Burton December 11, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Apparently, all the morons who are still screaming about Trump, as if he alone will be in charge of the government and not his GOP handlers. Please keep in mind that the ardent Clinton supporters quite clearly reveal cult behavior, and anything that allows them to continue embracing their belief in their righteousness will be embraced without question or qualm.

voteforno6 December 11, 2016 at 8:10 am

Re: That supposed Russian interference

I've tried to point out on other blogs just how shaky that story in the Washington Post is, and the response I get is something along the lines of, well, other outlets are also reporting it, so it must be true. It does me no good to point out that this is the same tactic used by the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq war. People will believe what they want to believe.

johnnygl December 11, 2016 at 8:35 am

It may help to point to the history of CIA influence at WaPoo. Counterpunch had a short piece reminding everyone of Operation Mockingbird (going from memory on that name) where CIA had reporters on staff at the paper directly taking orders and simultaneously on CIA payroll.

If questioned about CIA's motivation for hating trump, my best guess is that it is because trump is undermining their project to overthrow assad in syria using nusra rebels. And also because trump wants to be nice to russia.

I think there's some people in the cia that think they played a major role in winning the cold war through their support for mujahadeen rebels in afghanistan. I suspect they think they can beat putin in syria the same way. This is absolutely nutty.

JohnnyGL December 11, 2016 at 11:51 am

The upside of these overtly political battles among intelligence agencies is that we are eroding away the idea that these are non-partisan institutions without overt political agendas.

There's a large number of people that will see through the facade. Right now, Trump supporters are getting a lesson in how much resistance there can be within the establishment. I'm no Trump supporter, but I think seeing what these institutions are capable of is a useful exercise for all involved.

begob December 11, 2016 at 9:07 am

There's a running battle at the wikipedia article on Fake News Website, where propornot is now considered debunked.

Ulysses December 11, 2016 at 11:30 am

Apologies if this analysis by Robert Parry has already been shared here:

"What Stengel and various mainstream media outlets appear to be arguing for is the creation of a "Ministry of Truth" managed by mainstream U.S. media outlets and enforced by Google, Facebook and other technology platforms.

In other words, once these supposedly responsible outlets decide what the "truth" is, then questioning that narrative will earn you "virtual" expulsion from the marketplace of ideas, possibly eliminated via algorithms of major search engines or marked with a special app to warn readers not to believe what you say, a sort of yellow Star of David for the Internet age.

And then there's the possibility of more direct (and old-fashioned) government enforcement by launching FBI investigations into media outlets that won't toe the official line. (All of these "solutions" have been advocated in recent weeks.)

On the other hand, if you do toe the official line that comes from Stengel's public diplomacy shop, you stand to get rewarded with government financial support. Stengel disclosed in his interview with Ignatius that his office funds "investigative" journalism projects.

"How should citizens who want a fact-based world combat this assault on truth?" Ignatius asks, adding: "Stengel has approved State Department programs that teach investigative reporting and empower truth-tellers."

The NC lawsuit against WaPo, like the lawsuit of Hedges et al. against provisions of the NDAA, marks a watershed moment for defending free speech in our country! I hope that my oft-expressed belief -- that we will soon need to revive samizdat techniques to preserve truth– may turn ou to be overly pessimistic.

Ulysses December 11, 2016 at 11:36 am

Sorry, I forgot the link!

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-orwellian-war-on-skepticism-battling-fake-news/5559949

MyLessThanPrimeBeef December 11, 2016 at 11:57 am

It's like that quote: When the Clinton tide goes out, you discover who's been swimming naked.

Jim Haygood December 11, 2016 at 9:11 am

America's military empire is an enormous convection cycle, as money falls in while arms sales and global disorder radiate out.

Mr Milk Mustache (John Bolton) as assistant Sec State will help perpetuate and accelerate the grand convective cycle.

John Merryman December 11, 2016 at 9:47 am

Jim,

Keep in mind the basis of this capitalist economy is Federal debt. They have to spend it on something. The government doesn't even budget, which is to list priorities and spend according to need/ability. They put together these enormous bills, add enough to get the votes, which don't come cheap and then the prez can only pass or veto.

If they wanted to actually budget, taking the old line item veto as a template, they could break these bills into all their various items, have each legislator assign a percentage value to each one, put them back together in order of preference and the prez would draw the line. "The buck stops here."

That would keep powers separate, with congress prioritizing and the prez individually responsible for deficit spending. It would also totally crash our current "Capitalist" system.

According to a recent posting on Wolf Street, according to records, the Treasury has borrowed 4 trillion more between 2004-15, than can actually be accounted for in spending. This is because it is the borrowing and thus public obligations, which really matter to the powers that be. The generals just get their toys and wars as icing on the cake. It doesn't matter if they win, because there would be less war to spend it on. Eventually they will use "public/private partnerships" to take their piles of public obligations and trade for the rest of the Commons.

Money needs to be understand as a public utility, like roads. We no more own it than we own the section of road we are using. It is like blood, not fat.

The Trumpening December 11, 2016 at 8:15 am

The CIA whinging about a right wing president being installed by a foreign power might just be the greatest self-awareness fail ever!

johnnygl December 11, 2016 at 10:12 am

LOL at that! You'd think they were afraid trump might turn out to be the next Hugo Chavez! They must really, really love their program to help al Qaeda in Syria.

Uahsenaa December 11, 2016 at 10:24 am

There are so many eye-rolling ironies in all this I think my eyeballs might just pop out of their sockets. And the liberals going out of their way to tout the virtues of the CIA the very same organization that never shied from assassinating or overthrowing a leftwing president/prime minister it galls. The CIA lies as a matter of course, and now they're being propped up as the paragons of honesty, simply out of political expediency. Crazy days.

NotTimothyGeithner December 11, 2016 at 11:21 am

Modern Democrats simply aren't a political party but fanatics of a professional sports club. If it wasn't the Russians, it would be referees or Bill Belichick at fault. I'm surprised they aren't mentioning "Comrade Nader" at all times.

My guess is donors are annoyed after the 2014 debacle and are having a hard time rationalizing a loss to a reality TV show host with a cameo in Home Alone 2.

allan December 11, 2016 at 8:25 am

From the Amy Walter post mortem on the race in WI:

In fact, Trump's coalition looks remarkably similar to the one that Scott Walker put together in 2014.

It's really a shame that Obama didn't put on those walking shoes lift a finger to help the public service unions fight Walker.

Uahsenaa December 11, 2016 at 10:27 am

Obama in Spartanburg, SC in 2007:

And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I'm in the White House, I'll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.

And the Dems wonder why the working class feel betrayed.

Maybe he just couldn't find a pair of comfy shoes

polecat December 11, 2016 at 11:37 am

Hol(e)y Shoes .

they glide on water funky bilge water --

Tertium Squid December 11, 2016 at 9:07 am

Here's what the "russki hacks" narrative reminds me of.

ambrit December 11, 2016 at 9:43 am

I'd extend that to include the entire DNC "Apologia pro Sancta Hillaria."

UserFriendly December 11, 2016 at 9:33 am

That ProPublica piece ( Suspected of Corruption at Home, Powerful Foreigners Find Refuge in the U.S. Pro Publica) is brutal. Not only do we have to be the shittest corrupt country in the world but we have to be a safe haven for ever other corrupt politician in the world as long as they have $$. Can someone just make it all end? Please. There needs to be a maximum wealth where anything you earn past it just gets automatically redistributed to the poor.

aliteralmind December 11, 2016 at 9:43 am

Truth in journalism just got a little bit more difficult:

http://www.johnlaurits.com/2016/12/10/disinformation-bill-propaganda/

tgs December 11, 2016 at 10:32 am

Thanks for the link – really important and scary things are going in congress concerning 'fake news' and Russian propaganda and HR 6393 is particularly bad. The EU is also taking steps to counter 'fake news' as well. Obama claimed that some form of curation is required – and it is happening quickly. People are suggesting that propornot has been debunked. That does not matter anymore. The Obama regime and the MSM don't care – that have gotten the message out.

And the people behind this are really deranged – check out Adam Schiff calling Tucker Carlson a Kremlin stooge for even suggesting that there is no certainty that Russia leaked the emails to Wikileaks.

After all, the media went all in for Hillary and spent huge amounts of time explaining why Trump is unfit. But they lost.

And now our efforts on behalf of al Queada are failing in Syria and more hysteria ensues. See for example:

Allies Warn Trump Against Cooperating With Russia Over Syria .

Some commentators believe that there is a well-organized large scale effort to normalize the suppression of free speech.

temporal December 11, 2016 at 11:50 am

The email saga lost a provable set of sources a long time ago. Before the files were given to Wikileaks it was already too late to determine which people did it. So-called forensic evidence of these computers only tell us that investigators either found evidence of a past compromise or that people want us to believe they did. Since the compromise was determined after the fact, the people with access could have done anything to the computers, including leave a false trail.

The core problem is that since security for all of these machines, including the DNC's email server and most likely many of those from Team R, was nearly non-existent nearly nothing useful can be determined. The time to learn something about a remote attacker, when it's possible at all, is while the machine is being attacked – assuming it has never been compromised before. If the attacker's machine has also been compromised then you know pretty much nothing unless you can get access to it.

As far as physical access protection goes. If the machine has been left on and unattended or is not completely encrypted then the only thing that might help is a 24 hour surveillance camera pointed at the machine.

Forensic evidence in compromised computers is significantly less reliable than DNA and hair samples. It's much too easy for investigators to frame another party by twiddling some bits. Anyone that thinks that even well intentioned physical crime investigators have never gotten convictions with bad or manipulated evidence has been watching and believing way too many crime oriented mysteries. "Blindspot" is not a documentary.

As for projecting behaviors on a country by calling it a "state action", Russia or otherwise, implying that there is no difference between independent and government sponsored actions, that is just silly.

[Dec 11, 2016] This hysteria over Russia is getting downright dangerous as it looks like forces which are pushing that story stop at nothing to delegitimize the election results.

Apt observation from Gareth: "I believe the CIA is attempting to delegitimize Trump's election so as to force him into a defensive position in which he will temper his dual goals of normalizing relations with Russia and destroying the CIA's proxy armies of jihadists. We will see if Trump has the guts to make some heads roll in the CIA He will remember that the last President who even threatened to take on the CIA received a massive dose of flying lead poisoning. "
Essentially after WaPo scandal it is prudent to view all US MSM as yellow press.
Notable quotes:
"... The Post and the like are terrified over their loss of credibility just as the internet has destroyed their advertising. Interesting that their response to competition isn't to outdo the competition but to smother the competition with a lie. Their own fake news. ..."
"... As a moral American and supporter of free speech, I am going to make a list of online or print WaPo advertisers. Then I will communicate to them that I will never buy another thing from them as long as they advertise in the Washington Post. ..."
"... Open their ads in Firefox ad blocker. Then add them to the script and spam blacklist. ..."
"... The story serves many purposes. One is firing a shot across TrumpCo's bow: 'Submit to us or we'll delegitimate your election.' ..."
"... Another is excusing the Democratic Party establishment for losing the election, and thus diverting the wrath of the rank and file. ..."
"... About all we can do at the moment is remember to remember the names of the people who purveyed and supported the story, just as we should remember to remember the names of those who purveyed WMD stories. ..."
"... Job #1 always is suppressing the Sanders faction. Not beating Trump or the Republicans. They want control of their little pond. ..."
"... Personally, after what we did in Ukraine (essentially funding a revolution) I refuse to get the vapors because Russia apparently "helped" elect Trump by exposing (not forcing her to be a liar or cheat) Hillary. ..."
"... All of this crap about Russia, or the electoral college system is a distraction from the real issues at hand about our political system, which is a two party one oligarchy (ALEC) anti-democratic system. The rot runs from national presidential elections to the comptroller of the smaller city governments. ..."
"... If any candidate was capable of speaking to the working and middle class, then either Russia nor the the 0.01% who compose the oligarchy could control who wins in popular elections. What is really needed is to eliminate either the two party system, or democratize their methods of selecting candidates. ..."
"... Think Hillary played an unfair hand to Sanders? That was nothing compared to the shenanigans that get played at local level, state level, and Congress level to filter out populist candidates and replace them with machine / oligarchy pets. ..."
"... the idea that Saudi (or other Middle Eastern states) also intervened (with money), is not more credible? ..."
"... Yes, the NYT piece on Russian hacking is complete evidence free tripe. Not once do they say what evidence they base these accusations on, beyond the Cyrillic keyboard. The code for Cyrillic keyboard is, "fuzzy bear" et al. as the original reporting on the DNC hack and the company that ran security made clear that this was the one and only piece of concrete evidence the attacks by "fuzzy bear" et al. were perpetrated by the Russians. ..."
"... So based on a Cyrillic keyboard and the below quote, unnamed "American intelligence agencies know it was the Russians, really? ..."
"... Based on this it appears the NYTs definition of fake reporting is anything that isn't fed directly to it by unnamed experts or the USG and uncritically reported. ..."
"... I think these unnamed agencies are not going to have a very good working relationship with the orange overlord if they keep this up. They might not even be getting that new war they wanted for Christmas. ..."
"... It's as though the NYT and WaPo had these vast pools of accumulated credibility and they could go out on a limb here Oh wait - their credibility has been destroyed countless times over the past decade or so. One would think they'd realise: If you're in a ditch, the first thing to do is stop digging. ..."
"... The world is flat . Note: This is not me awarding a Thomas L. Friedman prize. In this case, I am simply sharing the article because I think it is hilarious. ..."
"... Nowhere, in any of this, is it mentioned that Clinton's illegal private email server (that got hacked) played any factor whatsoever. It just stinks so bad, I wonder how they can not smell what they are sitting in.. ..."
"... Summarizing a very plausible theory, NeoCon Coup Attempt: As Syria's Assad (with Russian help) is close to crushing HRC's jihadi Queda & Nusra rebels in Aleppo, the NeoCons are freaking out on both sides of the Atlantic. ..."
"... What to do? Jill's recount is floundering. So, last resort: Concoct Russia hacking myth to either delay Dec 19 EC vote or create more faithless electors. Result: A NeoCon like HRC or a NeoCon sympathizer is installed. ..."
"... Two biggest war hawks, McCain and Graham, are leading the Senate charges against Russia. All of this within days of Obama sending 200 MORE US troops to Syria and lifting the ban on more arms to the Syrian rebels, including anti-aircraft MANPADS. ..."
"... The recount farce makes me angry, and has made me resolve to never give Stein my vote again. ..."
"... That implies the NeoCon establishment views DJT and cabinet as a threat in any way, which is an extremely dubious premise. Occam's razor: Clinton and the media establishment that gifted the country DJT will do anything they can to cast the blame elsewhere. ..."
"... I'm not sure if that is a simpler explanation. I offer this: It's simpler to see that they are engaging in a struggle for now and the future – that means the neocons vs Trump. ..."
"... "The story reveals that a CIA assessment detailing this conclusion had been presented to President Obama and top congressional leaders last week." You read that? It's "detailed". None of us peasants will ever know what those "details" are, but its the f#ckin CIA, dude. ..."
"... The problem is we are expected to just trust the NYT and CIA without evidence??? Anybody remember WMD in Iraq?? The complete loss of credibility by the NYT and CIA over the last decade means I have to see credible evidence before I believe anything they say. ..."
"... Seems coordinated to me -- Globe/Times/WaPo. Double down for WaPoo who are now reporting from area 51 where they found Bigfoot sitting on a stockpile of Sadam's WMDs. Reading this article is surreal. The CIA, a terrorist outfit which our own former reporter (Bernstein) showed to be infesting our own newsroom, whispered in our ear that the Cold War 2.0 is going to escalate with or without the establishment coronation queen. ..."
"... "Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House" The link on WaPoo's site actually says a different headline so I am just sharing the headline itself. Not another secret assessment . no more passing notes in class, students. ..."
"... Robert Reich has posted the news that the Russians helped to secure the election for Trump on his FB page, to it seems much acclaim – perhaps I was foolish for having expected better from him. ..."
"... WaPo seems allied with the CIA-FIRE sector Clintonian group, while T may be more inclusive of the classic MICC-Pentagon sector which was asserting itself in Syria. ..."
"... Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, who is a close associate of Assange, called the CIA claims "bullshit", adding: "They are absolutely making it up." "I know who leaked them," Murray said. "I've met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it's an insider. It's a leak, not a hack; the two are different things. ..."
"... Although I'm convinced that the Republicans are, on average, noticeably worse than the Democrats, I agree with you. It is useful that there is no doubt about where Trump and the Congressional Republicans stand, which is on the side of the billionaires and the giant corporations. We've had 8 years of Obama's obeisance to the oligarchs, and millions of Americans still don't understand that this was happening. ..."
"... rhetoric that is beginning conspicuously to resemble the celebration by capitalist elites during the interwar years of German and Italian fascism (and even Stalinist communism) for their apparently superior economic governance. [12] ..."
"... I always knew Trump would be a disaster. However, Trump is a survivable disaster–with Hillary that would have been the end. ..."
"... If Trump has many Goldman guys, is it a case of 'keeping your enemies close?' ..."
"... First of all, the Democrats would use Clinton to suppress the left and to insist that Clinton was more electable. That would lead to a validation of the idea that the left has nowhere to go and set a precedent for decades with a 3 point formula: ..."
"... Suppress the left ..."
"... Accept money from Wall Street and move to the right with each election ..."
"... Use identity politics as a distraction. ..."
"... There were other dangers. Clinton wanted war with Russia. That could easily escalate into a nuclear conflict. With Trump, the risk is reduced, although given his ego, I will concede that anything is possible. We would also be seeing some very damaging neoliberal policies. ..."
"... The reality is that the US was screwed the moment Sanders was out of the picture. With Trump, at least it is more naked and more obvious. The real challenge is that the left has a 2 front war, first with the corporate Democrats, then the GOP. On the GOP side, Trump's supporters are going to wake up at some point to an Obama like betrayal, which is exactly what I expect will happen. ..."
"... There are elements of the Trump fan base already calling him out for the people he has appointed, which is a very encouraging sign. Trump's economic performance is what will make or break him. He has sold himself on his business acumen. Needless to say, I expect it will break him because he won't even try to do anything for his base. ..."
"... I like a lot of your analysis. "We would also be seeing some very damaging neoliberal policies." We could still yet under Trump, given the cabinet nominees. ..."
"... By dangerous and delegitimizing I assume you mean the results of the election will be reversed sometime in the next six weeks while the current establishment still has martial authority. ..."
"... Both sides now fear the other side will lock them up or, at the very least, remove them from power permanently. Why do I think this is not over? ..."
"... I am certainly not ready to rule out Moore's gut feeling. Capitalist Party + MSM + Clinton + Nuland + CIA has shown to be an equation that ends in color revolution ..or at least an attempted color revolution ..."
"... At the same time that the media hysteria over "fake news" has reached a fever pitch, yesterday the Senate passed the "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" , colloquially known as the Portman-Murphy Counter-Propaganda Bill, as part of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report. ..."
"... " establishing an interagency center housed at the State Department to coordinate and synchronize counter-propaganda efforts throughout the U.S. government." Our very own Ministry of Truth! ..."
"... Under Ukrainian law journalists that disagree with Kiev's policies are collaborators. They are subject to any mechanism Kiev can devise to stop them. In the case of RT Ruptly or the Guardian this means developing a strategy to ruin their reputations. The Interpreter was developed to that end. Kiev has gone so far as to petition the UK government to censure the Guardian for its coverage of events in Ukraine hoping to bully the publication into line. US broadcasters (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) have put RT on the same list as ISIS. ..."
"... This plan to censor opposing viewpoints in the US was intended to be executed during a Clinton presidency, and would've been almost impossible to stop under those circumstances. There is now a window of opportunity to fight back and ruin these clowns once and for all. ..."
"... These rallies are Trump's means of maintaining contact with his base, and making sure that he knows what they want. And a means of showing that he is trying to get it for them. If Hillary had bothered to do anything of the sort she would have been elected. Sanders did it and it was much appreciated. Trump's ego is huge but the rallies are much more than an ego-trip. ..."
"... Re: WP's response to Truthdig's retraction request. It seems as if they are doubling down on the "not our responsibility to verify the validity theme". My first reaction is that the WP is now the equivalent of the National Enquirer. What's next, a headline " I gave birth to Trump's Love Child". ..."
"... Panem et circenses. ..."
Dec 11, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Gareth December 10, 2016 at 12:47 pm

I believe the CIA is attempting to delegitimize Trump's election so as to force him into a defensive position in which he will temper his dual goals of normalizing relations with Russia and destroying the CIA's proxy armies of jihadists. We will see if Trump has the guts to make some heads roll in the CIA He will remember that the last President who even threatened to take on the CIA received a massive dose of flying lead poisoning.

voteforno6 December 10, 2016 at 7:21 am

This hysteria over Russia is getting downright dangerous. The people pushing that story will seemingly stop at nothing to delegitimize the election results.

Steve C December 10, 2016 at 8:04 am

The Post's Marc Fisher was on the PBS Newshour last night. He talked about Alex Jones. They probably didn't expect the pushback from Yves, Truthdig, etc. The Establishment often underestimates dissenters.

Real fake news, like Jones, benefits from the fake news charge. Their readers hate the MSM. I wonder if the same ethic can develop on the left.

The Post and the like are terrified over their loss of credibility just as the internet has destroyed their advertising. Interesting that their response to competition isn't to outdo the competition but to smother the competition with a lie. Their own fake news.

Isolato December 10, 2016 at 12:48 pm

I heard Stephen Colbert lump Alex Jones together w/Wikileaks as if they were the same "fake news". I have also repeatedly heard Samantha Bee refer to Julian Assange as a rapist. Sigh. Both of those comments are "fake news". The allegations against JA are tissue thin and Wikileaks has NEVER been challenged about the truth of their releases. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Rhondda December 10, 2016 at 4:31 pm

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/03/07/how-the-swedes-set-up-julian-assange/

It's snarky, but then so is your comment. The 'charges' against Assange have a nasty political stink on them.

Dave December 10, 2016 at 1:46 pm

"just as the internet has destroyed their advertising." Shouldn't that be "destroyed their ability to sell advertising?"

As a moral American and supporter of free speech, I am going to make a list of online or print WaPo advertisers. Then I will communicate to them that I will never buy another thing from them as long as they advertise in the Washington Post.

Open their ads in Firefox ad blocker. Then add them to the script and spam blacklist.

The Wapo's trying to steal Craigslist business with online job listings. Looks like an opportunity to have some fun for creatives.

https://jobs.washingtonpost.com/

different clue December 10, 2016 at 3:27 pm

Boss WaPo OwnerMan Bezos is very rich. He bought WaPo as a propaganda outlet. He is prepared to lose a lot of money keeping it "open for propaganda." Naming and shaming and boycotting every advertiser WaPo has could certainly embarass WaPo and perhaps diminish its credibility-patina for Bezoganda purposes. It is certainly worth trying.

The WaPo brand also owns a lot of other moneymaking entities like Kaplan testing and test-prepping I believe. It would be a lot harder to boycott those because millions of people find them to be important. But perhaps a boycott against them until WaPo sells them off to non Bezos ownership would be worth trying.

