ilsm said in reply to pgl…
Lodge etc. were being lied to by the pentagon reps in RVN, but JFK kept the lid on advisors.The big mistake on Vietnam was LBJ assuming Goldwater was right.
That said JFK helped usher in the concept of “flexible response” which moved US closer to fitting out US forces for the past 50 years’ quagmires.
Keenan’s containment strategy was ruined by NSC 68 which put pentagon responses senior to State.
pgl said in reply to ilsm…
The big mistake on Vietnam was listening to Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara. The Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld of the 1960’s.
RGC said in reply to anne…
A Timeline of CIA AtrocitiesBy Steve Kangas
The following timeline describes just a few of the hundreds of atrocities and crimes committed by the CIA. (1)
CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment. So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: “We’ll put you in power if you maintain a favorable business climate for us.” The Agency then hires, trains and works with them to overthrow the existing government (usually a democracy). It uses every trick in the book: propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, purchased elections, extortion, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories about opponents in the local media, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, economic sabotage, death squads and even assassination. These efforts culminate in a military coup, which installs a right-wing dictator. The CIA trains the dictator’s security apparatus to crack down on the traditional enemies of big business, using interrogation, torture and murder. The victims are said to be “communists,” but almost always they are just peasants, liberals, moderates, labor union leaders, political opponents and advocates of free speech and democracy. Widespread human rights abuses follow.
This scenario has been repeated so many times that the CIA actually teaches it in a special school, the notorious “School of the Americas.” (It opened in Panama but later moved to Fort Benning, Georgia.) Critics have nicknamed it the “School of the Dictators” and “School of the Assassins.” Here, the CIA trains Latin American military officers how to conduct coups, including the use of interrogation, torture and murder.
The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (2) Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an “American Holocaust.”
The CIA justifies these actions as part of its war against communism. But most coups do not involve a communist threat. Unlucky nations are targeted for a wide variety of reasons: not only threats to American business interests abroad, but also liberal or even moderate social reforms, political instability, the unwillingness of a leader to carry out Washington’s dictates, and declarations of neutrality in the Cold War. Indeed, nothing has infuriated CIA Directors quite like a nation’s desire to stay out of the Cold War.
The ironic thing about all this intervention is that it frequently fails to achieve American objectives. Often the newly installed dictator grows comfortable with the security apparatus the CIA has built for him. He becomes an expert at running a police state. And because the dictator knows he cannot be overthrown, he becomes independent and defiant of Washington’s will. The CIA then finds it cannot overthrow him, because the police and military are under the dictator’s control, afraid to cooperate with American spies for fear of torture and execution. The only two options for the U.S at this point are impotence or war. Examples of this “boomerang effect” include the Shah of Iran, General Noriega and Saddam Hussein. The boomerang effect also explains why the CIA has proven highly successful at overthrowing democracies, but a wretched failure at overthrowing dictatorships.
The following timeline should confirm that the CIA as we know it should be abolished and replaced by a true information-gathering and analysis organization. The CIA cannot be reformed – it is institutionally and culturally corrupt.
The culture we lost – Secretary of State Henry Stimson refuses to endorse a code-breaking operation, saying, “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.”
COI created – In preparation for World War II, President Roosevelt creates the Office of Coordinator of Information (COI). General William “Wild Bill” Donovan heads the new intelligence service.
OSS created – Roosevelt restructures COI into something more suitable for covert action, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Donovan recruits so many of the nation’s rich and powerful that eventually people joke that “OSS” stands for “Oh, so social!” or “Oh, such snobs!”
Italy – Donovan recruits the Catholic Church in Rome to be the center of Anglo-American spy operations in Fascist Italy. This would prove to be one of America’s most enduring intelligence alliances in the Cold War.
OSS is abolished – The remaining American information agencies cease covert actions and return to harmless information gathering and analysis.
Operation PAPERCLIP – While other American agencies are hunting down Nazi war criminals for arrest, the U.S. intelligence community is smuggling them into America, unpunished, for their use against the Soviets. The most important of these is Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s master spy who had built up an intelligence network in the Soviet Union. With full U.S. blessing, he creates the “Gehlen Organization,” a band of refugee Nazi spies who reactivate their networks in Russia. These include SS intelligence officers Alfred Six and Emil Augsburg (who massacred Jews in the Holocaust), Klaus Barbie (the “Butcher of Lyon”), Otto von Bolschwing (the Holocaust mastermind who worked with Eichmann) and SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny (a personal friend of Hitler’s). The Gehlen Organization supplies the U.S. with its only intelligence on the Soviet Union for the next ten years, serving as a bridge between the abolishment of the OSS and the creation of the CIA. However, much of the “intelligence” the former Nazis provide is bogus. Gehlen inflates Soviet military capabilities at a time when Russia is still rebuilding its devastated society, in order to inflate his own importance to the Americans (who might otherwise punish him). In 1948, Gehlen almost convinces the Americans that war is imminent, and the West should make a preemptive strike. In the 50s he produces a fictitious “missile gap.” To make matters worse, the Russians have thoroughly penetrated the Gehlen Organization with double agents, undermining the very American security that Gehlen was supposed to protect.
Greece – President Truman requests military aid to Greece to support right-wing forces fighting communist rebels. For the rest of the Cold War, Washington and the CIA will back notorious Greek leaders with deplorable human rights records.
CIA created – President Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947, creating the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Council. The CIA is accountable to the president through the NSC – there is no democratic or congressional oversight. Its charter allows the CIA to “perform such other functions and duties… as the National Security Council may from time to time direct.” This loophole opens the door to covert action and dirty tricks.
Covert-action wing created – The CIA recreates a covert action wing, innocuously called the Office of Policy Coordination, led by Wall Street lawyer Frank Wisner. According to its secret charter, its responsibilities include “propaganda, economic warfare, preventive direct action, including sabotage, antisabotage, demolition and evacuation procedures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.”
Italy – The CIA corrupts democratic elections in Italy, where Italian communists threaten to win the elections. The CIA buys votes, broadcasts propaganda, threatens and beats up opposition leaders, and infiltrates and disrupts their organizations. It works — the communists are defeated.
Radio Free Europe – The CIA creates its first major propaganda outlet, Radio Free Europe. Over the next several decades, its broadcasts are so blatantly false that for a time it is considered illegal to publish transcripts of them in the U.S.
Operation MOCKINGBIRD – The CIA begins recruiting American news organizations and journalists to become spies and disseminators of propaganda. The effort is headed by Frank Wisner, Allan Dulles, Richard Helms and Philip Graham. Graham is publisher of The Washington Post, which becomes a major CIA player. Eventually, the CIA’s media assets will include ABC, NBC, CBS, Time, Newsweek, Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Copley News Service and more. By the CIA’s own admission, at least 25 organizations and 400 journalists will become CIA assets.
Iran – CIA overthrows the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in a military coup, after he threatened to nationalize British oil. The CIA replaces him with a dictator, the Shah of Iran, whose secret police, SAVAK, is as brutal as the Gestapo.
Operation MK-ULTRA – Inspired by North Korea’s brainwashing program, the CIA begins experiments on mind control. The most notorious part of this project involves giving LSD and other drugs to American subjects without their knowledge or against their will, causing several to commit suicide. However, the operation involves far more than this. Funded in part by the Rockefeller and Ford foundations, research includes propaganda, brainwashing, public relations, advertising, hypnosis, and other forms of suggestion.
Guatemala – CIA overthrows the democratically elected Jacob Arbenz in a military coup. Arbenz has threatened to nationalize the Rockefeller-owned United Fruit Company, in which CIA Director Allen Dulles also owns stock. Arbenz is replaced with a series of right-wing dictators whose bloodthirsty policies will kill over 100,000 Guatemalans in the next 40 years.
North Vietnam – CIA officer Edward Lansdale spends four years trying to overthrow the communist government of North Vietnam, using all the usual dirty tricks. The CIA also attempts to legitimize a tyrannical puppet regime in South Vietnam, headed by Ngo Dinh Diem. These efforts fail to win the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese because the Diem government is opposed to true democracy, land reform and poverty reduction measures. The CIA’s continuing failure results in escalating American intervention, culminating in the Vietnam War.
Hungary – Radio Free Europe incites Hungary to revolt by broadcasting Khruschev’s Secret Speech, in which he denounced Stalin. It also hints that American aid will help the Hungarians fight. This aid fails to materialize as Hungarians launch a doomed armed revolt, which only invites a major Soviet invasion. The conflict kills 7,000 Soviets and 30,000 Hungarians.
Laos – The CIA carries out approximately one coup per year trying to nullify Laos’ democratic elections. The problem is the Pathet Lao, a leftist group with enough popular support to be a member of any coalition government. In the late 50s, the CIA even creates an “Armee Clandestine” of Asian mercenaries to attack the Pathet Lao. After the CIA’s army suffers numerous defeats, the U.S. starts bombing, dropping more bombs on Laos than all the U.S. bombs dropped in World War II. A quarter of all Laotians will eventually become refugees, many living in caves.
Haiti – The U.S. military helps “Papa Doc” Duvalier become dictator of Haiti. He creates his own private police force, the “Tonton Macoutes,” who terrorize the population with machetes. They will kill over 100,000 during the Duvalier family reign. The U.S. does not protest their dismal human rights record.
The Bay of Pigs – The CIA sends 1,500 Cuban exiles to invade Castro’s Cuba. But “Operation Mongoose” fails, due to poor planning, security and backing. The planners had imagined that the invasion will spark a popular uprising against Castro -– which never happens. A promised American air strike also never occurs. This is the CIA’s first public setback, causing President Kennedy to fire CIA Director Allen Dulles.
Dominican Republic – The CIA assassinates Rafael Trujillo, a murderous dictator Washington has supported since 1930. Trujillo’s business interests have grown so large (about 60 percent of the economy) that they have begun competing with American business interests.
Ecuador – The CIA-backed military forces the democratically elected President Jose Velasco to resign. Vice President Carlos Arosemana replaces him; the CIA fills the now vacant vice presidency with its own man.
Congo (Zaire) – The CIA assassinates the democratically elected Patrice Lumumba. However, public support for Lumumba’s politics runs so high that the CIA cannot clearly install his opponents in power. Four years of political turmoil follow.
Dominican Republic – The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Juan Bosch in a military coup. The CIA installs a repressive, right-wing junta.
Ecuador – A CIA-backed military coup overthrows President Arosemana, whose independent (not socialist) policies have become unacceptable to Washington. A military junta assumes command, cancels the 1964 elections, and begins abusing human rights.
Brazil – A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the democratically elected government of Joao Goulart. The junta that replaces it will, in the next two decades, become one of the most bloodthirsty in history. General Castelo Branco will create Latin America’s first death squads, or bands of secret police who hunt down “communists” for torture, interrogation and murder. Often these “communists” are no more than Branco’s political opponents. Later it is revealed that the CIA trains the death squads.
Indonesia – The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Sukarno with a military coup. The CIA has been trying to eliminate Sukarno since 1957, using everything from attempted assassination to sexual intrigue, for nothing more than his declaring neutrality in the Cold War. His successor, General Suharto, will massacre between 500,000 to 1 million civilians accused of being “communist.” The CIA supplies the names of countless suspects.
Dominican Republic – A popular rebellion breaks out, promising to reinstall Juan Bosch as the country’s elected leader. The revolution is crushed when U.S. Marines land to uphold the military regime by force. The CIA directs everything behind the scenes.
Greece – With the CIA’s backing, the king removes George Papandreous as prime minister. Papandreous has failed to vigorously support U.S. interests in Greece.
Congo (Zaire) – A CIA-backed military coup installs Mobutu Sese Seko as dictator. The hated and repressive Mobutu exploits his desperately poor country for billions.
The Ramparts Affair – The radical magazine Ramparts begins a series of unprecedented anti-CIA articles. Among their scoops: the CIA has paid the University of Michigan $25 million dollars to hire “professors” to train South Vietnamese students in covert police methods. MIT and other universities have received similar payments. Ramparts also reveals that the National Students’ Association is a CIA front. Students are sometimes recruited through blackmail and bribery, including draft deferments.
Greece – A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the government two days before the elections. The favorite to win was George Papandreous, the liberal candidate. During the next six years, the “reign of the colonels” – backed by the CIA – will usher in the widespread use of torture and murder against political opponents. When a Greek ambassador objects to President Johnson about U.S. plans for Cypress, Johnson tells him: “Fuck your parliament and your constitution.”
Operation PHEONIX – The CIA helps South Vietnamese agents identify and then murder alleged Viet Cong leaders operating in South Vietnamese villages. According to a 1971 congressional report, this operation killed about 20,000 “Viet Cong.”
Operation CHAOS – The CIA has been illegally spying on American citizens since 1959, but with Operation CHAOS, President Johnson dramatically boosts the effort. CIA agents go undercover as student radicals to spy on and disrupt campus organizations protesting the Vietnam War. They are searching for Russian instigators, which they never find. CHAOS will eventually spy on 7,000 individuals and 1,000 organizations.
Bolivia – A CIA-organized military operation captures legendary guerilla Che Guevara. The CIA wants to keep him alive for interrogation, but the Bolivian government executes him to prevent worldwide calls for clemency.
Uruguay – The notorious CIA torturer Dan Mitrione arrives in Uruguay, a country torn with political strife. Whereas right-wing forces previously used torture only as a last resort, Mitrione convinces them to use it as a routine, widespread practice. “The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect,” is his motto. The torture techniques he teaches to the death squads rival the Nazis’. He eventually becomes so feared that revolutionaries will kidnap and murder him a year later.
Cambodia – The CIA overthrows Prince Sahounek, who is highly popular among Cambodians for keeping them out of the Vietnam War. He is replaced by CIA puppet Lon Nol, who immediately throws Cambodian troops into battle. This unpopular move strengthens once minor opposition parties like the Khmer Rouge, which achieves power in 1975 and massacres millions of its own people.
Bolivia – After half a decade of CIA-inspired political turmoil, a CIA-backed military coup overthrows the leftist President Juan Torres. In the next two years, dictator Hugo Banzer will have over 2,000 political opponents arrested without trial, then tortured, raped and executed.
Haiti – “Papa Doc” Duvalier dies, leaving his 19-year old son “Baby Doc” Duvalier the dictator of Haiti. His son continues his bloody reign with full knowledge of the CIA.
The Case-Zablocki Act – Congress passes an act requiring congressional review of executive agreements. In theory, this should make CIA operations more accountable. In fact, it is only marginally effective.
Cambodia – Congress votes to cut off CIA funds for its secret war in Cambodia.
Wagergate Break-in – President Nixon sends in a team of burglars to wiretap Democratic offices at Watergate. The team members have extensive CIA histories, including James McCord, E. Howard Hunt and five of the Cuban burglars. They work for the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP), which does dirty work like disrupting Democratic campaigns and laundering Nixon’s illegal campaign contributions. CREEP’s activities are funded and organized by another CIA front, the Mullen Company.
Chile – The CIA overthrows and assassinates Salvador Allende, Latin America’s first democratically elected socialist leader. The problems begin when Allende nationalizes American-owned firms in Chile. ITT offers the CIA $1 million for a coup (reportedly refused). The CIA replaces Allende with General Augusto Pinochet, who will torture and murder thousands of his own countrymen in a crackdown on labor leaders and the political left.
CIA begins internal investigations – William Colby, the Deputy Director for Operations, orders all CIA personnel to report any and all illegal activities they know about. This information is later reported to Congress.
Watergate Scandal – The CIA’s main collaborating newspaper in America, The Washington Post, reports Nixon’s crimes long before any other newspaper takes up the subject. The two reporters, Woodward and Bernstein, make almost no mention of the CIA’s many fingerprints all over the scandal. It is later revealed that Woodward was a Naval intelligence briefer to the White House, and knows many important intelligence figures, including General Alexander Haig. His main source, “Deep Throat,” is probably one of those.
CIA Director Helms Fired – President Nixon fires CIA Director Richard Helms for failing to help cover up the Watergate scandal. Helms and Nixon have always disliked each other. The new CIA director is William Colby, who is relatively more open to CIA reform.
CHAOS exposed – Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh publishes a story about Operation CHAOS, the domestic surveillance and infiltration of anti-war and civil rights groups in the U.S. The story sparks national outrage.
Angleton fired – Congress holds hearings on the illegal domestic spying efforts of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s chief of counterintelligence. His efforts included mail-opening campaigns and secret surveillance of war protesters. The hearings result in his dismissal from the CIA.
House clears CIA in Watergate – The House of Representatives clears the CIA of any complicity in Nixon’s Watergate break-in.
The Hughes Ryan Act – Congress passes an amendment requiring the president to report nonintelligence CIA operations to the relevant congressional committees in a timely fashion.
Australia – The CIA helps topple the democratically elected, left-leaning government of Prime Minister Edward Whitlam. The CIA does this by giving an ultimatum to its Governor-General, John Kerr. Kerr, a longtime CIA collaborator, exercises his constitutional right to dissolve the Whitlam government. The Governor-General is a largely ceremonial position appointed by the Queen; the Prime Minister is democratically elected. The use of this archaic and never-used law stuns the nation.
Angola – Eager to demonstrate American military resolve after its defeat in Vietnam, Henry Kissinger launches a CIA-backed war in Angola. Contrary to Kissinger’s assertions, Angola is a country of little strategic importance and not seriously threatened by communism. The CIA backs the brutal leader of UNITAS, Jonas Savimbi. This polarizes Angolan politics and drives his opponents into the arms of Cuba and the Soviet Union for survival. Congress will cut off funds in 1976, but the CIA is able to run the war off the books until 1984, when funding is legalized again. This entirely pointless war kills over 300,000 Angolans.
“The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence” – Victor Marchetti and John Marks publish this whistle-blowing history of CIA crimes and abuses. Marchetti has spent 14 years in the CIA, eventually becoming an executive assistant to the Deputy Director of Intelligence. Marks has spent five years as an intelligence official in the State Department.
“Inside the Company” – Philip Agee publishes a diary of his life inside the CIA. Agee has worked in covert operations in Latin America during the 60s, and details the crimes in which he took part.
Congress investigates CIA wrong-doing – Public outrage compels Congress to hold hearings on CIA crimes. Senator Frank Church heads the Senate investigation (“The Church Committee”), and Representative Otis Pike heads the House investigation. (Despite a 98 percent incumbency reelection rate, both Church and Pike are defeated in the next elections.) The investigations lead to a number of reforms intended to increase the CIA’s accountability to Congress, including the creation of a standing Senate committee on intelligence. However, the reforms prove ineffective, as the Iran/Contra scandal will show. It turns out the CIA can control, deal with or sidestep Congress with ease.
The Rockefeller Commission – In an attempt to reduce the damage done by the Church Committee, President Ford creates the “Rockefeller Commission” to whitewash CIA history and propose toothless reforms. The commission’s namesake, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, is himself a major CIA figure. Five of the commission’s eight members are also members of the Council on Foreign Relations, a CIA-dominated organization.
Iran – The CIA fails to predict the fall of the Shah of Iran, a longtime CIA puppet, and the rise of Muslim fundamentalists who are furious at the CIA’s backing of SAVAK, the Shah’s bloodthirsty secret police. In revenge, the Muslims take 52 Americans hostage in the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
Afghanistan – The Soviets invade Afghanistan. The CIA immediately begins supplying arms to any faction willing to fight the occupying Soviets. Such indiscriminate arming means that when the Soviets leave Afghanistan, civil war will erupt. Also, fanatical Muslim extremists now possess state-of-the-art weaponry. One of these is Sheik Abdel Rahman, who will become involved in the World Trade Center bombing in New York.
El Salvador – An idealistic group of young military officers, repulsed by the massacre of the poor, overthrows the right-wing government. However, the U.S. compels the inexperienced officers to include many of the old guard in key positions in their new government. Soon, things are back to “normal” – the military government is repressing and killing poor civilian protesters. Many of the young military and civilian reformers, finding themselves powerless, resign in disgust.
Nicaragua – Anastasios Samoza II, the CIA-backed dictator, falls. The Marxist Sandinistas take over government, and they are initially popular because of their commitment to land and anti-poverty reform. Samoza had a murderous and hated personal army called the National Guard. Remnants of the Guard will become the Contras, who fight a CIA-backed guerilla war against the Sandinista government throughout the 1980s.
El Salvador – The Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, pleads with President Carter “Christian to Christian” to stop aiding the military government slaughtering his people. Carter refuses. Shortly afterwards, right-wing leader Roberto D’Aubuisson has Romero shot through the heart while saying Mass. The country soon dissolves into civil war, with the peasants in the hills fighting against the military government. The CIA and U.S. Armed Forces supply the government with overwhelming military and intelligence superiority. CIA-trained death squads roam the countryside, committing atrocities like that of El Mazote in 1982, where they massacre between 700 and 1000 men, women and children. By 1992, some 63,000 Salvadorans will be killed.
Iran/Contra Begins – The CIA begins selling arms to Iran at high prices, using the profits to arm the Contras fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. President Reagan vows that the Sandinistas will be “pressured” until “they say ‘uncle.'” The CIA’s Freedom Fighter’s Manual disbursed to the Contras includes instruction on economic sabotage, propaganda, extortion, bribery, blackmail, interrogation, torture, murder and political assassination.
Honduras – The CIA gives Honduran military officers the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual – 1983, which teaches how to torture people. Honduras’ notorious “Battalion 316” then uses these techniques, with the CIA’s full knowledge, on thousands of leftist dissidents. At least 184 are murdered.
The Boland Amendment – The last of a series of Boland Amendments is passed. These amendments have reduced CIA aid to the Contras; the last one cuts it off completely. However, CIA Director William Casey is already prepared to “hand off” the operation to Colonel Oliver North, who illegally continues supplying the Contras through the CIA’s informal, secret, and self-financing network. This includes “humanitarian aid” donated by Adolph Coors and William Simon, and military aid funded by Iranian arms sales.
Eugene Hasenfus – Nicaragua shoots down a C-123 transport plane carrying military supplies to the Contras. The lone survivor, Eugene Hasenfus, turns out to be a CIA employee, as are the two dead pilots. The airplane belongs to Southern Air Transport, a CIA front. The incident makes a mockery of President Reagan’s claims that the CIA is not illegally arming the Contras.
Iran/Contra Scandal – Although the details have long been known, the Iran/Contra scandal finally captures the media’s attention in 1986. Congress holds hearings, and several key figures (like Oliver North) lie under oath to protect the intelligence community. CIA Director William Casey dies of brain cancer before Congress can question him. All reforms enacted by Congress after the scandal are purely cosmetic.
Haiti – Rising popular revolt in Haiti means that “Baby Doc” Duvalier will remain “President for Life” only if he has a short one. The U.S., which hates instability in a puppet country, flies the despotic Duvalier to the South of France for a comfortable retirement. The CIA then rigs the upcoming elections in favor of another right-wing military strongman. However, violence keeps the country in political turmoil for another four years. The CIA tries to strengthen the military by creating the National Intelligence Service (SIN), which suppresses popular revolt through torture and assassination.
Panama – The U.S. invades Panama to overthrow a dictator of its own making, General Manuel Noriega. Noriega has been on the CIA’s payroll since 1966, and has been transporting drugs with the CIA’s knowledge since 1972. By the late 80s, Noriega’s growing independence and intransigence have angered Washington… so out he goes.
Haiti – Competing against 10 comparatively wealthy candidates, leftist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide captures 68 percent of the vote. After only eight months in power, however, the CIA-backed military deposes him. More military dictators brutalize the country, as thousands of Haitian refugees escape the turmoil in barely seaworthy boats. As popular opinion calls for Aristide’s return, the CIA begins a disinformation campaign painting the courageous priest as mentally unstable.
The Gulf War – The U.S. liberates Kuwait from Iraq. But Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, is another creature of the CIA. With U.S. encouragement, Hussein invaded Iran in 1980. During this costly eight-year war, the CIA built up Hussein’s forces with sophisticated arms, intelligence, training and financial backing. This cemented Hussein’s power at home, allowing him to crush the many internal rebellions that erupted from time to time, sometimes with poison gas. It also gave him all the military might he needed to conduct further adventurism – in Kuwait, for example.
The Fall of the Soviet Union – The CIA fails to predict this most important event of the Cold War. This suggests that it has been so busy undermining governments that it hasn’t been doing its primary job: gathering and analyzing information. The fall of the Soviet Union also robs the CIA of its reason for existence: fighting communism. This leads some to accuse the CIA of intentionally failing to predict the downfall of the Soviet Union. Curiously, the intelligence community’s budget is not significantly reduced after the demise of communism.
Economic Espionage – In the years following the end of the Cold War, the CIA is increasingly used for economic espionage. This involves stealing the technological secrets of competing foreign companies and giving them to American ones. Given the CIA’s clear preference for dirty tricks over mere information gathering, the possibility of serious criminal behavior is very great indeed.
Haiti – The chaos in Haiti grows so bad that President Clinton has no choice but to remove the Haitian military dictator, Raoul Cedras, on threat of U.S. invasion. The U.S. occupiers do not arrest Haiti’s military leaders for crimes against humanity, but instead ensure their safety and rich retirements. Aristide is returned to power only after being forced to accept an agenda favorable to the country’s ruling class.
In a speech before the CIA celebrating its 50th anniversary, President Clinton said: “By necessity, the American people will never know the full story of your courage.”
Clinton’s is a common defense of the CIA: namely, the American people should stop criticizing the CIA because they don’t know what it really does. This, of course, is the heart of the problem in the first place. An agency that is above criticism is also above moral behavior and reform. Its secrecy and lack of accountability allows its corruption to grow unchecked.
Furthermore, Clinton’s statement is simply untrue. The history of the agency is growing painfully clear, especially with the declassification of historical CIA documents. We may not know the details of specific operations, but we do know, quite well, the general behavior of the CIA. These facts began emerging nearly two decades ago at an ever-quickening pace. Today we have a remarkably accurate and consistent picture, repeated in country after country, and verified from countless different directions.
The CIA’s response to this growing knowledge and criticism follows a typical historical pattern. (Indeed, there are remarkable parallels to the Medieval Church’s fight against the Scientific Revolution.) The first journalists and writers to reveal the CIA’s criminal behavior were harassed and censored if they were American writers, and tortured and murdered if they were foreigners. (See Philip Agee’s On the Run for an example of early harassment.) However, over the last two decades the tide of evidence has become overwhelming, and the CIA has found that it does not have enough fingers to plug every hole in the dike. This is especially true in the age of the Internet, where information flows freely among millions of people. Since censorship is impossible, the Agency must now defend itself with apologetics. Clinton’s “Americans will never know” defense is a prime example.
Another common apologetic is that “the world is filled with unsavory characters, and we must deal with them if we are to protect American interests at all.” There are two things wrong with this. First, it ignores the fact that the CIA has regularly spurned alliances with defenders of democracy, free speech and human rights, preferring the company of military dictators and tyrants. The CIA had moral options available to them, but did not take them.
Second, this argument begs several questions. The first is: “Which American interests?” The CIA has courted right-wing dictators because they allow wealthy Americans to exploit the country’s cheap labor and resources. But poor and middle-class Americans pay the price whenever they fight the wars that stem from CIA actions, from Vietnam to the Gulf War to Panama. The second begged question is: “Why should American interests come at the expense of other peoples’ human rights?”
The CIA should be abolished, its leadership dismissed and its relevant members tried for crimes against humanity. Our intelligence community should be rebuilt from the ground up, with the goal of collecting and analyzing information. As for covert action, there are two moral options. The first one is to eliminate covert action completely. But this gives jitters to people worried about the Adolf Hitlers of the world. So a second option is that we can place covert action under extensive and true democratic oversight. For example, a bipartisan Congressional Committee of 40 members could review and veto all aspects of CIA operations upon a majority or super-majority vote. Which of these two options is best may be the subject of debate, but one thing is clear: like dictatorship, like monarchy, unaccountable covert operations should die like the dinosaurs they are.
pgl said in reply to RGC…
Wow – that’s a list. My focus:”1954-1958
North Vietnam – CIA officer Edward Lansdale spends four years trying to overthrow the communist government of North Vietnam, using all the usual dirty tricks. The CIA also attempts to legitimize a tyrannical puppet regime in South Vietnam, headed by Ngo Dinh Diem. These efforts fail to win the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese because the Diem government is opposed to true democracy, land reform and poverty reduction measures. The CIA’s continuing failure results in escalating American intervention, culminating in the Vietnam War.”
We should have let the elections of 1956 go forward. Had we – we could have avoided the entire Vietnam disaster.
RGC said in reply to pgl…
When you look at that list and you realize that it was done in our name and we were funding it, it might piss you off a little.
Fred C. Dobbs said…
‘Thinking About the Trumpthinkable’ – Paul KrugmanAlan Abramowitz reads the latest WaPo poll and emails:
‘Read these results and tell me how Trump doesn’t win the Republican nomination? I’ve been very skeptical about this all along, but I’m starting to change my mind. I think there’s at least a pretty decent chance that Trump will be the nominee.’ …
Is Hillary Clinton Any Good at Running for President? http://nym.ag/1DwluuR via @NYmag – Jazon Zengerle – April 5
… The election model that’s most in vogue – that scored the highest when applied to presidential elections since World War II, correctly predicting every outcome since 1992 – is one created by Emory political scientist Alan Abramowitz called “Time for a Change.” Abramowitz argues that the fundamentals in a presidential election are bedevilingly simple: the incumbent president’s approval rating in late June or early July, the rate of real GDP growth in the second quarter, and how many terms the party has been in the White House.
In 2012, for instance, Obama’s relatively lopsided victory may have shocked Republicans on Election Night, but by Abramowitz’s reckoning it was practically preordained. Although second-quarter real GDP growth was a relatively unimpressive 1.5 percent and Obama’s approval rating was a good-but-not-great 46 percent that June, he was seeking reelection, and, according to Abramowitz, “first-term incumbents rarely lose.” In fact, he believes that being a first-term incumbent is worth 4 percentage points. There was nothing in the Abramowitz model that looked good for John McCain in 2008 (bad economy, bad approval ratings of a second-term president from McCain’s party). In 1988, by contrast, George H.W. Bush was also running to give his party a third term, but Q2 real GDP growth that year was a booming 5.24 percent and Ronald Reagan’s approval rating was above 50 percent.
Sound familiar? “If Obama’s approval rating is close to 50 percent and the economy is growing at a decent rate in the fall of 2016 – both of which seem quite possible, maybe even likely – then I think Hillary Clinton would have a decent chance of winning,” Abramowitz says. But then there’s the “Time for a Change” factor and those four extra points Obama enjoyed in 2012 that Hillary won’t have this time around. In other words, it would be an extremely close race.
Which brings us full circle. “What determines the outcome in 2016,” Abramowitz says, “could very well be the quality of the candidates.” …
Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs…
Trump exploits a crack
in the GOP’s foundation
http://wpo.st/ZHHn0Fareed Zakaria – Washington Post – November 12
Today’s conventional wisdom is that Donald Trump’s best days are behind him and that his poll numbers will soon descend. Maybe. But Trump has come to represent something fundamental about the Republican Party: the growing gap between its leaders and its political constituency. Even if he disappears, this gap is reshaping the GOP.
At the start, Trump’s campaign was based largely on his personality. On the issues, he had a grab bag of positions and lacked coherence and consistency. But like a good businessman, he seems to have studied his customers – the Republican electorate – and decided to give them what they want. And what they want is not what their party leaders stand for. …
pgl said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs…
“On the issues, he had a grab bag of positions and lacked coherence and consistency. But like a good businessman, he seems to have studied his customers – the Republican electorate – and decided to give them what they want. And what they want is not what their party leaders stand for”What his customers want is racism. And guess what – the alleged party leaders are racing to the front to see who can be the most racist. This party has become a dysfunctional disgrace.
“… Mrs. Clinton’s windfalls from Wall Street banks and other financial services firms – $3 million in paid speeches and $17 million in campaign contributions over the years – have become a major vulnerability in states with early nomination contests. …”
“… In the primaries, Mrs. Clinton’s advisers privately concede that she will lose some votes over her Wall Street connections. They declined to share specific findings from internal polls, but predicted the issue could resonate in Democratic contests in Iowa, Nevada, Ohio and Michigan, where many have lost homes and businesses to bank foreclosu …”
“… Mr. Sanders zeros in on Wall Street donations to Mrs. Clinton in an aggressive new television commercial that started running in Iowa and New Hampshire on Saturday: The truth is, you can’t change a corrupt system by taking its money, he warns. …”
“… One of Mrs. Clinton’s most prominent supporters in Ohio, former State Senator Nina Turner, defected to Mr. Sanders this month in part, she said, because she felt he would be tougher on special interests. And some Democratic superdelegates, whose backing is crucial, said Mrs. Clinton’s ties to big banks, and her invocation of 9/11 to defend her ties to Wall Street at the Nov. 14 debate, only made them further question her independence from the financial industry. …”
“… My parents had a saying in Spanish – ‘Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres’ – which means, ‘Tell me who you’re hanging with and I’ll tell you who you are,’ said Alma R. Gonzalez, an uncommitted superdelegate from Florida. A lot of my Democratic friends feel that way about Hillary and Wall Street. …”
“… Will she be another President Clinton who appoints a Treasury secretary from Wall Street? These are major concerns. …”
“… Indeed, Mr. Clinton’s close relationships with Wall Street executives like Robert E. Rubin of Goldman Sachs, whom he named his Treasury secretary, and his support for undoing parts of Glass-Steagall have contributed to misgivings about Mrs. Clinton. …”
“… While Mr. Sanders and another candidate for the Democratic nomination, former Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, have argued that big donors inevitably had influence with her, her campaign has pushed back against suggestions that the financial services industry has bankrolled her campaign. Her aides also said ads by a new group, Future 45, attacking Mrs. Clinton would only underscore her independence, because the group’s major donors include Wall Street magnates like Paul Singer. …”
“… Bashing Wall Street is not an automatic win for Mr. Sanders, however. Ms. Gonzalez, the Florida superdelegate, and some other undecided Democrats said they viewed Mr. Sanders as too hostile to banks and corporations and too divisive in his remarks about American wealth. …”
“… Ms. Turner, the former Ohio lawmaker, said the blocks of foreclosed homes in Cleveland were a painful reminder that banks prioritize their own corporate interests. Mr. Sanders has been criticizing the corrupt economy symbolized by Wall Street greed for decades, she said. …”
RGC said… November 23, 2015 at 07:52 AM
Wall St. Ties Linger as Image Issue for Hillary ClintonBy Patrick Healy
Saturday, 21 Nov 2015 | 2:52 PM ET
The New York Times
John Wittneben simmered as he listened to Hillary Rodham Clinton defend her ties to Wall Street during last weekend’s Democratic debate. He lost 40 percent of his savings in individual retirement accounts during the Great Recession, while Mrs. Clinton has received millions of dollars from the kinds of executives he believes should be in jail.
“People knew what they were doing back then, because of greed, and it caused me harm,” said Mr. Wittneben, the Democratic chairman in Emmet County, Iowa. “We were raised a certain way here. Fairness is a big deal.”
The next day he endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders in the presidential race.
Mrs. Clinton’s windfalls from Wall Street banks and other financial services firms – $3 million in paid speeches and $17 million in campaign contributions over the years – have become a major vulnerability in states with early nomination contests. Some party officials who remain undecided in the 2016 presidential race see her as overly cozy with big banks and other special interests. At a time when liberals are ascendant in the party, many Democrats believe her merely having “represented Wall Street as a senator from New York,” as Mrs. Clinton reminded viewers in an October debate, is bad enough.
It is an image problem that she cannot seem to shake.
Though she criticizes the American economy as being “rigged” for the rich, Mrs. Clinton has lost some support recently from party members who think she would go easy on Wall Street excess if elected. Even as she promises greater regulation of hedge funds and private equity firms, liberals deride her for refusing to support reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, a law that separated commercial and investment banks until its repeal under President Bill Clinton. (Mr. Sanders favors its restoration.) And for many Democrats, her strong support from wealthy donors and a big-money “super PAC” undercuts her increasingly progressive rhetoric on free trade and other economic issues.
Her advisers say most Democrats like her economic policies and believe she would fight for middle-class and low-income Americans. Most opinion polls put Mrs. Clinton well ahead of Mr. Sanders nationally and in Iowa, and they are running even in New Hampshire, but she fares worse than him on questions about taking on Wall Street and special interests. And even if Mrs. Clinton sews up the nomination quickly, subdued enthusiasm among the party’s liberal base could complicate efforts to energize Democratic turnout for the general election.
In the primaries, Mrs. Clinton’s advisers privately concede that she will lose some votes over her Wall Street connections. They declined to share specific findings from internal polls, but predicted the issue could resonate in Democratic contests in Iowa, Nevada, Ohio and Michigan, where many have lost homes and businesses to bank foreclosures.
Mr. Sanders zeros in on Wall Street donations to Mrs. Clinton in an aggressive new television commercial that started running in Iowa and New Hampshire on Saturday: “The truth is, you can’t change a corrupt system by taking its money,” he warns.
One of Mrs. Clinton’s most prominent supporters in Ohio, former State Senator Nina Turner, defected to Mr. Sanders this month in part, she said, because she felt he would be tougher on special interests. And some Democratic superdelegates, whose backing is crucial, said Mrs. Clinton’s ties to big banks, and her invocation of 9/11 to defend her ties to Wall Street at the Nov. 14 debate, only made them further question her independence from the financial industry.
“My parents had a saying in Spanish – ‘Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres’ – which means, ‘Tell me who you’re hanging with and I’ll tell you who you are,'” said Alma R. Gonzalez, an uncommitted superdelegate from Florida. “A lot of my Democratic friends feel that way about Hillary and Wall Street.
“Are the working people in this country going to be able to count on hard decisions being made by President Hillary Clinton with regard to her Wall Street chums?” Ms. Gonzalez continued. “Will she be another President Clinton who appoints a Treasury secretary from Wall Street? These are major concerns.”
Indeed, Mr. Clinton’s close relationships with Wall Street executives like Robert E. Rubin of Goldman Sachs, whom he named his Treasury secretary, and his support for undoing parts of Glass-Steagall have contributed to misgivings about Mrs. Clinton.
Mrs. Clinton has proposed imposing risk fees on unwieldy big banks and empowering regulators to break them up if necessary – though this is not the wholesale breakup that Mr. Sanders favors under a return of Glass-Steagall. She also proposes to make sure fines for corporate wrongdoing hit executive bonuses, and to pursue criminal prosecutions when justified.
Yet even though she has taken tough stands in the past, such as chastising banks for widespread foreclosures in 2007 and 2008, some Democrats are skeptical that she would ever crack down hard on the executives in her social circles in Manhattan, the Hamptons and Washington.
Jake Quinn, an uncommitted Democratic superdelegate from North Carolina, said he was concerned about Mrs. Clinton’s willingness to clamp down on Wall Street malfeasance. “The financial sector’s ongoing relative lack of accountability makes me suspicious of any candidate who sources it for significant support,” he said.
Mrs. Clinton’s advisers say that she has advanced the strongest regulatory proposals of any candidate, putting the lie to claims that she would protect Wall Street’s interests as president. Any political harm resulting from her Wall Street ties would be minimal, they maintain, because she never took action in exchange for donations. They also play down the possibility that Mrs. Clinton will face voter turnout and enthusiasm problems if she wins the nomination.
While Mr. Sanders and another candidate for the Democratic nomination, former Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, have argued that big donors inevitably had influence with her, her campaign has pushed back against suggestions that the financial services industry has bankrolled her campaign. Her aides also said ads by a new group, Future 45, attacking Mrs. Clinton would only underscore her independence, because the group’s major donors include Wall Street magnates like Paul Singer.
“When billionaire hedge fund managers are forming super PACs to run ads attacking her, it’s clear they fear she will take action as president to crack down on the industry’s abuses,” said Brian Fallon, a Clinton campaign spokesman.
Bashing Wall Street is not an automatic win for Mr. Sanders, however. Ms. Gonzalez, the Florida superdelegate, and some other undecided Democrats said they viewed Mr. Sanders as too hostile to banks and corporations and too divisive in his remarks about American wealth.
But others said they were more concerned that Mrs. Clinton had not broken with Wall Street in a clear way, noting the lengths she went to at the debate to explain the relationship.
“She was waving the bloody shirt of 9/11 to defend herself, which we’re accustomed to seeing with demagogues on the right, and it just didn’t feel quite right,” said Kurt Meyer, a co-chairman of the Mitchell County Democrats in Iowa, who has not endorsed a candidate. “She connected two things, 9/11 and her ties to Wall Street, that I didn’t like her sewing together.”
Ms. Turner, the former Ohio lawmaker, said the blocks of foreclosed homes in Cleveland were a painful reminder that banks prioritize their own corporate interests. Mr. Sanders has been criticizing “the corrupt economy symbolized by Wall Street greed” for decades, she said.
“He shows righteous indignation and speaks for the common woman and man in saying they have a right to be outraged at Wall Street,” Ms. Turner said. “He doesn’t just talk the talk. He walks the talk.”
And Mrs. Clinton? “Her ties are her ties,” Ms. Turner said.
It’s the same PNAC propaganda all over again.
“… From the man who brought you the Iraq war and the rise of ISIS–how to solve the ISIS crisis. …”
“… Youd think ppl who brought the Iraq war, the best recruiters of ISIS, would be nowhere to be seen; but no, are telling how to deal w/ISIS. …”
“… Narrative is the foundation of their skewed analysis. Their object is to sell perpetual war using super high tech, exquisitely expensive, contractor maintained versions of WW II formations to expired resources eternally for the profits they deliver. They starve the safety net to pay for their income security. …”
“… … In July of last year, the New York Times ran two pieces tying Clinton to the neoconservative movement. In “The Next Act of the Neocons,” (*) Jacob Heilbrunn argued that neocons like historian Robert Kagan are putting their lot in with Clinton in an effort to stay relevant while the GOP shies away from its past interventionism and embraces politicians like Senator Rand Paul: …”
“… And the thing is, these neocons have a point. Mrs. Clinton voted for the Iraq war; supported sending arms to Syrian rebels; likened Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, to Adolf Hitler; wholeheartedly backs Israel; and stresses the importance of promoting democracy. …”
“… It’s easy to imagine Mrs. Clinton’s making room for the neocons in her administration. No one could charge her with being weak on national security with the likes of Robert Kagan on board …”
“… Kagan served on Clinton’s bipartisan foreign policy advisory board when she was Secretary of State, has deep neocon roots. …”
“… A month before the Heilbrunn piece, the Times profiled Kagan ( …”
“… ), who was critical of Obama’s foreign policy, but supported Clinton. “I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy,” Kagan told the Times. “If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue … it’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that.” … …”
“… Are Neocons Getting Ready to Ally With Hillary Clinton? http://nyti.ms/1qJ4eLN …”
“… Robert Kagan Strikes a Nerve With Article on Obama Policy http://nyti.ms/UEuqtB …”
“… doublethink has become synonymous with relieving cognitive dissonance by ignoring the contradiction between two world views – or even of deliberately seeking to relieve cognitive dissonance. (Wikipedia) …”
Nov. 20, 2015 | WSJ
…Europe was not in great shape before the refugee crisis and the terrorist attacks. The prolonged Eurozone crisis eroded the legitimacy of European political institutions and the centrist parties that run them, while weakening the economies of key European powers. The old troika-Britain, France and Germany-that used to provide leadership on the continent and with whom the U.S. worked most closely to set the global agenda is no more. Britain is a pale shadow of its former self. Once the indispensable partner for the U.S., influential in both Washington and Brussels, the mediator between America and Europe, Britain is now unmoored, drifting away from both. The Labor Party, once led by Tony Blair, is now headed by an anti-American pacifist, while the ruling Conservative government boasts of its “very special relationship” with China.
… … …
There is a Russian angle, too. Many of these parties, and even some mainstream political movements across the continent, are funded by Russia and make little secret of their affinity for Moscow. Thus Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary has praised “illiberalism” and made common ideological cause with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In Germany, a whole class of businesspeople, politicians, and current and former government officials, led by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, presses constantly for normalized relations with Moscow. It sometimes seems, in Germany and perhaps in all of Europe, as if the only person standing in the way of full alliance with Russia is German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Now the Syrian crisis has further bolstered Russia’s position. Although Europeans generally share Washington’s discomfort with Moscow’s support for Mr. Assad and Russia’s bombing of moderate Syrian rebels, in the wake of the Paris attacks, any plausible partner in the fight against Islamic State seems worth enlisting. In France, former President Nicolas Sarkozy has long been an advocate for Russia, but now his calls for partnership with Moscow are echoed by President François Hollande, who seeks a “grand coalition” with Russia to fight Islamic State.
Where does the U.S. fit into all this? The Europeans no longer know, any more than American allies in the Middle East do. Most Europeans still like Mr. Obama. After President George W. Bush and the Iraq war, Europeans have gotten the kind of American president they wanted. But in the current crisis, this new, more restrained and intensely cautious post-Iraq America has less to offer than the old superpower, with all its arrogance and belligerence.
The flip side of European pleasure at America’s newfound Venusian outlook is the perception, widely shared around the world, that the U.S. is a declining superpower, and that even if it is not objectively weaker than it once was, its leaders’ willingness to deploy power on behalf of its interests, and on behalf of the West, has greatly diminished. As former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer recently put it, the U.S. “quite obviously, is no longer willing-or able-to play its old role.”
Mr. Fischer was referring specifically to America’s role as the dominant power in the Middle East, but since the refugee crisis and the attacks in Paris, America’s unwillingness to play that role has reverberations and implications well beyond the Middle East. What the U.S. now does or doesn’t do in Syria will affect the future stability of Europe, the strength of trans-Atlantic relations and therefore the well-being of the liberal world order.
This is no doubt the last thing that Mr. Obama wants to hear, and possibly to believe. Certainly he would not deny that the stakes have gone up since the refugee crisis and especially since Paris. At the very least, Islamic State has proven both its desire and its ability to carry out massive, coordinated attacks in a major European city. It is not unthinkable that it could carry out a similar attack in an American city. This is new.
… … …
In 2002, a British statesman-scholar issued a quiet warning. “The challenge to the postmodern world,” the diplomat Robert Cooper argued, was that while Europeans might operate within their borders as if power no longer mattered, in the world outside Europe, they needed to be prepared to use force just as in earlier eras. “Among ourselves, we keep the law, but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle,” he wrote. Europeans didn’t heed this warning, or at least didn’t heed it sufficiently. They failed to arm themselves for the jungle, materially and spiritually, and now that the jungle has entered the European garden, they are at a loss.
With the exercise of power barely an option, despite what Mr. Hollande promises, Europeans are likely to feel their only choice is to build fences, both within Europe and along its periphery-even if in the process they destroy the very essence of the European project. It is this sentiment that has the Le Pens of Europe soaring in the polls.
What would such an effort look like? First, it would require establishing a safe zone in Syria, providing the millions of would-be refugees still in the country a place to stay and the hundreds of thousands who have fled to Europe a place to which to return. To establish such a zone, American military officials estimate, would require not only U.S. air power but ground forces numbering up to 30,000. Once the safe zone was established, many of those troops could be replaced by forces from Europe, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, but the initial force would have to be largely American.
In addition, a further 10,000 to 20,000 U.S. troops would be required to uproot Islamic State from the haven it has created in Syria and to help local forces uproot it in Iraq. Many of those troops could then be replaced by NATO and other international forces to hold the territory and provide a safe zone for rebuilding the areas shattered by Islamic State rule.
At the same time, an internationally negotiated and blessed process of transition in Syria should take place, ushering the bloodstained Mr. Assad from power and establishing a new provisional government to hold nationwide elections. The heretofore immovable Mr. Assad would face an entirely new set of military facts on the ground, with the Syrian opposition now backed by U.S. forces and air power, the Syrian air force grounded and Russian bombing halted. Throughout the transition period, and probably beyond even the first rounds of elections, an international peacekeeping force-made up of French, Turkish, American and other NATO forces as well as Arab troops-would have to remain in Syria until a reasonable level of stability, security and inter-sectarian trust was achieved.
Is such a plan so unthinkable? In recent years, the mere mention of U.S. ground troops has been enough to stop any conversation. Americans, or at least the intelligentsia and political class, remain traumatized by Iraq, and all calculations about what to do in Syria have been driven by that trauma. Mr. Obama’s advisers have been reluctant to present him with options that include even smaller numbers of ground forces, assuming that he would reject them. And Mr. Obama has, in turn, rejected his advisers’ less ambitious proposals on the reasonable grounds that they would probably be insufficient.
This dynamic has kept the president sneering at those who have wanted to do more but have been reluctant to be honest about how much more. But it has also allowed him to be comfortable settling for minimal, pressure-relieving approaches that he must know cannot succeed but which at least have the virtue of avoiding the much larger commitment that he has so far refused to make.
The president has also been inclined to reject options that don’t promise to “solve” the problems of Syria, Iraq and the Middle East. He doesn’t want to send troops only to put “a lid on things.”
In this respect, he is entranced, like most Americans, by the image of the decisive engagement followed by the victorious return home. But that happy picture is a myth. Even after the iconic American victory in World War II, the U.S. didn’t come home. Keeping a lid on things is exactly what the U.S. has done these past 70 years. That is how the U.S. created this liberal world order.
In Asia, American forces have kept a lid on what had been, and would likely be again, a dangerous multisided conflict involving China, Japan, Korea, India and who knows who else. In Europe, American forces put a lid on what had been a chronic state of insecurity and war, making it possible to lay the foundations of the European Union. In the Balkans, the presence of U.S. and European troops has kept a lid on what had been an escalating cycle of ethnic conflict. In Libya, a similar international force, with even a small American contingent, could have kept the lid on that country’s boiling caldron, perhaps long enough to give a new, more inclusive government a chance.
Preserving a liberal world order and international security is all about placing lids on regions of turmoil. In any case, as my Brookings Institution colleague Thomas Wright observes, whether or not you want to keep a lid on something really ought to depend on what’s under the lid.
At practically any other time in the last 70 years, the idea of dispatching even 50,000 troops to fight an organization of Islamic State’s description would not have seemed too risky or too costly to most Americans. In 1990-91, President George H.W. Bush, now revered as a judicious and prudent leader, sent half a million troops across the globe to drive Iraq out of Kuwait, a country that not one American in a million could find on a map and which the U.S. had no obligation to defend. In 1989, he sent 30,000 troops to invade Panama to topple an illegitimate, drug-peddling dictator. During the Cold War, when presidents sent more than 300,000 troops to Korea and more than 500,000 troops to Vietnam, the idea of sending 50,000 troops to fight a large and virulently anti-American terrorist organization that had seized territory in the Middle East, and from that territory had already launched a murderous attack on a major Western city, would have seemed barely worth an argument.
Not today. Americans remain paralyzed by Iraq, Republicans almost as much as Democrats, and Mr. Obama is both the political beneficiary and the living symbol of this paralysis. Whether he has the desire or capacity to adjust to changing circumstances is an open question. Other presidents have-from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Roosevelt to Bill Clinton-each of whom was forced to recalibrate what the loss or fracturing of Europe would mean to American interests. In Mr. Obama’s case, however, such a late-in-the-game recalculation seems less likely. He may be the first president since the end of World War II who simply doesn’t care what happens to Europe.
If so, it is, again, a great irony for Europe, and perhaps a tragic one. Having excoriated the U.S. for invading Iraq, Europeans played no small part in bringing on the crisis of confidence and conscience that today prevents Americans from doing what may be necessary to meet the Middle Eastern crisis that has Europe reeling. Perhaps there are Europeans today wishing that the U.S. will not compound its error of commission in Iraq by making an equally unfortunate error of omission in Syria. They can certainly hope.
Mr. Kagan is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of “Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order” and, most recently, “The World America Made.”
Selected Skeptical Comments
anne said… , November 22, 2015 at 05:50 AM
https://twitter.com/BrankoMilanBranko Milanovic @BrankoMilan
From the man who brought you the Iraq war and the rise of ISIS–how to solve the ISIS crisis.
Strobe Talbott @strobetalbott
A clarion call by @BrookingsFP’s Bob Kagan. Hope (& bet) POTUS has read it. Would-be successors should as well. http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-crisis-of-world-order-1448052095 …
9:03 AM – 21 Nov 2015
anne said in reply to anne… , November 22, 2015 at 05:50 AM
Branko Milanovic @BrankoMilan
You’d think ppl who brought the Iraq war, the best recruiters of ISIS, would be nowhere to be seen; but no, are telling how to deal w/ISIS.
ilsm said in reply to anne…
Narrative is the foundation of their skewed analysis. Their object is to sell perpetual war using super high tech, exquisitely expensive, contractor maintained versions of WW II formations to expired resources eternally for the profits they deliver. They starve the safety net to pay for their income security.
Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to anne…
Neoconservativism Is Down But Not Out of the 2016 Race
via @Bloomberg – February 18, 2015
… In July of last year, the New York Times ran two pieces tying Clinton to the neoconservative movement. In “The Next Act of the Neocons,” (*) Jacob Heilbrunn argued that neocons like historian Robert Kagan are putting their lot in with Clinton in an effort to stay relevant while the GOP shies away from its past interventionism and embraces politicians like Senator Rand Paul:
‘Other neocons have followed Mr. Kagan’s careful centrism and respect for Mrs. Clinton. Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, noted in the New Republic this year that “it is clear that in administration councils she was a principled voice for a strong stand on controversial issues, whether supporting the Afghan surge or the intervention in Libya.”
And the thing is, these neocons have a point. Mrs. Clinton voted for the Iraq war; supported sending arms to Syrian rebels; likened Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, to Adolf Hitler; wholeheartedly backs Israel; and stresses the importance of promoting democracy.
It’s easy to imagine Mrs. Clinton’s making room for the neocons in her administration. No one could charge her with being weak on national security with the likes of Robert Kagan on board.’
(The story also notes, prematurely, that the careers of older neocons like Wolfowitz are “permanently buried in the sands of Iraq.”)
Kagan served on Clinton’s bipartisan foreign policy advisory board when she was Secretary of State, has deep neocon roots. He was part of the Project for a New American Century, a now-defunct think tank that spanned much of the second Bush presidency and supported a “Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity.” PNAC counted Kagan, Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, William Kristol, and Jeb Bush among its members. In 1998, some of its members-including Wolfowitz, Kagan, and Rumsfeld-signed an open letter to President Bill Clinton asking him to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
A month before the Heilbrunn piece, the Times profiled Kagan (#), who was critical of Obama’s foreign policy, but supported Clinton. “I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy,” Kagan told the Times. “If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue … it’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that.” …
*- Are Neocons Getting Ready to Ally With Hillary Clinton? http://nyti.ms/1qJ4eLN
#- Robert Kagan Strikes a Nerve With Article on Obama Policy http://nyti.ms/UEuqtB
Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs…
(I may be a HRC supporter but Neocons still make me anxious.)
‘doublethink has become synonymous with relieving cognitive dissonance by ignoring the contradiction between two world views – or even of deliberately seeking to relieve cognitive dissonance.’ (Wikipedia)
“… The typical political reaction to financial crises is as follows: votes for far-right parties increase strongly, government majorities shrink, the fractionalisation of parliaments rises and the overall number of parties represented in parliament jumps. …”
“… In the light of modern history, political radicalization, declining government majorities and increasing street protests appear to be the hallmark of financial crises. As a consequence, regulators and central bankers carry a big responsibility for political stability when overseeing financial markets. Preventing financial crises also means reducing the probability of a political disaster. …”
Given that honesty in politics and government is relative, I wonder if relatively honest politics and relatively honest regulation of financial systems prevents financial crises.
Hillary Clinton hedges on a key issue:
She says she would break up the mega banks … if needed. It is needed – so no hedging on this issue.
JohnH -> pgl…
Once again pgl shows how gullible he is…believing what Hillary says not what she has done.
What has she done? Well, Wall Street made her a millionaire.
Second, she announced her run for Senator from New York (Wall Street) immediately after bill did Wall Street the mother of all favors…ending Glass-Steagall. In his naivete, pgl certainly believes that there was no quid pro quo!!!
Third, lots of people doubt whether she can be trusted to rein in Wall Street.
Of course, pgl believes lots of silly things…like his claim that Obama never proposed and signed off on austerity in 2011…or that he has proposed cutting Social Security…or that trickle down monetary policy hasn’t overwhelmingly benefited the 1%.
I wonder when somebody will finally get to sell him the Brooklyn Bridge [better act now, pgl, get a really cheap loan while you still can!!!]
JohnH -> JohnH…
pgl thinks that Obama NEVER proposed cutting Social Security’s! What a rube!
November 21, 2015
The political aftermath of financial crises: Going to extremes
By Manuel Funke, Moritz Schularick, and Christoph Trebesch
The typical political reaction to financial crises is as follows: votes for far-right parties increase strongly, government majorities shrink, the fractionalisation of parliaments rises and the overall number of parties represented in parliament jumps. These developments likely hinder crisis resolution and contribute to political gridlock. The resulting policy uncertainty may contribute to the much-debated slow economic recoveries from financial crises.
In the light of modern history, political radicalization, declining government majorities and increasing street protests appear to be the hallmark of financial crises. As a consequence, regulators and central bankers carry a big responsibility for political stability when overseeing financial markets. Preventing financial crises also means reducing the probability of a political disaster.
anne -> anne…
What strikes me, is that the political response to the short-lived international financial crisis but longer lived recession was quite restrained in developed countries. Leadership changes struck me as moderate, even moderate in beset Greece as the political stance of Syriza which looked to be confrontational with regard to the other eurozone countries quickly became accepting.
European developed country governments have been and are remarkably stable. Japan has been stable. There is political division in the United States, but I do not attribute that to the financial crisis or recession but rather to social divisions.
The essay is just not convincing.
“What strikes me, is that the political response to the short-lived international financial crisis but longer lived recession was quite restrained in developed countries”
If you mean that the goal of the state is providing unconditional welfare for financial oligarchy (which actually is true for neoliberalism), then I would agree.
But if you use any common sense definition of “restrained” this is a joke. Instead of sending criminals to jail they were awarded with oversized bonuses.
I think the authors are way too late to the show. There is no much left of the New Deal anyway, so radicalization of the US society was a fait accompli long before crisis of 2008.
If you look at the Republican Party and, especially, Republican candidates, now it is not the question of radicalization, but the question of sanity that arises. They are so completely detached from reality that Marxists look like “hard core” realists in comparison with them.
The whole party looks like an extreme and bizarre cult that intends to take over the country: another analogy with Marxists. Like Marx quipped: History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
Democrats are not that different either. With Sanders representing probably the only candidates which can be classified as “center-left” in European terms. For all practical reasons Hillary is a center-right, if not far-right (and as for foreign policy agenda she is definitely far right) candidate.
So the key question is about sanity of the US society under neoliberalism, not some form of “radicalization”.
“… Come on people, what is the point of wasting energy and time talking about the two political parties participating in the charade that is called Democracy in the US? In reality there is only one political party …”
“… Hellary or Chump- do you really believe the choice of figurehead will change the machinery of permanent warfare or diversion of wealth to the favored few? …”
“… IMO she “put the last nail in her coffin”, so to speak, when she brought up AIG Lehman, showing her ignorance to what really happened. (Or was she just “playing dumb” in an attempt to distance herself from her big contributors on Wall St?) …”
“… Yeah, that 9/11 rift was bad, but the “60% of my contributors are women” was worse. I’d love to see this claim fact checked. What a tidy number. Not too big to make her campaign a women’s movement, but big enough to throw the guys off their game and make her nomination a foregone conclusion. Meanwhile, corporations make up probably 90% of her actual contributions. …”
“… WaPo fact checked Hillary Clinton’s claim that most of her donors are small donors. Only 17% donated less than $200 …”
“… So corporations have genders now? …”
“… We had one neoliberal Trojan horse get elected twice and if you questioned his policies you were at best a “bad Democrat” and at worst some version of racist…why not try it again? Anyone who questions her bought-and-paid for corruption will be painted as a card-carrying member of the he-man woman-haters club. …”
“… I agree that the remark was cynical and false and typical of Clinton’s disdain for both facts and the intelligence of the voters. …”
“… I loved that Bernie Sanders was willing to drop the “F-bomb” (fraud) on Wall Street but he needs to swing much harder at Clinton. Clinton was quick to zing O’Malley as a hypocrite by noting he appointed a former hedge-fund manager to some state regulatory position when given the chance, but yet neither Sanders or O’Malley hit back with the fact that her only child and Clinton Foundation board member, Chelsea Clinton, worked for the hedge fund of a Clinton family pal and mega-donor in 2006. …”
“… I thought O’Malley had one of the best lines of the night when he said “I think it may be time for us to quit taking advice from economists” but it seemed to go mostly unnoticed and unappreciated. …”
“… Sanders did a relatively good job of deflecting and not getting zinged by the ‘gotcha’ question but a full-frontal assault would have been much better. Stronger, more Presidential and with the added bonus of giving neo-liberal economists under the pay of plutocrats a black eye. Another missed opportunity. The questioner set it up perfectly for him. I would have loved to see the expression on her corn-fed face when Bernie turned her ‘gotcha’ question that she had spent so much time and thought crafting into the home-run answer of the evening. Perhaps it could happen in a debate in the near future. …”
“… The GOP engages in phony baloney food fights much to the tingling excitement of their base. I’d like to see some REAL debate from the Dems. Not just make nice phony baloney bullshit. …”
“… Again, I’ve never expected Sanders to be anything more than someone who’ll sound populist and then tell his followers to vote for Clinton… as he’s already SAID anyway. …”
“… Yeah maybe, but I believe that was the price of admission to the Clinton / Wasserman-Shultz ball for a life-long socialist who sometimes caucuses with Democrats. The more damage Sanders inflicts on Clinton in the primaries the less sincere and effective any possible Sanders endorsement of Clinton will be later. …”
“… Sanders has the right message, the right record and popular support on his side in a year when people are fed-up with the entire Washington establishment and sick of pedigreed, legacy politicians like Clinton. …”
“… If there’s ever been a moment when Bernie Sanders could win the nomination this is it. If you really think Sanders is the “pick of liter” as you say perhaps you could stop calling him things like “window dressing” and “a distraction”. While it may protect your feelings from future disappointment to speak confidently of Clinton as the inevitable nominee it clearly helps her campaign objectives, so…. maybe just try tempering your cynicism just a wee bit unless you are out to help Hillary win the nomination. …”
“… Bernie’s campaign never in a million years thought he would get this far. In the beginning, it was calculated to draw attention to income inequality, big money in politics, and other issues that likely would get ignored if the coronation went ahead unopposed. …”
“… As you point out, Sanders is a senator. He never expected to get this far. He won’t win the nomination. He has to think of his post-2016 career. If he goes after Clinton hammer and tongs, he will be (more of) a pariah in the Senate, effectively ruining any chance for him to accomplish anything. …”
“… Honestly I can see the Democrats collapsing before the Republicans. The South and Midwest are just batshit crazy and they’ll stick with the Republicans as long as the evangelicals dominate their culture. Does anyone here know anything about previous “great awakenings” in American culture? …”
“… For all her vomit-inducing disingenuousness about how she would be the toughest on the financial industry as a whole (really, how does she say that with a straight face?), and her basically sounding like a smarter, saner business as usual neocon on the middle east, I thought her worst moment by far was when she tried to describe single payer as “dismantling” Medicare, Medicaid, etc …”
“… I’m at a complete loss to understand why Dems, the media, and in fact anyone with two brain cells to rub together, can fail to see or acknowledge that HRC is a liar, a crook, and a generally mean-spirited individual who’s only in it for herself and will do and say anything and accept money from anyone as long as it helps her to win. …”
“… Sadly, the only difference between Hillary and Obama, is that Barack is a better shape-shifter and, when he lies, he can do so with greater eloquence and charm. Hillary can never manage to completely hide her forked tongue and her poisonous lizard personality. …”
“… After Obama’s behavior, and the documentation of Gilens Page, can anyone believe that campaign speeches have anything to do with post-electoral policies? The nomination process is beyond dysfunctional: everyone knows Hillarity’s positions are synthetic, yet she successfully campaigns with the grossest political impunity and she is taken seriously enough for analysis. I don’t understand why. The only political power remaining to democracy is resistance, either by voting for a third party, or else by total abstinence. I personally prefer the former, as it’s a bit harder to sweep under the media carpet. This keeps me outside the grasp of helplessness. …”
“… Family Guy *exactly* predicted Hillary’s 9/11 tragedy-distraction strategy way back in 2008: Life imitating art: http://youtu.be/Rm3d43HLyTI …”
RedHope November 16, 2015 at 3:20 am
She will say anything to win and not care about meaning bc she knows the Democratic base will accept anything.
If you read, at least anecdotally, about the responses of base voters, it seems to be similar to what the GOP does: brush off the discussion as boring, irrelevant, a conspiracy or some combo.
The Democratic base is solely focused on Denial, delusion and hating the Republicans. She will survive this and will likely win with people defending her bat shit extremism.
crittermom November 16, 2015 at 6:34 am
I completely agree with you in that she will say anything to win. Like a pinball, she will take to whatever side necessary to keep from falling into that hole of defeat.
But please, please let’s not give any energy toward thoughts of her winning!
She showed her true colors during the debate, & I still wanna believe–despite being continuously proven wrong, that most folks are smarter than that & were able to see through her. (Probably the only transparency in this current govt?)
oho, November 16, 2015 at 8:53 am
she knows the Democratic base will accept anything.
If you read, at least anecdotally, about the responses of base voters, it seems to be similar to what the GOP does: brush off the discussion as boring, irrelevant, a conspiracy or some combo.
just because the GOP ‘accept anything’ doesn’t make it right if the ‘good guys’ are dogmatic too.
and my hunch is that right now everyone on in the Democratic Beltway is feeling smug cuz of the GOP clown car. But my gut is that in 2016 if HRC wins the nomination, HRC’s load of manure is gonna stink a lot more than the GOP clown car’s.
on election night I’ll be sitting at home cheering on the makers of humble pie.
Crazy Horse, November 16, 2015 at 11:40 am
Come on people, what is the point of wasting energy and time talking about the two political parties participating in the charade that is called Democracy in the US? In reality there is only one political party – the Oligarch Fascist Party – and the National Election Circus is played out to keep people who mistake it for democracy divided and confused.
Hellary or Chump- do you really believe the choice of figurehead will change the machinery of permanent warfare or diversion of wealth to the favored few?
Malcolm MacLeod, MD , November 16, 2015 at 7:21 pm
Crazy Horse: You speak the unvarnished truth, which is always rather confusing in this day and age.
jgordon , November 16, 2015 at 4:29 am
Any serious analysis of the central drivers of the crisis necessarily lead you to the largest banks as the focal point for the interconnection and risk buildup.
Well if we’re concerned about serious analysis it seems a bit odd that we aren’t starting with the largest bank of all: the Federal Reserve. If not for the deliberate policy of the Fed to inflate the housing bubble in the early 2000s after the dotcom crash, certainly 2007/2008 wouldn’t have been such a mess. Though admittedly government corruption (and for all intents and purposes the Fed is a government appendage) certainly played a part.
The main problem is that there are just way too many zombies and criminals infesting the financial system right now, and they are all being lovingly coddled by the Fed with ZIRP and QE. The only way to slay these undead legions is to end the ceaseless Fed-facilitated blood transfusions from the exhausted living to the dead parasites.
Well I suppose one could claim that its thanks to the zombies that our economy is able to function at all. But come on, is it really a good idea to live in a world ruled by zombies? They eat brains you know.
crittermom, November 16, 2015 at 6:01 am
Excellent article. I watched the debate. I found it very telling that when Wall St was mentioned, the only thing she could seem to equate to it was 9/11.
I found it disgusting that she even brought up 9/11 in an obvious attempt to steer the debate away from the corruption by ‘her friends’ on Wall St while trying to encourage the voters to give her a pat on the back for ‘all she did’ after 9/11. Pathetic, cheap, transparent tactic IMO.
I found it sad, however, as mentioned in the article “Only when mentioned by a Twitter user later in the debate did the full recognition of the strangeness of that comment shine through.” Far too many “trained seals” outside the convention center, as well?
IMO she “put the last nail in her coffin”, so to speak, when she brought up AIG & Lehman, showing her ignorance to what really happened. (Or was she just “playing dumb” in an attempt to distance herself from her big contributors on Wall St?)
fresno dan, November 16, 2015 at 8:42 am
I agree. The tendentious quibbling about the definition of “banks” when everyone uses that as shorthand for “excessively large under regulated, corrupt, and stupid financial institutions who have completed co-opted the regulators and politicians who are suppose to oversee them and enforce the rules, regulations and laws” is just deflection from the real issue.
As Bernie said in response: NOT GOOD ENOUGH
dk, November 16, 2015 at 9:05 am
I think you underestimate “most” voters. Don’t mistake them for the political media echo chamber that pretends to articulate their subconscious (via absurd polling). Except for the extremes, voters tend to be a taciturn bunch, it’s true. One ends up having to pick from an imperfect selection, that’s representative democracy; a fact of the circumstance, and voters know it. They play along, don’t kid yourself that they actually like it that much.
Comforting stories play well for the comfortable, and when no other stories are being told. The wage disparity issue was almost non-existent in 2008 and got small play in 2012. The BLM narrative is in part a counter-shock to the (granted, naive) assumption that having a black president would have (or indicated) a significant impact on day-to-day racism. The street-level economy has kept sputtering for too many years for that to be passed off as “normal”. Too many cats got out of the bag this time around.
Take a look here:
In the last quarter, Hillary collected 5.19 mil from under-$200 donors, Bernie collected 20.19 mil. That’s just shy of four times as much money, and arguably on the order of four times as many people. Whether Hillary is changing these people’s minds at any appreciable rate remains to be seen, but this many people backing a Dem candidate in this way is a new thing (not so new for the Tea Party brand).
Not saying Bernie is a slam dunk by any means, but numerically, in dollars and voters, he can’t be dismissed as an impossibility (see also, Corbyn). Political media hacks hate voters, they still can’t predict them (and they know it too). Sometimes elections occur in a near vacuum of clear indicators and issues (2012), sometimes the indicators and issues are bigger than even a “big” candidate (2008, Obama would not have won without the financial collapse, which suppressed and fractured Rep voting).
Voters aren’t smarter than anybody else, but they’re not dumber either. What they are is shy (especially the Dems). But think of Bernie’s small donor base as a bunch of wallflowers reacting to something they haven’t seen before. That wasn’t in anybody’s narrative.
Ulysses, November 16, 2015 at 9:09 am
You provide a very astute description, of how the MSM Wurlitzer works to concoct narratives that disempower people. Yet I think that Chris Hedges is also on to something when he observes:
“The frustration, mounting across the country, is bringing with it a new radicalism.”
We teeter on a knife’s edge, close to societal collapse. My hope is that we will shake off our chains and begin to replace systematic oppression and exploitation with a more humane society. My fear is that the people, who currently benefit from the status quo, will go full-bore totalitarian/repressive in a desperate attempt to cling to their ill-gotten wealth and power.
RUKidding, November 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm
I’m afraid that the impetus is more towards the latter than the former. The PTB haven’t spent decades/centuries brainwashing the masses to be good little authoritarians wanting Big Daddy/Momma to “take care” of them for nothing.
Dino Reno, November 16, 2015 at 8:18 am
Yeah, that 9/11 rift was bad, but the “60% of my contributors are women” was worse. I’d love to see this claim fact checked. What a tidy number. Not too big to make her campaign a women’s movement, but big enough to throw the guys off their game and make her nomination a foregone conclusion. Meanwhile, corporations make up probably 90% of her actual contributions.
JaaaaayCeeeee, November 16, 2015 at 11:52 am
WaPo fact checked Hillary Clinton’s claim that most of her donors are small donors. Only 17% donated less than $200 (she did donation drives asking for a dollar even to get to 17% and most of her donations from women were big donations, too):
Code Name D, November 16, 2015 at 12:41 pm
So corporations have genders now?
nigelk, November 16, 2015 at 1:49 pm
We had one neoliberal Trojan horse get elected twice and if you questioned his policies you were at best a “bad Democrat” and at worst some version of racist…why not try it again? Anyone who questions her bought-and-paid for corruption will be painted as a card-carrying member of the he-man woman-haters club.
Some of us, however, just dislike her since she’s an enemy of the working class: http://mattbruenig.com/2015/11/06/my-beef-with-hillary-is-mainly-that-she-is-an-enemy-of-the-poor/
Pat, November 16, 2015 at 9:47 am
I agree that the remark was cynical and false and typical of Clinton’s disdain for both facts and the intelligence of the voters. (And knowledgable in that she knew she would not get fact checked on this in any manner that would make her look like Ben Carson talking about pyramids.) I truly do not think it is as important as you do, as she had already lost that battle.
The people know the great never ending bank bailout of 2008 did not translate to bailing out the economy. There are still foreclosed homes in neighborhoods across America rotting. If they didn’t lose a job and are still looking for a decent one they have a parent, a kid, another family member, or multiple friends who are still un or underemployed. They know their bills are going up but their paychecks aren’t. And they get to hear about Jamie Dimon becoming a billionaire. They may not know which bank he heads, but they know a whole lot of those billions came from their taxes while they are still struggling. None of this may get into the details of what happened or what went wrong, but they know they got taken. And her response tells them she would take them again. The only people who don’t hear that, are the ones who think 60% of my donations are from women makes Clinton a feminist and tribal loyalists. You know the Democratic equivalent of the Bush supporters who never wavered.
Trying to understand the ins and outs of the financial industry shenanigans is deep, dense, and takes way too much time for most folk. I happened to be out on workmen’s comp when it went down. This is not my area, I read and read and read and got deeply angry. I still don’t understand it all, and I have more facts at my fingertips then probably at least 75% of the population. My point on this, is that sometimes you don’t need to know the details to smell the bullshit. And it reeked of manure.
Vatch November 16, 2015 at 10:10 am
Today is November 16, which is a deadline for the Clinton Foundation to refile some documents, according to this article to which Water Cooler linked on Oct. 28:
Here’s an article published today about this, although nothing has been resolved yet:
Still, the Clintons have not defined how they decide to designate their speaking fees as income versus charity work. Earlier this year, the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation admitted collecting $26.4 million in previously unreported speaking fees from foreign governments and foreign and U.S. corporations. For tax purposes, who should be treated as the recipient of that money? It is not a silly question.
Jerry Denim, November 16, 2015 at 11:46 am
I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears during the debate when Sanders impugned Clinton’s integrity for taking Wall Street super PAC money and she seemed to successfully deflect the accusation by going full-bore star-spangled sparkle eagle. She played the vagina card then quickly blurted out “9/11 New York” for applause while attempting conflate aiding and abetting Wall Street with the 9/11 attacks and patriotism. I couldn’t believe people were clapping and I couldn’t believe Clinton had the audacity to pull such a illogical and juvenile stunt on live television, but yet CBS reported her highest approval scores of the debate were registered during her confusing but emotionally rousing (for some people apparently) “vagina, 9/11” defense.
I loved that Bernie Sanders was willing to drop the “F-bomb” (fraud) on Wall Street but he needs to swing much harder at Clinton. Clinton was quick to zing O’Malley as a hypocrite by noting he appointed a former hedge-fund manager to some state regulatory position when given the chance, but yet neither Sanders or O’Malley hit back with the fact that her only child and Clinton Foundation board member, Chelsea Clinton, worked for the hedge fund of a Clinton family pal and mega-donor in 2006. Neither candidate mentioned that her son-in-law and the father of her grandchild who she is so fond of mentioning, just so happens to be an extremely rich hedge fund manager who benefits handsomely from the Clinton’s political connections and prestige. This isn’t mud, this is extremely germane, factual material already on the public record. It gets to the core of who Hillary is and where her loyalties lie. Hillary herself chose to identify unregulated derivatives and the repeal of Glass-Steagall as the primary causes of the financial crisis. She either claimed directly or insinuated that she would address these issues as President, but surprisingly no one pointed out that it was her husband’s administration that blocked Brooksley Born from regulating derivatives in the 1990’s and it was her husband’s administration that effectively repealed Glass-Steagal with the signing of Gramm-Leach-Billey act in 1999. It’s not a stretch to say the Clinton’s deregulation of Wall Street paved the way for the crisis of 2008 and the extreme income inequality of today. Wall Street is deeply unpopular and Bernie Sanders has built a candidacy on two main issues: attacking Wall Street and addressing income inequality. These are punches he can’t afford not to throw at his rival when she holds a commanding lead in the polls plus the support of the DNC and media establishment. Clinton is deeply corrupt and beholden to Wall Street. She needs to be beaten with this stick hard and often. Attempting to deflect this very accurate, very damaging criticism by wrapping herself in the flag and invoking feminism is a cheap stunt that will only work so many times before people notice what she is doing. Bernie needs to swing harder and keep at it, he already has the right message and Clinton is highly vulnerable on his pet topics.
I thought O’Malley had one of the best lines of the night when he said “I think it may be time for us to quit taking advice from economists” but it seemed to go mostly unnoticed and unappreciated. I would have loved a frontal assault on the validity and integrity of economists when the bespectacled lady in blue attempted to nail down Sanders with a ‘gotcha’ question implying raising the minimum wage would be catastrophic for the economy because “such-and-such economist” said so. There is so much disdain for science and academic credentials in the heartland right now, it seems crazy not to harness this anti-academic populist energy and redirect it to a deserving target like neo-liberal economists instead of climate scientists. ” How’s that Laffer curve working out for ya Iowa? Are you feeling the prosperity ‘trickle down’ yet?” Sanders did a relatively good job of deflecting and not getting zinged by the ‘gotcha’ question but a full-frontal assault would have been much better. Stronger, more Presidential and with the added bonus of giving neo-liberal economists under the pay of plutocrats a black eye. Another missed opportunity. The questioner set it up perfectly for him. I would have loved to see the expression on her corn-fed face when Bernie turned her ‘gotcha’ question that she had spent so much time and thought crafting into the home-run answer of the evening. Perhaps it could happen in a debate in the near future.
RUKidding, November 16, 2015 at 11:58 am
I think what happened there is that Bernie is showing his true colors, unfortunately. While I’m more than OK with Bernie’s attitude towards Benghazi & the emails, he really does not confront HRC on her egregious attitudes towards unfettered War, Inc, and most esp not on Wall St and the Banks.
I have no serious expectations of Sanders, however, and never did.
Jerry Denim, November 16, 2015 at 12:15 pm
Perhaps you are correct but Sanders did say Wall Street’s business model is greed and fraud. Strong language for a Presidential candidate and unmistakably clear terms. When it comes to attacking Clinton I feel like something is holding Sanders back. Maybe it’s his campaign advisors because he’s been told his anger scares voters and people don’t like negative attacks. Maybe the DNC and Clinton are holding some threat over his head regarding ballot access, debate cancellation or some other punishment if he doesn’t play by certain rules. Perhaps he’s been warned certain topics are off limits during debates. Seems fishy to me, but maybe it’s just as simple as you say.
RUKidding, November 16, 2015 at 1:27 pm
Yes, Sanders has been outspoken about Wall St, greed, fraud and tightening up regulations, etc. That’s why it’s disappointing and beyond annoying when he clams up vis Clinton and her relationship with and money from Wall St.
The GOP engages in phony baloney food fights much to the tingling excitement of their base. I’d like to see some REAL debate from the Dems. Not just make nice phony baloney bullshit.
Again, I’ve never expected Sanders to be anything more than someone who’ll sound populist and then tell his followers to vote for Clinton… as he’s already SAID anyway.
We’re told allegedly that “poll after poll” shows Clinton in a double digit lead. I really question that, as well, but clearly no one’s showing me the factual data. It is what is. HRC is the anointed one, so get used to it.
To me, Sanders is just window dressing & a distraction, even though, clearly, he’s the pick of “both” (or the combined, if you will) litters. Whatever…
JerryDenim, November 16, 2015 at 2:51 pm
“Again, I’ve never expected Sanders to be anything more than someone who’ll sound populist and then tell his followers to vote for Clinton… as he’s already SAID anyway”
Yeah maybe, but I believe that was the price of admission to the Clinton / Wasserman-Shultz ball for a life-long socialist who sometimes caucuses with Democrats. The more damage Sanders inflicts on Clinton in the primaries the less sincere and effective any possible Sanders endorsement of Clinton will be later. I too share your distrust of polls and given that distrust it’s hard for me to write off a guy who has had every disadvantage in his Presidential bid but is still polling pretty darn well against a extremely well-known political juggernaut early in the primary season.
Sanders has the right message, the right record and popular support on his side in a year when people are fed-up with the entire Washington establishment and sick of pedigreed, legacy politicians like Clinton. Look at how poorly Bush has fared so far against outsider, blow-hard Donald Trump and unknown-nobody Ben Carson. Even conservatives are sick of dynasties.
If there’s ever been a moment when Bernie Sanders could win the nomination this is it. If you really think Sanders is the “pick of liter” as you say perhaps you could stop calling him things like “window dressing” and “a distraction”. While it may protect your feelings from future disappointment to speak confidently of Clinton as the inevitable nominee it clearly helps her campaign objectives, so…. maybe just try tempering your cynicism just a wee bit unless you are out to help Hillary win the nomination. If you are out to help Hillary then carry on, you’re doing a fine job of tarring and feathering Sanders as a loser on behalf of her campaign.
3.14e-9, November 16, 2015 at 2:53 pm
Bernie’s campaign never in a million years thought he would get this far. In the beginning, it was calculated to draw attention to income inequality, big money in politics, and other issues that likely would get ignored if the coronation went ahead unopposed. Within that context, it would have been very easy for him to promise the few votes he thought he would get to Clinton.
I have a feeling that his campaign is regretting he ever said that as much as we are. He has a huge number of supporters who, like jgordon above, would write in “Dog Turd” before voting for Hillary (although I don’t know why we couldn’t write in Bernie). These people are going to be extremely angry if he throws his support behind her, and they have demonstrated well already that they are very vocal. I’ve commented on NC before that I think there will be hell to pay if and when that happens.
I also suspect that the DNC didn’t make a big fuss about his running as a Democrat because no one there thought he’d get this far, either, and they probably thought he would be useful. For all we know, he agreed to that. And then, suddenly, all the unexpected crowds.
Sanders is the ranking minority member on the Senate Budget Committee, which means he definitely could challenge Clinton on economic issues, and competently. So I agree that something has to be holding him back. Yet another consideration is that he might be keeping the most damaging counts against her until later in the campaign. If he showed his hand now, the Clinton machine would kick into gear overtime, get her off the hook, and drag him down into the mud.
Cassandra, November 16, 2015 at 4:10 pm
No need to think of conspiracies, etc. As you point out, Sanders is a senator. He never expected to get this far. He won’t win the nomination. He has to think of his post-2016 career. If he goes after Clinton hammer and tongs, he will be (more of) a pariah in the Senate, effectively ruining any chance for him to accomplish anything. As he said in the debate, the VA bill wasn’t all he wanted, but it was something. Many think incrementalism is a fool’s game, but I believe Sanders is willing to fight for crumbs.
Lambert Strether, November 16, 2015 at 4:14 pm
I think Sanders did pretty well, especially considering the primaries haven’t started. He pushed Clinton into two horrible responses, at least: (1) 9/11 and Wall Street and (2) Sanders single payer vs. ObamaCare. Both will be gifts that keep on giving. My thought would is that the opportunity cost of spending a lot of time reverse engineering whatever number of dimensions of chess Sanders is playing failing to use the very powerful ammo he gave – both of which are about policy.
RUKidding, November 16, 2015 at 4:17 pm
I’m willing to be wrong about Sanders, and in fact, hope I am. Time will tell. I agree that he’s done better than the odds called for. Willing to listen to him but wish he’d speak up more about HRC’s bs. But he is a politician after all and is playing a long game.
3.14e-9, November 16, 2015 at 6:14 pm
Well, he has to be very careful about that. Clinton’s people immediately jump on the least bit of truth from Sanders as “negative campaigning” and then call up their friends in the MSM to back them up:
Anyway, thanks for being open.
Jim Haygood, November 16, 2015 at 12:10 pm
‘AIG’s largest counter-party was Goldman Sachs.’
Thus, the Federal Reserve’s “Sunday night special” waiver of the 30-day application period for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to become bank holding companies, and to get their sticky mitts (or tentacles, as the case may be) into “free money” at the discount window. News story from 22 Sep 2008:
Having essentially zero consumer deposit-taking business, then or now, these two investment banks resemble ordinary commercial banks like mangy wolves dressed in ill-fitting sheep costumes.
Investment banking is a high-risk, high-reward business with some of the most highly compensated employees in the country. Subsidizing GS and MS with Federal Reserve free money is a rank disgrace. It vexeth me greatly, comrades. But changing it is not even on the menu.
TimmyB, November 16, 2015 at 12:35 pm
What really hasn’t been discussed is Sander’s motivation for breaking up too big to fail financial institutions. Sanders on his website states he wants to break them up because they have too much economic and political power. Sanders says that breaking them up, in and by itself, will provide a benefit.
So when Clinton starts discussing how her plan will be more effective in preventing another financial collapse, she has changed the subject from how breaking up our banks will benefit our democratcy to whether or not breaking them up will prevent another 2008 crisis.
What Sanders needs to do is bring the discussion on breaking up TBTF banks back around to their having too much economic and political power. For example, he could say he wants to break them up because they have too much power and that Clinton want them to continue to hold that power. Clinton has no real response to that claim.
Michael, November 17, 2015 at 11:44 am
Bernie is not running to win. I’m not sure why he is running. If he does not start to hit Hillary then I think it is primarily to keep the left wing of the Democratic Party inside the party instead of seeking a new home elsewhere. The Justice Party is interesting but a third party has no chance unless the Democrats implode.
Honestly I can see the Democrats collapsing before the Republicans. The South and Midwest are just batshit crazy and they’ll stick with the Republicans as long as the evangelicals dominate their culture. Does anyone here know anything about previous “great awakenings” in American culture?
MojaveWolf , November 16, 2015 at 1:01 pm
For all her vomit-inducing disingenuousness about how she would be the toughest on the financial industry as a whole (really, how does she say that with a straight face?), and her basically sounding like a smarter, saner business as usual neocon on the middle east, I thought her worst moment by far was when she tried to describe single payer as “dismantling” Medicare, Medicaid, etc and letting Republican administrations decide who gets health care, and playing up that the ACA as better and more comprehensive. She is not stupid. She is one of the smartest people in politics from a pure short term IQ standpoint. And she has studied and once advocated for single payer so she KNOWS what it does. Think about this for a minute.
Hillary KNOWS single payer EXPANDS on what Medicaid and Medicare provide.
Hillary KNOWS Bernie’s single payer plan would not allow states to opt out, unlike the ACA she is touting, while she was claiming the exact opposite. She knowingly bald-faced lied on national TV & radio (I was driving and listening, not watching) in a way to equal anything Dick Cheney or Mitch McConnell or Newt Gingrich ever did, and she lied about a matter she KNOWS will result in millions of people NOT getting adequate medical care with ripple effects ranging from constant illness and misery to job performance to not seeking treatment until emergency to actual death. People can’t pay 3k or 5k deductibles. We already have news reports of people not going for this reason. We paid the penalty on our taxes last year because the only affordable plans that were actually usable required us to make a 2 hr one way drive (over 90% hwy, this is a long way) to the closest hospital/doctor that was included in it. One of my acquaintances who is covered took a taxi to what was supposedly the only local doctor who took her plan (after calling everyone in town), waited over an hr, and was told that whoever she spoke to on the phone made a mistake and she is not covered, and they have no idea where she should go, plus she’s out the time and a r/t taxi ride. You think Hillary hasn’t studied this and doesn’t know things like this happen? You think she doesn’t know Bernie’s single payer plan (and probably all single payer plans) wouldn’t prevent these sorts of situations?
She KNOWS we could cut out the insurance companies, have free single payer, pay for it by taxing the most well off, and people on the whole would get much better service, with much better outcomes, and without having to freak out if the ambulance took them to a hospital outside of their plan or a visiting specialist at the hospital their plan said go to was outside the plan and billed them five or six figures or what have.
But she clearly doesn’t care. She just cares about people donating money to her campaign and getting elected as a resume stuffer. She doesn’t want to change how things are done more than minor tinkering, even when she KNOWS the changes will make everything better off. She will be the same on climate change, even tho she isn’t stupid and knows both what we are doing now and what she is recommending are leading us to a planet of the jellyfish in the long run and a state of neverending crises and mass extinction in the short and medium run.
(I am not saying she knows the misery her foreign policy position has and will cause because I actually fear she might believe in what she’s saying there; tho whether she believes it or not she clearly intends to continue the same policies that have led us to destabilize the middle east and are starting to destabilize the entire world; the only reason I’m not thinking this is her worst moment is because she was more hinting at than saying things, and I’m less sure of her actual positions)
She is willing to sacrifice millions of lives to get herself elected and continue enriching her already rich family who doesn’t need any more money. She is, basically, a Republican on everything but social issues (yes, these matter, and good for her, tho past cowardly statements on abortion and votes on marriage equality should not be disregarded when compared with her opponents).
i guess people think nothing of this, just as they think nothing of her lies on regulating the financial industry, because they think that sort of flat out lie and distortion is just politics as usual, and more important to be good at lying than good on substance?
And that is why really do need a political revolution. Almost all of the current political class, including the political media, really need to go.
RUKidding, November 16, 2015 at 1:37 pm
AKA, there’s very little difference bet HRC and whomever barking lunatic the GOP coughs up… other than HRC isn’t such a barking lunatic. She’s just mired in pure unfettered greed and imperialistic hubris.
Actually the GOP should be kissing the ground that HRC walks on bc she’s probably the biggest War Hawk in the whole amalgamated group, and she’s way more for BigIns getting their hugely giant sucking cut out of “health” insurance scams than almost any other candidate.
The GOP puts on a dog ‘n pony show constantly wasting time and all taxpayer money on voting against ACA. They do that bc they know their phony baloney bills will never ever pass. The GOP doesn’t want ACA to ever go away bc the politicians are getting rich rich rich off of it as much as the Dems are. They just have to play a Kabuki show to appease their utterly stupid base.
Such a waste of time all of this is. Such a monumental waste of money. ugh.
nothing will change. authoritarian USians like Big Daddy/Mommy too much to let ever let go of this system.
Vatch, November 16, 2015 at 3:33 pm
There are at least two advantages to breaking up the giant banks:
1. If one of the fragments gets into financial trouble, we won’t have to fear a complete economic collapse.
2. Sure, the owners of the banks will continue to own as much as before (and some of their stock might even rise in value). But the CEOs of the big banks will lose influence, because they will suddenly be the bosses of much smaller corporations. Currently, people like Jamie Dimon have far too much power.
Bob Stapp, November 16, 2015 at 2:17 pm
I’m at a complete loss to understand why Dems, the media, and in fact anyone with two brain cells to rub together, can fail to see or acknowledge that HRC is a liar, a crook, and a generally mean-spirited individual who’s only in it for herself and will do and say anything and accept money from anyone as long as it helps her to win.
Sadly, the only difference between Hillary and Obama, is that Barack is a better shape-shifter and, when he lies, he can do so with greater eloquence and charm. Hillary can never manage to completely hide her forked tongue and her poisonous lizard personality.
Our country and, in fact, the entire world is at a crossroads and yet there has never been such a lack of selfless, skilled leadership stepping up to help us get to some version of the common good. Meanwhile, Bernie Saunders and Jeremy Corbyn get pilloried daily for even suggesting that we are all in this together and had better get to fixing things right quick. I guess it’s the fate of truth-tellers.
I plan to attend my state’s caucus and when I say that if we insist on pursuing the political process as we have always done, we are condemning ourselves to disaster. Going out and working for a person, a personality, or a hoped-for savior, is merely repeating the same kind of insanity that has produced the rotten system we have today. Bernie’s right. It’s going to take all of us standing up together, not to get Bernie or anybody else elected, but for what we know is right. And we’d better do it soon. Then, when I’m shut down by the party operatives, I’ll go home and continue to watch the slow-motion train-wreck.
Lambert Strether, November 16, 2015 at 3:21 pm
“It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘bank’ is.”
cassandra, November 16, 2015 at 7:11 pm
After Obama’s behavior, and the documentation of Gilens & Page, can anyone believe that campaign speeches have anything to do with post-electoral policies? The nomination process is beyond dysfunctional: everyone knows Hillarity’s positions are synthetic, yet she successfully campaigns with the grossest political impunity and she is taken seriously enough for analysis. I don’t understand why. The only political power remaining to democracy is resistance, either by voting for a third party, or else by total abstinence. I personally prefer the former, as it’s a bit harder to sweep under the media carpet. This keeps me outside the grasp of helplessness.
Telee, November 16, 2015 at 7:38 pm
The refusal of HRC to be for reinstating Glass-Steagall to separate investment banks and commercial banks is a sure sign that she will be a lap dog for the fraudsters on Wall Street. More of the same or worse.
Another point. My readings has lead me to believe that she played a large role in the destabilization o Libya. In her 11 hours before the Benghazi committee she was never asked why she was so hell-bent for a military solution when there were negotiations which would have led to a more peaceful solution.
1 kings, November 16, 2015 at 9:39 pm
“We came, we saw, he died”. HRC
aliteralmind, November 16, 2015 at 10:21 pm
Family Guy *exactly* predicted Hillary’s 9/11 tragedy-distraction strategy way back in 2008: Life imitating art: http://youtu.be/Rm3d43HLyTI
“Any candidate who supports a safe no-fly zone in Syria, must admit that US/Coalition ground/air troops are need to enforce [it]
Last month, US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard went on CNN and laid bare Washington’s Syria strategy.In a remarkably candid interview with Wolf Blitzer, Gabbard calls Washington’s effort to oust Assad “counterproductive” and “illegal” before taking it a step further and accusing the CIA of arming the very same terrorists who The White House insists are “sworn enemies.”
In short, Gabbard all but tells the American public that the government is lying to them and may end up inadvertently starting “World War III.”
For those who missed it, here’s the clip:
“The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them.Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”
People are discouraged and disillusioned after almost thirty years of distorted governance, specially in the aftermath of the ‘Hope and Change’ which quickly became ‘Vain Hope for Change.’ Most cannot admit that their guys were in the pockets of Big Defense, Big Pharma, Big Energy, and Wall Street.The real question about Hillary comes down to this. Can you trust her to do what she says she will do, the right things for her putative constituents and not her big money donors and paymasters, once she takes office?
Or will that poor family who left the White House ‘broke’ and then mysteriously obtained a fortune of over $100 million in the following years, thanks to enormous payments for ‘speeches’ from large financial firms and huge donations to their Trust once again take care of the hand that pays them the most?
This is not to say that there is a better alternative amongst the leading Republican candidates, who have been and are still under the same types of payment arrangements, only with different people signing the checks.
Or we could skip the middlemen entirely and just directly elect one of New York’s most prominent of their narcissist class directly, instead of another witless stooge of big money, and hope for something different? And how will that likely work out for us?It is an exceptionally hard time to be a human being in this great nation of ours.
And so what ought we to do? Wallow in cynicism and the sweet sickness of misanthropy and despair? Vote strictly on the hope of our own narrow self-interest no matter the broader and longer term consequences, and then face the inevitable blowback from injustice and repression?
Give up on our grandchildren and children because we are too tired and interested in our own short term comfort? Too filled with selfishness, anger and hate to see straight, and do anything but turn ourselves into mindless animals to escape the pain of being truly human? Do no thinking, and just follow orders? This latter impulse has taken whole nations of desperate people into the abyss.
Or do we stop wallowing in our specialness and self-pity, and ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’ and confront what virtually every generation and every individual has had to wrestle with since the beginning of recorded time?
Do we fall, finally stricken with grief in our blindness, on the road to Damascus and say at long last, ‘Lord, what then wilt thou have me to do?’
This is the question that circumstance is posing to us. And hopefully we will we heed the answer that has been already given, to be ‘steadfast, unshaken, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in Him our labor is not in vain.’
And the touchstone of the alloy of our actions is love.
And so we have before us what Franklin Roosevelt so aptly characterized as our own ‘rendezvous with destiny.’