Perhaps a savage boycott against Amazon until Bezos fires everyone at WaPo involved in this McCarthy-list and related articles . . . and humiliates them into unhireability anywhere else ever again?

Brindle December 10, 2016 at 9:16 am

The Dem Liberals (Joan Walsh etc). on the twitter are going full throttle with this, it's a twofer as Joan is using this to attack Sanders supporters for not being on the front lines of Russia Fear.

Anarcissie December 10, 2016 at 12:00 pm

The story serves many purposes. One is firing a shot across TrumpCo's bow: 'Submit to us or we'll delegitimate your election.' (Apparently TrumpCo has not delivered a convincing submission yet.)

Another is excusing the Democratic Party establishment for losing the election, and thus diverting the wrath of the rank and file. Evidently it's also going to be used against the Sanders faction of the Democrats. About all we can do at the moment is remember to remember the names of the people who purveyed and supported the story, just as we should remember to remember the names of those who purveyed WMD stories.

Steve C December 10, 2016 at 12:41 pm

Job #1 always is suppressing the Sanders faction. Not beating Trump or the Republicans. They want control of their little pond.

cwaltz December 10, 2016 at 1:18 pm

Personally, after what we did in Ukraine (essentially funding a revolution) I refuse to get the vapors because Russia apparently "helped" elect Trump by exposing (not forcing her to be a liar or cheat) Hillary.

Perhaps they should consider that it could be worse, a foreign nation could be arming people and encouraging them to topple the government we have like what we're doing in Syria. It isn't like the very sharp divisions elsewhere haven't resulted in civil war.

Cry Shop December 10, 2016 at 9:37 am

All of this crap about Russia, or the electoral college system is a distraction from the real issues at hand about our political system, which is a two party one oligarchy (ALEC) anti-democratic system. The rot runs from national presidential elections to the comptroller of the smaller city governments.

If any candidate was capable of speaking to the working and middle class, then either Russia nor the the 0.01% who compose the oligarchy could control who wins in popular elections. What is really needed is to eliminate either the two party system, or democratize their methods of selecting candidates.

Think Hillary played an unfair hand to Sanders? That was nothing compared to the shenanigans that get played at local level, state level, and Congress level to filter out populist candidates and replace them with machine / oligarchy pets.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef December 10, 2016 at 11:02 am

Flimsy distractions.

Coincidentally, all these urgent initiatives will lead to replacing Trump with Hillary as president. "I will tear down the very building just to achieve my Pyrrhic victory."

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL December 10, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Thank you, sorry Dems, Boris Badunov did not swing the election. If you want *hard* evidence (not fake news) of a foreign government influencing the election you might have a look at the beheading, gay-killing, women-supressing tyrannical monarchy known as The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and ask whether it made sense for them to be the *#1* contributor to your candidate.

HBE December 10, 2016 at 10:08 am

Yes, the NYT piece on Russian hacking is complete evidence free tripe. Not once do they say what evidence they base these accusations on, beyond the Cyrillic keyboard. The code for Cyrillic keyboard is, "fuzzy bear" et al. as the original reporting on the DNC hack and the company that ran security made clear that this was the one and only piece of concrete evidence the attacks by "fuzzy bear" et al. were perpetrated by the Russians.

So based on a Cyrillic keyboard and the below quote, unnamed "American intelligence agencies know it was the Russians, really?

"They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding - which they say was also reached with high confidence - that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee's computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks."

Based on this it appears the NYTs definition of fake reporting is anything that isn't fed directly to it by unnamed experts or the USG and uncritically reported.

I think these unnamed agencies are not going to have a very good working relationship with the orange overlord if they keep this up. They might not even be getting that new war they wanted for Christmas.

Pavel December 10, 2016 at 11:00 am

It's as though the NYT and WaPo had these vast pools of accumulated credibility and they could go out on a limb here Oh wait - their credibility has been destroyed countless times over the past decade or so. One would think they'd realise: If you're in a ditch, the first thing to do is stop digging.

Especially when dealing with a President Trump. He's already made his distaste for the WaPo clear. We are entering a new, crazy, dangerous era of press-presidential relations. All the more reason for the newspapers to behave responsibly - is that too much to ask?

integer December 10, 2016 at 7:32 pm

The world is flat . Note: This is not me awarding a Thomas L. Friedman prize. In this case, I am simply sharing the article because I think it is hilarious.

integer December 10, 2016 at 8:38 pm

Also, Bradford deLong should be included with Krugman and Friedman, though the length and width of deLong's connections don't seem to have the same acceleration, energy, or viscosity, as the other two. There are also olfactory and temporal differences.

integer December 11, 2016 at 1:32 am

Come to think of it, I also don't think Krugman Turdman or Friedman Flathead would have to grovel to Neera "I'm a loyal soldier" Tanden and John "Done, so think about something else" Podesta to get a family member a "meritocratic" job.

YassirYouBetcha December 10, 2016 at 12:47 pm

Multiple languages use the Cyrillic alphabet, including Bulgarian and, notably, Ukrainian. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrillic_script

local to oakland December 10, 2016 at 11:52 am

See also this. http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/chuck-schumer-russia-senate-election-inquiry-232464

TK421 December 10, 2016 at 11:57 am

If Russia is so dangerous, then anyone who mishandles classified information (say, by storing it on a personal server) should be prosecuted, shouldn't they?

Aumua December 10, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Nowhere, in any of this, is it mentioned that Clinton's illegal private email server (that got hacked) played any factor whatsoever. It just stinks so bad, I wonder how they can not smell what they are sitting in.. I also wonder just where the line is between those who actually buy into this hysteria, and those who simply feel justified in using whatever means they can to discredit Trump and overturn the election. I think there's a lot of overlap and grey area there in many people's minds.

Anonymous December 10, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Summarizing a very plausible theory, NeoCon Coup Attempt: As Syria's Assad (with Russian help) is close to crushing HRC's jihadi Queda & Nusra rebels in Aleppo, the NeoCons are freaking out on both sides of the Atlantic.

What to do? Jill's recount is floundering. So, last resort: Concoct Russia hacking myth to either delay Dec 19 EC vote or create more faithless electors. Result: A NeoCon like HRC or a NeoCon sympathizer is installed.

Two biggest war hawks, McCain and Graham, are leading the Senate charges against Russia. All of this within days of Obama sending 200 MORE US troops to Syria and lifting the ban on more arms to the Syrian rebels, including anti-aircraft MANPADS.

Plenue December 10, 2016 at 5:03 pm

The recount farce makes me angry, and has made me resolve to never give Stein my vote again. Apparently she's in opposition to much of her party leadership on this, so if they ditch her in the future and get someone better I may consider voting for them again. The reality of Trump as president is going to be bad enough, attempting to sabotage the transition isn't doing anyone any favors. I don't like Obama at all, but he wants a clean, peaceful transfer of power, and on that issue at least he's correct.

R McCoy December 10, 2016 at 5:16 pm

That implies the NeoCon establishment views DJT and cabinet as a threat in any way, which is an extremely dubious premise. Occam's razor: Clinton and the media establishment that gifted the country DJT will do anything they can to cast the blame elsewhere.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef December 10, 2016 at 6:24 pm

I'm not sure if that is a simpler explanation. I offer this: It's simpler to see that they are engaging in a struggle for now and the future – that means the neocons vs Trump.

Hillary vs Trump, invoking Russia now, is about fighting the last war. That one was over more than a month ago. It's more convoluted to say one team still desires to continue the fight.

Chief Bromden December 10, 2016 at 5:51 pm

You may be on to something http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/russian-interference-could-give-courts-legal-authority_us_584be136e4b0151082221b9c

"The story reveals that a CIA assessment detailing this conclusion had been presented to President Obama and top congressional leaders last week." You read that? It's "detailed". None of us peasants will ever know what those "details" are, but its the f#ckin CIA, dude.

Jagger December 10, 2016 at 7:54 pm

You read that? It's "detailed". None of us peasants will ever know what those "details" are, but its the f#ckin CIA, dude.

I just read the NYT article covering the same topic, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/us/obama-russia-election-hack.html?_r=0 ,

The problem is we are expected to just trust the NYT and CIA without evidence??? Anybody remember WMD in Iraq?? The complete loss of credibility by the NYT and CIA over the last decade means I have to see credible evidence before I believe anything they say. But that is just me. From reading the NYT comments on the OBama Russia election hack article, the NYT commenters have en mass swallowed the story hook, line and sinker. They apparently don't need evidence and have completely loss any sort of functioning long term memory.

Benedict@Large December 10, 2016 at 1:47 pm

And it's pretty clear that Clinton is right in with it. The woman has literally lost her marbles

cwaltz December 10, 2016 at 10:22 pm

Based on the fact that she was hidden more than actually performing on the campaign trail, that is a possibility. She may have very well been our own puppet government member that some were ready to install here just like we tend to do over in other nations. No real marbles needed since she wouldn't actually be running things. It's come to my attention that we seem to be inching closer and closer to third world here and those places rarely have vibrant democracies.

Chief Bromden December 10, 2016 at 8:04 am

Seems coordinated to me -- Globe/Times/WaPo. Double down for WaPoo who are now reporting from area 51 where they found Bigfoot sitting on a stockpile of Sadam's WMDs. Reading this article is surreal. The CIA, a terrorist outfit which our own former reporter (Bernstein) showed to be infesting our own newsroom, whispered in our ear that the Cold War 2.0 is going to escalate with or without the establishment coronation queen.

"Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House" The link on WaPoo's site actually says a different headline so I am just sharing the headline itself. Not another secret assessment . no more passing notes in class, students.

Eustache de Saint Pierre December 10, 2016 at 8:49 am

Robert Reich has posted the news that the Russians helped to secure the election for Trump on his FB page, to it seems much acclaim – perhaps I was foolish for having expected better from him.

Steve H. December 10, 2016 at 9:31 am

Sifting the election through a Peter Turchin filter, Sanders' run was a response to 'popular immiseration' while the choice-of-billionaires was 'intra-elite competition'. WaPo seems allied with the CIA-FIRE sector Clintonian group, while T may be more inclusive of the classic MICC-Pentagon sector which was asserting itself in Syria.

I needed Jalen & Jacoby to sooth me to sleep last night, after seeing the last chart (Fig. 14.4) from Turchin's latest book. You can see it by hitting Ctrl-End from this pdf . If he's correct, this election was just the warm-up for 2020. Crikey.

subgenius December 10, 2016 at 3:29 pm

Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, who is a close associate of Assange, called the CIA claims "bullshit", adding: "They are absolutely making it up." "I know who leaked them," Murray said. "I've met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it's an insider. It's a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.

witters December 10, 2016 at 11:08 pm

The link to CM – and further disgracefulness from the now worthless Guardian: https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/12/cias-absence-conviction/

Vatch December 10, 2016 at 6:08 pm

Although I'm convinced that the Republicans are, on average, noticeably worse than the Democrats, I agree with you. It is useful that there is no doubt about where Trump and the Congressional Republicans stand, which is on the side of the billionaires and the giant corporations. We've had 8 years of Obama's obeisance to the oligarchs, and millions of Americans still don't understand that this was happening.

I hope people will vigorously lobby their Representatives and Senators, and pay attention to who the genuine progressives are in the 2018 primaries.

Invy December 10, 2016 at 3:12 pm

Like ordinary citizens, although for the opposite reasons, elites are losing faith in democratic government and its suitability for reshaping societies in line with market imperatives. Public Choice's disparaging view of democratic politics as a corruption of market justice, in the service of opportunistic politicians and their clientele, has become common sense among elite publics-as has the belief that market capitalism cleansed of democratic politics will not only be more efficient but also virtuous and responsible. [11]

Countries like China are complimented for their authoritarian political systems being so much better equipped than majoritarian democracy, with its egalitarian bent, to deal with what are claimed to be the challenges of 'globalization' -- a rhetoric that is beginning conspicuously to resemble the celebration by capitalist elites during the interwar years of German and Italian fascism (and even Stalinist communism) for their apparently superior economic governance. [12]

How will capitalism end – New Left Review

jgordon December 10, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Right, the euphemisms have been done away with. I always knew Trump would be a disaster. However, Trump is a survivable disaster–with Hillary that would have been the end.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef December 10, 2016 at 6:30 pm

If Trump has many Goldman guys, is it a case of 'keeping your enemies close?'

Altandmain December 10, 2016 at 6:37 pm

In the long run, a Clinton presidency would be far more damaging.

First of all, the Democrats would use Clinton to suppress the left and to insist that Clinton was more electable. That would lead to a validation of the idea that the left has nowhere to go and set a precedent for decades with a 3 point formula:

  1. Suppress the left
  2. Accept money from Wall Street and move to the right with each election
  3. Use identity politics as a distraction.

A Trump victory forces questions on the conventional wisdom (not really wisdom), and forces changes. At best, they can hope to shove another Obama that is attractive on the outside, but will betray people, but even that will be harder because people now are more watchful. Not to mention, the mainstream media has lost its power.

There were other dangers. Clinton wanted war with Russia. That could easily escalate into a nuclear conflict. With Trump, the risk is reduced, although given his ego, I will concede that anything is possible. We would also be seeing some very damaging neoliberal policies.

The reality is that the US was screwed the moment Sanders was out of the picture. With Trump, at least it is more naked and more obvious. The real challenge is that the left has a 2 front war, first with the corporate Democrats, then the GOP. On the GOP side, Trump's supporters are going to wake up at some point to an Obama like betrayal, which is exactly what I expect will happen.

There are elements of the Trump fan base already calling him out for the people he has appointed, which is a very encouraging sign. Trump's economic performance is what will make or break him. He has sold himself on his business acumen. Needless to say, I expect it will break him because he won't even try to do anything for his base.

relstprof, December 10, 2016 at 6:46 pm

I like a lot of your analysis. "We would also be seeing some very damaging neoliberal policies." We could still yet under Trump, given the cabinet nominees.

The left must be vigilant and smart. There is opportunity here, but sidetracking on fake news, pop vote, etc. doesn't gain much in terms of opposition.

Michael, December 10, 2016 at 10:27 pm

I think you're possibly right, and I just couldn't pull the lever to vote for Trump. Sometimes we just have to be true to ourselves and hope it works out.

RenoDino December 10, 2016 at 8:26 am

By dangerous and delegitimizing I assume you mean the results of the election will be reversed sometime in the next six weeks while the current establishment still has martial authority.

All the intelligent agencies are now in lock step over Russian intervention. How do they let this result stand? Trump obviously realizes his win is now in play and has gone after those same agencies pointing out their gross incompetence.

Both sides now fear the other side will lock them up or, at the very least, remove them from power permanently. Why do I think this is not over?

MyLessThanPrimeBeef December 10, 2016 at 11:14 am

Michael Moore agrees with you – something is, or might be (more accurate description of what he is said to have said, I think), brewing, according to him, or rather, his intuition .

John Parks December 10, 2016 at 12:56 pm

I am certainly not ready to rule out Moore's gut feeling. Capitalist Party + MSM + Clinton + Nuland + CIA has shown to be an equation that ends in color revolution ..or at least an attempted color revolution What the State Department and MSM have pleasantly referred to in the past as a bloodless coup. See Ukraine, Brazil, Argentina et al

Sammy Maudlin December 10, 2016 at 8:26 am

At the same time that the media hysteria over "fake news" has reached a fever pitch, yesterday the Senate passed the "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" , colloquially known as the Portman-Murphy Counter-Propaganda Bill, as part of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report.

According to Senator Portman's press release, the Bill "will improve the ability of the United States to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation by establishing an interagency center housed at the State Department to coordinate and synchronize counter-propaganda efforts throughout the U.S. government." The bill also creates a "grant program for NGOs, think tanks, civil society and other experts outside government who are engaged in counter-propaganda related work."

While the passage of this bill seems very coincidentally timed given recent events, it was actually introduced in March. Not sure whether it simply followed a normal legislative track, or was brought back from the dead recently, etc.

Of note is the fact that, according to Steve Sestanovich, a Senior Counsel at the Council on Foreign Relations , "a lot of what the bill wants done is actually being done," noting that a range of agencies are already focused on the disinformation problem, and that traditional foreign policy tools still have a major role to play.

Eclair December 10, 2016 at 10:46 am

" establishing an interagency center housed at the State Department to coordinate and synchronize counter-propaganda efforts throughout the U.S. government." Our very own Ministry of Truth!

grizziz December 10, 2016 at 2:52 pm

It is important to find work for our newly minted graduates of marketing, psychology and sociology as well as those graduates of the communication school and the arts. The need of our post-industrial information age is to make things up as opposed to just making things. Our liberal nation has promised our children that after they have enslaved themselves through student debt they will find work. The work they find is likely to be meaningful only to the creditors who wish to be repaid.

The graduates will find idealistic rationales like patriotism or making "'Merica Grate Again" to soothe their corrupted souls while keeping the fake news as fresh as a steamy load.

integer December 10, 2016 at 11:04 am

US Psychological Warfare in Ukraine: Targeting Online Independent Media Coverage

Under Ukrainian law journalists that disagree with Kiev's policies are collaborators. They are subject to any mechanism Kiev can devise to stop them. In the case of RT Ruptly or the Guardian this means developing a strategy to ruin their reputations. The Interpreter was developed to that end. Kiev has gone so far as to petition the UK government to censure the Guardian for its coverage of events in Ukraine hoping to bully the publication into line. US broadcasters (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) have put RT on the same list as ISIS.

From yesterday's links but seems appropriate. This plan to censor opposing viewpoints in the US was intended to be executed during a Clinton presidency, and would've been almost impossible to stop under those circumstances. There is now a window of opportunity to fight back and ruin these clowns once and for all.

local to oakland December 10, 2016 at 12:46 pm

But these memes are now in play differently by Trump appointees. http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/betsy-devos-claim-media-fake-news-232459

Government messing with the First Amendment is dangerous. I feel like an electrician watching someone reach for the wrong wire.

integer December 10, 2016 at 1:28 pm

That may be but what we are seeing now is just an echo of the Clinton/Soros plan, and not even close to the disaster that would result from having Soros et al at the helm. My guess is that the CIA are now simply using gullible Republicans (yes, there is certainly some redundancy there) as useful idiots, but this dynamic significantly weakens the original plan.

shinola December 10, 2016 at 3:50 pm

"I feel like an electrician watching someone reach for the wrong wire." I'm definitely stealing that one – thanks!

cnchal December 10, 2016 at 8:28 am

Trump, the Man in the Crowd

Amy Davidson ends her article with this paragraph.

And that is why the rallies are likely to endure: to serve as calibrators of or infomercials for what Trump believes that "the public" wants. One can waste a lot of time delving into the question of Trump's psychological need for affirmation . What is politically more important is how he might use the set piece of a cheering crowd to brush aside other considerations, particularly those involving the checks on the Presidency, and the willingness of those in other areas of the government, or in the White House itself, to exercise them. Should courts worry about "a lot of angry people"? One important point not to let go of is that a crowd that the President assembles and the broader public are two very different things, no matter how big the arena, or how filled it is with love . A better opportunity to hear that public voice will come in two years, at the midterm elections. Maybe those will surprise Trump.

News flash for Amy. When a narcissist uses the word "love" it doesn't mean what you think it does. Those rallies are about training people to react emotionally in a way that is fulfilling to Donald. Nothing more, nothing less.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef December 10, 2016 at 11:55 am

A better opportunity to hear that public voice will come in two years, at the midterm elections. Maybe those will surprise Trump.

We remind ourselves that no one can help us but us. We empower ourselves.

So, it goes for today, as it did in 2008. Such moderation!!! A better opportunity will come in two years!!!! I said that to myself 8 years ago, but I didn't hear much of it from the media then. And we (not just I) say that now.

As for crowds reacting and it being fulfilling for the one being looked up on – again, it's the same human psychology, whether the guy on stage is a rock star, Lenin, Roosevelt, Pol Pot, the next savior or Idi Amin. How much love is there for anyone in any long term relationship, except to affirm and be affirmed by 'love' everyday, in small acts or otherwise, much less some politicians you interact through abstractions, like, through the media or stories told to us.

kareninca December 10, 2016 at 6:13 pm

"Those rallies are about training people to react emotionally in a way that is fulfilling to Donald. Nothing more, nothing less."

These rallies are Trump's means of maintaining contact with his base, and making sure that he knows what they want. And a means of showing that he is trying to get it for them. If Hillary had bothered to do anything of the sort she would have been elected. Sanders did it and it was much appreciated. Trump's ego is huge but the rallies are much more than an ego-trip.

Jhallc December 10, 2016 at 8:51 am

Re: WP's response to Truthdig's retraction request. It seems as if they are doubling down on the "not our responsibility to verify the validity theme". My first reaction is that the WP is now the equivalent of the National Enquirer. What's next, a headline " I gave birth to Trump's Love Child".

Steve H. December 10, 2016 at 9:15 am

: The right has its own version of political correctness. It's just as stifling.

It looks like this perspective is snapping into place. From a letter in our (paywalled) local paper, from Dec. 3:

telling everyone else not to be so sensitive or PC (ditto; theirs is a "conservative" PC). [Kenneth D. Pimple]

Steeeve December 10, 2016 at 2:06 pm

Patriotic Correctness is a useful term and concept. Otherwise, the article was extremely long-winded and boring. Editor to writer: "I need you to fill 3,000 words worth of space with this 50-word idea "

Steve H. December 10, 2016 at 10:59 am

Panem et circenses.

But then I think of the old Chicago prayer:

Where's my bread, Daley?

fosforos December 10, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Long, long ago I learned that the only really trustworthy stories in the "Press" were on the sports pages. Now I'm scarcely sure of even that

cwaltz December 10, 2016 at 10:38 pm

I don't consider Trump a compromise candidate and that's largely because I don't see him actually moving the country forward in the right direction. Sanders, for me, would have been a compromise from the point of view of he probably wouldn't have moved us far enough fast enough for me but he would have set us leftward instead of ever rightward and that IS an improvement.

The Trumpening December 10, 2016 at 10:06 am

The mainstream media is doubling down on imagined pro-Russian heresies in a fashion not seen since the Reformation. Back then the Catholic Church held a monopoly on ideology. They lost it to an unruly bunch of rebellious Protestants who were assisted by the new technology of the printing press.

Nowadays various non-conformist internet sites, with the help of the new technology of the internet, are challenging the MSM's monopoly on the means of persuasion. To show how much things have changed, back in the 60's, dissidents such as the John Birch Society were limited to issuing pamphlets to expound on their theories of Russians taking over America. In a very ironic role-reversal, today it is the increasingly desperate Washington Post that more closely matches the paranoia of the John Birch Society as it accuses non-conformist media heretics – who are threatening the MSM's monopoly on the means of persuasion - of allowing Russians to take over America.

But let's spare a thought for poor Jeff Bezos. He basically thought he was purchasing the medieval equivalent of a Bishopry when he bought the WaPo. But now after running six anti-Trump editorials each and every day for the past 18 months, in which his establishment clergy engaged in an ever increasing hysteria-spiral trying to outdo each other in turning Trump into Hitler, it ends up Bezos' side lost the election anyway. It's like he bought a Blockbuster store in 2008 and never even thought about Netflix!