Wall Street Is Running the World’s Central Banks
Wall Street’s Favorite Presidential Candidates
In Europe Sanders would center left, very moderate figure…
“… This has led to some debate over what, exactly, a democratic socialist actually is, and whether one can accurately or usefully call the man any kind of socialist at all, given that his views actually line up quite well with those of many fairly mainstream members of the American left. …”
“… In short, Sanders believes in a basic market economy with a large welfare state and a healthy amount of regulation. He would like a $15 minimum wage. He would like free tuition at public colleges. He would like the wealthy and corporations to pay more taxes. He would like single-payer health care. …”
“… “When I use the word socialist, and I know some people are uncomfortable with it, I say it is imperative that we create a political revolution, that we get millions of people involved in the political process, and we create a government that works for the many, not the few,” he said during a question-and-answer session. It’s a lot easier to talk about revolution and distinguish yourself in the eyes of voters when you’re willing to rhetorically signify a hard break with the rules and mores of mainstream American politicking. And, given the way so many Democrats have responded, it’s turned out to be surprisingly good branding. Strictly apt or not, calling himself a socialist might have been one of Sanders’s smartest moves. …”
Calling Himself a Socialist Was One of Bernie Sanders’ Smartest Moves
Bernie Sanders famously likes to refer to himself a “democratic socialist.” Not content to label his views as merely liberal or progressive, the presidential candidate reaches all the way for the s-word, which has been basically verboten in post-World War II American national politics. This has led to some debate over what, exactly, a “democratic socialist” actually is, and whether one can accurately or usefully call the man any kind of socialist at all, given that his views actually line up quite well with those of many fairly mainstream members of the American left. The discussion has even sucked in the prime minister of Denmark, which Sanders has held up as a possible model for the United States. (Denmark, the prime minister would like us to know, is “far from a socialist planned economy.”)
So today, during at speech at Georgetown University, Sanders defined his terms. His talk didn’t contain any huge surprises. “I don’t believe government should take over the grocery store down the street or own the means of production,” he said, thus disavowing the strict Marxist definition of socialism with a dose of grandfatherly humor. “But I do believe that the middle class and the working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a decent standard of living and that their incomes should go up, not down. I do believe in private companies that thrive and invest and grow in America, companies that create jobs here, rather than companies that are shutting down in America and increasing their profits by exploiting low-wage labor abroad.”
In short, Sanders believes in a basic market economy with a large welfare state and a healthy amount of regulation. He would like a $15 minimum wage. He would like free tuition at public colleges. He would like the wealthy and corporations to pay more taxes. He would like single-payer health care.
… … …
“When I use the word socialist, and I know some people are uncomfortable with it, I say it is imperative that we create a political revolution, that we get millions of people involved in the political process, and we create a government that works for the many, not the few,” he said during a question-and-answer session. It’s a lot easier to talk about “revolution” and distinguish yourself in the eyes of voters when you’re willing to rhetorically signify a hard break with the rules and mores of mainstream American politicking. And, given the way so many Democrats have responded, it’s turned out to be surprisingly good branding. Strictly apt or not, calling himself a socialist might have been one of Sanders’s smartest moves.
Jordan Weissmann is Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
The failed Libyan policy was one of the key sources of hundred of thousand refugees in Europe now. As well as Syrian events (where all this hired for overthrowing Gaddafi fighters went next)
“… a proper tally of the ideological culprits who have never been held to account should make special reference to Hillary Clintons actions in Libya …”
“… Specifically, her misstatements ought to have been corrected along these lines: Gaddafi didnt have more blood on his hands of Americans than anybody else, unless you discount the Saudi support for Al Qaeda. He did not threaten genocide, no matter how slack your definition of genocide. He threatened to kill the rebels in Benghazi; the threat was dismissed by US army intelligence as improbable and poorly sourced. But Hillary Clinton overrode US intelligence, outmaneuvered the Pentagon (the secretary of defense, Robert Gates, had opposed the NATO bombing unreservedly), mobilized liberal-humanitarian and conservative pro-war opinion in the media, and talked Obama into committing the US to effect regime change in a third Middle East country. …”
“… Gaddafi was not deposed. He was tortured and murdered, very likely by Islamists allied with NATO forces. The radical elements that are causing a lot of turmoil and trouble in this arc of instability are, in fact, Islamists whom Clinton picked as allies in the region, and she has pressed to supply them with arms in Syria as well as Libya. She really rates mention as an American mover of the instability in the region second only to Bush and Cheney. …”
“… Hillary says she made a mistake on the Bush era Iraq invasion vote. She did not make a mistake she engaged in an deliberate act of political expediency and cowardice. Everyone with a brain knew Bush was cooking up the Iraq invasion based on nothing. She knew but took the political choice not an intelligent one. …”
“… She has been a failure at just about every position she has held. She was fired from Watergate. A miserable failure leading healthcare reform (in the 90s- for those of you millienials that missed it). She did nothing as a Senator, having her eyes on the oval office. …”
“… Dickerson to Clinton: “Let me ask you. So, Libya is a country in which ISIS has taken hold in part, because of chaos after Muammar Gaddafi. That was an operation you championed. President Obama says this is the lesson he took from that operation. In an interview he said, the lesson was, do we have an answer for the day after? Wasn’t that supposed to be one of the lessons that we learned after the Iraq war? And how did you get it wrong with Libya if the key lesson of the Iraq war is to have a plan for after?” …”
“… A day after assuming office as secretary of state, Clinton signed a Sensitive Compartmented Information Nondisclosure Agreement that laid out criminal penalties for “any unauthorized disclosure” of classified information. …”
“… She is either lying or totally incompetent to perform any job in the United States Government. …”
“… This article spotlights the failed Libyan policy which will gain importance as violence is exported beyond Syria and Mali and millions more refugees are created. …”
“… Sanders or bust. No neolibs, no Dinos for me. This is not a Ralph Nader situation. I simply will not support any more fake Democrats. Bill neolibbed us. Obama neolibbed us. Hillary did and will neolib us. …”
“… The Empire lies through its teeth, we all know that. The Colonel had actually been cleaning up his act to the point he was getting cautious praise from Washington …”
Some of the better-informed commentators on the recent terrorist attacks by ISIS have noticed the reassertion of the 2002-2003 understanding of the Middle East: that all-out war is the only sensible policy and Israel is our most faithful ally in the region. It is an opportunist line, and it is being pushed hardest by opportunists on the far right. But a proper tally of the ideological culprits who have never been held to account should make special reference to Hillary Clinton’s actions in Libya. In the Democratic debate on November 14, Clinton got away with saying this unchallenged:
CLINTON: Well, we did have a plan, and I think it’s fair to say that of all of the Arab leaders, Gaddafi probably had more blood on his hands of Americans than anybody else. And when he moved on his own people, threatening a massacre, genocide, the Europeans and the Arabs, our allies and partners, did ask for American help and we provided it. And we didn’t put a single boot on the ground, and Gaddafi was deposed. The Libyans turned out for one of the most successful, fairest elections that any Arab country has had. They elected moderate leaders. Now, there has been a lot of turmoil and trouble as they have tried to deal with these radical elements which you find in this arc of instability, from north Africa to Afghanistan. And it is imperative that we do more not only to help our friends and partners protect themselves and protect our own homeland, but also to work to try to deal with this arc of instability, which does have a lot of impact on what happens in a country like Libya.
In response, Martin O’Malley said that Libya was “a mess” and Bernie Sanders said that Iraq had produced half a million PTSD casualties among Americans who served there. Neither showed the slightest indication of having mastered what happened in Libya: the centrality of Clinton’s influence in the catastrophic decision to overthrow the government, and the proven consequences — civil war in Libya itself and the opening of an Islamist pipeline from Libya to Syria and beyond.
Specifically, her misstatements ought to have been corrected along these lines: Gaddafi didn’t have “more blood on his hands of Americans than anybody else,” unless you discount the Saudi support for Al Qaeda. He did not threaten “genocide,” no matter how slack your definition of genocide. He threatened to kill the rebels in Benghazi; the threat was dismissed by US army intelligence as improbable and poorly sourced. But Hillary Clinton overrode US intelligence, outmaneuvered the Pentagon (the secretary of defense, Robert Gates, had opposed the NATO bombing unreservedly), mobilized liberal-humanitarian and conservative pro-war opinion in the media, and talked Obama into committing the US to effect regime change in a third Middle East country.
Gaddafi was not “deposed.” He was tortured and murdered, very likely by Islamists allied with NATO forces. The “radical elements” that are causing “a lot of turmoil and trouble” in “this arc of instability” are, in fact, Islamists whom Clinton picked as allies in the region, and she has pressed to supply them with arms in Syria as well as Libya. She really rates mention as an American mover of the “instability” in the region second only to Bush and Cheney.
… … …
David Bromwich is a Professor of Literature, Yale University
Mike Rodriguez · Jacksonville, Florida
Hillary no. Sanders yes. The US political establishment of both parties no.
Lybia is the least of these “mistakes” . Bush and Obama and Congress never had a clue what they were doing in the Middle East. We are paying a price for a weak and spiritless political system characterized by voter apathy and ignorance.
Hillary? Why is she running? Why are the Republicans all running? Man alive we have got little or nothing really. But one of these is going to win no matter how small the voter turnout.
Hillary says she made a “mistake” on the Bush era Iraq invasion vote. She did not make a mistake she engaged in an deliberate act of political expediency and cowardice. Everyone with a brain knew Bush was cooking up the Iraq invasion based on nothing. She knew but took the political choice not an intelligent one.
Goethe Gunther · Las Cruces, New Mexico
Thank you for this piece. Hillary Clinton and Richard Perle drink from the same neo-con/neo-liberal global political well. I CAN NOT vote for this person. Gaddafi was murdered as a matter of personal vendetta to avoid exposing allege monies he offered Sarkozy’s campaign, amongst other issues that will take too much space to elucidate.
But Obama and Hillary, because of their actions in Libya, made the world a more dangerous place.
And herer is Hillary on the brutal murder of Gadaffi: https://youtu.be/mlz3-OzcExI
Gero Lubovnik · Belarus Polyteknik University
How does Hillary continually escape the truth and proper vetting? She has been a failure at just about every position she has held. She was fired from Watergate. A miserable failure leading healthcare reform (in the 90’s- for those of you millienials that missed it). She did nothing as a Senator, having her eyes on the oval office. Libya and the rest of the middle east, her “Reset Button” with Russia (how’s that workin’ out?) who blitzkreiged Crimea and screwed Ukraine entirely, working toward parity of trade with China (who is building a military base in the South China Sea). Abject failure. And then one has to wonder how she and Bill amassed a personal fortune, providing no goods or products, nor services of meaningful value? [Answer: Clinton Foundation money laundering machine- where magic happens in past, present and future quid pro quo]?
AND YOU WANT TO CORONATE HER AS PRESIDENT [EMPRESS], completel with pen and phone??? And then you wonder why America is becoming a second or third world nation.
Charles Hill · Clifton High School
This was a HUGE error. Gaddafi used to say “the West would never overthrow him because they did not want a Somalia on the Mediterranean coast”. I guess Hillary and Obama did.
And you can not blame this on Bush. Bush got Gaddafi to give up his WMD and Gaddafi was causing no trouble. He was only fighting the Islamists inside his country that Hillary and Obama decided to support. Now ISIS is running things there.
Brian Donahue · New York, New York
The US has a habit of destabilizing these countries (Iraq and Libya). Chaos results. Hillary will be very dangerous as president. She is too quick to use force with no end strategy at all.
Clarc King · Bronx, New York
A fair representation of the reality of American foreign policy taken over by the satanic, elitist, neoliberal mob. Libya, once an ally and most progressive state in Africa, was destroyed and is now governed, if you can call it that, by a CIA asset. No wonder people resist American Regime Change. Hillary, a warmonger for Imperialism, cannot possibly be considered for the US presidency. The US citizenry must act quickly and form a new presidential platform.
Linda LaRoque · Odessa College
If you’re under 50 you really need to read this. If you’re over 50, you lived through it, so share it with those under 50.
Amazing to me how much I had forgotten! When Bill Clinton was president, he allowed Hillary to assume authority over a health care reform. Even after threats and intimidation, she couldn’t even get a vote in a democratic controlled congress. This fiasco cost the American taxpayers about $13 million in cost for studies, promotion, and other efforts.
Then President Clinton gave Hillary authority over selecting a female attorney general. Her first two selections were Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood – both were forced to withdraw their names from consideration.
Next she chose Janet Reno – husband Bill described her selection as “my worst mistake.” Some may not remember that Reno made the decision to gas David Koresh and the Branch Davidian religious sect in Waco , Texas resulting in dozens of deaths of women and children.
Husband Bill allowed Hillary to make recommendations for the head of the Civil Rights Commission. Lani Guanier was her selection. When a little probing led to the discovery of Ms. Guanier’s radical views, her name had to be withdrawn from consideration.
Apparently a slow learner, husband Bill allowed Hillary to make some more recommendations. She chose former law partners Web Hubbel for the Justice Department, Vince Foster for the White House staff, and William Kennedy for the Treasury Department.
Her selections went well: Hubbel went to prison, Foster (presumably) committed suicide, and Kennedy was forced to resign.
Many younger votes will have no knowledge of “Travelgate.” Hillary wanted to award unfettered travel contracts to Clinton friend Harry Thompson – and the White House Travel Office refused to comply. She managed to have them reported to the FBI and fired. This ruined their reputations, cost them their jobs, and caused a thirty-six month investigation. Only one employee, Billy Dale was charged with a crime, and that of the enormous crime of mixing personal and White House funds. A jury acquitted him of any crime in less than two hours.
Still not convinced of her ineptness, Hillary was allowed to recommend a close Clinton friend, Craig Livingstone, for the position of Director of White House security. When Livingstone was investigated for the improper access of about 900 FBI files of Clinton enemies (Filegate) and the widespread use of drugs by White House staff, suddenly Hillary and the president denied even knowing Livingstone, and of course, denied knowledge of drug use in the White House.
Following this debacle, the FBI closed its White House Liaison Office after more than thirty years of service to seven presidents.
Next, when women started coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment and rape by Bill Clinton, Hillary was put in charge of the “bimbo eruption” and scandal defense. Some of her more notable decisions in the debacle were:
- She urged her husband not to settle the Paula Jones lawsuit. After the Starr investigation they settled with Ms. Jones.
- She refused to release the Whitewater documents, which led to the appointment of Ken Starr as Special Prosecutor. After $80 million dollars of taxpayer money was spent, Starr’s investigation led to Monica Lewinsky, which led to Bill lying about and later admitting his affairs. Hillary’s devious game plan resulted in Bill losing his license to practice law for ‘lying under oath’ to a grand jury and then his subsequent impeachment by the House of Representatives. Hillary avoided indictment for perjury and obstruction of justice during the Starr investigation by repeating, “I do not recall,” “I have no recollection,” and “I don’t know” a total of 56 times while under oath.
- After leaving the White House, Hillary was forced to return an estimated $200,000 in White House furniture, china, and artwork that she had stolen.
Now we are exposed to the destruction of possibly incriminating emails while Hillary was Secretary of State and the “pay to play” schemes of the Clinton Foundation – we have no idea what shoe will fall next.
#DonaldTrumpForPresident #StandUpForTrump #donaldjtrump.com
Martin Gill · Cabrillo College
That’s all well and good, and probably all true and then some, but the candidates running against her, even with all their clearance for viewing information, have NO IDEA what Clinton and her State Depertment were doing then. Only she and MAYBE Obama does. It has become clear that the State Department was running rogue, just like the IRS and the AG’s office were.
Terry Lee · Telgar
The State Department was running rogue?! Only she and MAYBE Obama knows what was going on? It seems that you know what was going on, too. LOL!
The country is waking up.
Question put to HRC during the debate.
Dickerson to Clinton: “Let me ask you. So, Libya is a country in which ISIS has taken hold in part, because of chaos after Muammar Gaddafi. That was an operation you championed. President Obama says this is the lesson he took from that operation. In an interview he said, the lesson was, do we have an answer for the day after? Wasn’t that supposed to be one of the lessons that we learned after the Iraq war? And how did you get it wrong with Libya if the key lesson of the Iraq war is to have a plan for after?”
Leslie Ware · Preston High School
Just a few reasons to take Clinton to trial:
1.Under 18 USC 793 subsection F, the information does not have to be classified to count as a violation. The intelligence source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity citing the sensitivity of the ongoing probe, said the subsection requires the “lawful possession” of national defense information by a security clearance holder who “through gross negligence,” such as the use of an unsecure computer network, permits the material to be removed or abstracted from its proper, secure location.
Subsection F also requires the clearance holder “to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer. “A failure to do so “shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”
The source said investigators are also focused on possible obstruction of justice. “If someone knows there is an ongoing investigation and takes action to impede an investigation, for example destruction of documents or threatening of witnesses, that could be a separate charge but still remain under a single case,” the source said. Currently, the ongoing investigation is led by the Washington Field Office of the FBI.
2. A day after assuming office as secretary of state, Clinton signed a Sensitive Compartmented Information Nondisclosure Agreement that laid out criminal penalties for “any unauthorized disclosure” of classified information. … “I have been advised that the unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or negligent handling of SCI by me could cause irreparable injury to the United States or be used to advantage by a foreign nation,” the agreement states.
Moreover, the agreement covers information of lesser sensitivity. (“In addition to her SCI agreement, Clinton signed a separate NDA for all other classified information. It contains similar language, including prohibiting ‘negligent handling of classified information,’ requiring her to ascertain whether information is classified and laying out criminal penalties.”) Well, that is awkward, as the FBI continues its investigation into potential negligent handling of classified information.
3. 18 U.S. Code § 1001
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully-
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both. If the matter relates to an offense under chapter 109A, 109B, 110, or 117, or section 1591, then the term of imprisonment imposed under this section shall be not more than 8 years.
(b) Subsection (a) does not apply to a party to a judicial proceeding, or that party’s counsel, for statements, representations, writings or documents submitted by such party or counsel to a judge or magistrate in that proceeding.
(c) With respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, subsection (a) shall apply only to-
(1) administrative matters, including a claim for payment, a matter related to the procurement of property or services, personnel or employment practices, or support services, or a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch; or
(2) any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate.
Its time to escalate this investigation and show the Country how unethical and criminal this pretender to the presidency really is.
Clinton also should be totally disqualified from a Security Clearance, simply because of her previous behavior and nonchalant lack of safeguarding of classified information. All the while saying she did not recognize the information was CLASSIFIED. She is either lying or totally incompetent to perform any job in the United States Government.
Clinton for Trial 2016.
OK, we get it. You don’t like HRC.
The rest of this is a crock. There’s simply no evidence that HRC Actually did any of the dire things you are claiming in your long and tiresome post. Virtually all of the classified information was classified by the State Department or CIA AFTER it was received and sent by HRC. As a result, your allegations do not hold water. Certainly much different from outing a CIA agent for political purposes, as was done during the previous administration.
David Auner · Springfield, Missouri
This article spotlights the failed Libyan policy which will gain importance as violence is exported beyond Syria and Mali and millions more refugees are created. The point about repubs being sharper is just wrong – they have honed absurd talking points with Luntz while wasting tax dollars on Benghazi. O’Malley’s mess comment was adequate – debate prep can not prepare for every oddly crafted rewrite of history. Rebutting Clinton’s narrative would involve hours of pointing out the failures of State’s and Obama’s narratives in most of their tenure. Sanders knows more than what this article has put forward but a vigorous debate would touch on classified information about the CIA station in Benghazi and their disastrous activities – which candidates must avoid for now. Debates fail easily – the author of this article fails with adequate time for a deeper analysis.
Elvin B. Ross · University of Idaho
Sanders or bust. No neolibs, no Dinos for me. This is not a Ralph Nader situation. I simply will not support any more fake Democrats. Bill neolibbed us. Obama neolibbed us. Hillary did and will neolib us.
Paul Mountain · Works at Love_Unlimited
US politicians aren’t paid to think, they’re paid to follow the leader, and when it comes to Middle Eastern policy that’s Israel, the Bible, and the Congressional Military Industrial Complex.
Michael Rinella · Works at State University of New York Press
The Empire lies through its teeth, we all know that. The Colonel had actually been cleaning up his act to the point he was getting cautious praise from Washington – and then when globalization destablized his economy (foreign workers in eastern Libya taking jobs from the locals) they fell over themselves to put a knife in his back.
James Charles O’Donnell III
Why is the institutional American left so frantic to nominate Sec. Clinton, the candidate who is A) unquestionably THE LEAST PROGRESSIVE choice; and B) by far THE LEAST VIABLE contender in a general election, with a cornucopia of baggage, not all of which is imaginary?
Hillary Clinton has managed DECADES of poor polling, with consistently high negative favorability ratings, especially among independents — and a huge “trustability” problem. That “dodging sniper fire” fabrication she repeatedly told ON VIDEO will probably be exploited in the general election to cement the American people’s (accurate) perception that Ms. Clinton is dishonest, and that will sink her electoral chances for good — and the LEFT, too, unfortunately (so much for those SCOTUS seats!).
With Bernie Sanders, AN ACTUAL PROGRESSIVE, looking for all the world like a national winner, inspiring record-breaking crowds and grass-roots donations, the liberal establishment is bizarrely (corruptly) pushing for the coronation of the ONLY Democrat who could possibly lose in 2016 — and the one who, on policy, is an open neoconservative war hawk and Wall Street champion, a career enemy of the 99%… UNBELIEVABLE.
“… Faux and fiends are practicing extreme ODS, rolling out unnamed militarists claim that insufficient collateral damage caused the Paris assault and more trillions redoing Vietnam will assuage our fear of terrists. …”
“… Fearmongering [for more trillion to dust up the sand boxes] is the egg or is ODS the egg? Obama Derangement Syndrome [ODS]. …”
“… All politics is local and when Faux and Fiends can get the neocon, Christian, KKK members in the dank, impoverished, hollers of East Tn to see themselves as Francophiles… Who knows they may begin asking for french fries instead of freedom fries…….. …”
“… Bubbles is the new inflation, the product of government overreach when it comes to macro policy. Fiscal policy is sugar and monetary policy is opium. …”
November 16, 2015
By Paul Krugman
Greg Sargent * mocks pundits declaring that the attacks in Paris will finally convince Republican primary voters that they need to get serious, and deflate the Trump/Carson bubble. This time it will really happen!
As Sargent says, these pundits have been wrong again and again – and with holidays coming up and then the start of actual voting, there isn’t much time for bubble-deflation left. But there’s more.
For one thing, who exactly are the serious candidates on national security? Jeb! who thinks that a relative handful of terrorists can destroy the West, one rock concert at a time? Rubio, who mumbled something about a clash of civilizations?
For another, pretty much the same people claiming that it’s time to get serious are attacking Democrats for … not using the right catchphrases, out of petty concerns like trying not to insult a whole religion. Say it loud and proud: radicalIslamradicalIslamradicalIslam. See? Terrorism defeated.
Finally, remember how we got serious after 9/11?
Given what we’ve seen in the past, this might even favor Trump, who can yell “You’re fired!” at the terrorists, or Carson, who might be able to defeat them with the help of Klingon Jesus. **
(A reminder of how knowledgable Bush and Rubio are about foreign policy – remember Chang, the mystic warrior? *** )
November 17, 2015
The Farce Is Strong In This One
By Paul Krugman
And that one, and that one, and, well, across the board.
It took no time at all for the right-wing response to the Paris attacks to turn into a vile caricature that has me feeling nostalgic for the restraint and statesmanship of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.
Marco Rubio * says that we have to denounce radical Islam – as opposed to jihadists – because of Hitler; after all, making Islam the rhetorical equivalent of Nazism is just the right thing to win support from the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims.
Niall Ferguson ** says that a terrorist attack on a couple of sites in a huge modern metropolis by a small number of gunmen is just likethe sack of Rome by the Goths.
Hugh Hewitt *** thinks that taking an Obama remark totally out of context will convince anyone except the right-wing base that the man who hunted down Osama bin Laden has been an anti-American terrorist sympathizer all along.
I’ve deliberately selected people who are sometimes portrayed as moderate, smart, or both. This is what the reasonable wing of the modern right looks like.
pgl said in reply to anne…
Fox and Friends was on a crusade this morning suggesting we are not letting Syrian Christians into this nation. Let’s see – they count 2128 Syrian refugees let in so far but only 43 of them are Christians. Let’s for a moment assume they did not lie about these numbers. Only 2% of the refugees are Christians? Shocking how that socialist Muslim President treats Christians isn’t it?
But wait – what percentage of Syrians are Christian in the 1st place. Fox and Friends never said. One source says 10% and they are not likely living in the regions where ISIS is attacking right now.
Fox and Friends – “fair and balanced” dishonesty designed to scare the crap out of poor Christians!
ilsm said in reply to pgl…
Chicken nation voice box on Faux and Fiends…….
Faux and fiends are practicing extreme ODS, rolling out unnamed militarists’ claim that insufficient collateral damage caused the Paris assault and more trillions redoing Vietnam will assuage our fear of terrists.
Fearmongering [for more trillion to dust up the sand boxes] is the egg or is ODS the egg? Obama Derangement Syndrome [ODS].
EMichael said in reply to ilsm…
No, it is just politics.
“I’ve known Bob Rumson for years, and I’ve been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn’t get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob’s problem isn’t that he doesn’t get it. Bob’s problem is that he can’t sell it! We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.”
Course, it is a lot easier if “who’s to blame for it” is a black guy.
Or a woman….
Or an old Jewish guy……..
Course, sometimes you can do it to a white gentile guy that actually fought for his country. But that is an awful lot harder…
ilsm said in reply to EMichael…
All politics is local and when Faux and Fiends can get the neocon, Christian, KKK members in the dank, impoverished, hollers of East Tn to see themselves as Francophiles… Who knows they may begin asking for french fries instead of freedom fries……..
Bud Meyers said…VOX reports: “Following a mass layoff, applications for disability insurance increase as well, particularly for workers over 55 years old. This finding is driven by a larger response to mass layoffs during the Great Recession. Our results show that this effect can explain five percent of the change in the labor force following a mass layoff.”
First of all, “applications” for disability insurance shouldn’t be confused with actual “awards” – and applications ALWAYS increase during recessions – but even so, both application and awards have been in decline.
Second, the LFPR (labor force participation rate) is higher for those 55-and-older than for prime-age people (25-to-54), because older workers are working longer and a great many younger people can’t find employment after high school and college.
VOX mentions early retirements, but doesn’t note that most are forced (taken at age 62 because most of those laid off during the recession were never rehired.)
Also, those with less education tend to work in labor intensive jobs, so after 30 years or longer, it’s only natural that older workers (if they are laid off) would apply for disability – because employers tend to discriminate against hiring older workers, especially if they are unemployed (I know from personal experience).
It should also be noted, that those with a border-line disability, may have continued to work if they were not laid off and never re-employed again. But long-term unemployment can exacerbate someone’s physical condition, and leave them no other choice but apply for SSDI benefits.
But even then, after someone applies, they are usually denied. Only about one third of all claims are eventually approved, and most, after going through a long appeal process – and sometimes can take up to 3 years or longer. (I know from personal experience).
All in all, I’m tired of hearing that those on disability and retirees are the main culprits for the declining LFPR — it’s simply not true. It’s for a lack of jobs (Or pink squirrels).
Disability data from SSA…
LFPR 25-to-54 and LFPR 55-and-older
Paine said in reply to EMichael…
We’ve lived in an era of asset markets out performing product markets since the early 80’s
Macro nautics run principally thru Credit policy combined with a high target rate of optimal unemployment
..with one semi exception …
Blew lots of bubbles while keeping median wage rates subdued
Are u suggesting we have we arrived at a new macro policy paradigm
and what is it
EMichael said in reply to Paine …
I don’t know a banker that wants customers that make low incomes.
Just because asset markets have out performed product markets does not mean it happened because of stagnating wages.
You’ve got two correlations and are trying to make it a strategy.
Better to look and see why product markets have under performed.
Peter K. said in reply to EMichael…
Bubbles is the new inflation, the product of government overreach when it comes to macro policy. Fiscal policy is sugar and monetary policy is opium.
But after years of crying wolf about inflation they’ve shamelessly switched to crying about bubbles.
They want to prevent bubbles? Fine, increase regulations on leverage etc and institute financial transaction taxes, lot taxes, etc.
There are ways to fight bubbles – most obviously calling them out with data as Dean Baker discusses and Alan Greenspan failed to do – which don’t involve throwing the economy into recession.
Paine said in reply to Peter K….
I agree asset bubble watch is the new mania of affluent arm chair chicken littles
Paine said in reply to Paine …
The meager results of QE have some how generated this new phobia
“The fed is about blowing asset price bubbles. And such bubbles are bad bad bad ”
The usual poppycock moved into a new can
Peter K. said…
Sacco and Vanzetti on central bank accountability.
What accountability? Larry Summers:
“U.S. output is now about 10 percent below a trend estimated through 2007. If one attributes even half of this figure to the effects of recession and assumes no catch up on this component until 2030, the cost of the financial crisis in the U.S. is about one year’s gross domestic product. And matters are worse in the rest of the industrial world.”
“… “Let me have one area of disagreement with the secretary… I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq – something that I strongly opposed – has unraveled the region completely and led to the rise of Al Qaeda and ISIS.” …”
“… Mr. O’Malley, meanwhile, painted a dark portrait of Middle East policy under the Obama administration, in which Mrs. Clinton spent four years as secretary of state. “Libya is a mess. Syria is a mess. Iraq is a mess. Afghanistan is a mess,” …”
“… “Why over her political career has Wall Street been the major campaign contributor to Hillary Clinton? Now maybe they’re dumb and they don’t know what they’re going to get, but I don’t think so.” …”
“… “We need to be much more far-thinking in this new 21st-century era of nation-state failures and conflict,” he said. “It’s not just about getting rid of a single dictator.” …”
“… “Secretary Clinton, you’ve been on three sides of this,” he said. “When you ran in 2000, you said that we needed federal robust regulations. Then, in 2008, you were portraying yourself as Annie Oakley and saying that we don’t need those regulations on the federal level. And now you come back around here.” …”
Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had set out to use the second Democratic presidential debate to portray herself as the strongest potential commander in chief while France reeled from terror attacks, instead found herself pummeled by rivals on Saturday over her ties to Wall Street and her foreign policy record.
… … …
…Mr. Sanders and Mr. O’Malley unleashed pointed, yet polite, critiques of Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy stances, including her 2002 vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq, which Mr. Sanders tied to the rise of the Islamic State, which officials in Paris have said was responsible for the attacks.
“Let me have one area of disagreement with the secretary… I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq – something that I strongly opposed – has unraveled the region completely and led to the rise of Al Qaeda and ISIS.”
Mr. O’Malley, meanwhile, painted a dark portrait of Middle East policy under the Obama administration, in which Mrs. Clinton spent four years as secretary of state. “Libya is a mess. Syria is a mess. Iraq is a mess. Afghanistan is a mess,” he said.
… … …
“Let’s not be naïve about it,” an increasingly animated Mr. Sanders said. “Why over her political career has Wall Street been the major campaign contributor to Hillary Clinton? Now maybe they’re dumb and they don’t know what they’re going to get, but I don’t think so.”
… … …
Mr. O’Malley … assailed Mrs. Clinton’s push to intervene in Libya. “We need to be much more far-thinking in this new 21st-century era of nation-state failures and conflict,” he said. “It’s not just about getting rid of a single dictator.”
… … …
Mr. O’Malley sought to portray Mrs. Clinton as a flip-flopper on gun control. “Secretary Clinton, you’ve been on three sides of this,” he said. “When you ran in 2000, you said that we needed federal robust regulations. Then, in 2008, you were portraying yourself as Annie Oakley and saying that we don’t need those regulations on the federal level. And now you come back around here.”
Carolinian November 13, 2015 at 3:43 pm
No head scratching is needed. HRC was always going to win the nomination barring some medical or legal disaster. The truth is that she and the Democratic Party are made for each other plus–need one point out?–Sanders isn’t even a Democrat. The notion that he would prevail out of sheer reasonableness was always a fantasy.
Of course there is a vast body of disaffected people wanting change but they don’t have a place at the table under the current system. If Sanders isn’t going to attack Hillary, or the Democratic party, then how exactly is he going to succeed? They are the ones standing in the way.
Hate to be the doom and gloomer but that’s how it’s looking.
Carla November 13, 2015 at 8:43 pm
…vast body of people wanting change but they don’t have a place at the table…
that’s not a bug, it’s a baked-in feature of the two-party system and American politics.
“… How about the French Revolution? OK, not necessarily the pitchforks and guillotines, but a period of increase civil disobedience and crime like our own Great Depression. When a lot of pissed off people band together then they do not always make the best decisions, but they do make change. …”
“… What we have with Bernie, and really with Trump and Ben Carson, is a hero for an angry electorate that really has not gotten to the point that it is really ready to get up off the couch yet. They still want someone else to fix it for them and they are not very good at talking among themselves and finding consensus yet. …”
“… “most condemned what they called “crony capitalism,” by which they mean big corporations getting sweetheart deals from the government because of lobbying and campaign contributions. …”
“… Most of the people I met in America’s heartland want big money out of politics, and think the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision was shameful. Most are also dead-set against the Trans Pacific Partnership. …”
“… Question is, why wont pgl and his gaggle of group thinkers ever criticize Obama, Reid an Pelosi for constantly pandering to corporate interests and ignoring the will of the voters? …”
RC AKA Darryl, Ron said…
The Regime Change Problem in American Politics”…In the case of macroeconomics, fortunately, we had models that allowed us to make reasonably good predictions about how the regime would shift at the ZLB. If there’s anything comparable in political science, I don’t know about it (but would be happy to be enlightened.)…”
[How about the French Revolution? OK, not necessarily the pitchforks and guillotines, but a period of increase civil disobedience and crime like our own Great Depression. When a lot of pissed off people band together then they do not always make the best decisions, but they do make change.]
A Boy Named Sue -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron…
Bernie Sanders? Have you heard of him?
RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> A Boy Named Sue…
Sure. I am all in for Bernie, but not exactly convinced that he will get the nomination. Bernie has caused Hillary to shift to the left and maybe that was his main intention. Nonetheless, a POTUS has limited powers. The electorate has to move together enough to reshape Congress in a significant way.What we have with Bernie, and really with Trump and Ben Carson, is a hero for an angry electorate that really has not gotten to the point that it is really ready to get up off the couch yet. They still want someone else to fix it for them and they are not very good at talking among themselves and finding consensus yet.
Julio -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron…
Actually Bernie has been very explicit about the POTUS limitations. When deciding whether to run, he made it clear, publicly, that it depended on whether he thought lots of people would get involved enough to make a difference.He’s repeated that theme since in many of his speeches — unless lots of people get more involved, nothing will change regardless of who becomes president.
RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> Julio…
Good enough for Bernie, but I wonder how he will do at the numbers game nation wide? When I mention Bernie to people around here they generally take it to be because I retired from the state. The two things are related via the former state pension system, but lazy bureaucrat is what most of them tie to it. Even my wife says Bernie is too liberal for her while she does not like Hillary and the GOP ain’t so grand in her eyes anymore. Well that is people in general.There are actual progressives in central VA, but well less than 5% of the electorate here is like the tree hugging old hippies that I call my friends, at least in the over thirty population that I have greatest contact with. I get a much different read from millennials, but just do not encounter many. The younger people seem far more progressive for the most part, except for the jocks.
JohnH -> A Boy Named Sue…
The good thing about Bernie is that he appeals to a lot of people left behind by Democrats’ affair with corporate America.See how Robert Reich interviewed Southerners to find out that their economic views are not all that different from Bernie’s…
“Heartland Republicans and progressive Democrats remain wide apart on social and cultural issues.
But there’s a growing overlap on economics. The populist upsurge is real.”
Corporate Democrats never fail to capitalize on an opportunity staring them in the face. Hillary will posture about economic populism then fail to reach out to the opportunity among heartland Republicans.
pgl -> JohnH…
“most condemned what they called “crony capitalism,” by which they mean big corporations getting sweetheart deals from the government because of lobbying and campaign contributions.I met with group of small farmers in Missouri who were livid about growth of “factory farms” owned and run by big corporations, that abused land and cattle, damaged the environment, and ultimately harmed consumers. They claimed giant food processors were using their monopoly power to squeeze the farmers dry, and the government was doing squat about it because of Big Agriculture’s money….Whenever I suggested that big Wall Street banks be busted up – “any bank that’s too big to fail is too big, period” – I got loud applause. In Kansas City I met with Tea Partiers who were angry that hedge-fund managers had wangled their own special “carried interest” tax deal…
Most of the people I met in America’s heartland want big money out of politics, and think the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision was shameful. Most are also dead-set against the Trans Pacific Partnership. In fact, they’re opposed to trade agreements, including NAFTA, that they believe have made it easier for corporations to outsource American jobs abroad. A surprising number think the economic system is biased in favor of the rich.”
… … …
JohnH -> pgl…
Wow! pgl can cut and paste what Reich said, which shows that ordinary Republicans agree with ordinary Democrats on a lot of economic issues.Question is, why won’t pgl and his gaggle of group thinkers ever criticize Obama, Reid an Pelosi for constantly pandering to corporate interests and ignoring the will of the voters?
Come on, pgl. You can criticize Obama, Reid and Pelosi. It’s a free country. Yet odds are that you will NEVER see pgl directly criticize Democratic leaders…question is, why not, if he’s the ‘progressive liberal’ he claims to be?
ilsm -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron…
To the [GOP thuggee] truth talkers, US version of Weimar commenced in 1864 and Murdoch is their Goebbels.
ken melvin -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron…
‘But the point was that the world had entered a different regime, in which historical relationships could be and were misleading.
And surely it’s not too much of a stretch to say that something equally or more fundamental has happened to US politics.’
There’s another fundamental change that has happened over the past 45 years. One in dire need of addressing; which means we’re in need of a newer, more enlightened crop of politicians … And no, I don’t mean Bernie.
RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> ken melvin…
I don’t think we can have a more enlightened crop of politicians until we have a more enlightened electorate, which begins with a less insular individualistic society. We need more solidarity, comrade. Today we got to many smart asses and the emphasis ain’t on smart.
I hope this is in the development of the millennial psyche as knowledge and public consciousness unfolds. There is not way for me to know though. An online world could go either way, separate or together. Divided we fall.
“… Somewhere I heard (think CNN?) that most political polls are conducted using land lines only. If this is true they are extremely bias. How many young people use a landline? My wife and I are baby boomers and even we gave up our landlines years ago. …”
“… Cable news, outside of Fox which is nearly irrelevant to a Sanders voter, has no where near the power it did in 2004. …”
“… Think about just how long the elite in the U.S. will entertain someone who might actually attempt to change the economic, social, and political status quo. It just doesnt happen here. When was the last Quixotic presidential campaign: 1972? …”
“… experts=inside the Washington DC beltway thinkers in many cases. Larry Summers is an expert Obama consulted, how did that work out? …”
“… Its a little disconcerting to see the extent to which the Guardians coverage has effectively been sold to the highest bidder for the primaries. Im not suggesting that Bernies campaign wont struggle, more that the number two newspaper in the worlds coverage will have had a great deal to do with that. …”
“… A fringe candidate? A fringe candidate is who was it in the Republicans who polled zero percent. Bernie Sanders is a serious candidate, whose candidacy has shocked Hillary Clinton who thought she was a walk-in. Shes had to revise her policies in view of Sanders success. …”
“… Obviously Hillary Clinton is the establishment candidate. But despite all odds, and despite the pooh-pooh media treatment, Bernie today has 33% of Democratic support nationally, and 44% in New Hampshire (RealClearPolitics #s.) Any of the GOP candidates would kill for those numbers (probably shouldnt have said it that way…) Donald Trump and Ben Carson added together have less support than Sanders in New Hampshire. Come on, Guardian, enough with the cheap shots. …”
“… The Guardian no more wants to see a Sanders victory than it did Corbyns. Its no better than the Daily Mail and Telegraph, in fact it may be worse…a true Establishment publication…just a bit more fancily dressed, cunning and nuanced. Designed to patrol the left flank. …”
“… Anything that might actually challenge existing privilege is sneered at, undermined, smeared, misreported, while the Guardian pretends to a conscience and integrity it plainly lacks. They blatantly briefed against Corbyn and Scottish independence. Why wouldnt they brief against Sanders? …”
“… Dont believe the media. You need to talk to folks, do your own research and decide for yourselves. Dont let the media do it for you. …”
“… Like a script, apparently the Guardian has decided that its time for Sanders campaign to lose steam, so thats what they are now reporting. Regardless if its factual. Were all just pawns… …”
“… Clinton has moved (if only rhetorically, and even then with pages of caveats and qualifiers) to the left on student loans, KXL, TPP, even deploring the excesses of Wall St. (conveniently enough without any specifics), etc. Of course she doesn’t believe a word of it, and tonight is Sanders’ opportunity to highlight the differences between her half-step/half-measure ‘triangulating’ and his straight-forward advocacy. That is, if CBS doesn’t focus entirely on Paris, which (supposedly) plays to one of Clinton’s few strengths. …”
“… Maybe Hillary can boast about backing the creation of ISIS in Iraq by voting to allow Bush to invade. …”
confusion8 eternalhippie 14 Nov 2015 14:56
And still Sanders is doing well in the polls considering no one thought he had a chance of getting more than 10 percent when he declared.
J.K. Stevens eternalhippie 14 Nov 2015 14:54
If half of what Senator Sanders is calling for, policy-wise, is put on the DNC Platform call it a win and go home satisfied.
Les Becker bobthebuilder2016 14 Nov 2015 14:49
Cruz is nothing but a radical jihad Christian. He would severely hurt this country.
eternalhippie 14 Nov 2015 14:48
Somewhere I heard (think CNN?) that most political polls are conducted using land lines only. If this is true they are extremely bias. How many young people use a landline? My wife and I are baby boomers and even we gave up our landlines years ago.
Bernie’s secret weapon are the 95 million millennials who previously only voted in small numbers. Get our amazing younger generation to the polls and Bernie will win.
confusion8 -> Szaephod 14 Nov 2015 14:42
Really, in the fall of 2007 Kucinich looked like he was going to win New Hamphire and was polling at 33 percent nationally?
And I say this having voted Kucinich in my state’s primary. Dean, CNN trashed him. He likely would have handily beat Bush.
Cable news, outside of Fox which is nearly irrelevant to a Sanders voter, has no where near the power it did in 2004.
HowieLisnoff 14 Nov 2015 14:38
Think about just how long the elite in the U.S. will entertain someone who might actually attempt to change the economic, social, and political status quo. It just doesn’t happen here. When was the last Quixotic presidential campaign: 1972?
confusion8 -> sherlockh 14 Nov 2015 14:38
Right, winning in New Hampshire and going from zero to 33 percent nationally within 6 months is running a weak campaign to the Guardian ditto heads.
confusion8 -> Eric Broadbent 14 Nov 2015 14:37
experts=inside the Washington DC beltway thinkers in many cases. Larry Summers is an expert Obama consulted, how did that work out?
Featherstone1 14 Nov 2015 14:36
It’s a little disconcerting to see the extent to which the Guardian’s coverage has effectively been sold to the highest bidder for the primaries. I’m not suggesting that Bernie’s campaign won’t struggle, more that the number two newspaper in the world’s coverage will have had a great deal to do with that.
OpineOpiner -> Celtiberico 14 Nov 2015 14:33
The media really needs to stop interviewing itself and start interviewing people. Bernie Sanders, senator from Vermont, progressive socialist, whose policies harken to the New Deal and even to Lincoln, who pointed out that labour is infinitely the more valuable of the two (labour and capital, that is). There, and I don’t even live in the States . . . . . which might explain why I know about Bernie Sanders . .
OpineOpiner nataliesutler 14 Nov 2015 14:30
A fringe candidate? A fringe candidate is who was it in the Republicans who polled zero percent. Bernie Sanders is a serious candidate, whose candidacy has shocked Hillary Clinton who thought she was a walk-in. She’s had to revise her policies in view of Sanders’ success.
sherlockh 14 Nov 2015 14:22
Obviously Hillary Clinton is the establishment candidate. But despite all odds, and despite the pooh-pooh media treatment, Bernie today has 33% of Democratic support nationally, and 44% in New Hampshire (RealClearPolitics #’s.) Any of the GOP candidates would kill for those numbers (probably shouldn’t have said it that way…) Donald Trump and Ben Carson added together have less support than Sanders in New Hampshire. Come on, Guardian, enough with the cheap shots.
Julian1972 14 Nov 2015 14:18
The Guardian no more wants to see a Sander’s victory than it did Corbyn’s. It’s no better than the Daily Mail and Telegraph, in fact it may be worse…a true Establishment publication…just a bit more fancily dressed, cunning and nuanced. Designed to patrol the left flank.
caverock 14 Nov 2015 14:15
Anything that might actually challenge existing privilege is sneered at, undermined, smeared, misreported, while the Guardian pretends to a conscience and integrity it plainly lacks. They blatantly briefed against Corbyn and Scottish independence. Why wouldn’t they brief against Sanders?
curiouswes -> pretzelattack 14 Nov 2015 14:10
it’s only a non issue for the people who condone the level of mendacity and corruption that has, over time, transformed our constitutional republic into a corporate oligarchy. Maybe you haven’t noticed that transformation and think if we can just get the right person in the Whitehouse, everything will start to get better
Mary Sweeney 14 Nov 2015 14:10
Don’t believe the media. You need to talk to folks, do your own research and decide for yourselves. Don’t let the media do it for you.
confusion8 -> julianbook 14 Nov 2015 14:08
Right, the New York Times has an article sell 33% in polls as not strong for Sanders. Oddly there’s an editorial giving Clinton the stupid advice to propose programs. (Once she does that Sanders supporters will have even more to use against her.)
FooBar21 -> Colin Coe 14 Nov 2015 14:01
Admittedly he has little chance of being the candidate, but only because he’s not in the pockets of those who buy and sell the candidates. His age has nothing to do with it. He’s of the same generation as Clinton (less than a decade age difference). But unlike Clinton, he’s not a bought commodity.
freeluna 14 Nov 2015 13:59
It would’ve helped if the press had actually been covering his rallies and his view on the issues rather than focusing all their attention on the presumed democratic candidate, Hillary. By putting so much attention on who’s leading or trailing in the poles, the press is complicit in the gaming of the political system, by creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that ignores the information people need and reducing the election down to two people who are ‘popular’ but of whom we know next to nothing.
What voters need, more than anything, is a very clear idea of who the candidates are, what exactly they stand for, and who is paying (or who they are beholden to) for their presidential bid. They don’t need to know who’s winning this week.
Sean Williams 14 Nov 2015 13:52
Like a script, apparently the Guardian has decided that it’s time for Sanders’ campaign to lose steam, so that’s what they are now reporting. Regardless if it’s factual. We’re all just pawns…
marshwren -> Zendjan 14 Nov 2015 13:20
Obviously you haven’t been paying attention: the RNC (aka ‘establishment’) lost control over the GOP nominating process the moment it began. The base is absolutely convinced they were sold out by the Party after the 2010, 2012 and 2014 elections, when they faithfully voted for the tea baggers and nihilists promising to destroy Obama and the DP; and failing to do so means anyone who served in any elected office–even Cruz and his 2 years as Senator, not to mention the GOP governors like Walker, Jindal, Christie who actually succeeded in implementing the ALEC agenda — is a lying, back-stabbing, base-ignoring RINO; and only a non-politician (Carson, Trump) will placate them.
marshwren -> Daniel Collins 14 Nov 2015 13:15
No, you’re wrong: Clinton has moved (if only rhetorically, and even then with pages of caveats and qualifiers) to the left on student loans, KXL, TPP, even deploring the “excesses” of Wall St. (conveniently enough without any specifics), etc. Of course she doesn’t believe a word of it, and tonight is Sanders’ opportunity to highlight the differences between her half-step/half-measure ‘triangulating’ and his straight-forward advocacy. That is, if CBS doesn’t focus entirely on Paris, which (supposedly) plays to one of Clinton’s few strengths.
Szaephod -> supportbernie 14 Nov 2015 13:14
I largely agree, but deferring questions would likely not be wise. With regard to terrorism, the simple answer is what Sen. Sanders believes, and that is dealing with such vile acts requires good, smart, old-fashioned police detective work. Remember, that the FBI and some local police knew about, and were – at some level – following around the 12 hijackers. Had a fraction of the resources that the United States spends on high-tech NSA surveillance, and space black-ops been devoted to FBI and local police detective work, the Trade Towers attack could have been prevented (and if airlines hadn’t had such ridiculously lax security policies). Similarly for France: suggesting a bolstering of internal conventional police work (more police detectives on the ground to follow ever-more infiltrators) would be a positive suggestion, applied to ourselves, France and to all Interpol members.
confusion8 -> MonotonousLanguor 14 Nov 2015 13:14
Maybe Hillary can boast about backing the creation of ISIS in Iraq by voting to allow Bush to invade. Which representative, the only one from Vermont, when casting his nay vote said toppling Saddam Hussein would lead to a power vacuum in Iraq?
marshwren eileen1 14 Nov 2015 13:09
No, if he ran as an independent, he’d get about as much coverage as Jill Stein (GP candidate in ’12 and mostly again in ’16)–which is to say, absolutely none. He’s gotten more M$M coverage in any given week than all GP presidential candidates since 1996 have combined. It was only by running as a Democrat that he forced the M$M to give him what little (and grudging) coverage they have.
“… Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice …”
“… One of the most outrageous economics facts of life is the engorgement of too-big-to-fail banks. We are told that they now are under control. But nothing could be further from the truth. …”
“… Sanders wants to tax Wall Street speculation and use the money to fund free higher education. And for good reason. Debt peonage is hitting college students as banks load them up with onerous loans. Sanders believes it’s time for us to catch up with many other developed nations that already provide free higher education. …”
“… the candidates just say a lot of words to make it appear they are going to do something different – yesterday’s LINKS about how Obama didn’t REALLY oppose Bush’s policies …”
“… At least with Paul, there was some evidence that he would TRY to dial back all the war mongering…. …”
“… To be fair, plenty of people write books on topics of which they know nothing, or worse/less than nothing. All neo-liberal economists, for example. …”
“… Ron Paul is anti-war. Who else is anti-war amongst the Repub/Dem tickets? Maybe Sanders. He did vote against the Iraqi invasion but wouldn’t condemn Israel over the last air war on Gaza. Jury is still out on him. …”
“… Are you saying that acting as the world’s police force bombing civilian infrastructure in Serbia was a good idea and that things are hunky dory in Somalia today? Do you support the current effort to wage war on the Assad government in Syria? …”
“… If you don’t understand how a 2008 Ron Paul supporter could be interested in fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics, and power, then all I can surmise is that you don’t want to understand. …”
“… The rhetoric Occupy Wall Street was not usurped by the Democratic Party until it was crushed completed in an orchestrated multi-city police state take-down by Democratic and Republican mayors …”
“… I did not see that sort of repression happen with the Tea Party, which was receiving massive financing from the start. …”
“… This is an excellent list of problems in the U.S. economy (some of them affect other parts of the world, too). Whether or not a person currently supports Senator Bernie Sanders, one should ask which candidates for public office are most likely to sincerely try to solve these problems. …”
“… A big problem is that Sanders has pledged to support the Democratic candidate if it’s not him. …”
“… Sanders voted against the war in Iraq and against the Patriot Act. See this for links and this for the Iraq vote in the House. …”
“… Sanders has been very critical of Israel’s behavior in Gaza. See this for more information and links. …”
Here are 10 crucial economic facts that provide the glue for the Sanders message. (The charts are taken from Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice.)1. The Rich are Getting Richer, The Rest of Us are Not.
There always has been a significant gap between the top 1 percent and the rest of America. But that gap was kept under control largely through governmental tax, banking and labor policies.
You could make a lot of money in this country, but after the New Deal, unions made sure you paid a decent wage to your workers, and government made sure the wealthy provided ample tax revenues. This allowed working people also to enjoy a rising standard of living.
But as the chart below shows the bond has been broken. After 1980, the incomes of the top 1% exploded while the wages of the bottom 90% stagnated….and not by accident.
2. Wall Street/CEO Greed
Most of us haven’t had a real raise (after inflation) for more than a decade. Meanwhile we see our CEOs and their Wall Street partners rake in astronomical sums. The data backs up what we see and sense. As this chart shows, the gap between the pay of the top CEOs and the average worker has jumped from 45 to 1 in 1970 to an astounding 829 to one today.
The game is rigged and Sanders is calling them on it.
3. The Biggest Banks are Getting Bigger.One of the most outrageous economics facts of life is the engorgement of too-big-to-fail banks. We are told that they now are under control. But nothing could be further from the truth.
The top four banks have grown even larger since the Great Recession. No wonder crowds roar when Bernie says “If a bank is too big to fail, I think it’s too big to exist.”
4. Students are Crippled with Debt.
Sanders wants to tax Wall Street speculation and use the money to fund free higher education. And for good reason. Debt peonage is hitting college students as banks load them up with onerous loans. Sanders believes it’s time for us to catch up with many other developed nations that already provide free higher education.
5. We lead the developed world in child poverty
Nothing more clearly reflects the values of a country than how it treats its children. And nothing is more painful and inexcusable than children living in poverty.
The countries of northern Europe – Iceland, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and Sweden – have nearly eradicated childhood poverty. These also are the countries that have the lowest levels of inequality. They have made a conscious choice: less inequality, less childhood poverty.
But in a country like ours so engulfed by runaway inequality, child poverty becomes the responsibility of the poor. In other words, if your kids are poor it’s your fault. Don’t expect society to feed them.
Bernie does indeed expect society to feed the poor. And so should we.
6. You can’t live on the minimum wage
America is the only country in the developed world in which you can work full time and still live in poverty. That’s because our federal minimum wage is a disgrace. As the chart below shows, the real buying power of the minimum wage, after taking into account of inflation, has been on the decline since its peak in the 1960s. That’s why one of Sanders’ biggest applause lines is
“A minimum wage of $7 an hour is a starvation wage. I applaud those cities-Seattle, Los Angeles and others-that have raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour. And that is exactly what we will do at the federal level.”
7. The tax system favors the richWe all know that the rich are not paying their fair share of taxes. They hire the best lawyers to help make their incomes vanish on IRS papers. They shift money abroad. They use their influence to create and abuse loopholes. And they sell us the lie that decreasing taxes on the rich make all boats rise.
The chart below shows the result on the state and local levels. The sad truth is that the poorer you are, the more you pay as a percent of your income.
8. The Rich Buy the Political System
As our economy fractures under the weight of runaway inequality, so does our entire democracy. Money is pouring into politics, especially since the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. As the chart below makes clear, corporations and financial institutions are taking full advantage as they flood the political process through Super PACS.
Sanders wants Super PACS outlawed and Citizens United overturned.
9. “The American Dream” is Fading Away
Many Americans still believe in the American Dream – the idea of genuine upward mobility. We cherish the idea that our children will do as well or better than we have done.
But we’re getting a wake up call.
The chart below shows that the odds of rising above your father’s economic position in the U.S. is about 50/50. In Denmark, you have about a seven to one chance of doing better.
No wonder Bernie wants us to learn a thing or two from the Danes
10. The Largest Police State in the World
Freedom pays the price for runaway inequality. Because we refuse to use government to provide decent paying work for all those who are willing and able to work, we leave vast tracks of our cities mired in poverty.
We allow institutional racist practices (especially in housing, education and criminal justice) to trap more people of color on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder.
Instead of using government to create jobs, we use government to fund prisons.
Instead of a War on Poverty we have declared war on the poor.
As a result, we now have more prisoners both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the population than any country in the world. And if you compare the chart below with the first chart in this article, you’ll find that the incarceration surge started with the onset of runway inequality.
Taking Them On
Perhaps Bernie’s biggest applause line is the one that sets us on our course. His campaign cannot succeed in one election. We need to connect with our neighbors and colleagues and help organize and mobilize for change.
“This campaign is sending a message to the billionaire class: Yes, we have the guts to take you on.”
Let’s hope he’s right.
tim s November 13, 2015 at 9:50 am
There is much more to a candidates platform than simply economics, which readers of NC know to be as much pseudo-science as anything, and the Fed, which fails to live up to ideals for the common good, and actually preserves the status quo which is such a problem these days.
RP is a mixed bag for certain, but you get a sense that he is at least honest, which is a radical change in itself, and there is much for readers of this blog to latch onto. For instance:
- -Paul broke with his party by voting against the PATRIOT Act in 2001
- -Paul has spoken against the domestic surveillance program conducted by the National Security Agency on American citizens
- -cut the Department of Defense budget by total 15%; eliminate all foreign war funding
- -Paul contends that prohibition of drugs is ineffective and advocates ending the War on Drugs
To be sure, many of his positions are headscratchers, for sure, such as his belief in privatization and “free markets”. These are very idealistic, and as you probably focus on, the readers of NC will call BS on very quickly.
Still, when having to choose between the internally conflicted and the pathological liar, it is no surprise that many will choose the internally conflicted.
fresno dan, November 13, 2015 at 3:28 pm
And one other point: Paul, and every one else elected, so far at least, is not a Napoleon or Caesar, so most platforms are 99.9% baloney. (well, more accurately, most platforms are the same as it ever was – the candidates just say a lot of words to make it appear they are going to do something different – yesterday’s LINKS about how Obama didn’t REALLY oppose Bush’s policies, just that they didn’t go through a process to make them legal)
At least with Paul, there was some evidence that he would TRY to dial back all the war mongering….
Jim Haygood, November 13, 2015 at 9:57 am
‘Ron Paul knows nothing about the Fed and Economics for which he claims to be an expert.’
He only wrote a book about it:
Perhaps you don’t agree with his conclusions.
Lambert Strether, November 13, 2015 at 2:58 pm
To be fair, plenty of people write books on topics of which they know nothing, or worse/less than nothing. All neo-liberal economists, for example.
Nigelk, November 13, 2015 at 1:53 pm
Ron Paul? Seriously? Did I drive through a wormhole this morning and arrive in Fall 2007?
jrs, November 13, 2015 at 2:21 pm
That’s what they’ll be saying about Sanders in 4 years. I don’t mind Sanders as the best choice there is perhaps. But come on folks, none of this stuff has any hope really. A revolution? Well I don’t hope for one either, but at least movement building might work. Other than that it’s 5 minutes in the voting booth and get on with your life.
Jagger, November 13, 2015 at 2:04 pm
I would be curious how anybody who reads this blog could possibly be for Ron Paul, let alone have voted for him.
Ron Paul is anti-war. Who else is anti-war amongst the Repub/Dem tickets? Maybe Sanders. He did vote against the Iraqi invasion but wouldn’t condemn Israel over the last air war on Gaza. Jury is still out on him.
bob November 13, 2015 at 2:24 pm
Is this a different Ron Paul?
washunate November 13, 2015 at 3:36 pm
We should remember that the image of the United Nations as a benevolent peacemaker is a myth, as evidenced by the sad history of its military actions over the past 30 years. In virtually every instance its so-called “peacekeeping missions” have done nothing but intensify regional conflicts. Kosovo and Somalia are poignant examples of UN policy gone bad, creating lasting resentment and instability rather than peace.
Uh, that sounds like pretty classic Ron Paul. Are you saying that acting as the world’s police force bombing civilian infrastructure in Serbia was a good idea and that things are hunky dory in Somalia today? Do you support the current effort to wage war on the Assad government in Syria?
You didn’t answer Jagger’s question.
washunate, November 13, 2015 at 3:21 pm
Maybe we don’t need experts. Maybe the God of Authority is a False God. Maybe instead of trying to fight war better, we should stop trying.
That’s the thing about the three biggest things Paul stood for (end the Fed, end the drug war, end the Iraq war): they were ends. Not new programs that require advanced degrees and subject matter expertise, but rather, stopping horrible programs run by horrible people for horrible purposes.
Now maybe you disagree that they’re horrible, and that’s fine. Personally, I vehemently oppose the drug war and the US empire, but I’m not opposed to the Fed. To me, it just does what politicians tell it to do. But the point is, that’s a matter of personal opinion, not expertise.
I wonder only half-jokingly if your comment is satire, too. I assume it was unintentional, but it sounds exactly like the whiny Democratic pundit enforcers complaining about Alan Grayson and FDL working with evil Republicans like Grover Norquist on Audit the Fed legislation. The era in which people can be intimidated via guilt by association is over. There are far more independents than Democrats today.
If you don’t understand how a 2008 Ron Paul supporter could be interested in fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics, and power, then all I can surmise is that you don’t want to understand. If you are genuinely curious, this link might be a particularly useful refresher on the tone of the day to day politics of the time:
TarheelDem, November 13, 2015 at 9:00 am
The rhetoric Occupy Wall Street was not usurped by the Democratic Party until it was crushed completed in an orchestrated multi-city police state take-down by Democratic and Republican mayors. I see no candidates talking about the right of free speech and assembly to petition government for the redress of grievances. I did not see that sort of repression happen with the Tea Party, which was receiving massive financing from the start. The two movements are not equivalent in how they have been received by the two parties.
wbgonne, November 13, 2015 at 10:21 am
Given that OWS and the Tea Party have been usurped by the respective national parties, and both movements are anti-status quo, my opinion is they should join forces. Also, considering there is little difference at the end of the day, between the republican and democrat parties, that they play both sides against the middle, if Trump and Sanders had an ounce of humility between them, they would both quit their party and run on a split ticket.
A couple of quibbles. First, OWS was not usurped by the Democrats: it was opposed, undermined and ultimately crushed by the Democratic Establishment, starting at the top with the Obama Administration all the way down to the mayors, many of whom were Democrats too. The Tea Party began as a populist movement but was largely hijacked by the GOP corporatists. That said, there is clearly a lot of populist energy on both the Right and the Left. Sanders carries the ball forward almost without misstep. Trump, however, is a decidedly mixed bag: while he is anti-TPP – a huge plus – he also opposes wage increases and probably holds many other anti-populist views that just haven’t surfaced yet.
But the biggest problem with the merger you propose, however, is the one that has bedeviled populism since the 70s: identity politics issues. While I generally try not to over-emphasize such issues, they should not be discounted either. They should certainly not be disparaged. Let me put it this way: no self-respecting progressive could collaborate with someone who wishes Operation Wetback were our national immigration policy. Overt racism, sexism and homophobia cannot be accepted but political correctness should be rejected too as the antagonizing and divisive factor it is. In order for the merger you posit to occur – which would be a wonderful development – both the Left and the Right must downplay identity politics issues because those are the wedges that keep the two ends of economic populism from joining.
Jagger, November 13, 2015 at 2:11 pm
Identity politics is in the DNA of the Democratic party. Abandoning identity politics is simply not going to happen for a few generations at best.
WindyCity, November 13, 2015 at 3:17 pm
There is discontent on the left and the right. That’s what feeding the candidacies of Tea Party darlings like Trump and Carson and the Democratic Socialist Sanders. Working- and middle-class folks across the political spectrum have been hit hard with unemployment, bankruptcy, foreclosure, debt-slavery, and on and on. Those on the right blame immigration, Obama, and big government; those on the left blame corporate tyranny and capitalist greed. It’s probably naive of me, but I do see an opening for a Sanders to draw support from the right. His message ought to resonate with the disaffected, disenfranchised, and disillusioned in all quarters. I’ve already heard reports of some Tea Baggers throwing in with him. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a significant movement.
Eric Patton November 13, 2015 at 5:51 am
But as the chart below shows the bond has been broken.
I don’t like the passive voice here. Who broke the bond? And why?
I recommend Noam Chomsky. Pay attention to Chomsky’s comments about the dismantling of the Bretton Woods system in the early 70s. Also pay attention when Chomsky talks about the “crisis of democracy” and the very conscious destruction of the US educational system.
cwaltz, November 13, 2015 at 7:03 am
I have to laugh at anyone who argues they don’t like redistribution because it’s the equivalent of saying I don’t like an economy. The reality is in capitalism you have redistribution. Businesses don’t keep the money you give it for goods and services, they redistribute it. The problem is they redistribute it poorly. They put an inordinately large emphasis on rewarding the guy on the top of the totem pole regardless of his contributions(that’s why you have CEOs walking away with multimillion dollar parachutes) while paying peanuts to what is often the face of their organization.
The Tea Party has a real critical thinking issue if it thinks any of this has anything to do with winners and losers. You can be a hard worker spending 17 years busting your backside only to find a CEO like Trump has decided that the business isn’t profitable enough. Guess what? When he files for bankruptcy he’ll get to keep his house, and be insulated from economic consequences that led to the bankruptcy. Meanwhile the same couldn’t be said for that worker whose major “bad decision” was placing his lot in with the wrong company at the wrong time under the wrong leadership.
Paul Tioxon, November 13, 2015 at 10:06 am
A Million Student March yesterday was the national day of protest across the nation by university students marching for the cancellation of student debt and $15/hr wages for student jobs. Locally, in Philly, they tied up traffic marching from North to South down Broad St and from West To East across Market St converging at City Hall for a rally against debt, for the $15/hr wage and in solidarity with Mizzou and Yale against racism on campus. Helicopter coverage and on site reporters interviewed the students, allowing them to get their message across in their own words. A Google news search shows similar coverage from Pittsburgh, Reno, Oakland, Vanderbilt etc etc. The report linked below references Bernie Sanders remarks as an inspiration. One student in front of City Hall demanding student debt cancellation presented the case that since a college degree is a necessity, why are they forced into debt for something that society requires of them to live any kind of life worth living? Necessities of life should not require you to borrow money and go into debt. That is similar to buying you supplies from the mining company so you can go down to the mines and work. Candles and picks are required to mine, so why does your paycheck have to cover that cost? The students are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel!
Vatch , November 13, 2015 at 11:06 am
This is an excellent list of problems in the U.S. economy (some of them affect other parts of the world, too). Whether or not a person currently supports Senator Bernie Sanders, one should ask which candidates for public office are most likely to sincerely try to solve these problems. There are other non-economic issues, but the average person won’t have a say in solving other problems unless most of the 10 problems in the list are, at the very least, partly solved.
3.14e-9, November 13, 2015 at 12:53 pm
This article won’t convince anyone with half a brain of anything. It’s a bunch of opinion, with weasel words such as “My strong impression is.” That he cites Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank is all anyone needs to know. They’ve been hammering on the same opinion over and over with pretty much the same set of “facts,” including inaccuracies such as Sanders’s alleged support for the bombing of Gaza last summer. Sanders was one of a small minority of senators who actually didn’t sign on to that resolution (S. Res. 498) and he didn’t vote for it, because there is no vote on resolutions. They are approved by an arcane Senate rule called “unanimous consent,” which is not what it sounds like, but it makes a great story for Chris Hedges and others who are just pissed off that Sanders chose to run as a Democrat.
Ultimately, this article is just more of the same ol’ – which is ironic, given that that’s what most of this crowd says about Sanders.
WindyCity, November 13, 2015 at 3:42 pm
Chris Hedges takes the same view. I am fully sympathetic with the harsh criticisms leveled at Sanders regarding his support for empire and his relative indifference to foreign policy. Also, he’s clearly not a socialist (nor could he be, considering his support for US militaristic hegemony). He is a liberal social democratic in the FDR tradition, and what he advocates is the restitution and strengthening of New Deal restraints on capitalism aimed at reducing inequality. He does support worker self-directed enterprises (cooperative businesses owned and run by workers) and has introduced legislation to provide federal support for such endeavors. This does suggest he’s mindful of what genuine socialism is about, though he hasn’t highlighted these ideas in the campaign.
My own view is that Sanders could provide an impetus for more movement-led change, provided that the energy and hope that he has generated, especially among young people, be channeled into organizing efforts and civil disobedience after the election process has concluded. I have little doubt that Clinton will win the nomination, but if, instead of succumbing to depression and disillusionment after Sanders has been defeated, his enthusiastic supporters take their anger and commitment into movement-building, his campaign will have made an important contribution.
A big problem is that Sanders has pledged to support the Democratic candidate if it’s not him. I don’t see how he could really get behind the cynical, opportunistic neocon, neoliberal Clinton, but we’ll see. It does look like he’ll push the less worse argument on his supporters, and that would be unfortunate.
Vatch, November 13, 2015 at 12:37 pm
The article misrepresents some things. For example, these statements are false, or at the very least, exaggerations:
1) support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including President Obama’s recent decision to maintain a troop presence; 2) blank-check support of Israel, including its savage bombing campaign in Gaza last year;
1 ) Sanders voted against the war in Iraq and against the Patriot Act. See this for links and this for the Iraq vote in the House.
2 ) Sanders has been very critical of Israel’s behavior in Gaza. See this for more information and links.
Meant as a reply to Linda J.
Tom Stone, November 13, 2015 at 12:56 pm
Since reform is not going to happen we need to provide local police departments with more armored vehicles and finish doing away with the 2nd amendment.
The 1st and 4th are gone, it’s time for sensible people to get with the program.
Wesley Clarke is calling for FEMA camps to be opened to hold “Extremists”.
And he’s considered a moderate…
The system is broken, get in line or get hurt.
“… After the performance of Obama I’m curious to see what Someone Unfit To Be President would be. …”
“… Clinton, Bush, Obama? And Trump is unfit? What are these guys smoking? Maybe they’re taking crazy pills, or just well paid to do their job. …”
“… What a surprise! The GOPe, the Kountry Klub™, the Old Guard , Wall Street, US CoC crowd is in a panic because they are not in control of the front runner in the GOP race …”
“… This is just pulling the curtain back a little bit and revealing that there’s really only one party with two factions that publically vocally oppose each other, but privately when it comes to any threat to their power or money, absolutely belong to the same team. …”
“… I think it would be hilarious to see him debate Shillary and say You really want to vote for her? You want to hear that voice over the course of the next eight years? I mean look at her….. . It will have been worth it just to hear those words. I may just vote to help him along. …”
“We’re potentially careening down this road of nominating somebody who frankly isn’t fit to be president in terms of the basic ability and temperament to do the job,” this strategist said. “It’s not just that it could be somebody Hillary could destroy electorally, but what if Hillary hits a banana peel and this person becomes president?”
Translation: We career sociopaths, who thought we had perfect control of the situation, realize that we might lose control to a non-sociopathic egotist. This is frightening to us, we need someone who will play ball like we play ball, otherwise our careers are threatened.
After the performance of Obama I’m curious to see what “Someone Unfit To Be President” would be.
Clinton, Bush, Obama? And Trump is unfit? What are these guys smoking? Maybe they’re taking crazy pills, or just well paid to do their job.
I don’t like Trump. But I would vote for him over the standard issue bought off and owned, criminal politician.
trump is the one – import tariff, social security payments to the ones who actually paid in, toughest on illegals
even if they are all controlled – the message needs to be sent
might slow the pigmen’s roll a little
Republicans are red, and Democrats are blue,
And neither one of them, gives a fuck about you.
… … …
What a surprise! The GOPe, the Kountry Klub™, the “Old Guard”, Wall Street, US CoC crowd is in a panic because they are not in control of the front runner in the GOP race, and they are not in control by a whole lot. Trust me when I say they would rather see Hillary win than Trump, Carson, Cruz or Paul.
So there is a fight for the very soul of the GOP going on right now. The upside to this is that that is more than can be said about what is going on within the Democratic Party. Those asshats are still looking for signs they a) aren’t zombies and b) have a soul at all. Good shit, kiddies. Stoke up the popcorn, sit back because this show is going to be a doozy.
This is just pulling the curtain back a little bit and revealing that there’s really only one party with two factions that publically vocally oppose each other, but privately when it comes to any threat to their power or money, absolutely belong to the same team.
My guess is The One Party is shitting bricks for two reasons — one is that the #2 challengers in both factions aren’t establishment, and the #1 in the Republican faction isn’t either, meaning everything depends on Hillary, two, that everything depends on Hillary.
At this point all it takes is one FBI agent to go rogue and Snowden all the docs they have on her (shit, not even all, it could just be a low-level guy involved in one of many investigations) and Hillary is done.
This is why I said what I did last week, that I have a strong feeling this election goes sideways in a significant way in 2016. TPTB’s plans have been crumbling for a long time, and while they’ll probably still get their Quisling into office, their hold has never been shakier.
If Trump, Carson, or Bernie have a serious shot at getting in, they better make fucking sure their VP isn’t sanctioned by TPTB or they have a target on them so big they might not even make it to the inauguration.
These cocksucers don’t give a fuck about you!
People are voting Trump because of they are sick of Political Power Brokers and Special Interest Money choosing the candidate.
Don’t these morons get it?
Oh they get it, which is what has them spooked, because the people are getting it.
Which is why they have the media on ludicrous speed trying to rebrainwash the populace.
Personally I think Trump would be a disaster, which is why I hope he gets the nomination. He is the perfect caricature of what this country has become. I think it would be hilarious to see him debate Shillary and say “You really want to vote for her? You want to hear that voice over the course of the next eight years? I mean look at her…..” . It will have been worth it just to hear those words. I may just vote to help him along.
Edit: Just to be clear, Romney is a douche and they’d all be a disastor, because nothing would change policy wise, but Trump would at least be entertaining to watch as the country goes down the tubes.
I Write Code
There is nobody running in either party who looks like they are “fit to be president” by any rational standard, so that is not even an issue. You don’t win by opposition, you win by guidance. Jeb! looked like a willing mule so the money guys loved him, but the public just ain’t buying it. You don’t think Trump is corruptible? Ha!
The RINO establishment should worry that Trump and Carson will blow themselves up, or out, or whatever, because that’s probably just what will happen and that will leave them with nada. If the Republican “elite” had any brains they’d be offering Trump bj’s about now not insulting him. Though in the end it probably won’t matter anyway.
This “strategist” is not a strategist’s jockstrap – unless of course he is actually working for Clinton, and given this is a WaPo story he may well be.
First we have the people who “knew” Trump and Carson were going to flame out now admitting they were wrong BUT they “know” Trump or Carson will be beaten by Clinton (and like all the people claiming Clinton will win, they ignore the fact that the economy is bad for most Americans and will continue to deteriorate and, as the first Clinton said, “it’s the economy, stupid”).
Then they imagine that if they just appoint a candidate who has no grass roots support, over candidates who have massive grass roots support, all those supporters are going to line up like lemmings to vote for whoever they appoint. In reality that would not happen, at best most of those supporters would stay home on voting day and at worst Trump would run as an independent and thrash their appointee.
Romney is actually smart enough to understand this, which is why he wants no part of it.
The only person this “strategy” would benefit would be Clinton, since it’s probably her only chance to win. So no wonder WaPo is pushing it.
Winston Smith 2009
All religions are based upon BS, but the Mormons have brought their stupidity into the 19th century, making them easier to investigate and reveal as a con game. Anyone who even claims to believe this crap shouldn’t be allowed to serve in public office in other than a state filled with like “minded” individuals:
South Park – Joseph Smith
Fred C. Dobbs
(Just remember who can fix it.)Bush Begins His ‘Jeb Can Fix It’ Tour http://nyti.ms/1GYGZGI via @NYTPolitics
NYT – Matt Flegenheimer – Nov 2
The much-discussed Jeb Bush campaign reset has come with an unsubtle name: the “Jeb Can Fix It” tour.
Though the campaign appears to be referring to the country’s intractable problems, the subtext is thick. Mr. Bush is straining to reassure donors and other supporters after another underwhelming debate performance last week and persistently low poll numbers.
In what his team has previewed as “an important speech” on Monday about the direction of the campaign and the messages he plans to promote going forward, Mr. Bush is returning to Florida, where he served eight years as governor.
During an address in Tampa, aides say, Mr. Bush will discuss his rejection of what he calls the “competing pessimisms” of the Obama era and will cite his experience as governor overcoming obstacles to conservative overhauls. He is expected to point to examples from his new book, “Reply All,” which will be released on Monday and details his prolific email habits as governor. …
Bill Maher gives sarcastic endorsement of
“Jeb Can Fix It” slogan https://t.co/Pmbr3Mbql3
Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs…
And Senator Ted Cruz is chopped liver?)GOP senators desert Bush for Rubio http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/259449-gop-senators-desert-bush-for-rubio
The Hill – Nov 8
Republican senators are coming around to the view that Jeb Bush is unlikely to win the party’s nomination for president and that freshman Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) is the most viable prospect for the general election.
Rubio has had plenty of support among Beltway pundits since the outset of his campaign but Bush’s poor performance in the last Republican debate, together with his declining poll numbers, have begun to shift sentiment in even the upper echelons of the GOP’s establishment.
“Marco’s in the driver’s seat. There’s a lot of disappointment in Bush’s performance,” said one Republican senator, who requested anonymity to discuss the race candidly.
The lawmaker, however, left the door ajar to the possibility of a Bush comeback, noting that “expectations for Jeb are so low that it won’t be hard to exceed them.
“He just needs a little momentum,” the lawmaker added.
Most GOP senators are waiting for the race to shake out before venturing to make a public endorsement, in case there’s a late reversal of fortune, which has happened in previous election cycles.
But one pro-Rubio senator said “it’s nearly unanimous” in the Republican conference that Bush is floundering and Rubio is on the rise.
“You can’t look at the overall picture and not think it,” said the senator. “The polling shows it. It’s just amazing what’s happened.”
Rubio picked up three Senate endorsements last week – Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) – matching Bush, who so far has thee: Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).
Polls show Rubio surging and Bush dropping since the last debate in Boulder, Colo., on Oct. 28. …
“… People are supporting Trump and/or Sanders because they are fed up with all three branches of gubmint …”
“… The fact that people like Jeb can publicly claim his brothers disaster in Iraq was a success and not be laughed [or hissed] off the podium or called out by reporters shows how screwed up our nation is right now and why people are desperate for someone to save them. …”
“… Increasing inequality (rising GINI coefficient) leading to polarisation. …”
“… Increasing real costs. The Real rate of inflation is far higher than the Hedonically adjusted one. Shadowstats is but one useful guide to reality. …”
“… The worst thing about Hillary is she takes in millions of dollars from Wall Street donors. She’s nothing but a puppet for the 1% and Wall Street. …”
“… Don’t you dare take any polls seriously. They’re even allowed to lie about polls. After all, a poll is just an opinion. …”
“… It started with Bill Clinton. He was For Sale like no other American President. Clinton had NAFTA passed and Glass Steagal repealed on his watch and that is how he earned $240MM from the years 2000 to 2010 after leaving the WH broke. …”
“… It continues with Hillary and the Clinton Fund. …”
“… Millenial is a marketing term used to manipulate people. You can be born in a range of years and not identify as a Millenial , Baby Boomer , or whatever. If you pick up those labels, you get all the shit that goes with them and must carry other people’s water. For that matter, the term Baby Boomer originally meant people born right after the war and only later grew and grew to encompass millions of people that had no common experiences with those from 1945-50. Marketing and social engineering. …”
Authored by Paul Brandus, originally posted Op-Ed via MarketWatch.com,The ‘wasted generation’ may not bother voting, for good reason
One year from now, we’ll elect a new president. It’ll be the first opportunity for what I call the wasted generation to vote – not that many will bother. What do I mean by wasted generation?
I’m talking about the 15.6 million Americans born between 1995 and 1999 – the first generation of the post-World War II era to grow up in a land of diminished economic expectations, corrosive cynicism and institutional distrust.
Think about it. Born during the petty, partisan end of the Clinton era, they were barely out of their diapers when the towers fell on 9/11 and elementary, middle school and high schoolers while their country fought, at the same time, the two longest wars in its history. They came into the world just as their parents’ incomes were probably peaking – median wages, adjusted for inflation, topped out in 1998 and 1999 – and their Moms and Dads have since been squeezed by the two most devastating stock collapses since the Great Depression and a housing collapse of historic proportions. Now they’re heading off to college or already there, and can expect to rack up nearly $29,000 in debt before even graduating.
Older Americans may remember better times. But for this group-and tens of millions born after them-it’s all they’ve known. Cynicism, war, economic stagnation-this is their “normal.” This is what we have bequeathed them. Is it any wonder polls show that young Americans don’t trust government or big corporations? They don’t trust organized religion. They don’t trust us-the media-either, and I don’t blame them.
They don’t trust the financial system, either. When you’re 20 and have a 40-to-50 year investment horizon, you should be plowing cash into stocks-but when the market crashes 50% like it did between March 1999 and October 2002-only to be eclipsed just five later by a 57% bloodbath, it makes it easier to understand their skittishness. No surprise, then, that anti-establishment candidates like Democrat Bernie “the markets are rigged” Sanders and Republican Donald “make America great again” Trump are popular with this young, emerging slice of the electorate.
On Facebook, for example, nearly two million people like Sanders’s page – 600,000 more than Hillary Clinton. As for Trump, one poll showed Republican millennials backing him by a 3-to-1 margin over anyone else.
This may sound like one of those generation gap stories, where older folks complain about the “kids” doing their own thing and the kids not trusting “anyone over 30.” It’s not. From sea to shining sea, distrust and anger ripples across America: Only about a quarter of us think the country is on the right track; it hasn’t topped 50% since December 2003.
But it’s the corrosive effect on the millennials that’s most bothersome. Based on two decades worth of data, the Pew Research Center, a respected Washington think tank, notes that “generations carry with them the imprint of early political experiences.” In other words, it’s going to be awfully hard for millions and millions of young Americans to overcome the wide distrust they have-and again, the only thing they’ve known-of establishment institutions; the economic and political implications in the years ahead could be huge.
Here’s the way millennials see it:
Those that can scrape together the means to go to college know there’s now a school shooting once a week in this country. Thanks to that average $29 grand in debt and uncertain job prospects, an increasing number of them will move back in with Mom and Dad when they graduate.
Invest in stocks? Even if millennials didn’t think the market was fixed they don’t have the dough.
Buy a home? What a joke: the number of first-time home buyers is at its lowest level in three decades.
Only a handful of these kids will have steady employment with the same company over the course of their careers; many will have multiple employers – few of which will offer pensions.
Millennials don’t expect Social Security to be around in 40 years and unless painful changes are made to shore up the system, it won’t be.
… … …
Older age groups like to criticize millennials: they’re spoiled, have a sense of entitlement. Actually, the rest of us should look in the mirror. We’re leaving those who will follow one hell of a mess.
Handful of Dust
People are supporting Trump and/or Sanders because they are fed up with all three branches of gubmint. With crap like, “If you want to keep your insurance you can keep it” and the hundreds of other lies vomiting out of DC. The fact that people like Jeb can publicly claim his brothers disaster in Iraq was a success and not be laughed [or hissed] off the podium or called out by reporters shows how screwed up our nation is right now and why people are desperate for someone to save them.
Enter Trump and Carson.
Middle Class Americans are slowly waking to the biggest punking over in history.
Even if one stoll regards the “Electoral System” as credible, voting this time around might not be meaningful.
1. Increasing inequality (rising GINI coefficient) leading to polarisation.
2. Increasing unavoidable taxes (Obamacare is a tax despite the rhetoric. Being “obliged” to pay up front for “Insurance” that comes with very hefty deductables is “not” insurance!)
3. Increasing “real” costs. The “Real” rate of inflation is far higher than the “Hedonically adjusted” one. Shadowstats is but one useful guide to reality.
4. National Debt: Not $18.5 Trillion, more like $66 Trillion (Unfunded liabilities are still liabilities).
5. “Civility” being replaced by “incivility”, and a National hardening of the attitudes to those regarded as “outsiders”.
6. Known, and flagrant abuse of position / power by the “Better Connected”
7. Crumbling infrastructure, and neither plans nor “money” (Ha, Ha!) to replace it.
And to top it all, the MIC are planning to start yet ANOTHER war, this time with Russia / China / Whoever seems a “threat” to their comfortable system
Time to sit back, enjoy the (not yet Nuclear) sunset, and wait for the microwaved popcorn to be ready . . .
I am a millenial, and I am sick and tired of the failed status quo. I want a better life for myself and my future children. Bernie Sanders knows how to protest, but he is weak and does not know how to execute the way Donald Trump does.
I am voting for Trump because he wants to bring our jobs back from overseas, end NAFTA, and kick out the illegal immigrants. A vast majority of Americans want these things to happen. Hopefully Trump wins the Presidency.
I support Trump for one reason and one reason only. It’s the ONLY reason you can really trust, that hasn’t been bent, distorted, or manipulated by the bought and paid for MSM: The Republicans hate him. So he has to be real, at least about some things he says. Beyond that, you’re waist deep in MSM bullshit.
If you really believe that about trump, I can get you a great deal on a used bridge….
Dudes whole life required him to play ball with the tribe, and they think he’s going to turn it around to kick them out? They are all tribe advocates, every single one of them. The tribe controls the elections.
He’s the only one in politics that has screwed the tribe members good and hard. What do you think those corporate bankruptcies were? Signs of love and admiration?
You Millenials don;t know trump too well. He is a sneaky clever businessman. research how many companies he has bankrupted and how many vendors and contractors he’s screwed over his career. You will be amazed. Now he has a chance to do it on a national scale.
Sanders is not much better. taking from the rich to give to the poor does not solve fundamental problems either. What you need to do is start a 3rd party that represent you otherwise it will only get worse. Good luck !
Agreed. Wait What is a Millenial also, but he sees through Trump’s bullshit. Apparently Lester thinks Trump is ‘not part of’ the status quo. A guy who has made his name in the media and made his fortune from the current system is nothing short of the status quo. That the MSM color both Sanders and Trump as ‘instigators’ who speak ‘uncomfortable truths’ is propaganda 101. There is only one way to put an end to this disgusting crony capitalist system, and no one is going to like how it happens… so everyone will keep going along to keep getting along.
Take a look at the kids Trump raised. That should tell you something about his values. Now take a look at the Hillaryious family. “I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t love my mother.” – Chelsea Clinton. Vote the “D” column. “D” for dysfunctional.
Hillary has so many Democrats fooled. It is amazing to me she is winning in the polls, given the fact she’s a known liar and under FBI investigation.
What has Hillary ever accomplished for the middle class ? Black people adore her, bit what just she ever done to help them?
The worst thing about Hillary is she takes in millions of dollars from Wall Street donors. She’s nothing but a puppet for the 1% and Wall Street.
I expect voter turnout for Hillary to be extremely low. There is no way she will get the same turnout Obama got.
Whoa, dude! Don’t you dare take any polls seriously. They’re even allowed to lie about polls. After all, a poll is just an opinion.
Clowns on Acid
It started with Bill Clinton. He was For Sale like no other American President. Clinton had NAFTA passed and Glass Steagal repealed on his watch and that is how he “earned” $240MM from the years 2000 to 2010 after leaving the WH broke.
It continues with Hillary and the Clinton Fund.
“Millenial” is a marketing term used to manipulate people. You can be born in a range of years and not “identify as” a “Millenial”, “Baby Boomer”, or whatever. If you pick up those labels, you get all the shit that goes with them and must carry other people’s water. For that matter, the term “Baby Boomer” originally meant people born right after the war and only later grew and grew to encompass millions of people that had no common experiences with those from 1945-50. Marketing and social engineering.
Maybe it’s better to be your own person than to try to obey a set of rules concocted for your slave group.
By the way, this isn’t the first “wasted generation” that wasn’t going to do as well as their parents. You can go all the way back to the first post-Baby Boomer years of the late 1950’s to find the decline. Douglas Coupland wrote his “Generation X” about those late 50’s/early 60’s birthyear kids during the late 80’s to describe the phenomenon of coming in after the anointed ones had passed through the system and everything was shut down behind them.
And certainly no one born in the late 60’s or 1970’s believed it would be a cinch that they would have it better than their parents. That group saw the collapse of every social institution from Unions, to Welfare programs, and the rise of the police state during their youth and continuing to the present day.
This pandering to the slavegroup “Millenials” is intended to divide and conquer. The idiots who think they own this country want a softer version of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. They want to remove those that have historical memory and critical thinking skills from any kind of authority, and replace them with “Millenial” types. They think they will have generations of compliant slaves ad infinitum. To be a “Millenial” is to accept your place under the foot of your betters, while they tell you how great you are for doing so. Those who impose the label on you think you are a bunch of stupid tools.
That’s what Collectivism is all about.
I guess I’m a boomer – but I was too young to go to Vietnam. When I got out of high school people were waiting in line for many hours to fill their cars with gas.
When I graduated college I had 2 student loans which I paid off – but the interest rate was really really low – perhaps 1-2 %.
My wife and I are now retired. We have no pensions – just our savings. We have not yet filed for social security.
Over my 30 year career I was probably a sub-contractor half the time. Perhaps I had 10 different positions over the years – kind of funny but I was a contractor for 5 years with one company and they hired me as an employee for another 5. I worked for one tech startup three times over 10 years. Another mid-sized tech company for 2 stints. Sometimes I left perfectly good positions (some great) just to push myself to stay current. Somehow I managed to not burn bridges – well not many anyway.
We have managed to save some money. We never really made any money in the market – but we also didn’t lose any – well not much. What really helped us was earning 5% or so on our savings for a lot of years.
If you are young – you don’t need to buy a house – buy a condo/townhouse and save (don’t rent) – stay away from the credit cards.
TRUST. It is not just a millenial issue.
But the President cannot do much with a corrupt Congress that makes the laws.
WE NEED CAMPAIGN FINANCE LIMITS. WE NEED TO ELIMINATE SUPER PACS.
TO DO THAT WE NEED A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
Obama … worst president EVER… and we have had some very bad ones.
Third way is another nickname of neoliberalism. Third Way – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia “Major Third Way social democratic proponent Tony Blair” Clinton, Blair, Prodi, Gerhard Schröder and other leading Third Way adherents organized conferences to promote the Third Way philosophy in 1997 at  The Third Way think tank and the Democratic Leadership Council are adherents of Third Way politics. … William K. Black said that “Third Way is this group that pretends sometimes to be center-left but is actually completely a creation of Wall Street–it’s run by Wall Street for Wall Street with this false flag operation as if it were a center-left group. It’s nothing of the sort.”
“… Buried inside the annual report for Third Way is a revelation that the group relies on a peculiar DC consulting firm to raise half a million a year: Peck, Madigan, Jones Stewart. Peck Madigan is no ordinary nonprofit buckraiser. The group is, in fact, a corporate lobbying firm that represents Deutsche Bank, Intel, the Business Roundtable, Amgen, AT T, the International Swaps Derivatives Association, MasterCard, New York Life Insurance, PhRMA and the US Chamber of Commerce, among others. …”
“… notably the teleological belief in progress and the idea that capitalism is the wellspring of modernity. …”
“… Where it diverges is in its ahistoricity (which is the product of post-modernism rather than Austrian economics), which leads to both its annihilation of the past and its inability to envisage a future other than an endless present. …”
“… The biggest political danger to the Democrats is, and has been, liberals who let elected Democrats purse a neoliberal agenda with nary a criticism. I call them appeasers. Defeatists is another good description. …”
“… There is no BS attack on liberals. Liberals thoroughly deserve criticism for coddling and appeasing a neoliberal president. …”
“… Correct. I guess what they mean is these things are unpopular with the people who count: the ones who give the big bucks and run the important corporate and media institutions. …”
“… Leaked Emails From Pro-Clinton Group Reveal Censorship of Staff on Israel, AIPAC Pandering, Warped Militarism …”
“… LEAKED INTERNAL EMAILS from the powerful Democratic think tank Center for American Progress (CAP) shed light on several public controversies involving the organization, particularly in regard to its positioning on Israel. They reveal the lengths to which the group has gone in order to placate AIPAC and long-time Clinton operative and Israel activist Ann Lewis – including censoring its own writers on the topic of Israel. …”
“… Right, this is exactly the republican platform: stop complaining about inequality — thats class warfare. Lets focus on get job skills and growth and wealth creation without adding to the deficits or raising taxes on the middle class things are they way they due to greed its just technology technology makes us have more inequality, this is ALL right wing supply side republican platform ideas… …”
“… Yes, they say they want to focus on income inequality rather than wealth inequality, but then they say they want to talk about growing wealth (rather than income). …”
“… Third Way seems to have the naive idea… Nothing naive about these cynical vultures. …”
“… When Elizabeth Warren says the game is rigged , thats not rhetoric, its just truth-telling – and has IT HAS been a winning political message. …”
“… The Third Way = Obama and Hillary. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have a more populist and more popular appeal than the pro-corporate/moderate/centrist/Third Way types. …”
“… Seems to me the left will help Hillary get elected and then she will break their hearts. Rubinomics will be necessary to pay off all of those foundation donors. The Clintons may not understand integrity, but they do understand politics. …”
“… Focus groups are excellent sources of information about what the participants think the researchers want to hear. …”
“… Wikipedia: The board of the Third Way is made up almost entirely of investment bankers and other Wall Street executives. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Way_(think_tank) …”
“… Third Way, a centrist think tank that portrays itself as a Democratic group, has some advice for the party: avoid economic populism at all costs. In a column for The Wall Street Journal today, the group argues that the party should steer clear of creating a strong safety net, and criticizes Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s call for universal pre-K funded through an upper-income tax increase as a foolhardy idea for national Democrats. …”
“… Third Way, backed by Wall Street titans, corporate money, and congressional allies, is publicly warning against divisive “soak-the-rich” politics voiced by populist Democrats. Its target: Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator whose rise to power two years ago helped galvanize Democratic grass roots against Wall Street and pushed the issue of income inequality to the forefront. …”
“… You got it. But this is by design not because of some payoff needed. This trick is called Change we can believe in . And Obama already demonstrated pretty polished execution of this trick. The lower 80% of population will be taken for ride again. Maintaining the neoliberal empire is an expensive business… No money left for common folks. Sorry about that. …”
Isn’t “Third Way” a Euphemism for Fifth Column?
The “Washington Wire” blog at the resolutely non-partisan Wall Street Journal features an article about “a new 52-page report from centrist Democratic think tank the Third Way” that warns against populist, redistributionist messages.
Who is this Third Way? According to Wikipedia: “The board of the Third Way is made up almost entirely of investment bankers and other Wall Street executives.” Wikipedia cites as their source a Nation article from 2013, “GOP Donors and K Street Fuel Third Way’s Advice for the Democratic Party.”
Buried inside the annual report for Third Way is a revelation that the group relies on a peculiar DC consulting firm to raise half a million a year: Peck, Madigan, Jones & Stewart. Peck Madigan is no ordinary nonprofit buckraiser. The group is, in fact, a corporate lobbying firm that represents Deutsche Bank, Intel, the Business Roundtable, Amgen, AT&T, the International Swaps & Derivatives Association, MasterCard, New York Life Insurance, PhRMA and the US Chamber of Commerce, among others.
The Third Way is perfectly punctured here:
http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2015/11/blairism-vs-the-left.html although he discusses the UK version, the critique is the same.Marko | November 07, 2015 at 09:42 PM
Blairites are just like Clintonites – they’re doing quite well for themselves , thank you very much , and would like to keep it that way. So , “education” , “training” , “upward mobility” , and ” positive thinking ” , but forget about restraining predatory finance , or taxing the oligarchs. That stuff ain’t gonna happen’.
And , deep down , they think Maggie and Ronnie were just super.
From Arse To Elbow | November 07, 2015 at 11:11 PM
It’s worth remembering that neoliberalism (of which Blairism is clearly a flavour) owes much to Marxism in its theory, if not its praxis, notably the teleological belief in progress and the idea that capitalism is the wellspring of modernity.
Where it diverges is in its ahistoricity (which is the product of post-modernism rather than Austrian economics), which leads to both its annihilation of the past and its inability to envisage a future other than an endless present. This is why its apologists are not speaking the same language as social democrats such as Krugman.
Basically, the Blairites are stuck, hence their increasing bewilderment. Contrary to the propaganda, most lefties are cynics (in the original Greek sense of the word) rather than dreamers. Blairites in contrast believe in fairy stories. WMD wasn’t the half of it.
Listening to the Third Way would be political suicide. Never mind the economics, they are getting things completely backwards on the politics. Look at actual polls, and the very things they are criticizing, the minimum wage, social security, and government provided health care, are all generally popular with voters. As is, especially, a focus on addressing economic unfairness and inequality.
The biggest political danger to Democrats would be if they were to lose their political edge on those issues. Last presidential election, President Obama had large margins over Mitt Romney amongst voters who earned under $50k (a huge portion of voters). But that was perhaps made easier by Romney himself being an obvious Wall Street Republican. If Democrats were to go more in the direction of adopting the Third Way/Wall Street agenda, while Republicans were to nominate someone with some populist appeal (like a Trump), you might see that vote split, and the Democrats lose.
There is going to be some increasing division in the Democratic Party on economic issues, but I would attribute that mainly to some degree of economic success. When the economy was in recession, nearly all Democrats agreed on the need for more spending, and the madness of austerity.
But where the economy is today, this is exactly when traditional Keynesian economics calls for spending cuts, not increases. Especially when one considers the lag with fiscal policy, and where the economy is likely to be in a year. In the U.S. at least, true Keynesians should now really be “Austerians”.
That is maybe going to cause some division between those with overall value preferences for more vs. less government. But if Democrats are potentially going to be asking some on the left to make compromises on these issues, they damned well better still be doing something to aggressively address inequality and the rigged economic system. Otherwise, a lot of those voters will stay home.
The biggest political danger to the Democrats is, and has been, ‘liberals’ who let elected Democrats purse a neoliberal agenda with nary a criticism. I call them ‘appeasers.’ Defeatists is another good description.
How do you expect elected Democrats to act in the common good when ‘good Democrats’ believe whatever their leaders tell them and accept whatever they do?