And so now the MSM is literally launching an Establishment Inquisition by issuing "indexes" of prohibited heretical websites.

Where will this lead? The grossly paranoiac reading is the Establishment's Counter Reformation is laying the ideological groundwork for a sort of coup d'etat to be followed by the rule of a goodthink junta. In this case we have to start calculating how many divisions are loyal to Trump's gang of generals versus how many are loyal to Obama's generals. A more moderate reading is that with these anti-Russian headlines, the Establishment is attempting to pressure Trump to stay the Establishment course on foreign policy and to appoint a SecState who is hostile to Russia. And in the best case these crazy MSM ramblings are just the last gasps of soon to be extinct media mammoths.

fosforos December 10, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Or is it CIA preparation for an Electoral College coup and an H of Reps "election" of–Lindsy Graham?

The Trumpening December 10, 2016 at 2:07 pm

One thing you can say about Trump is that he is most certainly not a wuss. In the face of this firestorm about Russian influence sources say Trump is going to nominate Rex Tillerson, who is very pro-Putin, as Secretary of State!

Lindsie Graham is going to be apoplectic!

tgs December 10, 2016 at 2:51 pm

Do you think Tillerson will be confirmed?

MyLessThanPrimeBeef December 10, 2016 at 3:09 pm

I wonder what happens when they don't confirm any of his nominees? Is this a case of 'I will nominee so many you don't like, you will be forced to confirm at least a few?'

The Trumpening December 10, 2016 at 4:05 pm

Yes I do because Trump is reportedly naming NeoCon John Bolton as undersecretary. That's going to be a package deal; if they reject Tillerson then Bolton is gone as well. The NeoCons are desperate to get Bolton into the Administration.

Bolton's job will be to go on talk shows and defend Trump's policies. If he doesn't do it then he gets fired.

And so from the rest of the world's point of view, Tillerson is the carrot but Bolton remains in the background as the stick in case anyone starts thinking Trump is too soft and decides to test him.

Baby Gerald December 10, 2016 at 10:58 am

Glenn Greenwald dissects the fake news spewing about Russian involvement with aplomb:

Anonymous Leaks to the WashPost About the CIA's Russia Beliefs Are No Substitute for Evidence

[Dec 10, 2016] Shiny object distruction from the real issues

Short-termism is a real problem for the US politicians. It is only now the "teeth of dragon" sowed during domination of neoliberalism since 80th start to show up in unexpected places. And reaction is pretty predictable. As one commenter said: "Looks like the CIA's latest candidate for regime change is the USA."
Notable quotes:
"... Divide and Control is being brilliantly employed once again against 'us'. The same tactics used against foreign countries are being used here at home on 'us'. ..."
"... Divide and Conquer, yes indeed, watch McCain and Graham push this Russian hacking angle hard. ..."
"... i regard this 'secret' CIA report, following on from the 'fake news' meme, to be another of what will become a never-ending series of attempts to deligitemize Trump, so that later on this year the coming economic collapse (and shootings, street violence, markets etc) can be more successfully blamed not only on Trump and his policies, but by extension, on the Russians. (a two-fer for the globalist statists) ..."
"... Nevermind that many states voting machines are on private networks and are not even connected to the internet. ..."
"... The Russians 'might' have influenced the election..... The American Government DID subvert and remove a democratically elected leader (Ukraine).Anyone see the difference there? ..."
"... Voted for Trump, but the Oligarcy picked him too. Check the connection between Ross and Trump and Wilburs former employer. TPTB laughs at all of us ..."
"... The sad facts are the CIA itself and it's massive propaganda arm has its gummy fingers all over this election and elections all over the planet. ..."
"... The Russians, my ass. ................. The CIA are famous for doing nefarious crap and blaming their handy work on someone else. Crap that usually causes thousands of deaths. ... Even in the KGB days the CIA was the king of causing chaos. ..... the KGB would kill a dissident or spy or two and the CIA in the same time frame would start a couple of wars killing thousands or millions. ..."
"... What makes people think the Post is believable? The truth has been hijacked by their self annihilating ideology. Honestly one would have to be dumb as a fence 'Post' (pun intended) to believe ANYTHING coming from this rag and the rest of these 'Fake News' MSM propaganda machines, good lord! ..."
"... As for the CIA, it was reported at the time to be largely purged under the Dubya administration, of consitutionalists and other dissidents to the 9-11 -->> total-war program. Stacked to the brim with with neocon cadres. ..."
"... Out of the 3,153 counties in this country, Hillary Clinton won only 480. A dismal and pathetic 15% of this country. The worst showing EVER for a presidential candidate. ..."
"... The much vaunted 2 million vote lead in the popular vote can be attributed to exactly 4 boroughs in NYC; Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, & Brooklyn ..."
"... 96 MILLION Americans were either too disgusted, too lazy, or too apathetic to even bother to go out and cast a vote for ANYONE in this election. ..."
"... Looks like the CIA's latest candidate for regime change is the USA. ..."
"... Clapper sat in front of congress and perjured himself. When confronted with his perjury he defended himself saying he told them the "least untruthful thing" he could - admitting he had not problem whatsoever about lying to Congress. ..."
"... There certainly is foreign meddling in US government policy but it is not coming from Russia. The countries that have much greater influence than Russia on 'our' government are the Sunni-dominated Persian Gulf oil states including the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and, of course, that bastion of human rights, Saudi Arabia. ..."
"... Oil money from these states has found its way into influentual think tanks including the Brookings Institution, the Atlantic Council, the Middle East Institute and the Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies and others. ..."
"... And also, there are arms sales. Arm sales to Saudi/Gulf States come with training. With training comes military ties, foreign policy ties and even intelligence ties. Saudi Arabia, with other Gulf oil states as partners, practically owns the CIA now. ..."
"... Reverse Blockade: emphatically insisting upon something which is the opposite of the truth blocks the average person's mind from perceiving the truth. In accordance with the dictates of healthy common sense, he starts searching for meaning in the "golden mean" between truth and its opposite, winding up with some satisfactory counterfeit. People who think like this do not realize that this effect is precisely the intent of the person who subjects them to this method. ..."
"... I recall lots of "consensus views" that were outright lies, bullshit and/or stupidity: "The Sun circles the Earth. The Earth is flat. Global cooling / next ice age (1970s). Global warming (no polar ice) 1990s-00's. Weapons of mass destruction." You can keep your doctor. ..."
"... The CIA, Pentagon and "intelligence" agencies need both a cleaning and culling ..."
"... Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying. ..."
"... This whopper of a story from the CIA makes the one fabricated about WMD's in Iraq that fooled Bush Jr. and convinced him to almost take this country down by violating the sage advice on war strategy from Sun-Tzu and Clausewitz and opening up a second front in Iraq almost child's play. ..."
"... At least with the WMD story they had false witnesses and some made up evidence! With this story, there is no "HUMINT (human intelligence) sources" and no physical evidence, just some alleged traces that could have been actually produced from the ether or if they knew ahead of time of Trump's possible win sent someone to Russia and had them actually run the IP routes for show. ..."
"... Bush was misled because the CIA management was scared of some of his budgetary saber rattles and his chasing after some CIA management. In this case, someone is really scared of what the people will find when the swam gets drained, if ever it gets done. This includes so-called "false flag conservatives" like Lindsey Graham and top Democrats "Cambridge 5 Admirers" salted in over the years into the CIA ..."
"... Trump has already signaled he is going hand them nearly unlimited power by appointing Pompeo in the first place. I would think they would be very happy to welcome the incoming administration with open arms. ..."
"... I could see it if they were really that pissed about Trumps proposed Russian re-set and maybe they are but even that has to be in doubt because of the rate at which Trump is militarizing his cabinet. ..."
"... In all reality Trump is a MIC, intelligence cabal dream come true, so why would they even consider biting the hand that feeds so well? Perhaps their is more going on here under the surface, maybe all the various agencies and bureaucracies are not playing nice, or together for that matter. ..."
"... after all the CIA and the Pentagon's proxy armies are already killing each other in Syria so one has to wonder in what other arenas are they clashing? ..."
"... The neocons are desperate. Their war monger Hitlery lost by a landslide now they fabricate all sorts of irrational BS. ..."
"... 'CIA Team B' ..."
"... 'Committee on the Present Danger' ..."
"... 'Office of Special Plans' ..."
"... Trump is a curious fellow. I've thought about this quite a bit and tried to put myself in his shoes. He has no friends in .gov, no real close "mates" he can depend on, especially in his own party, so he had to start from scratch to put his cabinet together. ..."
"... It could very well be that this was Trump & the establishment plan to con the American public from the start of course. I kind of doubt it, since the efforts of the establishment to destroy Trump was genuinely full retard from the outset and still continues. ..."
"... He would have done better to ignore the political divide to choose those who have spent their lives challenging the Deep State. My ignorance of US politics does not supply me with a complete picture, but Ron Paul, David Kucinich, Trey Gowdy, Tulsi Gabard and even turncoat Bernie Sanders would have been better to drain the swamp than the neocon zionists he has installed in power. ..."
www.zerohedge.com

MEFOBILLS -> Keyser , Dec 10, 2016 1:01 PM

It is worse than "shiny object." Human brains have a latency issue - the first time they hear something, it sticks. To unstick something, takes a lot of counter evidence.

So, a Goebbels-like big lie, or shiny object can be told, and then it can take on a life of its own. False flags operate under this premise. There is an action (false flag), and then false narrative is issued into press mouthpieces immediately. This then plants a shiny object in sheeple brains. It then takes too much mental effort for average sheeple to undo this narrative, so "crowds" can be herded.

Six million dead is a good example of this technique.

Fortunately, with the internet, "supposed fake news sites like ZH" are spreading truth so fast - that shiny stories issued by our Oligarch overlords are being shot down quickly.

Bezo's, who owns Washington Post, is taking rents by avoiding sales taxes; not that I'm a fan of sales taxes. But, ultimately, Bezos is taking rental thefts, and he is afraid of Trump - who may change the law, hence collapse the profit scheme of Amazon.

Cognitive Dissonance -> Oldwood •Dec 10, 2016 10:49 AM

Oldwood. I have a great deal of respect for you and your intelligent opinions.

My only concern is our constant and directed attention towards the 'liberals' and 'progressives'. When we do so we are thinking it is 'them' that are the problem.

In fact it is the force behind 'them' that is the problem. If we oppose 'them', we are wasting our energy upon ghosts and boogeymen.

Divide and Control is being brilliantly employed once again against 'us'. The same tactics used against foreign countries are being used here at home on 'us'.

chunga -> Cognitive Dissonance •Dec 10, 2016 11:33 AM

I've been reading what the blue-teamers are saying over on the "Democratic Underground" site and for a while they've been expressing it's their "duty" to disrupt this thing. They are now calling Trump a "Puppet Regime".

Divide and Conquer, yes indeed, watch McCain and Graham push this Russian hacking angle hard. Also watch for moar of the Suprun elector frauds pop out of the woodwork. The Russian people must be absolutely galvanized by what's happening, USSA...torn into many opposing directions.

dark pools of soros -> chunga •Dec 10, 2016 1:38 PM
First tell them to change their name to the Progressive Party of Globalists. Then remind them that many democrats left them and voted for Trump.. Remind them again and again that if they really want to see blue states again, they have to actually act like democrats again

I assure you that you'll be banned within an hour from any of their sites

American Gorbachev -> Oldwood •Dec 10, 2016 10:12 AM

not an argument to the contrary, but one of elongating the timing

i regard this 'secret' CIA report, following on from the 'fake news' meme, to be another of what will become a never-ending series of attempts to deligitemize Trump, so that later on this year the coming economic collapse (and shootings, street violence, markets etc) can be more successfully blamed not only on Trump and his policies, but by extension, on the Russians. (a two-fer for the globalist statists)

with a political timetable operative as well, whereby some (pardon the pun :) trumped up excuse for impeachment investigations/proceedings can consume the daily news during the run-up to the mid-term elections (with the intent of flipping the Senate and possibly House)

these are very powerful, patient, and deliberate bastards (globalist statists) who may very well have engineered Trump's election for the very purpose of marginalizing, near the point of eliminating, the rural, christian, middle-class, nationalist voices from subsequent public debate

Oldwood -> American Gorbachev •Dec 10, 2016 10:21 AM

The problem is that once Trump becomes president, he will have much more power to direct the message as well as the many factions of government agencies that would otherwise be used to substantiate so called Trump failures. This is a calculated risk scenario for them, but to deny Trump the presidency by far produces more positives for them than any other.

They will have control of the message and will likely shut down much of alternate media news. It is imperative that Trump be stopped BEFORE taking the presidency.

sleigher -> overbet •Dec 10, 2016 10:00 AM

"I read one morons comment that the IP address was traced back to a Russian IP. Are people really that dumb? I can post this comment from dozens of country IPs right now."

Nevermind that many states voting machines are on private networks and are not even connected to the internet. IP addresses from Russia mean nothing.

kellys_eye -> Nemontel •Dec 10, 2016 9:40 AM

The Russians 'might' have influenced the election..... The American Government DID subvert and remove a democratically elected leader (Ukraine).Anyone see the difference there?

Paul Kersey -> Nemontel •Dec 10, 2016 9:40 AM

"Most of our politicians are chosen by the Oligarchy."

And most of our politicians choose the Oligarchy. Trump's choices:

Wilbur Ross, Rothschild, Inc

The working man's choices.....very limited.

Paul Kersey -> Paul Kersey •Dec 10, 2016 10:27 AM

"Barack Obama received more money from Goldman Sachs employees than any other corporation. Tim Geithner, Obama's first treasury secretary, was the protege of one-time Goldman CEO Robert Rubin. "

"The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Nameshavebeench... -> Nemontel •Dec 10, 2016 11:53 AM

If Trump gets hit, the 'official story' of who did it will be a lie.

There needs to be a lot of online discussion about this ahead of time in preparation. If/when the incident happens, there needs to be a successful counter-offensive that puts an end to the Deep State. (take from that what you will)

We've seen the MO many times now;

The patterns are well established & if Trump gets hit it should be no surprise, now the 'jackals' need to be exterminated.

Also, keep in mind that everything we're hearing in all media just might be psyops/counter-intel/planted 'news' etc.

sgt_doom -> Nemontel •Dec 10, 2016 1:25 PM

Although I have little hope for this happening, ideally Trump should initiate full forensic audits of the CIA, NSA, DIA and FBI. The last time a sitting president undertook an actual audit of the CIA, he had his brains blown out (President John F. Kennedy) and the Fake News (CBS, NBC, ABC, etc.) reported that a fellow who couldn't even qualify as marksman, the lowest category (he was pencilled in) was the sniper.

Then, on the 50th anniversary of that horrible coup d'etat, another Fake News show (NPR) claimed that a woman in the military who worked at the rifle range at Atsuga saw Oswald practicing weekly - - absurd on the fact of it, since women weren't allowed at military rifle ranges until the late 1970s or 1980s (and I doublechecked and there was never a woman assigned there in the late 1950s).

Just be sure he has trustworthy bodyguards, unlike the last batch of phony Secret Service agents (and never employ anyone named Elmer Moore).

2rigged2fail -> Nemontel •Dec 10, 2016 4:04 PM

Voted for Trump, but the Oligarcy picked him too. Check the connection between Ross and Trump and Wilburs former employer. TPTB laughs at all of us

Arnold -> Arnold •Dec 10, 2016 9:15 AM

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism

jmack -> boattrash •Dec 10, 2016 11:08 AM

All these Russian interference claims require one to believe that the MSM and democrat machine got out played and out cheated by a bunch of ruskies. This is the level of desperation the democrats have fallen too. To pretend to be so incompetent that the Russians outplayed and overpowered their machine. But I guess they have to fall on that narrative vs the fact that a "crazy" real estate billionaire with a twitter account whipped their asses.

Democrats, you are morally and credulously bankrupt. all your schemes, agenda's and machinations cannot put humpty dumpty back together again. So now it is another period of scorched earth. The Federal Bureaucracy will fight Trump tooth and nail, joined by the democrats in the judiciary, and probably not a few rino's too.

It is going to get ugly, like a machete fight. W. got a taste of it with his Plame affair, the brouhaha over the AGA firings, the regime of Porter Goss as DCI https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porter_Goss

DuneCreature -> cherry picker •Dec 10, 2016 10:30 AM

The sad facts are the CIA itself and it's massive propaganda arm has its gummy fingers all over this election and elections all over the planet.

The Russians, my ass. ................. The CIA are famous for doing nefarious crap and blaming their handy work on someone else. Crap that usually causes thousands of deaths. ... Even in the KGB days the CIA was the king of causing chaos. ..... the KGB would kill a dissident or spy or two and the CIA in the same time frame would start a couple of wars killing thousands or millions.

You said a mouth full, cherry picker. ..... Until the US Intel community goes 'bye bye' the world will HATE the US. ... People aren't stupid. They know who is behind the evil shit.

... ... ..

G-R-U-N-T •Dec 10, 2016 9:39 AM

What makes people think the Post is believable? The truth has been hijacked by their self annihilating ideology. Honestly one would have to be dumb as a fence 'Post' (pun intended) to believe ANYTHING coming from this rag and the rest of these 'Fake News' MSM propaganda machines, good lord!

Colborne •Dec 10, 2016 9:37 AM

As for the CIA, it was reported at the time to be largely purged under the Dubya administration, of consitutionalists and other dissidents to the 9-11 -->> total-war program. Stacked to the brim with with neocon cadres. So, that's the lay of the terrain there now, that's who's running the place. And they aren't going without a fight apparently.

Interesting times , more and more so.

66Mustanggirl •Dec 10, 2016 9:40 AM

For those of us who still have a grip on reality, here are the facts of this election:

But given this is a story from WaPo, I think will just give a few days until it is thoroughly discredited.

max2205 -> 66Mustanggirl •Dec 10, 2016 11:04 AM

And she won CA by 4 million. She hates she only gets a limited amount of electoral votes.. tough shit rules are rules bitch. Suck it

HalEPeno •Dec 10, 2016 9:43 AM

Looks like the CIA's latest candidate for regime change is the USA.

Clara Tardis •Dec 10, 2016 9:45 AM

This is a vid from the 1950's, "How to spot a Communist" all you have to do is swap out commie for: liberal, neocon, SJW and democrat and figure out they've about won....

https://youtu.be/w86QhV7whjs

dogismycopilot •Dec 10, 2016 9:51 AM

This is the same CIA that let Pakistan build up the Taliban in Afganistan during the 1990s and gave Pakistan ISI (Pakistan spy agency) hundreds of millions of USD which the ISI channeled to the Taliban and Arab freedom fighters including a very charming chap named Usama Bin Laden.

The CIA is as worthless as HRC.

Fuck them and their failed intelligence. I hope Trump guts the CIA like a fish. They need a reboot.

Yes We Can. But... -> venturen •Dec 10, 2016 10:08 AM

Why might the Russians want Trump? If there is anything to the stuff I've been reading about the Clintons, they are like cornered animals. Putin just may think the world is a safer, more stable place w/o the Clintons in power.

TRM -> atthelake •Dec 10, 2016 10:44 AM

If it is "on" then those doing the "collections" should be aware that a lot of people they will be "collecting" have read Solzhenitsyn.

"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family?"

Those doing the "collections" will have to choose and choose wisely the side they are on. How much easier would it be for them to report back "Sorry, couldn't find them" than to face the wrath of a well armed population?

Abaco •Dec 10, 2016 9:53 AM

The clowns running the intelligence agencies for the US have ZERO credibility. Clapper sat in front of congress and perjured himself. When confronted with his perjury he defended himself saying he told them the "least untruthful thing" he could - admitting he had not problem whatsoever about lying to Congress. He was not fired or reprimanded in any way. He retired with a generous pension. He is a treasonous basrtard who should be swinging from a lamppost. These people serve their political masters - not the people - and deserve nothing but mockery and and a noose.

mendigo •Dec 10, 2016 9:56 AM

As reported on infowars:
On Dec 9 0bomber issued executive order providing exemption to Arms Export Control Act to permit supplying weapons (ie sams etc) to rebel groups in Syria as a matter "essential to national security "interests"".

Be careful in viewing this report as is posted from RT - perhaps best to wait for corraboaration on front page of rededicated nyt to be sure and avoid fratrenizing with Vlad.

Separately Gabard has introduced bill : Stop Arming Terrorists Act.

David Wooten •Dec 10, 2016 9:56 AM

There certainly is foreign meddling in US government policy but it is not coming from Russia. The countries that have much greater influence than Russia on 'our' government are the Sunni-dominated Persian Gulf oil states including the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and, of course, that bastion of human rights, Saudi Arabia.

Oil money from these states has found its way into influentual think tanks including the Brookings Institution, the Atlantic Council, the Middle East Institute and the Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies and others. All of these institutions should be registered as foriegn agents and any cleared US citizen should have his or her clearance revoked if they do any work for these organizations, either as a contractor or employee. And these Gulf states have all been donating oil money to UK and US universities so lets include the foreign studies branches of universities in the registry of foreign agents, too.

And also, there are arms sales. Arm sales to Saudi/Gulf States come with training. With training comes military ties, foreign policy ties and even intelligence ties. Saudi Arabia, with other Gulf oil states as partners, practically owns the CIA now. Arms companies who sell deadly weapons to the Gulf States, in turn, donate money to Congressmen and now own politicians such as Senators Graham and McCain. It's no wonder Graham wants to help his pals - er owners. So what we have here ('our' government) is institutionalized influence, if not outright control, of US foreign policy by some of the most vicious states on the planet,
especially Saudi Arabia - whose religious police have been known to beat school girls fleeing from burning buildings because they didn't have their headscarves on.

As Hillary's 2014 emails have revealed, Qatar and Saudi Arabia support ISIS and were doing so about the same time as ISIS was sweeping through Syria and Iraq, cutting off the heads of Christians, non-Sunnis and just about anyone else they thought was in the way. The Saudi/Gulf States are the driving force to get rid of Assad and that is dangerous as nuclear-armed Russia protects him. If something isn't done about this, the Gulf oil states may get US into a nuclear war with Russia - and won't care in the least.

Richard Whitney •Dec 10, 2016 10:10 AM

So...somehow, Putin was able to affect the election one way, and the endorsements for HRC and the slander of Trump by and from Washington Post, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, practically every big-city newspaper, practically every newspaper in Europe, every EU mandarin, B Streisand, Keith Olberman, Comedy Central, MSNBC, CNN, Lady Gaga, Lena Dunham and a wad of other media outlets and PR-driven-celebs couldn't affect that election the other way.

Sounds unlikely on the face of it, but hats off to Vlad. U.S. print and broadcast media, Hollywood, Europe...you lost.

seataka •Dec 10, 2016 10:11 AM

The Reverse Blockade

"Reverse Blockade: emphatically insisting upon something which is the opposite of the truth blocks the average person's mind from perceiving the truth. In accordance with the dictates of healthy common sense, he starts searching for meaning in the "golden mean" between truth and its opposite, winding up with some satisfactory counterfeit. People who think like this do not realize that this effect is precisely the intent of the person who subjects them to this method. " page 104, Political Ponerology by Andrew M. Lobaczewski more

just the tip -> northern vigor •Dec 10, 2016 11:51 AM

that car ride for the WH to the capital is going to be fun.

Arnold -> just the tip •Dec 10, 2016 12:12 PM

Your comment ticked one of my remaining Brain Cells.

The final scene of "The Gauntlet".

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076070/

Pigeon •Dec 10, 2016 10:29 AM

I recall lots of "consensus views" that were outright lies, bullshit and/or stupidity: "The Sun circles the Earth. The Earth is flat. Global cooling / next ice age (1970s). Global warming (no polar ice) 1990s-00's. Weapons of mass destruction." You can keep your doctor.

The CIA, Pentagon and "intelligence" agencies need both a cleaning and culling. 50% of the Federal govt needs to go.....now.

What is BEYOND my comprehension is how anyone would think that in Putin's mind, Trump would be preferable to Hillary. She and her cronies are so corrupt, he would either be able to blackmail or destroy her (through espionage and REAL leaks) any time he wanted to during her presidency.

Do TPTB think we are this fucking stupid?

madashellron •Dec 10, 2016 10:31 AM

Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46006.htm

jfb •Dec 10, 2016 10:31 AM

I love this. Trump is not eager to "drain the swamp" and to collide with the establishment, anyway he has no viable economic plan and promised way too much. However if they want to lead a coup for Hilary with the full backing of most republican and democrat politicians just to get their war against Russia, something tells me that the swamp will be drained for real when the country falls apart in chaos.

northern vigor •Dec 10, 2016 10:36 AM

Fuckin' Obama interfered in the Canadian election last year by sending advisers up north to corrupt our laws. He has a lot of nerve pointing fingers at the Russians.

I notice liberals love to point fingers at others, when they are the guilty ones. It must be in the Alinsky handbook.

Pigeon -> northern vigor •Dec 10, 2016 10:38 AM

Called "projection". Everything they accuse others of doing badly, illegally, immorally, etc. - means that is EXACTLY what they are up to.

just the tip -> northern vigor •Dec 10, 2016 11:35 AM

It is in the Alinsky handbook.

Arnold -> just the tip •Dec 10, 2016 4:41 PM

http://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2012/04/13/12_ways_to_use_sau...

jerry_theking_lawler •Dec 10, 2016 10:45 AM

CIA = Deep State.

Trump should not only 'defund' them but should end all other 'programs' that are providing funds to them. Drug trade, bribery, embezzelment, etc. End the CIA terror organization.

Skiprrrdog •Dec 10, 2016 10:49 AM

Putin for Secretary of State... :-)

brianshell •Dec 10, 2016 10:50 AM

Section 8, The congress shall have the power to...declare war...raise armies...navies...militia.
The National Security Act charged the CIA with coordinating the nation's intelligence activities and correlating, evaluating and disseminating intelligence affecting national security.

Rogue members of the executive branch have overstepped their authority by ordering the CIA to make war without congressional approval or oversight.

A good deal of the problems created by the United States, including repercussions such as terrorism have been initiated by the CIA

Under "make America great", include demanding congress assume their responsibility regarding war.

Rein in the executive and the CIA

DarthVaderMentor •Dec 10, 2016 10:59 AM

This whopper of a story from the CIA makes the one fabricated about WMD's in Iraq that fooled Bush Jr. and convinced him to almost take this country down by violating the sage advice on war strategy from Sun-Tzu and Clausewitz and opening up a second front in Iraq almost child's play.

At least with the WMD story they had false witnesses and some made up evidence! With this story, there is no "HUMINT (human intelligence) sources" and no physical evidence, just some alleged traces that could have been actually produced from the ether or if they knew ahead of time of Trump's possible win sent someone to Russia and had them actually run the IP routes for show.

Bush was misled because the CIA management was scared of some of his budgetary saber rattles and his chasing after some CIA management. In this case, someone is really scared of what the people will find when the swam gets drained, if ever it gets done. This includes so-called "false flag conservatives" like Lindsey Graham and top Democrats "Cambridge 5 Admirers" salted in over the years into the CIA

The fact that's forgotten about this is that if the story was even slightly true, it shows how incompetent the Democrats are in running a country, how Barak Obama was an intentional incompetent trying to drive the country into the ground and hurting its people, how even with top technologies, coerced corrupted vendors and trillions in funding the NSA, CIA and FBI they were outflanked by the FSB and others and why Hillary's server was more incompetent and dangerous a decision than we think.

Maybe Hillary and Bill had their server not to hide information from the people, but maybe to actually promote the Russian hacking?

Why should Trump believe the CIA? What kind of record and leadership do they have that anyone other than a fool should listen to them?

small axe •Dec 10, 2016 10:55 AM

At some point Americans will need to wake up to the fact that the CIA has and does interfere in domestic affairs, just as it has long sought to counter "subversion" overseas. The agency is very likely completely outside the control of any administration at this point and is probably best seen as the enforcement arm of the Deep State.

As the US loses its empire and gains Third World status, it is (sadly) fitting that the CIA war to maintain docile populations becomes more apparent domestically.

Welcome to Zimbabwe USA.

marcusfenix •Dec 10, 2016 11:10 AM

what I don't understand is why the CIA is even getting tangled up in this three ring circus freak show.

Trump has already signaled he is going hand them nearly unlimited power by appointing Pompeo in the first place. I would think they would be very happy to welcome the incoming administration with open arms.

I could see it if they were really that pissed about Trumps proposed Russian re-set and maybe they are but even that has to be in doubt because of the rate at which Trump is militarizing his cabinet. All these stars are not exactly going to support their president going belly up to the bar with Putin. and since Trump has no military or civilian leadership experience (which is why I believe he has loaded up on so much brass in the first place, to compensate) I have no doubt they will have tremendous influence on policy.

In all reality Trump is a MIC, intelligence cabal dream come true, so why would they even consider biting the hand that feeds so well? Perhaps their is more going on here under the surface, maybe all the various agencies and bureaucracies are not playing nice, or together for that matter. perhaps some have grown so large and so powerful that they have their own agendas? it's not as if our federal government has ever really been one big happy family there have been many times when the right hand did not know what the left hand was doing. and congress is week so oversight of this monolithic military and intelligence entities may not be as extensive as we would like to think.

after all the CIA and the Pentagon's proxy armies are already killing each other in Syria so one has to wonder in what other arenas are they clashing?

and is this really all just a small glimpse of some secret war within, which every once in a while bubbles up to the surface?

CheapBastard •Dec 10, 2016 11:34 AM

The neocons are desperate. Their war monger Hitlery lost by a landslide now they fabricate all sorts of irrational BS.

However, there is no doubt the Russians stole my TV remote last week.

Kagemusho Dec 10, 2016 11:38 AM

The Intel agencies have been politicized since the late 1970's; look up 'CIA Team B' and the 'Committee on the Present Danger' and their BS 'minority report' used by the original NeoCons to sway public opinion in favor of Ronald Reagan and the arms buildup of the 1980's, which led to the first sky-high deficits. It also led to a confrontational stance against the Soviet Union which almost led to nuclear war in 1983: The 1983 War Scare Declassified and For Real http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/nukevault/ebb533-The-Able-Archer-War-Scare-Decl...

The honest spook analysts were forced out, then as now, in favor of NeoCons with political agendas that were dangerously myopic to say the least. The 'Office of Special Plans' in the Pentagon cherry-picked or outright fabricated intel in order to justify the NeoCon/Israeli wet-dream of total control of oil and the 'Securing the (Israeli) Realm' courtesy of invading parts of the Middle East and destabilizing the rest, with the present mess as the wholly predictable outcome. The honest analysts told them it would happen, and now they're gone.

This kind of organizational warping caused by agency politicization is producing the piss-poor intel leading to asinine decisions creating untold tragedy; that the WaPo is depending upon this intel from historically-proven tainted sources is just one more example of the incestuous nature of the relations between Traditional Media and its handlers in the intel community.

YHC-FTSE •Dec 10, 2016 11:54 AM

This isn't a "Soft Coup". It's the groundwork necessary for a rock hard, go-for-broke, above the barricade, tanks in the street coup d'etat. You do not get such a blatant accusation from the CIA and establishment echo vendor, unless they are ready to back it up to the hilt with action. The accusations are serious - treason and election fraud.

Trump is a curious fellow. I've thought about this quite a bit and tried to put myself in his shoes. He has no friends in .gov, no real close "mates" he can depend on, especially in his own party, so he had to start from scratch to put his cabinet together. His natural "Mistake" is seeking people at his level of business acumen - his version of real, ordinary people - when billionaires/multimillionaires are actually Type A personalities, usually predatory and addicted to money. In his world, and in America in general, money equates to good social standing more than any other facet of personal achievements. It is natural for an American to equate "Good" with money. I'm a Brit and foreigners like me (I have American cousins I've visited since I was a kid) who visit the States are often surprised by the shallow materialism that equates to culture.

So we have a bunch of dubious Alpha types addicted to money in transition to take charge of government who know little or nothing about the principle of public service. Put them in a room together and without projects they can focus on, they are going to turn on each other for supremacy. I would not be surprised if Trump's own cabinet destroys him or uses leverage from their own power bases to manipulate him.

Mike Pompeo, for example, is the most fucked up pick as CIA director I could have envisaged. He is establishment to his core, a neocon torture advocate who will defend the worst excesses of the intelligence arm of the MIC no matter what. One word from his mouth could have stopped this bullshit about Russia helping Trump win the election. Nobody in the CIA was going to argue with the new boss. Yet here we are, on the cusp of another attack on mulitple fronts. This is how you manipulate an incumbent president to dial up his paranoia to the max and failing that, launch a coup d'etat.

It could very well be that this was Trump & the establishment plan to con the American public from the start of course. I kind of doubt it, since the efforts of the establishment to destroy Trump was genuinely full retard from the outset and still continues. I think he was his own man until paranoia and the enormity of his position got the better of him and he chose his cabinet from the establishment swamp dwellers to best protect him from his enemies. Wrong choices, granted, but understandable.

He would have done better to ignore the political divide to choose those who have spent their lives challenging the Deep State. My ignorance of US politics does not supply me with a complete picture, but Ron Paul, David Kucinich, Trey Gowdy, Tulsi Gabard and even turncoat Bernie Sanders would have been better to drain the swamp than the neocon zionists he has installed in power.

flaminratzazz ->YHC-FTSE •Dec 10, 2016 12:03 PM
I think he was his own man until paranoia and the enormity of his position got the better of him,,
+1 I think he was just dickin around with throwin his hat in the ring, was going to go have fun calling everyone names with outlandish attacks and lo and behold he won.. NOW he is shitting himself on the enormity of his GREATEST fvkup in his life.
jomama ->YHC-FTSE •Dec 10, 2016 12:16 PM
Unless you can show how Trump's close ties to Wall St. (owes banks there around 350M currently
YHC-FTSE ->jomama •Dec 10, 2016 12:59 PM
My post is conjecture, obviously. The basis of my musings, as stated above, is the fact that the establishment has tried to destroy Trump from the outset using all of their assets in his own party, the msm, Hollyweird, intelligence and politics. A full retard attack is being perpetrated against him as I type.

There is some merit to dividing the establishment, the Deep State, into two opposing sides. One that lost power, priestige and funds backing Hillary and one that did not, which would make Trump an alternative establishment candidate. But there is no proof that any establishment (MIC+Banking) entity even likes Trump, let alone supports him. As for Israel, Hillary was their candidate of choice, but their MO is they will always infiltrate and back both sides to ensure compliance.

blindfaith ->YHC-FTSE •Dec 10, 2016 12:36 PM
Do not underestimate Trump. I will grant that some of these picks are concerning. However, think in terms of business, AND government is a business from top to bottom. It has been run as a dog and pony show for years and look where we are. To me, I think his picks are strating to look like a very efficient team to get the government efficient again. That alone must make D.C. shake in thier boots.
YHC-FTSE ->blindfaith •Dec 10, 2016 1:08 PM
Underestimating Trump is the last thing I would do. I'm just trying to understand his motives in my own clumsy way. Besides, he promised to "Drain the swamp", not run the swamp more efficiently.
ducksinarow •Dec 10, 2016 12:04 PM
From a non political angle, this is a divorce in the making. Then democrats have been rejected in totallity but instead of blaming themselves for not being good enough, they are blaming a third party which is the Russians. They are now engaging the Republican Party in a custody battle for the "children". There are lies flying around and the older children know exactly what is going on and sadly the younger children are confused, bewildered, angry and getting angrier by the minute. Soon Papa(Obama) will be leaving which is symbolic of the male father figure in the African American community. The new Papa is a white guy who is going to change the narrative, the rules of engagement and the financial picture. The ones who were the heroes in the Obama narrative are not going to be heroes anymore. New heroes will be formed and revered and during this process some will die for their beliefs.

Back to reality, Trump needs to cleanse the CIA of the ones who would sell our nation to the highest bidder. If the CIA is not on the side of America the CIA should be abolished. In a world where mercenaries are employed all over the world, bringing together a culturally mixed agency does not make for a very honest agency. It makes for a bunch of self involved countries trying to influence the power of individuals. The reason Castro was never taken down is because it was not in the interest of the CIA to do so. That is why there were some pretty hilarious non-attempts on Castro's life over the years. It is not in the best interest of the CIA that Trump be president. It is in the best interest of America that Trump is our President.

brane pilot •Dec 10, 2016 12:22 PM

Even the idea that people would rely on foreign governments for critical information during an election indicates the bankruptcy of the corrupt US media establishment. So now they resort to open sedition and defamation in the absence of factual information. The mainstream media in the USA has become a Fifth Column against America, no different than the so-called 'social science' departments on college campuses. Trump was America's last chance and we took it and no one is going to take it away.

[Dec 07, 2016] The Democratic left does not exist.

Notable quotes:
"... What people see in Clinton is a candidate willing to travel any distance at any time if the fee for showing up is $225 k for an hour of work, or so; but who couldn't find the time or reason to visit Wisconsin before an election and actually ask people to vote for her. ..."
"... This does present possibilities, and was in fact the Clinton/DLC plan, although a plan dating back to the 1960s. The idea is to add to the identity groups that are currently the base of the Democratic Party college-educated urban professional socially progressive but economically moderate Republicans. This preserves the neoliberal system, but should create great economic opportunities for elite blacks, women, Latinos etc who really would rather get rich before socialism. ..."
"... I am willing to now designate non-college rural whites as a valid minority, without real privilege except very locally, economically moderate but socially conservative. They have been up for grabs to a degree for a long time, and way too much a major topic of discussion, as nobody knows what to do with them, nobody really wants them, but they are very dangerous, as we can see. ..."
"... The way he put it is that the neoliberal center-left's long-term political project since the '90s, as embodied in figures like the Clintons in the US and Blair in the UK, can be summed up as an effort to redefine the two-party system so that the nominally "left" party becomes a de facto ruling party representing the center-left and center-right, leaving the far right with a dangerously long leash to move the nominally "right" party ever closer toward an outright National Front-style fascist party, and ideally leaving a shattered and demoralized far left as what amounts to an ideological hostage of the center. ..."
"... Both Clinton's failure to defeat Trump and the Blairites' failure to take Labour back from Corbyn have been setbacks for this project, and in both countries the center-right has largely decided to remain for now in its old electoral bloc with the proto-fascists instead of jumping ship to a "left" party that hasn't yet been fully transformed into a well-oiled machine for neoliberal centrism. ..."
"... He'll do many things more or less exactly the way a Clinton administration would have done them, perhaps in some cases with enough of a superficial far-right veneer to create the perception of contrast (for instance future Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who supports vouchers for religious private schools but otherwise might as well be a member of Democrats for Education Reform) and in some cases with red meat to the far right on issues the neoliberal center doesn't particularly care about (i.e. who the hell knows what if anything he'll do on issues like abortion rights, about which he's been all over the map in the past depending what's in his immediate opportunistic interest). ..."
"... appointing figures from places like Goldman Sachs to positions of authority at institutions like the Treasury and the Fed is a thoroughly bipartisan commitment that doesn't make either major US party look any more left-wing or right-wing than the other. ..."
Dec 07, 2016 | http://crookedtimber.org/2016/11/28/the-day-after-brexit/#comment-699954

kidneystones 12.03.16 at 1:01 pm 117

The Democratic left does not exist. Sanders is an independent who would never have been nominated except to help rubber-stamp the inauguration of the donor-class candidate.

The Democrats do not have a left-candidate, or a slate of 'left candidates' around whom a left might coalesce. That's the consequence of national Democratic priorities and the take-over of the party by the Clinton crime family. There are no 'up and coming' Democrats. Those who are talented are spotted and co-opted into the Clinton-controlled machine. The quid pro quo manner of doing business is transparent. Very large sums change hands and almost always according to the laws, in so far as the actual pay-offs are 'incidental' rather than clearly causal.

How many doctoral candidates in their thirties get paid $600 k per year for part-time work and another $300 k per year plus stock options?

All of them, if the doctoral candidate happens to be named Chelsea Clinton. As I noted earlier, Democrats regard outsourcing their interactions with young people and rural voters to Bernie Sanders as a 'solution.'

What people see in Clinton is a candidate willing to travel any distance at any time if the fee for showing up is $225 k for an hour of work, or so; but who couldn't find the time or reason to visit Wisconsin before an election and actually ask people to vote for her.

Yes, it was close. But let's not forget who won and why and how. The president-elect has already stolen parts of the Dem base and now he's after the rest. The traditional Dem coalition is already fractured and if the new president does half as well as he did destroying two political dynasties then Democrats may find themselves in an even deeper whole in 2018.

Like Labour, Democrats need to figure out whether they are the party of the working class, or not.

bob mcmanus 12.03.16 at 4:00 pm 118

There was no (or not much) 'working class surge' for Trump.

Well, there was, in that the internal composition of the Republican vote changed to be more white non-college rural working class and a little less urban college-educated Republicans. I don't know what the numbers are.

This does present possibilities, and was in fact the Clinton/DLC plan, although a plan dating back to the 1960s. The idea is to add to the identity groups that are currently the base of the Democratic Party college-educated urban professional socially progressive but economically moderate Republicans. This preserves the neoliberal system, but should create great economic opportunities for elite blacks, women, Latinos etc who really would rather get rich before socialism.

I am willing to now designate non-college rural whites as a valid minority, without real privilege except very locally, economically moderate but socially conservative. They have been up for grabs to a degree for a long time, and way too much a major topic of discussion, as nobody knows what to do with them, nobody really wants them, but they are very dangerous, as we can see.

I say ship them back to Ireland.

WLGR 12.03.16 at 4:46 pm 119

Hidari @ 108, Matt Christman of the podcast Chapo Trap House made almost this exact point in a recent interview with NYU historian David Parsons on Parsons' podcast The Nostalgia Trap. (Both excellent podcasts, by the way.)

The way he put it is that the neoliberal center-left's long-term political project since the '90s, as embodied in figures like the Clintons in the US and Blair in the UK, can be summed up as an effort to redefine the two-party system so that the nominally "left" party becomes a de facto ruling party representing the center-left and center-right, leaving the far right with a dangerously long leash to move the nominally "right" party ever closer toward an outright National Front-style fascist party, and ideally leaving a shattered and demoralized far left as what amounts to an ideological hostage of the center.

Both Clinton's failure to defeat Trump and the Blairites' failure to take Labour back from Corbyn have been setbacks for this project, and in both countries the center-right has largely decided to remain for now in its old electoral bloc with the proto-fascists instead of jumping ship to a "left" party that hasn't yet been fully transformed into a well-oiled machine for neoliberal centrism. (Of course this is also pretty close to Quiggin's three-party system critique, depending on the extent to which one treats the distinction between center-left and center-right as ever having been particularly meaningful in the first place.)

Faustusnotes, bob mcmanus brings up more or less the same litany of actual tangible policy decisions that I and others have brought up in the past, a kind of litany to which a typical center-leftist response is obstinately ignoring it.

Another point US leftists have been making for many months now is that Trump himself isn't actually a fascist, he's only pretending to be one , which you treated as a novel discovery at #79 and to which your response was that Trump's neoliberal administration in practice will make neoliberal Democrats somehow leftist by comparison, which is absolutely incorrect.

He'll do many things more or less exactly the way a Clinton administration would have done them, perhaps in some cases with enough of a superficial far-right veneer to create the perception of contrast (for instance future Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who supports vouchers for religious private schools but otherwise might as well be a member of Democrats for Education Reform) and in some cases with red meat to the far right on issues the neoliberal center doesn't particularly care about (i.e. who the hell knows what if anything he'll do on issues like abortion rights, about which he's been all over the map in the past depending what's in his immediate opportunistic interest).

But appointing figures from places like Goldman Sachs to positions of authority at institutions like the Treasury and the Fed is a thoroughly bipartisan commitment that doesn't make either major US party look any more left-wing or right-wing than the other.

[Dec 07, 2016] Clinton Democrats betrayal of working class

Dec 07, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

bob mcmanus 12.03.16 at 2:35 am 110

I want to see a political decision to abandon the working class

NAFTA & TPP etc, big bank bailout no prosecutions, no mortgage relief, grossly inadequate structured and targeted stimulus, low inflation low gov't spending with many gov't jobs cut, insurance and provider friendly whirlpool of an expensive health care plan

kidneystones 12.03.16 at 1:01 pm ( 117 )
The Democratic left does not exist. Sanders is an independent who would never have been nominated except to help rubber-stamp the inauguration of the donor-class candidate.

The Democrats do not have a left-candidate, or a slate of 'left candidates' around whom a left might coalesce. That's the consequence of national Democratic priorities and the take-over of the party by the Clinton crime family. There are no 'up and coming' Democrats. Those who are talented are spotted and co-opted into the Clinton-controlled machine. The quid pro quo manner of doing business is transparent. Very large sums change hands and almost always according to the laws, in so far as the actual pay-offs are 'incidental' rather than clearly causal.

How many doctoral candidates in their thirties get paid $600 k per year for part-time work and another $300 k per year plus stock options?

All of them, if the doctoral candidate happens to be named Chelsea Clinton. As I noted earlier, Democrats regard outsourcing their interactions with young people and rural voters to Bernie Sanders as a 'solution.'

What people see in Clinton is a candidate willing to travel any distance at any time if the fee for showing up is $225 k for an hour of work, or so; but who couldn't find the time or reason to visit Wisconsin before an election and actually ask people to vote for her.

Yes, it was close. But let's not forget who won and why and how. The president-elect has already stolen parts of the Dem base and now he's after the rest. The traditional Dem coalition is already fractured and if the new president does half as well as he did destroying two political dynasties then Democrats may find themselves in an even deeper whole in 2018.

Like Labour, Democrats need to figure out whether they are the party of the working class, or not.

bob mcmanus 12.03.16 at 4:00 pm There was no (or not much) 'working class surge' for Trump.

Well, there was, in that the internal composition of the Republican vote changed to be more white non-college rural working class and a little less urban college-educated Republicans. I don't know what the numbers are.

This does present possibilities, and was in fact the Clinton/DLC plan, although a plan dating back to the 1960s. The idea is to add to the identity groups that are currently the base of the Democratic Party college-educated urban professional socially progressive but economically moderate Republicans. This preserves the neoliberal system, but should create great economic opportunities for elite blacks, women, Latinos etc who really would rather get rich before socialism.