There is no BS attack on liberals. Liberals thoroughly deserve criticism for coddling and appeasing a neoliberal president.
It’s not just Fox News How liberal apologists torpedoed change, helped make the Democrats safe for Wall Street – Salon.com
Dan Kervick ->acerimusdux…
“Look at actual polls, and the very things they are criticizing, the minimum wage, social security, and government provided health care, are all generally popular with voters.”
Correct. I guess what they mean is these things are unpopular with the people who count: the ones who give the big bucks and run the important corporate and media institutions.
November 5, 2015
Leaked Emails From Pro-Clinton Group Reveal Censorship of Staff on Israel, AIPAC Pandering, Warped Militarism
By Glenn Greenwald
LEAKED INTERNAL EMAILS from the powerful Democratic think tank Center for American Progress (CAP) shed light on several public controversies involving the organization, particularly in regard to its positioning on Israel. They reveal the lengths to which the group has gone in order to placate AIPAC and long-time Clinton operative and Israel activist Ann Lewis – including censoring its own writers on the topic of Israel.
The emails also provide crucial context for understanding CAP’s controversial decision to host an event next week for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That event, billed by CAP as “A Conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” will feature CAP President Neera Tanden and Netanyahu together in a Q&A session as they explore “ways to strengthen the partnership between Israel and the United States.” That a group whose core mission is loyalty to the White House and the Democratic Party would roll out the red carpet for a hostile Obama nemesis is bizarre, for reasons the Huffington Post laid out when it reported on the controversy provoked by CAP’s invitation.
The emails, provided to The Intercept by a source authorized to receive them, are particularly illuminating about the actions of Tanden (right), a stalwart Clinton loyalist as well as a former Obama White House official. They show Tanden and key aides engaging in extensive efforts of accommodation in response to AIPAC’s and Lewis’ vehement complaints that CAP is allowing its writers to be “anti-Israel.” Other emails show Tanden arguing that Libyans should be forced to turn over large portions of their oil revenues to repay the U.S. for the costs incurred in bombing Libya, on the grounds that Americans will support future wars only if they see that the countries attacked by the U.S. pay for the invasions.
For years, CAP has exerted massive influence in Washington through its ties to the Democratic Party and its founder, John Podesta, one of Washington’s most powerful political operatives. The group is likely to become even more influential due to its deep and countless ties to the Clintons. As the Washington Post’s Greg Sargentput it earlier this year: CAP “is poised to exert outsized influence over the 2016 president race and – should Hillary Clinton win it – the policies and agenda of the 45th President of the United States. CAP founder John Podesta is set to run Clinton’s presidential campaign, and current CAP president Neera Tanden is a longtime Clinton confidante and adviser.” …
Sorry for quoting a longer passage – but it just seems incoherent to me …
” The left, meanwhile, is too focused on “redistribution to address income inequality.”
Third Way says a better agenda focuses on growth by promoting skills, job growth and wealth creation without adding to deficits or raising taxes on the middle class. Its report outlines a series of policies it says can do this…
The gist of the report concludes that the economic problems facing the American middle class have less to do with unfairness-or the idea that the system is fundamentally “rigged” against workers-and more to do with technological and globalization forces that can’t be reversed.”
How does redistribution not have to do with inequality? If changes in income distribution are cause by technology and globalization forces – how can that be solved (within a country and within a generation) WITHOUT redistribution. For crying out loud – does this guy think about what he is saying?
Right, this is exactly the republican platform: stop complaining about inequality — that’s class warfare. Lets focus on get job skills and “growth” and “wealth creation” without adding to the deficits or raising taxes “on the middle class” things are they way they due to greed its just technology technology makes us have more inequality, this is ALL right wing supply side republican platform ideas…
Yes, they say they want to focus on income inequality rather than wealth inequality, but then they say they want to talk about growing wealth (rather than income).
This ignores that you can really only increase net wealth in the aggregate if you increase production of real long term assets, like housing. But most wealth is held in the form of financial assets, which only mean in the end that one person owes another money. One person’s asset is another’s debt.
Third Way seems to have the naive idea that you can increase overall well being by growing wealth through an increase in financial assets. They ignore that this really means an equal increase elsewhere in either individual or government debt.
In reality, we should probably be talking instead about increasing worker incomes, and reducing excess accumulations of wealth. With the economy now producing jobs, we should be talking about reducing government debt, and doing so by taxing those who are holding excess financial wealth. A financial asset tax of 1.5% for example, would raise over $1 trillion. And would be very progressive, considering that near to half the country has under $10,000 in financial assets.
Conservatives seem to forever be proposing bold new ways to make the tax system more regressive. Flat taxes, consumption taxes, cutting capital gains, etc., ad nauseum.
I wonder why Progressives can’t seem to generate the same kind of enthusiasm for something as simple and bold as a financial asset tax?
If you look at the Third Way program, a lot of what they are proposing isn’t bad, in itself, but it ends up a laundry list of small solutions which avoids addressing any of the really big problems. Their proposed $500 contribution to private retirement or other long term savings accounts for example ends up similarly being a small benefit for each family that would receive it, but a rather significant amount of money in the aggregate that would likely end up managed by their Wall Street constituents.
“Third Way seems to have the naive idea…” Nothing “naive” about these cynical vultures.
Bud Meyers said…
“Third Way says a better agenda focuses on growth by promoting skills, job growth and wealth creation without adding to deficits or raising taxes on the middle class.”
How to THEY define “middle-class” – $250,000 a year, like many in Congress believe – when the “median wage” is $28,000 a year?
When Elizabeth Warren says “the game is rigged”, that’s not rhetoric, it’s just truth-telling – and has IT HAS been a winning political message.
The Third Way = Obama and Hillary. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have a more populist and more popular appeal than the pro-corporate/moderate/centrist/Third Way types.
We need another FDR, not another George W. Bush or Bill Clinton (aka Hillary).
(“I’m Bud Meyers, and I approve this message.”)
Peter K. said…
The problem with the Third Way policies is that they don’t work. They’be been tried these past 40 years and we’ve seen the results: growing inequality and wage stagnation.
There are many policies which can attack these problems but one of the main ones is full employment and stronger worker bargaining power.
As Jared Bernstein wrote:
“…since the late 1970s, we’ve been at full employment only 30 percent of the time (see the data note below for an explanation of how this is measured). For the three decades before that, the job market was at full employment 70 percent of the time.”
We need to go back to the policies of the post-war years to create a fair, functioning economy.
That means good macro policy. Globalization and technology are just used as excuses and alibis, they’re not the real causes. It’s political.
As Bernie Sanders says the campaign finance system and corporate media are corrupt. It will take a large mobilization of everyday citizens to help change things.
That’s not to say that reforms like Obamacare and better monetary policy are not worthwhile. They can create more room for more mobilization.
Tom aka Rusty said…
Seems to me the left will help Hillary get elected and then she will break their hearts. Rubinomics will be necessary to pay off all of those foundation donors.
The Clintons may not understand integrity, but they do understand politics.
“The report cites focus group research…”
That’s definitive. Focus groups are excellent sources of information about what the participants think the researchers want to hear.
Sandwichman -> Sandwichman…
Wikipedia: “The board of the Third Way is made up almost entirely of investment bankers and other Wall Street executives.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Way_(think_tank)
Sandwichman -> Sandwichman…
Third way is a euphemism for FIFTH COLUMN.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_column
Sandwichman -> Sandwichman…
GOP Donors and K Street Fuel Third Way’s Advice for the Democratic Party http://www.thenation.com/article/gop-donors-and-k-street-fuel-third-ways-advice-democratic-party/
“Third Way, a centrist think tank that portrays itself as a Democratic group, has some advice for the party: avoid economic populism at all costs. In a column for The Wall Street Journal today, the group argues that the party should steer clear of creating a strong safety net, and criticizes Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s call for universal pre-K funded through an upper-income tax increase as a foolhardy idea for national Democrats.
“As many have noted today, in reaction to the column, Third Way’s attacks on Social Security and Medicare fail on the merits. It’s bad policy, and it’s equally bad politics.
“But for Third Way, a group founded in 2005 that is highly active on Capitol Hill, the think tank is merely defending the special interest groups that allow it to exist.
“Buried inside the annual report for Third Way is a revelation that the group relies on a peculiar DC consulting firm to raise half a million a year: Peck, Madigan, Jones & Stewart. Peck Madigan is no ordinary nonprofit buckraiser. The group is, in fact, a corporate lobbying firm that represents Deutsche Bank, Intel, the Business Roundtable, Amgen, AT&T, the International Swaps & Derivatives Association, MasterCard, New York Life Insurance, PhRMA and the US Chamber of Commerce, among others.
“The two organizations complement each other well. Peck Madigan signs as a lobbyist for the government of New Zealand on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal; Third Way aggressively promotes the deal. Peck Madigan clients push for entitlement cuts, and so does Third Way.
“Notice that Humana, a major health insurance company, lists its $50,000 donation to Third Way not as a donation to a think tank but as part of its yearly budget spent on lobbying activity, up there with the Florida Chamber and other trade associations. The company views financial gifts to Third Way as part of its strategy for increasing its profit-making political influence.
“What’s more, Third Way’s leadership has tenuous connections to the Democratic Party it hopes to shape. Daniel Loeb, a hedge fund manager listed as a trustee on Third Way’s 2012 annual disclosure, bundled $556,031 for Mitt Romney last year. Third Way board member Derek Kaufman, another hedge fund executive, also gave to Romney.
“There is a long and storied tradition of corporate, right-wing interests seeking to shape the economic policies of the Democratic Party. The DLC, another Third Way–style group that folded in 2011, was funded by none other than Koch Industries. Richard Fink, a strategist to the Koch brothers who helped found what is now known as Americans for Prosperity, was on the DLC’s board.
“Washington’s Big Business–friendly press has greeted the Third Way column as a “game changer.” But these arguments aren’t new, and neither are the strategies. Large corporations have many ways of finding useful surrogates, and Third Way is a prime example.
“UPDATE: Daily Kos’s Hunter has a nice post noting how Third Way’s hatred of Senator Elizabeth Warren may relate to the fact that Third Way’s board is made up almost entirely of investment bankers and other Wall Street executives. Also worth considering, the anti-privatization drive of those “economic populism” types might rub some Third Way board leaders the wrong way-especially the one who sits on Correction Corporation of America’s board.”
Sandwichman -> Sandwichman…
Third Way in struggle for the Democratic Party’s soul https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2014/10/06/struggle-for-soul-democratic-party-pits-wall-street-backed-think-tank-against-elizabeth-warren/pYk3SXRnZDmpi7C7N4ZpXN/story.html
“Third Way, backed by Wall Street titans, corporate money, and congressional allies, is publicly warning against divisive “soak-the-rich” politics voiced by populist Democrats. Its target: Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator whose rise to power two years ago helped galvanize Democratic grass roots against Wall Street and pushed the issue of income inequality to the forefront.“
Tom aka Rusty said “Seems to me the left will help Hillary get elected and then she will break their hearts. Rubinomics will be necessary to pay off all of those foundation donors.”
You got it. But this is by design not because of some “payoff” needed. This trick is called “Change we can believe in”. And Obama already demonstrated pretty polished execution of this trick. The lower 80% of population will be taken for ride again. Maintaining the neoliberal empire is an expensive business… No money left for common folks. Sorry about that.
Boomer II, 11/06/2015 at 5:35 pm
Aside from the fact that the Republican Party has some questionable candidates, there are two other factors which may shape whether or not they care about the same issues as today:1. Their core voters continue to get older. They will die off. I can’t see too many younger voters becoming Republicans to replace them.
2. Money in politics will come from other sources. Many of America’s younger wealthy don’t care about the same issues as Fox News and the Kochs. If that money buys politicians, it’s going to be politicians with different priorities than those currently on the right.
I just saw this the other day. Now Reich is a Democrat, so you need to factor that into what he is writing about. But he is quoting a Republican (or maybe a former Republican) who is saying what I know other moderate Republicans (now former Republicans) also think. This isn’t a party they recognize.
Robert Reich (Reality Check): The other night I phoned a former Republican member of Congress with whom I’d worked in the 1990s on various pieces of legislation. …
Him: “… There’s no party any more. It’s chaos. Anybody can just decide they want to be the Republican nominee, and make a run for it. Carson? Trump? They’re in the lead and they’re both out of their f*cking minds.”
A lesson from Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson on scientific method and the value of news
Science, circa 1955 (Photo: Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)
Our biggest challenge in journalism is not ad blockers or declining print circulation or Silicon Valley. It is value. What are we worth to the public we serve? Are we reliable? Trustworthy? Useful? We are not as liked as we would like to believe.
Last week, I had the fun privilege of interviewing Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson-astrophysicist, podcaster, tweeter, TV star, and debunker of stupidity-when he received the Knight Innovation Award at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism.
As I wrote in these pages recently, we decided to give the award to Mr. Tyson precisely because he is not a journalist, because he brings explanation, fact, and discipline to the process of informing and educating the public. We saw him as an example to journalists as they innovate in their own craft.
… … …
That goal-an informed society-does not mesh with our methods, business models, and metrics. So long as we earn our money attracting as many people as possible to our content, then wholesaling their eyeballs by the ton to advertisers, then we are motivated to grab attention with stories and headlines that report just the latest, not necessarily the preponderance, of facts relating to any given question or dispute. We measure our success on the basis of how much audience attention we grabbed, not by measuring how much we informed and educated the public-not in our impact, our utility, our value.
We must shift our business toward value, toward proving our worth in people’s lives. We must measure our success on whether the public ends up better informed through our efforts-not whether they merely gave us their attention and certainly not when they only calcify their previously held and uninformed beliefs. We in journalism-like Mr. Tyson-need to act and judge ourselves more as scientists trafficking in evidence and as educators making impact. Or else, why bother?
… … …
Bernie Sanders is the ultimate conviction politician, taking stands of principle that he has long championed.
The first truism is that every dollar that Mr. Sanders raises from small donors for his campaign, and every day he campaigns, and every speech he makes, and every presidential debate he participates in, and every vote he ultimately receives in primaries and caucuses, makes the Democrats more progressive and increases the chances of a Democratic victory in 2016.
The second truism is that the issues at the heart of progressive populism are more popular with voters than the issues at the heart of what is called the conservatism of Republicans today. The more Democrats champion the progressive populist agenda the more votes they will receive from the general electorate, and the greater the voter turnout they will receive from Democratic-friendly voters.
The third truism is a phenomenon that is outside my experience in national politics, which is that the frontrunner candidate (Ms. Clinton) is almost entirely following the philosophical lead of the challenging candidate (Mr. Sanders).
… … …
Mr. Sanders has great appeal to everyone who wants to end corruption and increase the fairness of the financial system and the world economy.
To understand the importance of the Sanders campaign, and the power and appeal of his message, and why it is so important to Democratic success in 2016, consider the following. Mr. Sanders is the most authentic heir to the great Democratic legacy of the New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the New Frontier of John F. Kennedy, and the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson. His major progressive positions happen to be highly popular with voters and more popular with voters than opposing conservative positions. I would argue that the better Mr. Sanders does in his campaign the more Ms. Clinton follows his lead in taking progressive positions that are both right and popular, and the more the Democrats are identified with these positions the better their chances of prevailing in 2016.
By contrast without the appeal of the Sanders campaign there is every reason to believe, and much evidence to suggest, that Ms. Clinton would “move to the right” and reposition herself yet again in ways that would increase her levels of distrust from voters generally, and depress Democratic turnout on Election Day.
Consider how Mr. Sanders is offering a sweeping platform that makes him the heir to FDR and the New Deal.
The Sanders platform includes raising the minimum wage for all workers to $15 an hour, establishing a single payer healthcare system that would be similar to a Medicare for all program, increasing Social Security payments at a time when there will soon be outrage from seniors who discover they will receive zero cost-of-living increases next year, offering free college education for students at public colleges, and breaking up big banks by restoring the Glass-Steagall Act.
On almost all of these major issues Mr. Sanders first took the strong position, followed by Ms. Clinton who then took her own positions where she moved in ways progressives would generally approve, though often not as far as supporters of Mr. Sanders would wish.
Regarding the environment, Mr. Sanders was unequivocally opposed to the Keystone pipeline from the beginning, unlike Ms. Clinton who first took no position and ultimately followed his lead opposing it.
Regarding protecting workers from losing jobs through unfair foreign trade, Mr. Sanders was unequivocally opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership from the beginning, unlike Ms. Clinton who first called it the “gold standard” of trade deals and then followed his lead in opposing it.
The full range of reforms championed by Mr. Sanders has great appeal to workers, seniors, students, parents, healthcare consumers and everyone who wants to end corruption and increase the fairness of the financial system and the world economy. These constituencies taken together comprise a wide swath of American voters and offer the potential to create a new form of the New Deal coalition that brought Democrats to power for generations.
To the degree that Bernie Sanders prospers politically by championing these causes it is good for Democrats. To the degree that his success incentivizes Hillary Clinton`to move to more progressive positions it helps all Democrats.
Elections are won by the candidates and parties that motivate more of their voters to come to the polls on Election Day. The reason that Democrats were annihilated in the midterm elections in 2010 and 2014 was that conservative voters were super-motivated to vote while many liberal voters became depressed and stayed home.
When Mr. Sanders says that a key to victory for Democrats in the 2016 elections is to expand the electorate by inspiring more citizens to vote for them he is absolutely right.
For these reasons in the close election that is likely in November 2016, no matter who is nominated as their candidate for president the causes championed by Bernie Sanders, and the people he inspires to vote, could save the Democrats by helping them eke out a narrow victory in one of the most important elections in generations.
“… I have two words for this: Hillary Clinton. …”
“… Good point. Some think salvation lies with the left, but consider Obama (whom some on the right see as the anti-Christ). Contrary to the spirit and word of his campaign, upon entry into office, he chose Emmanuel for his chief; Geithner/Rubin/Summers for banking; and Baucus with sidekick Liz Fowler (formerly VP of Wellness) for health policy. Subsequent outcomes were predictably consistent. Right and left fight mightily against perceived threats from the other, but both find themselves inadvertently supporting the very policies they both despise. …”
“… The Dem party appears more fascist, in the Mussolini corporatist sense, but only by a matter of degrees. …”
“… As an outsider looking in, what USA defines as “left” seems to lie to the right of all but the most extreme right wing in Europe. …”
“… I have mentioned Peronism before and if you look at Peronism it is basically fascism. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peronism …”
“… What I disagree with is calling fascism conservativism. There was a recent interview I read by a person who was a young girl in Austria when fascism arose there. What did she discuss, well when it started it seemed very “neo-liberal” (the original liberalism is what our founding fathers outlined – individualism and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) with the Nazi’s handing out lots of freebies to the general population. People do not just stand up and give their freedom away. They have to be conned out of it and it usually sounds something like “Want some candy little girl well just give up your freedoms.” …”
Mussolini-Style Corporatism, aka Fascism, on the Rise in the US by Yves Smith
David, November 3, 2015 at 11:04 am
Why didn’t Wallace become President when Roosevelt died? From the St. Petersburg Times,
The Gallup Poll said 65 percent of the voting Democrats wanted Wallace and that 2 percent wanted Senator Truman. But the party bosses could not boss Wallace. They made a coalition with the Roosevelt-haters and skillfully and cynically mowed down the unorganized Wallace forces.
Take note Bernie fans.
James Levy, November 3, 2015 at 2:29 pm
I don’t think it was a matter of bossing Truman around. He thought what they wanted thought, and that was quite sufficient. Truman’s was a case of cognitive capture, not gutlessness.
Synoia, November 3, 2015 at 11:22 am
Fascism is again rising in America, this time calling itself “conservativism.”
Oh really? I have two words for this: Hillary Clinton.
cassandra, November 3, 2015 at 12:31 pm
Good point. Some think salvation lies with the left, but consider Obama (whom some on the right see as the anti-Christ). Contrary to the spirit and word of his campaign, upon entry into office, he chose Emmanuel for his chief; Geithner/Rubin/Summers for banking; and Baucus with sidekick Liz Fowler (formerly VP of Wellness) for health policy. Subsequent outcomes were predictably consistent. Right and left fight mightily against perceived threats from the other, but both find themselves inadvertently supporting the very policies they both despise.
participant-observer-observed, November 3, 2015 at 1:28 pm
Yes, the Dems now are unabashedly “Corpos.” The GOP, at least in the aggregate, retains a semblance of allegiance to principles transcendent of sheer corporatism, and their electorate. The Dem party appears more fascist, in the Mussolini corporatist sense, but only by a matter of degrees.
digi_owl, November 4, 2015 at 4:19 am
As an outsider looking in, what USA defines as “left” seems to lie to the right of all but the most extreme right wing in Europe.
Ishmael, November 3, 2015 at 3:46 pm
I do not agree with Naked Capitalism on all issues but this is one that I believe we see eye to eye.
I have mentioned Peronism before and if you look at Peronism it is basically fascism. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peronism
What I disagree with is calling fascism conservativism. There was a recent interview I read by a person who was a young girl in Austria when fascism arose there. What did she discuss, well when it started it seemed very “neo-liberal” (the original liberalism is what our founding fathers outlined – individualism and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) with the Nazi’s handing out lots of freebies to the general population. People do not just stand up and give their freedom away. They have to be conned out of it and it usually sounds something like “Want some candy little girl well just give up your freedoms.”
Fascism/Corporatism and its partner Corruption are the two major problems of this country.
andyb, November 4, 2015 at 9:30 am
A true Conservative believes in the Constitution (as originally written, not as historically bastardized by SCOTUS), free markets (as envisioned by Adam Smith, but destroyed by the banking cartel), and States’ Rights.
No one leading candidate in either party fits the bill.
diptherio, November 4, 2015 at 1:26 am
No sh*t. If Hartmann could wasn’t such a hack (which I believe he is, even if he does write the occasional decent article), he would have noticed that Obama and Hillary and Rahm and the rest of ’em are exactly as corporatist/fascist as any self-styled conservatives. Perhaps he should read his own writing a little more closely:
But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power. It is no coincidence that the growth of modern tyrants has in every case been heralded by the growth of prejudice.
Like prejudices against conservatives, for instance? “[P]laying upon the fears…of different groups in order to gain power” is the first (and only) page in both parties play-books, as anyone who has been paying any attention at all can confirm.
I was actually liking the article right up until that sentence about conservatives. No, Thom, follow the money you jack@ss. The Democratic and Republican parties are both working for the corporatists. There are none so blind as those who refuse to see, and Thom utterly refuses. And given that the intent of his article is, apparently, to play up fears and prejudices against “conservatives” in the media, I suppose that makes him one of the fascist tools that Wallace decried. The only question is whether he knows that he’s a tool, or if he’s really just that dumb. I vote for dumb.
Jess, November 3, 2015 at 12:17 pm
Barmitt O’Bamney, November 3, 2015 at 1:39 pm
participant-observer-observed, November 3, 2015 at 1:58 pm
Massinissa, November 3, 2015 at 2:26 pm
OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL, November 3, 2015 at 3:05 pm
Tom Allen, November 3, 2015 at 3:33 pm
tim s, November 3, 2015 at 12:58 pm
Oregoncharles, November 4, 2015 at 1:45 am
“… feudalism is a hierarchical system of distributed administration. A king is nominally in charge or “owns” a kingdom, but he has lords who administer its first primary division, the fiefdom. Lords in turn have vassals, who administer further subdivisions or, in the cases of smaller fiefs, different aspects of governance. Vassals may have their own captains and middle managers, typically knights but also clerks and priests, who in turn employ apprentices/novices/pages who train under them so as to one day move up to middle management. If this is starting to resemble modern corporate structure, then bonus points to you. …”
“… Anyone in a position of vassalage was dependent upon the largess of his immediate patron/lord/whatever for both his status and nominal wealth. The lowest rungs of the administrative ladder were responsible for keeping the peasants, the pool of labor, in line either through force or through the very same system of dependence upon largess that frames the lord/vassal relationship. …”
“… A CEO may resign in disgrace over some scandal, but that does little to challenge the underlings who carried out his orders. …”
“… It’s not that peasants can be vassals in the overall order so much as they are in the subject position, but without the attendant capacity to then lord it over someone beneath them. Lord/vassal in feudalism are also generic terms to describe members of a fixed relationship of patronage. It’s confusing, because those terms are also used for levels of the overall hierarchy. …”
“… I suspect that the similarity of medeavil fuedalism with the relationship between a large modern corporation and its employees is not properly appreciated because the latter, unlike the former, does not necessarily include direct control over living conditions (housing, land, rent), even though in the end there may be a similar degree of effective servitude (lack of mobility and alternatives, and so effective entrapment at low wages) . …”
Mussolini-Style Corporatism, aka Fascism, on the Rise in the US naked capitalism
Uahsenaa, November 3, 2015 at 11:26 am
I want to expand on the point about feudalism, since it’s even more apt than the article lets on. It was not “rule by the rich,” which implies an oligarchic class whose members are more or less free agents in cahoots with one another. Rather, feudalism is a hierarchical system of distributed administration. A king is nominally in charge or “owns” a kingdom, but he has lords who administer its first primary division, the fiefdom. Lords in turn have vassals, who administer further subdivisions or, in the cases of smaller fiefs, different aspects of governance. Vassals may have their own captains and middle managers, typically knights but also clerks and priests, who in turn employ apprentices/novices/pages who train under them so as to one day move up to middle management. If this is starting to resemble modern corporate structure, then bonus points to you.
This means feudalism found a way to render complicit in a larger system of administration people who had no direct and often no real stake in the produce of its mass mobilization of labor. Anyone in a position of vassalage was dependent upon the largess of his immediate patron/lord/whatever for both his status and nominal wealth. The lowest rungs of the administrative ladder were responsible for keeping the peasants, the pool of labor, in line either through force or through the very same system of dependence upon largess that frames the lord/vassal relationship. Occasionally, the peasants recognize that no one is below them in this pyramid scheme, and so they revolt, but for the most part they were resigned to the status quo, because there seemed to be no locus of power to topple. Sure, you could overthrow the king, but that would do nothing to deter the power of the lords. You could overthrow your local lord, but the king could just install a new one.
Transpose to the modern day. A CEO may resign in disgrace over some scandal, but that does little to challenge the underlings who carried out his orders. You might get your terrible boss fired for his tendency to sexually harass anyone who walks in the door, but what’s to stop the regional manager from hiring someone who works you to the bone. Sometimes the peas–err, employees revolt and form a union, but we all know what means have been employed over the years to do away with that.
tl;dr – Feudalism: it’s about the structure, not the classes
Lambert Strether, November 3, 2015 at 2:19 pm
Hmm. I don’t think a serf can be a vassal. The vassals sound a lot like the 20%. The serfs would be the 80%. I’m guessing class is alive and well.
James Levy, November 3, 2015 at 2:38 pm
You wouldn’t be a vassal (that was a very small percentage of the population) but you could have ties of patronage with the people above you, and in fact that was critical to all societies until the Victorians made nepotism a bad word and the ethic of meritocracy (however bastardized today) took shape. If you wanted your physical labor obligation converted into a money payment so you could spend more time and effort on your own holding, or you needed help in tough times, or the 99 year lease on your leasehold was coming due, or you wanted to get your son into the local priory, etc. you needed a friend or friends in higher places. The granting or refusal of favors counted for everything, and kept many on the straight and narrow, actively or passively supporting the system as it was.
Uahsenaa, November 3, 2015 at 2:39 pm
It’s not that peasants can be vassals in the overall order so much as they are in the subject position, but without the attendant capacity to then lord it over someone beneath them. Lord/vassal in feudalism are also generic terms to describe members of a fixed relationship of patronage. It’s confusing, because those terms are also used for levels of the overall hierarchy.
The true outliers here are the contemporaneous merchants, craftsmen, and freeholders (yeomen) who are necessary for things to run properly but are not satisfactorily accounted for by the overall system of governance, in part because it was land based. Merchants and craftsmen in particular tended not to be tied to any one place, since their services were often needed all over and only for limited periods of time. The primary administrative apparatus for craftsmen were the guilds. Merchants fell into any number of systems of organization and often into none at all, thus, according to the old Marxist genealogy, capitalism overthrows feudalism.
Peasants may have had something like a class consciousness on occasion, but I’m not entirely convinced it’s useful to think of them in that way. In Japan, for instance, peasants were of a much higher social status than merchants and craftsmen, technically, yet their lives were substantially more miserable by any modern economic measure.
visitor, November 3, 2015 at 4:01 pm
I think that the article gets it seriously wrong about feudalism – an example of what Yves calls “stripping words of their meaning”.
First of all, feudalism was actually an invention of an older, powerful, even more hierarchical organization: the Catholic Church.
The Church realized early on that imposing its ideal of a theocratic State (“city of God”) led by the Pope upon the strong-headed barbarian chiefs (Lombards, Franks, Wisigoths and others) that set up various kingdoms in Europe was impossible.
Hence the second best approach, feudalism: a double hierarchy (worldly and spiritual). The populations of Europe were subject to two parallel hierarchical authorities with taxation, judicial and other economic powers (such as the right to determine when and for whom to work).
Second, there was a class of wealthy people which did not quite fit in the feudal hierarchy – in particular, they had no vassals, nor, despite their wealth, any fiefdom: merchants, financiers, the emerging burger class in cities. They were the ones actually lending money to feudal lords.
Third, the problem for underlings was never to overthrow the king (this was a hobby for princely families), and extremely rarely the local lord (which inevitably brought the full brunt of the feudal hierarchy to bear on the seditious populace).
Historically, what cities and rural communities struggled for was to be placed directly under the authority of the king or (Holy Roman Germanic) emperor. This entailed the rights to self-administration, freedom from most egregious taxes and corvées from feudal seigneurs, recognition of local laws and customs, and the possibility to render justice without deferring to local lords.
The king/emperor was happy to receive taxes directly from the city/community without them seeping away in the pockets of members of the inextricable feudal hierarchy; he would from time to time require troops for his host, hence reducing the dependency on troops from his vassal lords; and he would rarely be called to intervene in major legal disputes. Overall, he was way too busy to have time micromanaging those who swore direct allegiance to him – which was exactly what Basque communities, German towns and Swiss peasants wanted.
Therefore, an equivalence between feudalism and the current organizational make-up of society dominated by for-profit entities does not make sense.
Lambert Strether, November 3, 2015 at 4:11 pm
“the problem for underlings was never to overthrow the King”
Not even in the peasant revolts?
visitor, November 3, 2015 at 5:15 pm
If you look at this list, it appears that they were revolts directed against the local nobility (or church) because of its exorbitant taxation, oppressive judiciary, rampaging mercenaries and incompetent leadership in war against foreign invasions.
The French Jacquerie took place when there was no king – he had been taken prisoner by the English and the populace blamed the nobility for the military defeats and the massive tax increases that ensued.
During the Spanish Guerra de los Remensas, the revolted peasants actually appealed to the king and he in turn allied with them to fight the nobles.
During the Budai Nagy Antal revolt, the peasants actually asked the Hungarian king to arbitrate.
In other cases, even when the king/emperor/sultan ultimately intervened to squash the revolt, the insurrection was directed against some local elite.
Peasants revolts in 16th century Scandinavia were against the king’s rule, but they were linked to reformation and took place when feudalism was on the wane and the evolution towards a centralized monarchical state well advanced.
Apparently, only the John and William Merfold’s revolt explicitly called for the overthrow of the English king.
Jim Haygood, November 3, 2015 at 4:51 pm
‘The populations of Europe were subject to two parallel hierarchical authorities with taxation, judicial and other economic powers (such as the right to determine when and for whom to work).’
Just as Americans are subject to two parallel hierarchical authorities with taxation and judicial powers, the states and the fedgov.
Before 1914, federal criminal laws were few, and direct federal income taxation of individuals was nonexistent. Today one needs federal authorization (E-verify) to get a job.
Now that the Fifth Amendment prohibition on double jeopardy has been interpreted away, notorious defendants face both federal and state prosecution. Thus the reason why America has the world’s largest Gulag, with its slam-dunk conviction machine.
Uahsenaa, November 3, 2015 at 4:58 pm
Except, first off, there were non-Christian societies that made use of the system of warrior vassalage, and the manorial system that undergirded feudal distribution of land and resources, as least as far as Bloch is concerned, is a fairly clear outgrowth of the Roman villa system of the late empire. Insofar as the Late Roman empire was nominally–very nominally–Christian, I suppose your point stands, but according to Bloch, the earliest manorial structures were the result of the dissolution of the larger, older empire into smaller pieces, many of which were beyond meaningful administrative control by Rome itself. Second, bishoprics and monasteries, the primary land holdings of the clergy, were of the same order as manors, so they fit within the overall feudal system, not parallel to it.
If Bloch is not right about this, I’m open to reading other sources, but that’s what my understanding was based on. Moreover, the basic system of patronage and fealty that made the manor economy function certainly seems to have survived the historical phenomenon we call feudalism, and that parallel was what I was trying to draw attention to. Lord/vassal relationships are fundamentally contractual, not just quid pro quo but organized around favors and reputation, and maybe the analogy is a bit strained, but it does point to the ways in which modern white collar work especially is about more than fixed pay for a fixed sum of labor output.
Thure Meyer, November 4, 2015 at 7:30 am
Isn’t this rather off-topic?
This is not a discussion about the true and correct history of European feudalism or whether or not it applies to the situation at hand, but a dialogue about Global fascism and how it expresses itself in this Nation.
HarrySnapperOrgans, November 4, 2015 at 4:46 am
I suspect that the similarity of medeavil fuedalism with the relationship between a large modern corporation and its employees is not properly appreciated because the latter, unlike the former, does not necessarily include direct control over living conditions (housing, land, rent), even though in the end there may be a similar degree of effective servitude (lack of mobility and alternatives, and so effective entrapment at low wages) .
“… The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name …”
“… Similarly, even as authoritarianism is rapidly rising in the US and citizens are losing their rights (see a reminder from last weekend, a major New York Times story on how widespread use of arbitration clauses is stripping citizens of access to the court system *), one runs the risk of having one’s hair on fire if one dares suggest that America is moving in a fascist, or perhaps more accurately, a Mussolini-style corporatist direction. Yet we used that very expression, “Mussolini-style corporatism,” to describe the the post-crisis bank bailouts. Former chief economist of the IMF, Simon Johnson, was more stark in his choice of terms, famously calling the rescues a “quiet coup” by financial oligarchs. …”
“… By Thom Hartmann, an author and nationally syndicated daily talk show host. His newest book is “The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America — and What We Can Do to Stop It.” Originally published at Alternet …”
“… “The really dangerous American fascists,” Wallace wrote, “are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. “With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.” …”
“… If classical liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government. …”
“… If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. … They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead. …”
“… “Fascism is a worldwide disease,” Wallace further suggest that fascism’s “greatest threat to the United States will come after the war” and will manifest “within the United States itself.” …”
“… It Can’t Happen Here …”
“… There are two [political] parties, the Corporate and those who don’t belong to any party at all, and so, to use a common phrase, are just out of luck! …”
“… Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion. American fascists of this stamp were clandestinely aligned with their German counterparts before the war, and are even now preparing to resume where they left off, after ‘the present unpleasantness’ ceases. …”
“… Fascists have an agenda that is primarily economic. As the Free Dictionary ( http://www.thefreedictionary.com ) notes, fascism/corporatism is “an attempt to create a ‘modern’ version of feudalism by merging the ‘corporate’ interests with those of the state.” …”
“… Thus, the neo-feudal/fascistic rich get richer (and more powerful) on the backs of the poor and the middle class, an irony not lost on author Thomas Frank, who notes in his book What’s The Matter With Kansas …”
“… The businesses “going out of business” are, in fascist administrations, usually those of locally owned small and medium-sized companies. As Wallace wrote, some in big business “are willing to jeopardize the structure of American liberty to gain some temporary advantage.” …”
“… Monopolists who fear competition and who distrust democracy because it stands for equal opportunity would like to secure their position against small and energetic enterprise [companies]. In an effort to eliminate the possibility of any rival growing up, some monopolists would sacrifice democracy itself. …”
“… The symptoms of fascist thinking are colored by environment and adapted to immediate circumstances. But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power. It is no coincidence that the growth of modern tyrants has in every case been heralded by the growth of prejudice. It may be shocking to some people in this country to realize that, without meaning to do so, they hold views in common with Hitler when they preach discrimination… …”
“… But even at this, Wallace noted, American fascists would have to lie to the people in order to gain power. And, because they were in bed with the nation’s largest corporations – who could gain control of newspapers and broadcast media — they could promote their lies with ease. …”
“… “The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact,” Wallace wrote. “Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy.” …”
“… They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection. …”
“… Franklin D. Roosevelt, said when he accepted his party’s renomination in 1936 in Philadelphia, “…out of this modern civilization, economic royalists [have] carved new dynasties…. It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction…. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man….” …”
“… The Republican candidates’ and their billionaire donors’ behavior today eerily parallels that day in 1936 when Roosevelt said, “In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for.” …”
“… Amen ! I’ve always detested the weasel words “neoliberal” and “neoconservative”. Lets just be honest enough to call ideologies and political behaviors by their proper name. …”
“… Call Dems what they are – corrupt right wingers, ultra conservatives. …”
“… Isn’t it important to keep in mind that fascism, as it developed in Italy and Germany, were authentic mass based movements generating great popular enthusiasm and not merely a clever manipulation of of populist emotions by the reactionary Right or by capitalism in crisis. …”
“… Authentic augmented by the generous application of force, I’d say. That I think is a very interesting discussion about just how freely fascism develops. I don’t think Italy and especially Germany developed with a particularly genuine popular enthusiasm. …”
“… Or to put it differently, I’d say the appearance of popular enthusiasm from a mass movement was the result of fascist control as much as the cause. That’s what’s so unnverving about the American context of 21st century fascism. It does not require a mass movement to implement this kind of totalitarianism. It merely requires the professional class to keep their heads down long enough for a critical mass to be reached by the power structure in hollowing out the back-office guts of democratic governance. …”
“… Fascism was a counter revolution to Bolshevikism. The upper and upper-middle class was scared to death of what happen in Russia under Bolshevikism. They united with the military looking for someone to counter Bolshevikism and settled on Hitler and the Nazi’s. The military thought they control him but they ended up being wrong. …”
“… “Those who own America should govern it” …”
“… Corporation in Italian has approximately the meaning of guild and has nothing to do with big enterprises …”
“… Massinissa and lou strong are correct — corporatism in Mussolini’s Italy meant structuring the State and the legislative body around organizations representing specific professional or economic sectors. …”
“… By the way: we should not forget another fascist State, Portugal, which during the entire Salazar regime officially defined itself as a “corporatist republic”. …”
“… besides for-profit corporations. …”
“… elimination …”
“… It is apparent that both corporate parties are increasingly incapable of properly deflecting and channeling the interests of the electorate. Whether you think of 2007-08 as simply another business cycle, one that was exacerbated by toxic assets, a product of increasing income and wealth disparity, etc. it seems that portions of the electorate have been shocked out of their confidence in the system and the steering capacity of economic and political elites. …”
“… This might lead the parties, under the pressure of events, to might reformulate themselves as the political cover of a “government of national unity” that, depending on the extremity of the next downturn, impose a “solidarity from above,” blocking the development of popular organizations in a variety of ways. I certainly see this as possible. But treating the parties, or the system itself, as fascist at this point in time is not only not helpful, it is fundamentally disorienting. …”
“… Chamber of the Fascist Corporations …”
“… My impression is that today Corporatism more closely represents the interests of multinational corporations and the people who hold executive leadership positions within those companies. What they have in common is a listing on NYSE. …”
The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name. Confucius
One of the distressing things about politics in the US is the way words have either been stripped of their meaning or become so contested as to undermine the ability to communicate and analyze. It’s hard to get to a conversation when you and your interlocutors don’t have the same understanding of basic terms.
And that is no accident. The muddying of meaning is a neo-Orwellian device to influence perceptions by redefining core concepts. And a major vector has been by targeting narrow interest groups on their hot-button topics. Thus, if you are an evangelical or otherwise strongly opposed to women having reproductive control, anyone who favors womens’ rights in this area is in your vein of thinking, to the left of you, hence a “liberal”. Allowing the Overton Window to be framed around pet interests, as opposed to a view of what societal norms are, has allowed for the media to depict the center of the political spectrum as being well to the right of where it actually is as measured by decades of polling, particularly on economic issues.
Another way of limiting discourse is to relegate certain terms or ideas to what Daniel Hallin called the “sphere of deviance.” Thus, until roughly two years ago, calling an idea “Marxist” in the US was tantamount to deeming it to be the political equivalent of taboo. That shows how powerful the long shadow of the Communist purges of the McCarthy era were, more than a generation after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Similarly, even as authoritarianism is rapidly rising in the US and citizens are losing their rights (see a reminder from last weekend, a major New York Times story on how widespread use of arbitration clauses is stripping citizens of access to the court system*), one runs the risk of having one’s hair on fire if one dares suggest that America is moving in a fascist, or perhaps more accurately, a Mussolini-style corporatist direction. Yet we used that very expression, “Mussolini-style corporatism,” to describe the the post-crisis bank bailouts. Former chief economist of the IMF, Simon Johnson, was more stark in his choice of terms, famously calling the rescues a “quiet coup” by financial oligarchs.
Now admittedly, the new neoliberal economic order is not a replay of fascism, so there is reason not to apply the “f” word wholesale. Nevertheless, there is a remarkable amount of inhibition in calling out the similarities where they exist. For instance, the article by Thom Hartmann below, which we’ve reposted from Alternet, is bold enough to use the “fascist” word in the opening paragraph (but not the headline!). But it then retreats from making a hard-headed analysis by focusing on warnings about the risks of fascism in America from the 1940s. While historical analysis is always enlightening, you’ll see the article only selectively interjects contemporary examples. Readers no doubt can help fill out, as well as qualify, this picture.
By Thom Hartmann, an author and nationally syndicated daily talk show host. His newest book is “The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America — and What We Can Do to Stop It.” Originally published at Alternet
Ben Carson’s feeble attempt to equate Hitler and pro-gun control Democrats was short-lived, but along with the announcement that Marco Rubio has brought in his second big supporting billionaire, it brings to mind the first American vice-president to point out the “American fascists” among us.
Although most Americans remember that Harry Truman was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vice-president when Roosevelt died in 1945 (making Truman president), Roosevelt had two previous vice-presidents: John N. Garner (1933-1941) and Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945).
In early 1944, the New York Times asked Vice-President Henry Wallace to, as Wallace noted, “write a piece answering the following questions: What is a fascist? How many fascists have we? How dangerous are they?”
Vice-President Wallace’s answer to those questions was published in the New York Times on April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan.
“The really dangerous American fascists,” Wallace wrote, “are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information.
“With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.”
In this, Wallace was using the classic definition of the word “fascist” — the definition Mussolini had in mind when he claimed to have invented the word. (It was actually Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile who wrote the entry in the Encyclopedia Italiana that said: “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” Mussolini, however, affixed his name to the entry, and claimed credit for it.)
As the 1983 American Heritage Dictionary noted, fascism is, “A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.”
Mussolini was quite straightforward about all this. In a 1923 pamphlet titled “The Doctrine of Fascism” he wrote, “If classical liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government.” But not a government of, by, and for We The People; instead, it would be a government of, by, and for the most powerful corporate interests in the nation.
In 1938, Mussolini brought his vision of fascism into full reality when he dissolved Parliament and replaced it with the Camera dei Fasci e delle Corporazioni — the Chamber of the Fascist Corporations. Corporations were still privately owned, but now instead of having to sneak their money to folks like Tom DeLay and covertly write legislation, they were openly in charge of the government.
Vice-President Wallace bluntly laid out in his 1944 Times article his concern about the same happening here in America:
If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. … They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.
Nonetheless, at that time there were few corporate heads who’d run for political office, and in Wallace’s view, most politicians still felt it was their obligation to represent We The People instead of corporate cartels.
“American fascism will not be really dangerous,” he added in the next paragraph, “until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information….”
Noting that, “Fascism is a worldwide disease,” Wallace further suggest that fascism’s “greatest threat to the United States will come after the war” and will manifest “within the United States itself.”
In Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 novel It Can’t Happen Here a conservative southern politician is helped to the presidency by a nationally syndicated radio talk show host. The politician, Buzz Windrip, runs his campaign on family values, the flag and patriotism. Windrip and the talk show host portray advocates of traditional American democracy as anti-American.
When Windrip becomes president, he opens a Guantanamo-style detention center, and the viewpoint character of the book, Vermont newspaper editor Doremus Jessup, flees to Canada to avoid prosecution under new “patriotic” laws that make it illegal to criticize the President.
As Lewis noted in his novel, “the President, with something of his former good-humor [said]: ‘There are two [political] parties, the Corporate and those who don’t belong to any party at all, and so, to use a common phrase, are just out of luck!‘ The idea of the Corporate or Corporative State, Secretary [of State] Sarason had more or less taken from Italy.”
And, President “Windrip’s partisans called themselves the Corporatists, or, familiarly, the ‘Corpos,’ which nickname was generally used.”
Lewis, the first American writer to win a Nobel Prize, was world famous by 1944, as was his book. And several well-known and powerful Americans, including Prescott Bush, had lost businesses in the early 1940s because of charges by Roosevelt that they were doing business with Hitler.
These events all, no doubt, colored Vice-President Wallace’s thinking when he wrote:
Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion. American fascists of this stamp were clandestinely aligned with their German counterparts before the war, and are even now preparing to resume where they left off, after ‘the present unpleasantness’ ceases.
Fascists have an agenda that is primarily economic. As the Free Dictionary (www.thefreedictionary.com) notes, fascism/corporatism is “an attempt to create a ‘modern’ version of feudalism by merging the ‘corporate’ interests with those of the state.”
Feudalism, of course, is one of the most stable of the three historic tyrannies (kingdoms, theocracies, feudalism) that ruled nations prior to the rise of American republican democracy, and can be roughly defined as “rule by the rich.”
Thus, the neo-feudal/fascistic rich get richer (and more powerful) on the backs of the poor and the middle class, an irony not lost on author Thomas Frank, who notes in his book What’s The Matter With Kansas that, “You can see the paradox first-hand on nearly any Main Street in middle America — ‘going out of business’ signs side by side with placards supporting George W. Bush.”
The businesses “going out of business” are, in fascist administrations, usually those of locally owned small and medium-sized companies. As Wallace wrote, some in big business “are willing to jeopardize the structure of American liberty to gain some temporary advantage.”
Monopolists who fear competition and who distrust democracy because it stands for equal opportunity would like to secure their position against small and energetic enterprise [companies]. In an effort to eliminate the possibility of any rival growing up, some monopolists would sacrifice democracy itself.
But American fascists who would want former CEOs as president, vice-president, House Majority Whip, and Senate Majority Leader, and write legislation with corporate interests in mind, don’t generally talk to We The People about their real agenda, or the harm it does to small businesses and working people.
Instead, as Hitler did with the trade union leaders and the Jews, they point to a “them” to pin with blame and distract people from the harms of their economic policies.
In a comment prescient of Alabama’s recent closing of every drivers’ license office in every Alabama county with more than 75% black residents (while recently passing a law requiring a drivers’ license or similar ID to vote), Wallace continued:
The symptoms of fascist thinking are colored by environment and adapted to immediate circumstances. But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power. It is no coincidence that the growth of modern tyrants has in every case been heralded by the growth of prejudice. It may be shocking to some people in this country to realize that, without meaning to do so, they hold views in common with Hitler when they preach discrimination…
But even at this, Wallace noted, American fascists would have to lie to the people in order to gain power. And, because they were in bed with the nation’s largest corporations – who could gain control of newspapers and broadcast media — they could promote their lies with ease.
“The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact,” Wallace wrote. “Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy.”
In his strongest indictment of the tide of fascism, the vice-president of the United States saw rising in America, he added:
They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.
This liberal vision of an egalitarian America in which very large businesses and media monopolies are broken up under the 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Act (which Reagan stopped enforcing, leading to the mergers & acquisitions frenzy that continues to this day) was the driving vision of the New Deal (and of “Trust Buster” Teddy Roosevelt a generation earlier).
As Wallace’s president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, said when he accepted his party’s renomination in 1936 in Philadelphia, “…out of this modern civilization, economic royalists [have] carved new dynasties…. It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction…. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man….”
Speaking indirectly of the fascists Wallace would directly name almost a decade later, Roosevelt brought the issue to its core:
These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power.” But, he thundered, “Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power!
In the election of 2016, we again stand at the same crossroad Roosevelt and Wallace confronted during the Great Depression and World War II.