I am willing to now designate non-college rural whites as a valid minority, without real privilege except very locally, economically moderate but socially conservative. They have been up for grabs to a degree for a long time, and way too much a major topic of discussion, as nobody knows what to do with them, nobody really wants them, but they are very dangerous, as we can see.

I say ship them back to Ireland.

WLGR 12.03.16 at 4:46 pm ( 119 )

Hidari @ 108, Matt Christman of the podcast Chapo Trap House made almost this exact point in a recent interview with NYU historian David Parsons on Parsons' podcast The Nostalgia Trap. (Both excellent podcasts, by the way.) The way he put it is that the neoliberal center-left's long-term political project since the '90s, as embodied in figures like the Clintons in the US and Blair in the UK, can be summed up as an effort to redefine the two-party system so that the nominally "left" party becomes a de facto ruling party representing the center-left and center-right, leaving the far right with a dangerously long leash to move the nominally "right" party ever closer toward an outright National Front-style fascist party, and ideally leaving a shattered and demoralized far left as what amounts to an ideological hostage of the center. Both Clinton's failure to defeat Trump and the Blairites' failure to take Labour back from Corbyn have been setbacks for this project, and in both countries the center-right has largely decided to remain for now in its old electoral bloc with the proto-fascists instead of jumping ship to a "left" party that hasn't yet been fully transformed into a well-oiled machine for neoliberal centrism. (Of course this is also pretty close to Quiggin's three-party system critique, depending on the extent to which one treats the distinction between center-left and center-right as ever having been particularly meaningful in the first place.)

Faustusnotes, bob mcmanus brings up more or less the same litany of actual tangible policy decisions that I and others have brought up in the past, a kind of litany to which a typical center-leftist response is obstinately ignoring it. Another point US leftists have been making for many months now is that Trump himself isn't actually a fascist, he's only pretending to be one , which you treated as a novel discovery at #79 and to which your response was that Trump's neoliberal administration in practice will make neoliberal Democrats somehow leftist by comparison, which is absolutely incorrect. He'll do many things more or less exactly the way a Clinton administration would have done them, perhaps in some cases with enough of a superficial far-right veneer to create the perception of contrast (for instance future Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who supports vouchers for religious private schools but otherwise might as well be a member of Democrats for Education Reform) and in some cases with red meat to the far right on issues the neoliberal center doesn't particularly care about (i.e. who the hell knows what if anything he'll do on issues like abortion rights, about which he's been all over the map in the past depending what's in his immediate opportunistic interest). But appointing figures from places like Goldman Sachs to positions of authority at institutions like the Treasury and the Fed is a thoroughly bipartisan commitment that doesn't make either major US party look any more left-wing or right-wing than the other.

[Dec 05, 2016] Backlash Against Trade Deals: The End of US Led Economic Globalisation?

Notable quotes:
"... By Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics and Chairperson at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Originally published at The Frontline ..."
"... President Obama has been a fervent supporter of both these deals, with the explicit aim of enhancing and securing US power. "We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy. We should do it today while our economy is in the position of global strength. We've got to harness it on our terms. If we don't write the rules for trade around the world – guess what? China will!", he famously said in a speech to workers in a Nike factory in Oregon, USA in May 2015. But even though he has made the case for the TPP plainly enough, his only chance of pushing even the TPP through is in the "lame duck" session of Congress just before the November Presidential election in the US. ..."
"... The official US version, expressed on the website of the US Trade Representative, is that the TPP "writes the rules for global trade-rules that will help increase Made-in-America exports, grow the American economy, support well-paying American jobs, and strengthen the American middle class." This is mainly supposed to occur because of the tariff cuts over 18,000 items that have been written into the agreement, which in turn are supposed to lead to significant expansion of trade volumes and values. ..."
"... But this is accepted by fewer and fewer people in the US. Across the country, workers view such trade deals with great suspicion as causing shifts in employment to lower paid workers, mostly in the Global South. ..."
"... But in fact the TPP and the TTIP are not really about trade liberalisation so much as other regulatory changes, so in any case it is hardly surprising that the positive effects on trade are likely to be so limited. What is more surprising is how the entire discussion around these agreements is still framed around the issues relating to trade liberalisation, when these are in fact the less important parts of these agreements, and it is the other elements that are likely to have more negative and even devastating effects on people living in the countries that sign up to them. ..."
"... Three aspects of these agreements are particularly worrying: the intellectual property provisions, the restrictions on regulatory practices and the investor-state dispute settlement provisions ..."
"... All of these would result in significant strengthening of the bargaining power of corporations vis-à-vis workers and citizens, would reduce the power of governments to bring in policies and regulations that affect the profits or curb the power of such corporations ..."
"... So if such features of US-led globalisation are indeed under threat, that is probably a good thing for the people of the US and for people in their trading partners who had signed up for such deals. ..."
"... The question arises: is Trump evil? Or merely awful? If Trump is merely awful, then we are not faced with voting for the Lesser Evil or otherwise voting Third Party in protest. If we are faced with a choice between Evil and Awful, perhaps a vote for Awful is a vote against Evil just by itself. ..."
"... Trump has backpedaled and frontpedaled on virtually everything, but on trade, he's got Sanders-level consistency. He's been preaching the same sanity since the 90s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZpMJeynBeg ..."
"... While I do not disagree with your comments, they must be placed in proper context: there is no substantive difference between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, and the people who staff the campaigns of Trump and Clinton are essentially the same. (Fundamentally a replay of the 2000 election: Cheney/Bush vs. Lieberman/Gore.) ..."
"... Great Comment. Important to knock down the meme that "this is the most significant or important election of our time" - this is a carbon copy of what we have seen half a dozen times since WW2 alone and that's exactly how our elite handlers want it. Limit the choices, stoke fear, win by dividing the plebes. ..."
"... Let's face it, trade without the iron fist of capitalism will benefit us schlobs greatly and not the 1%. I'm all for being against it (TPP etc) and will vote that way. ..."
"... We'd also have put in enough puppet dictators in resource rich countries that we'd be able to get raw materials cheaply. The low labor/raw material cost will provide a significant advantage for exports but alas, our 99% won't be able to afford our own products. ..."
"... the TPP will completely outlaw any possibility of a "Buy America" clause in the future! ..."
"... The cynic in me wonders if under say NAFTA it would be possible for a multinational to sue for lost profits via isds if TPP fails to pass. That the failure to enact trade "liberalizing" legislation could be construed as an active step against trade. the way these things are so ambiguously worded, I wonder. ..."
"... Here's Obama's actual speech at the Nike headquarters (not factory). http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/barackobama/barackobamatradenike.htm ..."
"... It should be noted that the Oregon Democrats who were free traitors and supported fast track authority were called out that day: Bonamici, Blumenauer, Schrader and Wyden. The only Oregon Ds that opposed: Sen. Merkley and Congressman DeFazio. ..."
"... The Market Realist is far more realistic about Oregon's free traitors' votes. http://marketrealist.com/2015/05/trans-pacific-partnership-affects-footwear-firms/ "US tariffs on footwear imported from Vietnam can range from 5% to 40%, according to OTEXA (Office of Textiles and Apparel). Ratification of the TPP will likely result in lower tariffs and higher profitability for Nike." ..."
"... So what's the incentive for Oregon's free traitors to support the TPP now? ..."
"... Perhaps they still need to show loyalty to their corporate owners and to the principle of "free trade". ..."
"... Obama: "We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy." ..."
"... Thank you, Mr. President, for resolving any doubts that the American project is an imperialist project! ..."
"... Yes, and I would add a jingoistic one as well. Manifest destiny, the Monroe doctrine, etc. are not just history lessons but are alive and well in the neoliberal mindset. The empire must keep expanding into every nook and cranny of the world, turning them into good consumerist slaves. ..."
"... Funny how little things change over the centuries. ..."
"... The West Is The Best, Subhuman Are All The Rest. The perpetual mantra of the Uebermensch since Columbus first made landfall. Hitler merely sought to apply the same to some Europeans. ..."
"... "How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism", 2015, Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nisancioglu. ..."
"... The Dem candidate's husband made it appallingly clear what the purpose of the TPP is: "It's to make sure the future of the Asia-Pacific region is not dominated by China". ..."
"... Bill Clinton doesn't even care about "the rise of China". That's just a red herring he sets up to accuse opponents of TPP of soft-on-China treasonism. It's just fabricating a stick to beat the TPP-opponents with. Clinton's support for MFN for China shows what he really thinks about the "rise of China". ..."
"... Clinton's real motivation is the same as the TPP's real reason, to reduce America to colonial possession status of the anti-national corporations and the Global OverClass natural persons who shelter behind and within them. ..."
"... Obama. Liar or stupid? When Elizabeth Warren spoke out about the secrecy of the TPP, Obama, uncharacteristically, ran to the cameras to state that the TPP was not secret and that the charge being leveled by Warren was false. Obama's statement was that Warren had access to a copy so how dare she say it was secret. ..."
"... Obama (and Holder) effectively immunized every financial criminal involved in the great fraud and recession without bothering to run for a camera, and to this day has refused and avoided any elaboration on the subject, but he wasted no time trying to bury Warren publicly. The TPP is a continuation of Obama's give-away to corporations, or more specifically, the very important men who run them who Obama works for. And he is going to pull out all stops to deliver to the men he respects. ..."
"... It's a virtual "black market" of "money laundering" (sterilization). In foreign trade, IMPORTS decrease (-) the money stock of the importing country (and are a subtraction to domestic gDp figures), while EXPORTS increase (+) the money stock and domestic gDp (earnings repatriated to the U.S), and the potential money supply, of the exporting country. ..."
"... I don't WANT the US writing the rules of trade any longer. We know what US-written rules do: plunge worker wages into slave labor territory, guts all advanced country's manufacturing capability, sends all high tech manufacturing to 3rd world nations ..."
"... Time to toss the rules and re-write them for the greatest benefit of the greatest number of NON-wealthy and for the benefit of the planet/ecosystems, NOT for benefit of Wall St. ..."
Sep 22, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics and Chairperson at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Originally published at The Frontline

There is much angst in the Northern financial media about how the era of globalisation led actively by the United States may well be coming to an end. This is said to be exemplified in the changed political attitudes to mega regional trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) that was signed (but has not yet been ratified) by the US and 11 other countries in Latin America, Asia and Oceania; and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) still being negotiated by the US and the European Union.

President Obama has been a fervent supporter of both these deals, with the explicit aim of enhancing and securing US power. "We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy. We should do it today while our economy is in the position of global strength. We've got to harness it on our terms. If we don't write the rules for trade around the world – guess what? China will!", he famously said in a speech to workers in a Nike factory in Oregon, USA in May 2015. But even though he has made the case for the TPP plainly enough, his only chance of pushing even the TPP through is in the "lame duck" session of Congress just before the November Presidential election in the US.

However, the changing political currents in the US are making that ever more unlikely. Hardly anyone who is a candidate in the coming elections, whether for the Presidency, the Senate or the House of Representatives, is willing to stick their necks out to back the deal.

Both Presidential candidates in the US (Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton) have openly come out against the TPP. In Clinton's case this is a complete reversal of her earlier position when she had referred to the TPP as "the gold standard of trade deals" – and it has clearly been forced upon her by the insurgent movement in the Democratic Party led by Bernie Sanders. She is already being pushed by her rival candidate for not coming out more clearly in terms of a complete rejection of this deal. Given the significant trust deficit that she still has to deal with across a large swathe of US voters, it will be hard if not impossible for her to backtrack on this once again (as her husband did earlier with NAFTA) even if she does achieve the Presidency.

The official US version, expressed on the website of the US Trade Representative, is that the TPP "writes the rules for global trade-rules that will help increase Made-in-America exports, grow the American economy, support well-paying American jobs, and strengthen the American middle class." This is mainly supposed to occur because of the tariff cuts over 18,000 items that have been written into the agreement, which in turn are supposed to lead to significant expansion of trade volumes and values.

But this is accepted by fewer and fewer people in the US. Across the country, workers view such trade deals with great suspicion as causing shifts in employment to lower paid workers, mostly in the Global South. Even the only US government study of the TPP's likely impacts, by the International Trade Commission, could project at best only 1 per cent increase in exports due to the agreement up to 2032. A study by Jeronim Capaldo and Alex Izurieta with Jomo Kwame Sundaram ("Trading down: Unemployment, inequality and other risks of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement", Working Paper 16-01, Global Development and Environment Institute, January 2016) was even less optimistic, even for the US. It found that the benefits to exports and economic growth were likely to be relatively small for all member countries, and would be negative in the US and Japan because of losses to employment and increases in inequality. Wage shares of national income would decline in all the member countries.

But in fact the TPP and the TTIP are not really about trade liberalisation so much as other regulatory changes, so in any case it is hardly surprising that the positive effects on trade are likely to be so limited. What is more surprising is how the entire discussion around these agreements is still framed around the issues relating to trade liberalisation, when these are in fact the less important parts of these agreements, and it is the other elements that are likely to have more negative and even devastating effects on people living in the countries that sign up to them.

Three aspects of these agreements are particularly worrying:

  1. the intellectual property provisions,
  2. the restrictions on regulatory practices
  3. the investor-state dispute settlement provisions.
Three aspects of these agreements are particularly worrying: the intellectual property provisions, the restrictions on regulatory practices and the investor-state dispute settlement provisions.

All of these would result in significant strengthening of the bargaining power of corporations vis-à-vis workers and citizens, would reduce the power of governments to bring in policies and regulations that affect the profits or curb the power of such corporations

For example, the TPP (and the TTIP) require more stringent enforcement requirements of intellectual property rights: reducing exemptions (e.g. allowing compulsory licensing only for emergencies); preventing parallel imports; extending IPRs to areas like life forms, counterfeiting and piracy; extending exclusive rights to test data (e.g. in pharmaceuticals); making IPR provisions more detailed and prescriptive. The scope of drug patents is extended to include minor changes to existing medications (a practice commonly employed by drug companies, known as "evergreening"). Patent linkages would make it more difficult for many generic drugs to enter markets.

This would strengthen, lengthen and broaden pharmaceutical monopolies on cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS drugs, and in general make even life-saving drugs more expensive and inaccessible in all the member countries. It would require further transformation of countries' laws on patents and medical test data. It would reduce the scope of exemption in use of medical formulations through public procurement for public purposes. All this is likely to lead to reductions in access to drugs and medical procedures because of rising prices, and also impede innovation rather than encouraging it, across member countries.

There are also very restrictive copyright protection rules, that would also affect internet usage as Internet Service Providers are to be forced to adhere to them. There are further restrictions on branding that would reinforce the market power of established players.

The TPP and TTIP also contain restrictions on regulatory practices that greatly increase the power of corporations relative to states and can even prevent states from engaging in countercyclical measures designed to boost domestic demand. It has been pointed out by consumer groups in the USA that the powers of the Food and Drug Administration to regulate products that affect health of citizens could be constrained and curtailed by this agreement. Similarly, macroeconomic stimulus packages that focus on boosting domestic demand for local production would be explicitly prohibited by such agreements.

All these are matters for concern because these agreements enable corporations to litigate against governments that are perceived to be flouting these provisions because of their own policy goals or to protect the rights of their citizens. The Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism enabled by these agreements is seen to be one of their most deadly features. Such litigation is then subject to supranational tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards and which do not see the rights of citizen as in any way superior to the "rights" of corporations to their profits. These courts can conduct closed and secret hearings with secret evidence. They do not just interpret the rules but contribute to them through case law because of the relatively vague wording of the text, which can then be subject to different interpretations, and therefore are settled by case law. The experience thus far with such tribunals has been problematic. Since they are legally based on "equal" treatment of legal persons with no primacy for human rights, they have become known for their pro-investor bias, partly due to the incentive structure for arbitrators, and partly because the system is designed to provide supplementary guarantees to investors, rather than making them respect host countries laws and regulations.

If all these features of the TPP and the TTIP were more widely known, it is likely that there would be even greater public resistance to them in the US and in other countries. Even as it is, there is growing antagonism to the trade liberalisation that is seen to bring benefits to corporations rather than to workers, at a period in history when secure employment is seen to be the biggest prize of all.

So if such features of US-led globalisation are indeed under threat, that is probably a good thing for the people of the US and for people in their trading partners who had signed up for such deals.

human , September 22, 2016 at 10:14 am

his only chance of pushing even the TPP through is in the "lame duck" session of Congress just before the November Presidential election in the US.

"just _after_ the November Presidential election"

Uahsenaa , September 22, 2016 at 10:42 am

I was watching a speech Premier Li gave at the Economic Club of NY last night, and it was interesting to see how all his (vetted, pre-selected) questions revolved around anxieties having to do with resistance to global trade deals. Li made a few pandering comments about how much the Chinese love American beef (stop it! you're killing me! har har) meant to diffuse those anxieties, but it became clear that the fear among TPTB of people's dissatisfaction with the current economic is palpable. Let's keep it up!

allan , September 22, 2016 at 11:30 am

On a related note:

U.S. Court Throws Out Price-Fixing Judgment Against Chinese Vitamin C Makers [WSJ]

A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out a $147 million civil price fixing judgment against Chinese manufacturers of vitamin C, ruling the companies weren't liable in U.S. courts because they were acting under the direction of Chinese authorities.

The case raised thorny questions of how courts should treat foreign companies accused of violating U.S. antitrust law when they are following mandates of a foreign government.

"I was only following orders" might not have worked in Nuremberg, but it's a-ok in international trade.

different clue , September 22, 2016 at 3:14 pm

The question arises: is Trump evil? Or merely awful? If Trump is merely awful, then we are not faced with voting for the Lesser Evil or otherwise voting Third Party in protest. If we are faced with a choice between Evil and Awful, perhaps a vote for Awful is a vote against Evil just by itself.

Wellstone's Ghost , September 22, 2016 at 11:22 am

Trump has already back peddaled on his TPP stance. He now says he wants to renegotiate the TTP and other trade deals. Whatever that means. Besides, Trump is a distraction, its Mike Pence you should be keeping your eye on. He's American Taliban pure and simple.

RPDC , September 22, 2016 at 2:27 pm

This is simply false. Trump has backpedaled and frontpedaled on virtually everything, but on trade, he's got Sanders-level consistency. He's been preaching the same sanity since the 90s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZpMJeynBeg

Hillary wants to start a war with Russia and pass the trade trifecta of TPP/TTIP/TiSA.

sgt_doom , September 22, 2016 at 5:31 pm

While I do not disagree with your comments, they must be placed in proper context: there is no substantive difference between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, and the people who staff the campaigns of Trump and Clinton are essentially the same. (Fundamentally a replay of the 2000 election: Cheney/Bush vs. Lieberman/Gore.)

Trump was run to make Hillary look good, but that has turned out to be Mission Real Impossible!

We are seeing the absolute specious political theater at its worst, attempting to differentiate between Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Trumpster – – – the only major difference is that Clinton has far more real blood on her and Bill's hands.

Nope, there is no lesser of evils this time around . . .

Quanka , September 23, 2016 at 8:25 am

Great Comment. Important to knock down the meme that "this is the most significant or important election of our time" - this is a carbon copy of what we have seen half a dozen times since WW2 alone and that's exactly how our elite handlers want it. Limit the choices, stoke fear, win by dividing the plebes.

different clue , September 24, 2016 at 1:00 am

Really? Well . . . might as well vote for Clinton then.

First Woman President!
Feminism!
Liberation!

TedWa , September 22, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Let's face it, trade without the iron fist of capitalism will benefit us schlobs greatly and not the 1%. I'm all for being against it (TPP etc) and will vote that way.

a different chris , September 22, 2016 at 12:17 pm

>only 1 per cent increase in exports due to the agreement up to 2032.

At that point American's wages will have dropped near enough to Chinese levels that we can compete in selling to First World countries . assuming there are any left.

oh , September 22, 2016 at 4:19 pm

We'd also have put in enough puppet dictators in resource rich countries that we'd be able to get raw materials cheaply. The low labor/raw material cost will provide a significant advantage for exports but alas, our 99% won't be able to afford our own products.

sgt_doom , September 22, 2016 at 5:38 pm

Naaah, never been about competition, since nobody is actually vetted when they offshore those jobs or replace American workers with foreign visa workers.

But to sum it up as succinctly as possible: the TPP is about the destruction of workers' rights; the destruction of local and small businesses; and the loss of sovereignty. Few Americans are cognizant of just how many businesses are foreign owned today in America; their local energy utility or state energy utility, their traffic enforcement company which was privatized, their insurance company (GEICO, etc.).

I remember when a political action group back in the '00s thought they had stumbled on a big deal when someone had hacked into the system of the Bretton Woods Committee (the lobbyist group for the international super-rich which ONLY communicates with the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader, and who shares the same lobbyist and D.C. office space as the Group of Thirty, the lobbyist group for the central bankers [Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, Mario Draghi, Ernesto Zedillo, Bill Dudley, etc., etc.]) and placed online their demand of the senate and the congress to kill the "Buy America" clause in the federal stimulus program of a few years back (it was watered down greatly, and many exemptions were signed by then Commerce Secretary Gary Locke), but such information went completely unnoticed or ignored, and of course, the TPP will completely outlaw any possibility of a "Buy America" clause in the future!

http://www.brettonwoods.org
http://www.group30.org

Arthur J , September 22, 2016 at 12:32 pm

The cynic in me wonders if under say NAFTA it would be possible for a multinational to sue for lost profits via isds if TPP fails to pass. That the failure to enact trade "liberalizing" legislation could be construed as an active step against trade. the way these things are so ambiguously worded, I wonder.

Carla , September 22, 2016 at 4:50 pm

In June 2016, "[TransCanada] filed an arbitration claim under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) over President Obama's rejection of the pipeline, making good on its January threat to take legal action against the US decision.

According to the official request for arbitration, the $15 billion tab is supposed to help the company recover costs and damages that it suffered "as a result of the US administration's breach of its NAFTA obligations." NAFTA is a comprehensive trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico that went into effect in January 1, 1994. Under the agreement, businesses can challenge governments over investment disputes.

In addition, the company filed a suit in US Federal Court in Houston, Texas in January asserting that the Obama Administration exceeded the power granted by the US Constitution in denying the project."

http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/transcanada_complains_nafta_sues_us_15_bn_keystone_xl_rejection/

Six states have since joined that federal law suit.

Kris Alman , September 22, 2016 at 1:46 pm

Here's Obama's actual speech at the Nike headquarters (not factory). http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/barackobama/barackobamatradenike.htm

It should be noted that the Oregon Democrats who were free traitors and supported fast track authority were called out that day: Bonamici, Blumenauer, Schrader and Wyden. The only Oregon Ds that opposed: Sen. Merkley and Congressman DeFazio.

Obama's rhetoric May 5, 2015 at the Nike campus was all about how small businesses would prosper. Congresswoman Bonamici clings to this rationale in her refusal to tell angry constituents at town halls whether she supports the TPP.

The Market Realist is far more realistic about Oregon's free traitors' votes. http://marketrealist.com/2015/05/trans-pacific-partnership-affects-footwear-firms/
"US tariffs on footwear imported from Vietnam can range from 5% to 40%, according to OTEXA (Office of Textiles and Apparel). Ratification of the TPP will likely result in lower tariffs and higher profitability for Nike."

That appeals to the other big athletic corporations that cluster in the Portland metro: Columbia Sportswear and Under Armour.

A plot twist!

Vietnam will not include ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the agenda for its next parliament session. http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asia/1087705/vietnam-delays-tpp-vote So what's the incentive for Oregon's free traitors to support the TPP now?

Vatch , September 22, 2016 at 2:01 pm

So what's the incentive for Oregon's free traitors to support the TPP now?

Perhaps they still need to show loyalty to their corporate owners and to the principle of "free trade".

hemeantwell , September 22, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Obama: "We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy."

Thank you, Mr. President, for resolving any doubts that the American project is an imperialist project!

ChrisFromGeorgia , September 22, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Yes, and I would add a jingoistic one as well. Manifest destiny, the Monroe doctrine, etc. are not just history lessons but are alive and well in the neoliberal mindset. The empire must keep expanding into every nook and cranny of the world, turning them into good consumerist slaves.

Funny how little things change over the centuries.

Brad , September 22, 2016 at 9:39 pm

The West Is The Best, Subhuman Are All The Rest. The perpetual mantra of the Uebermensch since Columbus first made landfall. Hitler merely sought to apply the same to some Europeans.

"How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism", 2015, Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nisancioglu.

Minnie Mouse , September 22, 2016 at 3:58 pm

When America writes the rules of the global economy the global economy destroys America.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , September 22, 2016 at 7:44 pm

The Dem candidate's husband made it appallingly clear what the purpose of the TPP is: "It's to make sure the future of the Asia-Pacific region is not dominated by China".

Would be nice if they had even a passing thought for those people in a certain North American region located in between Canada and Mexico.

different clue , September 23, 2016 at 1:40 am

Bill Clinton doesn't even care about "the rise of China". That's just a red herring he sets up to accuse opponents of TPP of soft-on-China treasonism. It's just fabricating a stick to beat the TPP-opponents with. Clinton's support for MFN for China shows what he really thinks about the "rise of China".

Clinton's real motivation is the same as the TPP's real reason, to reduce America to colonial possession status of the anti-national corporations and the Global OverClass natural persons who shelter behind and within them.

different clue , September 22, 2016 at 3:21 pm

If calling the International Free Trade Conspiracy "American" is enough to get it killed and destroyed, then I don't mind having a bunch of foreigners calling the Free Trade Conspiracy "American". Just as long as they are really against it, and can really get Free Trade killed and destroyed.

Chauncey Gardiner , September 22, 2016 at 3:23 pm

Excellent post. Thank you. Should these so called "trade agreements" be approved, perhaps Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS arbitration) futures can be created by Wall Street and made the next speculative "Play-of-the-day" so that everyone has a chance to participate in the looting. Btw, can you loot your own house?

KYrocky , September 22, 2016 at 4:49 pm

Obama. Liar or stupid? When Elizabeth Warren spoke out about the secrecy of the TPP, Obama, uncharacteristically, ran to the cameras to state that the TPP was not secret and that the charge being leveled by Warren was false. Obama's statement was that Warren had access to a copy so how dare she say it was secret.

At the time he made that statement Warren could go to an offsite location to read the TPP in the presence of a member of the Trade Commission, could not have staff with her, could not take notes, and could not discuss anything she read with anyone else after she left. Or face criminal charges.

Yeah. Nothing secret about that.

Obama (and Holder) effectively immunized every financial criminal involved in the great fraud and recession without bothering to run for a camera, and to this day has refused and avoided any elaboration on the subject, but he wasted no time trying to bury Warren publicly. The TPP is a continuation of Obama's give-away to corporations, or more specifically, the very important men who run them who Obama works for. And he is going to pull out all stops to deliver to the men he respects.

sgt_doom , September 22, 2016 at 5:43 pm

And add to that everything from David Dayen's book (" Chain of Title ") on Covington & Burling and Eric Holder and President Obama, and Thomas Frank's book ("Listen, Liberals") and people will have the full picture!

Spencer , September 22, 2016 at 9:50 pm

It's a virtual "black market" of "money laundering" (sterilization). In foreign trade, IMPORTS decrease (-) the money stock of the importing country (and are a subtraction to domestic gDp figures), while EXPORTS increase (+) the money stock and domestic gDp (earnings repatriated to the U.S), and the potential money supply, of the exporting country.

So, there's a financial incentive (to maximize profits), not to repatriate foreign income (pushes up our exchange rate, currency conversion costs, if domestic re-investment alternatives are considered more circumscribed, plus taxes, etc.).

In spite of the surfeit of $s, and E-$ credits, and unlike the days in which world-trade required a Marshall Plan jump start, trade surpluses increasingly depend on the Asian Tiger's convertibility issues.

Praedor , September 23, 2016 at 10:30 am

I don't WANT the US writing the rules of trade any longer. We know what US-written rules do: plunge worker wages into slave labor territory, guts all advanced country's manufacturing capability, sends all high tech manufacturing to 3rd world nations or even (potential) unfriendlies like China (who can easily put trojan spyware hard code or other vulnerabilities into critical microchips the way WE were told the US could/would when it was leading on this tech when I was serving in the 90s). We already know that US-written rules is simply a way for mega corporations to extend patents into the ever-more-distant future, a set of rules that hands more control of arts over to the MPAA, rules that gut environmental laws, etc. Who needs the US-written agreements when this is the result?

Time to toss the rules and re-write them for the greatest benefit of the greatest number of NON-wealthy and for the benefit of the planet/ecosystems, NOT for benefit of Wall St.

[Dec 05, 2016] Stiglitz Blasts Outrageous TPP as Obama Campaigns for Corporate-Friendly Deal Common Dreams Breaking News Views for the

Notable quotes:
"... Expressing his overall objections to the TPP, Stiglitz said "corporate interests... were at the table" when it was being crafted. He also condemned "the provisions on intellectual property that will drive up drug prices" and "the 'investment provisions' which will make it more difficult to regulate and actually harm trade." ..."
"... The Democratic candidate, for her part, supported the deal before coming out against it , but for TPP foes, uncertainty about her position remains, especially since she recently named former Colorado Senator and Interior Secretary-and " vehement advocate for the TPP "-Ken Salazar to be chair of her presidential transition team. ..."
"... Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) said , "We have to make sure that bill never sees the light of day after this election," while Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said at the American Postal Workers Union convention in Walt Disney World, "If this goes through, it's curtains for the middle class in this country." ..."
Aug 25, 2016 | www.commondreams.org
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has reiterated his opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), saying on Tuesday that President Barack Obama's push to get the trade deal passed during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress is "outrageous" and "absolutely wrong."

Stiglitz, an economics professor at Columbia University and chief economist of the Roosevelt Institute, made the comments on CNN's "Quest Means Business."

His criticism comes as Obama aggressively campaigns to get lawmakers to pass the TPP in the Nov. 9 to Jan. 3 window-even as resistance mounts against the 12-nation deal.

Echoing an argument made by Center for Economic and Policy Research co-director Mark Weisbrot, Stiglitz said, "At the lame-duck session you have congressmen voting who know that they're not accountable anymore."

Lawmakers "who are not politically accountable because they're leaving may, in response to promises of jobs or just subtle understandings, do things that are not in the national interest," he said.

Expressing his overall objections to the TPP, Stiglitz said "corporate interests... were at the table" when it was being crafted. He also condemned "the provisions on intellectual property that will drive up drug prices" and "the 'investment provisions' which will make it more difficult to regulate and actually harm trade."

"The advocates of trade said it was going to benefit everyone," he added. "The evidence is it's benefited a few and left a lot behind."

Stiglitz has previously spoken out against the TPP before, arguing that it "may turn out to be the worst trade agreement in decades;" that it would mean "if you pass a regulation that restricts ability to pollute or does something about climate change, you could be sued and could pay billions of dollars;" and previously said that the president's TPP push "is one of Obama's biggest mistakes."

Stiglitz has also been advising the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. The Democratic candidate, for her part, supported the deal before coming out against it, but for TPP foes, uncertainty about her position remains, especially since she recently named former Colorado Senator and Interior Secretary-and "vehement advocate for the TPP"-Ken Salazar to be chair of her presidential transition team.

Opposition to the TPP also appeared Tuesday in Michigan and Florida, where union members and lawmakers criticized what they foresee as the deal's impacts on working families.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) said, "We have to make sure that bill never sees the light of day after this election," while Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said at the American Postal Workers Union convention in Walt Disney World, "If this goes through, it's curtains for the middle class in this country."

[Dec 05, 2016] Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Tulsi Gabbard - Fighting for the people.

Aug 01, 2016 | www.votetulsi.com

We cannot allow this agreement to forsake the American middle class, while foreign governments are allowed to devalue their currency and artificially prop-up their industries.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is a bad deal for the American people. This historically massive trade deal -- accounting for 40 percent of global trade -- would reduce restrictions on foreign corporations operating within the U.S., limit our ability to protect our environment, and create more incentives for U.S. businesses to outsource investments and jobs overseas to countries with lower labor costs and standards.

Over and over we hear from TPP proponents how the TPP will boost our economy, help American workers, and set the standards for global trade. The International Trade Commission report released last May (https://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/pub4607.pdf) confirms that the opposite is true. In exchange for just 0.15 percent boost in GDP by 2032, the TPP would decimate American manufacturing capacity, increase our trade deficit, ship American jobs overseas, and result in losses to 16 of the 25 U.S. economic sectors. These estimates don't even account for the damaging effects of currency manipulation, environmental impacts, and the agreement's deeply flawed Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) process.

There's no reason to believe the provisions of this deal relating to labor standards, preserving American jobs, or protecting our environment, will be enforceable. Every trade agreement negotiated in the past claimed to have strong enforceable provisions to protect American jobs -- yet no such enforcement has occurred, and agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of American jobs. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has called TPP "NAFTA on steroids." The loss of U.S. jobs under the TPP would likely be unprecedented.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fC0qppnK_U

Watch: Tulsi restates the need for transparency in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the House floor.

[Dec 05, 2016] No TPP - a certainty in case Donald Trump is elected in November - means the end of US economic hegemony over Asia.

Notable quotes:
"... "No TPP - a certainty in case Donald Trump is elected in November - means the end of US economic hegemony over Asia. Hillary Clinton knows it; and it's no accident President Obama is desperate to have TPP approved during a short window of opportunity, the lame-duck session of Congress from November 9 to January 3." ..."
"... To me, the key to our economic hegemony lies in our reserve currency hegemony. They will have to continue to supply us to get the currency. Unless we have injected too much already (no scholars have come forth to say how much trade deficits are necessary for the reserve currency to function as the reserve currency, and so, we have just kept buying – and I am wondering if we have bought too much and there is a need to starting running trade surpluses to soak up the excess money – just asking, I don't know the answer). ..."
Sep 01, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Joe Hunter , August 31, 2016 at 2:52 pm

" http://www.defenddemocracy.press/whole-game-containing-russisa-china/

A response to Hillary Clinton's America Exceptionalist Speech:

1. America Exceptionalist vs. the World..
2. Brezinski is extremely dejected.
3. Russia-China on the march.
4. "There will be blood. Hillary Clinton smells it already ."

clarky90 , August 31, 2016 at 4:01 pm

"No TPP - a certainty in case Donald Trump is elected in November - means the end of US economic hegemony over Asia. Hillary Clinton knows it; and it's no accident President Obama is desperate to have TPP approved during a short window of opportunity, the lame-duck session of Congress from November 9 to January 3."

http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20160829/1044733257/russia-china-game-brics.html

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , August 31, 2016 at 4:18 pm

To me, the key to our economic hegemony lies in our reserve currency hegemony. They will have to continue to supply us to get the currency. Unless we have injected too much already (no scholars have come forth to say how much trade deficits are necessary for the reserve currency to function as the reserve currency, and so, we have just kept buying – and I am wondering if we have bought too much and there is a need to starting running trade surpluses to soak up the excess money – just asking, I don't know the answer).

[Dec 05, 2016] In the face of public opposition to the TPP and TISA proponents have trotted out a new argument: we have come too far , our national credibility would be damaged if we stop now.

Aug 27, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
L , August 26, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Regarding the push to pass the TPP and TISA I've been needing to get this off my chest and this seems to be as good a time as any:

In the face of public opposition to the TPP and TISA proponents have trotted out a new argument: "we have come too far", "our national credibility would be damaged if we stop now." The premise of which is that negotiations have been going on so long, and have involved such effort that if the U.S. were to back away now we would look bad and would lose significant political capital.

On one level this argument is true. The negotiations have been long, and many promises were made by the negotiators to secure to to this point. Stepping back now would expose those promises as false and would make that decade of effort a loss. It would also expose the politicians who pushed for it in the face of public oppoosition to further loss of status and to further opposition.

However, all of that is voided by one simple fact. The negotiations were secret. All of that effort, all of the horse trading and the promise making was done by a self-selected body of elites, for that same body, and was hidden behind a wall of secrecy stronger than that afforded to new weapons. The deals were hidden not just from the general public, not from trade unions or environmental groups, but from the U.S. Congress itself.

Therefore it has no public legitimacy. The promises made are not "our" promises but Michael Froman's promises. They are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government but only by the words of a small body of appointees and the multinational corporations that they serve. The corporations were invited to the table, Congress was not.

What "elites" really mean when they say "America's credibility is on the line" is that their credibility is on the line. If these deals fail what will be lost is not America's stature but the premise that a handful of appointees can cut deals in private and that the rest of us will make good.

When that minor loss is laid against the far greater fact that the terms of these deals are bad, that prior deals of this type have harmed our real economies, and that the rules will further erode our national sovreignity, there is no contest.

Michael Froman's reputation has no value. Our sovreignity, our economy, our nation, does.

flora , August 26, 2016 at 2:51 pm

+1

grizziz , August 26, 2016 at 2:52 pm

Thank you for your comment. +1

Lambert Strether Post author , August 26, 2016 at 2:57 pm

"We've gone too far."

Whaddaya mean, "we"?

ambrit , August 26, 2016 at 6:45 pm

The imperial "We."
I just had a soul corroding vision of H Clinton done up as Victoria Regina. Ouch!!! Go get the butter!

Jim Haygood , August 26, 2016 at 6:53 pm

In modern parlance, she's Victoria Rejayjay. :-0

JohnnyGL , August 26, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Good comment .

"What "elites" really mean when they say "America's credibility is on the line" is that their credibility is on the line. If these deals fail what will be lost is not America's stature but the premise that a handful of appointees can cut deals in private and that the rest of us will make good."

Yes! And the victory will taste so sweet when we bury this filthy, rotten, piece of garbage. Obama's years of effort down the drain, his legacy tarnished and unfinished.

I want TPP's defeat to send a clear message that the elites can't count on their politicians to deliver for them. Let's make this thing their Stalingrad! Leave deep scars so that they give up on TISA and stop trying to concoct these absurd schemes like ISDS.

abynormal , August 26, 2016 at 3:10 pm

sorry but i don't see it that way at all. 'they' got a propaganda machine to beat all 'they' make n break reps all the time. i do see a desperation on a monetary/profit scale. widening the 'playing field' offers more profits with less risk. for instance, our Pharams won't have to slash their prices at the risk of sunshine laws, wish-washy politicians, competition, nor a pissed off public. jmo tho')

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , August 26, 2016 at 4:13 pm

LOL "America's credibility" LOL, these people need to get out more. In the 60's you could hike high up into the Andes and the sheep herder had two pics on the wall of his hut: Jesus and JFK. America retains its cachet as a place to make money and be entertained, but as some kind of beacon of morality and fair play in the world? Dead, buried, and long gone, the hype-fest of slogans and taglines can only cover up so many massive, atrocious and hypocritical actions and serial offenses.

Synoia , August 26, 2016 at 4:57 pm

his legacy tarnished and unfinished.

And his post-presidential money small .

NotTimothyGeithner , August 26, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Clinton Inc was mostly Bill helping Epstein get laid until after Kerry lost. If this was the reelection of John Edwards, Kerry's running mate, and a referendum on 12 years of Kerronomics, Bill and Hill would be opening night speakers at the DNC and answers to trivia questions.

My guess is Obama is dropped swiftly and unceremoniously especially since he doesn't have much of a presence in Washington.

John Wright , August 26, 2016 at 6:15 pm

The must preserve American credibility argument on the line again.

Here is a quote from NYT's Nicholas Kristoff from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/29/opinion/kristof-reinforce-a-norm-in-syria.html

"It looks as if we'll be firing Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria in the coming days, and critics are raising legitimate concerns:"

"Yet there is value in bolstering international norms against egregious behavior like genocide or the use of chemical weapons. Since President Obama established a "red line" about chemical weapons use, his credibility has been at stake: he can't just whimper and back down."

Obama did back down.

NIcholas Kristof, vigilant protector of American credibility through bombing Syria.

polecat , August 26, 2016 at 7:14 pm

he's just another syncophantic punk .in a long line of syncophantic punks

..oh..that includes Kristof too

RabidGandhi , August 26, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Ah yes the credibility of our élites. With their sterling record on Nafta's benefits, Iraq's liberation, Greece's rebound, the IMF's rehabilitation of countries

We must pass TPP or Tom Friedman will lose credibility, what?

polecat , August 26, 2016 at 7:17 pm

yeah but will he have to shave off his 'stache' ??

Propertius , August 26, 2016 at 3:53 pm

Well said!

HopeLB , August 26, 2016 at 8:36 pm

Wonderful (and credible) assessment.

[Dec 05, 2016] Framing Votes for TPP as the Surrender of National Sovereignty (i.e., Treason) naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... pro-TPPers "consciously seek to weaken the national defense," that's exactly what's going on. Neoliberalism, through offshoring, weakens the national defense, because it puts our weaponry at the mercy of fragile and corruptible supply chains. ..."
"... Now, when we think about how corrupt the political class has become, it's not hard to see why Obama is confident that he will win. ..."
"... I think raising the ante rhetorically by framing a pro-TPP vote as treason could help sway a close vote; and if readers try that frame out, I'd like to hear the results ..."
Aug 29, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Why the Proponents of TPP Are Traitors

There are two reasons: First, they consciously seek to weaken the national defense. And second, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system is a surrender of national sovereignty .

National Defense

This might be labeled the "Ghost Fleet" argument, since we're informed that Paul Singer and Augustus Cole's techno-thriller has really caught the attention of the national security class below the political appointee level, and that this is a death blow for neoliberalism. Why? "The multi-billion dollar, next generation F-35 aircraft, for instance, is rendered powerless after it is revealed that Chinese microprocessor manufacturers had implanted malicious code into products intended for the jet" ( Foreign Policy ). Clearly, we need, well, industrial policy, and we need to bring a lot of manufacturing home. From Brigadier General (Retired) John Adams :

In 2013, the Pentagon's Defense Science Board put forward a remarkable report describing one of the most significant but little-recognized threats to US security: deindustrialization. The report argued that the loss of domestic U.S. manufacturing facilities has not only reduced U.S. living standards but also compromised U.S. technology leadership "by enabling new players to learn a technology and then gain the capability to improve on it." The report explained that the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing presents a particularly dangerous threat to U.S. military readiness through the "compromise of the supply chain for key weapons systems components."

Our military is now shockingly vulnerable to major disruptions in the supply chain, including from substandard manufacturing practices, natural disasters, and price gouging by foreign nations. Poor manufacturing practices in offshore factories lead to problem-plagued products, and foreign producers-acting on the basis of their own military or economic interests-can sharply raise prices or reduce or stop sales to the United States.

The link between TPP and this kind of offshoring has been well-established.

And, one might say, the link between neo-liberal economic policy "and this kind of offshoring has been well-established" as well.

So, when I framed the issue as one where pro-TPPers "consciously seek to weaken the national defense," that's exactly what's going on. Neoliberalism, through offshoring, weakens the national defense, because it puts our weaponry at the mercy of fragile and corruptible supply chains. Note that re-industrializing America has positive appeal, too: For the right, on national security grounds; and for the left, on labor's behalf (and maybe helping out the Rust Belt that neoliberal policies of the last forty years did so much to destroy. Of course, this framing would make Clinton a traitor, but you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs. (Probably best to to let the right, in its refreshingly direct fashion, use the actual "traitor" word, and the left, shocked, call for the restoration of civility, using verbiage like "No, I wouldn't say she's a traitor. She's certainly 'extremely careless' with our nation's security.")

ISDS

The Investor-State Dispute Settlement system is a hot mess (unless you represent a corporation, or are one of tiny fraternity of international corporate lawyers who can plead and/or judge ISDS cases). Yves wrote :

What may have torched the latest Administration salvo is a well-timed joint publication by Wikileaks and the New York Times of a recent version of the so-called investment chapter. That section sets forth one of the worst features of the agreement, the investor-state dispute settlement process (ISDS). As we've described at length in earlier posts, the ISDS mechanism strengthens the existing ISDS process. It allows for secret arbitration panels to effectively overrule national regulations by allowing foreign investors to sue governments over lost potential future profits in secret arbitration panels. Those panels have been proved to be conflict-ridden and arbitrary. And the grounds for appeal are limited and technical.

(More from NC on the ISDS panels , the TPP clauses on ISDS , the "code of conduct" for lawyers before the ISDS, pending ISDS settlements , and the potential constitutional challenges to the ISDS system.)

Here again we have a frame that appeals to both right and left. The very thought of surrendering national sovereignty to an international organization makes any good conservative's back teeth itch. And the left sees the "lost profits" doctrine as a club to prevent future government programs they would like to put in place (single payer, for example). And in both cases, the neoliberal doctrine of putting markets before anything else makes pro-TPP-ers traitors. To the right, because nationalism trumps internationalism; to the left, because TPP prevents the State from looiking after the welfare of its people.

The Political State of Play

All I know is what I read in the papers, so what follows can only be speculation. That said, there are two ways TPP could be passed: In the lame duck session, by Obama, or after a new President is inaugurated, by Clinton (or possibly by Trump[1]).

Passing TPP in the Lame Duck Session

Obama is committed to passing TPP (and we might remember that the adminstration failed to pass the draft in Maui , then succeeded in Atlanta . And the House killed Fast Track once , before voting for it (after which the Senate easily passed it, and Obama signed it). So the TPP may be a "heavy lift," but that doesn't mean Obama can't accomplish it. Obama says :

[OBAMA:] And hopefully, after the election is over and the dust settles, there will be more attention to the actual facts behind the deal and it won't just be a political symbol or a political football. And I will actually sit down with people on both sides, on the right and on the left. I'll sit down publicly with them and we'll go through the whole provisions. I would enjoy that, because there's a lot of misinformation.

I'm really confident I can make the case this is good for American workers and the American people. And people said we weren't going to be able to get the trade authority to even present this before Congress, and somehow we muddled through and got it done. And I intend to do the same with respect to the actual agreement.