Fascism is again rising in America, this time calling itself “conservativism.” The Republican candidates’ and their billionaire donors’ behavior today eerily parallels that day in 1936 when Roosevelt said, “In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for.”
It’s particularly ironic that the “big news” is which billionaire is supporting which Republican candidate. Like Eisenhower’s farewell address, President Roosevelt and Vice-President Wallace’s warnings are more urgent now than ever before.
* In trying to find the New York Times story again, I simply Googled “arbitration,” on the assumption that given that the article was both high traffic and recent that it would come up high in a search. Not only did the story not come up on the first page, although a reference to it in Consumerist did, but when I clicked on “in the news” link, it was again not in the first page in Google. If this isn’t censorship, I don’t know what is. The story was widely referenced on the Web and got far more traffic than the “news” story that Google gave preference (such as, of all things, a Cato study and “Arbitration Eligible Brewers
Brew Crew Ball-19 hours ago”). In fact, the NYT article does not appear on the first five pages of the Google news search, even though older and clearly lower traffic stories do. And when you find the first reference to the story on the news page, which is a Cato piece mentioning it, and you click through to the “explore in depth” page, again the New York Times story is not the prominent placement it warrants, and is listed fifth. Consider how many clicks it took to find it.
Crazy Horse, November 3, 2015 at 10:49 am
Amen ! I’ve always detested the weasel words “neoliberal” and “neoconservative”. Lets just be honest enough to call ideologies and political behaviors by their proper name.
timbers, November 3, 2015 at 11:17 am
Telling my friends Obama is “neoliberal” means nothing to 99% of them, they couldn’t care less, it does not compute. So instead I tell them Obama is the most right wing President in history who’s every bit un-hinged as Sarah Palin and at least as bat shit insame as John McCain, but you think that’s totally OK because you’re a Dem and Dems think that because Obama speaks with better grammar than Sarah Palin and is more temperate than John McCain. Them I tell them to vote Green instead of the utlra right wing Dems
Call Dems what they are – corrupt right wingers, ultra conservatives.
Barmitt O’Bamney, November 3, 2015 at 11:01 am
LOL. You get to take your pick between TWO fascist parties in 2016. Just like you did for the last several elections. I wonder if the outcome will be different this time – will Fascism grab the prize again, or will it be Fascism coming out ahead at the last minute to save the day?
David, November 3, 2015 at 11:04 am
Why didn’t Wallace become President when Roosevelt died? From the St. Petersburg Times,
The Gallup Poll said 65 percent of the voting Democrats wanted Wallace and that 2 percent wanted Senator Truman. But the party bosses could not boss Wallace. They made a coalition with the Roosevelt-haters and skillfully and cynically mowed down the unorganized Wallace forces.
Take note Bernie fans.
washunate November 3, 2015 at 11:28 am
With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power
Such a concise and cogent explanation. The go-to policy advice of the fascist is to do moar of whatever he’s selling.
susan the other November 3, 2015 at 12:18 pm
I was just going to say something like this too. There is a logical end to fascism and if it is blocked and prolonged then when it finally runs its course it ends in a huge mess. And even the fascists don’t know what to do. Because everything they were doing becomes pure poison. Moar money and power have an Achilles Heel – there is an actual limit to their usefulness. So this is where we find ourselves today imo – not at the beginning of a fascist-feudal empire, but at the bitter and confused end. Our implosion took far longer than Germany’s, but the writing was on the wall from 1970 on. And then toss in the wages of prolonged sin – neoliberalism’s excesses, the planet, global warming.
TarheelDem November 3, 2015 at 1:02 pm
One would think that Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and the killing of 1000 people by cops would be a clue. As would an understanding of the counter-New Deal that began to unfold in 1944, gained power in 1946, and institutionalized itself as a military and secret government in 1947. Or the rush to war after every peace, the rush to debt after every surplus, and perpetual inability of the IRS to collect taxes from the wealthiest.
Maybe not even a Franco-level fascist state or a fascist state with a single dictator, more like the state capitalism of the Soviet Union and current China without the public infrastructure. Just the oligarchs.
And yet it is in a state of failure, and inability to do anything but feather then nests of those who rule, all those King Midases.
participant-observer-observed November 3, 2015 at 1:49 pm
Also, the increase of censorship (GMO labels or fracking chemicals), and persecution of whistleblowers and political prisoners, incarceration of whole swathes of black population, along w execution w no due process, continuous wars abroad w no apparent tbreat to domestic security and the state of the nation is apparent.
participant-observer-observed November 3, 2015 at 2:56 pm
Whoops, almost forgot to include: mass surveillance.
Jim November 3, 2015 at 3:27 pm
Isn’t it important to keep in mind that fascism, as it developed in Italy and Germany, were authentic mass based movements generating great popular enthusiasm and not merely a clever manipulation of of populist emotions by the reactionary Right or by capitalism in crisis.
The orthodox left made this mistake in the 1920s and early 1930s and in 2015 still appears wedded to this erroneous assumption.
washunate November 3, 2015 at 8:17 pm
Authentic augmented by the generous application of force, I’d say. That I think is a very interesting discussion about just how freely fascism develops. I don’t think Italy and especially Germany developed with a particularly genuine popular enthusiasm. Very early on, the national socialists were arresting internal political opposition through parallel courts with explicit references to things like state security. Dachau, for example, was originally for German political prisoners. Jews and foreign nationals came later.
And of course there’s the ultimate in false flags, the Reichstag Fire Decree. The whole point of that and the Enabling Act was to circumvent the checks and balances of democratic governance; Hitler himself certainly did not trust the German people to maintain the power he wanted of their own accord and discernment.
Or to put it differently, I’d say the appearance of popular enthusiasm from a mass movement was the result of fascist control as much as the cause. That’s what’s so unnverving about the American context of 21st century fascism. It does not require a mass movement to implement this kind of totalitarianism. It merely requires the professional class to keep their heads down long enough for a critical mass to be reached by the power structure in hollowing out the back-office guts of democratic governance.
Ishmael November 3, 2015 at 8:47 pm
Fascism was a counter revolution to Bolshevikism. The upper and upper-middle class was scared to death of what happen in Russia under Bolshevikism. They united with the military looking for someone to counter Bolshevikism and settled on Hitler and the Nazi’s. The military thought they control him but they ended up being wrong.
You have to understand that after WW1 the allies kept a sea blockade on Germany and that resulted in over a million Germans starving to death. Then came depression followed by hyperinflation. Then there was the fear of Bolsheviks. The Nazi’s showed up and things started working again. The Bolsheviks were driven from the street. The Nazi’s started borrowing tons of money (yes they issued bonds) and started work programs. The economy started recovering. People had work and food and soon the Nazi’s were furnishing free health care. After you had gone through hell this was heaven.
MathandPhysics November 3, 2015 at 10:18 pm
It’s strange but 9/11 and the 3 steel frame buildings collapse into dust in few seconds isn’t recognized by the masses as false flag Hitler style, then what do you expect ? Massmedia did what it could to confuse them all, only math and physics can help you to see the truth.
Jim November 3, 2015 at 11:23 pm
It would, indeed, be an extremely worthwhile discussion to analyze how freely fascism developed in Italy and Germany.
As a first step in that directkion, Washunate, you might take a look at studies like “Elections, Parties, and Political Traditions: Social Foundations of German parties and party systems.
In the July 1932 elections the SPD (Socialist Party) received 21.6 percent of the vote and was replaced by the NSDAP (Nazi party) as the countries largest political party (with 37.3% of the vote). with the KPD (the communists) capturing 14.5%of the vote.
It was at that time that the Nazi party become a true “people’s party” with a support base that was more equally distributed among social and demographic categories than any other major party of the Weimar republic.
Tone November 3, 2015 at 11:42 am
The thing that troubles me most is that there are no leaders like Roosevelt or Wallace today. Where are the POPULAR politicians (Roosevelt was elected 4 times!) calling it like it is and publicly refuting conservative/fascist dogma? Sanders? Maybe. But he’s trailing Clinton and certainly he’s not a force in the Democratic party like Roosevelt was. At least not yet.
I agree with the “quiet coup” assessment, and I keep waiting for the next Roosevelt, the next Lincoln, the next Founding Father, to appear on the political stage and fight the battle against corporatist/fascist forces. Sadly, it hasn’t happened yet.
Masonboro November 3, 2015 at 11:50 am
Unfortunately the next Founding Father to appear (or has appeared) will be John Jay (first Chief Justice among other roles) who was quoted as having said :
“Those who own America should govern it”
TarheelDem November 3, 2015 at 1:07 pm
Hank Paulson and George W. Bush prevented the situation in 2008 from forcing a Rooseveltian Congress. And the Congress went along with them. Then it was so easy for the do-nothings to argue for less and continue the austerity. And as in Roosevelt’s era, racism helped prevent full change, which allowed the post-war rollback.
participant-observer-observed November 3, 2015 at 1:52 pm
Even among the corporatists in govt or business, there are no distinctive shining exemplars of leadership or competence !
Massinissa November 3, 2015 at 2:12 pm
Who do you think put the basis of rule by the rich into practice in the first place? A series of ‘popular movements’ like Shays Rebellion was what forced the founding fathers to make voting rights not dependent on owning land, not because the Founding Fathers were really nice people who luvved ‘Democracy’.
Oregoncharles November 4, 2015 at 1:57 am
We just might have to be that “leader” ourselves.
Masonboro November 3, 2015 at 11:46 am
“on the rise” or firmly entrenched ? We already have Homeland Security, Justice Thomas, Donald Trump ,Ted Cruz, and the Koch Brothers (who are running ads in NC extolling recently passed changes in the tax code to continue shifting from income to consumption taxes). What is missing?
susan the other November 3, 2015 at 12:32 pm
I always think of the Kochs when the word fascist is used. They are ostensibly great environmentalists. Never mind that they operate some of the filthiest industries on the planet. They sponsor NOVA; one brother is a raving environmentalist (that’s fine with me) and the other two tone it down. But their brand of conservative politix is as pointless as it is ignorant. That’s an interesting topic – the hypocrisy of rich corporatist environmentalists. They are living a contradiction that will tear them apart. But at least they are agonizing over the problem.
lou strong November 3, 2015 at 11:56 am
Maybe my English is too bad, but it seems there’s a misunderstanding about “corporatism” meaning, which is unfortunately reflected, as it seems again, in some American dictionaries. Corporation in Italian has approximately the meaning of guild and has nothing to do with big enterprises.
So, while there is no doubt that fascists took power in Italy as the armed wing of big capital, big finance and big landholders against the unrests of the low classes, the idea of corporatist state for them meant the refusal of the principle of class war in favor of the principle of class (guilds, “corporations” :both for employers and employees/trade unions) collaboration , and all of them as subservients to the superior interest of the state.Fascism agenda wasn’t primarily economic. There wasn’t either a specific agenda : until ’29 the regime acted as deeply “neoliberal” with privatizations, deflationary policies to fix a strong lira smashing labor rights and purchase power etc etc , after the crisis it nationalized the failed enterprises and introduced some welfare state elements.
So at least the regime got the property of the failed banks/enterprises, much unlike current situation , where we see the mere socialization of losses and privatization of profits .
Massinissa November 3, 2015 at 2:23 pm
You are correct, I have read this before.
But English speakers either dont know or dont care. Ive seen people talk about “Mussolini Corporatism” like this for what, five years, and they never get corrected.
I dont think theres anything we can do to get people to stop using that term as if it means what they think it means.
visitor November 3, 2015 at 3:19 pm
Massinissa and lou strong are correct — corporatism in Mussolini’s Italy meant structuring the State and the legislative body around organizations representing specific professional or economic sectors.
By the way: we should not forget another fascist State, Portugal, which during the entire Salazar regime officially defined itself as a “corporatist republic”.
Barmitt O’Bamney November 3, 2015 at 4:21 pm
You can direct them to the Wikipedia entry for corporatism, which is extensive, or to Michael Lind’s 2014 article on the multiple historical meanings and recent misuse of this term. But the term has currency and traction today for reason neither article quite puts a finger on. Under Italian Fascism, the traditional meanings of corporative representation and bargaining were invoked but fused tightly under the auspices -or control- of the nation state, which of course was a single party state. The theoretical representativeness of corporatism was as a facade for political control of all institutions of Italian life by the Fascist Party. In the present time, with unions and guilds a fading memory, regions homogenized and classes atomized, with churches that are little more than money making enterprises as transparent as any multilevel marketing scheme, there are few non-government institutions in western life with any weight besides for-profit corporations. When people struggle to describe what seems wrong to them with our political life, the subservience of our government – and therefore everything else – to profit seeking corporations, they need a term that reflects neatly what has happened and where we are. Democracy of course is defunct both as a term and in reality. We don’t have a state of decayed democracy (passive, negative), we have a state of corporate diktat (active, positive). “Corporatism” is an attractive and convenient verbal handle for the masses to latch onto, no matter how much this disappoints the learned. In English, when enough people “misuse” a term for a sufficiently long time, what happens is that the OED adds a new sub-entry for it reflecting its current usage.
Vatch November 3, 2015 at 4:46 pm
I’ve tried to correct people’s misunderstanding of corporazione, but it’s probably a losing battle:
run75441 November 4, 2015 at 7:47 am
Les Swift November 3, 2015 at 12:09 pm
Corporatism is indeed an old idea, feudalism re-branded as “fascism.” After Hitler ruined the term, fascism remained, but underground, until it reemerged in the 1960s as what George Ball termed the “world company,” which is better known as the system of global corporations. The same general idea, but under a new marketing slogan. Today we have globalization, the raft of “trade” treaties, the Austrian/Libertarian ideology, all of which ultimately push the world toward yet another replay of feudalism. The box says “new and improved,” but inside it’s the same old crap.
kevinearick November 3, 2015 at 1:01 pm
“The more people that transact with one another, the greater the division of labour and knowledge, the greater the ability to develop comparative advantage and the greater the productivity gains.”
What could possibly go wrong?
In any empire, virtual or otherwise, you are always surrounded by communist thieves that think they are going to control your output with a competitive advantage illusion, which conveniently ignores opportunity cost. Government is just a derivative piece of paper, the latest fashion for communists, all assuming that the planet is here for their convenience, to exploit. Well, the critters have blown right through 45/5000/.75, and Canada was supposed to be the proving ground for the Silicon Valley Method. Now what?
“Don’t panic : world trade is down….Don’t bet against the Fed….BTFD.” Expect something other than demographic variability, financial implosion, and war.
The communists are always running head first over the cliff, expecting you to follow. Labor has no use for cars that determine when, where and how you will travel, and the communists can’t fix anything, because the ‘fix’ is already inside, embedded as a feature. America is just the latest communist gang believing it has commandeered the steamroller, rolling over other communist gangs.
The Bear isn’t coming down from the North, China isn’t selling Treasuries, and families are not moving away from the city by accident. Only the latest and greatest, new-world-order communists, replacing themselves with computers, are surprised that technology is always the solution for the problem, technology. Facebook, LinkedIn and Google are only the future for communists, which is always the same, a dead end, with a different name.
Remember that Honda of mine? I told the head communist thief not to touch that car while I was gone, told his fellow thieves and their dependents that I told him so, and even gave him the advantage of telling him what the problem was. How many hours do you suppose the fools spent trying to control that car, and my wife with it?
I don’t care whether the communists on the other side of the hill or the communists on this side of the hill think they are going to control Grace, and through her my wife, and through her me. And there are all kinds of communist groups using pieces of my work to advance their AI weapons development, on the assumption that my work will not find itself in the end. Grace will decide whether she wants to be an individual or a communist.
The only way the communists can predict and control the future is to control children. That’s what financialization is all about. And all communism can do is train automatons to follow each other, which is a problem-solution addressed by the planet every three generations. You don’t have to do anything for communism to collapse, but get out of the way.
Technology is just a temporary tool, discarded by labor for the communists to steal, and stealing a hammer doesn’t make anyone a carpenter, much less a King, which is why the Queen always walks through the wreckage, to a worthless throne. The story of Jesus was in fact the story of a king, who had no use for a worldly kingdom, other than as a counterweight, always surrounded by communists, like pigs at a trough. Jesus was no more and no less a child of God than you are.
Labor loses every battle because it doesn’t participate, leaving the communists to label each other as labour and knowledge. And if you look, you will see that all their knowledge is real estate inflation, baked into everything, with oil as grease. The name, Robert Reich, didn’t give you a hint; of course he knew all along, and like a good communist, changes sides on a regular basis.
You can’t pick your parents or your children, or make choices for them, but you can love them without pissing your life away. Navy hasn’t disappeared just because the US Navy chose to be a sunk cost, at the beck and call of Wall Street, trying to defend the status quo of communism, for communists on the other side of the pond. A marine is not always a Marine, and a flattop can be turned on a dime.
“The Muses doe attend upon your Throne, With all the Artists at your becke and call…”
If you want to show up at WWIII with a communist and a dc computer as a weapon, that’s your business, but I wouldn’t recommend doing so. Labor can mobilize far quicker than the communists can imagine, which isn’t saying much. Be about your business until the laws of physics have been overthrown, and that hasn’t happened yet.
You can count on communists to be at an intersection, creating a traffic jam, building a bigger toll booth, and voting for more of the same, thinking that they are taking advantage of each other, doing the wrong thing at the wrong time at the wrong place. Any intersection of false assumptions will do.
alex morfesis November 3, 2015 at 1:12 pm
let the merry breezes blow synthetic winds…
his name was hanz…or so I was told…we had acquired a lease from the NYC HPD from a parking lot/marina that was at the very north edge of Harlem River Drive at Dyckman (pronounced dikeman)….there is a school there now…he “came” with the lease…years later I would find out he was working with Carlos Lehder and helping arrange for cash payments to conveniently amnesiastic police officers who used the hardly functioning marina to go fishing…in the east river & the hudson…go figure…the more I tried to get rid of him…the more “problems” occurred…my father begged me stop poking around and just “leave it alone”…I don’t think he ever really knew what “hanz” was doing or who he was…oh well…might explain how we lost a billion dollars in real estate (ok…it was not worth a billion back then…but it had not debt other than real estate taxes…it was not lost for simply economic reasons)
we as a nation were “convinced” to allow 50 thousand former nazis to enter this country after ww2…under the foolish notion that “the russians” (who have never killed too many americans if my history serves me right) were a “new danger” and only the folks who LO$T to the russians had the knowledge needed to save us from those “evil communists”…(evil communists who helped the Koch Family make their financial start…details details…)
those nazis, from my research have probably grown to a force of about 250 thousand who are the basic clowns (MIC…see you real soon…KEY…why, because we like you…) Ike was talking about in January of 1961…
but…as Ike mentioned when talking about the Koch dad and his John Birch nonsense…they are small and they are stupid…
the use of “coup” in the context of some of the strange happenings in our history these last 55 years is probably not a reasonable term…
I would say we have had “coupettes” where certain groups threatened MAD if they did not get their way or were not left alone…and then those wimps in power decided…better you than me…and turned a blind eye for 30 pieces of silver…coincidence and causality sometimes are not just mathematical anomalies…
there is no need to “take back” our country…it is ours and has always been ours…the reason “the clowns that be” worry so much is that for all the use of bernaze sause…they can hardly fake half the population into showing up to vote on “one of the chosen ones”…and that 50% that are not fully mesmerized are the fear factor for the clowns that be…
remember…try as “they” might…can “they” keep you watching the same tv show for ever…or get you to buy their useless “branded” product without coupons or advertising…
it is not as bad or scary as they would like you to believe…they would not be working this hard if they were comfortable in their socks…they do not sleep well at night…you are the “zombie apocalypse” they are afraid off…
pass the popcorn please…
and may our freedom
“bloom again” at “the end of the century”
Les Swift November 3, 2015 at 1:24 pm
Huh? Many of the things you brand as “communist” existed long before Communism was created. To blame it all on “communists” is a serious error which blinds you to much older evils, some of which Communism was at least nominally intended to correct. It is important to recognize that the “Red scares” have been used by forces in the West to bolster their own power. One can both disagree with Communism and disagree with the “Red menace” propaganda at the same time. The people who scare you with the threat of Communism are more of a threat than the Communists themselves.
kevinearick November 3, 2015 at 1:33 pm
Funny thing about words…under the law, they mean whatever the author intends them to mean.
kevinearick November 3, 2015 at 1:50 pm
not a big believer in evil, just stupid, willful ignorance, aggregated.
Gio Bruno November 3, 2015 at 10:37 pm
GWBush is evil and stupid. Dick Cheney is evil, stupid, and ignorant, aggregated.
Doug November 3, 2015 at 1:58 pm
Time to re-read The Moneysburg Address:
Jim November 3, 2015 at 2:32 pm
When talking about the rise of fascism(especially if the US experiences another economic/financial meltdown in the next few years) it is so important to get the historical context as accurate as possible.
Mussolini began his political career as an exponent of a different type of socialism. One of his early followers was Antonio Gramsci and they both deplored the passivity of orthodox Marxists.
Mussolini was attracted to the theoretical framework of Sorel to offset traditional left passivity and the syndicalist focus on the importance of human will. He founded a journal in 1913 called Utopia and called for a revision of socialism in which he began referring to “the people” and not the proletariat, as well as stressing the importance of the nation. He attempted to bring nationalist and syndicalist streams of thought together.
After World War I Mussolini helped found a new political movement in Italy which brought together both nationalist and socialist themes. Its first program was anticapitalist, antimonarchical and called for an 8 hour day, minimum wages, the participation of workers’ representatives in industrial management and a large progressive tax on capital.
By the early 1920s the Fasci of Mussolini gained a powerful base of support in rural Italian areas, advocating of program of peasant proprtietorship rather than endorsing the calls for the nationalization of property of the orthodox left.
By this time fascism presented itself as an opponent of “Bolshevism” and a guardian of private property while emphasizing the collective good and criticizing absentee landlords and “exploitative capitalists”
For an excellent discussion of the development of these ideas as well as the concrete steps toward corporatism that took place after 1922 see Sheri Berman “The Primacy of Politics”
A key point to keep in mind was that the fascism that eventually developed in Italy was willing to assert unconditionally the power of the state over the market.
participant-observer-observed November 3, 2015 at 2:37 pm
Relevant postbocer at Counterpunch too:
Not everybody just “wants what we have,” as the common view here has it. In fact, from Bolivia, where the average person consumes perhaps 1/20th the total resources of her analogue in the US, comes the old-new idea of buen vivir (the good life): a life in which the health of your human community and its surrounding ecosystem are more important than the amount of money you make or things you own.
Jacob November 3, 2015 at 3:16 pm
“In this, Wallace was using the classic definition of the word fascist’ — the definition Mussolini had in mind when he claimed to have invented the word.”
An Italian Jew by the name of Enrico Rocca is cited in “Roots of Hate: Anti-Semitism in Europe Before the Holocaust” as the founder of Roman fascism. This name is completely unknown in the U.S. A large number of Italian Jews were founders and members of the Italian fascist party prior to 1938 when anti-Semitism became official. “Among Mussolini’s earliest financial backers were three Jews: Giuseppe Toeplitz of the Banca Commerciale Italiana, Elio Jona [?], and the industrialist Gino Olivetti. . . .” The banker Toeplitz was the main financier behind Mussolini’s blackshirts, which served as union busters for big business and land owners (also see “Fascism and Big Business” by Daniel Guerin). Undermining organized labor in order to drive down wages was a central aim of fascism in Italy and later under Hitler in Germany. In 1933, roughly ten percent of Italian Jews were members of the fascist party. These facts are important to know because moderns are led to believe that fascism is inherently anti-semitic, but that wasn’t the case in the early years of fascism in Italy, where it was founded.
Jim November 3, 2015 at 3:58 pm
It is also important to keep in mind, as Sheri Berman has argued, that social democracy, the fascism of Mussolini and National Socialism in Germany agree on a set of key assumptions.
1. All assume the primary importance of politics and cross-class cooperation. Edward Bermstein at the turn of the 20th century began attacking the main pillars of orthodox Marxism, historical materialism and class struggle while arguing for an alternative vision based on state control of markets–social democracy became the complete severing of socialism from Marxism.
2. For these same Social Democrats the primacy of the political meant using the democratic state to institutionalize policies and protect society from capitalism.
3. For fascists and national socialists using a tyrannical state to control markets was supposedly necessary–but, of course, this postion deteriorated into moves to ensure the hegemony of the modern State.
But is it the case, in 2015, taken the power of our contemporary Surveillance regime, that a democratic state still exists?
Do contemporary democratic socialists first have to first focus on how to restore democracy in the U.S. rather than assuming that the contemporary political structure just needs the right leadership–someone like Bernie Sanders–and the right credit policy– such as MMT?
hemeantwell November 3, 2015 at 4:31 pm
Hartmann draws from Mussolini the idea that the fascist state prioritizes and organizes corporate interests, but misses what Mussolini left out of his harmonistic definition, which was that in both Germany and Italy organized terror was to be used to destroy opposition to corporate interests. The systematic use of terror had major implications for the way the internal politics of the fascist state developed, for the weight given in its organizational structure and tactical options to the elimination of internal enemies. Along with this, both political orders were infused with a leadership ethos that, particularly in Nazi Germany, could attain strikingly absolute forms, demanding absolute obedience and sacrifice. This encouraged a strong tendency to subordinate any institution that might serve as a point of coalescence to interests opposed to the regime. The Fuhrer’s picture had to be both on your wall and in your heart.
Hartmann misses this political knife edge of fascism and the leadership fascination that supports it. It is not wildly speculative to say that this is largely because the domestic enemies against which it was directed, primarily leftist trade unions, are not a threat in the US. No such organizations need to be wrecked, no such memberships need to be decimated, imprisoned, and dispersed. It is simply astonishing that Hartmann says nothing specifically about labor organizations as the prime instigating target of both fascists and the corporations who supported them. In this respect his analysis unwittingly incorporates the ideological suppression of the labor movement that mirrored the fascist onslaught.
It is also telling that although Hartmann references Wallace and Roosevelt he fails to note that they themselves have also been accused of corporatism, albeit one that involved the imposition of a Keynesian, welfarist orientation to capitalist interests that were, at least in some quarters, inclined to “liquidate, liquidate” their way into a revolution against themselves. Instead, he quotes Wallace and Roosevelt as they render fascism as a kind of power-hungry, antidemocratic urge on the part of some “royalists,” thereby blurring out how the central issue was how to manage labor. He misses that Roosevelt offered the state as an organizer of conflict between capital and labor within a framework in which labor was guaranteed bargaining status. Roosevelt was thereby moved to attack capitalists who wanted to deny labor that status and risk both devastating hardship and insurrection. Hartmann falls for Roosevelt’s broad democratic rhetoric against them, more exhortation than analysis, and so he himself ends up talking ethereally of threats to “freedom” and “American institutions.”
We’re not living under fascism and Hartmann, whose criticism is often very useful, is wrong in trying to use the term as a rallying orientation. I agree that the social order is corporatist, but its maintenance has not required the kind of direct oppression + totalitarian/personalized leadership cult that is a marker of fascism. Concepts the Frankfurt School have used such as “total administration” and the like are perhaps too anodyne, not to mention absolute in their own way, but they fit better with a situation in which explicit violence does not have to be generalized.
Robert Paxton’s “The Anatomy of Fascism” is a useful backgrounder on this.
Jim November 3, 2015 at 6:30 pm
Heamtwell stated directly above that ” We’re not living under fascism…”
Some concepts/ questions which may begin to get at our potential propensity for moving in that direction might include the following:
Paxton, mentioned by Heamtwell above, isolated five stages of fascism.
(1) the initial creation of fascist movements
(2) their rooting as parties in a political system
(3) the acquisition of power
(4) the exercise of power
(5) their radicalization or entropy
Paxton has argued that Fascism can appear where democracy is sufficiently implanted to have aroused disillusion–a society must have known political liberty.
In regards to Paxtons first 2 stages and our situation in the US.
Are political fascists becoming rooted in political parties that represent major interests and feelings and wield major influence on our political scene?
Is our constitutional system in a state of blockage increasingly insoluble by existing authorities?
Is rapid political mobilization taking place in our society which threatens to escape the control of traditional elites to the point where they would be tempted to look for tough helpers in order to stay in charge?
hemeantwell November 3, 2015 at 7:16 pm
Is rapid political mobilization taking place in our society which threatens to escape the control of traditional elites to the point where they would be tempted to look for tough helpers in order to stay in charge?
I think that’s the primary question, and it helps to define what we’re facing with the current party system.
It is apparent that both corporate parties are increasingly incapable of properly deflecting and channeling the interests of the electorate. Whether you think of 2007-08 as simply another business cycle, one that was exacerbated by toxic assets, a product of increasing income and wealth disparity, etc. it seems that portions of the electorate have been shocked out of their confidence in the system and the steering capacity of economic and political elites.
This might lead the parties, under the pressure of events, to might reformulate themselves as the political cover of a “government of national unity” that, depending on the extremity of the next downturn, impose a “solidarity from above,” blocking the development of popular organizations in a variety of ways. I certainly see this as possible. But treating the parties, or the system itself, as fascist at this point in time is not only not helpful, it is fundamentally disorienting.
Ron November 3, 2015 at 8:05 pm
F* is an ugly word as is all its close relatives, but your definitions are very interesting, and so maybe I’ve learned some things by reading them. However; by what contrivance did you manage to get any of these pages past the f* who own the internet? It seems I must suspend my disbelief to believe, Freunde von Grund
todde November 3, 2015 at 8:20 pm
In Fascism, corporations were subservient to the State. What we have is the State subservient to Corporations. Also Italian corporatism was more than just business, as a.corporation in Italy can have.non business functions.
tommy strange November 3, 2015 at 8:23 pm
Great post and great comments. Though I wonder why no one has brought up the only way to stop fascism. A militant class based libertarian left. Outside of the ballot box. If a liberal party still ‘exists’ they will then at least respond to the larger non party real left, just to nullify it’s demands. Fascism has never been defeated by the ballot, only by a militant anarchist/socialist left. Or at the least, that ‘left’ fought back. Liberals rarely have fought back, and most often conceded. How do you do form such? Urban face to face organizing. With direct action and occupation and even organization towards workers’ control of manufacturing.
Ishmael November 3, 2015 at 8:53 pm
tommy -Fascism has never been defeated by the ballot, only by a militant anarchist/socialist left.
I believe you should go re-look at history. Fascism has always defeated socialist left. Three examples — Italy, Germany and Argentina. I welcome an example other wise and if it did how did it end.
visitor November 4, 2015 at 10:57 am
The paramount example is of course Spain, where all left-wing movements (communists, trotskists, anarchists, socialists) were ultimately defeated by fascists despite ferocious fighting.
Synoia November 3, 2015 at 9:48 pm
Mussolini-Style Corporatism, aka Fascism, on the Rise Well Established in the US
Set to Dominate World after TPP, TTIP and TISA ratified.
Keynesian November 3, 2015 at 11:03 pm
Much of Robert Paxton’s work has focused on models and definition of fascism.
In his 1998 paper “The Five Stages of Fascism”, he suggests that fascism cannot be defined solely by its ideology, since fascism is a complex political phenomenon rather than a relatively coherent body of doctrine like communism or socialism. Instead, he focuses on fascism’s political context and functional development. The article identifies five paradigmatic stages of a fascist movement, although he notes that only Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy have progressed through all five:
1.Intellectual exploration, where disillusionment with popular democracy manifests itself in discussions of lost national vigor
2.Rooting, where a fascist movement, aided by political deadlock and polarization, becomes a player on the national stage
3.Arrival to power, where conservatives seeking to control rising leftist opposition invite the movement to share power
4.Exercise of power, where the movement and its charismatic leader control the state in balance with state institutions such as the police and traditional elites such as the clergy and business magnates.
5.Radicalization or entropy, where the state either becomes increasingly radical, as did Nazi Germany, or slips into traditional authoritarian rule, as did Fascist Italy.
In his 2004 book The Anatomy of Fascism, Paxton refines his five-stage model and puts forward the following definition for fascism:
[quote]Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.[/quote]
Here is a more contemporary analysis of politics in America using Paxton’s model.
[quote]Fascist America: Are We There Yet?
Friday, August 07, 2009 — by Sara
In the second stage, fascist movements take root, turn into real political parties, and seize their seat at the table of power. Interestingly, in every case Paxton cites, the political base came from the rural, less-educated parts of the country; and almost all of them came to power very specifically by offering themselves as informal goon squads organized to intimidate farmworkers on behalf of the large landowners. The KKK disenfranchised black sharecroppers and set itself up as the enforcement wing of Jim Crow. The Italian Squadristi and the German Brownshirts made their bones breaking up farmers’ strikes. And these days, GOP-sanctioned anti-immigrant groups make life hell for Hispanic agricultural workers in the US. As violence against random Hispanics (citizens and otherwise) increases, the right-wing goon squads are getting basic training that, if the pattern holds, they may eventually use to intimidate the rest of us.
Paxton wrote that succeeding at the second stage “depends on certain relatively precise conditions: the weakness of a liberal state, whose inadequacies condemn the nation to disorder, decline, or humiliation; and political deadlock because the Right, the heir to power but unable to continue to wield it alone, refuses to accept a growing Left as a legitimate governing partner.” He further noted that Hitler and Mussolini both took power under these same circumstances: “deadlock of constitutional government (produced in part by the polarization that the fascists abetted); conservative leaders who felt threatened by the loss of their capacity to keep the population under control at a moment of massive popular mobilization; an advancing Left; and conservative leaders who refused to work with that Left and who felt unable to continue to govern against the Left without further reinforcement.”
And more ominously: “The most important variables…are the conservative elites’ willingness to work with the fascists (along with a reciprocal flexibility on the part of the fascist leaders) and the depth of the crisis that induces them to cooperate.”[/quote]
hermes November 4, 2015 at 12:10 am
I think there is something missing from this analysis, having to do with the definition of corporatism itself. I think our contemporary definition of corporatism is rooted in neoliberalism and is actually a far cry from the definition used by the Fascists in forming the Chamber of the Fascist Corporations. Because to them corporatism wasn’t simply business interests (which is how we know it today), but (from Wikipedia):
‘[was] the sociopolitical organization of a society by major interest groups, or corporate groups, such as agricultural, business, ethnic, labour, military, patronage, or scientific affiliations, on the basis of common interests. It is theoretically based on the interpretation of a community as an organic body. The term corporatism is based on the Latin root word “corpus” (plural – “corpora”) meaning “body”.’
In other words, corporatism was not only made up of business interests, but all major (and competing) interests within society.
This is not to downplay the importance and absolute seriousness of confronting the increasing absolutism of ruling business interests. It is also not to downplay the historical truth of who ultimately held power in Fascist Italy. But I think it is also important to place Fascism in it’s own historical context, and not try to blur historical lines where doing so may be misleading. When Fascists spoke of corporatism they had something else in mind, and it does not help us to blur the distinction.
hemeantwell November 4, 2015 at 8:35 am
Good point, and it raises this question: how can institutional organicity, with its ideological aura of community, partnership, and good old Volkishness, develop when we’re talking about corporations that are multinational in scope as well as financialized and thereby even more rootless and and community indifferent? How can organicity develop in the sort of institutional setup foreshadowed by the TPP?
sd November 4, 2015 at 1:09 am
My impression is that today Corporatism more closely represents the interests of multinational corporations and the people who hold executive leadership positions within those companies. What they have in common is a listing on NYSE.
Oregoncharles November 4, 2015 at 1:09 am
Anyone heard from Naomi Wolf lately? She was the most prominent author calling out fascism during the Bush administration, got wide coverage at least on the left. She re-emerged during the Occupy movement, for a little while.
I ask that because, at the time, she said she’d go silent if it looked like people like her (that is, writers/journalists) were being persecuted. Haven’t heard from her, at least on this topic, since Obama started prosecuting whistleblowers. Didn’t see a farewell, either.
And that leads to a personal question: how safe are our bloggers feeling? Arguably, this site is an exercise in personal courage. Any ugly straws in the wind?
Good Point Hotrod
It goes without saying that people in politics – even when well-intentioned – aren’t “showing all their cards.”
And Reich is certainly well-intentioned.
In a related thought…. Although Hillary Clinton recently told Stephen Colbert that she would let the big banks fail “if” another crisis comes, a Rolling Stone article by Matt Taibbi reveals that she is actually onboard with Goldman Sachs and that her “comprehensive plan” only gives regulators the “ability” to enforce things – in other words, Hillary’s plan has no automatic mechanism to punish the banksters instead of the taxpayers when things go down the tubes.
So if you are a democrat, and you don’t want another bankster bailout, you should be pulling for Bernie Sanders. I haven’t researched the Republican candidates on this issue, maybe somebody has some input on that.
Hillary not siding with the TBTF banks? Laughable. I don’t think Bernie could stop the corruption either-even if he’d like to. No Republican candidate has mentioned anything regarding the banks that I know of with the possible exception of Rand Paul. The stench of corruption and the power of influence only step aside when the people are in the streets and demand change. I wish I could be more optimistic.
“… “successful social and political management often depends on proper coordination of propaganda with coercion, violent or non-violent; economic inducement (including bribery); diplomatic negotiation; and other techniques.” …”
“… So beginning around the turn of the century, the scientific engineers of consent unleashed a Weltanschauungskrieg (“worldview war”) on an unsuspecting public, Simpson argues, in which they sought “a shift in which modern consumer culture displaced existing social forms.” …”
“… Automobile marketers, for example, do not simply tout their products for their usefulness as transportation; they seek to convince their customers to define their personal goals, self-esteem, and values in terms of owning or using the product…. …”
“… Ordinary people are to be kept voiceless, Simpson concludes, “voiceless in all fields other than selection of commodities.” …”
“… The interesting thing is that is also part and parcel of the cultural memes presently prevalent in the industrialized societies of wealthy western industrialized nations. These memes have been spreading throughout the world at a very rapid rate and it is MHO that this meme is spreading what amounts to a terminal cultural pathology. In other words it is a dead end with an expiration date. …”
“… Technological shifts occurring now because of perfect storm of maturing technologies and the end of age of oil, are bringing us the Uberization of many facets of our civilization that we had taken for granted as almost eternal and immutable. “Like we all need a car to be free!” …”
Glenn Stehle,10/31/2015 at 9:15 am
So one is left wondering what is causing the downward mobility of most Americans. Is it caused by increasingly less abundant natural resources, making it more costly to exploit those that remain? Or is it caused by one group of humans which is more aggressively exploiting another group?Most Americans seem to believe it’s the latter. The Economist reports that:
The country faces a crisis of mutual resentment… Sharply-delineated voter blocs are alarmingly willing to believe that rival groups are up to no good or taking more than their fair share.
So Americans are mad as hell. And as they descend into an orgy of victimization, even rich white straight protestant men can be heard bellowing for victim status.
Where will it all lead, and especially if the politicians are no longer able to bring the bacon home?
I’m reading Christopher Simpson’s the Science of Coercion where he notes that Harold Lawswell, one of the seminal “scientific engineers of consent” in the United States, claimed that “successful social and political management often depends on proper coordination of propaganda with coercion, violent or non-violent; economic inducement (including bribery); diplomatic negotiation; and other techniques.”
So beginning around the turn of the century, the scientific engineers of consent unleashed a Weltanschauungskrieg (“worldview war”) on an unsuspecting public, Simpson argues, in which they sought “a shift in which modern consumer culture displaced existing social forms.”
“We have thought in terms of fighting dictatorships-by-force,” Donald Slesinger noted of the new strategy and tactics, “through the establishment of dictatorship-by-manipulation.”
As Simpson goes on to explain, for the scientific engineers of consent
the simple sale of products and services is not enough. Their commercial success in a mass market depends to an important degree on their ability to substitute their values and worldview for those previously held by their audience, typically through seduction and deflection of rival worldviews. Automobile marketers, for example, do not simply tout their products for their usefulness as transportation; they seek to convince their customers to define their personal goals, self-esteem, and values in terms of owning or using the product….
Ordinary people are to be kept voiceless, Simpson concludes, “voiceless in all fields other than selection of commodities.”
So now, after a century of hammering the values and worldview of a mass consumer culture into the peoples’ heads, how quickly can the public’s worldview be turned around?
And if we remove “economic inducement” and “vocie in the selection of commodities” from the toolbox of the scientific engineers of consent, what’s left? Propaganda; coercion (violent or non-violent); diplomatic negotiation; and “other techniques”?
Fred Magyar,10/31/2015 at 11:09 am
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the I’m reading Christopher Simpson’s the Science of Coercion where he notes that Harold Lawswell, one of the seminal “scientific engineers of consent” in the United States, claimed that “successful social and political management often depends on proper coordination of propaganda with coercion, violent or non-violent; economic inducement (including bribery); diplomatic negotiation; and other techniques.”That sounds an awful lot like this crap!
organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
― Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda circa 1928
There is no doubt that this way of thinking is the basis of the so called capitalist infinite growth paradigm. Which only has a chance of working up until the point that physical limits of our finite planet are reached. Then the shit tends to hit the fan for all concerned.
The interesting thing is that is also part and parcel of the cultural memes presently prevalent in the industrialized societies of wealthy western industrialized nations. These memes have been spreading throughout the world at a very rapid rate and it is MHO that this meme is spreading what amounts to a terminal cultural pathology. In other words it is a dead end with an expiration date.
The good news is, that it isn’t written stone that the current culture itself can not be deeply disrupted and profoundly changed.
Technological shifts occurring now because of perfect storm of maturing technologies and the end of age of oil, are bringing us the Uberization of many facets of our civilization that we had taken for granted as almost eternal and immutable. “Like we all need a car to be free!”
Well, a lot of young people are no longer buying into that world view. So the old guard and power brokers of the linear consumer society such as the Oil Majors, Automobile manufactures, and producers of unnecessary useless consumer goods are losing their grip on economic power to the new crop of digital entrepreneurs who are ushering in a totally new economic, political and social paradigm.
Technology is changing the way we interact and form connections within society.
This video a the end of my post might seem a bit off topic but to me it underscores how different this new world has the potential to be. I especially love the example of an expensive commercial failure of a consumer product that suddenly became cheap enough for use as a musical instrument in a computer orchestra and the fact that a thousand people can suddenly come together in a show of support by singing together… And If I could travel back in time, I’d murder Eduard Bernays.
The DIY orchestra of the future
We need to stop thinking linearly!
Glenn Stehle, 11/01/2015 at 9:12 am
Fred Magyar said:
The good news is, that it isn’t written stone that the current culture itself can not be deeply disrupted and profoundly changed.
Technological shifts occurring now because of perfect storm of maturing technologies and the end of age of oil, are bringing us the Uberization of many facets of our civilization that we had taken for granted as almost eternal and immutable….
So the old guard and power brokers of the linear consumer society such as the Oil Majors, Automobile manufactures, and producers of unnecessary useless consumer goods are losing their grip on economic power to the new crop of digital entrepreneurs who are ushering in a totally new economic, political and social paradigm.
The idea of cultural transformation has been with us for a long time. It’s very much part of the Christian evangelical tradition, and we can see how the idea played out in practice after Spain’s and Portugal’s conquest of the Americas.
Combining cultural revolution with technological transformation, however, seems to be a purely 20th-century innovation. And the idea has been no less appealing to left Hegelians than it has been to right Hegelians.
On the left, we see the notion of a combined cultural-technological revolution emerge first with the Russian nihilists. “Drawing heavily on the German materialists Jacob Moleschott, Karl Vogt, and Ludwig Buchner,” Michael Allen Gillespie explains in Nihilism Before Nietzsche, “the nihilists argued that the natural sciences were preparing the way for the millennium.”
“This turn to materialism was also bound up with the growth of atheism,” Gillespie adds, which was “given a concrete reality by materialism, especially in combination with the Darwinism that became increasingly popular with the nihilists.”
“We are witnesses of the greatest moment of summing-up in history, in the name of a new and unknown culture, which will be created by us, and which will also sweep us away,” Sergey Diaghilev gushed in 1905.
This nihilist brand of Futurism, combining cultural revolution with technological revolution, was to prove highly attractive to the later Bolsheviks, even though the Russian avant-garde which occurred under Lennin would be quite different from the Socialist Realism which took place later under Stalin.
Anatoli Lunacharsky, Lennin’s Commissar for Education and Enlightenment, wrote in 1917, “If the revolution can give art its soul, then art can endow the revolution with speech.”
“There was a need to explain, encourage, teach and enthuse the masses,” Victor Awars explains in The Great Russian Utopia. “Agit-Prop was to be the means.”
In the catalogue for the Tenth State Exhibition organized by Lunacharsky in 1919, El Lissitzky wrote:
Technology…was diverted by the war from the path of construction and forced on to the paths of death and destruction. Into this chaos came Suprematism… We, on the last stage of the path to Suprematism blasted aside the old work of art… The empty phrase ‘art for art’s sake’ had already been wiped out and in Suprematism we have wiped out the phrase ‘painting for painting’s sake.’
In May 1924 Vladimir Tatlin in his lecture “Material Culture and Its Role in the Production of Life in the USSR” offered a synoptic statement of what was still the task at hand:
…to shed light on the tasks of production in our country, and also to discover the place of the artist-constructor in production, in relation to improving the quality both of the manufactured product and of the organization of the new way of life in general.”
The same sentiment is heard again a year later when Vladimir Maiakovskii declared that: “To build a new culture a clean sweep is needed. The sweep of the October revolution is needed.”
What is happening is “the conversion of revolutionary effort into technological effort,” is how Asja Lacis summed it up in 1927.
In this poster, one can see how the worker’s revolution was melded with the technological revolution, all under the banner of the Russian Revolution.
Transport Worker! Armed with a Knowledge of Technology.
Neocon Wolf Blitzer against Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard
“… This is one incredible person, she stands in a league of her own. The only pol Ive heard in a decade that makes a bit of sense. I now despise only 534 members of CONgress. …”
“… Former CIA director Allen Dulles ordered JFKs assassination because he was a threat to national security, a new book has claimed. …”
“… Allen Dulles most certainly was involved with the murder of JFK, and ensuing coverup. Dulles was central in the Warren Commission whitewash as well …”
“… Elected in 2012, she is the first American Samoan and the first Hindu member of the United States Congress, and, along with Tammy Duckworth, one of its first female combat veterans. …”
“… She has a lot of guts unlike the shitty little vile NeoCons like McCain and Lindsay Graham and the Neo-Zio-Libs like Feinstein and Schumer who are dual shit-i-zens. …”
“… fighting against Islamic extremists. …”
“… What the CIA, et alia, …”
“… Islamic extremist groups, …”
“… terrorism, …”
“… uccessfulness …”
“… insanities. …”
“… AFGHAN OPIUM PRODUCTION INCREASES 35-FOLD SINCE U.S. INVASION …”
“… “Hoisted on their own petard” is an apt aphorism. …”
“… Petard action happens at 6 minutes in, when Tulsi explains how if the U.S. repeats the same action as Iraq and Libya, the results will equal. …”
“… That seed was already planted …”
“… not a good interview for zio Wolfe … …”
One point we’ve been particularly keen on driving home since the beginning of Russian airstrikes in Syria is that The Kremlin’s move to step in on behalf of Bashar al-Assad along with Vladimir Putin’s open “invitation” to Washington with regard to joining forces in the fight against terrorism effectively let the cat out of the proverbial bag.That is, it simply wasn’t possible for the US to explain why the Pentagon refused to partner with the Russians without admitting that i) the government views Assad, Russia, and Iran as a greater threat than ISIS, and ii) Washington and its regional allies don’t necessarily want to see Sunni extremism wiped out in Syria and Iraq.
Admitting either one of those points would be devastating from a PR perspective. No amount of Russophobic propaganda and/or looped video clips of the Ayatollah ranting against the US would be enough to convince the public that Moscow and Tehran are a greater threat than the black flag-waving jihadists beheading Westerners and burning Jordanian pilots alive in Hollywood-esque video clips, and so, The White House has been forced to scramble around in a desperate attempt to salvage the narrative.
Well, it hasn’t worked.
With each passing week, more and more people are beginning to ask the kinds of questions the Pentagon and CIA most assuredly do not want to answer and now, US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is out calling Washington’s effort to oust Assad both “counterproductive” and “illegal.” In the following priceless video clip, Gabbard accuses the CIA of arming the very same terrorists who The White House insists are “our sworn enemy” and all but tells the American public that the government is lying to them and may end up inadvertently starting “World War III.”
https://youtu.be/IHkher6ceaAFor more on how Russia and Iran’s efforts in Syria have cornered the US from a foreign policy perspective, see “ISIS In ‘Retreat’ As Russia Destroys 32 Targets While Putin Trolls Obama As ‘Weak With No Strategy‘”
aint no fortunate son’s
This is one incredible person, she stands in a league of her own. The only pol I’ve heard in a decade that makes a bit of sense. I now despise only 534 members of CONgress.
“…Gabbard accuses the CIA of arming the very same terrorists who The White House insists are “our sworn enemy” and all but tells the American public that the government is lying to them and may end up inadvertently starting “World War III.”…”
Oh, then you’re saying that that’s future PRESIDENT Gabbard…
Damn, you might be right. Look: see the public opinion is totally shifting (Easy when you have access to all the comments of all medias, including the moderated ones). Find someone among the democrats who voice it. Give her/him “random” media exposure (she was on Bill Maher few days ago) “Sudden rise of an outsider”. She’s a soldier/veteran/surfer 32yo. “Incredible American story”. And at some point, she says she’s transgender. Instant POTUS. That fits. That fits the “change/let’s do something wild for once” that everybody’s craving for (Trump). And it can’t be random that a dissident voice is given media exposure. And she’s beyond democrat/gop… That’s a lot.
Is there a closing date for the primaries?
If not, she/he might well be the 45th president.
Actually she’s gonna be 35 in 2016…
And she did it again:
Accuses CIA Of Backing Terroists.
She left out Mossad, mI6, Saudis, Turkey and how many other zionist controlled CUNTries.
“Accuses CIA Of Backing Terroists.”
Backing terrorist? How about being terrorists?
I agree. Good point.
I’d like to add that President John F. Kennedy issued an NSAM forbidding the CIA from conducting an further paramilitary operations and turned those operations over to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
President Truman only intended the CIA to analyze data from the other U.S. intelligence agencies, not to engage in any field operations. Here’s his original op-ed piece about that very subject: http://www.maebrussell.com/Prouty/Harry%20Truman’s%20CIA%20article.html
In the op-ed, Truman said that the CIA had begun making policy instead of simply analyzing data. He also emphasized his discomfort with the idea of the Agency participating in cloak-and-dagger operations.
Thanks for the link. Truman says:
I well knew the first temporary director of the CIA, Adm. Souers, and the later permanent directors of the CIA, Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg and Allen Dulles. These were men of the highest character, patriotism and integrity-and I assume this is true of all those who continue in charge.
Former CIA director Allen Dulles ordered JFK’s assassination because he was a ‘threat to national security’, a new book has claimed.
Bay of Pigs
Allen Dulles most certainly was involved with the murder of JFK, and ensuing coverup. Dulles was central in the Warren Commission whitewash as well. People forget he was dumped after the Bay of Pigs fiasco with JFK saying at the time that he would “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds”.
Author David Talbot interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now.
Lookout because Tulsi Gabbard has some impressive credentials
Elected in 2012, she is the first American Samoan and the first Hindu member of the United States Congress, and, along with Tammy Duckworth, one of its first female combat veterans.
Military service (2004–present)
In 2004, when Tulsi’s fellow soldiers from the 29th Brigade were called to war in Iraq, Tulsi volunteered to join them. She didn’t need to put her life on the line. She could have stayed in the State House of Representatives, but in her heart, she felt it was more important to stand in solidarity with her fellow soldiers than to climb the political ladder.
Her two deployments to the war-torn and dangerous Middle East revealed both Tulsi’s natural inclination to self-less service and her ability to perform well in situations demanding confidence, courage, and the ability to perform well as a member of a team. The same maturity and character that served Tulsi well in the Middle East makes her exceptionally effective in the political world.
These banksters wars like all wars are total shit but I like her.
She is half Samoan and was a Catholic but became a Hindu.
She has a lot of guts unlike the shitty little vile NeoCons like McCain and Lindsay Graham and the Neo-Zio-Libs like Feinstein and Schumer who are dual shit-i-zens.
Graham is the quintessential chickenhawk.
While I agreed with your overview, WTFRLY, at the 1:25 mark I think she is seriously mistaken about the priority being fighting against Islamic extremists. The real enemy of the American People has been the international bankers, who have almost totally captured control over the government of the USA, through POLITICAL FUNDING ENFORCING FRAUDS.
Her basic opinion regarding 9/11 deliberately ignores that 9/11 was an inside job, false flag attack, which was aided and abetted by the Deep State Shadow Government. Everything that the USA has been doing has been actually carrying out the international bankers’ agenda. The countries targeted for regime change were obstacles to the consolidation of the globalized hegemony of the international bankers, who are the best organized gangsters, the banksters, that have already captured control over all NATO governments, as is painfully obvious to anyone who thinks critically about how and why those governments ENFORCE FRAUDS by privately controlled banks.
What the CIA, et alia, having been doing, since the overthrow of the government of Iran back in 1953, has been creating “Islamic extremist groups,” as the responses of the various Islamic countries having been controlled by the European invasions, and later American invasions, which were always directed at capturing control over the development of the natural resources, through maintaining the control over the monetary systems through which that was done.
The whole of human history has been the exponential growth of social pyramid systems based upon being able to back up lies with violence, becoming more sophisticated and integrated systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, which have become globalized systems of electronic money frauds, backed by the threat of force from atomic bombs. There is indeed a serious risk of NATO countries, already almost totally controlled by the international bankers, getting into conflicts with the national interests of various countries which no longer are so easy for the banksters to continue to control.
The banksters have been pushing through their agenda of wars based on deceits, in order to back up their debt slavery systems, and those were primarily the reasons for the series of regime changes, which appear to have stalled with respect to Syria. That Russia has decided that it is geopolitically able, along with the propaganda cover of fighting “terrorism,” to step in with significant military support of the Syrian regime is indeed in severe conflict with the agenda of the international banksters, who are collectively a group of trillionaire mass murderers.
Human history has become the excessive successfulness of the application of the methods of organized crime to control governments, through the vicious spirals of POLITICAL FUNDING ENFORCING FRAUDS, to develop to the point of runaway criminal insanities. While the Congresswoman above provided more penetrating analysis than one is used to be presented on the mainstream mass media, and she did that fairly well, she still is presenting the political problems only on very superficial levels …
When a Hindu women who rides a surfboard starts making more sense than the President, and the entire Democratic Party I become speechless.
She is an example of integrity standing up for what is right. I see many people of heart doing the same as this unfolds. We are supposed to support the “Underdog” Remember?
UNDERDOG Cartoon Introhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHej4ZqZDwo&html5=1
White House, Media Silent One Year After Murder of US Reporter Who Exposed Western Links to ISIS October 20, 2015
Heroin production up only 3500% since US invaded:
AFGHAN OPIUM PRODUCTION INCREASES 35-FOLD SINCE U.S. INVASION http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/02/10/afghan-opium-produ…
“Hoisted on their own petard” is an apt aphorism.
To be hurt or destroyed by one’s own plot or device intended for another; to be “blown up by one’s own bomb”
The beautiful Tulsi Gabbard excerpt from Wikipedia:
Her father is of Samoan/European heritage and is a practicing Catholic who is a lector at his church, but also enjoys practicing mantra meditation, including kirtan. Her mother is of Euro-American descent and a practicing Hindu. Tulsi fully embracedHinduism as a teenage
At 5 minutes in to video, Wolf B. mentions that Tulsi is a combat veteran. She is also on Senate Arms services committee.
The not so beautiful Wolf Blitzer:
Blitzer was born in Augsburg, Germany] the son of Cesia Blitzer (née Zylberfuden), a homemaker, and David Blitzer, a home builder. His parents were Jewish refugees from O?wi?cim, Poland, and Holocaust survivors… While at Johns Hopkins, Blitzer studied abroad at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he learned Hebrew.
Petard action happens at 6 minutes in, when Tulsi explains how if the U.S. repeats the same action as Iraq and Libya, the results will equal.
“Things that are being said right now about Assad, were said about Ghadaffi.., they were said about Saddam Hussein, by those who were advocating for the U.S. to intervene, to go overthrow those regimes and dictators. The fact is, if that happens here in Syria,….far worse situation, persecution of religious minorities and Christians.”
Who advocated to start ME wars? Wolf then puts words in her mouth, suggesting that Hezbollah and Russians are doing the U.S. a favor.
To give Wolf full credit, he doesn’t explode when Tulsi mentions persecution of the Christians, as said Christians MUST be his enemy and color Wolf’s wordview, given his parents refugee history. Oh the web we weave, when we intend to deceive.
Well, she managed to get in the meme “We were attacked by Al Qaeda on 9/11”. They push that meme every chance they get.
The spooks at the CIA know how to push propaganda. She will get all kinds of credibility appearing to oppose the spooks and very few will notice the 9/11 comment but the seed will be fertilized and grow stronger.
“….very few will notice the 9/11 comment but the seed will be fertilized and grow stronger.”
I beg to differ. That seed was already planted. Why are we supporting the people who attacked us? – keeps it nice and simple. Turns the entire narrative against them.
One dragon at a time.
not a good interview for zio Wolfe …
I didn’t like this girl before, but starting to like her.
She needs a security team… to protect her from the US Gov… no joke
Stefan Adler 4 days ago
Excellent interview. Personally I’ve been listening to so-called alternative media for a very long time now, more or less since about I finished school (I was reading books by Erich Fromm, Hans A. Pestalozzi and others at that time) and I read occasionally alternative newspapers and magazines.
But this has rather dramatically changed now. In fact I more or less completely abandoned the so-called mainstream media, because at least in my opinion a big part of the mass media here in Germany has begun to turn into agencies for very radical and destructive policies designed in part by Brussels and in part by the German government. It doesn’t matter which political issue you look at: The so-called refugee crisis, economical topics, the rise of right wing extremism in Germany and so on: A big part of the mainstream media systematically shifts attention away from the really interesting issues.
Take for example the stream of refugees coming to Germany and other European countries. It could have been a starting point for the German media to discuss what the real reasons for this so-called crisis are: For example the German, British, French and other weapons exports and what they are used for. Or the ecomical policies of the European Union, which severely damages the economies of countries like Senegal or Burkina Faso. But this just doesn’t happen. When you turn on the publicly financed radio stations you hear them discussing technical terms of Germans policies shutting down the European borders to stop the flow of refugees, but almost no word about what this means for the desperate people who end up there. It’s a very shocking experience to basically see that even publicly financed media (which we are supposed to be proud of) stay diligently within the limits of discussion, which according to Noam’s and Edward Herman’s work you would expect for commercial media.
Of course you can find journalism here which does not follow these restrictions, but in case of the publicly financed radio and news programmes you mostly have to wait until late in the evening (when most of the working population doesn’t watch TV or listen to radio anymore) or turn to newspapers which are sold at only very few places. The media is in a terrible condition here nowadays, at least in my opinion.
coldflame 1 day ago
-1 philosophers theory says that human cultures demonstrate severe & increasingly polarizing cycles where the rich get richer & the poor get poorer until the poor are so extremely desperate that a revolution is inevitable….Then there is a massive redistribution of wealth & things even out for awhile & then the cycle begins again.
-It seems to me that this theory is massively sped up by technology & industry & finance abuses.
-My guess about it is that the power-wacko-wealthy will abuse science & technology to destroy many billions of people, leaving various levels of slaves to serve them & theirs. Ultimately it won’t work for them but the ego of humanity is so short-sighted & narcissistic that it’s very hard to imagine otherwise. God I hope I’m wrong. We do have a chance at solving major problems of energy, extinction, food, education, so let’s hope for the best.
Siddharth Sharma 3 days ago
Chomsky hits the nail on Bernie’s campaign. The energy behind the campaign is great, but it’s very likely to die after the election. Which Bernie also understands as his major hurdle. He has stated many times, about creating a political revolution, and said that Obama’s biggest mistake was, that he let the mass movement that elected him die. Bernie wants people to be actively involved in politics, and take rational decisions. When asked how he intends to tackle Republicans while pushing for his progressive reforms, he replied(on the lines of), if his campaign was successful there won’t be many Republicans to deal with. While I hope that to happen, it’s rather optimistic of Bernie to think so. Many people are completely missing the point of his campaign, rather worshiping him as an idol, without understanding the ideals that he stands for. Sanders supporters need to be more mature and serious, as electing him President will not be a panacea; much will remain to be done.
HenryDavidT 9 hours ago (edited)
In a fair, intelligent world, this man would be the first in line to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
America’s “exceptionalism” is not what right wing conservative Christian tribal babbles about; rather, it is that this society is able to NURTURE and PROTECT a man like this, while the Athenians put theirs to death by making him drinking poison … and the Chinese castrated theirs…
Callme Ishmael 5 hours ago
Chomsky is always off the mark on American Libertarianism. To begin with, the Libertarians are not a united front. It’s not a consolidated party or philosophy. It’s based on the non-aggression principle, but after that, opinions vary widely. His argument about environmental destruction are countered by arguments by Libertarians about private property and prosecution of fraud and the behavior of informed consumers in a free market. The corporation itself is based on an anti-free market principle–limited liability–so the whole legal definition of a corporation is called into question by some forms of Libertarianism. The master-servant relationship is not advocated by most Libertarians. That’s absurd. And why does he think there wouldn’t be any private bus systems? And no empathy or private forms of welfare? One of the main arguments of Libertarians is there wouldn’t be anywhere near as many impoverished people. In theory, a free market and free enterprise undermines monopoly and the power to oppress and distributes wealth more even. It’s corruption through government force that enables corporations to monopolize and move wealth to the top.
Rodrigo Rodrigues 3 days ago
Bush destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan. Two countries.
Obama destroyed Libya, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine. Four countries.
The US’s military industrial complex works around any president, sadly, When President Barack Obama was announced as the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize I was shocked.
He admitted he didn’t deserve the prize at the presentation. He went on to praise militarism, and gave tepid support for preventive wars, a war crime. I would like to know Chomsky’s opinion on Donald Trump being a candidate .
EnnoiaBlog 2 days ago (edited)
“The Democrats have shifted to the right as well. Today’s mainstream Democrats are pretty much what used to be called ‘moderate Republicans.’ — Noam Chomsky, in interview with Abby Martin, Oct. 24ish 2015.
Chris Neglia 1 day ago (edited)
10:00 — “If a major financial institution gets in trouble, the government will bail it out, which happens repeatedly–only during the illiberal periods [not free / rights lacking] incidentally. There were no major failures during the 50s and 60s. When the illiberal policies began to be instituted–deregulation and so on–then you start getting a series of financial crises and every time the public bails them out. >>> Well that has consequeces. For one thing that means the credit agencies understand these corporations are high value beyond the level of what they actually do because they’re gonna be bailed out. So they get good credit ratings, means they can get cheap credit, means they can get cheap loans from the government, they can undertake risky transactions which are profitable because if something goes wrong the tax payer will take care of it. >>>> Net result is: that amounts to practically all their profits. Is that Capitalism?”
Nailed it Noam.
“… People that she surrounds herself with are rabid neo-cons. Hand chosen ones no less. …”
“… Hillarys state department minions had hands in Egypt, Ukraine, Libya, and Syrias uprisings. No denying. imo. …”
“… even Hillarys admission of regime change, in regard to Libya, flew over our American heads. …”
“… why is no one grilling David Petraeus. After all, it was Petraeuss CIA compound, where four Americans met their fatal fate. …”
“… This whole Benghazi episode has the feel of a Brzezinski inspired, Petraeus implemented plan, gone wrong. …”
“… Although, Im not completely sold on the Romney involvement, I will buy into a CIA double cross, which brought the revengeful crazies out in force that day. Brzezinski, and Petraeus, love using the bad guy, to fight the other bad guy, and this is where one conniving nobleman could find themselves in a really tight squeeze. …”
“… Contrary to what most here seem to believe, poll after poll after poll have indicated for years that a majority of Americans do not want overseas military interventions, invasions, or military meddling. The majority of Americans want overseas military bases closed. The majority of Americans want the money spent on senseless foreign wars spent instead on infrastructure and improvements within the US. …”
“… But like citizens of most every other country, Americans are primarily concerned with their domestic affairs and economy and that is what determines elections, not foreign policy as stupid as most Americans know it to be. Issues such as social security and the unemployment rate take precedence. …”
“… ” Competent opponents dont make any difference in that US 4-yearly circus called an election. It doesnt bring any change in foreign policy and hardly noticeable change in domestic policy. The only thing the circus brings is a new face, lots of promises that never materialize and a brief impression of hope; of change.”? …”
“… So the question we should all ask is why? Why does it not make a difference that a leftist such as Obama has promulgated the same kinds of policies as a republican, say, Bush, the younger? Why did Holland in France promoting the same kind of policies as Sarkozy? …”
“… Why do we berate the politicians? They are paid servants. They are to do what they are told. The “invisible hands” of control – the shadow government, with the aid of the military and security services, sees to it, through various processes, the leading one of which, being blackmail (remember when the Wikileaks came out where it was evident that Mrs. Clinton was demanding the bank accounts numbers, and other very personal information of diplomats from other nations?) I find it odd that so many of you, as intelligent, well-informed, and savvy as you all are, still keep berating politicians as if seemingly believing that the politicians have any choices once they decide to run for office! Mr. Sanders cannot speak against the Empire altogether. Should he so do, he may find himself in “hole lot of trouble”, — as in being able to stay alive. …”
“… I actually think that Mr. Obama is the Manchurian Candidate that the CIA had been working towards, already since decades ago. New technologies are available to selectively brain-wash the human mind – so, when he says certain things, he may very well have been brainwashed to say them – hereto, the genuine sincerity with which he says them, however out-of-character that these pronouncements might be. …”
“… Hillary is primarily a warrior for the rational self-interest of the US financial oligarchy, i.e., basically Wall Street. That oligarchy wants to have good and eventually domineering relations with any country that is moving towards open economic borders and neoliberal rule. Both Libya and Syria were doing that prior to their invasions, so destroying them is irrational from an I represent Wall Street perspective. On the other hand Hillary is _also_ a warrior for the neoconservative constituency, the military-industrial complexes of the US and Israel. That constituency requires chaos and terrorism, scary enemies, in order to justify its massive size. So for that constituency it is rational to produce failed states. …”
“… As many here have said, all mainstream Presidential candidates represent both constituencies and sometimes choices have to be made between the needs of one and the other. Hillary, especially compared to Obama, _does_ seem to lean to the neoconservative side … …”
Micah Zenko finds a nugget in yesterday’s Benghazi hearing of Hillery Clinton:
When asked by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) about a video clip that read, “We came, we saw, he died [meaning former Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi]. Is that the Clinton doctrine?” Clinton replied, “No, that was an expression of relief that the military mission undertaken by NATO and our other partners had achieved its end.”
The video clip in question is here and should be watched by everyone to understand what an evil character Hillary Clinton is.
But the point, Zenko says, is that she admits that Obama and Clinton as his Secretary of State lied when they claimed to wage war on Libya for some “humanitarian reasons”:
What is now totally forgotten is that regime change WAS NOT the intended military mission of the Libya intervention in March 2011. As President Barack Obama stated in a speech to the nation on March 28, 2011, “The task that I assigned our forces [is] to protect the Libyan people from immediate danger, and to establish a no-fly zone,” adding explicitly, “Broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.”
… … …
Posted by b on October 24, 2015 at 12:53 PM | Permalink
shadyl | Oct 24, 2015 1:37:59 PM | 4
People that she surrounds herself with are rabid neo-cons. Hand chosen ones no less.
AND Bernie??? MUM on Mideast policies…
So, when will WallStreet Hillary declare war on Iceland? When they start printing debt free money?
Icelandic Bankers Are Not Too Big To Jail: Face 74 Years In Prison As US Bankers Bask In Bailouts
As TheAntiMedia’s Claire Bernish exclaims, you could ice skate in Hell sooner than see the United States follow in Iceland’s footsteps with this move: the 26th banker was just sentenced to prison for a combined 74 years between them – each of them jailed for their roles in the 2008 economic collapse.
Five top bankers from Iceland’s two largest banks – Landsbankinn and Kaupþing – were found guilty of embezzlement, market manipulation, and breach of fiduciary duties. Though the country’s maximum penalty for financial crimes currently stands at six years, the Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments to extend the limit. Most of those convicted have so far been sentenced to between two and five years.
Do those sentences sound light to you? Perhaps. Until you consider the curious method of punishment the U.S. employed for its thieving bankers.
While Iceland allowed its government to take total financial control when the 2008 crisis took hold, American bankers – in likely the only bail handout given to criminals of mass destruction – received $700 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds.
Iceland’s president, Olafur Ragnar Grimmson, described how his country not only weathered the storm, but has been labeled the first European country to fully recover from the crisis:
“We were wise enough not to follow the traditional prevailing orthodoxies of the Western financial world in the last 30 years. We introduced currency controls, we let the banks fail, we provided support for the poor, and we didn’t introduce austerity measures like you’re seeing in Europe.”
Hillary’s state department minions had hands in Egypt, Ukraine, Libya, and Syria’s uprisings. No denying. imo.
What would happen to our economy without Wall Street gambling and military weapon sales? Would we even have an economy left?
From The Hague | Oct 24, 2015 3:05:06 PM | 18
By the way: Lybia would not be destroyed if Putin had been in charge.
Just one MSM Source:
vendet | Oct 24, 2015 3:27:32 PM | 19
“If there are any competent opponents to her candidacy for president they should pick up on this and use it to destroy her”
Competent opponents don’t make any difference in that US 4-yearly circus called an election. It doesn’t bring any change in foreign policy and hardly noticeable change in domestic policy. The only thing the circus brings is a new face, lot’s of promises that never materialize and a brief impression of hope; of change.
How was Obama who seemed the total opposite of Bush any different from Bush? Guantanamo is still there, the US military occupation footprint in Iraq and Afghanistan is still there and has even expanded to many other countries preceded by different kinds of propaganda scams like the Koni scam; the EU needs protection from Russia scam; … , he has made highly needed anti global warming measures a joke, domestically general welfare is a failure, banksters and rating agencies have been awarded not punished by the government, although a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School and law professor at University of Chicago he converted international law into a worthless piece of toilet paper where only the exceptionalist country is supposed to decide, the ultra secret national eves dropping programme by the NSA wasn’t curtailed but expanded it’s surveillance to the point that you can talk of a global panopticon, the slowmotion genocide of Palestinians by Zionists remains well on track and finally he has expanded the extra judicial killing programme through drones. The current POTUS also ventured into new roads like the persecution of whistle blowers (Manning, Snowden, Assange and those that never got a name).
His predecessor (Bush) or his predecessor (Clinton) or his predecessor (Bush) or his predecessor (Reagan) wouldn’t have done it any different.
Whether a perceived pacifist is chosen, a lunatic or a psychopathic banshee, the end result is still the same.
Susan Sunflower | Oct 24, 2015 4:39:41 PM | 29
Americans are thoroughly brainwashed to believe in American exceptionalism and the mission of “making the world safe for democracy” and America as upholder of human and civil rights (except when we “need” exceptions) … even people who “should know better” fall into believing that as the world’s “one remaining superpower” there is some sort of noblesse obliges mandating America “rescuing” the downtrodden, etc. etc. etc.
Americans are taught — if not in school, in life — that were it not for Americans saving the day, Hitler would have won … nuf said. (cue mighty mouse theme song) …
Despite rather embarrassing facts/evidence to the contrary they also believe Americans are the most generous people on earth and that our “justice system” is at least better than everyone else’s…. add in an extraordinary willingness to give “our leaders” the benefit of the doubt and to believe that corruption does not factor in American business or society … and you have Disneyland…. or other fantasy-land.
As it was with Vietnam, with Iraq and Afghanistan, the only thing we did “wrong” was to fail…. (having never articulated a plan or vision is overlooked) …
I’m still waiting for someone to notice that 30-50 years of democracy promotion throughout the middle east (particularly in Egypt, Mubarak objected strenuously) produced such a lack of results when Arab Spring rolled around … seriously … these hotbeds of wannabe color-revolutionaries failed pretty resoundingly … even though we knew Mubarak would not last forever …
VietnamVet | Oct 24, 2015 4:54:04 PM | 33
As b pointed out earlier, Hillary Clinton also called for the implementation of a no fly zone in Syria after Russia intervened along with 7 other Presidential Candidates. The shock and awe attack required to be successful would start world war III with nuclear armed Russia. It would also trash the memorandum of understanding that regulates flights over Syria between Russia and the USA agreed to four days ago. The fact that the media and her opponents don’t point this out means that Americans perceive risking a nuclear war as a plus or else they are blissfully ignorant.
tom | Oct 24, 2015 5:55:04 PM | 39
If we take Sanders on his word alone, and lets assume for the argument that he will implement without much restriction far more socially beneficial policies in the US if he wins the presidency, he is still committed to the US empire and will condemn the rest of humanity to war, depredation and misery. That’s if we take his words as accurate.
If you choose that, your choosing condemnation to world wide evil so you and the US population will have a better life. That is evil itself and a world sacrificial evil that no decent human could ever advocate.
Neretva’43 | Oct 24, 2015 6:22:27 PM | 40
“Nature” of the US society: Pathological Lies.
“Billions of dollars are spent every year in our healthcare system for hearing loss conditions, such as shooting-related tinnitus,” explained the NRA. It was a very important point that had long been overlooked in the gun control debate; because if there is a single pressing gun safety issue in America today, it is the hearing, comfort and convenience of recreational shooters who find orange earplugs unsightly. The NRA is also extremely concerned about the fright children may receive from shooting or standing near the reports of high-caliber weapons. These jolts could have a lasting and detrimental developmental impact, possibly imbuing America’s impressionable and tender young brains with the notion that guns are loud, dangerous things. The NRA firmly believes that American freedom is best served by giving 9mm gunfire the feel and sound of a toy cap gun. As the NRA’s Lacey Biles put it during last April’s Dallas Silencer Shoot, silencers are good for “getting younger folks involved [in guns]. They’re less afraid of the loud bang.”
Do not forget eyeglasses while shooting, NRA did not say this.
So, people do get what they deserve. USAians deserve Hilary, Trump, Carson, Jindal, etc
“Majority Of Americans Believe US Would Be Safer If More People Carried Guns”
Penelope | Oct 24, 2015 6:36:36 PM | 41
I guess Gladio has become mainstream; it’s no longer necessary to kill govts unacceptable to the oligarchy; now they can just invent the legal right to set them aside. Amazing.
“Portugal has entered dangerous political waters. For the first time since the creation of Europe’s monetary union, a member state has taken the explicit step of forbidding eurosceptic parties from taking office on the grounds of national interest.
Anibal Cavaco Silva, Portugal’s constitutional president, has refused to appoint a Left-wing coalition government even though it secured an absolute majority in the Portuguese parliament and won a mandate to smash the austerity regime bequeathed by the EU-IMF Troika. ”
We are just ants to the oligarchy– and we can’t seem to figure out what to do about it.
Penelope | Oct 24, 2015 6:56:32 PM | 44
Rg and LG @ 24, “Has it, does it, ever occur to anyone that maybe the Obama’s, the Bushes, the Clinton’s ARE what Americans want for their presidents? People who will attempt to preserve and expand the empire?”
No, it is NOT what Americans want. There seem to be no instrumentalities by which we can affect the power structure. Since the more important aspects of local govt have become national our primary constitutional right is the vote. And as you can see that’s hopeless.
I always wonder why people seem to think it enhances their moral stature to complain to Americans about the Indians. No one living today is guilty of any bad treatment of the Indians. I do get tired of all the guilt-slinging. I expect if you go back far enough most countries had somebody else living there before the ancestors of the present citizenry.
Why don’t you try being more just to the present occupants of this continent by not accusing us of being in favor of the gangsters who presently have the US in their pocket?
Neretva’43 | Oct 24, 2015 7:07:27 PM | 48
Paraphrasing Nietzsche, “A certain belief or idea might be absolutely essential for survival and still be false.”
cronetoo | Oct 24, 2015 7:23:18 PM | 49
I don’t think the Democratic nominee will be elected president… whether it is Clinton or Sanders.
A lot of independents and great many Republicans see Trump the same way so many Democrats and Independents saw Obama… the enthusiasm is there for Trump. If he gets the nomination I believe he will beat Clinton. That is if someone doesn’t shoot him first.
wendy davis | Oct 24, 2015 7:29:53 PM | 51
I’ve been trying to cover WikiLeaks cable aggregations in some (broad) locations at my small website, most recently (US democracy project™) NGOs attempting/helping to overthrow leftist governments in Latin America. But Hillary looms large in Honduras.
‘Hillary Clinton’s Emails and the Honduras Coup’, by Alexander Main at CEPR.
But far more damning re: Clinton/Honduras, but some you likely know about Syria: ‘WikiLeaks cables shed light on US foreign policy failures’
Bernie? Okay, but from the horse’s mouth, and this doesn’t speak to his ‘well, Israel’s response in Gaza is…disproportionate… but I didn’t go to the joint session with Bibi!’ schtick. Well, you decide.
Penelope | Oct 24, 2015 8:15:59 PM | 53
Explains the conduct of the battle in Syria. Informative, worth reading.
The most alarming part:In its turn, the US will likely increase the delivery of weapons to ISIS. I would not exclude that, to enable ISIS to strike Russian aircrafts, the US will supply more powerful anti-aircraft guns, not only mobile ones, but also those with higher power. Just like the US supplied heavy long-range anti-tank complexes, even though usually they supplied only short-range ones. The US might also supply more powerful rocket-launching systems, which, from Turkish territory, can “accidentally” fall into terrorist hands, where “accidentally” will be well-trained personnel, and can act against our aircrafts at heights up to 20 kilometers. This would mean serious casualties. After these losses, our air force will have to suppress these anti-aircraft systems, which will lead to gradual escalation of the conflict. Thus, I believe that in the next two weeks the tensions will increase, the intensity of actions of the Russian and ISIS forces will increase.
I also think that greater ISIS military force will be deployed at the frontlines. I think they will be redeployed from other areas, such as Afghanistan, and they will be transported in the only way possible: by the US military transport aircrafts. As Afghanistan does not border Syria, there is no other way of their transportation. I would not exclude that from Europe or countries bordering Syria, such as Jordan or Turkey, the migration of terrorists to Syria will be initiated and supported. This is because the US cannot allow the Russian victory in the region, as the victory of Bashar Assad over ISIS, Russian victory in the area will mean that the US, at least in the near term, the next 10-15 years, will lose a chance to restore its control over the region. They cannot let that happen. Thus, at any price, by supporting any force, the US will do everything possible to defeat Assad and the Russian military there. Thus, in the next two weeks we can only expect escalation of the military confrontation in Syria and the emergence of new areas of conflict.
Joe Tedesky | Oct 24, 2015 10:06:26 PM | 58
Someone on this comment board brought up the CFR, and that made me think, about the reach of such special interest groups, and their influence on American politics. What, if it were the CFR that organized what ever it was you would call that silly congressional hearing America witnessed for eleven strange hours this past week. This was that magical moment whereas Madam Clinton would officially launch her 2016 presidential race. Trust me, that so called CNN debate, did nothing for Hillary’s desire to conquer the Democrats presidential nomination. What helped her the most, so far, was her patiently sitting there in order that her inquisitors would grill her with such disrespect, and to what her ardent supporters would consider, a shameless politicizing witch hunt to no end. What did we learn? Mostly, that Sidney Blumenthal is nothing more than some business acquaintance of the Clintons. By the end of this Washington made for TV drama, and for what has been referred too, as the Republicans prosecution of poor Grandma Clinton, I will ask you all once again, what in the heck did we news junky’s all learn, that was new about the 9/11/12 Benghazi attack?
Apparently, by it’s mention inside of today’s moonofalabama article, even Hillary’s admission of regime change, in regard to Libya, flew over our American heads. It would be way too much for us Americans to rely on our wonderful corporate news anchors, and pundits, to guarantee something as this regime change admission would be brought to our attention. Something this big could never get reported objectively, with America’s controlled corporate news media. Then they wonder why everyone is clambering to the Internet, to get their news. In the end the Republican congressional representatives looked good to their respective constituency, and Hillary may have guaranteed herself a path to the White House. How great is that, everybody wins.
(As a side note; will President Hillary on day one, order the White House cleaning staff to disinfect the Oval Office? Sorry, just say’n!)
What I cannot get over, with all the fuss over Benghazi, why is no one grilling David Petraeus. After all, it was Petraeus’s CIA compound, where four Americans met their fatal fate. Don’t the good congressional people want to do right by these four brave American heroes, and their families. On any September eleventh day, in any year, wouldn’t it be wise to order an American ambassador to stay inside, especially any ambassadors stationed in one of a few of the Middle Eastern countries, who might have an axe to grind with the U.S.? Okay, I understand, its me, isn’t it? This whole Benghazi episode has the feel of a Brzezinski inspired, Petraeus implemented plan, gone wrong. At that particle time in the 2012 presidential election cycle, a gone wrong plan, would have also reflected badly on a president running for a second term. Webster Tarpley actually points a finger to a covert Mitt in the mix. Although, I’m not completely sold on the Romney involvement, I will buy into a CIA double cross, which brought the revengeful crazies out in force that day. Brzezinski, and Petraeus, love using the bad guy, to fight the other bad guy, and this is where one conniving nobleman could find themselves in a really tight squeeze. I will leave you all with this thought; would a cheating general let out a news leak, about his scandalous sexual affair, in order that said general would escape prosecution for a war crime? Remember, this 2015, and one should never say never, again.
sleepy | Oct 24, 2015 10:24:44 PM | 59
Contrary to what most here seem to believe, poll after poll after poll have indicated for years that a majority of Americans do not want overseas military interventions, invasions, or military meddling. The majority of Americans want overseas military bases closed. The majority of Americans want the money spent on senseless foreign wars spent instead on infrastructure and improvements within the US.
But like citizens of most every other country, Americans are primarily concerned with their domestic affairs and economy and that is what determines elections, not foreign policy as stupid as most Americans know it to be. Issues such as social security and the unemployment rate take precedence.
So, the bipartisan empire continues.
Rg an LG | Oct 25, 2015 12:17:52 AM | 65
Penelope, it is sad when you refuse to see that our present actions as an empire, both internally and externally, have been and are a continuation of the squabbles of the European mindset. You, like all of us in the US, are complicit. I would be wasting my time to suggest that you read the articles written at http://andrevltchek.weebly.com/ by Andre Vltchek. If I disagree with him, it is because he does not go far enough in his criticism of the west, and the US in particular.
… … …
susette | Oct 25, 2015 2:17:34 AM | 66
As posted by VENDET on Oct 24, 2015 3:27:32 PM – COMMENT # 17
” Competent opponents don’t make any difference in that US 4-yearly circus called an election. It doesn’t bring any change in foreign policy and hardly noticeable change in domestic policy. The only thing the circus brings is a new face, lot’s of promises that never materialize and a brief impression of hope; of change.”?
So the question we should all ask is why? Why does it not make a difference that a leftist such as Obama has promulgated the same kinds of policies as a republican, say, Bush, the younger? Why did Holland in France promoting the same kind of policies as Sarkozy?
This repeats in the Western world ad nausea. Well, the only logical explanation is that they are not in control. And the fact that this repeats in other Western “democracies” means that whoever it is (it is a cadre of them, however small in number they are) controls more than one country. So why are we pretending that this is not so?!
Why do we berate the politicians? They are paid servants. They are to do what they are told. The “invisible hands” of control – the shadow government, with the aid of the military and security services, sees to it, through various processes, the leading one of which, being blackmail (remember when the Wikileaks came out where it was evident that Mrs. Clinton was demanding the bank accounts numbers, and other very personal information of diplomats from other nations?) I find it odd that so many of you, as intelligent, well-informed, and savvy as you all are, still keep berating politicians as if seemingly believing that the politicians have any choices once they decide to run for office! Mr. Sanders cannot speak against the Empire altogether. Should he so do, he may find himself in “hole lot of trouble”, — as in being able to stay alive.
Obama, — the same. I actually think that Mr. Obama is the Manchurian Candidate that the CIA had been working towards, already since decades ago. New technologies are available to selectively brain-wash the human mind – so, when he says certain things, he may very well have been brainwashed to say them – hereto, the genuine sincerity with which he says them, however out-of-character that these pronouncements might be.
There shall be no hope for us, for democracy, for decency, for genuine care for humanity, without demolishing the military/CIA, period. They are the higher servants on the totem pole to the “shadowy individuals” who run this world, — or almost all of it – they now want Russia and China, for the eventual total World or Global Autocracy – a project towards which, they have been stealthily and earnestly working for many decades. Again, however sanguine am advising that you all become, I am in no way wishing to conveying disrespect towards any of you, in any way! It is just frustrating to see the weird juxtaposition of great intelligence, education, and savvyness with a suspended disbelief of how world currently really works, and is!
fairleft | Oct 25, 2015 6:52:05 AM | 72
Lochearn @21 (emphasis added)
For Hillary, Libya was perfectly rational and I’m sure she still considers it a huge success. … When another guest, Sam Husseini, pointed out that in their terms they were acting perfectly rationally, that the aim was to produce failed states, he was openly mocked and shouted down by Lavelle. Is rationality a meaningless concept?
All semantics anyway so I don’t _really_ wanna argue about it, but we don’t use the irrational person’s self-assessment when deciding whether her actions are rational or not.
Hillary is primarily a warrior for the rational self-interest of the US financial oligarchy, i.e., basically ‘Wall Street’. That oligarchy wants to have good and eventually domineering relations with any country that is moving towards ‘open economic borders’ and neoliberal rule. Both Libya and Syria were doing that prior to their invasions, so destroying them is irrational from an “I represent ‘Wall Street'” perspective. On the other hand Hillary is _also_ a warrior for the neoconservative constituency, the military-industrial complexes of the US and Israel. That constituency requires chaos and terrorism, scary enemies, in order to justify its massive size. So for that constituency it is rational to produce failed states.
As many here have said, all mainstream Presidential candidates represent both constituencies and sometimes choices have to be made between the needs of one and the other. Hillary, especially compared to Obama, _does_ seem to lean to the neoconservative side …
fairleft | Oct 25, 2015 11:24:31 AM | 84
somebody @74: Great video (with congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard speaking simple truth), thanks. Gabbard should be a rising star; she presents herself with great calm and command, and punches hard the key and very popular position that the US should not be helping Al Qaeda and ISIS take over Syria and turn it into hell on earth. Mentions Libya, directly opposes Hillary. Great.
Smiled when Blitzer got his ‘dirty old man’ thing going there at the end.
If your phone is in the case microphone will not pick up much. Same for camera. Only your GPS location is available. If phone is switched off then even this is not reality available. I think thw whole ability to listen from the pocket is overblown. Too much noise. I think just metadata are enough to feel that you are the constant surveillance.
“… the most part intelligence agencies are not really looking to monitor your private phone communications per se. They are actually taking over full control of the phone to take photos or record ongoing conversations within earshot. …”
“… According to Snowden, the UK’s spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters, uses NSA technology to develop software tools to control almost anyone’s smartphone. He notes that all it takes is sending an encrypted text message to get into virtually any smartphone. Moreover, the message will not be seen by the user, making it almost impossible to stop the attack. …”
“… Reprinted with permission from WeMeantWell.com . …”
You are a tool of the state, according to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.The NSA in the U.S., and its equivalent in the UK, GCHQ, are taking control of your phone not just to spy on you as needed, but also to use your device as a way to spy on others around you. You are a walking microphone, camera and GPS for spies.
Snowden, in a BBC interview, explained that for the most part intelligence agencies are not really looking to monitor your private phone communications per se. They are actually taking over full control of the phone to take photos or record ongoing conversations within earshot.
According to Snowden, the UK’s spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters, uses NSA technology to develop software tools to control almost anyone’s smartphone. He notes that all it takes is sending an encrypted text message to get into virtually any smartphone. Moreover, the message will not be seen by the user, making it almost impossible to stop the attack.
GCHQ calls these smartphone hacking tools the “Smurf Suite.” The suite includes:
- “Dreamy Smurf” is the power management tool that turns your phone on and off with you knowing.
- “Nosey Smurf” is the hot mic tool. “For example,” Snowden said, “if the phone is in your pocket, NSA/GCHQ can turn the microphone on and listen to everything that’s going on around you, even if your phone is switched off because they’ve got the other tools for turning it on.
- “Tracker Smurf” is a geolocation tool which allows spies to follow you with a greater precision than you would get from the typical triangulation of cellphone towers.
- “Paranoid Smurf” is a defensive mechanism designed to make the other tools installed on the phone undetectable.
Snowden said the NSA has spent close to $1 billion to develop these smartphone hacking programs.Reprinted with permission from WeMeantWell.com.
Please note that ZeroHedge gather mainly libertarian crowd. Now look at the comments selected below 😉
“… The one-time front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination is roughly tied for third place among GOP contenders in campaign cash …”
“… Jeb’s just blended into the second tier of the Republican pack …”
“… When you’re born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front row seat – George Carlin …”
“… to think the democratic party stands for something significantly better than the republican after the obama administration is to be delusional. no bankster prosecuted. constant proliferation of war. 300,000 dead in syria and a million more homeless because they don’t like assad. …”
“… That is exactly why I support him. He’s the closest you’re gonna get to telling the establishment to fuck off. …”
“… Third-party candidacies are for upstarts like Trump, not boring party hacks like Jeb. …”
“… Trump is a fucking genius for signing that pledge NOT to run third-party — the pledge that everyone else was forced to sign as well. He has so thoroughly outmaneuvered and outclassed Jeb that it brings tears of joy to my eyes. …”
Earlier today Politico reported that Jeb Bush ordered across-the-board pay cuts to his struggling presidential campaign and warned staff that job functions would change.
On a Friday conference call, top officials said resources would shift heavily to ballot access and voter contact. One person on the Friday morning staff call said they were left with the impression that “very few people will be left in Miami.” Although campaign officials insisted they’re still in strong shape, the moves – combined with Bush’s stagnant poll numbers, despite millions having been spent by his Right to Rise super PAC on television ads over the last month – suggest otherwise.
The reason for what may be a surprising and premature end to Jeb’s campaign: his fundraisers have given up. According to the WSJ reports, “the family’s vaunted financial network is mostly disengaged and splintered-and his campaign stock is falling.”
The one-time front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination is roughly tied for third place among GOP contenders in campaign cash and has fallen to fourth or fifth place in national polls, including the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey. His crowds are modest. He failed to dominate in either of the GOP debates, and million-dollar ad buys in Iowa and New Hampshire have barely moved the needle on his support in the early-contest states.
“Jeb’s just blended into the second tier of the Republican pack,” said Doug Corn, an Ohio-based financial adviser and top fundraiser for George W. Bush who hasn’t donated to a candidate this year. “When you run for president, you have to be very charismatic, you have to articulate extremely well and you have to show unbelievable amounts of passion.”
The idea that JEB is somehow “out of money” is hillarious.
(I refuse to say “JEB Bush.” It’s like saying “ATM machine.”)
Trump is the establishment, idiot.
The problem with the Republican party is that it doesn’t stand for anything. So it desperately needs the the far right of the American spectrum, such as the evangelicals and all the nonsense that comes with.
Now there’s chance that a Fox from New York could be their presidential nominee.
Hillary and Bill will be being having multiple orgasm till election day if Trump is in.
Can’t see how the hillbillies will be voting for a trump.
“The naive doesn’t see the danger until it is at his throat.” – Noam Chomsky
By Kevin D. Williamson: Trump brings out two of the Right’s worst tendencies: the inability to distinguish between entertainers and political leaders, and the habit of treating politics as an exercise in emotional vindication.
“When you’re born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front row seat” – George Carlin
hillbillies voted for bush. they could vote for trump. he is the establishment as are obama and clinton.
to think the democratic party stands for something significantly better than the republican after the obama administration is to be delusional. no bankster prosecuted. constant proliferation of war. 300,000 dead in syria and a million more homeless because they don’t “like” assad.
noam chomsky is a zionist for all practical purposes. he doesn’t even see the danger when it is at his throat.
That is exactly why I support him. He’s the closest you’re gonna get to telling the “establishment” to fuck off.
However, I believe Post Presidency, Trump will be much richer leaving than when he goes into the White House. Think Silvio Berlusconi, former Premier of Italy.
The Bush family must have hundreds of billions worth of drug money salted away in 10 layers worth of offshore holding companies. It is a little surprising they haven’t liberated any of it in support of Jeb. On the other hand, there is nothing more odious to the Bush family patriarch than the stench of a loser, and Jeb wears it like a cheap cologne.
there is nothing more odious to the Bush family patriarch than the stench of a loser, and Jeb wears it like a cheap cologne.
lol. As if his brother was actually a patriot “winner”. He certainly was a winning traitor.
no. not as if his brother was a patriot winner (could his first election have been less convincing? he lost by a million votes). but he did win, finally, calling in all the supreme court chits available. and he got 9-11 done (or let the “adults”, cheney, rumsfeld, silverstein, wolfowitz, zakheim, etc. get it done) and was relected.
the patriarch didn’t even win reelection but helped manage the jfk assassination and very efficiently and profitably ran drugs and guns for the cia, managing the ongoing u.s.war crime that has been latin america since the spanish american war. and pardoned the perps when rags and tags of it became too public. they called george h. w. bush a wimp and he certainly seemed one. but he was a killer.
what jeb lacks, imo, is the killer instinct.
bid the soldier…
It’s not hard to believe. George Herbert Walker with the whole Bush clan came back from Saudi Arabia in 1993 with a shit load of bribery/trinkgeld from the Saudi monarch.
But look what he had to do with it. A year later in 1994 the House of Representitives went Republican for the first time in 40 years. That wasn’t cheap. In 1995 he bought his worthless son the governorship of Texas. That wasn’t cheap either. Then there was Jeb taking the Florida State House in 1999. Ditto.
Finally, the worthless and soon to be outed alcoholic son, had to win a national primary and national election. The Saudi Arabian trove was almost gone. And G.H.W Bush had to save some money for himself to go skydiving and show America what a nice guy he was.
Never mind that he is more responsible for how Fucked Up the world is today than anyone else, living or dead.
Bay Area Guy
If Trump gets the nomination and Jeb goes third party or write-in, Hillary wins in a cakewalk (assuming she gets the nomination and isn’t indicted).
Trump is beating Jeb like a gong head to head. Now you want to saddle him with all the expense and hassle of organizing a third-party effort, while expecting him to do better struggling with that burden? Third-party candidacies are for upstarts like Trump, not boring party hacks like Jeb.
Trump is a fucking genius for signing that pledge NOT to run third-party — the pledge that everyone else was forced to sign as well. He has so thoroughly outmaneuvered and outclassed Jeb that it brings tears of joy to my eyes.
Don’t associate Carson in the same league as Trump. Carson is pro illegal amnesty which is the same as open border and also needs DONORS for his campaign just like all the other candidates. I don’t trust anyone who needs donors because they are suceptible to giving favor to their donors as payback.
Also Carson with his timid persona cannot be trusted to win a negotiation with the likes of Putin and Xi Jinping, not even with Mexico. Yeah, he talks straight but he doesn’t have any idea on how to do business and succeed. This country with it’s $19 trillion debt and high real unemployment and no manufacturing capability because all has been outsourced don’t need a soft spoken surgeon as a leader because if we do then all the surgeons in the military should be in command of combat and logistics because they make good leaders.
“Carson with his timid persona”
Don’t mix quiet tone with timid persona. He does not seem timid at all with expressing what he believes.
Say what you want about Trump, the man is a f*king genius. He has outmanuevered all the political favorite sons and done it in a totally uncoventional manner while spending a fraction of what the other candidates have. He is probably also the only one on the GOP side who can beat Hillary because he will not pull his punches.
On the flip side, Trump better watch his six. Would not be at all surprised if he was assassinated.
Billy the Poet
… … …
Trump Pushes Single Payer Healthcare
Donald Trump: Obamacare’s going to be repealed and replaced. Obamacare is a disaster if you look at what’s going on with premiums where they’re up 40, 50, 55 percent.
Scott Pelley: How do you fix it?
Donald Trump: There’s many different ways, by the way. Everybody’s got to be covered. This is an un-Republican thing for me to say because a lot of times they say, “No, no, the lower 25 percent that can’t afford private. But–”
Scott Pelley: Universal health care.
Donald Trump: I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.
Scott Pelley: The uninsured person is going to be taken care of. How? How?
Donald Trump: They’re going to be taken care of. I would make a deal with existing hospitals to take care of people. And, you know what, if this is probably–
Scott Pelley: Make a deal? Who pays for it?
Donald Trump: –the government’s gonna pay for it. But we’re going to save so much money on the other side. But for the most it’s going to be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition with lots of competitors with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything.