So how would Obama "muddle through"? One way is to appeal to legislators who won't have to face voters again :

So it is looking like a very close vote. (For procedural and political reasons, Obama will not bring it to a vote unless he is sure he has the necessary votes). Now let's look at one special group of Representatives who can swing this vote: the actual lame-ducks, i.e., those who will be in office only until Jan. 3. It depends partly on how many lose their election on Nov. 8, but the average number of representatives who left after the last three elections was about 80.

Most of these people will be looking for a job, preferably one that can pay them more than $1 million a year. From the data provided by OpenSecrets.org, we can estimate that about a quarter of these people will become lobbyists. (An additional number will work for firms that are clients of lobbyists).

So there you have it: It is all about corruption, and this is about as unadulterated as corruption gets in our hallowed democracy, other than literal cash under a literal table. These are the people whom Obama needs to pass this agreement, and the window between Nov. 9 and Jan. 3 is the only time that they are available to sell their votes to future employers without any personal political consequences whatsoever. The only time that the electorate can be rendered so completely irrelevant, if Obama can pull this off.

(The article doesn't talk about the Senate, but Fast Track passed the Senate with a filibuster-proof super-majority, so the battle is in the House anyhow. And although the text of TPP cannot be amended - that's what fast track means! - there are still ways to affect the interpretation and enforcement of the text, so Obama and his corporate allies have bargaining chips beyond Beltway sinecures.[2])

Now, when we think about how corrupt the political class has become, it's not hard to see why Obama is confident that he will win. ( Remember , "[T]he preferences of economic elites have far more independent impact upon policy change than the preferences of average citizens do.") However, if the anti-TPP-ers raise the rhetorical stakes from policy disagreement to treason, maybe a few of those 80 representatives will do the right thing (or, if you prefer, decide that the reputational damage to their future career makes a pro-TPP vote not worth it. Who wants to play golf with a traitor?)

Passing TPP after the Inaugural

After the coronation inaugural, Clinton will have to use more complicated tactics than dangling goodies before the snouts of representatives leaving for K Street. (We've seen that Clinton's putative opposition to TPP is based on lawyerly parsing; and her base supports it. So I assume a Clinton administration would go full speed ahead with it.) My own thought has been that she'd set up a "conversation" on trade, and then buy off the national unions with "jobs for the boys," so that they sell their locals down the river. Conservative Jennifer Rubin has a better proposal , which meets Clinton's supposed criterion of not hurting workers even better:

Depending on the election results and how many pro-free-trade Republicans lose, it still might not be sufficient. Here's a further suggestion: Couple it with a substantial infrastructure project that Clinton wants, but with substantial safeguards to make sure that the money is wisely spent. Clinton gets a big jobs bill - popular with both sides - and a revised TPP gets through.

Finally, an even more radical proposal, again from a conservative source :

What Clinton needs is a significant revision to TPP that she can tout as a real reform to trade agreements, one that satisfies some of the TPP's critics on the left. A minor tweak is unlikely to assuage anyone; this change needs to be a major one. Fortunately, there is a TPP provision that fits the bill perfectly: investor state dispute settlement (ISDS), the procedure that allows foreign investors to sue governments in an international tribunal. Removing ISDS could triangulate the TPP debate, allowing for enough support to get it through Congress.

Obama can't have a conversation on trade, or propose a jobs program, let alone jettison ISDS; all he's got going for him is corruption.[3] So, interestingly, although Clinton can't take the simple road of bribing the 80 represenatives, she does have more to bargain with on policy. Rubin's jobs bill could at least be framed as a riposte to the "Ghost Fleet" argument, since both are about "jawbs," even if infrastructure programs and reindustrialization aren't identical in intent. And while I don't think Clinton would allow ISDS to be removed ( her corporate donors love it ), at least somebody's thinking about how to pander to the left. Nevertheless, what does a jobs program matter if the new jobs leave the country anyhow? And suppose ISDS is removed, but the removal of the precautionary principle remains? We'd still get corporate-friendly decisions, bilaterally. And people would end up balancing the inevitable Clinton complexity and mush against the simplicity of the message that a vote for TPP is a vote against the United States.

Conclusion

I hope I've persuaded you that TPP is still very much alive, and that both Obama in the lame duck, and Clinton (or even Trump) when inaugurated have reasonable hopes of passing it. However, I think raising the ante rhetorically by framing a pro-TPP vote as treason could help sway a close vote; and if readers try that frame out, I'd like to hear the results (especially when the result comes from a letter to your Congress critter). Interestingly, Buzzfeed just published tonight the first in a four-part series, devoted to the idea that ISDS is what we have said it is all along: A surrender of national sovereignty. Here's a great slab of it :

Imagine a private, global super court that empowers corporations to bend countries to their will.

Say a nation tries to prosecute a corrupt CEO or ban dangerous pollution. Imagine that a company could turn to this super court and sue the whole country for daring to interfere with its profits, demanding hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars as retribution.

Imagine that this court is so powerful that nations often must heed its rulings as if they came from their own supreme courts, with no meaningful way to appeal. That it operates unconstrained by precedent or any significant public oversight, often keeping its proceedings and sometimes even its decisions secret. That the people who decide its cases are largely elite Western corporate attorneys who have a vested interest in expanding the court's authority because they profit from it directly, arguing cases one day and then sitting in judgment another. That some of them half-jokingly refer to themselves as "The Club" or "The Mafia."

And imagine that the penalties this court has imposed have been so crushing - and its decisions so unpredictable - that some nations dare not risk a trial, responding to the mere threat of a lawsuit by offering vast concessions, such as rolling back their own laws or even wiping away the punishments of convicted criminals.

This system is already in place, operating behind closed doors in office buildings and conference rooms in cities around the world. Known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, it is written into a vast network of treaties that govern international trade and investment, including NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Congress must soon decide whether to ratify.

That's the stuff to give the troops!

NOTE

[1] Trump: "I pledge to never sign any trade agreement that hurts our workers." Lotta wiggle room there, and the lawyerly parsing is just like Clinton's. I don't think it's useful to discuss what Trump might do on TPP, because until there are other parties to the deal, there's no deal to be had. Right now, we're just looking at Trump doing A-B testing - not that there's anything wrong with that - which the press confuses with policy proposals. So I'm not considering Trump because I don't think we have any data to go on.

[2] In-Depth News explains the mechanisms:

To pacify [those to whom he will corrupt appeal], Obama will have to convince them that what they want will anyway be achieved, even if these are not legally part of the TPP because the TPP text cannot be amended.

He can try to achieve this through bilateral side agreements on specific issues. Or he can insist that some countries take on extra obligations beyond what is required by the TPP as a condition for obtaining a U.S. certification that they have fulfilled their TPP obligations.

This certification is required for the U.S. to provide the TPP's benefits to its partners, and the U.S. has previously made use of this process to get countries to take on additional obligations, which can then be shown to Congress members that their objectives have been met.

In other words, side deals.

[3] This should not be taken to imply that Clinton does not have corruption going for her, too. She can also make all the side deals Obama can.

[Dec 05, 2016] US Faces Major Setback As Europeans Revolt Against TTIP

Notable quotes:
"... One of the main concerns with TTIP is that it could allow multinational corporations to effectively "sue" governments for taking actions that might damage their businesses. Critics claim American companies might be able to avoid having to meet various EU health, safety and environment regulations by challenging them in a quasi-court set up to resolve disputes between investors and states. ..."
"... These developments take place against the background of another major free trade agreement - the Trans Pacific Partnership ( TPP ) - hitting snags on the way to being pushed through Congress. ..."
"... "US Faces Major Setback" Well, actually, US corporations face a major setback. Average US citizens face a reprieve. ..."
Zero Hedge
TTIP negotiations have been ongoing since 2013 in an effort to establish a massive free trade zone that would eliminate many tariffs. After 14 rounds of talks that have lasted three years not a single common item out of the 27 chapters being discussed has been agreed on. The United States has refused to agree on an equal playing field between European and American companies in the sphere of public procurement sticking to the principle of "buy American".

The opponents of the deal believe that in its current guise the TTIP is too friendly to US businesses. One of the main concerns with TTIP is that it could allow multinational corporations to effectively "sue" governments for taking actions that might damage their businesses. Critics claim American companies might be able to avoid having to meet various EU health, safety and environment regulations by challenging them in a quasi-court set up to resolve disputes between investors and states.

In Europe thousands of people supported by society groups, trade unions and activists take to the streets expressing protest against the deal. Three million people have signed a petition calling for it to be scrapped. For instance, various trade unions and other groups have called for protests against the TTIP across Germany to take place on September 17. A trade agreement with Canada has also come under attack.

US presidential candidate Donald Trump has promoted protectionist trade policies, while rival Hillary Clinton has also cast doubt on the TTIP deal. Congressional opposition has become steep. The lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have railed against free trade agreements as unfair to US companies and workers.

These developments take place against the background of another major free trade agreement - the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) - hitting snags on the way to being pushed through Congress. The chances are really slim.

silverer •Sep 5, 2016 9:51 AM

"US Faces Major Setback" Well, actually, US corporations face a major setback. Average US citizens face a reprieve.

[Dec 02, 2016] No attempt at DNC of learning the history of neoliberalism, no attempt at any serious research about how and why it descroyed the US society

Notable quotes:
"... If I was in charge of the DNC and wanted to commission a very cleverly written piece to exonerate the DLC and the New Democrats from the 30 odd years of corruption and self-aggrandizement they indulged in and laughed all the way to the Bank then I would definitely give this chap a call. ..."
"... I would ask the Author to start with the Powell memo and then make an investigation as to why the Democrats then and the DLC later decided to merely sit on their hands when all the forces the Powell memo unleashed proceeded to wreak their havoc in every established institution of the Left, principally the Universities which had always been the bastion of the Progressives. That might be a good starting point. ..."
Dec 02, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Paul Art November 29, 2016 at 7:14 am

If I was in charge of the DNC and wanted to commission a very cleverly written piece to exonerate the DLC and the New Democrats from the 30 odd years of corruption and self-aggrandizement they indulged in and laughed all the way to the Bank then I would definitely give this chap a call.

I mean, where do we start? No attempt at learning the history of neoliberalism, no attempt at any serious research about how and why it fastened itself into the brains of people like Tony Coelho and Al From, nothing, zilch.

If someone who did not know the history of the DLC read this piece, they would walk away thinking, 'wow, it was all happenstance, it all just happened, no one deliberately set off this run away train'. Sometime in the 90s the 'Left' decided to just pursue identity politics. Amazing.

I would ask the Author to start with the Powell memo and then make an investigation as to why the Democrats then and the DLC later decided to merely sit on their hands when all the forces the Powell memo unleashed proceeded to wreak their havoc in every established institution of the Left, principally the Universities which had always been the bastion of the Progressives. That might be a good starting point.

[Nov 23, 2016] Trump won because Democratic Party governance eviscerated those communities

Notable quotes:
"... Judging by the people who Trump has appointed, it is looking like an ugly situation for the US. If he actually hires people like John Bolton, we will know that a betrayal was certain. While I think that it is probable that he is the lesser evil, he was supposed to avoid neoconservatives and Wall Street types (that Clinton associates herself with). ..."
"... I think it would be a mistake to attribute too much "genius" to Trump and Kushner. It sounds like Kushner exhibited competence, and that's great. But Trump won in great measure because Democratic Party governance eviscerated those communities. ..."
"... This is akin to how Obama got WAY too much credit for being a brilliant orator. People wanted change in '08 and voted for it. That change agent betrayed them, so they voted for change again this time. Or, more accurately, a lot of Obama voters stayed home, the Republican base held together, and Trump's team found necessary little pockets of ignored voters to energize. But that strategy would never have worked if not for Obama's and Clinton's malfeasance and incompetence. Honestly, Hillary got closer to a win that she had a right to. That ought to be the real story. ..."
Nov 23, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Altandmain November 23, 2016 at 5:09 pm

Does anyone else get the overwhelming impression that the US is heading for an impending collapse or serious decline at least, unless it puts a fight it against the status quo?

Judging by the people who Trump has appointed, it is looking like an ugly situation for the US. If he actually hires people like John Bolton, we will know that a betrayal was certain. While I think that it is probable that he is the lesser evil, he was supposed to avoid neoconservatives and Wall Street types (that Clinton associates herself with).

I find it amazing how tone deaf the Clinton campaign and Democratic Establishment are. Trump and apparently his son in law, no matter what else, are political campaigning geniuses given their accomplishments. For months people were criticizing their lack of experience in politics like a fatal mistake..

I think that no real change is going to happen until someone authentically left wing takes power or if the US collapses.

aab November 23, 2016 at 5:30 pm

I think it would be a mistake to attribute too much "genius" to Trump and Kushner. It sounds like Kushner exhibited competence, and that's great. But Trump won in great measure because Democratic Party governance eviscerated those communities.

This is akin to how Obama got WAY too much credit for being a brilliant orator. People wanted change in '08 and voted for it. That change agent betrayed them, so they voted for change again this time. Or, more accurately, a lot of Obama voters stayed home, the Republican base held together, and Trump's team found necessary little pockets of ignored voters to energize. But that strategy would never have worked if not for Obama's and Clinton's malfeasance and incompetence. Honestly, Hillary got closer to a win that she had a right to. That ought to be the real story.

Daryl November 23, 2016 at 6:09 pm

It is not clear to me what exactly a collapse entails. The US doesn't have obvious lines to fracture across, like say the USSR did. (I suppose an argument could be made for "cultural regions" like the South, Cascadia etc separating out, but it seems far less likely to happen, even in the case of continuing extreme economic duress and breakdown of democracy/civil rights).

The US is and has been in a serious decline, and will probably continue.

[Nov 20, 2016] Speculation: Trump Promotes NSA Boss Rogers To DNI Because He Leaked The Clinton Emails

Notable quotes:
"... Putin has been supporting right-wing movements across the West in order to weaken NATO ..."
"... prepare ourselves ..."
Nov 20, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org
Speculation: Trump Promotes NSA Boss Rogers To DNI Because He Leaked The Clinton Emails

If some investigative journos start digging into the issue this story could develop into a really interesting scandal:

Pentagon and intelligence community chiefs have urged Obama to remove the head of the NSA

The heads of the Pentagon and the nation's intelligence community have recommended to President Obama that the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, be removed.

The recommendation, delivered to the White House last month, was made by Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., according to several U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
...
The news comes as Rogers is being considered by President-Elect Donald Trump to be his nominee for DNI, replacing Clapper as the official who oversees all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies. In a move apparently unprecedented for a military officer, Rogers, without notifying superiors, traveled to New York to meet with Trump on Thursday at Trump Tower.

Adm. Michael S. Rogers recently claimed in reference to the hack of the Democratic National Council emails that Wikileaks spreading them is "a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect." He obviously meant Russia.

Compare that with his boss James Clapper who very recently said (again) that the "intelligence agencies don't have good insight on when or how Wikileaks obtained the hacked emails."

Emails of the DNC and of Clinton's consigliere John Podesta were hacked and leaked. Additionally emails from Clinton's private email server were released. All these influenced the election in favor of Trump.

Wikileaks boss Assange says he does not know where the emails come from but he does not think they came from Russia.

Clapper and Carter wanted Rogers fired because he was generally disliked at the NSA, because two big breaches in the most secret Tailored Access Organization occurred on his watch even after the Snowden case and because he blocked, with the help of Senator McCain, plans to split the NSA into a spying and a cyber war unit.

Now let me spin this a bit.

Rogers obviously knew he was on the to-be-fired list and he had good relations with the Republicans.

Now follows some plausible speculation:

Some Rogers trusted dudes at the NSA (or in the Navy cyber arm which Rogers earlier led) hack into the DNC, Podesta emails and the Clinton private email server. An easy job with the tools the NSA provides for its spies. Whoever hacked the emails then pushes what they got to Wikileaks (and DCleaks , another "leak" outlet). Wikileaks publishes what it gets because that is what it usually does. Assange also has various reasons to hate Clinton. She was always very hostile to Wikileaks. She allegedly even mused of killing Assange by a drone strike.

Rogers then accuses Russia of the breach even while the rest of the spying community finds no evidence for such a claim. That is natural to do for a military man who grew up during the cold war and may wish that war (and its budgets) back. It is also a red herring that will never be proven wrong or right unless the original culprit is somehow found.

Next we know - Trump offers Rogers the Clapper job. He would replace the boss that wanted him fired.

Rogers support for the new cold war will also gain him favor with the various weapon industries which will eventually beef up his pension.

Some of the above is speculation. But it would make sense and explain the quite one-sided wave of leaks we saw during this election cycle.

Even if it isn't true it would at least be a good script for a Hollywood movie on the nastiness of the inside fighting in Washington DC.

Let me know how plausible you find the tale.

Posted by b on November 19, 2016 at 02:14 PM | Permalink

Comments woogs | Nov 19, 2016 2:29:47 PM | 1
As the song goes, "Aim high, shoot low".

Not sure about the speculation. There's justification for military spending beyond the cold war. Actually, the cold war could be sacrificed in order to re-prioritize military spending.

In any case, Trump's proposed picks are interesting. I especially like the idea of Dana Rohrabacher as Secretary of State if it comes to pass.

One thing for sure .... there's been so much 'fail' with the Obama years that there's an abundance of low-hanging fruit for Trump to feather his cap with success early on, which will give him a template for future successes. That depends largely on who his picks for key posts are, but there has seldom been so much opportunity for a new President as the one that greets Trump.

It's there to be had. Let's hope that Trump doesn't blow it.

jo6pac | Nov 19, 2016 2:36:32 PM | 2
Sounds about right and this just means a new criminal class has taken over the beltway. That doesn't do anything for us citizens, just more of the same.

Everything is on schedule and please there's nothing to see here.

Jen | Nov 19, 2016 2:37:52 PM | 3
I wonder if Rogers' statement appearing to implicate Russian government hackers in leaking DNC information to Wikileaks at that link to Twitter was made after the Democratic National Convention itself accused Russia of hacking into its database. In this instance, knowing when Rogers made his statement and when the DNC made its accusation makes all the difference.

If someone at the NSA had been leaking information to Wikileaks and Rogers knew of this, then the DNC blaming Russia for the leaked information would have been a godsend. All Rogers had to do then would be to keep stumm and if questioned, just say a "nation state" was responsible. People can interpret that however they want.

GoraDiva | Nov 19, 2016 2:38:45 PM | 4
Any of the scenarios you mention could be right. The one thing that is certain - Russia was not the culprit. Not because Russians would not be inclined to hack - I think it is plausible that everyone hacks everyone (as someone said) - but Russians would not likely go to Wikileaks to publicize their prize. They'd keep it to themselves... in that way, they are probably like LBJ, who knew that Nixon had sabotaged the end-of-war negotiations in Paris in 1968, but said nothing for fear of shocking the "system" and the people's trust in it... (didn't work out too well in the end, though). Putin was right when he said (referring to the 2016 US election) that it all should somehow be ... more dignified.

karlof1 | Nov 19, 2016 2:52:16 PM | 5
Makes me wonder who populates the Anonymous group of loosely affiliated hackers and if they were used. The tale has probability; it would be even more interesting if the motive could be framed within the hacker's fulfilling its oath of obligation to the Constitution. Le Carre might be capable of weaving such a tale plausibly. But what about the Russia angle? IMO, Russia had the biggest motive to insure HRC wouldn't become POTUS despite all its denials and impartiality statements. Quien Sabe? Maybe it was Chavez's ghost who did all the hacking; it surely had an outstanding motive.

PavewayIV | Nov 19, 2016 3:14:56 PM | 6
I'll add some color on Rogers in another post, but I just want to preface any remarks with one overriding aspect of the leaks. From the details of most of these leaks, speculation on tech blogs (and as far as anyone knows for certain):

There are many parties that had great incentive to acquire and leak the emails, but I have to insist with the utmost conviction (without a string of expletives) that a junior high school kid could have performed the same feat using hacking tools easily found on the internet . There was absolutely nothing technically sophisticated or NSA-like in someone's ability to get into the DNC server or grab Podesta's emails. It was a matter of opportunity and poor security. If anyone has a link to any other reasoning, I would love to see it. The DNC and Hillary leaks (among other hacks) were due to damn amateurish security practices. The reason you don't outsource or try to get by on the cheap for systems/network security is to reduce the risk of this happening to an acceptable cost/benefit level.

So the presumption of Wikileaks source being (or needing to be) a state actor with incredibly sophisticated hacking tools is utter nonsense. Yes, it could have been the Russian FSB or any one of the five-eyes intelligence agencies or the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. But it could have just as plausibly been Bart Simpson pwning the DNC from Springfield Elementary School and sending everything to Wikileaks, "Cool, I just REKT the Clintons!"

WikiLeaks doesn't care if the leak comes from the head of a western intel agency or a bored teenager in New Jersey. It cares that the material is authentic and carefully vets the content, not the source. At least until they kidnapped Assange and took over WikiLeaks servers a couple of weeks ago, but that's for a different tin-foil hat thread.

Carol Davidek-Waller | Nov 19, 2016 3:18:02 PM | 7
Is Trump that much of a deep thinker? Rebellious teenager who chooses anyone that the last administration didn't like seems more plausible to me. It doesn't matter who they are or what their record is. I don't think Trump plans to surrender any of his undeserved power to anyone. He'll be running the whole show. They'll do what he wants or be shown the door.

Jackrabbit | Nov 19, 2016 3:42:42 PM | 8
Here is another tale I find very plausible:

rufus (aka "rufie") the MoA Hillbot uses a new persona - "Ron Showalter" - to attack Trump post-election. rufie/Ron conducts a false flag attack on MoA (making comments that are pages long) so that his new persona can claim that his anti-Trump views are being attacked by someone using his former persona.

See here , here , and here .

nmb | Nov 19, 2016 4:01:23 PM | 9
One thing Trump could do immediately to signal that he is not with the establishment

Qoppa | Nov 19, 2016 4:12:16 PM | 10
I generally dislike "theories" that go too much into speculation, -- however this one sounds actually quite plausible!

As for "Russia did it", this was obvious bullshit right from the start, not least because of what GoraDiva #4 says:
I think it is plausible that everyone hacks everyone (as someone said) - but Russians would not likely go to Wikileaks to publicize their prize. They'd keep it to themselves

Allegations against Russia worked on confusing different levels: hacking -- leaking -- "rigging".


It was all like this :-)
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CwI-ThzWIAApRki.jpg


This picture encapsulates IMO the full absurdity this election campaign had come down to:
MSM constantly bashing Trump for "lies", "post-factual", "populist rage", "hate speech", -- while themselves engaging in the same on an even larger level, in a completely irresponsible way that goes way beyond "bias", "preference" or even "propaganda".
I understand (and like) the vote for Trump mainly as a call to "stop this insanity!"

~~~

Some more on the issue:

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/10/really-really-upset-foreign-office-security-services/
I left Julian [Assange] after midnight. He is fit, well, sharp and in good spirits. WikiLeaks never reveals or comments upon its sources, but as I published before a fortnight ago, I can tell you with 100% certainty that it is not any Russian state actor or proxy that gave the Democratic National Committee and Podesta material to WikiLeaks.


http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2016/10/russia-hack-dnc-really.html


And here about an inconspicuous detail suggesting one hacker actually planned to set up "Russians" as the source:
https://medium.com/@jeffreycarr/the-yandex-domain-problem-2076089e330b#

Nice summary on Sputnik
https://sputniknews.com/us/201610261046768902-dnc-hack-speculation-carr-interview/


Qoppa | Nov 19, 2016 4:35:36 PM | 11
btw, the "inside job" theory goes quite nicely with what we know about alleged traces to "Russians":

https://www.wired.com/2016/07/heres-know-russia-dnc-hack/

The following week, two cybersecurity firms, Fidelis Cybersecurity and Mandiant, independently corroborated Crowdstrike's assessment that Russian hackers infiltrated DNC networks, having found that the two groups that hacked into the DNC used malware and methods identical to those used in other attacks attributed to the same Russian hacking groups.

But some of the most compelling evidence linking the DNC breach to Russia was found at the beginning of July by Thomas Rid, a professor at King's College in London, who discovered an identical command-and-control address hardcoded into the DNC malware that was also found on malware used to hack the German Parliament in 2015. According to German security officials, the malware originated from Russian military intelligence. An identical SSL certificate was also found in both breaches.

Sooooo .... these "traces" all show known Russian methods (whether true or not). If they are known they can be faked and used by someone else.


Now who is the no. 1 organisation, worldwide, in having and being capable to use such information?


@b, your speculation gets better and better the more one thinks about it.


IhaveLittleToAdd | Nov 19, 2016 4:58:27 PM | 12
I'm out of my depth on cyber forensics, but would the NSA, and thus Clapper, know who hacked and leaked these documents? Or would the NSA be in the dark, as they suggest?

Just watched Oliver Stone's "Snowden". Awesome. Can't believe after seeing it that Clapper has survived all these years. Just another Hoover.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 19, 2016 5:18:42 PM | 13

Just watched Oliver Stone's "Snowden". Awesome. Can't believe after seeing it that Clapper has survived all these years. Just another Hoover.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 19, 2016 5:18:42 PM | 13

Manne | Nov 19, 2016 6:35:17 PM | 14
Sheer conspiracy talk, besides b are wrong on Assange, Assange know who leaked it and have denied that a nation is behind it!

james | Nov 19, 2016 6:50:23 PM | 15
thanks b.. i like the idea of it being an inside job.. makes a lot of sense too.

i like @3 jens question about the timing as a possible aid to understanding this better.

@4 gordiva comment - everyone hacks everyone comment..ditto. it's another form of warfare and a given in these times..

i agree with @6 paveway, and while it sounds trite, folks who don't look after their own health can blame all the doctors.. the responsibility for the e mail negligence rests with hillary and her coterie of bozos..

@7 carol. i agree.

@8 jr.. did you happen to notice a few posts missing from the thread from yesterday and who it was that's been removed? hint : poster who made the comment "more popcorn" is no longer around. they have a new handle today..

@20 manne.. you can say whatever you want and be speculative too, but i don't share your view on assange knowing who leaked it..

stumpy | Nov 19, 2016 7:00:28 PM | 16
Except that you have to consider the targeting. I've suspected an insider all along, given the pre-packaged spin points coordinated with the release vectors. Not that the Russies, Pakistanis, or Chinese wouldn't know more about the US than the US knows about itself, but the overall nuance really hits the anti-elitist spurned sidekick chord. This clashes a bit with b's interagency pissing match scenario, but, then again, you step on the wrong tail... Someone didn't get their piece of pie, or equally valid, someone really really disapproves of the pie's magnitude and relative position on the table.

Curious how Weenergate led to the perfectly timed 650K emails on that remarkably overlooked personal device.

MadMax2 | Nov 19, 2016 7:01:17 PM | 17
@20 Manne
Yes I think on this case Assange does know, if I remember correctly, he spoke to RT and said something to the effect of 'it's not Russia, we don't reveal our sources but if the DNC found out who it was they would have "egg on their faces"' ...and easy access, copy, paste, send job, my hunch it was the DNC staffer who was suicided.

Manne | Nov 19, 2016 7:05:51 PM | 18
James

Its what Assange himself says, do your homework, as someone else said here, Wikileaks wont reveal the source, that doesnt mean they dont know who leaked it.

Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 19, 2016 7:05:53 PM | 19
Is Trump that much of a deep thinker? Rebellious teenager who chooses anyone that the last administration didn't like seems more plausible to me. It doesn't matter who they are or what their record is. I don't think Trump plans to surrender any of his undeserved power to anyone. He'll be running the whole show. They'll do what he wants or be shown the door.
Posted by: Carol Davidek-Waller | Nov 19, 2016 3:18:02 PM | 7

I agree.
Trump's got charm and a good memory and doesn't need to be a deep thinker in order to network efficiently and listen carefully. Nor does he need to be a mathematician to figure out that 1 + 1 = 2.

james | Nov 19, 2016 7:07:22 PM | 20
@24 manne.. okay, thanks..

Oddlots | Nov 19, 2016 7:32:04 PM | 21
Has anyone else got the feeling that much of the panic inside Washington is due to the possibility that the crimes of the Obama administration might be exposed?

One of the most uncanny moments I've experienced watching the Syria crisis unfold is seeing the "Assad gasses his people" operation launched, fail miserably, then - mostly - interest is lost. I know: the lie, once asserted, has done most of its work already, debunked or not. I also understand that the western press is so in the tank for the establishment, so "captured" that it shouldn't surprise anyone that no follow up is offered. My point is, rather, that if you think back over just the Ukrainian and Syrian debacle the amount of dirt that could be exposed by a truly anti-establishment figure in the White House is mind boggling.

Just off the top of my head:

- the sabotage of the deal to save the Ukrainian constitutional order brokered by Putin, Merkel and Hollande c/o of the excuisitely timed and staged sniper shootings (otherwise known as the "most obvious coup in history")
- the farce that is the MH17 inquiry (and the implication: another false flag operation with a cut-out that killed, what was it, 279 innocents?)
- the Kherson pogrom and the Odessa massacre
- the targeting of both Libya and Syria with outright lies and with all the propaganda perfectly reflecting the adage that, in dis- info operations, the key is to accuse your enemies of all the crimes you are committing or planning to
- highlights of the above might include: Robert Ford's emails scheming to create "paranoia" in Damascus while completely justifying same; the "rat-lines" and Ghoutta gas operation; the farcically transparent White Helmets Psy-op *

And on and on...

If you or the institution that pays you had a closet full to bursting with skeletons like this and you were facing an incoming administration that seems to relish and flaunt it's outsider status wouldn't you be freaking out?

To ice the cake the latest Freudian slip is the crusade against "fake news." Seriously, if I were in their shoes that's the last phrase I would want people ruminating over. I think it was R. D. Laing who said "we always speak the truth." One way or another.


* This comes with the delicious irony that the operation's own success offers proof of the adage that sometimes you can succeed too well. The fact that the Omran photo was plastered across every paper in the west is good evidence of how completely "fake" our news has become. My favourite is this farcical interview between Amanpour and Lavrov: https://youtu.be/Tx8kiQyEkHc

MadMax2 | Nov 19, 2016 7:53:11 PM | 22
@27 Oddlots
Most of those are pretty easy picking under a firm rule of law - plenty of underling rats willing to squeal with even gentle pressure, I'm sure.

His legacy is horrific.

Obama taught constitutional law for 12 years... It would be sweet, sweet poetry to see him nailed... his 'white papers', formed in secret courts that no one can see, no oversight in the light of day... phony legal documents that allowed him to incinerate fellow humans via drone without charge, without trial...

Some brother, some nobel prize...

Circe | Nov 19, 2016 8:37:46 PM | 23
95% or more of the individuals Trump is considering for his administration, including those already picked have a deep-seated obsession with Iran. This is very troubling. It's going to lead to war and not a regular war where 300,000 people die. This is a catastrophic error in judgment I don't give a sh...t who makes such an error, Trump or the representative from Kalamazoo! This is so bad that it disqualifies whatever else appears positive at this time.

And one more deeply disturbing thing; Pompeo, chosen to head the CIA has threatened Ed Snowden with the death penalty, if Snowden is caught, and now as CIA Director he can send operatives to chase him down wherever he is and render him somewhere, torture him to find out who he shared intelligence with and kill him on the spot and pretend it was a foreign agent who did the job. He already stated before he was assigned this powerful post that Snowden should be brought back from Russia and get the death penalty for treason.

Pompeo also sided with the Obama Administration on using U. S. military force in Syria against Assad and wrote this in the Washington Post: "Russia continues to side with rogue states and terrorist organizations, following Vladimir Putin's pattern of gratuitous and unpunished affronts to U.S. interests,".

That's not all, Pompeo wants to enhance the surveillance state, and he too wants to tear up the Iran deal.

Many of you here are extremely naïve regarding Trump.

Jackrabbit | Nov 19, 2016 8:53:09 PM | 24
James @21 I noticed the different handle but b hasn't commented on the attack. I assumed that this meant that b didn't know for sure who did the attack.

As I wrote, rufus/Ron made himself the prime suspect when he described the attack as an attempt to shut down his anti-Trump message. Some of us thought that it might be a lame attempt to discredit rufus but only "Ron" thought that the attack was related to him.

If one doesn't believe - as I do - that Ron = rufus then you might be less convinced that rufus did the deed.

Gaianne | Nov 19, 2016 9:43:45 PM | 25
@20 Manne--

Yes, it is important to remember that Assange, though he did not state that he knew who provided the DNC emails, implied that he did, and further implied--but did not state--that it was Seth Rich. Assange's statement came shortly after Rich's death by shooting. Assange stated he specifically knew people had people had risked their lives uploading material, implying that they had in fact lost them.

--Gaianne

Jackrabbit | Nov 19, 2016 10:20:57 PM | 26
b's speculation has the ring of truth. I've often wondered if Trump was encouraged to run by a deep-state faction that found the neocons to be abhorrent and dangerous.
Aside: I find those who talk about "factions" in foreign policy making to be un-credible. Among these were those that spoke of 'Obama's legacy'. A bullshit concept for a puppet.The neocons control FP. And they could only be unseated if a neocon -unfriendly President was elected.

Trump is turning animosity away from Russia and toward Iran. But I doubt that it will result in a shooting war with Iran. The 'deep-state' (arms industry and security agencies) just wants a foreign enemy as a means of ensuring that US govt continues to fund security agencies and buy arms.

And really, Obama's "peace deal" with Iran was bogus anyway. It was really just a placeholder until Assad could be toppled. Only a small amount of funds were released to Iran, and US-Iranian relations have been just as bad as they were before the "peace deal". So all the hand-wringing about Trump vs. Iran is silly.

What is important is that with Iran as the nominal enemy du jour plus Trump's campaign pledge to have the "strongest" military (note: every candidate was for a strong military) , the neocons have no case to make that Trump is weak on defense.

And so it is interesting that those that want to undermine Trump have resorted to the claim that he is close to Jews/Zionists/Israel or even Jewish himself. Funny that Trump wasn't attacked like that before the election, huh?

The profound changes and profound butt-hurt lead to the following poignant questions:

>> Have we just witnessed a counter-coup?

>> Isn't it sad that, in 2016(!), the only check on elites are other elite factions? An enormous cultural failure that has produced a brittle social fabric.

>> If control of NSA snooping power is so crucial, why would ANY ruling block ever allow the another to gain power?

Indeed, the answer to this question informs one's view on whether the anti-Trump protests are just Democratic Party ass-covering/distraction or a real attempt at a 'color revolution'.

ben | Nov 19, 2016 11:33:40 PM | 27
Plausible as hell b.

b said also.."Rogers support for the new cold war will also gain him favor with the various weapon industries which will eventually beef up his pension."


That's the long game for most of the "Hawks" in DC. Perpetual war is most profitable.

And, that game transcends both parties.

Circe | Nov 19, 2016 11:52:44 PM | 28
@32

What is important is that with Iran as the nominal enemy du jour plus Trump's campaign pledge to have the "strongest" military (note: every candidate was for a strong military), the neocons have no case to make that Trump is weak on defense.

Oh please! Trump is stacking his cabinet with Iran-obsessed Islam haters! Nominal enemy , my ass! And was every candidate for spending a Trillion more on defense??? Did you even read Trump's plan to build up the military?

You do Netanyahu proud with your deflection. What? Nothing regarding Pompeo's blistering comments on Russia or Ed Snowden?

Why are you trying to diminish the threat to Iran with the hawks, Islam-haters, and Iran-obsessed team that Trump cobbled together so far?

Trump's Israel adviser David Friedman is known to be more extreme than even Netanyahu.

No doubt Netanyahu has unleashed an army of IDF hasbara to crush criticism of Trump and his Iran-obsessed cabinet because he must be elated with his choices and wants to make them palatable to the American sheeple.

Netanyahu is the first leader Trump spoke with on the phone. Trump praised Netanyahu from day one. PNAC and Clean Break were war manifestos for rearranging the Middle East with the ultimate goal of toppling Iran.

Trump and his cabinet are all about tearing up the deal and assuming a much more hostile position with Iran. Tearing up the deal is a precursor to a casus belli. What more proof is there that Trump is doing the bidding of Zionist Neocons??? Oh, but you don't want more, do you?

Your comment reeks of duplicity and sophistry.

psychohistorian | Nov 20, 2016 1:28:45 AM | 29
I always try to "follow the money" concept.

As chipnik noted in a comment, Iran is one of the only countries that is yet to be under the control of private finance (see my latest Open Thread comments, please)

I personally see all this as obfuscation covering for throwing Americans under the bus by the global plutocrats. The elite can see, just like us, that the US empire's usefulness is beyond its "sold by" date and are acting accordingly. America and its Reserve Currency status are about to crash and the elites are working to preserve their supra-national private finance base of power/control while they let America devolve to who knows what level.

Too much heat and not enough light here...or if you prefer, the noise to signal ratio is highly skewed to noise.

psychohistorian | Nov 20, 2016 1:31:46 AM | 30
And in support of my noise to signal comment there is this comment I made recently in the MoA Fake News posting:

So is this real or fake news? Trump meeting with folks this week to expand his personal business interests in India....EGAD!

http://www.ebhsoc.org/journal/index.php/journal/article/viewFile/6/6

Crimes involving moral turpitude have an inherent quality of baseness, vileness, or depravity with respect to a person's duty to another or to society in general.

Given the above Trump would not be allowed to immigrate to the US.....just saying...

Manne | Nov 20, 2016 3:50:10 AM | 31

Assange: No state actor behind the leak.
http://fortune.com/2016/11/03/julian-assange-wikileaks-russia-podesta-emails/

the pair | Nov 20, 2016 3:55:42 AM | 32
the shadowbrokers say they have NSA malware/tools and to prove it after their auction was met with crickets riding tumbleweeds they released some teaser info on NSA servers used for proxy attacks and recon. of course a few just happened to be "owned" boxes in russia (and china and some other places for that matter). add their russian IP addresses to some (mostly useless) sigantures associated with supposedly russian-designed malware and you've got some good circumstantial evidence.

also: an email address associated with one or more attacks is from a russian site/domain but whoever registered was directed to the .com domain instead of the .ru one. this probably means someone got sloppy and didn't remember to check their DNS for fail.

in general these hacks look less like russians and more like someone who wants to look like russians. the overpaid consultants used by the DNC/clinton folks can put "bear" in the names and claim that a few bits of cyrillic are a "slam dunk" but all the "evidence" is easily faked. not that anyone in the "deep state" would ever fake anything.

Harry | Nov 20, 2016 5:35:50 AM | 33
@ Jackrabbit | 26

Trump is turning animosity away from Russia and toward Iran.

I worry about it as well. Trump said he'll tear up nuclear agreement, and the people he is choosing also have rabid anti-Iranian agenda.

Nice start for Trump:

Thursday US House voted to stop civilian aircraft sales to Iran by both Boeing and Airbus.

Few days before - US extending economic sanctions against Iran through 2026.

Of course Trump can block it, but will he? Even if he does, he might blackmail Iran for something in return, etc. Iran is by no means off the hook for neocons and Israel, and I wouldnt be surprised if Trump follows the suit.

Trump will (or might) have better relations with Russia, but this cordiality doesnt extend to Iran. Or as Jackrabbit says, US neocons will simply switch the targeted state and Iran may soon become "worse threat to humanity than ISIS", again.

FecklessLeft | Nov 20, 2016 7:12:24 AM | 34
@33

I doubt separating the animosity towards Russia and Iran is even possible. Truth be told his comments towards Russia during the election seemed more like he was woefully unaware of the reality of the Russo-American situation in the Mideast than about being ready to negotiate major US power positions and accept Russia as anything more than enemy. Sounded very off the cuff to me. Maybe he thought he'd 'get along great with Putin' at the time but after realizing later that means making nice with Iran and giving up a large measure of US influence in the MENA he has reconsidered and taken the party line. It'd certainly be understandable for a noncareer politician. I'd imagine he'd be more interested now in currying favour with the MIC and the typical Republican party hawks than with Russia/Putin given his statements on military spending. Back when I saw him bow down at the altar of AIPAC earlier in the season I had trouble reconciling that with how he hoped to improve relationships with Russia at the same time given their radical differences wrt their allies. He's made a lot of those type of statements too, it was hard to read where he stood on most any issue during election season.

I imagine as he's brought into the fold and really shown the reality of how US imperialist power projection he'll change his mind considerably. I think we, as readers and amateur analysts of this type of material, take for granted how hard some of this knowledge is to come by without looking for it directly. When we hear someone is going to make nice with Russia we want to think "well he says that as he must surely recognize the insanity and destructive forces at work." Maybe it's more of a case where the person speaking actually thinks we're in Syria to fight ISIS - that they have very little grasp of how things really work over there.

In my eyes the names he's been considering are reason for much worry for those hoping Trump would be the one to usher in a multipolar world and end the cold war. I never had much hope in that regard (but I'm still praying for the best).

Oui | Nov 20, 2016 7:45:56 AM | 35
Figment of imagination ...

Putin has been supporting right-wing movements across the West in order to weaken NATO

Care to back this statement with arguments, examples ar a link to an excellent article?

Looking at most of "New Europe", it's the other way around ... fascist states allied with Nazi Germany against communism, participating in massacres of Jewish fellow citizens and functioning as a spearhead for US intelligence against communism after the defeat of Nazi Germany – see Gladio. Now used by the CIA in the coup d'état in Ukraine in Februari 2014.

Ahhh ... searched for it myself, a paper written earlier in 2016 ... how convenient!

Putinism and the European Far Right | IMR|

The paper, authored by Alina Polyakova , Ph.D., deputy director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council , was originally presented at the 2015 ASEEES Annual Convention.

Policy set by the Atlantic Council years ago: make Russia a pariah state . Written about it many times. BS and more western propaganda. The West has aligned itself with jihadists across the globe, Chechnya included. Same as in Afghanistan, these terrorists were called "freedom fighters". See John McCain in northern Syria with same cutthroats.

Absolutely outrageous! See her twitter account with followers/participants Anne Applebaum and former and now discredited Poland's FM Radoslaw Sikorski .

Pitiful and so uninformed!

Posted earlier @BT - To the Stake .. Burn the Heretic

Yonatan | Nov 20, 2016 7:58:10 AM | 36
"Emails of the DNC and of Clinton's consigliere John Podesta were hacked and leaked. Additionally emails from Clinton's private email server were released. All these influenced the election in favor of Trump."

Not necessarily so. An informal poll of people in blue collar flyover country about their voting intentions prior to the election expressed 4 common concerns

i) The risk of war.
ii) The Obamacare disaster especially recent triple digit percent increase in fees.
iii) Bringing back jobs.
iv) Punishing the Democrat Party for being indistinguishable from the Republicans.

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/when-shouting-stops.html

Newsboy | Nov 20, 2016 8:23:05 AM | 37
Fascists usually start off doing a lot of good work in the honeymoon-period.
Here we go!

Jackrabbit | Nov 20, 2016 9:03:25 AM | 38
Circe @28

We shouldn't take Trump's bluster at face value. For example, Trump said that he'd eliminate Obamacare. Now he has backed off that saying that some elements of Obamacare are worthwhile.

Trump called for a strong military while attacking Hillary as "trigger happy" . The implication is clear - Trump would not be looking for wars like Hillary would.

That the Israeli head of state is one of the first foreign leaders that any President-elect speaks to is no surprise. That you harp on what is essentially nonsense is telling.

In my view Trump is not anti-Jewish. He is anti-neocon/anti-Zionist. As Bannon said, America has been getting f*cked.

john | Nov 20, 2016 9:18:04 AM | 39
Oddlots @ 21 says:

To ice the cake the latest Freudian slip is the crusade against "fake news."

i see it more as another mindfucking meme than a Freudian slip. another paean to Discordia, the goddess of chaos. we've lived with 'fake news,' heretofore advertised by reliable sources , since forever. baptizing this bastardized melange only sinks us deeper into dissonant muck.

Jules | Nov 20, 2016 10:12:03 AM | 40
One would hope if that is true - Trump recognises this and fires him as well rather than promoting him.

However, if he were instrumental in getting Trump elected it is understandable if Trump decided to promote him.

It's well-known and clear Trump rewards those who have done him favours.

Let us hope it is not true.

The first thing Trump must do when elected is declassify all material related to MH17. This can be done in late January/ February as one of his first orders of business.

It's important to do this quickly - at least before the Dutch Elections in March 2017.

#MH17truth

If Trump does this he will do a number of things.

1 - Likely reveal that it was the Ukrainians who were involved in shooting down MH17. I say likely because it's possible this goes deeper than just Ukraine - if that's the case - more the better.

2. He will destroy the liar Porky Poroshenko and his corrupt regime with him. He will destroy Ukraine's corrupt Government's relationship with Europe.

3. He will destroy the sell-out traitor to his own people Mark Rutte of Netherlands. This will ensure an election win for a key Trump ally - Geert Wilders.

If Rutte is discredited for using the deaths of 200 Dutch citizens for his own political gain - he is finished and might end up in jail.

4. He will destroy Merkel utterly. Her chances of re-election (which she just announced she will stand!) will be utterly destroyed.

5. He will restory Russia-USA relations in an instant.

Trump must also do this ASAP because this is the kind of thing that could get him killed if he doesn't do it ASAP when he's inaugurated.

Of course - until then - he should keep his mouth shut about it - but the rest of us should be shouting it all around the Internet.

#MH17truth
#MH17truth
#MH17truth
#MH17truth
#MH17truth

Then - after that - he can move to do the same for September 11.

MH17 must come first ASAP because of the Dutch Elections and the chance to remove that globalist traitor to his own people Rutte.

Denis | Nov 20, 2016 10:19:43 AM | 41
b: "Let me know how plausible you find the tale."

Very, very, very plausible. Yes! (Fist-pump)

And very well documented, too. Sort of like the theory that 9/11 was carried out by the Boy Scouts of America. After all, the boost in jingoism and faux-patriotism gave the BSA a boost in revenue and membership, so that pretty well proves it, eh?

And if you dig deep enough I'm sure you'll find that on 9/10 the BSA shorted their stocks in United.

Yo! (Double fist-pump)

Jules | Nov 20, 2016 10:35:24 AM | 42
Re: Posted by: Oddlots | Nov 19, 2016 7:3