“… The only presidential candidate oriented in that direction is Rand Paul, although Trump has proven susceptible to common sense. …”
“… Strong recommendation for reading the PUTIN transcript. So hard to know, in the Fog of Bullsh8t that the vast and growing masses of self-interested Bullsh8ters generates, what’s true and honest and correct and to me more importantly RIGHT, in the serious interchanges that mean my species has a long future or it doesn’t thanks to evil shortsightedness by people who can do stuff like destroy the Rights of Man and start big and maybe nuclear or worse stuff wars. …”
“… One dependable motif running through US history is that there is always a Worstest Enemy Ever! who is an imminent threat to housewives in Nebraska: Nazis, Japanese, “Huns”, commies, Ruskies, “terrorists”… or my personal favourite, the Sandinista army that was a mere two days’ march away from Reagan’s ranch in Texas. …”
“… But now who is the enemy? Al Qaeda? More like a frenemy, since the US supplies Al-Nusra with arms and diplomatic cover against Putin. ISIS? Same thing; ISIS is Turkey and Saudi’s cudgel. Maybe it’s the Khorasan Group, even though they dont even exist? Maybe it’s Assad? Putin? …”
Ignim Brites, October 23, 2015 at 8:30 am
It was the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia which outraged Osama bin Laden, so a good candidate for the trigger point for the current disintegration was 41’s Desert Storm. But unless US leadership moves aggressively to disengage from the Middle East (and NATO, since Turkey is in NATO), the US will continue to imagine that it has some vital interest at stake in this or that conflict.
The only presidential candidate oriented in that direction is Rand Paul, although Trump has proven susceptible to common sense.
Jim Haygood, October 23, 2015 at 11:39 am
‘The US will continue to imagine that it has some vital interest at stake in this or that conflict.’
Israel’s interest – as expressed in the ‘Clean Break’ policy paper presented to Netanyahu in 1996 – is in keeping its neighbors divided and destabilized. It expressly advocated the removal of Saddam Hussein.
The Lobby ensures that the mighty U.S. acts as Israel’s dimwitted but mean pit bull, at enormous expense to its own interests.
MikeNY, October 23, 2015 at 8:28 pm
Sadly I agree with this. And fundamentalist Christian loons like Pat Robertson egg the pit bull on.
Young Ex-Pat, October 23, 2015 at 8:13 am
‘The Russians have little incentive to depart, given the free pass handed them by the Obama administration.’
Um, no. The Russians have little incentive to depart because they were invited by the Syrian government to help wipe the U.S./Saudi/Turkish/Qatari-backed “moderate rebels” off the map (by the way, there are 4,000 fighters from ex-Soviet Republics who are fighting alongside ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq. Moscow cannot allow these militants to return home and spread their Takfiri garbage).
The U.S. has no authority over Syrian airspace, and is actually operating in Syria illegally. Period. The End.
Steve, October 23, 2015 at 10:10 am
You are absolutely right. Anyone who takes a look at the map of the Russian Caucasus can see the reason Putin is deadly serious about exterminating wahabi takfiris. Access to the Caspian is through a port in Dagestan. The Beslan massacre was in North Ossetia.
Beslan didn’t get a lot of coverage here but it was a big deal in Russia. Chechnya is a horrible scar on Russian sensibilities. Putin has reason to destroy wahhabism utterly, even if that means overthrowing the nest of vipers in Riyadh. Personally I think Putin has it right.
GlennF, October 23, 2015 at 3:11 pm
Putin gave a speech and answered questions yesterday at the “Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club” that explains very well what Russia’s goals for its Middle East operations are. He also touched on Ukraine and sharply rebuked Ambassador Jack Matlock, who was also present and gave a speech. Here is the transcription of the speech from the Kremlin:
JTMcPhee, October 23, 2015 at 8:46 pm
Strong recommendation for reading the PUTIN transcript. So hard to know, in the Fog of Bullsh8t that the vast and growing masses of self-interested Bullsh8ters generates, what’s true and honest and correct and to me more importantly RIGHT, in the serious interchanges that mean my species has a long future or it doesn’t thanks to evil shortsightedness by people who can do stuff like destroy the Rights of Man and start big and maybe nuclear or worse stuff wars.
Putin has a few blind spots and no doubt there’s some dissimulation going on, but he sure seems to have a great grasp of the fundamentals, so far beyond a Clinton or Cheney or Obama, and a long view toward survival that our neocon tools and the self-seekers who ride the coattails of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse thinking they are going to ” end history and get filthy rich doing it” seem completely unable to fathom…
Putin maybe was focused on the current excrescence of “contradictions,” so no mention of that other common enemy, “us, the burners of carbon compounds and wastrels of God’s gifts in into the improbable orb called ‘Earth’.” I hope the Russian and USNATO military people are of a high enough real caliber not to get pissed off at real or imagined slights and trickery so bad that we mopes will get to march off (more likely die in place) to Global War…
“…the most persistent principles in the universe are accident and error…”
EoinW, October 23, 2015 at 8:41 am
Here’s the problem: the writer refers to ISIS and Assad as bad guys yet – as usual with western thinking – makes no mention of the baddest guys around, the USA, Israel and NATO. So long as we continue to give ourselves a pass when it comes to bad guy grades we will continue to be the bad guys. I’m tired of this narrative about our good countries suffering momentary lapses into bad decisions. We are doing the exact same things we’ve been doing for years. Given that our “democratic” processes are structured to prevent meaningful change, we can assume that nothing is going to change in our behavior. The moral disconnect thus becomes essential. No matter how many terrible things are done in our name we continue to be good people living in the most ethically advanced society in human history. Cue all the excuses for why we are still the best no matter what evil we commit.
I must tip my hat to social conditioning. No matter what our countries do we continue to consider ourselves Americans, Canadians …etc. The nation state continually supported no matter what it becomes. Now we know why, as kids, we were made to stand for the national anthem in school every morning.
Praedor, October 23, 2015 at 9:24 am
Precisely and well said. I repeat whenever the opportunity arises: A person (or a country or group of countries) is NOT what they believe. They are entirely and exclusively what they DO. Any and all discussion intentions, beliefs, desires, etc, is crap. What you DO defines you. The US, NATO, keep DOING certain things while spouting on about what they “believe”. Bah! The US and NATO (it’s puppet) are exactly and ONLY what they do over and over again and it is NOT included in what they say they believe or “stand for”.
Eric Patton, October 23, 2015 at 8:44 am
Was Iraq, in the words of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, the “worst foreign policy blunder” in American history?
I’m a Sanders supporter, and I will vote for him next year. However, it should be pointed out that nothing the US has done in them middle east has been a “blunder.”
All our actions there have been war crimes. If the Nuremberg principles were applied fairly, many people – including, but not limited to, the four presidents who have bombed Iraq – would be hanged.
However, on the bright side, it’s nice to know Democrats and Republicans can work together on certain things.
RabidGandhi, October 23, 2015 at 10:01 am
I admit my scorecard has become so jumbled that I’m not sure who the US’s enemy is now.
One dependable motif running through US history is that there is always a Worstest Enemy Ever! who is an imminent threat to housewives in Nebraska: Nazis, Japanese, “Huns”, commies, Ruskies, “terrorists”… or my personal favourite, the Sandinista army that was a mere two days’ march away from Reagan’s ranch in Texas.
But now who is the enemy? Al Qaeda? More like a frenemy, since the US supplies Al-Nusra with arms and diplomatic cover against Putin. ISIS? Same thing; ISIS is Turkey and Saudi’s cudgel. Maybe it’s the Khorasan Group, even though they dont even exist? Maybe it’s Assad? Putin?
I’m not talking in real terms, because in that sense the real enemy remains the same: people who want to “follow the Castro example of taking matters into their own hands” by expropriating “our resources”. I’m rather talking in terms of propaganda. Who is being sold in the US as the reason for sending bodies and treasure into the Mideast?
blert, October 23, 2015 at 11:01 pm
The end game is at least conceptually in sight: Assad stays on his throne – but his domain is constrained to the Alawite heartland.The Sunnis merge their turf with that of western Iraq… and perhaps that of Jordan – with the entire area moving its capital back to Damascus. ( It’s the water. ) The non-Sunni minorities flee into Assad’s domain.
Without Western and GCC support, AQ [ al Nusra and ISIS ] folds its harsh tent. BOTH are acknowledged fronts for AQ, both are still in correspondence to Dr Zawahiri. ISIS used to be AQ in Iraq and was at one time Zarqawi’s faction. It wouldn’t be a factor except for American military support. ( Plus UK, Jordan, and the GCC )
It’s proved to be a rogue outfit that will not follow ‘kafir direction.’ The FSA is a total fraud – a propaganda construct for the Western media. No-one in Syria ever fought under its flag. Secularism in a religious war ? How can that make ANY kind of sense ?
“… anyone who knew Obama’s history would recognize that he was a made man of the powerful Rubin wing of the Democratic party, which a colleague who is deeply knowledgeable about bank regulatory politics has long called the Rubino syndicate. …”
“… A critical part of the history of the Obama Administration that is repeatedly airbrushed out of existence is that when Obama came into office, he not only had majorities in both Houses, but he had a country that was frightened and desperate for leadership. The banks were cowed and uncertain of their survival. …”
“… As for Harvard Laws Neo-Con Dean Kagan, Harvard Law Graduate President Barack Obama appointed her Solicitor General in his Department of Justice as the third highest ranking official in that department and thus as the proverbial Tenth Justice for the 9-Justice U.S. Supreme Court. In this capacity Kagan has quarter-backed, supervised, and defended in all U.S. federal courts the Obama administrations continuation of the Bush Jr. administrations hideous atrocities perpetrated against human rights, international law, civil rights, civil liberties, the U.S. Constitution, and Americas Bill of Rights. As payback for her yeoman Neo-Con efforts, Kagan is now reportedly at the top of a very short list for President Obama to nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court upon the expected retirement of Mr. Justice Stevens, the reputed leader of the Courts neoliberal wing. …”
“… Part of the elite’s demonization process is to silo Sanders as `far left’, which of course makes it sound as if he has no chance. …”
“… Nothing Sanders has advocated would be considered out of the ordinary by a Hubert Humphrey or Lyndon Johnson. …”
“… Sanders is a New Deal Democrat. People need to remember who Henry Wallace was. Would that he wasn’t thrown off the ticket in 1944 for the Kansas City gangster Truman by party insiders! …”
“… And that’s what this post says. Obama didn’t try to change things. His goal was to reinstate the status quo, which meant nothing good would happen for the 99%. …”
“… I would not consider the election of Justin Trudeau synonymous with anything progressive. Just as Obama looked good compared to Bush – Trudeau appeared “progressive” when compared to Harper. But the Liberals, like the Democrats here in the U.S. say one thing and do another. Trudeau’s real policies will expose his true neoliberal bent. They took Obama’s 2008 playbook and used it well. …”
“… I my more conspiratorial moments, I imagine the Canadian elites getting together and telling Harper, OK, time for you to turn into a real asshole. Time for you to be the worst dick you can imagine for yourself. Because we’re going to have to replace you, and if you stay just so-so, the people will look further to the left for Canada’s new leader. If instead, you get them to hate you, we can instead replace you with some hopey-feely Obama type, and get on with making money. …”
“… If some of us do indeed feel defeatist it may be because Sanders, unfortunately, seems to agree more with Slate than with the above post. By making his target “billionaires” and Republican obstructionists rather than his neoliberal opponent he is simply playing the identity politics game. He himself has said that Obama is a good man who has been thwarted by political circumstances. It’s telling that before the recent debate you were seeing articles predicting little policy disagreement between the two leading candidates. …”
“… “By making his target “billionaires” and Republican obstructionists rather than his neoliberal opponent he is simply playing the identity politics game.” …”
“… But, really, what is his alternative? He has the same problem that Clinton does, he cannot directly attack her in an age of identity politics lest he lose her coalition in the general. Anything he does in that respect WILL BE construed as mysogyny, just as an attack on Obama will be construed as racism (see the BLM protests). …”
“… Absolutely right – thank you for saying this. Sanders is doing what he must do to avoid alienating the people who currently support Hillary Clinton, as well as the people who (amazingly) still support Obama. If he seriously offends them by telling the blunt truth, he will lose their potential support in the general election. He needs to be diplomatic. …”
“… By attacking the billionaire class, he surreptitiously attacks Clinton and Obama, since there are billionaires and hecto-millionaires who support Clinton and Obama and who have donated large sums to them. Sanders’s relentless attacks on the TPP are attacks on a centerpiece of the Obama administration. …”
“… It’s clear Hillary is simply going to declare herself a “progressive” and steal all his issues until she becomes President and then it will be Obama all over again. Her only vulnerable point is foreign policy where she isn’t going to back down from her hawkish positions. …”
“… Have you not seen the knots that she has had to tie herself into in order to run left? Jiu Jitsu! He appears to be getting HIS issues out there and making her conform to them. Every time she has to do that it makes her less credible. …”
“… Then, maybe, he hits her with Victoria Nuland and her hiring of Nazis in Ukraine? That would be a real coup, so to speak. A variant of “why vote for the fake Republican when you can vote for the real one” starts to come into play. …”
“… As for foreign policy, I am believe that Sanders has been doing the same thing whilst in Congress; voting against the big stuff and going along to get along with the rest….or, at least, find some profit from it for his constituency (F-35) …”
“… are …”
“… perhaps the best that Bernie can do is help speed the parting guests and split the party into a real alternative to neoliberalism. …”
“… Running HRC against Trump would be a disaster. Trump is willing to speak the unspeakable and ignore the unwritten rules. He would attack her for being a woman, for her incompetent record, for her insider status, for her hair, for the way she dresses, for riding Bill’s coat-tails into high office. With every attack Hillary would look more and more like an animatronic know-nothing who is only a contender because of family connections, just like Jeb Bush. Trump has managed to devastate every establishment candidate thrown at him and Hillary would just add to his tally. …”
“… Trump’s campaign rests entirely on “look! The E has no clothes!” He’s winning because he’s the only guy in the room telling the truth, which seems to pair nicely with a pathological impulse to lie about himself. Hillary, buck naked as she is, wouldn’t stand a chance against that guy. …”
“… Obama has been a terrible President but for a variety of reasons has remained personally popular, and he presents a problem for any one who wants to rage against the system. …”
“… If Obama had even been vaguely tolerable, there would be Obama successors (sans Biden) raring to go. In 2008, there was talk of Tim Kaine as VP. No one is calling for the now Senator to be anything. …”
Attacks on Sanders, Progressives Falsely Depict Obama As Lefty Failure as Opposed to Neoliberal Success
I was not a very close watcher of politics then, and I have to confess to believing for a bit that he might be tough on banks by virtue of having Paul Volcker as his most visible economic policy advisor. But anyone who knew Obama’s history would recognize that he was a made man of the powerful Rubin wing of the Democratic party, which a colleague who is deeply knowledgeable about bank regulatory politics has long called the Rubino syndicate. But even if you had not made that much study of Obama, the key tell came before the election, when Obama whipped for the TARP, which insiders say was critical to its passage. And right after the election, the “save the incumbents” trajectory of financial services policy was made crystal clear with Obama’s choice of New York Fed president Timothy Geithner to head the Treasury Department. Volcker was exiled to the political version of Siberia, given a prestigious-sounding committee with no real mandate to baby-sit.
A critical part of the history of the Obama Administration that is repeatedly airbrushed out of existence is that when Obama came into office, he not only had majorities in both Houses, but he had a country that was frightened and desperate for leadership. The banks were cowed and uncertain of their survival.
As we wrote of this period in 2010:
Recall how we got here. Early in 2009, the banking industry was on the ropes. Both the stock and the credit default swaps markets said that many of the big players were at serious risk of failure. Commentators debated whether to nationalize Citibank, Bank of America, and other large, floundering institutions.
The case for bold action was sound. The history of financial crises showed that the least costly approach is to resolve mortally wounded organizations, install new management, set strict guidelines, and separate out the bad loans and investments in order to restructure and sell them. An IMF study of 124 banking crises concluded that regulatory forbearance, the term of art for letting impaired banks soldier on, found:
The typical result of forbearance is a deeper hole in the net worth of banks, crippling tax burdens to finance bank bailouts, and even more severe credit supply contraction and economic decline than would have occurred…
Shuttering sick banks is hardly a radical idea; the FDIC does it on a routine basis. So the difference here was not in the nature of the exercise, but its operational complexity.
This juncture was a crucial window of opportunity. The financial services industry had become systematically predatory. Its victims now extended well beyond precarious, clueless, and sometimes undisciplined consumers who took on too much debt via credit cards with gotcha features that successfully enticed into a treadmill of chronic debt, or now infamous subprime and option-ARM mortgages.
Over twenty years of malfeasance, from the savings and loan crisis (where fraud was a leading cause of bank failures) to a catastrophic set of blow-ups in over the counter derivatives in 1994, which produced total losses of $1.5 trillion, the biggest wipeout since the 1929 crash, through a 1990s subprime meltdown, dot com chicanery, Enron and other accounting scandals, and now the global financial crisis, the industry each time had been able to beat neuter meaningful reform. But this time, the scale of the damage was so great that it extended beyond investors to hapless bystanders, ordinary citizens who were also paying via their taxes and job losses. And unlike the past, where news of financial blow-ups was largely confined to the business section, the public could not miss the scale of the damage and how it came about, and was outraged.
The widespread, vocal opposition to the TARP was evidence that a once complacent populace had been roused. Reform, if proposed with energy and confidence, wasn’t a risk; not only was it badly needed, it was just what voters wanted.
But incoming president Obama failed to act. Whether he failed to see the opportunity, didn’t understand it, or was simply not interested is moot. Rather than bring vested banking interests to heel, the Obama administration instead chose to reconstitute, as much as possible, the very same industry whose reckless pursuit of profit had thrown the world economy off the cliff. There would be no Nixon goes to China moment from the architects of the policies that created the crisis, namely Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and Director of the National Economic Council Larry Summers.
Defenders of the administration no doubt will content that the public was not ready for measures like the putting large banks like Citigroup into receivership. Even if that were true (and the current widespread outrage against banks says otherwise), that view assumes that the executive branch is a mere spectator, when it has the most powerful bully pulpit in the nation. Other leaders have taken unpopular moves and still maintained public support.
Obama’s repudiation of his campaign promise of change, by turning his back on meaningful reform of the financial services industry, in turn locked his Administration into a course of action. The new administration would have no choice other that working fist in glove with the banksters, supporting and amplifying their own, well established, propaganda efforts.
Thus Obama’s incentives are to come up with “solutions” that paper over problems, avoid meaningful conflict with the industry, minimize complaints, and restore the old practice of using leverage and investment gains to cover up stagnation in worker incomes. Potemkin reforms dovetail with the financial service industry’s goal of forestalling any measures that would interfere with its looting. So the only problem with this picture was how to fool the now-impoverished public into thinking a program of Mussolini-style corporatism represented progress.
With the benefit of hindsight, treating Obama as perhaps having “failed to see the opportunity” was too charitable. His health care reform program was deeply cynical, with no consideration given to single payer, and the public option a merely decoration that the Administration dropped rather than traded away. And please don’t try the excuse “Obama never had the votes.” First, Obama never made the slightest effort to campaign for universal health care. The legislation was written by the health care industry and both Big Pharma and health insurance stocks traded up when the ACA was passed. Second, even though health care was supposedly one of the incoming President’s top policy concerns, he did not try to push it through in the first 100 days when Presidents have the most leverage. Third, the loss of the 60 seat majority in the Senate was the direct consequence of the bank-friendy approach to the crisis. As political scientist Tom Ferguson has demonstrated through granular analysis of voting results in the Senate election that produced the Scott Brown win, the Republican votes were highest in districts with the greatest declines in home prices. We even had several staunch liberal voters in Massachusetts write us saying they had voted for Brown out of disgust with how the Democrats had handled the crisis. That pattern was repeated in each Congressional election under Obams, as neoliberal Blue Dog Democrats were turfed out in all but the most secure districts while progressives held their seats or were even voted in.
If you still harbor doubts at to the depth of Obama’s commitment to the interests of the wealthy, a remarkable piece of evidence comes from a speech made by Robert Fitch on heels of Obama’s historic election. I’m embedding this must-read at the end of this post. From a 2012 post:
A remarkable speech by Robert Fitch puts Obama’s early career in a new perspective that explains the man we see now in the Oval Office: one who pretends to befriend ordinary people but sells them out again and again to wealthy, powerful interests – the banks, big Pharma and health insurers, and lately, the fracking-industrial complex.
Fitch, who died last year, was an academic and journalist, well regarded for his forensic and archival work, as described by Doug Henwood in an obituary in the Nation. He is best known for his book Solidarity for Sale, which chronicled corruption in American unions, but his work that is germane to his analysis of Obama is Assassination of New York. In that, he documented the concerted efforts by powerful real estate and financial interests to drive manufacturing and low-income renters out of Manhattan so they could turn it over to office and residential space for high income professionals.
Fitch gave his eye-opening speech before an unlikely audience at an unlikely time: the Harlem Tenants Association in November 2008, hard on the heels of Obama’s electrifying presidential win. The first part contains his prescient prediction: that Obama’s Third Way stance, that we all need to put our differences aside and get along, was tantamount to advocating the interests of the wealthy, since they seldom give anything to the have-nots without a fight.
That discussion alone is reason to read the piece. But the important part is his description of the role that Obama played in the redevelopment of the near South Side of Chicago, and how he and other middle class blacks, including Valerie Jarrett and his wife Michelle, advanced at the expense of poor blacks by aligning themselves with what Fitch calls “friendly FIRE”: powerful real estate players like the Pritzkers and the Crown family, major banks, the University of Chicago, as well as non-profit community developers and real estate reverends.
In other words, any time anyone tries to present Obama as having failed to implement a “liberal” agenda because the right was too powerful is either an apologist or ignorant. Obama has achieved precisely what he intended to achieve, which was to implement center-right economic policies with tepid social justice measures to divert attention from how he was serving the interests of the 1% and even more so, the 0.1%. And the fact that his allies in Congress have in large measure been voted out of office, that Sanders is going from strength to strength despite his lack of big corporate support, and that the neoliberal diehard Clinton is being forced to feint to the left are signs that the political tectonic plates are shifting. Much more is possible now than was six years ago. That does not mean progressives will prevail, but it means there’s a real opportunity to make very serious inroads. The pundit classes clearly recognize this opening; hence the eagerness to stanch populist energy and engagement through heavy doses of defeatism.
RabidGandhi, October 22, 2015 at 9:19 am<
A great (ie revolting) example of this is the Supreme Court.In my experience, any attack on Team Blue’s rancid record on economic equality inevitably invokes a response along the lines of: “Culture War!” “Marriage Equality!” “Do you want Marco Rubio nominating supreme court justices!” etc etc.
So look at Exhibit A: Elena Kagan, who other than voting for marriage equality is essentially Scalia/Alito/Thomas’ BFF on every pro-corporate case before the court. This is the DNC ideal: someone who fights fearlessly for the corporate overlords whilst also supporting “progressive” causes that affect a much smaller, more affluent population only, thus allowing us to feel good about ourselves for not being like those evil retrograde repubs. So you can have your neoliberal cake and eat it too!
Marriage equality has become the stick the DNC uses to beat us on the left into submission (just as the RNC uses abortion to beat its base).
Strangely Enough, October 22, 2015 at 12:35 pm
About Kagan…Despite my best efforts to prevent it, the Harvard Law School Faculty and Deans hired the war criminal Goldsmith right out of the Bush Jr. administration knowing full well that he was up to his eyeballs in the Gitmo Kangaroo Courts, torture, war crimes, enforced disappearances, murder, kidnapping, and crimes against humanity, at a minimum. And when Goldsmith’s proverbial “smoking-gun” Department of In-Justice Memorandum was published by the Washington Post, then Harvard Law School’s Dean Elena Kagan contemptuously boasted in response about how “proud” she was to have hired this notorious war criminal. Previously Kagan had also publicly bragged that the future of International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School would be in the “good hands” of their resident war criminal Goldsmith. How perversely and tragically true! The Neo-Conservative Harvard Law School Faculty and Deans deliberately hired this Neo-Nazi legal architect of the Bush Jr. administration’s bogus and nefarious “war against terrorism” because they fully support it together with all its essential accouterments of torture, kangaroo courts, war crimes, murder, kidnapping, enforced disappearances, crimes against humanity, and Nuremburg crimes against peace.
. . .
As for Harvard Laws Neo-Con Dean Kagan, Harvard Law Graduate President Barack Obama appointed her Solicitor General in his Department of Justice as the third highest ranking official in that department and thus as the proverbial Tenth Justice for the 9-Justice U.S. Supreme Court. In this capacity Kagan has quarter-backed, supervised, and defended in all U.S. federal courts the Obama administrations continuation of the Bush Jr. administrations hideous atrocities perpetrated against human rights, international law, civil rights, civil liberties, the U.S. Constitution, and Americas Bill of Rights. As payback for her yeoman Neo-Con efforts, Kagan is now reportedly at the top of a very short list for President Obama to nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court upon the expected retirement of Mr. Justice Stevens, the reputed leader of the Courts neoliberal wing.
allan, October 22, 2015 at 8:00 am
Part of the elite’s demonization process is to silo Sanders as `far left’, which of course makes it sound as if he has no chance. And in the current acceptable political discourse, nobody bats an eye at that label. As a sign of how far the Overton Window has (been) moved over the last few decades, stories covering Harper’s defeat referred to him as center right. As if.
In his stump speech, Sanders should proclaim that he’s proudly center left, which by the standards of the 1970s or 1980s, he is. At some point he’s going to have to contrast himself not only with his opponent, but with his predecessor. And that unfortunately might not play well with those for whom politics means identity politics.
sleepy, October 22, 2015 at 8:08 am
Yes. Nothing Sanders has advocated would be considered out of the ordinary by a Hubert Humphrey or Lyndon Johnson.
Rad-Randy, October 22, 2015 at 9:26 am
At some point, I am going to investigate how Sanders has been able to remain electable in Vermont. Is it because those who vote are overwhelmingly liberal or because he can successfully respond to the interests of a broad political spectrum? If the latter is the case, that may say more about his politics than how he positions himself. Iike that he is not afraid to call himself a socialist and that he has been able to sustain a political career in a state with what I suspect is a large conservative constituency.
Arizona Slim, October 22, 2015 at 12:34 pm
Sanders has done very well among Republicans in VT. Why? Because a lot of them are small business owners and/or farmers. They admire how he stands up to big companies like Dean Foods.
nigelk, October 22, 2015 at 10:47 am
It’s been stupefying to watch the oBots defend their neoliberal champion regardless of what he does.
Sanders is a New Deal Democrat. People need to remember who Henry Wallace was. Would that he wasn’t thrown off the ticket in 1944 for the Kansas City gangster Truman by party insiders!
Simon Girty, October 22, 2015 at 8:05 am
“First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. And that, is what is going to happen to the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.” Nicholas Klein 1918 address to the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America in Baltimore.
Ulysses, October 22, 2015 at 3:13 pm
“In other words, any time anyone tries to present Obama as having failed to implement a “liberal” agenda because the right was too powerful is either an apologist or ignorant.”
Very well said! The reality we face, however, is that some people cling to delusions ever more fiercely, the more facts are adduced to destroy them. This is why I believe Bernie Sanders is very clever– to point out the enormous policy differences he has with the current administration, while still leaving room for misinformed people to continue believing that President Obama was “obstructed” from doing any of the things that Senator Sanders proposes.
Uahsenaa, October 22, 2015 at 11:05 am
Economic justice is social justice. One of Gandhi’s most provocative and effective protests was not his many hunger strikes but encouraging people to spin and weave their own textiles–also to produce their own salt from sea water. Textiles lay at the very heart of British imperial ambitions in India, and by encouraging ordinary people to engage in a simple, traditional handicraft he undermined the economic order of the Empire and their reasons for being their in the first place.
While Sanders and Gandhi are not a perfect match by any stretch of the imagination, Sanders similarly has undermined the Democratic political order by doing what politicians used to do regularly: walk in parades, talk to people at barbeques, hold townhall meetings, etc. Corbyn similarly found great success in the Labour leadership election by using almost the same means. The political operatives in those parties are so used to doing things in a particular way, one which is more about PR than motivating voters, that doing something old fashioned, just like Gandhi’s spinning, has far greater potential to pull the rug out from under them than any media campaign.
That’s more than a slogan.
Ed Walker, October 22, 2015 at 8:20 am
1. In The Great Transformation, Karl Polanyi argues persuasively that in the wake of WWI, the elites tried to recreate the self-regulating market with its three pillars of free trade, strict adherence to the gold standard, and a free market in labor. The last of these meant that the burdens of coping with deflation and price undercutting by free trading nations would be borne by the working people. The result was the Great Depression, and the gradual unraveling of laissez-faire economic dominance in favor of more socially controlled capitalism.
This is the same theory followed by Obama and Western Europe. We only need to restore the status quo that existed before the Great Crash and all will be well. This is nothing less than the revival of neoliberal thinking at a time when it could only get worse.
2. The two political candidates who have stunned the stupid pundits of the mainstream, Trump and Sanders, both raise the question. Trump points to the stupid foreign policy of George Bush, a question closely related to the neoliberal project of projecting US power to secure our commercial interests at the expense of the lives and taxes of people who won’t benefit. He even questions some of the tax policies that form Republican ideology.
Sanders is even less a liberal in the HRC/Obama mode. HRC has a five point program to guard against TBTF banks. Sanders has a one-point program: break them into little pieces that won’t be a horrible danger. HRC has a 14 point program for fixing college costs. Sanders has a one point program: free college tuition at public colleges and universities.
These are heretical ideas. These two politicians suggest a new approach: it’s broke, so don’t try to fix it. Instead use this as a chance to rethink the fundamentals of the way we do things.
3. And that’s what this post says. Obama didn’t try to change things. His goal was to reinstate the status quo, which meant nothing good would happen for the 99%.
Trump is a bully and an ignoramus, and most of his ideas are horrifying. But they are real change, and that’s what the Republican base seems to want. Sanders is smart, persuasive and just as blunt as Trump, and his domestic policies are just what the Democratic Party base wants,
4. Both Polanyi and John Maynard Keynes believed that laissez-faire economics was doomed. They were both wrong. We are still fighting those battles. We will have to fight them forever, apparently.
Left in Wisconsin, October 22, 2015 at 10:28 am
Polanyi argues that laissez-faire cannot persist because at some point the people harmed by it will turn to government and demand action (this is the “double movement”). But he doesn’t claim that whatever government action follows will necessarily be helpful or even successful. Nor does he claim that laissez-faire can or will be killed once and forever. As Yves likes to point out, the main historical point of The Great Transformation is that the Speenhamland laws were a failed attempt to regulate laissez-faire in the mid-1800s. Other, later strategies ended up being modestly more successful and yet there it was a century later needing to be slayed again. And here we are now.
I think John R Commons got the cyclicality part right. Working people organize in order to confront economic power and capitalists are constantly at work trying to dis-organize them, which they often succeed in doing by expanding the size/scope of labor or product markets. (See “American Shoemakers”.) There are no permanent wins.
participant-observer-observed, October 22, 2015 at 1:36 pm
free market in labor. The last of these meant that the burdens of coping with deflation and price undercutting by free trading nations would be borne by the working people. The result was the Great Depression, and the gradual unraveling of laissez-faire economic dominance in favor of more socially controlled capitalism.
Local working people. Elites had always used working people to bear the burdens, via slavery and colonialism. But they were kept conveniently out of daily public sight, same like Bangladeshi and Amazon.com workers of today.
Eric Patton, October 22, 2015 at 8:26 am
Adolph Reed, Jr., also deserves dap:
In Chicago, for instance, we’ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices; one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of authentic community, talk about meeting in kitchens, small-scale solutions to social problems, and the predictable elevation of process over program – the point where identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle-class reform in favoring form over substance. I suspect that his ilk is the wave of the future in U.S. black politics, as in Haiti and wherever else the International Monetary Fund has sway.
So far the black activist response hasn’t been up to the challenge. We have to do better.
From “The Curse of Community,” Village Voice, January 16, 1996-reprinted in
Class Notes: Posing as Politics and Other Thoughts on the American Scene
(New Press, 2000)
Eureka Springs, October 22, 2015 at 9:41 am
Glen Ford says it well in his most recent post.
Blacks Will Transform America, and Free Themselves, But Not at the Ballot Box in 2016
At this point, Hilllary Clinton’s most solid support comes from Black Democrats. It is a stain and a shame that must be explained.
The entire history of modern polling, and every competent analysis of voting patterns, shows that African Americans are the most leftish constituency in the nation, especially on the central issues of economic redistribution, criminal justice reform, and war and peace. Yet, Black voters cannot be counted on to support the most progressive presidential candidates available at the polls, whether they be the dubious Sen. Sanders – whose only role before he folds his tent and pledges eternal loyalty to Hillary Clinton is to cause her to lie to the people more extravagantly – or the genuinely progressive Green Party candidacies of Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney and, currently, Jill Stein, who is running on a “Power to the People” platform.
TheCatSaid, October 22, 2015 at 2:55 pm
Glen Ford’s recent critique of BLM is classic. Entitled “Is #BlackLivesMatter Supporting US Policy in Syria?” it doesn’t pull any punches.
andrea, October 22, 2015 at 9:15 am
I would not consider the election of Justin Trudeau synonymous with anything progressive. Just as Obama looked good compared to Bush – Trudeau appeared “progressive” when compared to Harper. But the Liberals, like the Democrats here in the U.S. say one thing and do another. Trudeau’s real policies will expose his true neoliberal bent. They took Obama’s 2008 playbook and used it well.
Benedict@Large, October 22, 2015 at 2:17 pm
Canadians did not vote for Trudeau because he was progressive. They voted for him because he wasn’t Harper. Canadians, after a time, had simply come to hate Harper. Trudeau was just as progressive as he had to be to be seen as “not Harper”, and not a lot more.
I my more conspiratorial moments, I imagine the Canadian elites getting together and telling Harper, OK, time for you to turn into a real asshole. Time for you to be the worst dick you can imagine for yourself. Because we’re going to have to replace you, and if you stay just so-so, the people will look further to the left for Canada’s new leader. If instead, you get them to hate you, we can instead replace you with some hopey-feely Obama type, and get on with making money.
Kurt Sperry, October 22, 2015 at 3:15 pm
Read Justin’s tortured rationale for supporting Bill C-51 and it’s like experiencing Obama at his worst all over again.
allan, October 22, 2015 at 3:32 pm
But some of his fellow Liberals might force Trudeau’s hand on C-51:
Liberals plan swift overhaul of anti-terror law
Elections can have consequences. Sometimes.
Carolinian, October 22, 2015 at 9:18 am
If some of us do indeed feel defeatist it may be because Sanders, unfortunately, seems to agree more with Slate than with the above post. By making his target “billionaires” and Republican obstructionists rather than his neoliberal opponent he is simply playing the identity politics game. He himself has said that Obama is a good man who has been thwarted by political circumstances. It’s telling that before the recent debate you were seeing articles predicting little policy disagreement between the two leading candidates.
Of course many of us hope that Sanders does prevail against Clinton but hope is not a plan. So in fairness to the press some of their skepticism about Sanders winning the nomination may be justified. In order to win you have to fight, and his fight at the moment is against Mrs. Clinton, herself a representative of “billionaires,” and not the amorphous and increasingly disorganized rightwing.
nippersdad -> Carolinian, October 22, 2015 at 9:58 am
“By making his target “billionaires” and Republican obstructionists rather than his neoliberal opponent he is simply playing the identity politics game.”
But, really, what is his alternative? He has the same problem that Clinton does, he cannot directly attack her in an age of identity politics lest he lose her coalition in the general. Anything he does in that respect WILL BE construed as mysogyny, just as an attack on Obama will be construed as racism (see the BLM protests). Why get mired down in an expensive fight on the front pages and talking head shows that one cannot win?
I, too, am a little disappointed in his not bringing his points home more firmly, but he is a remarkably good pol and can see how easily marginalized he would be were he to say anything that could confirm the narratives that the DNC has been crafting all year about him; an old, out of touch, ivory tower crank that is far too politically radical to be elected.
The campaign is just beginning, why shoot yourself in the foot before the race has even really begun?
Vatch -> nippersdad, October 22, 2015 at 10:09 am
Absolutely right – thank you for saying this. Sanders is doing what he must do to avoid alienating the people who currently support Hillary Clinton, as well as the people who (amazingly) still support Obama. If he seriously offends them by telling the blunt truth, he will lose their potential support in the general election. He needs to be diplomatic.
By attacking the billionaire class, he surreptitiously attacks Clinton and Obama, since there are billionaires and hecto-millionaires who support Clinton and Obama and who have donated large sums to them. Sanders’s relentless attacks on the TPP are attacks on a centerpiece of the Obama administration.
nippersdad ->, October 22, 2015 at 10:23 am
Exactly! Once he has this “Democratic Socialism” speech behind him it will be easier for him to use a less oblique approach, but as long as we have so-called liberals out there calling him a communist he will never be able to successfully attack the policies of the so-called liberal leadership within the Democratic Party. His strengths lie with the issues, and people have only just tuned in; solidify those and obfuscatory identity based attacks lose their ability to harm his campaign.
Carolinian -> nippersdad, October 22, 2015 at 10:33 am
But you aren’t explaining how he actually gets the nomination. It’s clear Hillary is simply going to declare herself a “progressive” and steal all his issues until she becomes President and then it will be Obama all over again. Her only vulnerable point is foreign policy where she isn’t going to back down from her hawkish positions.
Here Bernie isn’t contesting her at all. Just believing the right things–and I do think Sanders is sincere and not a “sheepdog”–isn’t enough to win an election since they are about competing interests, not simply competing ideas.
Vatch -> Carolinian, October 22, 2015 at 10:45 am
Ronald Reagan used to say “thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican”, and he managed to win a lot of primaries. Why can’t Sanders do the same, except about Democrats?
Carolinian, October 22, 2015 at 11:01 am
Not trying to be a downer. I certainly do hope that “movement” he keeps talking about pushes him over the top. And Hillary is a lousy politician which is why she needed Bill. If she stumbles Sanders will be there to pick up the pieces.
nippersdad, October 22, 2015 at 10:58 am
Have you not seen the knots that she has had to tie herself into in order to run left? Jiu Jitsu! He appears to be getting HIS issues out there and making her conform to them. Every time she has to do that it makes her less credible. A year or so of her acting out of character and he can start to point out that she would have been a really good candidate if had she not had to adopt his platform. Then, maybe, he hits her with Victoria Nuland and her hiring of Nazis in Ukraine? That would be a real coup, so to speak. A variant of “why vote for the fake Republican when you can vote for the real one” starts to come into play.
He is going to let her do it to herself.
As for foreign policy, I am believe that Sanders has been doing the same thing whilst in Congress; voting against the big stuff and going along to get along with the rest….or, at least, find some profit from it for his constituency (F-35). If you really look at his votes, it starts to look like he has been on autopilot for a long time; that he really doesn’t even bother with it. Again, why shoot yourself in the foot and make it easy to be marginalized?
wbgonne, October 22, 2015 at 11:09 am
I tend to agree with you. It is one thing for Sanders not to attack Clinton personally – that would surely backfire regarding the Democratic nomination. But Sanders, IMO, is far too weak-kneed going after Clinton on policy. For example, had Sanders gone after Clinton hard on TPP he could have claimed credit (and dominance?) when she appeared to shift her position, and then he could have gone ever harder after her for her weaselly “opposition.” Same for Glass-Steagull, fracking, warmongering, global warming, criminal justice, etc., etc. Those are policy-based and perfectly legitimate challenges which are obviously necessary for a long-shot contender like Sanders. Sanders seems to be campaigning as if he is the favorite. At some point it begins to appear Sanders is just providing window-dressing opposition to Hillary’s coronation. We are near that point.
flora, October 22, 2015 at 12:31 pm
Whether or not Sanders win the nomination, he has changed the conversation. The media have tried mightily to ignore his talking points. Now they are talking about them. It’s now within normal conversational bounds to talk about what Sanders is saying. (and what OWS was saying.) That’s a big deal.
Steven D., October 22, 2015 at 4:24 pm
I think the Sanders strategy is to not attack Clinton directly but forthrightly lay out the problems and draw the implicit contrast with her double talk. It was working right up until the press realized he was a real threat. Since then, they’ve been buttering up Hillary. If Sanders fails, Clinton will by default be the most left-wing person in the race and the media will go back to demonizing her. Then her poll numbers will tank again.
I suppose Sanders’ biggest failing is not seeing the coming media honeymoon with Clinton. It’s something he’s going to have to face. Unless people start to see through Clinton on their own and change their minds again.
nippersdad, October 22, 2015 at 5:05 pm
I thought that this gave insight to the strategy:
“He said Obama and Vice President Biden…were “not really” interested in creating a political revolution to overthrow the corporate interests that he says have taken over Washington.”
And it goes on in that vein. It is a little nuanced, but effective. He will be able to do the same thing with Clinton as well.
Uahsenaa, October 22, 2015 at 11:15 am
The major difference, though, is that Sanders acknowledges this fact again and again in his stump speeches and interviews. He knows full well that being President changes surprisingly little, and that things will only change when there is a mass mobilization of popular support for it. It’s one of the reasons why I’m less suspicious of him than Obama in ’08. Obama’s propositions concerning change were all exceedingly vague, as we have come to realize, because he was never going to meaningfully campaign for them. I would suggest watching his hour long roundtable with the Des Moines Register, where he lays out in precise terms what would need to happen after the election, if anything is to be done.
Tyler, October 22, 2015 at 11:33 am
Why We Have a “Do Nothing” Congress
Jeff W , October 22, 2015 at 2:27 pm
That Jamelle Bouie might be very liberal-or think he is or have you think he is-is more disheartening than if he weren’t. His working theory about President Obama trying to enact any sort of liberal agenda and being thwarted by Republicans and conservative Democrats would be risible if it weren’t so immobilizing (aside from being wrong).
Glenn Greenwald in Salon in 2009, said the following, first referencing a quote from Ryan Grimm:
The White House is playing hardball with Democrats who intend to vote against the supplemental war spending bill, threatening freshmen who oppose it that they won’t get help with reelection and will be cut off from the White House, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) said Friday. “We’re not going to help you. You’ll never hear from us again,” Woolsey said the White House is telling freshmen.
That’s what the White House can do when they actually care about pressuring someone to vote the way they want. Why didn’t they do any of that to the “centrists” who were supposedly obstructing what they wanted on health care? Why didn’t they tell Blanche Lincoln – in a desperate fight for her political life – that she would “never hear from them again,” and would lose DNC and other Democratic institutional support, if she filibustered the public option? Why haven’t they threatened to remove Joe Lieberman’s cherished Homeland Security Chairmanship if he’s been sabotaging the President’s agenda? Why hasn’t the President been rhetorically pressuring Senators to support the public option and Medicare buy-in, or taking any of the other steps outlined here by Adam Green? There’s no guarantee that it would have worked – Obama is not omnipotent and he can’t always control Congressional outcomes – but the lack of any such efforts is extremely telling about what the White House really wanted here.
The issue, of course, is not about health care, although we’d know a little over a year later how the Obama administration secretly negotiated with the healthcare industry to do away with the public option even before Greenwald wrote his column-which is consistent with the administration’s actions or inactions. It’s about what Obama was really seeking and, more importantly, it’s about politics and power, both of which the very liberal Jamelle Bouie, Slate’s chief political correspondent, seems oblivious to. We simply don’t know what would have happened if some different president had played hardball with conservatives or changed the political discourse or mobilized public opinion (or a myriad of other options) in a way Obama clearly did not.
There is no argument that it could be extremely hard for Bernie Sanders to enact his agenda. Whether Sanders could wield power effectively in the face of Republican and conservative Democratic opposition is obviously a valid question. At the very least he would change-and has changed-the discourse. The point is that we can’t, as Bouie does, use Obama’s “failures” (if they even are that, considering, as just one example, Obama got the healthcare bill he wanted) as any indication of that.
Michael Hudson October 22, 2015 at 10:01 am
It’s even worse than just Obama. It’s the democratic leadership. Regarding health care, when Dennis Kucinich tried to press for the public option, he was blocked by Pelosi and the House leadership saying that this was off the table from the outset. It was a done deal, and Obama simply toed the Rubin-health-care monopoly line.
The reason this is important is that the Democratic Party’s apparatchiks – Wasserman-Schulze, etc. – will undercut Sanders, esp. by using the party’s own votes at the convention to overwhelm whatever state and local voters might support.
In the 1950s, we used to debate whether Russia was a “degenerated workers state” and therefore reformable (as Stalinists claimed), or an unreformable bureaucratic state (as Sanders believed at that time). The same discussion is now appropriate for the Democratic Party: Is it reformable, or totally Rubinized?
I think the latter. So perhaps the best that Bernie can do is help speed the parting guests and split the party into a real alternative to neoliberalism.
Tyler October 22, 2015 at 11:37 am
“[Some] argue that the Democratic Party, and the ‘system’ in general, are irretrievably broken, and that they must build a third party, such as the Green Party with its endorsement of Ralph Nader. The difficulties with this notion are hard to count. For one, splitting the left is a certain recipe for centuries of aristocratic domination. For another, building a party with only people who share your opinions to the nth degree is a certain recipe for factionalism and isolation. For another, the Green Party is a chaotic mess that has no serious chance of becoming a mass-based political party.”
Full essay here.
Michael Hudson , October 22, 2015 at 11:51 am
What makes you think that levying Rubin’s Democratic Party is “splitting the left”? It’s a precondition for the left advocating for a public option in health care, for opposing neocons’ war efforts and neoliberal policies such as the TPP?
The TPP is not left, nor is the Syrian war or Obamacare.
Tyler October 22, 2015 at 1:22 pm
The Rubin wing of the Democratic Party is certainly not left-wing, but they’re not the collective insanity that has become the Republican Party. The Rubinites acknowledge the seriousness of the climate crisis.
Millions of people are fans of both Hillary and Bernie, and none of these people vote Republican. We need these people. Hillary is not a leftist, but she’s well to the left of any of the Republican presidential candidates.
I think the best move is to change the Democratic Party back to the way it was in the 1960s, minus LBJ’s horrendous foreign policy.
wbgonne October 22, 2015 at 1:41 pm
That dog won’t hunt. Not anymore. The lesser-of-two-evils strategy has been followed for 40 years and all it has done is delivered what we were told we were avoiding: an authoritarian, militaristic, neo-fascist state. No more. Not for me at least. I don’t care how many times you fluff the scary GOP boogeyman. I won’t vote for Hillary Clinton under any circumstances. And you may be surprised to learn how many others feel like me. If you really want to save the Democratic Party, help deliver it from the Clinton/Obama Wall Street cabal. Give people something to vote for. Fearmongering won’t work any longer.
Tyler October 22, 2015 at 2:34 pm
I want the Democratic Party to be delivered from the Clinton/Obama Wall Street cabal. What do you propose we do? Vote for Jill Stein? She wouldn’t win. Most of the country has no idea who she is.
So what do we do, besides continuing to whine on the internet?
Strangely Enough October 22, 2015 at 1:12 pm
“Aristocratic domination” seems vaguely familiar…
participant-observer-observed, October 22, 2015 at 2:14 pm
Yes, the Berner really is place holder for otherwise uncountable millions of voters who have lost all affinity for the legacy parties especially Dems. Just because Sanders claims he will pledge to HRC does not mean his supporters will do so. DNC has to gamble that they will boycott before voting GOP. But Sanders supporters are not so apathetic. Many find DNC and co. more repulsive than Gop. Sanders makes the disenfranchised countable.
jfleni, October 22, 2015 at 10:58 am
When Barry the “butt-kisser” said out loud to the plutocrats and banksters “I am the only one standing between you and the pitchforks”, then the truth became known: High Effing treason to regular folks, especially black ones.
Result: The world’s largest “Job-free zone”, Ruin Porn in many places like majority black Detroit, and garbled gibberish from both the racketeer Repugs and their co-criminal Democrat buddies!
washunate, October 22, 2015 at 11:30 am
Enjoyed the read. There have been many great articles by confused Dem pundits recently. My favorite is still the WaPo one where the author was mad that Sanders wanted to use government to interfere with government institutions.
But I think it’s important to point out that Sanders does leave himself open to some legitimate questions (which of course are not the ones brought up by the Serious People). On national security, he does not say that war is a matter of self-defense. He still reserves the right to use force as a policy choice, just as a last resort instead of a first one.